Daniel and the Lion’s Den

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Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I have been reading in the book of Daniel lately and am seeing things that I haven’t really picked up on before. Daniel is a great book. I know that last year, Pastor Brandon preached on the book. I have listened to some of the sermons. The book of Daniel is one of the greatest books on prophecy there are. In it, the entire history of mankind is laid out. But that is not what struck me this time. What did strike me was the character of Daniel himself. There is way too much to go over everything in this blog post, but I would like to talk about a couple of them.

We have all heard of the story of Daniel and the Lion’s den. If you’ve been raised in the church from a child, I am sure you heard about it in Children’s Sunday school. While the teaching often centered on the protection of God from the Lions, I think a side story is about Daniel’s character. Chapter six starts out with Daniel being appointed one of three commissioners that looked over the kingdom. He was over several satraps and verse 3 says that Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps. In other words, Daniel shown like a bright star! Daniel was getting older by now but he hadn’t changed from the time he was taken as a captive many years before. He made a covenant that he would not defile his God from the very beginning. And no matter who was king, whether good or bad, Daniel served him with integrity of heart. These facts still remained when serving King Darius.

The story goes on and talks about the plot of the other rulers to discredit Daniel on a point of his religion. They talked the king into signing an irrevocable decree that anyone who worshiped any god but Darius for 30 days was to die. Being king, it sounded good to Darius and he signed it. The next scene always struck me as foolish on Daniel’s part for a long time. Verse 10 says that after Daniel knew the document was signed, he went into his house and opened the windows and prayed to God three times a day. Personally, in my younger days, I thought that was a bit arrogant on his part. That is until I read the last six words of verse 10 carefully: “…as he had been doing previously.” It finally dawned on me that Daniel’s character was so strong toward his God, that nothing would make him change his previously engrained habit of worship. No, things would go on as they always had. Daniel would worship his God and no other.

These two characteristics of Daniel brought out in this chapter are amazing. First, Daniel’s ability to be a person of integrity and second, his love and dedication to his (and our) God! I thought about applying this to us today. The applications are obvious enough, but hard to do at times. Even in a ministry like I serve with, it is often hard to serve our leaders with humility, obedience and integrity, especially in the areas of speech. When you find yourself disagreeing with your “boss” do go around and talk about him behind his back, or do you keep quiet, pray for him or her and still serve to the best of your ability. It hurts me to think back in my life about how many times I have done the former. It was nothing but pride and sin on my part.

The second characteristic is that of continuing on with our walk of our Lord regardless of the circumstances. Have we developed habits in our walk that can carry us through the hard times in life? Or are you like me that when things get too tough (real or imagined) you just check out and seek ways to get out of whatever the circumstance is. I will end with a verse that I just became reacquainted with recently: Psalm 51:17—The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” There is a little booklet I have read a few times in my life that is simply titled: Lord, Break me. This has recently become my main prayer for me. That our Lord would show us areas of pride, stubbornness and rebellion in our lives and bring us to that place of having a humble and contrite heart before Him. There is a price to pay in this of course; the kingdom of God is a backwards kingdom. The way down is the only way up! May God’s grace be with us to become broken for Him and follow Him with all our hearts.

Working for the Lord

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Today at Stonepoint we talked about Colossians 3:22-4:1. It was a good message by Pastor Brandon as he talked about work and how we should go about it. The message brought four points about how we as Christians should go about our work:

1. Be productive at work–even when no one is watching

2. Respect your employer

3. Don’t be lazy–remember you are working for God

4. Be honest and truthful

On the way home after, I was listenColossians Title.pnging to a song by Mercy Me on my iPod called “I Would Die for You.” I have always liked this song and liked it more when I found out it was written in honor of a young man who went on a missions trip to some foreign country. While there, he caught some kind of a illness and soon died after returning home for treatment. For some reason, this song today made me think about the sermon. While I have always wanted to die well for the Lord, my desire to live for Him has not always been what it should be. Don’t get me wrong, I want to live well for Him and have always strived to do so. But I must confess, sometimes I have gotten lazy and slipped some.

Recently, the Lord showed me an area in regards to working here at the ministry where I have slipped. I have always thought of myself as being a good worker, and have tried to work with integrity. But a few weeks back I became convicted of something that I had not even thought about as a liberty I had been taking. See, we have been blessed with a nice cafeteria here at the ministry. I don’t usually eat there, but sometimes I would go down and see if there was anything I would want for dinner. Sometimes, I would fix a box to take home. The only problem, I would only pay for it about half the time. Sometimes it would be just forgetfulness but other times I would actually have the thought, “I’ve given nearly 20 years of my life here, the least they can do is buy me a meal once in awhile.” I know, it’s a small thing, but recently, I became convicted of this, and realized it was just my pride speaking and I was just being dishonest and sinning against the Lord. I prayed about this and asked the Lord for forgiveness. But I needed to do something more. I wrote the ministry a check and gave it to our accountant and asked her to put toward the Café fund. Since I have done that, I have also been more alert to pay for anything I take from there.

This may seem silly to some of you, but I believe often that honesty and truthfulness at work (Pastor Brandon’s fourth point today) is not always in the big things, but more often in small things we sometimes forget or take for granted. In our minds, we can make ourselves out to be more than we really are. Instead of just seeking to serve our Lord honestly in our work, we become prideful and take advantage of some of the “perks” our employer may have for us. I also believe that one of the things God is most concerned with toward us is our character development.

I pray we at Stonepoint will take today’s message to heart. May we remember that, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:24 NASB).