Chosen

Esther 2:17
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

It could have been easy for a woman like Esther to feel forgotten. She had lost her parents at a young age, and was a believer living, in an area where she was surrounded by those who did not know the Lord. As the pages turn, it appears there must have been some level of persecution against the Jews, since Esther chose to hide her heritage from everyone in authority. This rising persecution will set the stage for much of what develops in her story. It seems as though, instead of allowing difficulty to tarnish her view of God, she allowed her situation to give God an opportunity to show His love in her life.

Apparently,  the removal of Vashti from her position as queen, and the king’s decision to select a new bride, must have spread through the kingdom. I can only imagine the wide gamete of emotions that must have run through young Esther when she was selected as a prospective queen and taken to the palace. As the next year unfolded, the Lord began to show His sovereignty and love, as Esther rose above the other candidates. When her turn came to present herself before he king, she was chosen above all others, as the next queen of Persia.

The remainder of this book will illustrate that when God changed her station, He did it to give her a larger platform, in order to be a part of the furtherance of the kingdom of God. This is an important principle to keep in mind. When God blesses us and raises our station in life, we need to ask Him why. Why has God blessed your resources? Is it so you can have a faster car or newer gadgets? Or is it so you can use your resources to further the kingdom. If God has increased your sphere of influence perhaps it is so you can have a larger platform to tell the world about Christ.

Esther teaches us that we are not forgotten, that God knows our current state, and that His plans for us include His desire to raise us up and use us for the furtherance of His kingdom.

Pastor Jim

It’s All Good

Romans 8:28-29
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The bible is filled with great and precious promises. Of these, the one recorded here may be the pinnacle. For the past two thousand years countless saints, facing a vast array of difficulties, have clung to this promise and found God to be ever faithful to His word. The promise itself is both simple and all encompassing. We are told, God is able to create good out of all things that life throws at us.

I don’t think it is difficult to understand what Paul meant by the word ‘all’. The English word means, “every member or part of, and the whole number or sum of.” The Greek word “Pas” speaks individually of each and every part of a whole, and collectively, it refers to the sum of all the parts that make a whole. Essentially, Paul is saying that every situation in life, no matter how random, unforeseen, difficult, painful or repeated, is like a tool in the hand of God that will be used to produce good in our lives.

Perhaps the most important word in this promise is the word good. If Paul is suggesting everything we face will ultimately be worked out for good, it is essential that we have a proper understanding of his terms. The word good is defined in the next verse where Paul writes, we are being conformed into the image of Christ. Every thing we face in this life is designed to bring us to Christ, and make us more like Him. My busy schedule, broken leg, fender bender, marriage, difficult boss, or trouble with the kids, are all tools that the Spirit of God will use to conform me into the image of Jesus. He will often do this by exposing things in me that need to be changed, then He will begin the process of removing them. The key is that we learn, in every situation, to cling to Christ as He performs a new work in us.

If you are struggling to see the good in what you are currently facing, remember that the good will come out as you cling to Christ, and allow Him to conform you to His image.

Pastor Jim