H - "As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." - Daniel 1:17
E - Nebuchadnezzar deported the king of Judah and many top men of Judah to Babylon. Among these men were four Jewish youths--Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These four were trained at for three years at the university of Babylon for service to Nebuchadnezzar. They could have lost their identity, shed their belief in Yahweh, and accepted the gods and ways of the Babylonians. But instead they resolved to be true to the God of Israel. As a reward, God blessed them by giving them extraordinary learning, skill, wisdom, and understanding. They became Nebuchadnezzar's best advisors.
A - Father, am I maintaining my resolve to live a holy and set apart life as Daniel and his companions did? I confess I do want to be a man of learning, skill, wisdom, and understanding, like Daniel. But I know there is a cost. What do I need to do to be a man like Daniel?
R - "Good question, Jeff. I want many of my men to be Daniels. I have unlimited wisdom to give to men who are resolved to worship me in the midst of present day society. The conditions are just what you see in Daniel 1. You are already of my royal family, my nobility (Daniel 1:3). Resolve that you will not defile yourself with "the king's food" (Daniel 1:8). Today, the king's food includes unhealthy food and the whole gamut of entertainment and social media, including YouTube, Netflix, video games, pornography, Spotify, Facebook, and massive amounts of sports. Just as Daniel cut himself off from the king's food, so you (and other men) must cut yourselves off from these things. If you do so, your appearance will improve (Daniel 1:15), and I will give you learning, skill in literature, wisdom, and understanding about the future. This promise is for all believers who resolve to live a disciplined life of loyalty to me."
P - Father, I hear you. Help me to be disciplined and wise regarding my diet and physical health as well as my media intake. Help me to put away online distractions and stay focused on reading and prayer. Help me to use my time wisely and to be hard working in the things that really count for eternity. I want to go to the market today and get lots of veggies so I can be like Daniel. Help me to break off drinking coffee and stick with water. This will be difficult, but by your Spirit it is possible. Long ago I was able to quit smoking by your power, and it was so good for me. I pray you will also help me to be much more disciplined regarding exercise and triathlon training. I have failed in that area. Help me to live a balanced life of fruitfulness, based on loyalty to you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
- Jeff Coleman