Reflections on Provision

“Commit whatever you do to Adonai , and your plans will succeed.“
Proverbs 16:3 TLV

Through my years of searching for answers to my declining health, I can now see the times I was following God’s plans for me versus following my own mind without consulting God first. The differences are startling. God does promise to establish your plans, but only when you apply the first part of the verse “commit to the Lord whatever you do.” When we leave Him out of the equation and make plans based on our limited human knowledge, we will most certainly pay for our mistakes. Every time I went ahead without seeking the discernment of the Lord, I became lost in my own stubbornness. This has always been a very hard lesson learned, when if I’d only listened to His instructions, I could have avoided the pain.

All of my life I have had what I call a “spontaneous spirit”, which is heralded by the world’s standards, but by God’s standards we are told to be more discerning in nature. And this is for our own good. Spontaneity in all areas of life can lead to troubled waters. I, for one, would like to avoid these murky waters and instead be led by the Spirit of God through crystal clear water. When we heed God’s advice, given us through His living, breathing word, we will always be blessed. That’s when breakthrough can occur.

Acknowledging Our Creator

John 1:9-13
The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.
He came to his own, and those who were his own didn’t receive him.
But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name:
who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

So, tonight I got to wondering why was it that when the Creator of the Universe came down to walk on the earth he created, and to dwell among the people he created, they “did not know him”? Imagine your own creation nor recognizing you!

Clearly, many of us only look at others at a skin deep level.  I’ve done it, I’m sure you’ve done it. It’s human nature. But, it’s like an age-old story of a prince or some other ruler, disguising themselves as a peasant just to see who would actually notice them, and not for their money, wealth or status. It was almost like Jesus’ walk amongst humans was a test and very few passed it. So, I find it fascinating when people say “I can’t believe in something I don’t see”, yet even if Jesus was right in front of them they probably wouldn’t know it. And yet, people believe in things they can’t see all the time!! Can you see your wi-fi that you’re using this very minute?

I’m not saying I’d be any better lol. Would I recognize my Saviour? I sure hope so, but of course, the more you “study” about him (read the Bible), the better you’ll be at this. And seeing that the time will soon come where we need to differentiate between Christ and the fake Christ (Anti-Christ), we’d all better be sure we know who he really is. I mean, this is truly a life or death situation. Of course, even now, there are anti-Christs and false prophets, so this isn’t just something for the near future, this is for always!

Here are a few scriptures that explain why many did not recognize Jesus:

Isaiah 53:2 ( Jesus was average-looking)
“For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

Luke 2:22, 24. (His family was poor)
“When the days of their purification according to the law of Moshe were fulfilled, they brought him up to Yerushalayim, to present him to the Lord…
“and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
This scripture is speaking of Jesus’ parents and what they did according to Jewish law when they went up to the temple. The Law says to sacrifice a lamb for atonement, but if one was too poor, they could bring two doves and a pigeon.

John 1:45-46 (He was from a “podunk”, nowhere town)
“Can anything good come from Nazareth”, spoken by Nathaniel when Philip told him they’d found the Messiah.

This makes me stop and think about how we look at others. Are we looking at the outward appearance, or even pedigree, when we judge a person’s character? Best be careful, or you very well could be entertaining angels. (Heb. 13:2)

Fear: Yea or Nay?

As I was on my walk today, I was pondering all that is going on in the world recently, and I just saw fear as the overwhelming factor. You can see it in people’s eyes as you pass them in the grocery store or on the street. You can just feel it in the air. It clings to the fabric of everyday life, just as the scent of your perfume clings to your skin. It permeates the air around us.

Those thoughts brought me to Isaiah 8:11-13, which reads: For thus Adonai spoke to me, with a strong hand, warning me that I should not walk in the way of these people, saying: Do not say: ‘It’s a conspiracy!’ about everything that these people call a conspiracy. You must not fear or tremble at what they fear. Adonai-Tzva’ot, Him will you sanctify, and let Him be your fear, trembling at Him.

For years, I’ve read verse 12 and thought that it was a warning not to fall into conspiracy theories, as in “going down the rabbit hole.” And, yes, while there’s something to be said about that, that we must be careful in what we believe, we also must stay alert the truth and not allow ourselves to be fooled by the many conspiracies and lies that are taking place. But, you see, there is a fine line between awareness and obsession. It is vitally important not to allow these issues to pull us in too deep. However, I just felt that there was more to this verse than originally meets the eye and decided to dig a little deeper into it.

First off, we need to be aware of what time period these verses were penned, and by who and to whom the instructions are being given. So, since this is in the book of Isaiah, we can glean that it is the prophet Isaiah speaking these words. His comments are being directed specifically to the kingdom of Judah, with King Ahaz on the throne. A man said to be one of the most evil kings this kingdom had ever experienced. Isaiah’s words were given to him straight from God Himself, since He had previously sent prophet after prophet to warn the people to turn from their wicked ways and they refused to heed any of these warnings. So now, instead of a warning, God is sending a discourse to His people. He is relaying to them, through His chosen prophet, what the recourse to their actions is going to be. Consistently throughout the Bible we see God’s mercy being offered, but when it is repeatedly refused, His judgement must be meted out. Although our God is long-suffering, we must also keep in mind that He is a just God and He cannot continue to look upon sin.

In looking on this piece of scripture in a future light, Matthew Henry reveals: “but rich provision is made of comfort for those that feared God in those dark times, referring especially to the days of the Messiah.” This here demonstrates that God always keeps a remnant of true followers unto Himself, those who refuse to follow the evil they live amongst. This was true in the time of Isaiah, then during the time of Christ, and it remains still true today.

To place the backdrop to this situation, the northern kingdom of Israel had made an alliance with Syria against Assyria, which the king of the southern kingdom of Judah refused to join, out of pure stubbornness. This lead to their attack and ultimate destruction from all sides.*

Verse 11 is self-explanatory and can and should, be applied to us in the here and now. We have been forewarned in this verse to avoid walking in the ways of the world. Upon first read, we might be tempted to focus only on the inference of avoiding the evil acts we see around us, but it can also be viewed through the lens of fear. When people are not walking with God, they only have fleeting things to put their hope in, thus they tend to fall into the spirit of fear. We, as followers of Jesus, should be aware that this can, and does, happen to us as well if we’re not staying vigilant in keeping our focus on Jesus, and not on the world.

Even the best of us are prone to being frightened of the pending storm, since we are, after all, flesh and blood. But, what sets us apart from those who give into their fears? That would be the Spirit who lives within us. It is a life-long lesson we must learn, to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh, especially when we are surrounded by a pandemic of fear. We must remember that we are not common people, we have been selected, chosen by God, and He promises to care for those He chooses. We may live amongst a common people, but we ourselves are not common. We have been set aside and thus we need not walk in the ways of other people. Only God can instruct our hearts and He knows how deep the corruption flows, even in the hearts of a good man or woman. This means He must use a strong hand with us. Although this may hurt, we know it is always for our good.

As we turn to verse 12, we see that God is warning against sinful fear. Remember that fear is a natural response in those who have no hope and cling to their own ways. And living amongst this fear, it is easy for a believer to be swayed by these feelings since fear is a disease that is highly contagious. But, as David penned in Psalm 71:5, “For you are my hope, Lord GOD; My confidence from my youth“. Since we know the God of hope, we are told, by the very same God, not to fear; for only those who do not know Him do not have hope and fittingly fall into an attitude of fear.

You see, without the light of Jesus to us, we too would easily take their own misguided actions to protect ourselves from all that appears to be coming against us. This is precisely why we see this pandemic of fear in the world, because the world refuses the only hope there truly is.

Let us strive to be Christ-like, let us strive to be different

How is fear a sin, you might ask? Well, to start, we are told what the two greatest commandments are, to: 1) love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). Combine this scripture with 1 Corinthians 13:13: But now faith, hope, and love remain — these three. The greatest of these is love and we can now see the great import placed on love. If we are to be a walking, talking, living example of God, we must be exhibiting the love of God in all we do, and if we’re doing this, we are told in 1 John 4:18 that: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.” We have just proven that fear and love cannot coexist, and if we have fear, than we are not living fully in love.

The world is watching us, as believers, and we need to be demonstrating love instead of fear. Otherwise, why would they long to know God if all they see in Christianaty is the same fear that they feel? We have to demonstrate that it is much different living as a Christian than living as a non-Christian. This is our duty, this is our commission, for we cannot win souls to Jesus without being different, just as he was. Let us be different!!

You must not fear or tremble at what they fear.

*this is merely a very short synopsis of the Syro-Ephraimite war. It was obviously a much more complicated issue than described, but for purposes of this blog, this is all that needed to be mentioned.

Faith Like Daniel

Tonight I was again reading in Daniel 2, as this story never ceasesto amaze me.

When Daniel not only interprets the king’s dream, but is able to reveal what the dream was, and no other so-called wise man in all of Babylon could do this, I am simply blown away. And this does not occur because Daniel has some kind of special powers or is able to divine things these other magicians, astrologers, or Chaldeans cannot.

No, Daniel’s super power is God. These other men used all sorts of hocus pocus and tricks to woo the king. Apparently, the king was onto them all at this point. He was calling them out in Daniel 2:8, The king replied, “I know for certain you are trying to gain some time, because you see that my word is final.

Even the Chaldeans had to admit that “there is no man on earth who can meet the king’s demands… what the king asks is too difficult. There is no one who could declare it to the king, except the gods whose dwelling is not with mortals.” (v.11)

Well, they had one thing right, it would take a god, but not just any God. Only the one, true, living God.

When the king heard the reply in v. 11, it says he became very angry and ordered all the wise men of the kingdom to be executed. When Daniel heard this, he understood that he and his friends would also be included in this. But, what I see missing is the inevitable panic. I mean, if I had just heard I was going to be executed because no one could reveal the king’s dream, I think I’d be curled in a ball crying my eyes out. But not Daniel. It says that he “spoke with tact and discretion to the captain of the king’s guard.” (v. 15) He was trying to gather more information and figure out what could be done. And then he approaches the king, as angry as we know the king is, in not sure I’d have the guts to be approaching the throne. Kudos to Daniel, since now he’s bought some time, enabling him to seek the Lord in all of this.

Talk about cool as a cucumber. I want that kind of faith, so strong that nothing can rock me. The best part of all of this is the fact that Daniel went straight to his friends, his prayer warriors, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These were men of faith as well. These were praying men and Daniel knew that prayer was the first line of defense, it should always be ours as well. So, all four of them “requested mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery.” (v.18) And of course God granted just that. He revealed the dream to Daniel who was therefore able to interpret it for the king, not only sparing him and his friends’ lives, but we also see the king actually “fall in his face and pay homage to Daniel” and then he acknowledges that his God is “surely the God of gods, the Lord of kings…” and then Daniel is promoted in the palace and his friends were appointed over the administration of the entire province of Babylon.

When God does something, He always does it first of all, for His glory, and second, for our good.

Expect Great Things

I think there’s something to be said about living in a third world country, where there is no hope in medicine, doctors, or health insurance, because they don’t exist. When you are sick in, say, Ethiopia, you have no medical system to hope in.  And when you go to these countries, many times you see the people going to a church/healing service with a high expectancy to receive healing from the source. From God Himself.

I think that here in America we have too many other choices. But only when we become so chronically ill that the healthcare system let’s us down do we then put all our hope in the Lord.

This happens for each person at an individual pace. But I think the faith we see in these other countries could surely teach us something. I know I want to have that kind of faith. I find it amazing how it took me losing faith in America’s botched up healthcare system to finally put my full faith in God. But, then again, that’s human nature, right? We tend to try all things within ourselves and when all else fails, THEN we turn to the Lord.

I think it’s high time we remember what we’re told in the Bible, God’s living, breathing word:

Matthew 14:35-36
When the men of that place recognized him, they alerted the whole vicinity and brought to him all who were sick.
They begged him that they might only touch the end of his robe, and as many as touched it were healed.

Acts 19:11-12
God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, so that even facecloths or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.

Psalm 30:2
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.

James 5:14-15
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

It’s time for high expectancy in God’s promises and His healing hand. Nothing less will move Him on our behalf. I expect to see great things amongst my friends and family as our faith grows deeper each day.

“May the LORD bless you and protect you;
may the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
may the LORD look with favor on you and give you peace.” The Aaronic Blessing, Numbers 6:24-26.

The Rise of the Remnant

Rise up oh Church of God, oh Bride of Christ!! This is enough!! We cannot sit around any longer waiting on God to move, for He is calling us out, we are to move!! God put us here for such a time as this, are you going to accept the call of the shofar? God has been training you in the wilderness all this time! We are coming out of the wilderness, His Remnant is being called out. We must be donned in our Spirit given armor, for just like the natural Israelites, who had to fight for the promised land of Canaan, we as spiritual Israelites, are now being called to fight for our Promised Land. The Kingdom of God, for it is at hand.
Matthew 24: 13
13“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

We will fight with the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shield of Faith, the Belt of Truth, with our feet prepared with Gospel of Peace, and the only weapon of offense: the Sword of the Spirit (which is the living, breathing, Word of God)!!! For it is written: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Romans 13:12.

We can no longer be couch Christians, God is calling up all His Esther, are you ready to go????

Feed My Sheep

Ezekiel 34: 1 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Yisra’el, prophesy, and tell them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Yisra’el who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep? 3 “You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fattened animals, but you do not tend the flock. 4 You haven’t strengthened the diseased, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought back that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have you ruled over them. 5 They were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the eretz; and there was none who searched or sought. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice. Although Ezekiel is speaking to the exiles from Judah, as they are under tyrannical rule from Babylon and Assyria, we can also take these words to heart. Those who were put in place to feed God’s people are not doing their jobs, but instead they are taking their money and gifts and feeding themselves. This greed is not atypical in leaders throughout history. But, those being taken advantage of will never be forgotten by the living God, the God who loves us. John 21:17 Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Unfortunately, we see a lot of this taking place in the church today. Let me clarify, there are good churches out there, doing the Lord’s bidding (i.e. feeding the hungry, care for the poor and the sick, and the widowed) and yes, I know this is not a specific scripture, but there is a compilation of scripture telling us this is what Jesus wants from us. But the majority of churches are not showing their fruits. The church needs to be there for those who need them. This is how we bring in the sheep to the flock, through Christ-like actions. Not by who has the biggest congregation, the best light show, or the shortest sermon at the most convenient time. And God forbid any would take from the offering plate to use for themselves, they will be judged as in Ezekiel. This is also how the marginalize are being treated in the world, but don’t we expect that from the world? We don’t expect it from the church, for the church is to be different, set aside. James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

A God of Wrath?



I know that most are looking for hope and want to remember God’s loving-kindness. There is nothing wrong with that, until it becomes all we know of Him. We must remember He is all powerful, full of majesty, and is also a jealous God. He cannot look upon all this sin in the world. Yes He loves us, very much, but He has also given the world chance after chance while it only wanes more evil day-by-day. We must remember that His vengeance and His judgement MUST come. It may be imminent based on prophetic signs, but it also may be further along as well, since “soon” in God’s book is not the same as it is for us, as God does not reside within time.

Along with His promises to love us and care for us, also comes this promise: That the world will be destroyed, only to make way for a New Jerusalem. And therein lies our ultimate hope, if we cling to Him through all of this chaos and do not give into the world, we will get to taste of this New Jerusalem, where we will reign with Yeshua for a thousand years. I do not expect a resurrection, so-to-speak, of this current earth. Although, we are told that if we are to “humble [ourselves] and pray and seek my face and turn from [your] wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive [your] sin and will heal [your] land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14, so we can still pray for hearts to be changed. What I do expect is exactly what He says in His living word. Do not cling to what the world promises, lies and deception and a false hope, but instead cling to the One who has saved us from eternal death!!

Be alert, for the Day of the Lord is coming and we will each be judged by our fruits.

Zephaniah came from a royal lineage and I believe he stops at Hezekiah one of a very few good kings of Judah. Perhaps this would emphasize his heart for the Lord, just as his great-great grandfather’s. The book of Zephaniah, even though only 1 chapter long, holds a vast wealth of knowledge. It offers us the most insight on the Day of the Lord, more than in any other book of the Bible. Not only does he speak judgement on present day Judah, but also speaks of Judah’s fall eventual to Babylon as well as the eventual judgment and restoration of all humanity in the future. Our appears that Zephaniah saw in the Day of the Lord the destruction of his country, his neighbors, and eventually the whole earth.

We see in this particular book that the Day of the Lord was near (1:14), that it would be a time of wrath (1:15), that it would come as judgment on sin (1:17), and that ultimately it would result in the blessing of God’s presence among His people (3:17). If you’ve never read this book, I do highly recommend reading through it now as it is apropos to the days we are living in.


Zephaniah
1 The word of Adonai that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah:

2 “I will totally sweep away everything
from the face of the earth,”
declares Adonai.
3 “I will sweep away man and beast,
I will sweep away the birds of the sky
and the fish of the sea—
also the stumbling blocks—the wicked.
I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth,”
declares Adonai.※
4 “I will stretch out my hand upon Judah
and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place
—the names of the idolatrous priests along with the kohanim,
5 those bowing down on the roofs
to the host of the heavens,
those bowing down, swearing to Adonai
and also swearing by Molech,
6 those turning from following Adonai,
not seeking Adonai, or consulting Him.”
The Day Is at Hand
7 Be silent before Adonai God.
For the day of Adonai is at hand!※
Adonai has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated his guests.
8 “On the day of Adonai’s sacrifice,
I will punish the princes,
the king’s sons
and all who dress in foreign attire.
9 In that day I will punish
all who skip over the threshold
while filling their master’s House
with violence and deceit.
10 In that day”—declares Adonai—
“there will be the sound of screaming from the Fish Gate,
wailing from the second district
and a loud crash from the heights.
11 Howl, inhabitants of Maktesh!※
For all the people of Canaan※ are destroyed.
All who weigh out silver are cut off.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps
and punish the men whose spirits have hardened,
who say in their hearts,
‘Adonai will do neither good nor evil.’
13 Their wealth will become plunder,
their houses a ruin.
They will build houses
but not live in them.
They will plant vineyards
but not drink their wine.”
14 The great day of Adonai is near—
near and coming very quickly!
The sound of the day of Adonai is bitter—
the shouting of the warrior is there.
15 That day is a day of wrath,
a day of trouble and distress,
a day of devastating storm and desolation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 a day of shofar and alarm
against the fortified cities
and against the high corner towers.
17 “I will bring such distress upon mankind
that they will walk like the blind—
for they have sinned against Adonai.
Their blood will be poured out like dust,
and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
will be able to rescue them
on the day of Adonai’s wrath.”
With the fire of His passion
the entire earth will be consumed.
For He will make a total,
dreadful annihilation of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Forgiveness

“So Adonai restored what Job had lost, after he prayed for his friends and Adonai doubled everything that Job had before.
Then all his brothers, all his sisters and everyone who had known him before, came to him and ate bread with him in his house. They consoled him and comforted him for all the calamity that Adonai had brought upon him. Each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring.”
Job 42:10-11 TLV


We all tend to recall the ending of this story as God restoring to Job double of all he had lost. We know he forgave his friends and prayed for them.
But, have you ever dug into the very next verse? We only see Job’s 3 friends coming to him in his time of need, and as we know, that make things worse for him (not on purpose of course). So, where were all these “brothers and sisters” and “everyone who knew him before” [implying they knew him when he was at his peak, rich, prosperous, and healthy]. Hmmm, for those of us dealing with Chronic Lyme Disease and other chronic illnesses that have completely changed our lives, we too have countless “friends” or family members who kind of forgot we existed once we got sick. They sure were around when things were great, but where are they now? That’s a good question, and this surely makes them fair- weather for sure.

The thing is though, we see in Job that he ate with these very same people in his own home. He held no bitter feelings against them, and they in turn consoled him (most likely repenting for not being there for him, perhaps that’s what the gifts were for?). But anyways, this is a lesson we may all do well to heed.

“Dark circumstances and difficult people did not rule Job’s reactions. He trusted God to reign over every detail. With newfound assurance in God’s presence and power at work in his life, Job was able to surrender his suffering to his faithful God and pray a blessing over the broken people who’d failed him.” — from Why? By: Lily Dunbar

As we see in verse 10, Job took the first step to reconciliation with the 3 men who stayed and spoke with him during his suffering. Even though they had wronged him in their words, he saw God give the chastisement and they showed themselves to be truly penetant. This showed that their hearts were truly in the right place, they just misunderstood the circumstances and how God works. Through this trial, both Job and his friends learned who God was and developed a greater understanding of God’s transcendence. 

As for the others who showed up to the celebration party afterwards, well, they too were forgiven. Because Job had learned that this was what God wanted from Him.

Holding grudges gets us nowhere, it only embitters our own hearts and causes grief throughout our lives as we go over and over the circumstances in our minds. How agonizing. Isn’t it nicer to be free of that kind of heaviness? Forgiveness brings the kind of peace that God gives to us.

Holding grudges gets us nowhere

Stick To Your Guns

Daniel 1:8

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s delicacies or with the wine he was drinking, so he entreated the chief official for permission not to defile himself.

We live in a society full of “worldly” values. This value system seems to sway on an almost daily basis, depending on the latest trends on social media, or what Hollywood and popular artists are doing. With an ever-changing value system, how can one ever truly know what they believe in?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, value is defined as: something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable. And it defines a value system as: the system of established values, norms, or goals existing in a society. So as stated above, when you have ever-changing societal norms, with no deep-rooted intrinsic values to hold onto, you then tend to see a breakdown in that society.

On the other hand, personal values are those principles that you individually hold as dear in your heart, based on what you believe to be right. When you live in the type of society described above, this usually means going against the flow, and when you stand up for these values, becoming an outcast.

We can turn to the book of Daniel for some lessons in holding fast to our personal convictions, which are based on our value system. As believers in Christ, these values are based on what he teaches us in the gospel, which are completely opposite of what society teaches. That is why I always refer to his kingdom as an upside down kingdom, or rather, this world is upside down to his kingdom.

Daniel and his three friends had been flung into a similar society as ours. They were taken by the king of Babylon and placed in the palace in order to “erase” their past. They were to become the king’s servants and thus needed to learn about the Chaldeans’ language, wisdom and culture. They also need to adapt to the Babylonian way of life, for example by eating the same food and drinking the same wine that is served to the king. The king’s goal was to transform these boys into Babylonian men, and to let them forget about their Jewish identity — including their religion, which also meant their values, which were attached to their religion.

This was not something Daniel took lightly. He was not about to give up and give in to something that went against His core beliefs, so he stood up for his values by asking the chief official if he and his friends could eat a different diet (for the food and wine given them were against what God had proclaimed as “clean” for Jewish men. A very risky choice, which could have gone very badly for him and his friends. But since he was doing what was right in the Lord’s eyes, God honored this and “caused the chief official to show mercy and compassion to Daniel.Daniel 1:9. Because of his bold act,  God blessed them with extraordinary health. Daniel and his friends were allowed to eat only vegetables from then on, and thus they could keep themselves ‘pure’.

We too are coming up against so many things that defile our hearts and minds: what we watch on television, read in books, hear on YouTube, and are even told we must do by our own government. Many of these things go against God’s word and we must weigh them all. Every single thing we look upon, hear, and tough must be tested by the Spirit and if it doesn’t pass, we must turn away.

Yes, this is easier said than done. It’s easy to give into temptation because your friends so want to go see the latest horror film, or maybe you’re really into a series on TV, but one episode starts dipping into some magic spells and you think “oh this was just a fluke.” But, I’m telling you, when you start getting really close with the Lord, and learning to hear from the Spirit, the Spirit will not let you be easy with what you’re seeing or hearing. You will become uncomfortable, sometimes to the point of not being able to bear it, or literally getting sick. That is his way of getting you out of a bad situation you’ve allowed yourself into.
Believe me, I’ve been there, done that, way too many times to count. And I used to be the queen of rationalizations.

I am now at the point that I cannot rationalize away what I know to be wrong. I have to walk away. Yes, it used to be embarrassing to do so. I didn’t want to look like the “weirdo.” But now my relationship with God is so much more important to me than a silly movie. My eternal life is more important to me than enduring some scoffing from someone who doesn’t understand. And who knows, perhaps that situation may open a door to allow you to witness to those friends? It just comes down to what you hold dearer, your values or your pride.

Jesus was an outcast in the society he lived in. He went against the flow, teaching what he knew straight from the Father, and these were the values that meant more to him than society’s acceptance of him. He was jeered at, scoffed at, threatened, conspired against, even betrayed by one of his very own disciples, and then ultimately humiliated by his death as a criminal upon a cross. All because he would never give in to what society (namely those in charge, the Pharisees and Sadducees) wanted him to be. His values were God’s values, and part of those values were an intense love for us!!!

I pray tonight that the Spirit would strengthen each and every one of you, and embolden you to be like Daniel, and dare I say, even like Jesus. For this is our end goal: to be like Jesus.