Encouragement for Today - Dec. 14, 2007
December 14, 2007
No More Pit Dwelling for Me
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a pit? Yesterday I was. But I’m refusing to stay there. So, today, I am choosing to be thank-full instead of pity-full. With each thing I verbalize my thankfulness for, it is like a stepping stone out of the pit.
Interestingly enough, there is always a Bible character that you can read about who found themselves in the pit as well. I mean, God's people have a tendency to be pit dwellers. But, the beautiful thing about the Bible stories is God always shows the way out.
In Daniel 6:10, Daniel had just learned that if anyone was caught praying to anyone else besides King Darius, they would be thrown into the Lion's Den. That's a serious pit! But Daniel's reaction is amazing.
He went home, threw his windows open, and prayed anyway. I'm not thinking he did this because he felt good. I'm imagining he felt like anyone would feel if their life was in danger. But he rose above his feelings to make a choice.
And do you know what he chose to pray?
"God, save me"? No.
"God, it's not fair"? No.
"God, this is too much"? No.
"God, help me face this with courage"? No.
"God, smite my enemies and wipe them out"? No.
What Daniel prayed is a powerful lesson for me.
Daniel prayed, "Thank you, God." That's right the Bible said Daniel prayed prayers of thanksgiving just as he had done before.
What this teaches me is three things. First, Daniel had a habit of being thankful. Therefore, who God is and what God provides was front and center in Daniel's heart.
Secondly, being a thankful person helped Daniel combat fear and feelings of being overwhelmed. Never once does the story mention Daniel trying to hide. He threw his windows open and made sure people saw him praying! Daniel knew that if God saved him from the lions, he would be okay. Daniel also had peace that if God did not save him from the lions, he would be in heaven with God and therefore okay. Lastly, Daniel's unwavering faith in God, made a lasting impression on others. At the end of Daniel's lion den experience, King Darius says in verse 26 that Daniel's God, our God, is the living God who endures forever!
God, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit. But we don't have to stay there. Thank you for providing your timeless truths that prove to us over and over again, how powerfully capable You always are.
Dear God, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit. But we don’t have to stay there. Thank you for providing your timeless truths that prove to us over and over again, how powerfully capable You always are. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Thank-FULL, Fear-LESS message on CD by Lysa TerKeurst
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A Recipe for Christmas Joy, E-book by Marybeth Whalen
Make a list of things you are thankful for. Put it in a file called “Directions out of the pit.” Add to your thankful list often. The next time you feel your heart being pulled into a pitiful place, pull your file out and start thanking God out loud for everything on your list.
Is there anyone in your life that you can turn to when you are having a pit day? Make sure it is someone who will help remind you of all the good things in you and in your life.
If you don’t have a friend like this, pray for God to send this kind of friend.
Are there circumstances about your life that seem to drag you down on a consistent basis? What can you do to eliminate or at least minimize their effect on you?
Are you spending time thanking God each day for something? If not, why not start today and make this a new, healthy habit!
Lamentations 3:54- 58, “The waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to be cut off. I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief." You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear." O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life.” (NIV)
Jonah 2: 6-7, “To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” (NIV)
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