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#PrepareYourHeart - Week Two

Once again I begin a post apologizing for my inconsistency and crazy life. I had every intention of posting last Monday. I wrote it all out and everything. I don’t really know what happened. The week was gone before I knew.
I have no excuse for not posting last night. I attempted to go to bed early. I was up all night. I should have just posted this then.

Oh well. You got an extra week to complete the challenges, and I got an extra week to study.

Here we go.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

Ecclesiastes is such an interesting book to me. There is so much wisdom here, and I think it gets overlooked sometimes. Like last week, there are a few verses in this passage that stuck out to me.

There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 4:8, NIV)

What happens when we put our trust in other places besides the Lord?
What happens when we focus on the temporal rather than the eternal?
What happens when we use someone else to fill a void that can only be filled by God?

Everything becomes meaningless.

We become like the author of Ecclesiastes. We rarely see the good in life. We are constantly searching for that thing or person to fill us. We live in a place of discontentment.



Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV)

What happens when we live with Christ at the center of our lives?

We find meaning in everything.

Every smile we see is meaningful. Every bird we hear becomes a blessing. Living with Christ at the center of our lives does not mean bad things don’t happen. The difference is we don’t have to fight our battles on our own. We have an ultimate defender who is ALWAYS right beside us. He gives meaning to our failures. He turns our weaknesses into strengths. He uses our stories to impact one person who wouldn’t otherwise be reached. He makes beautiful things out of our messes.

Esther 2

While reading Esther 2, I once again was in awe of this wonderful woman of God.

First of all, she had to go through 12 months of beauty treatments. 12 MONTHS! I am so thankful that we live during a time where this is not the norm. There is no way I would be able to handle this.

The writer of Esther tells us that she would not return into the king’s presence uncles he was pleased with her and summoned her by name. It is so awesome to me that we serve a God who always summons us by name. It is so amazing that we can come to Him no matter how pleased He is with us. Our value is not based on our humanity. He sees us through His Son’s sacrifice.

In verse fifteen, we read that when it was Esther’s turn to go before the king she asked for nothing other that what the king’s eunuch suggested. She did not ask for excess. She wanted just enough. She did not ask for more than what she needed.

Esther continued to follow the advice of her uncle Mordecai. Those who raise us up give us more than we ever know. Whether it be our parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, or mentors, they have made some kind of sacrifice on our behalf. They pour into us our entire lives. We also have a responsibility to the next generation. We need to make the sacrifices of those who come before us meaningful. We owe it to them to poor ourselves into those younger than us. We need to make the sacrifice to raise them up.

This chapter of Esther also points out that Esther gave credit where it was due. She learns of the assassination plot against King Xerxes because of her uncle. She could have taken all of the glory for herself. Instead, she gives the honor to Mordecai.

Let it be able to be said of us that we win the favor of everyone who sees us.

Challenge

Do without one thing you think you can’t. Get rid of the thing that causes you to focus more on the temporal rather than the eternal. Cut out that which you use to fill the void that can only be filled with God.

Celebrate those whom you forget to give credit. Whether it be a phone call, a card, or a dinner, let them know that you recognize the sacrifice they make to be a part of your life.

I really enjoyed this week’s readings. I hope you did too. I’m looking forward to see what the next week brings. Remember to use #prepareyourheart.

Readings for next week: Ephesians 5:1-14 & Esther 3.


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