February 1, 2011 – Stanley

The Influence of Our Convictions Daniel 1:1-21

Although our circles of influence vary in size, we all have the power to affect others—either for good or bad. Whether at home, in the church, or in the world, our lives are on display. Many times we aren’t even aware of who is impacted by our words, attitudes, and actions.

Daniel didn’t set out with the purpose of making an impression on others, but something about him affected everyone who came in contact with him—from lowly servants to kings of empires. What made this young man stand out was his commitment to his convictions. He believed in the absolute truth of the Scriptures. When he was taken to Babylon, he “made up his mind” not to defile himself with the king’s food because he knew that eating meat offered to idols was forbidden by the Mosaic law.

Daniel’s convictions, not his environment, determined his behavior. Our world offers a multitude of ways to compromise on what we know is right, but if we’ll make up our minds ahead of time, we, too, can stand firm in our obedience to God. Although an unbelieving world may mock our values and lifestyle, their respect for
us actually lessens when we waffle and give in to temptations. What’s worse, our witness for Christ is damaged.

Conviction about God’s truth is like an anchor. When the winds of opinion blow and the waves of temptation pound us, we can know with certainty the right way to respond. Don’t vacillate in your obedience to the Lord. Your unwavering stand for what’s right can powerfully influence others.

February 1, 2011 – Begg

The Forgiven Child of God

They shall sing of the ways of the Lord.

Psalms 138:5

The time when Christians begin to sing in the ways of the Lord is when they first lose their burden at the foot of the cross. Not even the songs of the angels seem so sweet as the first song of rapture that gushes from the inmost soul of the forgiven child of God. You know how John Bunyan describes it. He says when poor Pilgrim lost his burden at the cross, he gave three great leaps and went on his way singing,
Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!

Believer, do you recollect the day when your fetters fell off? Do you remember the place when Jesus met you and said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; none of them shall be remembered against you.”

Oh, what a sweet season it is when Jesus takes away the pain of sin. When the Lord first pardoned my sin, I was so joyful that I could barely refrain from dancing. I thought on my road home from the house where I had been set at liberty that I must tell the stones in the street the story of my deliverance. So full was my soul of joy that I wanted to tell every snowflake that was falling from heaven of the wondrous love of Jesus, who had blotted out the sins of one of the chief of rebels. But it is not only at the commencement of the Christian life that believers have reason for song; as long as they live they discover cause to sing in the ways of the Lord, and their experience of His constant loving-kindness leads them to say, “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”1 See to it, Christian, that you magnify the Lord this day.
Long as we tread this desert land,
New mercies shall new songs demand.
1Psalm 34:1