Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Esther 10

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Esther 10

The Greatness of Mordecai

1 King Xerxes imposed tribute throughout the empire, to its distant shores. 2 And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.
  What a strange ending! After lifting up Esther during the first nine chapters, the book ends praising Mordecai. Even the title from praises Mordecai. Why didn't the Jews title this book Mordecai if they loved him so much?
  Esther, (the book-not the person,) is a little different. Remember I said that God is never mentioned directly in the entire book, but you can see His work throughout the story.
  Mordecai does some wise and wonderful things, and becomes second in command of the entire kingdom. Could he have ever done this without Esther's direct involvement? Mordecai gets some props- but who was the real hero?
  The last thing I want to point out is that Mordecai was very powerful, but never in charge. This is the same in our lives. God is always in command- in control. When we think we are number one, we are about to step in number two!
  Prayer- Lord, We want to keep you lifted up. Your are greatness. Help us be the best helpers we can be, and stay out of number two. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Esther 9

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- lord, open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Esther 9

1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”

13 “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”

14 So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman. 15 The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.

Purim Established

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. 25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention,[a] he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance— 31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. 32 Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.

  That's right, today we do a full chapter. Wanna fight about it? How appropriate we start with such an aggressive approach as we read today's post.
  The day comes where people can legally kill and rob the Jews, (Good Friday?) The Jews can and do fight back- and kick some butt. Even though they were allowed to plunder their foes, they do not.
  Mordecai is very wise. he knows people tend to forget things after a while, so he sets up a holiday so the Jews will remember how God saved them. The Jews still celebrate Purim, the holiday celebrating what Esther and Mordecai did, today.

1. If the enemies of the Jews knew that were armed and ready, why did they attack?
2. Why didn't the Jews plunder?
3. Why did Xerxes check on the conditions at Susa?

Prayer- Lord, Help us remember that you are always in control. Let us rejoice in this. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Esther 8:9-17

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.[a] These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.

11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,[b] and to plunder the property of their enemies. 12 The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

14 The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.

The Triumph of the Jews

15 When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17 In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
  Okay, so a law from the king can not be revoked, but the king can make other laws that make the first law not as attractive.  Mordecai knew he had really one chance to save his people. So he had the king make a law that gave the Jews the right to defend themselves, and then take the property of anyone who attacks them.
  Xerxes sends the edict out by his own messengers riding his special Arabian horses. This would be like giving bucks weapons and license before deer season. Not only could deer defend themselves, they could take the human hunters property if they tried to kill them.
  The non-Jews were scared.
1. If a law can't be reversed, why can the opposite be made law?
2. Why was what the messengers rode important?
3. Would this be enough to save Esther and the rest of the Jews?
Prayer- Lord, keep us brave and strong as we face those who would do us harm. Give us the courage to stand against wrong, and the wisdom to see what is wrong.
Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Esther 8:1-7

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Esther 8

The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews

1 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.

3 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.

5 “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”

7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up. 8 Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”

  This is actually a very interesting twist in this story. Xerxes had made a law-and sealed it. This means it couldn't be reversed. This created a situation.
  To make things right, Haman's estate had been given to Esther. He wanted to do harm to her, so the estate was payment for that harm. The law couldn't be altered, so the Jews were still in great danger.
  This is kind of like winning money in civil court after loosing a loved on. It's nice- but it is not a replacement.
  Xerxes does allow Mordecai to write another law, in hopes this may save his people.

1. How in-flex able is the Persian law that can't be changed?
2. Are we like that at times?
3. What can Mordecai do to save his people?

Prayer- Lord, help us be open minded about our world. Give us the wisdom to see when we are wrong, and the strength to change it. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Esther Capter 7

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Esther 7

Haman Impaled

1 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, 2 and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.[a]”

5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”

6 Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”

Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.

8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.

The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits[b] stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”

The king said, “Impale him on it!” 10 So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided

How could Haman's day get any worse after being humiliated before the town? Well, being humiliated before the king is a starter. After being tricked into honoring Mordecai, Haman goes to Esther's dinner party.
  When Xerxes asks what Esther wants, she spills the beans about her people. Things look grim for Haman. (bad day goes to horrible day.) After the king storms away he begs for his life but falls onto Esther's couch- just as the king returns. Awkward!
  Xerxes is already very mad and now sees Haman attacking the queen, Horrible day turns to last day. He is quickly executed, outside his own house on gallows built for Mordecai. How ironic. Afterwards, the king feels better.

1. How did Esther's faith in God save her?
2. Why didn't Haman run?
3. What was God's handy work in this?

Prayer- Lord, keep us safe. Deliver us from the evil around us. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Esther 6:1-14

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Esther 6

Mordecai Honored

1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.

3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.

“Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered.

4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.

5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.”

“Bring him in,” the king ordered.

6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”

10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.

His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

  Talk about a bad day for Haman!  Xerxes can't sleep, (don't you hate it when God gets involved,) so he asks for someone to read the court records to him. That would put anyone under!  It was revealed how Mordecai have foiled the assassination plot and saved the king, (this was Mordecai's hole card.) Xerxes wanted to reward Mordecai.
  Here is where the irony starts to take place. The king wants wise council, and who shows up but Haman. Xerxes asks what should be done to someone who has earned the king's favor. Haman thinks the king is talking about Haman, (of course,) so he tells him to really do it right. Xerxes agrees, and then commands Haman to go do this to Mordecai, and don't hold back.
  After this humiliation, (you know he forgot to get the okay to kill Mordecai with all this favor going on,) Haman goes home to get ready for Esther's dinner party. (Can this day get any worse-Yes it can!) His friends, the same ones who told him yesterday to execute Mordecai, said that he was toast.

1. How did Haman feel when the king asked him what should be done to someone who has earned favor?
2. How did he feel when he found out who had earned the favor?
3. Would you have gone to the dinner party?, or found an excuse to....RUN!!!

Prayer- Lord, we understand that You work in mysterious ways, we just don't know when. Open our eyes to the miracles you do daily. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Esther 5:9-14

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai

9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.

Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”

14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits,[a] and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.

  I really like this translation  of verse 9. "Hamam went out that day happy and in high spirits".  As we have seen in the book so far- Hamam is the bad guy! That day he was happy, evil was winning.
  Those high spirits were short lived, because he ran into Mordecai and Mordecai did not rise and bow to him. This caused him to become enraged and consumed with anger. Why? Did Mordecai do anything different? No, that is the way hate works.
  This is where we run into one of the moral lessons of Esther. Hamam hated Mordecai because he was a Jew. Hamam did not hate because of what Mordecai did to him, Hamam hated because of what Mordecai was.
  This racial hatred, this bigotry consumed a capable and competent person. Hamam was blinded by race, and it consumed him so much he could not look beyond this to do his work. He vented and boasted to his wife.
  Hamam's wife comes up with a brilliant plan. If Mordecai offends Hamam so much, execute him- in public. Show those dirty Jews who has the power.

1. If Hamam had known that Queen Esther was a Jew, would he have acted differently?
2. Why would a man of Hamam's position get so wigged out?
3. What is the major flaw with Zeresh's plan?

Prayer- Lord, Help us love everybody. Help us look past what a person looks like on the outside to see what is in their heart. Thank you for loving us even though we are "one of them". Go-Fight-Win. Amen.