Daniel: Tempted to Compromise

  • Daniel 1 [show] In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. [2]And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. [3]Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, [4]youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. [5]The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. [6]Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. [7]And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. [8]But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. [9]And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, [10]and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king." [11]Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, [12]"Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. [13]Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see." [14]So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. [15]At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. [16]So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. [17]As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. [18]At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. [19]And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. [20]And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. [21]And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus. (ESV)
    This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
  • Are you ready to compromise your faith, or are you compromising it right now?
  • Youth from public school to high school ages are dropping out of church increasingly
    • effects of society -vs- poor training from us about compromise, discipline, discipleship, hedonism, focus on academia?
    • we are sending them the message that Jesus isn’t worth our time and efforts

Continue reading Daniel: Tempted to Compromise

With vs For

Hey there, long time no see.

My path on re-discovering my identity as a Christian has continued to be slow and occasionally downward spiralling, but with a new year comes new hope! Hopefully this renewed spirit will continue to grow and flourish. This past Sunday at Calvary, Pastor Rick outlined the new series titled Learning Loyalty to the King focusing on the gospel of Matthew. One major point (actually, the only point I bothered to write down) was a quote from Skye Jethani. Apparently this Jethani dude is a pastor and writes things…but anyway:

Many church leaders unknowingly replace the transcendent vitality of a life with God for the ego satisfaction they derive from a life for God.

(Emphasis mine)

This immediately brought a couple rhetorical questions into my mind:

  1. How much of my ego was I serving while on the worship team?
  2. Have I ever understood the gravity of a life with Christ?
  3. Will I ever be able to overcome this ego hurdle and serve again?

As the saying goes “the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem”, and perhaps I’m one step closer.

I’m not big into resolutions, but maybe this year I’ll be strengthened and led to the following spiritual hallmarks:

  • Satisfying Christian community
  • decreased dependency on sin & self
  • Increased Him, decreased i
  • Ceaseless praise and worship in my entirety

 

Pride and the Fall

This past week at Calvary the guest speaker spoke on Isaiah 6:1-6 [show] In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. [2]Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. [3]And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" [4]And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. [5]And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" [6]Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
with relation to vision.

One topic or resonating theme dealt with pride and service. Now, apparently King Uzziah was the bee’s knees when he first started as a servant of the Lord. The Lord’s victories through King Uzziah started to get to his head and he became filled with pride and thought he could do anything he wanted (2 Chronicles 26:16-21 [show] [16]But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. [17]But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, [18]and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, "It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God." [19]Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense. [20]And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. [21]And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king's household, governing the people of the land. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
). As a result of his pride, King Uzziah became a leper…

The speaker touched on how Uzziah’s pride (I am the shit!) led to the downfall of his ministry (I am cursed as a leper and will now die…), as well as how many of us who serve with our talents/gifts in our respective ministries fall victim to pride as we receive praise and, perhaps more significantly, bolster ourselves with the notion that we are good at what we do. This hit home, deep within the neurons of my brain and the chambers of my heart. I am probably amongst the rare few who will actually confess that: Yes, I do think I do a good job [with others] serving in musical worship. However, I can definitely be even better…

Perhaps it was this lofty thinking which contributed to my fall; certainly it is not the only cause. The pride and knowledge that “We can lead these songs and make them sound good” has ultimately helped silence me. I wonder if it helped the Christian community alienate itself from me though? I wonder how many hated the way I sang, played guitar, and contributed to the teams? Is every church like this, or was it just that one? Will I ever play for the Lord again?