Dare To Be A Daniel

How disturbing the news has been coming out of the Middle East. Christians by the thousands and thousands are being martyred or had to flee for their lives from certain persecution and death. Not only have their been senseless beheadings but fathers and mothers have had to watch as their children are first killed and then they themselves...even by being crucified on crosses like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

* Also, in America, letters have come right into our very churches threatening pastors as to what they can preach and what they cannot preach. Pastors are being monitored for what they preach and what they practice. It was tried in a church in Texas recently. Did you know that?...for what this man of God was preaching from his pulpit. Alas, what is our world coming to?

You can probably about guess what side this minister of the Gospel is on? Like I heard from another pastor recently..'We are going to have to decide whether we are going to bow down to Federal judges or to the Judge of the Universe.'

America is our home. To me, it is the greatest nation in the world. But, I love the Living God more! And, I believe, we are coming to a place in all our lives where we are going to have to decide what are the top priorities in our lives.

It is believed that if things progress as they have, it is possible if not inevitable that Christian colleges are going to be forced to conform to Federal dictates or lose their student loan status. We all know that colleges and students depend on student loans for their education much of the time. If that day ever comes, what are not only the colleges going to do but those students who which to attend college who are able financially otherwise to attend?

And, what happens if as things are going, in time, churches may lose their tax status for tithers and givers in the church? I believe we will see how many members gave because they love God or just have always given for a tax deduction.

And, the list, sadly, goes on and on...

Now, I have a question for you. How strong is your 'personal faith' in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Do you 'know' what you believe? Why do you believe it?

Peter said...'Be able to give every person an answer for the reason of the hope that is in you. And, you may answer...'I believe Jesus rose from the dead.' Really? Why do you believe that? Believe me, the unsaved will have come backs.

You might come back and say that the Bible can be proven to be irrefutably and historically correct as proven through many other historical texts; and, through the Book of Josephus, Jesus is actually mentioned as living and breathing as an historical fact. We can prove it again and again. OK, then, what would you say as your reason to believe?

Here is another question for you...Would you put your commitment to Christ above your own advancement? That's a pretty good question.

Lets suppose one day, you come out of church and you see wooden poles have been put up around the edges of your church parking lot with the cross pieces laying on the ground? Wonder if you are approached and asked this question, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” What would you answer in light of the distinct possibility that those crosses weren't put there for decoration? A strangely dressed individual makes the declaration to you...”Renounce Him and accept Mohammed or we will nail you to one of these crosses.” How would you respond?

“Well, that will never happen here!”, you might respond. “God will protect us!”

I want you to think for one moment about your own real commitment to Christ. Are you a passionate believer, a middle of the road believer, or a so-so...follower the next guy believer?

A pastor spoke recently and started to quote an old hymn from Civil War days. It was written by a man named Phillip Bliss. The name of the song was 'Standing By A Purpose...True! Hear just a few of the lyrics from this song...'Heeding God's command..Honor them...the faithful few, all hail to Daniel's band...Dare to be a Daniel...Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose..Firm! Dare to make it known. Hold the Gospel Banner high...unto our victory grand.

Satan and his hosts defy...We shout for Daniel's band...Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose..Firm...Dare to make it known.'

Daniel stood on those very characteristics. He refused to bow and came out victorious. He was well regarded throughout both the Babylonian Empire and the Medo-Persian Empire. He died in his 90's.

Problem is, though, it didn't work out so well for every person. Your life may be quite different as you go through the sufferings and tribulations in your own life. Through life each day, we can only dare to be like Daniel, to aspire to such heights in Christ Jesus.

Let's look at others through God's Word...In Hebrews ll we read about those great heroes of the faith who subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions. But, then, as we read further, down to verse 36, we read, 'Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment..NKJV...verse 37...'They were stoned, they were sawed in half, were tempted, were slain with the sword.'

Do you know what happened to the prophet Isaiah? He was stuffed into a hollow log and still alive was cut in half with a saw.

I look into American Christian's eyes and see some's witness, “Oh, it's nothing to be a Christian. Just accept Him and your life will bring you nothing through life but victory...You can do what you want...live like you want. Your life will become all comfy, cozy!” “No sweat!” “Just accept Him and 'You're In!'. “We live in America.” “What has happened to us?”

However, I would say that through scripture, many of the past saints might not agree. Christ even mentioned, 'A servant is not greater than his Master'...'If the Master suffered, how much so will His servants?'

It's time for the church to grow up...nationwide. We are coming to a point where we may soon have to give testimony about our faith and about how we are living our lives. We ought to consider when that day comes, will we 'Dare to be a Daniel' or cower under the pressure and conform to the world's dictates?*

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you will help us, make us strong. Fill us to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit and give us some real bone to be seen throughout our daily lives. Help us walk in Your Character and by Your Love shining out from us to others. Let's stop the fairytale feelings and daydream man-made beliefs, especially many that are coming on the world scene today and stop dwelling with the uncommitted and start studying the Word for ourselves, to 'Think for Ourselves', and beware of all the falsehoods being preached today in the Name of the Lord. May the church grow up and begin to be like Daniel and walk also in truth and righteousness and decide to passionately begin to follow you and only You...to come out from among and 'Be Ye Holy'. Time is running out.

Time is too short to wait until tomorrow. Show us what we have been portraying to a godless world, examine our hearts, and repent of such actions. Make us white as snow in Your sight. May we make up our minds to rise up and 'Dare To Be A Daniel' and truly be filled in Your Name.

Wake Up, America...As For Me and My House...We Will Serve The Lord...Period!

Praise His Great and Holy Name! In Jesus' Name....Amen and Amen.

*excerpts from sermon notes by Pastor Dan Betzer, September, 20l5.