“For [God] has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?'” Hebrews 13:5–6 NRSV
Dear Faithful – Fearless & Fruitful Seed Sowers,
Last week we began a SEED OF FAITH on Daniel in the Lion’s Den. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read Daniel 6. Daniel had faith to stand against those who accused him. Daniel had faith to transform his environment. Do you? Do I?
The GOD of the entire universe ….says to you and me, “I will never leave you or forsake you. So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’” This is the faith that Daniel had!
Do you have this kind of faith?
Do you believe that God is your helper?
Do you believe that no matter what comes your way, GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU or FORSAKE YOU?
In 1940 Vincent and Margaret Crossett were missionaries in Mainland China. They struggled against poverty and paganism in a remote village in order to tell others about Jesus. The work was very slow and difficult, but after much sacrifice a small church was established. The church was no larger than a small Bible study group. Right on the threshold of this small triumph for the kingdom of God, Satan began his work. The Communist takeover of China during the Cultural Revolution forced all missionaries to leave China. The Crossetts hated to leave. Their fledgling flock of believers hardly seemed ready to withstand the coming onslaught. An atheistic, dictatorial government dedicated to wiping out all Christian influence was beginning its rule with ruthless power. How could this little church survive? From the world’s perspective there was nothing anyone could do. The church seemed destined to die. But Vincent and Margaret did not see through the world’s eyes. They saw through the eyes of faith that their God was faithful to those who honor him. The Crossetts were like faithful family sedans. They continued to do their duty. Though the missionaries were chased out, their prayers were not. For nearly forty years the Crosetts daily kept their prayer window opened toward China. They dutifully prayed in faith that God would one day triumph over Communism. The Crosetts heard nothing of their Chinese friends for forty years, but still they faithfully prayed for God to be victorious in the church they left behind. Finally, the walls of China came down. As the political climate changed, the nation was opened to western visitors. The Crossetts returned to the village where they had left the tiny, struggling group of believers. There was no small church in the village anymore! Instead, from that Bible study had grown a church of four thousand people! This body of believers had planted dozens of other churches as well, each with a membership of at least a thousand. All the Crossetts did was pray with their prayer window open to the focus of their prayer—China. The God of Daniel is alive and well.[i]
Romans 8:28, do you know it? “AND WE KNOW THAT GOD WORKS ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE GOD!”
The Crossetts knew their God and they prayed in faith for the little church they left behind in China.
When Daniel was threatened with his life to conform to the new edict, he got down on his knees and prayed. He asked God to help him like God had helped him all his life. Daniel had faith that his God could do immeasurably more than he could ask or imagine. Daniel knew that God was with him. Immanuel: GOD With ME.
In 2013 I came down with an infection of some kind in my body. It started in my left leg and spread to my right leg. This infection manifested itself in painful blisters and oozing sores. It wasn’t just one or two of these sores but patches of skin, 8 inches long by 4 inches wide. Pretty soon the infection spread to my chest and back. I was sent to 14 different doctors. This infection stayed with me for 4 years. It went to the inside of my body and the outside of my body. None of the doctors knew what was wrong with me. My wife had gone to see a doctor in 2001. She had dropped a heavy piece of furniture on her toe and Dr. Zimmerman had helped her. We were grasping at straws at this point, and I was in horrible pain, sleeping in the recliner. Jac (my wife) kept asking me to go see Dr. Zimmerman. Out of desperation, I agreed. Dr. Z started treating me. His words, “This infection is trying to kill you. I will not send you to the hospital because I fear you would die of MRSA or staph in there.” He was afraid with all of the open, oozing sores, I’d get something worse than what I already had. Dr. Z gave me topical relief but the rash continued to progress. My wife began to have involuntary muscle twitches. She had suffered from mercury poisoning in 2005 and when she went to her doctor, her doctor retested her heavy metals levels. The doctor thought her mercury levels were back up. The test revealed severe lead poisoning. We have a seriously smart doctor, and she called me in and tested me for my heavy metal levels. Both Jac and I were living in a home that was putting out 6 times the limit of lead particles. I had ten times the lethal limit of lead in my body, Jac had 12! No wonder we were so sick. During all of these years of battling the infection, I had learned to be a man of prayer. Good thing, because chelation is hard on a body! From September of 2017 to the summer of 2019, I did 3 chelations. I am down to two times the lethal limit. Chelation is no fun. The doctor says I have one chelation left before I read the lethal limit.
Here’s why I’m telling you this story. Between the past 7 years of oozing sores and chelations, I have learned to become a man of constant prayer. I have learned to pray, “GOD WITH ME.” My faith in God has grown stronger day by day. God has shut the mouths of the lions I’ve been facing. God will do the same for you.
Daniel did not conform to the pressures of his world. He did not conform to the pressures of the King or of his “friends” and co-workers. Instead of conforming, Daniel transformed. He transformed his corner of the world. When Daniel came out of the lions’ den after spending a night with the lions. he was untouched. The King was elated and passed an edit that all people should worship the God of Daniel. I love the wording of King Darrius law … Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian
If you are taking notes, here you go. Here are 5 points from King Darius worth remembering:
1. THE LIVING GOD ENDURES FOREVER — GOD WITH US
2. GOD’S KINGDOM WILL NOT BE DESTROYED — GOD WITH US
3. GOD’S DOMINION WILL NEVER END — GOD WITH US
4. GOD RESCUES AND SAVES —- GOD WITH US
5. GOD PERFORMS SIGNS AND WONDERS IN THE HEAVENS AND ON THE EARTH — GOD WITH US.
NO MATTER WHAT:
KEEP YOUR FAITH IN GOD: There’s a fourth man in the fire with you.
KEEP YOUR FAITH IN GOD: There’s an angel who will SHUT THE MOUTHS OF THE LIONS IN YOUR DEN.
In the face of this year long epidemic, keep your faith. Our God is with us. Your God is with you. Say it with me and make it personal: GOD WITH ME.
When times are hard this week, say it out loud, “GOD WITH ME.” Think about Daniel. Think about being thrown into the lions’ den for no good reason at all—except that your coworkers are jealous and envious of you. I always tell you to put yourself into the story. Well. DO!
Here you are—they’ve thrown you into the pit. They’ve sealed the pit so you can’t escape. YOU ARE THERE, IN THE PIT, ALONE. I’m guessing it’s dark–because lions like to hunt at night! I’m also guessing Daniel prayed. An angel came and shut the lions’ mouths. And after that long, long night—Daniel was rescued by the KING…and, don’t miss this, the scripture says, “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian..”
Did you hear that? So Daniel prospered.
Tell yourself this story this week…over and over again…until you believe it. And, by the way, you are NOT ALONE in that lions’ den…not at all. That fourth man in the fire? He’s WITH YOU.
GOD WITH US. GOD WITH ME.
There isn’t a dream team on earth who can team up against you to defy God’s will and plan for your life. DO YOU BELIEVE IT?
Despite this pandemic and whatever else you are facing, I want you to stand on this promise: So Daniel prospered. That’s my prayer for you! Jac’s “Daddy-oh” has been with us for 400 days now. He has Alzheimer’s and emphysema and a severe case of sundowners. Dad is up all night making many trips around the house and the bathroom. The doctors have said, “It is time. He needs 24/7 supervision.” Because of covid, we can’t hire night-time help. We will be placing Dad into a nearby memory care home this coming week. It is time for Jac and me to have a living faith for Dad; a faith that says, “God’s will for Dad is for him to prosper in this next move.” Immanuel. God with us. God with me. I’m praying for you. Will you pray for us?
See You Sunday!
God loves you and so do I,