July 30

Daniel 4-6, Psalm 56

Mahatma Gandhi was deeply hurt by his experiences with Christians during his time in South Africa. As a result he said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." When I'm sharing and I ask people why they don't believe in God one of the top responses is that they spent years going to one church or another and found them to be full of hypocrites. People who seemed to behave a certain way inside the church and a completely different way the moment they stepped out of the church.

We see in Daniel a beautiful character. In fact in Da 6:3-4 when it was seen that Daniel was distinguishing himself because of the excellent spirit that was in him and the other governors and satraps sought to find some charge against him, we read, "...but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him." Though Daniel was a sinner, like all men he lived a life beyond reproach. Only Jesus, the only Man to walk the earth was sinless, and it says of Him in John 19:4 by Pilate, "...I find no fault in Him." We read all over today's readings that Daniel was a man who had the Spirit of the Holy God in him; light, wisdom and understanding were found in him (Da.4:8-9, 5:11-12,14). With this in mind it didn't surprise anyone that despite the death penalty imposed by Darius, that Daniel went home after the law was signed, "And in his upper room, with his windows open towards Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God...".

As Christians, like Daniel, we never know when others are watching and we never know when we will be called into service by God, often without warning. The question we must all ask ourselves is whether or not we are abiding in Him continually so that we will be ready no matter what the circumstance. We read in 2 Chronicles 16:9, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him...". If we stay close to God, He will give us the strength we need to stay faithful. We have to also remember that the world is always watching. In Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Daniel did not hide his faith and live two different lives, he boldly stood for God no matter the consequences. Paul encourages Timothy to have this same mindset, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7).

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster