Devotional Week 41 Thursday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For out of His fullness and abundance we have all received (all had a share and we were all supplied with) one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift.”
John 1: 16
“God, it is my settled decision
Not to choose less
When You have chosen more for me.
Not to choose the worst
When You have chosen the best.
Not to stoop to defeat
When You have provided victory.
Not to let my emptiness
Close the door to Your fullness.”
Ruth Harms Calkin
Keep Me Faithful
“May Christ through your faith settle down and abide and make His permanent home in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. That you may have the power and be strong to grasp with all God’s devoted people, the experience of that love what is the breath and length and height and depth of it. That you may really come to know practically, through experience for yourselves, the love of Christ which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God, and may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!”
Ephesians 3: 17 - 19
“Lord, there’s not a single thing
You couldn’t accomplish without me.
Had I never been born
Your plan for the world
Would continue to unfold.
But You have graciously consented
To make my life a daily demonstration
Of Your magnificent power
In an earthen vessel – called me.
This indeed is fulfillment.”
Ruth Harms Calkin
Keep Me Faithful
Today’s Study Text:
“Esther speaks: ‘That I have prepared for him.’”
Esther 5: 4
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“It Was a Done Deal” or
“Check the Tense” Part 36
“God will either give you what you ask, or something far better.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
When I pray, do I believe that God will answer my need?
What does Esther’s life teach me about God’s ability to take care of my life?
“On the ground of our own goodness we cannot expect to have our prayers answered. But Jesus is worthy, and for His sake we may have our prayers answered. But if we trust in Christ, if we hide in Him, if we put Him forward and ourselves in the background, depend on Him and plead His name, we may expect to have our prayers answered.”
Prayer Warrior Extraordinaire
“When I stop praying, the ‘coincidences’ stop happening.”
I just love studying the Bible. And if you think I happen to be repeating myself, you are correct. I am well aware of the fact that I have said this before. But sometimes when I read a story that I think I am very familiar with, and then low and behold, a new thought creeps off the pages of the Bible, I just have to pinch myself with joy. This is exactly what happened several days ago as I was reading Esther, Chapter 5, for at least the tenth time when I was preparing this week’s devotionals.
But here’s the exciting fact, I didn’t find this nugget the first time through Chapter 5. In fact, it wasn’t until the 10th time. Just a couple of days ago when I thought I had a very comprehensive view of all that was transpiring in Esther’s world, as recorded in Esther 5, I was struck by something I learned in English grammar as a 5th grade student back in the “olden” days – some of you may remember those days as well. At least I hope so!
In English Grammar class we were taught about the “tenses” of words called verbs. The “tense” of a verb reflects “time,” such as past tense, present tense, and future tense. You may say, “I didn’t come to the Garden in order to get information about grammar.” And I’d quite agree with you!
However, if we reread the last phrase in Esther 5: 4, “that I have prepared for him,” we find that the word “prepared” is written in the past tense. The Hebrew helped me when I checked the word “âsâh” (assaw’) which has a wide variety of meanings. However, several of the words relate directly to the action Esther had already taken by “finishing” the preparations for a banquet before the guests had even been invited. Even King Ahasuerus helps confirm this fact when he told his servants to tell Haman to “make haste” or as you and I might say, “Let Haman know he needs to “get a move on it.” The banquet was ready. The food was hot. And the king had just assured Esther that both he and Haman were on their way.
It’s what I used to completely overlook in the Bible that often provides me with the most encouragement and I hope these seemingly small notations bring courage to your heart as well. In the case of Esther 5: 4, what we learn about Esther is that before she had even invited her guests to the banquet she had “prepared for him,” she had already made accommodations for the event. I have to believe she had seen that all the king’s favorite foods were on the generously laden banquet table for remember, this was a “feast for him.”
Now it might be easy to say, “Esther knew the king would agree to come to the banquet.” I don’t believe that was the case. In fact, since there’s no other record in the book of Esther about a three-day prayer and fasting event, I truly think Esther feared the king would refuse her offer.
So why did she go to all the trouble of having a banquet already for the king? I happen to believe that while she didn’t have trust in what the earthly king of Medo-Persia would do, she had complete trust in what the heavenly King of the Universe would do for His praying children here on earth. Esther’s trust in Jehovah became an amazing sermon to all the people in Shushan for don’t think the story of Esther’s praying and fasting didn’t leak out in Shushan and who knows where else. Let’s take a moment to consider the individuals in Esther’s court who may have inquired of their admired queen, “Who is coming to dinner?” Her response might have been, “I’m not sure.” And then the servants may have inquired, “Have you asked anybody yet?” At that point in time, Esther’s answer would have been, “No!” Then she may have continued, “But as soon as I get my answer, I’ll let you know.” I can only imagine that there were a lot of busy hands when the message got back to the queen’s quarter that indeed, the king and Haman were to be the special guests at the queen’s banquet.
This entire exchange got me to reflecting on the way I act when I pray. What “tense” do I use? Do I sit around hoping that God is going to respond to my cry for help in some “future tense” or “future time” or do I, like Esther, have my banquet of praise and glory already prepared for Him, before the answer has ever arrived?
I’m a huge fan of Ruth Harms Calkins and her fantastic prayers. Today is one of those times when her pen has aided me in putting together our devotional. I want to end with one of her prayers found in her treasure chest. The prayer is entitled: “Unconditional Guarantee.”
Is my guarantee
This very day
This is why Esther was able to be prepared for her king and it is the reason you and I can be prepared for our King’s answer for our lives today as well.
“Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, ‘above all that we ask or think.’ Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people.Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!”
1. Remember Your mercies, Lord.
2. Be gracious to me, O God.
3. In You I hope all day long.
4. In Your love remember me.
5. In You I place all my trust.
6. Awake, O my soul, awake!
7. God is worthy of our praise.
8. Create a clean heart in me.
9. Have mercy on me, O God.
10. Holy is the Lamb of God.
11. Jesus is the Lamb of God.
12. Glory to the Lamb of God.
13. Holy, holy, holy Lord.
14. My cup is overflowing.
15. Joy cometh in the morning.
16. I have been given mercy.
17. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
18. You are my strength and my song.
19. I will never forget You.
20. His eye is on the sparrow.
21. The Lord keeps the little ones.
22. How good is the Lord to all.
23. Fill me with joy and gladness.
24. Let the healing waters flow.
25. Oh, that we might know the Lord!
26. I have grasped You by the hand.
27. His love is everlasting.
28. I have called you by your name.
29. My peace is my gift to you.
30. Let go and let God.
“Have some ‘arrow’ prayers to pray during the day, or a psalm. A good watchmaker is the one who makes watches and prays; a good housemaid is one who sweeps and prays.”
E. B. Pusey
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus