Thursday, May 28, 2009

Purpose In Your Heart.

I saw the film Taken the other night with Jami and Nicole. We were on the edge of our seats and at some precarious points in the movie, all three of us may or may not have been holding hands because of the suspense, which happens to break the rules our guy friends made for us in college. (More on that list in another post...)

Disclaimer: This movie isn't for everyone. There is A LOT of violence and some language, as well as a very strong storyline regarding human trafficking. So please don't think this is an endorsement at all.

The main character, Bryan, who is an ex CIA agent/spy/Chuck Norris meetsJasonBourne kinda guy. He learns that his daughter, who traveled overseas for the summer has been kidnapped, and he goes to Paris to get her back.

Unfortunate events that Bryan could not control were raging all around him. But he made a decision that he was going to get his daughter back, no matter the cost. Come Hills of Snow or High Water, the man has purposed in his heart to find her.

Reminds me of another guy. You may have heard of him. His name was Daniel, and there's a little book tucked away in the Old Testament about him and a couple of other famous guys. You see, Daniel also found himself in a situation he could not control.

The Israelite people, God's chosen people in the OT, had been warned and warned and warned and threatened and scolded and warned some more about their disobedient ways. God has spoken to them through the prophets, telling them to turn from idolatry and to pursue justice for the widows, orphans, and the oppressed. If they didn't, they were told repeatedly that things would get hairy for them.

My dad had this saying when Biggser and I were growing up:

"That's whatcha get when ya get get get."

It generally was spoken in close proximity to a spanking, and I knew when that phrase came out it was time to put on extra underoos.

God must have felt that same way as my dad: broken-hearted at having to give corporal punishment, but knowing that was the only way to teach at that juncture. God kept telling the Hebrew people to obey and turn from idols, but they refused. After all, they had the best of both worlds--God's chosen ones, doing whatever they wanted, and then turning back to God with their insincere "repentance" right before the final straw. So God took away His hand of protection, and before they could say Hannah Montana they were in a heap of trouble.

At that time there was a divided Kingdom, so the Northern Kingdom was Israel and the Southern Kingdom was called Judah.

The Big Bad Assyrians conquered Israel, and many of them were placed into exile in a foreign country. Judah had a reprieve but the people did not learn from it as the prophets cried out for repentance and nothing changed. They still bowed to idols, they still disrespected the less fortunate and their blatant disobedience was clear.

When we pick up the story of Daniel in chapter 1, we are told that the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzer, has taken over the Hebrew holy city of Jerusalem, which is the capital of Judah.

Not only that, but ole Neb has laid claim to the things in the Temple WHERE GOD'S GLORY DWELLS. Not a smart move, kid.

King Nebuchadnezzar, or Nebbie, as I like to call him, also calls up his homeboy and asks for a few Hebrew men with clean teeth and snazzy muscles and quick learning skills so that he can prepare them for leadership in the Babylonian empire.
(Just a side note: they totally would have picked Seth. Wise and handsome, that one :D)

Daniel is obviously something special, as are the men who come to be known as Rack, Shack, and Benny ('member that hot little boiler room?). They are all chosen to be groomed for King Nebulizer's court.

Wrap your mind around this. The men are about to go to a pagan country where it will be almost impossible to be faithful to the I AM, and they are having to leave behind family, friends, and everything they know in order to serve a foreign king who has ransacked all they hold dear. Judging by the character of these four men, I do not think that they would have been people to bring about the wrath of God by their disobedience, so they are influenced heavily by circumstances out of their control as well as the sins of others.


this verse:
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

a couple of other translations say it this way:

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank....

That. Blows. My. Mind.

Think about it.

Danny Boy has a lot of reasons to be bitter and ignore God's commands. He is being sent to a foreign land against his own will.


He purposes in his heart to OBEY GOD. The food laws in the OT would have been hard to live by in any society except that of the Hebrews. So he makes a choice to forgo any food that could potentially break the laws. Because of Daniel's obedience, the other three jump on board as well and provide accountability for one another.

What an amazing concept.

There are things in my life about which I need to get serious. Places in my life that I have held as idols. I have been disobedient, and so have you. (sorry to burst your bubble, sister.)
I came clean about one of those areas last week right here on the blog.

What do you need to purpose in your heart to change? What in your life deserves a cry of "Enough is Enough! I will kick this sin habit and honor my God!"
What must you choose to do and/or to avoid?

no longer giving way to insecurities about yourself?
ending that adulterous relationship?
giving that idol the boot?
reading God's Word more?
avoiding destructive people and places?
ending that addiction's hold over your life?
learning to appropriately deal with that anger issue you've got?
forgiving someone who doesn't deserve it?
loving that co-worker that drives you mad?
patience with your children?

What do you need to purpose in your heart in order to obey God?
Remember that we show we love him by our obedience... Don't act like we have to do it alone. He promises to HELP US!

Purpose in your heart. Right now.
and cling to this promise:

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. deuteronomy 30:11


Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

Well put, Lauren, thank you. I'll have to pray this one through. No bubble bursting here, I know i'm not perfect but, perhaps because I'm still grieving/healing God hasn't place anything on my heart that I need to intentionally purpose towards. Oh, there are areas (lots on your existing list!) that NEEd improvement..

So.. I"ll be praying. Thank you.

Tracie said...

What a great post. I came over here from Bring the Rain and I'm so glad that I did. I've read several of your post and the one on God and the check out line was great, also. I am right there with you. A realization that I finally came to this weekend. How awesome that God would lead me to read your blog today. A great encouragement.

Jennifer Perkins said...

loved this...