The Second Time

Jonah 1:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”

Jonah 3:1-3 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying.  Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.  So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.  Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.”

Esther 4:14 “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Before I completely leave the PLUS series on Impacting Babylon, I want to make a related two-post detour to a similar topic – Impacting Nineveh.  Nineveh, like Babylon, is in modern day Iraq.  This great historical city is situated near the large city of Mosul on the banks of the Tigris river.  In the days of Daniel, this capital of the Assyrian Empire was a thriving metropolis.  It was also filled with worldliness and wickedness.

God clearly directed Jonah to go and witness to this needy people, and Jonah fled from God’s calling.  After an unpleasant nautical detour, God clearly directed Jonah to do so again.  This time, Jonah realized the futility of fleeing from God and the importance of following the Lord’s direction. 

God’s plans to impact a literal or figurative Nineveh won’t be thwarted by a stubborn and resistant believer.  If we refuse to follow the Lord, He may give us another chance after getting our attention.  Or, He may fulfill His purposes without us.  Either way, God will prevail!

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO FAITHFULLY FOLLOW GOD’S CALLING IN OUR LIVES.  We must not stubbornly require God to direct us for the second time.  Instead we must serve and witness immediately when we sense God’s calling if we are to properly impact our Nineveh today!

Potent Fundamentals of Success

Daniel 6:1-3 “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.  Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

As I close out this PLUS series on Impacting Babylon, I want to circle back to an important thought about having an excellent spirit using a more modern example.  While none of what I write below is an attempt to elevate Charles Lindbergh to the level of the biblical Daniel, his story punctuates an important point while hopefully offering a dose of pride and patriotism in the midst of our own cynical times.

Lindbergh’s 1927 trans-Atlantic aviation accomplishment was remarkable.  From the moment he landed in Paris, he became a worldwide celebrity who was constantly mobbed by huge crowds and adorned with lavish praise.  At a reception at the National Press Club once he returned back to the United States, Richard Oulahan had the privilege of introducing him to a crowd of over 6000 people.  In part, this is what he said:

“We of the press rub elbows with all manner of mankind.  We see much of good but we see much of self-seeking, of sordid motive, as we sit in the wings watching the world’s procession pass across the stage.  If it is true that through our contacts we are sprinkled with a coating of the dry dust of cynicism, that dust was blown away in a breath, as it were, when our professional brethren who greeted you [Lindbergh] overseas broadcast the news of your peerless exploit.  To Americans it brought a spontaneous feeling of pride that you were of their nationality.

The whole world was carried off its feet by an accomplishment so daring, so masterful in execution, so superb in achievement, by the picture presented of that onrushing chariot of dauntless youth, flashing across uncharted heavens straight through the storm’s barrage.

But if the press, with such an inspiration, performed its mission well, it found equal inspiration.  It performed as fine a mission in chronicling the subsequent conduct of our young Ambassador of Good Will.  His words and bearing dissipated vapors of misunderstanding.  He personified, to a Europe amazed at the revelation, the real spirit of America.

The press should be proud then, if in telling the story of this later phase in the career of the American boy, it brought to the peoples of the world a new realization that clean living, clean thinking, fair play and sportsmanship, modesty of speech and manner, faith in a mother’s prayers, have a front page news value intriguing imagination and inviting emulation, and are still potent as fundamentals of success.”

People were amazed at Lindbergh’s aviation accomplishment in 1927.  Yet, it was the way he carried himself in the face of praise and fame that captured the attention of the world.  It was his character that stood out above his capabilities.  It was an excellent spirit that intrigued the imagination of the world and invited emulation.  It was a potent fundamental of his true success.

Regardless of our accomplishments, it will be our character that stands out above our capabilities.  An excellent spirit can still intrigue the imagination of the world and invite emulation.  It is still a potent fundamental of true success.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO REMEMBER THAT OUR CHARACTER STANDS OUT ABOVE OUR CAPABILITIES.  May we cling to clean living, clean thinking, fair play and sportsmanship, modesty of speech and manner, and faith in a mother’s prayers.  These characteristics have front page news value intriguing imagination and inviting emulation.  They are still potent as fundamentals of success as we strive to impact our world today, in a literal or a figurative Babylon.

ADMIN NOTE:  The quote about Lindbergh came from the book “We”

Ten Times Better II

Daniel 1:20 “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

Proverbs 22:29 “Seest thou a man diligent in his business?  he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”

I Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am:  and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not just slightly better than those around them.  They were way better than those around them; specifically, they were ten times better than those around them. 

God had given them skill, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and ability.  Yet, undoubtedly they had carefully cultivated these characteristics through God-given circumstances and opportunities.  They fostered these talents such that they rose well above their peers and were able to stand before kings.  The grace that was bestowed upon them was not in vain because of their diligent labor.

God needs Christians today who carefully cultivate God-given skill, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and ability.  He needs us to foster our talents such that we can rise well above our peers and stand before kings.  God’s grace that has been bestowed upon us must not be in vain.

Of course, God needs those in ministry to diligently apply the personal gifts that God has freely given them to impact the world.  Yet, God calls for diligent Christian experts to impact every realm of our society.  God needs them in the military, in government, in law, in sports, in medicine, in education, and in labor.  God encourages world-class expertise among Christian craftsmen, firemen, doctors, authors, engineers, mechanics, scientists, carpenters, diplomats, electricians, and actors.  He needs men and women of faith who are committed to perfecting their craft in all fields so that they can impact the world through the faithful application and cultivation of their expertise.  His gifts must not be in vain.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS IN ALL CAREER FIELDS WOULD DILIGENTLY LABOR TO FOSTER OUR GOD-GIVEN TALENTS.  May our faithfully applied and cultivated expertise enable us to be ten times better than those around us – all for God’s honor and glory in our land.

Please see the original Ten Times Better post from 2014:

Standing In The King’s Palace

Daniel 1:3-4 “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”

Not just anyone could stand in the king’s palace in Babylon.  The master of the eunuchs sought out those certain children of Israel who demonstrated excellence in their lives and who had earned the right to walk the halls of power, of prestige, and of persuasion.  They were clean; they were pure; they will well-respected; they were well-regarded; they were skillful; they were wise; they were learned; they were practiced; and they were prepared.  They had honed their craft through their hearty dedication and a lifelong investment to perfect their skills via focused might.  In the end, this excellence gave them an opportunity to serve the Lord with impact and influence that would have never transpired if they had squandered their God-given talents and opportunities through atrophy, laziness, or distraction.  

Not just anyone can stand in the king’s palace today.  Those in power are seeking out others who demonstrate excellence in their lives.  They are looking for those who are clean, pure, well-respected, well-regarded, skillful, wise, learned, practiced, and prepared.  They are searching for those who have honed their craft through hearty dedication and a lifelong investment to perfect their skills via focused might.  In the end, excellence will give us an opportunity to serve the Lord with impact and influence that would never transpire if we squander our God-given talents and opportunities through atrophy, laziness, or distraction.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO PURSUE EXCELLENCE IN OUR LIVES.  We should never do so for our own glory or honor, but instead, we should do so in order to enable us to properly represent the Lord as we may someday find ourselves standing in the king’s palace.

Exceedingly Glad

Daniel 6:16 “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the dens of lions.  Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.”

Daniel 6:23 “Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.  So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.”

Daniel 6:25-26 “Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.  I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:  for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.”

When the tide of public opinion and public policy seemed to turn against Daniel, he remained faithful.  In doing so, he had allies that were standing by to celebrate his faithfulness and the subsequent powerful deliverance that would come from his all-loving, all-powerful God.  In this case, though king Darius felt bound to carry out an unjust death sentence against this mighty man of faith, there was a level of latent faith in the ruler that actually hoped for a God-given opportunity to turn the tables on a system that had conspired to condemn a man who should have been celebrated instead.  Indeed, God’s delivery opened a stunning window of opportunity for a strong public testimony that exalted the Lord.  Yet, it was only possible because Daniel remained faithful in spite of the challenging circumstances of condemnation.

When the tide of public opinion and public policy seems to turn against us today, God would have us to remain faithful.  In doing so, we may find that we have allies that are standing by to celebrate our faithfulness and the subsequent powerful deliverance that can only come from our all-loving, all-powerful God.  Certain rulers, though they may feel bound to follow certain unjust policies, may have a level of latent faith that actually hopes for a God-given opportunity to turn the tables on a system that conspires to condemn those who should be celebrated instead.  Indeed, God’s delivery can open stunning windows of opportunity for a strong public testimony that exalts the Lord.  Yet, it will only be possible if we remain faithful in spite of the challenging circumstances of condemnation.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO REMAIN FAITHFUL IN THE FACE OF ALL OPPOSITION.  Those who seem to be our antagonists may actually be exceedingly glad to see us remain faithful because it gives them a source of hope that is otherwise absent in their lives.

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