Sunday, March 13, 2011
Purposed In Your Heart
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:
therefore he requested of
the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.
Daniel 1:8 KJV
And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. Exodus 31:3
The exciting thing about committing to meditate on a section of scripture is that every time you set your mind to read the text God will reveal something new to you, and often when the Holy Spirit is guiding you, He will connect the principles you learn to other scriptures to confirm that you are on the right path. That is the case with the verse above.
This past week I learned that Saddleback Church has begun a new program that is titled the Daniel Plan. Considering that I have been studying and meditating on the book of Daniel and seeking insight, I decided to check out the program. After reviewing the first lessons of the material, I realized that the Daniel Plan was a diet plan being taught by three world famous doctors. My initial concern was that the church might be using non-Christians to lead their followers over a 52 week period, potentially in a wrong direction spiritually; or that these men would be given a position of leadership sanctioned by the church that might eventually lead these believers to the teachings of false religions. After reviewing the material, my personal conclusion is that the program and the teaching are excellent, and are not teaching spiritual principles. My concerns, at least for the moment were reduced substantially.
But that led me to my next question and my next problem. Wouldn’t it have shown much more wisdom to use men who were Christians to lead this 52 week church program; rather than men who are renowned in their field, but who would easily admit they have spiritual beliefs that are clearly not Biblical? Surely, there are many renowned Christian diet, heart, and brain doctors that would have gladly directed this plan and who also meet the Biblical qualifications needed to teach spiritual principles as well. My problem is with the title: The Daniel Plan. My conclusion is that this play on words is misleading people into thinking that this plan is teaching Biblical principles from Daniel. It is actually an excellent health and diet plan; but it has little to do with the teachings in the book of Daniel. The pastor says that he will provide the spiritual leadership, but clearly the three doctors are leading the program and have established the agenda. So you might say; “wait a minute Bob; aren’t you making a big deal out of nothing here?” I don’t think so. The church’s mission is to lead people to Christ, and to train up disciples. When you create a program and then find a scripture that kind of fits the program; and then use that verse as a marketing prop to draw people into the program, that is manipulative and misses the entire purpose of church: leading people to Christ, and looking into God’s Word to see how He wants us to turn to Him as we grow in His Word. To teach the material without scriptural insight actually reinforces the idea that we can reach victory without God’s guidance ... on our own strength. But these three great doctor teachers are the solution to our problem, not the Word of God, you say? Fine, then call it: the Three Doctors Diet Plan ... not the Daniel Plan. After all, this is a church. At what point do we give God the glory for our victory? And how are we to stand with Christ as we turn the power of God up against our challenges? That is what I want to know.
This is the challenge pastor Warren faced when he changed the first principle of his Peace Plan from "Plant Churches" to "Promote Reconciliation." Pastor Rick is leading churches worldwide in solving global issues. This diet plan is proposed as a first step to thinking globally, and in the first meeting the attendees were told the group are a model of the plan to be expanded to many other churches. The Pastor is part of a big plan promoting the idea of many different religions and philosophies coming together in ministry, sharing wisdom, and accomplishing the goal of globalization. A noble cause for many good citizens of the world; but is this the mission of the Christian church? And is globalization in the best interests of Christian Americans? I don't think most Americans would say yes to these plans for globalization. The problem from God's viewpoint would be that the wisdom of men is not God’s wisdom ... it is actually foolishness to God. Men's teachings may have immediate value, but at best they are temporary. “For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 Planting churches was a fulfillment of the great commission. Promoting reconciliation can be interpreted as another way of saying the same thing. But it’s not really the same, is it? Planting Biblically based churches is an offense to unbelievers, Islam, and other non-Christian religions. Reconciliation could mean planting churches but it is also meant to mean for us to have an inclusive spirit to other beliefs and religions. New Age translation: "can't we all just get along?" What is the problem with that? Nothing, if you are a government, or a business as explained in Rick's three legged stool illustration ... but we are not. My experience is that atheistic men have a habit of rejecting God's Word ... what will the Peace Plan do when unbelievers or Muslims strongly reject Biblical Christianity's definition of reconciliation? If you believe in one, and only one God, as the Bible teaches; it is like mixing oil and water; fire and water; or the truth and lies. It will not work. This is not wisdom … this is foolishness. When one stands up for the truth in this environment, how will those who promote evil doctrines reply to the love of Christ?
God's word says: don't compromise with evil. Can you hear the explosions?
“And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many. “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Mark 13:5-13
“The scribe said to Jesus, "Teacher, that was well said! You've told the truth that there is only one God and no other besides Him!” Mark 12:32
Can you see how easy it is to confuse and commingle the supposed wisdom of men with the wisdom of God, and then just look at it all as if it is wisdom? Temporary and eternal wisdom are not the same, and as we try to measure wisdom, the two are not even compatible or comparable.
Now let’s consider my original point: “that every time you set your mind to read the text God will reveal something new to you” God spoke to me through the words: “But Daniel purposed in his heart.” How would you like to be "filled with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship?" What are the steps we must take to attain the wisdom from above?
1. First, trust Christ as your eternal Savior. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:5-6
2. Next no longer be conformed to the world. God will reveal to you the ways in which you are conformed to the world, and the changes He wants you to make. Prayer and meditation on His Word will reveal all things to you. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
3. Then be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:1-2. After you have identified and removed your old worldly ways, you need to be transformed. You need to renew your mind with the truth. This renewal is similar to reprogramming a computer. The Holy Spirit will now guide you as you seek out the truth in the Word of God.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” Why are these words important? They help make it clear that Daniel was living out all three of the above points. He was unwavering in his commitment to God. He had “made up his mind” (NAS) or purposed in his heart to not be conformed to the world. He was continually being transformed by the renewing of his mind with God’s Word, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I cannot imagine why Pastor Warren would not teach “Daniel’s purposed heart” as an introduction to his churches Daniel Plan; especially considering his continued focus on the word: purpose. Maybe he needs to read the King James translation more often. It’s not always as hard to understand as some think. In any event, whenever we set goals, resolutions, or go on a diet we make up our mind to do something. Pastor Warren jokingly says he will replace donuts with carrots. Do I ever wish it was that simple? As a matter of fact, on our own strength, or the words of men; ... it’s next to impossible. The Words in Daniel give a Biblical basis for a diet plan; or any of the spiritual disciplines as well. When we have a principle that endures forever, ("Purposed in Your Heart") we know that we can stand on it; and be assured of victory; and that God has given us the victory … not men.
In fact, pretty much everything the Saddleback Church Daniel Plan is advising is outlined in “The Diabetes Reversal Plan” that I have already been following successfully. But let’s not miss the key teaching point here. There is a power in our ability to stand on this guidance given by Daniel’s example that is totally missing in the plans of men. That is the power of God, and God’s Word; ... as compared to your willpower, combined with the words of these teachers. There is a reason Daniel and his friends had ten times the wisdom and power of all of the other wise men who completed the training. They had God guiding them, and working with them, and for them. (Ten times more wisdom, and power) is most surely an understatement. I have tried winning with men's ideas "my way" and the "my way" plan fails most of the time ... and any successes are at best temporary.
Have you “Purposed In Your Heart” ... today?
God Bless you my friends, Bob