Re: Verse reading–Esther 4:4-17; 7:1-6 (day four)
Faith demands action! There is no way to live by faith and be a person who is complacent and uninvolved in what is going on in culture. Mordecai told Esther that if she did not act in faith, God would use someone else to do the job He had prepared her to do. Esther would have a huge price to pay for her inaction though.
Have you ever tried to avoid doing what you knew you should do? Have you said, “Let me pray about it,” when you already knew the answer? Walking and living a life of faith requires us to become involved in God’s work. It is not an option. Our faith is an active faith…no hoping someone else will do it..no pew sitting. It is our responsibility. We must be prayerful and move in God’s direction and power, but the key word is that we must move! Ask God to stir your heart and increase your faith…there is work to be done.
Re: Verse reading–Esther 4:4-17; 7:1-6 (day three)
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.” Power as firewall against fear. It seems like a good plan. But power is not a place to hide from the things that scare you, it’s a resource for helping the weak. Power is a useful tool, but it’s a poor insulator. When you will not face fear, you will not learn its limits, and so it becomes, in your estimation, more terrible–even invincible. Fear will then defeat you. If, on the other hand, you employ power to help those who have no voice and no standing, fear fades away. This is power rightly stewarded. It’s why God has given it to you, however much of it you possess. How will you use it today?
Re: Verse reading–Esther 4:4-17; 7:1-6 (day two) For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place…4:14a
Have you ever found yourself in that place where things are going well. You have worked hard and all the craziness of your life seems to be headed in the same direction. Job is secure, family is healthy, retirement is planned for…and then. Then your brother-in-law asks to move in for a while, or your boss asks you to take on a new assignment, or maybe it is something else calling for your attention. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and now change? Perhaps your first reaction is to just sit quietly and hope the issue goes away. How is that working for you?
God hasn’t promised us that things will always go as we hope. He does call us to action. To be a part of his kingdom plan. The truth is that God will accomplish what God has set out to do, so shouldn’t we be grateful that he is using us to that end? Don’t sit on the sidelines if God is calling you to shake up your status quo. Things will change, but remember you are playing on the winning team.
Re: Verse reading–Esther 4:4-17; 7:1-6 (day one)
“Who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this?”–4:14
“To whom much is given, much is required”, said Jesus one day to His disciples. (Luke 12:48). God’s sliding scale for judgement. Those who have much information will be judged by a higher standard than those with less privilege. Only fair.
Every blessing is also an obligation. We love BECAUSE we have been loved. (1 John 4:19). Not even a choice. A moral responsibility.
Sometimes, we conquer one kind of fear by focusing on a greater fear– of failing God, of being an ungrateful, spoiled child who always receives but never grows up to give back.
Mordecai’s words to Esther and Jesus’ words to us have a similar thread. God’s gifts are not given to us so that we can “play it safe”. His gifts prepare our hearts so that we will be ready for the risks that are involved in giving back!
Re: Verse reading–1 Kings 19:1-18 (day seven)
“Go out and stand on the mountains in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”–v 11
If you lose hope, you lose your ability to hear–so far as God is concerned. Discouragement is a weak grip that cannot hold onto God’s word. His promises and commands will come, but the hopeless heart will have no strength to receive them.
For 30 years, Elijah welcomed the word of God with manly courage. Every time. Now in a sad lapse of confidence, his heart (and his feet) are unmoved. Discouraged. Hopeless.
Then, God comes in an intriguing, new way, Still small voice. Elijah intuitively understands. Not “more of the same”. God is ever new. Elijah goes to investigate.
John Paul Jones said, “I have not begun to fight” (1779, American Revolutionary War). God says the same. Only better. We may be defeated. God isn’t.
Hope again! Your hearing will return.
Re: Verse reading–1 Kings 19:1-18 (day six)
The human heart is so fickle. One minute it can swell with confidence, and the next be overrun by fear. That was certainly true of Elijah. Elijah was afraid for his life, not to mention he was depressed over the lack of repentance, so he ran as far away as he could. Interestingly enough God does show up, but he doesn’t console him; he tells him to prepare himself for his next task.
What if the spiritual antidote to fear is movement? What if fear is overcome not through consolation but by obeying God, doing the things you know he wants you to do? Perhaps fear will never be overcome by hiding in caves, but by seeing God at work in our own obedience.
Re: Verse reading–1 Kings 19:1-18 (day five) “When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said,”
Greetings from Impact Youth Camp! It’s been a wonderful week at LeTourneau University. Each night as we worship, pray, preach, and process I see the hand and voice of the Lord at work in the hearts and lives of hundreds of teenagers.
Crying, singing, kneeling, praising, questioning, and trusting. All indicators that these young human hearts are hearing the voice of the Lord. Some for the first time, others the first time in a long time, still others continuing a regular and on-going pattern and conversation with the Living God who is both personal and powerful.
It is never a small or little thing to hear the creator of the universe call your name and speak life and truth into your soul. So, how about you? When was the last time you have personally heard and/or seen evidence of the Voice of God? Would you wait till you did? Would you call out till he speaks? Would you notice if He hasn’t?
I invite you to watch a live stream webcast tonight at 7:30 via our camp website (www.impactyouthcamp.org). Danny Panter is our camp speaker this week. You’ll be glad you did! You might even hear and see the hand and voice of God at work.
Re: Verse reading–1 Kings 19:1-18 (day four)
It was a legitimate question…”what are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah had lost his orientation. It was true…he had done some mighty things for the Lord. He had been very zealous; he had torn down the altars to Baal; he had killed the prophets of Baal. If he had, in fact, been the ‘only one left’, then why was he hiding in a cave? If he was the only voice for the Lord, he needed to be using that voice to proclaim the truth of the Lord. God had demonstrated His power by sending down fire from heaven…and where did Elijah think he got the power to kill 400 false prophets and tear down altars and outrun chariots? He had lost his vision.
Do we ever do that? Does God do mighty things in our life and we see His hand at work? Then, we are confronted by one of our fears and we completely forget that God is greater than our circumstances. Elijah had to re-orient himself to God…what will it take in our lives for us to see again the glory of the Lord?
Re: Verse reading–1 Kings 19:1-18 (day three)
“Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
Taking Elijah’s words at face value (instead of as a melodramatic attempt to gain God’s sympathy), one can hear a mind that has concluded that effectiveness has run its course. Elijah perhaps envisioned a national revival, a shift in loyalties––even at the very top––from idolatry to revelation. He had staked so much on the outcome of this showdown with the prophets of Baal that its failure to break a generations-long pattern of spiritual decay left him aimless and empty. He could not conceive of any further work; his prophetic imagination was spent. When what is longed for doesn’t come to pass, does that nullify your future in this life? Are you now an also-ran? Has God decided to make second-fiddle music with your life?
Re: Verse reading–1 Kings 19:1-18 (day two)
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” vs. 2
This is not an unfamiliar narrative. Great triumph or deliverance followed by depression or sin, it happens. Moses knew this very well. How often did God reveal himself in a tremendous way only to have the people forget. Elijah has just experienced an incredible display of God’s “realness”, and know he runs, hides, wallows in his despair. Surely there must be a way to avoid the roller coaster life of faith.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Eph. 6:11 (actually refer to 10-18 for the full passage). The reality is that scripture never instructs us to take the armor off. Once we encounter fierce opposition we should not let down our guard. Remain steadfast, on guard. Otherwise the real battle may come after the one you were ready for.