Friday, January 24, 2020

January 18-24
Daniel 23: From Furnace to Palace

Yes, I'd like to stand with you . . . 

But it's complicated.

I mean, I've got a lot of people who depend on me: people who need me; people who look to me for guidance, people who would be in all kinds of trouble if I wasn't there for them.

In fact, it would be downright selfish of me to leave them in the lurch -- to leave them in the lurch just because of my private beliefs about religion.

And yes, the people who really know me all know what I really believe.

What's more, God knows my heart -- yes, God understands why I'm bowing down to that statue . . .  

And if God understands, then why don't you?

For more on this lesson, go to:

Friday, January 17, 2020

January 11-17
Daniel 2: From Mystery to Revelation

Just for once, it was nice to be in charge.

To you, after all, I am "Nebuchadnezzar -- destroy of nations, King of Babylon, and ruler of the whole stinking universe." 

But when the magi show up, they act like I'm just another shlubby -- just another peasant who's ticked-off the gods.

That's why it was so nice to see them sweat -- to see them realize that I was in charge after all.

Yes, it was nice while it lasted . . . 

Right up until four of them spoke up.

The good news: they told me what I'd dreamt.

The bad news: they told me what it meant . . .

And it turns out that I'm not in charge, after all.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

January 4-10
Daniel: from Jerusalem to Babylon

It's not often you get a "win-win" deal like this.

I mean, we're always getting kids with funny ideas — I remember one, for instance, who refused to wear the color blue . . . 

So when a new shipment shows up, I’m not surprised when four of them tell me they’ve got problems with our food; it happens all the time, right?

And like always, I tell them that making my life more difficult is not a good idea . . . 

But these four — they surprise me. Yeah, they offer me a deal: they say they’ll gladly eat the cheap stuff. The rabbit-food. The junk we use to “dress up” the main-dish . . . 

And me? I get to decide if they’re going to keep eating the cheap stuff.

So I’ll bet you’re wondering what’s happened to all the really expensive stuff — all the really expensive food they’re not getting anymore?

Well . . . like I said, it’s a “win-win” deal!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

December 28 - January 3
From Reading to Understanding

The Book of Daniel is for losers.

It's the stories, remember, of people taken hostage — taken hostage, and forced to serve an empire where nothing is safe:
  • Not the king of your country.
  • Not the Temple of your God.
  • And no, not even your name — not if the empire wants it changed.
In short, it's a book about people who seem to have lost all control of their lives . . . 

And you know what we call those kind of people.

If you really want to understand the Book of Daniel, in other words, then you can’t read it in a place where you feel safe and secure — in your favorite chair, perhaps, or the sanctuary of a church.

No, you need to read it while you’re waiting trial . . . 

Or hear it late at night, when most of the guards are asleep . . . 

Or remember it when they offer you a way “to make all this a little easier.”

You see, it’s times like these that you learn just what Daniel was facing.

And it’s times like these that you need the message of Daniel — the message that losers can outlast an empire.