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Today's reading: Esther 2:1-18

Yesterday we met Esther and familiarized ourselves with this young woman. One particular thing that caught my attention was verse 15 where we see these words about Esther when it was her turn to go to the king.

"When the turn came for Esther... to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king's eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised."

Esther was mature beyond her years. How wise that rather than relying on her own thoughts and devising her own plan (which for most teenage girls would likely be full of beautiful, glitzy clothing, professionally applied makeup and perhaps some premeditated witty conversation to attract the king), she relied on her caretaker, Hegai, to guide and direct her.

Esther didn't allow herself to get caught up in what was taking place around her. She kept her eyes on God, and as a result, her humble, authentic and obedient heart shined through for all to observe.

Is it your practice to look for opportunities to learn from others? How open are you to listening to and taking advice from someone who has knowledge in a particular area? What role does humility play in being teachable? Tami


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Today's reading: Esther 2:1-18

As we move into Esther 2, we finally get to meet our leading lady--Esther. King Ahasuerus is now in search of a new queen, and as a result of the king's order, a young Esther is taken into the king's harem as part of the selection process. It's hard to imagine being thrust into such a situation. Each time I read this account I cringe. But at the same time, I'm struck by the extraordinary way Esther (who was likely in her early teens) handled herself in a foreign environment that had to be scary, lonely and difficult. There are quite a number of lessons we can learn from this God-fearing young lady.

What did you notice about Esther--appearance, status, family situation, virtues, attitude, character--from this passage? What's one lesson that stood out to you from Esther's example about coping with and responding to unexpected and difficult circumstances? Tami

In Anger

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Today's reading: Esther 1:10-2:1; Psalm 4:4; Ephesians 4:26-27

In his intoxicated state, King Ahasuerus becomes angry when Queen Vashti refuses to comply with his command to come before him and his male guests. Verse 12 tells us, "At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him." So from the sounds of it, Ahasuerus is more than a little miffed. He's consumed with anger! And in this emotionally unstable state (and remember, he was also intoxicated) he launches into action with the result being that Vashti, his beautiful and cherished wife, is banished from his presence forever. Reacting in anger made a bad situation even worse.

What are the dangers of responding to someone or reacting to a situation when we're angry? When are you most likely (in what situations, with what people) to get angry and respond poorly? What are one or two things that help you respond appropriately ("be angry and do not sin") when someone or something makes you mad? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 1:1-22

For the next couple of weeks we'll be in the Book of Esther, which records the fascinating, real-life account of a young Jewish girl whose actions literally save the Jewish people from annihilation. We're going to read through and consider what we can learn from this Book, looking not only at Esther, but also at some of the other individuals who were key players in this story.

The first chapter of Esther gives us quite a bit of information, but none of it is about Esther. We don't actually get to meet her until chapter 2. Chapter 1 is mostly about King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes, depending on what version of the Bible you're reading) and Queen Vashti, the reigning officials of the Persian Empire where this account takes place. Chapter 1 is important because it sets the background and gives us context for the rest of this amazing story.

Day 1 assignment: Read Esther 1:1-22 looking for details--where the account takes place, the political situation, who is in control, identifying key people, determining what is taking place at this specific time, etc. Make a list or highlight things in your Bible as needed. As you read, pay close attention to King Ahasuerus and what this chapter shows us about the king. What lesson(s) did these verses reveal about money, wealth and/or pride? Tami

Lamenting Prayers

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Today's reading: Psalm 88:1-18

Affliction, trials and troubles will find their way into our lives, sometimes by no fault of our own and other times as a result of our sinful choices and actions. And when these times come, we can talk with God through our sorrow and mourning to seek comfort, forgiveness, restoration and peace.

Psalm 88 is a psalm filled with lamenting. The psalmist is in distress. He's dejected, his "soul is full of troubles," he's lost his strength, his "eye grows dim through sorrow." He feels helpless and rejected. Yet, even in this despondent condition, the psalmist knows that God is his refuge. So he continues to recognize God for who He is, and cry out to Him for help.

How does talking with God when you are hurting, discouraged, afraid or depressed impact your thinking and attitude? What did Psalm 88 show you about communicating with God in and through troubled times? Tami

About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

About My Blog

I'm passionate about engaging God's Word! And my blog is about just that--giving you opportunities to receive, reflect on and respond to Scripture. Each day you'll find a short passage as well as thoughts, challenges and application questions for you to think about and respond to. I look forward to interacting with you and learning together, so post comments as often as you'd like. You can even sign up to get the blogs delivered to your inbox each day!

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