Sermons

Summary: You can find rest if you rest in God. You can find peace if you depend on the Lord. You can get rid of all your worries if you commit your life to the Lord and pray every day.

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This last week, I came across a five minute clip from an episode of The Bob Newhart Show on YouTube. That was back in the days when sit-coms were funny AND clean, unlike so many of them today. Bob, as you may know, was a psychologist on the show, and in this scene a woman comes into his office for her first visit. Take a look (show Bob Newhart – Stop It video). Bob begins by explaining how he bills – five dollars for the first five minutes, and then nothing after that. The woman is thrilled. Bob assures her the session won't go over five minutes.

He asks her to start. She explains that she fears being buried alive in a box. He asks her to say more. The fear, she tells him, extends to other things – being in tunnels, elevators, houses, cars, “anything boxy.”

“So basically you're saying you're claustrophobic?”

“Yes, that's what I'm saying.”

This exchange takes about two minutes. Bob takes another ten seconds or so to empathize with her – how awful it must be to live with this fear.

“It's horrible,” the woman says.

“All right,” Bob says, “I'm going to give you two words that I think will clear up everything. Just take these two words and integrate them into your daily life, and you should be fine.”

The woman is excited. She asks if she should write them down.

“Oh, you can if you like,” Bob says. “But most people have no trouble remembering them.”

“Okay,” she says, leaning forward.

“You ready?” he asks.

“Yes,” she says.

“Okay, here are the two words.” Bob leans across his desk to put his face close to hers. “STOP IT!” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw)

Those two words are simple enough, but how do you stop it? How do you stop worrying? How do you stop being afraid? How do you stop the panic when you feel like your world is falling apart?

Well, let me tell you about Daniel, whose world did fall apart. For nearly 70 years he had survived and thrived as a Jewish exile in Babylon. He had become one of its top leaders. But all that ended abruptly when the Medo-Persian armies invaded Babylon, and a new king was in charge. As it turned out, the new king liked Daniel, but others were jealous of his promotion and tried to discredit him before his new employer. Daniel’s job was in jeopardy, but it didn’t seem to bother Daniel one bit. In other words, he was able to “stop it.” He was able to stop the worry, and he found peace in the midst of the turmoil.

Do you want to find peace in the midst of your turmoil? Then I invite you to turn with me to Daniel 6, Daniel 6, where we learn Daniel’s secret to peace even in the lion’s den.

Daniel 6:1-2 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. (NIV)

Daniel is under a new boss. His old boss is gone, replaced with Darius in a hostile take-over bid by a bigger company. The Medo-Persians have taken over the Babylonians, and they are reorganizing the company. There are 120 supervisors (here called satraps) who answer to 3 top executives (or administrators), and Daniel is one of those executives.

Daniel 6:3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. (NIV)

In other words, the king wanted to make Daniel the Chief Executive Officer (the C.E.O.) over the whole company. Daniel “distinguished himself” – literally, he possessed a surpassing spirit, a spirit that excelled. In other words, Daniel went above and beyond what was expected of him every time.

How do you do your work? Do you go above and beyond what is expected? Or do you do the bare minimum, just enough so you don’t lose your job? Daniel always did more than what was expected, and it won him the respect of kings! But it also made his fellow-workers jealous.

Daniel 6:4-5 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” (NIV)

Daniel was a man of integrity. Even under close scrutiny, no one could find any cause for blame. He was above reproach in every way, and that made him a leader. Daniel’s integrity was the secret to his success. He had committed his life to God. Daniel was determined to obey God no matter what, and God took care of him “through thick and thin.” It’s the only way any of us find any real peace. And if that’s what you want, then like Daniel…

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