Daniel 10-12; John 20

Daniel 12 and John 20 juxtaposed to each other.

And one key word sings: RISE.

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise[i] will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”  Daniel 12 NIV

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake…those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens…those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.”

Awake and Shine like Stars forever and ever.

 

One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”  Daniel 12 NIV

“astonishing…”

My heart awakes.

13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” Daniel 12 NIV

“You will rest…then… you will rise”

RISE.

 

For as yet they did not [b]know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. John 20 NKJV

“He must rise.”

RISE

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to [c]Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the [d]disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.  John 20 NKJV

I have frequently pondered the joyful astonishment in this section of John 20. The quick recognition. The beloved realization.

“I am ascending….”

Lord, there is so much grief, sorrow, and loss in this world and in this life. Yet, in You, we rise. Holy Spirit, only You can make resurrection life real and tangible to me; to all those who are lost; to Your people who suffer; to me who can be wrapped in the whirlwind of the world.  Your truth is astonishing. You are astonishing. Joy, gladness, everlasting life, goodness- is utterly astonishing. Astonish me, Lord. I love You. Help my life to reflect You and my love for You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

Daniel gets visions that terrify him, images and meanings he doesn’t understand.

26 “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it. (Daniel 8:26-27, NLT)

They are explained to him, and the end result, after all the struggle, is victory.

26 “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. (Daniel 9:26, NLT)

Psalm 91 proclaims the Lord’s presence and protection. Terrors, disease, deadly traps, the Lord says:

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16, NLT

They mocked Jesus, slapped him, crowned him with thorns. Pilate knew enough to fear.

Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”

11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:5-11, NLT)

The love of the Lord and his victory are woven throughout the scriptures–the thread that breathed existence holds the world together. Forces that punish, manipulate, deceive are put in proper light. Battles waged on earth are fought also in heavenly realms. An Anointed One is killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing … taken down from a cross, wrapped in a cloth, and put in a tomb. It may have looked like an end, but the victory was and is always his.

This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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Daniel 4-6; John 18

Daniel was devoted to God.  No matter what the new rules were from King Darius, he knew that it was God that needed to be obeyed.

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem.  He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” (Daniel 6:10 ESV)

Jesus, likewise, was obedient to the Father unto the end.  Peter tried to defend Him but Jesus told him it had to be done.

“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.  So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?'” (John 18:10-11 ESV)

Jesus was born to bear witness to the truth.  He spoke it without having to defend Himself.

“Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘For you say that I am a king.  For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world-to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37 ESV)

In this current age where truth is relative and like Pilate many ask “what is truth?’  let us all stay obedient to God’s word and His truth.

Amen, Kellie

 

 

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Daniel 1-3; Psalm 88; John 17

Daniel is one of my favorite books of the bible. The early chapters are filled with God taking care of the exiles as they dwell in Babylon—in particular Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They remained true to their God and refused to worship any of the foreign gods. No matter what King Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with, they were unwilling to renounce their faith. They were willing to die rather than forsake the Lord. Because of this, God blessed them.

Daniel is devoted to God:

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Dan 1:8) NIV

And God blesses him:

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (Dan 1:17) NIV

Daniel seeks God’s direction:

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (Dan 1:17-18)

God answers their prayer:

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. (Dan 1:19)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow down to other gods:

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

God saves them and brings glory to His name:

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” (Dan 3:28-29)

Meditating on these chapters, their act of devotion has spurred a fresh resolve in me. They were constantly praising and worshiping God in public. They didn’t care who heard them; they were unwilling to compromise. I must confess I have noticed myself compromising in the area of praying before a meal when I am in public. There are many times I go to a restaurant with people and do not pray before I eat—even with fellow believers. I am more concerned with what others around me will think than giving God the recognition of His provision. The Lord has blessed me and deserves my devotion. He deserves to be praised and thanked for the abundance in my life.  So, from now on I am going to pray quietly to myself if I am with a group of non-believers with my head down and eyes closed.  Maybe others might see me and do the same.  When I am with a group of believers, I am going to lead us to pray out loud.

Jesus prayed for the disciples:

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:16-18) NIV

Daniel and his friends lived their lives that way; they knew they were not of this world. They did not let the world dictate their actions.  They were true to their God. I pray to live my life the same way.

Lord, I pray that my love for you overcomes any fear of what others think or say. I want to live my life devoted to you. I think our world today is no different than Babylon and like Daniel, I want to keep my focus on you. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Ezekiel 46-48; John 16

I have been to Ukraine 30 times in the last 27 years. It is always good to catch-up with my friends and do ministry together. They are a hearty lot those Ukrainian Christ-followers. The love the Lord and speak longingly for His return.

The first question I ask them when we greet each other is, “How are you doing?” Or, “How have you been?” They have never, and I mean never, said “good” and they have never, and I mean never, said “bad”. What the have done is quote this verse to me every time.

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John16:33 [ESV])

They have had it hard there. The country has been through a lot. A friend of mine was eight years old when a knock came on the door and the KGB came and took his parents (his father being a pastor) and they never saw them again. Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine know how hard life can be, but they also know the only place that is safe and has a future for them is with their Savior. What a blessing they are to me.

Where are you today? Are you going through heartache and sorrow? Is every aspect of your life going well for you? No matter where you are this moment, be like our Ukrainian friends and take heart, because no matter what Jesus has overcome this world. Some day he will set all things straight. What a day that will be.

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Ezekiel 43-45; Psalm 135; John 15

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14 ESV

John 15 contains one of the most recognizable verses about love in the Bible. This statement is not just a command to His followers, but also a foreshadowing of the death He would die in order to save His friends. Jesus commands that those who follow Him follow His call to love others.

“You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath.” Ezekiel 45:10 ESV

God’s command to love others is a constant theme in the Bible as a whole. Dishonest scales and false measurements led to unjust gain by sellers and hurt buyers. Throughout Scripture God emphasizes the importance of justice and treating others fairly. As a Christian, it is important that I show Christ’s love to others throughout my day-to-day life. It is easy to do the right thing when everyone is watching and you get praised for it. It is harder when you have to sacrifice your pride and what you want for the sake of others.

You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:16-17 ESV

A motif that runs through John 15 is that imagery of a vine, it’s branches, and their fruit. Jesus Himself is that vine and I am one of His branches. If I stray from the Vine, then I will not produce Spiritual Fruit, for a branch is useless without the Vine.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26 ESV

Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to strength me and bear witness. I am weak and need Christ’s forgiveness for sinning against Him. I can draw near to Him, however, due to His sacrifice.

Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages. For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. Psalm 135:13-14 ESV

Dear God, Thank You for being compassionate not just to me, but to all humanity by sending Jesus to die for the sins of the world. Please help me follow Your command to love others as you have loved me. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit to strength and guide me. In your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Ezekiel 40-42; John 14

While Jesus was making his ultimate journey to the cross, he continued teaching those around him. His words were often confusing to them because they didn’t have an understanding of the scope of what Jesus was doing.

The passages in Ezekiel were measurements and meaning to the temple. In John, Jesus speaks, and I listen. I have a sweet luxury of the written word, and I can return to it often and sit at my Savior’s feet.

15 If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”

23 Jesus replied, All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going (John 14:15-31, NLT).

Jesus was fulfilling a requirement to show his love for the Father. And in these passages he takes time to explain to the disciples who he is, that he is making a way, that he is coming back–assurances and comfort. He tells them he’s not leaving them as orphans, but sending the Holy Spirit who will guide in truth. He leaves a gift, and it’s something only he can give, and we won’t find it in this world. This world won’t give the kind of peace that Jesus can. Jesus explains these things to the disciples while he is with them–and this is deeply meaningful to me: that he prepares them, comforts them, provides for them, assures them. There is so much love and care in this dialogue.

Lord Jesus, I’m grateful for the ability to read these words and read them often. You are the example I want to follow–your love, your wisdom, your obedience, your guidance, your provision. You show me how to be the kind of friend and parent who cares tenderly, lovingly, responsibly. This is relationship. This is treasure. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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