…all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Luke 6:12-26 I remember the summer I visited my paternal grandmother who by this time had been diagnosed with diabetes. While I was there I watched as she gave herself a shot of insulin in her thigh everyday. This shot of insulin enabled her to be with family, friends and experience all of the unexpected moments of life. In other words, physically, insulin was her lifeline. I remember thinking; “I hope I never have to do that to myself,” while at the same time I was so proud of her courage. While a bowl of cereal would have been fine for me and my two sons, she insisted on getting up at the crack of dawn to make sure breakfast was ready. Had she chosen to disregard her medical need she would not have had the energy to do that. Last night I dreamed that I had to give myself insulin shots. When I inquired as to where I should place the needle I was shown that I had to insert the needle directly into my heart. The dumb look on my face apparently woke me up as I lay quietly wondering what God needed me to understand. Then alarm went off. Like insulin, the word of God is the needle of encouragement that must be injected in to our spirit. Everyday we must encourage ourselves with the promises that God’s word provides. It enables us to be with our family, friends and experience all of the unexpected moments of life with praise and thanksgiving. God’s word is our lifeline.
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere…May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:1-14
Today I am filled with thankfulness for each of you. What we do really does matter. Let us continue to encourage one another in faith.
Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him... Daniel 6:1-15 It wasn’t because he was tall and handsome, big and strong, or swift and athletic, or even the smartest person in the room; Daniel loved God and it showed! He loved God so much that he wreaked spiritual presence. Daniel was also an outsider, an exile from Judah. Except when we are in the presence of other believers we too are outsiders. Being an outsider in this world is what distinguishes us. The world (much like King Darius) likes to put itself first. The problem is that to put the self first is to place the self ahead God. When a situation occurs that challenges our choices we find that we can not save ourselves from the agony, pain or discomfort in which we are left. Daniel had an excellent spirit within in him because he didn’t put himself first and for him there was only one savior. At times the world can be a lion’s den but we too have one savior and the law of difference through Christ is always on our side. Not even the lions of the world we meet everyday can keep God from his anointed.
When they were few in number,
of little account, and strangers in it,
wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
saying, ‘Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.’
Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Daniel 5:13-30 I really like Daniel’s attitude. I believe the story that follows his statement to King Belshazzar is a lesson in learning from other peoples’ past experiences. It is to help us understand that what God reveals for one of us is a revelation for all of us. Sometimes, by God’s grace we are allowed to see various things happen without having to personally experience it. We owe it to ourselves to transform our own lives according to the grace that God provides through others who have gone before us. We don’t know that tomorrow we will have an opportunity to unbind ourselves from the things of the world. Daniel knew that life itself is a gift and each day it offers many rewards. God only asks that we honor him above all of them. The good news is that today if the writing is on the wall, through Christ we don’t have to lose our lives.
Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-12 What does it really mean to conquer the world? Does it mean that we get everything we want or that we are always in control? Does it mean we command attention or demand attention? Does it mean we speak loudly and carry a big stick or quietly stomp every word of other people’s perception? Jesus simply followed the will of God. If we can open our hearts wide enough to allow ourselves to do the same, our sense of control, need for attention and desire to be heard now belongs to God. Once God has it, who’s arms are long enough to take on God?
When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me. Daniel 4:28-37 There are people who come into our lives for the purpose of guiding, warning and various other reasons. It is incumbent upon us to pay attention to the people in our lives. The prophet Daniel was one such person for King Nebuchadnezzar. What we learn from King Nebuchadnezzar’s fall and restoration is that God not only knows the heart of his own, he knows the heart of those who have yet to know him. God’s love for his people is certain and he will use anyone great or small to accomplish his will. Ultimately, we don’t have the kind of power and authority to decide who God chooses for that purpose. Discernment is not something that we do on our own. It is done by asking for God’s revelation. We then, like Daniel must be open and ready to receive God’s plan from whomever he places in our path. It is here where our own reason towards the most high is sure and our own restoration is assured.
…and my majesty and splendor were restored to me…Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride. Daniel 4:28-37
A Song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. Acts 9:1-20 “Living the Sermon” In the movie “42” these are the words Branch Rickey spoke to Jackie Robinson as they struggled together to make integration of baseball a permanent reality of a once very segregated society. I believe he said this to help Robinson understand the depth and significance of enduring the struggle. The statement caught my attention for it’s significance in recognizing the narrative of Christ in our own lives when challenged with doing the right thing. Today as we strive to weave the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, to each and every one of us who are called there comes a point and time when we realize that we too live the sermon in the narratives of Christ. We don’t always recognize the part we play in this journey because the issues of society cause us to lose focus. As believers we are anointed to live the narrative of Christ. We are encouraged to do the right thing and we are supported and guided by the integration of God’s spiritual presence within us. To live in Christ means we no longer walk with our eyes wide open and yet unable to see.
They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up. …if you do not worship, …who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands? Daniel 3:1-18 Material people, material things – with Nebuchadnezzar, this was about control. Daniel has just told the king what God revealed to him as to the contents of the kings dream and then interprets the dream. The king doesn’t seem to realize that the God who reveals his plan in the dream is the same God who reveals the dream to David. Nebuchadnezzar never considers that this God is greater than the king himself. Why build a statue? The statue has no life and therefore, no power, no authority and no purpose. Aside from the fact that bowing to an inanimate object violated their Law, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t even bother to defend their defiance of the king’s decree. Even today it doesn’t make any sense! God has planted us in the midst of the world to bear good fruit as leaders in our faith. We don’t have to defend our walk in Christ because the living God we serve, who has placed us where we are, still today – even in our own uncertainty – defends his own. Alleluia! The Lord is Risen Indeed.
If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, he will deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king. Daniel 3:1-18
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever… Daniel 2:31-49 Today we have confidence in the redemption of Christ because what God has long put in to place is already done.
As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:18-29
No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, Daniel 2:17-30 Nebuchadnezzar sought answers to his disturbing dream from the world. But the world only knows what it sees, what it hears and what it touches which is why the people he sought provided him no revelation and no peace. Sometimes we seek love in the world that ultimately provide no revelation and no peace. Only the one true Love, that can not be found in the things of the world, provides both the revelation and the peace. Daniel did not try like the others to come up with the revelation on his own. Instead he sought the one true everlasting Love deep from within the faith in his relationship with God. This is the kind of relationship we are encouraged to seek that we too may find revelation and we too will find peace.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever. 1 John 2:12-17