Daniel 3 Questions

Why did Nebuchadnezzar build the statue; what motivated Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to defy the king; and – who is that fourth person in the furnace? #Daniel #Nebuchadnezzar #Faith #Babylon #Exile #Worship

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Malcolm’s Monday Meditation: “From Redundancy to Rejoicing”

What’s the difference between a DVD player and a Christian? No, that’s not the start of a joke, but a look at redundancy, worth and peace.

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Malcolm’s Monday Meditation: “From Redundancy to Rejoicing”

The garage clear-out continues. Ever since a down-sizing house-move last year our garage has bulged at the seams. Boxes, bags, bits of metal, and pieces of wood that “might just come in handy” have been suspended from the ceiling, hung from the walls, and covered the floor.

We are in need of space in the garage. Hence the clear-out.  Last week I dug for treasure and discovered an unlabelled box. Inside was our old DVD recorder/player. Not only have we not used it since moving in, but it was not often powered up in the previous house. These days, with recordable TV and laptops with optical drives and HDMI cables, such a device is no longer needed, it is redundant.

I took a photo, posted it on freecycle, and within a day I had two requests. A chap came to the door and took our redundant technology away.  Looking at the smile on his face you might have thought he’d won the lottery. I’m happy for him, happy for having more space in the garage, and happy to keep something out of landfill – at least for a while longer.

The incident came back to me on Sunday while Richard Bailey was preaching. He spoke of the challenge to hold to something Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25 NIV11). Of course, this is fine when life is all sunshine, but what about when the clouds roll in?

Richard shared the story of his recent redundancy. He saw it coming, and felt the fear. The last time something similar happened he had no responsibilities. This time he had a wife, mortgage and child. Circumstances change how we feel. The desire to worry, rage and panic were real. We can probably all understand. Richard realised he was not at peace, so it drove him to significantly enhanced levels of prayer. God gave him such peace that when his boss confirmed the redundancy Richard felt a sense of joy rise up in him. It surprised him as much as anyone!

Perhaps the key to obeying the command to “not worry” is found in the fact that it comes with a promise. Another scripture used by Richard was from Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7 NIV11).

We’re not promised redundancy prevention, but we are promised a divine peace that passes understanding. The world may deem us unnecessary, irrelevant, superseded, outdated – basically, redundant. But to our Father we are loved, cherished, desired, precious, special and unforgettable.

I doubt the DVD player feels any sense of rejection, but I know I feel this from time to time, and I gather I’m not the only one. Has your sense of worth taken a beating recently? Has your wife or husband been less than understanding, your children less than grateful, your boss less than generous, your friends less than helpful?

Take a leaf from Richard’s book and pray less for change in circumstances and more for peace that passes understanding.

Now, back to the garage for another root-around for redundant technology!

I hope you have a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

Malcolm’s Monday Meditation: “The Repurposed Ladder”

Just before we went off to visit our church in Dublin (more on that another time), Penny completed her latest DIY project.

It involved an old post-office ladder, some hooks and a few saucepans. Well, it also required the involvement of a circular saw, power drill and detail sander. All things that are commonly part of my wife’s day.

A few years ago a neighbour was throwing out his old wooden ladder. Turns out it was ex-post office. Sturdy, heavy, a little wood wormed and lichen-adorned, but serviceable. We took it.

Fast-forward a few years, and a few broken rungs, and we found two things converging. The need for more room in the garage and the need for more storage capacity in the kitchen. What to do? Brainwave! Take the ladder out of the garage, and repurpose it as a kitchen saucepan storage rack. It looks stylish (no wood worm or lichen now) and does the job. Result!

Doesn’t God “repurpose” us from time to time? He’s done that in my own life recently. After completing nearly thirty years of ministry, a combination of circumstances mean that I find myself in a different role. It’s disconcerting, exciting and confusing all at the same time.

I wonder if that’s how Joseph felt.

In phase one of his life he was “Favourite Child”, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age;” (Genesis 37:3 NIV11).

In phase two he was “Lowly Slave”, “the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” (Genesis 37:36 NIV11)

In phase three he was “Elevated Slave”, “Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.” (Genesis 39:4 NIV11)

In phase four he is “Prisoner”, “Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” (Genesis 39:20 NIV11-GK)

In phase five he is “Zaphenath-Paneah” in charge of the entire Egyptian empire, “So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:41–43 NIV11)

In phase six he is “Reconciler”, “Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.” (Genesis 45:14–15 NIV11)

Finally in phase seven he is “Perspective Person”, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV11).  He is clear that God has taken him through all these ups and downs for a reason. And from our own perspective we can see that God’s multiple repurposings of Joseph’s life secured a home for Jacob’s family, provided the conditions for the emergence of the nation of Israel, and the coming of Messiah.

Is it a coincidence that Jesus’ father was called Joseph? I’m not sure, but I wonder. Is it a reminder that the Son of God had to endure a “repurposing” (from heaven to earth) to bring reconciliation between God and his children? Has God been doing some “repurposing” in your own life recently? Perhaps, like me, it may be well to trust His hand, and, like the ladder, be content to be horizontal instead of vertical, indoors instead of outdoors, and a support for saucepans instead of post office telephone engineers!

Let’s pray to have a longer-term perspective. God knows what he’s doing.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

Malcolm’s Monday Meditation: “The repurposed ladder”

Has God been doing some repurposing in your life recently? Certainly He has in mine. Perhaps we can draw strength from the example of Joseph in the book of Genesis.

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