Daniel had unshakeable faith. His trust in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home taken into captivity and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under several kings and faced many challenges.
Knowing God and trust Him are the 2 key elements of deep faith. Daniel who was part of the Israelite nobility apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that was incompatible with the dietary laws he took a great risk by requesting other food. In verse 9 of today’s passage we see that God caused the official to show favor to him. Like Daniel we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what please our heavenly Father.
Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said but he also trusted the Lord to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness he was demonstrating his confidence in the heavenly Father. And his friends had unwavering faith as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace but they believed He could and trusted that He’d do what was right.
Barriers to unshakeable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way- I don’t have to ask God) and self sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn it toward the Lord.
The book of Acts is an amazing record of how God worked in and through the early church & one of their most important activities was prayer. While Jesus was with His disciples little was recorded of them praying because they could talk directly to Christ. But after His ascension they immediately gathered in the upper room & “devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14).
Talking to God was their means of preparing for the work He had for them. Jesus had told them the Father would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). Then after the resurrection He instructed them to stay in Jerusalem until they were “clothed with power from on high” (24:29). Without the Spirit they were not adequate for the Great Commission even though they’d spent time with Jesus. & if they needed the Spirit’s power so do we.
To the degree we’re willing to admit our absolute helplessness to do God’s work the Holy Spirit will empower us as we pray. When we are devoted to prayer the Lord begins to work in our heart preparing us for service. He gives us the Spirit’s boldness to speak God’s Word (Acts 4:31) & the courage to face any persecutions that might result (v.29).
God is looking for believers who understand the importance of prayer and realize the only way to fulfill His calling for the church is through His supernatural power. Christ’s church is not grown through programs, seminars and conferences but through the humble prayers of saints who gather together in utter dependence upon Him. That’s when God’s power is released and His will is accomplished.
Have you ever attempted to walk in a straight line while looking at your feet? Try this on the beach sometime so you can look back at your footprints. You’ll probably be surprised at how crooked the path is. But fix your eyes upon something far away, and each step will point in the desired direction – toward that distant focal point.
Our lives are like this. If we set goals, then our decisions and thoughts will lead toward the desired end. On the other hand, if we humble along without specific aims, we will wander and waste much precious time and energy.
Goals are crucial to the well-lived life. Why, then, do so many people fail to formulate purposeful aims? Some simply do not see the importance of a plan, while others are too lazy to devise one or don’t know how to go about it. Then there are those who lack faith in God’s ability to help them achieve their aspirations.
Think about the many goals Jesus had- they drove all that He did. His daily aims involved such things as serving others and teaching those who sought righteousness. But more than that, our Savior centered everything on a primary purpose set even before time began, to lay down His life on the cross in order to save mankind from sin and glorify the Father.
We were created to glorify the Lord and be fruitful in His service. Imagine the impact our lives could have if we asked God to guide our goals. Pray, “What do You want to change about my life? What do You want to accomplish through me?” Let Him determine on what and on whom you focus.
Think back to when you first came to God. Did you understand what to expect? The church’s missions is to faithfully proclaim the gospel, but we also have the responsibility to teach new believers how God works in our life once we are saved.
The first thing we can anticipate after salvation is to grow closer with the Lord. As with any relationship, this requires 2 way communication. We come to know and love God through His word, and in prayer we share our live with Him. As our understanding of Him deepens, trust will increase. We’ll see we have no reason to worry, because our Father always provides for our needs, whether phsyical, emotional or spiritual.
We can also expect clear guidance, if we align ourselves with His will and ways He promises to direct our path. At times His guidance is corrective, He also reminds us of scriptural truths and encourages obedience.
Difficulty can be another result of following Christ. Problems don’t just fade away once we come to Christ. In fact, everyone who chooses a godly lifestyle can expect misunderstanding, resistance, and even persecution. Furthermore believers aren’t exempt from the trials that afflict all of humanity.
As you begin a New Year of walking with Jesus remember you’re never alone in your struggles. And with Christ’s strength you can confidently face whatever comes your way.
Look around you. While many may be enjoying the festivities of Christmas some are still holding on to bitterness & disdain but don’t be surprised – the problem isn’t the season it’s the Savior. Our need for salvation reminds us of our own shortcomings and inability to redeem ourselves.
This isn’t the first time that Jesus stirred up antagonism in someone’s heart. Herod was troubled when he heard that the magi were looking for the King of the Jews. When they didn’t return to report the location of the Christ child he became enraged and slaughtered all the male children in Bethlehem who were 2 years of age and under.
What is it about Jesus that causes some people to feel such hostility? Herod’s fury was fueled by his desire for power and control. He didn’t want another king no matter how small to dethrone him. People today scorn the celebration of Christ’s birth for the same reason- they don’t want anyone else ruling their life.
Romans 1:18 says that people who reject Jesus Christ have suppressed the truth. The Lord pointed out that those who fear their deeds will be exposed as evil won’t come to the Light. However we should never assume that salvation is impossible for someone who is hostile to Jesus. After all the apostle Paul was an aggressive persecutor of the church until his conversion.
Sometimes people who resent Christianity and Christmas may seem unreachable to us but remember no one is beyond the reach of Jesus.
Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.
Don’t let someone whose done nothing tell you how to do anything.
I own no explanations for my flaws. I don’t have to justify my mistakes, my past or my insecurities. I am growing and learning let me live.
Be bold enough to use your voice, love enough to listen to your heart and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined.
Let people do what they need to do to make them happy, mind your business and do what you need to do to make you happy.
If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn no one can stop you.
The best is yet to come.
* To all my followers .. from my family to yours Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Each year there’s a predictable variety of responses to the celebrations & traditions of the holiday season. During the next few days I will examine 3 reactions to Christmas. Although 2000 years have passed since Christ was born His birth still elicits similar attitudes.
1 common response is indifference.Even if they are filled with the holiday spirit & celebrate with gifts, dinners, decorations & parties some people remain totally indifferent to Jesus. He doesn’t even cross their minds because they’ve lost sight of the reason for Christmas.
In the story of the magi’s search for the newborn King of the Jews we see a surprising indifference on the part of the religious leaders.The entourage from the East caused quite a stir in Jerusalem. It wasn’t every day that impressive visitors arrived with such a shocking and exciting announcement. Yet when King Herod asked the scribes and chief priests where the Messiah was to be born they simply told him the answer but made no attempt to go themselves. Their lives were already filled with their religious duties & they had no time or interest in anything that might disrupt their positions of prominence & authority.
Sometimes it’s easy to let the activities and pressures of Christmas push Jesus out of our thoughts. After all the shopping is finished the gifts are wrapped & the food is prepared we might rush off to a service but even then we often feel distracted. Though it may take deliberate refocusing this year let’s intentionally make Jesus the priority of Christmas.