Step Out & Speak Up

Real Talk: I wasn’t sure what to share with y’all about one of the bravest, most courageous, women in the Bible: Esther. I was chatting with a friend about the struggle of how I didn’t want this to be a cliche message that everyone has heard and already knows about the book of Esther. And that’s when she reminded me about this important truth: Esther wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the extraordinary things she did without the encouragement and push from her beloved Uncle Mordecai. As my friend was sharing with me what the Lord had been teaching her about this new found revelation from the book, I was shocked that I  had never seen the story of  Esther in this light before.

What we usually read and hear quoted most often is one of my favorite passages in the Bible because it rings true in so many different seasons of life, but I’ll give a little bit of backstory from the book first. Up to this part of the story, we know that Esther has been chosen by King Ahasuerus to be his new queen out of all the other women competing for this position. What we come to find out as we dive deeper into the book is that Esther and her uncle are Jews, and the king’s right-hand man, Haman, wants to completely destroy Mordecai and his people. What the king and Haman do not know is that Esther is a Jew as well. Mordecai hears of Haman’s plot and quickly informs Esther’s servants to relay this message to the queen.

This is where Mordecai’s words of wisdom and prophecy reach Esther’s very fearful ears.

Esther 4:14: For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther needed to be reminded of what she already knew was the right thing to do. But I tend to think, and this is purely my own conjecture, that if Esther did not have Mordecai in her life to speak the very blunt truth, and to remind her that she had an opportunity to speak up and possibly save the lives of thousands of Jews within the kingdom, would she have had the courage to speak up to the king?

Do you have a Mordecai in your life? Or maybe you’re that Mordecai in someone else’s life. When you find yourself becoming comfortable where you are, but you need to speak up or step out, do you have a friend or loved one who encourages you to take that brave, risky step? Sweet friend, don’t allow the enemy to whisper those lies that you’re not smart enough, brave enough, pretty enough, or skilled enough to do that hard thing God is calling you to do. Keep stepping out and speaking up. I promise it will be worth it!

About the Writer:
Anna is a full-time student finishing up her degree at Liberty University while also working full-time at First Baptist Dallas in the Young Married and Singles Ministries. In her spare time when she’s not writing papers for school, she enjoys laughing with friends, road trips to new places, and drinking copious amounts of iced coffee.

Why Queen Esther Matters for Feminism Today

Let me be the first to admit that when the topic of biblical womanhood is brought up in a Bible study, sermon, blog, or the dinner table, my eyes glaze over and I go to my happy place.  I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard the Proverbs 31 woman be cited as the optimal goal for Christian women. While this woman has great qualities and seems like a nice lady who puts her family first, she is not the only woman mentioned in the Bible. Can I hear an “Amen!” from all the women allergic to the kitchen?  (I’m convinced “gathering food from afar” can mean driving to Whole Foods!

While it’s important to look at the biblical model for households, it is also equally important to look at how God used women to accomplish His goals outside of the kitchen. As a Girls Minister, who works with teenagers for a living, let me tell you, one of the reasons women young and old have rejected biblical womanhood is because most teaching leaves out exciting Biblical stories with women in the starring roles. Thus enters the allure of the feminist movement.

Today we are going to look at a woman with a leading role in the Bible and in history, Queen Esther. Esther lives a real-life Cinderella story, has an entire Biblical book named after her, and manages to change the mind of a king and the direction of a country through her wisdom, beauty, timely words, and place of royalty. EScreen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.19.51 PM.pngsther has an important message for Christian girls and women who desperately want an exciting life and an impactful existence, and who secretly wonder if they must side with the feminist movement in order to accomplish these goals. Let’s look at why Queen Esther matters for the feminist movement of today.

Esther 4:14 is the most quoted verse in the entire biblical book of Esther.

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 your royal position for such a time as this?  Esther 4:14

This is her uncle appealing to Esther to stand up for the Jews who were being mistreated and to use her high position in order to get her convictions heard before the king.  The verse directly contrasts the idea that the Bible oppresses women.  God placed Esther as Queen in order to lead a revolution!

  1. Esther only used effective methods and means. If Esther lived in 2017, she would not have attended the Women’s March. How do I know this? She had seen the King’s first wife, Queen Vashti, behave in a feminist protest by refusing to obey her husband, to submit to his God-given authority, or to follow the norms for the culture of the day- which resulted in her losing her crown. Esther was not about to repeat the same mistake.
  1. Esther had a systematic plan in mind and motion. Esther was not interested in merely yelling loud enough or long enough to get someone’s attention. She wanted results and to keep her husband’s heart, interest, and trust. Esther did not make him change his mind as a result of a tantrum. She carefully planned and respectfully appealed to her king and husband.
  1. Esther kept her dignity resulting in her keeping her crown. Esther was not rash in the way she planned to confront injustice. Esther did not demand action, but requested her voice be heard and her plan carried out. Because of her patience and calm demeanor, her husband was open to hearing her concerns.
  1. Esther was her own person while remaining submissive. Esther had her own ideas about culture, society, justice, and equality – and that is more than okay! In fact, Esther’s differing opinion from her husband’s is a main plot of this story! She was her own person, with her own ideas, who respectfully brought her request to the king, and he listened.

There are ungodly and unequal ideas, laws, practices, and crimes that must change for women in 2017. Culture needs to progress in how women are treated, and Christians need to stand for those who are mistreated. In the midst of creating a better world for women, there is value in learning how women in the Bible used their power, influence, grace, patience, beauty, and position to change the minds of kings and the direction of history.

About the Writer:
Julia is the Girl’s Ministry Director at First Baptist Dallas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who trained at the world-renowned Meier Clinics.  Julia is a professional speaker for Just Say Yes, speaking nationwide on the topics of suicide, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders. Julia is passionate about her three favorite topics theology, psychology, and ryanology. She has been married to her junior high sweetheart, Ryan, for eight years and loves ministering to teenagers alongside her best friend and favorite boss. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!

Respect and Influence in Your Home

In the story of Esther, we see that the queen of the land had the ability to influence not only the king, but other women in the kingdom who were watching from a distance. While the cultural practices are very different today from those in Esther’s day, I think that we can glean a very challenging application from these pages.

God’s divine providence placed Esther in a role where she had the authority to sway the heart and the actions of King Ahasuerus. She had great favor in his eyes. (Esther 2:17) If we step back and look at our spheres of influence, we might realize that we are all given more authority and ability to effect change than we realize.

In the first chapter, a story unfolds where the previous Queen Vashti was insubordinate to the king and, in response, one of the princes suggested that she be removed from her place of honor, with the reasoning that “the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands.” (Esther 1:17) By contrast, Queen Esther’s words and actions towards King Ahasuerus were humble and respectful even in a time when she could have approached him with extreme emotion and haste.

Instead of running immediately to the king, she gathered information, prayed over several days, and prepared a plan. When it came time for Esther to meet with the king, she demonstrated her respect for him by the way in which she approached him. She was patient and gentle with her words and her actions. How different could my home look if this were the manner with which I approached my husband every day, in an attitude of prayer, humility, and respect?

As wives and mothers, we make decisions throughout the day that influence and set the tone for our families. The positive or negative energy that we display to our family is reproduced and multiplied around us. In this power, we carry both a great responsibility and a great opportunity.

Instead of reacting quickly out of emotion, let us act with patience and courage. Let us pray and take careful measure in the way that we respond to our families. For we are each placed into these roles by God and He has plans to use us for a specific purpose.

About the Writer:
Audra has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She enjoys sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important transitions on her blog called The Homegrown Project.

For Such a Time as This

The Old Testament is filled with the heroes of faith from Noah, Abraham, and Moses to Gideon, Samson, and Samuel. (Hebrews 11:1-40) But tucked away between the pages of Nehemiah and Job is the small book of Esther depicting the story of the beautiful Esther, a Jewish heroine of faith and courage.  Her life is a wonderful example of the true providence of God in our own lives when we walk in faith and give all our worries to Him.

Resembling a character in a fairy tale, Esther grows up an orphan, only to become the Queen of Persia, wife to Xerxes (Greek for the Hebrew name Ahasuerus), king of Persia from 486-464BC. Not too long into her reign, Queen Esther is sent a message from Mordecai, her cousin and former caregiver, to make intercession for the Jews with the King. Haman, the arrogant antagonist in the story, has devised a plot by lying to the King and convincing him to sign a decree allowing Haman to destroy Mordecai, and all the Jews for not “observing the kings laws” by their refusal to bow down and worship, or pay homage to him.

At first, Esther objects to Mordecai’s request to make intercession with the king; and rightfully so because, if anyone, including the Queen, approached the King in the inner court without first being summoned, that person is subject to death unless the King holds out the golden scepter.  Through a messenger, Esther expresses to Mordecai her hesitancy to do as he has requested.

 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14

Scripture tells us Esther requests Mordecai and all the Jews of the land to fast with the purpose of prayer for three days, as would she and her servants. Our story ultimately has a happy ending, but not without prayer, fasting, AND God’s divine intervention! Through a sleepless night, the king “accidentally” reads that Mordecai once foiled an assassination plot against the King and decides to reward him.

In an recent article titled “The Moral Tipping Point”, Franklin Graham points out we are perilously close to the moral tipping point for the survival of the United States of America. Truth is sometimes covered in lies and deception, making it difficult to discern. So, what can we do? The only hope for any nation, family, or person, is our God. Do you ever wonder why we are here at this time in history?

So, what can we do? We walk in FAITH, (Hebrews 11:1) with endurance and not by sight, always submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit who resides within us to serve and disciple others in His Word, praying unceasingly (I Thess. 5:17).

Not all of us can fast because of work, health issues, or other reasons, but we can all pray. Are we praying for our spouses, our children, and our grandchildren to continually fear God and hate evil? Are we praying for our friends and families to apply scripture in all areas of life, and for His truth to prevail? Are we being called “for such a time as this?”A Gift Like No Other


If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked was, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

About the Writer:
Beverly has been an educator, administrator, educational sales representative, Sunday school teacher, and mentor; but most importantly is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing Christ.

Beauty and the Brute

esther-dollOur daughter, Sarah, was three years-old when she became thrilled with the Old Testament story of Queen Esther. She even had her own Queen Esther doll. Sarah was a tiny thing, but she was strong-willed! So, we used the story to teach Sarah about a gracious spirit, humility, selflessness, courage, and inner beauty—all possible because of obedience and surrender to God.

The curious thing about the book of Esther is that God’s name is not mentioned—but make no mistake, His unseen hand and providential care certainly are! The setting is a kingdom ruled by a powerful king who was assisted by a brute named Haman. In reading Esther, you will see that all appeared hopeless for God’s people! But the powerful king and the Jew-hating antagonist, Haman, are powerless to control the mighty, unseen hand of God!

Esther, a young woman chosen to be queen under strange circumstances, was part of God’s plan. The Bible describes her as beautiful; however, her actions reveal much more than outward beauty, for she demonstrated the inner beauty of a gracious spirit, selfless-courage, and sacrifice all because she trusted the God who sees and knows all things.

As the pages of the book of Esther turn, God’s purpose becomes clearer. Esther made an appeal on behalf of her people, the Jews, in order to save them from the horrific schemes of Haman. With her life surrendered to the loving care of the one true God, Esther knelt before an earthly king, and with her life on the line, she made a gracious appeal.

. . . And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish! Esther 4:16b

“And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, ‘If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?’ ” (Esther 8:4-6 NKJV)

Esther acted on behalf of others and God used her. The story reveals much. God is always at work. His work may seem hidden in your story, but GOD. . . is . . . . not. . . . absent! We may lose sight of Him, but He never loses sight of us. Are you faced with something horrible? Is that all you see? May you view your story with eyes to see the unseen hand of God, and may you surrender to His plan. Trusting Him will look beautiful on you!

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty  rules over all. Psalm 103:19

About the Writer:
Cindy is grateful for the truth that God is working-always working and His work is good! She continues to learn to walk by faith with a surrendered heart.