I have spent several sessions recently going through the book of Daniel. It is an extremely interesting book, recording the exciting adventures experienced by Daniel and his three fellow Israelite captives in the land of Babylon. Jerusalem had fallen and the elite had been taken en masse out of Israel. Daniel and his friends were among these, probably among the first to be taken to Babylon. My time in Daniel was well spent and I suggest that all my readers (both of you) follow my example and spend some hours In the Book.
A study of Daniel is particularly appropriate for our time. The problems Daniel and his friends faced are not dissimilar from those we face. They were torn from a culture where God was honored (if not obeyed) and found themselves in a culture without a God – at least one whose god had no effect, or perhaps a bad effect, on how men lived. In our case we have not been moved from one culture into another but our culture has changed around us. The culture we grew up in honored God, if they did not obey him. And the resultant ethic had a significant effect on past culture.
The culture we now find ourselves in has little relationship to the culture that characterized our beginnings and early decades of our country. God is not only not honored but considered an obstacle to our wellbeing. Those who do continue to honor Him must be ridiculed and, if possible, punished. Businesses who refuse to cater “gay” (what a mis-description of reality) events are put out of business. And don’t expect things to change anytime soon.
This is the culture we find ourselves in, not unlike that faced by Daniel and his friends. And since they prospered in this environment there must certainly be we can learn from them. Perhaps the first thing is that they took their relationship to God seriously. The actions they took and the decisions they made grew out of their relationship to God and their desire to glorify Him. He was at the absolute center of their lives. Everything else was peripheral. I think too many of us get this backwards. Our life, with its needs and desires, is at the center, and all the rest, including our “Christian” things, (like ) remain at the periphery.
We, like these godly young men, need to take our lives in Christ far more seriously. Let’s get Christ at the center so all the stuff at the periphery will turn out right. Then every action we consider taking and every decision we consider making will contribute to our bringing glory to God. And shouldn’t that be our primary goal in life? This committed life demands discipline. May God help us to exercise that discipline.
I’m beginning to experience the results of aging and am in the process of considering how to respond. My mind is not as agile as it once was. I find myself spending a good deal of time searching a shrinking vocabulary for the right word to express my thought. Am I still able to minister through “THE
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