VIDEO A Place and a Voice

Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.” Esther 7:3


In the battle for civil rights for African American citizens in America, three names stand out: Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. Each, in their own way, stood out against racial prejudice and helped change the course of American history.

A young Jewish girl named Esther changed the world when she was made queen of Persia. A courtier of the king hatched a plan to kill all the Jews in Persia, and Esther risked her life by exposing the plan to the king, saving her people from certain genocide. She realized God had given her a voice, and she spoke up (Esther 4:14). Another example was Nehemiah who approached the Persian king (after the events of Esther) for permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of the city—another risky request, which was granted.

One person can change the course of history in a day. God has given you a place and a voice to stand for Him (2 Timothy 1:7). 

The man who kneels to God can stand up to anything.  Louis H. Evans

Esther 7-8

Spiritual Renewal

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

Chinese medicine has practiced pearl powder exfoliation for thousands of years, using ground pearls to scrub away dead cells resting at the top of the skin. In Romania, rejuvenating therapeutic mud has become a widely sought-after exfoliant that’s purported to make skin youthful and glowing. All over the world, people use body care practices they believe will renew even the dullest of skin.

The tools we’ve developed to maintain our physical bodies, however, can only bring us temporary satisfaction. What matters more is that we remain spiritually healthy and strong. As believers in Jesus, we’re given the gift of spiritual renewal through Him. The apostle Paul wrote, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The challenges we face daily can weigh us down when we hold on to things like fear, hurt, and anxiety. Spiritual renewal comes when we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (v. 18). We do this by turning our daily worries over to God and praying for the fruit of the Holy Spirit—including love, joy, and peace—to emerge anew in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). When we release our troubles to God and allow His Spirit to radiate through us each day, He restores our souls.

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

How can you ask God to renew your spirit? How does the work of the Holy Spirit encourage you today?

Jesus, each day I face obstacles that try to break my spirit. Sometimes I feel defeated, but I know that through You my spirit can be renewed.

For further study, read A Story of a Life Led by the Spirit.

Handling Conflict and Criticism

Ask God to help you respond to conflict with Christ’s love, kindness, and wisdom Philippians 1:12-18

It is clear from today’s passage that Paul was no stranger to conflict—even conflict caused by members of the church. Some people were upset that he preached to the Gentiles rather than exclusively to Jews. They also didn’t like the fact that he taught salvation by grace and not law. And some people were teaching the message with a very different motivation from the apostle’s. 

Notice how Paul responded: He was positive. The tenor of his letter is one of encouragement and resolve. He did not lash out at his critics; he did not defend himself. He defended the gospel, but he did so in love and without harshness. Paul was happy that the name and good news of Jesus Christ were being preached, regardless of whether the motive was sincerity or envy. He was so concerned for the souls of others that he responded out of selflessness rather than selfishness. 

What’s amazing is that Paul wrote this encouraging letter during his confinement in a Roman jail, and the prison guards learned about the gospel from him. Your words and behavior can likewise reflect Christ to unbelievers you encounter. May God help you stay the course as Paul did—even when your situation may involve controversy and criticism.

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)

There is coming a time—perhaps not too far in the future—when all the kings and other rulers of the world will “have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (v. 13), the great humanistic world system of the last days, whose Satan-possessed leader will then have power “given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (13:7).

Only one opponent will remain, the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, against whom “the kings of the earth…take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2-3).

So they will proceed to “make war with the Lamb,” but they will lose! At the final “appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:14-15). He, who as God’s sacrificial Lamb has taken “away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), is greater than all kings and rulers.

No longer as the submissive Lamb before His shearers (Isaiah 53:7), but as the “Word of God,” out of whose once-silent mouth now “goeth a sharp sword” with which He shall “smite the nations.” He will have “on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords” (Revelation 19:13, 15-16).

Indeed, the kings and leaders of the whole world will think they can successfully “make war with the Lamb,” but He “shall overcome them.” In that great day that is coming, it will be far better to be with Him than with them! HMM

Make Friends with Money

Luke 16:1-13

ONE of the strangest of the parables of Jesus is that of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13). Here is a steward about to be turned out of his job who cleverly gets himself into the good graces of debtors to his master by reducing all their accounts. He thus hopes to be welcomed into their homes after he loses his position. And his master commends, him, not for his dishonesty but for his foresight in looking after himself.

Our Lord uses this strange story to drive home the point that the people of this world are more prudent in their temporal affairs than believers who are stewards of the manifold grace of God. The proper investment of money is in helping others, that when we die they may welcome us to our eternal home. It is plainly taught that those we help here shall greet us in heaven if they are believers—and that throws light on recognition of friends in heaven. Paul tells us to share with others and lay up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:18-19).

We are bidden to labor, working with our hands the thing which is good, that we may have, not something to put away in the bank, but to give to him that needeth (Eph. 4:28). It is generally overlooked that the Bible teaches that money is to be invested in others, where it is sure to pay dividends. If the thousands who put it in banks during the past years had put it in human lives, they might now be realizing returns.

But our Lord goes even further. He plainly declares (Luke 16:10-12) that how we handle money is an index to how we would handle greater treasure. If we do not rightly use that which is another’s (for to have is to owe, not own), how shall we use spiritual wealth? I am convinced that God is withholding blessing from many a man today because He has first tried the man out with money and he has not been faithful in that, so He will not commit greater things to his stewardship. If we are unfaithful in the less, we shall surely be in the greater. The Pharisees derided Jesus for this teaching. They still deride the man today who follows Him in this precept and practice. For Pharisees follow the wisdom of earth and lay up treasure, while the Lord bids us to be rich toward God and rich in faith. After all these years of preaching, the average Christian follows the worlds code in investment of money.

It certainly is a neglected truth that the use we make of money here will have much to do with our heavenly reception when we reach the other side. The greatest fortune is found in friends, and the Christian should certainly use spiritual foresight even as this world uses it in things temporal. Make friends with money rightly spent in the name of the Lord!

“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”

Exodus 13:17, 18, 20-22

Exodus 13:18

The Lord is mindful of the infirmities of his people. He meant them to see many wars hereafter, but as yet they were all unused to fighting, and therefore were to be led by a quieter though a longer road. Blessed be God, our troubles shall not be ready for us till we are ready for them.

Exodus 13:20-22

The pillar was their infallible conductor; it also screened them by day and lit up the camp by night. God’s mercies are many-sided. We can only do one thing well at a time, but the Lord accomplishes many devices at one stroke.

Exodus 14:1-5, 8-14

Exodus 14:1-2

This seemed a strange direction, but Moses obeyed it without question. Let us go where the Lord bids us though the way be perilous.

Exodus 14:8

God’s plagues had not changed the King’s rebellious nature. When he saw that he had lost his valuable slaves, his greed made him rush after them.

Exodus 14:12

This unbelief was both unjust and cruel. Had they not seen the Lord’s works in the great plagues? Could they not believe that he who had wrought such marvels could and would deliver them? They were smitten with panic, and were willing to return to bondage; whereas true freemen never debate which of the two to choose, slavery or death.

Exodus 14:13, 14

This meekest of men answered the people meekly and believingly, for prayer enabled him to conquer his own spirit.

Forward! but whither shall we go?

The desert is on either side,

Behind us the Egyptian foe,

Before, the interposing tide!

Yet while we thy command obey,

Our road impassable pursue,

The ocean yields an open way,

And lets thy ransomed people through.

God Blesses His Children for Holy Intentions

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me.John 8:54

“Them that honour me I will honour,” said God once to a priest of Israel, and that ancient law of the kingdom stands today unchanged by the passing of time or the changes of dispensation. The whole Bible and every page of history proclaim the perpetuation of that law.

“If any man serve me, him will my Father honour,” said our Lord Jesus, tying in the old with the new and revealing the essential unity of His ways with men.

It seems plain that almost any Bible character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk was so honored. See how God overlooked weaknesses and failures as He poured upon His servants grace and blessing untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest the seed. The man of God set his heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made the difference!

In our Lord Jesus Christ this law was seen in simple perfection. He sought not His own honor, but the honor of the God who sent Him.

“If I honour myself,” He said on one occasion, “my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honoureth me.” So far had the proud Pharisees departed from this law that they could not understand one who honored God at his own expense.