Among Bible believing Christians, “unity” has often had something of a bad rap. It often feels as if it is a somewhat soft, inadequate, and weak ideal that is used by others (the non-Bible believing) to advocate for theological downgrade. It certainly can be used in that way. I remember a cartoon from the ministry…

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Coming back from some time away this summer, it’s become increasingly obvious to me that many people—the world over, no doubt—are wrestling with mental health issues in this time, as well as spiritual health. The reasons for this are obvious but perhaps worth briefly listing. Prolonged isolation. Unending uncertainty. Increased political tensions. And then, on…

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In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” August 26-31 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month.…

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Esther 9-10,  Proverbs 17:15-28,  Luke 20:20-26,  Philemon 12-25  Esther 9-10:   Some of this is hard for us to read, for it seems very much as if the Jewish people—now that they have been relieved of the threat—make the most of their new opportunity to exact revenge (9:1-3). Indeed, a large number of people are…

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Esther 7-8,  Proverbs 17:1-14,  Luke 20:9-19,  Philemon 1-11   Esther 7-8:   Poor Haman, how could things get any worse? He who had thought to destroy God’s people on a whim of personal insult was now found to be begging for his life with the queen (7:7). Esther once more had proved very canny in her…

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Esther 5-6,  Proverbs 16:17-33,  Luke 20:1-8,  Titus 3:9-15   Esther 5-6:   We are coming closer to the pinnacle of this extraordinary narrative. Esther, canny as ever, puts on her royal robes, marking her out with distinction as holding a special position in the king’s eyes (5:1). She stands in his view, and again she wins…

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Esther 3-4, Proverbs 16:1-16, Luke 19:39-48, Titus 3:1-8   Esther 3-4: The plot thickens. Haman is promoted to a position of unparalleled power—right beneath the king (3:1)—and it is the king’s command that all should pay him homage and bow down before him (3:2). But Mordecai refuses (3:2). Why Mordecai refuses is not made explicit, but we may surmise…

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Esther 2, Proverbs 15:18-33, Luke 19:28-38, Titus 2:11-15 Esther 2: The story continues. The king is looking for a new wife, and he goes about it in a way that only ancient Eastern despotic monarchs could even dream of: he orders that a search be made for the most beautiful young women in the land, that they be…

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Esther 1, Proverbs 15:1-17, Luke 19:11-27, Titus 2:1-10   Esther 1:   We begin the famed, beautiful, astonishing story of Esther. Chapter 1 sets the stage. The king has a feast for his officials and servants (1:3), showing his riches and greatness for 180 days (1:4). It is followed by a feast for all the people in Susa—a massive,…

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Nehemiah  13,  Proverbs 14:19-35,  Luke 19:1-10,  Titus 1:10-16  Nehemiah  13:   If you are ever discouraged that the work you are called to appears endless, or that you are one moment doing well and the next moment all is going wrong, or that time eats away at your finest endeavors, or that what you manage at one…

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