"But Daniel purposed in his heart..."
These questions were ringing in my head as I hovered over the above verse:
Daniel & his three friends, all from Israeli nobility & royal line, were exiled to Babylon and commanded to be brought for training so they could serve in the Babylonian king's court. It would be 3 years of language and custom training, learning the culture of the land and eating the king's food. This is where I stumbled over the verse... "Daniel resolved (purposed) not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way."
Read the story from daniel
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
But Daniel purposed in his heart... My heart cried out to God. What purpose was driving me? I needed clarity & conviction to have the stamina and motivation to move forward... to find my voice... to fulfill my destiny.
Why? Because I am a visual person. I typically respond to what I see and feel both internally and externally. My internal driver is the biggest motivator and often the place where creativity, compassion, and serving comes out of. Not everyone is influenced in this manner. My husband, Bruce, is totally different! BUT, there is great benefit when we work together because we compliment and affirm one another... that is a topic for another day.
The purpose of this writing is to share what I discovered through meeting with a life coach. In doing so, I hope to encourage someone today who may find themselves in a similar spot. We met over the phone to discuss some of the business endeavors that Bruce & I were pursuing. What ended up happening though was more like a God-inspired, heart-aha moment. Here's the gist of that day's conversation...
I explained to my coach how I'd been doing a lot of prep for our business, such as rejigging our current website and building collaborating ones, creating promotional material, educating myself in marketing, etc. Basically, spending many hours to do what I could in moving things forward. The more I pressed in though, the more I was realizing that a sense of fear was mounting up inside of me. I was feeling overwhelmed with the unknowns ahead of us. I explained that for me to move forward with confidence, I needed to know the why behind my what, the purpose that was compelling me forward. A purpose so strong that it would be like a brand on my heart, an emotional cause written with indelible ink. This may sound crazy to some, might even sound like a lack of faith, but God knows how I tick. He knows what motivates me and that I needed this emotional anchor to propel me past or even through obstacles such as fear. I then heard my coach ask a great question...
She asked me to try and identify what risk, if any, was in this new venture?
I responded with, "Risk? Well there's always risk in anything we do. You know, relational, financial, personal."
"So, why would you do this?" she asked. Why would you keep moving down this path?
I heard myself say, "Because it's who God has made me to be and I need to honour Him."
...and this was the aha moment that I needed to hear!
Makes me think of a scene from the movie, 'The King's Speech' where Lionel is preparing the duke for his inauguration and provokes him into blurting out his conviction:
King George VI: [Sees Logue is sitting on the coronation throne] What are you doing? Get up! You can't sit there! GET UP!
Lionel Logue: Why not? It's a chair.
King George VI: No, it... That is not a chair. That is... that is Saint Edward's chair.
Lionel Logue: People have carved their names on it.
King George VI: [Simultaneously] That... chair... is the seat on which every king and queen...
Lionel Logue: [Simultaneously] It's held in place by a large rock.
King George VI: That is the Stone of Scone. You ah-are trivializing everything. You trivialize...
Lionel Logue: I don't care about how many royal ...
King George VI: Listen to me.
Lionel Logue: ...have sat in this chair.
King George VI: Listen to me. *Listen to me!*
Lionel Logue: Listen to you? By what right?
King George VI: By divine right, if you must. I am your king.
Lionel Logue: No, you're not. You told me so yourself. You said you didn't want it. Why should I waste my time listening...?
King George VI: Because I have a right to be heard! I have a voice!
Lionel Logue: [pauses] Yes, you do.
Lionel Logue: You have such perseverance, Bertie. You're the bravest man I know. You'll make a bloody good king.
Back to my coaching conversation...
I heard myself declare the call of God on me for this season of my life. And, in that moment everything changed inside! Self-doubt was minimized to where it was supposed to be (non-existent!) and fear of others opinions lost its authoritative spot in my brain. I felt excited, energized and purposed -- compelled by the direction of the Holy Spirit! I FELT my purpose! I knew instinctively who I was made to be and that all of these opportunities facing Bruce & I were God's way of using the gifts and personality traits he had made both of us with.
I was also astutely aware (again!) that the fear I was experiencing prior to this was none other than a lie of the devil, trying to take advantage of my compassionate heart. Trying to derail me with his habitual accusations. The enemy is a liar and does not want any of us to walk freely in the purpose God has made us for. He does not want us to be happy or to help others to be so. I felt a tenacious resolve rise up in my spirit, not unlike the fur rising on the back of a dog! I said NO!
My purpose was and will continue to be the motivator behind the various projects and tools that I invest my life in. It is behind the voice and the message. It is the God-given conviction that I am designed to house.
What's your purpose?
What compels you to say & do what you do?
And... What is the risk if you move forward with what you perceive God leading you into?
It is my prayer that you will find your purpose... your voice. It's in you to give.
Since we have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven ... (see Colossians 3:1-4)
I don't know if it's age or just increasing desire. I may be getting tired of the faults in my human nature or I might just be wanting to see some of the people I love, who have gone before me, again ... I'm not sure. All I know, is that the reality of heaven is much stronger today in me. My hunger for it and to see Jesus, grows increasingly. I am so excited for the day that all sin is gone! My heart jumps when I imagine the first time I see God. My breathe is taken away with the thought. I don't know how I'll be able to utter a sound, but I know I will want to :) I'll want to sing something new; something that does not have an ending but simply changes direction as my eyes and my heart envelope the greatness and beauty that I am beholding.
Does this hunger render me useless here on earth? Absolutely NOT! Actually, I find that my heart is stirred so deeply that I am moved out of my self sufficiency and awakened from my sleep. I am compelled by what I hope for. Compelled to taste as much of His presence here and to lead others to Him, to show them the water of life, the fountain of eternity, the healer of souls.
The reality of heaven gives me purpose for earth.
Jesus said to ask God for His kingdom to come, for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So be it, Lord! Until we get to come to you.
(see also 1 Corinthians 15:43-46)
Some of the biggest battles in the church have been over this one. What do we sing? What traditions do we hold on to? Why change things? What about us? If we pull things to the contemporary some love it, some hate it. If we leave things as they were in our parent's generation or farther back... we loose this one.
I believe that as Christians, we should always be in motion, never hanging our hats on one tradition or even one successful genre of meeting. It's not to discount or minimize the past, but rather to let the past continually build strong foundations that the present walks on.
"It's not to discount or minimize the past, but rather to let the past continually build strong foundations that the present walks on."
Paul talks about this a lot as someone who was asked by God to move beyond the acceptable boundaries of the Jewish culture. Jesus lived it; always taking the letter of the law to a deeper level. He did not discount or nullify the commandments, but went beyond the act to the heart of them. It wasn't just 'Don't commit adultery (as in physically going out and having sex with someone that is not yours)' ... but, don't even look at someone else with evil desire, for adultery is committed in the simple act of the wanting & lusting. (see Matthew 5:27-28) Jesus didn't abolish the law, He actually took it to a more integral level.
Anyway, here it is to ponder... read Romans 7 & 8. Let the word that came from God speak life & freedom to you. The law does not save, it only guides. Our traditions and styles do not save. We will always struggle with our wants & desires, but need to be purposed to know God's. And sometimes that will mean doing things a little differently, for He may desire it.
This is the verse that actually got me thinking about all of this today:
"But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Romans 7:6
Ask God for His heart. Ask Him for His plan to reach your community, your family... you. He loves you, so it can only be good!
"But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down..."
Please inquire for the word of the LORD today. 1 Kings 22:5