During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it …. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.” The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen. Daniel 1:1, 3-6A
When Moses was born, he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. Acts 7:20-22
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:23-26
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We are going to begin with a story entitled, “How To Ride A Bicycle”.
First I saw God as my observer, my judge keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of the President. I recognized His impact when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him.
Later on, when I got to know Him better, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride... but, it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back letting me peddle. I don’t know just when it was that he suggested to me we change places, but life has not been the same since... life with God out in front makes life exciting.
When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew insightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at breakneck speed. It was all I could do to hang on, even though it looked like madness, He said, "have faith."
Feeling worried and anxious I asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust.
I let go of my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I said, "I’m scared." He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take with me on my journey... our journey. God’s and mine and we’re off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people I met, and found that in giving, I received, and still my burden was light.
I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life, I thought He’d wrecked it, but He knows bike secrets. He knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high passes, and fly through shorter scary passages.
I am learning to shut up and peddle in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view, and the cool breeze on my face, with God as my pure light, as my constant source of inner strength.
When I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He smiles and says, "just keep peddling".
It is amazing how well life can go when life isn’t going so well. Think about that for a moment. Here is what I mean. When our connection to God is solid and our inner person is spiritually secure and well oriented to God’s presence, His ways, and how He is at work, we are able to go with the flow of whatever comes our way in life. If what is happening in our life situation is all important to us, then most of the time “our world will be on top of us” because that’s how we usually end up when we try to control the uncontrollable. But if God’s Spirit is ordering and maintaining the inner world of our human spirit, “we will be on top of our world” no matter what is going on with it. We will be free from our tendency to try to control it and our tendency to be conformed to it. I think this is the idea of the bicycle story.
The story of Daniel and his friends combines nicely with the bicycle story. These young men had been uprooted from the world of their own people and placed at the center of a foreign culture. Things were truly out of their control and they would have to go with the flow of letting God be in charge of navigating the course their lives would take. Also, they would have to negotiate living a Godly life in the midst of a culture that was not compatible with their faith in the One true God of the universe. Sounds similar to what life is like for Christian believers in our world today. You can be sure that these young men had the kind of developing faith and walk with God that put them “On Top of the World” in such a way that they had a greater impact in shaping the world in which they lived than the world had in shaping their lives. They found freedom from the tendency of trying to control the world they faced and freedom from the tendency of being conformed to the world they faced. Being “On Top of the World” in this way is the focus of this week’s Devotionals.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, take hold of me with the gentle touch of your hand. With you holding on to me I believe I am letting go of my world and I believe the world is letting go of me. Thank you for how you are changing me and redirecting my life. Amen!