August 1 “Would you raise your hand?”

hands raised, send meWhat if God gave you a dangerous assignment? Would you be willing to go? Would you raise your hand and say, “I will go and if I perish, I perish”?

Today’s Readings:
Esther 3 & 4
Psalm 89.46-52
Proverbs 22.7-8
Romans 3.1-31

Esther 3 & 4:

If I perish, I perish

Galatians 4.29:

“But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.”

The devil has always been out to destroy that which God loves. It was no different in Esther’s day. But the good news is that the sovereign Lord was, is and always will be in control of the ultimate outcome.

Esther had found favor and become Queen, but even as Queen, her right to come into the King’s presence was limited. But now her people were in great danger and her Uncle Mordecai sent her a message to let her know she needed to petition the King on their behalf. Such a bold move could cost her life.

But Mordecai’s words to Esther encouraged her to trust in God’s sovereignty, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” and she responded in faith, “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (vs. 16).

Actually, I think Mordecai’s question was more of a challenge than a question. Look at the rest of verse 14:

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?”

What about you and me? This is the time and place that God has chosen for us to live and bring Him glory (Acts 17.26). This is the family. This is the spouse. This is the nation. This is the time.

How would you respond if standing up for God or His people could cost your life? Most of us won’t be faced with the risk of losing our lives, but we are, at times, faced with the risk of losing favor or reputation or some other temporal benefit. How do we respond?

Are we willing to take a stand? Are we willing to be used by our sovereign God for this time in the kingdom? Could we say with Esther, “I will go and if I perish, I perish”? Would I? Would you?

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July 29 “The Great Exchange”

The-Cross2[1]

“The Great Exchange”: We get to exchange our failures for His perfect obedience, our sin for His righteousness.

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 10 & 11
Psalm 89.19-29
Proverbs 22.1-2
Acts 28.1-31

Nehemiah 10 & 11:

“The Great Exchange”

As I read chapter 10 and all that the people covenanted to do, I was wondering how often we stop to think about and praise God for the fact that we are now under grace! It’s not that it was wrong for them to make a covenant. It was what they were expected to do under the law.

Paul said the law was “… our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3.24). The law, which was impossible to keep completely, pointed to the fact that we can’t be saved by our own righteousness and law keeping and helped us see our need for a Savior.

Jesus Christ who was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4.15), was the only one who kept the law perfectly. When we accept Him as our Savior we take part in a “Great Exchange.” We exchange our sinful failure to keep the law for His perfect righteousness (Heb. 4.15).

2 Corinthians 5.21:

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

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July 21 “Two kinds of fear” & LINKUP

fear, courage

There are two kinds of fear? Fear can be filled with faith or sinful depending on its focus.

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 3 & 4
Psalm 86.11-17
Proverbs 21.17-18
Acts 22.1-30

Ezra 3 & 4:

Fear of man and a higher authority

In chapter 3, even though the people who returned to Jerusalem had the authority of the king behind them, there was still opposition from the people already living in the land. Verse 3 says, “… fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries …” But in spite of their feelings they determined to do what was right and to worship God as Moses had instructed them to do.

Even though there is a move to restrict our rights as believers, we still have a great deal of freedom under the laws of our land. And while Romans 13 instructs us to obey those who rule over us, even that has limitations. Anytime someone in authority asks us to sin, we have a higher authority—that is God and His Word.

There will be times on the job (even when we are within our rights) or in our families where we will feel fear—fear of being ridiculed, fear of being rejected, fear of what people will think, even in some cases, fear of losing our jobs. But, we too, can do what’s right in spite of our feelings. Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it is doing what’s right in spite of it!

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April 13 “The lens of Scripture”

How do you view the events of your life? What is your filter? Are you seeing through the lens of Scripture or the world’s perspective?

lens of Scripture

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 15 & 16
Psalm 45.1-5
Proverbs 14.4-5
Luke 11.29-54

Joshua 15 & 16:

Driving out our enemy

In these chapters and the next few, the boundaries for each tribe’s territory are being delineated. But notice verse 16.10, “And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers.”

Another reminder to us that we can have things in our lives which God has told us to remove, but we believe “we have it under control” so we don’t completely “drive them out.” Just as the inhabitants of the land would later pull them down and lead them into sin and idolatry, so can those things that remain in our hearts and lives. Continue reading

March 4 “The law of jealousy – unfair to women?”

What does an Old Testament law about jealousy have to do with us today?

jealousy

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 5 & 6
Psalm 30.8-12
Proverbs 11.1-3
Mark 8.22-38

Numbers 5 & 6:

The adultery or jealousy test

Numbers 5 contains a passage that is difficult to understand and, at first glance, seems highly slanted against women, but it’s important to study it in light of God’s sovereignty and in light of other Scripture.

Verses 11-31 describe a ceremony to be performed when a man suspected, but couldn’t prove, his wife had committed adultery. Continue reading