We Will Win the War!

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Esther 7-8, 1 Corinthians 16

Esther took a chance and invited the King to dinner again. By this point, she knew that she had to act fast, but you can tell that she was nervous. If the king was angry at her request, she could have been sent away like Vashti – or worse. The king asked her again what she desired and she spoke out against Haman, letting the king know that Haman was planning destruction for her, Mordecai, and her whole people. Furious, the king sentences Haman to be hung on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Mordecai was then given Haman’s estate and role as advisor to the king. 

A happy ending for Esther and Mordecai, but there was still a dark day planned for the Jews. After the king gave the edict Haman advised him to give, he signed it with his signet ring. An order from the king was not able to be revoked; the day Haman had planned for the Jews would still happen. In order to prevent total destruction of the Jews, Mordecai planned another day where the Jews would be able to face anyone in battle who was hostile to them. Because of this order, there was rejoicing. The Jews could defend themselves, and consequently, they would not be destroyed. They knew they faced a battle, but ultimately, they had already won the war. The king was on their side. They would have victory. 

Most of us will not face a battle like this in our lifetime. We don’t need to worry about anyone destroying our communities, families, or – for the most part – even our property. We may not face physical battles, but we will face spiritual battles. Jesus promised in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We know that we will have trouble in this world, but we can be encouraged that Jesus has the victory. We may have battles, but we know that we will win the war! 

Paul encouraged the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. 14 Your every action must be done with love.” We need this encouragement too. Whenever we face difficult trials and temptations, we can stand firm in the faith. We can be strong. And, we know that we can overcome. We pray – as Paul did – ‘Lord Jesus come’ and then we face our battles head on, because we know that we will win the war! 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading at Biblegateway.com: Job 1-2 and 2 Corinthians 2 .

The Victory

Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Esther 5-6, 1 Corinthians 15

I love summers because it seems like the pace of life slows down just a little. With camps, VBS, and simply more time, I feel like I can evaluate my priorities and reorient myself towards the things that really matter. Once August rolls around, my mind starts thinking about my classroom in the Fall, and I begin to plan out how I want my year to look. It’s helpful to think about those big priorities when planning out my next year. I want my life to be lived in light of my ‘whys’ – the reasons that I have for doing what I do.

If we are not intentional with our lives, the reason we have for living can range from getting our next meal, next paycheck, or next night out. These things can easily become what dominates our thoughts and our actions. If our lives are ruled by these things, we may end up going down a wicked path – as in the case of Haman. He wanted to get his next egotrip from everyone bowing down to him. When Mordecai didn’t, Haman didn’t stop at anything to destroy the Jews – which he thought would make him feel better. He thought it would make him have that feeling of pride (or being admired) again. Because his pride was his ‘why,’ all of his thoughts and actions led to how he can get that feeling of being admired again. This took him down a dangerous path that ultimately led to his destruction. 

In today’s passage in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks to the Corinthians about their ‘whys.’ The Corinthians had people who were trying to teach that there is no resurrection from the dead. Paul systematically goes through their arguments and refutes them. One main point of his argument is that if there is no resurrection from the dead, Christ was also not resurrected from the dead. And, if that’s the case, then, what was Paul doing all of this for?  At one point, he reminds them of their ‘why’: 

29 Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them?[f] 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I affirm by the pride in you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord: I die every day! 32 If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with only human hope,[g] what good did that do me?[h] If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.[i]   ~ 1 Corinthians 15:29-32

If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, Paul argues, we should be pitied more than any other person. He would then be suffering only for a human hope. But, he reminds them later on: 

55 Death, where is your victory?

Death, where is your sting?[p]

56 Now the sting of death is sin,

and the power of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ!

~ 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Paul knew he was living with the power that comes from Christ’s victory over sin and death. This was his ‘why’ and this helped him to endure whatever he faced – whether shipwrecks or angry men – and glorify God in the process. 

Our ‘why’ is the gospel. When we live in light of eternity – in light of this ‘why’ – we can face whatever battles come our way. We can have the victory!

~ Cayce Fletcher

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading at Biblegateway.com: Job 1-2 and 2 Corinthians 2 .

Right Place. Right Time. Right Action.

Esther 3-4

Yesterday, we began to read the book of Esther. Let’s quickly summarize what happened in the first couple of chapters to bring us up to speed for today’s reading:

Chapter 1: King Xerxes, King of Persia, is having a pretty awesome party.  He is serving up an endless buffet with unlimited refills.  He has a few too many refills and calls for his wife, Vashti, because he wants to look at her. She refuses.  He consults with his friends (who might have had a few too many as well),and they decide to execute her as an example to prevent disrespect throughout the kingdom.  Buzzkill. Proclamation in Caveman Voice: Men Strong. Women Weak.  

Chapter 2:  King Xerxes decides it is time for a new queen.  Hmm. What’s a good way to pick my next wife? Personality. No. Virtuous qualities? No. Oh! Beauty contest.  Proclamation in Caveman Voice: Send Pretty Women. Enter Esther – fits the bill. Also, she’s Jewish, although Xerxes doesn’t know, doesn’t care because that doesn’t affect her looks.  Another party.  Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, uncovers a plot to assassinate Xerxes. Mordecai tells Esther who tells Xerxes. Esther trusted. Mordecai trusted. Conspirators impaled.

Have your plot uncovered and being impaled? Unfortunate. But having the car ahead of me pay for my weekly McDonalds run?  Being seated in the section at the ballpark that receives a free loaf of bread? Sitting down at a restaurant and having a meal served on the house? All of this, and more, has happened to me.  I’m a pretty lucky guy.  It seems that I find myself at the right place, the right time.  It’s either that or people just really think that I need food. Being in the correct location at a critical moment is important.  Ask anyone who has ever been late for an interview, or ended up at the wrong Starbucks. But in many circumstances, those two factors are simply not enough.   An equally important prerequisite that isn’t always taken into account (and makes the expression way too long like in the title) is the right action.  Many times you must DO something in order to take advantage of the golden opportunity that is being presented.  Just existing in a place or a moment isn’t enough.

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:12-14

Christians are already in some of the prime real estate for evangelizing.  Christians are in schools. Christians are in workplaces.  Christians are on TV and radio. They make TikToks and podcasts.  I would say that for most of us, we err on the side of being in the world a little more than not.  Having a presence in each of these locations, at this time in history, is not in itself a bad thing.  In a caveman voice: School good. Work good. TikTok, umn, me no say.  But when you sit on your hands and let the world continue to spin in the same way it always has, then you are in the midst of the right location, the right time, but the wrong action.  Simply being an elevated, passive Jew in the kingdom of Persia was not going to save her people from being put to death.  Xerxes, didn’t even know. Being a passive Christian in the same manner is equally reckless. They may not even know. THEY. MAY. NOT. EVEN. KNOW. This is most definitely the correct time. Heed Mordecai’s warning. You MUST become an influencer, not in a manner that will get you more clout or draw attention to yourself, but in a manner that draws attention to God.  You most definitely were made for a time such as this.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2: 9,12

–Aaron Winner

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Esther 3-4 and 1 Corinthians 14

Haman’s Pride and Prejudice – Part 2 (The Rest of the Story)

Esther 6-10

When we left you yesterday, evil Haman was going to go in the next day and ask King Ahasuerus to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had built in anticipation. Now we will find out the rest of the story. During that night the King was having trouble sleeping so he asked for his book of records to be brought to him and read out loud. In it they read the story of Mordecai saving his life. He asked how they had honored him, and they said that nothing had been done for him. And Mordecai had not ever tried to get any special recognition for this act of bravery.

When Haman shows up that morning to visit the king, he asks Haman, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Haman, thinking he must be talking about him, says, dress him in a royal robe, put him on a royal horse with a crest, and then have a prince lead him through town, proclaiming before him. The King said, Quick, do everything you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who saved my life. Not quite what he envisioned.

The King and Haman go later that evening to the special banquet with Queen Esther. Once again, the King tells her she will receive anything she asks for, up to half of the kingdom. Chapter 7:3 “Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.” Our enemy will have us destroyed, killed, and annihilated. He asks, “Who is this enemy?” she replies, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!” Haman pleaded for his life, but the king sent him to the gallows that he had built for Mordecai to be hanged. King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther Haman’s estate, and gave the signet ring that he took from Haman to Mordecai because the Queen appointed him to manage things. Then she begged the king to stop the decree that Haman had already sent out to kill the Jews. He had another decree sent out that allowed the Jews to protect themselves against anyone who would assault them. The Jews overpowered those who hated and wished to destroy them.  After two days of fighting, they enjoyed a day of rest, celebrating their victory with a feast. Mordecai made a decree that the Jewish people would celebrate this holiday every year as a time when, God through Esther, saved the lives of the Jewish people and the evil plot which Haman had devised failed and returned upon his head. His ten sons were also killed on the gallows. The days of Purim are still celebrated by the Jewish people today. King Ahasuerus advanced Mordecai in his kingdom until he was second only to the king. Chapter 10:3 says: “For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.”

This story reminds me of how faithful God is to his children. I am reminded of Genesis 50:20 when Joseph told his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” The things Haman had devised were evil, but God was able to turn it around for the good of His people. God had orchestrated so many things to be in place to save them. We need to trust God, even when we are going through hard times. We need to realize that we are not going through them alone, because God has promised that he will be with us.  It also brought Ephesians 3:20 to mind, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Queen Esther asked for her life and the life of her people. She was given that and more. The King gave her the estate of Haman and Mordecai was able to advance to the number 2 man in the kingdom, even though they were Jews. He became very powerful and influential, and it says in the last verse that even with all his power, “he was seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all of his countrymen.” Mordecai was a wise man and he used his life to lead people to seek God and live a life according to his will. What purpose have we been made for, let’s be courageous and trust God and let him use us as He wills, let’s seek good for others as we work for God’s glory.

-Sherry Alcumbrack

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to on BibleGateway here – Esther 6-10

Tomorrow we will finish up the book of Ezra (7-10) and then just 2 more books to read in the Old Testament before we get to start the New Testament next Wednesday.

How It All Goes Down

Esther 5-10

esther-8

Tuesday, December 13

Esther is accepted by the king.  After the fasting and praying period, Esther went before the king, he raised his scepter, and he spared her life. Xerxes was eager to grant Esther what she wished. Instead of telling the king about her problem, she invited the king and Haman to a banquet. At the banquet, Esther invited the king and Haman to another banquet the next day. Haman was still upset at Mordecai, and through the encouragement of his wife, he made a 75 foot pole to hang Mordecai.

God gives the king a sleepless night.  The night between the two banquets the king couldn’t sleep. The king’s insomnia was no accident. This is actually one of the main turning points of the story. God made sure that Xerxes was up that night so that he would be prompted to remember when Mordecai saved the king’s life. It turns out that Mordecai had never been rewarded for saving the king’s life. The king resolves to reward Mordecai immediately. And he puts Haman in charge of the celebration! (Insert face palm here.)

At the second banquet, Esther told the king, finally, that she was a Jew, and that she would be killed because of the law that Haman wrote. Filled with anger, the king walked out of the room. Haman, meanwhile, pled for his life with Esther. When the king returned, he believed that Haman was attacking Esther. Haman was arrested and hung on the pole he created for Mordecai.

In order to save the Jewish people, the king allows Mordecai and Esther to write a law that saves the Jewish people. The Jews are authorized to defend themselves with the protection of the government. When the day comes, the Jews fight their enemies and are saved. As a result of all of this, Mordecai becomes second in charge of Persia after the king, and Esther is the glorious queen!

God works in your life through the ordinary. What did God do in the story of Esther? There were no miracles. There was no verse that said, “God…” and explained God’s actions. But certainly, God was at work in this story. After all, his chosen people were saved through a series of improbable events.  This demonstrates just exactly how God works in our lives. God accomplishes his plans through everyday, ordinary means. We need to see how God is working in our lives through his providence. Think about things that almost didn’t happen in your life. Maybe you almost went to a different school. Or, you almost never became friends with your best friends. But you did, and it changed your life. The story of Esther teaches us to see how God works in the everyday, ordinary parts of our lives and to trust God’s heart when we don’t understand His hand.

-Julie Driskill

For Such a Time as This!

Esther 1-4

esther-4

Monday, December 12

Esther occurs at an interesting time in Biblical history. The Jewish people had been living in exile in Persia. The Persian king, Cyrus, allowed the Jews to go back to Jerusalem. Many went back to Jerusalem, but some stayed behind in Persia. Esther is the fascinating story of those people who stayed behind in Persia.

At this time God’s people were basically controlled by a dictator.  The king of Persia is a guy named Xerxes. In Esther chapter 1, we see he threw a huge party for all of his most important officials that lasted for 6 months. In the last 7 days of the party, Xerxes expanded the party to include everyone in the city.  After seven days of getting drunk, Xerxes called for his wife, Queen Vashti.  He wanted all of his friends to view his wife and see how beautiful she was. But Vashti refused, which made Xerxes angry.  (Uh-oh.) Vashti is removed as queen, and all the wives of Persia are told not to be defiant like the queen!

Enter Esther.  In chapter 2, Xerxes decides to find a new queen. He’s not romantic, however. He’s a sick dictator.  He has his servants go throughout Persia to find beautiful virgins. They are brought back to the palace, and then they are to spend one night with Xerxes.  One of the women brought to the king is Esther. In chapter 2, we are introduced to Esther, and her cousin Mordecai who raised her because she was orphaned. Esther is taken into the king’s harem. And when it is her turn to be with the king, he falls for her. Esther becomes queen, but we learn that she doesn’t tell anyone she is Jewish. (Psssst.) It’s a secret.


It is also in this chapter that we learn that Mordecai found out about a plot to assassinate the king. He told Esther, who told the king, and the perpetrators were executed. As chapter 2 ends, Esther is queen and Mordecai is responsible for saving the king. But remember, no one knows Esther is Jewish.
Chapter 3 introduces us to the true villain of the story -a man named Haman. He was the most powerful official in Persia after the king, and he was a jerk! Mordecai refused to bow to Haman. And Haman got mad. He didn’t just hate Mordecai, but all the Jews.  Haman came up with a plan to exterminate the Jews from Persia. He told the king that if he was allowed to kill this group of people, he would take their money and give it to the king. Xerxes agreed to this arrangement without hearing the details.


In chapter 4 Mordecai and the Jews began to be in mourning because of this decree. Esther wanted to know what was the matter with Mordecai, and why he was in mourning. Mordecai believed that Esther can help, but she was afraid to go before the king. If a person came before the king unannounced, they could be executed.

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13-14

God would save the Jewish people. He promised to do it in the Old Testament. But Mordecai saw that Esther might be God’s instrument of salvation for the Jews. You have to remember, neither Mordecai nor Esther knew how the story was going to end. Both of them could have been killed.

Finally, Esther decided to help, although death was a real possibility for her. She asked the Jews to fast and pray for her. This was a turning point in Esther’s life. She went from being a young woman who was at the mercy of the king and her cousin, to a person who was decisive and in control.

At the completion of today’s post I hope you realize that everyone faces turning points in their lives. Have you faced a turning point in your life yet?  Some possible turning points in your lives could be:

Will I cheat on this test or not?

Will I date a non-Christian or not?

Will I have sex with my boyfriend/girlfriend or not?

Will I let everyone know that I am a Christian or not?

Maybe you can see some turning points in your life where you didn’t follow God with your decision. There is good news. God forgives.

God uses unusual events to accomplish his plans. The story of Esther is like an elaborate chess board, and God is moving the pieces of the chess board into place to accomplish his purposes. He does this in our lives too. You might wonder why God allowed your parents to get a divorce, or why he allowed your family to move to a different state. You might wonder why God isn’t giving you the things you want in life.  He takes all of the experiences of your life and uses it for your good. As we continue tomorrow in Esther, you will see how this rings true!

-Julie Driskill

%d bloggers like this: