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What Occupies Our Time?

Thursday, January 30, 2020

As we open the book of Esther, we read about Ahasuerus and the great party he threw (Est. 1:4-5). We also read about him choosing a new mate (Est. 2) and choosing a man to be his second-in-command (Est. 3:1). After this, we read little about the king. He was on the throne, doing the work of a leader, but where was he when the people needed him (Est. 3:15b)? He was satisfied to take a bribe from Haman and go about whatever work he deemed essential to the kingdom (Est. 3:9-11).

We know this because while the city was “perplexed” (3:15), and while Mordecai mourned at the gate (4:2), the king seemed to be so engrossed in other work that he saw none of this. In fact, Esther remarked to Mordecai how it had been a month, and even she had not seen her husband (Est. 4:11)! What was he doing that demanded he ignore his wife and the cries of the people for a month?

From the attitude shown by the king in Esther 5:2-3, his negligence was not because he was angry or had some grudge against Esther or the others. If I could conjecture, it seems he got so caught up in certain aspects of being a king that he ignored other parts that were just as important. Does this sound like a problem we have had in the past? Does this sound like a problem we are having right now?

In 21st century America, we have so many things vying for our time and attention that we cannot adequately deal with them all. Some of these are our own doing, while other things have been “thrust” on us. We need to learn to prioritize and put “first things first”! Sadly, this does not happen as it should.

When Jesus walked the earth, He told those who listened to His preaching to, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). He rebuked the Pharisees who “pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.” He said, “these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matt. 23:23). In other words, the Pharisees faced a similar problem to Ahasuerus. They focused on the areas they deemed necessary and ignored other things that were just as important. Friend, look into God’s mirror (Jas. 1:22-25). Is this you? What occupies your time? What do you deem important?

It took Esther entering the king’s presence unannounced to wake him up to what was going on in His kingdom. What is it going to take to wake you up to the spiritual reality around you? Paul said it is “high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11). If those people in Rome needed this message, how much more do we need it?

Are you awake to spiritual realities around you (II Cor. 4:18)? Are you a Christian (Acts 11:26, 22:16)? If not, why are you putting it off (II Cor. 6:2)? What is occupying your time? How are you doing as a parent? Your children are growing every day! Are you bringing them up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” or are you waiting until they get older (Eph. 6:4)? Have you taken the time to tell your children or to tell a close friend about Jesus yet (II Tim. 2:2; Mk. 16:15)? What is stopping you? What is more important than telling someone about the Lord?

Don’t become like Ahasuerus and turn a blind eye to what is going on around you, thinking that what you are doing is more important! You may be doing things you consider crucial in your life, but nothing is more important than making your life right with God and then teaching your children what God wants as well (Matt. 16:26; Eph. 6:4)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Esther's Attitude: Respect

Monday, January 06, 2020

One quality that shines through as I read the book of Esther is her respect for those who are older. First, we see a young lady who respected the wishes of her cousin, Mordecai. When the women were called to be potential mates for Ahasuerus, Mordecai told her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew just yet. She heeded his advice (2:10, 20).

When in the king’s court, the text says she could have had anything she wished by way of preparation when meeting the king (2:13). Yet, when the time came, she heeded the advice of Hegai, the king’s chamberlain (2:15). She listened to his suggestions.

Both men had Esther’s best interests in mind, and both gave advice that would serve her well. By the end of chapter two, she is “made … queen instead of Vashti” (2:17). How did she get here? Yes, by God’s providence, but also because she respected the men giving her advice. Perhaps what these men told her was not what she would have done initially, but when they spoke, she listened, and she was blessed.

Young people, take a lesson from Esther and respect the advice of those who are older than you, specifically, your parents! Children are called to obey their parents, and told to “honor” them that they may “live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-2)! Your parents love you and want the best for you (Matt. 7:8-11). They want you to succeed! Listen to their advice and respect what they say and then, like Esther, watch the blessings that come as a result.

Jesus' Mother And Brethren

Monday, April 03, 2017

Jesus’ Mother And His Brethren

Jarrod Jacobs

                   In Matthew 12, our Lord stood before the people and taught great things to them. As He was teaching, one said, “Behold, your mother and your brethren stand outside, desiring to speak with you. But he replied to the man that told him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, is my brother, and sister, and mother’” (Matt. 12:47-50). In this passage, Jesus was making a point that would be indelibly marked on the peoples’ hearts from this time forward.

                   Christ was saying that he considered spiritual relationships more important than physical relationships. Though Christ loved His earthly family, He knew their acceptance was not as important as the acceptance of God (Matt. 10:35-37). Though Christ’s family wished to speak with Him, the people needed to know that earthly relationships paled in comparison with being in the right relationship with God!

                   Paul understood this and said that his family lineage and ancestry could give him reasons for boasting. However, he counted those as “loss” and “dung” so that he might win Christ (Phil. 3:7-8). Paul was a “Hebrew of the Hebrews,” but earthly ties and relationships meant nothing to him if it meant losing his eternal home (Phil. 3:13-14). Do we consider our eternal home more important than anything else?

                   Christ’s statement in Matthew 12 shows that man’s obedience to Christ means he can enjoy God’s blessings. Paul taught this to the Romans in Romans 8:16-17. How do we become children of God? By being born again (Jn. 3:3, 5)! This spiritual birth takes place after one has believed in Christ, repented of his sins, confessed Christ, and been baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:36-38). Jesus describes it as being “born of water and the spirit” (Jn. 3:5). Paul compares it to our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4, 16-18). The book of Acts records several who followed this plan (Jews, Acts 2; Eunuch, Acts 8; Paul, Acts 22:16; Corinthians, Acts 18). When we do as the Lord says, we become spiritual heirs of the promise (I Pet. 1:4). How can we place anything before the Lord and His blessings? Christ taught on this occasion (Matt. 12:48-50) that nothing should come before the Lord!

                   Finally, Matthew 12:47-50 shows us that not everyone is in God’s family. Notice that when Jesus said certain ones were His “brother, and sister, and mother,” it was those who do “the will of my Father.” What of those who do not do the will of the Father? They have no relationship with Him! Jesus made it clear that “not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Therefore, doing the will of the Father is required for going to Heaven, as well as being a brother or sister of Christ. This is why we do not call just anyone “brother” or “sister” in that spiritual sense. Not everyone is Christ’s brother and sister (II Jn. 9-11). Christ’s “brother” and “sister,” those that will see Heaven, are those who live faithfully according to the will of the Father!

                   Are you in the family of God? Can Christ call you “brother” or “sister”? If not, do not delay from becoming a Christian while you still have the time to do so.

What Is God's Definition Of A Family?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What Is God’s Definition Of A Family?

Jarrod Jacobs

            Why ask the above question? First of all, because the home and family are Bible subjects! God established the home in Genesis two and continued to speak of the necessity of the family all the way through the Bible. Secondly, we ask this question because society continues to try to “redefine” what a family is. Third, it is a necessary to ask this question because if we do not teach our children the truth about the home and family, no one else will do it!

            Friends, let us realize that there is a definite, concrete answer to the question in our title. The problem with many today is that they have allowed the wrong ones in our society to answer the question, “What is a family?” If we are going to get the correct answer to this question, doesn’t it make sense that we ask the Author of the family what constitutes a family? It makes sense to me, too! What is God’s definition of a family?

            God’s definition of a family is revealed in Genesis two.  After seeing that man was alone, He said, “I will make an help meet for him…” (Gen. 2:18). In making this helper, God created a woman for the man (Gen. 2:21-22). In seeing her, the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24). Please take note that at this early point in the history of man, we have already learned about a man marrying a woman. We also have here mentioned for the first time “father” and “mother.” In the first century, Jesus spoke about this event as He taught the Pharisees and others the truth in Matthew 19:4-6.

            Yes, there is a Bible answer to the question, “What is a family?” A family constitutes a man married to a woman, who within this relationship may legitimately bring forth and raise children (Heb. 13:4; Eph. 6:4; Titus 2:4; etc.).

            Having said this, it is clear that what folks in our country have termed “the nuclear family” (husband, wife, children) is not a product of western society. It is not the product of “1950’s America”. It is not the product of the “Puritans”, or any other group of people. Rather, this is what God designed from the beginning!

            Some who have tried to define a family absent of God’s definition, have said that a family is any group of people who love one another. While loving people is a wonderful thing, is this what constitutes a family? What is their relationship to one another? How are they connected? Just because two men (or three or four) decide to live in the same house, this does not make them a family any more than if the same number of women decided to do that. A group of strangers living under the same roof does not constitute a family! In addition to this, homosexual relationships do not fit God’s definition of marriage and family (Rom. 1:26-27).

            Therefore, let us respect God’s definition of the family. God’s ways are higher than man’s (Isa. 55:8-9), and He knows what is best. Are we willing to accept what God has said and live by it?

"Except The Lord Build The House"

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Unless The Lord Builds The House …

Jarrod Jacobs

                   About 1000 years before Christ, David wrote, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…” (Ps. 127:1). These words are just as true today as they were when they were penned. Unless the Lord is building the house, (i.e., one’s family) the efforts of men are in vain.

                   How can the Lord build our house? Allowing the Lord to build our house means that we are allowing the Lord to take first place in our lives. All that we do and say in our home must be based upon what the Lord has already said (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11). When a husband and wife submit their lives to the Lord’s will (Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2-3), they will be truly blessed by God.

                   Some today try to say a family can include two men marrying one another, or two women marrying one another. Some have said that polygamy is acceptable before God. Yet, when we read the Bible, we see that God has described who can be married and why. In the beginning, we find that God created man and woman, and these two, male and female, are the ones to be married (Gen. 2:18-25). This was God’s plan from the beginning. Jesus also repeated the truth of Genesis 2 in Matthew 19:4-6.

                   Sadly, our world says that marriage should only last so long as it is “convenient” for both partners. In fact, one practice becoming more widespread is children being brought into the world without folks feeling the “need” for being married. There are many people today just “playing house”. Sometimes, people are living this way because they allowed their passions to get out of control, and what was beautiful within the relationship of marriage (I Cor. 7:2) was made ugly due to sin. Sometimes, this behavior is excused as a way to get a “tax break” or a check from the government. How terrible that we justify our sins in the name of money! We need to get acquainted with I Timothy 6:10! This society has forgotten the words of Scripture which say: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4).

                   Others wish to make things “legal” and be married, but they have either divorced for an unscriptural reason, or have married someone who does not have the Scriptural right to be married (Matt. 5:32, 19:9). In such a case, they are not allowing the Lord to build their house, either. God does not sanction sin. He does not bless people spiritually for their wrongdoing. Since this is true, we know that those trying to build their house in this way are doing it in vain. They are trying to build a house without the authority of God (Matt. 7:21-23).

                   Are we trying to build our house without the Lord? If so, why are we doing this? David makes it clear that it is a waste of our time to do so. Let us humble ourselves before God and accept His way of doing things. God loves us and He always has our best interests in mind. Yet, when we try to build a house without the Lord, we will fail every time.

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