“Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

The word “resolve” is a strong word. It means to be firmly determined to do or not to do something. It’s a word that suggests an attitude that says, “This is where I stand” or “I have decided”. More than any other verse, Daniel 1:8 symbolizes Daniel’s attitude and actions throughout his life.

            Daniel prophesied to the people of Israel who were exiled in Babylon. The book spans the entire seventy-year period of the Babylonian captivity (605-535 B.C.). Taken into captivity when he was fifteen, Daniel remained in Babylon for the rest of his life. The book of Daniel has several themes. The primary theme is God’s sovereignty, not only over the present circumstances for Israel in that day, but also for future events in history, some of which have come to pass, others which are still yet to come.

            Daniel was a model of character and faithfulness. God honored his faithfulness, giving him wisdom and insight which enabled him to become a trusted advisor to both the Babylonian and Persian Empires. So, what made Daniel different? What helped him to not only avoid the influence of a godless culture around him, but even thrive in it? And how can we thrive in a world progressively influenced by a culture opposed to the things of God?  

            Daniel proved to be a powerful influence in his day, but he knew the source of all power was God. Daniel had been transformed, both in his heart and in his mind. In everything, he sought to be obedient to God’s will. We would do well to follow his lead. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Daniel was practicing the principles of this verse even before the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write it.

            If we are going to live lives that are pleasing to God, we must cultivate our relationship with Him. We must seek Him in His Word and through prayer. If we want to make a difference, we must be different. We must think differently and we must live differently. Daniel was prepared to be used by God. His faithfulness in the midst of great challenge was a result of God’s work in Him. Daniel knew God. Do you know Him? Has He transformed your heart and mind? Are you seeking Him each day? Are you “resolved” to do His will?


Think About These Things

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8) 

Against a lot of opposition, the apostle Paul boldly proclaimed truth. Through three missionary journeys and endless preaching, Paul’s ministry bore much fruit as many came to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul had strong relationships with the churches he founded and pastored. The church at Philippi was one of them. Founded on his second missionary journey, Paul loved this church. They proved to be faithful partners in the ministry of the gospel. He knew they had a strong foundation of faith and that their faith would persevere (Philippians 1:6). But as was always the case with Paul’s letters, once he laid out the theological basis of faith, he always followed with how to live out that faith in day to day life. And that exactly what he’s doing in Philippians 4, exhorting and encouraging them to be mindful of what they allow to influence their thinking. He writes to them saying, “Finally, brothers, whatever is…

  • True – genuine, reliable, trustworthy, valid
  • Honorable – worthy of respect
  • Just – right, righteous or upright. In the New Testament “just” refers to God’s proper standards and actions.
  • Pure – innocent, clean
  • Lovely – pleasing
  • Commendable – admirable, appealing or praiseworthy
  • Excellent – moral, goodness

The gospel changes things. It changes our relationship with God and secures our eternal destiny. However, never does a conversion to faith mean that we’re not to be attentive to what we allow to capture our thoughts. God’s Word must be our filter for determining truth. To live in a way that’s pleasing to God, we must set our minds on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). 1 Timothy 4:7 says “train yourself for godliness”. Proverbs 21:21 tells us that “whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor”. Don’t think as the world thinks. Instead, think about those things that are worthy of our God.

To My Graduate

graduation cap

Time sure flies! Only the summer is left before Logan joins Kristin at Auburn. Just as it did with Kristin, Logan’s leaving brings on a mix of emotions. It brings joy in seeing your child take their next and necessary steps in life. It brings sadness because you are going miss being with them as you are now. And it brings anxiety because you know the world we live in is an imperfect one and you don’t want its influence to overtake them. When Kristin left, I remember wondering if we had done enough to prepare her for her next steps. Three years later, I’m wondering the same thing about Logan. As a parent, you see the day the approaching, but before you know it, it’s here and all you want is to make sure your child is prepared to go and ready to face what’s ahead.

College comes with many challenges. There are the typical ones like time management and difficult classes. But there are other challenges as well, challenges that will test their faith in God. It’s pretty apparent that over time, these challenges have only become more difficult to withstand. Our culture fights against the Word of God at every turn and the reality is that our children will face the challenge of standing strong in the midst of the battle. It’s not that their faith hasn’t been tested before, it’s just that now you are not there to guide them in the same way you once were. As parents, we are now at a point where we have to trust like never before, and pray that our children remain committed to the things they have been taught. Below are some things I want Logan to know, things I hope will encourage him and help him to stand strong as he goes.

  1. Be firm in what you believe about God because what you believe is likely to be challenged more than ever before.
  2. Never will your temptation to stray from God’s will be greater than over these next years. Your best effort and self determination will not be enough to fight temptation. You must put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
  3. Acceptance by our culture is never the basis of truth. The Bible is. If the Bible says it, it’s true. (John 17:17)
  4. Remember, self-worth is never based on how the world sees you, but on how the Lord sees you.
  5. No matter how difficult the battles may seem, take heart, the war has already been won! (Philippians 2:5-11)
  6. With newfound freedom it’s sometimes easy to forget who you are. Remember not only who you are, but also who God created you to be.
  7. Influence can be a good thing, but it can also be harmful. God’s Word says there are things to fill your mind with, things to run to and things to run from. Choose wisely. (1 Corinthians 15:33, Philippians 4:8, 2 Timothy 2:22)
  8. You were made to worship, both personally and corporately. Make finding a good Bible believing church a priority. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  9. Of all the books you read and study in college, the book that needs your greatest attention each day is the one written by God. Make time for it!
  10. Though I will not always be there to watch over you, take comfort in knowing your Heavenly Father will be. (Psalm 121:4)
  11. Prayer will be a powerful weapon for you to carry. Use it daily. (Philippians 4:6-7)
  12. Success in college takes discipline. Discipline is also important in your Christian life as well. There is no contradiction between practicing spiritual discipline and God’s grace. (1 Timothy 4:7)
  13. Respect all people and be kind to them, but never let anyone tell you a relationship with God comes any other way than through Jesus Christ alone. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)
  14. Always know that as much as I love you, my love pales in comparison to how much your Heavenly Father loves you.
  15. Remember, God is faithful. Trust Him, seek Him and love Him. After all, He loved you first.