Scripture does not say where Daniel was when King Nebuchadnezzar tried to kill his three friends. However, we do know two things: 1.) The three brave Hebrews (Hananiah aka Shadrach, Mishael aka Meshach, and Azariah aka Abednego) took a stand against the king of Babylon, refused to bow to an idol, and were thrown into a burning fiery furnace and 2.) There was another in the fire aka Jesus (Daniel 3).
A few decades later in Daniel chapter 6 his friends are now missing in action and we see Daniel got caught up in a similar situation. Daniel, who was a prophet of God defies King Darius’s decree to pray only to the Persian king for thirty days. Daniel’s obedience to God and disobedience to the king’s false god got caught him thrown in the lion’s den.
Look back at point 2 above. Similarly, there was a surprise appearance (aka) theophany appearance in both these deadly gridlock dilemmas. After a one night all inclusive stay in the lion’s den Daniel said this to King Darius after he arrived to the den early the next morning; “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty” (v22).
There was another in the den just like there was another in the fire. God delivered these Hebrew boys and each of them came out unscathed!
I don’t what gridlock situation you may be facing today, but I do know that we serve a God that will make a surprise appearance and turn somethings around for His glory and your good. All you have to do is stay faithful in the battle! If He showed up for the three Hebrew boys and for Daniel, you can bet your boots that He will show up for you!
Paul had every reason to feel afflicted, but he commanded the church at Philippi to rejoice, not once but twice (Phil. 4:4). Many have called the book of Philippians the ‘Joy Epistle’ because he was so full of joy about this church. Who knows…. perhaps this was his favorite church just because they caused him to rejoice so much (Phil. 4:10).
The word “rejoice” is like having joy and then reloading it or having your joy be redone, thus the word “re-joice.” The Greek word for rejoice is “chairō,” and it’s a verb–that is, it’s what you do–and it means “to be exceedingly glad.” Don’t let anyone rob you of your identity or joy in Christ! Yes, God is transforming you (2 Cor 3:18) and the joy that God gives you is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)!
Here’s the deal, the measure of your joy is not controlled based on how you feel nor your circumstances, but what God says! Therefore, Don’t allow anyone or anything to rob your identity and joy in Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus because it was for the joy that was before Him that He was able to endure the cross, both for us and knowing that soon He would be back again at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 12:2)!
Jesus is 100% God and was 100% man! In John 11:35 the Bible says, “Jesus wept.” Now, this verse is well known for being the shortest verse in the entire 66 books of the canonized Bible. However, that’s not the only thing this verse reveals to its readers!
The fact Jesus wept for His beloved friend (Lazarus) reveals aspects of His human nature, though He was God incarnate, as well as His great care for the people He came to save. By understanding that even our Lord Jesus grieved, experienced sorrow, and felt the weight of loss, this gives believers like you and me permission to feel sad when a loved one passes away, even though believers who die go to be with the Lord and will be resurrected bodily one day when Jesus returns. For those left behind, there will be tears, but Jesus understands and is there to provide comfort and hope.
This one tiny verse, considered the ‘shortest verse’ in the English language contains a lot of important spiritual truth and shows a great deal about who Jesus Christ was and still is to this day!
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one in this season or if your just facing difficulties please make note that Jesus knows and cares for your pain! He is standing with you and He is ready to comfort, strengthen, heal your spirit, restore your hope!
I invite you to read 2 Kings 6:8-23. In these passages of text, the Bible describes how God provides an army of angels leading horses and chariots of fire to protect the prophet Elisha and his servant and opens the servant’s eyes so that he can see the angelic army surrounding them.
Elisha was surrounded by a large army [Ancient Aram (now Syria)] with no escape and his servant was notably terrified because he could only see the earthly army there to capture Elisha. You see, the king of Aram was disturbed that the prophet Elisha was able to predict where Aram’s army was planning to go, warning Israel’s king so that he could devise Israel’s army’s strategy. Therefore, Aram’s king decided to send a large group of soldiers to the city of Dothan to capture Elisha so that he wouldn’t be able to help Israel win the war.
But that’s where the king messed up! In verses 16 and 17: Elisha said to the his trembling servant, “‘Don’t be afraid! Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” And then Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
Elisha’s faintest prayer enable his servant to see not just the physical dimension but also the spiritual dimension, including the angelic army.
There’s more to this story, so please feel free to dig in!
God will always guide and re-direct you exactly where he wants you to be. David said in Psalm 32:8, “God will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; God will guide you with His eye.”
God doesn’t want His ‘no’ to break us, but He does want to shape us and lead us to bigger and better things! I know we often think that we know what’s best for us, but the reality is we really don’t. Isaiah offers this sharp empirical reminder in chp 55 verses 8-9, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
My brothers and sisters please make note; God’s ‘no’ is not a rejection, it is a redirection! I hope this message blesses someone today!
Like I always say, “Your greatest blessing is always in front of you-never behind you, so continue moving forward, be blessed on purpose, and be strong!”
In Mark 8:1-10 Jesus took 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish in fed 4 thousands people. But soon after his haters (the Pharisees) demanded that He perform a miracle (vv 11-13), but of course Jesus evaded them like COVID-19 and got back in the boat and crossed over to the other side of the lake (social distance).
But that wasn’t Jesus’ only dilemma in this chapter. Out of the remaining 7 baskets of bread, the disciples managed to only bring 1 loaf (v14) for the next boat ride. Just after realizing they were short some food, Jesus warns them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod (v15). This is a topic for another devotion. However, shortly after the disciples began to argue amongst each other because they were hangry!
The Bible says Jesus knew what they were saying (v17), which to me implies that the disciples had one of those low-key arguments. You know like the overt ones you had with one or more of your siblings because y’all didn’t want your mom or dad to hear you!
In verses 18-21, Jesus called them out for bickering and asked them to remember how many baskets was left over after He fed the 5 thousands and just recently the 4 thousands.
How many times have you forgotten the Jesus that rescued you the last time is the same Jesus that can rescue you this time?! Jesus asked them twice, “Don’t you understand yet?”
I don’t know what stopped the disciples from asking Jesus to multiply their one loaf of bread. Perhaps, it’s the same reason why we sometimes get sheepish when it comes to asking God to do the impossible. All I know if that was me in that boat, I would’ve handed that one loaf of bread to Jesus and said, ‘before I break this one loaf of bread to share amongst my brothers and You…..will You please bless it!’