A Life Interrupted

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. – Daniel 4:1
adam-rakus-365721-unsplash
Have you ever been interrupted by “life?” You were happy and at peace with your life then suddenly something happened and your world was turned upside down? The biblical record tells us that Nebuchadnezzar was “at ease in his house and flourishing in his palace” when a dream messed all that up. Of course, the confusing vision soon became a horribly clear reality and for seven years his life was a mere shadow of its former glory … completely changed.
Will your life be interrupted like that? Well, I hope you won’t lose your mind and wander the countryside like a rabid dog, but yes, I am sure you will have your fair share of difficult, unexpected moments (as have I). So here’s the question you need to answer now, before that moment arrives. Have you given God permission to interrupt your life? He doesn’t really need it, because He is Lord, but it will help you be ready for what might be coming your way.
Nebuchadnezzar was arrogant. Some might say that he had it coming, but arrogant (or just presumptive) we all need to be willing to allow our Creator to determine the course of our lives … to let Him interrupt as He wills.
Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet. – Lewis Mumford

Invite Him to Write

As the king watched the hand that was writing, his face turned pale, and his thoughts so terrified him that his hip joints shook and his knees knocked together. – Daniel 5:5-6
aaron-burden-64849-unsplash
Can you read the writing on the wall?
The king of Babylon knew that something had been written on his wall and, though he didn’t understand the message, he was visibly shaken by the experience.
He knew the message was personal.
He knew it was important.
He could tell that it came from some unearthly power.
He was even sure it wasn’t going to be good.
All of this added up to one scared dude.
If God wrote a message on your “wall,” could you read it? What would it say? Would the message bring assurance, conviction, or fright?
If you know the Messenger, then you have no reason to fear the message. If you spend time with the Messenger, then you should not be surprised by the message. If you know the Messenger’s voice (His Word), then understanding the message will be the least of your concerns. Just invite Him to write.
The best way in the world to deceive believers is to cloak a message in religious language and declare that it conveys some new insight from God. – Charles Stanley

Testimony

He rescues and delivers; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. – Daniel 6:27
eric-ward-455457-unsplash
Darius was the pagan king of the Medes and Persians, but he declared the glory of the One, True God. Why would he do such a thing?
Daniel’s faithfulness led him to be falsely accused and wrongly cast into a den of lions. God then used Daniel’s faith to prove His omnipotent ability to rescue and deliver those who put their trust in Him. This testimony … Daniel’s experience … led to the king’s ardent proclamation above.
The greatest testimony of your life may come through your greatest trial. If you desire to be used of God, then you need to realize that He may put you through something that is beyond your own ability to withstand. His strength is perfected in our weakness and therefore, we should not we be surprised when God makes us weak.
Be faithful and courageous. God intends to be glorified by and through every painful aspect of your life.
We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. – Winston Churchill

Hope Located

The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey Him. – Daniel 7:27

janus-clemmensen-52724-unsplash

How’s your day going so far? Still too early to tell?

Some days are good and some are … well, not. Others begin well, but then seem to nosedive into the abyss of mediocrity and failure (okay, maybe that was a little over the top). You get the picture.

When Daniel received his vision from God, the nation of Judah was not in a good place. Exiled and seemingly forgotten by God, life was a bed of thorns (not roses). The Creator’s message to Daniel reminded him of divine sovereignty and control over events and kingdoms of this earth. In the midst of their exile, God wanted Daniel to know that He was still at work accomplishing His purposes and plans.

Everything belongs to God … today and all our tomorrows. Where is hope? Our hope is Him.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shaken, Not Stirred

“The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. Now you must seal up the vision because it refers to many days [in the future].” I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was greatly disturbed by the vision and could not understand it. – Daniel 8:26-27
tim-bish-171738-unsplash
I am a bit of a James Bond fan (Daniel Craig and Sean Connery … you can pretty much remove all the guys in between); therefore, I know that James Bond likes his martinis “shaken, not stirred.”
It is an unfortunate truth that many of us like our Christianity the same way. We love to read convicting books, listen to convicting sermons, and watch convicting speakers talk about the need to be convicted. It seems that we love to be “shaken,” but we are rarely “stirred.” The question is how often does our intent (conviction) move to effective, sustainable change that results in action?
Daniel was “overcome” by the vision he received. So much so that he lay sick for days; however, at some point he took the time to record what he had heard and communicate it to others so they, in turn, could hear and respond.
The Holy Spirit’s aim is not for us to be “all shook up,” but rather that we be shaken out of our complacency … that the church would be effectively be stirred to move from intent to effective action that brings change and greater glory to God.
Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often. – Mark Twain

Turn ON the Lights. The Party’s Over.

The water rose over my head, and I cried out, “This is the end!” But I called on your name, Lord , from deep within the pit. – Lamentations 3:54-55

hillie-chan-261330-unsplash

Ever had a pity party?

Depression is no laughing matter (okay … that made me chuckle), but many pity parties are just laughable. We feel sorry for ourselves for any number of reasons … some may grant some justification, but most do not.

The deepest pit I have ever experienced was when my brother died back in 1991. I didn’t fall in it until a couple of weeks after the funeral, but I sure fell. By God’s grace and truth, I eventually emerged. The second greatest “trough of despair” came about due to our unexpected return to the USA from overseas service. Though I had struggled from time to time with the change in direction, I finally plunged headlong into despair when I realized that my ministry hopes and dreams had come to a crashing conclusion. Despondent at the time, I wrote … “Fried and flayed, amazed it’s been paid, here I sit by the tumbling brook, waiting for the whisper.” It took me a couple of agonizing days, but God threw me a truth rope (I heard the whisper) and I climbed out.

I wish I could say that the way out of a pit is easy, but it just isn’t. Apart from His truth, it is impossible. Yet, if you turn on the “light” … the clarity that comes from His Word … your personal “party” can end.

The “rope” is there. Grab it.

Hope is a waking dream. – Augustine

Empty Claim

“Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One. – Isaiah 40:25

nilton-oliveira-759496-unsplash

Worship may be defined as the valuation of something above everything else. The ancient Hebrew word for worship even carries the idea of “heaviness” … implying that if I worship someone (or something), it carries more weight in my decisions and/or life choices.

How we live our lives tells the world if we truly worship God … or not. It is very possible to say that we believe in God, but if we do not worship Him we are no less than liars. His comparative “weight” implies His importance and if God (and His desires) are not more important than everything else in your life, you cannot claim to worship Him.

Belief = Worship. Belief without worship is just an empty claim.

But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. – Jesus, the Christ