“Wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father…You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” Luke 24.49.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer. –Psalm 19.14
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day… –2 Corinthians 4.7,16
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. –Genesis 1.26; 2.7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
As they walked they compared notes, talking lightly in hobbit-fashion of the things that had happened since their capture. No listener would have guessed from their words that they had suffered cruelly, and been in dire peril, going without hope towards torment and death; or that even now, as they knew well, they had little chance of ever finding friend or safety again. –The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, “The Uruk-Hai,” p. 458, 50th Anniversary One-Volume Edition, J.R.R. Tolkien, ©2004, Harper Collins, reprinted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, New York, NY, USA
And they brought them [Paul and Silas] to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stock. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. –Acts 16.20-25
…the days are evil…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… –Ephesians 5.16b,18-19
Reporting Truth to the Corners of the World
BABYLON—The entire populace of our city is reeling from the news of this morning’s events at the palace. One hundred and twenty-two of the government’s officials have been thrown into the king’s lion’s den. All of Babylon was awakened to the news of the king’s decree that all the kingdom of Babylon must worship the God of his vice regent Daniel.
This new decree abolishes the previous day’s decree condemning anyone for praying to any god other than the king for the next 30 days. The 122 officials are now sport for the hungry lions for their attempt to make sport of Daniel, the king’s vice regent.
Daniel is one of three governors that King Darius appointed to oversee the royal satraps in the Babylonian provinces throughout the kingdom. Our news service learned early this morning that Daniel miraculously survived an entire night sealed in confinement as the only supper for the king’s hungry lions. Daniel’s service in the Babylonian government dates back to the days of King Nebuchadnezzar. The former king of Babylon took Daniel from among the Jewish captives who survived the Babylonian conquest of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the west. The king’s chronicles record that Daniel’s tour of service here has been characterized by uncommon reverence for the leadership of the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar raised Daniel to a favored place in his court after three of Daniel’s kinsmen miraculously survived the most dreaded punishment in the kingdom: the king’s fiery furnace. The king had sentenced Daniel’s Hebrew compatriots for their refusal to worship the images of our Babylonian gods.
Daniel’s posture toward the leadership of the kingdom has never stooped to militance or treachery in order to gain the king’s favor or to influence the legislative system in Babylonian government. On the contrary, Daniel has honored the king even when his own life was in danger because of a law to which his conscience prevented his obedience. Daniel’s strategy in such instances has consistently been to pray to his God. Sources inside the palace report that Daniel’s habit in his 60+ years of exile has been his discipline of prayer to his God three times daily. The kings of Babylon have become so accustomed to Daniel’s habit of prayer that they consider it one of his duties of state. Every king from Nebuchadnezzar till now has highly commended Daniel of Judah for his loyalty as a subject of the Babylonian Empire. Yet Daniel has never abandoned his identity and spiritual heritage as a citizen of Israel.
Sources inside the palace report that Daniel’s colleagues in government sought to legislate against his right to retain his spiritual convictions. Their objective appears to have been the removal of Daniel from his place of favor in the king’s cabinet. Sources close to King Darius report that their strategy consisted of obtaining the king’s seal on a law that they secretly drafted to condemn to death in the lion’s den every person in the kingdom who prays to any god or man other than the king for 30 days. Their draft of the law became effective 24 hours ago, and it granted authority to these government leaders to levy the death penalty for a period of thirty days from its issue. They knew that once signed and sealed by the king, such a law could not be changed. No one was exempt from this law. Unaware of the objective of his officials, King Darius signed the decree. Shortly afterward, the PRESS received reports that the palace prison facilities were being expanded and more lions were being captured to handle the multitude of prisoners expected from enforcement of such a decree. The result of this decree promised to be a bloody holocaust, the first of the condemned being Daniel of Judah. Palace sources report that Daniel was seized during his habit of evening prayer in his private quarters. That law is now abolished with King Darius’ new decree issued this morning after Daniel’s miraculous exit from the lion’s den.
In an exclusive interview with Governor Daniel, I asked him the subject of his prayers for so many years. He confided that he was compelled to confess his own sins and the sins of his people. He thanks his God for mercies and kindnesses even here in his exile. His most urgent requests have been for his God’s forgiveness of sin, wisdom in leadership and the fulfillment of his God’s plan for the people by blessing or by affliction, in the Land of Israel or in exile. I asked Daniel what motivated him to pray to his God under such a mortal judgment as the latest anti-prayer law. He stated that prayer is like breathing and that even death could not break his communion with his God. If Daniel’s feline companions could talk, I wonder what they would report about Daniel’s prayer and Daniel’s God.
Daniel’s prayer habits appear to have made him a reliable spokesman before kings and before his God on behalf of himself and his people here in their Babylonian exile.
It is written in the Scriptures which Daniel has believed:
If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.–2 Chronicles 7.14
Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. –Luke 12.35-40
A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies. –Proverbs 14.25
Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. –Ezekiel 13.22
…That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ… –Ephesians 4.14-15
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. –John 8.32
We renounce no friendship. But it may be the part of a friend to rebuke a friend’s folly. –J.R.R. Tolkien, “Silmarillion”
TRUTH: it’s the new hate speech. –unknown
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. –George Orwell
The worst thing about being lied to is knowing that you’re not worth the truth. –unknown
The truth shall set you free…but first it shall piss you off. –Gloria Steinem
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. –Psalm 118.5
Weeks have passed and my head is full of so many thoughts. It’s like mail–some of it is junk, too–that piles up unopened, unsorted, unanswered, left on a compost heap piling higher and beginning to smolder…
I look at the “head mail” and, just like looking at the stack of postal mail which collects and torments from my desk, I flinch and in my inertia, I whimper at it unable to lay hold of the faculty to sort the thoughts to be of any use to me or anyone else… My brain cells are stuck on feeling and thinking, but my brain-to-expression ability is unplugged for the moment…
Have I prayed? Yes. Indeed, I have, and I continue my conversations with the Lord. Praying is the air I breathe; my Lifeline…
Am I listening for God’s answer on this issue? Yes. Indeed, I am. And in the quietness I am comforted with the assurance that it’s okay to have a season of thought and feeling, inexpressible to anyone but God… After all, I am not at the center of this blog; it’s not all about me, me, me. It’s about Jesus in this life given to me. Apparently, this is going to be one of those aspects of the life God has given me to discover how great He is–how great His EXPRESSION is, when words fail me…So, dear blogging friends, keep writing what God gives you to share. I’m reading. I’m finding words to comment and encourage you while I wait on God to grant me utterance to finish some writing which has been interrupted by life and circumstances and my own limitations…I will keep on reading and encouraging you as God permits each day…
In the meantime, I am giving thanks for all things–including the weaknesses–knowing that His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness… and I keep walking with Christ in this wilderness, trusting Him for the words of encouragement, praise, and testimony in due time.