Bringing Blog Baby Back

This blog is my writing baby… I started my journey as an author in the pages of this site. Writing about the trials going on in the lives of our little family was therapeutic. It was also encouraging to connect with others from miles away and know we were not alone. When my husband was dying I sent out an SOS asking for prayer warriors to raise up on our families behalf. The power of prayer was evident in the light that shone through despite the dark news of my beloved’s death. The picture of Josh’s going into the arms of the Savior Jesus Christ was pressed on my heart with his smile at the moment of his passing into glory. His face glowed and the sunrise that met us there that morning when he left this earth. As a widow this blog kept inspiring me to dig into God’s Word for wisdom and inspiration in the life I had to continue with my two sons without him. It was a joy to continue to write on a weekly basis.

Then the opportunity for me to take online classes at The Master’s University opened up and that was such a gift from the Lord during an intensely trying time of waiting. It was after listening to a sermon by Steve Lawson that I was moved to not sit idly but to do something where God had me. I decided to go back to school at The Master’s University to finish a degree I had begun years prior. As classes picked up, the blog writing time dwindled a bit.

During the craziness of Covid, I met and married my wonderful new husband within a one year period. It was fun for my two boys and I to get to know him and we just fell in love. God’s love that knit us together. Naturally, my husband and our blended family took on my primary ministry and we soon found ourselves expecting a baby boy. I managed to graduate from TMU with my Master’s in Biblical Studies during that time period but left the blog on the back burner while I had a bun in the oven.

While still pregnant, January 2022, I made a New Year resolution that became was left unfulfilled. The Spring season was a hoary time of new life for us while at the same time a challenging for me struggling with post-postpartum recovery and breastfeeding. The temptation when faed with an unmet goal is to become discouraged. Whether it’s being behind on a resolution, Bible reading plan, school lesson, or work. Or feeling crushed at a dream unrealized… whatever it is, the real challenge is to get back up on the saddle. Thankfully for a Christian we have a merciful Savior who sympathizes with our weakness and remembers that we are but dust. The first step for us is to recognize that we fall short and to pray for God to intervene. Nonetheless, we can’t loose hope nor let the past stop us from pressing on toward the future and seek to finish what we started. Whatever our goals were and however long it’s been since we have neglected them, if we still have breath, it is not too late.

Paul was not deterred by his past failures and bleak history. And the guy was responsible for the murder of Stephen, who was such a godly man that his face shone bright like that of our Lord as he was be brutally killed by Paul’s men. Yet, it was not Paul who was able to pick himself up from his boot straps and change himself out of being a persecutor of the church. In fact, Paul had to be struck blind in order to see Jesus and seek spiritual healing. So I am asking for your prayers if you are reading this, for me to pick up the writing back and study some woman in church history that may inspire us in our own journeys. And please let me know how I can pray for you.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Photo credit: Lucas and Suzy Van Dyke


Tested in the Trenches: the Faith of Miss Corrie Ten Boom

Church history icon: Corrie Ten Boom (April 15, 1892- April 15, 1983).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 

Miss Corrie Ten Boom is a woman of the faith who made a significant impact on the world and the church. It is good to take a look at her life and how she sacrificed of herself for others during a turbulent time in history. We may not be in the same political climate as Miss Ten Boom right now but we could be closer to it than we realize as the Lord’s return ever draws nearer than it was before.

As daughters of the King, we can relate to Miss Ten Boom if we share a common love for the Savior Jesus Christ that transcends all other worldly ambitions. She loved her neighbor in a practical way by risking her life for the Jews because of God’s love for her and for them. Her father Casper Ten Boom was a man of faith who would not accept submission to the governing authorities when it called Christians to go against God’s law. The Creator God rightly held supreme authority in the lives of the Ten Booms. Mr. Ten Boom along with his family hid, fed, and thought the Bible to Jews during the Holocaust.

The noble faith of this women was tested when she was with her entire family was caught and arrested for hiding the Jews. They were taken to various concentration camps. Corrie was taken to the same camp as her sister Betsy. The two sisters had both remained single and lived at home with their father helping with the family watch repair business and were very close friends. In her autobiography, The Hiding Place, she often recounts how her sister Betsy would encourage her faith when it wavered. Miss. Ten Boom was tempted to hate those who mistreated her and at times failed to see God’s hand in her trying circumstances.

Miss Ten Boom had been a Bible teacher for children with disabilities and had many contacts from this venture. She boldly used her connections to obtain 100 food ration cards to provide for those hiding in their home. Each time Miss Ten Boom sought aide from others, she would reveal her own intention to help the Jews and risked being discovered. However, she relied on God to lead her to the people who would be willing to partner with her. At one time, she asked a pastor to help them hide a newborn baby. To the shock of the Ten Booms, the pastor refused citing obedience to governments, yet agreed not to report them to the authorities.

At one point, Corrie and Betsy were placed in a woman’s dorm full of lice on top of having to work hard doing inhuman labor with little nourishment. Nonetheless, the Ten Boom sisters were able to see with eyes of faith how God allowed them to sneak a Bible into their dorm by way of the lice, which none of the guards were willing to check. Betsy died in the concentration camp just shortly before Corrie was released. However, coming out alive, Miss Ten Boom saw it as her God-given appointment to come out of the camp to tell of Betsy’s testimony, forgive those who mistreated her, and share that gospel message of forgiveness of sins through Christ. To God’s glory, one of Miss Ten Boom’s initial jailers believed in her very message of forgiveness of sins in Jesus, and thanked her personally. Though she in herself could not forgive this man, the strength of her Christian faith enabled her to do so.

Even if we may feel like this woman is not like us, in our day and circumstances, we share the most valuable thing in common—our faith in Christ. Miss Ten Boom lived in a different era, with the unique challenges or war and the holocaust. However, we still battel some of the same issues she faced in her time; that is our need to love others sacrificially and forgive those who have hurt us most. We can do this all in light of the precious gift of faith we have received from our Savior, Jesus Christ.

A New Year’s Resolution

With the New Year coming up and our new baby due in February, I’d like to challenge myself and invite you along to study one woman in church history a month.

Women have rocked the world in church history and continue to inspire us to greater faith to pass on to the next generation. We have much spiritual grain to gain from gleaning on the fields of women who have gone on before us. God defines faith to us in Hebrews 11 by giving us examples to imitate the saving faith of not only men but notably women too. Some of these heroines now in heaven include Sarah and Rahab. These ladies were not known for being perfect, yet they possess something of eternal value, which in Christ we have access to by studying their lives and conquering faith of which God best remembered of them. We see this in how the Scriptures describe their faith, “Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release so that they might rise again to a better life.” (Hebrews 11:35). In this passage, the writer tells us that the list of faithful saints for us to imitate goes on and on (Hebrews 11:32-40). We could survey more women of faith in the Bible and women who came after whose faith made a significant difference in the world. Looking at the lives of women who were like us in many ways, imperfect and wrought with emotions, can be such a help and encouragement, especially when spending so much time with little ones. God has something to say to us specifically as women by looking at other women of faith through church history and Christian biographies.

As a stay-at-home wife and mother, and former widow, I have been personally inspired to take my role in my home more seriously after reading biographies on women like Elisabeth Elliot and Sarah Edwards. Women in church history have long impacted the world for Christ in the legacy of their homes, such as Mrs. Sarah Edwards. Her life was simple—caring for her husband, children, and home; however, done in humble, full-hearted devotion to Christ, which made a difference to all who got a glimpse of her faith. She frequently extended hospitality to men who would become fearless leaders such as Pastor Samuel Hopkins, abolitionist William Ellery Canning, and George Whitefield.[1] All who entered her home left changed by observing Mrs. Edwards’s life and faith. She had such an impact that those who knew her went on to affect history for the better.

We can’t think if our husbands are not pastors or politicians, we can’t make a difference in this world for Christ. Historically, the church has had a rich heritage of growth through the hospitality and evangelism of seemingly obscure women. We see this in the example of Paul’s commendation to a long list of women at the end of Romans, and the faith of Timothy’s grandmother and mother passed down to him (Romans 16, 2 Timothy 1:5). We never know who our children will grow up to be—potentially the next president, missionary, or prolific writer. Conversely, they could be the most notorious criminals. Our children are born as sinners in need of us, pointing them to saving faith in Christ by word and example. As mothers, we make such an impact on our children either for good or for evil. It is imperative we learn from faithful women and mothers who are commendable and worthy to be emulated.

It’ll be my resolution to read about a different woman each month and write about her. What about your resolutions? I would love to hear your ideas too and be inspired. Wishing and praying for a blessed New Year in 2022 for you!

[1] Piper, Noel. Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 25-27.

The Joy of Faith: a Motherly Example in Anna

“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke2:36-38)

The glorious plan of redemption was told from the prophets and prophetesses of old. Moses spoke hope to God’s people at the very account of the fall in Genesis by stating that there would come a seed from the woman whose heel would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). Anna was a woman of God who was enthusiastically expecting the serpent-crusher. She was called a prophetess not because she predicted the future or claimed to hear the voice in her head, but because she taught God’s Word.[1] She was a diligent student of Scripture in the temple for the rest of her widowed life, which made her privy to the predictions of the Messiah and being able to recognize His birth. Rather than follow after the enticements of the sneaky snake or the things the world offered, this lady was intent on the purpose to which God called her. In verse 37, God reveals to us that this lady was committed to God’s service and prayer continually. “Luke depicts Anna as swelling in an ivory tower of the spirit, aloof from worldly preoccupations. She lived on a plane apart from material things and ‘served God with fasting and prayers night and day.’”[2]

God had so captivated Anna’s affections that she didn’t look to anything or anyone else for fulfillment. The world around this woman had not distracted her from waiting for Jesus’ coming. And her affirmation came the happy day when she got to personally see Christ face to face though in only His infancy. What joy filled Anna’s heart than to get to thank God for a brief little glimpse into His redemptive plan for all of humanity! 

I think it was because she was so preoccupied with God’s Word and will that she couldn’t help by the Spirit to be filled with joy at what she saw before her eyes—God in a human form sent to savior His people from their sin and all of the effects of the fall. Anna didn’t become discontent that in her old age, she probably wouldn’t see Jesus grow up and perform miracles. She was very old and likely didn’t live much longer after seeing baby Jesus. However, those last years of her life were well spend praising and thanking God for His goodness and telling everyone that Messiah had come! “The day of His dedication was probably her one and only glimpse of Him. But it was enough for her. She literally could not stop talking about Him. And that is the most endearing part of this wonderful woman’s extraordinary legacy.”[3]  (MacArthur, Twelve Extraordinary Women, 140). 

Anna probably never had physical children but she became a mother to all of us women who would listen and follow her example of persevering faith that yields lasting joy and sees God at work in His redemptive plan in History. Anna’s reward for her life of purity and devotion was to see God, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). This is the blessing I pray for all the women reading this short devotion, and a happy Mother’s Day to all!

  [1] MacArthur, John.  The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Luke 1-5. (Chicago: Moody Press, 2009), 185.

[2] Deen, Edith.  All the Women of the Bible

(Edison: Castle Books, 1955), 173. 

[3] MacArthur, John.  Twelve Extraordinary Women, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 140.                                                                             

Fought-for Freedom

Photo credit: Suzy Van Dyke, taken @ Bouquet Canyon Church:

“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:15-17). 

The glorious plan of redemption was necessary from beginning because sin leads to suffering and death.  The suffering and death of Christ had to come before it’s freedom and victory.  God loved the world so much that He would not allow Satan and the fall of mankind to steal His image-bearing Creation away.  The Father had a magnificent plan for the redemption of humanity from the moment of the fall.  It was Jesus who would carry it out.  Even though He would have to suffer, the Savior would not be deterred. 

Jesus marched onward to accomplish God’s perfect will on the cross.  Suffering was necessary was a result of sin.  In the same way, suffering would be needed to end death and defeat of sin.  The cross is a symbol of victory for the Christian.  The suffering of Christ won victory over sin, death, and Satan.  The first step toward paying the penalty of our sins and taking the cup of God’s wrath was to be sentenced as a criminal being completely innocent.  The highest point of suffering for Jesus was when He was handed over to be crucified. 

Charles H. Spurgeon appropriately calls Psalm 22 the Psalm of the Cross for in it we get a picture of the suffering Jesus experienced as being forsaken by God the Father.   The Psalm prophetically records the last dying words of Jesus, in verses 1-2 He says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.” When we turn to the New Testament we hear the Jesus cry out the same words, “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” (Matthew 27:46).  Jesus at this point on the cross would be and did in fact feel abandoned by God.

Even in the mists of being abandoned by God and tempted with abuse and mockery, Jesus does not sin nor try to correct their injustice.  In Psalm 22:7-8 we can almost hear Jesus on the cross say, “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’ The fulfillment was seen in Matthew 27:41-44 which describes the turn of events, “In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself!”

However, the cross was not in vain.  The righteous suffering of Jesus brought salvation to the world. Jesus came into the world as had been foretold by the prophets to bring salvation to His people. This was His message during His earthly ministry but few would embrace it.  His own people and even His bother rejected Him at one point, and crucified Him for the very reason of His suffering.  They would not receive a suffering Messiah.   But the Messiah had to suffer to make atonement for sins.  This is the essence of the gospel. 

The implications of the gospel are bearing on every individual.  Our response to the suffering of Jesus should be our willingness to take up our cross daily and follow Him.  We will never have to suffer the way that Jesus did.  We are assured to never be forsaken as Christ was.  We will not have to bear the weight of God’s wrath upon our back.  However, we are to set our gaze on the cross and suffer whatever He wills.  Meanwhile, we can trust that He will not suffer our harm but will see us to the celestial city (Romans 8) for the very reason that Christ suffered in our place. As tragic and gloomy as the suffering of Jesus is, the gift of eternal life that Christ-followers receive from it far outweigh its agony.  So let’s live a life of praise to the Lord, for He is risen!

A Sign of Coming Blessings

Isaiah 7:14

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a blessed yet humble instrument God used to bring about His redemptive plan of salvation for the world. Yet, it didn’t start that Christmas day when Christ was born. God had already announced the coming of a child to deliver His people from the tyranny of sin. The Israelites couldn’t wait for Him to come and deliver them from political oppression. Now we can see predictions of Jesus’ coming birth and regency proclaimed by Isaiah hundreds of years beforehand.

The book of Isaiah is a glorious glimpse of the Messiah during a dark time of Israel’s history. The book starts describing God’s holiness and contrasting it with the unrighteous of Israel. Hence, judgment is the natural result of this discrepancy. The people have not kept the covenant. The message of Isaiah is that God’s people, who are supposed to represent Him, have broken the convent with idolatry, social injustice, and religious ritualism (Hays, 99). More than any kind of sacrificial pretense, the Lord is interested in their hearts. Within the judgment of Israel, the glory of God is magnified in His salvation and fulfills the demands of justice and righteousness that humankind can’t possibly attain. The holiness of God is introduced in chapter six, which leads to the conclusion that mankind is utterly sinful. In Isaiah’s commission he needs cleansing too. The wages of sin must be met—that is God’s justice. God is the only one without sin. And it’s only His righteousness that is sufficient for our cleansing.

Isaiah begins to speak of the sign of a child (7:14).  Isaiah gloriously looks to the coming of a child that will redeem God’s people from their deserved punishment.  The titles used for the coming child include: Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, and Prince of Peace.  These titles reflect the divinity of the child and His righteousness.  The child is to be born of a virgin.  This women was Mary who humbly acknowledged her own unrighteousness and His holiness in her song of praise in Luke. The birth of the child would be the fulfillment of this prophecy.  Isaiah envisions a day that is marked by peace as a result of a child being given to deliver God’s people from oppression and from their own sinful bent.  “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” (Isaiah 9:7). 

Isaiah demonstrates how Gods justice and righteousness will be established in the world through judgment that will later bring a time of peace and restoration (Hays, 110).  The time of judgment that Isaiah elaborates on in this section would be necessary first, unless Israel would repent of their idolatry, social injustice, and self-righteousness. The prophet goes back and forth preaching about judgment with signs of hope sprinkled throughout.  In the latter part of chapter ten, Isaiah offers the hope of a remaining remnant of faithful Jews that will return and the Messiah would come from that stump. 

The message in this passage is that God can be trusted to deliver His people from even from the most ruthless adversaries or wicked leaders (Hays, 110).  The section from Isaiah 7-39 highlights the justice and righteousness of God, which calls for Israel’s need to be delivered.  Not only did God’s people fall prey to the temptations of the nations around them but God Himself gave them over to the oppression of the wicked.  He did this to draw them to genuine repentance and restoration.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t realize they needed God.  Isaiah is showing Israel that the Lord is just and must punish their sin, but also that He is righteous; and that, unlike them, God will not utterly forsake them.  We can find hope here in knowing that no matter what happens in this world or how evil it becomes, God will redeem the earth and bring His sons and daughters to glory in a heavenly kingdom that will never be shaken. 

Praise God for Jesus and His glorious salvation that was planned long ago. We can be grateful and boast of His awesome gospel during this thanksgiving season as we look forward to celebrating His birth!

Thanks for reading and following. I hope and pray you have a Happy Thanksgiving with loved ones basking in His numerous blessings!

Is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Most Blessed?

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his offspring forever.’” Luke 46-55

Mary is often portrayed as lofty and exalted. Truly, she is one of the most fortunate women in all of history. It’s right for us to call her blessed. Mary herself knew that all future generations would call her blessed (Luke 1:48). Yet, more than anything, her lips praised God for His blessing to her undeservedly. Mary magnifies not herself, but her lord in this song. We hear Mary confess her lowliness and contrasts it with God’s greatness. She says that God’s mercy is for those who fear Him, not for those who believe they are good people of high morals (Luke 1:50). In fact, she tells us that God shows His strength by scattering the proud and bringing down those who brag about themselves. Mary was not just making up a fine-tune, but recounting God’s faithfulness as recorded in the Scriptures. She identifies God’s mercy and loyal love solely based on His promises, such as His covenant to Abraham. When we recognize our need for His mercy in light of our utter unworthiness we are the objects of God’s honor and blessing. God is the one who gives blessings (Pslam 72:17). When the angel appeared to Mary, she was terrified (Luke 1:29). She was but a young girl from a seemingly obscure town. The message from the angel was that she had found favor from the Lord. Her response was to be a willing servant of the Most High God.

Mary is not worthy of her blessedness in her own merit but in God’s gracious choice. He uses an ordinary woman to show His extraordinary love and faithfulness toward lost souls. All of us are bent on breaking God’s law. The law given to Moses showed us how inept we are at keeping God’s perfect standard of holiness and unable to enter His heavenly courts on our own—the glory of His presence and being free of the pain of sin and death. Life eternal is something that has to be granted based on the free gift of Jesus’ perfect life poured out for us on the cross. Mary gave birth to the perfect child who was fully human and yet fully divine. It had to be miraculous and from the Holy Spirit and yet also in fallen flesh and blood to represent humanity (Gal 4:4-5). What was it like for Mary to have a son who never, even once, sinned? The Bible tells us that Mary had other children with Joseph after the virgin birth of Jesus (Mark 6:3). James who later believed and became an instrumental figure was one of His brothers. He wrote the letter of James in the New Testament. Did Mary struggle to not favor Jesus over her other children? We know they had a hard time believing—they must have envied Him greatly. Mary was blessed but not perfect. There was a time when she too along with Jesus’ earthly brothers didn’t understand His mission and even tried to keep Him from God-given ministry (Mark 3:31, Matthew 12:46).

Jesus at the beginning of His ministry addresses Mary as “woman” to compare His deity with her humanity (John 2:4-5). Jesus would prove to be the Son of God when His time came to die and rise. She was merely a created being who wept under His feet. Mary, like all men and women, was un-mistakenly and lovingly made in His image; yet He was her Savior. In the magnificent song Mary penned in this passage, she rejoiced in this her Savior. It was from the promised seed—Christ, whom she and the entire world would be blessed (Gen 22:18). More than being the earthly mother of Jesus, the blessed are those who hear God’s Word and seek to abide in it (Luke 11:27-28). Praise the Lord for His choice in you and me who are in Christ—to be His servants and testify of our blessed Savior!

God’s Name Displayed in Ester’s Faith

“Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Aaiter and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, ‘If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?’ Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, ‘Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.'” Ester 8:3-8 ESV

Esther was an ordinary woman placed by God’s sovereign hand at the right time and place for an extraordinary act of faith. In the previous chapters, we saw how God gave Esther and her uncle Mordecai favor before the king to place them both in high positions in the palace. Even at that time, God had been preparing them for greater acts of courage to come when their lives and those of the entire Jews nation would be on the line. God was taking their little faith and growing it to accomplish an extraordinary act of deliverance for all mankind in preserving the seed from which Messiah would come to deliver once and for all from the curse of sin and death.
The book of Esther is a controversial book for several reasons. One is that God’s name is not explicitly mentioned in the entire book. However, as the story unfolds we clearly see God’s saving gracious character displayed through the ordained circumstances He brought about, and the faith-fueled actions of His people. When Esther found out that the evil official Hamman deceitfully plotted to annihilate her people, she had a choice to sit idly by or to risk her neck for them. Mordecai warned her that she is not safe merely for being queen, as Vashti’s absence would testify. If she chose not to act, God would still save His people based on His faithfulness. Here was one women’s chance to be graciously used by Him to bring about His good purposes even in the midst of devastating oppression and evil. “Here is a woman who had not only high courage but sincere faith and a devotion to the cause of her people. Also she had exhibited real loyalty in her co-operation with her cousin Mordecai, who had reared her and was largely responsible for the fact that she now sat on the throne of Persia. The king’s affection she seems also to have won wholeheartedly.” (Edith Deen. All the Women of the Bible,149).
We see God’s saving power in giving Esther favor with the king and working in his heart so that he would desire to recognize Mordecai at precisely the time that Hamman was about to kill him. This story ends with the triumph not of Esther but of her mighty God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. If we take refuge in Christ, He will act on our behalf and deliver us.
Father God, we praise you for your power to save and deliver your people! Thank you for the testimony of the faith of Esther and Mordecai that may have started of mustard seed size but was solid and able to move mountains of adversity. May you grow our faith lived out in acts of obedience and courage when times get tough that Your name be further proclaimed and glorified.

Ester’s Estate of Faith

“When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go into the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.” Ester 2:15-18

We love Ester because of her fearlessness! Ester was a young lady known for her trust in God amidst turbulent times.  After the tragic death of both her father and mother, she was left alone. God kindly provided for under the authority of her uncle Mordecai. In God’s providence, she had the opportunity to become queen.  The king was a pagan and immoral ruler. It must have been scary for Ester to follow her uncle’s advice to go to the palace to request to be seen by the king. Yet, she went. She did so carefully following the instructions of her leader. It was an act of submission that contrasts the one of the former queen—Vashti. In this simple act of courage, God was preparing her heart for a bigger act of faith that lay ahead where she’d risk her life to save those of her people. God rewarded Ester for her faith and that of Mordecai who must have been praying for her. She won favor from the king. Mordecai also gained the king’s favor and was given an open door to be placed in a high position in the palace. The Lord placed Ester in the royal seat to accomplish salvation for her family and her people—God’s people. It was not for her reputation or glory but in order to bring salvation to His people and glorify Himself.

God’s sovereignty is seen in how He uses even pagan rulers and worldly systems to bring about His purposes and save His children.  No matter what our government and world look like we can take refuge in God’s saving character and faithfulness to His children. The basis of God’s love is not ourselves. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of His perfect standard. God’s favor is given to us by His grace and love. The greatest demonstration of His love was in sending Jesus to give up His life for ours. Now as a response to His kindness we are to be moved by gratitude and joy into obedience out of our thankfulness for His goodness and love. Faithful obedience starts with the little things every day that help us respond better to the bigger tests of our resolve to honor God. Sometimes, mature believers are used by God to help push us toward this kind of courageous and risky obedience like that demonstrated by Ester and even Mordecai who encouraged her to be brave.

Father God, you are in control of all things–times and seasons and governments.  We take refuge in Your protection and provision.  May we trust in Your providence and sovereignty and be moved with faithful resolve to the ways You seek to use to grow our faith and accomplish your purposes. May your will be done in us on earth as is in heaven. For Your glory and kingdoms’ sake.

A Look at the Magnificent Faith of Rahab Part 3

“and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” Joshua 2:9-13

The story of Rahab is a beautiful example of God’s redemption purposes for all nations through His people.  The gospel is proclaimed through her example.  Rahab is vital as she acts as both a warning and encouragement to God’s chosen people.  A warning that the Gentiles could be grafted in and put Israel to shame, and an encouragement to the power of God that would be with them as long as they were moved by faith to obey (Romans 11:18-20).

There can be no allegation to God’s injustice in choosing only the Jews for they were meant to not only to receive a special blessing but to extend it to all who would believe in the LORD and seek to follow His way.  God is holy and demands perfection.  The reality is that no man or woman born of Adam’s race deserves heaven for in Adam all sinned and humanity as a whole was sentenced to separation from God (Romans 5:12).  The gospel is the good news that God was born as a man and bore the punishment of sin that man would become Christ’s righteousness (2Cor 5:21).  Through the royal seed of Abraham, Messiah claims victory over death and the crushes the curse of sin (Gen 3:15).

God’s great love for the world drove Him to send His only son to atone for the sins of all who would repent and believe—both Jew, Gentile, and Canaanite alike (John 3:16, Mark 1:15).  By faith, Rahab stands in sharp contrast to the response of her native people who had long refused to submit to God’s authority and means to be saved.   They had set themselves as Yahweh’s enemies.   Redemption was offered even to the Canaanites devoted to genocide during Israel’s conquest as evidenced in the salvation of Rahab and her family.   When people gave their allegiance to Yahweh and became holy belonging to Him, they were no longer under the order of destruction.

The message of salvation through faith alone is so loud in this short passage of Scripture.  The character of Rahab plays a critical role, yet not a glamorous one.  She is a positive example not by her virtue but in her weakness made strong through faith in Yahweh (Hebrews 11).  The mercy of God that triumphs judgment is highlighted by her redemption from paganism to becoming a carrier of the promised seed that will crush the seed of the deceiver (Matthew 1, Gen 3).  Rahab’s identity as a gentile devoted to destruction reveals that salvation was not exclusively for the Jews  even in the Old Testament.  This snapshot of God’s grace captures the essence of salvation which comes by faith alone and is manifested in love for the LORD and His people.  May we be Spirit-empowered to reach out to the despicable and the unlovable, as Jesus Himself reaches tax collectors and sinners, with the message of Rahab—the life-changing message of the gospel to the praise of His glorious grace.

Believers must not also fall into the trap of looking down our noses at God’s business of saving men and women from the uttermost pits and do as He pleases.  Our Creator God is the potter and can choose the ugliest spoiled piece of clay and remold it into the most glorious vessel (Jerimiah 18:6-10).  The honor is not for Rahab but the glory given to God all the more for saving such a wretched lost soul and transform her into a most useful agent of bringing about victory for His people.  All the more glory is given to God that neither Joshua, Rahab, nor the spies, nor any woman may boast (Eph 2:8).