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“Well, shut my mouth!”

If you aren’t familiar with this Southern expression, it means the person is shocked or surprised.

I have no idea where this expression originated, but it recently came to mind after reading the Biblical story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

The Book of Daniel, Chapter 6 has always been one of my favorite Bible stories- it is a nail-biting success story filled with jealousy, envy, deception, commitment, courage, faith, redemption and consequences. If you have time- check it out for yourself- Daniel 6: 1-28

I can just hear King Darius exclaiming- “Well, shut my mouth!” when he finds Daniel completely unharmed after spending the night locked in a lion’s den filled with starving lions.

Starving lions with a tasty meal easily within their grasp- yet, not a scratch to be found on Daniel?

How is THAT even possible?

“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” ~Daniel 6:19-23

The answer- TRUST.

But, it’s more than just trust… it is intentionality.

When you look at the totality of Daniel's life, you will see that Daniel was also a man of intentionality. He “purposed in his heart” at a young age that he would honor God and believed that in doing so, God would honor him!

Do you realize that Daniel was at one time a prisoner, a Jewish teenager ripped from his family and home? He was taken captive by the Babylonians and subjected to a "reprogramming" plan by King Nebuchadnezzar to assimilate all the Jewish captives into devoted Babylonian citizens- complete with an all-new lifestyle and religion.

Despite his environment, this young Jewish captive was promoted to the highest-ranking non-royal position in the most influential society of that day and held this power position for over 70 years!

Amazing when you appreciate that Daniel was honored and elevated in a culture that was utterly counter-cultural to his Jewish faith!

“When your intentions are pure, so too will be your success.”

Charles F. Glassman MD

Daniel is the epitome of this quote. Time and time again, Daniel's resolve to always honor God led him to favor, blessings, and success.

The key to his success was intentionality - he resolved in his heart IN ADVANCE what he would NOT DO BEFORE the event or challenge ever happened.

He was practiced and prepared.

The events in Daniel’s life that led him to the mouth of the lion’s den made him ready. His resolve, his determination, his courage, his faith- all predetermined and practiced in advance with unwavering commitment.

How can we do the same in our own lives?

Have we resolved in advance the things we will NOT do because they dishonor God, or are we just waiting to "wing-it" when the occasion arises?

For myself, countless years ago, I resolved in my heart to always be faithful to my husband. My goal was to honor God by protecting my marriage at all costs. I knew already just how easy it was to be attracted to another, to break a vow and to go astray. So, I was intentional in my decision never to create an environment of temptation or misunderstanding. That meant I would NOT spend time alone with someone of the opposite sex- whether friends, co-workers, or even bosses. No lunches, dinners or out- of- town trips unchaperoned. No riding alone together in a car. Some may say, that’s excessive and I admit there were times it caused some disfavor in the workplace. However, I believe it's kept me from finding myself in an unsavory situation or challenged my commitment to my husband. I've never been tempted, and I’ve never had anyone question my love and devotion to my husband. No misunderstandings, no allegations, no questions, and no missteps.

My intentionality has allowed me to honor my vows to my husband, which honors God.

My success- an almost 30-year marriage that is going strong with no unnecessary baggage, bumps, or blunders!

For me- that is priceless!

May we all be more like Daniel and resolve in our hearts in advance -

to walk by faith & believe that when we honor God-

God will honor us.

Father, thank you for your faithfulness. When we focus on the eternal and purpose in our hearts to honor you – you are faithful to honor us. All good things come from your hands, and you always reward your children with blessings.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. ~2 Corinthians 5:7

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