Heavenly Father, You are God and You are Lord of All. There is no one and there is nothing that compares to You for You alone are the Almighty Everlasting Father. Above You, there is no other. The new year, O Lord, is just around the corner. Help me to end this year strong and to remain steadfast in the new year 2019. Thank You for guiding me and leading me in Your way. Father, I ask You to continue to guide me in all my ways and to direct my steps as I put my trust in You and acknowledge You in all my ways. Apart from You, O Lord, I can do nothing. In You, I can do all things because You are the One who gives me strength. You are my Hope and You are my Refuge. I cling to You, O God, for You are my Deliverer and Your words sustain me. Father, I delight in You, and because I delight in You, I know You will grant me my heart’s desire. Father, draw close to me as I draw close to You. Help me to remember there is freedom in submitting to You and walking in obedience to Your will and to Your ways. Be the Light which illumines the path I am to walk. Show me the Ancient Path, the good way, that I may walk along the Ancient Path and find rest for my soul. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
As children of God who are walking in obedience to His will and His ways, God does heal. We can be assured our God heals. God doesn’t go against His Word, and God is faithful to His promises.
The confidence that we have is this: If we ask anything according to the will of God, He hears us, and since we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know we have the petitions we have asked of Him.
What are you believing God for today? Are you in need of healing? Are you in need of being saved from an impossible situation? God is able to deliver you. Do NOT give up because God has NOT given you the spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the God who heals and delivers. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank You for always being there for me. You, O God, have never let me down, and You have never left me alone. You have been my Guide, and You have been my Light. Father, be my Deliverer, as You always have been, in my circumstances. Show Yourself faithful as You always have for You are my Deliverance and my Song. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
Those who leave God and His ways have abandoned the very God who created them. King David spoke of meditating on the law of the Lord, that the commands of God were his delight. He pondered on the law of God all day long. We are to be careful to keep from making a practice of any sin, whatever sin it may be which would easily entangle us. When we keep ourselves pure and holy before God and walking uprightly before God, and obeying His commands, that is evidence of our love for God. If we love God, we’ll obey Him.
He turns our darkness into light.
When we are putting our faith in God, we are trusting in Him, and we can stand on the promises of God. God is faithful, and He proves Himself to be true. God is who He says He is, and God does what He says He will do. His words are certain, and when His Word goes out, His Word does not come back void. His Word goes out and accomplishes the purposes it was sent forth to do. We can depend on His Word, and we can delight in His Word. Anyone in direct opposition to God will find that God is contrary to them.
“If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins. I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted. And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins. I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies,” (Leviticus 26:21-25NLT).
God opposes those who are proud and haughty, but He gives grace to the humble and those who truly delight in Him and His ways.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are my Light and my Salvation. You have turned my darkness to light. Just as You are a light for me, be the Light for those who are discouraged and fill them with the strength and boldness they need that only comes from You. I ask that You be my Guide and instruct me in in the way I should go that I might not fall into any trap set by the enemy of my soul. Grant me the opportunity to be a light for You in this dark world and give me opportunities to serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” -Psalm 37:4NLT
You are a child of the Most High God, and He has created you with purpose. He has plans He has designed specifically for you. As you go through this season, ask Him what He has planned for you. Seek His counsel and His ways.
If the Lord has laid on your heart to do something and if you have been putting it off, then let me encourage you to rise up and do what God has called you to do. Do whatever task God has told you to do.
What is stopping you from moving forward into the plans God has for you? May I encourage you to lay whatever is stopping you before God? Surrender yourself to God and submit to His will. Let Him do His work in you, and let Him use you for His glory and to further the Kingdom of God. Let Him use you to be a blessing to others.
Rise up, Child of the Most High God! This is not the time to sit back! Wait on God, and as you wait on Him, do His will. Obey His Word. Follow through with whatever God is calling you to do and do whatever He has told you to do.
Heavenly Father, You are the Most High God, and You have created me with purpose and significance. You have called me according to Your purpose that I might go forth and do Your will, to do the tasks You have called me to do. Lord, I surrender myself to You, asking You to show Your will and Your way that I might walk into the destiny You have specifically designed for me. Continue to be my Light and my Guide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord said to Moses, ‘Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.’ And they fell facedown.” -Numbers 16:42-45(NLT)
Let’s begin with this: There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious. The problem is in the motive and intention of that ambition especially when mixed with greed.
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had seen for themselves the benefits of the Egyptian priesthood -Wealth, position, leadership, prestige, influence in politics, and the like.
Rather than understanding that God Himself chose the Levites, they decided to go against Moses as shown in the account in Numbers 16:1-3(NLT), “One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?'”
Korah and his followers felt they should be upheld like the Levites. They wanted the power. They were greedy and wanted to appoint themselves. Moses had done nothing wrong. The Levites had done nothing wrong. Moses and the Levites were doing the task God had called them to do. They were doing what God had anointed them to do. The Levites were responsible for the spiritual leadership and the teaching of God’s laws. It wasn’t that the Levites and Moses were held above everyone else. They simply were set apart from the rest of the people and were consecrated to God for His service. God raised them up to positions of leadership for the great nation of Israel. Korah and his followers did not recognize that. What they saw was what was in it for them. They wanted what the Levites had. They wanted the position Moses had. They were greedy and failed to realize that God is the One who appoints people to leadership. Korah and his followers’ greedy ambition was not godly; it was downright evil.
Moses’ ambition was to do what God wanted. Moses’ ambition was to serve God. Moses did not have the ambition to control people or lord his leadership over others. Moses simply was a servant of God, that God called out in order to lead the children of Israel. He was devoted to God. Moses’ ambition was a good ambition.
There is no room for greed when you are aservant of the Most High God.
In this passage (Numbers 16:8-11NLT), Korah’s motives are exposed, “Then Moses spoke again to Korah: ‘Now listen, you Levites! Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the Lord’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?'”
God doesn’t play games, and His desire is that the Body of Christ understand that all parts are necessary. We are called to use our gifts and talents. God has anointed each of us for a particular position or place within the body. It’s not about us. It’s about God and where He has put us at this place in time. We are not to be like Korah and his followers, trying to overthrow others out of their position because we are greedy for power or envy another’s position as leaders. Leadership is ultimately about servanthood. Each of God’s children are servants of the Most High God, and we are to conduct ourselves in accordance with the Word of God.
What are your motives for desiring a position of leadership? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE YOU ARE MODELING FOR WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT. That point cannot be emphasized enough. What example are you setting for others around you? You do not have to have the position of pastor or teacher, parent, or some other authoritative position. There is someone always watching what you say and how you conduct yourself. This is why it is so important to make sure we are right with God so that those we model for do not stumble because of us. We must be living what we preach and teach. We cannot live our lives in a state of rebellion.
Don’t be like Korah and those who followed his example of rebellion. It didn’t end well for Korah and his followers as recorded in Numbers 16:28-35(NLT), “And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’ He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. ‘The earth will swallow us, too!’ they cried. Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.”
The line has been drawn in the sand. Will you choose to serve God or will you choose to live in opposition to God? Might I suggest you choose to serve God and to do so wholeheartedly? Complacency and indifference toward God is not acceptable nor pleasing in the sight of God.
Live your life to influence others for God.
Don’t let the world influence you.
For those who choose to serve God and continue to live for Him, they will live a life of blessing and enjoy true joy and peace that comes from God alone.
Rebellion will only cause you problems, and rebellion will only bring about the consequences of sin which is destruction. Remember it is not a title or position that elevates you. When you walk in a spirit of humility before God, God is the One Who will lift you up. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” (1 Peter 5:6).
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, there is no one like You for You are the Eternal God who reigns in majesty. My desire is to please You in all that I do and say so that I might be able to influence others for You. Help me to always remember that there is nothing worth losing my soul for, and help me to stand firm that I don’t let the world influence me. May I constantly be reminded that You require me to walk humbly before You, to love mercy, and to act justly because that is good. Father, let me be a beacon of light for You in this dark world. Teach me Your ways so I might not rebel like Korah and his followers, and let me be able to lead others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
“Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. ‘Look,’ they told him, ‘you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have,'” (1 Samuel 8:4-5NLT).
Linda A. Knowles
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Having God’s favor upon your life is priceless. You cannot put a price on His favor because it is so costly, and yet God lavishes His favor upon His true children because He is the God of Goodness. He gives good things to His children, but did you know that if you grudgingly obey you can forfeit the blessings/rewards He has for you? Let me explain this way: The Word of God states, in Deuteronomy 6:7, “Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” Note the words ALL of your heart and ALL of your soul, and ALL of your strength. ALL of your being must desire to do the task you are doing for God. ALL of your being must be upright and pure before God while you are obeying Him.
“Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”
Amaziah did what was pleasing to God, but he did so reluctantly. He had paid for troops to come from Israel to help him go up against Edom when a man of God came to Amaziah and told him God would not give him victory if Amaziah used the troops from Israel no matter how well he did at fighting. Amaziah’s heart attitude was not blameless. He complained about the money he had paid, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” God had sent him a warning through the man of God in order to let Amaziah know God was not with the troops of Israel, and instead of giving thanks to God for the warning or thanking the man of God for giving him the message God had for him, Amaziah complained and said, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” The man of God told him, “The LORD is able to give you much more than this.” He reluctantly obeyed God, taking the warning the man of God had just given him, and he discharged the Israeli troops
Don’t Forfeit Your Blessing By Grudgingly Obeying God.
PRAYER: Sovereign LORD and KING, You are worthy of my best, not my leftovers. You, O God, have been very good to me. Thank You for all You have done in my life, for providing for me, and for being my protection. I’m sorry for obeying You halfheartedly and for being reluctant in carrying out the tasks You have set before me. Forgive me for these sinful attitudes of the heart. Forgive me, Father, for offending You, and I ask that You cleanse me of these sins as only You can do. I bow my heart in surrender to You and ask that You take control, giving me new desires and attitudes pleasing to You. I ask that You, O God, rule and reign in me. Show me what I need to change in my life and what I need to get rid of. Take me along Your paths of righteous because what You approve of and have to say is the only thing that matters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” -Deuteronomy 6:7(NLT)
“Don’t lie to each other,
“The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him..” -Mark 1:12-13 (NLT)
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the God of all Truth. I ask You to help me remain steadfast in You, to keep my feet from slipping. Lord, teach me Your ways and Your truth. Help me to always rightly divide Your Word. May I always hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 50:7 (NLT)
“The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.” -Proverbs 10:3 (NLT)
When you trust GOD, you do not need to worry. You have no reason to because the LORD your GOD takes care of you and He is the One who meets every need you have and sees the deepest desires of your heart. The Word of GOD says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need,” (Matthew 6:33 NLT). When you are delighting yourself in the LORD by loving Him with all your heart and following Him wholeheartedly, you are blessed of the LORD.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the Only One Who Can Satisfy the deepest longing of my heart and soul. You are the Only One able to breathe life into me. Draw near to me as I draw near to You, and let me learn true reverence and holiness in Your presence. With joy, let me drink deeply from the Well of Salvation as I cling to You and Your truth. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might be able to discern what is pleasing to You and what is not pleasing to You. Guide me into all truth, and open my eyes to see what You want to show me and open my ears to hear You speak clearly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” –Psalm 63:1-5
“LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.” -Psalm 10:17 (NLT)
REFLECTION: “The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him,” (Nahum1:7 NLT). In this passage of Scripture Nineveh had slipped back to their old ways and was now worse than ever before. Nineveh had reason to be terrified because Nineveh was contending with GOD. The words in this context of this passage may be disconcerting to the unbeliever, but to those of us who believe, it is great comfort. Because we trust in GOD, living for Him, though we may find ourselves in a situation where we feel helpless, remember GOD is sovereign. He is still on His throne, and He upholds you with His righteous right hand. We are not left without hope no matter what the situation, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. The LORD is our Helper, our Strong Refuge, and our GOD is so very good.
Linda A. Knowles
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful?”
-Job 21:7 NLT
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”
-Psalm 37:7-9 NLT
“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”
-Isaiah 48:10 NLT
Sometimes I wonder why it always looks like the wicked succeed, then I’m reminded that the wicked are not succeeding because they are perishing. One can be wealthy and successful by every worldly standard and yet be spiritually bankrupt. Success in the eyes of God is vastly different from how the world sees it. God takes you to heights unknown when you are following Him and He blesses those who are walking in obedience to Him.
There may be trials along the way to get to the destination God has for you, but those trials teach you endurance and perseverance. You are not refined in the times of good, but you are refined in the furnace of suffering. God is the one who will make you come out as gold. Just remember to keep your eyes and your mind fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith, and He will be the One who gives you perfect peace as you keep trusting in Him.
REFLECTIVE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You, O God, are the Author and the Finisher of my faith. I will continue to keep my eyes and my mind fixed on You because in You alone there is hope and peace. You are the True Joy Giver. You are the One who upholds me with Your victorious right hand, and You have made me more than a conqueror. Lord, help me to always remember that no matter what comes my way, no matter what circumstances I find myself in, You will be the One who shapes and refines me and brings me forth like gold. Guide me as I walk along this narrow way for Your grace is the wall of protection around me, the netting that catches me when I’m falling, and Your grace is my covering. Lead me to the destination You have for me. Help me to carry out the tasks You have assigned me, and may my spirit always yield to You alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Much love to you all,
Linda A. Knowles
“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us!” -Isaiah 8:9-10
Your enemies can devise all the schemes and plans they want to try to take you down. They have one major problem; they have to get through the blood of Christ in order to get to you. They can come up with clever word games and other manipulative tactics, but they can never thwart the plans of God for your life. The Word of God is not chained, and when the Word of God goes out, the Word of God will accomplish the purposes for which it was sent. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies cannot be stopped by any mortal. Immanuel (God With Us) is a declarative name, and because God is with you, you are made victorious. The Lord Your God is your Immanuel, and God being with you rescues you from the clutches of the enemy. “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Keep standing on the promises of God and obeying His commandments as He is fighting your battles and as He is taking care of your enemies. Always remember the battle belongs to the Lord.
REFLECTION: “If you love me, obey my commandments,” (John 14:15). Christ said, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.” In dealing with your enemies, you do not deal with them as the world does. You don’t pray for their demise or for something bad to happen to them. Vengeance belongs to God alone. As a child of the Most High God, you are to continue walking in obedience to the teaching of Christ and to know, as well as to keep at the front of your mind, that your responsibility is to love your enemies and do good to those that hate you. If you love the Lord, you will obey Him and His teachings and keep trusting in Him to take care of those who are against you. Let God be God, and you remain blessed by loving your enemies, praying for them, and doing good to those who hate you.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, to You be all the glory. You alone are God, and You said vengeance belongs to You. Bless my enemies by meeting their deepest need to know You and who You are. Lord, teach me how to do good to my enemies and show me ways to bless them. Forgive me for the times, I have desired revenge, and help me to remember Your ways are not my ways. Help me to remember you work all things out for good. Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen me as I continue to do Your will and obey Your teachings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
Linda A. Knowles
It doesn’t matter what the world thinks. It doesn’t matter what the world says. Daily we are to pick up our cross, dying to self, and following Him. We are told in the Scriptures, in Galatians 2:20, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We are no longer our own. We belong to Him. If we claim the name of Christ, then we must be walking in His ways, living by His teaching.
Our confession of faith is nothing WITHOUT applying His Word to every aspect of our lives. Saying we love God is nothing WITHOUT obeying what God commands. If you love the Lord, then you will obey Him. In other words, let’s live what we preach. Live out what you read and study in His Word. Ask Him how to apply His Word, His teachings to your life. Trust in Him. Believe on Him. Serve Him with wholehearted obedience because “obedience is better than sacrifice.”
Children of the Most High God, remember this the world will hate you because the world hated Christ first, and “…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light,” (1 Peter 2:9).
King Darius had just done the layout of his kingdom, broke it down into 120 provinces, appointed a ruler to each province, and CHOSE Daniel and two other administrators to supervise the high officials and to look over the king’s interests. Daniel proved himself to be trustworthy and reliable, more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Daniel had great ability, and the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. (Reference Daniel 6:1-3)
Daniel had enemies who were jealous of his success when what Daniel was doing was simply obeying God, remaining above reproach, and doing his job. We can see this in Daniel 6:4-5, which states “Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, ‘Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.’”
When you do what God wants you to do and live by His standards, never expect the world to applaud you because the world won’t applaud you. Daniel remained honorable and steadfast, walking close to the Lord. His enemies were looking for a way to bring him down, “but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn.” So they decided to plot evil against Daniel. It’s important to note, Daniel had already been through trials, but God delivered him out of each trial safely. No weapon formed against the Child of God is going to prosper. Nothing Daniel’s enemies had thrown his way worked. Nothing Daniel’s enemies did to him prospered. Like Daniel, we, as children of the Living God, can be bold and courageous, and because we are Children of God, we know our God is able to deliver us out of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Daniel’s enemies devised a plan and “So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, ‘Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.’ So King Darius signed the law.” (Reference Daniel 6:6-9)
But in the face of this decree, Daniel remained faithful to God. We can take a lesson from his wholehearted devotion. The enemy will do whatever he can to trip you up, but we have been empowered by the Lord Most High. We can take a lesson from Daniel when he combatted his enemies through prayer, “But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Nothing stopped Daniel from talking with his Heavenly Father. And let’s face it when there is nothing we can do and no place left to turn, there is nothing left of us to get in the way of God’s work. What better way to keep us on our toes than trials. They shape us and refine us, and we learn lessons, and if we are wise like Daniel, in the face of trouble, we continue our communion with the Lord and seek Him for counsel.
Daniel’s enemies were checking in on him, found him praying even though the decree had been put into law. The high officials and administrators made their way to the King and questioned him about the decree, and King Darius said to them the decision stood, an official law of the Medes and the Persians and could not be revoked. We can also take a lesson from this just because there’s a law does NOT mean the law is correct. For example, the law, in this case, was no one could pray to anyone or anything except for the King, but Daniel knew God’s law which states, “‘You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you.” (Reference Deuteronomy 6:13-14) Daniel chose to continue obeying God rather than man.
Now it may have looked for a moment his enemies would succeed in their plan, but that’s not the case. Yes, his enemies were jealous and a thorn in his side. They were busybodies, and they turned Daniel into King Darius: “So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, ‘May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.’”
In keeping with honesty, I would have looked at the lions, been scared out of my mind, and would try conversing with the lions if they were looking at me like I was thanksgiving dinner. “Hey, Mr. Lion, How Are Ya This Evening? Hope all is well. Please don’t eat me.”
Daniel, however, was bold and courageous. God shut the mouths of the lions and protected Daniel. Daniel was prayed up, strengthened by the Lord, and slept soundly all night… SURROUNDED BY LIONS. King Darius, however, refused any of his usual entertainment, fasted, and got no sleep.
Daniel’s example of courage and steadfast obedience to God is a lesson to us all. What the devil meant for Daniel’s destruction God used to shine forth the glory of God and was for Daniel’s good. Here is the result of Daniel’s situation:
Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?’
Daniel answered, ‘Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.’
The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.
Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.
Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
‘I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people;
he performs miraculous signs and wonders
in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.’
So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
King Darius gave glory to God. Daniel’s enemies were fed to the lions who devoured them before they hit the ground and prospered.
As God protected Daniel, God protects you. As God gave Daniel courage, God emboldens you. God gives you hope, salvation, and deliverance. God gives you healing emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Take your stand, and do NOT be conformed to the customs of this world. The world offers you NOTHING.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
She inspired King Josiah and a nation to repent. Her name? Huldah, a prophetess who lived in the 2nd District of Jerusalem during the time of King Josiah’s reign. Not a lot is said about her. However, her role in the nation of Judah was one of great significance.
Here is their story: King Josiah, eight years old, had become king and reigned for 31 years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s eyes, followed the example of his ancestor King David, and continued doing what was right. (Reference 2 Kings 22:1-7)
Fast forward to the 18th year of his reign,
“Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!’ Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.’ Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’ So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.’” -2 Kings 22:8-11
Josiah’s response was a fitting response given the fact He had heard the Words of the Lord. He listened to the Book of the Law which was now found, filled with despair, he tears in clothes in act of remorse. The king was not dignified in that moment of despair. Even Josiah himself took note, “We have not been doing everything it says we must do.” King Josiah wanted to know what they should do. As a result, he sent Hilkiah, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah to go to the temple, speak to the Lord for him (King Josiah), the people, and Judah. King Josiah had recognized God was angry at them because of their ancestors’ disobedience to the Words written on the scroll.
The men made their way over to consult Huldah about what they had found. For them to go to her, it was obvious she was respected, and she had a message from the Lord for them,
“She said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched. But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city. So they took her message back to the king.’” -2 Kings 22:15-20
Huldah spoke boldly and confidently. She gave the men the message the Lord had her to give without hesitation. The message the Lord gave her was clear, and she had the courage to tell them exactly what God wanted. Huldah was willing to be used.
King Josiah’s response to the message God gave Huldah to give him is remarkable:
“Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.” -2 Kings 23:1-3
He took the warning Huldah gave and he acted on the Word of the Lord. King Josiah took the lead, called everyone together in one place for the reading of the Word of God, and they pledged themselves to the Covenant. The King vowed to keep the commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul in the presence of God. King Josiah gave himself over to the ways of God. He removed the idolatrous priests who offered sacrifices to pagan gods, removed pagan worship and shrines of prostitution from the Temple of the Lord, idolatrous priests were not allowed to eat of the unleavened bread with the other priests, destroyed altars on the palace roof and the upper room of the palace and any other altar for worship to other gods, and the list goes on of the actions King Josiah made. He took drastic action. (Reference 2 Kings 23)
Like Huldah, are you willing to be used by the Lord to carry out the task He has given you?
Are you willing to be shaped and molded by the Lord like King Josiah was?
Will you, like Josiah, set your face like stone determined to do the will of God?
Will you push aside God’s Word, or will you draw close to Him and take immediate action on what needs to change in your life?
Is there anything you have to do so your life falls in line with God’s Word?
Remember our God never fails. He is the One who strengthens you and delivers you. You need only to go to Him and call out to Him. But if you go to the Lord for counsel and He tells you what to do, then be prepared to jump into action and follow every instruction He gives you.
“And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22
NEVER apologize for obeying what God has told you to do (“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” -Galatians 1:10 and “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8).
Always take your complaints and problems to the Lord because He is the one who can guide your steps and give your soul rest (“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30 and “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”).
Keep your mind fixed on the things of God because He keeps you in perfect peace (“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” -Isaiah 26:3-4).
It doesn’t matter what any man or woman says about you, what matters is what God has to say about what you do and say, and it’s more important for you to know God (“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” -Isaiah 55:8-9 and “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6).
WHAT MATTERS MOST is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14).
It was that moment I knew I would be standing alone, but I didn’t see where I had a choice if I wanted a deeper walk with the Lord, if I was to do the task He called me to do. So with every ounce of strength He gave to me, I stepped out in faith and obeyed. It was like jumping off a cliff, but when it was done, when it was finally done, I felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in a long time, and freedom came rushing in.
It didn’t matter if those around me understood what I was doing. The only thing that mattered was doing what God wanted me to do, what He told me to do, and simply following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It didn’t matter if the words I spoke would be received or not. I simply had to let go and let God, and then I had to get out of the way in full surrender and say, “It’s all yours, God. I did what you wanted. You take care of the rest, and I’ll stay out of the way.”
…because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is GOD’S APPROVAL, not man’s …because when all has been said and done, it is knowing and understanding GOD’S GRACE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH to sustain us …because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts …because of what Christ did on the cross and because of His resurrection, we are able to live a life of victory.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” -Hebrews 12:1-2
You do NOT have to explain your relationship with God to anyone nor do you have to explain how God speaks to you. Just keep following God, leaning on Him, and relying on Him alone for strength. His grace is more than enough.
Whatever God has told you to do, just obey. Yes, it’s worth it all. It may not be easy and the road may be rocky, but it’s worth it all. What influences you? What is stopping you from obeying God? Who are you listening to? What are you allowing your eyes to take in? What do you have to lay down in order to have a deeper walk with God, for Him to take you where He wants to take you? What will you give up? Do you care more about the approval of God or the approval of man? Where does your heart lie?
Lay it all down before the Lord.
Nothing short of full surrender will do
Let Him break the chains.
Much love to all,