Entries tagged with “Salvation”.


I’ve struggled the last few weeks to stay focused during the message.  I’m pretty sure it has been more me than David though.  It seems like so much has been going on in life and so much is going on in my head – it is hard to sit quietly and listen to the Truth being presented.

That being said, this week’s message at Seward Church comes from Esther.

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing. – Edmund Burke

The Book of Esther is full of evil messy stuff going on.  David referred to Psalms 12:8 for a good description of what was occuring during this time in the world.  The story of Esther going from a random virgin on the street to becoming Queen is also a messy tale of lust, violence, greed, and immorality.  Even as queen she still had to be very careful or risk being thrown out like her predecessor – Vashti.

David shared a little analogy of the past three books

Ezra can be related to the church, while Nehimiah is like an urban developer, and Esther is like the politician in charge.  Each has their own range of power and influence to create change.  At each level their is a different responsibility for their “people”.

Esther’s ascent to the throne was very much on the “inside”.  She asked around to see what she could do to win favor.  She worked within exsisting systems and structures to succeed – not creating her own separate ideas, even though she was an ethnic outsider.  We too need to work within existing structures and create change within the system – redemption and restoration comes from within.

If you know the story of Esther you know that she becomes Queen and then a short while later her husband is convinced that all the Jewish people should be killed.  He didn’t remember or realize that his “beloved” was Jewish. But you better believe her friends and mentors didn’t forget her Jewishness and quickly came to her for aid.   Esther tried to play them off saying I don’t have any power and oh by the way – remember Vashti?  I could lose my life if I confront the king on a matter of policy.

This line from Esther 4 is great:

Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.

Yes, maybe God worked out your life’s plan so that you could be in a position to save your people.  Maybe you should risk your life so that you can have life.  Esther was in a position where she could lose everything.

– If she did nothing, the King’s edict would ultimately kill her

– If she talked to the King about his edict, he could kill her outright

– Or, she could talk to the King and he could change his policy and she (and her people) would get the chance to live.

It seems like a no brainer right? But we often face a tough calculation like this and struggle to take the risk. I know I do.

The story does ultimately have a happy ending.  The Jewish people are saved from the king’s sword.  Esther is a precursor to Jesus.  He risked everything and ultimately died for our freedom.  He left the beautiful palace of heaven to walk among us and offer a free gift of salvation.

Esther became a person of greatness only after she was willing to risk everything.  David pointed out that she was called Queen Esther only 14 times in the whole book.  Once before she risked her life and 13 times afterwards.  We become great people of God when we are willing to lay down our lives for Him and the people He loves.

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Meditation
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Friday night David shared from the Old Testament book Nehemiah at Seward Church.  His focus was again on the community found within the Biblical story.

As a community the people listened attentively to Ezra’s reading of the Law (Neh 8:1-3). As a result of hearing the Law the people were grieved for their sin and as a result are making a covenant together to focus on pleasing God – through the law. (Neh 9:38)

I had a little trouble following David this week, but even though the Israelites were very focused on works-based salvation through the law – God had already offered them His radical love and salvation.  Even before they deserved it.  9:9-11 and 9:13

One of the purposes of the law is to create a community.  Whenever one person in the community suffers – the whole community suffers.  When we have an unraveling in our lives it is because our relationship with God is unravelling.  This too can have a negative impact on the community of believers.  Hearing the Word of God stirs something within us – as it did many times throughout the Old Testament stories.  Together and with the Holy Spirit’s help we can live together in community and carry each other’s burdens.  God doesn’t forsake us (9:17) even though we are all sinners (9:27,30) God has enduring patience and mercy.

David’s final point was that we should all continue to PRESS ON TOGETHER with Christ as our center.  Look at last week’s message to see more about God’s community.

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We’ve had many conversations about how much we as Christians should rely on savings accounts, retirement accounts, and similar investment strategies. Here are two perspectives from Purpose for Everyday Living: Finding God in Everyday Life:

Day 146 – Keeping Prosperity in Perspective

If riches increase, do not set your heart on them. – Pslam 62:10 NKJV

In the demanding world in which we live, financial prosperity can be a good thing, but spiritual prosperity is profoundly more important. Yet our society leads us to believe otherwise. The world glorifies material possessions, personal fame, and physical beauty above all else; these things are totally unimportant to God. God sees the human heart, and that’s what is important to Him.

As you establish your priorities for the coming day, remember this: The world will do everything it can to convince you that “things” are important. The world will tempt you to value fortune above faith and possessions above peace. God, on the other hand, will try to convince you that your relationship with Him is all-important. Trust God.

Have you prayed about your resources lately? Find out how God wants you to use your time and your money. No matter what it costs, forsake all that is not of God. – Kay Arthur

Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes. – Francis Bacon

Day 147 – Finding Purpose Through Charity

Happy is the person who thinks about the poor. When trouble comes, the Lord will save him. – Psalms 41:1 NCV

God’s Words commands us to be generous, compassionate servants to those who need our support. As believers, we have been richly blessed by our Creator. We, in turn, are called to share our gifts, our possessions, our testimonies, and our talents.

Concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom correctly observed, “The measure of a life is not its duration but its donation.” These words remind us that the quality of our lives is determined not by what we are able to take from others, but instead by what we are able to share with others.

The thread of generosity is woven into the very fabric of Christ’s teaching. If we are to be His disciples, then we, too, must be cheerful, generous, courageous givers. Our Savior expects no less from us. And He deserves no less.

Selfishness is as far from Christianity as darkness is from light. – CH Spurgeon

Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a heaven and hell a fable. – Charles Caleb Colton

These by no means give specific examples of daily living – put back savings or give to the beggar on the street? But they begin to help me understand more about what is expected of me each and every day – to love others and be willing to be generous. Spreading mercy and love as it

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