June 19, 2020
"But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank ... " (Daniel 1:8)
The world and its ideas and practices presses on every follower of Christ with increasing weight. How can a man not be pulled into its trajectory?
Daniel stands forever as the model and encouragement to us. Pulled into the pagan king’s court, he had every reason to accept the lifestyle around him. But something about this young man was different.
HE MADE UP HIS MIND
It called for a conscious decision from the very beginning. He could have accepted the habits of the world easily and no one would have blamed him. In fact, many would think he should have done it and not disagreed with the King’s orders.
But Daniel walked with God. Somehow, he knew that this was not the path for him to spiritual success. He determined in his heart or "made up his mind" that he did not want to even begin that path.
THAT HE WOULD NOT DEFILE HIMSELF
Daniel saw the king's path as a defilement. That it would somehow soil his life and hinder his relationship with God. There was something in Daniel and his three friends that called him higher to a holier life.
You can argue with this all you want, but the plain truth is that this determination (and others) made all the difference for Daniel. He became a great and powerful leader. Instead of the culture affecting him, he affected the culture around him. It ultimately led to a king and nation recognizing the difference and turning Godward.
Where am I defiling myself? Where do I need to "set my mind" and following the promptings of God's Spirit and the illumination of His Word in resistance to the ever-present push of the world around me?
Father, show me the areas where I have been defiled by the world—some which I am sure I don’t even see. Give me the grace and courage to “make up my mind” not to defile myself. And then, Lord, use me to accomplish Your purposes in the world around me. May they see that You are God and there is no other.
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August 07, 2020
August 06, 2020
There are thousands, perhaps millions of people who believe they are Christians who will never enter heaven. This is not my evaluation, but the clear teaching of Christ Himself.
Christ spoke of false prophets who "come to you in sheep clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matt 7:15). It is not the outward clothing, but the inward heart that indicates a true believer.
What is the only way to know the difference between a professing believer and a real believer?
August 05, 2020
Of all the things Jesus could have addressed in the Sermon on the Mount, it's fascinating that He spends a good bit of time addressing worry. In fact, He commands us not to be worried: "Do not be worried about your life."
We are champion worriers. God knows that worry is so counterproductive. Not only is it useless, but it ties us up, destroys our faith, is a poor witness to those who are watching, and dishonors God. So, to help us He gives His true followers multiple reasons why worry is so useless.