Yesterday at church the sermon in the Series the Pastor is preaching was entitled "Standing in Faith." The reminder we are to stand in faith and believe God for His promises. We have been going through the book of Daniel...the man whose spiritual disciplines set him apart. Daniel prayed three times a day for over 60 years for his people and I am sure as many of us have often wondered, "is God just not hearing me?"
Daniel had entered into a period of mourning and fasted for 21 days. At the end of this time a vision of a man appeared to him. This man was dressed in linen and his body was like a dazzling gem, his face had flashes of lightning coming out of it and his eyes were like flaming torches. Daniel felt weak and everyone around him left. The man touched Daniel and told him that "he was loved by God and he had been sent to tell Daniel since the first day Daniel had begun praying his requests had been heard in heaven. He then explained that the spirit prince (the enemy) had been blocking the way, but now Michael, the archangel was taking care of the enemy.
Daniel's spiritual practices were: Fasting, Prayer, Worship, Bible Study, Repentance and Confession and Service. His spiritual disciplines helped him to stand strong when his flesh would have enabled him to become weak. The three points of this sermon were:
1) God cares about you more than you can ever imagine, We are loved.
2) God is doing more than we can ever imagine or we will ever understand. We need to remember to pray continuously and with a humble spirit. It's in Gods time never ours.
3) God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. We need to be aware of our personal weaknesses and recognize them before God. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.
And then last night as we sat relaxing Bob was flipping through the tv channels and Pastor Charles Stanley was preaching. We never watch him, but God knew we needed to hear more from Him and the book of Daniel. He was also preaching from Daniel and he said: "when you give away your Biblical convictions, you give away a part of yourself." I believe this to be true.
Daniel remained true to his beliefs even when he was living in a land of spiritual darkness. He was cut off from family and friends, but never from God. Sometimes, we live in that land of exile as well and it will either deepen our convictions or cause us to cave. It is always a choice.
Pastor Stanley went on to remind us that Daniel was able to influence others to hold onto God's truth because of how he lived his life...his obedience and trust enabled him to stay the course. He ended the sermon with these questions:
1) What convictions do you hold that guide your conduct?
2) What convictions do you hold onto that you will not compromise?
3) Do you give into your the fear of rejection, loss, failure or ridicule or are you able to hold fast to God's truths?
I am not perfect, far from it. I was raised Catholic and really never opened my Bible until I was an adult and was led to the Lord by a sweet couple. God's word to me is black and white for all times and for all seasons. It is my moral compass and yes, I fail at times, but I hold fast to His truths.
Do I always walk 100% in obedience...no, but always I understand the need to repent before the Holy One who created me and loves me. Has it meant loss, has it meant rejection and ridicule, yes it has, but He promises to love me and never leave me and that really is enough for me.