October 12, 2013

Today you should read: Esther 10

It’s interesting to note that the last chapter of Esther is not dedicated to the woman to whom the book is named after.  Instead it’s dedicated to Mordecai. He was placed in a position of great power and authority. I have to admit that after reading this I still feel some resentment toward Mordecai for putting Esther in that position in the first place and for his civil disobedience in showing respect to the Persian government. However, despite his mistakes, he was honored in the last chapter of Esther; for at heart he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people. If there’s something you want to be remembered for and honored with, I hope it would be this: seeking the welfare of the people around you and speaking peace to them. At heart, Mordecai cared for his church family and wanted them to live in peace with those around them. I believe this is mentioned in the same three verses that reveal his new leadership position because we all know that leadership needs to reflect that type of heart. God honors those who put others before themselves. And, ultimately, it’s exactly what Jesus did for us. He sought our welfare on the cross by taking our sin upon Himself in order for us to have peace and reconciliation with our Father God who created us. 

…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:20

This book of the Bible should serve as a great reminder to us that Esther and Mordecai are great saviors to Israel but are really just characters foreshadowing the Savior to come for Israel and for us. It also should serve as a reminder to us to see how we’re doing in seeking the welfare and making peace with those around us. Does the city of Richmond and the East and West side of Lexington believe we are for the welfare of their city? Do we want these areas to flourish, including their economic, education, and arts? Do we look for areas where we can be at peace with and help each other in? Do we find common ground that will build relationships for Gospel purposes later? If the city flourishes, our Gospel community will flourish. And we will see people in our church in similar positions as Mordecai: having great kingdom influence.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

October 11, 2013

Today you should read: Esther 9:1-19

What’s your favorite holiday? For me it is Christmas. I love everything about it. I love building a fire in our living room fireplace on Christmas morning. I love making a big pancake breakfast with my wife. I love hanging out with my son in his p.j’s and I am looking forward to seeing his reaction this year as he will be one year old. However, my favorite part is reading the Christmas story to my family (Luke 2:1-21). This is such a privilege for me as a husband and father because I get to lead my family in remembering the reason for our celebration in the first place. All of the gifts and tradition are to remind us that God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrificial gift to all mankind in order to save us through his blood (John 3:16-17). The whole point of holidays and celebrations are to remind us of something.

In the case of the celebration of Purim it is a celebration to remind them of God’s deliverance. If you have been reading along with us through Esther then you know that the Jews were facing extinction. Yet God, through the bravery of Esther & Mordecai, stopped the plan of the evil Haman and gave the Jews victory over all of their enemies. The celebration of Purim began as the Jews would spontaneously celebrate and their joy turned into a festival of worship.

As a believer in Jesus Christ Christmas is a very important holiday but our equivalent to Purim would be Easter. Easter is when Jesus rose from the grave and defeated sin and death on our behalf. We, like the Jews, were facing death apart from Christ:

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”  Ephesians 2:1-3

Apart from Christ’s death and resurrection mankind has no hope. “God, being rich in mercy, sent his son Jesus Christ to defeat death on our behalf” (Hebrews 2). This truth should create a heart of joy and celebration. By remembering the truth of the gospel it should create worship within us all.

Questions to Ponder:
• How often do you reflect on the gospel? 
• What kind of reaction does it create in you?
• Are you celebratory or are you apathetic?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

October 10, 2013

Today you should read: Esther 9:1-19

Jesus’ name isn’t mentioned Esther 9:1-19, but His name still jumps off the pages here.  His name in this passage is “Queen Esther.”  No, I’m not saying Queen Esther was Jesus.  I’m saying she is a great picture of Jesus.

Back in chapter 4, Mordecai told her that maybe she was in her place of royalty for “such a time as this.”  He was referring to her being in a position to save the Jews.  She stepped up to the king and made it known that Haman was going to have all of her people killed.  Because of her boldness to come before the king, he made an edict that the Jews could defend themselves.  As we see in chapter 9 of Esther, the Jews were very successful in defending themselves.  They were saved because of Esther.

So, while reading today, all I could think about was how Jesus has rescued His people.  He’s rescued us from imminent destruction from the enemy. He has “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Col. 1:13).  Jesus came and lived the perfect life so “that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

If you are a follower of Jesus, spend some time today thanking Him for rescuing you.  If you are not a follower of Jesus yet, please consider the imminent destruction that you face.  The enemy’s desire is to destroy you.  Jesus’ desire is to rescue you.

If you need a good song to help you focus in on Jesus today, check out the one below.  Ask the Lord to point you more towards Him today.  Ask Him how you can make Him known today.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

October 9, 2013

Today you should read: Esther 8:1-17

Compassion produces boldness…

When I first became a Christian, life was hard.  My mom had just passed away and after a long series of events, I had come to know Christ.  And after I came to know Christ, the only thing I cared about was helping my family come to know Christ.  It meant a lot to me because my little sisters had just lost their mom, my grandma had just lost her daughter, and this all happened like a whirlwind.

I would cry during the day…during the night…pretty much any time I truly thought about the implications this tragedy would have on the rest of my family. It brought me to tears.  I wanted nothing more than for them to experience the love, joy, and peace that comes from knowing Jesus.

This compassion for them led me to share my faith with them all the time.  I was bold, in the sense of taking every opportunity.  But it was a loving boldness.  It was fueled by heartfelt compassion…not a holier-than-thou pride or a bible-beating obligation.  It wasn’t fueled by the idea that I had everything figured out and if they don’t accept Jesus, then they are less than me. It was fueled by loving care.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

I am convinced that this is the type of boldness we need.  Boldness fueled by compassion.

In our story today, Esther comes before the King and begs again for her people.  This was a BOLD move!  Yet it was fueled by compassion.  Verses 3-5 says,

“Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him. “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”

Esther had a deep and genuine care for something outside herself.  And when we truly care about people we will, like she did, have a natural boldness and desire to share our faith with the people in our lives.

Since my mom passed away, my grandma and sisters have come to know Christ.  I praise God for His grace.  Who in your life do you have a deep compassion for?  Is it producing a boldness to share Christ?

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione