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.

Holy Spirit – Rain or Hail?

There was a storm yesterday at our farm,  and everything was wet with leaves and tree limbs on the ground – but at our house, we just got a sprinkle. Some people hated seeing the rain because it stopped ballgames and spring events, while some farmers were blessed to have it show up in time for their crops. The same front rolled through, but lives were touched differently depending on their own perspective. 

Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, Though hail comes down on the forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation. Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey.
Isaiah 32:15‭-‬20 NKJV

The same Holy Spirit that is poured out on the children of God to produce a fruitful and spiritually abundant life – that will produce peace and righteousness and rest – will seem devastating and dreadful to the enemies of God. People who are enemies of morality and self control do not like being in the presence of someone that lives a peaceful and righteous life.

When we are not yielded to God, it convicts us about the sin in our own lives more than loud preaching ever could. It humiliates us (whether or not we admit it openly) when we witness another person walking in self control and power of spirit when we are prisoners to our own desires, wrapped up in sin that we are not willing to let go of.

I don’t say this to boast in our own self control or to leave us in guilt and shame – but to boast in the Holy Spirit given to us that is not of fear, but of love, power, and self control. We are no longer powerless, and this is something worth celebrating – it is Good News!

And our job is to sow the seed of Christ,  to love and serve,  to walk in the Spirit, and to tell people this Good News – whether they receive it as annointing for their lives or whether they resist it is not our responsibility. We do not have to subtract from the Word to make them comfortable, nor do we have to add to the Word to scare them. We simply need to continue growing and learning and walking and sharing openly – letting the Truth do the work – letting the Holy Spirit have His way.

As you share the Good News, as you share your testimony,  worry less about the perceived effectiveness or ineffectiveness of your “winning souls” and focus more on your expressing the peace, joy, and gratitude that is in your heart for what He had done for you. Being a witness is less about you, it is even less about them, and it is most about God. Praise His name today with your life, with your words, with your actions, and sow the seed of Godly love everywhere you can as you walk through this day.

Amen.

Do they realize that you have been with Jesus?

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:8‭-‬13 NKJV

How often or how rarely do people see the example of our good deeds and bold proclamation of Christ? Is it so much that they must marvel and realize that we have been with Christ?

Or do we look so similar to the world, that it is hard to tell if there is any faint glimmer or touch of Christ in us at all?

When we see a man or woman in need, is our thought whether or not our good deeds will result in any change or consequence, whether it will appear that we’ve done good or bad when measured and weighed by the scale of the religious and legal minded?

Or are we eager to show love and tell them that we serve them and love them because Christ first served and loved us?

Do we stand firm against those temple builders – those blind religious leaders leading the blind into destruction – who have turned their backs to the cornerstone, to that perfect stone set forth as our example, because their eyes could not see what their hearts could not comprehend?

Are our lives evidence of having more concern about being judged by men today than about being judged by God – foolishly saying things like “only God can judge me” as we laugh in His face doing the very things that please men and not God?

Do we really love God?

Will we love Him today,  by serving and loving our fellow man?

Will we look for the opportunities to make ourselves seem foolish and peculiar today for the purposes of God, not caring what the world thinks or says about us?

Is He worth it to us?

We were worth the cross to Him.

The call is going out, the trumpet is sounding

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there  were very many in the open valley; and indeed they  were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God , You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord ! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord .” ’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there  was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God : “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God : “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord , when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord , have spoken it and performed it, ” says the Lord .’ ”
Ezekiel 37:1-14 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/ezk.37.1-14.NKJV

You are called to wake up, sleeping Christian. You are called to rise and walk upright in the strength of His Holy Spirit, of Christ who lives in you. Prepare yourself,  for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to  the  poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to  the  captives And recovery of sight to  the  blind, To  set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord .”
Luke 4:18-19 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/luk.4.18-19.NKJV

You have been called, not to sit stationary and unchanged, not hidden amongst the shadows of this world – but to bring the light of Hope, Faith, and Love into a lost, diseased,  sinful, dying world.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/mat.28.18-20.NKJV

You are called both to be a disciple and to make disciples. You are called to be a student of the Word of God,  seeking His face,  His way,  His truth,  His life come alive in you,  today and forevermore.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Revelation 12:10-12 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/rev.12.10-12.NKJV

it is the Blood of the Lamb that frees you, the power of His Holy Spirit that empowers you, so that your living testimony can shine the light of His grace and glory into this dark world,  and so that your picking up your cross and bearing the burdens of others will be an undeniable manifestation of Christ alive and at work,  still today feeding His Sheep and leading them through the trials of this world into the peace of eternal life in Christ.

Let our lives be a living testament that Christ lives and moves and serves His faithful today, the same as it ever was.

Not Ashamed?

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.1.16.NLT

What things do we do that demonstrate to the world and even to ourselves that we are not ashamed?

What things can we do to grow bolder and more confident in the Word of God, in the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Will we do them?

Continue reading “Not Ashamed?”

Baptism

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One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy. ”
Luke 3:21-22 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.3.21-22.NLT

Jesus Christ himself,  God come in the flesh, our Savior, even though He was sinless and without blemish, participated in water baptism,  being plunged beneath the waters of the Jordan river. The baptism itself was not the act that washed Him clean,  because He was already clean from sin. But the testimony of His baptism brought glory and honor to God.

We should look at baptism in the light of bringing glory and honor to God. If we are saved,  if we have been baptized by the Holy Spirit which is a blessing given to us by God,  we should give thanks to God and participate in water baptism as a testimony to bring glory and honor to God. It is one of the ways that we can bless God in return.

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What does my example teach?

Much of my life, I walked a treacherous and thorny path. I was not wise and I was not prepared, I just stumbled my way through life from one fun time to another,  encountering unexpected obstacles along the way. I also didn’t think about the example that my life choices set for those around me.

Proverbs 22:5-6 NLT
Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will avoid it. Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

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Continue reading “What does my example teach?”

How is my life speaking?

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How often do I let my emotions control my reaction to a situation? How often do I let my logic and reasoning alone guide my response? How infrequently is my heart what guides and controls my thoughts and emotions?

Proverbs 15:28 NLT
The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.

Or is the problem that our thoughts and actions betray the truth about our wicked hearts?

Continue reading “How is my life speaking?”