Saturday, September 30, 2023
Our verses today come from one of the well-known passages in the book of Esther. Her uncle, Mordecai, reminded Esther that God had placed her in the position of affluence and influence in the palace for His purposes and her people's deliverance. As much as Mordecai loved Esther, he knew her purpose was not to adapt to her new privileged way of life and "fit in" but to live as God's person of influence at great risk to herself.
Today, the churches in the West are headed for a major crisis as the commitment of God's people to biblical faith becomes watered down and deconstructed by the powers of darkness and the rising political pressure to accept the ways of the world and the prince of darkness who rules that world. Like Esther, we need to hear a similar call from God: "Don't think you can escape these problems. I have placed you in this time with its issues so that you can be my light in your world's darkness! I want you to share your hope with people and speak up for what is right, always speaking gently and respectfully as you honor Jesus as your Lord." 
The apostle John warned late first century disciples of the actual spiritual reality we must recognize if we are to step into our God-shaped role for us in our time:
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 
Like Mordecai's message to Esther, we must realize that God will deliver us.  Until then, we need to do our part by holding on to God faithfully. As John said:
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world's viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. 
We are not of this world. Instead, God has put us in this world to be light to help people find their way out of darkness: 
[Jesus taught His disciples, saying:] "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
"You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." 
Almighty God, I know that you have known me and had a purpose for me even before my biological mother could feel me as a flutter in her womb. * Forgive me for the times I have felt my life and influence were inconsequential in today's noise, mess, and self-destruction. I am reminded through Mordecai's words today that you have put me here "for just such a time as this"! Holy Spirit, draw me closer to Jesus so I can reflect His light to the world around me trapped in darkness. Please give me the courage to not compromise Your truth, discard Your righteous character, or abandon Your gracious compassion as I deal with critics. Jesus, please help me to be a light for You, I pray. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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