Tag Archives: Book of Esther

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — Esther 1:1a

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 1:1a

“Now it took place in the days of King Ahasuerus….”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  It took place in the days of King Ahasuerus…

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   It took  place in the days of King Ahasuerus…so what does that mean?  What were the days of King Ahasuerus?  King Ahasuerus was better known as Xerxes the great.  Xerxes ruled and reigned over the Persian Empire from 485bc-465bc.  Xerxes was a wicked and cruel leader whose motto was, “One world, one ruler,” and that one ruler was him.

God’s chosen people, the Israelites, find themselves in the midst of the Persian Empire as slaves to Xerxes–like 44% of the world found themselves at that time.  How did they end up there?  What happened to God’s promise to His people about having a land of their own?  God’s people conquer in the book of Joshua, but here in Esther they are conquered.

God’s chosen people were to obey and follow God, and if they did, God would bless them, but if they did not, God would send them into exile to discipline them and bring them back to Him.  Israel obeyed for awhile, but then… they stopped.  God was true to His Word.  King Nebuchadnezzar came in to Jerusalem, and in 536bc, wiped the city out.  Remember, Daniel and his friends were taken and in Daniel 1:1 they firmly decide not to defile themselves… they decide to go vegan before vegan was a trend.  Daniel and his friends were found to be more fit than all the other captives, so they get to keep their diet.  God shows Daniel and his friends favor.  Daniel ends up being a confidant to not only the Babylonian kings, but to the Medes and the Persians as well.  This is unheard of!  #ThefavorofGodisreal.

Daniel is a prophet and tells the people that God will allow them to return to the land of promise after 70 years of captivity.  Darius (Xerxes father) releases God’s chosen people to return back to their land of promise.  Less than 1/4 decide to go back… and now… here we are… the days of King Ahasuerus…

Soooo why did the Israelites not return?  God had CLEARLY called His people to be led by Him to their land given by Him.  Was Persia such a fabulous place?

It’s easy to point our fingers and judge for sure… there was a time in my life when I read this book and did just that… judged them.  I mean seriously… if they had returned like they were supposed to then there would be no need for Esther to risk her life… but no… they are disobedient, stiff necked people.  Yep.  So am I.

Would you have gone back?  I mean, you just got that promotion at work… your kids just got into the best school system… 1st world amenities…to go where?  Last time they heard about Jerusalem it was burned to the ground, completely destroyed.  No indoor plumbing?  Having to boil water over a fire?  What school system was in place there for your kids so they could have a shot at some sort of future?  Yeah… none.  It’s not like they could site visit and then if they didn’t like it, return over the long weekend.  You go–you stay.

Oh… so “God” had called them out?  Well…. where has God been these past 70 years?

God has been SILENT–that’s where God has been.

NOW God wants us to give EVERYTHING up and follow Him?  Trust that His Word is true for me and my family?  Hmmmm…. wow… now that my friend, is quite a gamble isn’t it?  And THAT is where we find ourselves today… not so far off from those Israelites in 536bc.  That very same calling is on our lives… TRUST that God’s Word and His promises are true and will hold…. for me.  There it is.  In the days of Ahasuerus… God’s people found themselves still living in exile… because it was hard to gamble it all on the fact that God is who He says He is.  We don’t know we need to be #delivered until we need to be delivered.  The Israelites needed #deliverance… so in chapter 1 Almighty God was going to work on that.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  SO, what say you?  Has God placed a calling on your life that you have put on the back burner?  When things calm down, when I’m more economically stable, when my kids are out of the house…  What is keeping you from going all in?  What is preventing you from believing and taking God at His Word?  Will God really be faithful to you?

Maybe God has been silent for YEARS… and now… you are to just believe His Word will hold for you in your desperate situation?  Has God allowed a desperate situation in your life so you have no options left on the table except to trust Him?

When has God shaken you to wake you up to your need?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today… help me to surrender the battle I face at the feet of Jesus.  Help my unbelief and #deliver me.

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If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove it started last week, but it’s not too late to join us!  We’d love to see you in person.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)


NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove in person (January 10 – February 21, 2017),  we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  Can’t watch live?  Don’t worry, you can catch the replays in the Periscope app indefinitely.  We will begin streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening around 7:15 p.m. ET (give or take a few minutes).

Not sure how to use Periscope? 
1.
 You must first sign up for Twitter (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2. Then you sign up for Periscope (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to follow The Cove on Twitter and Periscope, so you will be notified when we go LIVE.  We are @TheCoveNC.

UPDATE from January 10th study (last week): Friends, we had major technical difficulties with the LIVE streaming.  We are chatting with the tech people at Periscope and Twitter and hope to have it up and ready to go next week.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Please pray this will get figured out.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — ESTHER 8:2, 7-8

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 8:2, 7-8

“And the king took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai.  And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. (7) So King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold I have given the house of Haman to Esther, and him they have hanged on the gallows because they had stretched out his hands against the Jews.  Now, you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king’s name and seal it with the king’s ring; for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  The king took off his signet ring and gave it to Mordecai.  King said to Esther, “BEHOLD, I have given the house of Haman to Esther, now YOU WRITE as you see fit, in the king’s name, seal it w the king’s ring; a decree written in the name of king & sealed with signet ring may not be revoked.”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

It matters what you do, it matters that you believe and act on the beliefs that you so passionately profess.

Here in the story, the climax has been reached: Esther has prayed and fasted for three days, she has stepped out in faith and trusted that God had given her the title of queen, “For such a time as this.”

Esther, risking her life walks into the throne room and after two banquets, she pleads for her life and the life of her people living in the Persian empire.  The king is incensed–who would dare try to kill his queen?  Killing the queen is tantamount to treason, an action worthy of death.  Haman is identified as the culprit.  Haman is promptly escorted out of the room with a bag placed over his head.  Haman will be hung on the very gallows he built to impale Mordecai, who is the enemy of Haman, but the hero of Jews.

Haman is gone, but the edict of Haman is still very much alive.  In just 9 short months, the Jews across the Persian empire will be slaughtered.  Esther has saved her own life from Haman’s hand, but now she continues to plead for the lives of her people.  The king must reverse the edict, the king must do something so that he saves her people, and in verse 3 we find Esther weeping and pleading at the king’s feet.

I LOVE the response of the king!!!  “Behold! I have given…”  I love the word “behold”.  Behold is a demonstrative participle which means the king is demonstrating (showing) Esther the power that she possesses.  The same power that Haman had in order to write an edict to destroy is the same power Esther has to protect and save.  Esther possesses the very power of the king to write an edict that cannot be revoked!

The king then tells her to GO AND DO IT!  GO! Esther, in the power of the king of Persia!  Go Esther!  The very words written on the page will be sealed with my signet, proving it is binding!  GO Esther!! YOU WRITE!  And there it is.

Think for just a second, what if Esther said, “Yeah, I hear what you are saying–I see the ring and all–and I hear you telling me that whatever I write you will stand behind it and “okay” it, but honestly, I just don’t believe it.  I like the ring and all, and I will wear it and show everyone that the king gave it to me and explain that there is just nothing that can be done for my people.  I tried.” #supercoolring #canthelp #sorry

THAT WOULD BE CRAZY!!!  The king had delivered the Jews, but Esther needed to step out and believe the power that the signet ring is endowed with.  Esther was charged, “You write,” and she did.  God delivered His people through the ring of a pagan king, because Esther and Mordecai wrote and completed the task set before them.

Can you hear the Jeremy Camp song playing in the background as you read this?

“The same power that raised Jesus from the grave!  The same power that commands the dead to wait, lives in us!  The same power that moves mountains when we speak.  The same power that can calm the raging sea, lives in us.  He lives in us.”

YES, THESE WORDS ARE SO TRUE! Let’s sing it!  BUT do you REALLY believe the words, or is it just a catchy tune?

All the promises in Jesus are yes and Amen (2 Cor 1:20)!  That means that ALL, ALL, ALL God’s promises are as if they are done and completed already in our lives!

We are free! 

We are #delivered!!! 

We don’t believe it.  Oh, I have faith for you, I believe God has delivered you, but me?  Often times I do not believe the  promises of God are yes and amen for me.

For such a time as this, it is time that we begin to STAND and, just as Esther was charged by the king, we must also “behold “and remember what we have been given!

Step 3

APPLY IT:  What would you do differently if you really believed that the very power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead really lives in you?

 Where has God called you to make a stand  or send out a statement, but you don’t believe that you have really been delivered?  Will you ask God to show you specifically?

Hint: It will always be hard, and more often than not, it will usually not be something you would have chosen yourself.  Faith is HARD… but it is how God proves to YOU that His promises are ALL yes and amen to you!

Have you gone to church for years, and profess to be a Christian but your life is not reflective of the power of Christ, but the fear of failure?

LIVE IT OUT:

Ephesians 1:18-19 — “I pray that the eyes of your heart (and mine) may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His (Jesus’s) inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which he brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand.”

That same power is the desire of God to work through us.  Oh, how God wants to show us our faith is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor 15:58).

Today STAND, SIT, WRITE, PRAISE, WALK, RUN in VICTORY!  Believe, then go and do because you are free, you are #delivered.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
__________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 4:16

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 4:16

“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maidens also will fast in the same way.  And thus I will go into the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Assemble all the Jews in Susa.  Fast and pray for me three days (night), I and my maidens also will, thus I will go to the king, not according to law, if I perish, I perish.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
“To everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” Luke 12:48

Many of us in swing states are being bombarded with campaign commercials, everywhere we go.  So, as Christians, who do we vote for?  HRC?  The Donald?  McMullin?  Johnson?  Does God’s Word give us a clear cut answer?  There are many Christians and theologians giving their two cents regarding who we should pull the lever for, and if we don’t follow their advice we are seen as wicked people who have sold our souls…. so some of us will stay at home and not vote at all, letting whatever happens, happen. But is that right either?  We are known as “One nation under God,” as a country where “God’s grace has been shed.”  So what is the right answer?

I love this verse in Esther, and I think we can receive encouragement and direction from it.  The lives of the Jewish people were in the balance–slated for slaughter–with nothing to be done to change the outcome. Or was there?  Ahhh, there was! Queen Esther, who had no “real” power at all, but was the one God called to stand up at that moment in history.  The “king” that Esther would risk her life to speak to, was Xerxes.  He called himself, “The king of kings,” the “Almighty.”  He had a complex for sure.  Xerxes was not a king who regarded life as precious…he was willing to sacrifice the lives of every man in his army if he could have control over Greece.  An evil and cruel dictator, Xerxes had his previous wife banished from his presence forever for one act of disobedience.  Worse yet, the right-hand man of this king was Haman, who was just as evil and manipulative–a true enemy of God and His people.  Haman is the one who made the kill order for the Jewish people across every province in the Persian empire.  (Cue the evil laugh…can you hear it?)

Esther was the only one with access to King Xerxes (kind of).  She needed to be summoned by the king to have the “privilege” of access, and he hadn’t summoned her in quite some time.  Esther couldn’t just walk in to the throne room uninvited unless she wanted to lose her life.  This posed a problem…what help would she be to the Jewish people if she was dead?  Esther had been silent regarding her Jewish heritage since she’d been placed in the palace.  Esther could have run away, she could have hid, she could have said, “What is the use?  What can my words do to make a difference?”  Esther was not ignorant about who she was dealing with.  Esther was absolutely right.  What could she do?  Esther could make things a lot worse–especially for herself, if you think about it.  Esther knew her own limitations, but she knew the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords… and she had access without limit to Him.

Esther turned to prayer and fasting for three days and called the Jews in the city to do so as well.  Esther would go and meet this responsibility head on, believing God would go before her.  If this meant the end to her and her people, it meant the end.  Still, she would gather her courage and go.  To whom much had been given, much was required.  Esther met the challenge.  Perhaps that is why she was Providentially chosen to be where she was.

We as Americans may not be kings and queens, but we do have access to the same Almighty King of kings and Lord of lords that Esther had.  The people of Persia had no right to vote for their leader, but we do.  Now is not the time to shirk the responsibility that has been given to us.  Running from the problem of the candidates is not gathering our courage.  What if three days before the election, we as God’s people who have been entrusted with this civic duty, prayed and fasted together, then, after three days, we put on our robes and went to the polls to vote for the person that God has laid on our hearts?

Remember, throughout time, God has used even the most wicked of kings like Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Ahab and Xerxes, because right in the middle of the darkness, He had the light of His presence, and in the end, delivered His people in spite of the odds.

There is a time to hold our tongues and keep our heads down, but that time is not now!  Now is the time to move from silence to supplication, as Esther did.  Now is the time to make a STAND on our knees like never before! My prayer for this election is found in Psalm 31:3, “For Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.”

Step 3

APPLY IT:
Will we determine to move from silence to supplication on behalf of the responsibility God has entrusted to us?

LIVE IT OUT:
For Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me today, give me the ears to hear, the heart to understand and the feet to follow.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.