Thursday, May 07, 2015

... And if not

Esther 4:15-17
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Daniel 3:13-18
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good.[c] But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

This quote from Daniel came to my attention today in a typical ADD walk through the Internet.

I followed it and ran across the Esther quote. And it made me think: Is there any other place in the Scripture where folks in severe crisis, up against losing their very lives, recognize God's sovereignty?

Is there any other passage where you see God's people acknowledge that "He isn't a tame lion"? That Aslan can't be pushed against a wall and made to perform magic tricks to prove Himself to His people?

It's not that other Biblical figures don't understand this. But it's just not as clearly laid out.

Here are four of God's people who accept God's work in any way it is done ... and don't hold back from their love and worship of Him. Of their duty to Him.

I'll violate my own premise and bring up Abraham willing to offer Isaac on the Mount of the Lord. I'll violate if further with Job, "Though He will slay me, yet will I bless Him".

Similar sentiment ... "I'm letting God be God."

But there's something achingly poignant that resonates with me as I read Esther and Daniel.

And it brought me back to my Pastor's current series Beautiful Brokenness, a moving look at Ezra and Nehemiah's experiences attempting to rebuild a fallen Jersualem after God's judgement and the carrying off of the nation.

Both the Esther passage and the Daniel passage occur in Babylon. They occur in a people who have seen that God will stop at nothing to chastise His people and keep them in line.

Both passages come in the same basic spiritual time and surroundings as Ezra and Nehemiah ... The only difference is that Esther and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are still miles and miles away from their homeland.

But the brokenness is the same.

These people have felt the hand of God ... have seen the destruction ... have known the deepest, most wrenching sorrows.

Their lives are on the line. They are called before the king, the highest authority.

Those around seek to mock and to rejoice. Another God-person fallen. Another proof that this spit so-called-JAWEH spit is but a JOKE.

There might be a temptation to demand God show Himself. Save Esther, save the 3 "sons of Israel".


They make no such demanding cry.

They've been broken with the loss of their heritage, their land, their homes, their specialness as a people. They've lost, it seems, the very promise of God that made them THEM...

In the judgement of exile, they lost it all... But they realize ... that they still have their God.

They respond with quietness. Resolute. Aching but strong.

Brokenness is like that.

In fact, their God is now real as THEIR GOD, not the vague protective deity, but their personal, known GOD. The one they love and worship and to whom they owe their very existence

Before the exile, a smug people of God figured that He'd always rescued them in the end ... He would again.

Now, broken, they realize that God's power can be shown in many ways. In miraculous rescue ...

Or in the solid, quiet faith of people who face destruction and death with such a sure hold on their God they trust (said with a quiet sigh). The God who will resurrect them (and that's the key) ...

That they don't REQUIRE rescue. They are simply in His hands.

A broken person knows resurrection power always wins. If God wills (not simply the resignation to fate of Islam but an active acceptance and love of God) ... He will spare us ...

But His love is not dependent upon that rescue ... It is remarkably sure regardless.


A broken person slowly begins to realize that his only hope to ever stand, to build a wall, to rebuild a city, to pick up the tatters of a life, of a marriage, a body aching with the pain of illness, a parent mourning the loss or deep distress of a child ...

That the only hope to stand through that comes from the living God ...

And it isn't in ANY way dependent upon the outcome. Once broken, you simply weep and know ... He is king. You can serve no other.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A year!

So it's been a year since I've posted anything. Time to get back to blogging!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

... And on we go!

SO ...

I seem to have attracted a couple of readers! I'd be pleased except for the comments that were left.

I have my suspicions as to who "Anonymous" is ... I'll let any readers that may read this blog (which is probably none as I've been inactive for so long!) comment here with their guesses.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

... The odyssey continues

Alive I am ...

One more step, two more steps ... It seems like 100 years of parenting since the split with the BP ex. I know she and her attorney follow this blog, more power to them. We are making it. They throw lies and innuendo, but somehow, we are still standing.

Thank God.

Monday, October 26, 2009

... Were not the right Man on our side ...

... And HE must win the battle.

It's a tough day. Waiting is so incredibly hard.

But I'm linking up with the "Waiting Underground" ...

There's a lot of us out there who are waiting. Maybe all of God's true children are waiting. I share my struggle. I talk of the wait.

And others tell me where they're waiting. Where they've waited.

How they didn't wait. How they jumped in ... and screwed things up.

Let me commend to all of us who are waiting, Bob the Tomato. That's right, the noted Veggie Tale. The limbless, hairless vegetable who loves God.

Or at least his creator and voice, Phil Vischer.

I think God wanted me to get this message last week. Hopped in the car and Christian Radio was on. God has been quietly instructing me to flip it on lately ... and I haven't gone there in years.

And I'm appalled at what's there. I'm seriously moved to ... wait, that's another story.

But Friday morning I heard a voice that was vaguely familiar ... Tighe jumped in the car with me ... we headed to school to a great story that captivated us both.

Now understand that I haven't had Christian radio on as a habit for years. So for my radio to be set there is simply a God thing ...

And the story ... about a man serving God by creating wonderful talking vegetables that have certainly blessed me, inspired my kids and made all of us laugh for years ... The story of that man serving God in his dream and finding ... that God would not allow a dream to become an idol.

So many thoughts there... But the idea that it's not about what I DO FOR GOD. It's whose I am. HIS.

And that it's WAITING that allows me to KNOW the lover of my soul.

... Great is thy faithfulness my God ...

Check out Phil Vischer (aka Bob the Tomato) on Focus on the Family ...

I hope this link stays active for a time ... When Your Dreams Die ...


Friday, October 23, 2009

Our own private housing crisis ...

Slip slidin' away ... you know the nearer your destination the more it's slip-slidin' away ...

My home, our home, at 17 Woodland Drive, is no longer our home. The bank did what the bank has threatened to do for the 15 years we had this predatory lender ... they foreclosed.

I could have paid. I could have refinanced. I could have done a loan modification. I suppose I even could have delayed with a bankruptcy.

But when you combine a predatory lender with an angry ex-spouse you get ... foreclosure.

Spouses have to sign for any changes to occur when they have an interest in a property.

But it's only a thing. Things don't last.

There are memories from 17 Woodland. There are some wonderful memories ... Birthdays ... first everythings for 4 of the 5 kids ... tooth fairy visits ... food creations that went well ... and some that didn't but we laughed anyway.

And then there are the other memories. Police visits because of violent assaults by Mom. Vicious attacks. Screaming at neighbors. Clothes, dirt, grime, purchases all piled so high we couldn't walk around them ... and the yelling if we tried to fix it.

So we did the final cleanout. Since mom was taken out of the home (unwillingly but SO necessarily) we had already gutted 60 cu yards of trash in dumpsters. Old stuff that was too "precious" to part with had already been disposed of ... after she passed it by on several walk-throughs. Old carpet too rotten to stay on the floor. Newpapers, magazines, handouts from who knows where ... all kept for the possible day ... but not taken by her when she left ... and again, passed over in walk-through after walk-through.

That stuff had incredible power. She brought it up time and again in court... DON'T YOU DARE DUMP MY STUFF. Some had to go. Insects, space, time required it to go. But so much we still held on to. She would come and get it. She demanded it all stay for her inspection. For her to cherish. For her to control our lives with by it's demanding presence.

But then, a move-out date loomed. There was no choice. What freedom we had when we moved her stuff out for her to take. Of course, she took almost none of it. "But don't throw it out."

Stuff controls us. Not just her, all of us. I felt such freedom letting go of so many things. Letting go of this house that was always too big as a project ... too much to be done by a busy family ... to rehab a house in as bad shape as it was 18 years ago ...

So we let it all go ... a total of 120 cu yards of stuff we pitched. So much more we sold, gave away, recycled. Working to make a blessing out of all this ... stuff.

And we are beginning to walk in freedom. We're STILL sorting through, pitching, protecting the very little that's priceless.

Stuff ... holds us with an angry death grip. God begs us to let our stuff go and hold on to Him. Our stuff comforts us, helps us not see our own weaknesses and our own flaws. It also cruds up everything, gives us stumbling blocks beyond measure.

The house is gone ... but the home is still being built.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lost in "Let's Remember"...

I am. I am lost and awash. Thanks to Facebook I've been talking to people I haven't talked to in 30 and more years.

All of it is good to bring the years into focus. Years slip by and we change. But the changes aren't put in side-by-side comparison with the past very often. Who was I then? Who am I now?

I was insanely idealistic. I think I still am.

Some of the comparisons are hard. I still haven't finished my first screenplay, my first Broadway play. My great novel has not yet been written. I am not yet a captain of industry.

But I have 5 great kids and a good job.

I think I'm doin' great.

Dave Nichols