Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Brand with Royal Appeal

Genuine Christianity or faithfulness to God is a brand that seems to always carry royal appeal whether positive or negative.

Instances of positive appeal occurred with Joseph, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, and the three Hebrew boys.
Instances of negative appeal occurred with the prophets of God during the majority of the period of reign of the kings of Israel and Judah, Jesus at His birth and eventually at His death, His followers of all ages (mixed fortunes).

As long as the heathen kings felt no threat of uprising or usurping of their power from the true follower of God they usually found them the most trustworthy ones to appoint for top positions in their kingdoms. Contrariwise, the kings of Israel and Judah who had issues with God's messengers objected only because the rebellious hearts were revealed by these prophets. They hated the prophets for this, and because they usually brought news of impending judgement as well.

Did you know that sometimes as a Christian today you'll find it easier to practice your faith in a non-Christian environment - simply because of the respect that your non-Christian counterparts have for you. That isn't always the case however. But here's what sometimes happens in a Christian environment - if you're too principled you're not liked very much; you're sometimes labelled as naive, fanatical, holier-than-thou. Thank God however, that isn't always the case.

Whether we're liked or not, if we're faithful to God, He'll be faithful to us, and He has promised that we'll "walk on the high places of the earth" (Isa 58:13) if we walk with Him.

"Just a closer walk with Thee, grant it Jesus is my plea; Daily walking close to Thee, let it be dear Lord, let it be."

This reading is based on Esther 10, in keeping with the Revived by His Word (RBHW) initiative of the General Conference of SDAs.  To read and/or listen to this chapter and read other related blogs please click here.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A God of Great Impossibilities: He Rewrites Destinies

Haman had lain what must have been to him a fool-proof plan to annihilate all the Jews within the provinces of Ahasuerus. But not only must have Haman been confident in his plot, it no doubt caused great anxiety to among the Jews, who only had to fast and pray to their God - Who overturned a law that "could not be changed," and thereby changing the impending destiny of doom that His people faced.

So often, too often, we find ourselves in distressing spots of bother: addictions that threaten to destroy us, enemies in the workplace who threaten to get us fired, bad publicity for the Church caused by an uncommitted or struggling member, or some rumour regarding Ellen White. Then there is the threat of the dreaded Sunday Law coming into being looms, but before that (certainly in Jamaica) there are flex-time work issues, which see all days of the week as bona fide working days (no acknowledged religious days) - a situation that will create the ideal conditions for the Sunday law to be introduced. There is the progressive redefinition of marriage and ideal family structures (modelled off Eden), along with the spread of miscreant social conduct regarding sexual expression. Indeed, no one can deny "that something great and decisive is about to take place - that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis."


The solution though, is as it ever was, God's people must fast and pray and seek His divine intervention and leading. Once granted the permission to act in our behalf - He will rewrite our destiny.

I do desire a future with the God of Heaven - even as I desire a present conformity to His expressed will. And as the Jews did not lay their hands on the plunder as they destroyed their enemies, so I wish not to become hooked on material things, which are only of transient value, and which will subject me to the power of the enemy. I do desire something that lasts; I desire a relationship with God.

This reading is based on Esther 9.  To read and/or listen to Esther 9, and to read other related blogs please click here.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Civility: A Signpost to High Worker Morale

“Familiarity breeds contempt!” This is an old adage that has driven fear into many a manager who’ll take great pains to maintain the wall of partition between manager and subordinate.  This of course is necessary for many obvious reasons - not excluding the effective execution of the job through clearly defined roles.  But can it be taken beyond its necessary limits until it proves to be counterproductive? Does civility compromise authority?

It is no secret that too many workers would in a heartbeat slack off on the job if they knew there was no way that they would face any penalty – even if this were found out.  Thankfully though, there are those who have a healthy work ethic, and will always take the high road of decency and honesty.  Some managers are not interested to unduly expose themselves to this unconscionable abuse and leave no room for a worker to guess whether or not consequences will be forthcoming if they perform below par.  This is sometimes taken to the point where they are callous, curt, and crass.   Is this an effective method of management; might there be another way?

This may work like a charm to achieve set targets.  Of course though, high worker morale is clearly not one of those targets.  If it were, this approach would make for a dismal failure.  A harsh manager is more often than not feared as opposed to being favoured (liked).  Of course, the smug and egocentric manager thrives on being a terror.

Treat Workers as Individuals not Machines
Another approach is to see workers as more than mere machines that turn out products; they are rather seen and treated as individuals who have legitimate claims for respect, sensitivity, and affirmation.  This leader shares the vision, sets goals and facilitates each subordinate in establishing individual objectives.  Points of evaluation are clearly articulated; the worker knows exactly what is at stake and what he/she must do, and also knows the consequences if targets are not met.  The leader is always at hand – either to affirm or guide a worker through a difficult patch.  All in all, the good leader will do his/her best to facilitate an environment that is conducive to work and adequately resourced.  The aim is to firstly make the worker happy, satisfied and motivated.  At length the worker should become a self-motivated leader who takes ownership of the job.

The leader outlined above is not proof to having workers who’ll want to slack off, but the transparency of this leadership style makes it difficult for that to occur.  It also lightens the burden of telling a worker: “You’re not meeting your target.”  The worker already knows and will also know that the organization cannot suffer for his or her failings; something has to change.

Did you know that a worker who likes his/her boss is more likely to go beyond the call of duty than a worker who fears his/her boss?  One way to achieve is to be civil with your subordinates.

Risky Morality Issues & a Shadow of Grace

Ahasuerus left it up to Haman the Horrible to craft a law that would bear his (the king’s) signet.  As it turned out, he was forced to have another law written to rescind that law Haman wrote.  The utter surprise however, is that the text does not indicate that Ahasuerus was any more involved in the craft of this new law, than he was in the first.  Yet it was to bear his signet.  Albeit that it worked in this instance in God's people's favour, Ahasuerus really has not learned his lesson;  as once again he leaves matters into the hands of another – even though that first situation had almost cost him his precious Queen Esther. It also suggests a woeful lack of morals on the part of Ahasuerus - like anything goes. As a peculiar people, we can ill-afford to make ourselves vulnerable to another's indiscretions; we must constantly be guided by the Word of God.

The Grace Theme is Clear

The laws of the Medes and Persians cannot change. Incidentally, it's the same with God's laws; they are immutable.  As Ahasuerus was not at liberty to change the law that was crafted Haman the Horrible, so are God’s laws not at liberty to be changed, because its violation will bring death to the human family. Hence, the crisis created by the sin of the original couple in Eden could not be cleared up by simply rescinding the law/clause.  It was and still is the case that, "The soul that sinneth, it shall surely die." Eze. 18: 4. In the book of Genesis is was rendered thus, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," (2:18).

The solution was that another law/clause had to be written.  Hence  John 3:16.  It says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." In Genesis this new law/clause, given in response to sin, was first alluded to in Genesis 3: 15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  This plan was not an afterthought, but was a part of the foundation of the earth (a provision that made it possible for humanity to be redeemed should sin emerge).  It’s coming into effect was contingent on the human family sinning; hence the idea of it’s being added.

The assurance we have with our King however, is that He is presiding over the affairs; so we are certain about the expected outcomes.

Father in Heaven, thank You for Grace, so that despite our bent to sin, Your stubborn love is constantly at work to save my our souls. Please accept our praise, offered in Jesus' name, amen.

This reading is based on Esther 8.  To read and/or listen to Esther 8 and read other related blogs please click here.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Haman Syndrome

I imagine living in Haman's time, but I somehow knew the end of the story (I guess that'd make me a prophet); I'd probably coin a saying such as the following (though likely with a different mode of poetic expression).

'Hey Haman the "Horrible" all filled with pride
How soon you'll be fallen with a great big slide
You're like Lucifer, your father, with his wicked heart
Like the fool, you and your riches very soon will part
Soon your life will be taken on the gallows you built
Tis not Mordecai who deserves it, but you in your guilt'

The Diagnosis

But aren't there many persons today who exhibit the very same symptoms? They are suffering from the Haman Syndrome. The diagnosis may be found in John 8: 44, "You are of your father, the devil." Pride is a symptom of the indwelling of Satan in the human heart.

The Prognosis

If the condition is left untreated, the prognosis is as follows: Proverbs 16: 18, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Or as 1 Thess. 5:3 puts it, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them."

The Treatment

A sure cure exists in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall HUMBLE themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." And the expected outcome of this treatment is captured in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"

Treatment is available at every RBHW outlet and at every location where the Bible can be accessed.

 This reading is based on Esther 5.  To read and/or listen to Esther 5 and read other related blogs, please click here.