Share This

Share on facebook
Share on email

Practicaly Holy Blog

Helping people help others in the name of Jesus Christ

Stay True

By, Isam Itson III

If you have ever felt trapped in your job or responsibilities keep reading.

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24

The person in the scriptures that speaks to me most in this regard is the prophet Daniel. Daniel lived and died in exile having served in the royal court of his oppressors his entire adult life. Yet, because of Daniel’s commitment to God, and his excellent service, his wicked masters glorified God and we are blessed with the fruit of his struggle with God, the book of the bible that bears his name. 

Daniel was not always a slave. He is described in Daniel 1, verses 3 and 4 (Daniel 1:3,4) as a young, handsome, educated, intelligent, and wise member of an aristocratic family in Judah. He was privileged, responsible, gifted, and destined for a successful and influential career in the service of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. 

Unfortunately when he was somewhere between 15 and 20 years old his homeland was invaded and Daniel was taken captive to be trained as a counsellor and administrator to the pagan king of Babylon around 605bc. According to the text, Daniel spent 70 years in government service, first to the Babylonians and then to the Medo-Persians, and died in the city of Babylon sometime after 535bc. 

Under both administrations Daniel was recognized for his excellent service and the Kings of the Babylonian Empire as well as the King of Babylon under the Persians, praised the God of Daniel as the greatest of all gods (Daniel 2:47; 4:34-37; and 6:26,27). Daniel determined to maintain his integrity in relationship to God even as he was bound in service to godless people (Daniel 1:8). Let’s consider what Daniel must have gone through over the years. 

Daniel was raised as a member of the ruling class and positioned to serve the kingdom of Judah, whose people had a history and heritage of dedication to the God of Israel. His life was regulated by the dictates of the Jewish religious calendar and the public worship of God at the Temple in Jerusalem. Though some of their kings and leaders were more faithful to God than others, all of them paid public acknowledgment to God. Similar to how the presidents and representatives of the United States all say “God bless you, and God bless the United States of America” at the end of their official addresses, even if their public policies or private lives do not display wholehearted devotion to God. 

Just as Daniel was about to begin his life of public service to God and his people, he was taken captive and dedicated to the service of a pagan ruler in a society that had no regard for his God or his culture. All of Daniel’s gifts, professional prospects, and energies were now employed for the enrichment and success of a corrupt and vile kingdom. There was no room to express his dedication to God in public. There was no regard for his lifestyle. There was no respect for the God of Israel in his workplace. 

Sound familiar? Many of us who follow Jesus Christ have felt this. We recognize the corruption in our societies or where we work and we wrestle with our place in this world as Christians. “How can I honor God and work for…?” I think Daniel wrestled with this all of his life. We know he prayed and meditated on God’s word. We know he dedicated himself to staying morally pure. He kept his integrity in relationship to God even as he was forced to adopt the manners and customs of his captors in service to their unrighteous and unjust goals of conquest and self promotion. But I believe he was often conflicted in why God allowed this to happen to him and his countrymen.

Daniel is known as a visionary prophet. God revealed his message to Daniel in dreams and then gave Daniel the interpretation. Our dreams are often the product of our unresolved conflicts. Daniel’s dreams recorded in Daniel chapters 7-12 (Daniel 7-12) speak to the conflicts between the tyrannical rulers of the earth and the coming of God’s ultimate rule of righteousness and justice over all of the other kingdoms. They are recorded as coming to Daniel throughout his career. In essence God told Daniel, “This situation you and your people are in is temporary. Enslavement to the wicked is not the end of your story as a people. In the end, you will be restored to me and you will share in my glorious victory. In the meantime, stay faithful to me. Stay true.” And as far as we know Daniel died as an old man in service to the Persians in the city of Babylon. 

God chose Daniel to walk with him through a life of service in captivity to some wicked rulers and this uniquely prepared Daniel to receive a message that still speaks to us. Daniel’s life did not follow the path that he and his family hoped for when he was growing up. But had his good life not been taken from him we would not have his particular wisdom of how to stay true to God and shine for God through our excellent and faithful job performance in our godless societies and workplaces. 

Sometimes we find ourselves working, even slaving, in situations that we would never have chosen or desired for ourselves. God knows what he is doing and sometimes he chooses us to live and die for him in dark places so that others may see him at work within us and place their hope in him as well. And like Daniel, our dedication to God can result in blessing others in the name of Jesus Christ beyond our lifetime into eternity when we stay true to God and his love for others no matter what.   

For Reflection    

1. Considering your situation and the resources available to you, how can God be glorified in your community or workplace?

2. What limitations are keeping you from making this happen? 

3. After considering your limitations, what sustainable opportunities can you pursue that honor God’s value for the people around you? 

Isam Itson

Practically Holy is a mentoring community dedicated to empowering people to help each other as a practical and sustainable expression of their faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what Practically Holy is all about. Pursuing our common humanity in Jesus Christ by honoring our God-given purpose and boundaries, as we follow Jesus Christ together, and help others do the same, as dedicated members of our communities, from generation to generation.


Practically Holy | Blog

No justice, no peace

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 23:23 – “justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others”. Once our relationship

Read More »

God help us

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the

Read More »

Ripe fruit

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 21: 43-44 – “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to

Read More »

Ask Jesus

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 17:24-27 – When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does

Read More »

Be righteous

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 15:17-20 – “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18

Read More »

Enough to start

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 14:14-18 –When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Matthew 13:23  –  “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word (of the

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Matthew 12:1-8 – At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began

Read More »

As we go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 10:14 – “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your

Read More »

An open heart

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 9:10-13 – And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were

Read More »

Faith in action

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 8:5-10 – When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant

Read More »

God is our dad

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 6:9 – Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:30-33 – if God so

Read More »

Let’s go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:18-20 – While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew

Read More »

Trial by fire

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:1-4 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2

Read More »

Active patience

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 3:11 – “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I,

Read More »

Right this way

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 2:1,2 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Matthew 1:16 and 17 “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is

Read More »

All together now

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Considering our relationships as members of our local churches,

Read More »

Rich and poor

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 6:5-9 – Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not

Read More »

Married life

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 19:4-6 – “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and

Read More »

Overcoming evil

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteousness, injustice, and immorality of our governing authorities, political opponents, and social power brokers?

Read More »

Stand strong

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteous agendas of the powers that be in our societies? How do we deal

Read More »

Mutual respect

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In addition to practicing the expression of gratitude, as followers

Read More »

Thank God

By, Isam Itson III People have been drinking alcohol as a way of coping with stress and loss for a long time. When we get

Read More »

Imitate God

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:1-2. – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave

Read More »

Stop lying

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we

Read More »

Game day

By, Isam Itson III Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Read More »

Showing up

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the

Read More »

One goal

By, Isam Itson III Sometimes people ask me, “Why do I need to join a church to make a difference?”  Because a group of people

Read More »

Changing hearts

By, Isam Itson III Recently I was listening to a lecture given by the British theologian, John Barclay. He told the story of a poor,

Read More »

What do we do?

By, Isam Itson III The greatest among you shall be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 “What can I do to make a difference and honor

Read More »

Love remains

By, Isam Itson III Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love keeps no record of wrongs. One of the most difficult things that I deal with as a follower of Jesus

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love is not easily angered – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Every time I have lashed out in anger verbally or physically, I

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love does not insist on its own way, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Being considerate acknowledges our awareness that for us to

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love is not rude, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 When the author of the text says that love is not rude, he

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love is not arrogant. A loving person sees others being just as worthy of honor and regard as themselves. They give

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love conveys an attitude of value expressed in acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns of others. Love

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III I remember watching one of my friends as she gave her two young sons a snack to share. She told her

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love is Kind. My wife, Lori, is my superhero. Her example of God fearing love for others has taught me so

Read More »


By, Isam Itson III Love is an attitude of value expressed in purposeful and voluntary acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns

Read More »

Love is…

By, Isam Itson III Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew

Read More »

Stay True

By, Isam Itson III If you have ever felt trapped in your job or responsibilities keep reading. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the

Read More »

Stay Focused

By, Isam Itson III One aspect of embracing our cross in the name of Jesus is surrendering our self interest in obedience to God for

Read More »

Start Over

By, Isam Itson III Over the years I have met many refugees. People who immigrated to new countries fleeing disaster, war, or terror in their

Read More »

Eat What They Eat

By, Isam Itson III Philippians 2:5-7  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form

Read More »

Replacing Pride

By, Isam Itson III Pride goes before destruction,  and a haughty spirit before a fall.  19  It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Read More »

God Help Me

By, Isam Itson III God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives

Read More »

Growing Pains

By, Joe Worsham I read  Psalm 8, Psalm 88 and Psalm 23 in rapid succession and I think this is a really powerful illustration of

Read More »

Oh, God?!…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to prayer.” Acts 2:42 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Read More »

Get another chair

By, Isam Itson III “They also devoted themselves to the breaking of bread.”  – from Acts 2:42. I was at the grocery store during the

Read More »

That’s good

By, Isam Itson III “And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12. I love learning about creative people at the top of their field.

Read More »

Well, Jesus said…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” Acts 2:42. In her last years before her death my 105 year old granny

Read More »

Need a light?

By, Isam Itson III In dark times God not only comforts us with his loving presence, he also encourages us with his light, which is

Read More »

Family matters

By Isam Itson III. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus called his disciples to live as members of the Kingdom of God. He called them to obey

Read More »

Passing the Baton

By, Isam Itson III Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it,…  ” God purposed that other people carry

Read More »

Hotel Elegante

Unable to read published form data

Unable to read published form data

Update Post

Syntax error, missing attribute: #user_meta (Expected: key)