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Qualified to Choose

I think it is nearly impossible not to be inspired by the story of Daniel. He stood tall in the face of adversity, spent a night with lions and single-handedly proved the power of God’s faithfulness. In some ways, he is head and shoulders above the rest of us and defies comparison. I saw a unique perspective this morning, however, in Daniel 1. His opportunity was made possible by the way God made him and the choices he made.
“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.” (v. 3-4) In order for Daniel to be in the place where God would work through his circumstances, he needed certain attributes that were beyond his control. He needed to be physically fit, good-looking, mentally quick and capable of sophisticated learning. Daniel was not given the opportunity to order these as accessories to his life. God simply chose these for him.
In the same way, the opportunities I have in my life are made possible by the characteristics and skills God chose to give me (and not give me). I can write but I struggle to sing on key. I like to run but I struggle with anything that involves skis or skates. I love team projects, helping people grow and systems that help people be more efficient. These are traits I didn’t select anymore than I did my body type, hair color or when I was born. These traits both energize and limit the opportunities that lie within my radar. If I am to fulfill God’s plan for my life, I must accept these as gifts from his hand to guide me.
“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.” (v. 8 ) The stage was set by Daniel’s natural talents and attributes, but the mission couldn’t begin until Daniel chose. Choices focus our attention and direct our emotions. They cause our thoughts, will and emotions to line up adding momentum to our lives. Our decisions engage our hearts so our pursuits are more than intellectual exercises. They become exhilarating challenges that lead us to appropriate risks and satisfying rewards. When Daniel asked for a special diet, he was taking a calculated risk. Normally his diet would have resulted in him being weaker than the rest of the young men. He was trusting that God would come through for him and do what could not be done simply by human effort.
My journey is certainly not as dramatic as Daniel’s. I don’t serve a powerful political official. I am not at odds with people who would like to throw me to lions. I do, however, have a part to play in God’s plan. Today, I will need to assess the opportunities available to me based on God’s design and I will be confronted with choices that will either enhance or hinder those opportunities.
God, please grant each of us the wisdom today to correctly see the opportunities you have for us.

One Response

  1. The key verse is a key virtue:

    (Dan 1:8 NASB) But Daniel MADE UP HIS MIND that he would not defile himself with …..

    Now men, you fill in the blank
    … with _________________

    Just heard this great message from Jurgs – I love the guy!

    November 20 PM – Ps Jurgen Matthesius: Heart Series: “Ten Times Better”

    http://media.cccsandiego.com/Media/11 20 11 PM.mp3

    I want to remind / inform any of you men out there that there is a trusted men’s bible study group that meets Thursday mornings in San Marcos at CTA Architects located at 310 Via Vera Cruz, #206 from 8am-9am. We’re moving in the Spirit of God in the book of Daniel. We have only completed Chap 1 last week and God’s anointing is on this study I am here to tell you. Jurgen’s message confirmed it to me as did this wonderful post from Bill. (Cut & paste the link above to give it a listen if you can carve out the time. Regardless, come with your heart, mind, soul and strength Thursday to the study; this is going to be good; very good! Please email me at jmc@cta-architects.com if you would like more information.)

    (Dan 1:20 NASB) As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them TEN TIMES BETTER than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.

    There is nothing going on in you that God won’t handle one way or another – Personally, I want that ‘Ten Times Better’ and I’m praying for the will to sacrifice for it. In Jesus’ mighty name – somebody say amen!

    Blessings on you all:
    < Jc

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