Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“My Father has not left Me alone.”
John 8: 29
“Morning stretched ahead.
I longed for someone to talk to,
to dispel loneliness.
I called my friend.
We talked of old times, our children,
‘Am I interrupting?’ I asked.
‘You should receive a special blessing,’
my friend replied.
‘Before I started work I asked God
to bless my interruptions.’
‘God is blessing me.
Thank you and good-bye.’
‘Lord, bless my friend who listened,
who didn’t make me feel like an interruption.’”
“I believe, although I feel alone in pain.
I believe, although I see people hating.
I believe, although I see children weep,
because I have learned with certainty
that He comes to meet us
in the hardest hours,
with His love and His light.
I believe, but increase my faith.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, ‘Thy God whom though servest continually, He will deliver thee!’”
Daniel 6: 16
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 26
“You Serve Continuously!”
“Sometimes offering yourself as a vessel for the presence and work of God is costly.”
Would those I come in contact with each day say about me: “They serve God continuously?”
What has serving God cost me?
“Salvation is free. But serving Christ will cost you.”
“I am – first and foremost – an ambassador of the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Evangelist Billy Graham
When I read the above words, spoken by Evangelist Billy Graham, a man renowned for his worldwide Ambassadorship for the King of the Universe, I thought how appropriate to use this quote on a day when God’s leading Ambassador in Babylon and Medo-Persia was in the process of being thrown into a den of lions – a result of his unbroken allegiance to his heavenly King.
There’s no way to accurately describe the scene outside of the den of lions for we were not present. However, authors down through time have tried to give us a sense of what transpired as King Darius succumbed to the pressure of his counselors and gave the order for Daniel to be tossed to the wild beasts. As author Stephen Haskell so eloquently describes: “The design of the counselors flashed across the mind of Darius. A decree signed with the king’s seal was unalterable in the kingdom of the Medes and Persians …the princes met every argument with the words, ‘Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is that no decree, no statute which the king establisheth may be changed.”
And then Author Haskell makes this statement which I personally find gives me great confidence in my heavenly Father: “When the hands of men (or women) are tied; when there is no power on earth to help, this is God’s opportunity.” And just in case, like myself, you may not completely understand what is conveyed by the word “opportunity,” it means “favorable time” or the “perfect circumstance.”
This means that when you or I have been shoved up against a wall; surrounded by wily foes; and there’s absolutely no way of escape, this is God’s perfect time to step in because His power to deliver will be on full display.
For the last several years, I’ve kept a prayer/poem taped to the lamp by my bed. First thing every morning, when my light goes on, I let it illuminate these words penned by Matthew Biller:
“God will answer when to thee,
not a possibility
Of deliverance seems near;
It is then He will appear.
God will answer when you pray
Yea, though mountains block the way,
At His word, a way will be
Even through mountains, made for thee.
God who still divides the sea,
Willingly will work for thee;
God, before whom mountains fall,
Promises to hear thy call.”
There at the entrance to the den of lions, God’s faithful witness, with trust in his heart, put his full reliance on the King of heaven and earth. However, lest we too quickly pass over this passage of Scripture, we need to remind ourselves that Daniel wasn’t the only trusting soul at the mouth of the lion’s den.
King Darius made clear that he too was trusting Daniel’s God. The king had been a silent “watcher” and “witness” to Daniel’s faithful prayer life and constant integrity. Historians tell us that much of the corruption we see in government today can find its birth in the early Babylonian regime and later in the ruling countries of Medo-Persia. We can easily surmise that one of the main reasons Daniel was so despised by the other princes in government was that he was honest in all his work and thus required honest dealings by his subordinates as well. For those who enjoyed the financial rewards of bribery and corruption, Daniel’s integrity only got in the way of their greed. In spite of all the work of his co-workers to thwart his endeavors, Daniel’s consistent and constant spiritual life had been a profound influence on King Darius. And as Author Haskell underscores, even when at the point of death, “Daniel’s prayer still ascended, ‘It is time for thee, Lord, to work. Keep me in perfect harmony with Thee.’ While Daniel’s own heart was in sympathy with heaven, there was no power on earth which could deprive him of his life, if God desired him to live.”
In a text from Scripture that many of us can find in our own memory banks today, the foreign ruler, King Darius said to Daniel: “Thy God who thou servest continually, He will deliver thee” (Daniel 6: 16, K.J.V.) With help from my Strong’s Concordance Hebrew Dictionary, I’d like to share this Transformation Garden paraphrase of Daniel 6: 16: “Your God, who you worship and minister for permanently and enduringly, He will set you free, Daniel.”
It says a lot to my heart today that Daniel’s witness before King Darius was of such a nature that the heathen ruler knew, without a doubt, that Daniel’s loyalty to the God of heaven and earth was constant – enduring – and permanent. No wonder this earthly king honored the King of the Universe – our Almighty God. How could King Darius not be in awe of our Mighty God when God had Daniel as His earthly Ambassador!
In the heart-touching prayer of John Baillie in his treasure of a book, A Diary of Private Prayer:
“Let my life today be the channel through which some little portion of Your divine love and pity may reach the lives that are nearest to my own.”
“Oh Lord, may I be an ambassador of Your love today and everyday.”
Rescue the Perishing
“Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one,
Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Though they are slighting Him,
Still He is waiting, waiting the
penitent child to receive.
Plead with them earnestly,
Plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
Rescue the perishing,
Duty demands it,
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.
Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.”
Fanny J. Crosby
Blind Hymn-writer and Poet
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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