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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life-sized butter scupture of Benjamin Franklin reading the words on the Liberty Bell
Life-sized butter sculpture of Benjamin Franklin
reading the words on the Liberty Bell
(Taken at the Pennsylvania Farm Show)

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"God's Strength"

"How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe" (Daniel 10:17).

I kind of identify with Daniel this morning, but for a very different reason.  For the last several days I've had a head cold marked by severe nasal congestion.  The normal unobstructed breathing through my nose I take for granted now has my full attention. I am periodically using nasal spray and I have also found that nasal strips are helpful in opening up my nose, though none of them replace the wonderful function of natural, unobstructed breathing through the nasal cavity – God's original design!

In the rather obscure daily text Daniel is describing a situation based on his vision of a heavenly messenger rather than mere nasal congestion.  However I am intrigued by the phrase, "My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe." Specifically Daniel is describing his physical and emotional response during a visit from an angelic being.  When this vision came to Daniel he had been in mourning for three weeks.  All that time he had eaten no rich food or meat.  God finally responded to his prayers by sending a heavenly messenger to address the "delay" on God's part.  Delays are tough to deal with aren't they?

Daniel was weak and unable to communicate with God. I've experienced this as well, although I'm not certain in the same way that Daniel did.  I recall times in my life when the burdens were so intense and just seemed too great to bear. This has been due to a number of reasons; some brought on by myself (such as failure to practice the spiritual disciplines), others by outside forces beyond my control.

But I find great comfort in the next couple of verses. Daniel is having a heavenly vision and records, "Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning.  He said 'Don't be afraid, for you are deeply loved by God.  Be at peace; take heart and be strong!'" (10:18, 19 NLT).

The immutable God of the universe still touches the weak today.  His character has not changed.  Do you need His supernatural strength today?  Continue to call on His All-powerful Name.  There may be a delay on God's part but be assured He hears your humble, heartfelt prayer.

The angel reassured Daniel, "Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven.  I have come in answer to your prayer" (10:12b).  God will most certainly answer your prayer, in His timing and according to His sovereign will.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Your garment she was made whole.  When Daniel came in contact with the heavenly being he was greatly strengthened.  As we experience Your touch we too are strengthened as we receive godly knowledge and spiritual understanding. Help us in tarrying as we await Your answers to our prayers. Amen.

Bible Note:  To find out why the delay to Daniel's prayer see Daniel 10:13 & 14. This portion of Scripture leads to much pondering and study.

Several years ago I pondered in a humorous way the idea of using the nasal strips in a church setting.   Nasal Strips

Today as we consider a song to reinforce today's message Brooksyne suggests a song we enjoy written by Steven Curtis Chapman called "His Strength Is Perfect" (audio file).  This online version is sung by Becky Blocksom

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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