Tuesday, February 24th

Tuesday, February 24th

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10

This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. Romans 13:11-14

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:17-24

While it is true that Daniel went home and prayed as usual after he learned that the law had been signed, there is nothing else about this moment that is as usual. We must keep clearly in view that Daniel knew that for him to pray as usual meant being thrown into the lion's den and he knew what the "as usual" result of that would be. Like Daniel of old, there are people in other parts of the world today who face almost certain death for standing true to the commitment and convictions of their faith. In America most of us will never face this kind of pressure from our culture. But make no mistake about it, we face powerful and effective pressures from our culture that frequently and significantly derail us as believers in Christ from living out our faith in the way God desires. We have already established the importance of the daily discipline of prayer. It is through the daily discipline of prayer that God does his work of removing the ways our lives correspond to the image of this world while at the same time transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ. The Romans and Ephesians passages above spell out quite clearly the necessity of setting aside worldly ways and resisting the ongoing pressure the world exerts on us. The passages also show us the necessity of yielding to the transforming work of God's Spirit for all the good and right living God has in store for us.

Lord, you are totally aware that life here on earth is full of obstacles that make it tough for me and every other believer in Christ to live fully for you. I am grateful you understand, but I am also grateful that you have given us a way to be victorious. Lord, help me with my commitment and my convictions concerning the necessity of daily prayer. Help me to have a deep and abiding faith that your connection with me through prayer will bring the victory of a godly life that overcomes the pressures of the world and experiences genuine transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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