Daniel Prayed

Christian, remember today that Daniel didn’t go grumbling into the lion’s den about how unfair it was that he was being punished for breaking the law by praying. But that he trusted in the Lord through whatever trial he must go, so that the Lord would be glorified. The same was true with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16‭-‬18 NLT


In other words, if we are going to stand bold for God, we must be ready to see it through to the end, without grumblings or doubt, without expecting there should be no trials or troubles – but instead, rejoicing that we might suffer with Christ in this world, just as we are heirs with Christ in eternity.

Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” So King Darius signed the law. But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?” “Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.” Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.” So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den. Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel 6:3‭-‬28 NLT

You see, God ordained and set in place these trials with a plan and a purpose. To make a clear distinction between those who trust Him and know Him and believe Him, versus those who are not and are grumblers who do not believe that He is sovereign and in control and has a purpose in all things. To shine a light brightly in rose who are His that points them right back to Him and His glory. 

So trust Him, fully trust Him in this very hour, call upon His name, the only name by which salvation has come to the world, the name of Jesus Christ. And when you profess with your mouth and confess with your heart that He is Lord — not some particular words, not some particular religious ceremony, those are just meant to be an outward witness to what has happened inwardly, so don’t trust in those things as the source of your salvation! No, trust in God who came in the flesh to die for your sins as the ONLY worthy sacrifice, and as the ONLY Savior powerful enough to overcome death and the grave to rise, just as we will rise, to life – not just rise one day to heaven,  but rise and awaken to new life TODAY, walking in a new way, powered by the very spirit of God that comes to live in His people as He pours out His spirit onHis people, as He lives with us, in us, and through us, so that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven, so that His Kingdom,  a spiritual Kingdom not built by the works of men, but by His grace and mercy in those who will believe and live. Amen.

Will You Join in my Struggle?

Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:30 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.15.30.NLT

Do we care enough to join in the struggles of other believers?

I have to admit that for me,  the answer is – “Not often enough,  but I’m learning to change.”

In our Friday night small group,  I’ve explained that one of our key goals is becoming a closely knit group that cares about each other. Not just a group that prays the grocery list of prayer requests,  but that digs into the emotions and spiritual struggles of each others’ situations both together in action and together in prayer – so that we mourn together and we celebrate together.

Unity in the body of Christ,  I have to believe is less about the facts and details of our theology and more about being of one mind and direction, seeking God’s will as communicated in the Word of God, being draw closer to the Lord in our walks, and in turn closer to one another. And when we are in unity seeking first the Kingdom of God and righteousness, all those other things, those things that Christ explains to the Pharisees are the lesser things – they will be added to us.

Doesn’t He tell us that love fulfills the law? Doesn’t He tell us that there is no law against the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Doesn’t He tell us that we should keep in step with the Spirit and not walk in the flesh?

So why is there so much bickering and argument over these lesser things, over the details of the law? Why are men so interested in learning about God in their minds but refusing to love in their hearts?

And someone might say, but what if I love someone or something that the Lord doesn’t love? And I say, how can this be unless it is sin,  unless it is evil?

And they will say,  but how can I know if someone is evil? And I say,  the Lord tells us that our enemies are not flesh and blood, that He does not wish that even one should perish, that we should love and pray for even those men and women whom we think are our enemies. Not to pray for their evil or wickedness to prevail,  God forbid! But that we pray that they come to know Christ closer and be delivered from those unseen forces that are influencing their lives because of the sin they have not yet released from their clutches.

Sinners cling to sin, that’s what we as men and women of flesh and blood do until it is cast out – until He who is in us overcomes it. But until then, we hold onto it,  we even try to hide it from ourselves. We act foolishly as if we can hide it from God,  like Adam and Eve in the garden. So we all need to be made aware of sin wherever it exists in our lives, and we need to pray for deliverance through His strength,  not just our own striving. We need to be opposed to sin, both in our lives and the lives of others – not so that we can consider ourselves perfect or expect others to be perfect – but so that we can do our part to minimize sin’s affect on ourselves and others.

You see,  God gives us divine instruction because He knows what is best. He wants to protect us from those things in the world that will harm us spiritually and eternally, and lead us into the life that is most rewarding. Now I must mention, that sometimes, worldly rewards, pleasures, and treasures can lie in direct opposition to us obtaining those eternal treasures. The divine instructions are about eternal treasure, not about the temporary things of this world. But the amazing thing is that once we set our eyes upon the eternal,  He provides for the temporary as well.

So this is the understanding that we want each to come to. And it isn’t a logical conclusion that we have calculated in our minds. It is not a theological proof that we are looking to exercise and manipulate within the world for our own profit and gain. It is a divine wisdom and understanding given to those who are unveiled Children of God, who are seeking His will, and not our own.

And it is foolishness to the wise of this world,  and even to the religious, because it isn’t about things that can be measured and compared between men. It isn’t even about something that we can fully lay claim to for ourselves until this race is at its end and we kneel before the one we call Lord.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.7.21-23.NLT

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things.
If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.
For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Philippians 3:12-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/php.3.12-21.NLT

It is the most important realization of our lives – that we are not worthy,  and neither are they – but that God in His mercy and grace extends His love to us, who will believe,  and who will follow,  and who will lay down their lives and be raised to a new life in Christ, running this race to the end,  understanding that we are temporary travelers in a strange land, headed along the narrow path back to our Father’s house, where He awaits with open arms.

I’m not concerned with the party. I’m not concerned with the celebration. I’m not concerned with the house that He’s prepared with many rooms. I’m not concerned with the riches and rewards.  I’m seeking my Father’s arms. Set toot eyes upon your destination, friends. Choose today what you are seeking,  for you will receive your heart’s desires – but will your heart’s desires be what you want in the end?

And if we want these things for ourselves,  shouldn’t we want them for others? If we say we love Him,  shouldn’t we love like Him. So go, get to know your brothers and sisters personally, and grow together during this temporary journey, and prepare yourself to return to His arms.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.13.34-35.ESV

Groanings

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
Romans 8:26-27 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.8.26-27.NLT

I once asked myself,  how can I pray to God if I don’t yet know who He is? I asked, How can I make sure that I’m not praying to some construct of my own mind, or some false substitution, or some idea or image of God that the world has given me that isn’t quite “the one true God”.

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Where can safety be found?

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,  and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
Jude 1:20-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jud.1.20-21.NLT

Some of us are friends – not even because we know each other,  but because we know Christ. Once we know that our enemies are not flesh and blood, the world begins to be filled with the opportunity of friends – because even those imperfect people doing things we might not agree with, or even those that we find opposing us are just in need of the same rescue,  the same grace,  the same deliverance that we ourselves accept daily.

Continue reading “Where can safety be found?”

Life starts with prayer

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Mark 1:35 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mrk.1.35.NLT

This world has many distractions. Our lives are fast paced and many things throughout the day stack up and require our attention. If we don’t commit to a specific time with God, we risk never making time for Him. If we don’t put Him first, we risk heading into battle without our armor and without His strength. Because the days that we need Him most are the days filled with chaos and distraction that leave little time for breaking away for quiet time with the Lord.

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Prayer or Liar

http://bible.com/116/mat.6.7-8.nlt
When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.  Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

http://bible.com/116/1jn.1.8-10.nlt
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Observation
Why am I praying? Am I praying because I think that I know what I need and I’m telling God what I need?

Really?

Really?

Do I even hear what I am saying if that is my perspective?

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Pleading takes Investing Ourselves

Today’s Manna – Our Daily Bread
http://bible.com/116/lam.2.19.nlt
Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger.

Today’s Observation
What am I supposed to do?
Why am I doing it?

When I read the Word,  am I listening and applying it to my life? I should be.

And what does this passage tell us to do? This passage is about sin and how it separates us from God, and about how God’s judgement will be poured out upon those that are not His. Yes,  there is judgement. Yes,  there is punishment. Yes, there is consequence for our choices. Yes, we will account for our lives.

Continue reading “Pleading takes Investing Ourselves”