First Glance: Esther 8

“Futhermore, many of the peoples of the country professed to be Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.” (Esther 8:17b) It is not our place to judge the inner motivations of every human heart. As a result of the counter-edict issued by Mordecai, the people of Israel are given permission to…

First Glance: Esther 7

“Then Harbona, one of the eunuch’s in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” Esther 7:9 I was never a child star. On the only occasion that…

First Glance: Esther 3

Then the king’s secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and to every…

First Glance: Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11) Whenever I hear these words of the Lord’s Prayer I cannot help but be brought back to the wilderness in Israel and the 23rd psalm. In June of 2014, Stephen and I had the privilege of going to Israel on a walking tour. We learned so…

First Glance: Matthew 6:9-10

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9a) For many Christians, the Lord’s Prayer is the first prayer we learned by heart. We may pray it every week in worship or every day at meals. This prayer has worn deep paths in our souls. However, our familiarity with the prayer Jesus taught…

First Glance: Galatians 6:11-18

“The only reason they want to do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.” (Galatians 6:12b) The circumcision faction was afraid. This group of Christian believers were actively trying to force Gentile converts to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses. They claimed it was essential for salvation and obedience…

First Glance: Galatians 6:1-10

“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Let each one test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” (Galatians 6:3-5) It is an interesting twist of providence for me to try…

First Glance: Galatians 5

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.…

First Glance: Galatians 4:19-31

“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth, until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you again and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you.” (Galatians 3:19-20) I (Stephen) will never be a mother. I will never experience the pains of childbirth…

First Glance: Galatians 4:1-20

“Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ himself.” (Galatians 4:14b) Who do we see in the face of the stranger? Paul was traveling and preaching the gospel when he fell ill. We are not sure exactly what the illness was. Some suggest it was epilepsy,…