Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011 … Integrity Proves God’s Faithfulness

Passage of the Day: Daniel 1: 18 - 20 … 18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

My Journal for Today: My former mentor, early in my Christian discipleship, when I was considering a task that I felt God was calling me to do, used to say, “God’s calling is His enablement.” And probably no true story in the Bible illustrates that principle better than today’s passage. These four young Hebrew lads came out of their three years of apprenticeship training (and Babylonian brainwashing, we might add); and though still very young, they were wiser and more astute than all the other Hebrew “trainees” and all of the wise men and leaders in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom.

That had to have been quite a “job” interview conducted by the King; and I’m sure he was blown away by how well these four men shined above all the rest. Later, in the book of Daniel, you can read, and we will see, how these four were challenged greatly for their faith. However, here we see that God had given them special grace and favor so that they would be up to the selection by the King as well as the challenges that would lie ahead in being God’s called witnesses to Babylon.

I hope it doesn’t seem presumptuous to interject a bit of personal testimony here. Some years back I was asked to become an Elder in our church, which, when I realized the biblical dictates/criteria (see 1st Tim. 3: 1-7 and Titus 1: 6-9), I felt humbled and challenged to become a leader in our church when I didn’t feel that leadership was one of my spiritual gifts. But my mentor repeated to me, “Bill, if God is calling you into this office, He will enable you to do this.” So, I submitted and was ordained an Elder of our church. A few years later, I seriously wondered why God had seemingly led me to into the daunting position of leadership; and then our former pastor had a serious breach of leadership, falling to an incident of sexual sin; and with my pre-Christian past, having been delivered from and discipled out of past patterns of sexual sin, I realized why God had prepared me for this moment in time. It was much like when Esther realized that God had brought her to a position of influence at just the right time of His calling, when her cousin Mordecai said to her, (from Esther 4: 14b) “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” I realized that God had led me through my past and prepared me to have very special leadership training for just this one moment in our church’s history. I learned that “God’s calling is HIS enablement (and mine too).”

God wants you and me, i.e., all believers, to be His witnesses to this very darkened, post-modern world, … a culture which desires, as did that of Babylon, to take God’s light from public sight (see 1st Peter 2: 15).

SCRIPTURE: 1st Peter 2: 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

And we must never forget God's call to His people [in Acts 1: 8] to receive His power and to be witnesses in His Name to the world whenever and wherever HE calls us to give witness to His Name. However, recently I heard John MacArthur give a sermon entitled A Nation Abandoned by God. In that message, primarily taken from Romans 1: 18 – 32, MacArthur posits that America and other nations of the world have likely in recent history been “given over” to the darkened minds/hearts of rulers and politicians who have been set adrift from God’s grace, allowing Satan to do his business with these leaders and to some extent with our culture. Hence, we see what is described in that passage of Romans 1, which is taking place in our post-modern America as well as throughout the world. And though I don’t like the term “abandoned” used by MacArthur in his sermon because of the truth of Deut. 31: 6 and Hebrews 13: 5, where God has promised “… never will I leave you; never will I forsake you; …” the “you” referring to a believing and obedient Israel in the Old Covenant as well as born-again believers in the New Covenant.

No, God will never “abandon” true followers of Christ; but He may well set those believers adrift for a season along with their collective nations as those nations decide to follow Satan and his world. But again remember, … God’s calling in His enablement; and God has called His people, through Christ, to be His vessels of light, Jesus declaring, [Matt. 5: 16] “… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” He has also given His followers, by His grace, all we need to live up to His calling (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9 and 2nd Peter 1: 3). And so, even if God has given this post-modern culture over to the reprobate minds/hearts of its lost political and social “leaders,” God will never abandon the remnant of Christ’s followers in this world. That was God’s promise to Israel in Psalm 81: 8 -16 [linked here for your study]; and it’s His promise to you and me as Christians today.

My Prayer Today: Keep your fire lit in me, Lord, so that I may shine your truth in this world! Amen

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