Daniel 1:8 Going Against The Norm

Cooked meal

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. Daniel 1:8 

When being given something, most people will accept it without any questions or problems with it. The reason it is often accepted is that no one wants to offend the giver. They want to be grateful for what they are being given.

Along with not wanting to be ungrateful, they also do not want to go against the norm of society. If everyone is doing it, they feel they should do it also. They do not want to buck the system of what to do or not to do. In this way they will compromise their standards and beliefs.

While Daniel was in exile, he was promoted to being a chief official for the king with some others. They were given the best food and drink of the palace. Daniel chose to not eat the food, because it went against God’s chosen diet for him.

Peer pressure to go with the norm of everyone else is great in this world. People will very quickly compromise their standards to gain something or to gain the favor of someone else.

Many believers will often compromise their standards in the walk with God in order to fit in with society or a group of people. They begin to accept and do things that go against what God has told them not to do, just so they do not stand out and appear as ungrateful or as ‘holier-than-thou’.

However, God has called all believers to be separate from this world. They are to stand out as different, a peculiar people and holy unto God. Doing so will cause one to choose to go against the norm of this world, in order to prevent sinning against God in any way.

Think about the things God has told you to do or not to do. These can be anything written in Scripture or told to you by His Holy Spirit. Are you willing to compromise what God has told you in order to fit in with a certain group of people?

Seek God to give you strength to not compromise and step into sin. There is nothing that is worth the price of sinning against God. Do not allow yourself to give into pressure to compromise your walk with God, just to go with the norm.

I pray today that you will know God’s will for you; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit; that you will be led by the Holy Spirit; and that you will not compromise your walk with God. 

Psalm 45:7 One Way To Receive Joy

Boy at crossroad

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Psalm 45:7 

Having joy in one’s life is something that people all over the world are seeking for in their own lives. People want to be happy and be full of joy throughout each of their days.

However, very few find it because of the struggles and challenges in life from day to day. As they seek to find joy, they search to doing or taking different things. They feel as if they could have joy if they just have or do this one thing or take this one drug.

While the joy will come for a moment when doing or taking something, often it is temporary and not very deep. What is done often has long term negative consequences, because they are rooted in sin and death, rather than in life.

The writer of this psalm is talking about the king being anointed with the oil of joy by God. The reason the king was anointed with joy was that he loved righteousness and hated wickedness.

Very simply put, righteousness is doing the right thing and wickedness is doing the wrong thing.

Doing what God wants of a person is always doing the right thing. It is not about legalism and do’s and don’ts, but about loving God and living the way He meant a person to live.

Living for sin and wickedness will only bring about death and destruction. There is no lasting joy in those things. Doing what is right brings life and will last for eternity.

Each person has a chose to make. Will he do what is right and love God and people? Or will he choose what is wrong and love sin and this world?

You have choices to make in your own life each day. It is possible for you to be filled with God’s joy in your life every day.

The way to find that joy is to learn to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind. When you truly love God, you will want to do what is right in His eyes. You will also want to turn away from all wickedness and sin.

As you follow God with all of your life, God will anoint you with His joy that the world cannot understand, nor have.

Are you anointed with joy today?

I pray today that you will love God with all of your life; that you will want to do what is right in God’s eyes; that God will guide you in living your life in the right way; and that God will anoint you with His joy each day. 

1 Samuel 16:10 Allowing God To Choose

Choices

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 1 Samuel 16:10 

All around the nation there are elections going on nearly all the time. People work on voting for others going into many different types of government positions or positions in a business, in an organization or even in a church.

Choosing who should be in each position is often done by looking at what they person can or cannot do and what he has done in the past. Sometimes people will also look at the character of the person to help make their choice as to who to vote for.

Rarely do people actually seek God’s answer as to who to choose and to go with His answer.

God had told Samuel that He had rejected Saul as the king and wanted to anoint another to become king. He sent Samuel to the home of Jesse to anoint one of his sons to become king. Jesse brings his first seven older sons to Samuel, leaving behind the youngest.

As each of the older ones passed by Samuel, Samuel thought each might be the one for various outside appearance reasons, yet God rejected each one. God had already made the choice of the youngest, David. Samuel would not choose any that was not chosen by God.

In the same way as Samuel has acted, every believer needs to seek God’s direction in choosing someone for a position or to make any decisions in their lives. Outside appearances of a person can be deceiving. Humans only see the outside, while God sees the entire heart of the person. He is looking for people who will serve Him with all of their heart.

Allowing God to make the choice, does not always look the wisest, yet it is the always the best choice. Those who serve God are the ones God wants to choose.

There will be times you will need to make a choice. It could be for voting for someone for a person or it could be some other choice. Either way, you must bring the choice before God and allow Him to make the decision. Allow God to guide you in what choice you make.

David later become one of the greatest kings Israel ever had. Your choice may be the one that impacts the world, because you allowed God to make the choice.

Today I pray that God will guide you in choices you need to make; that you will allow God to put His choice of people into positions; that you will seek God for every choice needed to be made; and that God will work through you to touch the world. 

Cold–Good Or Bad?

cold weather

Right now in Texas the state it going through some very cold weather. At least very cold by Texas standards. The temperatures are dropping down into the 20s. Where I grew up in Wisconsin, that would be warm enough to start taking off the jackets, thinking it was warm. Right now they are experiencing sub-zero temps.

I am one of the strange people who enjoys the cold weather. I have always loved winter. Although winter in Texas is very different, since there is no snow, or at least very, very, very little.

Most people I know, at least in Texas, hate the cold and do not want to be a part of it at all. They fear frostbite, icy roads, sidewalks or steps. They hate having to wait for the car to warm up in order to warm up themselves. Many don’t like having to put on heavy jackets and hats, just to stay somewhat warm. 

While being cold does have some major dangers involved in it, there are also some good things that can only be seen or experienced in the cold.

I enjoy walking outside and breathing in the fresh, crisp, cold, refreshing air. I hate breathing in the hot, humid Texas air in the summer (which appears to be most of the year in Texas).

I love seeing snowbanks and snow covered trees and houses. Although I never really liked to shovel the snow.

Snow Covered Trees

I love to see icicles hanging off of buildings, trees, and rocks. Looking at the beautiful, intricate ice formations on a window is a lot of fun. Looking at rivers or lakes that are covered in ice is a beautiful sight to see.

Ice Crystals.JPG

One benefit of the cold in Texas is that it does kill off many of the bugs that exist. Texas is known for many bugs and some really big ones too. Very few survive the cold when it gets this cold.

The cold will also slow down all the snakes and put many of them into a hibernation mode for a time. Very few snakes are seen when it is this cold.

As I was thinking about the cold here in Texas, I started thinking about cold in the Bible. One of the verses that immediately comes to mind is:

Revelation 3_15-16

Jesus was talking about the deeds of the people. They were neither hot or cold. They could not make up their mind of whether they would follow Jesus or not, serve Him or not. God wants them to be either hot or cold, not in between.

Looking at this verse, many people think of cold being negative. However, Jesus was not talking about the person being cold is spit out of his mouth. It is the person who is lukewarm, neither hot or cold.

Hard Heart

When a person is said to have a cold heart, it is talking about how he has hardened his heart against someone or towards something. The Bible talks of how Pharaoh had hardened his heart against God and Moses. He had turned cold against God. Most of the time, a hardening of the heart is a negative thing to happen.

However, a person can also be cold and have a hardened heart in a positive way. Cold to sin and the ways of this world. One must harden his heart against the deceptions and lies of sin.

Jesus had told some people that Satan was their father and that he was the father of lies.

John 8:44 New International Version (NIV)

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Satan and this world wants you to believe that Jesus died and stayed dead on the cross. They want you to believe that God is not real. They want you to believe that sin is acceptable. They want you to believe that there are many ways into heaven.

The accusation that Jesus told the people in John, is not one that you will want to be made against you. Your heart must be hot on fire for God and His will, but cold to sin.

You must not allow your heart to be hardened cold against God and what He wants for your life. God is only looking out for your best. He is a Father who loves to give good things to His children.

When “bad” things happen in your life, the world will try to get you to turn your heart cold against God. Because why should God allow bad things to happen to you?

Romans 8-28

One may not ever know why a “bad” situation happened in his life, but he can rest assured it was meant for good by God. God takes the negative things of this world and uses them for His purpose.

Just as there is spring, summer, fall and winter in this world for a purpose, there is a purpose to the seasons and events in your life.

While many people do not like the cold and often ask what good it is, there are good things that occur when the cold comes in. There is beauty that can be seen when it is cold.

Turn your heart cold to the sin and ways of this world. Turn your heart on fire for God and His ways. Do not allow yourself to be lukewarm and spit out by God. There is a purpose in the cold.

Daniel 1:8 Choosing To Not Be Defiled

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. Daniel 1:8

When King Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had taken over Jerusalem and all Judah, he carried many people into captivity. Out of these people, he chose some who were the best and brightest to work for him. They were brought into the palace courts to work and given the best food and drink, along with all other needed provisions. Daniel was among those given that favor.

The food being provided was food that the Israelites were not supposed to eat according to God’s law. Daniel set it in his heart that he would not defile his body with the food being offered. Regardless of what may happen, he refused to eat that food. He asked the officials to not eat it. He was given favor, because God was on his side.

In this world there are many things that are out there that can defile a believer. No matter what store or location a person walks into things are available to cause one to sin. Pictures, thoughts, and actions are everywhere being done that are filled with sin and can lead a believer down the wrong path. Even other people can lead a person wrong.

As a believer, you must make a commitment to the Lord prior to walking into any place. You must commit to not allowing yourself to be led into sin. You have to choose not to walk down certain paths that the world offers.

In the process of doing this, there will be many times that you will go against the flow of society, even some in the church. Some may be doing it in good will, not meaning to harm you, but still be against God’s ways. It may also be painful. As with Daniel choosing not to eat certain foods, it runs the risk of creating severe pain and suffering. God is with you, and if you choose to follow Him and His ways, He will take care of you.

Before you walk out of your house today, or even your bedroom, resolve in your heart to not allow yourself to be defiled by sin. Refuse to walk down that path as you walk in this world.

I pray today that you will know God’s will for your life; that you will choose to follow God alone; that you will choose to not walk in sin against God; and that you will not allow yourself to be defiled by this world.