The weekend was nice. Nothing out of the ordinary, but nice nonetheless. On Friday night, I had the college girls (from Gene's ministry) come over for dinner and a movie. We watched One Night With the King, the story of Esther. The movie is really good and we had a great time watching it and discussing it afterwards. We were all amazed at how different the culture was in Bible times. There was one point in the movie where Esther needed to approach the king with a request, but she was fearful to go into "his chambers" without being summoned because she could be killed. All the girls were like...."Whatever....I know I would wait to be summoned!" That made me laugh, even though I totally agree. Our culture has come a long way, hasn't it? The woman of today are much more bold, sometimes much too bold.
I thought I would share a little bit of what we talked about in our discussion time for those college girls who read my blog but couldn't attend. If you aren't familiar with the book of Esther, dig out your Bible and read it this week. It is a fascinating read and it's only 10 chapters. You will be finished before you know it.
5 Discussion Points from the story of Esther:
1. God has a purpose for each one of us.
When you read the book of Esther, you can clearly see Esther's purpose and her calling from God. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." That verse thrills my soul to death. I love knowing that I am a masterpiece in God's eyes and that my life has a purpose. I was not an accident or an afterthought and neither are you. We are treasures that God desires to use for His glory. Each day is a brand new day to seek God and to be obedient to Him and to follow His leading.
2. God is sovereign...meaning that He is in complete control.
His plan and purposes will be carried out. In the story of Esther, she was clearly put into a position of leadership to rescue the Jews, God's chosen race, from mass extinction. And even though Esther was in a position to act, it was still her choice. She could have refused, allowing fear to keep her from being used mightily by God. If she had refused, would all of the Jews have been killed.....no way! The most famous verse from the story is Esther 4:14 and is says, "If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" That verse pretty much spells out the fact that you can either be obedient to God and walk in his plan for you or He will accomplish His purposes without you. Think about where God has strategically placed you. In what family? In what job? In what school? In what circle of friends? In what neighborhood? Those places are not accidents! God has strategically placed you where He wants you in order to use you, whether you are 18 or 85. Be like Esther and follow God, even when you have no idea what the outcome will be. Esther was obedient to God's call and responded in verse 4:16, "If I perish, I perish." Her faith in her God drove her to action and our faith in our God should do the same thing.
3. Esther gives us steps to follow when we find ourselves in difficult situations. Following her model, we should always go to God in prayer. She fasted and prayed for 3 days before she took any action, and she asked all the Jews to do the same thing, not only praying herself, but asking for prayer support. She also listened to wise Godly counsel. When trying to make a decision, we should seek out wise Godly counsel as well, like a Sunday School teacher or a minister, rather than our best friends, who will likely tell us exactly what we want to hear. Pray again after receiving any advice and make sure their counsel lines up with what God is telling you in your spirit. Choose a plan of action and then move. Relying on God's wisdom will always enable you to accomplish His will for your life, His way!
4. God always blesses obedience.
In the story of Esther, the evil plot was exposed, the wicked Haman was killed and justice had its way. Think about Haman for a minute. He wanted to trap Mordecai and have him killed. The Bible warns that when we try to trap another we often fall victim to that trap ourselves. Proverbs 26:27 says, "He who digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him." That is exactly what happened to Haman. He built gallows to hang Mordecai on, and he was killed on them instead. God blessed Mordecai's obedience by sparing his life and by allowing him to find favor in the king's eyes who made him the new prime minister, second in command over all of Persia. Earthly rewards are not always guaranteed to come if we are obedient, but so many times that is the case.
5. Our inner beauty is more important than our outer beauty.
Yes, Esther was physically beautiful, but scripture says that all the young, beautiful virgins from the entire empire were brought before the King with a chance to be chosen as his next queen, so I feel sure there were other pretty faces in the room. She had character qualities that allowed her to find favor with, not only the King, but with the other women, and the king's head eunuch as well. Scholars describe Esther with words such as faithful, courageous, religiously devout, wise, and resolute...each word a reference to inner beauty. Where does such inner beauty come from? 1 Peter 3:4-5 says that it comes from a heart that adorns itself with a deep trust in God. Psalm 55:22 says it comes when we look to God when times and conditions are tough. Phil. 4:13 says it comes from believing in your heart that God will empower you with His strength to do all things. Inner beauty only comes from spending daily time in God's Word and prayer, letting Him mold you from the inside, out. I challenged the college girls to start spending as much time with God as they do in the mirror each day. Inner beauty is so much more important and certainly deserves equal time. Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Friday night was fun. These girls make me laugh and make me feel somewhat young again. Of course, as I laid down at midnight, and then Gracen woke me up at 6:00 a.m., I quickly remembered my age. I miss those nights of staying up really late, eating junk food, and laughing my head off with a group of girlfriends. I really enjoyed their company and look forward to hanging out with them again.
On Saturday, Gran and Paw Paw kept my girls because I had to go and clean my sister's office in Montgomery. I do this once a month for a little "mad money". It wasn't exactly a fun outing, but I did enjoy getting out by myself and singing along with the radio, instead of answering Reagan's long list of questions. I was back home by lunch and spent the rest of the day and night just hanging out with my family. Gene and I had the girls in the bed by 7:30 and then had the house to ourselves. That is always nice.
On Sunday, we went to church. A normal day of busyness for us. The worship music was fantastic and so was the preaching and the fellowship. It was a good day.
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