Welcome...

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm pastor of First Baptist Church in Dupo, IL.  You can visit the church website for information on the church: www.fbcdupo.org.  Here I hope to share some inspiration and perhaps a few tales from the winding road…this journey called life, where God can be seen in the moments of our day if we are looking for Him.  ~Roger~ 

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First Baptist Church
620 Godin Avenue | Dupo, IL 62239

Thought for the Day

Even when we don't sense God's presence, His loving care is all around us.

Words to live by...

Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.  Let your heart live forever!
Psalm 22:26 

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Entries in Esther (5)

Wednesday
Jun022010

Self Control

I don't accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don't really want to do I find I am always doing.
Romans 7:19 (Phillips Translation)

The problem Paul highlights in this section of Romans resides within all of us.  The universal problem of losing control.  The answer to this problem is easy to identify, but applying it is a lifetime project.  The answer is self-control.   

The passage we looked at last week in Esther 9:1-16 depicts a perfect opportunity and legal right for the Jews to retaliate and plunder their enemies.  Yet in defending themselves, the Jews demonstrated restraint regarding their enemies’ families and possessions. 

When we are tempted to take matters into our own hands and get even, we need to remember:

1.) As a Christian we are to be different from the world – Romans 12:2.  Paul warns us not to be conformed.  Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.

2.) As a Christian we are a member of a family – Romans 12:3-5.  Our role is not to take charge, but to take directions.  Our direction comes from the Lord Jesus.

3.) As a Christian the Lord is our defender – Romans 12:17-21.  The high road of life is not the road of retaliation, it is the road of forgiveness.  It is the road that Jesus traveled when He went to the cross.

"God is waiting eagerly to respond with new strength to each little act of self-control, small disciplines of prayer, feeble searching after him. And his children shall be filled if they
will only hunger and thirst after what he offers."
  Richard Holloway

Praying your day is filled with opportunities to practice self-control and experience God’s perfect provision.

Wednesday
May052010

Not as they seem...

You have probably heard the story or read it on the internet about a man who found himself shipwrecked on an uninhabited island.  He had painstakingly constructed a hut with a few things he salvaged from the wreck and from whatever he could find on the island.  That little hut was the only protection he had from the elements and the only place he cold safeguard his meager possessions. 

Upon returning from a lengthy search for food, he was terrified to find the hut engulfed in flames.  He spent that night despondent, sleeping on the sand and feeling like God had abandoned him.

He awoke early the next morning and, to his surprise, saw a ship anchored off the island.  A crew member stepped ashore and told him, “We saw your smoke signal and came to rescue you.”  What seemed to be destruction turned out to be deliverance. 

As we looked at the sixth chapter of Esther last week, we discovered that  this was the case for Mordecai.  Every hope that sheltered him seemed to have gone up in smoke.  There are four important principles in this chapter that we can apply to our own lives. 

1.) When All Seems Lost, It Isn’t. For the Jews living in Persia in Mordecai’s time, it seemed as if all was lost. It would have been easy for Mordecai to bemoan the fact that no one noticed how he had once saved the king but was now being treated unjustly. 

2.) When No One Seems To Notice, God Does. While the king tossed and turned, Mordecai slept.  So in spite of the fact that no one seemed to notice, God did.  Though we may feel abandoned, we are never out of God’s watchful eye or far from His protective care. 

3.) When Everything Seems Great For Our Enemies, It’s Not. As soon as the king heard that nothing had been done to reward Mordecai, he immediately set out to rectify the situation.  He sought advice from the person whose agenda for Mordecai was diametrically opposed to his. 

4.) When Nothing Seems Just, It Is. It has been said that the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small.  Haman found himself to be but tiny grist in those mills. 

We need to remember that even when God seems absent, He is here.  He is watching, waiting, and working.  Things are not always as they seem. 

Tuesday
Apr132010

For such a time as this...

We continue to look into the book of Esther on Wednesday evenings.  Last week we looked at chapter 4.

When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther's instructions. Esther 4:12-17

Esther had to make a choice, and she decided that regardless of the cost she would do what she could to make a difference.  She was willing to set aside her own concerns for her personal safety and attempt to help her people.  As a result we not only see her rise to heroism but also to leadership. 

Like Esther, we have opportunities to make a difference in the lives we come into contact with.  Until we truly believe that we can make a difference we won’t really be willing to risk. Only when we move from the safe harbor of theory to the rough waters of reality --- to actually do something --- will we see any changes take place. 

Are you watching for opportunities to make a difference?  Are you ready to step out and make a difference?

Tuesday
Mar162010

Uneventful Beginnings...

Little did Winston Churchill realize on May 10, 1939 that he had a date with destiny.  On this particular morning London awoke to the news of a German offensive.  Holland and Belgium had been invaded.  It would not be long before France would be trodden under by the rapidly advancing Nazi army. 

At 6:00 a.m. he received a message to come to the royal palace.  There the King asked him to mobilize the government against Hitler.  By the end of that day Churchill had accepted a position he would hold for the duration of the war, one that would secure him a place of honor in history.

In his journal he records his feelings of that fateful night.  Toward the end of that particular entry these are the words that he wrote, “I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.”

As we discovered in our study last week, Esther must have had similar feelings when she heard the words of Mordecai, “For such a time as this.” (4:14).  Like Churchill, Esther’s whole life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. 

Esther had yet to realize the incredible way God was going to work in her life.  When she crawled out of bed that morning with messed up hair and morning breath, she had no idea that she would be selected to enter a beauty pageant and the prize would be the queen’s throne of the Medo-Persian Empire. 

"Let the king give her royal position to another." (Esther 1:19)  As far as God’s providence was concerned, this was the most important part of the king’s edict.  That phrase prepared the way for Esther.  And it illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1, “The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  In this great chapter of faith you see ordinary men and women who believed God in extraordinary ways.  An examination of their lives reveal that, like Esther's, much of it was spent in uneventful times.  Yet from Abraham dwelling in tents to David tending sheep, God providentially worked to write amazing endings to the stories of their lives.

And God wants to do the same with your life. 

Wednesday
Mar102010

Invisible Providence

We are looking at the life of Esther on Wednesday evenings. The Old Testament book of Esther is a wonderful tribute to the invisible providence of God.  Although we may never actually hear or see God in the story, we have an overwhelming sense of confidence that He is just off stage, cueing the characters and orchestrating the drama in order to preserve His people from a tragic ending.

The story that unfolds in the book of Esther is not unlike the dramas played out in our everyday lives.  Seldom when enemies are on our heels are our Red Seas parted.  Seldom when disaster is at our door are we warned by angelic visitors.  Seldom when we are in need of direction are we instructed by God from a burning bush.  And neither was Esther. 

It’s easy to see God in the miraculous.  It’s not easy to see Him in the mundane.  But that’s where most of us live.  We don’t see handwriting on the wall.  We don’t hear thunder from Sinai. 

Esther realized that God had raised her to a position of prominence for a reason.  But to understand that reason, she had to ignore her palatial surroundings and listen to the still, small voice of Providence.  In Psalms 46:10 we have a command that tells us to do the same.  The verse contains eight simple, yet revolutionary words.

Be, still, and know that I am God. --- KJV
Cease striving and know that I am God. --- NASB
Stand silent. --- Living Bible

The Hebrew literally means “Let go, relax.” When we learn to do that, we learn what Esther learned ---- that God, though invisible, is invincible.  But we will only learn that if we listen. 

A.W. Tozer in his book The Pursuit of God put it this way, “Whoever will listen will hear the speaking in Heaven.  This is definitely not the hour when we take kindly to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion.  We are at the opposite end of the pole from there.  Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity, and bluster make a man dear to God.  But may we take heart.  To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, Be still, and know that I am God --- Ps. 46:10.  Still he says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.”