Daniel and the Lion’s Den – Another Take

A Long Awaited Meal

Based on Daniel 6:17-25

   We were hungry and anxiously waited for our evening meal. Beef steak would be nice. So would lamb – a shoulder and leg – would fit the bill. Finally, a tasty morsel was set before us.

   It was incredulous. Had we not performed our duties royally? Were we not deserving of a good meal? Was this a slap-in-the-face? Or was there a new Keeper of the Kitchen who didn’t understand about hefty appetites?

   These were the questions going through our minds as we viewed the tiny bit of food. It wasn’t enough to be even an appetizer. Our pride was hurt! We were insulted.

   I thought about snatching it up just so we wouldn’t have to look at it anymore, but I didn’t because the others would get angry. I didn’t want them turning on me.

   The night of fasting seemed endless. It was as if an invisible force was protecting this food. Our mouths may have been closed, but on the inside we were drooling. We all wanted to roar, “Feed Us!” I even wished I could do my own hunting. Anything would be better than this! Instead, we just waited and watched, waited and watched.

   At the first sign of daybreak our main concern was, “What’s for breakfast?” We weren’t disappointed. The meager appetizer was withdrawn and full scale entrees were set before us. We were like ravenous beasts, forgetting our manners and table etiquette.

   When every bone was picked clean, we decided a nap was in order to make up for our sleepless night. We purred like contented kittens, and upstairs we could hear the sounds of a happy reunion between Daniel and the King.

So, You Think You Have It Hard? – Another Take

Jesus took on the job of becoming a permanent, once-for-all sacrifice. He set His face forward. He didn’t look around heaven and say, “Mine! Mine!” In His divine nature He didn’t turn away from all the hardships to claim special or equal treatment with the words, ‘What about Me? Don’t My wants and desires count?”

Instead, He made the sacrifices before becoming the ultimate sacrifice. How hard would making these adjustments have been?

~Jesus, the Creator (Is. 42), lowered Himself to live with the creation.

~Jesus, pure Wisdom (Jude 25), lived with mortals that sometimes lacked common sense let alone wisdom.

~Jesus, who is Love (Ps. 119:76),  chose to live among parents and siblings who – at times – would show each other anything but love.

~Jesus, who exercises true and perfect Justice (Ps. 98:9), permitted Himself to be subject to the imperfect rules of Mary and Joseph.

~Jesus, Reader of Thoughts and Heart Motives (Je. 17), elected to abide by His earthly parent’s decisions when their knowledge was so severely limited.

~Jesus, inventor of Authority (1 Chr. 29:11) and Commander of even Winds and Waves (Mt. 8:27), placed Himself under the commands and expectations of mere earthlings.

~Jesus, who is the Word (Jn. 1:1), at the age of 12 put aside the pleasure of revealing the meaning of the Scripture to return to the mundane chores of mortal life.

~Jesus, who spoke trees into existence (Ge. 1), permitted Joseph to teach Him the art of carpentry.

~Jesus, who hung the world on His word and will, gave His consent to hang on a cross.

~Jesus, who sits at the right hand of God (He. 10:11,12), had no place to lay His head (Lu. 9:58).

~Jesus, who owns everything (Ps. 50), deprived Himself of food and comfort so He could pray for and minister to lost souls.

~Jesus, who is our Friend (Jn. 15:15), had no earthly friends of equal caliber.

In light of this, I guess we don’t really have it so hard! Thank you, Jesus, for being the epitome of unselfishness.

Creation – Another Take

The Board Room

“Is everything ready for our next and best creation?” spoke the Chairman of the Board.

“Yes,” H.S. answered. “Everything needed for the success of this new product has been put into motion. Nothing has been left undone.”

“Son?” the Chairman asked. “What are your thoughts?”

“Certainly, this will be a most unique and elaborate creation, and, in many respects, our finest.” The words came slowly, contemplatively. “But we know our competitor. Although he won’t be able to copy this product, he will do everything in his power to destroy it.”

H.S. nodded. “True. His attack will be fierce, ruthless and unswerving. He is out to destroy us, and this new line will be a pawn in his hands.”

The Son answered, “This product will be abused, compromised, manipulated, trashed and violated. Its very purpose will be attacked. It will be all-out war.”

There was a hush around the polished olive wood table. Then the Son continued. “To preserve the integrity of this new line will cost me everything.” He glanced around the board room. Gold glistened everywhere from the letters on the cypress door ‘Creations Unlimited’, to the lamp stands to the various articles around the room. Everything was in pristine condition and made from the finest quality materials. Its beauty was unsurpassed.

Waving his right hand he said, “I will have to leave all this. I’ll have to step into the marketplace in order to save the honor and intent of this line. Our enemy will do whatever it takes to destroy my reputation and my mission. Even who I am will be questioned.”

The Chairman spoke kindly, “Son, you won’t be gone long.”

H.S. interjected, “I’ll be there with you. Together we will protect our trademark and good name. After you leave I’ll continue working in the marketplace to redeem and repair those that are broken. I’ll set up centers, call technicians and train them with the knowledge for restoring the products that have lost their identity.”

“What about it, Son?”

“I only want to do what pleases you, regardless of the cost.”

“Then it’s settled,” the Chairman said. They stood in unison and walked toward the door as if they were one. “Let us make man in our image.”

Published in: on April 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Arrogance – Another Take

It’s always good to get other viewpoints on situations. Here is Heaven’s Take on Arrogance.

Angel 2:     Angel 1, whatever are you doing?

Angel 1:     I’m practicing my trembling.

Angel 2:     Trembling? You have nothing for which to tremble.

Angel 1:     I know that. I just want to experience what humans will feel when they encounter God’s wrath on them for calling Him a liar.

Angel 2:     Oooo! I see what you mean. But, wait. I don’t remember hearing people call God a liar.

Angel 1:     Angel 2, have you never heard humans say, “Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying.”?

Angel 2:     Well, I may have heard that. I just never thought much about it. After all, a lot of what they say is idle talk.

Angel 1:     True enough, but this is a meaningful statement.

Angel 2:     Okay, but give me an example.

Angel 1:     Sure thing. Take the people already living in the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Israelites didn’t want to see   anyone – enemies, I’ll call them – living there. They just wanted to move in and enjoy the benefits of the land.

Angel 2:     Yes, I believe you are correct in that observation.

Angel 1:     But they didn’t realize that the enemies were serving God’s purpose.

Angel 2:     Correct. God never acts randomly. He always has a purpose – actually many purposes – in everything He says or does.

Angel 1:     Right. Take, for example, the land. If people weren’t living there, fields now cultivated would be covered in weeds. That would add extra work for the Israelites and delay food production.

Angel 2:     And what about the fruit trees and grape vines?

Angel 1:     Excellent point. Without proper pruning they would simply grow wild. Not much fruit would be harvested.

Angel 2:     I have another example. Wild animals (De. 7:22). Without humans to keep their population in check, these animals would create a big safety issue for the Israelites.

Angel 1:     Very good illustration. How about the water supply? Without the human enemies, there would be no wells to provide clean drinking water. Then they would complain about that. (Pause) I can just imagine them walking around, striking rocks like Moses did and expecting water to gush out (Ex. 17:6)

Angel 2:     (Chuckles) And how about the lakes and rivers? Without cleaning out debris from floods, the health of fish could be affected.

Angel 1:     So, do you see why trembling is in their future?

Angel 2:     Well…

Angel 1:     Their actions. Think about their actions.

Angel 2:     Oh. Their action was not to enter the Promised Land.

Angel 1:     Yes, and why not?

Angel 2:     They didn’t believe God would take care of them. You know, keep them safe.

Angel 1:     And did God promise to keep them safe?

Angel 2:     Of course. God said He would go ahead of them. He even said He would drive out before them the nations living in the Promised Land (Ex. 34:11,24).

Angel 1:     So? Do you agree that the Israelites, in turning their backs on entering the Promised Land, showed they didn’t believe what God said?

Angel 2:     Yes, I do.

Angel 1:     Then I rest my case. Their decision actually called God a liar.

Angel 2:     (Long pause) I see.               (Both angels tremble)


Jonah – Another Take

Captain’s Log

Hopeless! Hopeless! Hopeless!

What a day. Started as usual. Took on cargo and one passenger in Joppa – all making for a profitable voyage. Weather was perfect. Weighed anchor and set our course for Tarshish.

Then it happened! A great wind like nothing I had ever seen started blowing. Soon angry waves hit the ship and water like pirates pounced onto the deck. We were doomed! If there was ever a time to pray, it was then. Everyone, especially me, called out to our gods, but our cries were met with deafness.

As we hung on for dear life, we hurled the cargo overboard. That’s when we noticed our passenger was missing. I staggered below deck. There he was. Sound asleep! Completely oblivious to our danger. “Wake up, man. Don’t you realize we are headed for a watery grave? Start praying to your god. Maybe he can save us.”

In the meantime, my crew decided that this evil storm was caused by someone on board. When Jonah joined the rest of the sailors, all eyes turned to him. Questions flew as fast as the waves hit. “Who are you? Where did you come from? What is your occupation? What do you know about this awful storm?”

Over the noise of the wind and water, our passenger explained everything. “Throw me overboard, and the storm will stop,” Jonah said.

NO WAY! If his god was powerful enough to cause this storm, then he was powerful enough to punish us for killing his prophet. With that, the crew took to the oars and rowed until all strength was gone. It was useless.

We tossed Jonah overboard but not before calling on his God to forgive us for taking this action.

Jonah was right. As soon as he hit the water, the storm stopped. We looked into the water to see where Jonah was. The only thing we saw was a huge shadow slowly swimming away from us.

I must admit, I was relieved that we didn’t see the man bobbing in the water. Otherwise we would have felt guilty leaving him there. Now I am left to deal with his disobedience. All our cargo is lost. No cargo – no money.

Jonah’s name meant ‘dove’, but to us his defiant presence was more like a vulture signaling devastation and death.

Excerpt from How to Kill the Giant of Hopelessness soon to be released.

The Good Samaritan – another slant

Story based on Luke 10:25-37

“The sun is quickly moving, signaling the end of another day. The market place hums with people getting those last minute items before the Sabbath starts.

“I don’t need anything, but I love to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle of shoppers. I seem to draw from their energy. I also like to see who is here.

“Hurried buyers nudge me. I turn to look in their direction and see a face from the past. It was the lawyer who asked Jesus, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’

“Just as Jesus knew Nathanael’s secret (John 1:45-49), I think He knew that this man was well trained in both the written and oral Jewish laws because He asked, ‘How do you read the law?’

“Not satisfied with giving a good answer, he smugly asked, ‘Who is my neighbor?’

“Jesus proceeded to answer him with a story about a Jew who fell victim to thieves. Left for half dead, a priest and a Levite came upon him but continued their travels without giving aid. Only a Samaritan took pity on this man. He used his resources to dress the wounds, thought nothing of inconveniencing himself by walking while the injured man rode to the inn. There his needs were attended to. More than that, the Good Samaritan’s compassion extended to his purse.

” ‘Go, and do likewise,’ thus acting as a neighbor left me confused. Not by what Jesus said, but by what the man didn’t say. After all, he was used to debating. He enjoyed making a show of his knowledge. Why didn’t he argue the point? Why didn’t he say, ‘Well, Jesus, that is just a story. Considering the animosity between Jews and Samaritans, this would never happen.’

“I walk home, pondering possible reasons for his silence. Did Jesus tell this story because it was true? Was the lawyer at the inn when a Samaritan arrived with a wounded Jew? Was the inn keeper a friend or family member who relayed this incident? Or, better still, did this actually happen to him?”

Published in: on April 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment