Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Keeper of the lions

Daniel 6:16 . . . The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" King Darius cast Daniel into the lion's den, knowing that Daniel's only hope was with the God whom you serve. Even a doubting, egotistical king was overcome with remorse when his decree revealed Daniel still chose God and must be punished for breaking the rules. There is comfort in Daniel choosing God, taking a risk; there is comfort in the king getting a second chance, choosing God.

The story is familiar. Daniel had been found kneeling in prayer, thanking and praising his God. The conspirators found him praying, asking God for help. They went to the king reminding him of his royal decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god except the king for thirty days. The punishment was to be thrown into the loins' den. The king had found favor with Daniel and was distressed to learn that he was who they were reporting. At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix . . . He worked at it the whole day long. But the conspirators were back, "Remember . . .the king's decree!" The king . . . ordered Daniel thrown into the lions' den. But he said to Daniel, "Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this. The king could not eat, could not sleep.

Daniel was protected and the king rejoiced. Verse 23 says Daniel was saved because He had trusted his God. Continuing on with verses 24-27 The king commanded that the conspirators who had informed on Daniel be thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. Before they hit the floor, the lions had them in their jaws, tearing them to pieces. King Darius published this proclalmation to every race, color and creed on earth:
Peace to you! Abundant peace!
I decree that Daniel's God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom.
He is the living God, world without end.
His kingdom never falls.
His rule continues eternally.
He is a savior and rescuer.
He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the power of the lions. ~
from Daniel 6 in the Message

There is comfort in knowing that the God we worship and love and praise, reaches down in difficult times and rescues us from those who desire us to fail. He uses our Christian witness - our confessions of mistakes, our commitment of faith and our choices - to influence others. I know that conspirators manipulate truth and that evil seeks destruction. But even better - I know God - a living God, who never falls, a savior and rescuer,who performs astonishing miracles. God saves us from the lions! And in our worst moments, when we let ourselves get in the way - He reveals Himself to us through others, provides us with a chance for forgiveness and redemption. What a Mighty God!

Keeper of the lions!

Mighty God -
I come to You on my knees with a contrite heart. How is it that You choose to love me so much? How is it that You rescue me even when I allow evil to permeate my heart? How is it that you give me second chances when I fall? I know it is easy to blame the conspirators and fear the lions. It is harder to see the manipulation and harder to trust the lions' den. Make me like Daniel, willing to risk all that I have for You. Rescue me when I fall victim to evil. Save me from the lions! And when I am more like Darius, swayed by my own pursuits, let me see You in another's actions, hear You in another's words. Let me feel Your presence in my unsettled heart. My hope rests in a Mighty God who loves me. I trust in a Living God that rescues my heart from the deeds of evil, that saves me from the lions. Praise prayers call to You from the deepest places within my soul - Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Holy Spirit, come and dwell in me. Be my Abundant Peace. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Son of the Everlasting Father, Maker of heaven and earth. Amen.
~dho

He gives a greater grace . . . James 4:6 (msg)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring

Oh, visit the earth,
ask her to join the dance!
Deck her out in spring showers,
fill the God-River with living water . . .
scatter rose petals down Your paths,
All through the wild meadows. . .
Set the hills to dancing. . .
Let them shout, and shout, and shout!
Oh, oh, let them sing!
Psalm 65: 9, 12-13 (the Message)

As the season of new beginnings calls to us in the splendor of His Glory, may our thoughts take notes on the wonders of the
Earth-Tamer, Ocean-Pourer, Mountain-Maker, Hill-Dresser. . . Dawn and dusk take turns calling, "Come and worship."
(Psalm 65:8)

God, mark us with grace and blessing!
Psalm 67:1 (the Message)

~dho
Future Reminiscing

It is good to have a past that
is pleasant to reflect upon.
Take care to create such a gift
for your future.

~Mattie Stepanek December, 2000

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wordless Sighs

If we don't know how to pray or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. That is why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (The Message) Holy Father, I've told You the things of my heart ~ my thankfulness for Your unending love, my willingness to be obedient to You, my love for my family and friends. What joy and goodness You have given to me, over and over and over! My soul sits by the window and looks out at Your ocean of blessings. Your Grace, like the waves, splashes over me, again and again and again. Like the wind, my wordless sighs come to You - unseen, but known. Amen. Charles E. Poole writes in his book Beyond the Broken Lights, "We have made it through, by the grace and goodness of the One who is always up to more than we know. All those times when God was doing less than we hoped, God must have been doing more than we knew. Amen." ~dho

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Possibility

This is the assigned moment for Him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. John 3:30 (The Message)

In her book, When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd writes Over and over again God calls you and me to the gardening of our own divine depths . . . to tend what lies seeded in the soul, this kernel of our truest nature - the God-image or True Self. She goes on to write about soulmaking and transformation and wholeness. Kidd writes C. G. Jung . . . demonstrated that there's a True Self dimension of the human personality . . . Self doesn't refer to our narrow identity or our ego (as in myself) but to the Center, the image of God within us. It has been compared to the inner kingdom that Jesus referred to (Luke 17:21).

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the kingdom of God come?" Jesus answered, "God's kingdom is coming but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. . . God's kingdom is within you." Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Our True Self must reflect the image of God. So often we allow "other agendas" to occupy our Center. As believers in Christ, we must constantly slip off to the sidelines allowing Him to move into the center. If we choose God's Agenda over our agenda we could . . .
soar above those who run faster
whisper the moments of parting
chant together the music of life
recall the places time takes away
dream through the void
wonder more and want less
pray His Desires within our hearts
worship the One True Light
~dho

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Strength

We pray that you'll have the strength - the glory-strength God gives . . . strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful He has for us. Colossians 1:11-12 (msg)