Wednesday, January 25, 2012

God Loves You

Daniel was Greatly Loved by God and You Can be Too!

I wrote a short article for my blog a few years ago titled ‘Give Your Spiritual Immune System a Boost.  Here is the article with additional thoughts. 

(quoted material)

‘Are you a little weary and soul sick today? Would you like to improve your spiritual health? Let's take a look at the example of Daniel the prophet who was greatly beloved by God and see what instructions we can find there to help us today.,

Daniel 10:19 says,

'O man greatly beloved,
fear not:
peace be unto thee;
be strong, yea be strong.

1. Daniel is beloved by God. To be 'beloved by God' see that God is beloved by you. Give God first place in your life. Set your priorities so that there is nothing more important to you than a good relationship with the God of your salvation.

2. God told Daniel to 'fear not'. This requires fellowship with God. The more you fellowship with God, the more you understand the power of God to keep you safe. The perfect love of God casts out fear. You can live your life unafraid.

3. God told Daniel 'peace be unto you'. Without fear, there is peace, even in the midst of turmoil. God gives the peace that passes understanding. He will give it to you if you are willing to receive it.

4. From the vantage point of no fear, and peace with God, it is much easier to be strong. Fear and turmoil zap your strength like a virus attacking your soul. You can 'boost your spiritual immune system' by continuing to:

seek God;
trust Him so much that you are not afraid;
seek the peace of God that passes understanding;
take hold of the strength of God to face whatever the day brings.’

(end quote)’

I am always pleased to read an old article and find that it encourages me again right now.  I was thinking on this article and decided to write down a few more thoughts on Daniel.

Daniel was a captive in a heathen land.  He was undoubtedly homesick for loved ones, familiar places, sounds, and smells.  He was probably even wearing strange clothing.  The language was different.  Everything in the physical world was unfamiliar and even repulsive to him. 

Fortunately, there was something very important and constant that Daniel was able to bring with him from home.  Daniel brought with him the knowledge that God was not only with him, but that God would hear his prayers.  God listened when Daniel prayed.  Daniel wasn’t speaking into the air just to hear himself speak; nor was he engaging in some ritual chant.  He was speaking directly to God, and God was listening to exactly what Daniel had to say.  In spite of being taken from home and family, the Hebrew lad was not taken from the constant fellowship of the Most High God. The most important part of his life in his native land went with him to the courts of Babylon.  God did not set Himself to obey Daniel’s every request, or to work on Daniel’s timeframe, but God was definitely listening.  For the Christian today who is separated from home and family, it is still the same.  Whether they are serving in the military away from loved ones, or separated by a new job in a new place, or away from home at college, or even imprisoned for some reason, God is with them and God will listen when they pray.

This reminds us that God also hears you and me today right where we are in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves.  In God Almighty we not only have someone to talk to, we have someone who is actually listening to us!  No matter where we are or in what dire situation we may find ourselves, we have the presence of God with us.  Like Daniel, the knowledge that God hears us doesn’t guarantee the answer we want, or the time frame we want, but we can be positively sure that God is hearing our prayers.  AND – remember James 5:16 which clearly says fervent prayer avialeth much.  I translate ‘avialeth much’ to ‘gets result’.

( Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.)  God hears your prayers.  God will help you.

Psalm 4 tells us:

‘1. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

 2. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.

3. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.’

In verse one the Psalmist is asking God to hear him.  In verse 3 he is confident that the Lord will hear him.

Verses 4 & 5 say give instructions on waiting for an answer. 

‘4. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.’

I am sure Daniel remained in awe of God, refrained from sin, thought continually on the things of the Lord, behaved righteously, and trusted God.  Waiting for his prayers to be answered did not weaken Daniel’s faith that God had heard his prayer.  Nor did he use God’s delay in answering prayers as an excuse to sin. 

Micah 7:7 says, ‘Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.’

I love this verse. ‘MY God will hear me.’  Specifically, it is MY God who will hear me.  It isn’t a false god, and it isn’t a servant of God.  It is God Himself who will hear me.  Just like Daniel, God is with us.  God will hear us. 

What did Daniel do with his confidence that God would hear his prayers?  I am sure he prayed for his own needs, but he also prayed for the needs of other.  To know that God hears your prayers is an awesome gift and an overwhelming responsibility. Pray for the good of your loved ones, family, acquaintances, those in authority, and always for the lost. Consider the possibility that there is no one besides you who will pray for your enemies.  (Luke 6:35, ‘But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.’)

Today it is often said that we have more stress than generations before this age.  The truth is that while each generation may have had peculiar stress for that era and location, most of the things faced by every generation are the same.  In every generation people want food, shelter, love, peace, health, and freedom.   In every generation people die and face eternity.  Certainly life at its best can be overwhelming.  A life patterned after Daniel will be a life not only well spent, but also a life that has as high a level of personal peace and success as is possible.   Let’s do a recap.

Daniel was special to God.  There is no doubt about that.
Daniel had a personal visit from God’s messenger telling him:
That he was greatly beloved
Not to fear
To be at peace
To be strong

And he was told one more time to be strong.

We have the Bible, so each Christian has that same message. 

We know that Daniel lived a life that was
Obedient to God
Prayerful
Bold in living and speaking the truth, and
Uninhibited by any laws or decrees that interfered with his worship of God.

A key element in Daniel’s life was his faith that God would hear him when he prayed.

That is the key to prayer.  God will hear me.  Why else would it be useful to pray?  Of course God will hear me. 

In prayer God will guide us to pray what is right.  He may guide us to change some of the things for which we pray.  But it isn’t futile prayer because God hears us.  We may find our minds changed about one thing, and we may find that something else is of greater importance than we had originally thought.  Prayer is a means by which we gain direction from God as well as obtain specific blessings.  Sometimes we pray very hard for one thing, get another, and are eventually very thankful that we didn’t get the item for which first we prayed.  It can’t be stated clearly enough that God is listening!  Have you ever needed to talk to someone who was not paying attention at all, or who was giving lip service like they were taking you seriously when truly they didn’t take you seriously at all?

God will not only hear you when you pray, God will help you! 
Psalm 46:1 promises, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’

Because you KNOW God will hear you keep praying.

Colossians 4:2 instructs us to, ‘Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;’.

Daniel 6:10 tells us that giving thanks was part of Daniels routine when he prayed. ’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.’

Be thankful.
Watch for your answer and watch out for distractions.
Continue in prayer

God will hear you.

Daniel prayed on a regular schedule, and we should do the same.  Sometimes our prayers are more dedicated than others because of a specific trouble.  Often when we are compelled to pray without ceasing, there is a tempest raging in our lives.  This song was written for such a time.  Regardless of circumstances, our prayer life should be a part of our daily life.

Master the Tempest is Raging
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/a/mastertt.htm

Master, the tempest is raging!
 The billows are tossing high!
 The sky is o'ershadow with blackness,
 No shelter or help is nigh;
 Carest Thou not that we perish?
 How canst Thou lie asleep,
 When each moment so madly is threatening
 A grave in the angry deep?

Refrain
The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
 Peace, be still!
 Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
 Or demons or men, or whatever it be
 No waters can swallow the ship where lies
 The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
 They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
 Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
 They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
 Peace, peace, be still!

Master, with anguish of spirit
 I bow in my grief today;
 The depths of my sad heart are troubled
 Oh, waken and save, I pray!
 Torrents of sin and of anguish
 Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
 And I perish! I perish! dear Master
 Oh, hasten, and take control.

Refrain

Master, the terror is over,
 The elements sweetly rest;
 Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
 And heaven’s within my breast;
 Linger, O bless├Ęd Redeemer!
 Leave me alone no more;
 And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
 And rest on the blissful shore.

Refrain