I love those two wonderful
verses, but often they are hidden
behind all kinds of mental clutter. Busy with my daily assignments, I forget to
and "giving thanks" to Him.
shifts from God Himself
to the work He has given me, and distractions hide the joy of
His presence. I become "purpose-driven" even though I long to be
by my Lord every moment.
Knowing my weakness, my
faithful Shepherd gently nudges me back to Himself. He may use
sickness, a computer problem, a prayer request, an email
message... whatever serves to remind me that He alone is my
strength, my wisdom, my hope and my victory!
"Take My yoke upon you and
learn from Me," He whispers silently, "for I am gentle and lowly
in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. " Then I thank
Him, fall on my knees, and draw close to Him again.
me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my thoughts:
if there be any wicked way in me,
me in the way everlasting."
Nothing is more wonderful than
knowing the Shepherd and resting in Him!
Daniel knew Him well. God's
faithful Old Testament prophet would rather die than dishonor His
Lord by hiding his faith. Even when a new Babylonian law banned
Biblical worship, Daniel “knelt down on his knees three times that
day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom."
Though impressed with Daniel's faith and integrity, the reluctant
king had to yield to his evil counselors who "brought Daniel and
cast him into the den of lions.” Daniel 6:10, 16
You know what happened next.
God sent an angel to close the mouths of the lions. Daniel was saved,
because God's sovereignty far exceeds the will of man or the strength
of a lion. There is no limit to the sovereign reign of our almighty
Yet He has often allowed
His faithful friends to face cruel death and unthinkable suffering
in this life -- then rise to a martyr's welcome in His glorious
eternity. For those who follow Jesus are also called to share in
His suffering, so that greater victories may be won. The
the Martyrs (VOM) tells of one such triumph:
"The widow stood near the
body of her martyred husband, holding the hands of two of her
four children. Her husband had died in prison, and the marks
on his body made it clear that death had come slowly and painfully.
"The other believers knew this could be their fate too, yet
hundreds came to his funeral. He had died for his faith only
three months after his conversion, and now they mourned him.
... Eighty people publicly accepted Christ that day, including
many young people who had been part of the Communist Youth Organization.
"The Christians walked
the length of the city to the river, where they baptized the
new believers. The crowd had now grown to over fifteen hundred
"Soon, carloads of police
arrived. They set out to arrest the leaders of the service....
The Christians immediately knelt in prayer, asking God to allow
them to finish the service. Then they stood, shoulder to shoulder...
as the baptism service went on. ... One thousand people
were inspired by the sacrificial example of one new believer."
Here in America, we often take
freedom for granted and put our trust in the "inalienable rights"
supposed to prevent such injustice. Remember, the Soviet constitution
which, like the
UN Declaration on
almost the same rights and freedoms as our Bill of Right. But those who refused to conform to
Communist doctrines were denied those promised rights. Now America
is drifting down a similar changing path.
Seeds of Persecution]
As Biblical values are
casually tossed aside, a flood of contrary values fill the gaps.
We shouldn't be surprised if our sovereign
Lord withdraws His
-- just as He did with ancient Israel when it rebelled against
But those who trust and
follow Him can count on His promise:
“'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'
may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.
can man do to me?'” Hebrews 13:5-6
In the midst of the
challenges, we will praise our Father, who never fails His own
children. He is our Refuge from raging storms and our Hiding
Place from corruption and evil. He is our Savior and our
Strength -- our Wisdom and our Way.
"Thanks be to
Who gives us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."