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A costly but bold decision

By Hannah Ng’uni

“But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him”. Esther 1:12

This weeks’ bold Bible woman is Esther later known as Queen Esther. To fully appreciate her journey, we need to build some context. In chapter 1, we are introduced to a wealthy Persian King Ahasuerus who reigned over 127 provinces. There were still several Jews under Persian rule at the time.

In his third year, the king hosted feast lasting a total of 187 days at the palace, that is some feasting! On the last day, in a drunken state he commanded some of his princes to bring his wife Queen Vashti to show her beauty to the officials gathered but she declined. This displeased the king which lead him to consult men skilled in law about what he could do because the queen disobeyed the command.  Likely out of embarrassment and to maintain respect in his kingdom. As per his advisors, he decides to dethrone her and accepted to make a decree that men should rule their households so ‘all wives will honour their husbands, both great and small’ (vs. 20-22). According to the Persians, the law could not be altered even by the king.

Before Esther comes into the picture, I would like us to consider the woman in today’s chapter, Queen Vashti, from a different perspective to what she was portrayed here – a disobedient wife and bad example to the others.

When she received the request, she was placed in a difficult position; go out and parade herself in front of drunken men or refuse and face the consequences. We are not told in the Bible why she refused; some commentaries suggest due to the nature of the event, her display may have involved lewd behaviour as the king wanted to show off her beauty. It is unlikely he would have made such an unreasonable request had he not been in a drunken state. What I see is that Queen Vashti made a bold decision to maintain her modesty and dignity even at the cost of her royal position (Esther 1:19), she could not bring herself to dishonouring her body and comprise her values. Though I imagine it was not a decision made lightly.

As a woman in today’s society, you may find yourself faced with a decision that, if you say ‘yes’ may lead you to compromise your faith, dignity, morals, values, modesty etc or cost you something e.g. loss of a job, business opportunity, friendships, comfort, status etc if you say ‘no’. So how should you respond as a Christian?

We learn from Daniel that we must choose to obey God and purpose in our heart to do what is right and pleasing to Him. God will always honour His word and provide direction. Daniel was known for his excellent spirit, faithfulness to God and his custom of praying three times daily. He was steadfastly committed to God and did not compromise on this (Daniel 1:8-9). When he decided not to worship King Darius, it almost cost him his life, literally! He was thrown in the lions den but the Lord protected him, he was not consumed ‘because he believed his God’ (Daniel 6:23).

Last week, we explored the decisions Ruth made and how God turned things around for her. I encourage you to read the blog post and listen to the podcast.

So, remain steadfast and in close fellowship with the Lord. Purpose in your heart that you will not comprise His word. Put your trust in Him, He delights in directing your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Decisions, Decisions

By Lindi Amah

We are constantly making decisions, from mundane decisions to life altering decisions. Essentially every decision that we make has a significant impact on the life we choose to build even the ordinary decisions.

Ruth chapter 1 opens with Elimelech deciding to migrate from his place of birth in search of food. We see how this decision costs him his life, and the son’s life. Later in the verse Naomi decides to return with her daughter in laws but later decides against it.

Ruth makes the biggest decision to follow the mother-in-law to her homeland, choosing to forsake her desires for her mother-in-law.

I cannot imagine what must have been going through Naomi’s head really, she not only lost her husband but also lost her sons. She was at this point left with nothing, or so she thought.  She was prepared to be alone for the rest of her life because God dealt with her “bitterly”.

She was so focused on what happened not realising that she had a something that would be absolutely valuable.  Ruth the best thing to come out of Moab.

Ruth was an example of a friend in time of need (Prov 17:17)  the one who sticks closer than a brother ( Prov 18:24) . From Ruth people now have wedding vows. Ruth despite the hostility she would face in Bethlehem for being a Moabite  decided to risk her life for the sake of Naomi.

Ruth’s decision to ignore Naomi’s request to stay in Moab and to go to Israel , displayed courage   and persistence which I believe God saw and was impressed . The Bible says to do justice (Micah 6:8) and look after widows in their distress ( James 1:27)  , although Ruth was a widow herself ,  she knew that Naomi needed her and was willing to sacrifice her love life for the sake of her now Mother.

From Ruth, we see her yes whispered in her decision to cling to her mother-in-law; I dare say this is not an easy decision.

When you are making decisions remember to consult the Lord. The Psalmist reminds us the benefits of having the Lord as our shepherd.

God is determined to direct you and help you with your decisions if you allow Him. He is not pleased in seeing us return bitter from the decisions we have made but enjoys seeing us flourish in the places her has placed us.

If you would like this week’s bible verses for your devotional

Click the link below!

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Peace

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:6-8

In understanding the root of anxiety and personally having moments when I feel anxious about a particular situation or a season in life. Philippians can feel like a light-hearted response, more like a get over what you are feeling response.

But as I delve deep into the vastness of this verse; I discover prayer is a powerful tool. We can allow the devil to make us believe it will be easier to worry. Praying and petitioning God with thanksgiving is not a neglect.

All the worldly perspective on how to treat anxiety essentially aim to draw you to a level of peace. Its beautiful how the bible understands that in the absence of the peace of God our anxiety roams wild.

I acknowledge this your feelings are valid; God knows how anxiety can disrupt your peace he invites you to talk about them with him through prayer and petition. He invites you to cast your cares upon him.

Today I choose to remember that God’s peace will guard me so I will not be anxious for nothing, instead I will pray and give thanks. I will Fix my thoughts on things that are true, honourable, right, pure, lovely, of good report.

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My Big imagination

Now to Him who is able, to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20

It can be scary to have a wild dream, an exceptional imagination. I have found myself dreaming hoping planning and then being reminded of how limited my resources are. Being reminded that my plans and aspirations are too big for me to achieve.

I scale down, to what I can manage with my network and financial resources. So many of us are in the same space where we limit God based on what we can see. Ephesians 3 offers a green light to dream big, imagine big and the good news is God is not scared of your dreams. He exceeds them.

My word for you today – never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you to accomplish what he has promised because he is able to achieve beyond your vast request. He is ready to surpass all your hopes and dreams through his power that works in us.

Today I choose to remember God is able, to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think according to the power that works in us.

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Oh yes!

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so, through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

2021 has started out slightly different from what I had previously imagined. I know 2020 gave us a lesson in the uncertainty of life but surely one can hope.

In 2 Corinthians Paul share in my feeling of having plans changed at the cusp. He intended on travelling but his plans changed.

He encourages us by saying even though I can promise – mind you I did not make those promises lightly with the intention of quickly changing. The promises of God are Yes, our response to his promise is Amen for the glory of God.

The exciting thing about this verse is that God has made a lot of promises in his word and the bible encourages us that regardless of the number of promises that God has made they are Yes and Amen and its all for his glory.

Today I choose to remember that All the promises of God in Him are yes and amen so walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 1:20, 5:7)

Prayer

Father God I trust you and your promises because you never change and fail.

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Is Will power enough?

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in the flesh – Romans 8:3

Most of us have the best intentions against sin. We write a nice list of what we wish we would not do. I remember making terrible choices in my relationships and thinking just say no write yourself a nice I do not want to do that list and it will go away.

But the verse we have read tells us our human nature has weaknesses – disclaimer this is not an excuse to keep messing around. Thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ who made it possible for us.

In Romans 7 the bible reveals our sinful nature and how our flesh is eager to take us back to our old habits even if we choose not to do them. How what we wish we did not want to do

The good news is the Holy spirit helps us to say no to sin.

The bible reminds us in our fight against sin – will power is not enough we need the spirit of God. It is by the Holy spirit that we put to death the works of the flesh. It is by the Holy spirit that we are empowered to walk away from situations that tempt us.

Today I choose to remember to be spiritually minded, not to live according to my five senses (the flesh) but to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-17)

Prayer:

Holy Spirit I need you in this journey.

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Unchained and purpose filled.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life – Romans 6:4

It is easy to think sin has benefits, to think you can live life on your own terms no blueprint just an easy self-determined life. As we get enticed to sin, we are put under the illusion that we are masters of our own life the orchestrators of our own destiny.

But soon you realise that sin is controlling, it is a master with rules. In Romans 6:16 we are reminded that we are slaves to the one we obey. Whatever you worship and value soon becomes your centre of focus.

In Romans we are instead called to be slaves to righteousness. We are called to surrender our lives to stand right with God. This surrender yields freedom – the freedom to live an empowered life.

God is putting us in a position of Choice, by grace we are empowered to choose. However, if we choose sin, we choose death regardless of how enticing it looks in that moment. If we choose to love and obey God, he leads us to a life of perfect righteousness.

Do not allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking that choosing Jesus is choose a legalistic life we see God saying in choosing me you are following the path to a life of total freedom to live in your purpose.

Roman 6:21-22 – What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

The ultimate desire of God for our lives is that we live a fulfilled life, unchained and boldly walking in our purpose.

Because of the work od Jesus on the cross we are no longer bound to our past he has given us a new slate.

Today i choose to remember Through the blood of Jesus, we have been made right with God, our sinful nature was crucified with Jesus so that sin will no longer have dominion over us. We must consider ourselves indeed dead to sin. We are no longer slaves to sin! (Romans 6: 1-23)

If you have not received Jesus as your Lord, He is ready to lead you and walk with you.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I surrender my will, my life, and my control for yours. I invite you to come and lead.  In Jesus name amen.

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I am not helpless.

But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14: 26

How many times have we paced through life, unsure of which direction to take, unsure of how our decision will play out in the future?

How many times have we been plagued by forgetfulness cannot remember the last this we said or did?


Sometimes we all need a little encouragement along the journey in John 16:7  the bible tells us “But here’s the truth: It’s to your advantage that I go away, for if I don’t go away the Divine Encourager will not be released to you. But after I depart, I will send him to you.”

Jesus has not left us to fend for ourselves or go around aimlessly trying to figure out life. He gave us the Holy Spirit. In John 14 the bible tells us the Holy spirit is our friend, our unwavering confidant.

I challenge you to see the holy spirit as the companion that is readily available to guide you. The bible says you will hear a voice from behind saying this is the way walk in it. – Isaiah 30:12

Whether you are not sure of your next move in life, whatever crossroad you have reached remember – you are not helpless, you are not abandoned.

Today I choose to remember The Holy Spirit is my helper, enabler, the one who convicts of sin, reveals, and guides into all truth I need the Holy Spirit!

Let’s Pray

Holy Spirit, I need you to guide me. I thank you that you are constantly there.

Leading me and guiding me I am not alone I am not abandoned – in Jesus name – Amen

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Faith Over Fear Worship Over Worry

By Tinika Rock

‘Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ Mark 11:20-24

To Have Faith in God and Not Doubt, to believe what he says and that when we pray to believe we will receive!

This scripture is saying that we must have faith in God and not doubt.  To believe what he says and when we pray to believe that we will receive.

In this passage, I am reminded of the story of Peter walking on water. Once Peter had stepped out of the boat and began to walk on the water, he turned his eyes away from Jesus and became afraid of the storm and began to sink.

The message of this story is that Peter had trusted and obeyed Jesus to take a step out of the boat. As his eyes remained on Jesus his faith was strong, it was only until he looked away his faith weakened, and doubt began to interfere.

So, we can take from this message that if we keep our eyes fixed on God and actively seek his wisdom our faith begins to grow, and when we ask for things and believe in our hearts, we shall have them.

The definition of faith focusses on the hope and conviction of our faith and not on the results. Even though we believe and do not doubt. God knows everything that we need in every situation and will supply according to his will at the appointed time. This can be the greatest lesson of faith, believing without doubting and trusting him whatever the outcome may be.

Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

If at this moment you are listening to this podcast and you are worried about something. Pray to God, ask him to help you and strengthen you. Psalms 145:18 says the Lord is righteous in all his ways, he is near to all who call on him and he will fulfil the desires of those who fear him and hears their cry and saves them.

Today I choose to remember to keep my eyes focussed on God and to have faith that even when obstacles stand in my way, God will help me through. Today I choose Faith over fear and Worship over worry.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for being a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and always present. I pray for wisdom in the areas where I lack knowledge. Help me to choose faith over fear and to keep my eyes on you even when doubt creeps in.

In Jesus name, I pray Amen

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You are the Salt of the Earth

By Tinika Rock

‘“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’- Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV

As believers, we are the salt of the earth.

What comes to mind when you see the word salt? Initially you think of adding flavour or adding seasoning to something. Standing out above the rest. So, relating to scripture we are designed to be the salt of the world adding flavour and making a difference in a way that directs and encourages others to God.

What do you think of when you hear the word light?

I think of brightening a room. I think of a place where there is no room for darkness.

In the same way where we shine our light and darkness cannot put it out.

No matter what darkness you are in or you may face you are the light, you are designed for a purpose and to make a difference.

John 1:4-5

‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’

When the church acts as salt and light it transforms lives.

As believers in Jesus, we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. Our light must so shine in a way that points others to God.

‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”’ John 8:12 NKJV

‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ Psalms 119:105 NKJV

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for taking the time to create me in your image. I thank you for giving me true purpose and trusting me to shine my light upon others.

I pray that your holy spirit will be upon me and direct me in the ways I should go that my light will shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify you.

In Jesus name, I pray Amen

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Giving Back To God Is a Privilege

By Tinika Rock

‘“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, or you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.’ – Malachi 3:8-12 KJV

Can a man rob God?

It is not possible to rob God because everything belongs to him. However, we can sometimes take from God and not give anything back for example when he gives us abundance and we don’t do the right things or act according to his will or withhold our tithes and offerings.  As it says in Malachi 3:8:8 NKJV ‘“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.’

What is Tithing – tithe is a Hebrew word which means tenth. The bible says in Leviticus 27:30 “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. ‘

One way to give back to God is through tithing. Tithing is an expression of our faith and honouring and giving back to God. Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase:

What do we owe God?

We owe God our life, God has given us and blessed us with so much. Sometimes in life we can fall into a place where we forget about the blessings we have been given. So, in this time of reflecting on Gods promises and all that he has given us. May we have the heart of giving, Let’s open our hearts to God and all his sacrifices that we can be a cheerful giver and cheerfully give back to him.

Today I choose to remember that everything belongs to God and giving back to God is a privilege and opens doors for more blessings.

Prayer

Father, I thank you for your word, I thank you that I am renewed and transformed daily by your strength. Lord help me to be a cheerful giver that I may honour you with thy substance and with the first fruits of my increase.

In Jesus name, I pray amen

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Empowering of The Holy Spirit

By Tinika Rock

Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” So, I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” So, I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” So, he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”- Zechariah 4:1-7

Zechariah – “Yahweh”

We cannot accomplish much in our own strength and might but by the empowering spirit of the Lord, not even a mighty mountain will stand in the way!

As we continue the story of Zerubbabel, we can see that God’s spirit is upon them. Now that their spirits are stirred up, they are walking in the spirit of God. Although they were responsible for rebuilding the Lord’s temple it was not by their might or by their power but by the spirit of the Lord which was given to them.  Now that they had the strength and guidance from God, not even a mountain or obstacle could stand in the way of what God had planned for them. Proverbs 3:5 NLT

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

In all that we do we can ask for Gods holy spirit to be upon us. For example, when reading the word of God call onto him, ask him to renew your heart and your mind so that you may have a desire and an attitude to read and to take in the word of God. Pray and ask for wisdom and for the holy spirit to be upon you so that you can understand what God is saying. James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Proverbs 2:6 NKJV For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Whose strength are you relying on today?

Today I choose to remember not to rely on my own strength but to ask God for his Holy Spirit and guidance.

Prayer

Dear heavenly father I Thank you for always being with me and loving me. Lord help me to seek you and not rely on my own strength but by the holy spirit.

In Jesus name, I pray

Amen