Under Spiritual Attack

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever been under spiritual attack?

The last three months have been some of the hardest times I can remember. It began with weird harbingers like accidentally grinding up my pearl earring in the garbage disposal (don’t even ask). Next, I broke off a tooth biting into a pretzel. After a few more bizarre “accidents,” a thought crossed my mind. Might I be under a spiritual attack?

Yes, I was. But then the attack spread to other family members. The worst began on April 20th when my mother saw something black hanging in her side vision. That led to emergency surgery to repair a detached retina.

Everything should have been fine with a happily-ever-after ending…BUT. That small, three-letter conjunction changed our lives and spiraled us into a Kansas tornado lasting over three months.

The problem? A viral infection appeared in Mother’s eye a week after surgery. The prescribed eye drops didn’t seem to work, even after several weeks of applications.

To make matters worse, black streaks reappeared in Mother’s side vision, indicating a second retinal detachment. When her doctor planned to do a second surgery despite the worsening virus, I knew I had to find another doctor and a second opinion. Quickly. Thank God I did, or otherwise, she would have surely gone blind in that eye…BUT.

God led us to the right doctors who diagnosed her infection correctly and began treating it aggressively. After several weeks, her new surgeon was able to do major surgery. He had to remove fluid from the back of the eye cavity that was beginning to cave in and then reattach the retina. We held our breath and prayed.

The operation was a success, thank the Lord, and everything was back in place. We were rejoicing! God had come through again, and all Mother had to do was heal…BUT.

Without explanation or reason, she developed unbearable pain on that side of her head, like a severe migraine. I can’t express how frightening it was to care for an elderly person in that physical state. I felt completely helpless. As her eye swelled closed, she couldn’t eat, take her medication, or get out of bed. I had to get help.

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

So off we went to the ER at a local hospital. Not only did we go that day, but also the second day after. Her blood pressure was sky-high, as well as the pressure in her eye. After aggressively lowering her pressure, an ER doctor decided to treat her pain with opioids.

What a mistake.

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

As a person who has never taken drugs stronger than Tylenol, I had no idea of the effects she would experience. I assumed her pain would be eased and she would be able to sleep…BUT.

After arriving home from the ER, I seated her at the table for dinner, but she was only able to eat a few bites. Since she sat peacefully with her eyes closed, I decided to wash the dishes before helping her back to bed. Before I could finish, however, it became apparent that something was wrong.

She had lost consciousness and was having a petit mal seizure. She had experienced a few in the past, so I was familiar with the symptoms. I sat next to her, all the while talking and trying to get her to come back to consciousness. When thirty minutes had passed and she was no better, I prayed earnestly to Jesus for help. After another thirty minutes with no change, I didn’t know what to do.  There was no way I could carry her back to bed. Would I need to call an ambulance? I was desperate.

Suddenly her lips began to move. I listened carefully as she whispered, “I see Jesus.”

At first, I was elated! But the next second, fear gripped me—was Jesus coming to take her to heaven? Was she going to die? Oh no. Jesus couldn’t take her. Not yet. It wasn’t her time.

I sloughed off fear and clung to my faith that all would be well. Sensing that this was a holy spiritual encounter with the Lord, I asked, “Did Jesus speak to you?”

She could barely respond. “No. He touched my shoulder.”

Wow. A healing touch from Jesus. I could sense His very presence in the room as she grew quiet and peaceful, and her seizure ended. My knees hit the floor.

Right then I led us in a time of prayer and praise songs, thanking Jesus for touching her. I was awed to witness His glory, and tears flowed as I basked in His holy presence.

Soon Mother’s eyes opened, and she was able to walk back to bed with my help. She talked about Jesus, especially His face, describing Him as a young man in his thirties with brown hair, dark eyes, and a perfectly clipped goatee.

 

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

 

I imagine you’re wondering like I did, if she really had a vision of Jesus or if it was a hallucination.

I’m convinced she saw the Lord. I believe Jesus came and touched her that night because of her steady improvement after that encounter. Her migraine and the swelling of her eye dissipated within a few days and totally disappeared.

Today her eyesight is returning steadily each day, and we know it is being perfectly restored. Her eyes are focusing together—something that has surprised her doctor, who had predicted she would probably never see much out of it again. Her strength has returned and she is again active and enjoying her life.

BUT God!

What was the key for my mother? I believe several things played a part in her healing.

First, prayer and communion. My daughters and I anointed her with oil, took communion together, and prayed over her daily.

Second, speaking to the illness or affliction. We prayed Scripture over her circumstance, speaking to her eye and every cell to be healed and made whole in Jesus’s mighty Name.

Third, understanding spiritual warfare and how to pray against the attacks of the enemy, which is vital in these last days.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places ~ Ephesians 6:12 NKJV.

In Jesus’s Name, we bound up the ruler of darkness, Belial, another name for Satan or the Lord of Lies, and cast him into the pit.

What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:15 NIV.

Another factor is my mother’s personal life. She has lived a life of obedience, holiness, and humility and has always walked softly before the Lord. She especially has compassion for the poor and helpless, and she never passes a beggar on the street without rolling down the car window and giving money.

Psalm 41: 1-3 promises:

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

 The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,
And he will be blessed on the earth;
You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed (NASB).

How amazing that God graciously performed these promises in Psalm 41 over Mother’s life.

Did you know the enemy attacks God’s anointed ones, especially when something glorious is just around the corner? Whenever you’re under attack, rejoice!

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing ~ James 1:2-4 NASB.

AND

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed ~ 1 Peter 2:24 NASB.

Do you have a physical illness or affliction that you’re asking the Lord to heal? He is no respecter of persons. Jesus is waiting for you to ask and tells us:

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” ~ Matthew 7:7 NKJV.

Be encouraged in your suffering. There is an end because we have a merciful, loving heavenly Father.

We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful ~ James 5:11 NASB.

Are you experiencing a spiritual attack of the enemy? I would be honored to pray for you. If you fill in the comment box with your request, I will agree with you for your healing.

Abundant love and blessings!

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lamb of God in Revelation

The Lamb of God in Revelation by Karen Jurgens

Isn’t it thrilling to read books or see movies where the good guy saves the day?

Like me, do you remember watching episodes of Superman? The sole survivor who rocketed from the planet Krypton, the orphaned infant was taken in by a Kansas farm couple and raised to have a strong moral compass. As an adult, mild-mannered Clark Kent resolved to use his superhuman abilities for moral good alone. During times of trouble, he transformed from a journalist into a super-hero, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and flying through the air to rescue the innocent.

Jesus, on the other hand, is beyond compare to any superhero. The Son of God came to earth to establish the New Covenant through His death and resurrection.

Have you ever contrasted our humble Savior with the same Lord who is glorified in heaven? Truly amazing. Let’s take a look.

Christ’s appearance to John

The Lamb of God in Revelation by Karen Jurgens

 

Christ first revealed Himself to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos in a vision amid seven golden lampstands:

…in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.  In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength ~ Revelation 1:13-16 NASB.

 

Jesus describes Himself

Have you ever gathered up Jesus’s own words about who He is and pondered their greatness? Jesus instructed John to write a letter to each of the seven churches of that day. Preceding each letter, Jesus depicts Himself in various ways.

As…

  1. The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands (Revelation 2:1).

  2. The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life (Revelation 2:8).

  3. The One who has the sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 2:12).

  4. The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze (Revelation 2:18).

  5. He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars (Revelation 3:1).

  6. He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens (Revelation 3:7).

  7. The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14).

WOW. What a glorious glimpse into the greatness of God’s only Son. Such powerful words we can also offer back to Him in prayer.

Jesus in the Throne Room of God

Chapters 4 and 5 are truly two of the most awesome in all the Bible because we get a glimpse into God’s very throne room. Wouldn’t you think that holy place would be bathed in austere silence? What took me by surprise is that it’s busy and noisy, full of the glory of God.

Amid the flashes of lightning and peals of thunder sit seven lampstands burning with fire. God’s throne sits in the center of a sea of crystal, around which are four living creatures, full of eyes all around, who continually shout praises to God: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come’ ~ Revelation 4:8 NASB.

The living creatures are joined by twenty-four elders who cast their crowns before Him and say, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created’ ~ Revelation 4:11 NASB.

The Book with the seven seals

Something very important regarding the Lamb happens in Chapter 5.

God holds out a book sealed with seven seals, but since there is no one worthy to open the book, John weeps bitterly. Then one of the elders tells John, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals’ ~ Revelation 5:5 NASB.

Jesus is pictured as the slain Lamb of God who comes to receive the book from God’s hand:  He is a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth ~ Revelation 5:6 NASB.

As the only one qualified to open the sealed book, there is mighty worship and praise in heaven for the Lamb. Myriads of angels and every living creature in heaven, on the earth, and under the sea bless and glorify His Name.

The Second Coming of Christ

The Lamb of God in Revelation by Karen Jurgens

Revelation concludes with a most powerful image of Christ as He returns to earth to destroy the beast, false prophet, and all their armies at the Battle of Armageddon.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.  He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’ ~ Revelation 19:11-16 NASB.

What a glorious description of the conquering Christ, and one we will see with our own eyes in the near future.

‘I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’ The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost ~ Revelation 22:16-17 NASB.

Today let’s sing a praise and worship song from heaven. Let’s join together with voices in heaven and on earth, under the sea and on the sea, and all things in them.

 To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever ~ Revelation 5:13 NASB.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Jewish Lamb of God

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

Israel has been waiting for thousands of years for Messiah to come to earth to deliver them. Many passages in the Old Testament refer to this coming One.

When Jesus was born, He fulfilled every prophecy about Himself, but the Jews rejected Him as Messiah.

Did they just expect an ordinary man? Jesus came as a perfect Son of Man and Son of God. Instead of recognizing their long-prophesied Messiah, Israel rejected Him as a blasphemer and a fraud, refusing to believe in His many miracles, which alone testified of His deity.

The Mystery of the Trinity

Let’s explore this great mystery by first asking a question.  Is the Christian God three-headed? Old Testament Scripture teaches in Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord (KJV). Therefore, the concept of the Trinity makes no sense to Jewish understanding. God is clearly One, not Three.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

Where did Jesus stand on this issue? In a conversation with the scribes two thousand years ago, He makes it plain.

And one of the scribes came, and … asked him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment’ ~ Mark 12:29-30, KJV.

Jesus agreed that God is One, but the sticking point came when Jesus claimed that God is His Father and that He and the Father are One. Here’s an example of Christ telling them plainly who He is:

 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one ~ John 10:24-30, KJV.

Christians worship God as the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. How can God be One and yet be three persons? For the Jews, this question is a stumbling-block.

Let me attempt to explain this mystery by asking you if you are one person? Of course, you say. But do you recognize that you have three parts? Your physical body, your soul (the mind, will, and emotions), and your eternal spirit. You are three-in-one, but people view you as one person.

We agree with the Scripture that the Lord Our God is One, and we are made in God’s image. But listen to how God describes Himself in the plural in Genesis:

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them ~ Genesis 1:26-27, NASB.

This proves that the Trinity existed from the beginning. Another way of looking at it, to satisfy our human understanding, is through the institution of marriage. When a man and a woman are joined together in holy matrimony, they become one flesh. Although they begin as two separate people, their vows before God unite them in marriage. However, every couple operates as two separate physical bodies, even after their union.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

God has one physical image, as do we, but He is composed of three persons.

 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. ~ 1 John 5:7-8, KJV.

So Jesus is actually God’s Word that separated from God to become flesh and live among men–still completely God in a man’s body, the Son of God; still the Son of Man, the new Adam.

A Great Mystery

 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. ~ John 1:14; 17-18, NASB.

Jesus was rejected by the very ones who had been looking for His coming because Israel didn’t recognize her Messiah when He did arrive. So instead, the light of the gospel was extended to and accepted by the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God ~ John 1:9-13, NASB.

What a joyful day in the near future when scales will fall from Jewish eyes, and they will finally see the truth– Jesus is their Jewish Messiah. But when they realize that we Gentiles have been enjoying Israel’s inheritance along with all the blessings and benefits originally sent only to them, they will have an explosive emotional reaction. Jealousy will bring Israel back to their Jewish Messiah, and the root of David will be forever restored.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek ~ Romans 1:16, KJV.

We, the Gentiles, are the grafted-in branches, forever grateful. Together, Jews and Gentiles will make one tree in God, perfect and complete.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

Hallelujah! I can’t wait until that glorious day! Many already believe, but may the rest of our Jewish brothers and sisters come to Messiah even now, today. The prophecy of bringing Israel back to her land and the Jewish people back to God is told in Ezekiel 37:1-14:

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LordThus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. (KJV)

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

In the next post about the Lamb of God, I’ll discuss another intriguing mystery:

How could Jesus the Lamb of God be born with sinless blood?

Where is the Lamb in Revelation and how is that significant today?

Until then…be blessed!

 

Why Must We Forgive?

Why Must We Forgive by Karen Jurgens

Forgiveness is a hot topic in churches and across the internet. Everyone’s talking about it, including me.

Jesus is coming soon to receive His church and to gather His Saints who are spotless and pure, whose sins have been washed away in the blood of the Lamb.

How is forgiveness a major key in our preparation for that day? You’re invited to join in as I talk with Patti Shene on Step into the Light.

Just click on the link below to go to the archived show. Hope to see you there.

http://ow.ly/GMeH30jhmv5

He is Risen!

 

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

I trust your Easter weekend has been a wonderful experience, from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Hasn’t it been a mixture of emotions?

We witnessed the dread of Jesus’s coming to terms with His assignment in the Garden of Gethsemane where He shed drops of blood in fervent prayer.

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will’ ~ Matthew 26:39, NASB.

On Good Friday, we turned our heads as Judas hanged himself and Peter denied Christ three times.

We agonized with Jesus as He was unjustly accused and sentenced to die by crucifixion.

We cringed in horror as they lashed His back thirty-nine times and slapped the crown of thorns on His head.

We wept as He carried His cross, assisted by Simon the Cyrene, up the hill to Golgotha where they drove nails into His hands and feet.

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’ ~ Luke 23:34.

We sat amazed when He forgave His tormentors as well as the thief crucified next to Him.

And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”  And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’ ~ Luke 23:42b-43.

We mourned with Mary, His mother, as she watched her Son suffer unto death.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’  Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household ~ John 19:25-28.

We waited on Saturday. But where was Jesus from Friday night to Sunday morning?

After death, Jesus descended into the bowels of the earth to Sheol. Sheol is a two-sided holding tank for the dead, with the righteous on one side and the wicked on the other, separated by a chasm. We know this from the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-30.

First, Jesus took away the keys of death, hell, and the grave from Satan. Then He preached the Good News to the damned, giving them the opportunity to escape from their prison of hell. Every person who has ever lived must make the choice to accept or reject Jesus as Saviour. Last, the righteous vacated Sheol to live in heaven.

I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades ~ Revelation 1:17b-18.

Good Friday seals the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our physical bodies through Jesus’s shed blood at Calvary.

The miracle of Jesus’s bodily resurrection on Sunday seals our eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven. We rejoice because His tomb is empty! Our Lord is risen, just as He said.

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

What joy fills our souls as we rejoice in the goodness of our Saviour! To realize that He loved us that much–to come down from heaven to be the perfect sacrifice for us. We owed a debt we couldn’t pay, and He paid a debt He didn’t owe. He restored our broken relationship with God out of his abundant love for each one of us.

Salvation isn’t a dry, dead religion. It’s a living, personal relationship with the One True God.

May we carry Easter in our hearts all year long. May we be forever humbled and grateful, showing our sincere thanks to Jesus for providing us with the precious, priceless gift of salvation.

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

 

Forgiven

Forgiven by Karen Jurgens

I’m sharing one of my former blog posts to commemorate the Easter season.

A crowd of men pushes and shoves me outside my house, tearing my clothes, slapping my head. Their deep voices swirl around me, angry and taunting. The dark tones rumble, thirsty for blood. My blood.

I try to wrap my half-dressed body with my shawl, preserving what little modesty I have left. The suddenness of being discovered in bed with my lover has left me in shock. No hope of escape. Their condemnation will have its cruel way.

My heart races, chugging and pounding against my rib cage, pleading to jump out of my chest and dash away.

Clouds of dust boil around my feet as the mob pushes me toward the temple. Many pairs of dusty sandals rush in unison, stomping like a judge wielding a gavel.

“Guilty!” The Scribes scream.

“Condemned!” The Pharisees spit.

Hope has spread its wings and flown. Their hatred settles on me, like a buzzard taking up permanent residence.

Swells of roaring deafen me. Their righteous indignation drowns me.

Rough hands cast me to the ground. My shoulder scrapes across uneven rocks, tearing my flesh. The jolt smacks my side and sends pain down my leg.

I reach out to stop the momentum, but a sandaled foot crushes my hand. I collapse from the pain, laying my head down, observing dirt mingle together with my blood.

My head has changed into a heavy melon. I cannot see my persecutors through the black veil of my mangled hair.

My heart wrings itself dry of tears. Hopelessness consumes me as I surrender to their hands. My guilt waits for the sharp sting of justice, ushering death. I brace myself for the pounding of the rocks. My body shakes with fear.

Seconds pass. Every muscle in my body is tensed.

Nothing.

Voices raise poignant questions through the air. “The Law of Moses says to stone her . . . what do you say?”

I inhale a weak breath through my mouth, pressed hard into the dirt.

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” This voice is full of authority.

Silence.

Where are the stones that should be crushing my head? Are they planning something more painful? What are they doing? My entire body throbs.

Stones pummel, one after another, to the ground.

I cringe and gasp for my last breath.

Still, nothing touches me.

The ground vibrates with sandaled footsteps. I hear a creak of leather coming closer and can discern the outline of a man’s foot.

I raise my heavy head enough to peer at him through my hair. My eyes focus. Surprise jolts through me as I look into His face.

I know this man.

Liquid love oozes from his understanding eyes. Compassion flows from his smile. Holiness bathes his being, making me even more ashamed of myself. How can he look on me—an adulteress? I am not worthy of his attention.

“Woman, where are they?”

I push up a little, looking around for the first time. I’m outside the temple, and the men have disappeared. Only He is before me.

“Did no one condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” I answer, still not comprehending what has happened.

“Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and sin no more.”

He pulls me to my feet. The touch of His hand electrifies my entire body. All pain dissolves, and I am bathed in total peace. My flesh that was bloody and torn is now whole. I feel reborn.

He turns and walks inside the temple. I watch him with a clean heart, washed and dressed in the newness of gratitude and hope. Yes, I will sin no more. I am overcome with amazement that I am alive and not dead.

I begin to step toward home when I see something on the ground. It looks like someone wrote a word in the dirt. I pause to read it.

FORGIVEN.

Fresh tears run down my face. “Messiah!”

I will never be the same.

John 8:1-11

Forgiven by Karen Jurgens

How to Become Queen

 

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised ~ Proverbs 31:30 NASB.

How did a common Jewish girl end up in a palace, married to a king? During this month of romance and love, let’s see what it took for Esther to get that kind of promotion.

Hadassah, better known as Esther, didn’t have a privileged upbringing. After the death of her parents, her Uncle Mordecai took and raised her as his own. Her fairytale story began during King Ahasuerus’s banquet to celebrate his three-year reign.

 And he [King Ahasuerus] displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days. When these days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days for all the people who were present at the citadel in Susa, from the greatest to the least, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace ~ Esther 1:4-5 NASB.

On the seventh day of the final banquet, King Ahasuerus commanded that Queen Vashti come before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful ~ Esther 1:11 NASB.

But Vashti refused to heed the summons.

Not wanting to give the married women in the land an excuse to mimic Vashti’s impertinence, the king agreed it was wise to replace this disobedient queen. He invited all the virgins in his kingdom to a year-long beauty pageant. After a beautification regimen of twelve months using cosmetics, spices, and oil of myrrh, each girl would spend one night with the king. Whoever pleased him the most would wear the queen’s crown.

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

Although Scripture describes Esther as fair of form and face, her character played a strong part in sweeping her to the summit of royalty.

First, Esther was obedient to follow instructions. Uncle Mordecai told her to keep her ethnic background a secret and not reveal her Jewish heritage. We can infer that she was humble, with a heart to serve others, so not a surprise that she also found great favor with the king’s eunuch.

Esther was taken to the king’s palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem ~ Esther 2:8b-9 NASB.

Second, Esther heeded wise advice. Each virgin had the option of taking along anything she desired from the harem for her special night with King Ahasuerus. Esther, however, listened and heeded wise counsel instead of following her own desires.

Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her ~ Esther 2:15 NASB.

Third, Esther’s character yielded the fruit of great favor.

The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king’s bounty ~ Esther 2:17-18 NASB.

The vanity and pride of Queen Vashti stole her title and position.

The obedience and humility of orphaned Hadassah promoted her to the king’s palace to become the new queen in Vashti’s place.

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

 

What does this story have in common with the Church? We, the Saints, will soon become the Bride of Christ. On that day when we are in heaven and He places crowns on our heads, we, along with the twenty-four elders, will fall down and worship, casting our crowns at His feet.

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created’ ~ Revelation 4:9-11 NASB.

May we, like Queen Esther, be found faithful in heeding God’s wisdom, found in His Word. May we live our lives in obedience and humility. May we be granted favor with God and man as we beautify and anoint ourselves to meet Our Bridegroom—washing with the pure water of the Word and donning clean, white wedding clothes to meet Jesus, our Messiah, in the air.

Maranatha!

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens