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Determined Obedience

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.”

I Corinthians 5:6-7 “Your glorying is not good.  Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.  For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”

Daniel demonstrated determined obedience to obey God fully, even in the midst of a strange and foreign land.  Though he asked his captor for the chance to participate in an innovative experiment to prove that God would provide for his nutritional needs (see the previous post), there is no indication that Daniel’s bargain indicated that he would ever relent to any rules that opposed his Godly principles.  In fact, everything about Daniel’s life indicate just the opposite.  He was willing to stand for what was right even when it was difficult and costly because he had purposed in his heart that he would do so.

Daniel knew a couple of related important principles of determined obedience.  First, he knew that resisting temptation was easier to do before the temptation is at its most powerful.  Thus, he determined to live for God before he faced the greatest of his trials.  Second, he knew that a little compromise would lead to bigger compromises.  Therefore, he avoided even the tiniest of leaven in his life.

The results of this determined obedience provided Daniel an opportunity to uniquely impact his Babylon.  PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD DEMONSTRATE LIVES CHARACTERIZED BY DETERMINED OBEDIENCE TO GOD.  A determined obedience would provide us an opportunity to uniquely impact our Babylon today.

Standing Before Kings II

Daniel 1:12 “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.  Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat:  and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.”

Daniel 1:14 “So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.”

Daniel 1:18-20 “Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.  And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azairah:  therefore stood they before the king.”

Daniel was determined to stand his ground and serve His God without compromise.  Yet, he did so in a nuanced way that won over his handler (the prince of the eunuchs) without causing controversy or burning the bridges that he may need to cross over in the future. 

Daniel was expected to eat the king’s meat and drink the king’s wine, if for no other reason than to appear healthy to the king.  He was determined to maintain his sincerely held religious beliefs and offered to run an innovative trial with his captor.  For ten days, Daniel would eat and drink according to his customs to prove to the king that he was well nourished and well equipped to serve.  What were the results of Daniel’s deal?  He demonstrated a superior usefulness to the king while maintaining his standards, his testimony, and his ability to influence those around him.

Daniel pushed back without being pushy.  He disagreed without being disagreeable.  He confronted the rules without being confrontational.  He was resolute without being a renegade.  He was pure without being Pharisaical!

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD FIND THE RIGHT NUANCED WAY TO MAINTAIN STANDARDS IN OUR FOREIGN LAND WITHOUT REPULSING THOSE WE HAVE BEEN SENT TO BRING TO REPENTANCE.  In this way, we can stand before the kings of this world in a way that prompts them to take notice of our beliefs and our God!

Please see the original Standing Before Kings post from 2014:http://prayatlunch.us/standing-before-kings/

Impacting Babylon

Daniel 1:1 “In the third year of the reign of Jehoaikim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it”

Daniel 1:3, 6-7 “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 … Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshanch; and to Azariah, of Abednego.”

This begins a series of posts that I have entitled Impacting Babylon.  The ancient city of Babylon is a few dozen miles south of modern day Baghdad, Iraq.  Though most of us do not live in a physical location like Babylon (though some of us undoubtedly do), we certainly live in a figurative location like Babylon in a world characterized by a love of the secular instead of a love of the Supreme.  We are surrounded by a foreign land as aliens in a world that alienates the holy, the righteous, and the just.  How are we to impact such a locale that seems so far from our heavenly home?

Fortunately, God is not surprised by our situation nor is our environment unprecedented.  Indeed, throughout human history God’s people have faced such challenges while living on foreign soil.  Specifically, four young men of God who lived six hundred years before Christ gave us a template of success to impact such a foreign land as they were removed from their homes and brought to Babylon against their will.  They lived as aliens among an ungodly citizenry. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR A HEAVENLY POWER TO IMPACT THE FOREIGN LAND THAT SURROUNDS US.  God desires for us to make an impact where we are … for such a time as this.  Like these four righteous examples, we are besieged by the challenges we face in a hostile society today.  May we impact our Babylon as effectively as they did theirs.

The Most Important Days

II Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”

I Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Romans 10: 13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The famous author Mark Twain stated the following: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  Wow, was Twain right, though maybe not for the reasons he was thinking when he stated such a poignant truth.

The day we come to accept Christ as our Saviour is the day that we find out why we were born.  It is the day that we recognize our purpose.  It is the day that we come unto the knowledge of the truth.  It is the day that we realize that God has called us unto Him as a part of a plan that started for us before the world began.  It is the day that we discover our holy calling. 

Being born is not enough.  We must be born again!  It is only then that we recognize the importance for which God allowed us to be born. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE POWER TO CONVEY THE IMPORTANT TRUTH OF A SECOND BIRTH IN CHRIST.  It is the holy calling that gives all life ultimate value and purpose.  This free gift offers each life meaning and importance.  It is the day of our salvation that matters most for all of eternity.

The Wolf We Feed

Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Romans 6:16-19 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh:  for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.”

I recently came across the following thought:

“One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.’

One is Evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’”

As we strive to live our lives in the best possible way to reflect and honor God, we must be cognizant of what we are feeding inside of us.  Is it anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego?  If so, we are feeding Evil.  Is it joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith?  If so, we are feeding Good.

We must not serve two masters by feeding both.  Instead, we must starve the one and stuff the other.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD PROPERLY AND FAITHFULLY SERVE THE RIGHT MASTER.  The wolf we feed will determine who we are, what we do, how we impact, and ultimately who we serve.

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