Victory Redefined

Daniel 4 11–12
Last week I was at a high school conference where we learned about the story of Daniel.

Daniel is an interesting guy. He is one of the only people in the Bible, besides Jesus, where his mistakes aren’t recorded. Throughout his whole story Daniel is portrayed as an upright guy that is following God in the midst of some pretty hard circumstances. The book of Daniel is full of story after story of how Daniel stood up for what was right despite the imminent danger that it would cost him. This is where the story gets really interesting. Each time Daniel or his friends were faithful in the midst of danger God spared them. From a fiery furnace to a lions den, when they stood for what was right, God showed up and saved them.

I love this story because it shows God’s faithfulness and His love for His people. But it also presents a problem. Why is it that Daniel was spared so many times while others suffer for Christ daily? Why were the mouths of the lions shut for Daniel, but in my life it seems the mouths of the lions seem open and active?

If we are honest we all wonder this at some point in our lives. When we are subject to attacks, disease, suffering, brokenness, and the difficulties of life, the question comes up: why is God allowing this to happen?

I think the issue here isn’t why God isn’t saving us from our suffering. I think the issue is our definition on what victory is. We view victory as what we experience in this life. If we are honest we want God to save us from our life now, our pain and our troubles. But God views victory differently. God never promised us an easy life; in fact, He promised difficulties. But He did promise two things. He will always be with us, and we win in the end.

Victory in God’s definition is different than ours. The last night of the conference Shane Wood spoke. He summed it up like this. “Victory is not found when the mouths of the lions do not open. Victory is found when you exit the tomb alive.”

We got it backwards if we think victory is found only when the “lions” aren’t attacking. We need to expand our vision. Jesus knew He was going to suffer and die. But He willingly did so because He saw that victory was on the other side of the tomb, not in keeping the lions mouths shut.

Look, our lives can get difficult. Sometimes it seems like God has forgotten about us. At our lowest we think God cannot do anything about our circumstances. But our hope, our victory, doesn’t lie in those moments. Our hope, our victory, lies when we will walk out of our tomb alive.

I don’t know why some people seem to be spared from difficulty in this life. But I do know this: all who follow God will have victory on the other side of the tomb. This should change how we live this life. No longer should we be so concerned with our circumstances in this life. No longer should we live a life of fear. No longer should we play it safe. No longer should we be selfish. Our victory isn’t found there.

We should be boldly going out and loving on all those we come in contact with. We should be generously giving our time, money, and resources away for the benefit of the kingdom. Our victory is found when we confidently go out proclaiming that God saves. There are people so desperate for the hope that Jesus has to offer. But we are often too timid to go tell them because we think our victory is in this life. We think our victory is when the mouths of the lions are shut.

It’s time we start living in a manner that depicts where our true victory comes from. It’s time for us to go into all the world and proclaim God’s truth. Will the lions mouths be shut? Maybe, maybe not. But that doesn’t matter. Victory is not found when the mouths of the lions do not open. Victory is found when you exit the tomb alive.

by Curtis Poor

Victory Redefined 

The Lord’s Great Power

Proverbs 19:21

I was signing books one day when a young man came forward and told me a story as I autographed his copy. “I put a gun to my chest and was going to kill myself,” he began. “For some reason, I turned on the television, and there you were, talking about suicide. After listening for a while, I knew the Lord was speaking to me, so I laid the gun down and gave my life to Jesus Christ.”

I have heard similar stories too many times to count—someone in despair turns on the TV or radio and hears a sermon speaking directly to his or her need. I don’t believe for one second that I’m responsible. Our all-powerful Lord intercedes in people’s lives. Sometimes He does this by leading them to turn on a program that can help. What’s more, only a God who can control all things could change a lost and scared young man into a willing and excited servant—exactly the kind of person standing in front of me that day at the book table.

The world talks about accidents, luck, and good fortune, but all of these terms imply that we are victims of circumstance. The truth is, our heavenly Father is sovereign; the entire world is under His full control. Anything that enters our life—whether it is a blessing or a trial—comes because the Lord allows it.

When we encounter evil, we often wonder why God doesn’t end it, because we know He can. But He has a purpose, and history has proven He produces good from even the ugliest of human tragedies.

Thy Light and Thy Truth

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” (Psalm 43:3)

This old troubled world desperately needs light to find the way out of its darkness and truth to rightly plan its future. But they must be God’s light and God’s truth, not the seductive lights and humanistic philosophies of man’s fabrications.

God has, indeed, already sent out His light and His truth, but “men loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19) and, although they profess to be “ever learning,” they yet are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” and, in fact, “turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7; 4:4).

That was true in the psalmist’s day, and perhaps even more so in our day, although we surely have far more light and access to truth today than the psalmist ever had. We now have, for example, God’s complete written Word (Genesis through Revelation). Another psalmist had promised: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105), and also had promised, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light” (Proverbs 6:23).

God’s truth surely is what we need—in fact, all we need—for our faith as we look to our future. This also is revealed in the light of His Word, both His inspired written Word and His incarnate living Word. The Lord Jesus not only claimed “I am . . . the truth” (John 14:6), He also prayed for us, saying: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And for all who believe His revealed truth, “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM

Acquaint Thyself with God

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. —Psalm 24:9-10

When viewed from the perspective of eternity, the most critical need of this hour may well be that the Church should be brought back from her long Babylonian captivity and the name of God be glorified in her again as of old. Yet we must not think of the Church as an anonymous body, a mystical religious abstraction. We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing. The matter, therefore, is for each of us a personal one. Any forward step in the Church must begin with the individual.

What can we plain Christians do to bring back the departed glory? Is there some secret we may learn? Is there a formula for personal revival we can apply to the present situation, to our own situation? The answer to these questions is yes….

The secret is an open one which the wayfaring man may read. It is simply the old and ever-new counsel: Acquaint thyself with God. To regain her lost power the Church must see heaven opened and have a transforming vision of God.

Lord, give me a glimpse of Your glory and then help me to live in the light of that glory, exhibiting a transformed life and representing a renewed Church. Amen.

His Majesty and Meekness

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. (Psalm 145:5)

When the prophets try to describe for me the attributes, the graces, the worthiness of the God who appeared to them and dealt with them, I feel that I can kneel down and follow their admonition: “He is thy Lord—worship thou Him!”

They described Him as radiantly beautiful and fair. They said that He was royal and that He was gracious. They described Him as a mysterious being, and yet they noted His meekness.

The meekness was His humanity. The majesty was His deity. You find them everlastingly united in Him. So meek that He nursed at His mother’s breast, cried like any baby and needed all the human care that every child needs.

But He was also God, and in His majesty He stood before Herod and before Pilate. When He returns, coming down from the sky, it will be in His majesty, the majesty of God; yet it will be in the majesty of the Man who is God!

This is our Lord Jesus Christ. Before His foes He stands in majesty. Before His friends, He stands in meekness!

It is well to be the sheep of God’s pasture

It is well to be the sheep of God’s pasture, even if we have been wandering sheep. The straying sheep has an owner, and however far it may stray from the fold, it ceases not to belong to that owner. I believe that God will yet bring back into the fold every one of His own sheep, and they shall all be saved. It is something to feel our wanderings, for if we feel ourselves to be lost, we shall certainly be saved; if we feel ourselves to have wandered, we shall certainly be brought back.