Sometimes, we’re given a choice. We can help someone or not help someone. We see someone get injured, and we can help or not help. For us now, the outcome doesn’t look to be different. We think someone else can help. Or we think the situation is helpless altogether.
Esther was in the same predicament. Haman was planning to get rid of the Jews. Esther was warned by Mordecai and told her husband, the King, the plan and saved the Jews just in time.
Mordecai told Esther, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b) to encourage her that her role as Queen was God-ordained.
While we don’t necessarily run across situations like this every day (or perhaps in our own lifetime), situations we face may be happening because they’re God-ordained.
So, Esther was given the choice, and the decisions she had to make led to two completely different outcomes. The same for us, sometimes. We’re between two worlds - which path will you choose when the time comes?
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” Matthew 7:24-27.
Jesus equates obedience to building your house on a firm foundation. Who is this foundation? None other than Jesus Himself. However, those who only listen to what God says (and don’t do it) are likened to a man who builds his house on the sand.
“[T]he rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” This is a powerful and scary warning. If you’re just attending Church, hearing God’s Word, but don’t apply it to your life and don’t obey God, the Bible calls you foolish.
COVID is a good example of this “rain,” “floods,” or “winds.” These are related to natural disasters as COVID is a natural disaster. COVID has either brought people closer to God or further from God. There are some who aren’t Christian after having gone through this period of COVID. They would be those with a house built on the sand. The scary warning given to those who built their house on sand is this: “And great was its fall.”
“Great was its fall” is an ominous warning to those who don’t follow what God says. This is the sudden destruction of spiritual life. It could mean at the end of someone’s life and they go to Hell, or it could potentially be the falling away of someone from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 6:6).
Whatever this “fall” refers to exactly, it isn’t good. So the question is: What kind of foundation do you want to have when the wind blows? The storm is coming, so be sure you've built your home on the right foundation.
Matthew 14:22-33: "Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, 'It is a ghost!' And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.' And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!' And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God.'"
After Jesus had learned of John the Baptist's death, He went with His disciples to rest. A crowd wanted to learn from Him, so He taught them (and fed them). After He went by Himself to pray (and His disciples went by boat to the other side), Jesus appeared to them on the water.
The disciples were afraid that they were seeing a ghost. After Peter knew it was Jesus, he showed his faith by walking on the water to meet Jesus. When he saw the waves, he was afraid and started sinking, but Jesus reached out and saved him.
What can we learn from this? We may quickly respond by faith in life sometimes, but then we lose sight of Jesus (as did Peter when he sank), and we begin to sink, ourselves. We sink in our faith, sink in our fears, and sink in thinking we are worthless or not worthy to do God's work.
There's still much to get done, so look to Jesus to help you accomplish what He has for you to get done. So, are you sinking ... or walking with Christ?
“Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them” Proverbs 22:22-23.
The Bible talks a lot about treating everyone kindly. This also means those who are in need. God is serious about not hurting them, even threatening the very soul of those who do.
However, it’s also about oppressing them. This goes beyond stealing from them, but also treating them poorly. “Powerful people can take advantage of bribery, lies, manipulations, and underhanded tactics to win cases against the defenseless. Scripture soundly condemns such evil; the rich and powerful are charged with caring for others, not exploiting them” (bibleref.com).
“The poor or afflicted cannot defend themselves well. Some think this makes them an easy target, but they forget the most key fact in the universe. God will defend them. Beware!” (Let God Be True).
This means that God is serious about what He says. Instead, what are we to do? We must help them. How can you help those in need today?
"The wicked takes and the righteous gives." That's the Jeremy Summary of Psalm 37:21.
"The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives" (that's what the Bible actually says).
If you want to be seen as wicked, borrow and don't repay. If you want to be seen as righteous, show mercy and give.
But does this mean that the righteous shows mercy and that the righteous also gives? That is a possible interpretation of it, but the way I see it is that it's two contrary things that the wicked and the righteous do (the wicked takes and the righteous gives). If this interpretation is correct, then, another way to see the righteous is that he (or she) shows mercy through his or her giving.
God wants us to give generously. When is He calling you to show mercy through your giving? One way you can demonstrate this is by helping the poor in your community. Another way is through donating to us, as we've pledged to help a Christian maternity center in Romania as well as planning children's homes, an afterschool program, a food distribution program, and a job preparation, all to help the community around us who is in need, and to be able to open the doors to share with them the Gospel of Christ. You can donate here.
No matter how you do it, how is God calling you to be righteous through giving to those in need today?
"Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You."
We're going to go through hard times. However, remember, you've gone through hard times in the past, and you're still here. God has gotten you through those, too.
The same God that brought you out of those trials and tribulations can get you out of these trials and tribulations. He saw your situation before you did, and if you're His, He's working it out for your good. Praise God in the good times, praise God in the hard times.
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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths," Proverbs 3:5-6.
This week, several events have caused us to have to trust God more, and He works, even through those circumstances. I'm sure it's the same for you. If you have any worries, they're not yours to bear. Give them over to God, and He will give you that peace that can only come from Him.
What are you not giving over to God? He's waiting for you to turn over all your concerns, worries, and fears over to Him.