This past Sunday we finished a five week series on Daniel, called "Courage." The last message was about having courage in the spiritual battle. Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks because most of the Nation of Israel did not care about being set free, going back to the promised land and rebuilding the hope of the world. Therefore, Daniel was heart-broken over this indifferent attitude towards God's mission.
At the end of the three weeks, God showed up in one of the most unique and majestic manners, a Christophany; The always existing, second person of the Trinity, Jesus stood before Daniel.
Daniel couldn't handle this. He was overwhelmed to the point of losing all of his strength and almost his life. An angel picked him up to his hands and knees as he barely had energy, shaking uncontrollably. Jesus said to him, "Daniel, you are precious to me."
How are you doing on the inside right now?
What is the condition of your soul, your heart, your true identity?
Are you hurt and wounded in such a way that you are seeking to avoid your pain with anything else?
Do you need, does your soul need, does the core of who you are need God to say, "You are precious to Me."
The Christmas season, the birthday of Jesus, reminds us that God knows your name. He knows your heart and soul condition. He fully sees and cares about the inner world struggles, challenges, confusion and pain that you are experiencing. Christmas reminds us that Jesus stands next to you and calls you by your name, "( You ) are precious to Me."
Can you hear Him?
Can you see Him?
Don't let the holiday cultural customs and expectations distract you. Don't let the distractions you are investing in that cover and medicate your true soul condition prevent you from seeing and hearing Him.
Do you remember when the disciples were caught in that terrifying storm out in the boat without Jesus? As they were fighting for their lives, Jesus walked out towards them. At first, they could not see that it was Jesus, they thought it was a ghost. They almost missed Jesus. They almost missed out on an unforgetable experience with Jesus that marked their lives. They almost let the present problems of the storm that they were in distract them from seeing and experiencing Jesus.
Let's not be too distracted to miss out on seeing and experiencing Jesus this Christmas season. Let's take time to pray and maybe fast. Let's take time to read Daniel 10 and experience what Daniel experienced. Let's take time to focus our heart, soul and mind on Jesus.
If you do, can you hear Him? He is saying, "You are precious to Me."
Seeking to experience a precious Christmas season,
The formerly blind man responded to the grilling of the Religious Leaders of Jesus' day, "All I know is that I once was blind but now I see." John 9:25
When was the last time you shared what Jesus has done in you? How has God led you to share your faith story with someone every week of your life? Have you forgotten how powerful your faith story is?
Saul was rescued by Jesus and was transformed into Paul. How many times do we read Paul telling his faith story in Scripture?
Timothy, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Tim 1:15-17
God reminds us who we once were but now who we are in Christ.
"You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." Eph 2:19-20 (NIV)
"You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls." 1 Peter 2:25(Msg)
Maybe we all need a refresher and re-write of our faith story. Last Sunday we let King Neb tell us his faith story. Remember, there are three points of every faith story.
1. What I was like before I was adopted into Jesus' family.
2. How Jesus got my attention and adopted me.
3. How Jesus has transformed me.
Maybe as friends, married couples or families, we can sit down and share our faith stories with each other.
Let's pray that God would lead us to share our faith story once a week for the rest of our lives to encourage Christians and to mark those far from God.
Romans 13 (Msg) Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.
3-5 Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.
6-7 That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders.
8-10 Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.
11-14 But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
Letting God's Word speak,
We all get thirsty. We all get hungry. Especially, when we have worked hard, faced challenging situations or relationships and extended ourselves beyond normal. We do this regularly.
When you are tired, over extended what do you thirst for? What do you hunger for?
Ps 42:1-2 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for..."
As your soul needs replenishment and care, where do you go? What do you turn to?
Sometimes we turn to self pity and gossip.
Sometimes we turn to our favorite temptations for a quick buzz.
Other times, we turn to an inappropriate relationship.
We all know, these sources of replenishing are deeply harmful and will make things so much worse.
Abraham discovered this when he lied about who his wife was. Jonah discovered this when he found himself in the raging sea about to drown. David was awakened to this when Nathan opened up his hard, dry and dying soul with a parable.
When Jesus was faced with the temptation to satisfy His soul, He turned to the Word for His bread and His water. When Job was surrounded by overwhelming painful circumstances and his accusing friends, he leaned into God and His presence for soul help and found it. After Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed, they turned to worship and praise of the risen Jesus for soul healing and they found it more than over flowing.
Ps 42:1-2 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."
Where are you turning to get your soul satisfaction? Where are you turning to get soul healing? Where are you turning to in order to satisfy your thirst and hunger?
Are you thirsting and hungering for the right things or the wrong things?
Ps 42:11 (Msg) "Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God — soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God."
As your soul is being replenished, who in your life can you help? Whose soul, in your sphere of influence needs refreshing?
Pr 25:25 (Msg) "Like a cool drink of water when you’re worn out and weary is a letter from a long-lost friend."
Praying we all turn to Jesus' spiritual exercises of soul healing, satisfaction and inspiration. Praying we all help someone today.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.