Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011 … Integrity Enjoys Divine Resources

Passage of the Day: Daniel 6: 12 – 17 … 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”
13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, “Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”
16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

My Journal for Today: As we read on in Daniel 6, the plot thickens involving Daniel and the jealous and somewhat desperate leaders of the court of Darius, who had unwittingly signed a decree which seemed to have sealed Daniel’s fate to death in the lion’s den. At this point Darius realized that he was trapped politically, legally, and personally; and Daniel would have to pay the appointed legal penalty for his unwillingness to give up his prayer discipline and his God honoring integrity. We read that Darius didn’t want to kill Daniel; but all human means of exoneration were exhausted.

And how many times have we been at a place in our lives when all human and/or legal means of solving a problem have played themselves out. It is in moments like Daniel’s predicament or when we have no human means of prevailing that our God, … Daniel’s God, has us just where He wants us – dependent totally on Him to save the day; and in our surrender He is glorified. And as we’ve read many times in these devotionals, God is in the business of saving the day for Himself. By now, I would hope that you’re thinking of two of my favorite passages of strength and deliverance, 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9, and perhaps 2nd Tim. 1: 7, or in the Old Testament, … Isaiah 41: 10.

These are truths from God’s word which have pulled me from the mires of self doubt or discouragement on many occasions. Years ago my mentor in Christ led me to memorize and internalize these verses; because he convinced me that one day I would need these verses and the promises of God to lift me up when I was down; and I hope you have these God-given promises or others to lift you up. Perhaps you need them even today.

Having the wonderful and powerful promises of these passages, God’s promises in moments of dire circumstance, is wonderfully comforting; because when I’ve exhausted all the options in my human bank of solution, God is with me, ALWAYS, with these promises from His word to lift me up, … to draw upon His strength in my weakness, …and to be an overcomer as was Christ (see also John 16: 33). And that’s exactly what Darius wished for Daniel as we read it in Dan. 6: 16. No, the king actually wanted to see Daniel’s God prevail. And that can also happen when we stand in moments of despair, relying totally on our God. The world in such moments has a God consciousness forged in their hearts by God to see our Lord prevail and be lifted up. But that would not have happened in Daniel’s predicament if he had not stood, in Godly integrity, for God’s way in the face of man’s law. And it won’t happen in our lives, if we don’t stand in the gap, trusting in and living out the promises of God when we are confronted with the lion’s dens in life.

And so, when we’re at our end, we learn from Daniel’s strength, over and over, as well as remembering the strength of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that God’s strength is perfect when our strength is gone. As the lyrics of a great worship song, which God’s timing has given me in this moment of morning worship. The song is His Strength Is Perfect, in which Steven Curtis Chapman, singing it into my earphones from my ITunes, declares, “… raised in His power, the weak become strong.” Daniel believed that; and Darius was able to see the end result of that truth as you read on in Daniel 6. Our challenge, as it was for Daniel, is to have complete trust in God’s power and not let our circumstances and fears get the victory. And when we do, as did Daniel, we will see that God’s strength, as Steven Curtis Chapman sings, “… is always perfect.”

And that, my dear ones, is Christian integrity applied and personified in the lives of believers who live out their faith in the midst of a lion’s den or in the furnaces of life.

My Prayer Today: My hope is ever with You, Lord. Amen

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