Thank you, and our {FREE PRINTABLE} gift for you!

Oh girls,

Our hearts are just plain full tonight.

These last eight weeks spent with YOU in the book of {Esther} have been nothing short of incredible.  It’s safe to say that we’ve laughed and cried with you, and just like you, we got honest with the work God needed to do in our hearts.  We’ve hung on every word of your stories celebrating victories and breakthroughs, and we’ve praised God again and again for revealing Himself throughout each chapter and verse. As we come to the end of our Love God Greatly {Esther Study}, we can taste God’s providence fresh and anew, and we pray that you can too.

So, thank you.

Thanks for your commitment to reading God’s Word with us, and for being vulnerable in the process.

Thanks to the hundreds of LGG Facilitators who led with such commitment and loving care.

And thanks be to our great God, who has faithfully and tenderly led us all the way.

As our way of saying “thank you,” we’ve created this {FREE PRINTABLE} for YOU!!

Let these words from Esther 4:14 be a reminder that you are a woman deeply loved by God, made for a purpose.

FREE Printable Bible Verse - Esther 4:14. "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? " #LoveGodGreatly #FreePrintable

*Thanks to Sunu from for creating our {FREE PRINTABLE}!!

Click here to download the free printable { PDF Version}

Click here to download the free printable { JPEG Version}

*LET’S TALK: How has God used the LGG {Esther} study in YOUR life? Did any specific chapter or lesson stand out to you? What will you take away from this study and apply to your daily life? Let’s celebrate what God has done in the comments below!!

At His feet,

Our NEW upcoming study!   Join us for 'The Source of Gratitude,' from November 10th to November 21st!

Our NEW upcoming study!

When we think of thankfulness, we typically look to temporary things: our health, our family, the food on our table… All wonderful things to give thanks for! But the heart of gratitude should stem from a much deeper place…

Join us for ‘The Source of Gratitude,’ from November 10th to November 21st! During the first week of this study, we’ll take a closer look at who God is and what he has done. This will inspire us for the second week of our study, when we examine what our response should be.
Gratitude should permeate our lives each day of the year! When we glimpse of the greatness of God, our response of gratitude will follow.
We are so excited, and we can’t wait for you to join us!

Please note that there will be no formal enrollment for this study. Groups are not available unless you are already in one, but we invite you to study along with us here on the blog…or grab some friends to form your own group and study together. Either way works… the most important thing is getting into God’s Word!

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

God’s Mighty Hand

Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence ~ Augustine #LoveGodGreatly

Here we are at the end of our Esther study and I truly hope that you have been able to see this story in a new light. I pray that is has been a blessing to you and a means by which you have grown in the knowledge of your God.

The story of Esther is a beautiful story of God’s perfect hand working through people and events. From a young Jewish girl being made queen and risking her life to help save the Jewish nation, to the steadfast faithfulness of Mordecai, and the downfall of evil Haman, Esther has a happily-ever-after kind of ending. Esther remains queen, the Jews are safe, and Mordecai is lifted up to a high place of prominence, second only to the king himself. What a beautiful ending.

Before we close the door on this study I would like us to dig a little deeper and take a quick look at the doctrine of the providence of God. I love this doctrine, it allows me to catch a glimpse of the greatness and power of God which I find awe-inspiring, peace-filling, and worship-inducing.

“For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths!”
Psalm 135:5-6

We need to begin with a really good definition of what the providence of God is and the Heidelberg Catechism provides just that.

The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.
– Heidelberg Catechism, Q/A 27

God is the almighty God which means he doesn’t just hold some power, but all power. He isn’t a little in control, but completely in control. This has tremendous application for us in all areas of our lives, but I just want to highlight a couple.

1. The Providence of God kills Fear and Gives comfort

Many, if not all, of us have experienced times of fear and anxiety. This usually comes about because we feel that we are no longer in control of our circumstances. But here is the thing–we were never in control.  The providence of God teaches us that it is not man, or Satan, or this world, that is in control, but God alone. God brings life and death (1 Sam. 2:6), he gives riches and makes poor (1 Sam. 2:7), he sends the weather (Job 38) and controls the animals (Is, 7:18). God is in control, and because we know that our God is also good and trustworthy, his providence overcomes our fears and comforts our hearts. Rejoice that you are not in control because you would make things worse. Your righteous God reigns, presently in your life and in all things.

The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds.
Psalms 145:17

2. The Providence of God kills our self-righteousness

How often do we have proud thoughts of ourselves. Maybe it was the fact that our kids are well behaved or that we have a nice home. Maybe we understand the word of God easily while others struggle. Perhaps our marriages are doing really well. Any or all of these things are not merely the result of your efforts. They are all gifts. Whatever it is you have has been given to you by God. Whether we are talking about money, position, beauty, brains, wisdom, talents, or anything else, all good things are gifts from God given to us to bring glory to him (James 1:17). Of course, this also goes for the things that hurt. Our afflictions and trials also come with God’s providence. Maybe you are struggling financially or have a number of health issues. God has allowed those things into your life in order for you to fix your eyes on Jesus and experience first-hand that He is all you really need.

3. The Providence of God encourages faith, love, and humility

The more you study and understand God’s governing hand over all things the more humbled you will become and the more you will love and trust your God. He is the embodiment of wisdom. He can do no wrong and makes no foolish choices. Isn’t it great that he is the one who is ordaining all things? Sure, at times it may look a little messy. We will often, like the Psalmists, have a lot of questions. But nothing is left to chance, nothing is an accident, and nothing comes about through fate or karma. Instead, we can sleep peacefully at night knowing that God’s hand is actively involved in all things, down to the minute details of life. He is active, he is involved and he is perfect. This encourages a humble, vibrant, faith.

While God’s name was never mentioned in Esther we see his hand working day and night. We see him lovingly bringing about the events that he ordained all the while caring for his people. We may not understand all that God is doing because we are finite and God is infinite, we only see part of the picture but God sees the whole, but we can trust him him with our lives and joyfully go into our days no matter  what the day may hold because it will always include God’s powerful hand.

Looking to Jesus,

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

The Tables Were Turned…

But they did not lay hands on the plunder.” Esther 9:10. The Jews legally had the right to kill anyone and everyone who came against them and to plunder their goods. But just because they had the right to do something, didn’t mean it was the right action to take. So what is our reaction to those who plan to do us harm? Look to God and pray your heart out. Place your hurt, your pain, your heartbreak into His hands….and leave it there.

After months of waiting, the sun finally broke free from the night and the dreaded day arrived, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

Yet God, in His amazing involvement in the story of Esther, had “turned the tables”.

Though Haman’s evil plan could not be stopped, the Jews were able to defend themselves from their enemy’s attacks.

The Jews went from possibly over-powered to having the upper hand.

Now they stood assembled…united.

Think for a second what the Jews must have went through as they waited months for this day to finally arrive. Each sunset drew them closer to their approaching doom. As days turned into months, the anti-Semitic mistreatment, which began first with Haman, had continued to grow day-by-day.

Sleepless nights became a norm and fear increased with each approaching sunrise.

But God turned the table on Haman’s evil plan and the Jews stood ready to defend themselves.

Armed with the new edict written by Mordecai, the Jews had a choice to make.Would they simply defend themselves, or would they retaliate?

The world tells us to fight back; “an eye for an eye” is the battle cry.

Yet the Jews choose to restrain themselves and use self-control instead.

“But they did not lay hands on the plunder.”

It was a right they could have taken.

The Jews had been given the same freedom to kill and plunder that their enemies had been given by Haman, yet they choose not to.

They defended themselves and their families from their enemies, but they stopped and did not venture into the land of revenge. Though they had the right, they did not plunder the property of their enemies.

What is our response suppose to be when God has “turned the tables” in our favor? Are we to retaliate the same way the world does? Are we to seek revenge?

Just because legally we can, doesn’t mean that morally we should.

That’s what we see in Esther 9:1-10.

The Jews legally had the right to kill anyone and everyone who came against them and to plunder their goods. But just because they had the right to do something, didn’t mean it was the right action to take.

So what is our reaction to those who plan to do us harm?

Look to God and pray your heart out.

Place your hurt, your pain, your heartbreak into His hands….and leave it there.

And when it all boils up in your heart, because it will….again and again, keep giving it to Jesus.

Trust Him.

Choose faith over your fear.

And remember, like in Esther, though you may not see God, He has not left you. God is at work in your life, He has a plan and a purpose and one day He will turn your sorrow into joy!


Love God Greatly!







Our NEW upcoming study!   Join us for 'The Source of Gratitude,' from November 10th to November 21st!

Our NEW upcoming study!

When we think of thankfulness, we typically look to temporary things: our health, our family, the food on our table… All wonderful things to give thanks for! But the heart of gratitude should stem from a much deeper place…

Join us for ‘The Source of Gratitude,’ from November 10th to November 21st! During the first week of this study, we’ll take a closer look at who God is and what he has done. This will inspire us for the second week of our study, when we examine what our response should be.
Gratitude should permeate our lives each day of the year! When we glimpse of the greatness of God, our response of gratitude will follow.
We are so excited – we can’t wait for you to join us!

Please note that there will be no formal enrollment for this study. Groups are not available unless you are already in one, but we invite you to study along with us here on the blog…or grab some friends to form your own group and study together. Either way is fine, the most important thing is getting into God’s Word!

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Week 8: From Hopeless to Hope Filled…

Esther Week 8 Header

Oh friends, we are winding down our study and what an amazing 8 weeks it has been! The study of Esther has spoken to me in ways I wasn’t expecting! Encouraging me, inspiring me and strengthening me as I look to my future and what lies ahead. I pray the Esther study has done the same for you!

(If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.)

Have you ever been in a situation or relationship that seemed hopeless? Maybe you’ve had someone in your life devise an evil plan to hurt you or those you love, and not even a ray of hope can be found in it?

Reading through Esther these past eight weeks and studying her marriage to King Xerxes, I would say the king lived his life detached from his wife, at best. Esther may have been an orphan girl turned queen, but her marriage to King Xerxes was no fairy tale.

He was a man who seemed to possibly have a drinking problem. Think back on how many events from our story center around banquets and wine.

He was a man who was easily angered. Who reacted first and thought later.

We know he was not a good judge of character. He surrounded himself with unwise counsel, whether it was Haman or his board of advisors. Need an example? Think back at the advice his men gave him when dealing with Queen Vashti.

If that wasn’t enough, it appears Queen Esther’s marriage to King Xerxes had cooled, since the king had gone 30 days without requesting to see her. Think about that for just a moment. 30 days without having any sort of contact with your husband… a woman could begin to feel as though she was forgotten, not needed… unloved.

To top it all off, Esther then has to muster enough courage to be the one who approaches her husband…to the point of risking her own life for her people, and at the encouragement of the only man who has truly loved her, her cousin and adopted father figure Mordecai.

I say all this just because my heart hurts for her.

As a woman.

As a wife.

She must have wondered at times if King Xerxes really was who she was supposed to be married to. Though her life looked glamorous from the outside, inside the palace walls it was far from a fairytale.

You can almost sense the heartache Esther was feeling in chapter 8 as she falls to her husband’s feet, weeping and pleading with him to stop the evil plan – which, may I remind you, he and his buddy Haman, “devised against the Jews.”

In his defense, the king seems almost shocked at his wife’s response to him. From his perspective, he had given her everything she wanted. Haman was dead and his estate was given to her, which she, in turn, gave to Mordecai. What more did she want?

But that wasn’t enough.

Because he really didn’t understand what she was truly after.

This wasn’t really about her… but about THEM.

Her people.

The king didn’t seem to comprehend the threat of disaster that was looming over Esther and her people, even after Haman was dead. The evil edict was still in place, and something needed to be done about it. It’s as though the light bulb goes off and King Xerxes finally sees the severity of the plan he and Haman put into action.

And then something happens: a ray of hope shines on the situation.

King Xerxes begins to understand the seriousness of the situation, and his heart turns toward his wife and her people.

What was once hopeless is no longer.

God is at work and deliverance is on the horizon.

Now instead of being divided on this issue, they are united.

Though the previous law cannot be stopped, King Xerxes gives Esther and Mordecai the power to write another edict, allowing the Jews to defend themselves on the day planned for their annihilation!

Have you ever been in a situation that seemed hopeless? If so, be encouraged today that God, in His timing, can change the situation. He brought hope and deliverance to Esther, Mordecai and all Jews living under King Xerxes’s reign! He did it then, and He can do it again!

What was once a hopeless situation can be changed to a hope filled situation when God works through His people!

Let’s Talk: Have you ever went through a situation in your life where you felt hopeless? If so, how did God work in your life to move you from hopeless to hope filled?

Love God Greatly!





Week 8: Reading Plan

WK 8 Reading Plan

Week 8: Memory Verse

Esther week 8 memory verse

Week 8: Challenge

Weekly Challenge w8

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

It Ain’t Over Yet

God Is The Hero

It ain’t over yet. All the events in our story have led us here to the moment when Haman is hanged on the very gallows he had meant for Mordecai. “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.” {Esther 7:10} 

Although I’m a bit squeamish about the severity of Haman’s demise, in my heart I am breathing a sigh of relief that justice has finally come. And I’m tempted to stay there. Rest in the small victory. Good overcame evil. I’ll stop there, thankyouverymuch.

But this story of redemption is far from over. It Ain’t Over Yet.

How many times have I done this in my own life, settled for the small win, instead of pushing through to final victory? Answer? A lot. Rather than pushing through, trusting God to see the mighty happen, I settle for the little win, and convince myself it is enough. I can think of many areas in which this is true….healthy eating, prayer, intercession for others, marriage, kids, I could go on.

But as the dawn begins to break for Esther, as she sees the possibility of her people saved, she isn’t rejoicing yet. It Ain’t Over Yet. She still has work to do. God still has work to do. They aren’t finished. They are pushing on.

And in the midst of this, let us never forget that our Almighty God is the real hero in this story of ultimate redemption, turning every story from tragedy to triumph. How can I make such a bold statement? Isn’t that a little over the top to say that every story is turned to triumph? Because He has already redeemed our story! He is the hero of our story!In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” {Ephesians 1:7}

God and His sovereign hand, though not even mentioned in these verses, is woven into the very fabric of this story, working things according to His plan. What a mighty God we serve!

And in this moment, when we are feeling a bit uneasy about seeing justice come to Haman, we should ask the Lord to turn our eyes to One in a similar situation, though undeservedly. Our Lord Jesus Christ. And what was meant for evil by Satan, was really mighty triumph by Jesus Christ! And when He declared, “It is finished,” THAT is when it was finally over!

Read these words:

“Like the 75-foot wooden gallows Haman had built outside his home to destroy and shame Mordecai, the tree upon which Satan intended to destroy and shame Jesus Christ became the very place where Jesus openly triumphed over him. God turns the ultimate evils into the ultimate redemptions. The triumph of the cross and the empty tomb stripped God’s enemies naked and exposed their ultimate impotence before him. Though they will continue to rage until that day when Jesus uses them as his footstool, he has dealt their decisive deathblow. All glory and honor to our King!” – Mary Wilson ESV Women’s Devotional Bible

God, our God, the same God who was the hero in Esther’s story, is also the hero in ours. It may not seem like it, but God’s sovereign, loving hand is woven into every bit of our story too! And remember, It Ain’t Over Yet!!

So, let’s chat: Where have you been tempted to settle for a small victory instead of trusting God for full redemption? How can knowing that “It Ain’t Over Yet” bring hope to your current situation?

Share with me in the comments!

All for Jesus,

joy signature

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

When your identity is your deliverance…

Week 7 quote

I tried to hide my tears in church that morning.

I’m not a crier usually. My husband’s eyes were bloodshot by the time our wedding ceremony was over from the abundance of tears he shed… but me?

Nothin’, baby.

Not because I wasn’t deeply moved. Plenty moves me to my core. I just have a habit of smiling and holding it together most of the time. Seventeen years later, both personalities have served our marriage well.

But that morning was different.

Truth? My eleven year old caught a glimpse of my profile as we continued in worship, and he was so concerned about me that he came home and cleaned my house and folded my laundry for the rest of the afternoon. That’s huge, you guys.

Completely, utterly undone.

I could say it a million ways. Paint beautiful work pictures or dance around the truth, proving myself positive and strong. But none of that does any good tonight. Simply put, my heart needed redirected back to its proper place, and my tears were a result of the Spirit’s work in me. It was ugly, messy and beautiful all wrapped up in one.

I once again ended up at the foot of the cross.

We sang.

“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe…”

Oh, how my heart needed to sing.

We sang words that focused on everything opposite of this world. Words that offered up praise instead of destruction. Words that lifted high the name of Jesus instead of elevating man. Words that had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him.

“Oh, praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead…”

A whole new identity. Life over death. Sweet deliverance once and for all.

Deliverance that – let’s face it – I have to daily revisit as the world’s stormy waves smack hard against me. Headlines scream of international tragedy and national chaos, and our hearts scream of injustices even closer to home. And dare we admit, while the waves are bruising our backsides day in and day out, much of the time it feels like deliverance is too far out of our reach.

But in case you haven’t heard, the world isn’t winning…

“Your name is higher than the rising sun…”

“Hallelujah, name above all…”

“We exalt You…”

And yet so often we spend more time exalting an earthy identity that will only fade away…

Chapter 7 begins with Esther walking the tightrope between two identities: the one the king had always known, and the one he was about to find out. Each had its battling pros and cons; moments of comfort, security and clarity depending on the day… but ultimately there was only one identity that would bring real, lasting freedom.

The time had come for Esther to come clean. It was time for her true identity to become her deliverance.

We teeter too, don’t we? Between the world and who we are in Christ, and sometimes it takes hard times and a revisit to the foot of the cross to remember where our true identity lies.

At the foot of the cross we meet unexpected, scandalous grace, and it’s only there where our true identity can be found.

I closed my eyes and sang some more.

No longer just words on a screen, but now life-giving words that sunk deep into my soul. Words that cleansed deep spaces; words that brought hope and healing to the war going on around me and deep down inside of me. And I let the tears fall freely. No longer tears of despair, but tears of great hope and freedom because I was reminded to Whom I belong. And listen right now, those waves don’t have anything on Him.

The battle rages on all around us, but sweet child of God…

“It is well…”

Has it been too long since you visited the foot of the cross? Drop to your knees in His grace today, and let your deliverance begin…

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

~ Joshua 1:9

At His feet,

*LET’S TALK: Would you be willing to share your stories of how you met Jesus in the comments section today? Because it’s always good to revisit – and rejoice – over our deliverance…

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Week 7: Overcoming Worry

Esther Week 7 Header

Welcome to week 7 of our Esther study.

The King and Haman go to have dinner with Esther. Remember that at this point neither one of those men know that she is Jewish. I assume Haman felt that he could relax a little despite the events of the previous chapter. He knew that Mordecai was a Jew and that his death sentence had been signed and it was just a matter of time before the Jews would be annihilated, including Mordecai.

While at the banquet, the King asks Esther what her request is. At this point Esther’s heart must have been beating out of her chest. It was time to reveal who her people were and ask for their salvation.

I am sure that she must have laid in bed the night before nervous and possibly anxious. I would have been. If what she was going to reveal to the King angered him, it could cost her her life. I am sure she spent a fair amount of time battling anxiety and fear. This brings us to today’s verse.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Phil 4:6

We are not to worry about anything! Why is that? Because worry is a sin. Yikes, that is a hard word for us. It is one of the sins Christ died for. Why is worry a sin? Let me mention just a few reasons.

Twice in Matthew 6 Jesus tells us directly not to worry and yet it seems like no matter how many times we have read those verses we worry anyway. Worry is a form of disobedience. We are never given an exception in this.

Remember who you are in Christ. You have been adopted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He has promised us an unimaginable inheritance, he promises to care for us, to love us unconditionally, and to vindicate wrongs done against us. He promises to be for us and with us always. Do we really believe these promises? Because if we do, we of all people, have no reason to worry.

Worse than merely doubting God, worry calls God a liar. God has told us that though this life won’t be easy, he will be with us and for us. When we worry we are telling God that his word, that his promises, are not true.

Here’s the thing; as much as we want quick fixes, there is no quick fix for learning not to worry. Overcoming worry is a process, and it’s going to take time and work. Here are a few ways to work on killing worry in our lives.

Do we really know the character of God? Is he all-powerful? Is his love all consuming? Is he truthful in all things? Is he in control of all things? It’s not enough to say “yes” here, we must believe these truths–rest in them. Do we know how these truths intersect with and make sense of every situation in our lives? One step in overcoming worry is committing ourselves to studying every facet of God’s character and applying it to our lives.

The answer to our anxious thoughts is found on our knees. This may seem very unexciting, but when we pray we are approaching the throne of God, drawing near to him for help in our time of need. We are speaking to Jesus, our High Priest and intercessor. We have his full and undivided attention at all times and He is ready to help (Heb. 4: 14-16).

Though written in a prison, the book of Philippians is a very cheerful and encouraging book. J.R. Miller says that the words found in Philippians are “golden words for all believers.” If we are prone to worry this will prove be a good book to read, study, and even memorize.

When we worry we are often thinking about all the “what ifs” our situations could produce. But “what ifs” are not real or true. As Shakespeare said, “fears may be liars.” Most of our worries are false and dishonorable. We need to focus not only on what is true, but also on what is good. We really need to train our minds to see the right things. Philippians 4 tell us to think on things that are true, noble, right and pure. We are to focus on things that are lovely, admirable and praiseworthy. Sometimes our situations are so hard that the only lovely and praiseworthy place to set our eyes is Jesus. He must always be before us so that when we look at our circumstances we look at them through the love, strength and power of Jesus.

Whether it’s coming together with other believers on Sunday morning to worship our risen Lord, or simply putting on worship songs in our homes, lifting our hearts to God in worship will also lift our countenance and confidence. Christ-centered worship will point us to the cross where everything we will ever need was purchased at a very dear price.

The truth is we will not banish worry forever, but we can get to a point where worry does not overtake our hearts. Where we are able to see the signs of worry creeping into our lives, we need to crush it under gospel feet. It won’t be easy, but with God all things are possible.

Looking To Jesus,





WK 7 Reading Plan



Esther week 7 memory verse

Weekly Challenge w7

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Bless Those Who Curse You


So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”  Esther 6:11

This verse is a perfect recap of what has been going on this week in our study of Esther.

Haman thinks the King is going to honor him but instead it is Mordecai who will receive special favor from the King. After the worst day in Haman’s life, he goes to his home destroyed with shame. There is nothing he can do to the man he hates the most.

And what about Mordecai? He returns to the King’s gate. He is still concerned about the threat against the Jews and heads right back to the palace. He doesn’t let the honor that was given to him make him haughty or idle.

The man Haman cursed was now exalted and blessed, and Haman, who sought his own self exaltation was cursed. I want to spend a little time talking about the idea of blessing those who curse us. The verse for our SOAP today is Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

God is promising Abram that he will fight against his enemies. They will be cursed and those who are for Abram will be blessed. He is letting Abram know, in no uncertain terms, that He, the Lord, is on his side and through him he will bless the nations.

This promise extends to you and me as well. Over and over again God tells his people that he is on their side. He tells us that if we are children of Abraham (through faith in Christ) we will be blessed (Acts 3:25). And in Romans 8:31 Paul asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It is only through the blood of Jesus that God can be for us.

If we are honest, it doesn’t always feel that God is on our side (Psalm 73). We have a lot that seems to be against us like governments, institutions, individual people, and circumstances. But God who is in us and for us is stronger than any circumstance or person that comes against us (1 Jn. 4:4).


Here is something that is very important to remember. Nowhere are we told to curse those who curse us. That is God’s job alone.

The Lord will vindicate us (Psalm 138:8)

This is a good reason why we should bless those that curse us, because it is enough that God will curse them.
– Matthew Henry

Instead, we are told to bless those who curse us (Lk. 6:28). Wow, that is a very high calling. So what does that mean?

Loving our enemies or people who are against us means seeking their good. It means restraining our feelings of resentment or wishing them ill. It is getting rid of that desire in our hearts to return evil for evil.

And how do we do this? By praying for them, speaking kindly of them and to them, AND doing good towards them.

Here is the thing; loving our enemies, loving the people who wish us ill, who annoy us, who don’t love us back and talk badly about us and are hateful to us, goes against our nature. It is not natural for us to extend this kind of grace.

Our Lord God must be a pious man to be able to love rascals. I can’t do it, and yet I am a rascal myself.
– Martin Luther

Yes, we are rascals and worse! Thank goodness for our perfect example, Jesus. He showed grace and kindness to those who spit in his face, accused him of all kinds of false things, laughed at him, tortured and killed him.

Not only is he our example he is also our hope. I don’t know about you but this is impossible for me. Even if I could be kind to their face I would struggle in my heart. This does not excuse me, but it makes Christ sacrifice all the more precious. He loved his enemies perfectly for us, he endured wrong accusations and gossip with perfect grace for us and he died on the cross for all the times that we would fail in blessing our enemies.

We are called to take the high road, to bless those who curse us and to love those who are against us, but we are not called to take this road alone. God is with us and for us and in the end he will vindicate us because truth will win.

If we stand up for what’s right, we will have enemies. They feel justified in their hostility. But Jesus says, love them anyway. Hostile people expect hostility in return. Jesus says, surprise them.
– Ray Ortland

Looking to Jesus,


Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Pride, Honor and a Royal Mess…

Week 6 quote

It’s like he’d rehearsed this moment for years… His dreams are about to come true… He’d seen this scene play out in his mind before. He’s wanted it so badly he, at times, could almost feel the weight of the royal robe around his shoulders. He’s listened long enough, he could almost hear the cheers and applause of the people in the streets as his name is proclaimed through the city… “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

Oh yes, this was a dream Haman had dreamt many of times. Now, finally it was about to come true! “Of course the king wants to honor me. I serve him the most, the best! Why would he want to honor anyone else, except me?”

Haman lived in a world of “I’s” and “Me’s”…he was his own best admirer.

He may have been a man of wealth, but his heart longed for something money couldn’t buy… honor.

Did you notice how many times he mentions the word “honor” when he describes what should be done for this special person? If not, let’s take a closer look:

Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!'”

Know anyone like this?

“This is the guy who talks about how much money he makes, how many kids he has, how necessary he is to the king, how important he is.” – Charles Swindoll

And no sooner do the words leave his mouth as he finishes sharing his dream of all dreams with the king, when we get to see God’s sense of humor in our story… “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse…”

This moment may have been five years in the making, but it was well worth the wait.

You see, Haman was full of himself and God was getting ready to shrink his head size down a little… if you know what I mean.

In Romans 12:3 we are urged not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given us. In other words, don’t be prideful.

“Pride is a state of the heart that, sooner or later, is betrayed by the mouth.”- Beth Moore

Isn’t that true in Haman’s case today! The pride that has been bubbling up in his heart finally spills out like an overflowing bathtub with too much Mr. Bubbles in it. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has experienced this!) The sight just isn’t pretty. It’s messy.

Pride flows from Haman’s heart through his mouth and he’s about to have a royal mess to clean up.

You see, sweet friend, it’s not that Haman thought well of himself – it’s that he thought a little too well of himself. His identity wasn’t grounded in Christ, but rather in who he (Haman) was and what he did. His identity was grounded in what the world valued rather than what God valued. He preferred to be honored in front of men, not in the eyes of God.

And we are about to see such an amazing contrast with Mordecai. So hang tight for tomorrow’s reading – it’s one of my favorite parts of this whole story!

For today, realize this truth. God doesn’t call us to poor self-esteem. Rather, He wants us to find our self worth not in what we do but rather in whose we are. Our self worth is found in our identity in Christ, and in Him alone.

Let’s stop living for the applause of many and instead live for the applause of the only one who truly matters anyway. May our dreams be different from those of the Haman’s of this world. May our lives not be about “us,” “me,” or “I,” but only about Him… Not for our honor, but for His.

Love God Greatly!

Angela- Good Morning Girls

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Sleepless in Persia

Esther Week 6 Header


Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.
Proverbs 16:13

We left our drama last week with Haman planning the downfall of Mordecai. The gallow was being built and Haman was happy that once and for all, Mordecai, who had been a constant annoyance to him, was going to be done away with.

But God…

We read this phrase throughout the Bible and while it is not stated directly in Esther, it is implied through the events that are unfolding.

But God had other plans. Sleep is a gift from our Lord (Ps. 127:2) and he chose to withhold it that night from King  Xerxes.  He used the insomnia of a king to set into motion the downfall of one man and the salvation of a whole people group. Instead of calling for some soothing music like King Saul used to do (1 Sam. 16:23 ) Xerxes asked for the book of records to be brought to him. This may sound like a boring book of dry facts but it was actually a very interesting work written in poetry form.

As chronicles were composed among the Persians, a more instructive and interesting work could not be brought before the king; because they were all written in verse, and were generally the work of the most eminent poets of the empire.
The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I love seeing God in the details. The fact that the king couldn’t sleep and that he ended up reading the account of Mordecai saving his life, an account buried by 5 years worth of other accounts, was no accident.

While there is one grand, overarching story in Esther, we also see smaller stories woven throughout this book. Stories within stories. As we have said many times in this study we see salvation of the Jewish people, but we also see a story of two men, Mordecai and Haman. One is truthful, honorable and humble, while the other is self serving, proud and dishonest. One will be praised and honored as a hero while the other will be humiliated and then killed as a villain.

Does this sound familiar? Can you think of an even greater story that parallels what we are reading about? As the children’s Bible states, “Every Story whispers his name”, the name of Jesus. The entire Bible is the telling of one grand story, the story of the salvation of the people of God. But interwoven are lots of smaller stories. Stories that show the exaltation of the humble and the downfall of the prideful. We see stories that show the virtues of truth and the ugliness of deceit, and there are stories that show brokenness and the hope of all things being restored.

What story is your life telling? Is it one of honor, truth and humility or is it one of deceit, pride and selfishness? I am guessing we see many of these vices and virtues in our lives because we live in a world that is broken and have hearts that are sinful, but hopefully we see God working in us as we work in his word and like Mordecai will be honored for our faithfulness, truth and honor.

(Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video )

Looking To Jesus,



{Week Six} Memory Verse:

Esther week 6 memory verse


{Week Six} Reading Plan:

WK 6 Reading Plan

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Twitter Facebook Pinterest
Hide me
Sign up below to receive free study materials!
Enter your email address:
Show me