Daniel 1:17—God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.
Daniel, probably in part because of my given name, has always been my hero. In studying his Old Testament prophetic book that contains his story, there are at least five superb applications that ought to inspire us to be like him.
A close friend of mine, Sam Titus, sent me a book to read. It was entitled Insightand it was written by Dr. Tasha Eurich. Tasha did a wonderful job exploring the topic of self-awareness and illustrating why it is so important. Tasha defines self-awareness as “the ability to see ourselves clearly—to understand who we are, how others see us, and how we fit into the world around us.” I was pleased to see that she recognized in her research with people that “humility is a key ingredient of self-awareness.” She also noted as an organizational psychologist that self-aware people enjoy more successful careers and better lives because they have developed “an intuitive understanding of what matters to them, what they want to accomplish, how they behave, and how others see them.”
The dictionary uses the following definition for the word discretion—“1. the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice . . . 2. The quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum.” Discretion seems to be an increasingly neglected concept in our society. More and more people freely express their opinion or take action either with little prior thought to the consequences or with the deliberate decision to cause harm. For example, on Columbus Day, a national holiday, police in New York City have to protect statutes erected for Christopher Columbus for fear that people will vandalize or destroy them. Instead of taking into account the pride that Italian Americans have in a famous explorer, protestors feel justified in defacing or tearing down his monuments because of the perceived harm he caused to native Americans.
Colossians 1:9,10—For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
While attending a conference with senior military leaders we were informed that the likelihood of Congress failing to pass a continuing resolution was highly improbable. Less than three days later the Senate and House failed to agree and we were surprised.
Most of my organization’s employees sit at home unable to go to work and are unsure when they will be able to resume their jobs. For one income folks and families on tight budgets, the forced layoff is angst-producing. One missed paycheck is fraught with second and third order effects. As frustration with our government continues to climb I am taken back to my teenage years living in a third world country ripe with corruption. Increasingly it feels like we are becoming third world. But I am not surprised.
Grok is a little used verb that means: “to understand thoroughly and intuitively”; or “to communicate sympathetically.” The word was invented by Robert A. Heinlein in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land written in 1961.
The author of Psalm 91 groked God’s protective nature towards His children.
Have you ever wondered how astronauts fly up into space to rendezvous with a space station or other orbiting objects such as the Hubble space telescope? It is an incredibly difficult task. Let’s listen in to scientist Palmer Bailey as he articulates the challenge:
"The basic problem is that both of the rendezvousing objects are in individual orbits around the Earth. The shape and size of a spacecraft’s orbit is determined by its velocity. Thus if you try to speed up to catch something travelling ahead of you in the same orbit, you change your orbit and then are no longer in the same orbit . . . Therefore, if you are in orbit behind your rendezvous target and try to speed up to catch it, what actually happens is that your increased speed is used up raising you into a higher and therefore slower orbit and you fall farther and farther behind. You must slow down, thus dropping into a lower but quicker orbit until you are ahead of your target, then speed up at just the right rate to go into the higher slower orbit as the target craft catches up to you. It’s pretty tricky to get that timing just right."
He jumped in too early. A white policeman arrested a prominent black professor, and eager journalists needled President Obama to answer before he knew all the facts. He misspoke. Perhaps a lingering frustration gave birth to an unfortunate vetting. That silence can be golden is an understatement for a man besieged by microphones. Our society is sensitive to racial harmony—and should we be surprised, given that our melting pot is a degree away from a boiling kettle!
Have you ever wondered much about your soul, what it is, it’s purpose, etc.?
There are four common theories as to the soul’s origin. They are:
1. Traducianism—our soul and body come from our parents (Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox Churches).
2. Preexistence of all souls (Origen and Mormons)
3. Reincarnation (Hinduism)
4. Creationism—God creates a fresh soul for each body (Roman Catholics and most reformed theologians)
Charles and I were having a great discussion when I asked him what would happen if a truck came around the bend at a high speed and accidentally struck and killed him? What would he say to God when the Lord asked him why He should let him into heaven? Charles said, “Well the operative answer would be that I believe in Jesus Christ and am sorry for my sins.”
Acts 2:12,13--They were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What could this be?” But some sneered and said, “They’re full of new wine!”
A crumpled gray Saturn blocks the intersection while scores of drivers stuck by the accident sputter at the infuriating delay. Firemen extract the old woman from her car smashed by a young man in a big hurry. She saw a green light and preceded east on Canon Street. He was headed south on Anarchic Avenue. Irritated and in a hurry he ignored the red and sped through the intersection broad siding the hapless woman.
Why is it that the one year you get a flu shot you get the flu? Why does your dog shake off muddy water next to you when you’ve just changed into good clothes? Why does your husband get sick on the day you’re supposed to go on a family vacation? Why is it that the day you’re ready to complete your project the power goes out? Why do microphones work fine in rehearsal but then screech during the play? Why do people get mad at other drivers right after leaving church? Why do camera batteries go dead just when your son takes his first steps? Why does some stranger’s toddler pitch a fit at the climax of your daughter’s recital?
If someone were to ask you what the secret for living a fulfilled life is, what would you say? There are probably a dozen great responses.
Genesis 11:1,4-9--At one time the whole earth had the same language and vocabulary . . . And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
1 Samuel 23:4--Once again, David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him: “Go at once to Keilah, for I will hand the Philistines over to you.”
Psalm 37:23—The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. (NLT)
So this is war. All airline flights were cancelled—an unprecedented occurrence. For days I couldn’t leave Georgia. The worst terrorist strike America has ever experienced induces bewilderment, anger, sadness, vulnerability, fear and a host of other emotions.
September 11, 2001 is our new day of infamy. Across the continent my wife explained to our three children the significance of what they observed on television. This is not some historical aberration, some freakish blow in a new millennium. This is not the isolated work of a depraved band of people. This is the calculated fist of evil and freedom is just one of its targets.
Recently I read a story in the newspaper only to find out that it was far more relevant than I realized. The Oregonian reported a bad car accident after which a woman had to have an emergency cesarean to save the life of her baby. Incredibly, the husband and father, is one of my drill sergeants. He suffered two broken knees, a broken arm and head injuries. The driver of the other car happened to be a diabetic who blacked out. His car crossed the median and two families’ lives were forever altered. By God’s grace no one perished.
The uniform can be a source of great inspiration or it can be the veneer of tyranny it all depends on the heart of the one clothed. There is a man who cannot advance in his job. His ability to move up in his organization is stifled by the hands of a Napoleon-pretender, one with an insecurity complex too radioactive to handle. Perhaps you know the type?
Followers—what thoughts does this word conjure? Are they passive, wimpy, sheep-like figures too meek to do anything but comply with those leading? Are they mature loyalists? In actuality, we cannot rightly answer the question unless we know concrete evidence about who is leading.