I have, at times, explained that there are certain people who inspire me. I love to read their writings or hear them speak. Through their words, they have shown me things of my Father that have drawn me closer to Him. Through their writings, they have presented aspects I desire and an intimacy that I hope to imitate.
I’m thinking of Jessie Penn-Lewis. She was a Welsh Evangelical speaker and author in the early 1900’s. I love her writings. Then there is Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. They are both exciting examples of Faith lived in “real life.” Then there is a more modern author and speaker, Beth Moore. I first read her book, “90 Days With Jesus, the One and Only.” As soon as I opened the book, I was drawn to it and simply absorbed her teachings. After I read just a few pages, I paused and prayed, “Father, she has an intimacy with you that I want to experience.” Since that time I have read other studies from Moore and listened to her lessons online and on TV.
Then again, the same is true for many of Bible characters. Yes, I admit that many of them weren’t all that honorable, but many times you run across someone who exemplified Righteousness. Case in point is Daniel. I was reading the book of Daniel lately and saw a dimension of Faith and devotion I hope to apply in my life. In the first few verses, he said:
“I turned to Adonay Elohim and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I prayed to the Lord my God, and made my confession” (Daniel 9:3–4)
As a result of his submission and passion, Daniel was able to recognize the needs of the times he lived in because he knew God’s heart. “I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years” (Daniel 9:2).
What was it that stimulated this in Daniel? How did he reach this path of brokenness, knowledge, and discernment? Well, it began with his study of God’s Word. Daniel allowed the Scriptures to consume his passions: “As it is written in the law . . .” (Daniel 9:13).
In chapter 10, he even received a vision of Christ,
“I lifted up my eyes . . . and saw a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz . . . and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire . . . and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (10:5–6).
This morning I will be a little more insistent with you. From the bottom of my heart, I urge you, I implore you, to set your heart to seek the Lord with all the passion and determination you can find. Jesus said,
“The kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force as if it was a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion” (Matthew 11:12)
Go to his Word with enthusiasm, love, passion, and desire. Pray with fasting for brokenness so you can receive His burden. Confess and forsake everything that hinders the Holy Spirit from revealing heaven’s blessings to you. The path of “men of another sort” is open to everyone. Pursue it with all your zeal and energy.
A life consumed with passion is the kind of life that brings our Father’s heart in our lives. Daniel testified,
“I heard his voice. At the sound of it, I fainted, fell flat on the ground, face in the dirt. A hand touched me and pulled me to my hands and knees” (Daniel 10:9-10)
Interestingly, the word for “touched” here means “to violently seize upon.” Daniel was saying, “God grabbed me, and put me on my face. His touch gave me an urgency to seek him with all that’s in me!” Ooh, I love the thought of that!
This will happen anytime God touches someone’s life. They fall to their knees and become a person of prayer who is driven to seek the Lord. Someone said of Leonard Ravenhill that when he walked into a room, it was like a Holy presence came into the room. “At eighty-two, Leonard still spoke with fire and conviction, and it felt like his eyes were piercing right through to my soul.” (If you want to read an amazing description of a “man of God,” read about Leonard Ravenhill).
I have sometimes wondered why God touches some people with this urgency, but not others. Why do some become hungry seekers, while others (still faithful and sincere followers of Christ) become “Ho-hum” in their attitudes toward their faith? That is because “God-touched” servants have an intimate relationship with the Lord. They receive revelations from heaven. And they enjoy a walk with Christ that few others do. Once they have touched eternity, they never turn back!
In “Why Revival Tarries,” Leonard Ravenhill explained that “No man is greater than his prayer life.” Why did God lay his hand on Daniel as he did? Why did he see and hear things no one else could? Remember, he declared, “Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide” (Daniel 10:7). But why?
Yahweh needed a voice to speak His message. He sought a praying servant, someone who would faithfully respond whenever He called. During that time, Daniel was the man. He had been praying devoutly three times a day. And now, as he walked along the river, Christ revealed himself to him:
“I, Daniel, was the only one to see this. The men who were with me, although they didn’t see it, were overcome with fear and ran off and hid, fearing the worst. Left alone after the appearance, abandoned by my friends, I went weak in my knees; the blood drained from my face. I heard his voice. At its sound, I fainted, fell flat on the ground, face in the dirt. A hand touched me and pulled me to my hands and knees” (10:7-10)
Daniel Yahweh’s spokesman because Daniel never paused in time of prayer (see Daniel 10:2–3). He grieved over the spiritual decline in his society and the church (see Daniel chapter 9). He refused to harbor or hide any sin in his heart (Daniel 9:4–5).
Oh, Father, I am undone and ruined because I am a man of unclean lips; I dwell in the midst of people with unclean lips. I long to see you, my Lord. Start a fire in me, and let the flames run free. Burn away the dross in my heart with the Holy Fire of God.
Let it begin, let it be new, let me be used for Your sake, bringing glory to Your Name. Father, I can live knowing that You reside in my heart. Oh Lord, You are the fire. You are the fire of God.
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