Friday, September 5, 2014

Esther Study Ch 1: God Is Working, Even When You Can't See It.

What a week! 

Today is the end of the first week in the Esther Study over at Love God Greatly. If you didn't see my previous post, FREE Esther Study, it is not too late to still do the study with me here at Faith In Every Day! So go and subscribe to LGG, receive your free Esther materials and join this excellent study! 

As a facilitator, this first week was exciting for me! I finally got to meet the ladies I have been praying for the past month! I was a bit nervous but mostly excited to get to know these women and start friendships that I pray will continue past these 8 weeks! 

Praise God! He has placed amazing women in my groups to help hold each other accountable and provide support to each other on our life journey. Its only 5 days in and I can already see bonds forming! I can see that these are going to be a transformative 8 weeks! 

Chapter 1 of Esther was our objective this week, as well as some very well picked support verses that helped us dig deeper into analyzing our own character. 

1. "For Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also" 

Matthew 6:21

The first few chapters of Esther give a detailed account of Xerxes and Vashti hosting 180 days of banquets and exuberance. They were displaying their wealthy for all to see, showing off if you will. They were wealthy and they basked in its glory, that was their treasure. Their hearts were consumed with physical material things, and making sure that everyone knew of their riches.

But Matthew reminds us that, your heart is where your treasure lies. It got me thinking, we live in a world where materialism is at its peak. I heard that today people started waiting in line for the new iPhone 6 that won't even be out for 3 more weeks! And its all to be able to say that they have it, they have the newest and the best.

Is it the newest and the best? Yes its new.

The best? Probably not. My guess is that it has only a few things different than the last version and they just want the hype to be up again so that you are willing to pay $$$ for something that will just break or get stolen.

The only treasure that will not be destroyed or stolen and will last for eternity is the treasure you place in heaven. And you can only have that treasure if your heart is there too. 

  • Where is your money, time, and energy placed? Is your life filled with things of this world or with eternal things?  

2. "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult"

Proverbs 12:16

Xerxes had been throwing a massive party where alcohol was constant, he gave his guests whatever they wanted to drink.

Just imagine what a hollywood bash would look like, cocktail waitresses walking around with drinks every man having a good time. Then multiply that by 7 days of drunkenness.

While drunk Xerxes calls for his wife, who denies his request for whatever reason. She disrespected him and he became immediately angry and offended.

This Proverb reminds us that when we loose our temper when we are insulted, we are the ones who look like fools. I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of this more times than not. When I am hurt, I most definitely don't over look it. But its something that God is calling us to do as Christians. We must remain calm and level headed because our emotions should not be able to control our actions.

  • What's your immediate reaction when someone insults you? Do you remain calm, or do you lash out? 

3. "Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Ephesians 5:33

After Xerxes was disrespected from his wife, Vashti, he talked to his advisors and other Kings of Persia  to figure out what he should do about her. They all agreed that if the other women heard what Vashti had done that they would do the same, causing no end to the disrespect. Because of this Xerxes striped Vashti of her crown, and made a decree stating that women must respect their husbands.

Forcing women to respect their husbands is not love, as God commands, its control. You cannot force someone to love or respect you, only God can change an unwilling heart. But we are called to respect our husbands no matter what, even if we don't feel like they deserve it.

The husbands don't get off the hook here though, they are commanded to love their wives, as himself. Both of these are not natural to either party, but if you do as God commands it makes for a much happier marriage. 

  •  Do you respect your husband wishes without grumbling or questioning? Do you love your wife as yourself, in the way that she needs to be loved? 

The overall take away of Chapter 1 is that God is at work even before we enter the picture. Everything works out perfectly to his plan, and so we can trust that he is working in our lives now for a purpose. If you are going through a hard time, or don't understand why something is happening. Just be patient because God is doing his work and when it is completed you will be able to see how it all worked out for your good! 

I have only skimmed the surface over what we covered in Esther this week. It was a great week of introspection to see what characteristics I have and need to work on. God truly is going to work on my character these 8 weeks, and refine me to be more like Christ.

I hope you will join me on this journey! 

Your turn! Comment below with what you took away from Chapter 1 this week! 

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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