First Things @ First

Pastoral Perspectives,

I came across this devotional on Monday of last week and decided to forward it because it speaks to many of the issues at hand that we face in this world. The material is written by John D. Barry and titled--'Good Opportunities and Difficult Decisions' His scripture references are Daniel 1:1–2:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:1–3:5; Job 40:3–12 Barry writes--

"When Daniel is invited to dine at the king’s table—a great honor reserved for the favored (Dan 1:1–4)—he turns down the offer. Instead of eating food and wine fit for a king, Daniel and the other Israelites settle on a diet of vegetables and water (Dan 1:12). Daniel’s decision seems to contradict human nature. When a good situation comes along (like being invited to eat at the royal table), we often jump at the chance. Yet in doing so, we may fail to consider the ramifications. Daniel knows that eating at the king’s table means compromising Yahweh’s commands against eating certain foods. So, when he’s offered a great opportunity, he is bold enough to say no and to offer an alternative (Dan 1:10–14). Daniel knows that God will provide for those who love Him. He also knows that being in God’s will is more important than anything else, even if it means facing opposition. Paul’s statement in 1 Thess 2:2 demonstrates that he understood this as well: “But after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi … we had the courage in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.” Opposition did not deter Paul from doing what was right in God’s eyes, just as it didn’t prevent Daniel from keeping God’s commands. When we’re faced with the promises of this world, how do we react? Do we boldly pursue money, fame, or power? Or do we deny these things for the sake of following God’s will? The purpose to which we’ve been called is too important to be set aside for things that will fade over time. We must be willing to face opposition boldly instead of pursuing what the world has to offer. Even when we must depend on a miracle—as Daniel depended on God to keep him healthy when others were eating better food—we must make God’s will the priority. No matter how difficult it becomes, we must seek God’s will. When we consider that our relationship with God is eternal, what matters is not the opinion of one king, but the opinion of the King of the universe."

Good word for this week because it's sourced in God's word. What opportunities do you have that are not God’s will?

What choices will you say 'no' to and offer a godly alternative instead?

God will honor those who honor Him publicly!

He is worthy of our praise!

Be encouraged in your journey with Jesus!

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36