Friday, July 31, 2009

2009 – Day 211.July 31 – The Workings of God

Passage of the Day: Esther 7 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
When God moves, things happen! And the story we’ve been following of late, that of Esther and Mordecai and Haman and King Xerxes is a great illustration of this truth. The events of their times and the choices they made were heading things in one direction; then God moved; and look what happened. Haman, who was plotting to kill Mordecai, ended up on the gallows himself. King Xerxes, who had been blinded to the truth, had his eyes opened to reality. Esther, who had been passive, became very active. And God’s people, who were about to be eradicated, were saved. And the result of all of this was the unmentioned God in the Book of Esther was glorified by a timeless story of redemption and salvation … a story for the ages.

Interesting that our God, Whom we’ve seen is not even mentioned in Esther’s Book, is the primary focus of attention in that story; and that’s as it should be in life too. We see it happening right now in our history – in our times. In fact, there is a big time movement afoot these days by many in power to eradicate God’s Name from the social stage entirely, especially from any public view. And we’ve seen the ACLU and other organizations pushing with some worldly success in this regard. And as in the days of Esther, we’ve seen those in power take God’s justice and turn it around against God’s people.

But we’ve got to be like Esther and Mordecai, trusting in God no matter what is coming around us in the circumstances of life we see. And reflecting, this is the last minute redemption scenario we see repeated over and over again in Scripture; … Moses and the Hebrews with their backs to the Red Sea and the Egyptians coming to kill them; … Joseph being thrown into a pit by his brothers and prison by Potiphar; … and Jesus lying dead in the grave. And in all of these true stories, Who becomes the mover and the shaker to redeem the times? Yes, of course it’s the unseen, but very present, Almighty God.

And in today’s devotional from Chuck Swindoll, one statement he made almost jumped off the page for my attention, meditation, and consideration. He wrote, "… when something looks like it’s the absolute end, it’s really just the beginning.” And though not being a betting man, I’d almost wager you have personal recollections, as a Christian, of times in your life when God moved, silently but powerfully, to redeem the times and turn life events in a direction where self was set aside and the Savior got the glory.

God may move in mysterious ways; but He moves! We may have trouble seeing Him move; but He’s there. We may even look out into a storm in life and see a ghost walking on the water; but He will always be there when we need Him. Trust Him. Turn to Him. Cry out to Him. He’s there.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I may not see you tomorrow; but I know You’re always there for me. Amen

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 – Day 210.July 30 – Surprising Sovereignty

Passage of the Day: Esther 7 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Today Swindoll reminded me of an important life lesson we need to keep in perspective from our study of Esther’s life. If you’ve been following what I’ve written the past few days under Swindoll’s devotional guidance, I’ve written of God’s sovereign intervention in the lives of the key players in the Book of Esther, as well as in our lives. And in summary, we’ve seen that God is God and we are not; … that God is in control of the events which alter and illuminate our times (to quote Walter Cronkite again); … and that we need to seek God’s will and act on His purpose through out free will and personal choices.

But Swindoll makes a good additional point. A distorted view in the awe of God’s sovereignty could cause the Christian to become complacent and/or apathetic. In other words, if we take an immature view of God’s sovereignty to lead us to sit back and do nothing because of God being in control, we miss God’s point of giving us the free will to act as His agents of change in this world. If we were to think, “Well, God’s in control; why should I worry? He will do what He wants to anyway.” And in one sense that has truth imbedded in that position. However, if I miss God’s purpose … that He wants me to be His legs, arms, hands, and mouth in this world, … the Spirit-led discernment and God-led enabling grace He gives me to do my part in shaping (or reshaping) this world could be for naught.

Yes, God is the sovereign God; but He created me to do my part in His sovereign plan; and He has given me, when I was born again into His family, His Spirit delivered enabling grace to be an integral part of His will for His world, His church, and His kingdom. And is that not the most awesome character-building truth? I do whatever I can to honor and glorify my God; and my God gives me His power to do just that.

What more can be said than … HALLELUJAH!!?

My Prayer for Today: Yes, Lord, … quite simply … HALLELUJAH! Amen

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2009 – Day 209.July 29 – When God Calls The Shots

Passage of the Day: Esther 7 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
This plot, i.e., Esther’s life, is thick with intrigue, drama, and the old story of evil combating good which we love when we often go to the movies to watch the good guys win over the bad guys. And yet no where in this intriguing true story is there one mention – by name or direct reference – of “God.” Yet, we know God is in the background, weaving the story together and steering the events to save His people and to use this young Jewess for His glory. As we’d say down here in the southern USA, “It’s a God thing!”

And when I take the time to look back over my life, “it’s a God thing” … through and through. And yet, He worked silently in the background of my life until I as almost 40 years old when I surrendered by life to the Lordship of Christ. In fact I had even denied God’s existence, steeped in atheism, walking away from Him during my college years; and yet, silently but doggedly, He pursued me, broke me, let me die to self, and then revived me by His Spirit. Yes, it’s true, when God is in this drama we call life, we will see Him on the move; and He cannot be stopped. When God wills it, it’s a done deal. It was true as Christ walked to the cross and declared it from that tree, saying, “It is finished.” And it was true in the intriguing life of Esther, where without being named, per se, God stitched her life together along with the other players, Mordecai, Haman, and her husband, the King, to play out a drama for the ages, … a drama we still read for inspiration and guidance to this day.

My fellow believer, I hope you take a few moments in reading this to reflect on your own drama, … your life’s story. And I hope you see the finely knit story which speaks of God’s Spirit moving and shaking in your life to shape you into the person you are becoming. Note that I don’t say “the person you are,” because He’s still molding you into the image of our Savoir [see Phil. 1: 6 - linked here]; and God is not done scripting the drama which is our lives.

Today you and I will make many choices; and only God already knows what they’ll be; but I pray that the script, as it unfolds today, will write pages into the book of our lives which will shine the Light of Christ for all to read in the future.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray you write me a story where others will read one day and see You crafting a testimony to victory for Your glory. Amen

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 – Day 208.July 28 – The Ride of Your Life

Passage of the Day: Esther 7: 3 – 5 … 3 Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, 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 for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. 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. … 5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, "Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?"

My Journal for Today: You know, my fellow Christian, there’s a lot going on in this world right now that parallels what was going on in the court of King Xerxes just before this moment we highlight in today’s text. Evil is having its day. God’s righteousness is being mocked by those who want to eliminate the name of God from our culture. Men in high authority are trying to ramrod laws into signage which will kill untold numbers of children. Yes, … it seems like we have a Haman in our midst who’s on the ride of his life in our culture just as he was riding high in Esther’s day.

But we need to have the faith, sensitivity, and fortitude of Esther. Like our heroine, we need to wait on God; because though He may seem distant, God never forsakes His children; and as God was moving behind the scenes in Esther’s day, our God will move and shake this world when, in His timing, He will do so. Evil may be having the ride of his life now; but God’s way will prevail. I’ve read THE BOOK and I know the ending!

We need to be praying for an Esther moment; so that we can take the stage of a lifetime if God so presents the curtain call. But as the Hamans of our day think they’re on the ride of their lives, we need to fast and pray and wait on our God to bring them down. He will … in His time … and in His way.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for being our God, Who hears and moves and has our being in Your hands. Amen

Monday, July 27, 2009

2009 – Day 207.July 27 – The Fog Is Lifting

Passage of the Day: Esther 7: 1 – 2 … 1 So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. 2 And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

My Journal for Today: Chuck Swindoll closes out this devotional entry by quoting Solomon from Eccl. 3: 1, 7, which states, “There is a time for every event under heaven … a time to be silent and a time to speak.” And Esther had the discernment to know when to do both. On two previous occasions our heroine had the opportunity to blow away Haman’s scheme to get rid of the Jews; but she kept silent. And now all of a sudden, when her husband, the King, asks her a third time for her regal request, she recognizes that the fog has lifted and the time, God’s time, is right for revelation of Haman’s evil plan. It’s the time God raised the child of the Covenant to be the savior of her people – the time for Esther to shine God’s light for His glory.

In this world in which we live, so often it’s like we’re boating around in a small craft which has been enveloped in a dense fog. It’s so hard to hear where to go because there’s so much noise coming at us through the soupy saturation of information in our culture. It’s hard to see which direction to go because there are so many battle fields which call to us for attention. We’re blinded by all the evil strongholds the enemy has setting up, walling us off from the truth. But then it’s like the fog lifts for a time – in God’s timing – and we discern what must be done and that we have been called to take action for our Lord. And God hands the torch to us; and we must shine His light.

Yes, my friend, at times it’s hard to know when to wait and when to act; but first we must know there will be a time and a place to make a choice for Godly truth; and there will be a time to shine God’s light and dispel the darkness which surrounds us. We know from Christ’s own command (in Matt. 5: 16) that God desires for us to shine His light in the darkness for all to see Him working through us so that He will be glorified. So, it is our responsibility to wait for His time to lift the fog so that we can see where to go and what to do. And when the fog lifts, it will be our time to carry His light into an ever darkening world.

Get ready, our (your) time will come!

My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, we wait for You to lift the fog and show us our calling and to give us Your enabling grace. Amen

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009 – Day 206.July 26 – When God Seems Absent

Passage of the Day: Esther 6: 12 – 14 … 12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

My Journal for Today: This will not be a long devotional; because we’ve covered this on several occasions this year … in the life of Moses, … in the life of Elijah, … and now in the life of our dear heroine, Esther and her father figure, Mordecai. But obviously Swindoll feels strongly that the point needs to be made once again for his readers; and I don’t disagree. His point is said rather succinctly; and in his words, "When God seems absent, He’s present.”

And I know that any Christian reading this has experienced the feeling that his/her prayers were bouncing off the ceilings or that God simply had abandoned us with what John MacArthur calls the “wrath of abandonment,” especially since we’ve become a culture which seems to be living in fulfillment of Romans 1: 18 -32 or 2nd Tim. 3: 1 – 9 - linked for your study . And if you’re reading this, these days you certainly see that God seems to be letting our world loose to be influenced by Satan and his world, … like He is abandoning us to our own flesh.

But as Swindoll points out here again, God may have a plan of setting a culture aside or letting mankind experience the just rewards of their own actions for a season of life. However, we know from His own promises that our Lord will never forsake His remnant of faithful ones. If He did, our God would be a liar; and as you can read the truth of Numbers 23: 19, God is not like a man. God NEVER LIES! And so when we read Deut. 31: 6 or Hebrews 13: 5, which I hope you have memorized or internalized. We know that God is never absent, even when He might seem to be so.

Take heart, my dear one, our God is on the move; and He’s going to do what is right by any decision we make; and Haman, in today’s scenario, was about to find that out as he was summoned before the King where, if you read on in Esther’s story, he would be uncovered for the scoundrel he had been. And Esther and Mordecai were about to be rewarded for their faithfulness as well. Remember the truth of the faith chapter in Hebrews 11, verse 6, which states God’s truth that … without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So, my friend, as fellow Christians, we must have faith and realize that when things seem down and out or when God seems absent, hold on to the reality, that He has not forsaken us. He may be trying to show the world that we can’t do without Him; but He’s always there and He’s always acting to bring His justice to light. Hold, my friend; … God is moving in our lives.

My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, I don’t understand your plans at times; but I know you’re there for me, … for all of us who believe in You. Amen

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2009 – Day 205.July 25 – Genuinely Humble

Passage of the Day: Esther 6: 1 – 14 … Linked for study ...

My Journal for Today: Have you ever noticed, from the telling of the stories of the Bible, how often the quality of HUMILITY is lifted up and magnified for all to see the character trait which God’s word promotes as essential for the Lord to be able to do His work in and through His people? And most certainly the character of Mordecai illustrates this in today’s passage.

Yes, and the other truth brought out in Mordecai’s story, along with that of the works of Haman, is the old adage, “What goes around comes around.” Haman’s pride is coming rapidly back around to bite him; and Mordecai’s genuine humility comes back around to laud him in today’s story passage. And that’s the truth taught often in scripture … that we reap what we sow; and as Prov. 3: 34 (repeated in James 4: 6 and 1st Peter 5: 6) states, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Here we see Mordecai, seemingly the result of a cosmic and God-ordained joke, elevated to hero status; and what does he do? In Esther 6: 12 we read of him returning to the gates of the city – exactly where he had been before the King honored him with a parade. And Swindoll asks his readers (me) if we would let our ego be puffed up if we were honored by our President; or would we return right back to our life with no show of the worldly honors? Certainly looking at modern-day pro athletes or Hollywood celebs would give us a picture of how Haman would have wanted to be elevated and honored by his king. But in this wild and wonderful twist of providence, it is Mordecai which gets the honor; and what does he do afterwards? He models for us Christlike humility and becomes a hero in God’s honor guard of humility, along with other great names of the faith whose humility shone forth to honor God in the midst of troubled times. And of course the greatest of these models is Christ Himself, where His story of humility is chronicled so powerfully in Phil. 2: 5 – 11 - linked here. I pray that you’ll use that link and read that wondrous passage about how God, Himself, humbled Himself to become man and die on a cross.

And today we need to point our character in the direction of GENUINE HUMILITY and away from the compass point of pride; because it is only through our planting the seeds of Christlike humility can God reap the harvest of glory for Himself.

My Prayer for Today: Father God, I know I can be prideful when I get elevated by man. Keep me humble, Lord, that I may become Your instrument of glory. Amen

Friday, July 24, 2009

2009 – Day 204.July 24 – God Notices

Passage of the Day: Esther 6: 1 – 14 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Well, when all seemed lost in the milieu of hatred Haman was spreading around, Mordecai becomes a model of Godly patience. And we don’t find Mordecai reacting as most of us would react to this threat to his life. As Swindoll points out in today’s devotional, Esther’s dear daddy figure restrains himself from any bitterness or even situational anger. Swindoll writes, “Through all that happens to him, Mordecai never becomes a man of vengeance. He never tries to get back at Haman, even when he has the opportunity, … even when he had Haman in a very vulnerable spot.”

And I have to ask myself, … would I be faithful enough, believing our God is in control, to respond as did Mordecai? Or would I spill the beans to exact recompense at the first opportunity if someone had done me wrong? Mordecai knew that God was watching all that had transpired; and He had faith that God was going to be the Covenant God Whom he knew and loved. And so he waited on God to do business; and as we read, God did exactly that.

At this point in his devotional entry, Swindoll quotes a pertinent NT passage from Hebrews 6: 10, which states, For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. We must remember, when circumstances seem to be crashing down around us, GOD NOTICES. And as I’ve quoted often in this study of Esther and Mordecai from Deut. 31: 8, the Lord has already gone ahead in our life to show His unfailing love for those who diligently seek Him (as also expressed in Heb. 11: 6).

So, today am I going to be a Mordecai and wait on God to do business with this world, which seems so dark and malevolent? Can I be a shining light for my God as was Mordecai in his day? God notices.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, may I shine Your Light, as You command me to do, no matter how dark things seem. Amen

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2009 – Day 203.July 23 – God’s Silence

Passage of the Day: Esther 5: 4 – 8 … 4 So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.” 5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6 At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!” 7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this: 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

My Journal for Today: Today’s devotional entry from Chuck Swindoll in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, hit home for me; and Chuck got a bit preachy with it today. He again points to the study passage in Esther for today (cited above) as an example of waiting patiently and quietly for God to work and not being quick to make critical decisions as well as not speaking out too quickly to put God in a box.

Swindoll explains his skepticism, and even a degree of cynicism, with people who seem to regularly blurt out that they’ve gotten a clear word from God, hearing Him say “this or that.” Oh, don’t get me wrong; … I’m not saying that God couldn’t speak to the minds of believers; but I’m not one of those who hears Him speaking directly to me. And I agree with Chuck that Esther was simply one who waited on God to move; and she used her mind and spiritual experience to help her discern God’s lead, even though she was limited to move ahead with Godly purpose as circumstances required definite decision and action, being so young. Esther had been raised by a Godly mentor, Mordecai; and she was steeped in prayer and used God’s moving in her life to discern His way. And finally, when she discerned where God was leading, Esther simply followed in faith.

When you see a need for God’s intervention, do you hear God speaking to you directly? Unlikely, I feel. I’m afraid I’m like Swindoll. When I hear someone say, “God spoke to me clearly and said ‘this or that,’ I’m admittedly skeptical or even doubtful of such proclamations. Most of the time, in my life, God speaks to me in a “still small voice.” But unlike Elijah (see 1st Kings 19: 12) or Moses with the burning bush, God, as I believe He does now in this age of grace, speaks to me primarily through the voice of His word, the Bible. Then, sometimes I discern God leading me through the advice of other Godly, biblically sound, Christians whom I seek out for counsel. And the final way He “speaks” to me is through my discernment of the timing and power of circumstances in my life. Oh, sometimes I hear “a word” of what I seem to know of “God’s truth” by hearing a sermon from my Pastor or a teaching from someone, like a Chuck Swindoll or a John MacArthur or an R.C. Sproul; and the timing of that message, which “speaks” to some moment or need in my life, just seems like God giving me direction, guidance, or encouragement.

Swindoll teaches in today’s devotional, and I agree, that Esther’s example is a good one with regard to seeking a “word” from God. And Swindoll writes, “God gave you a mind. God gave you reason. God gave you a unique sensitivity; it’s built into your spiritual system.” And like Esther, we need to use them to discern God’s will and His way; and I believe this “word” comes by our faith in and our following of God’s living Word, the Bible. Swindoll’s teaching rings true to me here as he writes, “Get into His word. Get on your knees. Accept counsel from those who are maturing and balanced believers, solidly biblical in their theology and in their own lives.” And then Swindoll teaches for us to be like Esther and … wait.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, let me use my mind and my “ears” of discernment to wait on you to speak to me in/through Your word and from the circumstances of my life. Help me to seek Your will, to follow Your way, and to follow Your lead, which I most often find in Your word. Amen

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2009 – Day 202.July 22 – Full of Surprises

Passage of the Day: Esther 5: 4 - 14 …
Esther 5 linked for study …

My Journal for Today: Today, Chuck Swindoll again focuses on today’s passage from Esther’s remarkable and exciting story as the plot of intrigue thickens. But Swindoll contends that many Christians don’t see life as an exciting opportunity to serve God. He writes, …”Too many Christians are lulled into languor (which is a condition of situational listlessness or dulled boredom). … When that happens, you become calloused and insensitive. … The walk of faith is designed [by God, of course] to be a walk of adventure, filled with periodic and delightful surprises.” And the question by Swindoll becomes, “What is your life like?”

And Swindoll is right. It is true that one needs to have some daily disciplines which repetitively are designed to go deep in a love relationship with our God. I’m in the midst of one of those right now, writing this journal from my daily quiet time of prayer, devotional study, and meditation on God’s word. And this might be seen like a boring and repetitive exercise of faith. BUT … that is far from the case. Every day I show up here – or wherever my life may take me as the sun comes up – and I come to this place excitedly waiting for God to show me more of Himself, … to reveal more of His truth to me. And, my dear one, God meets me in this place, extending His Spirit-led grace of enlightenment to me … yes, little old me! How could one be listless with the excitement of knowing that God wants to hear from me (see Psalm 116: 1 – 2); and He wants to give me jewels from my mining into His mind (see Job 28 – yes, the entire chapter). … My friend, we may not be involved in life threatening intrigue as was Esther; but we are in a war – EVERYDAY; and the potential for service to God in His army, gives us exciting opportunities to witness for Him.

My friend that’s excitement! And it’s certainly not languorous inertia. There is so much going on in the world these days to keep a believer on his/her toes. Just like Esther, we face our threats from our spiritual enemies, both personal and social. And we need to look at her quiet confidence as she served her God Who was in control. And we serve the same God, Who leads us through life so that we can participate in the excitement of seeing God glorified in the challenging times of life, many of which might be right around the corner – maybe even today.

Today, not much is on my calendar or schedule which looks like it will be very exciting; but I know that God will lead me – if I’m willing to follow (again see Luke 9: 23) – into areas which have the potential for stressful excitement, precarious relationships, as well as the opportunities to shine God’s light (yes, I’m sure you’re thinking of Matt. 5: 16 just like I am). So, my responsibility is to wait on God, as did Esther, and to watch for God’s exciting divine appointments.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, my first excitement for this day is just being here with You. Amen

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2009 – Day 201.July 21 – Calm, Wise, and Confident

2009 – Day 201.July 21 – Calm, Wise, and Confident

Passage of the Day: Esther 5: 1 – 8 …
Link to passage for study …

My Journal for Today:
After you’ve read, studied, and perhaps meditated upon today’s passage, one has to be impressed by Esther’s coolness in going before her new husband, the King of Persia. First of all, she’s young and a new bride, not having built a longstanding relationship with her husband. Secondly, there’s the very big matter of the tradition in Persia that no one enters the presence of the King standing before him without pre-permission, which she did not have on that day. And thirdly, there is the background matter of tension between Esther, a Jew, and Haman, who had become the second in command in Persia and who had bargained with the King to eliminate the Jews in the kingdom. And so here she was, with all these factors on the table; and yet, she coolly, calmly, and confidently walked into the presence of her king.

What brought about that attitude of confidence and power given all Esther had going against her? But we know, of course, it had to be her faith in God. Esther was in a God moment; and like Mordecai had raised the girl, she was in HER MOMENT. She simply knew God was in control; and she had confidence, being a child of The Covenant King, that He would not abandon her, nor her people.

But take note of Esther’s action and plan that day. Did she immediately rat on Haman behind his back and ask that the King take him out, setting aside the new law which would eliminate the Jews? NO. In that trying moment, Esther responded wisely to wait on the Lord; and she asked for a time to set up a future confrontation where Haman would be present; and she wisely asked that this be done in the context of a feast where God could do His business in His way and in His time.

I don’t think I need to make an elaborate comparison with our lives today and how we need to become calm, wise, and confident in our God in the face of evil and calamity all around us. We need to hold to God’s truth and believe in His New Covenant the way that Esther believed in the Old Covenant. We need to recognize, acknowledge, and BELIEVE God’s New Testament truth of Hebrews 13: 5 the way Esther believed in Deuteronomy 31: 6, which is the same truth from God’s word. And though it had not been written into Scripture yet in her day, Esther believed totally in the truth drafted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:31 that “… if God is for us, who can be against us?” The question is, “Do we believe it?”

So, when we face the trials of life, some of which may be life threatening, let us come before them in the wisdom of God’s truth, knowing that our Lord will deliver us … even if that might means being delivered unto death for His glory. Let us become Esthers in our time … and stand for the glory of our Lord.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for reminding me of Your promise to protect and be with Your people so that we can stand with Your power in the face of evil and the world’s desire to bring You down. Amen

Monday, July 20, 2009

2009 – Day 190.July 20 – Wait – And Listen

2009 – Day 190.July 20 – Wait – And Listen

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 12 - 17 ...
12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.

My Journal for Today: Okay, … here we are back again, focusing, along with Chuck Swindoll, on the three day waiting period as Esther fasts and prays, waiting on God to move in the hearts of Haman, her antagonist, and most certainly in the heart of her new husband, King Xerxes. Swindoll calls it a “white space,” … a period where any believer who is seeking God’s way has trouble seeing what God is doing or how He is moving. And it’s in moments like these that it’s easy to let our deceitful hearts (see Jer. 17: 9) run wild with fearful anticipation.

And now that the ball of decision was in Esther’s court, where she had to contemplate what she must do, we see her relying on the One in her life Whom Mordecai had taught her to rely upon; and that is God Almighty. And Swindoll points out that it’s likely that she went to the same word of God which Mordecai had taught here and the same word Mordecai was likely using to soothe his mind/heart during this “white out” of knowing what God was doing. And Swindoll refers us to a passage in Isaiah 41, verses 10 and 13, which Esther may have used to be quieted with confidence. And the former of these verses is in my memory arsenal when I’m dealing with fear or uncertainty. I hope you have it memorized as well.

10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. …
13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

It’s in moments like the one we’ve focused on in the life of Esther that our enemy Satan would love for us to relent to our natural human fearfulness. And remember, Satan is the roaring lion of 1st Peter 5: 8, who wants us to scatter from God’s flock and to run away from the Good Shepherd. So, it’s in these “white out” moments in time when, more than any other moments, we need to be looking for God and, in prayer, trying to discern His still small voice or seeking for His will, which may not be very easy to see or hear.

But God will be there in those “white out” moments; and all He may be wanting from you is to trust in the truth of His word, like the passage above. Or maybe the Lord just wants us to cling to the truth of His promises in Deut. 31: 8, … that He is there and He’s going on ahead to make the way for us.

Oh, how I pray this morning that we all can be lifted up by these truths from God’s word and the Lord’s promises of His strength when we are in weakened moments of waiting (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9).

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I know You’re there; and I know you’re paving the way for me. I wait on Your will and will follow Your way. Amen

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 – Day 189.July 19 – Results of Waiting

2009 – Day 189.July 19 – Results of Waiting

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 12 - 17 …
12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.

My Journal for Today: Yesterday we were reminded of the delay of three days which took place between the text of Esther, chapters 4 and 5; and we don’t know what transpired in those days. It’s a reminder that there are often times when God seems absent or silent when crucial events are occurring in our lives. Yet we know, for example from a passage like Deut. 31: 8 that God not only never forsakes His disciples, He is going on ahead to prepare a way. That’s also the NT message of 1st Cor. 10: 13 where God never puts a follower into any trial or test, in which He, our faithful God, will not also provide the way of victory for us.

As Swindoll points out it’s the playing out of the Prophet’s message in Isaiah 40: 31, that familiar passage, which reads …
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

And Swindoll goes on, in his devotional message this date, to point out four important points we need to remember from this passage in Isaiah about waiting for the Lord.

First, even in the midst of draining emotional and/or physical circumstances (i.e., trials), waiting on the Lord will provide new strength. It’s the working out of the truth of 2nd Cor. 12: 9, where we know and can rely on God’s promise that His enabling grace is always sufficient to give us His strength to cover our weakness.

Secondly, as we mount up on wings like eagles, our waiting on God provides a new and higher perspective. The high ground in battle is always preferred to the low; and I’ve discovered this higher perspective is attained and maintained through persistent prayer, especially in the hard times. In battle terminology, it’s the working out of Eph. 6: 18, waiting in the Spirit gives us the high ground.

Thirdly, when we wait on the Lord we can actually store up extra energy for the future. We “shall run and not grow weary” even into our future. Again, I cite Deut. 31: 8 as God is always way ahead of us; and whatever we’re called to do, He has already gone ahead to provide the way and to provide the strength.

And finally, as we read, “They shall walk and not faint,” waiting on the Lord helps to give us determination to persevere. It’s what James wrote about (in James 1: 2 - 4) for us to even count it all joy in the midst of trials that God is working out our completion in Christ.

So, my dear one, are you in the midst of some trial, test, or tribulation? Well, if you are not now, know that down the road you will be; and now is the time to be waiting on the Lord to give you what it takes to deal with the test at hand or to store up God’s strength for the future. Let us fly like eagles and not grow weary. Let us walk and not grow faint. For in our trials, God gives us the strength to endure and the opportunity to shine His light for others to see His glory.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, give me the strength to fly above the fray. Amen

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 – Day 188.July 18 – A Silent Interlude

2009 – Day 188.July 18 – A Silent Interlude

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 12 - 17 …
Esther 4 – 5 linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
My devotional shepherd, Chuck Swindoll, uses the highlight passage today and the interlude between chapters 4 – 5 of the Book of Esther to point out an important point about Esther and one we need to consider.

The break between chapters 4 – 5 presents an interesting passage of three days where we see Esther getting ready to take her case to King Xerxes. And there is a point to consider about Esther, from which we can learn about ourselves. Swindoll is on target, I believe, with his contention that courage is not a natural part of humanity. It is learned by the environment in which we’re raised and the experiences we encounter during our formative years of development. And we need to remember where and by whom Esther was raised.

In the absence of biological parents, Esther was raised by her relative, mentor, and substitute daddy, Mordecai. And at this point, Swindoll reminds me [us] of an OT Proverb in Proverbs 22: 6, which says in the NIV, “Train a child in the way he (she) should go, and when he (she) is old, he (she) will not turn from it.” And I agree with Swindoll, that is exactly what we see in Esther as she’s confronted with this dangerous, but necessary, step of faith. Esther had been raised and had learned to trust her (our) God. And now she was standing at the edge of a dangerous precipice; and she’s about to take a step which will require absolute faith in her God for protection and guidance.

At some point in life we are going to come to an “Esther moment” in time, where our faith and reason are tested; and the question will become, “What kind of a step will we take?” And there is an important lesson here for parents or grand-parents or mentors, … “How are we raising our kids or grandkids or those who are immature in the faith; … to believe and follow the one, true, God or to succumb to the dictates of the world or selfishness?” You’ll have to answer that one for yourself, especially if you’re a parent or grandparent; but in this confrontation with truth, I hope we see that Proverbs 22: 6 is a good and true guide for us here.

We need to be doing all we can to raise up our children or lesser mature Christians in the admonition and biblical truth of Godliness and righteousness. So, we must ask ourselves, “What are we doing in our families or in the family of God to bring truth into the lives of our younger Christian minds/hearts? … Are we doing all we can to insure that these young or immature minds know biblical truth and experience the nurturing truth of God’s word? … Are we being strong and true disciples of Christ, bringing up younger generation of Christians (including the newly saved) in the truths of God’s word, modeling God’s way to seek His will?” Wow! If you’re parent, grandparent, or a Christian leader, this places a heavy burden on us to do more to raise as man Esthers as we can for this world.

Obviously Mordecai did a great job in raising his niece (or cousin); because when crunch time was upon her, young Esther had faith in doing life God’s way, seeking and following His way and being willing to risk even life to stand for God’s truth. I pray we’re doing what Mordecai did to raise up a generation of Esthers in our midst. This world certainly needs them.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be the parent and grandparent or mentor I need to be to raise up those younger believers in my sphere of influence to be able to stand in the gap for You and for Your truth when the time comes to do so. Amen

Friday, July 17, 2009

2009 – Day 187.July 17 – I Will Stand

2009 – Day 187.July 17 – I Will Stand

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 12 - 16 …
12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

My Journal for Today: These last few days, Swindoll (and I) have been wringing the story of Esther to make the appeal to the soul of our readers to take a risk for God, … to stand for the right against the pressures of the world, … to sound the alarm for Godliness even at the peril of life itself. Repeating this by repeating the highlight passage from Esther, my devotional author reminds me of the truth that a good story in a play or movie can inspire many in the audience to make life changing decisions.

Swindoll asks his readers (me or you) to imagine this segment of Esther’s story as a Broadway play; and it is true the story has all the elements of a great Broadway play or musical. There is great drama, for sure. It has a villain in Haman, a beautiful protagonist in Esther, and an inspirational background voice of good in Mordecai. And the storyline builds to the point of life changing inspiration where Esther makes her “if I perish, I perish!” speech. Can’t you just imagine her declaring that line as the curtain drops to thunderous applause?

When I used to go to cowboy & western flicks as a boy with my buddies on Saturday morning, I come out of the Lido theater in Lebanon, Indiana, having seen possibly a thrilling (at least to me) serial where Tarzan or Flash Gordon ended the segment in a near death experience. Then there was a double feature of westerns where Roy Rogers or Lash Larue or Ken Maynard would save the day and ride off into the sunset having saved the day for some family or widow. And in these dramas of life, we boys always knew who the bad guys were; and the good guys always vanquished the foes and stood up for the good in life no matter how harrowing was the risk. And when I left the theater I wanted to go out and BE the good guy and to strap on my guns and do battle for the fair maiden and defeat the enemy.

That’s what I hope – and pray – we all get when we read and meditate on the life of Esther. She is the ultimate heroine; and she’s willing to go to the wall for good against the evil antagonist, Haman. And in the end we know that she’s going to win the day; and evil is going to be vanquished in the name of good … in this case for the Name of God. But do we read the story and come out of this biblical theater with the inspiration to go out and strap on our guns and do battle against our spiritual enemies in life?

That’s the question today; and as I’m sitting here typing about it, I feel the itch to be an Esther and do more to save the day for God’s people. I want to do more to vanquish the evil of abortion, … to take down the evil XXX industry which produces mind altering pornography, … or to share my story with someone who is as lost as I was once in my life. Reading Esther’s story don’t you just want to be the hero or heroine who stands up for God and becomes God’s agent for change and light in this dark world?

How about it, my friends; … let’s go out and do something today to stand for God and for good in this world!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to shine your light and risk even life to save the day for Your Name. Amen

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 – Day 186.July 16 – The Cause

2009 – Day 186.July 16 – The Cause

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 12 - 16
… 12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

My Journal for Today: It’s of interest to me that Chuck Swindoll, in his devotional exposition of today’s passage, likens Esther’s attitude of surrender to God and her confidence in His protective power to that of David when he arrived on the scene where Goliath was mocking God and calling for a warrior from Saul’s camp to do battle. And there are a lot of parallels between the decisiveness of this young Jewess whose life was being threatened and the young shepherd boy, both of whom would one day become effective leaders of the Jewish people. And they both had come to a moment of truth and decision in their lives.

Esther, like David in his confrontation with Goliath, saw a force, Haman, who had set himself up against Esther’s people and, more importantly, God Himself. And Esther, like David, saw that action was needed. Someone needed to stand for God Almighty and to take action to save God’s people; and Esther, like David, stepped into the fray at the risk of her very life. And, as David declared (in 1st Sam. 17: 29), “Is there not a cause?” … Esther declares, “… if I perish, I perish.”

Hey, my fellow Christian, are we not called onto the battle fields of life; and is there not an enemy who is calling out Christians to do battle? Is there not an enemy who (as in 1st Peter 5: 8) is roaring like a lion to scatter the flock of the Good Shepherd, … an enemy who hates the Living God and wants to depose Him as King? Is there not a cause to stand up for God and against the Goliaths or the Hamans of the world?

Look out there, my friend. Pick your Goliath. Are you affronted by abortion or pornography or a government takeover? What are we doing to stand against these goliath issues in life? Do we really believe, as God’s word itself declares (in Romans 8: 31), “If God is for us, who can stand against us?” Do I have a Phil. 4: 13 attitude, that “I can do all things through Christ, Who gives me the strength?” Because, if we really believed these declarations as truth, we’d be out there with our slings standing against Goliath. We’d be saying, as did Esther [at the end of today’s passage], “… if I perish, I perish;” and we’d be going before “the king” of this world, Satan, and doing whatever it takes to stand for God.

I hope you are out there, my dear one, on the battle fields of life, going to war in the Name of Christ. We need to hold to the truth of 1st John 4: 4 that “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world;” and we need to go forth in the Name of Christ and for His glory.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be a David or an Esther and stand for You. If I perish, I perish; but I will do so in Your Mighty Name. Amen

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 – Day 185.July 15 – Risk It!

2009 – Day 185.July 15 – Risk It!

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 12 – 14 …
12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. … 13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

My Journal for Today: When you read and meditate on that short passage, does it shake you up a bit? Does it cause you, as it does me, to ask if we are doing enough with the gifts and talents we’ve been given by God at this time in God’s redemptive history to stand for the right or do what is necessary to relieve suffering in the world?

Oh, God’s truth about His plan and His will are clear in this passage. God’s will … WILL be done. He can use others to accomplish His purposes in the world. But when we don’t step forward and do what Christ said in Luke 9: 23, … to deny self, take up our crosses daily, and to follow Christ, we are the losers, not God. When He chooses to use someone else because we, whom He has shaped for this moment in time, back off and refuse to act as He had prepared us to act, we become Satan’s loser instead of God’s winner.

So, you may be saying, “But there is so much evil in the world and so much need!” And you are so, so right! But with all there is to be done for God’s kingdom, can we pick just one area of need or one issue to be God’s Esther … God’s agent at this moment in time? And Swindoll’s list of possibilities in his devotional for today tugs at the heart of anyone who reads his challenges.

Where do you stand on the pro-life crisis in the world? What are you doing about it? What about the gay marriage issue? Are we standing up and being heard on this issue as it becomes VERY politically incorrect to fight against the gay agenda? Do you feel a call, as my wife and I do, to fight against the onslaught of pornography in our culture? … Sure, there are other touch point issues in our day where evil is swirling out of control. Are we being heard by our congressmen or senators? Are we signing petitions or demonstrating, legally and peacefully, but forcefully, to make our views known? Are we giving our time, talents, and treasures so that we can be the mouths, arms, and legs of Jesus, fighting for what is right in the world today? Are we willing to become, as Ester did in her time, God’s person for just this moment it time?

What about the needs of others less fortunate or hurting in our world? Are we giving all we can to reputable ministries or missionary organizations to help meet the needs of others … the poor, the hungry, the dying? Are we doing something to help those caught in the prisons of addiction to alcohol, drugs, or sex? Are we being a light of Christ in the arena of ethnic prejudice, showing our hatred for bigotry and bias? Do you, as I do, do all you can, to stand for CHRISTIAN manhood or womanhood in a world that seeks to emasculate men? And above all are we responding to the Great Commission of God to go and make disciples of the world, teaching them to do what God has commanded?

So many issues … so many causes!!! Can’t we pick just one where God has prepared us with the resources, the talents, and/or the Spiritual gifting to be in the game, rather than as I said yesterday, sitting on the bench or up in the stands as an observer? My dear one, as He did with Esther, God has prepared you and me for just such a time such as this. It’s up to us to RISK IT and get in the game.

I don’t normally do this in my devotionals, which are almost exclusively based in information from God’s word and the devotional book I’m using. But God’s word is His truth; and just recently I was led to research a project being carried out by the wonderful ministry, Focus on the Family. It is called “The Truth Project;” and it has everything to do with what I’ve been given to share in this journal entry. So, if you read this and you’d like to learn more about how/where you might get involved in the struggle for truth in this world, I exhort you to go to this link - - and view either of the short promo trailers on The Truth Project. And then if you can, choose to go to one of the project training sessions being held around the country each year. You’ll be glad you did! My wife and I just went to one; and the four hours we invested and the registration fee to purchase a set of training DVDs was more than worth it. RISK IT; and find out more about The Truth Project. Again … you’ll be glad you did.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be a Truth seeker and a Truth spreader in this world. Help me to RISK IT ALL for You. Amen

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 – Day 184.July 14 – I’m Available

2009 – Day 184.July 14 – I’m Available

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 19 – 4: 14 … Esther 2 – 4 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
If you’ve read and studied these passages we’ve been reviewing these past days, you have to be stricken with Mordecai’s mistake. He first had calculated that God would deliver His people without his young niece, whom he had raised as his own daughter, having to reveal her Jewish heritage. But, as God’s word shows so often (and you can read about it in Isaiah 55: 8-9 - linked here), God’s sovereign ways are most certainly not logical, nor at times predictable.

God’s plan was in motion; and as we’ve seen, it definitely involved Esther, who had now become Queen of Persia; and Mordecai realized that God had placed her in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to have a potential influence to change the King’s mind and save all the Jews of that time who were in mortal danger due to the scheming of Haman.

And in today’s devotional, Chuck Swindoll makes an important point about how we view God’s sovereignty. In his discussion, Swindoll says that it might seem that there’s no reason for believers in God to be actively pursuing God’s will because, after all He’s in absolute control and is going to do His will – despite – man’s effort. But if there’s one thing we learn from biblical history is that God controls and moves in this world and in history though the faithful action of His people; and His will and plan ALWAYS involves the actions and decisions of mankind.

Therefore, as Swindoll accurately points out, the sovereignty of God actually brings man to be MORE active, not less so. And Mordecai and Esther are good examples of this. When Mordecai realized that God had placed Esther in exactly the right place to have influence on the only man who could change the existing orders Haman had schemed to create, Mordecai moved quickly to convince Esther she had to become a mover and shaker in the court of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes). Mordecai went into action BECAUSE of God’s will, … not the opposite.

My dear one, we are God’s movers and shakers; and He desires that we become involved in His sovereign control rather than being spectators in this game we call life. Our world is an action game, not a spectator sport. And the outcome of the game is going to depend upon our values, the decisions we make, and the actions which are motivated and empowered by God. Truly this is a mystery which I’ll never be able to fully comprehend or explain, … i.e., the interaction of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. But it is reality; and as we see in the story of Esther, God uses his children to move and change the course of history to reveal and glorify Himself.

So, join me today, dear one; and let’s get out of the stands and into the game of life, seeking God’s will and being involved His purpose. We ARE the game, my friends; and we are necessary to shape or reshape this world. If we’re available, God can use us. But if we choose to sit in the stands or on the bench, not being available due to fear or inaction, God will move and we’ll be left out of His sovereign plan for mankind.

Be assured, my fellow believer, God is going to move in HIS-STORY, to bring His victory … in His time; and He wants you and me to be part of that story. That’s why He sent His Son to die so that we can be empowered by His Spirit to live and move and have His resurrection power in life. So, let’s get out of the stands and into the game. And that is my prayer today.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, show me the way – Your way – and I’m available to get in the game. Amen

Monday, July 13, 2009

2009 – Day 193.July 13 – Cultivating Character

2009 – Day 193.July 13 – Cultivating Character

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 9 – 14 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
In many narrative stories in the Old Testament we come to one of those fulcrum moments upon which the life of the protagonist rests. One decision and all of that person’s life and character are tested by that one moment. So, what whould Moses’ story be like without that moment when he raised his staff before the Red Sea; … or when Elijah had all those prophets of Baal breathing down his neck and he was about to prophesy that fire and rain would come from his God; … or when David marched out on that field of battle to face Goliath? And here we have that one fulcrum moment in the life of our heroine, Esther.

And of course, you’ve probably read the story; and we know what Esther did to stand before her new husband, the King of Persia. But take a moment to put yourself in Esther’s shoes in today’s crucial moment in her life. And for this crucial decision, Mordecai knows exactly what he’s asking of the little girl who is now the queen, the girl he raised as his own daughter. He’s seen her grow up into the strong young woman she now is in this moment of truth. Mordecai knows Esther to her core, this child of The Covenant he raised. And like any parent when his child is faced with a momentous decision, he gives Esther clear insight into who he knows she has become and what she needs to do. And somehow, in his heart-of-hearts, Mordecai knows that Esther has come to that moment for which God in His infinite plan has prepared this one child of His for His crucial moment in history.

And we’ll go on with the story as we study more in the life of Esther and how her life is reflected in much of our own lives. BUT … for now, let us just be reminded that we all are being put through the tests and trials of life so that God can prepare us to be instruments of His glorious plan; and we need to accept that God has a plan for us; and sooner or later, He is going to lead us to that place in life when we must make a decision … one of those fulcrum moments, … when we must decide. … Are we going to do the RIGHT thing or are we going to do the comfortable thing which seems logical but goes against what our God asks of us.

How will I respond today if I am tempted to do the easy thing but know I should do the tough thing? Will I stand in the gap for life if I know that my boss is staunchly pro-choice? Will I voice the Godly but politically incorrect opinion and risk ridicule if the world around me is shouting for the legalization of gay marriage? There is going to be a place and time, God’s ordained fulcrum moment, when we may be called upon to be God’s agent and the one He has prepared for us to make a tough choice for His glory.

Will I be ready? Will you?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be strong and choose YOUR way! Amen

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 – Day 192.July 12 – Watch Your Words

2009 – Day 192.July 12 – Watch Your Words

Passage of the Day: Esther 4: 1 - 8 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today: As the story line with Esther heats up, today we read of Mordecai trying to get word to Esther about the crisis befalling the Jews, … how Haman has maneuvered himself to convince King Xerxes to pass a law which would bring annihilation of Esther’s people. And Swindoll in his study for this date is making the point, using Mordecai’s directed communication through Esther’s assigned Eunuch, that we need to communicate, especially in a crisis, carefully and accurately.

Have you noticed, in these days of Twitter, Facebook, and email communications, how quickly and easily innuendo, inaccuracy, and gossip can be passed along. I use email a lot; and I’m new to Facebook. And I’ve noted how often I get information forwarded to me which is often totally inaccurate and sometimes hurtful to others. I’ve also learned, before I forward anything on email, to check out the reliability of the information. And the point which Swindoll is making by our story today is that Mordecai needed to get Haman’s plot and the critical state of the Jews to Esther and to the King; and he did so by using Esther’s assigned Eunuch as his messenger, making sure he got exactly the right message to Esther which would edify her about this plot to kill the Jews.

Is that how you operate today? Do you take the necessary steps to pass along only accurate messages; and do you do so the right heart, avoiding gossip and not trying to call attention to self rather than to glorify God. As I was meditating on today’s message as well as from Swindoll, the command of God through the Apostle Paul came to my mind from Ephesians 4: 29, which states (in the NKJV), Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

And therein we have the criteria from God for passing along any word, whether by mouth or Twitter. And we need to filter any information we convey through the two criteria in Ephesians 4: 29, asking ourselves, “Does my message edify and give grace to the person with whom I’m communicating?” If it doesn’t, God message is straight forward for me to keep my mouth or keyboard silent.

Ouch! I stand in conviction; and I will pray that I think about Mordecai’s example and the Apostle Paul’s message the next time I bring words to other, especially about sensitive or personal or critical matters.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, in the words of David, Your Psalmist, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, You are my strength and my Redeemer.” Amen

Saturday, July 11, 2009

2009 – Day 191.July 11 – Make A Difference

2009 – Day 191.July 11 – Make A Difference

Passage of the Day: Esther 2 – 3 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
It’s like the plot of some animated melodrama from the Disney corporation. You know, there is always a princess who is the fair maiden, our heroine; and there is a villain, who, for some reason, has great hatred for the princess and all those aligned with this fair damsel in distress. And just before the final confrontation of good and evil in these Disney princess sagas, it appears that all is lost.

And here we are today in Esther’s life. She has become the Queen of the Meads/Persians; but Haman, who has a morbid hatred of Mordecai, has been elevated to major domo of the kingdom; and Haman, the agent of evil in this saga, plots to have Mordecai eradicated along with all of his people, the Jews. And at the end of Chapter 3 in today’s study, we read of the effect that all of this melodrama had on the people of Susa, the capital of Persia, at the time.

And that’s always the case when evil is allowed to flourish in the world. And right now, as I study this passage, I think of the horror which comes to the fore when God allows evil in the world to be loosed for a season. You can read about that in Romans 1: 18 – 32 [linked here] . When mankind seeks mass eradication of God’s people or rebels against His Law in a major way, there is always a time of mass confusion, quandary, and even panic. Think of what went on just before WW2, when the Third Reich was moving to eradicate the Jews. Think of what is happening now as millions of innocent babies are being eradicated under the guise of “freedom of choice.”

Evil on the loose always produces polarization and panic. And that was the case just before the hammer of Haman fell upon all of Mordecai’s people. However, though God allowed Satan to have his way for a season, there was, as Paul Harvey used to proclaim of his story-telling segments, “… the rest of the story.” And if you’ve read on ahead or studied the life of Esther, as God had always promised in His word, He would never leave, nor forsake His people (see Deut. 31: 6, 8 or Joshua 1: 5 or Hebrews 13: 5). And as we’ll see in subsequent study, God had prepared Esther to be one person who would stand for the right in the face of evil. But we’ll get to the “rest of the story” very soon in this devotional study.

Right now we need to pause and ask ourselves, “When I’m given the opportunity to stand in the gap for Christ in this evil world, do I do so? Am I strong as was Mordecai? And am I just the one who has been placed at just the right place, at just the right time, to make a difference for God? When someone at work mocks Godliness, do I stand up and make God’s way known to those around me? When the gay lobby is pushing hard for gay marriage, am I doing anything to stand for God’s truth? Am I willing to be labeled as a “Christian” for standing – in public – against the evil of abortion?” Or the question which rings so true in my ministry life, “Am I doing enough in this day of Satan’s stronghold of pornography to show the world that God hates this evil depiction of the sexual life He created for mankind?”

But the temptation is to think, “I am only one! How can I make a difference?” Well, Mordecai was only one. And as Esther’s life unfolds for us, we see that she had to decide that God could/would use her as only one. But this is not the only such narrative in Scripture showing the power of one to make a difference in the world for God’s glory. Think of Moses or Noah or Gideon or Elijah or Nehemiah or … for that matter, Jesus or the Apostle Paul. In their day and in their time, they were only one bell of truth ringing forth in a world filled with the confusing noise of evil. They were just one light shining into the darkness of the world.

BUT (again – a very big “BUT”) … their ringing or light made difference; and God’s kingdom and His word became truth because of these single voices standing for God in their day and in God’s time. What can we do today … this week … and this year to follow Christ’s command in Matthew 5: 16 to be one light shining in the darkness? I have to answer that one for me … just as you do … for you. But what I do know is that God will always be with me and even going ahead of me to bring glory to Himself for what I might say or do today.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be on who makes a difference for you today. Amen

Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 – Day 190.July 10 – Ask and Trust

2009 – Day 190.July 10 – Ask and Trust

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 12 - 18 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Today in my devotional from his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, Chuck Swindoll points out two things which are essential to becoming the man or woman God has purposed for our lives; and we see these two unfolding in the life of Esther in today’s highlight passage.

The two are to ask and to trust; and like many things about our relationship with God and His transformational power in our lives, the formula is pretty simple; but in the out working, it is far from easy. Ask and trust sounds so simple, doesn’t it? However, when it comes to surrendering to God’s design for our lives (i.e., asking the Lord to reshape us into His image – see 1st Pet. 5: 7) and then trusting God totally with the reshaping process (found in Rom. 8: 28 and 1st Cor. 10: 13), this process, which was illustrated by Esther, is so, so difficult because it requires human surrender and super-human strength, both of which are fashioned by Godly grace, not by human power.

Esther grew to the place where she had favor in the eyes of King Xerxes because she was willing to put herself totally in the hands of God, seen in the preparation of the King’s Eunuch. This Christian ability, which is essential in discipleship, is AVAILABILITY. We cannot become usable for God unless we’re available for Him to do what it takes to transform us into His own image. And that was Esther as she surrendered to Mordecai’s charge and the Eunuch’s preparation. We will never become God’s servant unless we’re willing to ask (in surrender) for His will to be done.

Then, the second ability which must be fostered in the life of the Christian is that of VULNERABILITY; and this is the process of trusting God that He will do whatever it takes to bring us to a place where we can be used BY Him FOR Him. Esther was willing and able to humble herself, again with an attitude of surrender, into the reshaping hands of Her God; and because of this, God poured His transformational grace into this young heroine. My dear one, as we know from God’s word (see Prov. 3: 34 or James 4: 6 or 1st Peter 5: 6, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We cannot and will not become all God needs for us to be for His purpose, if we resist - in pride - the molding process of the Master. As we’ve noted in past days, looking at Esther, it takes Christlike humility and meekness, to ask and trust God to do HIS THING in our lives … to reshape us into exactly what HE needs for us to be to glorify HIM in all we do. And as we see in Esther’s life, when we humbly ask God and meekly trust Him, His grace is poured into our lives and we can be used for His glory.

Today, I plan to ask God to do whatever it takes to reshape me for service. Will you join me?

Today, and from here on, I plan to trust that God is going to do whatever He deems necessary to remake me into His image. Are you with me?

And as God’s perfect timing would have it for me in my devotional time with God this morning, with my earphones on, listening to Christian praise songs on my Ipod, a song began playing at exactly this moment in my journaling. It was an Alisa Dishong rendering of the old hymn, I Surrender All. You can hear a rather crude version, and read the lyrics by going to this website – linked . What a great way for my Lord to make His point for me. May my Lord be praised!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I know Your grace can only come when I surrender. So, here I am; … reshape me … use me. Amen

Thursday, July 09, 2009

2009 – Day 189.July 9 – A Charming and Graceful Spirit

2009 – Day 189.July 9 – A Charming and Graceful Spirit

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 15 – 17 …
15 Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

My Journal for Today: Swindoll this morning, for my devotional time, hones in on <u>verse 15b above, “And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.” So, what was it that made this young Jewess stand out so brightly in the midst of a whole bevy of carefully selected beauties? You know that the King’s men had scoured the entire countryside and had gathered the best-of-the-best to bring before King Xerxes for this “Persian Idol” competition. And then the King’s court was given a full year to prepare all these ladies for the royal beauty show before the king. And with all this, Esther had some quality which shone like a full moon on a dark night. What was it?

Well, Swindoll says it was the quality of “winsomeness,” which he defines from Webster as “… being pleasant, delightful, attractive in a sweet, engaging way;” and I agree with that observation or speculation. Esther was special; and to me, it seems obvious that the Holy Spirit had descended upon this young lady, who had become exactly the right person needed by God to bring favor on God’s people who remained in Persia as a captive remnant of the Lord’s chosen ones. God plan for saving His people had been set in motion and Esther was the bright star who would lead them out of the darkness to follow God’s light.

Oh, my fellow believer, do you recognize the darkness of this world all around us? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or the Spirit-given gift of prophesy to see the pervasive evil in our world, does it? And here we are, Christians surrounded by darkness, with a charge from our Lord (in Matt. 5: 16) to “Let your light so shine that they [mankind] will see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.” Yes, my dear one, we need the winsomeness of an Esther to be the collective light of Christ’s church shining in the world to dispel the darkness which is enveloping the world. But how do we become that light which those who live in darkness can see and to which they will respond?

Well, therein lies the rub, doesn’t it? And to that I believe Christ addressed Himself to His disciples when he was quoted [in my oft quoted phrase from Luke 9: 23] to command His followers to “… deny yourself, take upon your cross daily, and follow Me.” And that’s exactly what Esther did in her time; and she drew the gaze of others to her like moths to the light in the night. So, I pray that we can become Esthers in our day, … winsome in the midst of worldliness, … so that we can do what our Savior has commanded and let others see Him shining His light into the darkness.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I so desire to be like Esther and to shine Your light so that others may see You and not me. Amen

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

2009 – Day 188.July 8 – Modesty and Authenticity

2009 – Day 188.July 8 – Modesty and Authenticity

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 12 – 14; … 20 …
12 Before a girl's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king's palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name. … 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

My Journal for Today: Well, in today’s story segment about our heroine, Esther, our devotional shepherd, Chuck Swindoll emphasizes two character traits which Esther exhibited which are models of our own desire to be more like our Lord.

First, Esther was modest [or meekness]. Here she was being pampered and prepared for the King, somehow chosen from thousands of women in the Persian kingdom to go before King Xerxes and see if she had the “stuff of a queen.” And the pampering of the candidates went on for a full year. Yet in the end when Esther was paraded before the King, she had a different attitude than the other candidates. The latter candidates wanted desperately to win; but Esther remained true to her self and to her heritage and she exhibited the power under control which is modesty or meekness.

She had been raised by Mordecai to be a daughter of the covenant and to quietly trust in the only God to whom she would serve. Yes, she honored the wishes and requests of the earthly king; but her primary modesty came from a quiet confidence in the covenant of God. And though, at Mordecai’s instruction, she didn’t tout it, Esther had been raised to be a daughter of THE KING of kings; and she would remain true to that in spite of all the temptations of worldly externals.

Secondly, Esther was the real-deal, … authentic to the core of her being; and therefore exuding humility. She knew her God would watch over her; and she was the only candidate for the role of Queen who didn’t aspire to be queen. She was already, in her own mind, a child of the real KING. And it was that confidence and authenticity which is likely the very quality, implanted into Esther by God, to which King Xerxes responded and ultimately selected her to be his Queen.

In this little study I see two Christlike qualities on display in Esther. First was her modesty (which could also be described as meekness: i.e., power under control); and the second was authenticity (which could also be described as the self-confidence which comes from true humility). And I’ve learned from past study and experience that these qualities are the only two attitude qualities Christ ever used to describe Himself.

Check it out in Matt. 11: 29 - linked in context here, when Jesus was instructing His followers to come to Him when they were burdened. He said, [and I paraphrase], “I am humble and meek.” And this, my dear one is the picture presented by Esther as she was to be paraded before the King of Persia.

So, the question arises by this study, “Am I modest and authentic?” Or the parallel question as to my Christlikeness would be, “Am I meek and humble?” I will have to answer to that, being in accountability before God; and likewise you will have to answer those questions if, you, as a Christian, aspire to be like Christ. God’s word commands us to have an attitude like Christ (see Phil. 2: 5 - linked); and I must say that I’ve got some growing to do to be like our young heroine, Esther, or most certainly to be like my Lord, and Savior, Jesus.

My Prayer for Today: Help me grow, Lord, to be like Esther and to ultimately be like You. Amen

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

2009 – Day 187.July 7 – Servant-Hearted Leaders

2009 – Day 187.July 7 – Servant-Hearted Leaders

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 10 – 20 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Swindoll points out what a model of quiet, strong femininity our biblical heroine, Esther, is for women who claim The Lord as Savior. Here she found great favor to the Eunuchs who were in charge of overseeing her development in the court of the King; and when she came before the King in her time, Esther found great favor with him. And yet, as Swindoll points out, she never lost her teachable spirit as well as her loyalty to her uncle, Mordecai [see verses 10, 20 in Esther 2].

And what does one usually find when someone with great physical prowess or beauty is singled out? Perhaps you are beautifully endowed or very intelligent or extremely talented and you’ve always been highlighted for your giftedness or external qualities. Maybe you won beauty titles; or you were the valedictorian of your class; or you became a star in the school plays; or you were able to court favor in politics. If any of these were the case, what do we usually see happen to such people?

Well, I think we all know the answer to that. Generally, when people are lauded for their external beauty or talent or prowess in some field of endeavor, that one takes on the “American Idol” syndrome, … letting pride consume the character of the favored one. But that was not Esther. No, our heroine beauty remained the humble servant girl with leadership and strength shining through her every choice and action. Our covert Jewish beauty remained true to Mordecai and true to her humble, teachable character no matter how many accolades came her way.

Esther learned from her uncle. She learned from the Eunuchs. And she apparently learned from the other women in the court. And above all, she learned from her God. So, when it came to her being thrust into the limelight of success, she was one who wanted to learn even more and not to think she had all the answers. >>> I hope we can all learn from this teachable spirit; and we need to internalize the lessons which Esther seemed to have as part of her character; >>> and that is the lesson of Prov. 3: 34, which is repeated in James 4: 6 or 1st Peter 5: 6 … that God can only pour His grace into the humble and not into the proud. That was Esther through and through.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be humble like Esther. Amen

Monday, July 06, 2009

2009 – Day 186.July 6 – Strength and Dignity

2009 – Day 186.July 6 – Strength and Dignity

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 8 – 11 …
8 So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. 9 Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women. 10 Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. 11 And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.

My Journal for Today: Chuck Swindoll takes a little rabbit trail today with his devotional, focusing on the very feminine traits of our heroine, Hadassah, or as we generally know her, Esther. And Swindoll highlights the reality that she was a very charming, beautiful woman, who was quickly able to find favor from her court overseer, Hegai, the eunuch in charge of Xerxes’ harem in Susa, the Persian capital.

Swindoll makes a point, partly out of levity, but with some seriousness, that God has given the female of our species much in the way of mystery to woo and wow us males. But apparently God gave an extra dose to Esther; and she quickly charmed this eunuch to give her favor in the court of King Ahaseurus (i.e., Xerxes, the 1st). So, here again we see God giving our heroine even the physical/emotional qualities she would need to be a chosen one in the court of the King of Persia. God is totally in control – AS ALWAYS.

Now, also we see a character trait of Esther, well beyond her physical qualities, coming to the fore in this passage. Esther had great respect, in her Jewish upbringing, for her Uncle Mordecai, who had exhorted her – for the sake of ethnic protection – to withhold the truth of her Jewish heritage. And so, honoring this covenant with her Uncle, Esther, kept this important secret, illustrating her ability to refrain from idle talk. And, as Swindoll points out, this quality of being tight-lipped, i.e., having verbal restraint, is very much a lost character quality among the people of our day, … both female and male. Unfortunately very little is withheld in this day of tabloid media, Facebook connection, and wide-open gossip. And shamefully, this is true among Christians as much as it is with the world.

We just don’t try to live up to Paul’s exhortation in Eph. 4: 29 - linked here – all that much any more; do we? But, though Esther was never privileged to know the New Testament writings of Paul, she apparently lived it out in real life, speaking only those things which would provide grace and edification for those to whom she addressed, … in this case Hegai, the King’s Eunuch. And her personal beauty and grace of attitude, along with her physical beauty, apparently were tools God used to set her apart in the eyes of Hegai and later to the King as we’ll see later.

I hope we all learn from this that God has given us all special qualities which He can use to allow us to do what Jesus commanded in Matt. 5: 16 … to shine His light from our lives so that others may see God in us and to glorify Him in Heaven.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, sometimes I don’t see what You’ve given me; but I know You’ve given me all I need to shine Your light. Help me to be a lamp of Christlikeness to all who encounter You in me. Amen

Sunday, July 05, 2009

2009 – Day 185.July 5 – Mundane and Miraculous

2009 – Day 185.July 5 – Mundane and Miraculous

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 1 – 7 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
As a point of emphasis from these first lessons in the life of Esther, today Chuck Swindoll provides a nice little three-point sermonette on God’s sovereignty in the face of man’s mundane existence. And his overriding point, again, is that God will not be thwarted by mankind’s propensity toward stupidity and mundane selfishness.

Quoting Swindoll’s first point, "God’s plans are not hindered when the events of the world are carnal or secular.” And we saw this early in the life of our heroine, Esther. Here a remnant of God’s people, staying behind in Persia, are caught up in the intrigue of social politics in the life of a king and his marital problems, and God uses these carnal events to bring Esther to a place where she will ultimately influence the king and save God’s people (yes, I’ve read ahead). Swindoll’s point … No matter how carnal things seem, God is doing His thing.

Secondly, Swindoll points out, “God’s purposes are not frustrated by moral or marital failures.” Being our Heavenly Father, God’s grace always has the long-term good of His people in mind. That’s the essence of the truth expressed in Romans 8: 28, which I hope you have deeply embedded in your heart and mind. And so, as we see marriages crumbling at a rate in the church the same as the world, it’s somehow hard to see that God is working in life to send the message that He hates divorce. But in the long haul, God’s will with regard to marriage and morality is going to be heard and His will WILL be done. It happened that way in the days of Esther; and it will happen here and now as well.

Finally, "God’s people are not excluded from high places because of handicap or hardship.” Right now, at this point in history, we see unGodly leadership vaulting into power, and the actions of our government may seem anti-biblical or even immoral; but make no mistake, God will not forget His remnant; and the current carnal ways will ultimately bring God’s best to the fore. It was the case with Esther; and it will be the case – praise the Lord – in these secular times as well.

Swindoll again, “God’s hand is not so short that it cannot work; nor is his ear so heavy that it cannot hear.” We many not sense His presence; but Deut. 31: 6, 8 in the Old Testament as well as Heb. 13: 5 in the New proclaim that God is with His chosen; and He will always be going ahead to pave the way for His glory. We may have trouble seeing Him; but He’s there. We may have trouble sensing Him; but he’s listening. We may have trouble serving Him; but He’s glorified when we do, no matter how much the world may mock or stand in the way.

So, we keep on keeping on; and we let God be God because we are not. Again from Luke 9: 23, our Lord, no matter what things may look like here on earth, calls for us to follow Him; and so, we do … and so, we must! Oh, how I pray that we are all seeking His way and will from His faithful and truth-filled word; and we march forward, following His light into the darkness. He’s out there; and we are called out to shine his light and be His salt.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help us! Amen

Saturday, July 04, 2009

2009 – Day 184.July 4 – Not Forgotten

2009 – Day 184.July 4 – Not Forgotten

Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 1 – 7 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
How wonderful is the truth of a God, Who, at times, may seem AWOL; but is ALWAYS tirelessly and powerfully working “behind the scenes” of life to bring all things into focus for His glory. And this is the story behind the story of Esther.

As was mentioned yesterday, a reader cannot find the Name of God mentioned anywhere in the book of Esther. Yet, in this wonderful biography of the little girl who lost her parents and was raised by her uncle, Mordecai, we see God working and shaping this young virgin to a place where she can become a heroine for the ages, … the girl who saves the entire Hebrew people. And only a loving, caring, merciful, and grace-bearing God could do such a thing.

I identify completely with the story in Esther; because I was one who had felt abandoned by God, left to deal with life without the closeness of a mother and a father. My parents were loving parents who simply could not express their love openly and physically; and I longed for the hugs which affirmed their love for me. And early in my formative years, much like it must’ve been for Esther, I did not have the gentle hugs of a mother to soothe my fears or the closeness of a dad to affirm my being. And so, at age 12, when I was abused by a teenaged Boy Scout who introduced me along with a group of other boys to pornography, I mistakenly felt that I had found the feelings of “love” which had been missing in my youthful development. And so I began to seek out these “love” feelings in all the wrong places.

So, I spent 22 years of my life, living a Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde life, developing feelings of distorted “love” by seeking out the feelings attached to sexual idols. And behind the scenes, seemingly absent from my life, was The Lord, shaping and breaking me to a place where I could and would come to Him, receive His saving grace, and respond to His love and mercy, finding what had been absent in my life earlier. And so, I relate this story which shows any who might read the book of Esther that God may not seem like He’s close; but as it says in Deut. 31: 8 - [linked here], He is not only close, He’s going on ahead in our lives to make a way, … His way, for us.

We’re going to see that with Esther; and it begins, here in Chapter 2, by a set of circumstances where the Persian King where Esther lived would call for his court to present a bevy of virgins and to bring before him for the talent show of the ages, where he could select a new queen. And in today’s passage this scenario is introduced for us to see that God is quietly, but powerfully, putting together the elements which would ultimately bring the orphaned, young Jewish girl before King Xerxes. It’s a God thing; and we should read this and marvel at the way God moves in our lives to reveal His glory to us.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I know – from my story – that You are always there and going on before me to show me Your way. Amen