VIDEO The Honeymoon Is Over

Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times… those closest to him… who had access to the king’s presence. Esther 1:13-14

Comedian Jordan Peele and his new wife, Chelsea, arrived at LAX to fly from Los Angeles to London for their honeymoon. But the TSA denied Jordan access to the flight. They said his passport was too damaged. Apparently it had water damage, some bad rips, unofficial markings, or torn-out pages. Chelsea boarded the flight without him, and Peele apparently booked a later flight—after getting a new passport.

How awful to be denied access!

God’s children are never barred from His Throne of Grace. We’re like the wise men in the days of Ahasuerus, who always had access to the king’s presence. Romans 5:2 says we have “access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” And Ephesians 3:12 says, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

Don’t underestimate the privilege of having access to the King!

Having this High Priest and having this one blessed and unfailing means of access, “let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.” Frances Ridley Havergal


Esther: For Such a Time As This (Esther)

God’s Molded Instruments

We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Considered one of the greatest video games ever made, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. It’s also popularized the ocarina, a tiny, ancient, potato-shaped musical instrument made of clay.

The ocarina doesn’t look like much of a musical instrument. However, when it’s played—by blowing into its mouthpiece and covering various holes around its misshapen body—it produces a strikingly serene and hauntingly hopeful sound. 

The ocarina’s maker took a lump of clay, applied pressure and heat to it, and transformed it into an amazing musical instrument. I see a picture of God and us here. Isaiah 64:6, 8–9 tells us: “All of us have become like one who is unclean. . . . Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter. . . . Do not be angry beyond measure.” The prophet was saying: God, You’re in charge. We’re all sinful. Shape us into beautiful instruments for You.

That’s exactly what God does! In His mercy, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sin, and now He’s shaping and transforming us as we walk in step with His Spirit every day. Just as the ocarina maker’s breath flows through the instrument to produce beautiful music, God works through us—His molded instruments—to accomplish His beautiful will: to be more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29).

Reflect & Pray

How can knowing that you’re a recipient of God’s mercy affect what you think, say, and do today? How can you submit yourself to His transformation?

Father, thank You for saving me and transforming me so that I’ll become more like Your Son, Jesus. Teach me to submit to Your Spirit’s work of transforming me.

Caring for Your Conscience

1 Timothy 1:3-7

Yesterday we looked at how powerful our conscience can be, but even this divinely bestowed moral compass can be swayed by our thoughts, experiences, and background. What matters most is the amount of truth that informs it.

Since Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), trusting Him is the first step toward developing a good conscience. When He comes into our life, He gives us a new heart and mind, which can understand and apply truth. Things we once considered acceptable, we now recognize as sinful.

We also have the truth of God’s Word. As we let Scripture fill our mind, our “monitoring system” is sharpened. Then we filter thoughts and actions through the grid of God’s standard for right and wrong.

In addition, we have been given the Holy Spirit, who works with our conscience to assist us in discriminating between righteousness and sin. He also interprets Scripture for us and prompts us to apply it accurately to our life.

Thankfully, the Lord has given us everything we need to develop a good conscience, which is essential for living a godly life.

The Riches of His Grace

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

The attributes of God are characterized by the “riches of His grace.” This amazing grace led Him to shed His blood as the price of our redemption.

No wonder men have developed the familiar acrostic for GRACE—“God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.” “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Paul seems again and again to try to find descriptions for these riches. To the Romans he wrote of “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Romans 2:4) and of His plan to “make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of [his] mercy” (Romans 9:23). Speaking of God’s mercy, he exclaims, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).

The inexhaustibility of these infinite depths of grace and mercy led Paul to call these attributes “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Desiring that all believers might learn to appreciate the tremendous future they have in Christ, he prayed that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened,” somehow we might come to appreciate even now “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).

Yet, marvelously rich and full though His grace is now, there is much more to come. “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,…That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 7). HMM

What Does A Godly Person Look Like?

Hallelujah! Happy is the man who fears the Lord, taking great delight in His commandments. His descendants will he powerful in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (vv. 1-3).

God has always sought out strong individuals who are willing to commit themselves to courageous leadership. The need has never been more desperate than now! Psalm 112 suggests the prototype for this kind of leader. What does this person look like?

First, you can usually spot a godly man or woman by his or her happy countenance, I don’t mean a perpetual ear-to-ear grin or some kind of slaphappy euphoria, but a stillness, a serenity, a relaxing of the facial muscles that is rare in this world of uptight urbanites. Only the indwelling Spirit of God can bring that unearthly peace and joy—a joy that is promised to the one who takes “great delight in [passionate love for] His [the Lord’s] commandments” (v. 1).

C.S. Lewis, internationally celebrated author said, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.” Peace is found in a cause or a person greater than oneself. Christ is that quintessential Person.

Second, the godly person is prosperous (vv. 2-3). This Old Testament promise for Israel suggests that this godly leader’s children will make their mother and father proud, that the family will enjoy agricultural prosperity, and that right living will result in long life.

Our contemporary culture defines prosperity more narrowly in terms of money and financial independence only. I want to be God’s man, but I limit the Lord’s blessings if I anticipate a financial windfall. I’ll take any blessing He chooses to give me—family harmony, spiritual growth, effectiveness in ministry, knowing Him more intimately!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, let me be a godly person in a hostile world. Don’t let me settle for our cultural definition of prosperity, but open my spiritual eyes to see that Your desires for me are infinitely more satisfying than my limited dreams.

Blasphemous Thoughts

For we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] schemes. —2 Corinthians 2:11

The form of satanic attack that is probably the most difficult of all to endure is having blasphemous thoughts. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said on this: “The devil has often plagued some of the noblest saints with blasphemous thoughts—blasphemous thoughts about God, blasphemous thoughts about the Lord Jesus Christ, and blasphemous thoughts about the Holy Spirit.”

How horrible and terrifying such thoughts can be. Sometimes the Devil hurls the most awful words and phrases into the mind; but again, it is important to see that these do not arise from within the heart of the believer—they come from the Devil, who is trying to confuse and demoralize you.

How grateful we should be to the saints down the ages who have recorded these satanic attacks, for otherwise we would be tempted when experiencing them to believe that they have never happened to anyone else. Many masters of the spiritual life have described these satanic attacks in great detail—John Bunyan and Martin Luther being the two best examples.

But how do we deal with these “flaming arrows” of Satan? What action must we take to repel these devilish attacks? There is only one answer—we must take and use the shield of faith. Faith alone enables us to meet and overcome this particular type of attack. What we must not do is expose our chests, expecting the breastplate of righteousness to deal with this problem. Each piece of the equipment is designed to deal with a particular attack. And the answer here is—faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I understand the problem—now show me how to apply the answer. The answer, I see, is faith. But how does it work? How can I apply it? Teach me more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

2Co 10:1-5; Mt 22:37-38; Eph 1:22-23; Jms 4:7-8

In what ways does Satan attack the mind?

What is the scriptural antidote?

Depending on God

Psalm 121:1

In 1992 I was diagnosed with cancer. I received radiation and had multiple surgeries and chemotherapy for months. This was a very dark time of my life. Allan, my husband, was a complete source of strength and affirmation for me.

The cancer seemed to go into remission. But in 1994 it metastasized to my right lung. More chemotherapy didn’t work. In November, a doctor told me to go home and plan my funeral. I got a new doctor!

Just as I was preparing for a bone marrow transplant, the most unfathomable thing happened. Allan was diagnosed with lung cancer.

I was stunned. And for the first time, I was angry. “Cancer in one parent is enough!” I said to the Lord. Plus, I loved Allan more than I loved myself. I was grief-stricken.

I was consumed with the idea that the Lord would call me home at any moment. But God chose to sustain my life and to take Allan home to be with him in October, 1995.

My life changed dramatically after that. I asked myself, “Who is Normajean? What kind of officer will I be? How do I raise three teenagers by myself?” My life was in fragments. God showed His purpose for me in Philippians 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

Just as I was feeling strong again emotionally, my cancer returned and penetrated my bone structure. My doctor told me I would be chemotherapy dependent for the rest of my life. I had to think really hard about that. But the Lord showed me I already was a dependent person. I was dependent on the Lord for His love and guidance. I was dependent on my children and family and friends for their love. So I figured I was just adding chemotherapy to the list.

I had to ask, “What does the Lord want me to do with the days He’s given me? How can I show Christ in how I live through these days?” Opportunities have come that have been exceedingly abundantly more than I could ask or think.

People ask me if I pray for healing. I believe I am already healed. Not of cancer, but healed in my heart. Because after all I have been through, after all I have lost, after all I have suffered, I still believe in God, and I still trust Him for every day. I want Him to use my life to show He is faithful and trustworthy for the good days and the bad. And I want someday to hear Him say, “Well done!”

Normajean Honsberger, Good News!