The commander called for all young women who had not been with a man to line up in the town square. This was no surprise - the royal proclamation had already gone out that the King sought a new Queen. The girls lined up dutifully and the commander took his pick. Eventually a few were sent off to the Royal Palace. The parents feared for their safety, among them Mordecai who had cared for Esther since her parents had died in her childhood. She too was taken to the palace.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Challenge: Pray not for a Christian country, but for God's Kingdom Come
Sunday, 4 June 2017
Apollos we are told in the preceding verses was a learned man, well educated and a Jewish believer. Further he could teach about Jesus, and do it with great energy. But it wasn't enough - something was missing, it was not all God intended. Priscilla & Aquila saw that he only knew the baptism of John, and had greater things of God to introduce him to. They took him aside and rehearsed afresh the story of Jesus.
Challenge: Seek to be ever closer to Jesus → He will send you
Sunday, 14 May 2017
I wonder if you can remember first falling in love, with all its emotions and inner turmoil. This was the case with Amnon, who looked 'haggard' because of his love for the young Tamar.
Sunday, 7 May 2017
The way the Israelites were to live was clearly important for them (hence tonnes of material in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy!). A key aspect was to teach these ways to their children, and children to their children (Deuteronomy 4:9). We deliberately talk about mentoring together with discipleship: leading alongside another so that they too can 'get it'. If we do that well, they will not only get it for themselves, but so that they too can walk alongside others and mentor them.
This year we have considered 'His Story' - which is actually the story of Jesus. We have discovered that our story is located in His story - in Him our story comes to life.
Sunday, 30 April 2017
There is a story of a man dying in hospital. Death seemed the certain outcome, but the person was a Christian. One day he decided enough was enough, and with faith in Christ was able to get up and leave the hospital the next day. Everything changes when you put your whole life in reference to Jesus.
Challenge: See issues through the spectacle of the cross!
Sunday, 2 April 2017
In the recent terror events in London, with a policeman stabbed, we have seen news stories of how the one officer took the hit to save the heart of our democracy. This language and concept of suffering is one that Paul also had in mind. Paul rejoices in his sufferings, and oddly talks of filling up in what was lacking in Christ's sufferings. Now Paul understood that Jesus' death on a cross was once for all (see back in verse 20), so what did he mean in v24?