Preparing with Hope March 19, 2023

disciple: someone who follows Jesus and leads others to do the same.

This week's blog will help us as we prepare for the second Sunday in our series, "I AM: What does the Great I AM say about who you are?"  This series is so important because for too long we (me included) have believed the lies about who we are more than the TRUTH that God says about us.  And I don't want to do that any more.  Because when we believe the lies, we're unable to truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ or make disciples of Jesus Christ.  And we miss out on living the best that God has for us.  
This week we're going to be looking at the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in Daniel 1.  It starts out by telling us that God has allowed Babylon to conquer the nation of Israel.  This causes me ask questions like why?  Why would God let this happen to His people?  Why would God allow things to be taken from the Temple?  And then I have questions about Daniel and his friends.  Why are their names changed?  What does what they eat matter?  What is God's plan for them in all of this?  What is God's plan for us?


Before you think of any more question, stop and pray.  Take some time to quiet the noise of the world and listen to God.  Maybe you need to shut your phone off.  Maybe you need to find a place where you can avoid the busy-ness of life.  I like to get up earlier than anyone else in our house.  Make a cup of coffee.  And sit.  And listen.  Maybe for you it works better to do this at night after everyone has gone to bed.  Or in the afternoon before your kids get home.  However you can, find some time (it doesn't have to be long) and quiet the noise of life...and listen.
To be honest, there are many days that as I try and quiet the noise in my life I start thinking of what I need to do at work.  What groceries I need to purchase.  Who I may need to speak to.  So, don't be hard on yourself and don't give up.  Try again the next day.  Keep looking for ways to quiet the noise in your life and hear from God.


Read through the section of the Bible that we are going to study this week, Daniel chapter 1.  Read all the way through it.  Don't stop until you are done.  I shared with you some of the questions that I had.  Do you have questions too?  Write them down.  Write down any thoughts you have from this chapter.   Now pick a different translation of the Bible and read it again. is a great tool to use when studying the Bible with its many different translations.  I also enjoy using a paper version of the Bible too.  This allows me to underline parts of the verses that I enjoy or write questions in the margins to answer later.  


Before you answer any of the questions that you had...pause.  Don't rush this.  Sit in silence again.  Take your time and sit with the wonder a little longer.  Marvel at the mystery of God's Word.  Celebrate the story that you are invited into with God.   Allow Him to show you His answers.  If you still have questions that are unanswered try reading a third translation or post your question in the comments below.  I'll try and answer them in the comments or it may be answered on Sunday.


We are never the same after we have encountered the Word of God.  Expect change.  Ask for change.  Listen to what God wants to change in the way you think and act.  Share with others about the change.  Remember, part of being a disciple is passing what you learn on to others.  Who are you sharing what you're learning with?  We all need someone to learn from and someone to share what we're learning with.  

Get Ready for Sunday.

Getting ready for Sunday begins before you wake up.  It begins now.  Begin praying for each other.  Begin praying for those that are serving.  Ask God if there is anything He is wanting you to do for Sunday.  Maybe there is someone you need to invite to join you.  Tell them you've got a seat saved for them.  Maybe buy them a cup of coffee.  This Sunday (like every time we get together) is going to be powerful.  It is such a privilege for us to be with each other and God!  I can't wait to see what God is going to do and who's going to join us!  

Daniel 1

1 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 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.
3 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— 4 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. 5 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.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.


Tim Taylor - March 13th, 2023 at 2:11pm

Share your thoughts or questions here.

Michelle - March 16th, 2023 at 9:39pm

Learned a new word studying this passage "resolved" . My commentary says "a strong word that means devoted to principle and to be committed to a course of action". What a testimony and a good weapon to have during temptation and living in the world. I pray that I am resolved to obey God and do what is right.

Also, loved that Daniel stayed true to himself and God by not rebeling or causing a big scene and he trusted that God would protect him and just negotiated about the FOOD. And of course God did his thing by taking care of him. Very cool lesson about being who you are, a child of God, a faithful servant in a world with differnt lifestyles.

Suzanne Charity - March 17th, 2023 at 1:46pm

I'm sure the vegetables were better for them than alcohol and sugary and fat filled foods. I'm also thinking possible this could have been considered a fast for God, and fasts help us to be extra blessed in one way or another!