Monday, April 16, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit





Fruit of the Spirit


Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of a Christian. The Bible makes it clear that everyone receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes in Jesus Christ. One of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit coming into a Christian's life is to change that life. It is the Holy Spirit's job to conform us to the image of Christ, making us more like Him.


The fruit of the Holy Spirit is in direct contrast with the acts of the sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” This passage describes all people, to varying degrees, when they do not know Christ and therefore are not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Our sinful flesh produces certain types of fruit that reflect our nature, and the Holy Spirit produces types of fruit that reflect His nature.


The Christian life is a battle of the sinful flesh against the new nature given by Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). As fallen human beings, we are still trapped in a body that desires sinful things (Romans 7:14-25). As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit producing His fruit in us and we have the Holy Spirit's power available to conquer the acts of the sinful nature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians4:13). A Christian will never be completely victorious in always demonstrating the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the main purposes of the Christian life, though, to progressively allow the Holy Spirit to produce more and more of His fruit in our lives—and to allow the Holy Spirit to conquer the opposing sinful desires. The fruit of the Spirit is what God desires our lives to exhibit and, with the Holy Spirit's help, it is possible!


The Holy Spirit is a work in the life of the believe, transforming us into Christ's image. Is Christ at the center of your life? 

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

What one are of your life are you praying for God to change?

Next week, I'll discuss the meaning of each of the fruits.


Be Blessed and be a Blessing!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Good-Bye Esther


Say Good-bye to Esther



Trust reverses the detours of adversity into the highways of destiny.



The story of Esther ends right where it started, but completely reversed. We have the same King and the same City that we started with, but Vashti is no longer queen. Instead, a young Jewish girl, Esther is Queen. The proud Haman is no more and his plan to annihilate the Jews led to his own destruction. Loyal Mordecai was raised up to replace Haman; bringing peace and prosperity to the Persian empire.

So who are you, Haman or Mordecai and Esther? None of us want to be a Haman, but sometimes we act like him. Sometimes we’re self-centered, bubbling with pride and arrogance. But as we have seen, pride comes before destruction.

We don’t want to be like that. We want to be like Esther and Mordecai. They simply did what was right. Most importantly, they were obedient to God! And God, in His own way, raised them up to positions of honor and prominence that nobody could have ever imagined.

God will do that for you too, if you follow His ways, wait for His timing, and trust Him with your life.

PRAYER: Almighty God, I thank You for the gift of Your marvelous Word. As we have spent the past 9 weeks studying the remarkable story of Esther, I pray that it will not just be a study, but it will be something that we live by from now on. 

I know that You have given us a purpose, just like you gave Esther. Help us to walk in that purpose and understand how to fulfil it for Your glory. 

Lord, I desire for the virtue of obedience to be embedded in our character and to be led by Your Spirit that we may receive uncommon favor as a result. 

Holy Spirit, help us to cultivate a lifestyle of prayer, to be totally dependent on You! Turn our lives around for the better like You did in the lives of Esther and Mordecai. Let everything that we are going through be used for Your glory. 

Lord, I pray that you will break us and build us up again, so that our character, speech and conduct reflect You! Make us woman of integrity, humility, patience, obedience, courage and passion. Be at the center of it all Lord and let our destiny be fulfilled. 

Amen

God bless you and
Love from your sister in Christ!


Here's the link to the entire study! It's been a pleasure sharing and spending time with you.

Life Lessons





Lessons from the Book of Esther


The book of Esther may not have God’s name stated directly, but His involvement is felt in many ways throughout the story, especially when Esther implored the people to seek help through fasting (4:15-16). Students of the Bible know that fasting was done to draw closer to God and was accompanied by heartfelt prayers (Daniel 9:3Acts 14:23). Esther is clearly a story of God’s intervention and deliverance.

Esther is also an inspiring story about a remarkable woman who was willing to risk her life to save her people. She was a woman of principle who was willing to put the lives of others ahead of even her own life. She was an outstanding example of serving others even under the most stressful circumstances. Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).



Most of the time our lives may be pretty routine, but all of us have a few defining moments when we may be called on to put godly principle above personal benefit. What will you do when you encounter those defining moments in your life? What will you do when you face “such a time as this”? Will you choose to do the right thing as opposed to what might give you some personal benefit?

Esther shows all of us the way, and we can be inspired by her example.




Be Salt and Light today and always!


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Purim Established by Mordecai




Purim Established





Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar. (Esther 9:20-21 NIV)

It’s a Party

Who doesn’t love a good party? In Chapter 9, we join God’s people for a party, a celebration that commemorates God’s salvation of the Jews from evil Haman. Named Purim, it still continues today as one of the most joyous and festive celebrations on the Jewish calendar.

The word “purim” means “lots” in Hebrew. The festival derives its name from the lots Haman cast to determine the date he would carry out his evil scheme to massacre the Jews.

Mordecai established the festival of Purim to remind God’s people of what took place on those two days — when God turned their sorrow into gladness and their mourning into feasting. The festival ensures that every generation not only recalls the terror, danger and turmoil their ancestors suffered, but also remembers how God faithfully delivered them.

This story makes us confront the harsh reality that one twisted man can implement and carry out a plan to exterminate an entire race of people. Haman was not the only one. There have been individuals before and since who have attempted to do the same. It’s within this context we need to understand the greatness of God’s intervention on behalf of His people. It was a reversal of epic proportions because it not only turned the tables on the enemies of the Jews, but God rewrote their story from near certain eradication to divine protection and salvation.

And, friend, their story is our story. Only we face an even greater enemy than Haman. It is the sin and death that came when Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation in the garden. But, God again stepped into the story. He sent His Son, Jesus, to set us free from sin and death.

But our Savior didn’t stop at setting us free. Hear Jesus’ mission and call; let it soak deep into your soul. Jesus came “… to proclaim good news to the poor … to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners … to comfort all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

And one day our Savior will return. On that great and glorious day, there will be no more killing, no more genocide, no more sorrow or pain because on that day, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

What a glorious day that will be!


What does a typical Purim festival look like today?

Modern day Purim is more of a national holiday than a religious festival. However, it does begin in the synagogue with the reading of the Megilla (the scroll of Esther). Children, and even some adults, dress up as their favorite character from the story of Esther. During the reading of the story, the people will cheer at the mention of Mordecai and Esther. But, when Haman’s name is spoken, they stomp and yell to blot out his name. Some say it is done to remember the commandment from God to “blot out the name of Amalek” (Exodus 17:14).

After the reading of the scroll, the celebration spills out into streets and homes with parades, singing, dancing, costumes, eating and the drinking of wine. But, in addition to the fun, Purim requires the people give to charity … to at least two people. Everyone gives what they can, and often more, reflecting the generosity God has extended to them.

Purim is a celebration of the triumph of justice. Still today, especially during Purim, the Jews stand together against modern-day Hamans, who threaten Israel and the entire Middle East with annihilation.





Be blessed and continue to be a blessing!

Cheryl

Monday, April 2, 2018

God's Silent Sovereign Hand




Esther

Weekly Reading

Week 9 – Chapters 9 & 10



Chapter Summary.

THE FEAST OF PURIM INSTITUTED

When the fateful day arrived, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the Jews gathered together in their respective cities and destroyed their enemies. Even the princes and rulers helped the Jews.


The dreaded day had arrived. The day Haman’s evil edict commanding the destruction of the Jews came into effect. But, by God’s sovereign hand, the day once appointed for their death and destruction became their day of victory and celebration.

Although the king could not change Haman’s edict, at the request of Esther and Mordecai, he issued a new one. It neutralized the effect of the original edict by giving the Jews the right to assemble and defend themselves, their families and their property. 

The enemies of the Jewish people could not succeed because of a fear of the Jews. There was also a fear of Mordecai among the leaders, which caused them to assist the Jewish people, perhaps to protect themselves politically in light of Mordecai’s power and popularity.


Going Deeper          Nehemiah 8:10, Luke 1:46-55

                                    Leviticus16:29-31, Ephesians 1:3-14

Lessons of the book of Esther

The book of Esther may not have God’s name stated directly, but His involvement is felt in many ways throughout the story, especially when Esther implored the people to seek help through fasting (4:15-16). Students of the Bible know that fasting was done to draw closer to God and was accompanied by heartfelt prayers (Daniel 9:3Acts 14:23). Esther is clearly a story of God’s intervention and deliverance.

Esther is also an inspiring story about a remarkable woman who was willing to risk her life to save her people. She was a woman of principle who was willing to put the lives of others ahead of even her own life. She was an outstanding example of serving others even under the most stressful circumstances. Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Most of the time our lives may be pretty routine, but all of us have a few defining moments when we may be called on to put godly principle above personal benefit. What will you do when you encounter those defining moments in your life? What will you do when you face “such a time as this”? Will you choose to do the right thing as opposed to what might give you some personal benefit?

Esther shows all of us the way, and we can be inspired by her example.

Questions

According to verse 1, what happened when the enemies of the Jews hoped to overcome them?

What good reasons might Esther have had for asking a second day to avenge their enemies?

What piece of information was the narrator very careful to tell us repeatedly in (Esther 9:10, 15, 16)? What did the edict give the Jews permission to do to their enemies?

Why did the Jews in Susa feast and celebrate on a different day that the Jews outside the Citadel (Esther 9:6-19)

What specific things were “turned" in Esther 9:22?

What one-sentence synopsis completes the entire Book of Esther? The Book of Esther is about …

What are the last glimpses we get of our Jewish protagonists, Esther and Mordecai?


The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being sustaining all things by His powerful Word. Hebrews 1:3

Click here for printable version of Week

“God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes. (Psalm 18:24, The Message)

Be Blessed and be a Blessing,
Cheryl


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Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23  tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,...

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