For Such A Time As This

When you find yourself in a position to make a difference, you have a choice to make.

In Esther 4, Mordecai encouraged Queen Esther, who was Jewish and his own cousin, to appeal to the Persian King Ahaseurus to spare the lives of the Jewish people. The Jews were threatened with extinction due to the hatred of one of the king’s officials, Haman. Only an edict from the king could stop the wicked plan from being executed.

Esther, however, was scared. If she entered the presence of the king without being invited—even though he was her own husband—she faced the possibility of being executed herself. Mordecai reminded her that because she was a Jew, she was also in danger of Haman’s wrath. And then he added these words of hope: “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Esther was convinced. She now believed that the unseen Lord was quietly orchestrating the events in her life so that she could make a difference. Esther chose to act, and the Jewish people were saved.

There are two questions that deserve reflection today. The first is this: Where has God placed you to make a difference? In other words, define your sphere of influence. Who can you persuade, convince, or nudge? Whose life can you impact with your words or actions?

Once you can answer the first question, the second becomes clear: What choice will you make? What will you say that can encourage faith, give hope, or express love? What can you do that will change someone’s life?

Perhaps you have been placed where you are “for such a time as this.”

Soil Given By The Lord

In Deuteronomy 26, the nation of Israel received instructions about what they should do after they entered the Promised Land. Once they arrived at the land which God gave each tribe and family, they were to plant their crops. When the harvest came, they were to go to the place where the Lord would establish his name and give an offering of the firstfruits of their harvest. They would accompany their offering with these words: Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O Lord, have given me” (Deuteronomy 26:10).

In 2012, the Lord gave me new soil from which I was to bring him a harvest. The church was called Cotton Ridge. It began in 2010 when a group of hurting believers joined together to seek God’s healing and see what the Lord would do. Through a unique set of circumstances, this small congregation in a small west Texas town seemed destined to invest its resources not in property, buildings, and other temporary things, but in people. For over six years it supported orphans, ministered to widows, rebuilt homes for the needy, fed the hungry, prayed for the sick, witnessed to the lost, and baptized those who wished to follow Jesus. The church was able to accomplish all of this without ever owning a building, a kitchen, or even a baptistery because the people believed a very fundamental truth: people are the church.

Wisdom in Relationships (Proverbs 3:27-35) [Podcast]

Proverbs: Gear for Life - Week 3

The most difficult thing you will ever deal with is people.

Love. Revenge. Empathy. Bitterness. These are just a few of the complex spiritual dynamics that impact our lives every day.

In this third message from the series “Proverbs: Gear for Life,” Dr. David Rhoades brings to light some life principles the Book of Proverbs teaches about relationships.

How To Take An Unpopular Stand

Two weeks after U.S. Soccer announced that their men’s and women’s teams will be wearing rainbow-colored jerseys in support of gay pride month in June, one player has removed herself from the team.

Jaelene Hinkle has seemingly taken a very unpopular stand on a hot-button issue. I say seemingly because she has simply stated “personal reasons” for her decision.

From what outsiders such as myself can determine, Ms. Hinkle is a Christian woman with deep convictions. Her self-removal from the team gives every appearance that she followed her principles when presented with the following scenario: The team made a decision that would require her to violate her convictions. In response, she quietly and voluntarily removed herself from the team.

Celebrating Israel with America’s Rabbi

Today I had the distinct pleasure to meet and listen to Rabbi Daniel Lapin. He was in Dallas to honor the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.

In that war, Israel was very much outmanned and outgunned. The old city of Jerusalem had been captured by Jordan during Israel’s war of independence in 1948. As a result, synagogues were destroyed and Jews were forbidden from visiting their holy sites.

Almost twenty years later, the forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria were ready to strike in an effort to wipe Israel off the map. But Israel made a surprise pre-emptive strike, and the Lord provided miracle after miracle to keep the young nation in tact.

Importantly, Jerusalem was freed and unified. Israel quickly allowed people of any faith—Jew, Christian, and Muslim—to practice their religion freely in the city.

Today, Israel is a land with no oil, not enough water, and many enemies around the world. Yet it stands as a model of liberty and prosperity to its neighbors.

To learn more about Rabbi Daniel Lapin, check out his website at rabbidaniellapin.com.

You Are Called To Serve (1 Peter 5:5-7) [Podcast]

Hope for Exiles: The Teachings of First Peter - Part 23

Submission. Humility. Trust.

These three attitudes are essential to serving others as God intends. In this twenty-third message from the series “Hope for Exiles: The Teachings of First Peter,” Dr. David Rhoades explores the riches of these qualities for the benefit of God’s people.

You Are Called To Lead (1 Peter 5:1-4) [Podcast]

Hope for Exiles: The Teachings of First Peter - Part 22

True leadership is servant leadership.

God calls certain men from His flock to serve as undershepherds to His flock. They are to lead by example.

In this twenty-second message from the series “Hope for Exiles: The Teachings of First Peter,” Dr. David Rhoades shows how faithful pastors help all Christians understand the importance of leading people in their lives.