The Courage Of Esther

The Courage Of Esther

Because every woman of God should know her story.
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“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 New Living Translation (NIV)

My sister writes this bible verse on the chalkboard in her room. It’s underlined in my bible. I see it on plaques and written across pillows at cute stores like Altar’d State. There’s no denying that as women, we feel an emotional attachment to Esther. Not because she was young, beautiful, and innocent. Not because she won the king’s favor and became his queen. We feel strongly about this book of the bible because she was courageous. God gave her a job to do and she faithfully did it.

“Then, Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live. If it pleases the king, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 10,000 large sacks of silver to the government administrators to be deposited in the royal treasury.” Esther 3:8-9 New Living Translation (NIV)

Haman was a high ranking official in the King’s empire and he had a hatred for Jews. He convinced the king to issue a decree that would wipe out all the jews in the region. Ironically, Esther was Jewish.

The king never knew of her family origins. While she was in the palace, her uncle, Mordecai, sent word of what was to come. She needed to take action. But, she was only a woman and despite being queen, she still had no rights. The king could have her killed if she approached him without being summoned.

Esther was scared and knew her life was at risk. But what is the infamous bible verse all women of God know? Mordecai told her “perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this.”

Esther’s story is universal. When you know what needs to be done, do it. When you see someone doing something wrong, say so. There might be repercussions when you do what is right but, what is right isn't always so easy to do. God chose Esther to be the one to save the jews. He put her in her position so she would make a difference. You are where you are for a reason.It could be a reason that you could never have dreamed of on your own.

Cover Image Credit: South Tracks

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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How A Friend's Prayer Changed My Perspective

Learning to let go and let God.

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I attended worship night at my church on the first Wednesday night of the month of June. At this service I saw one of my dear friends who had just returned from serving as a missionary overseas. So I began to tell her what the Lord had done in my life since she had been gone. I told her that I had been very sick for many months with no answers as to why. No doctor could tell me what was wrong or how to get better.

Then, one Tuesday night at a young adults gathering at my church I asked if we could pray for answers to this and pray over the procedure I was having the following day that it would reveal what was going on. A few days after the procedure the doctor called with the results and my prayer was answered, I was finally given a diagnosis! The doctor told me I have a rare disease called gastroparesis that has limited treatments and no known cure. My friend then began to pray over me and as she was doing this the words she was speaking reminded me of the story of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis.

This story begins with Abraham sitting outside of the entrance to his tent. He looked up and saw three men nearby so he went to them and asked them to stay and rest under the tree and he would provide them with something to eat to refresh them. After he placed the food before them they asked him where his wife Sarah was.

He told them that she was in the tent. Then, one of the men told Abraham that he would return about the same time the following year and Sarah would have a son. Sarah was in the tent and heard what the man said and she laughed in disbelief because she and Abraham were both very old. The Lord challenged her disbelief by saying to Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" And at the appointed time the following year Sarah gave birth to a son whom she called Isaac. Abraham was 100-years-old when Isaac was born.

The words from this story "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" are what came to my mind and made me think of this story as my friend was praying for healing of this incurable disease. It was then that I came to the realization that man may not be able to cure this, but as for the Lord, is anything too hard for him? We're talking about the one who made a woman past childbearing age bear a child, who made the blind see, who made the deaf hear, who made the paralyzed walk, who made the dead come to life, the one who makes the impossible possible. So the answer then is no. There is absolutely nothing too hard for the Lord!

If the Lord can do all of these astounding things then surely he can heal every illness or condition I have which man says is incurable. And surely he can heal and redeem any part of your life that makes you feel broken or in the dark. We all go through difficult seasons in life and maybe you're going through one right now. Maybe you're dealing with an illness, or dealing with divorce, or dealing with the loss of a loved one. Maybe you're in a season of life full of unknowns and you don't know what your future looks like and that scares you. Maybe you're dealing with depression or anxiety. Whatever it may be that you are going through, sometimes these things make us feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. You might say to yourself, "This is just too hard. I can't do this." And you would be right. It is too hard for you alone. But with God, all things are possible. You weren't created to go through these seasons of life, the good or bad, alone. Invite the Lord in, let go and cast your cares upon him. It may be too hard for you, but nothing is too hard for the Lord.

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