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This Week...Red Letter Challenge: Hearing and Obeying the Teachings of Jesus Jesus said some pretty amazing things. People quote him. Others write books about what he said. Theologians parse his words down to the very letters to squeeze out as much meaning as they possibly can. Some Bible translations put all his words in red so we don't miss them.…
 
This Week... Jesus Has Sent Me Ananias who? He slips in and out of the pages of scripture so fast that we hardly notice him. It's a wonder we even find his name. I doubt there's this huge line of people in heaven waiting to get to talk to him. Abraham? A big line. King David? His autograph is a hot commodity. Joshua - the warrior leader? No doubt e…
 
This Week...What Child is this? No doubt this question circled around and around in Joseph's head. We don't know how he first heard about it - his betrothed being pregnant. Mary may have told him. If she did right after the angel spoke to her, she then disappeared for three months to her cousin's house. If later, maybe his mom or his aunt noticed t…
 
This Week...Horns and Shouts Joshua definitely feels like one of those guys that you want on your side. He was fearless and up for whatever. After spending so much time with Moses and the Lord, this man was ready to fight wherever and whenever God told him to do so. As the first fight neared, how outrageously odd it must have felt to hear the Lord'…
 
This Week...A Living Sacrifice Even the most casual study of the interaction of people with God in the Bible reveals an inseparable connection between obedience and sacrifice. We were made by God and for God. We simply do not function as we were made to function independent of him and his instructions. His call for unconditional obedience is non-ne…
 
This Week...Never Forget We are challenged repeatedly in scripture to remember. Too often, the urgency of the moment and the power of our emotions draw us into patterns of thought that distract from the information we have stored in our memories. This information, when sourced from God's word provides the correct perspective on our present realitie…
 
This Week...Hard Obedience At some level, all obedience is hard. Surrendering our mind, will, body and heart to God for his purposes is not only a tough choice to make, it's a tough choice to maintain. It's one we need his help to make. Now, add to that struggle a directive from God that is so hard that you simply can't make sense of it. Your heart…
 
This Week...Greatness The greatest of all time or the G.O.A.T., as it is often called, sparks lively debates in our culture. Typically, the reference is directed to a sports figure. Opinions are plentiful and passionate. Interestingly, Jesus had much to say about greatness. Not surprisingly, we see Jesus' comments on greatness wonderfully reflected…
 
This Week...Victory The opportunity for victory and victory are not the same things. Last week the people of Israel were given a chance, for which, they rejoiced. But now, it's time to fight. The anti-Semites that permeated the entire Medo-Persian empire did not die when Haman died. He was the front man, not the army. What will happen now that the …
 
This Week...The Big Turnaround We all love the turnaround story. The story that begins with a person in a very bad place, either by their own choices, the choices of others or just because of the reality we live in a fallen world, but ends with their triumph. Most of the time they have had to make some hard decisions, sacrifices and/or commitments …
 
This Week...A Time to Speak King Solomon observed in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time for everything, "a season, a time for every activity under heaven." As we come to Esther 8, we find that the time has come for Esther to speak. For years, she has kept her identity secret in word and, as far as we know, in practice. She was born and raised Jewi…
 
This Week...It Just So Happened C.S. Lewis made this quote-worthy comment many years ago, "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." It wasn't by chance that Mordecai and Esther were in the capital city of the Medo-Persian empire. It wasn't by accident that Esther was stunningly beautiful. It wasn't by chance that Mordecai overheard the plo…
 
This Week...The Intersection of Life and Faith Esther's bold words have been spoken -- "If I die, I die." She came to a decision. It was not necessary for her to live, but it was necessary for her to do what she must. It is true that she was only one person, but it was also true that she was one person. In God's economy, one person matters. She fel…
 
This Week...Such A Time As This Esther was scared. Understandable, evil had crept in and was now threatening her very existence and that of her family. This week we look at just a few verses that hold three very important questions. First, “Can we be protected from evil?” Second, “If we do nothing, what will happen?” Third, “How do we know what to …
 
With the fate of the Jewish people on the line, Mordecai knows the clock has begun to tick. He attracts Esther's attention and then tells her that it's time to rise up and save her people. Not only does the news of Haman's plan come as a shock to Esther, but Mordecai's request puts her back on her heels as well. "Umm...Mordecai, I don't think you k…
 
Five years after Esther ascended to throne as queen, another foreigner ascended to power, the number two position as a matter of fact right behind Xerxes himself. He crosses paths with Mordecai who we have just met in chapter two and road rage ensues. Hatred of Mordecai and hatred for all of the Jews came very easily to Haman. He was proud and he c…
 
As we continue further into chapter 2 of Esther this Sunday, we nearly get whiplash at the pace of the story. We are barely introduced to our two protagonists, Esther and Mordecai, and the next thing we know she's queen of the entire Medo-Persian empire and Mordecai is risking his life to expose an assassination plot against the king! Whoa! Nothing…
 
The author of Esther continues his conversation about this pagan king, his queen, and his advisors all the way through verse four of chapter 2. (You already know that because you've been reading the story...right? ) The author is simply letting us know what happened in order for Esther to ascend to the throne as queen of the Medo-Persian empire. Ho…
 
How does a book where the name of God never appears, where there is no prayer, no worship, no mention of Jerusalem, no mention of the promised land and only one vague reference to the Jewish law make it into the Bible? The book not only is in the Bible, but it contains one of dearest stories to the Jewish people even today and is celebrated every y…
 
This Week...A Debtor No More "I'm debt free!!" the caller proclaims into the telephone. The host celebrates with them and they continue their conversation about living in the rare air of a debt-free life. I change the station. Some of us know that wonderful feeling and some of us didn't even know that was a thing. In our story this week, we find tw…
 
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