READ: Esther 1-3
THINK: Have you ever wondered, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" or "How will I ever be able to get through this?"? Then again, have you ever considered the possibility that a seemingly awkward, adverse, or hopeless situation could be the doorway to your destiny-the means by which you can make a mark on the world and fulfill God's purpose for your life? It won't be easy. But if you rely on God and are ready to respond when your time comes, God can use you to accomplish something extraordinary. Perhaps, like Esther, your trust and obedience to God in uncertain circumstances will bring hope, inspiration and freedom to many others.
RESPOND: How do you think the wealth and splendor of Persia under King Xerxes compared with the lifestyle of most Jews who were in exile within the empire? How did Mordecai end up in Persia (2:5-6)? (See 2:6 note.) How was Mordecai related to Esther (2:7,15)? How is God's faithfulness evident in Esther's rise to prominence? (See 2:17 note.) Even after becoming queen, why did Esther continue to follow Mordecai's instructions, and what does this reveal about her character? (See 2:20 note.) How did Mordecai save the king's life (2:21-23)? What's the real reason Mordecai wouldn't bow to Haman? (See 3:2 and 3:4 notes.) How is the reaction of the king's servants like many people's reactions toward Christians (3:3-4)? What was Haman's motive for wanting to get rid of the Jews (3:8)? How were the Jews different from other people in the Persian Empire? (See 3:8 note.) How should your life and lifestyle as a Christian differ from non-Christians? Why did the king go along with Haman's plan? Why are God's people often objects of hostility? How should we respond to those who mistreat us because of our faith?
PRAY: Ask God to help you live in a way that is positively different from those around you so that they can see Christ's character in you. Pray for compassion for people who mistreat you because of your faith.
ACT: Think of a Christian whose godly example has inspired you. He or she may be a parent, pastor, teacher, or friend. Write a note, type an email or send a card thanking this person for being a good role model. Explain how friendship with Christ is evident in his or her life and character. Also, make sure your attitudes, conversations and actions throughout the day reflect a positive difference from others who don't follow Jesus.
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