When Your Story Doesn’t End Like Esther…or Cinderella

When your story doesn't end like esther or cinderella

Not all stories end like Esther…or Cinderella.

Sometimes when we do what is right – in the midst of a bad situation – things get worse.

Then what?

That’s what today’s video is all about…

(if you can’t see this video – click here)

One final observation…

Esther was a woman of courage – she risked her life to save the lives of her people.  But her courage goes further than just going to the king and asking for him to save her and her people.

Esther did this IN the presence of the guilty man who orchestrated all of this.  She outed Haman –to his face! Wow!  That takes strength.

It would have been easier for Esther to ask to be alone with the King and use some manipulative womanly ways to woo him. But Esther did not mince words.  She spoke openly and boldly right in the presence of Haman.

May we have courage – no matter what the outcome – to face our fears right in the face.

To speak truth that sets people free.

To confront darkness with the light.

To trust God with our very lives. And not give in to the fear of man.

To be able to say the very words of Esther, “If I perish, I perish.”

Walk with the King,

Courtney

this week's reading

**Looking for the GMG resources for this month? –> click here. 

 

**Chime In: What is God teaching you this week through your study in the book of Esther?

BLOGGERS: Are you blogging through the Bible with us or have you written a devotional based on your own quiet times this week?

Put this graphic in your post, link it back to GoodMorningGirls.org and then link up below – we’d love to come visit you! Blogging through bible with GMG button

Esther is NOT the Hero –God Is!

Black lost. The King at the feet of Queen

Welcome to the very first post in our “Blogging Through the Bible” series here at Good Morning Girls! We are SOOOO excited you are here and joining us on this journey!

As we read through the book of Esther, we notice the name of God is nowhere to be found…but the fingerprints of God are everywhere!

Everything seems out of control.

The King is drunk when he requests Queen Vashti to come to his royal court.

Queen Vashti refuses and is removed as queen.

Esther, a Jewish orphan girl, ends up…the new queen.

Mordecai discovers a plot to assassinate the king and the king is saved…but Mordecai is not rewarded although his name is recorded in the royal records.

Haman plots to annihilate the Jews.  A letter is sent out in all the kingdom to destroy the Jews.

Esther has not been with her groom, the king, in 30 days and going to him could mean death!

 

Everything is

out.

of.

control.

 

And then it happens…the people pray.

God hears their prayers.

The king can’t sleep so the royal records are opened and there the king discovers his need to honor Mordecai for saving his life.

Mordecai is honored.

Esther gathers the courage to speak.

Haman is hung.

God saves his people!

God is the Hero!

 

And all God’s people said?  

AMEN!!!

The enemy has been defeated!

Things are not out of control. God is in control.

The star of this story is Esther, whose name actually means “star”.  Esther shined in a dark culture and God used her in a place where no one else could be used.  God raised her up for “such a time as this!”  He displayed his power through her.

And God has raised each one of us up, so he can display his power through us.

“That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15

Are you piercing the darkness with the light of God?

Some will be repulsed as you shine. Like the brightness of the sun when we come out of a movie theater, many will turn away from the light because it is simply so bright it hurts.

But some…some will be drawn to it. Like when the electricity goes out at night and we rummage through the drawer looking for a flashlight or matches, some are rummaging around looking for a light to show them the way.

There’s a spiritual battle raging for the salvation of souls around us.  Things are not out of control. God has masterfully orchestrated your life for his sovereign purposes.

But Satan hates God’s people – he wants to see them destroyed. He is unhappy you have committed to reading through the Bible cover to cover and he will do anything to cause chaos and thwart your efforts.  He will try to snuff out your light.

Oh friends, not too long ago, my light was flickering…. The enemy had me in a choke hold – mentally and emotionally. I was struggling from the pain of wounded relationships.  I could not sleep at night as my mind raced with confusion.

But then God stepped in. He brought loving friends to encourage me. He used the prayers of His people to strengthen me. He delivered me from my fears and brought helpers to my aid.

And then it was time…

to stand alone.

Esther stood alone.

Standing alone is risky.  I know that many of you in your workplace, universities, neighborhoods or families are standing alone. God can’t use us if we are standing alone in the woods – but when we stand alone in the midst of people – that is when God’s sovereign plan to work through you, happens.

Faith.  A tiny mustard seed of faith is all it takes.

Matthew 1720 faith

Time and again, as I think through the past of my life, I’m reminded of times God drew me out – to stand alone and depend on nothing but Him – and time and again – God revealed himself as the Hero.

This song sung by Mandisa is all about Esther and standing apart from the crowd – be encouraged as you listen:

(click here if you cannot see the video)

Be a star!

Not the hollywood kind – the Jesus kind.

Shine for Him!!

Let God be the hero as he works his sovereign plan through you.

**Chime In:

What have you learned so far, in your reading this week, in the book of Esther?

How have you seen God’s fingerprints in your life?

Walk with the King,

Courtney

this week's reading

**Looking for the GMG resources for this month? –> click here. 

***If you are a blogger blogging through the Bible with us – come link up your post on Friday!

It’s Time to Begin “Blogging Through the Bible!” {GMG September Resources Here}

Blogging through bible with GMG button

It’s time to begin reading through the Bible – one chapter a day, one week at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time until we have read the Bible cover to cover!

Are you wondering how GMG began?

I made this video below in 2011 for another website.  I thought I would share it here today, so you could hear the heart and vision behind GMG. Some of the details in the video have since changed (I’ve now been a part of GMG for 7 years not 4 as the video states) and in the video I say – we’ve only just begun – but now we are starting again – it’s a new day – a fresh start and we are SO glad you are here with us!


(click here if you cannot see the video)

In the video I mention the forum. That forum is still open!

If you do not have a group yet – there are leaders waiting with open arms to welcome you. Please click over to the forum, then go  down to the bottom of the threads and click “view more” – you will find many open groups there!  This forum closes on September 6th – so if God is tugging at your heart to find a group – today is the day to join us!

Here is September’s Reading Plan.

SeptReadPlan[1]

This is a free printable – click here to print it.

 

Here are the free eWorkbooks for this month.

Esther  - Short eWorkbook

Esther – Long eWorkbook

I Peter – Short eWorkbook

I Peter – Long eWorkbook

II Peter – Short eWorkbook

II Peter – Long eWorkbook

I John – Short eWorkbook

I John Long eWorkbook

II John – Short eWorkbook

II John – Long eWorkbook

III John – Short eWorkbook

III John – Long eWorkbook

Jude – Short eWorkbook

Jude – Long eWorkbook

Psalm 1-30 – Short eWorkbook

Psalm 1-30 – Long eWorkbook

The short eWorkbook has one worksheet a day for journaling your thoughts.

The long eWorkbook has 4 worksheets a day for those who like to write more or do extra research.

You do not have to use a workbook at all though. You can simply follow along just reading one chapter a day.

Here is this week’s reading plan (just one chapter a day).

SeptWeekOne[2]

 This is a free printable – click here to print it.

And this is the monster resource – a free printable of every book and chapter of the Bible to mark off as you complete your reading. You will want to print this and save it somewhere near your Bible (or in it). We will be flipping back and forth between the Old and New Testament, so you will want to keep track of what you have completed in case you need to take a break and return.

reading through the Bible Graphic

Click here to print the

“Reading Through the Bible with Good Morning Girls” Plan.

5 International Translations Available Now

And this took me by surprise!

Within our international GMG group, some of the women offered to translate the resources!  Here they are!

Spanish Translators: Beth Vollmer Chagas & Julie Chagas

Esther – Spanish Short eWorkbook

Esther – Spanish Long eWorkbook

Portuguese  Translators: Beth Vollmer Chagas & Julie Chagas

Esther – Portuguese Short eWorkbook

Esther – Portuguese Long eWorkbook

German Translator: Petra Rushing

Esther – German Short eWorkbook

Esther – German Long eWorkbook

Croatian Translator: Rosilind Jukic at http://dobrojutrodjevojke.blogspot.com

Esther – Croatian Long eWorkbook

Dutch Translator: Eve Jansen at  http://www.lookaroundthecorner1.blogspot.com    

Esther – Dutch Short eWorkbook

As more resources come in – they will be archived on the GMG Resources page.

Are you a blogger?

Friday’s post will include a video and a link-up for bloggers who want to blog along side me on this journey.  Simply use this graphic in your post (right click – save as).

Blogging through bible with GMG button

 

Whew – that was a lot of info – I promise this is about to get simpler! ;) Lol!

Now it’s time to quiet our hearts and turn to the Book of Esther in our Bibles and begin to read.

Join me back here this Wednesday and Friday for a discussion covering this week’s reading!

There are no sign-ups or enrollment to join in.

Feel free to come and go as seasons of life allow you to participate.

This is a place of grace.

We’d love to know if you are joining us – please leave a comment if you have committed to reading through this month’s reading plan.

If you have a GMG group – tell us about it! What city and state are you in, how many girls are in your group and how long have you been with GMG?

Can’t wait to discuss Esther with you this Wednesday!!!!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**A special thank you to the GMG Team for helping me create all of these resources:

Mandy Kelly from Women Of Worship
Rosilind Jukic from Missional Call
Bridget Childress from Becoming a Godly Wife
Misty Leask from Beautiful Ashes

A Demonstration of My Bible Study Methods & a Free Logos Webinar

on christ the solid rock I stand 

Yesterday Mandy shared 9 Ways to Study the Bible.

Today I want to share with you my Bible study methods!

Here is a video demonstration:


(click here if you cannot see this video)

Another resource I have just started using this year is Logos Bible Software.   Renee Swope (from Proverbs 31 Ministries ) and I had the opportunity to make a video together when we were in Dallas just a few weeks ago together. It’s all about Logos! Listen here:


(click here if you cannot see this video)

Logos is hosting a free webinar for women just like you and me, this Wednesday, September 3rd at 10am PST / 1pm EST.

To register for this free training >>>> click here .

Here are some testimonials about Logos:

“I’m stunned by its genius, thrilled that it’s easy to use. I don’t want anyone to neglect studying the Bible inductively—discovering truth for themselves—slowing down, meditating on the Word, falling more and more in love with God.”
Kay Arthur
Precept Ministries

“I use Logos virtually every single work day and, when I’m on the road, it goes right with me. That’s the beauty of it. I love it and depend on it constantly.”
Beth Moore
Living Proof Ministries

“It’s visual. It’s pictures, it’s maps. It’s like the Bible coming alive in front of you on your screen. . . I like books, but when you realize that this is all right here at your fingertips, it’s incredible.”
Liz Curtis Higgs
author and speaker

“It makes the study that I do so much easier, and so much more in-depth. . . Those study helps, particularly in the languages, are very helpful for me.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick
author and speaker

And here’s a few extra links to posts I’ve written on the topic of Bible Study:

Putting My Prayer Life in Order

My Children’s Devotional and Spiritual Growth Books

A Solution for Keeping Your Little Ones in Bed {so you can have your quiet time}

How to Take Sermon Notes on Sunday

It’s almost time to start Blogging Through the Bible!  I cannot wait for final preparations to be complete and to get started!

This Sunday, August 31st we begin!

Check out the schedule for the Blogging Through the Bible series here. 

Find a Good Morning Girls Group Here -> How to Start a Good Morning Girls Group 

Download the free eWorkbooks and reading plans here ->Blogging Through the Bible Printable Reading Plans & eWorkbooks  

Walk with the King,

Courtney

9 Ways to Study the Bible

Today we have a guest post by one of the GMG Team Members!  This is Mandy.

Mandy Kelly profile pic

Mandy is passionate about two things: The Word of God and the Souls of Men (and Ladies!).

She is married to her best friend, and gets the privilege to love on their three blessings (who lost their biological momma leaving her husband widowed). Her story of infertility, and now adoption (her husbands three- and a fourth on the way!) is also a passion that is seen in almost all she does.

She loves that the Lord has let her life be an example of delighting in Him and watching Him mold her life to make her desires match His. She spent 11 years in an early childhood classroom, and 4 years in an “in house” seminary program at her home church. She loves to bring God glory through her roles as Christ-follower, Wife and Mother and Writer (in that order!)

She enjoys women’s ministry, cooking, crafting, and traveling the world. Her greatest desires are to have her marriage bring God glory, see her children walk in truth, to lead others to the feet of Jesus, and to lead women into deeper and intimate relationship with their Savior through study of the Word of God. She desires to Worship God with her life.

Mandy blogs personally at Women of Worship.

****************************************************************************************************************

9 Ways to Study the Bible

“God’s truth is the most important thing in the world.” John MacArthur

As Christians, one of the most important things that we can do is to study the Word of God.

God’s Word is to be a light to our path.(Psalm 119:105) It teaches us about God’s heart and allows us to know the mind of Christ.(Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119, Philippians 2:5) Through the study of God’s Word, we can learn how to apply God’s Word to our lives, allowing it to be the map we use to guide our lives, and allowing Christ to be the TRUE CORNERSTONE of all areas (Ephesians 2:20 KJV).

Here’s a few tips on how to study the Bible:

1. Get a Bible that you can write in.

I am not talking about an expensive wide margin with extra pages (although I have one and I LOVE it!), but just a Bible that you feel comfortable writing in or highlighting. I would also suggest getting a box of colored pencils, two notebooks or some loose-leaf paper (and maybe some dividers if you like to be super organized!)

2. Pray!  Just like in any other thing that you do in life, you should start your Bible Study with prayer!

The most common thing that I hear is “I just don’t understand the Bible!” You should start each study session with prayer. I believe that God loves His Word, and He has given us many promises in His Word. I pray asking God to teach me from His Word. Some of my personal favorites are Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes, that I might behold wonderful things out of your law.” and Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” 2 Timothy 3:16 also tells us that all Scripture is given by God and is PROFITABLE for Doctrine, Reproof, Correction and Instruction in Righteousness. When I pray, I ask God to show me these things in the passage that I am about to read.

3. Read the passage. Read it again.

You will gain insight through reading it several times. I like to read it quietly, then out loud, then quietly again.

4. Write the Scripture.

I love how in GMG we are asked to WRITE IT OUT. In your SOAP notes, you will only write out a smaller portion of our text, but I did want to share that writing out Scripture is KEY to studying and learning. I like to skip lines when I write so I have room to write or draw around the key words, people, places, and themes. It also gives me room to write definitions for words or names. (This is where my colored pencils or highlighters come in.)

5. Pull the passage apart, looking for any names, repeated words, phrases, ideas, and places. (Each one gets its own color.)

I will look up the meaning of a name, word etc in a Concordance. I will look for the first time a word is mentioned in Scripture to get a better understanding of its meaning. I will write the meaning and other notes beside the word.

6. Answer key questions when studying the Bible:

Who is the passage written to (Jew, Disciple, the Church/Christians, non-Christians)?
Who wrote it?
When was it written-OT/NT? Before or after Christ’s ascension into Heaven?
Where was it written? (to see if there were any customs or laws that would be common)
Why was it written (Doctrine, Reproof, Correction, Instruction)?
How does this passage apply to my life as a follower of Christ? How does my life need to change because of this passage?

7. Use resources like Bible commentaries by men like John Piper, John MacArthur…available online for you to read or listen to.

8. Put the Word into practice in your daily life.

Jesus said in Luke 11:28, “But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.”

9. HAVE FUN!

These questions can help you as you dive into God’s Word each day. They go beautifully with the SOAP reading plan – you can use them as you respond to your Observation and Application section.

{Click here to download of a printable bookmark you can keep in your Bible as a guide!}

God’s Word is alive.

It is powerful.

It changes lives.

Every time I read a passage, God reveals more to me about WHO He is.

It is a personal love letter written from the lover of my soul – and it is the Great Physicians surgical knife, helping me cut out the cancer of sin in my life. It is a light to our path – leading us daily closer to Christ.

Worshiping With My Life,

Mandy

Women-Of-Worship.com

 

** Chime IN: Do you have a favorite way to study scripture? Or a favorite Bible study tool?  Share it with us in the comment section!

 

Did you miss any of the posts in this series? Here are the links:

Blogging Through the Bible - this new series begins August 31st!

How to Start a Good Morning Girls Group - the forum closes September 7th and will not re-open until 2015!

Blogging Through the Bible Printable Reading Plans & eWorkbooks  - everything is free here – no enrollment, sign-ups or subscribing  required!