HE WILL HOLD ME FAST

Coming off of a tumultuous 2020, it came more apparent to me that the Lord is truly the ONLY sustaining thing in our lives. No parent, spouse, sibling or friend can fill a void that is only meant for the Lord is fill.

With that being said, my journey with the Lord hasn’t been perfect. It has been far from what I wanted it to be if I’m being completely transparent. Between COVID shutting down most church services two months after we moved to Asheville and not being the most diligent in my personal time with the Lord, my faith has taken a hit.

Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.

Sitting in a local coffee shop on my day off not too long ago, however, ‘He Will Hold Me Fast’ happened to scroll through the Shane and Shane hymns playlist I was listening to at the time.

Hymns have always been my speed of worship and I have loved the amount of truth packed into each song. The minute I stopped to listen to this particular song, however, I stopped what I was doing and just listened, simply in awe of how much the Lord’s nurturing nature.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.

JUDE 24-25

‘He Will Hold Me Fast’ reflects on the wonderful truth that God continuously watches over and sustains our faith. Scripture is clear about this saving grace:

‘He Will Hold Me Fast’ proclaims a hope that surpasses our weakness. 

With our weaknesses continually before us, it’s easy to believe that one day they will certainly nullify our faith. We need to drill it into our hearts and minds that God is the one who sustains our faith. Habershon repeats the phrase “Christ/He will hold me fast” over 18 times to emphasize this truth and lodge it into the deepest chambers of our hearts.  

When we settle our souls on the truth that Christ alone keeps us, we can believe the doctrine of justification by faith alone more fully. It’s one thing to agree with Paul that God saves us, not our works (Eph. 2:6). It’s another thing to believe it’s also God who keeps us. If we don’t do the saving in the first place, why would we think we do the keeping? 

Verse one fixates on Christ keeping us through our fears, the turns of life, our temptations, and the weakness of our desires for God:

I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

Verse two tackles the question of the security of our souls:

He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast

The bedrock of our eternal safety is Christ’s sacrifice. As the logic goes in Romans 8:32, how will God let us go if he paid for us with his own blood?  

Verse three moves further still into the realm of Christ’s return and His safekeeping of our souls until that day. It also features the hope of the finished work of Christ and the closed case of our righteousness through the One who bore our guilt and paid our penalty.

For my life He bled and died

Justice has been satisfied
Raised with Him to endless life
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last

Take a moment today to truly listen to the lyrics if you haven’t before. It is a powerful hymn that has reminded me more times than not that the Lord is constantly fighting for us. Let it resonate with you as you go about your day today and rejoice in His goodness.

‘He Will Hold Me Fast’ is a reminder that God is in control, is trustworthy and will keep His children in His arms into endless life.

For anyone who is struggling with navigating their faith or have endurance through trials, this song can be used today as it was originally: to encourage the believer with full assurance that what God starts, He finishes.

Not only will God keep his people, but he delights in doing so. Not only does he hold us fast, but he does so with great joy. There is no safer place to be in the universe than hidden with Jesus in the heart of God’s delight.

He began a work in you and is looking to complete that work. Our sins may be many but His mercy is more. He is persistent in pursing His children and keeping us accountable. Rest in the fact that He is fighting for you, always. Taste and see that the Lord is good, y’all, because He is the ultimate sustainer. Happy Sunday!

Do you have a favorite hymn? If so, let me know in the comments below! ♡

XO,

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WOMEN IN SCRIPTURE: Esther

More so than ever, women in scripture have fascinated me and captivated my time in scripture reading. Like all things in the Bible, these women all served a great purpose and do an amazing job of portraying a story to us modern-day women (and men).

With each woman, I will dive into their role as it plays out in scripture and how it can better relate to our lives today.

For my first powerhouse woman of the Bible, I chose Esther. Esther is the seventeenth book of the Bible and means “secret” or “hidden.” We know , however, that Esther’s story is quite the opposite.

Esther was born during a time of Israel’s exile and their disobedience to the Lord.

As a part of Esther’s story, she:

1. She lived in exile.

Esther and a significant number of the Jewish people lived scattered throughout Persia after the Babylonian exile. Although they had been granted freedom to return to their homeland, many of the Jewish people stayed in exile rather than go back to a war-torn Jerusalem.

2. She was an orphan.

According to Scripture, Esther had no parents. She had lost both her mother and father and was raised by her older cousin, Mordecai. (Esther 2:7)

3. She was taken captive.

The Persian King, Xerxes was displeased with his wife and sought her replacement. Naturally, he made a decree in order to gather to himself all suitable virgins in the region.

So when the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. (Esther 2:8)

We read in Scripture that Esther was young and exceptionally beautiful. We can also see that, from the language used here, Esther didn’t have much say in the matters that unfolded. She most likely didn’t submit a résumé or raise her hand excitedly to volunteer for the harem. She was young, she was pretty, and she was taken.

4. She was raped.

This part comes as a shocker to people, even to those who have read the whole Megillah as part of their yearly Purim celebration. But the Scriptures are pretty clear about what happened.

Now, when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women – when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.” (Esther 2:12–14)

The virgins, who were all quite young, were escorted to the king, who is said to have been approximately 40 years old at the time. They were taken one by one, for him to sleep with. They didn’t return to the other virgins, but instead were added to the number of the king’s other concubines (sex slaves without wife status). No other man could ever be their husband, and they never saw the king again unless he was “pleased with them.” In short, the king test-drove all the models before making his purchase, and he did so with Esther to replace his former queen.

5. She risked execution.

When Mordecai learns of Haman’s (the king’s advisor) plot to annihilate all of the Jewish people, Esther is pushed to center stage. Mordecai sends the queen a message, telling her to throw herself before the king and beg for mercy on behalf of her people. This wasn’t as easy as it may have sounded. Esther knew that anyone who approached the king without first being summoned was killed – unless the king was in the mood to extend his scepter and spare their life. What Mordecai was asking her to do could have easily been the last thing she ever did.

But Mordecai said: “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14). Hello, Jewish guilt.

Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people fasted and prayed. Then, Esther went before the king.

Thankfully, the king held out his scepter. He heard her case and granted her requests.

God used both Mordecai and Esther in a powerful way to deliver the Jewish people from obliteration.

Esther wasn’t a cheerleader. She wasn’t Mordecai’s sidekick. By spending a moment focusing on Esther as an individual and addressing the very real and horrible things this woman of God endured, we are able to more clearly see her character and courage and God’s redemptive love at work in spite of the sins of man.

He chose a woman who had everything taken from her – her parents, her freedom, her virginity – and He gave her everything. He used someone who, due to gender, culture, and circumstance, was powerless and invisible and made her the pivotal, formidable heroine. Let that sink in.

Esther’s story is a powerful reminder that God can bring about new life, redemption and freedom, even when it seems an impossible feat. We can also rest assure that especially in a time in major turmoil over the upcoming 2020 election, God is ultimately sovereign over the heart of King. He knows who will be named President, but rest assured in knowing that God appoints leaders and uses them to accomplish His plan––whether they are Godly leaders or not. 

“Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19

Let us be more like Esther today. Let us remember that God uses ordinary people in major ways and to not allow difficult circumstances make us bitter. Let us be bold in all aspects of our lives and to go forth to make disciples of many.

Remember that God is working behind the scenes, even when we can’t see it or feel that He is close. He is fighting for His children, always. Lean into the promises of God today. He is fighting for you.


Alex in Asheville

Sunday Scripts

If God’s hand is open to all, our hands can be closed to none.

Offer to be someone’s hands and feet today. Walk alongside those who are weary. Be prayerful in all things. Allow the spirit to lead and be obedient in leaning into the promises of our Lord always. Show empathy for others.

Be someone who uses your lips for truth, voice for kindness, ears for compassion, hands for charity and heart for love.

He is fighting for you today.