Such a time as this
“This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter. As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care. Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.” Esther 2: 7-9
In chapter 2 of Esther’s story, we see her incredible journey of courage and purpose begin, as she is chosen to be brought into King Xerxes’ harem. In order for her to become one of the King’s wives, she had to go through a season of preparation. The process took a considerable amount of time, a whole year of beauty treatments. After this year of preparation, the girls were brought to the king to become his wives, living in the second harem; they weren’t queens as such. When Esther met with the king, she found favour with him, being crowned queen over Vashti, an exquisite feast in her honour and the king showering people with generosity.
But this was more than just a transition from girl to Queen. For Esther, this was a transition from orphan, a Jew to a freedom fighter, a royal woman who used her position to stand in the gap for others, who was willing to sacrifice to see her people released. What a transformation!
I see this scripture as an opportunity from God, for us to move from what we were to what God is wanting us to become. This may not happen quickly; like Esther, God is moving us through a season of preparation, teasing out the gifts and talents He has placed in us, so that we could be “born for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). God is doing great things across our world, in our nation, He is stirring up and we have an invitation from our King to get ready. Will you accept it and begin to prepare yourself?
1. In this season, ask God what transformation he is taking you through? Like Esther, where has he brought you from, and where is he taking you to?
2. And as He reveals this to you, ask Him how you can prepare for this. What areas of your life can you begin to work on so that you can be used for great things by God?
3. Esther found favour with many in the palace; she was given more beauty treatments and a special diet by Hegai, given maids and the best place in the palace. Where has God placed favour in your life, so that you can prepare for what he has in store for you?
“Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who know if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.”
Esther 4: 13-16 (NLT)
Esther had great favour with the king and his people, which bought about her promotion to Queen of the nation. As Mordecai learned of the destruction of the Jews by Haman, he pleaded with Esther to visit the King and speak on behalf of her people. The challenge wasn’t easy; being courageous, using her royal position to speak about the injustice, revealing her identity, breaking the rules of the kingdom she lived in, the potential punishment being death. At first, her response to her cousin was fearful, this had never been done before. But a reminder of who she was in verse 12 and 14, caused her to accept the great task, facing the consequences of what might happen.
I wonder if the favour we carry is to be used for such a time as this? The challenge set by God is to be used in our neighbourhoods, work places, universities and sectors of culture across this nation. Our passions and gifts to be awakened for His purpose in the season that lies ahead. It may not be easy and it will require us to sacrifice, but because of our identity in Christ, we need not fear.
1. Following on from yesterday, talk to God about the favour he has placed on your life, ask Him what it is he wants to use this favour for. Perhaps you were meant to use it for such a time as this.
2. When faced with challenges in our pursuit of seeing God’s kingdom move on earth, ask the Holy Spirit for a reminder of your identity in Christ. Receive revelation about your nature in Him, allow Him to draw you to scriptures regarding this, so that you may be strengthened to do what He has tasked you to do in this season.
3. Esther was willing to give up her royal position and life itself to see freedom for her people. Are there areas of your life that you need to lay down before God today as a sacrifice, so that you may be used by Him for such a time as this?
“On that same day, King Xerxes gave the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther. Then Mordecai was brought before the king, for Esther had told the king how they were related. The king took off his signet ring-which he had taken back from Haman- and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed Mordecai to be in charge of Haman’s property.” Esther 8: 1-2 (NLT)
Esther’s obedience and sacrifice in her time of action found a whole nation of Jews not only saved from destruction, but given the freedom to live, protect themselves from any enemy’s attacks and have dominion over their property. The blessing didn’t stop there, Mordecai found himself promoted to Haman’s position, receiving royal robes and King Xerxes’ ring.
Our work for the Lord has the potential to not only bless those who we directly seek to bless, but they have the power to release blessing to others as well. Think about Abraham; through one man, God caused many more to be blessed: “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through Him.” (Genesis 18:18). When Jesus healed people and forgave their sins, they told others about Him, whole families and towns believed and turned to Him. What can God do through you, to bless beyond those who you intended to bless?
1. Ask the Lord to continue to bless others through you, that the blessing may stretch out to people beyond.
2. Pray that the Holy Spirit would encourage you everyday to pour out blessings onto family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues and strangers. Ask for intentional ways to do this, using the favour God has placed on your life.
3. Ephesians 3:20 says “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Use this scripture to praise God for His almighty power, which lives in us. Because of Him, we are able to do more than we could ever imagine or humanly think about. Our actions have the power to bless beyond our wildest dreams or intentions!
Part 4 (The UK)
“Who has measured with his palm the waters, marked off the heavens with a span, held in his fingers the dust of the earth, weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did he consult to gain knowledge? Who taught him the path of judgment, or showed him the way of understanding? . . . See, the nations count as a drop in the bucket, as a wisp of cloud on the scales; the coastlands weigh no more than a speck. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Was it not told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the founding of the earth? The one who is enthroned above the vault of the earth, its inhabitants like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a veil and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in, Who brings princes to nought and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely their stem rooted in the earth, When he breathes upon them and they wither,and the stormwind carries them away like straw.”
Isaiah 40: 12-14 & 21-24
The media have told us repeatedly during this last week that recent events have been unprecedented, and politicians, commentators, both at home and abroad have made it quite clear that the UK is now entering uncharted waters with many hidden dangers.
It is so easy during times such as these to be overwhelmed as we grapple with all the conflicting information thrown at us, not to mention our personal feelings of either relief or dismay at the outcome of the Referendum. We easily become transfixed with the implications for the economy, the ‘united’ aspect of the kingdom, immigration, trade and now, the state of the two main political parties. More has happened and changed in the country within the last 7 days than in the 70 years before, but where are we in all of this?
As those who believe in the Sovereignty and Love of God we have the privilege of looking at all these events through different eyes because, from His point of view the main event is not what is happening in the world we see, but in the unseen realm. Corinth, in Paul’s day, was a wealthy but wicked city whose reputation was known throughout the Roman world. Paul was writing to a fledging christian community who were still learning that believers have a different belief, and therefore, value system to their unredeemed neighbours. In his letter he explained that no longer do we look and respond to events through natural eyes, but we need to look and understand them through the lens of the unseen realm – from God’s viewpoint (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
So for such a time as we are passing though, as Believers we need to live as Kingdom people. Not fearful, complaining, lamenting or behaving as if God had been ousted from His throne, but asking the question, “Father, what are You doing in all of this?” For when we see things from heaven’s perspective we can walk in an atmosphere of peace, with the Lord’s prayer echoing from our heart and on our lips – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” for, ‘… the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations’ (Psalm 22:28).
1. Whatever your political persuasion, have you asked the Lord; “Father, what are you doing in the UK at present?” If not, its a good question to ask.
2. These situations confront where we truly stand in God. If you have become fearful, angry, desperate or anxious, take that to your heavenly Father, and consciously place you trust in His wisdom, authority and care (Philippians 4:6-7).
Part 5 (E5)
“I long to drink of you, O God, drinking deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from Your presence. My longings overwhelm me for more of you! My soul thirsts, pants, and longs for the Living God. I want to come and see the face of God.” Psalm 42:1-2 TPT
As we negotiate this period of transition from one Senior leader to another, it would be easy to regard it almost as a ‘limbo’ state, a period of pregnancy awaiting the ‘birth’ of the next season.
But how can we best be people for ‘such a time as this’? How can we prepare ourselves for what is to come because, as the saying goes, ‘the future belongs to those who prepare themselves for it”?
In Jeremiah chapter 13 God told the prophet to take a waistband, wear it for a while, then bury it. Some time later, God instructed Jeremiah to retrieve it, by which time it was useless. God was using this as an illustration to Israel, but verse 11 gives us a glimpse of what mattered to Him . . . “‘For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘that they may be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory …’.” The cry of God’s heart is for a people who will cling to Him – a people whose ambition, goal, desire and longing is to be with Him, to press into Him and to live within His embrace. In that place we become, in the real sense of the word, His people – for renown (we make Him famous, cause people to talk about Him), for praise (our lives provoke those who don’t yet know Him to praise Him) and bring Him glory as others see our lives reflecting the evidence of His transforming power.
This is not a time for waiting, but a time to press in, a time to become radical lovers, an opportunity to open our lives wide to Him and invite Him to inhabit us, overtake us with His presence and to ‘waste ourselves’ on Him – all things which speak of ‘clinging’! It is so easy to get side-tracked by less important imperatives, or just taken up with the routine of life, whilst He continues to search for those whose hearts cannot endure ignoring His cry for intimacy.
1. One of the greatest gifts we can receive from God is a hunger to relentlessly pursue Him. Without His presence we are poor, but as we pursue Him we find we’re stumbling into a treasure which creates an even greater appetite for more. Do you know that hunger? If not – ask Him for it and intentionally pursue it (and if you do know a hunger for Him, still ask for more – we can never have enough).
2. It is not the amount of time we spend in prayer, reading our Bibles or meditating alone which will change us. There are many people who do those far more than most of us ever will and sadly never encounter His love. It is a heart thing – but to intentionally carve out opportunities to pursue Him, to press into Him, not out of duty but from a hungry heart, is a good thing. It is a ‘message of intent’.
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