Read Daniel (NLT)

Daniel's early life demonstrates that there is more to being young than making mistakes. No characteristic wins the hearts of adults more quickly than wisdom in the words and actions of a young person. Daniel and his friends had been taken from their homes in Judah and exiled. Their futures were in doubt, but they all had personal traits that qualified them for jobs as servants in the king's place. They took advantage of the opportunity without letting the opportunity take advantage of them.

Our first hint of Daniel's greatness comes in his quiet refusal to give up his convictions. he had applied God's will to his own life, and he resisted changing the good habits he had formed. Both his physical and spiritual diets were an important part of his relationship with God. He ate carefully and lived prayerfully. One of the benefits of being in training for royal service was eating food from the king's table. Daniel tactfully chose a simpler menu and proved it was a healthy choice. As with Daniel, mealtimes are obvious and regular tests of our efforts to control our appetites.

While Daniel limited his food intake, he indulged in prayer. He was able to communicate with God because he made it a habit. He put into practice his convictions, even when that meant being thrown into a den of hungry lions. His life proved he made the right choice.

Do you hold so strongly to your faith in God that whatever happens you will do what God says? Such conviction keeps you a step ahead of temptation, such conviction gives you wisdom and stability in changing circumstances. Prayerfully live out your convictions in everyday life and trust God for the results.

Daniel's strengths and accomplishments: 1) Although young when deported, remained true to his faith 2) Served as an adviser to two Babylonian kings and two Medo-Persian kings 3) Was a man of prayer and a statesman with the gift of prophecy 4) Survived the lion's den

Lessons from his life: 1) Quiet convictions often earn long-term respect 2) Don't wait until you are in a tough situation to learn about prayer 3) God can use people wherever they are.

Vital statistics: Where: Judah and the courts of both Babylon and Persia Occupation: A captive from Israel who became an adviser of kings Contemporaries: Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, Nebuchadnezzar, Beishazzar, Darius, Cyrus

Key verse: "This man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has a sharp mind and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means" (Daniel 5:12) (NLT).

Lord, teach us to pray and to listen for your voice, to remain faithful and true in all circumstances, in Jesus' name, amen.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.

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