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There are many things to be anxious about dear God. An uncertain future is before me. I have no choice but to enter it, but how will I walk into it. You tell me to not be anxious about anything, to present my fears to you in prayer, yet I struggle to verbalize my fears. The words seem to evade me. I simply ask for your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Help me to present my fears to you, to release them to you, and replace them with your peace. May I rest in you and not let my fears rest in me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

Where do I place my hope dear Lord? Do I expectantly anticipate the day when I can see you face to face? Am I like the Magi who traveled a great distance based on your sign, your prophesy? Do I have the same hope as they did? Their hope was fulfilled, made real when they came face to face with Jesus, the new born king. May I read the yet unfulfilled prophesies in scripture with the same faith.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” – Micah 5:2 (NIV)

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – Revelation 14:12

© 2019 CGThelen

What does it mean to be satisfied, to be content? Can anything in this world truly satisfy my desires and needs? Only you dear Lord can satisfy. You are eternal. I praise you that you make yourself known to us. May the desires of our heart be to praise you, to seek you. I praise you Jesus for giving us the way to salvation. May we find true satisfaction in you.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – Psalm 90:14

© 2019 CGThelen

Help me dear Lord to discern your truth in a world that bombards me with false hope. Give me the wisdom to see with your eyes, to choose your way. Let me not lose my first love, your love dear Jesus filling my life; the joy of your presence in my life. Show me Lord when I’ve fallen and help me get back on my feet. May your Spirit be evident in my life. Thank you for your love and grace.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” – Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” – Revelation 2:7

© 2019 CGThelen

In Daniel 2, King Nebubakenezer challenges his wizards to interpret his dreams, but he insists that they tell him what the dream was about first. Instead, the wizards insist that the king tell them what the dream was about.

“What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans (verse 11, NIV),” they reply. Verse 12 tells us, “This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.”

The king doesn’t want what others feel he wants to hear, he wants truth. To me the king is saying he is tired of earthly wisdom and just getting mere opinions. The king is hungry for a word from the Lord and is seeking someone to give him truth. It makes me wonder if sometimes I misread people’s desire to hear about Christ and miss an opportunity to share the gospel.

Daniel’s response to the king’s desire for a true interpretation of his dream is instructive for us. There are three things I note in this passage:

Listening Before Responding

Verse 2:14 tells us that when Daniel learned about the decree to execute the wise men of Babylon, he spoke to the king’s commander “with wisdom and tact.” Daniel sought to understand the situation first. I believe He recognized the king’s desire for truth when the matter was explained to him. Daniel then scheduled a time to meet with the king.

It is the same response we should consider — seeking to understand the situation of the people God places in our life and scheduling time to meet with them for further dialogue instead of a quick response. This also allows time to seek God’s counsel.

Praying for Guidance

Daniel does not go it alone. He immediately seeks others to pray for the situation: Verse 17-18 tell us that “Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

They lift up the situation in prayer, asking God to reveal the dream and its meaning. Daniel seeks God’s word and the wisdom to fill the desire for truth that God placed in the king’s heart. We too should seek others to pray with us about opportunities God gives us. We should seek God’s wisdom, his words to provide what others seek and not our own response.

Crediting God

Daniel makes clear that God is the source of the dream and its meaning in verse 27-28: “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” He wants the king to understand he is only the messenger, that he is not wiser than anyone (verse 30).

Likewise, we should communicate that it is the word of God that gives us wisdom, not our own ability. We want to point others to God as the source of truth. Because Daniel credited God with his words, the king gives God credit: “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery (47).”

© 2019 CGThelen

What is the proper attitude when we approach God in prayer with petitions? At times it is difficult to discern if our requests are simply our own desires or if they reflect God’s desires. If we pursue a heart for God, our petitions to God should also be a desire for God’s will in our life and the lives of those around us.

Yet when I see people I love and care about scoff at you dear Lord, my heart aches. They discredit your name and worship the false gods of our age. I pray for a transformation of their heart, but nothing happens. I pray they will embrace a life for Christ, yet they continue in their ways. At times it seems God that you do not care that they profane your name.

In Daniel 9, I find that Daniel shares this feeling. He wants the destroyed temple in Jerusalem to be restored if only to bring glory to you God. He prayed, “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name (verse 18, NIV).” In the same verse he then prayed, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

Help me dear God to reflect on the motivation of my prayers. I truly am not righteous. It is only because of your mercy dear God that I have been saved. Help me not to pray for a quick fix for the people I love and care about, but help me to pray for your mercy dear God. Help me to pray that they will experience your mercy; understand your grace; acknowledge they are not righteous, but only saved by your grace dear God.

“Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:19 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

This morning dear God I echo Job’s words: “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power (Job 21:7, NIV)?” At times I feel helpless to influence this world for you. At times it feels as if those who reject you are winning. My efforts seem futile. They refuse to hear about your love and grace, about your son Jesus. Sometimes I repeat Elijah’s words, “I have had enough, Lord (1 Kings 19:4).” Yet I hold on to your words Lord: “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son (Revelation 21:7, NASB).” Help me dear Lord to overcome. Help me to hold onto your truths. May I rest in your strength, your love and grace.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

He wants to put a new song in my heart, but I do not know the words yet. He wants to make me anew, but I do not know who I am or who I should be. I am being transformed into something I have yet to see. All I can do for now is praise you dear God, that you have set me on solid ground; that you have given me a solid foundation to stand on; a firm place to rest; a place to be still and know you are God. Without you I would remain in the depths of the mud and mire, stuck in the slimy pit. My trust is in you God. You are my hope.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

The world seems so overwhelming at times. The pressures come from all sides seeking to crush me. I feel as if I cannot stand. I feel defeated. Yet your word dear God continues to promise victory. Your promises declare we will overcome the world if we believe in your son Jesus Christ. Our strength to endure comes from you, not ourselves. Help me to hold on to your truths in a world that bombards me with lies and false hope.

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:4-5

© 2019 CGThelen

“Stay in your lane.” I hear you telling me dear Lord. “Run the race I marked out for you.” Yet I see runners next to me, runners leaner and more fit. Runners with better coaches. Runners with a cheering section. Runners with supportive families. Runners with lucrative sponsors to help them.

“Stay in your lane,” God tells me. “This is the race I have marked out for you, only you.” He tells me this is the path he has chosen for me to run. He tells me he chose me for this race at this time. He tells me I am uniquely qualified to run this race, even though the people in the lanes next to me look better qualified to win. “Run the race marked out for you,” he shouts from the sidelines. “Victory is yours!” I have the best coach around.

My legs ache. I fight for breathe. I struggle to keep running. Voices in my head tell me to quit, but I press on. I can’t see the finish line. I don’t know if I can keep this pace. I watch other runners pass me with ease. I look ahead and see Jesus waving me on. “Follow my lead,” he smiles.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 3:13-14

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

© 2019 CGThelen

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