Train yourself to be strong

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into the house. The windows in its upstairs room were opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Train yourself to be strong”
This morning I want to continue our discussion from yesterday regarding how it is that God uses our difficulties to make us stronger. Let’s consider the Old Testament example of Daniel. Daniel was one of the young Jewish men taken into captivity by the Babylonians. He was taken from his home in Judah to a life as a slave in Babylon. But Daniel was a strong man of faith and even though he was immersed in a hostile pagan culture which sometimes demanded he surrender his own beliefs and engage in practices contrary to his faith, Daniel refused – multiple times. Instead, he resolved to stay faithful to God no matter what.
In Daniel 6:10 we read of one of those times. In this case the advisors to the king had convinced him to issue an order declaring that anyone caught praying to a god other than the king himself, would be thrown into the lion’s den. They did this specifically to set a trap for Daniel. They were jealous of him because of the influence he had with the king, and they knew he wouldn’t comply with the king’s edict.  
Long story short, Daniel once again refused to compromise his faithfulness to God, and once again God honored Daniel’s faithfulness by making him strong and delivering him from danger. The point of the lesson though, is that throughout his life Daniel was faced with repeated difficulties and dangerous situations which challenged the practice of his faith and in each case, he resolved to remain faithful to God. As a result, Daniel continued to grow stronger and stronger in character and integrity. He was fearless. And the older he got, the more that was true of him.
It’s simply a fact that God uses our tough times to make us stronger, but we have to cooperate with Him in this. We have to resolve, as Daniel did, to face our trials and difficult situations with rock-solid faith in God and with a firm resolve to use the current difficulty as an opportunity to bring honor and glory to Him through the way that we handle it. When we do that over and over again, God continues to make us stronger and stronger – just as He did for Daniel. But Daniel’s focus was always on God’s strength and on God’s faithfulness. Daniel didn’t rely on himself, he relied on God. He knew that if he was just faithful and if he trusted God, God would enable him to be strong. 
One of the primary causes of anxiety and despair in our lives is weak faith and wrong focus. We face our difficulties by thinking about whether or not we are able to handle it, not whether or not God is able to handle it for us. But our strength comes from God. Our resolve and fortitude are a product of, and is determined by, our faith in God not our faith in ourselves.
I encourage you to train yourself to be strong by training yourself to rely on God.
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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