Beth Moore - Strong Sisters - Part 3
What's our question on the table? How do we become strong sisters? This whole day is about how to be a strong sister. Say that after me. How to be a strong sister. Okay, number one was what? Girl, we're going to learn to share our space. That right there would be dramatically transforming to women across the nation if we would honestly, just the number of us that are listening today, really begin to do that because then, see, it would catch with them, and then it would catch with them, and then it would catch with them because that's the contagion effect of life in the Spirit. Share your space. Number two was what? Clean out your closet.
You see here's what has happened for so many of us. I lived so much of my life like this; that when I became born again of the Spirit, when I received Christ as my personal Savior, I literally was baptized into Christ and had put on Christ. Galatians 3:27. This is what I am wearing. I've got the strength and dignity of Jesus Christ himself on me, and so do you. But what had happened, see, she changed her clothes, and so she no longer recognized herself, and somebody today... Thank God we can't get rid of Jesus once his spirit is in us. We're sealed to the day of our redemption. Scripture tells us that in two different places. It also tells us, Jesus himself said nothing can pluck us out of his Father's hand. We're secure in him, but, man, we can live out a whole different narrative. Are you in the narrative of New Testament Scripture? Are you a continuation of that same hall of faith in Hebrews chapter 11?
That's what we're called to. We're called to a fierceness in Christ. A fierce love, a fierce faith, but sometimes we just like put it all back on and let somebody else define us instead of Jesus and believe the lies of the enemy over the truth of God's Word. And we're just wearing it all and we're searching for a woman that is underneath all those layers of lies. We're going to peel those babies off today. We don't have time to live in deception. We got this long on this planet, and we're going to walk in the truth. And the third one is this. Face your place. Face your place, whatever it may be. Over the next few minutes, we're going to look at two extremes that are shown in such living color in the Scriptures of, being at what seems like the very top and being at what seems like the very bottom and how important it is to authentically, in Christ we're going to just face the place we're in. Face it honestly with him. Face it before him with the cross ever before us in whatever the circumstance may be.
Now, I love so many things about God just like you do, but one of the things that just blows my mind is how he will orchestrate something in such a way that you know he knows exactly where you are and exactly what you're doing and exactly what you need. Case in point for the simulcast today. Now, I'm always hoping I'm having to depend on the fact and say to him often, "Do not send me anywhere you're not going". You know what I'm saying? But have any of you that do kind of, the same kind of thing that have any kind of, like you do, you communicate, you're a communicator of some kind, have you ever gone where you thought, "Aha. Well, let's see. I think I've come somewhere he did not also come". It's the most terrible feeling. It's the most terrible, so it's like, "Lord, I mean, what I need more than anything else, I need you to be there wherever we're going". Well, this kind of stuff makes me know he's coming. I mean, I'll count on it.
Okay, so some weeks ago, here's my normal practice in the morning. Many of you have your own ways that you order out your spiritual disciplines of Bible study, and prayer, and fasting; whatever it may be. Your fellowship, your community of faith, however your practices may go. But for me, I read in my morning time, in my early morning time, I don't want anybody's voice to speak over me before the Word of God does. The world's going to lie to us all day long, but I want to begin by hearing the Word tell me the truth so that every other voice is silent except the voice of God through his Word. That's how I want to start the day. And so my normal practice is that I just read one book of the Bible after another. And so I usually will only read one to two chapters every day. I love to go at a slower pace so that I can take it in. Very often it's just one and so I can just like absorb what I'm reading. And so, I sometimes go by a plan.
Last year I did, and I love that. But most of the time what I do is that I just go back and forth between the Old and the New Testament. This year I began with Genesis, Exodus, then I went to Matthew and Mark, and then I went back to the Old Testament, then I went back to the New, and I just keep going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, and I keep marking, like, this is a pretty new Bible and what I've done here, I don't know, it's just that I find this kind of stuff interesting. I love to hear how you guys, like, lay out how you do the disciplines of the faith. And so I don't know if this matters to anybody. But when I finished a book, then I highlight it in yellow; and what I'm going for, of course, is that by the time I get every single one of them in yellow, I'm probably going to change Bibles then because I want it to just pop off the page like it's brand new.
Now, this is something, this is just something I like to do for my own purposes. But, so a couple, I don't even know how many weeks. I'd have to do the math, and I've already told y'all a little bit about my math skills. So I decided, some weeks ago I had been reading something that had quoted out of the Book of Ezra and I thought, "Oh my goodness, Ezra is so good. It's just so good". I thought, "I'm going to read it next". And so I had been reading a New Testament book at that point. So I thought, "Okay, next I'm heading back to Ezra". Well, I got to the end of Ezra and then there's just like Nehemiah staring you in the face, and I was like, "Who can stop at Ezra when there's Nehemiah next"? Well, then I go, so one chapter at a time. I go through Nehemiah.
Now, the Lord's knowing every bit of this is coming down 'cause he already planned for me to be reading Ezra exactly so many days before simulcast because then I was going to get to Nehemiah and I was not going to be able to stop. Well, I would normally then go to the New Testament, only there was Esther, and I thought, "You know, I have not... it's been too long since I've really poured over it". And I love it so much because you know as well as I do, it's tough being a woman. Amen? And so I thought, "Well, I'm going to read Esther". Okay, y'all listen to me. I finished Esther on Thursday. And maybe that doesn't seem big to you, but I knew he meant for me to use it today. I knew that he did. I thought, "How fascinating of you that you would make absolutely sure that you had a woman front and center in my mind in the Scriptures just in time to teach strong sisters"? Because sometimes we also have to be not only strong sisters to our sisters, but every now and then a brother will say to us, "It's your turn to be strong". That is what is in play in the Book of Esther.
So a little bit about it if you are not familiar with the story, she is the queen of Persia. But she is the second wife of the king because he has had his first queen put away because she had the absolute nerve to say no when he summoned her to parade her beautiful self in front of a bunch of drunk people. Well, she got put out quickly and then it was, "How are we going to get a new queen"? Well, then this whole harem comes together, there's this whole contest that comes together, and the end result is that, by the sovereign will of God, Esther ends up being his choice and becomes the queen. Esther is Jewish, but at this point the Jews are now permeating. They've been in captivity in this nation, and they're permeating society enough where he does not realize that she is Jewish. And so she's kept it a secret.
Well, there is a man that works for him, one of his highest officials by the name of Haman, and Haman is got this huge, huge ego and he wants people to be afraid of him and bow down to him; only there's this one man, this Jewish man named Mordecai that will not bow before him for anything in this world because Mordecai has a God in heaven and that is the only one he bows down to. Well, it makes him furious. So he goes to the king, he talks the king into an edict that would set a date to slaughter every single one of the Jews because he makes the king think that they are a threat to the government. He also says, "I'll put all this money in the royal treasury". In other words, "I'll pay to have them slaughtered". And the date is set. Well, Mordecai as well as the rest of the people that are out in the cities learn of the edict, they learn of the date where they will all be according to this plan slaughtered, and gets word to the queen.
I want to pick up with you in Esther chapter 4. I want to read verses 1 through 5 and then drop down to the end of it. "When Mordecai learned all that had occurred, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the middle of the city, and cried loudly and bitterly. He went only as far as the king's gate since the law prohibited anyone wearing sackcloth from entering in the king's gate". You know, you want to know the height of privilege? It's when you have set such a boundary around you that no one hurting can get to you, no one mourning can get to you, no one who is oppressed can get to you; and this is exactly what the king had done because Esther is oblivious to the whole thing, to the whole thing. My friend the other day said bolivious. She said, "My family is just bolivious to this". And so, I've taken up bolivious for myself. It is one of the most marvelous words I have ever heard.
And so Esther completely bolivious to what's going on outside that palace. Then it says in verse 3, "There was great mourning among the Jewish people in every province where the king's command and edict came. They fasted, they wept, they lamented, and many lay in sackcloth and ashes". Meanwhile, everybody is just being a prince and princess in the royal palace. You understand what I'm saying? Like, "Get a clue about the suffering on the streets". So here's what happens. It says then, verse 4, "Esther's female servants and her eunuchs came and reported the news to her, and the queen was overcome with fear. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so that he would take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them". In other words, "Uncle, change clothes. What are you doing out there in your sackcloth and ashes and crying in the streets"? And it says in verse 5, "Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs who attended her and dispatched him to Mordecai to learn what he was doing and why".
So he goes to him. He learns from Mordecai what is happening and that Haman has promised, this is at the end of verse 7, to pay the royal treasury for the slaughter of the Jews. Mordecai gives him a copy of the edict. He takes it back and shows it to Esther. I want to pick up at verse 10. "Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to tell Mordecai, 'All the royal officials and the people of the royal provinces know that one law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard and who has not been summoned: the death penalty'". She's like, "I need you to know that there is one law here. If I go and summon him when he has not summoned me, there is the death penalty. Unless the king extends a gold scepter, allowing that person to live. I have not been summoned to appear before the king for the last 30 days".
Imagine that, you know, we all think we want live in a royal situation, except that you know what? By the time my husband has not called to see me in a month, I'm going to be pretty mad. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I'm going to be pretty mad. But this was the way. This was royal living. This was the custom to them. And Esther's response was reported to Mordecai. Verse 13, "Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, 'Do not think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king's palace. If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father's family will be destroyed.'"
See, he was caught, he knew God's promises. He knew there always had to be a remnant. He knew they couldn't be completely destroyed. He knew they couldn't because the promise was made to Abraham and God would keep his promise, but that did not mean that millions of them as we well know from recent modern history could not be slaughtered. Says, "Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this". Oh, I know how often some of you have heard this. I've heard it often, too, but I want you to hear it in context of today's lesson and being a faithful disciple of Christ and being a strong sister to our sisters and our brothers. And it says in verse 15, "Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 'Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don't eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. And after that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.' So Mordecai went and did everything Esther had commanded him".
We will not likely ever be in a situation of those kind of epic proportions. Maybe not anywhere close to those kind of proportions, but we will, every single one of us in Christ will face times when we are appointed to a moment that puts us at great risk in one way or another. We will not miss that; and not because God is not good, but because he is and because he will test us and let us go through the fires to prove us genuine. I want to remind you guys of 1 Peter chapter 1 because it's everything he's talking аbout: God's faithfulness. I believe that what God is often saying is, "Listen, I already know what's in you. You're the one that doesn't know it's in you. And I'm going to put you in a situation that's hard enough for that thing to come out because I put strength in you and I'm willing to give you a strength that you don't even know you're capable of. You have no idea what through my power and through my divine appointment you are capable of if you will let me show you". Here we go to the test; it's, "Will I take the risk or won't I"?
And I want you, I've come up with an equation of sorts, and I want you to test this for yourself. I'm not saying across the board it's never fail, but I'd like to suggest to you that most of the time, most of the time we're safe to assume this equation. Timing plus positioning, plus prompting, equals appointment. You'll see that word coaxing below, and I'll explain it in a moment. It's exactly what you're seeing happening here in play, but you'll see it many, many times in the rest of Scripture when God goes to appoint someone. And I love the wording because you see in John chapter 15 when he tells his disciples, "Listen, you did not choose me. I chose you and appointed you to go out and bear much fruit and fruit that will last". We have been appointed. We've been appointed.
Now, the reason why... what's that word I've got right under prompting for you? Coaxing. I'm going to tell you why. Because what we want to make sure we are not saying is that we are self-called and self-appointed because that can be very, very dangerous. And perhaps all of us have done it and it almost always is either at the very best it is ineffective, at the worst it's cataclysmic. We don't want to be self-appointed to do anything that could cause any kind of big consequences or risk because what we want to know, this is very important to me, and I don't always have this kind of clarity. But when I do, I can go to sleep at night when I know that I've put myself at risk over what in my conviction in the deepest place of the marrow of my bones I believe with all of my mind, soul, heart, and strength, that he called me to it, then I got peace. Then come what may, whatever anybody says, I've got peace. I may not be having fun, I may not like the criticism, but I got peace because I'm answering to this servant and you as a servant, we are answering to this one Master. And if I know, that is as clear as I know to determine, to discern what he told me to do.
Well then at the end of the day, peace, peace. But what I want to suggest to you is that sometimes it's not just a matter of like, we'll go, "Oh, well, it's my time, it's my place". Well, no, the reason why I'm putting, I want to put coaxing there is do you see it happening in the text? Because we want to know that it's a big prompting. If it's a big deal, we want a big prompting. Can I have anybody say amen? The bigger the deal, the bigger the prompting. And what's really wonderful is if God is prompting us through his Holy Spirit in our inner man, if he's doing that, and he is using other people to come alongside and echo it and confirm it. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I'm talking about the bigger the deal it is, the more we want it confirmed, the more we want to know for sure, "Lord, I'm going to tell you something. I don't mind putting myself in this kind of risk. I want to do your will in the worst way, but what I don't want to do is that I'm trying to do your will and I didn't understand it at all and I got myself in this kind of mess because I thought I was doing what you told me to do and it wasn't".
So I'm talking about like coaxing. Reason why this is important is because sometimes that, I'm talking about things that put us out there and that put us in a very vulnerable situation. There can be other motivations for wanting to be the one. "Me. Me. Me. Choose me. Choose me. Choose me". In the situations I'm talking about, it would be the ones where we'd be going like, "Not me. Not me. Not me". Anybody, "Like them, Lord. Oh, fabulous. She would be fabulous at this. He is your man, Lord. He is your man, Lord". Because what can happen, especially in this celebrity culture, is that we could go, "I'm off the spotlight. Let it be me". I mean, we live in a kind of culture that just goes, "I'll say anything, even if it's idiocy, so that people will re-tweet it or people will talk about it on Facebook, social media". Or if a blog could be like complete lunacy, but because it is such lunacy, it goes viral. People don't care. They don't care if it's bad. They just want to be known. They just want to be known.
So there's that. We could call ourselves because we just want to be in the spotlight, or we could call ourselves because we have an axe to grind. "Oh, let it be me. Let it be me. Let me be the one. Let me be the one". I can always tell if I am really, really anxious to go speak the truth in love, it's probably not me. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Like, "Yes, I want to be the one. I absolutely want to be the one, Lord". Then it's probably not me because this one is coming from what would be, like, my natural flesh in this situation would withdraw, and this is the reason why. This is such a good test for us because this is one way we know it's him. That it's consistent with the Scriptures, it's consistent with the character of God, and he will not let us go. And then he's going to send somebody to confirm it. Oh, step up. It's time to step up.