F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
IS that wonderful? It may seem so when you consider the uncertainty of Oriental politics, and the feverish haste with which favorites are raised to confidential positions and thrust back again to obscurity. In this very book we have glimpses of the virulence of hatred entertained in the court of Babylon toward Jews, and the mortification with which aspirants for the royal favor found it monopolized by Daniel and his friends. But we cease to wonder when we turn to Dan. 6:10, and discover Daniel's habit of kneeling upon his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks to his God. Prayer is the secret of continuance.
To all deep lives there come moments of serious questioning: Shall I be able to hold out? Shall I always be able to withstand the virulent hate of my foes, and overcome the corruption of my heart? Will it be always possible to meet the strong and imperious demands of duty, and the appeal of those who look to me for help? Amid the changes that the years may bring, will it be possible to maintain my ground? Men are so capricious; events so fluctuating; the sea of human life so unstable. To all such suggestions there is but one reply--prayer is the secret of continuance.
It is a dangerous temptation of the adversary, so writes one of God's hidden ones, when upright minds suffer themselves to be completely cast down by the unbelieving--I had almost said proud--view of their infirmities: in the performance of God's works such ought only to humble themselves, and go forward. He who loves and exercises prayer, will in due time be translated from self unto God: from being a pitcher, filled and emptied, to a river-bed.
Our Daily Bread
WHILE working on a summer construction job to pay his way through seminary, Byron accepted a special favor from his supervisor. In exchange for a little painting and repair work on the man's hunting lodge, he could spend the rest of the day fishing, swimming, and relaxing at full company pay. Byron was enjoying his first evening in the cabin when the phone rang. It was his father.
"What are you doing collecting company pay for private work?" he asked pointedly.
Byron felt the sting of conviction. Even though he needed the money and knew he might be fired if he backed out, he left the cabin at once and told his supervisor he could not continue the arrangement.
Many Christians are serious about guarding against the "big" sins like sexual immorality, but they aren't as careful about the "lesser" ones. Byron made this mistake, but he was sensitive enough to recognize it and correct it
The prophet Daniel and his three friends were asked to eat food that was ceremonially unclean according to Jewish law. To them it seemed like a little thing, but they had decided to be obedient to God in everything.
How we handle little temptations is the true test of our character.—H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. —Daniel 1:8
When a professional musician nicknamed “Happy” became a Christian, he quit playing in nightclubs and offered his services to a rescue mission. Some time later, he received a phone call from a club manager who wanted to hire him to do a show that would have brought in a lot of money. But Happy turned down the offer, telling the manager that he would be playing at the mission. Happy said, “He congratulated me. That surprised me. Here was a man who wanted me to play for him and he was congratulating me for refusing his offer.” The manager respected Happy’s decision.
Daniel was a captive in a foreign land, but he did not forget his religious principles. He could not in good conscience eat meat that had been dedicated to a pagan god and had not been slaughtered in accordance with Hebrew laws. He asked for a simple fare of vegetables and water, and the steward risked his life to honor his request. I believe he did this because Daniel’s noble conduct had earned his respect.
The world looks with disdain on Christians who do not live what they say they believe. That’s why we should remain true to our convictions. Consistency of character is what gains the respect of others.— by Herbert Vander Lugt
You'll gain respect when people see
That you are faithful to God's Word;
There may be some who disagree,
But they will know you love the Lord.
—D. De Haan
If you're living for Christ you may lose some friends,
but you won't lose their respect.
Dare To Be A Daniel
Bible characters like Daniel encourage us and show us how to live. We still need “Daniels” today—men and women who have convictions and the courage to stand for them even when it involves sacrifice or unpopularity.
My father, Dr. M. R. De Haan, was just such a man. Oh, he wasn’t perfect. He was human. He had his faults. Some people even thought of him as stubborn. But he was a man of the Book. He was a man of conviction. And he was a man of courage.
It was 30 years ago, on December 13, 1965, that my father went home to be with the Lord. Yet I can recall his words to me on one occasion as if he said them only yesterday. Accenting his statement by pounding his fist on his desk, he said, “Richard, I don’t care if the whole world differs with me. I must do what’s right. I must act according to my convictions!”
Of course, we must be careful to make sure our beliefs are properly grounded. But once we are certain of that, we should be like Daniel, who not only had convictions but the courage to stand for them.
Today, when you are tempted to compromise your principles, don’t give in. Dare to be a Daniel! — by Richard De Haan
The life that counts must toil and fight,
Must hate the wrong and love the right,
Must stand for truth, by day, by night—
This is the life that counts. —Anon.
Christ gives us the courage of our convictions.
You won't fall for what's wrong if you stand for what's right.
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Daniel 1:8).
An interesting thing to watch from an airplane is the winding path of a river. No two waterways are alike, but they all have one thing in common: they are crooked. And the reason is simple—rivers follow the path of least resistance. They flow around anything that blocks their eroding work. Rivers are crooked because they take the easy way.
Christians become crooked for the same reason. When we fail to overcome temptation, resist the devil, or tackle the enemy head-on, we deviate from the straight path God would have us follow. Unlike Daniel, who "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself," we bend to worldly pressures and compromise what we know is right.
This shouldn't happen. Nothing is so strong that we need allow it to sidetrack us. Writing to Christians, John said, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1John 4:4). Believers can be "strong in the Lord" and press forward in "the power of His might." Rather than being overcome, we can be overcomers. Nothing should deter us in our Christian walk or divert us from our prescribed course. We don't have to give in to any temptation or foe.
Unlike rivers, which have no choice in the matter, we can remain straight by refusing to follow the path of least resistance. —R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
No one ever goes crooked who stays on the straight and narrow.
Refusing The Easy Way
December 5, 2002 — by Richard De Haan
Looking out the window of an airplane, you can see the winding paths of rivers below. Except for some man-made waterways, all rivers have one thing in common—they all are crooked. The reason is simple—they follow the path of least resistance. Rivers find their way around anything that blocks their flow because they take the easy way.
The same can be said for some people. Because they fail to resist the devil, they yield to temptation and deviate from the path God would have them follow. Unlike Daniel, who “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8), they bend to worldly pressures and compromise what they know is right.
Writing to followers of Christ, John said that we can be victorious in our struggle against evil, because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Rather than being overcome, we can be overcomers. Nothing should deter us from the course God wants us to travel. We don’t have to yield to any temptation or foe. The Holy Spirit who lives in us will strengthen us so that we can remain steadfast.
We won’t become “crooked” if we refuse to follow the path of least resistance.
We need a strength to keep us true
And straight, in everything we do;
We need a power to keep us strong
When we are tempted to do wrong. —Anon.
You won't go astray on the straight and narrow way.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. —Proverbs 17:17
The Old Testament characters Job and Daniel had much in common. Both went through serious trials and challenges. Both had great success because of the blessing of God’s presence in their lives. Both are viewed as giants of the faith, one for his patience in suffering and the other for his purity in an impure culture.
Job and Daniel had something else in common—each had three significant friends. Here, however, the similarities end. Job’s friends became a thorn in his flesh, offering him condemnation when he needed compassion and companionship. As Job struggled with loss and grief, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar seemed bent on intensifying his pain rather than helping him in his adversity.
Daniel’s three friends were very different. Taken captive together, Daniel and his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, supported and strengthened one another in difficult times. They stood together in honoring God (Daniel 1) and in prayer (2:17-18), and in refusing to bow before the king’s image (3:16-18). That’s the kind of friend we need.
So what kind of friend am I? Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” Who needs you to be a friend today?— by Bill Crowder
Lord, help me be the kind of friend
That makes my friend secure,
So he can find new strength and hope,
His trials to endure.
—D. De Haan
A true friend is like support to a leaning wall.
Courage And Courtesy
I have always admired the boldness, courage, and conviction of Daniel. Recently I was struck by the way he stood for his principles in a pagan culture. The Bible tells us that Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” with food and drink that God said was forbidden for Jews, so he asked his captors for another menu (Dan. 1:8). Instead of crossing his arms and refusing to eat, Daniel asked permission to take a different nutritional approach. When the official refused, Daniel pursued his goal with a polite request to someone else: “Please test your servants for ten days” (v.12).
We can learn from this young man, who took a bold stand for God by asking permission instead of making demands. There is no trace of arrogance in his behavior.
Gentleness and respect are to characterize our testimony to an unbelieving world. We are not to compromise our commitment to Christ, but we are to be ready to answer anyone who asks about our hope (1 Pet. 3:15-16). Our witness for Christ, therefore, is to be lived and spoken boldly, yet gently and respectfully.
When it’s time to take a stand, let’s follow Daniel’s powerful example of courage combined with courtesy.— by David C. McCasland
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!
It's easy to stand with the crowd
It takes courage to stand alone.
READ: Daniel 1:1-17
IMAGINE being a teenager in Daniel's predicament. The king has told you what you're to eat and drink. But there's a problem. God has told you something different. He said that the food on the king's menu is prohibited. How many of us could stand up to that kind of pressure?
Many people today think teenagers don't have what it takes to do what's right in situations where it costs something to take a moral stand. And some parents of adolescents think that the teenage years are simply a time to endure. But instead of dwelling on the things teens do wrong, we ought to be taking advantage of opportunities to encourage them to do right.
Teens that love God and want to serve Him need guidance and encouragement not scorn and criticism. They need people ahead of them blazing the trail not behind them biting their ankles. Only when adults exercise self-control and refuse to give in to the pressure of their own peer groups can we expect to have teens who do the same. —J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Teens and Those Who Love Them
Imagine yourself in Daniel’s predicament. The king has told you, a Jewish teenager, what you’re going to eat and drink. But there’s a problem: God has said that the food on the king’s menu is prohibited. Could you stand up to that kind of pressure?
Many people don’t think teens have what it takes to do what’s right in a case like this—or in similar situations where it would cost them something to take a moral stand. Parents often think that the teenage years are simply a time to endure. But instead of dwelling on the difficulties they will face, we ought to think of the opportunities we have to encourage them to do what is right.
I think Daniel, the teen who was challenged to stand up to the king in God’s name, must have had people who taught him to make right choices. And it showed, for he boldly challenged the king’s rules.
Many teens have the love for God and wisdom that Daniel displayed. What they need is guidance and encouragement, not a prejudiced, negative attitude about the younger generation. Help the teens you know to develop the courage of Daniel.— by Dave Branon
Stay involved in the lives of teenagers.
Affirm their importance with words and actions.
Expect them to do what’s right, even if it won’t be popular.
Help them set their standards high—like Daniel’s.
Children tend to rise to the level of their parents’ expectations.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
THIS prayer-meeting, called hurriedly, must have been very intense. There was no knowing whether it might not be interrupted before it was completed by the guards of the palace summoning the supplicants to die. These two or three were gathered in the name of God, in rooms which never before had heard His name. But when their prayers had been offered, such serene peace resulted that Daniel was able to sleep with the utmost composure; and his mind, like a mirror, received upon its placid depths the impression of God's thoughts.
It is a test of prayer having attained its object, when the praying soul feels there is no need to wrestle longer, and the sweet assurance is borne in that God has received our supplication, and that further words are needless. This serenity of heart shows itself in the unruffled calm of the commercial man in a time of panic; in the quietness of the soul under provocation; in the stayedness of the heart on God, while storms sweep earth and sky.
It has been pointed out that there are three New Testament words for prayer to which we do well to take heed. Be sober unto prayer (1 Peter 4:7). Do not be drunk with worldly vanity, business, or gaiety; but bring a humble, penitent, clear, and sound mind. Be at leisure when you pray (1 Cor. 7:5). The word means that prayer is not to be hurried; that nothing should interfere with its leisurely enjoyment. Labor at prayer (Col. 1:29; or 4:12). As a man labors at his daily work, or strives on the battlefield, or agonizes to preserve a beloved friend from danger. It was thus that Jesus labored in the Garden of Gethsemane. And it was thus that these faithful souls must have prayed.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior, was a doctor. As such he was very interested in the use of ether. In order to know how his patients felt under its influence, he once had a dose administered to himself.
As he was going under, in a dreamy state, a profound thought came to him. He believed that he had suddenly grasped the key to all the mysteries of the universe. When he regained consciousness, however, he was unable to remember what the insight was.
Because of the great importance this thought would be to mankind, Holmes arranged to have himself given either again. This time he had a stenographer present to take down the great thought. The either was administered, and sure enough, just before passing out the insight reappeared. He mumbled the words, the stenographer took them down, and he went to sleep confident in the knowledge that he had succeeded.
Upon awakening, he turned eagerly to the stenographer and asked her to read what he had uttered. This is what she read: “The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of turpentine.” (Bits & Pieces, November 12, 1992, pp. 20-22)
A PATTERN FOR PRAYER
Daniel [told] … his companions; that they would de-sire mercies of the God of heaven… Daniel 2:17, 18
Daniel had many wonderful traits. Evidently he was hand-some, intelligent, and possessed outstanding abilities. Further-more, he had deep convictions and great courage, and dared to stand for the right — even though it would bring disfavor from the king. One of his finest characteristics was that he was a man of prayer! In the second chapter of his prophecy, we find him calling his friends to pray in time of an extreme emergency. In chapter six we see him kneeling three times a day according to his custom; and in chapter nine we hear him utter one of the most outstanding petitions of confession in the entire Word of God.
Note, in chapter two, three facts concerning Daniel's prayer-life. In verse 16 he is found doing everything possible to answer his own requests! Aware of the crisis he and his friends are facing, he goes without delay to the king himself, asking for more time. In verses 17 and 18, we see him calling for group supplication! He tells his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to begin praying with him that the God of Heaven would reveal the king's dream. Then in verse 19, after Daniel's request has been granted, he is heard giving thanks and praise to the Lord for His gracious answers! Let us put these principles into practice in our own lives: First, do all we can to answer our own petitions; then, call for the prayers of others; and, finally, always remember to give thanks.
Be a 20th century Daniel: a praying, working, thankful Christian!
The heart is a temple when God is there,
And we place ourselves in His loving care;
Then the burdens, which seemed too heavy to bear,
Are lifted away on the wings of prayer!
—Helen S. Rice
Prayer with obedience is POWER;
prayer without obedience is PRESUMPTION! —Bosch
God does not change. Haddon Robinson illustrated this truth by calling attention to a famous clock. He wrote, "In the town hall in Copenhagen stands the world's most complicated clock. It took forty years to build, at a cost of more than a million dollars. That clock has ten faces, 15,000 parts, and is accurate to two-fifths of a second every 300 years. The clock computes the-time of day, the days of the week, the months and years, and the movements of the planets for 2,500 years. Some parts of the clock will not move until twenty-five centuries have passed."
"What is intriguing," Robinson added, "is that the clock is not accurate. It loses two-fifths of a second every 300 years. Like all clocks, that timepiece in Copenhagen must be regulated by a more precise clock, the universe itself. This mighty astronomical clock with its billions of moving parts, from atoms to stars, rolls on century after century with movements so reliable that all time on earth can be measured against it."
Clocks stop. Cars break down. Financial institutions go bankrupt. People disappoint us. But God and His universe remain the same. He is the reliable God! —D. C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Daniel 2:21; 4:32-35; 5:21
God Still Rules
Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded. —Habakkuk 1:5
As the year 1999 came to a close, great leaders of the century were remembered, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. During World War II, they led Great Britain and the United States to defeat Nazism and Fascism.
Did you know that both men nearly lost their lives before the war began? In December 1931, Churchill was struck by a car as he crossed Fifth Avenue in New York City. In Miami in December 1933, an assassin’s bullet barely missed Roosevelt and killed the man standing beside him.
Both leaders could have died, but they survived. Why? I believe God wanted these two men alive to lead their respective nations to victory over the enemy.
The Bible teaches that God causes nations and their leaders to rise and fall (Daniel 2:21; 4:32-35; 5:21). When Habakkuk complained that it didn’t seem right for God to use wicked Babylon to discipline Israel, the Lord assured the prophet that this did not mean evil would triumph. God was still in control and would one day bring about perfect justice (Habakkuk 2:13-14).
We too can be sure that our times are in God’s hands. No matter what may happen in this world, God still rules!
This is my Father's world—
Oh, let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
God's sovereignty overrules any calamity.
Endtime Events - Matthew 24:36-51 (Included as this truth pertains to Daniel 2 Prophecies)
Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. —Matthew 24:44
In 1947, scientists created the Doomsday Clock to symbolically show how close they believe the world is to a nuclear holocaust. In 1953, after the US tested a hydrogen bomb, the hands were set at 2 minutes before midnight. Since then they have been pushed back and forth 13 times. The clock’s safest setting was in 1991, after the US and Russia signed an arms-reduction treaty. The time was then set at 17 minutes before midnight. But in May 1999, after India and Pakistan set off nuclear blasts, the hands were advanced to 11:51.
God has a “clock” too. Over the centuries, prophecy buffs have tried to “set the hands” by predicting the “midnight hour” of Christ’s return. But their date-settings have failed and left many people disillusioned. Conflicting views of the precise order of events and the nearness of His coming have diverted many from our Lord’s primary reason for speaking about these events. He didn’t want prophecy to become a divisive battleground, but a unifying truth for believers.
When Jesus spoke of His return, it was to remind us to “be ready” (Matthew 24:44). We are to be faithfully serving Him (Mt 24:45) by faithfully serving the needs of others. Let’s leave the hands of God’s clock in His hands.
The Christ I love is coming soon,
It may be morning, night, or noon;
My lamps are lit, I'll watch and pray;
It may be today, it may be today. —Bixler
(c) 1950 Singspiration, Inc.
Christ is coming—perhaps today!
ONE WHO KNOWS
Daniel 2:22… he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
When Daniel had received from the Lord the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he blessed and praised the God of Heaven. Included in that praise was this phrase, "He knoweth what is in the darkness." What frightful words these are to the workers of iniquity! Nothing is hid from Him. Every wicked word He hears, every sinful thought He knows, every cunning scheme of unrighteousness He detects. "He knoweth what is in the darkness!" But what comfort this Scripture brings to the child of God! There is no night of sorrow but that He under-stands and cares. He is well aware of the disappointments and trials we face. Therefore with Job we may say, "He knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tested me, I shall come forth as gold." The Lord describes Himself in Jeremiah 23:23 as the "God at hand." He is always there to see His child through distressing emergencies.
A long hallway with a turn to the right led to my little bed-room in our old homestead. When I was young it seemed like a considerable distance from my parents' room. The place was especially gloomy and foreboding to my childish mind as my mother would flick off the light and say goodnight. More than once in the darkness they would hear a voice from that room way down the hall. "Mother! Dad! Are you there?" And everything would be all right when I heard the reassuring words, "Yes, Paul!" Dear friend, if you are going through the night of trial or disappointment, remember, "He knoweth what is in the darkness," and He is with you!
From Thee, O Lord, I am not hid,
Though darkness cover me;
The darkness and the light of day
Are both alike to Thee. —Anon.
Though the gloom of trouble may surround you,
your future is as bright as the love and promises of God!
"God of the Stars"
There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets. - Titus 3:5,7
A glance at the daily newspaper tells us that modern life is still infected by the ancient practice of astrology. Guests on talk shows discuss their astrological signs with the same ease that they discuss their divorces. Late-night television offers the services of stargazers by telephone at four dollars a minute. The wife of a recent president of the United States consulted an astrologer for advice on the travel schedule for her husband.
As a young man, Augustine (354-430) consulted astrologers. In later years, however, he opposed the practice. Because astrology assumes that the position of the stars at the time of our birth determines personality and the course of our life, Augustine asked, "Why, in the life of twins-- in their actions, the events that befall them, their professions, arts, honors, and other things pertaining to human life, as well as in their very deaths-- is there often so great a difference that, as far as these things are concerned, many entire strangers are more like them than they are like each other?
Our lives aren't shaped by lifeless stars, but by the God who created the stars and us as well. He has revealed to us in the Bible our destiny in Jesus Christ.: Haddon W. Robinson
I will not seek to know the future years,
Nor cloud today with dark tomorrow's fears
I will but ask clear light from heaven to show
How step by step my pilgrimage should go.
You don't need to know where you're going
if you know God is leading.
The court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. —Daniel 7:26
In Moscow stands the New Tretyakov Gallery, a museum that displays art and artifacts from the days of the former Soviet Union. Scattered along the banks of the Moscow River near the museum are statues of once-powerful leaders that have been smashed and disfigured. Images of Stalin and Lenin have their noses knocked off and their heads separated from their bodies.
These gloomy scenes bring to mind the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2. He saw a statue with a glorious head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, a torso of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay (vv.31-33). It portrayed the succession of four great ruling nations of the world. From history we know they were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Then a stone “cut out of the mountain without hands” (v.45) rolled down and smashed the statue to smithereens. This pictured God’s judgment of those four kingdoms and His supremacy over all the earth.
One day God will judge the nations of the world, and their monuments will lie in ruins. No matter how powerful the nation, all will crumble beneath the outpouring of God’s holy wrath. We can be confident that Jesus Christ, the King of kings, will rule the world in righteousness, justice, and peace. What a glorious prospect! — by David C. Egner
Now evil prospers, falsehood reigns,
And darkness dims the light;
But soon the day will come when Christ
Returns to set things right. —Sper
Nations rise and fall, but Christ's kingdom stands forever.
CIVILIZATION'S "TITANIC MOMENT"
And … the God of heaven [shall] set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. Daniel 2:44
An insurance company recently pictured the Titanic sailing straight for the iceberg which many years ago sank that great luxury liner. States the advertisement: "They called her the 'Millionaire's Special.' Four city blocks long, eleven stories high, powered by triple propellers, protected by the latest, most ingenious devices, luxurious and beautiful beyond words, she caught the fancy of the world. On April 10, 1912, she slipped out of Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. Less than five days later, she went down in 12,000 feet of icy water, 300 feet of her hull ripped open by a massive iceberg. Actually the Titanic was more than a ship. She was a symbol of man's power. Majestic! Colossal! Unsinkable! But when the 'unsinkable' sank, something went down with it. No one would ever again feel the same confidence in man's strength." What a perfect illustration this is of all of human society. Proud, modern civilization—heedless of the claims of Christ—is rushing headlong toward destruction.
In Daniel 2 the Bible outlines the succession of world governments under the symbolism of a great image. Majestic, colossal, and apparently secure and unbreakable, a stone from Heaven smites the statue and grinds it to powder. The interpretation given is that the Stone—the Lord Jesus Christ—is coming in power and glory to destroy all of godless man's vain dreams. Yes, civilization is rushing toward its "titanic moment" when the wicked shall be punished and the Lord shall establish His perfect kingdom. Are you ready for that day to come?
Christ shall come in justice,
Evil to redress,
And to judge the nations
In His righteousness. —Psalter
The importance of Christ's return
may be seen in the fact that it is mentioned
318 times in the New Testament alone.
Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily
There was no doubt about their being bound. Their turbans, mantles, and other garments had bound their limbs so tightly, that when first they reached the furnace they fell down bound in its midst. Whatever else the fire could not do, it at least freed them, so that they walked loose; and the dewy glades of Paradise were not more fragrant and delightful than were those white-hot cinders.
This is what trial has often done for us. We had become conscious of the binding effect of our own habits which we had permitted as comparatively innocent; but gradually the conviction grew that they were amongst the weights that should be laid aside. Yet they clung to us until some fiery trial befell us, and from that hour, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we were free. Do not fear the fire. It cannot hurt one hair of your head, or leave the smell of burning on you; but it will eat out the alloy, and gnaw away the iron bands that bound you.
“Beat on, true heart, for ever! Shine bright, strong golden chain; And bless the cleansing fire And the furnace of living pain.”
But Jesus never allows his beloved to walk the fire alone. If it is heated seven times hotter than its wont, this is only the reason for his becoming more real, as our living and glorious Friend. There always goes beside the tried saint, though not always patent even to the eye of the spirit, another whose aspect is that of the Son of God. Reach out thy hands to Him, beloved—He is there. The Refiner not only watches the crucible, He is in it with thee. In all thy affliction He is afflicted.
TESTED AND TRUE
be it known unto thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy gods Daniel 3:18
When doctors perform surgery, the attending nurse must keep careful tab of the number of hemostats and sponges used, so that an incision is not closed until each item has been removed. A young nurse on her first day with this duty told the surgeon he had used twelve sponges, but she could account for only eleven. The doctor curtly announced that he had removed them all. The young woman insisted that one was missing, but the doctor grimly declared he would proceed with the suturing. The nurse, her eyes blazing, said, "You can't do that! Think of the patient!" The doctor smiled and, lifting his foot, showed the nurse the twelfth sponge which he had deliberately dropped to the floor. "You'll do!" he said. He had been testing her to see
if she had the courage and integrity to carry out the duties of her position!
Daniel's three friends were also tested by King Nebuchadnezzar's evil edict. They knew that their refusal to worship the image of gold might result in their death. However, they never wavered but proved they were true to God by standing firm in the face of the enemy's threats.
The Lord still permits trials and temptations to enter the lives of his children. The challenge may come as an invitation to gratify the lusts of the flesh, or as a series of disheartening circumstances. Whatever form it assumes, you must not yield, or you will experience spiritual defeat. However, overcoming the temptation will strengthen you and enable you to reach a new plateau in your Christian life.
Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin,
Each vict'ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through.
—H. R. Palmer
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trial!
Come ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love, and power;
He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more. —J. Hart
Honest doubt, if properly handled, can become the vestibule of faith!
Daniel 3:17, 18
John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, was afraid when he was in prison for his commitment to Christ. “My imprisonment,” he wrote, “might end on the gallows.”
We can understand his fear, can’t we? No one wants to face the prospect of being hanged. But, a change took place in Bunyan’s life one day. He became ashamed of being afraid. He said, “Me thought I was ashamed to die with a pale face and tottering knees for such a cause as this.”
William Barclay comments, “Bunyan finally came to a conclusion as he thought of himself climbing up the ladder to the scaffold: ‘Wherefore, thought I, I am going on and venturing my eternal state with Christ whether I have comfort here or no; if God doth not come in, I will leap off the ladder even blindfold into eternity. Lord Jesus, if Thou wilt catch me, do; if not, I will venture for Thy name.’“ (Morning Glory, August 19, 1993)
But If Not …
We do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. —Daniel 3:18
I recall a Sunday school lesson from nearly 40 years ago in which we were taught to love God in spite of our circumstances. Loving God is easy when He grants our requests and provides what we desire. Loving Him in difficult circumstances tests our faith.
In Daniel 3, we read of the life-and-death decision Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had to make. If they chose to worship the golden image, they would live; if they refused, death was certain. They answered King Nebuchadnezzar: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace … But if not, … we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Da 3:17-18).
Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego lacking in faith when they said “but if not”? No. They knew God was fully capable of delivering them from the fiery furnace.
There’s a lesson in this for all of us. Is God all-powerful? Yes. Is He able to deliver us from all our problems? Yes. Does God always deliver us from our difficulties? No.
We may not fully comprehend God’s purpose in our difficulty and suffering, but we must not cease to love Him. We must trust Him and hope in Him in spite of the trials that threaten to overwhelm us. — by Albert Lee
I have learned to love my Savior,
And I trust Him more each day;
For no matter what the trial,
He will always be my stay. —Hess
Genuine faith stays strong when deliverance seems distant.
What a story! Three young men who refused to treat their king as a god ended up walking around in a furnace (Dan. 3:21-25). The furnace was so hot that the committee in charge of incineration died from the heat (v.22), but these three young champions hardly broke a sweat.
Many stories of heroism don’t end that way. A missionary is captured by bandits, and in spite of many prayers he is murdered. Dietrich Bonhoeffer defies the Nazis in the name of God, but a few days before the war ends, he is executed. Why wasn’t God “in the furnace” then?
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego could have ended in their violent deaths. Those three young men knew that, for they said, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us … But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods” (Dan. 3:17-18).
We may not be in a furnace, but we may be in an uncomfortable, even desperate spot. When we aren’t delivered out of our “hot spot,” is God still God to us? Or do we feel cheated because He hasn’t come through as we wanted?
This story pushes me. Am I willing to serve God even if I get no payoff? Will I say, “The God whom I serve is able to deliver me; but if not, I refuse to serve other gods”?— by Haddon W. Robinson
I cannot see my Savior's hand
Which demonstrates His will,
But I by faith can understand
A promise He'll fulfill. —Anon.
The essence of Faith is the willingness to serve God without a guarantee.
Courage In The Crisis
Through the centuries, some of God’s servants have faced the possibility of an agonizing death unless they renounced their faith. They knew that God could deliver them, but they also knew that in keeping with His own purposes He might not answer their pleas for supernatural help.
In the book of Daniel, three young Hebrew captives faced a life-and-death choice: Worship the king’s gold image or be thrown into the fiery furnace. Their response was unhesitating: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.” They added, “But if not, … we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
But if not! Those words challenge our allegiance. Suppose we face crippling disease. Suppose we are facing shameful disgrace. Suppose we are facing painful loss. We plead for God’s intervention, yet in every threatening circumstance our plea should carry the proviso, “But if not!”
Is our attitude that of Jesus in Gethsemane? “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
Are we willing to endure whatever will glorify God and work out His holy purposes?— by Vernon C. Grounds
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven
Through peril, toil, and pain:
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train. —Heber
When conviction runs deep, courage rises to sustain it.
Conscience & Consequence
Nearly every day we face questions of conscience. We must choose between doing what pleases God and what appeals to our own selfish desires.
Government officials may be tempted to accept bribes and to make unethical decisions. Employees are sometimes asked to rearrange numbers or file false reports. Students often face temptations such as cheating and plagiarism.
As Christians, we face situations in our daily lives that are conscience-testers. They help us to see whether we are serious about the integrity God expects of us. We know our choices will have good or bad consequences, but the real test comes when we must decide what to do.
What is the greatest protection against making the wrong decision? It is trusting God to take care of us as we choose to do what’s right, regardless of the outcome.
In Daniel 3, Shadrach and his friends made a decision not to bow down to the gold image. They dared to disobey the king because they trusted God. They said that even if the Lord did not deliver them, they would still trust Him (vv.17-18).
When we face matters of conscience, we too can do the right thing—and leave the consequences with God.— by Dave Branon
Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight;
Foot it bravely, strong or weary—
Trust in God and do the right. —Macleod
If God's Word guides your conscience, let your conscience be your guide.
Tested And True
A young nurse was assisting a surgeon for the first time. As he was completing the operation, she told him he had used 12 sponges, but she could account for only 11. The doctor curtly replied that he had removed them all from inside the patient. The nurse insisted that one was missing, but the doctor declared he would proceed with sewing up the incision.
The nurse, her eyes blazing, said, “You can’t do that! Think of the patient!” The doctor smiled and, lifting his foot, showed the nurse the twelfth sponge, which he had deliberately dropped on the floor. “You’ll do fine!” he said. He had been testing her.
Daniel’s three friends faced a different kind of test (Daniel 3), but they too would not budge. They knew their refusal to worship the image might result in their death, yet they never wavered. They proved they were true to God by standing firm.
The Lord still permits trials and temptations to enter the lives of His children. The challenge may come as an opportunity to gratify the lusts of the flesh, or as a series of disheartening circumstances. Whatever form it takes, we must not yield. Rather, we must stand for what is right and trust God to supply the grace we need (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Are you “tested and true”?— by Herbert Vander Lugt
Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin—
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. —Palmer
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can we be perfected without trial.
The Only One Standing
I was attending a church service in another city. The opening hymn was announced and out of habit I stood up to sing. Everyone else stayed seated. Imagine my embarrassment! I was the only one standing!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego also stood alone, but for a very different reason. King Nebuchadnezzar had built a 90-foot statue, set it in the plain of Dura, and ordered the people to bow down and worship it when they heard the music (Daniel 3:1-5).
The gold statue was gleaming in the afternoon sun. The music sounded, and all the people put their foreheads in the dust. Right? Wrong! The three young men from Israel were still standing (v.12).
You know what happened? The king was furious. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded that the rebels be thrown in. But they didn’t burn up. They were seen walking around in the midst of the flames—and they were not alone. Someone else (perhaps the Son of God) was in the fire with them (v.25).
As a follower of Jesus, when everyone else is bowing to idols of pride or greed or lust or prejudice, take your stand for what is right. He will be with you, even when you are the only one standing! —— by David C. Egner
Just live your life before your Lord,
It matters not what others do—
Your actions will be weighed by Him
Who metes out judgment just and true. —Roe
When you take your stand for Christ, you will not stand alone.
Let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. —Daniel 3:18
Ashpenaz, a high court official in ancient Babylon, was committed to banishing any testimony of Israel’s God from his kingdom. His strategy focused on young leadership from the captive Hebrews. Ashpenaz gave the captives new names to honor the pagan gods of Babylon. This made sense to him, because their original Hebrew names honored their God (Daniel 1:6).
But the life choices of those captives were a far more powerful witness than any label put on them. When faced with a literal trial by fire, the young men would not bow down and worship the golden idol. Instead, they accepted the punishment of being cast into the fiery furnace—confident in God’s sovereignty and care (ch.3).
Do you know unbelievers who try to pressure you to fit in with their lifestyle? If you don’t party with them, follow a questionable business practice, or laugh at an offensive joke, do you get the cold shoulder? People may even call you names because you won’t run with their crowd. But when you’re rejected because of your loyalty to God, you can live in a way that honors the Father.
It doesn’t matter what others call us. How we live our lives before God does. What’s important is that we always let our light shine. — by Dennis Fisher
Never mind what others call you—
God alone knows every heart;
Character is all that matters—
Lord, to us this grace impart. —Hess
A small light can dispel great darkness
Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily
This is the confession of a heathen king; but how true it is, and how well for us, if we dare to affirm, amid all the appearances to the contrary, and all the shrinking of the natural man, that all God’s works are truth and his ways righteous, not only in the wide circumference of the heavens, but in the tiny circle of our little life.
The main lesson, let us note it, which this chapter is designed to teach, and which Nebuchadnezzar epitomizes in these words, is the abhorrence with which God regards pride. We are all tempted to walk on the terrace of our palace, and say, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” But to speak thus is to incur the displeasure of the Most High, who giveth the kingdom to whomsoever He will.
If thou hast achieved a position of wealth and independence and success, do not be proud of it, as though it were all of thy own creating. God gave thee power to get wealth; raised thee to that responsible position as his agent and trustee; and made thy name as one of the great over the earth. Give Him the glory, and be sure to consider thyself only as his steward, entrusted with his property, and continued in thy position for so long a time as thou art faithful in thine administration.
May not that illness, that suspension from active work, that serious deprivation, have been sent to thee, as this madness was permitted to come to the King of Babylon, that thou shouldest know and acknowledge that the heavens do rule? Remember that the watchers and the holy ones still walk the world with viewless footprints, and give in their account.
Living Like An Animal
Read: Daniel 4:18-37
Those who walk in pride He is able to put down. --Daniel 4:37
After 60 years and 6 million visitors, the zoo in Milan, Italy, was shut down. Animal-rights activists had protested that conditions in the zoo were unfit for the animals caged there. But when the animals moved out, homeless people moved in. Until city leaders intervened, hundreds of them began sneaking into the cages under the cover of darkness, looking for a night's rest.
Ironically, the zoo was only a 5-minute walk from one of Europe's most expensive shopping districts. Within 400 yards of the cages, the shops of Italian fashion designers lined a street that attracted big spenders from all over the world.
There is something sad about people who live like animals. But who was further from the image of God--those taking shelter in the zoo or the big spenders a few blocks away?
The mighty king Nebuchadnezzar had been warned in a dream that he would be eating grass with the animals unless he changed his proud, sinful ways. The prophet Daniel told him to stop sinning and to show mercy to the poor (4:27). But Nebuchadnezzar refused, and his nightmare came true.
Father, forgive us for our pride. Help us not to live like animals but like people created in Your image. --M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The pride and arrogance of man
Is evil in God's sight,
Because there's nothing man can do
Without God's strength and might. --Sper
We are never so empty as when we are full of self
KING Nebuchadnezzar had it all. Power. Majesty. Greatness. But he forgot where he got it. He pranced around the pal-ace of Babylon boasting,
"Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30)
Before his last arrogant words had left his mouth, he was startled by the voice of the One who had placed him on the throne. God said,
"Nebuchadnezzar, … the kingdom has departed from you!" (v. 31)
But that's not all. The mighty king of Babylon also got a quick transfer from the palace to the pasture. As God had warned him in a dream, he became a crazed creature, grazing on grass like an ox. The proud monarch became a picture of humility. Not until this man-creature lifted his head heavenward and "blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever" (v. 34) was he allowed to return to sanity and to his throne.
Everything we have, our possessions, our position, our potential, comes from God. He is the source of our strength, the giver of our talents, and the One who controls our circumstances. When we forget this, or take the credit, God may find it necessary to transfer us from a position of pride to humiliation.
Knowing our position in relationship to God is the way to keep pride out of our lives. When we know how high and mighty He is, we'll have little trouble remembering how weak and lowly we are.—J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
They Took for Themselves God’s Glory
What did King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon and Nikolai Ceausescu of present-day Romania have in common? Both were ruthless dictators who fell after boldly exalting themselves.
Nebuchadnezzar brazenly declared that he had built the great city of Babylon by his own power and for the honor of his majesty (Dan. 4:30). God humbled him by driving him into the wilderness with a mental illness.
Ceausescu, after years of cruelly persecuting Christians and killing all potential threats to his power, instructed the National Opera to produce a song in his honor that included these words: “Ceausescu is good, righteous, and holy.” He wanted this song to be sung on his 72nd birthday on January 26, 1990, but on December 25, 1989, he and his wife were executed. Although his overthrow was part of the anticommunist revolution that swept through eastern Europe, many Christians see his sudden downfall as an act of God. One Romanian, Peter Dugulescu, said that it was “because he took for himself the glory of God.” (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations and dissolve doubts.
Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily
The perplexed world often turns to the Christian in its hours of anguish and terror. While the foe seems powerless, and the hall of life is full of light and song; while the merry feet chase the flying hours, and mirth is unrestrained; whilst the wine flows freely, and the courtiers whisper flattery—the servant of God may be left in obscurity and neglect, as Daniel by Belshazzar. At such times God Himself is an object of ridicule and scorn. But let a hand come from out the Infinite, and write on the walls of life’s palace in words of mystery, then the panic-stricken worldlings cry out for one in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God, and who can decipher the mysterious hieroglyphics, which to conscience forebode only disaster.
At such hours the child of God is kept in perfect peace. How should it be otherwise? He recognizes his Father’s handwriting, and can decipher his Fathers meaning. Amid the crash of falling kingdoms he is sure of his Father’s care. Oblivious of his own interests, he is only anxious to interpret the ways of God, to recall the sinner, and save the State.
The world has more respect for our religion than it cares to admit in its gay moods, and it is noticing us more than we dream. Some day those who treat you with least courtesy will send for you. Only be at peace, and rest in your Father’s Spirit. It shall be given you in that same hour what ye should speak. In the meanwhile, do not be surprised if you are led through many mysterious and trying experiences. It is only so that you can get the key to God’s secrets, or the clue to his mysteries. Above all, seek for the Spirit of God, that light and understanding and excellent wisdom may be found in thee.
COURAGE TO STAND ALONE
"There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God.- Daniel 5:11
It was a morally dark night in Babylon. Darker than your workplace, school, or community. King Belshazzar had willfully blasphemed God by desecrating the sacred goblets looted from the temple in Jerusalem. Now Babylon and Belshazzar were about to face God's judgment.
Yet in the midst of this gross darkness shone the light of a single witness: the prophet Daniel. Because of his reputation as a man with "the Spirit of the Holy God" (Dan. 5:11), Daniel was summoned to interpret the mystifying message on the wall.
Daniel could have softened God's warning to give it a meaning the king and his court would rather hear. He could have omitted the part about judgment and death. But instead of muddling the message to please the king, Daniel remained true to God. Standing alone before Belshazzar and his drunken court, he boldly spoke the whole truth.
It took enormous courage for Daniel to do that, but the threat from an earthly king was nothing compared to his allegiance to the King of heaven. Daniel feared Belshazzar so little because he feared God so much.
When we share Daniel's heavenly perspective, we find that God gives us the courage to stand alone too. -- Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In need of strength, we melt into the crowd
And find that strength grows more elusive still.
Our courage gone, we call upon the Lord,
And find our strength renewed to do His will.
The deeper our conviction,
the greater our courage to sustain it.
Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily
By faith they shut the mouths of lions. The lions’ den is not an old-world experience merely. God’s saints still dwell among lions, and fight with wild beasts at Ephesus. Like David, God’s people have abundant cause to cry, “They have compassed us in our steps: they set their eyes to out us down to the earth. He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey, and, as it were, a young lion, lurking in secret places.” But still God sends his angel to shut the lions’ mouths; still faith surrounds us with his unseen protection. Or, if the lion seems to triumph, it is only in appearance. Was not the martyr Ignatius more than a conqueror when he said:
“I bid all men know that of my own free will I die for God, unless ye should hinder me. I exhort you, be ye not an unseasonable kindness to me. Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts that they may become my sepulchre, and may leave no part of my body behind; so that I may not, when I am fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one…. Now I am beginning to be a disciple. May naught of things visible and things invisible impede me, that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Come fire, and iron, and grapplings with wild beasts, cuttings, and manglings, crashings of my whole body—only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ.”
Whether faith closes the mouth of the lion, or gives the soul such an entire deliverance from all fear, it is the same in essence and operation, and shows its heavenly temper with the ease with which it overcomes the
OUR PRAYER LIFE
F B Meyer
Our Daily Walk
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before His God, as he did aforetime."--Dan. 6:10
THE CHOSEN hour. It was at the time when Daniel's enemies appeared to have accomplished his downfall and death--"when the writing was signed '--that this heroic statesman knelt down and prayed, and gave thanks to God. These are times when prayer is the only way out of our perplexities. George Muller said: "Our very weakness gives opportunity for the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to be manifested. That blessed One never leaves and never forsakes us. The greater the weakness, the nearer He is to manifest His strength; the greater our necessities, the more have we ground to rely on it that He will prove Himself our Friend. This has been my experience for more than seventy years; the greater the trial, the greater the difficulty, the nearer the Lord's help. Often the appearance was as if I must be overwhelmed, but it never came to it, and it never will. More prayer, more faith, more exercise of patience, will bring the blessing. Therefore our business is just to pour out our hearts before Him; and help in His own time and way is sure to come."
The chosen direction. "His windows open towards Jerusalem." There the Holy Temple had stood, and the Altar of Incense; there God had promised to put His Name and meet His people. When we pray, our windows must be open towards our blessed Lord, who ministers for us in Heaven, mingling the much incense of His intercession with the prayers of all mints (Heb. 7:25; Rev. 8:3).
The chosen attitude. "He kneeled upon his knees." It is most appropriate to kneel before God in homage and worship. St. Paul bowed his knees, even though his hands were chained, to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:14). But we can pray also as we walk, or sit, or ride. Nehemiah flashed a prayer to the God of Heaven before he answered the king's question, but he also prayed before God day and night. Let us contract the habit of praying and giving thanks three times a day. At even, morning, and noon, let God hear your voice.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above;
Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing
Glory in Thy perfect love. AMEN.
A young man was being interviewed for a position in a small business firm. The applicant had a neat appearance and made a good impression on the owner. He had also prepared an excellent resume in which he listed, as references, his pastor, his Sunday school teacher, and a church deacon. The owner of the business studied the resume for several minutes, then said, "I appreciate these recommendations from your church friends. But what I would really like is word from someone who knows you on weekdays."
Sorry to say, in too many instances there is a striking contrast between the behavior of Christians in church and out in the world. The principles we hear preached on Sunday should be practiced all week. A good Sunday Christian will also be a good weekday Christian. —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A HYPOCRITE IS A PERSON
WHO IS NOT HIMSELF ON SUNDAY.
In her book A Practical Guide to Prayer, Dorothy Haskins tells about a noted concert violinist who was asked the secret of her mastery of the instrument. The woman answered the question with two words: "Planned neglect." Then she explained, "There were many things that used to demand my time. When I went to my room after breakfast, I made my bed, straightened the roam, dusted, and did whatever seemed necessary. When I finished my work, I turned to my violin practice. That system prevented me from accomplishing what I should on the violin. So I reversed things. I deliberately planned to neglect everything else until my practice period was complete. And that program of planned neglect is the secret of my success."
This same principle can be helpful as we plan a daily quiet time with the Lord. Unless we discipline ourselves and make a deliberate effort, trivial things will keep us from establishing a consistent devotional life. Let's give our time with the Lord top priority by "planned neglect" of things of lesser value. He deserves first place in our lives. —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
To WALK WITH GOD,
WE MUST MAKE IT A PRACTICE TO TALK WITH GOD.
Grass on Your Path
In one region of Africa, the first converts to Christianity were very diligent about praying. In fact, the believers each had their own special place outside the village where they went to pray in solitude. The villagers reached these “prayer rooms” by using their own private footpaths through the brush. When grass began to grow over one of these trails, it was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much.
Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare, a unique custom sprang up. When ever anyone noticed an overgrown “Prayer path,” he or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!” - R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Have you ever wondered why a pigeon walks so funny? It's so that it can see where it's going. Because a pigeon's eyes can't focus as it moves, the bird actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. So it proceeds clumsily—head forward, stop, head back, stop.
In our spiritual walk with the Lord, we have the same problem as the pigeon: We have a hard time seeing while we're on the go. We need to stop between steps—to refocus on the Word and the will of God. That's not to say we have to pray and meditate about every little decision in life. But certainly our walk with the Lord needs to have built into it a pattern of stops that enable us to see more clearly before moving on. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Time in Christ's service
Requires time out for renewal.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus (Daniel 6:28).
Success comes in various forms. Some view it as the accumulation of great wealth gained through suffering and sacrifice. But for the believer, success comes only through doing God's will.
A young man named John W. Yates was so poor that he had to put cardboard in his shoes to cover the holes. Yet when he opened a bank account at the age of fifteen, he deposited his meager earnings under the name "John W. Yates and Company," acknowledging God as his partner and manager. He carried that practice into his business. In time, he became a multimillionaire.
Another young man, Oswald Chambers of Scotland, showed so much artistic promise that he was invited to study under Europe's greatest masters at age eighteen. But he declined the offer and enrolled in a little-known Bible school, where he eventually became a teacher. Later, he went to Egypt and ministered to the spiritual needs of British soldiers. Chambers died there when he was only in his forties, but he left to the world a rich legacy of devotional literature. Both men made doing God's will their prime objective; both achieved success.
Daniel began his career as a young captive in Babylon. Repeatedly he put his life on the line to remain faithful to the Lord. He refused to compromise, and God elevated him to a position of prominence. When we take that kind of attitude and accept whatever God has for us, we can be sure of success, no matter what form it takes. —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Oswald Chambers of Scotland showed so much artistic promise that he was invited to study under Europe's greatest masters at age eighteen. But he declined the offer and enrolled in a little-known Bible school, where he eventually became a teacher.
Later, he went to Egypt and ministered to the spiritual needs of British soldiers. Chambers died there when he was only in his forties, but he left to the world a rich legacy of devotional literature.
Daniel began his career as a young captive in Babylon. Repeatedly he put his life on the line to remain faithful to the Lord. He refused to compromise, and God elevated him to a position of prominence. Both men made doing God's will their prime objective; both achieved success. —H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Outside God's will is no true success
In God's will, no failure.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Walk
Jesus does rule. The kingdom of Christ is no fanciful phrase. The words He spoke, the deeds He did, have shaped the religious life and thought of the civilized world. But this is the lowest ground. He is supreme over all creation. In Him the ancient psalm is fulfilled, “Thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the field.” The Father hath set Him at his own right hand, far above all principality and power; all angels do his bidding; all demon-powers are beneath his feet. Joseph, our Brother, is King.
But let us never forget that the foundation of his kingdom is his Cross. We want more than the truth, more than a guide to show the way; we need forgiveness, salvation, life: and these are only possible through the death of the Redeemer. Satan offered Him the kingdom when he met Him in the wilderness, and He would not have it on such terms. With face set for Calvary, He went down the mountain to the valley of the shadow of death; and having traversed it, He came to his disciples and said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ; for Thou art the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.
That kingdom is an everlasting one. “All kingdoms will pass away before Christ’s as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor.” The shaking of the kings and kingdoms of this world has already begun, and is destined to shake to the ground the most stable edifices of human pride; but as we are to receive a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us not be troubled.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Few men have been favored with such visions and revelations as fell to the lot of Daniel. The future, in so many different aspects, was repeatedly unfolded before him, and he saw much that elated and that depressed him. But through it all he steadily did the king’s business; so far as he knew, nothing was allowed to suffer or get behind. He would have counted it a great slur on his religious life if it could have been said that his visions and exercises interfered with his service to the king. Probably he did better work because his life was hid with God.
In all this there is much of suggestion and warning. We too must have our secret mount of vision. We too must look across the valley for that blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We too must have the vision of the evenings and mornings. But that is not enough. We must do our business in the world. Not star-gazing, but following the Star; not always standing at the window, but going to and fro in the King’s household, seeing that every one is at his post, and that the Royal household is properly fed; not always on the mount of transfiguration, but hastening whithersoever the uplifted hand of human need beckons us.
At the same time, it will quicken us to do our business better if we have had a vision. Nothing makes so good a workman as thorough comprehension of his master’s purposes. And when Jesus calls us not servants only, but friends, we serve Him with deep appreciation of his thoughts and plans. Our service is more refined, diligent, and intelligent. Get your plan in the mount, and then build.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
This is always so. Directly a God-given prayer is uttered, the commandment goes forth. There is a sense, indeed, in which true prayer is the anticipation in the human heart of the Divine intention: “Before they call I will answer; and whilst they are yet speaking I will hear.” Does it seem as though your prayer were like a ship lost at sea, which brings no cargo home? Dare to believe that the commandment did go forth, though as yet it has not reached you. It is operating; and before long you shall see the result. “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye have received them.” The answer may not have come to hand, but it has been granted. Even if you do not live to see the answer, dare to believe that it is assured.
What a tender address is this— “greatly beloved”! And the margin says very precious. Is it really so, that we are very precious to God? To those who believe, Christ is precious; but how wonderful that they should be amongst his jewels, who were born of the first Adam, and have cost so much pain and sorrow by their sins! There is no accounting for love. Directly love begins to enumerate the reasons for its attachment, it ceases to be true love. Love knows no law except the drawing of an inward affinity. So Jesus draws near to us. We are very precious to Him. To have our love well compensates Him for all his bitter sorrow. Let us be very careful not to hurt Him, or give Him needless grief. And when we pray, let it be with the assurance that He bends over us and says, “Thou art greatly beloved; ask what thou wilt.” As soon as the child of God says “Father,” the whole Godhead is quick to hear his request.
While visiting in an Egyptian home, Bradford Abernethy saw a servant give a pitcher of water and a rug to a boy who lived there. Three times, the lad washed his hands, feet, face, neck, ears, and arms. Then he kneeled on the rug, bowed his head to the floor, and began to pray.
The Scriptures teach that a right relationship to God comes from being "justified in the name of the Lord Jesus" (1 Cor. 6:11) . The outward washing of the body referred to in the Old Testament was a symbolic act to remind God's people that when they entered the Lord's presence their hearts were to be free from unconfessed sin. David declared, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Ps. 66:18) . And in another psalm he wrote, "He who has clean hands and a pure heart … shall receive blessing from the LORD" (Ps. 24:4-5). It is foolish for those living in sin to expect the Lord to hear and answer their prayers. It's the prayer of a "righteous man" that is effective (James 5:16).
The Word of God assures us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
A clean heart is necessary if we expect God to hear our prayers. —R. W. De Haan
The words of our prayers
are not as important as the condition of our hearts.
Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily
O man greatly beloved, fear not; peace be unto thee, be strong, yea be strong.
Why should we fear? We are loved, greatly beloved; loved to God’s uttermost; loved to the gift of his Only-begotten; loved to tears; loved to blood-shedding and death. It is said that Jesus, having loved his own, which were in the world, loved them unto the end; not to the end of his human ministry, but to the uttermost of what love can be (John 13:1, r.v., marg.).
Why should we fear? Has God done so much, and will He not do all? Has He brought us out of Egypt to let us perish in the wilderness? Is He so careful of the soul, and so careless of all beside? There are mysteries—mysteries of life and death, of sin and sorrow, of this world and the next; but fear not: God is ours, and we are his by immutable and indissoluble ties.
Let us possess ourselves in peace. We cannot understand, but we can trust. We may not know the way we are going, but we can lean back on the heart of our Guide; standing in the cleft of the Rock we can look out in peace on dreaded evils as they pass away together, dismayed and amazed. If only we are acquainted with God, we shall be at peace, and thereby good will come to us. They fear who look at circumstances, and not into God’s face.
And we shall be strong—strong to endure; strong to achieve; strong to wait; strong to carry the battle to the gate; strong to set our face like a flint, when the hour strikes for us to go to the cross; strong to be glad when the crowds ebb away from us to follow the dear Master, Christ:—
“Be strong to hope, O heart!
Though day is bright,
The stare can only shine in the dark night.
Be strong, O heart of mine and look towards the light”
Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily
Daniel probably refers to the great persecution under Antiochus, when the followers of Judas Maccabaeus, knowing their God, and keeping loyal to Him amidst the general defection, refused to bow before the idols of Syria. These were strong in God’s strength, and did exploits never surpassed in the annals of those who have suffered for the truth.
There are many ways of knowing God—through the Bible, in solitary meditation, and pre-eminently in the person of Jesus; but we also come to know Him by the daily experience and intercourse of life. Those who live with you in the same house know and read you in an intimacy of knowledge which no other method can rival. Learn to live with God! Summer and winter with Him! “Abide in Him!”
In the Epistle to the Ephesians there are three prayers, which the apostle was wont to offer for his converts. First, that they might know; next, that they might be strong; lastly, that they might watch unto prayer. All our knowledge of God should be turned to practical use. Few things injure us more than to seek knowledge for its own sake. Know, that you may do.
Then you will be strong to do exploits. When a man is sure of his base of operations; sure that those in the rear of his march will back him up; sure that a strong and wise friend behind him is pledged to his support—his heart is at peace, he can concentrate all his attention and energy on the work that is on hand. He has no care, the Greek word for which means division. When we really know God, and understand how utterly faithful He is to those who venture forth in faith, we can do what others dare not
A YOUNG couple was going through a difficult time in their marriage. Money was tight. They had in-law problems. The husband was under great pressure at work. They were trying to work things out, but there was little improvement.
Then an attractive woman at work began to pay attention to the husband. Flattered by her words, he began looking forward to talking with her. When he realized that things were getting out of hand, he struggled, cried out to God for help, and received it. In the midst of strong temptation to become involved with this woman, God gave him the grace to resist and to remain true to his wife.
God helps us to say yes in some situations and no in others. When we must handle a difficult situation, His grace enables us to say yes and to do it in His strength. But the grace of God also enables us to deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts" (Titus 2:12). God's grace, therefore, not only strengthens us to say yes to many difficult areas of obedience, but also to say no to temptation.
When we are faced with temptation so strong we know we can't resist for long, God promises to give us the grace to escape! —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Go thou thy way till the end be.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Man becomes mystified with the great circle of God’s Providence. He tries to follow it, but his eyesight fails; his heart and head grow weary. And God says, It is enough—go thy way till the end be: learn thy lesson; do thy work; tread the predetermined path: it is enough that thou shouldst fulfill thy little day; evening will be here presently, and then thou shalt rest; leave the evolution of my vast schemes to Me; I will bring all right; and “thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
Thy way. — For every one that way is prepared; identical in the main outlines, but special for the footsteps that are destined to tread it. There are three elements, which are almost certainly present—Suffering, the strain of Toil, and Temptation. So long as the blight of the curse lingers on our earth, these will be the ingredients in our cup. But let us go on our way. It is graduated to our steps. God’s grace will be sufficient for us.
Our lot. — What will it be? As Canaan was allotted, so will heaven be. Where shall we stand? Among the overcomers, or the martyrs, or the virgin souls that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, or those that get the victory over the Beast? Or shall our lot be amongst those who have buried their talents, forgotten their oil, and proved disobedient and self-indulgent? “Make us to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting.”
Thou shalt Rest. — Heaven will be to each soul what it most desires, and has missed on earth. To the lonely, Love: to those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, Holiness: to those who have dwelt amid perpetual warring and strife, Peace: to the weary, Rest—and to all the vision of God in Christ.