Tag : daniel

Devotional: Daniel & King Darius

By: Emily Lehner

On Wednesdays, I volunteer at my junior high youth group. This week, we were discussing Daniel 6, or better known as Daniel in the Lion’s’ Den. I have truly realized how applicable the book of Daniel is to our country’s current situation. I want to shed some light and peace for the scenario at hand. In the midst of the recent political process, I am sure we can all benefit from this.

We see immediately that Daniel was favored by King Darius. The king placed Daniel as one of the three high officials (v. 2).

Verse 3 states, “Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.”

Daniel was a follower of Christ, placed under rule of a king who denied even the existence of Christ. Sound familiar? I think we can learn something from the way Daniel responds to King Darius.

Romans 13 says, “Let every person be subject to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Daniel understands the meaning of this verse. He realizes that, although he disagrees with King Darius, he is called to obey him until it relates to his faith. When King Darius signs a law that forbids worship to any god or man besides himself (v. 7-9), Daniel realizes that law is something he cannot follow.

So, Daniel went to his house, got down on his knees, prayed and gave thanks before God (v.10). When Daniel is found disobeying the new law, King Darius is distressed to hear about it. The king does everything in his power to overrule Daniel’s designated punishment, but there is nothing he can do (v. 14-15). The king found favor in Daniel. He was his highest official, soon to be appointed over the whole kingdom.

Later on, as Daniel survives the night in the lion’s den, we read of King Darius coming to know Christ. Verses 25 and 26 says, “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: ‘Peace be multiplied to you. I make a degree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.’”

I believe we can take two key things away from Daniel’s example.

  1. Because Daniel respects, loves and serves King Darius, the king finds favor in him. This eventually leads to King Darius believing and following God. How great is that? Daniel’s actions and faithfulness to God act as examples for King Darius, and eventually, the king declares to everyone that it is worth it to follow God!
  2. We can’t change the hearts of people or our nation by ourselves. We see Daniel immediately goes into prayer. He seeks God and praises Him regardless of whether he believes the situation at hand is good. Without the miracle of surviving the lion’s den, King Darius wouldn’t have believed in God and His sovereignty.

Therefore, whether you agree with the election results or not, God is in control. He isn’t surprised by the winner, and He provides examples in Scripture that allow us to know how to respond as Christians. It is my prayer that many will come to know Christ over the course of the next four years. I pray that Donald Trump comes to know Christ. I trust that God is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine for ourselves and for our country.

 

Written by Emily Lehner, a writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.

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Following God’s Call: The Stoltzfus Family

God has worked through Daniel and his wife Angela (’95) in a special way. They have spent the last 20 years working for non-profit and ministry organizations. They both served oversees at Youth of the Mission before they came to IWU, where they met and started their journey together. “Ever since then, we’ve had a heart to serve the poor and the marginalized,” Daniel said.

Over the years, the Stoltzfus’ have served in organizations including The New York City Relief, The Bowery Mission and Arizona Youth Partnership. Daniel is now the Chief Executive Officer at Interfaith Community Services (ICS).

“Everything Angela and I have done has been motivated by Isaiah 58. It is our life passage that we try to live out as it talks about loosening the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free, helping the poor, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked,” Daniel said.

View More: http://amberlearussellphotography.pass.us/stoltzfusWhat they love about this passage is that the Lord later goes into a series of promises: your healing will quickly appear, the glory of the Lord will go before you and His righteousness will be your real guard. “I like to tell people that is like God saying He’s got our back,” he said.

Their current mission organization, ICS, offers emergency financial assistance to those coming off the street. They also help seniors who are lonely and isolated, and provide mental health education.

Over the years, Daniel has seen a lot of heartache and suffering. He explained that there was one moment – before going to college or starting a life in missions – that directed his path.

When Daniel was working with New York City Relief, he was in the midst of a lot of crime and drug activity. He had grown up in a small town as a pastor’s kid, so working with the Relief Bus was overwhelming to him. They had turned the bus into a soup kitchen, and Daniel was serving as best he could. “I walked into the men’s restroom in the public park and there was a woman laying on the floor with a heroine needle sticking out of her arm. I don’t know what it was in that moment, but I just felt incredible compassion that I can only believe came from the Lord. It was basically a challenge to say, ‘This is what I want your life to be about – to be about serving my kids that are in this situation,’” Daniel said.

All of the work he has done since that moment has been grounded on that experience. He understands that life is not about him, it’s about God. Because of this, the Stoltzfus family has moved around a lot, following where they believe the Lord is directing them.

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Stoltzfus daughters working at Bowery Mission. Rebekah on left.

Rebekah Stoltzfus, Daniel and Angela’s daughter, is a freshman at IWU this year. She expressed that her parent’s mission has shaped who she is as a daughter of Christ. She’s grateful that they showed her how to follow God no matter what. “I was very uncomfortable a lot. We moved around a ton and it was hard at the time, but thinking back on it, it shaped me… God doesn’t want us to be comfortable. He wants us to be uncomfortable so that we work for His glory not for our own comfort.”

The Stoltzfus family has seen a lot of hurt, but God has rewarded them for their faithfulness. He has shown them transformation and healing. Recently, at ICS, a grandmother and her grandchildren showed up at their front door. These people had come from the street – hungry and tired. Daniel was able to get them into a family shelter and provide comfort. He saw this grandmother again just a few weeks ago.

“She was just beaming with hope and joy,” he said. “To me, that’s why we are here and why we do this work. It’s that opportunity to give joy… To help people find that kind of hope. We do it motivated out of our love for Jesus and our belief that this is a big part of the work He has called us to do. That’s what it’s all about.”

 

Written by Kelly Reed. Kelly is a senior Strategic Communications major with a focus in Public Relations. She is the President of IWU PRSSA and hopes to work as a communications director of a nonprofit organization after graduation. She loves to tell people’s stories through written word, artwork, speech and strategy. Visit Kelly’s personal website and blog at www.kellyreed.weebly.com.

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