Archives

Being Daniel

Daniel 1:8 – “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

Yesterday in Sunday school, we studied about Daniel. We learned about Daniel’s character traits that enabled him to withstand the insanity of the position that he had been placed in.

But I want to look at something a little bit different about Daniel. As I was studying this verse and thinking about it more after¬†class was completed, I saw something more than a guy choosing not to eat from the king’s table.

Daniel had decided in his heart that he was going to follow after God’s commands. He knew what God required of His followers. He knew that the things the king was offering them was against the Law he had learned to love. So, he decided he would stand firm in what he knew was true and right. But then, check out the end of the verse. He had to ask permission to be faithful to God.

Oftentimes, I find myself gung-ho and ready to go, ready to serve God and do whatever it is He wants me to do. And then I go out into the “real world” and find challenge after challenge. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to cause a fuss. I don’t want to rock the boat. So what do I do? I throw in the towel before the fight gets started.

It is all well and good to determine in your heart that you are going to follow after God. But until you decide to stand firm and chose to rock the boat a little, all you are giving God is lip service. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

I have no idea where you are at in your walk with Christ. I have no idea how willing you are to stand firm. But we all can determine in our heart to follow after God’s truth and commands. However, it is of no consequence until we decide to that we are going to stand firm, no matter what. True, you might have to let someone know that you need to do things a bit different. That’s okay, it gives you the opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel with someone.

God blessed Daniel and his companions when they chose to follow after God (check out the rest of the book of Daniel – there are some amazing stories of God’s faithfulness). God will bless your efforts and decisions as well. Now is the time to “practice what we preach”. Now is the time to let everyone around you know that the opportunities are dwindling. Let me challenge you to change the world around you this week. God will certainly bless your efforts.

Advertisements

More on burdens

Daniel 2:19a – “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.”

Back to Daniel today. Back to the whole laying your burdens down thing. Me or someone else must have a lot of things to lay down because God has laid this hard and heavy on my heart. 

Daniel had just shared his burden with his friends. I’m sure that he had just spent his time in prayer. Now, here is where Daniel differs than most of us – he went to sleep. 

Burdens are smothering things. They will take the life and the wind right out of us. They cause us to lose focus. They cause us to forget how to trust. They create within us an unnecessary feeling of anxiety that can rob us of so many joys – including sleep. How many times have you had “one of those days” and laid your head down to go to sleep at 9 PM only to see every hour on the hour until the wee hours of the morning? Sound familiar? Not Daniel, in this instance. He laid them down and went to sleep. 

See, the problem we have with burdens is that we don’t want to let them go. We tend to somewhat enjoy carrying them around like a badge of honor. We tell others about them. We think about them. We feed them and keep them close. What Jesus really wants us to do is leave them at the foot of the cross. Lay them down. Walk away from them. But the key to walking away is trusting that He is going to handle them. We want to pick them up because somewhere deep down, we doubt. We doubt that He can really take care of it. Oh, that doubt is so deep that we rarely acknowledge its existence. Unfortunately, though, it is there. It is alive and well. We need to kill it. Doubt about the trustworthiness and lack of confidence in our Savior needs to die. If He can keep the world tilted at such and angle and keep it going for all these years, surely He can handle whatever burden you might be carrying. Jesus took the sins of the world on His shoulders. Your burdens are nothing compared to that!

Another thought in this tiny little verse – Daniel would not have received his blessing of revealing the dream if he had not gone to sleep. Had he not laid down his burdens, he probably would not have been able to sleep that night and who knows what would have happened. I’m not usually one for “what ifs” but it seemed appropriate in this instance. Anyway, my point is this- sometimes we miss out on blessings because we are too caught up in toting our burdens around. When we are following Christ, there are blessings around every corner and in every nook and cranny. We just have to keep our head up and our eyes open. But when we have burdens that we are carrying, it skews our vision and causes us to miss blessings that are right there waiting on us – all we have to do is claim them. 

So let me encourage you today, lay down ALL of your burdens. Don’t pick up a single one when you get ready to leave. They are heavy. They are ugly. They are cumbersome. When you hand them over to Jesus, just remember that He can handle it. He can deal with them. He can make them go away. You just have to trust Him to do so. 

Sharing your burdens

Daniel 2:17,18 – “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he couldn’t remember it, but he knew that it had great significance. He called his “wise men” together to test their true abilities and told them to tell him his dream and then interpret it. Sounds crazy, right? How can one expect someone else to tell them something that they don’t know and then interpret what it means? This is exactly what Nebuchadnezzar did. But none of the “wise men” could fulfill his request. So what does the King do? He decides to kill them all, every single one of them, including Daniel and his friends. 

When Daniel hears about this, he spoke with the king and asked for just a little bit of time to determine the hidden information and to interpret it. The king agreed. Now, Daniel could have gone home and stewed about what he should do, how he should approach this and on and on and on. But he didn’t. He went back and shared his burden with his friends and asked them to pray. 

Lesson to learn – God has put people in your life who are also followers of Christ for a reason – they are your support and prayer partners. Galatians 6:2 – “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” You see, we are commanded to be there for one another. Yes, we have our Heavenly Father on hand at all times. He is our ultimate support. Yet, sometimes we just need that physical touch. God put that in our hearts. We need that face to face or text to text support. I know that I don’t share my burdens enough. I hold them in and stew about them with the best of them. My husband usually gets the brunt end of my prayer requests. And that’s ok, that’s the way it should be. He is my best earthly friend, of course. But I have a whole line of support that I could reach out to and should reach out to. 

My point is this – let other people in on your burdens. God gave them to you for a reason. Your Christian friends are there to help you down your path. They love you and understand the burdens you have because Christ gave them to you to help you. Let them pray with you and for you. Let them give you counsel. Let them help you. True, you never walk alone when Jesus is with you but sometimes you just need a hug – and that hug should come from someone who loves you, your friend. 

Daniel

Daniel1:8 -“Now Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.”

The world is hounding us. Daily we are bombarded with images that attempt to tell us how to look and act, what to eat and drink even what to drive and where to live. There are people out there that would like nothing else than to tell us how to live each and every aspect of our life. I don’t know about you but I do not like that. The rebellious part of me wants to do just the opposite because I don’t want to be told what to do.

But let’s take a look at Daniel. This verse in the book of Daniel shows us so many characteristics about Daniel that we can apply to our life today.
1. He resolved. That means he decided firmly. When you resolve to do something, good Lord willing, it will get done. Nothing short of Him will stop you. This is what happened with Daniel. He resolved that he was not going to defile himself by eating the food that he knew he should not eat, according to God’s law. How many times do we “resolve” to do something? If you are like me, not too often. You really don’t want to put forth that much effort into something. So sad. So sad that we don’t have that kind of passion any more.
2. He asked permission. This is a sign of respect. He knew in his heart what needed to be done. He knew what was right, but he had been taught to respect authority. Too many people today do not respect authority according to God’s word. God wants us to be respectful of people, especially those who have been given authority over us. Remember, their power over us came from Him and ultimately, they have to answer to Him for all that they do and the choices they make.
3. Remember Daniel’s age. He wasn’t very old here. Verse 4 calls the people the king chose from among the Israelites “young men”. Young people would do well to read the book of Daniel and study his life at this time. They should study his way of presenting himself and see what was really important to him and his 3 friends.

In conclusion, just be on your guard, princess. The world is out to control you. To ruin your testimony of Jesus in your life. You have to resolve to let God guard you and show you the way to go. Don’t let someone tell you otherwise. Choose to be different but be respectful when you do so – that impression will go a long way.

Home – Part 2

Proverbs 24:3,4 – “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

Today we are going to look at understanding.

The Webster’s dictionary 1828 defines understanding as “the faculty whereby we are enabled to apprehend the objects of knowledge, general or particulars, absent or present, and to judge of their truth or falsehood, good or evil.” Yeah, I know – heavy. But in a nutshell, it means the ability to discern good and evil in the light of God’s truth.

Take a look at this: Proverbs 17:27 – “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” We will get to knowledge tomorrow, but for now, think about being “even-tempered”. Would that describe you? Not me. At least not on a consistent basis, well, probably never. I try, but to no avail. Guess I have found another area to work on.

Daniel 10:12 – “Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” What do you see here? I see that you have to decide that you are going to strive for understanding. You have to decide that you are going to humble yourself before God and let Him work. And when you do, Heaven comes to help. How cool is that?!

In order to make your house firm and strong, you must have understanding to establish it. If it is built and established on anything other than the firm foundation established by God Himself, you are promised failure. Deep stuff, I know. But God is all about us growing and becoming more like Him. Get growing!