Willing to die for the One True God

You are dressed in an orange jumpsuit and you are kneeling in front of a black-hooded man who is holding a knife. Someone says these are your last moments on earth. You wonder how this is possible in the 21st Century, yet this is the ISIS EXECUTESreality for those who fall hostage to ISIS.

It is not beyond the pale for this kind of scenario to come true. But, when one thinks about it, it has always been possible, even likely in times past.

The question is, could something like this become a possibility for God’s praise? Although that may not seem likely to many, to three men it actually worked out that way.

We are introduced to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the first chapter of Daniel as young men who, along with Daniel, were considered for leadership positions in Babylon. The three were appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar to administer the province of Babylon and refused to worship an image the king had erected (Daniel 3:12). They were reported for their disobedience to the king’s command to worship the image and were ordered to appear before him.

Standing before the king, the three boldly proclaim that “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us,” but even if he is not, they said, “we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up,” (Daniel 3:18).

Angrily, the king orders a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal and commands his mighty men to throw the three Jews into it. But even though the intense heat killed the men ordered to force the Jews into the furnace, it does not kill them. The king ordered their release and then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who put their trust in him,” (Daniel 3:28).

What are the Bible’s lessons from this passage? First, and foremost, God is sovereign and not man. A man may hold a dagger at your throat or threaten to burn your body, but we must never allow man to rule who, what or how we are to worship. We must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).

Next, righteous people will be accused falsely. This has happened in every epoch of human existence. This is no excuse to despair and disobey God. We must continue to obey God and remain faithful no matter what people may say. Instead, our conduct must be that is befitting of God’s people (Philippians 1:27).

Even if God does not rescue us from danger we must remain brave and valiant. The three Jews faced the might of Babylon’s king without wavering in their faith to God (Daniel 3:18). We must have the same kind of courage of our convictions in our faith in Christ.

We must also remember that death is not the worst outcome. Even if the three Jews had been vaporized by the fire of the furnace, we would still remember them for the fortitude of their faith in God. Death is not the end. In fact, death is not even an outcome that is without merit. The apostle Paul, imprisoned in Rome, wrote, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” (Philippians 1:21).

Death can be an opportunity for people to praise God for your life and influence. Nebuchadnezzar praised God when the three Jews walked unhurt from the furnace (Daniel 3:28). How likely do you think it might have been to hear that? But, it is possible for people to praise God for your good life of service to Christ. It is possible for the praise of God to come from the lips of sinners because of your courage, your good deeds, your faith in God.


A Prayer of Thanksgiving Each Day; For 11/14/2015

Dear Lord and Creator God,

Thank you for always being near. Thank you for the blessing of your presence and love always.

Help everyone on earth to learn to rely on you in time of need. Sometimes, we think we are responsible for curing every ill of the world. So often we find ourselves unable to right the wrongs we see. Help us to come to you and in humility ask for your great and wonderful help.

Thank you for the peace that has been sent to the world in the person of your son. Help people in the world to understand, great Lord, that the only peace mankind will ever find is in obedience to your word and in conducting ourselves as you will.

Thank you for the way to peace through your son and our Savior.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving Each Day; For 11/13/2015

Give thanks to the Lord for the things he does are greater than anything on earth!

Give thanks to the Lord and seek his will every day of your life. Obey the Lord and live eternally. Why? Because he is the one who created the light. He is the one who created the dark. Think of the wondrous works he has done for his people. Think of how he delivered Israel from Egypt and how news of his works was spread to other lands.

God delivered Israel from a power that did not want them to go. Yet even the might of Pharaoh could not stop God from delivering them.

He opened the rock for them in the wilderness and water flowed from it. He gave them quail to eat in the wilderness.

Give thanks to the Lord for his mighty works that are greater than anything on earth! Who can adequately tell of all the great and powerful works of the Lord? Who can adequately praise him? Who can stand before his great holiness?

Give thanks to the Lord and obey his holy word for the things he does are greater than anything on earth!

A Thanksgiving prayer each day; for 11/12/2015

Thank you, Lord, for your lovingkindness and mercy. Your grace has appeared to all in sending your son, Jesus, to instruct me and die for me.

Thank you, Lord for sending your son to teach me as if I was a child. Thank you for teaching me to deny my own interests when they conflict with the truth. Help me to benefit from this teaching so that I may learn to become ever so much more like you than the world.

Thank you, Lord for sending your son to teach me to refuse the mundane, inordinate desires of the world so that I may live as one whose life is governed by the higher and nobler calling of the gospel.

Thank you, Lord for sending your son to teach me self-respect that I am expected to govern my mind through the reason and order of your word instead of exhibiting the behavior of the undisciplined.

Thank you, Lord for sending your son to teach me to treat others as I want to be treated. Your son has taught that right doing is the path to glory. Thank you for teaching me to respect others and to deal with them rightly.

Thank you, Lord for sending your son to teach me to be more like you every day. Learning to become more like you teaches me to develop the attitudes I need to develop godliness in my life.

Thank you, Lord for sending your son to teach me so many things.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(From Titus 2:11-12)

A Thanksgiving Prayer Each Day: for 11/11/15

Most Holy and Glorious Father,

In our service to you this day, great God, let there be silence as I wait on you and listen to your word with a dedicated heart.

Sin and iniquities seek to gain the upper hand against me. But because of your love, grace and mercy you forgive them all. Thank you, great Lord!

You bless and provide for all on the earth and your rain falls on the just and unjust. Thank you, great Lord!

Your enemies hold fast to their evil purpose while you stretch forth your hand and offer to save them. Surely no one is as loving and kind as you, great Lord!

All mankind is in awe of your great might and power seen in your creation and all your marvelous works. We praise your name, great Lord!

You give us food to eat and water to drink. You bless the growth of crops and the ground is covered with grain and crops. Thank you, great Lord!

Thank our great Lord, everyone, and praise his name before all. For he sees us with caring eyes in this life and gives to all life, breath and all things.

Praise and thanks to our great Lord!

A Prayer of Thanksgiving each day; for 11/10/2015

Almighty and Everlasting Father,

Thank you for your care of your children. Your children are few in this world and must live in the presence of the unrighteous. The poor are oppressed by those who do not care. They say there is no God over us.

Yet your word shines forth unto us, your children like the purest silver. Help us to honor your word by studying and applying it to our hearts and lives so that our speech will be what you want and our actions will be consistent with your will.

Please hear our prayer for the world, that they may hear your word and obey it. Please help us, Lord, to take the responsibility of teaching others the truth seriously so that they may hear and obey you.

Thank you for preserving those who obey you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer Each Day for 11/9/2015

Lord God, Heavenly Father,

There is no adequate way to thank you for the forgiveness of my sin. When I think how righteous and how great you are and how sinful and inconstant I have been, words fail.

Yet, I am thankful for your grace and love. Thank you for making every possible detail correct for the coming of your son into the world. Thank you for the teaching he gave to all. Thank you for the sacrifice of his body and blood on the cross that through the obedience of faith I might have a relationship with you and continue to be free of sin.

Thank you for giving me a life of happiness here on earth, and the very real prospect of life in heaven with you when this world is over. Thank you for removing sin and fear from my heart and replacing it with joy and salvation.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.