What happens when you start them young?

Daniel

The story of Daniel reveals the secret of campus ministry. You want to reach out to campuses because of the powerful impact it has not only on the lives of individual students, but also on the worlds they will enter after their formal education is completed. These students have the ability to influence not only the world as we know it today, but also the society of the future and future generations.

David

David’s story began with a study of human learning. Following that, he was given the gift of divine visions. The Babylonian army captured David and other members of the “seed-royal.” Daniel and his friends were educated in Chaldean literature while in Babylon so that they could serve the government.

Why capture the youth?

Let’s take a break right there. What was the first thing they did after seizing these Jerusalem youth? Were the young men tortured? No. They mentioned them in Chaldean literature. The goal was for them to learn about Babylonian culture through education. They hoped that by educating these captives, they would be able to change their loyalties. The Babylonian rulers recognized the significance of this power pillar.

The young men of Jerusalem were taken away by King Nebuchadnezzar to be trained for service under him. These young men were chosen using stringent criteria. They were not to have any physical flaws. They should have a pleasing countenance, be wise in all things, be well-read in knowledge, understand science, be quick and sharp, and be able to give a ready account of their country.

Why did Nebuchadnezzar select such young men? The king decided to train these young captives because they would be pliable and tractable, forgetting their people and assimilating with the Chaldeans. The king knew what he would use them for; they had to be capable of standing in the king’s palace, not only to attend to his royal person but also to preside over his affairs.

The best time to teach

They are supposed to be wise and knowledgeable young men, but they need to be taught more. It is important to note that those who want to do good in the world when they grow up must learn while they are young. That is the learning age; if that time is lost, it will be difficult to recover. It does not appear that Nebuchadnezzar intended for them to learn the forbidden arts of the Chaldeans, such as magic and divination. If he did, Daniel and his companions would not defile themselves with them. If men were skilled, faithful, and fit for his business, it didn’t matter what religion they practiced as long as they had some faith.

They must be educated in the language and laws of the country, as well as in history, philosophy, and mathematics, as well as in the arts of husbandry, war, and navigation, in order to be qualified to serve their generation. We can see the Babylonians’ regard for education. We also see how education can be a genuine public service by providing an excellent education to the youth.

Solid foundations

Daniel and his friends were well-versed in the Lord’s Law. They would not be swayed by Chaldean education. These young men had already established themselves in the world. They even politely refused to eat the king’s meat and were determined to survive on vegetables and water (Daniel 1:8-16).

After a while, the eunuchs’ master noticed that they were healthier than the other captives he looked after. They were also found to be ten times wiser and more knowledgeable than the kingdom’s magicians and enchanters.

God endowed these four young men with knowledge and comprehension of all types of literature and learning. And Daniel could comprehend all kinds of visions and dreams.

 

The chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar at the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service. The king spoke with them and discovered that none were equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, so they joined the king’s service. The king tested them in all areas of wisdom and understanding, and found them to be ten times better than all of his kingdom’s magicians and enchanters. Daniel 1:17–20

The next generation

When you begin reaching out to young people for the Lord as soon as possible, they will be rooted in His Word until they reach adulthood. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it,” King Solomon says (Proverbs 22:6). Daniel and his friends were living examples of this proverb. Despite being brought to a foreign land and exposed to a different culture, they did not deviate from the ways they were taught. They clung to their faith even at the risk of their lives.

We are bombarded with messages that mix the truth with lies, both on campus and in the culture around us. The news comes from information channels such as schools and the media system, which have been powerfully advancing the enemy’s kingdom. What are the Christians doing about it?

The sacred-secular divide has grown wider as secular culture has moved further away from Christianity, almost impenetrable.

The traditional evangelistic approach to communicating the Lord’s message to the world is being challenged. The point we’re trying to make here is that before we can deliver the news, we need a platform for it to be heard and received with open hearts.

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FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS

Recall that our cravings come from emotional desires and needs. All these are natural; it is part of being human. Have you ever met someone who had no emotions? Have you ever encountered a person who has no feelings whatsoever? Likely not. This is because emotions are a part of God’s design for humankind. God specifically created human beings not only to think and act but to feel. Therefore, our capacity to feel must be honored.  

Indeed, the cravings and longings we have are God-given and thus, can only be satisfied by God. However, many of us seek the things of this world to help these God-given cravings and longings. This is when we begin settling for less; we let our emotions get the better of us. In other words, rather than being in control of our feelings, emotions, and cravings, they begin to control us. We let them reign over us rather than allowing wisdom and God’s lordship to direct our lives. This is what is not pleasing to God.  

Honoring our emotions  

There is a big difference between honoring our emotions and prioritizing or worshiping them. Honoring our feelings means listening to them, allowing God to speak through them, and worshiping our feelings points to acting as if nothing else mattered but our need to console and respond to how we feel.  

It is therefore essential to recognize that emotions must be controlled. We must rein to them so that they do not reign and rule over us. How then do we control our emotions and yearnings? We act in wisdom, work in authenticity, and act by God’s will.  

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The field was not the church. Jesus said, “The field is the world.” 

God is Looking for an Insider

God says, “Give me one person in the arena, and I will shake an entire city.” Put one person inside the arena, and I will topple all the odds against that one and bring the victory home. What does God want? One person in the hall is worth more than thousands on the bandstand.  

In politics, we saw how Joseph is one man, but he’s in the arena. He’s worth all the others spectating and watching put together and more. 

In the arena

Esther was a woman in the arena. Who is Nehemiah? One man in the hall. Who is Daniel? One man in where the action is. Who is Moses? He is one man raised as the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter for the first 40 years of his life. Paul is being schooled. Wasn’t he working to grow? That’s why he is in the arena. What arena are you in?  

Some people hate their work. “I’m not game to work. I hate work.” There’s a battle, isn’t there? There’s an arena. You need to slightly ignore the comments that people not in your field make about your area. They don’t know what they’re talking about. You mustn’t feel judged by people commenting. These are the “could have, would have, should have” people.  They will only tell you what you could have, would have, or should have done without being the ones to enter the arena. 

What can we say to these people? You’re not in my field. I have grace for my space. There’s a different set of rules for me in this space. The area was not the church. Jesus said, “The field is the world.” In the world, the best of us grow together with the worst of us. We aren’t usually the ones who decide who the worst or the best of us are. Because sometimes you think you’re cutting down a tare when cutting down wheat. You think you’re cutting down a weed, but sorry, you’re cutting down wheat.  

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Be Where the Action Is

Let us be painfully honest here. We are engaged in a war, and it will not help anyone by sugarcoating everything. Most of the time, our reservations about Christians in secular spaces are based on total, 100% absolute, undiluted hypocrisy. We act as if we are above the fame and the wealth they have, but the moment they visit the church, would we question whatever this person has been doing in his life or the compromises he has made? When they make money, some of you will become their best friend and say, “Oh yeah, I know him.” 

And then some criticize everyone who goes into mainstream entertainment until it is their cousin or their child who pursues this career, and then they are beaming with pride at the success their family or friend has reached. God is funny sometimes, isn’t He? What will He do?  

Usually, God is going to make the son or daughter of the most religious and legalistic believers the most prominent icon on MTV and force them into a position wherein it is either condemn them and don’t take a penny, or you’re going to pray for them and graciously receive the tithe and the offering.  

Paul placed himself where the action is

Paul is at the university. He’s in college. Paul placed himself where the action was. He created a space within the university wherein the students would know the Lord’s Word. He’s surrounded by all of Ephesus’s philosophical, theological, cultural, and sociological diversity, but he’s teaching the concepts of God. People are hearing him. They’re being persuaded. It’s now affecting the culture.  

Specific battles we’ll never win until we are in education, which is why we say to parents, “You should be a school governor. You should apply for it. Get involved in your children’s education.” It goes beyond that. This is true for you, every facet through which information is disseminated through society. As Insiders, our job is to create open doors for the people to know the gospel. This is about sharing information or opening channels through which the data can flow.  

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Music and the “Secular” World

Secular music is an illusionary label that people created to marginalize believers with a positive thing to say about society. Do you have an opinion about anything that is happening in your world? Take this, for example, you have an idea about the world around you, and you write a song about it on contemporary music. What’s wrong with that? We know that it is possible for the people in your local church who will condemn and criticize you for singing “secular” songs.  

It is an ugly picture when members from the church are sitting around the bandstand, passing comments about how you should win the match on the field. How should you have kicked the ball? Who should you have passed the ball to? These are all commentary. 

It’s straightforward to sit on a bandstand and make comments, but it takes a phenomenal amount of courage and character to get on the field and engage the enemy face-to-face. This is why players on the court are the ones who are getting paid to play, and the spectators from the stands are the ones who pay to see the action. Do you get what we mean? 

Financial Gain vs. Influence

 It’s not about the money. It’s about making an impact. God wants us to be on the court. He wants us on the field. He wants us to be part of the action, not just the spectators who pass around measures about other people. 

We respect those who dare to influence culture through the arts. What do we do? Instead of passing comments, be involved in the lives of people you know who are making a difference in this pillar of power. We try to be the “Mordecai in the life of those people who work as Insiders. We encourage them to pursue their career in the mainstream culture because they need our support as they try to overcome the education quadrant of society.  

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Overcoming the Four Quadrants: Education

“Spiritual warfare is genuine. There is a furious, fierce, and ferocious battle raging in the realm of the spirit between the forces of God and the forces of evil. Warfare happens every day, all the time. Whether you believe it or not, you are on a battlefield. You are in warfare.”  

Pedro Okoro  

Power Truth 

In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:16 

Paul goes mainstream 

When Paul was in the synagogues, there was no transformation. The members of the temple were adamant against him. When he moved to the lecture halls, Paul experienced doors opening.  

A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (Acts 19:19-20) 

How many pieces of silver was Jesus sold for? Jesus was sold for only 30 pieces of silver. This was the value of the life of our King. However, this passage shows how 50,000 pieces of silver worth of books on magic, sorcery, and artifacts were used to work magic. We get to see a picture of the culture Ephesus had. This culture was enslaved by superstition, various forms of witchcraft, magic, and sorcery.  

Mainstream Education

When Paul hit the mainstream education system, or by today’s standards – the secular schools, it was there that the people heard the message. Paul brought about a cultural change by targeting the school.   

The culture was engulfed with sorcery and witchcraft. But the people burned 50,000 pieces of the silver worth of magical arts. We see transformation being brought into this account.   

When you affect culture, you start dethroning the enemy that is there. One of the reasons God cares about your career and wants to partner with you for the success of your job is because He is raising an army of ministers who can reach out to the marketplaces. Until you have a plan to affect change and transformation from the inside out, it’s talk. This is why you are Insiders. You can only influence transformation from the inside.  

God may call some to teach in the Bible schools. Some are called to furnish saints. However, God is also calling people to teach in mainstream education.  

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The Account of Nehemiah: God’s Influence in the Palace

Nehemiah’s Position Blesses a Pagan King

Nehemiah was a palace worker. He wasn’t a high-ranking official or anything. However, he was in the palace. He was the Persian King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. Nehemiah favored this pagan king.

Because of God’s favor on Nehemiah, this pagan king granted him permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls. If you study the chronological version of the Bible, you will notice that the book of Esther came before the book of Nehemiah.

When we examine the event in which Nehemiah asked for permission, we notice an essential presence. “Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” the Bible says. ‘It pleased the king to dispatch me, so I set a time’ (Nehemiah 2:6, emphasis added).

Who was this mysterious queen? Esther was this queen. We can see her influence even after she has saved the Jewish nation. She was elevated to a prominent position to protect the Jewish people for the Lord.

Nehemiah’s Influence Carries Out God’s Plans

Nehemiah was at ease in the palace. He had the king’s approval. What more could he want? Why did he have to be concerned about reconstructing Jerusalem’s walls? Why should he be concerned?

Nehemiah cared because he knew he couldn’t afford to stay in his comfort zone. According to the Bible, he wept when he heard about the state of Jerusalem. He was not only emotionally troubled. He did something about his feelings. What was his first action? The Bible said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days, I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4).  

Nehemiah was concerned because he understood his proper role. It was not to be the pagan king’s cupbearer. He was an insider to God. Nehemiah used his clout in the palace to kickstart rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.

What can you do in your workplace?

Are you satisfied with your position in the political system? Perhaps,  you are afraid to ruffle some feathers in the name of the Lord.  Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone?

Nehemiah was the man God chose for this project. He felt called to do this project and was determined to see it through. He bravely requested permission from the king to carry out God’s will. Nehemiah asked that God act on his behalf, which He did.

I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. (Nehemiah 2:7-9, emphasis added) 

We see how God places his people in the palace to influence something significant in the stories of Obadiah, Esther, and Nehemiah. The palace is the seat of power. The palace serves as a focal point for protection and control.

Obadiah’s job was to guard the prophets. Esther’s role was to safeguard the Jewish people. The role of Nehemiah was to protect Jerusalem’s future. What is God asking you to guard?

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Queen Esther and God’s Political Strategy

God’s strategic positioning

In the story of Esther, there was a secret plan going on. If you read the Book of Esther, you won’t find any mention of God. But His name doesn’t have to be mentioned for Him to be there.

Esther works for the government. She moved into the palace when she married the king. At first, she didn’t know what her job was all about. But it was the voice of Mordecai (the Prophet) that made her realize what the job was for.

When God put Esther in the palace, she became the richest, most powerful, and most coveted woman in the world. God has a reason for putting us in the palace. Before you know it, you’ll not only be involved, but you’ll also be a part of the system that controls your involvement.

We can be somewhere one day and somewhere else the next. God can give promotions out of the blue. God plans things. He plans how to position things strategically.

Let’s read about how King Artaxerxes tried to find a wife. This happened to show how God makes a space. Esther looks like the winner. She worked hard to get a job, and she did. She didn’t know that she was applying for a job that could save all Jews when she did. It was part of God’s plan to stop something from happening that hadn’t happened yet.

The Name of God was not even mentioned

If we look at the story of Esther, we’ll see that God doesn’t have to be mentioned for him to be there. He doesn’t need to be told when he’s coming. That’s what Esther’s real message is.

Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn’t use the word “God,” but God is everywhere in it. She was in the Palace because God put her there. In fact, Esther stood up for God.

Esther is a secret agent who lets God into the bedroom of the king. It’s secret and has to do with making a presence in a field that gives you the right to talk. Esther was able to save God’s people because she had a lot of power over the king.

How do you deal with the principalities if you are in the political arena? How much do you matter? What do you think God is doing with you in that system?

Before you go around preaching about Jesus’s salvation and the Kingdom of God, think about how you fit into that system. You might say to Bishop, “It’s a very bad system. “What can I do? I work for the government. Be a government worker who doesn’t do anything wrong. More so, be the kind of government worker who won’t take bribes. Are you the government worker who gets things done? Bring Jesus’ spirit into the government.

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God is a Political Strategy

God was strategic in placing Obadiah in a position of authority

Is it just a huge coincidence that Ahab’s leader was a man of God? Obadiah was in a position of power because God put him there. Obadiah was in a position of power, which gave him the ability to protect and provide for the prophets when Jezebel was looking for them. If we looked at what Obadiah’s name means in English, we would see that it means “servant of Jehovah.”

Even though he was in charge of running the palace, he did not think of his master as his boss. He knew he was doing something for God. Maybe Ahab gave him this job because he knew the man was honest and thought that would make him a good palace official. Still, it was God’s favor that put him in a place of power and authority.

God has a purpose for leaders He appoint

God put Obadiah where he was for a reason. Obadiah was a person who loved God very much. He took the risk and took care of the 100 prophets. He found caves where he could hide them. He gave them a break and some water without them knowing. By doing this, he put his life in danger. Don’t forget that this happened during the famine. There wasn’t enough food to go around. But Obadiah was the one who used the few things that were available to feed 100 prophets. Even now, it’s hard and expensive to feed 100 people. Back then, it was even harder and costlier.

Obadiah’s moment of weakness is shown to us. Even though he had doubts, the Lord still wanted to use him. This must mean something to people of faith who hold political office. Don’t be afraid of God’s hand. He can use you for something better. They might be asked to put their jobs and lives in danger, but God would be there for them until the end.

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The Account of Obadiah: How God Can Move in Politics

God placed a devout believer in the palace. 

Obadiah was present in the royal residence. God had predestined him to hold the position of palace administrator. He is described as having served as a governor or a high official in Ahab’s palace in some accounts. Someone who was devoted to God was put in charge of the palace. What exactly was the point of having this placement? Obadiah was stationed in the palace to stop Queen Jezebel’s destructive behavior and to safeguard the prophets of God.

Obadiah’s role

Obadiah shielded the prophets from Jezebel’s anger while they were living through the time of the drought. He hid one hundred prophets in two caves, fifty in each cave, and provided food and water for them so that Jezebel would not be able to kill them. This prevented Jezebel from carrying out her plan to destroy the prophets.

One day, the king had him brought before him and charged him with the mission of traversing the land and visiting all of the springs and valleys to locate some grass that would prevent their horses and mules from expiring. Ahab went in the opposite direction, and he was tasked with searching a particular portion of the land that belonged to him.

Elijah came across Obadiah while the latter was out looking for grass. As soon as the official realized who he was, he dropped to his knees out of respect for the prophet. Elijah issued a command to him, telling him to inform the king that he had returned. Obadiah was troubled about Elijah’s well-being. He saw it as the way to bring about his demise.

Obadiah was aware that Ahab was scouring the land in search of Elijah. He was well aware that if he told the king that Elijah was present but the king could not locate him, the king would order Obadiah’s execution. Elijah assured Ahab that he would present himself to him on the day in question (1 Kings 18:15).

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How does God fit into Politics? Part 2

The bravest and most muscular men took over the government and overthrew the tyrant. The Bible shows that this is true (1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles).  Luke 11 was talking about this, wasn’t it?

Polybius saw the failure coming, as well as the political cycle that kept going with its mindless revolution. he said: “The constitution will change its name to the one which sounds the most imposing of all, that of freedom and democracy, but its nature to that which is the worst of all, that is the rule of the mob.” 

Duigon (2006) posed this question: “What would Polybius think of our consumerist, materialist society, its intense partisanship, its politics of personal destruction, and it is pluralistic, ‘offend no one,’ all-inclusive civil religion?”  

For Polybius, there was a political cycle. As Christians, it’s easy to see that if the people and their leaders don’t obey God and His laws, nothing will hold them back. There is a political cycle because humans have fallen and are full of sin. Humans aren’t perfect, so they can’t make perfect permanent governments.

The state’s power and glory shall pass away, but God’s Word shall not pass away. 

Most people think that there is no way to clean up or fix the world of politics. They believe it is not religious. Let me repeat this. They can’t find anything in this world that is holy. But unlike Polybius, we have the Bible and God’s promise that He will write the laws on our hearts. We know that we don’t have to get caught up in politics.

God needs you to be an “Insider” in the “palace” because of this cycle of politics that seems never to end. God can also use you to put this system back together. God’s Kingdom is not a part of the government like the Roman civil religion (Duigon, 2006). The power and glory of the state will end, but God’s Word will last forever (Mark 13:31).

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How does God fit into Politics?

The bravest and the strongest men overthrew the tyrant and took over the government. 

Christians have grown used to the idea of a state that doesn’t favor any one religion over another. We think it’s fine to keep God out of politics, as if we can close the doors to politics right in front of Him and keep Him out. What’s going on right now is nothing new. The Romans were the first to try this. This is because this pillar of power has always been watched over by an enemy.

A Greek general and historian named Polybius lived in Rome as a political prisoner from 167 to 150 B.C. During this time, he was able to show us what happens when God is left out of politics (Duigon, 2006). It was during a time when the Roman Republic was at its most powerful and prosperous. Polybius learned about Rome’s past and how it was run. He even said good things about the checks and balances in the republic.

 Fallen and fallible humans cannot create infallible, permanent governments. 

Polybius was a non-Christian who gave an unbiased account of what politics looked like without God and what happened to a country that went that route. The Roman religion, which Polybius said was based on superstition, was put on top of the system. Polybius knew what would happen to her.

Polybius thought that each constitution had its own built-in and unavoidable vice (Duigon, 2006). No system was perfect, whether it was monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, or mob rule. From the point of view of a pagan historian, this is how government works:

Starting from a state of disorder, the strongest man emerges as the leader of the people, who look to him to bring order. If he succeeds, his position becomes a monarchic institution. Time sees the aristocracy become an arbitrary, greedy oligarchy. So the people overthrow the oligarchy and establish a democracy. Over time the democracy degenerates into mob rule, and then disorder; and a strong man is found to put things right, starting the whole cycle all over again. (Duigon, 2006). 

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