The Morning After

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 2:1-18 “And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so. (v. 4) When Ahasuerus wakes up after his one-hundred-eighty-seven-day drinking bash, he discovers that he has banished Queen Vashti. His courtiers comfort him by suggesting a contest for a new queen. As we read the story of how the young Jewish girl, Esther, gets caught in the king’s dragnet, we would do well to remember …

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 1 The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him, while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days. (vv. 3-4) The first chapter of Esther introduces us to the Persian emperor, Ahasuerus. His name literally means “high and mighty” and he is out to impress his subjects. Not content with the one-hundred-eighty-day bash he throws for …

A Change in Status

Amy Clemens

Read: Ephesians 2:11-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (vv. 19-21) As God’s “treasured possession among all peoples” (Exod. 19:5), the nation of Israel was set apart for the world to …

A New Commandment

Amy Clemens

Read: John 13:21-38 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (vv. 34-35) Jesus’ new commandment fell on the night of his betrayal, between the exit of Judas Iscariot from the dinner table and the revelation to a brash Peter that he would deny even …

Jesus Asks for a Change

Amy Clemens

Read: Matthew 26:36-46 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (v. 39) I frequently coached my daughters as children (and still do), “Ask for what you need and be ready for a yes or no.” I wanted them to think deeply about their wants and needs, to speak up when they had one, …

Jesus Turns Water to Wine

Amy Clemens

Read: John 2:1-11 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (vv. 3-5 NLT) During his brief ministry, Jesus altered matter in ways that astonished his followers and still astonish believers today. Sick people were restored to health, dead people came back to life, wind …