Archive for February, 2009

Cashier Checks & Bowing Down to 90 Feet Statutes

Well, I missed Daniel 2 yesterday, but we’ll see similar content (though not the details) in chapter 7 & 9, I think.

So instead focusing on that boundary-setting, boundary-honoring Daniel, or that administratively gifted leader (who doesn’t use it so wisely all of the time) Nebuchadnezzar, we get to look at those three bold, balanced, faithful Hebrew boys in Daniel 3.
Talk about someone who is image conscience (pun intended)! He invites all the VIP people to his “little” party so they can bow down to him! It’s amazing the effort I will (er, I mean, that he will) put forth just to maintain a facade/image, and oh so cheery is the occassion! But it ends in death still the same!
Enough about Neb…what about those 3 men, Rack, Shack & Bennie (or so VeggieTales would have us call them)?!
Talk about faithfulness, clarity of conviction and the courage to stand firm! These three exemplified it. I got a taste of that this morning…not nearly the consequences, but still consisted of those three elements.
I’m trying to sell my motorcycle (1989 Red Yamaha Virago 1100cc for $2,400 in case anyone was wondering 😉 and I got a call today from a guy who was eager to purchase it. Asked at first if I would take money orders since he could only withdraw $350 a day from his bank. I told him I would do a little research and get back with him.
After hanging up, he called back nearly 3 minutes later and suggested PayPal. Hmmmm. We made arrangements for him to come to the house to see it. He called about half hour later for directions, and I wanted to tell him “cash only”, but the subject didn’t get brought up. So I was mum.
After I hung up, Ashley challenged me (probably why there was 3 Hebrew men…they all needed each other’s help in it all!) “you need to call that guy back and tell him cash only so he doesn’t come here for no good reason.”
Gulp! This is not my cup of tea! But I did it. With sweating palms, I dialed his number. I stammeringly told him “cash only” and apologized for this but that it I needed to operate that way. He continued to pursue. I stated it again, with a firmer conviction and without apology “cash only.”
He proceeded to tell me that I would meet him at the bank to get money orders with him. And with full conviction, courage and eyes-wide-open understanding, I notified him yet again “CASH ONLY! There will be no meeting you at the bank…” 
Click….he hung up.
And he with the same burning fury, rage and anger (pun intended!) that fella threw in me into the furnance heated seven times hotter than usual (er, I mean, he texted me a message calling me nasty names and accusing me of wasting his time!)
And you know what?! I felt just like those boys must have felt (tho I’m sure not to the same degree). Very excited that the conviction was adhered to, and blessed to see good results from it all. I blame it all on the “fourth who is like the Son of God.”
Just a few little observations about this passage before heading off to bed…
  1. the same fire that was moltened the image that everyone worshipped, had no effect on those faithful men
  2. those that tossed them into the furnance were scorched by approaching the fire and yet these three merely walked in the midst of the burning
  3. evil meant the fire to burn them to death, but God had the fire only burn the ropes that had them bound
  4. the three men did not presume to know God’s mind as to whether they would be martyred or preserved, but they knew He was powerful enough to do either one. They didn’t treat God like a vending machine…I like that about these boys
  5. not even the smell of smoke was upon them, nor a single hair singed (that word looks like the pieces of hair couldn’t sing!). But this little observation gives me hope that no matter what upbringing or unhealthy situation people may find themselves in, God is able to bring them out without even their garments affected by it…I know a lot of ladies who are asking that for their children!
  6. Our God is Able to Save, is Able to Deliver, and is Able to Keep!

Oh Son of God, I pray whatever situation I find myself, whether in sunshine or in the fiery furnance, that I will know Your presence always with me. I pray also for that same kind of faithfulness, courage, and conviction that these fellows had so that I might be a better witness to Your sovereignty! And thank You for today! Wouldn’t have happened just a year or two ago! Amen.

Administration & Boundaries

Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) has a gift I greatly long for…that of administration! I mean, just look at this guy in Daniel 1

He didn’t let prejudice prevent him from choosing top notch cabinet members. He had the ability to look past nationality and race.
He also had a knowledgeable support staff in place. Somebody had to figure out what the measurable data points were to decide upon who of the captive Judean children were the wisest, knowledgeable, quickest to understand, gifted, good looking and able to serve.
I was at a training yesterday where a few hours were spent trying to decide how a successful release from prison could be measured and evaluated, over a 5-year period. We could have used some of Neb’s statisticians!
Not only that, Neb was generous (if you overlook the fact that they were exiles!). He was willing to give king’s food and wine to entice them to be the best that they could be…for him! 
And if that were enough for a busy man, who was the CEO of Business Babylon…he took the time to individually interview these young men! 
And with no apologies, he declares “that these here f’r’ners” were ten times wiser than all else he had interviewed. He had discernment on top o fit all!
He just seems to be a man who plays his cards well, surrounds himself with a knowledgeable support staff, has lofty vision, and actually follow throughs on it. Let’s just say…I’m a bit jealous!
Then there is the second guy in this story who awakens any jealousy that remained dormant! Daniel was indeed a man of wisdom, understanding and discernment…from the very beginning!
Even though he could have justified violating his conscience (or his gut, or his convictions, or whatever you want to call it) due his station in life as a prisoner, he wisely presented his case. There is no default living with this guy!
He knew to respect those over him. He knew exactly what he wanted. He clearly articulated it. And he came up with a proposal that would help him and his three friends, as well as protect the chief eunuch, Ashpenaz.
Daniel set a boundary, went through all the added hubbub, put himself to the test, just so he could keep his self-respect and honor God. 
He learned it was so worth it. I want to too!

Lord, make me a Daniel…wise, discerning, articulate, daring, convicted, clearheaded, willing to pay the cost, diplomatic and yet truthful. I know it is because of You (verse 9) that Daniel prospered in favor and goodwill. Lord, give me strength and resolve to “Dare to be a Daniel!”

Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.