Father, I thank you for the men and women who devote their lives to take your message of love to people from the four corners of the earth, for reaching the lost with the Gospel. Missionaries are special people, O Lord. Bless them, Father, with your love and the strength they need to continue in their work. Encourage them, Father, for their labor is often thankless and forgotten by so many. The results of their work is not often not readily seen . . . it can take a long time for some seeds to take root and sprout. Father, affirm in your servants the value of their labor and the satisfaction that they are glorifying you in their tireless fervor of sharing your word.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Father, thank you for this new day. It is a day filled with promise and potential. Father, may I use this day to honor you and bless those around me. May I be disciplined in my use of the time you have given me today. May I be productive and not slothful. May I accomplish good things, worthwhile things, and not just occupy space and waste the precious time that you have given. At the end of this day, may I look back with satisfaction and know that you have been praised in my actions, this day.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave an account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."
So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, "O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." Therefore, King Darius signed the document and the interdict.
Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, "O king! Did you not sing an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?" The king answered, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." Then they responded to the king, "Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, prays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day."
When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed."
Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!" A stone was brought and laid on on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with hi sown signet and with the signet of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting: no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?" Daniel then said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God has sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong." Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Then the king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions--they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: "May you have abundant prosperity! I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: For he is the living God, enduring forever. His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion has no end. He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth; for he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions."
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
(The words of Daniel 6, New Revised Standard Version)
Monday, April 14, 2008
In the latest NOOMA video, entitled "Open," Rob Bell speaks about prayer, specifically the subject of "unanswered prayer." He offers one line that struck me as particularly powerful. He said, "Don't pray for God to feed the hungry if you have plenty to eat." His point was that in many cases you and I might very well be the answer to the prayers we offer to God.
Don't pray for God to feed the hungry if you have plenty to eat. I'll be thinking a lot about these words and the message behind them during this upcoming week. I am often quick to overlook the ways in which I can be a blessing to the lives of others. I, like many, get too caught up in my own life to see the needs of others. My life is not to be lived to self, it is to be given as an offering to God and used in service to others. That is why I am here. That is why you are here.