Queen Vashti: Your Example Esther 1:12

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But when the attendants delivered the king’s command,
Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became
furious and burned with anger.  Esther 1.12
Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout
all his vast realm, all the women will respect their
husbands, from the least to the greatest.”  Esther 1:20
He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom,
to each province in its own script and
to each people in their own language,
proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household,
using his native tongue. Esther 1:22

 

VashtiThough it would be fun to start a tense dialogue, I dare not ring the bell to start the war of the sexes.  Far be it from me to jump into this text and risk every female reader (including my own wife and 5 daughters protest and attack me for discussing the ins and outs of the text), but I will, but in a different manner; kind of.

When looking at this text, I looked at it from the perspective of both Queen Vashti and King Xerxies.  Settling on Queen Vashti, I wondered most why she refused to come to the King, but as I read, I wondered if she considered the affect her refusal would have?  Sure she thought about how tired she was, and I can def identify with being tired of the “dog and pony show”, but she was more than Vashti, she was Queen Vashti.  Much like you are not just Bill, but you are a Father, Mentor, Coach, Teacher…. and your actions and decisions extend far beyond a moment.

Didn’t she consider that her example was an example?

How you respond is translated by those who follow you,
and transcribed into their lives.

Queen Vashti understood that there were potential consequences to her disobedience to responding to the King in the manner she did, but her consideration included like most of us, herself.  memyselfirene

Who are you thinking about before you act?  And yes, this would be a perfect moment to interject our Lord and Savior, but who are you thinking about?  I believe most, if honest, are thinking about a small sphere called “Me, Myself and I” (Irene if  you are silly).  The moment we are experiencing is so powerful, that the weight of the moment to impact our future and the live of those following us.

If you are like me, you are probably thinking of at least two Queen V moments!  How many moments would you like to take back, not for yourself, but for others?  Moments where you forgot that people were watching you.  Not watching you for the sake of judgement, but watching with the intent to learn from and draw from your example.  There are people within your sphere that take notes on your life, and use your example and model as their blueprint.

Or maybe she was just so “fair to look on”
that she considered herself irreplaceable.

removecrownIt could be possible that she over estimated her beauty and the influence it had over the king.  Maybe she thought the favor she obtained from the king through past encounters would ensure that she would be given a second opportunity, or that her disobedience would be over looked once he looked her over? 

She was wrong! 

And so are we when we loose sight of the privileged we have through the positions we have been placed in.  Sad to say, Queen Vashti received the Queen B treatment, and was told to move to the left.  Worse, she thought herself to be irreplaceable.  Then still found she had to bow down(I’m really not a big fan, but I have 5 daughters!!!). leftbeyon

How many times have you been right, but wrong?  She was wrong about the outcome of her decision.  Her decision forced the King to make a decision regarding the wife he was so proud and pleased of.

Beyond his anger, both he and his counsel understood that the example set by the Queen would have implications far beyond the King’s castle.  They knew word would spread from home to home, starting with the leaders, and work its way down to each citizens home.  Her disobedience had the potential to shift the entire direction of a nation.   And so can yours!

Example-stamp

I look at the state of our homes, our communities, and of course our churches.  I wonder how many Queen Vashti decisions we are struggling to correct?  How many bad examples were passed down from mothers, fathers, councilmen, senators, pastors and parishioners that we have adopted as acceptable behavior?

As we watch the entertainment industry being unclothed and politicians being exposed, I am not only disgusted by the actions of these individuals (not that I am without sin), but am bothered by those who have emerged to testify that they knew what transpired, but kept quiet so that their means of income would not be disturbed.   For every abused woman and abused entertainer, there are multiple witnesses that chose not to speak up for fear not only of being not believed, but being black balled from pursuing their careers.  These actions had transpired so long, that it became and acceptable practice in the industry, and they had a start.  There was an original casting couch, much like there was an original oral office (Bad Clinton Reference).  Somewhere, the abuse and misuse of power became acceptable and idolized and not reprehensible.  It was admired by those who desired those positions, and supported by those who watched quietly to keep food on their tables.

Old books, inkstand and scrollThank God King Xerxies administered a decree!!!!  He administered a decree to address the unacceptable actions of the Queen.  I wonder how our families, communities and churches would be different had those in power bound together to do what the felt best for the kingdom, not just the King or the Queen?  Oh that decrees would have been made before the actions of one or two had become so prevalent that it became an acceptable part of culture.

#PastorJDO3

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New Temple; Same Market! The Market Place Wins Again! Pt. 1 John 2:16

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I started this blog with the intent of writing a blog called “The Elephant in the Room” and talking about the events of Charlottesville, Virginia (and using the Republican Elephant as the main picture), but I have so many friends that are Republicans and great people that I thought it both wrong and irresponsible!   Furthermore, the politics that has permeated our churches has become a silencer to the smoking gun called hatred!  By now, I pray that all of you are tired of hearing our faith linked to political organizations who only use our principles to garner our votes!  Again, the church of Jesus Christ is not a political party!  It is a group of people who have walked away from a life of sin because of the Messiah King’s sacrifice, and have chosen to become disciples in a pursuit for righteousness.

Having said all of this, I come to the point of this blog.  Many young people have left our churches not because of the message of Christ, but because of the foolishness of the messenger and the immaturity of the followers!

Christ came into the world and showed one act of aggressiveness.  No, it wasn’t at a rally!  It wasn’t with the tax collector!  It wasn’t with the woman caught in adultery or with the man in the tombs!  It wasn’t even with Peter who spoke incorrectly or when the disciples again displayed little faith!  Not even when the disciples fell asleep while he prayed.  He rolled up his sleeves, fashioned together a whip, and went to the alleged “house of prayer” and ran out all animals, people, threw all the coins on the ground and turned over every table!  The leaders rebuked Him, asking who gave him authority, and standing on the 46 year existence of the temple.

marketplace

From the depth of His core, He demanded,  “..Stop turning my Fathers House in to a Market…”, which takes us to the Title of the Blog, “New Temple; Same Market! The Market Place Wins Again!”

 

Jesus walked into the temple a saw the drive of the leaders and managers to find the most profitable way to restore the relationship between God and Man.  The took God’s law and wrote into it a way to eat, drink, live and drive the finest.  They analyzed the bottom line, crunched the numbers, and like good stewards, figured a way to increase profit margin and in the the profit, increased there margin of spiritual error.  The bottom line became the main focus, and thus Jesus took a moment from His busy schedule to refocus the flock!

With His own hands, He braided together chords and sought to bring about harmony with the church and the will of God.  As His whip cut through the air, I imagine that each strike was precise, and the sound of His strike snapped with such power that it echoed throughout the country side.  As animals scattered, He turned to those profiting and demanded that the doves be turned loose as well.

Marketplace2.jpgI was both angry and relieved by reading this passage.  The passage list that the whip was used to run the animals out, but he left the servants that had turned it into the market.  I thought to myself, that whip should have met a back not the ground.  It should have cut a thigh and cheek, not just the air!  But even in anger, He was poised and controlled.  He displayed His disgust as a warning while knowing that in a short time, the source of revenue they had built would be torn apart.

Yep, today, I declare that many of our “Houses of Prayer” should cut down all vegetation on site and in the surrounding area!  Christ would in many cases clean out the foolishness that has overcome some (NOT ALL) of our temples (churches).    As I both read and discuss some of the rhetoric about the Global Church, actually, the “American Church”, we find all to often that reports about abuse and misuse surface.  Though most of these stories, though some are true, do no apply to the majority of churches, it does apply to some.  Without throwing a blanket over us all, it is important that each parishioner and reader know that the man of God, preacher,  or pastor is human; we are not perfect.  We make errors, and God deals with us, and in some cases, so does the pew.

Forgiveness should be in play in all cases, just as God chooses to forgive in all circumstances.  Be it duly noted, that God says every man will be held accountable for his own actions.  Having said this, Forgiveness is not turning a blind eye to evil or supporting it with silence.  And Patience and Long Suffering is not watching another suffer at the hands of one who abuses and misuses power.    Jesus could have walked by this temple and ignored the actions of those who were misrepresenting Him and abusing those who He had chosen, but He spoke up, and took action to bring about change.

marketplace 3I am convinced that everyone silently protesting and verbally protesting the church isn’t mature, unsaved or stuck in un-forgiveness.  

I fear they tuned in, took positions and in the end, simply weren’t buying what we were selling! They packed and left! Some frustrated that the house of God is not the place they expected it to be.  They remain baffled and the countless amount of Pastors and clergy men that remain silent when those who are less than are picked on and taken advantage of.  They are confused as our churches ignore truth, and create a message that caters to top givers.  They are saddened by those who sit in comfy chairs, have reserved parking, television and radio programs, blogs and podcast and chose to remain silent as evil occurs for fear of loosing membership and the worst, low approval ratings!  They are wondering to themselves how someone can be responsible for their soul and not care for them as a person.  They watch in disgust, and choose to watch from their couches, and shrivel away while they feed themselves, and starve from lack of nourishment.

In this day in age, not to reduce everything to buyers and sellers, but a great product can fail because of bad marketing and false advertisement!  Our Bible describes the product, and gives a ingredients list.  It even describes the mission and values of the church and how it should be run.  Much of the criticism we face is not about doctrine, but its about mission and actions.  If these are not attended too, the natural ebb and flow of the market will continue, and our houses of worship will be just like Blockbuster and Hostess!

 

#PastorJDO3

Neglected Grounds Become Fields….

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gardenNow no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
Genesis 2:5

The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
Genesis 2:8

As I read this passage, I was caught by many things.  The first of those was the character of our God.  God is the Master Cultivator.  He is one that is not only willing to plant, but plants with the intent to sustain.  He is meticulous about His ways, taking the proper steps to make sure what He creates will have what it needs to sustain it.

Here, we see a cycle of creation, in that God created man to sustain the garden and the garden to sustain the man.  I looked into self and asked myself the question, “Am I creating things that will sustain me, and am I sustaining the things I create?”  God designed a relationship that would be mutually beneficial; in that the love and care that the man would place into the garden would produce a fine yield, and that yield would reward him by being sustenance to him.  God made it that the man would have to nurture and care for the grounds, protecting it, cleaning it, serving it, and sharing it.   Man was to care for creation as creation cared for him.

I thought to myself, “There are too many Neglected Grounds!  And these ground are becoming “Fields”.  Grounds are places that have been created to produce.  Places God has water.  Places God has given seed.  And last, a place where God has placed a man to cultivate.  God created a field, placed seed in it,  showered over it, not just to produce shrubs and trees, but a lush garden, that would feed the man and also bring glory to God by showing forth His character and beautiful creation.

Not only are there “Neglected Grounds” but there are “Abused Grounds”.  Lately, we have born witness to productive grounds that have become fields, not for the lack of a man to cultivate, but the lake of a man to care while cultivating.  God even designed that the land would have time to rest, that it might be able to replenish via His process and design and be even more fruitful and productive for the man He placed in it.  Yet, we have men and women who have been blessed with Grounds, who through a lack of gentleness and care have turned a beautiful garden into a field.  Gardens require care and attention, and suffer from corruption and anger.

Though a gardener has the task of tilling the soil, the remainder of his efforts are spent paying attention to his land.  He watches and waits patiently, as He performs daily duties to the ground and the eventual crop, even caring for the animals he has been entrusted with to care for the grounds.  His care ensures that the plants and animals get the attention and love they need to be productive, and though they are trained by him, any abuse from him can stall productivity.  Thus, they take the time to name the animals. This to remind them that they are more than animals.  They like man, are a partner in creation and must be cared for as they render their abilities to aide in caring for the garden which cares for the man.  We must be sure to maintain proper care and perspective of all things placed for us to steward, that we can be productive with what God has entrusted us with.

The reality is, Neglected Grounds become a Field.  God can send rain upon our fields, but our handling of the fields we have been entrusted with, determine whether they become the beautiful gardens God intended for them to become.  I want to challenge each reader to pour attention and care into the field in which you have been entrusted.  It is filled with potential, and with a little hard work and care, can be a lush place, filled with plants and vegetation plenteous enough to provide for you and for others.

#PastorJDO3