Stand UP! Summer Series.. #1 Even if...

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2012

**There is an error in this post that a good friend found and quickly and told me.  I decided not to fix it though.  Whoever is the first to tell me in a comment, I will send a bag of Starbucks Decaffeinated Espresso Whole Beans to you.  Leave me your address and I'll gladly send you a bag of fresh yummy beans.  mmmmm....:)**  -- Vonnie Blake wins and I'll send her a bag of beans and now I'm going to fix my post.  Thanks, Mari:)

School's out!  First day of summer vacation!  Ahhhh!  I've got things on my mind. A Bible to study. Words to write.  Books to read.    A house to clean.  A garden to weed.  Appointments to make.  A pool to swim in.  Our kids to visit.  Garage sales to find.
For now though, I need to go back to things on my mind; A Bible to study; and words to write.

When I was at school, I watched the kids make choices.  Not always good ones.  Peer pressure is awful.  Much different than when I was in school.  When I walked down the halls some days in the past six years, I felt like a high school student, too.  Funny, huh?  Some of the 'popular' kids reduced me to feeling like a lowly freshman with toilet paper trailing from my shoe.  It wasn't them though.  They did nothing to me.  They didn't even realize I felt like that.  It was just something left-over from my teenage days.  Once I got to know them, they were as nice as could be even.  There's just something about high school that makes you forget who you are and what you believe and then...on the other makes you want to stand up and say -- HEY!  That's not right!

I don't even want to go political here because I'm so not politically minded but there is coming a time when we all are going to have to perk up and listen and see what's going on in this world of ours.  In order to get ready for days to come, I want to study courageous people throughout history.  I may choose from the Bible, or missionaries, or others from history.  This will be my new series for the summer.  I'm sure glad God gave me this idea.

My first 'person of interest' is Daniel, and of course we can't forget his good friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego .  Last Sunday, our children from church did a musical called, That's So Daniel'.  They, along with our pastors, did a fantastic job.  All throughout history and even now, people are having to stand up for what they believe.  We live in a cushy society here in the U.S. where we don't have to.  We think everything should be equal.  The Bible can't surely mean THAT!

Funny thing is, the Bible says we should strive to be like Jesus, and Jesus went to the cross for us.  That was the most politically incorrect thing He could have ever done.

Daniel and the guys, when told to eat the King's best food and wine - refused.  They ate only what wouldn't go against their principles.

When Daniel and his friends were told to serve King Nebuchadnezzar's gods and worship the image of gold,  this is what they said:

“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” -- Daniel 3:16-17

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego got thrown into the furnace and lived another day.  Then Daniel experienced government corruption and jealousy and was thrown in with the lions.  

"Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators... by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators...tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” Daniel 6:1-5

Daniel was upright and just.  They couldn't find one thing against him.  Not one thing could be found on Google to bring him down.  

"So these administrators...went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators... have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den." Daniel 6:6-7

So that's what happened.  The King didn't think about his friend Daniel and when Daniel heard about the edict, he didn't run away scared.  He didn't pray in his closet.  This is what he did:

"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."  Daniel 6:10

 Lo and behold, look who comes tattling...

“Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” -- Daniel 6:13

The King had to follow through with what he said.  It was all about saving face.  Daniel got thrown into that den of lions but when the King came back the next morning, Daniel was still alive.  Again, a miracle.  Daniel was an upstanding man of God and because of that, the King did this:

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must 
fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For He is the living God 
and He endures forever; 
His kingdom will not be destroyed,
His dominion will never end. 
He rescues and He saves; 
He performs signs and wonders 
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.” 
Daniel 6:26-27

I want to be upstanding. 
I want to feel the lions breath, not its teeth.  I want to see the flames but not feel them.  

I want to stand true to the precepts of God but how do we know what they are?  We study God's Word, the Bible and, many times, we feel what's right in our spirit, what is true and what is false.  We ask for others who are strong in their faith to mentor us.  We find a Biblically sound church to grab hold of and become a part so that we can mature in the Lord.

And just as Daniel said in Daniel 3:18 "But even if (God doesn't deliver me from whatever) I want you to know, Your Majesty, that I will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 

and I hope to be able to always say -- 

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Stand Up!  Summer Series
#1 Daniel - Even if...

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