Paul was in jail and said he could do all things by Christ strengthening him. God can do anything but we may limit him.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
There are over 5,000 promises in God’s word. He won’t fail to fulfill them if we lean on him. No problem is too hard for him to solve. He may not solve it like we think but it will be for his glory. No one is too hard to save if they’re willing for God’s way.
We limit God if we have an unwilling spirit. If we refuse to accept God’s pardon for our sin by an unwilling spirit, we won’t be saved. Some people say, I won’t go to church because my mother made me go when I was young. This argument is unreasonable. Did your mother make you take a bath? It’s unreasonable to say I don’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites. We make choices and we can’t blame others. God won’t work against our will or make us serve him.
Luke 4:14-16 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
An unbelieving heart hinders God. Jesus couldn’t do many things because people didn’t believe.
Matthew 3:57-58 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
An unconcerned heart and attitude hinders God. We need to be concerned if God is knocking on our heart door and trying to get us to change. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been saved, God shows us things we need to change. When we’re first saved, we repent of everything we know is wrong. We will continue to see things we need to change. God promised to give the land of Canaan wherever the Israelites’ feet went, but it was little by little (a little at a time).
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
There’s a difference between our emotions and our actions. Jehoshaphat’s first reaction was fear, but then he went to God for help. God said to not fear, but to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. When Jehoshaphat trusted the Lord and what he said to do, then fear left so everyone could worship and sing praises to God.
II Chronicles 20:15-18 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah…and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by…this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz…Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah…worshipping the Lord.
Pride is an emotion that we shouldn’t act on. We need to think about our emotions and ask God to help us handle them right. Emotions are not sin, but our response or how we act can be sin. The devil has access to our emotions. Negative emotions are meant to discourage us, so we’re touchy, cranky, and irritable. We can’t act in a way that is contrary to God or it will lead to sin. We need to be willing like “The Little Engine That Could” (by by Platt & Munk, 1930). The story says, “a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill. “I can’t; that is too much a pull for me”…Then the train asked another…only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine…”I think I can”, puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” As it neared the top of the grade … it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, “I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can.” It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”
Esther’s parents died before she was 5 and her uncle Mordecai raised her. She was chosen to be married by king Ahasuerus. The king promoted Haman above his princes and Mordecai would not bow to him when he passed him in the king’s gate. Haman got the king to sign a decree to kill all the Jews when he knew Mordecai was a Jew. Mordecai sent a message to Esther that she should go to the king about it. It was a law that only those who were asked could go before him or they could be killed. Mordecai told her that it could be she was made queen so she could save the Jews.
Esther 4:10-17 Again Esther spake…All the king’s servants…know, that whosoever…shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except…the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called…unto the king these thirty days…Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not…thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade…this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews…and fast ye for me …eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also…will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish…Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther turned to God immediately with prayer and fasting. She told Mordecai to have all the Jews to fast for 3 days. In dire situations, fasting and prayer is still the way to know God’s direction. God gave a specific answer of how to handle the situation. The king said he’d give her request. He agreed to come to the banquet with Haman. When they came the first day, she asked them to come again the next day. Things wouldn’t have worked out right if she had done anything else.
Esther 5:1-14…on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court…the king sat upon his royal throne…And it was so…the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre…Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom. And Esther answered…let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared…So the king and Haman came to the banquet… king said…What is thy petition? and it shall be granted…Then answered Esther…let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare…to morrow as the king hath said. Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but…saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not…he was full of indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home…called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told…the glory of his riches…and all the things wherein the king had promoted him…Haman said moreover…the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet…to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai…at the king’s gate. Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends…Let a gallows be made…speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily…unto the banquet…and he caused the gallows to be made.
Everything happened in God’s time. The king couldn’t sleep the night before the second banquet. His servant read the record of Mordecai saving him from a conspiracy to kill him. The king ordered Mordecai to be honored the next day by Haman leading him on a horse through the city, saying “Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:1-11). Haman had made gallows to hang Mordecai. At the banquet Esther told the king how Haman was to kill her and all Jews. The king was very mad. When he heard about the gallows, he ordered Haman be hanged there.
Esther 7:1-10 So the king and Haman came to banquet…And the king said…What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted…Esther the queen answered…let my life be given me at my petition, and my people…For we are…to be destroyed…Ahasuerus answered…Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman…And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath…Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said…Behold also, the gallows…Haman had made for Mordecai…king said, Hang him thereon…
God always has victory for us. There’s nothing too hard for him or any prayer too hard to answer. Esther couldn’t see the end of things, but God worked all out for victory. Mordecai was put where he could seek the wealth of God’s people.
Esther 8:15-17 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel…with a great crown of gold…the Jews had joy and gladness…And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
Esther 10:3 For Mordecai…was next unto king Ahasuerus…seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all…
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)