Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - What's Up Doc?

Daniel 3:21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego


That Wile E. Coyote is such a determined creature. He went to such lengths to get that poor roadrunner. Since his appearance in 1948, Wile E. Coyote has chased and chased after that bird. Here's some interesting facts though: Coyotes mostly feed on rabbits, gophers, mice, prairie dogs, rats, squirrels, antelope, goats, sheep - very rarely any poultry. Also, the roadrunner, while known for it's speed, can reach up to 20 mph - pretty fast for a bird. However, the coyote can get up to 30 mph in a trot - up to 40 mph if he's being chased. HMMMMM. So the question is this, if that Wile E. Coyote doesn't really even eat things like the roadrunner - and could literally outrun it if he so desired - why all the crazy antics?

King Nebuchadnezzar is doing the same thing. He's chasing after these poor boys that he doesn't really even want. He liked these boys earlier and now all of a sudden they've become his target. He's pulled out his ACME guide of how to trap and kill and he set his plan in motion. He turned up the heat of the furnace and called on his strongest guards. And just like the coyote, the beginning of his plan has already failed. The guards that he put in charge of throwing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the furnace were killed by the same heat that he had increased. Shouldn't that have been a sign right there - you're messing with the wrong guys.

We, too, often set our minds on things we really have no business messing around with. Things in our life that God never intended for us to chase after. Sure, we might be physically capable of obtaining these things - but for whatever reason - God has set it outside of our reach for a purpose. If we set our minds on seeking out a relationship with Him, everything else will fall in line. MEEP MEEP. . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - Barbecue Anyone?

Daniel 3:19-20 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.

If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot. ~Korean Proverb

Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger. ~Chinese Proverb

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools. ~Albert Einstein

No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched. ~George Jean Nathan

Anger is short-lived madness. ~Horace

Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Spite is never lonely; envy always tags along. ~Mignon McLaughlin,

Temper tantrums, however fun they may be to throw, rarely solve whatever problem is causing them. ~Lemony Snicket

I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to. ~Author Unknown

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~Buddha

We have all heard many quotes regarding anger, there's probably a few you're thinking about right now. But even all these famous quotes, all these 'sought after' people of wisdom - the Bible has clearly shown an example - Not too many stories show the idiocy of out-of-control anger as that of King Nebuchadnezzer. The boys did not spit in his face, they did not stomp on his crown, they didn't kick sand in his face - they simply refused to bow down to some gold he had melted. Boy, did that make him mad.

First thing he does - he turns the heat up seven times in the furnace. Which seems a little silly to me. You're going to die from flames at "regular" heat - just like you die from seven times hotter heat. But, anger is not rational. He also calls on his strongest men to throw them into the furnace. Even though Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have already said they accepted the terms of not bowing down and knew they would be going into the furnace, the king felt that the use of his strongest soldiers in this situation was necessary.

Anger + Pride = Bad Combination. Stay tuned to see what happens. . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego - The Game of Life


Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.


Read this story: Sally was one of the older kids. Only by a year, but still bigger than most kids in the neighborhood. As all the kids gathered to play a game, it was decided that they would pair up into threes. Sally stood back and waited while everyone quickly gathered in their group. Two young girls stood a few feet off - looking timid - and Sally went up to them and asked to be on their team. They readily accepted her. Tina yelled over to Sally - "Why are you on their team? You won't win!" Sally responded, "Maybe we will! But even if we don't, it's more important that I let these girls know how much I care about them - even if it means losing the game."

Kelly mentioned the VeggieTales story of Rack, Shack and Benny - which I have heard of, but have not seen. However, I can't help but picture how wonderful those roasted vegetables would be in that fire for a few minutes - isn't that terrible...

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood up to the king. They basically told him, "We don't have to answer you, but we will." "It doesn't matter whether we win or lose - we are not switching teams".

This is the game of life. There are many things that go on in our daily activities. Some we win, some we lose. The important thing is making sure you're on the right team. Even if it seems like another team is winning, you can't switch teams - because you find out in the long run - Only one team wins. It's the team with Jesus as the Captain.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - When Stupid Leaders Are in Position...

Daniel 3:13-15 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

In this post, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - I'd Like To Order An Attitude To Go, Please, King Nebuchadnezzar is so happy with these boys. He compliments them, he puts them to work for him, he talks with them. What happened from there to here?

Have you ever known people who you talk to that seem to love you and care about you, but the minute you show any disagreement to what they have to say, they don't seem to love you so much anymore. I had a friend that I would talk to in school. We would laugh and tell jokes and pass notes. But as soon as I told her that I didn't think going to a party and getting drunk was a good idea- our friendship dwindled. Such is human nature.

Now Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego weren't just risking a friendship or even a shunning, they were threatened with a brutal death. However, they had some inside knowledge that the king was unaware of at this time. Their God is real. So whether they die a physical death in that fire or not, they would continue their life as a child of God - either on earth or in heaven - King Nebuchadnezzar couldn't change that fact.

What if we lived life with that same attitude? "Our God is real". It doesn't matter what happens to my physical being, my soul lives on forever - I'll just move to a different location. It really is something to think that one day we will walk up to Abednego and be able to say - "Why didn't you just smack that stupid king in the face", and I'm sure his answer will be much more profound than any snide remark I could come up with.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - They Don't Like Us Very Much

Daniel 3:7-12 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."

So all the people in the kingdom are going to bow down to this stupid idol the king had put so much time, effort and money into building. Isn't it ironic how the more foolish something seems to be, the more people seem to fall for it? What benefit does it serve to melt down all that gold to build a nine foot high statue? Surely there were people in the kingdom that could've used that money. Starving children, destitute widows, orphans and more. Nonetheless, when the music started, practically everyone bowed.

Everyone except - those three servant boys that were brought over a few years back. These boys would not bow. They wouldn't bend, wouldn't sway, wouldn't brea
k. I don't believe this was an easy decision for these boys to make. Sure, they knew that God was the only One they would worship, but in making this decision - they put all Jews in jeopardy.

It makes me think of those Jews that were hiding in Nazi Germany. If one person made a move, one sound, the whole family would be found out and this would mean death. What a huge amount of pressure on a young person.

It works the same way with Christianity. If we stand up for what we believe in, Christians - as a whole - may be mocked, mistreated and hated. Many issues lie on the forefront where we must stand up based on our faith in Christ - Marriage of homosexuals, abortion, legalizing prostitution. . . If we waiver, if we do not stand up for what is right according to God, people will continue to bow down to these other idols - never knowing our one true God. We should take that risk - we should accept the consequences for other Christians who take that risk and support them. We should not be angry at those people who agree with the issues that go against what Jesus taught - we should love them and work hard at educating them on the love of Jesus. There is one person behind all of this - Satan, he is our enemy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - The True American Idol

Daniel 3:1-6 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."

A stampede of shoppers in a Valley Stream Wal-Mart Stores on Friday morning left one worker dead and at least three patrons injured after an impatient crowd broke down the store doors and trampled the seasonal employee, Nassau police said. Jdimytai Damour of Jamaica, Queens, was pushed to the ground by the 2,000-plus crowd just before 5 a.m. as management was preparing to open the store, which is located across from the main Green Acres Mall building. Hundreds stepped over, around and on the 34-year-old worker as they rushed into the store. "This crowd was out of control," said Nassau Police Det. Lt. Michael Fleming, whose squad is investigating. "Nobody was trying to help him," said shopper Nakea Augustine, who was in the line. "They were rushing in the store, rushing, rushing, rushing."

This story flashed across headlines during the holiday season this past year. What is it that these people were in such a hurry for, that they would shove a man down and kill him and not notice it? It seems almost unbelievable. But then, so did King Nebuchadnezzar's idol.

We look at the story of this king today and say - 'oh, that's an interesting s
tory - but it just doesn't apply today'. The truth is, this story is more relevant today than it has ever been. Our idols don't even have to be 9 feet tall. It's anything that we are so pre-occupied with, that we will stop everything we're doing at a certain time to go to that idol. Does the 'TV' ring a bell? How often will we plan our schedules around what time a particular show comes on? I'm guilty of it - but DVR has helped, ha. What about a concert or show that comes to town that you will do anything to get tickets for - even if it means a debt that you promised to pay gets pushed back again.

Even things that may have once been considered a part of your responsibility can be shoved into that 'idol' category. The mom who takes the overtime hours at her job instead of being at the baseball game to watch her son. Now many may disagree about jobs being idols, but when you're putting the bills and the almighty dollar that is thought of as a 'need' ahead of what God has put us in charge of (family, children) then that is dangerous territory. Maybe there is something that can be pushed away - like the expensive car or the gym membership you don't use or the pay channels on cable, so that the 'things' of the world will seem unimportant when it comes to what God has said should be a priority. Let's not let society tell us what to and when to bow down.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - I'd Like To Order An Attitude To Go, Please


Daniel 1:18-20 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.


Customer Service has certainly gone down in America. It is more likely to expect no customer service than good customer service. The fast-food drive thru is always a good example. They get upset if you don't order fast enough - they get upset if you order too fast. The get upset if you order something special - they get upset if you order too much. They get upset if you use a credit card - they get upset if you give exact change. It almost feels as if you can't win. My theory has always been this - if you can't do the job the way it should be done - then get another job.

The boys were now working for the king. They would go before him and report and be questioned by the king. This was not a job they applied for. They did not complete a resume and wait by the phone for human resources to call. They were forced to do this job and yet they did it so well, the king said he found them 10 times better than those already working for him.

Many times we are stuck in situations we don't want to be in. Whether it's a grueling job with little pay or a house that has a never ending list of repairs. But this example is set very clear for us. As representatives of the King - we are to do everything with Christ in mind. If we have a toilet to scrub, or a diaper to change, or a burger to flip - we should do it to the best of our ability and with a Christ-like attitude.

I can't imagine a worse situation than being forced from your homeland and stuck in a place with people who don't believe the same as you and want you to prove yourself. But Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel took this as an opportunity to be an example for God. To show His power and glory simply by doing what was asked of them to the best of their ability.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - In Your Face Anger Management


Daniel 1:15-17 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.


Have you ever made the choice to do the right thing even when you didn't want to? Let me tell you a story. About a year ago, someone had done something to my family that I felt was inexcusable. I harbored anger for that person every day. That anger weighed on me and I would grit my teeth when talking to the Lord about it. As I was in the shower one morning, I began talking to God about this anger. I explained to Him how justified I was in being angry with this person. I went on and on about how good a person I was and how I had tolerated other bad behavior from this person before but that it had gone too far this time. I continued about how I had tried to be nice, tried to be a good friend . . . and then God spoke. He said to me: "Try again!". Now it wasn't really His voice - it was more like my voice - okay - it was my inner voice, but it was definitely God telling me what to do. How do I know? Because I never would have told myself to do that - I was living quite nicely in my anger. After my talk with God, I promised Him that I would do it. I asked Him to grant me some time to figure out a way to do it to be an example, humble example, for Him - but I promised I would. It took a week. A daily praying for wisdom and opportunity, but I did it. The weight was lifted from me and things seemed to clear - and I can't tell you the joy I felt from doing something God told me to do - that I didn't want to do - but I did it anyway because He told me to.

These four boys weren't immune to temptation. I imagine they wouldn't turn their noses up at a nice filet mignon. I think they prayed quite a bit over their situation and maybe justified how tough they'd had it, being kidnapped and all, and how they deserved a little "good" food. And Yet, they went with what they knew God wanted them to do. They were rewarded. They showed up the competition and the 'choice' food was replaced with vegetables and healthy options for everyone.

My story doesn't end there. On the day I made my promise to God that I would let my anger go and make amends, something more happened. We have always struggled financially. Pay to pay with little extra (four kids, it's always something). On this day when I showed up at my teaching job, I was asked if I would also start my class at another location in the fall (this would double that income for an extra hour a week). On the way home from class, I got a call from the WW Corporate office saying that they had a company that wanted to start up a meeting and would I take it. Which I did - and I love this group! God takes care of His people!

The boys didn't just win bragging rights, did you see what God blessed them with: "knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning". What an awesome skill to be blessed with. All because they did what they knew God wanted them to do. The truth is still the same today as it was over 2000 years ago - God takes care of His people!


On a side note: Thank you to those that are praying for Rebecca from the last post. The doctors pulled out a lime-sized tumor and are sending it off to be tested. The doctor did feel that it would be cancerous though, so they are going to start chemotherapy. The survival rate is 70%. We are so grateful to God for guiding the doctor through this dangerous surgery - but will you please continue to pray for her healing and her family during this stressful time?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - Part 3:"Friends" have moral obligations.

Daniel 1:5-14 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

We've been talking about the three part process that the king was using to brainwash these boys to his way of thinking. We're on step number 3:

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For the past week, my husband and I took the kids and drove to Kentucky to spend time with my parents. We had a wonderful week, we even went trail hiking up the mountains while we were there. It was nice to get away from everything and have the opportunity to do nothing but visit with my family.

As God always provides - this is part of the process number 3 - hanging out with the wrong people.

The king had made it clear the boys from Judah were to be mixed in with the other boys in training from Babylon. Young teenage boys all mixed in together - it might become difficult to stand your ground and be firm in what you believe when others fight against you. But isn't it amazing how God worked it out to keep them separated. There's nothing like a good ol' competition to keep the teams working together. This is what God used through these boys to keep them safe from the temptation of being around others who do not believe the same way.

We are faced with it on a daily basis. How quick we are to succumb to the office gossip or the violent temper in a basketball game when others actions "started it". If we can steer clear of those we know lead us into temptation, it is so much easier for us to remain a Christ-like example.

Many people don't have the blessing of parents who are Christians. I do. Which is why it was so nice to get away and be surrounded by love and acceptance with a clear vision of what our ultimate goal in life is - to serve Christ.

So to recap:
1: Take care of the body God gave you, when our physical body is weak - it's hard to focus on what our goals should truly be.
2: Know that you are a child of the King and don't let Satan tell you anything different - and make sure you act like it.
3: Surround yourself with your brothers and sisters in Christ to be continually uplifted and encouraged to continue on our mission.


On a side note: My middle-school daughter has a friend who plays the piano in her praise band. She went into the hospital this weekend with severe headaches and they found a brain tumor. The are performing surgery at noon today to take the mass out and analyze it to see what they are dealing with. This is a strong Christian family in our church - and they sure could use your prayers. Her name is Rebecca and she's in 8th grade. If you get a moment - could you say a prayer for her and her family?



Monday, March 9, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - Part 2: It's All in a Name.

Daniel 1:5-14 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

We've been talking about the three part process that the king was using to brainwash these boys to his way of thinking. We're on step number 2:

Number 2 is Identity: I enjoyed the Bourne Identity and the sequels that followed it. As I mentioned before, I'm a big - spy helping the good guy - fan. In the beginning of this particular spy movie, Jason Bourne has lost his memory after a mission gone awry. He spends the rest of the movie trying to find out who he was and what his purpose had been. In the end, he realizes that he didn't really like who he was and started a brand new life.


The boys who had been captured by the king were given new names. There is a nice little history behind their original names: Hananiah meaning 'God is gracious', Mishael meaning 'Who is like God?' and Azariah meaning 'God keeps him'. There names were changed to Shadrach (meaning 'Command of the Moon-God'), Meshach (meaning 'Who is like the Moon-God?') and Abednego (meaning 'Servant of Nego'). Wouldn't this be more confusing for the boys, why would the king choose this to be done?

If the king could change their names to that of Babylonians, maybe they would embrace that style of life and become loyal to the Babylonians. It was a good solid plan, one that Satan has used for centuries.

If Satan can convince people to act a certain way online, a different way at work, even change how they act when they're at church, he might be able to confuse them enough that they forget they are the children of the King. We see it all the time. People who act differently at church and then use unethical practices at work or curse at the bank teller while they're running errands. These people are suffering from mistaken identity.

As royalty, as a princess, as a daughter of the King - I know that I am required to behave a certain way. It is my HONOR to make my father proud. Don't let Satan make you forget who you are.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - Part 1: New Diet Starts Today

Daniel 1:5-14 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

There is a three part process in this section - it is a design for the king to brainwash these boys to his way of thinking. We'll divide them out over the next 3 posts.

The first 1 is Food:
Is it just me or does the Bible have so many nutritional lesson
s in it that it beats any weight loss program out there? And I work for one!

Colon Cancer, Heart Disease, risk of bladder, breast, cervical, endometrial, esophageal, glioma, kidney, liver, lung, mouth, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers are all risk factors for eating a diet full of red meat. Does that mean we shouldn't eat red meat? No, it just means that too much - is not good, everything in moderation.


Many people argue that the wine in the Bible is just grape juice. This is just not tru
e and if followed up throughout scripture - it is evident that the wine mentioned in these verses is exactly that - an alcoholic beverage.

According to studies done today: Even modest amounts of alcohol consumption can cause blood pressure to increase. Even in small doses, a
lcohol can inhibit REM sleep, leaving you tired and groggy, and also cause the damaging and death of brain cells and the cells that support them by providing energy and nutrients.

There are six kinds of nutrients our bodies need: Carbohydrates, Protein, Lipids, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. Of these, there is only one nutrient that a healthy body doesn't make on its own and the only place to get it is food - that is
Carbohydrates. Guess where the best place to get Carbohydrates is? Fruits and Vegetables.

These boys have been taught this growing up. Weren't we also taught this? Didn't our parents tell us to eat our fruits and vegetables and everything in moderation? What happened? I'll tell you. All the appetizing things of the world came at us. Society dressed a hamburger up in yellow and red paper, they sang a song and enticed us with cheap prices and convenience - and we bought it hook, line and sinker. The world persuades us with words like 'decadent' , 'rich and creamy' and 'savory' and we eat things that our body never required, needed or can tolerate.

Why wasn't Daniel and his team persuaded? Why didn't the kings delicacies taunt them and call out to them and entice them? Because before they walked in - they had a plan. They made a mental decision that They Would Not Eat That Food. They would not be persuaded, they would not be coerced, they would not be enticed. God provided the will-power.


God still does provide the will-power, we just have to ask Him for it. Next post: Point #2

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - I Don't Conquer, I Submit.

Daniel 1:3-4 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.

We spend way too much time in front of the TV. I think our family has a show for every night of the week that is a "must see". Certainly not one of our more "Godly" pursuits. But then again, where would I get all these great analogies for my blog . . . Anyway. One of our favorites is a show called "Burn Notice". It's about a spy who's been kicked out of the spy field - but spends the whole season trying to get back into it, along the way helping those in need. Here's what I noticed. All the spies in this movie, good and bad, are all attractive, very intelligent, multi-lingual, strong and agile - everything one needs for a hostile take-over. This seems to be the same for most spies we see in Hollywood: James Bond, Mission Impossible, The Bourne Supremecy, etc.

The king is looking for spies, so to speak. The men he wants his chief to bring should be young. They would have no family (he took care of that - since he stole them from their country). They should be handsome. They need to be smart. They need to be physically fit. See. . . spies.

We look at this occupation as glamorous. Being able to sneak around and listen in on conversations, use a weapon, learn how to connive and persuade people, using beauty and brawn to manipulate.

The king gathered these 'men' together because he believed they had all the qualities that he thought one needed to possess to be successful on his team. He did not know that these young men possessed one extra quality: supernatural power. . .

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - BEGINS

Daniel 1:1-2 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.

According to iraqbodycount.com, to date, nearly 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens have been killed. The following statistics are staggering:
Who was killed?
24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.
Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.
When did they die?
30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.
Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).
Who did the killing?
US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.
What was the most lethal weaponry?
Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices.
Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths.
Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordinance (including cluster bomblets).
How many were injured?
At least 42,500 civilians were reported wounded.
The invasion phase caused 41% of all reported injuries.
Explosive weaponry caused a higher ratio of injuries to deaths than small arms.
The highest wounded-to-death ratio incidents occurred during the invasion phase.


War and casualties of war have been going on for a long time. We see this in the opening of the book of Daniel. A man with his own agenda in mind defeats an innocent nation and the spoils that went with it.

I'm excited about studying the lives of three young men who even through a gruesome circumstance like war made a difference for Christ. We are going through an age now where all may seem hopeless - a waging war that results in pointless loss of life. Do not give up hope, do not lose faith, let's get on our knees and become a nation that prays once again.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ten Lepers - Ends - I'M RICH!

Luke 17:19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

Bill Gates makes roughly $7.8 billion a year. This Microsoft Cofounder and CEO, was interviewed November 1995 on PBS by David Frost. Below is the transcript with minor edits...

Frost: Do you believe in the Sermon on the Mount?
Gates: I don't. I'm not somebody who goes to church on a regular basis. The specific elements of Christianity are not something I'm a huge believer in. There's a lot of merit in the moral aspects of religion. I think it can have a very, very positive impact.
Frost: I sometimes say to people, do you believe there is a god, or do you know there is a god? And, you'd say you don't know?
Gates: In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don't know if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid.

Gates was profiled by Walter Isaacson in a January 13, 1996 TIME MAGAZINE cover story. Here are some excerpts compiled by the Drudge Report:

Isaacson: Isn't there something special, perhaps even divine, about the human soul?
Gates: I don't have any evidence on that.
Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.

Jesus said to the leper who came back to thank Him - Go, your faith has healed you. Does that mean that for all the other lepers, their disease returned to them? I thought about this and studied it - because, to me - it seemed like that was what they deserved because they didn't say "thank you". But, that's not how Jesus works. What He meant was that the leper's soul was healed. He had faith in Jesus, trusted His word and now He would be in heaven with Jesus one day.

People often wonder why Bill Gates and other wealthy men in the world who are not Christians are blessed with so much money. I think the story of the ten lepers answers that questions. You may receive many things here on this earth - but let it be known that they are all blessings from God and if you choose to ignore that and not acknowledge that it was Him who sent His only son to die for you - you will not get the greatest reward there is to obtain. . .