Exile – Daniel is in Babylon, surrounded by people who don’t believe like him. This is God’s plan for his life.
Greatly Loved – Daniel is repeatedly told that he is greatly loved by God, which fuels his faithfulness to the Lord.
Faithful – Daniel and his friends remain faithful and even serve and bless their Babylonian captors. This is despite the pressure coming from fellow believers to avoid and despise the Babylonians. And this is despite the pressure coming from Babylonians to ignore the God of grace and become like them.
Daniel and the exiles in Babylon, are there for Babylon. That’s what God told them in Jeremiah 29, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon…”
We have a preview in Daniel of how Jesus loved us. Jesus, the Divine Word, became human like us and moved into the neighborhood to tabernacle among us. (John 1:14) Why? For love of the world (John 3:16).
So here we are in upstate New York. Why? For those God has put around us. To love our neighbors for Jesus’ sake. To make the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen on the 3rd day, known. Our challenge is to do that in a way that is understood by those who do not know the God of the Bible or believe the gospel.
"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?" Difficult experiences are part of what it means to live in the world. The writer of Lamentations demonstrates a way to pray our emotions and grief to the Lord when these experiences overwhelm us.
Colossians is a great letter from Paul to a new church in Colossae. It is overflowing with the grace of the gospel of Jesus. In short, Christians are now a new creation and get to learn how to live a new life with Jesus. So come and learn how Jesus changes hearts, minds and lives!
"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister." ~Colossians 1:21-23