Be Like Daniel

Long exposure black and white landscape of moving clouds over withered treeThis morning I came to the book of Daniel looking for something else and instead Holy Spirit led me here.

I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your command and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Daniel 9:4-6.

The above verses are the beginning of a beautiful prayer by Daniel for his homeland. Did you catch how Daniel begins his prayer? He begins with praising God for Who he is. All too often, I believe, we many times step into a sweet and beautiful time of prayer with God and immediately begin with our requests. Prayer means to intervene or intercede, but it is so much more than our requests, whether for ourselves or on behalf of others, it is part of the deep and intimate relationship with God that we ought to reach for on a daily basis. The second part of Daniel’s prayer is confession. Daily I thank God for the gifts of confession and repentance and His faithfulness to show me the sin in my life so I can enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with him. (1 John 1:6-9).

The body of Daniels’ prayer is for his country Israel. Not only was Daniel pleading with God to restore Israel, he did so in fasting, in sackcloth and in ashes. Fasting was sometimes done to show grief, distress or repentance. The wearing of sackcloth and ashes were also signs of repentance. Daniel was serious about his prayers for Israel, which has me thinking, am I, are you, serious about the way you pray for your homeland, your family, yourself and others?

I chuckle as I write this because yesterday I began asking God what I was missing in my prayers about a current situation. What came to mind was the angel that was sent to Daniel but was delayed by the prince of Persia and one of the chief angels, Michael, was sent to help. (Daniel 10). When I sat down to write this morning I was sure it would be about praying for our homelands and the current affairs of the world, yet, here I am, learning more about prayer from an ancient prophet and reading God’s answer to my question.

Precious One, whether today finds you praying for yourself, your family, for others, for your homeland or for all of these things, may we both follow Daniel’s lead with heart’s of sincerity and seriousness for the task at hand.

May we cry out as Daniel did;

O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name. Daniel 9:19.

Shalom!

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Before You Hit Enter

DO NOT ENTER sign.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

I think self-control is the most challenging of these, as it is for many people. And it is self-control that we ought to express in our thoughts, our actions and our words. I use to have very little self-control, to the point I had become passive aggressive with my words and in my actions, especially over social media, spewing my anger and frustration into the abyss of the internet silently hoping just one person would sympathize with me. And when that one person did, instantly I felt justified, vindicated; my love tank was filled.

I knew I was bound by passive aggressive behavior, a behavior learned very early as a child that grew up in a home where my mom, a wonderfully loving and caring mom, but one who was so disillusioned by the way her life had turned out, yelled day in and day out, mostly at my dad, but my brothers and I were not exempt from her abusive behavior.

One morning, many years ago, during a prayer time I asked God to begin healing me of this behavior. It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of self reflection and the courage to want to let go of the things that I held onto like a security blanket so that God could begin his healing and restoration. A process that still continues to this day, praise God!

One of the habits that became very important to me and still is, is to rise early and spend time in God’s word. It is here that I began to see the difference between my reality and the truth of what God says in his word. I have come to see that situations are situations but there is always a truth in God’s word that covers any situation. The importance of this is when we are going through a challenging time, if we have spent sufficient and consistent time in God’s word he will bring to mind the Scripture(s) that covers any reality and it is these truths that we ought to meditate on not the frustrating or aggravating situation.

Precious One, I get it, I really do, how some situations can be so frustrating and seem so hopeless, but before you hit the send button and potentially embarrass yourself, PLEASE, check in with God and allow his peace,that goes beyond all understanding, to cover you. And when you do I believe you will be less likely to hit the enter button and extremely thankful that God loves you so much he gives you the courage not to.

Prayer, It is a powerful thing. Commit to pray, especially during those frustrating times and watch the power of God move in your life. After all, we are ambassadors for Christ to the kingdom of God. One of our deepest desires ought to be that others see the love and grace of God in our actions and our words and want what we have, a relationship with Christ and the hope of eternity spent with him.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24.

Shalom!

Every Little Thing

Serpentine pathway stones on a park lawn (concept)

I have the best son! He is an only son in the middle of two terrific sisters. When he was little we use to tell him that he was the best part of the sandwich, the middle! Of course, one can’t have a good sandwich without the two slices of bread to hold it altogether. A simple analogy that let all three of our kids know how special and unique they are.

A few days ago I asked my son if he would run the lawn mower over our wee, er, lawn. Where we live we have been in a drought for several years and we are in the process of making our yards drought resistant. Somehow the lawn has almost died but the weeds are green and hardy and that is with the sprinklers turned off.

Without hesitation, it is so nice as our kids get older and they want to help out without a second thought, he started up our lawn mower. Now, this lawn mower has seen better days. It was new when we bought it and my husband, ever the handy man, has patched and repaired this lawn mower and it still runs great! Except for one thing, once it has been started it doesn’t like to turn off. When my son was done mowing he came to get me to tell me that he couldn’t get the mower to turn off. Having used this machine many, many times throughout the years and knowing most of the idiosyncrasies it has developed, I was sure I could ‘fix’ the problem. As it turned out, I could not figure out how to stop it.

As I am standing with my son thinking to myself, “Are we really going to have to let this run out of gas until it stops?” I heard a voice say, “Ask me.” I immediately asked God to show us what to do and even before I finished asking my son remembered and reached down and broke the connection and even explained to me what he had done!

Many times I believe we forget that we are over comers because Christ has overcome the world. We forget that God wants to take care of every little thing. Maybe we think God can’t be bothered by the small details of our life. That may be the reality but the truth is God works all things together for us.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Precious One,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Even over coming a tired old lawn mower.

Shalom!

 

Night Sounds

As I sit on my porch enjoying the last of a beautiful day, I hear barking dogs in the distant and feel the gentle breeze of unseasonably cool weather. The stars are shining in a bright and cloudless sky. Unfortunately, I can also hear the cars on the bypass, which is quite a distance from our house, but the sound echoes back into our neighborhood. And even though we have had cooler weather, I also hear the song of the crickets, loud and clear and uninterrupted. They know internally the season we are in, God created them to know. And they praise him with the song God created within them.

All creatures on earth, you obey his commands, so come praise the Lord! Psalm 148:7

Worthy is the Lamb.

Shalom!

It’s The Law!

book

A few months ago I was having breakfast with one of my dearest friends. She was telling me about her current area of study, the book of Joshua, and the application God is showing her for current time. I was intrigued, as in fascinated, as I always am, when my friend and I have church together, and, Joshua is one of my favorite books. Days later I was still pondering our conversation when I felt Holy Spirit’s leading to begin a cross reference study of Joshua. 

This morning I came across Joshua 1:8:

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

There are a few things going on in this verse, and being the black and white thinker and rule follower that I am, the first thing that stands out at me is the word law. Law in its original context here is the word torah (to-raw’) and means instruction and it is from another Hebrew word yarah (yaw-raw’), which means to teach.

As believers in Christ we are now covered under the covenant of grace and no longer bound by the Law because we no longer need the Law to convict us it is by the grace of Christ whose Spirit lives within in us that convicts us. However, this does not mean that we ought to disregard the Scriptures on the Law, we still have plenty to learn about ourselves and our relationship with Christ because of the Law.

Wouldn’t it have been easier for the writer of Joshua to have said something like, “Do not let these teachings and instructions depart from your mouth”? I think, and in my humble opinion, we can let our ‘theology’ of the Law cause us to step into legalism. I speak from experience. And, perhaps, this was God’s intention to begin with, not that we would step into legalism but to cause us to question why the word Law is used in many passages throughout the Old Testament.

The next portion of this verse is to meditate on it day and night. Perhaps these struggles with the way God’s word is written is so that we will do just that. Meditate on Him and discover more and more of Who he Is. Day. And. Night. As we do we become more careful to keep His instructions for our life because we become more attune to Holy Spirit guiding us. Here is the phenomenon, we meditate on God and we delight in doing His will even though we maintain free moral will. Somehow, and it can only be by the supernatural grace of God, we let go of our rebellion and our will and want to do God’s will simply because he is good and worthy, because we revere him, because He is God.

The last part of this verse gives us a promise – you will be prosperous and successful. Which really means that we will make intelligent and expert decisions with understanding and wisdom and we will guide others wittingly; being fully aware of what we are saying and doing for the benefit of others and we will behave ourselves.

Precious One, the Law is really God’s great and unending love for you. Won’t you start today and discover more of this for yourself?

Live long and prosper.

Shalom!