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Biblical stories of eighteen New Testament women who Jesus encouraged, empowered, and loved.

When a Woman meets Jesus, BookHow could a man who had no wife, no children, no home, no job, no money, and wandered the hills of Judea with twelve men relate to women of his time, much less women in the 21st century?

That's the question that led author, Dorothy Valcárcel, to search for biblical women whose lives intersected with Jesus. As she explored the lives of every woman Jesus met, she discovered that they faced many of the same challenges women encounter today.

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Devotional Week 46 Monday


Today’s Texts and Thoughts of Encouragement:

“Energize the limp hands,

strengthen the rubbery knees.

Tell fearful souls,

‘Courage! Take heart!

God is here, right here,

on His way to put things right

and redress all wrongs.

He’s on His Way! He’ll save you!’”

Isaiah 35: 3, 4

The Message Bible


Fear Not


“Go down

into the plans of God.

Go down

deep as you may.

Fear not

for your fragility

under that weight.

Fear not

for life or limb.

Fear not the power

of treacherous currents under the sea.

Simply do not be afraid.

Let go. You will be led

like a child whose mother

holds (her baby) to her bosom

against all comers is shelter.”

Helder Camara

The Desert Is Fertile


“In the hour of my fear

 I will put my trust in You;

In God, whose word I praise,

in God I trust and will fear not;

what can flesh do to me?”

Psalm 56: 3-4


“Committing our fears to God means crawling up into His lap until the storm passes.”

Mary Coutherland

Today’s Study Texts:

1. “And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, ‘Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman.’ Then the king said, ‘Hang him thereon.’ so they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.”

Esther 7: 9, 10


2. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.”

Psalm 45: 6


“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”

“The Sceptre of Our Majesty the King” Part 54


“Everything we know and hope for has its sure hope because God is righteous.”

Lance Latham


What does the end of the life of Haman tell me about the righteousness of my heavenly Father?


“The Apostle Paul teaches us that the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel is given to us in Christ. As this truth dawned, I felt I was born again, and was entering in at the gates of paradise itself. There and then the whole face of scripture changed. Just as much as I had hated the phrase ‘the righteousness of God,’ I now loved it – it seemed the sweetest and most joyous phrase ever written.”

Martin Luther

“No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

Charles Wesley

Psalms and Hymns



            A number of years ago, a close friend shared with me that her boss, the manager of their branch office was not only taking advantage of the owners at the company where she worked, but that this individual was actually stealing from the company.


            As you might imagine, my friend was deeply disturbed. However, there wasn’t anyone within the company hierarchy she felt she could confide in. However, something rather revealing began to happen as time passed. Without any prompting at all, other employees started sharing with my friend the behavior they had also witnessed by the “boss.” It was revealed to my friend that everyone in their branch office was completely aware of the skullduggery which was associated and carried out by the “boss.” However, the “boss” appeared to wield so much power within the local office, and even within the company, that my friend finally quit and moved on to a different place of employment.


            Just before she left the firm, the company President came to visit this office and interestingly, he sat in on the “exit interview” of my friend. After she had answered all the questions she was asked, the head of the company requested she stay a moment more for he told her there were a few more questions he’d like to discuss with her.


            Much to her surprise, the company owners and top-management already had their own suspicions about this manager’s behavior. All of a sudden, it was as if the sun came out from behind a cloud as the truth about the office situation was finally revealed. Within weeks, the manager was fired.


            If we take time to contemplate the words found in Esther 7: 9, we learn that one of the chamberlains, Harbonah, was totally aware of the fact that wily, conniving Haman, had built a gallows, fifty cubits high, on which he planned to hang his enemy Mordecai. What’s more, when this particular chamberlain saw that Haman was on King Ahasuerus’ list of enemies, how quickly the worm turned.


            Harbonah immediately let the king know that if he wanted to rid himself of the wicked Haman, why not use the same instrument of death that Haman planned on using against Mordecai.


            But the chamberlain didn’t stop there. He had one more piece of information he wanted to convey and it was this: Mordecai, he told the king, had spoken good of the king. This statement seems to shine the radiance of the sun on the fact that evidently, there wasn’t a question among the palace staff as to who was the “good guy” and who was the “bad guy.” Furthermore, now that Haman had been shown to be the scoundrel he was, the chamberlain wanted it to be made known how faithful and stalwart Mordecai had been in the service of his king, not only at his post of duty at the king’s gate but also in thwarting an assassination attempt against Ahasuerus. Wanting to make certain the king really “got it” and that Mordecai was seen as the one who was honorably serving his king was top-priority in Harbonah’s eyes.


            This event at the end of Haman’s life is a way of showing us that in the words of Solomon: “He or she that covereth his sins shall not prosper” (Proverbs 28: 13, K.J.V.). And so we come to the end of Haman’s life as this enemy of the God of Israel was hanged on “Mordecai’s Gallows!”


            However, there is a lesson that we would do well to understand clearly at this point in the lives of Esther and Mordecai. While we will leave the last three chapters of the book of Esther to study in-depth in the coming weeks, we cannot leave Esther, Chapters 1-7 without looking at what place a royal sceptre holds, in your life and mine.


            Key to the story of how an orphaned Jewish girl took her God-designed place in history as queen of Medo-Persia is the fact that when faced with the possibility of death for all the Jews, Esther, after prayer and fasting, went “un-called” before King Ahasuerus who held out his golden sceptre of power to the queen, offering not only the acceptance of her visit but her petition as well.


            It was during a previous study of the Psalms for our up-coming devotionals when I “happened” (I don’t really believe that anything just ‘happens” when it comes to the study of God’s Word!!!). – upon the words found in one of our study texts for today, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre” (Psalm 45: 6, K.J.V.).


            There is was – the word “sceptre” which got me to thinking about the “sceptre” extended to Esther. As the wheels were turning in my head, I began to wonder what the Hebrew translation was for the “sceptre” King Ahasuerus held before Esther. In Esther 5: 2, the golden “sceptre” in Hebrew is “sharbîyt” meaning “empire.” The “sceptre” held in the hand of the earthly King Ahasuerus was a symbol of anearthly kingdom and earthly power.


            As I read Psalm 45: 6, I just assumed that the Hebrew word for sceptre would most likely be the same. But “something,” most likely “Someone,” kept prodding me to go back to my Strong’s Concordance to check the world “sceptre” again -  especially as used in Psalm 45: 6. Much to my surprise and delight, I found that while in the English language the words look identical, in the Hebrew they are not. As already noted, in the book of Esther, the word “sceptre” refers to an earthly empire. However, in Psalm 45: 6 the Hebrew word for “sceptre” is “shêbet” which means: “A stick for ruling; Specifically a clan or tribe.” In Webster’s Dictionary, specifically the word “clan” means family, offspring or scion. Part of a tribe descending from a common ancestor.” How grand is the thought expressed in Psalm 45: 6, that unlike a temporary earthly throne of an earthly king, when you and I come before our Father’s throne on high, it is an everlasting throne, where the “sceptre” extended to us signifies that we are a family member, part of our eternal Father’s clan, descendants of our Father through Jesus Christ His Son.


            In one of my favorite quotations penned by Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon, he writes about the palace of our heavenly king with these astounding words; “We do not come, as it were to where God dispenses His favors to the back door of the house of mercy to receive scraps, though that were more than we deserve, To eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table is more than we could claim. But when we pray, we are standing in the palace, on the glittering floor of the great King’s own reception room. We stand where angels bow with veiled faces…Shall we come there with stunted requests and narrow, contracted faith? He is a King who distributes pieces of broad gold, making a sumptuous ‘feast of fat things…of wines on the lees well refined” (Isaiah 25: 6). Do not bring before God stinted petitions and narrow desires, but remember, as high as the heavens are above the earth so high are His ways above your ways and His thoughts above your thoughts. Ask, therefore, after a Godlike fashion, for great things, for you are before a great throne.”


            No earthly sceptre is extended to you and me. We have no fear that the King’s sceptre will not be offered to us for indeed it always will be, for we are part of the clan…we are family through Jesus Christ our Lord and the Father’s sceptre is held out – always and for ever – to His children.


            But if per chance, you may still feel a little hesitant to enter the grand throne room of your heavenly Father, afraid that you just aren’t good enough, I want to close with these “welcoming” words by author Leslie Weatherhead:


“So let us, fifty times a day if need be, set before us a picture of the real God, utterly loving, whatever we have done, infinitely strong, resourceful and purposeful, finding this way for us when the way is closed for whatever reason, who will not allow us to be lost and defeated if we trust Him, and who is generous beyond all thoughts of generosity. Let us commit ourselves to Him every morning, forthe real God is to be trusted, and whatever happens to us – called, as it may be by others, failure, catastrophe or defeat – we shall know that eternal love still bears us on its bosom, and that we shall find our way home without regret.”

Leslie Weatherhead


            All I can say is, “Amen and Amen!” For this in the end is the heavenly message which like a golden thread runs through the book of Esther. Even though His Almighty name is not mentioned, our God is on the everlasting throne. And He extends to each one of His children, His sceptre of righteousness. We are part of His eternal clan – we are in His family. And it is this knowledge which will always be enough to nurture the embers of hope in your heart and mine.


“As you struggle with the inevitable hardships and occasional disappointments of everyday life, remember that God has invited you to accept His abundance not only for today but also for all eternity. So keep things in perspective. Although you will inevitably encounter occasional defeats in this world, you’ll have all eternity to celebrate the ultimate victory.”

A Woman’s Treasury of Hope


My Hope is Built on Nothing Less


“My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.


When darkness seems to veil His face,

I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale,

My anchor holds within the veil.


His oath, His covenant, and blood,

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives way;

He then is all my hope and stay.”

Edward Mote


Your friend

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author

When A Woman Meets Jesus





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