Yesterday we began a new sermon series on the Book of Esther (listen here). Esther is an unusual book in that there is no mention of God in its 10 chapters. There are no prayers; no mention of the temple or worship or the Exodus. And therein lies its power. Esther, unlike some of the other Biblical heroes like Moses and Abraham, is more relatable to our own stories. She and her uncle Mordechai are not portrayed as pietistic or overtly seeking God. In fact, they hide their heritage, a sign that they lived their lives in the shadow of danger. And yet God used their everyday circumstances to thwart a genocide and keep his story moving. Often in our lives, we feel God’s absence more than his presence, and perhaps like the Psalmists cry out for God to ‘make haste’ to help us. (Psalm 70). Yet in the Psalms, there is also patience and rejoicing in the waiting (Psalm 27). How is that possible? Only when we know that, like Esther, God has not forgotten us and in fact weaves the circumstances of our lives, our failures and our virtues, into his overarching plan. And that faith must be grounded in a knowledge that we are loved and accepted by God, assurance of which is Christ’s death and resurrection. So as you begin another week take heart from Esther and take time to reflect on this portion of John Newton’s letter “Christ All Sufficient” that can be found below.
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. – Ephesians 1:11
His sovereignty is exercised in a way of grace. All shall work together for good; everything is needful that He sends; nothing can be needful that He withholds. Be content to bear the cross; others have borne it before you. You have need of patience; and if you ask, the Lord will give it: but there can be no settled peace till our will is in a measure subdued. Hide yourself under the shadow of His wings; rely upon His care and power; look upon Him as a physician who has graciously undertaken to heal your soul of the worst of sicknesses, sin. Yield to His prescriptions, and fight against every thought that would represent it as desirable to be permitted to choose for yourself. When you cannot see your way, be satisfied that He is your leader. When your spirit is overwhelmed within you, He knows your path; He will not leave you to sink. He has appointed seasons of refreshment, and you shall find He does not forget you. Above all, keep close to the throne of grace. If we seem to get no good by attempting to draw near Him we may be sure we shall get none by keeping away from Him.John Newton, Christ All Sufficient
Substance addictions are common and touch the lives of people who are closely connected to the one suffering with addiction. Join this group for a 3-week open discussion, including those who admit their addiction, those who are impacted by an addiction, and those who are curious about how to help a loved one or themselves. We will meet on Thursdays, January 12, 19 & 26 from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm at W83 Ministry Center. Advance registration is required.
- Jan 12 | Infertility, Miscarriage & Infant Loss Support Group
- Jan 12 | Grief & Loss Support Group
- Jan 22 | New at RWS
- Jan 29 | Spaghetti Sunday