Read the word.
Teach the word.
Preach the word.
- 1 Timothy 4:13
Daniel went from a kid in captivity to the king’s counselor after one act of faith. That act of faith took a great deal of courage—courage that came from Daniel seeking mercies from the God of heaven.
It’s important to remember that if it were not for Daniel’s previous dealings with wisdom, tact, and integrity, he never would have had this opportunity. Even as a youth in captivity, he earned the respect of his captors through his conduct and good character. If Daniel would have compromised by eating the king’s food in chapter 1, he would not have had the opportunity to be in the king’s court in chapter 2.
We should never underestimate the influence of our integrity and the effect our witness has upon a watching world. Whomever you stand before—be it a Babylonian king, your neighbor across the street, or your teacher in the classroom—people are observing not just what you do, but how you do the things God has called you to do.
As we interact in the world God has placed us, may Daniel’s experience remind us to demonstrate God’s character and qualities in our conduct so that those of the world would see Him through us.
When King Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream, he demanded an interpretation. And when Nebuchadnezzar didn’t get what we wanted…bad things happened.
Daniel and his friends didn’t know the interpretation right away, but they knew the God in heaven who reveals mysteries. They prayed to the Lord—and He answered them.
They knew the God of heaven rules and reigns forever. And unlike King Nebuchadnezzar—whose reign would come to a end—the Lord will establish His kingdom that will never end.
Watch our study of Daniel 2 as we considered the God in heaven who reveals mysteries and whose kingdom will have no end.
The question we’ll encounter throughout the book of Daniel is this: How can I be lovingly and respectfully faithful and obedient IN this world but not OF this world?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but thankfully we have the example of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to learn from. These four young men were plucked from their homes in Jerusalem and dropped into Babylon to be enculturated, indoctrinated, and assimilated into the most wicked society in the world at that point in history.
And yet, these four youths had something that shielded them from the influence of Babylon—integrity. Their integrity allowed them to be in the world, but not of the world. It allowed them to keep their identities to serve God behind enemy lines. Because of their courage, convictions, and integrity, these men became brilliant diamonds on the black backdrop of Babylonian culture.
Daniel 1:8 says that, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” This mentality and perspective permitted Daniel to live out his days in Babylon without compromising any of his convictions. We have a lot to learn from Daniel as we navigate our our own cultural indoctrination. And a good place to start is by purposing in our hearts to not defile ourselves—to be in the world, but not of the world.
Daniel was in his teens when he was taken from his home in Jerusalem and indoctrinated into the most wicked, most perverse, and most pagan society that the world had ever seen up to that point—Babylon.
And yet, somehow Daniel lived a majority of his life in Babylon without becoming influenced by Babylon. In the midst of all of the perverse wickedness, intentional indoctrination, and deadly social contagion, Daniel survived without compromising any of his convictions.
In our own age of cultural indoctrination, we can learn from Daniel’s experience as we purpose in our own hearts not to defile ourselves. Watch our first study in the book of Daniel as we consider what it means to be in the world, but not of the world.
On Good Friday, we were confronted with the grim reality that our relationship with God was broken by our sin. And yet…God loves us too much to let it remain broken. So He sent His one and only Son Jesus, who willingly laid down His life for you because of His great love for you.
By laying down His life, Jesus paid the full penalty for your sin on the cross. Scripture tells us that He became sin and received the full wrath of God, who poured out His righteous judgment of sin on His own Son. When the penalty for sin was paid in full, Jesus cried, “It is finished!” on the cross.
We know that the penalty for sin was accepted when Jesus rose from the dead three days later. And now, Jesus lives! He lives to intercede for us at the right hand of God. He lives as our High Priest by the power of an indestructible life. He lives and will always be with us and will never forsake us.
The good news is that whosoever believes this and asks Jesus to be the Lord of their life will be saved from sin and death! At the grave of His good friend Lazarus, Jesus said this to His good friend Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26). And then He asks Martha the same question that He asks you: “Do you believe this?”
Do you believe this? Do you desire for Jesus to be the Lord of your life? Tell Him! Now is the time of God’s favor—now is the day of salvation. Tell Him, “God, I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus, You are Lord—please be Lord of my life.” And then, upon the authority of Scripture, you will be eternally saved—you will pass from death to live and that broken relationship with God has now been restored!
On Resurrection Sunday, we rejoice because we know that Jesus is victorious over sin and death. Not only that, but He has promised to never leave us or forsake us! On this Resurrection Sunday, we celebrated Jesus’ victory by looking at Luke 24 and considered the ways He showed us that He would always with us.
It is such a privilege to be your pastor. To live life with you. To walk through valleys with you. To see you grow, serve, love, and labor for the Lord Jesus Christ and for your brothers and for your sisters in the Lord.
I want you to know that I see you. I see you loving the Lord. I see you laboring for the Lord. I see you serving each other—often sacrificially. And I am so thankful for you!
I am also so thankful for the atmosphere of the ministry here at Refuge, where we believe it is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Where, by God’s grace, we serve Jesus together as co-laborers.
Thank you for cherishing what Jesus has done for you, which prompts you to see each other just as He sees us—greatly loved and fully approved. Thank you for living this out and for giving this to each other.
I am so thankful for how you help me to care for God’s flock in God’s way. You are such good brothers and good sisters to each other. You watch out for each other. You protect each other. You stand up for each other. And for that I am thankful!
YOU truly are the excellent ones, in whom is all MY delight!
“As for the saints who are on the earth ‘They are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.’” (Psalm 16:3)
In Romans 16, Pastor Paul concludes his letter to the Roman church with some of his co-laborers in Christ in mind.
In Psalm 16, David remarks about co-laborers like these when he writes, “As for the saints who are on the earth ‘They are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.’” (Psalm 16:3).
In our 50th and final study in Romans, we reviewed the names of these individuals that Paul called out and appreciated the qualities they demonstrated as they served the Lord. Watch our study of Romans 16 as we consider ‘the excellent ones.’
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends