Christianity 201

July 22, 2016

The Influence of Spiritual Leaders

Today’s post is excerpts from a larger, topical article which appeared at the blog of Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church, immediate past President of the Southern Baptist Convention. For that reason, click the title below to read the entire piece at its source. We’ve excerpted the spiritual teaching from the article.

Spiritual Leaders and Their Influence in This Election Season

…In this presidential election season, some are acting like we have had pure choices before and now we do not. Let’s get real: we have never had pure choices to select from. We live in a fallen world and all of our systems are less than perfect. It was failed when some of our greatest presidents have been elected or when some of our greatest presidents have emerged through the fire of leadership. Perfection will not occur until we die and our residency changes from here into heaven, and ultimately when Jesus comes again in His coming eternal, sovereign Kingdom.

Besides this, our trust needs to be in our Sovereign God, not in people or our processes. Think on and stand with confidence upon these words:

  • Daniel 2:21, “He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings.
  • Daniel 4:26, “…Heaven rules.
  • Proverbs 21:1, “A king’s heart is like streams of water in the Lord’s hand; He directs it wherever He chooses.

Our trust is in the Lord and His word…

…I prayed, searched, and became convicted in March that there was one biblical character God wanted to use in my life who would become my mentor and model while navigating through these tumultuous waters.

daniel_prayerDaniel was a statesman and a prophet. This is what I want to be in my life and leadership. Daniel lived in Jerusalem. In 605 B.C., some say at age 15, Daniel was taken captive along with others and exported to Babylon. He lived there for at least seventy years, where three times each day, he would open his window, kneel facing Jerusalem, and pray. John MacArthur noted this about Daniel: “He quickly rose to the role of statesman by official royal appointment and served as a confidante of kings, as well as a prophet in two world empires.”[1]

Daniel was a godly, praying and fasting man whom God used powerfully. He was entrusted with favor from God and had favor with man. Daniel was entrusted with influencing the King and the future of the country, as well as given the authority to lead. Daniel 1-4 speaks of his relationship and influence with one of the most wicked leaders of all time, King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 5-10 speaks of his relationship with King Belshazzar, King Darius, and King Cyrus.

America is like a modern-day Babylon: sinful, wicked, and godless. God raised up King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon to exercise God’s judgment upon the people of God. Daniel and the people of God being exported into this godless, wicked nation gives us a living example of where we are as Christ-followers. We need to go to school on how God used Daniel and others in this season of judgment.

Daniel determined he would honor God whatever the costs. Daniel received God’s favor and was given leadership and influence. Each spiritual leader should aspire to be like Daniel.

Throughout Scripture, we see men and women of God who had a voice with leaders of nations. Some examples of these God-called spiritual leaders speaking to a nation’s leader:

  • Moses to Pharaoh
  • Eliezer to Jehoshaphat
  • Elijah to Ahab
  • Elisha to King Ben-hadad of Aram and also to the King of Israel
  • Nathan to David
  • Esther to Ahasuerus
  • Jeremiah to Zedekiah
  • Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus
  • John the Baptist to Herod
  • Peter and John to Annas and Caiaphas
  • Paul to King Agrippa

There are others I could list. This is a biblical precedent that is undeniable.

What If

What if Daniel had refused to acknowledge King Nebuchadnezzar and acted like he was too righteous to relate to him? What if Daniel had not answered the request to come interpret his dream? When you read the book of Daniel, you find him relating to these leaders continually, oftentimes entrusted with great influence upon the nation and even property; but at other times, being put in prison or ending up in a lion’s den. Daniel was not for sale. He even told King Belshazzar, “keep your gifts.”[2] God always prevailed. Daniel was always faithful.

Why would we not want godly spiritual leaders to be influencers upon national and global leaders today? 

Spiritual Leaders Need Tact and Discretion

Daniel 2:14, “Then Daniel responded with tact and discretion to Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, who had gone to execute the wise men of Babylon.This is a pivotal verse that we need to go to school on in 2016 as spiritual leaders. In this day of social networking and endless opinions, Christian testimony is being destroyed and people are being hurt continually.

Daniel’s tone and words were flavored right, proper, and wise. Daniel’s counsel was sound, careful, and sensible.

As Christians and Christian leaders, we need to make sure our tone and words must never eliminate our ability to win someone on this earth to faith in Jesus Christ.

…Let me set the record straight today: I want Daniel, the statesman and prophet, and the life, leadership, and legacy of Billy Graham and their relationships with national and global political leaders to be my model rather than sitting on the sideline, critiquing every political candidate and anyone whom God would raise up to influence them.

Now is the Time to Lead

[1], accessed June 26, 2016
[2] Daniel 5:17

January 24, 2011

Proving God In The Everyday

This devotional article is by Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevate in Charlotte, North Carolina and author of the book Sun Stand Still.  It appeared on his blog a few days ago under the title Real Courage.

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” ~ Daniel 6:16

Daniel is one of the most courageous and faithful men in the entire Bible. But not for the reasons we usually think.

For example, when telling the story of Daniel and the lions’ den, most people usually focus on Daniel’s courage in the lions’ den itself. But what’s curiously missing from the whole story is any description of Daniel’s experience in it. Not one word.

153 verses on his life before the lions’ den. Aside from when he tells the king that God had shut the mouths of the lions, zero describing his time in it.

And the reason is because Daniel’s courage and faith in the lions’ den isn’t the point. After all, shutting the mouths of the lions was God’s thing. Once Daniel gets thrown in the lions’ den, what is he really going to do?

Daniel’s courage and faithfulness was shown in the way he lived that got him thrown into the lions’ den. The real miracle was when his enemies were looking for a way to accuse him but they couldn’t find anything in his life. So they had to make up a law forbidding prayer to anyone but the king to get him thrown in. And yet he still prayed. That’s real courage. That’s real faith. And it was that courage and faith that became the setup for God’s display of faithfulness.

I think most people want a lions’ den experience. Maybe not the danger, but they do want to see God do huge things in their life. Come through for them in big ways. Decisively display His deliverance. Show people that our God is still a God who can accomplish the impossible.

But most people will never have the opportunity to prove God’s faithfulness in the lions’ den because they have not proved their faith in everyday life.

They’re not going to see God come through for them in a huge way financially because they haven’t learned to trust Him with 10% of what they have. They’re not going to see increased favor at work because they segregate God from their work. They’re not going to see God use them in powerful ways at their school because they live in such a way that no one knows they even believe in God.

Don’t try to be like Daniel in the lions’ den. Be like Daniel who prayed every day and had integrity. Be like Daniel and serve God continually in every aspect of your life. Have the courage and faith to live in such a way that God actually has a platform to show His faithfulness from.

And then God will do His thing in the lions’ den.