We are several weeks into our series on the book of Esther. It’s not what I as a Pastor of preaching expected to find thus far. A ‘hidden’ God, a spiritual mentor with bad advice and a less than virtuous heroine are just some of the surprises which awaited me in my personal study and now public exposition of this Old Testament book.
But then I have also found the expected, a sovereign God, the fickle, shallow and self absorbed political leaders, and the world’s materialistic definition of success. Nothing new there, it’s the same today as it was in Esther’s day. Sin and pleasure can be so predictable. The complexion changes but unredeemed man’s nature and pursuits remain the same.
Our main encouragement from the scriptures thus far has been that God always makes His will stand regardless of the plans of men (Proverbs 19:21). God uses our obedience and our disobedience to bring about His purpose of redemption for a desperate and needy people. He is sovereign in our righteous decisions and sovereign in our sinful decisions. He’s not simply reactive but proactive in all things, saving a people from themselves and saving them from Him. He doesn’t resort to a plan B when we mess up to make things realign with His ultimate plan but He’s literally in the actions of man at each step.
What great encouragement to know then that a good, merciful, forgiving and yet righteous and holy God sits on the throne of the universe governing in the very affairs of each one of us. He doesn’t wink at our sin but offers forgiveness and newness from sin as we return to Him. Esther, Mordecai and Pastor Guy sit in the very palm of the Creator God who brings about His plan of redemption for them in all their circumstances. We trust His promises when we can’t see His providence.
soli deo gloria!
The newest Getty CD is out with some great hymns. Enjoy the video release of Living Waters. I think we have some new ‘Songs of the Month’ for Center Hill.
Soli Deo Gloria
Center Hill, so glad we were a part of this. Let the passion and message grip our hearts to take Jesus to a dead world!
soli deo gloria!
by Burk Parsons
The love language of all marriages is self-denial. When both husband and wife are consumed not with their own immediate happiness but with the happiness of one another, they will enjoy a happy marriage. The same is true for enduring friendships and for authentic community.
With the disintegration of marriage has come the dissolution of community. As such, community has fallen on hard times. What every generation in every society in all of history has enjoyed, the rising generation will have to fight for. With the rise of online communities, online church, and online everything, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, shoulder-to-shoulder community has become increasingly difficult to find. Moreover, many don’t know what real community is and thus don’t know what to look for. Real community doesn’t happen on its own—it takes time, patience, repentance, forgiveness, and love that covers a multitude of sins. The church community is not just a crowd of people on a Sunday morning; it is the gathered, worshiping people of God in a congregation where masks aren’t needed and where real friends help bear the real burdens of one another. Community is not just getting together; it is living together, suffering together, rejoicing together, and dying together.
Although many Christians claim to want genuine community, many want it only on their own terms, when it’s convenient, and when it demands nothing from them. What they want isn’t the church community, but a country club where they pay their dues for services rendered. They want to be served without having to serve anyone else. Real community forces us to die to ourselves and get over ourselves so that we might love one another as ourselves. Francis Schaeffer observed that “the early church practiced two things simultaneously: orthodoxy of doctrine and orthodoxy of visible community.” Such orthodoxy of visible community is grounded in the “one another” passages of Scripture, which provide us with the essential elements of authentic community. They strike at the root of our self-centeredness, and they lead us to take our eyes off ourselves and to deny ourselves so that we might love one another, encourage one another, confess our sins to one another, forgive one another, and not slander one another, gossip about one another, devour one another, or envy one another. In so doing, our Father in heaven is glorified as we manifest the beauty of the gospel of Christ through the power of the Spirit, who has united a bunch of repentant sinners like us.
From Tabletalk magazine http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/orthodoxy-community/
soli deo gloria!