Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Esther; For Such A Time As This Chapter 5

Esther; For Such A Time As This
Carri Lynne Pratt

"And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, 
she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the 
golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter." Esther 5:2
This week's focus:  In Whom Do You Place Your Trust?
We will be reading Chapter 5 this week.  Read Here   or  Listen Here 
In this one chapter we see the struggle between both good and evil. We also see examples of trusting in God and trusting in oneself.  This is huge!  When we can trust in God through faith we have "Peace the passes all understanding" Philippians 4:7.  When we trust only in ourselves we are generally disheartened and quite often doomed for failure.
During your reading this week please keep a few things in mind:
1) Esther trusts in the Lord's power (evidenced by the fast) and appears before the king (which is against the law).  She knows this could be a death sentence for her and yet she goes for the good of her people.
2) Could Esther have been led by God to make a second banquet?  Why do you think she chose not to reveal Haman at the first dinner?
3) We can not experience a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus unless we trust in Him and take chances that place us outside our comfort zone.  It is then we see Jesus show up and care for us.  We can then also know the power of the Holy Spirit guiding us in unfamiliar territory. 

4) Haman is obviously placing his trust in himself, his position, his power and his relationship with the king. His is full of pride for who he is, and we all know what the Bible says about pride, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

Spiritual Discipline: Scripture Memorization
This week please memorize the following verse to remind you to trust in God:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
 and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, January 26, 2018

Here is the very first Friday Focus posted on October 2012. We hope and pray you have been encouraged in truth in these last 5 years

Grab a hot cup of tea and sit a spell

Faith comes from hearing the message, and message is heard from the word of ChristRomans 10:17
God’s word is the perfect manual for life. It is so important for daily living and growing in Christ. It can either lovingly correct an attitude of the heart or encourage you to keep doing what you’re already doing. His truths seep into us as we steep into Him!
Making bible time a TOP priority today and every day will make an eternal difference for generations.

women encouraging women

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Esther; For Such A Time As This Chap 4

Esther; For Such A Time As This - Chap 4
Carri Lynne Pratt
 "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom 
for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

What is God leading you to do? Does it scare you to think about it?

Our reading this week is Esther Chapter 4.
                   Read Here          Listen Here

While you read this chapter consider the following:

1)  Call on God First in Your Time of Need
Every Jewish person who heard about the edict immediately went into mourning. They wore sackcloth to show their grief and distress.  Sackcloth was also worn in the Old Testament to show repentance. (GotQuestions.com) Although not stated, this was their way of calling on God in their time of need.

2) Be Strong and Courageous! If God calls you to it, He will see you through it
Esther's first reaction, when she heard the news, was for her own safety. She was worried that the king would not hold out his scepter to her, thus granting her an audience rather than being killed. 

3) Decide to be used by God for His good purpose, Say Yes God!
Mordecai boldly tells Esther that if she chooses not to do what God is leading her to, God will find someone else or some other way to accomplish His will. 
God is always in control.

Spiritual Discipline: Fasting
Esther asked for all of the Jews, as well as she and her young women, to fast for three days. She specified no food and no water.  She wanted everyone focused on praying to God for deliverance and safety.  In my experience, nothing gives me greater focus than praying every time I experience a hunger pain during a fast. It is also important to know why you are fasting so that when those hunger pains remind you to pray, you will know what to pray for. (I have never fasted from water before however, only food or even certain items like sweets or soda)

When should we fast?  According to Donald S. Whitney of Lifeway...

"When should you fast? Times of special need, guidance for an important decision, or especially intense spiritual longings may prompt you to enter into a fast. But Christians are free to experience the blessings of fasting as often as they desire."  Read his article, The Gospel and the Discpline of Fasting @ Lifeway.com


Friday, January 19, 2018

The Importance of Finishing

The Importance of Finishing
A Devotion by Joyce Meyer

"I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:4

Several years ago I read that verse that caused me to weep before the Lord. Jesus says, "I have brought you glory on earth by finishing what he's called us to do. 

The verse is saying that following God means finishing what he's called us to do.

Ever since reading that verse, it's become very important to me that I just not do what God has called me to do, but that I finish what he's called me to do.  There are a lot of people who step out and begin a journey with God, but I don't think there are near as many who finish it.

The apostle Paul said, "... if only I may finish my course with joy..." Acts 20:24
I'm determined to finish God's call for me and enjoy every minute of it! That's what I want for you, too, to enjoy every single day of your life and finish what God's called you to do.

But most of this is up to us. It's not all up to God. He has done His part and given us everything we need in Christ. It's up to us to keep learning, growing, and letting the Spirit of God work in us.  Take time to consider the things that God has called you to do and ask yourself, "What am I doing today to finish strong what God has set before me? 

God has great plans for you. Receive them by faith and go after them with all your heart. Today, I want you to make a commitment to finish strong. It's a commandment I know God will honor. 

Prayer: God, like Jesus, I want to be able to say that I have completed the work You have for me. Thank you for working in me to give me the power and desire to live for your pleasure and finish my course with joy! In Jesus name. Amen

women encouraging women

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Esther; For Such A Time As This Chp 3

Esther; For Such A Time As This  Chp 3
Carri Lynne Pratt
"Haman sought to destory all the Jews,
the people of Mordecai, 
 throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus."
Esther 3:6

Have you considered there may be someone trying to halt your spiritual progress? You know there is something God wants you to do, but perhaps there is someone standing in the way or even worse, they may be planning for your downfall.

This week read Esther Chapter 3  Haman Plots Against the Jews
Listen here:  Chapter 3 Audio
Do not be na├»ve, there are spiritual forces at work in this world and they are constantly fighting over the people of God.  Haman was affected by evil spiritual influences, including jealousy and rage, and began planning for the demise of an entire race of people!

In his book, Angels, Billy Graham wrote the following:

“God’s forces of good and Satan’s forces of evil have been engaged in a deadly conflict from the dawn of our history . . . We live in a perpetual battlefield – the Great War of the Ages continues to rage. . . Where the Lord works, Satan’s forces hinder; where angel beings carry out their divine directives, the devils rage. All this comes about because the powers of darkness press their counterattack to recapture the ground held for the glory of God.”  

Haman was disgusted by the Jewish people of his day. Do you think there are people in our world that would also like to destroy the Jews in modern times? How about those who seek to ridicule and destroy the Christians? How about you? Is there anyone who would like to see your downfall? Maybe out of jealousy or maybe because of a certain political or religious view you hold.

Of course the answer is YES! Our world is full of both good and evil human beings, we see them in the news everyday. And a good person may do an evil act. Some people may actually argue that it is merely a matter of the way you look at a situation as to whether it is good or evil. This is not the way God looks at it. He is very clear about what is Good and what is Evil.

"For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." John 3:20

Our Spiritual Discipline for this week is: 
Be Ready: Put On The Whole Armor of God 

We must be ready when confronted with evil. God shows us how to be ready in Paul's famous passage - Ephesians 6:10-20:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore:

Having fastened on the belt of truth,

and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

and take the helmet of salvation,

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me (Paul), that my words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel."

Self Reflection:  Are You Ready?  Do you have your Spiritual Armor on so you can withstand the devil's schemes? Are you saved? If you are not certain of your salvation, if you can not look to a time in your life that you made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, than you need to do that today.  Find Peace with God