From Start To Finish

Daniel 1:21
“Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.”

I remember the first time I heard someone teaching the parable of the ‘Sower and the Soils.’They referred to the person represented by the shallow ground as a “Firecracker Christian.” That is, someone who starts out with a bang, but burns out before too long. Sadly, the landscape is filled with believers just like that. It is refreshing to read that Daniel continued in his commitment to the Lord. His life becomes a good example of how to persevere in our walk with the Lord. There are a number of key components necessary for any who desires to remain committed until the end.

First, we read of Daniel purposing in his heart, or committing himself and his ways to the Lord. This decision came about by looking at life through the filter of the Word of God. His environment presented him with a lifestyle forbidden by the Bible, and Daniel chose to follow the Word of God, instead of the ways of the world. I think we all understand that resolve alone is not enough to ensure success in our walk with Christ, however, without resolve we will never get started. The first step is to commit yourself and your ways completely to the Lord.

Second, we read Daniel did not try to make it on his own. Many from Jerusalem were taken captive to Babylon, yet, Daniel surrounded himself with like-minded men. His three closest friends were men who also wanted to be committed to  God. As we choose friends, we need to look for those whose lives will encourage us to press on with the Lord.

Third, we find Daniel was a man of the Word. He knew the proper response to temptation because he was familiar with the Scriptures. While the dietary restrictions of the Old Covenant do not apply to the Christian today, the principle of looking into the Word of God to discover how to live never changes. The Bible will not only instruct us, but has a way of feeding us spiritually, so we become strong enough to obey God when tempted. Nothing is more helpful than a healthy diet of Scripture.

Finally, Daniel was a man of faith. When challenged, he suggested a test. He would obey the Word of God and allow his boss to determine if following the Lord proved to be a better way of life than disobedience. After  a short time, it was evident to all, that doing things God’s way was better. In Christian circles, we talk a lot about faith. Daniel illustrates one of the key aspects of biblical faith, that is, we are to look into God’s word and do what it says, trusting God for the outcome.

Seventy years after chapter one begins, Daniel is still walking strong with the Lord. Kings and kingdoms had come and gone, yet Daniel remained faithful to God. His is the example I want to follow. I hope you will join in as well.

Pastor Jim

 

Government 

Ezekiel 45:17
“Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

Recently, I was captivated by the different titles given to political leaders. In one news segment, I saw references to presidents, kings, prime ministers and even a supreme ruler. It is interesting the view men have of rulers. In some settings, they are seen as gods, while in other settings, servants of the people. Here, in Ezekiel, we get a glimpse into how God views those who rule over men. He sees them as representatives of Himself, and expects them to set an example for the people of what it means to be committed to Him. In God’s economy, a ruler of the people must first be a follower of YHWH. Israel’s greatest leader was described as a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). This evidenced itself in a desire to please God and properly represent Him to the people.

What the world needs today are men and women who will lead others by being committed to the Lord. This kind of leadership will transform a nation, a business, and especially, a home.

Pastor Jim