August 19, 2017

Today you should read: Esther 10:1-3

Have you ever wondered in the midst of something hard in your life if it is really worth it? I have been there more than once in my life. Going through certain things that at the time seemed almost impossible, that frankly I wanted to give up on, helped me see how faithful God truly is.

In this passage we get to see where Mordecai ends up. Remember they have been through some seriously difficult stuff. Haman was trying to eliminate the Jews, which would have ended the line of Abraham and that means that Jesus would not have come. Mordecai was on the verge of being hanged by Haman, and the decision came down to who’s influence on the king was greater, Haman or Esther.

It would have been easy to throw in the towel, however through God’s amazing provision and faith, Esther has the greater influence. Though the name of God is not mentioned in this book, His presence is undeniable. The result is clear; Mordecai is elevated to second in rank to the king. This changed the entire position of the Jewish people for the better.

Often times in our lives we are completely unaware of what God has planned. Whether we are going through something difficult or not, there is a greater plan that God has for us that we may never know or see. We as believers need to remain faithful to Jesus. You and I may never know how great the impact of your faithfulness will be for the kingdom of God.

By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate

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August 18, 2017

Today you should read: Esther 9:20-32

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays outside of Christmas and Easter. As a nation, we have the opportunity to celebrate the relief we received in freedom from Great Britain. By then, the thirteen colonies had been in war for well over a year and the American colonies had enough evidence and support to become a free nation over the unjust monarchy they were under. And now every Fourth of July we celebrate with family and friends over fireworks, parades, barbecues and clothes draped in red, white and blue. It is a true celebration of our freedom. If we can relish this much in our constitutional freedom, how much more should we celebrate our spiritual freedom and the relief the Lord gives us from our enemies? We see that very thing in Esther 9:20-22:

20 And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22 as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

Mordecai told all of God’s people to celebrate the freedom and relief God gave them over their enemies. They had specific days set aside where they feasted and sent gifts to each other and the poor in reflection of God’s deliverance. As much as this reminds me of our Fourth of July traditions (whether you believe the Britain’s were truly enemies or not?) I can’t help but to think of the celebrating God’s people today should be doing because of their spiritual freedom. This can be done each and every Sunday morning as one church comes united singing and listening to the Gospel that saved us from our sin and enemy, Satan. This can be done in reflection and remembrance of the day turned your life upside down and pursued you for a covenant that He will never ever break, not matter how messy life gets. God’s Word shows us the importance of remembering and celebrating freedom and there’s no greater freedom then the spiritual freedom we’re given from sin.

Celebrate that spiritual freedom right now by sharing what God has specifically freed you from in the comments below.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus

August 17, 2017

Today you should read: Esther 9:1-19

What’s the best part of any football game? (Can I get an amen that football season is upon us?) To me it’s a two minute drive with the game on the line. Both the College Playoff and the Superbowl were down to the wire, and it made for amazing games and stories! A part of any good story is seeing the climax come with intensity and drama.

In our passage today, we see the climax of the story! We have been looking at the account of Esther and seeing the hand of God at work in the lives of His people. Throughout, Mordecai is seen as having faith that God will deliver his people. Today we see that the Jews turn the tables and begin taking power over the people in the land. And it happens at the highest point of drama. Look at verse 1: “when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.” On the day that the dreaded edict was to occur, the side that no one expected to win came out on top.

We see in verse 4 that Mordecai had risen to power: “For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful.” (ESV) God had answered his prayer that His people would be delivered. His influence and blessing was a huge part of how God delivered his people.

What has God taught you through reading the book of Esther? Share in the comments!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

August 16, 2017

Today you should read: Esther 8:1-17

It is a good day in the land – the enemy, Haman, has been hanged. Everything should be good, right?

The problem is that Haman had gotten King Ahasuerus to sign an edict to annihilate the Jews that cannot be revoked: “for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” (v. 8) What were they to do? Well the king, who now had a heart for the Jews because of Esther, summoned his scribes and told them to send out an edict “according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews.” (v. 9)

What a picture! The king cannot allow someone to change his law but can make a provision to it based on one person’s earnest pleading. Sound familiar?

So, the provision of Mordecai, saying the Jews can fight back, was sealed with the ring of the king and sent through all the land. It was because of this provision to defend themselves that the Jews survived and “wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews.” (v. 17)

The Law of God, a law written and signed in the name of the True King, said that sin deserved death and there was nothing we could do about it. But Jesus went before the throne like Esther and Mordecai and pleaded. God, in His grace, allowed for a provision—Jesus would have to come and die for our sin. He willingly and joyfully did and now there is another edict in the land; one that we can be glad and rejoice in. Where there was no hope, like the Jews, there is now total hope. The Jews still had to fight. We don’t. We simply have to surrender. We can live in the joy of the fact that salvation through Jesus is not only not of ourselves but it cannot be revoked.

Have you been living in the reality of the Jesus and His grace?

What does it look like to live in the victory that Jesus accomplished on the cross?

When was the last time you rejoiced in or were simply in awe of God?

By: Nick Parsons