Search

MARCH 8, 2021



 

DANIEL 2:20- 23a


“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;

he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

 


and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, God



LIVING DIFFERENTLY


This week as we look at the book of Daniel, we will be confronted on more than one occasion to respond to the challenge, or call, to live differently as God’s people in comparison to the spirit of the cultural around us. Daniel certainly confronts this in his story, and we do in ours as well.


What got me started on this Exile theme was that as I read or listened to people talking about their experience and their description of the last year of Pandemic life, I found their words sounded a lot like an Exile experience. Words like, disconnected, isolation, loneliness, fear, anxiousness, anger, grief, losses, safety, insecurity, imprisoned, trust, all described the harsh reality of having been forced out of a place of safety and security into the unknown, of having been uprooted and dragged into very difficult and unwanted experiences.


As I think about the uncertainty, anxiety, fear and turbulence in our culture today, I find myself wondering what “living differently” in this moment might look like for God’s People, for the Community of Jesus. What might our responses to the same situations witness to those around us.


One of the things that I have noticed is that many of us have instinctively been carriers of grace into each day, practicing small kindnesses and choosing peace instead of fear and anger, as our response to each day’s stresses. I find myself praying that our Lord would give me the grace to be a person of grace and peace and acts of God’s kindness everyday.

I was reading an article recently on the topic of “muscle memory”. Muscle memory is a form of routine memory that involves establishing a specific motor task into memory through repetition. Now sports teams will do this, if you are a parent of an athlete you have no doubt watched your child at a practice doing the same drills over and over, we see this even in professional sports. In soccer or hockey or basketball, I have often watched the drills of what I will call Possession, Pass, get open repeatedly, practice after practice, actually year after year. Why? It is about “muscle memory.” In the uncertainty and stress of a game, coaches want the fundamentals to be instinctive, rather than thinking I have the ball or puck what should I do now. It’s really all about practicing, practice and more practice.”

I wonder If our goal as followers of Christ in this season of uncertainty, of Exile, in this time of high anxiety, is to truly be different, I wonder if that might begin as we start seeking to instinctively respond in grace to the frustrations, offenses and fears that confront us.


And how might we do this? Practice. You see we practice as we pray. We practice as we fast. We practice as we read God’s word. We practice in our acts of care and compassion and charity. We practice as we share honestly with others. We practice, we learn the fundamentals so that in the stress of life’s challenges we will respond instinctively as God’s people in God’s way and this will be a response that is different from the way the culture around us responds.


Daniel is introduced in Chapter one of the Book that bears his name as an individual who “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine,” but rather to obey the Lord his God. Later in Chapter 2 after God answers the prayers of Daniel and his friends, (by the way you will see this week that Daniels instinctive faith “muscle memory” is to lean hard into prayer) Daniel responds to this answer to pray with these words:


“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;

he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, …”


I pray that we may develop our faith “muscle memory” too. Daniel’s situation was a harsh one, yet you will see his faithfulness to God, results in deliverances and blessings.


 

Take Away Questions


What values and behaviors do you have in your life that are distinctively Christian?


What specific areas in your life could become more distinctive so that others might be intrigued by your life?


 



PRAYER


God we pray that the Holy Spirit would grow our distinctiveness as your people in order that we may bear witness to Jesus Christ in our living everyday. Let it be the one business of our life to glorify you by every thought of our hearts, by every word of our tongues, by every work of our hands, and by professing your truth and love to everyone. Amen.


 

EXTRA (4 mins)




29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All