Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 7, Esther: For Such A Time As This, of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur. We encourage you to share what you've learned from this study as well.
I'm not going to lie to you, it's taken me a lot longer with this book than anticipated. I love the book. I'm learning a lot from it. However, this is not a quick read. It is an important read. Something you should take your time reading and praying over for God to speak to you through these "unlikely heroes." Esther is one of these "unlikely heroes" that I've had to read over several times. I love her story. I'm not going to retell her story. However, below are some of the things that John MacArthur writes about that jumped out at me the most about Esther.
* The book that bears her name was not written by Esther, but about her. (p. 129)
* Even if it cost her life, Esther would do whatever was necessary to protect her people. (p. 139)
* Esther's risky and courageous action had not only saved Mordecai's life, but also canceled a decree to destroy the Jews. (p. 144)
* God Himself is the only explanation for the survival of the Jews in the midst of such hatred and opposition. (p. 147)
* But His presence comes through more powerfully and more dominantly because it is so obvious that only God could sovereignly ordain everything in the story of Ester. (p. 147)
* Though it is silent to His name, God thunders through the book of Ester. The Lord's unseen power is obvious, sovereignly ordaining every detail to preserve His people. There are no miracles in the book, but the remarkable protection of the Jews through God's providential control of every circumstantial detail of people, places, time, and action is nothing short of miraculous- revealing the Lord's infinite wisdom and omnipotence over all things. (p. 148)
* The book of Esther might be compared to a chess match, in which God and Satan (working behind the scenes) moved real-life kings, queens, and nobles. It looks as though Satan, using Haman, might put God's plans in check. But the Lord-who has absolute power over Satan-checkmated the devil's schemes by positioning Mordecai and Esther to find favor with the king. (p. 148)
* Queen Esther, along with Mordecai, were the human instruments God used to rescue His covenant people from total destruction. Esther, who came from humble beginnings, was an orphan in a foreign land hundreds of miles from Israel. As such, she truly was an unlikely hero. (p. 149)
Why is Esther considered an unlikely hero? God was able to use her. Someone whose life as a child was completely the opposite of her life as Queen. She knew the risk involved in approaching the king. However, she also knew the importance of saving her people as well as going to God. Even though we don't read about Esther praying to God, however, we see her faith in the following verses:
Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!" -Esther 4:15-16
As we all start our days, complete with the ups and downs of autism, let's try to remember to be more like Esther when facing our fears. Yes, we may at first let our fears get the best of us. What's important is for us to take the time and pray. Give it to God and let Him help us through our toughest days. I know it's hard to remember to do this throughout the day. However, if we start strengthening our relationship with God, everything else will just fall into place and get that much easier. Including autism.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 6 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Please share with us in the comment section below this post.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you." So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. -Jonah 3:1-3A
In Chapter 6 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur, we learn about our next "unlikely hero", Jonah. Why is he an unlikely hero? He was punished for not listening to God. So, how is he a hero?
Below are the points that John MacArthur made that stood out to me the most. As I've mentioned in previous posts, if you have not read the chapter, it is important for you to read the entire chapter to get a true meaning out of it. It is beautifully written and Jonah's story is explained in great detail in ways that I've never heard before. I encourage you to take the time to read the entire chapter. Below are just a few of the points that meant the most to me.
* Yet God worked through him to conduct a campaign of preaching that brought hundreds of thousands to salvation. p. 115
* The book of Jonah teaches us that even when the preacher is reluctant to see sinners saved, God is not reluctant to save them. The Lord's compassion for the heathen was set on clear display as a striking contrast to Jonah's callous diffidence. p. 115
* Spiritual rebellion reaps what it sows, as God reproves and corrects those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). p. 115
* In the midst of his misery, the humbled prophet cried out for deliverance. p. 117
* Drowning under the weight of God's hand of judgment, Jonah prayed for deliverance and compassion from the Judge Himself. p. 119
* When the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, he would be sure to obey. p. 119
* Like Jonah, we might be tempted to allow our own fears, prejudices, or selfish interests to inhibit our gospel witness. But when we prioritize the gospel message over our own personal agendas, we bring glory to God as we advance His kingdom purposes throughout the world. p. 124
I ask you, what is the Lord asking you to do that you may be running from? Is He placing something on your heart, a way to share His word to others, that you find excuses as to why you can't? Will you learn from Jonah and obey the Lord's word right away instead of hiding?
We all have busy lives. If you're reading this, you most likely have a child who has autism. You have therapies, recipes, supplements, playing, doctor's appointments, lack of sleep, etc. You have a very busy life. However, God still needs you to spread His message to all of the hurting people in our world today. Maybe it's your child's therapist, a doctor, the lady you buy the supplements from at the store. Perhaps it's another parent who has a child on the spectrum who doesn't know God. There are a ton of people out there who don't know God. They don't realize the peace they can have in their lives if they would take the time to get to know Jesus. They don't know God. God needs us to open these doors to them and introduce them to Him and all of his amazing powers. He will still help us with our storms that come in and out of our lives. We just have to trust in Him.
I love how John MacArthur closes up Chapter 6...
Although we are not Old Testament prophets like Jonah was, we have been given a mission similar to his. As New Testament believers, our charges is to take the gospel to those who are lost, proclaiming to them the reality of coming judgment and the hope of salvation. (cf. Matthew 28:18-20). When we resist this responsibility, whether out of fear, pride or a preoccupation with trivial things, we fall into the same trap that Jonah did. But when we are faithful to obey the Lord in this way, we experience the wonderful blessing of being used by Him to further His kingdom. There is no greater joy than seeing sinners embrace the good news of salvation. As the apostle Paul told the Romans, quoting from Isaiah, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15) - p. 126
Posted by Nicole Collins at 9:17 PM