Monthly Reflection – June 2014
Dear all I hope you are all well, enjoying the sunshine and doing your best to enjoy the World Cup!
This month’s reflection has been written for us by Sam Brown- Assistant Pastor at Christchurch in Baldock. It is really great that we are able to work with members of the Christian community across the county so thank you Sam for taking the time to write a wonderful Bible reflection.
Sam Brown is Assistant Pastor at Christchurch Baldock, where he is responsible for the evening service, men’s work, 18-30s work and is also involved in children, youth and music ministries. He spends a lot of his time meeting up with men and reading the Bible and praying with them. In the distant past he was a Special Constable in the Met.
Christchurch Baldock is an independent, Bible-teaching evangelical church that aims to reach people across North Herts with the gospel.
So get reading and enjoy!
Faith that faces lions
Ever feel like an ‘odd one out’? Ever feel different from some of your colleagues and friends? At our evening service we’ve been going through the book of Daniel. Daniel is a wonderfully relevant book for 21st Century Christians. . Daniel was trying to live as a faithful follower of God in exile in Babylon. He was thousands of miles from the Temple in Jerusalem, from the Promised Land, and he was surrounded by unbelievers. Sound familiar? In 1 Peter the Apostle Peter describes Christians as ‘exiles’, ‘foreigners’ and ‘strangers in the world’. Like Daniel we belong in a different place (heaven) and we’re surrounded by unbelievers. If you sometimes feel different for this reason, that’s normal!
Daniel chapter 6 is very famous – it’s the story of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel’s enemies come up with a cunning plan to trap him by getting the king to make a law that meant that it was illegal for anyone to pray to their god for the next thirty days. Daniel hears about the law, goes home and prays as he has always done.
“10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (v10)
His enemies find him praying, tell the king and Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den. Despite being in his 80s, spending the night in a confined space with lions during their normal hunting period Daniel comes out the next morning completely unscathed. “…when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” (v23)
There are a few important things we can learn from this chapter.
– Daniel feared God not men. When it came to it, Daniel was willing to stand up against his enemies and even his king, because he put God first in his life. Are there people we are ‘fearing’? Take it to God in prayer and remember that he’s bigger than them. (Much bigger in fact!)
– Daniel clearly prioritised prayer. He was a hugely important government official (virtually the Prime Minister of Babylon) with a huge amount of responsibility and yet he made time to pray every day. When he was told to stop praying or face a horrific death he kept praying. We need to prioritise prayer in the same way. What stops you praying? Lack of time? We need to make time, as Daniel did. If you’re doing shift work this may make things even harder, but it’s good to plan for times to pray that work alongside your shift pattern. Don’t let anything stop you.
– Daniel’s colleagues knew that he was a believer (otherwise they wouldn’t have come up with the trap). It’s a challenge for us. Are all our colleagues clear that we’re Christians? Is it that obvious?
– Daniel did a good job. Daniel was different from those around him, but he was also involved in the government of Babylon. His enemies couldn’t pin anything on him. “…the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” Are we doing our jobs well? Would our enemies find any dirt on us?
– Above all Daniel knew that God was in ultimate control, even of the lions. He is the ultimate king over the whole of his creation. That’s a great truth to remember, especially when everything seems to be going crazy.
“26For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
27 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.”