Category Archives: Daniel

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 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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2Kings 6; 1Timothy 3; Daniel 10; Psalm 119:1-24

Our small group is studying on how we can take God at His Word. Amazing as we share our stories from the view of Believing, Feeling and Doing.  I have to admit, cannot believe that Job lived his life and did not blame God like this quote from one of Israel’s earlier kings.

 While he was still speaking with them, the king[d] came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I hope in the Lord any longer?”               – 2 Kings 6:33 NRSV

I love my small group as they are a living testimony to me of how I should live out my walk with God – they make the Word of God come alive to me because they have lived it.

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that,  if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.                 – 1 Timothy 3: 14-15  NRSV

God is doing something in my life.  He is calling me to have a stronger trust relationship with my wife, He has called me to repent as to the intensity of my love for Him – love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and He has asked me to allow Him to be part of my work.  He wants to give me discernment and words of wisdom and understanding as I interact with broken people.

In the third year of King Cyrus of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The word was true, and it concerned a great conflict. He understood the word, having received understanding in the vision. – Daniel 10:1  NRSV

The basis of our scripture in my small group study is Psalm 119.  There are 51 descriptive words used by David to describe his feelings for God. This verse below fascinated me above the others – praising God when I learn how He wants me to live.  Summarizes the verses I mentioned today.

I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous ordinances. – Psalm 119:7   NRSV

Lord, there is nothing that makes me feel more alive than having You involved in my life and calling me deeper and deeper into a relationship with You.  You are amazing – when I think I have my life all together You gentle show me how I am leading as opposed to being led.  You are so gracious and kind as You lovingly show me the errors of my way.  I love You so much – thank You!

evanlaar

 

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2 Kings 5; 1 Timothy 2; Daniel 9; Psalms 117&118

But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy…So Namaan went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and staled away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God to heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharper, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in rage. But his officers tried to reason with him, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go wash and be cured!” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!” 2 Kings 5:1B,9-14 NLT

I can relate to Naaman a lot more than I’d like to admit. I can call him prideful and arrogant. But, If I’m honest, how many times has that been me? Refusing to go where God is leading because I feel like it is beneath me. I ask him for another way, but only he knows the best way to healing. I can rest in the knowledge that he is a good and loving Father whose plans are far better than mine. I am thankful for friends who speak the truth in love to me. I can imagine Naaman’s officers saying, “Duh, Naaman, this is a no brainer, don’t you want to be healed?” While, I can hear them saying to me, “Daughter, don’t you want to be restored?” When I submit and cry out to him, he is faithful.

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung at the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!…I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.” Psalms 118:14-17 NLT

My obedience requires humility, even when I don’t understand his plan.

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord as made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:23&24 NLT

Dear Jesus, I am so grateful for your healing hand in my life. How you have restored the broken places. I praise you and give you all the Glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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I Kings 21; I Thessalonians 4; Daniel 4; Psalm 108, 109

Jesus Christ summed up the Ten Commandments in two statements, one of which is to love the Lord God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. The other is to love your neighbor as yourself. I wax and wane in my passion to love God even though I never want to leave His side. And I sometimes step back when loving my neighbor is at stake. That is, I have to take a time out to rethink my words, reframe my motivations, and reign in my emotions before asking questions, making and answering requests, or commenting on what others say and do. Years of not getting this right and experience in hurting others or causing chaos in my relationships has heightened my vigilance for preventing problematic encounters, yet nothing can stay my heart and my tongue like the chastisement of God.

As I read I Kings 21:5, 15, I recognized how Ahab was influenced by his wife. Specifically, I relate to my own behaviors that incited my husband to defend me in situations where I needed to humble myself, instead. Like Ahab, I displayed a sullen, pouty face about something that I could not have. In the Old Testament, Ahab’s wife Jezebel, asked, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat not your food?” She then orchestrated the murder of Naboth so that her husband could have Naboth’s vineyard. Like Ahab’s spouse, my husband sought solutions, and sometimes that meant compromising his own righteousness. And what did I do? I did just like Ahab: “So it was when Ahab heard Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” That is, I allowed my husband to do something that I would not, but then was happy to have what I should not.

Isn’t it interesting that in marriages, a spouse can either encourage and inspire or manipulate and blame.

In other situations, trying to love thy neighbor as thyself has left me confused and disappointed. I think I am in good company because even the saints cried out to God in similar situations: Psalm 109:4, 5 records these complaints, “In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer. Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, And hatred for love.”

Yes, I pray, and yes, I want justice. Yet one meaning of justice is “a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people,” (https://www.google.com/search). Do I want this just for me or do I love well enough to desire this for all others? I’m afraid my ill will too often highlights the sin of entitlement. Instead of agreeing that others deserve happiness, I speak this lie to myself; “I deserve an easier life.” Thus, what naturally pour out of my mouth are words of bitterness, jealousy, and anger. Like I said, experience has taught me this.

Walking with God, the Father, however, has taught me better truths. I now know that I despise inciting or attacking others worse than accepting being sad, frustrated, or afraid. I know that I can praise the Almighty, loving God who is able to confront or defend me, as He sees fit. Daniel 4:37 says, “I…praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” I do not have to play the Holy Spirit in another person’s life; my task is to love God with all my heart, my soul, and my mind; and to love my neighbor as myself.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Deut. 3; Ps. 85; Isa. 31; Rev. 1

Visions of things to come…

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18

As a Christian, death is one of the more challenging experiences to reconcile… from a spiritual perspective, we rejoice in knowing where our loved ones will be for all eternity and Who they’ll be spending eternity with! But on a human level, we miss our loved ones very much…  we’re left hoping that all we know about our faith is true; that like Jesus, Who endured pain, but conquered death, is alive forever!

We are reassured by our Savior not to be afraid… that He was able to conquer death and is now in control. Delving deeper into these two verses in Revelation revealed significant meaning that offered me comfort after losing my Dad several years ago. That we are never alone, as He is “the first and the last”, paralleling “the Alpha and the Omega” described in Revelation 1:8…

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

… and referencing “I am” reflecting Jesus’ claims in the Gospels of Matthew 14:27, Mark 6:50, John 6:20, and 8:58, connecting Him with His Heavenly Father. Jesus also tells us that He is “the living One” as He was described in Daniel 6:26, Revelation 4:9, 10:6, and 15:7… the foundation of our salvation! By rising after death, Jesus offered the assurance to those who believe that we will be forever with Him. And, if that wasn’t enough, Jesus reveals that as a result of His resurrection, He now holds the “keys of death and Hades.” Death, as a condition of the body, and Hades, as a place associated with death, Jesus is in control!

Researching the meaning of keys in the Bible found that keys are a sign of power and authority. Jesus’ obedience to His Heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsemane resulted in Jesus having the authority to decide who dies and who lives; He has authority over life and death.

So in the midst of the incredible tragedies and darkness that have consumed our lives lately, perhaps our hope lies in the message Revelation holds in what Jesus offers for our future to all who believe. I know I will see my father again… in the meantime, I will continue to hold onto the promises my Savior offers, ready for when He decides to call me Home… I can only imagine!

Heavenly Father, by saying “No” to Your son in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked that You take His “cup” from Him, Your Son demonstrated complete obedience to You, to fulfill Your will. Help us to remain faithful so that we can join You for all eternity! Amen.

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Daniel 10-12; John 20

I load the dishwasher. I sort the laundry. I prepare the lesson plans and check my kids’ assignments. I read a chapter or two from a book in the stack. I update a grocery list. I stoke the fire and enjoy the warmth. I consider a dentist appointment, a call to the vet, a coffee date soon with a friend, a next poetry tea, a holiday gift craft project.

These things equal a small piece of an everyday. They are things I see and feel. They occupy my thoughts and fill my calendar. And while my to-do list breathes life of its own, it’s only the visible part of a bigger picture. I think of that sometimes too, and especially today while reading through Daniel.

Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.

10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.

12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. 14 Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:7-14, NLT)

(Completely arrested by the wording of spirit prince(s), blocking, archangel, I read and reread and researched.)

I think of an enemy who comes to steal and destroy–and that can be as real as a break-in and theft of belongings, or as real as the stealing of the unseen: joy, confidence, security. It can be as real as a living, breathing accuser face to face (or screen to screen), or the force that comes between friends, families, communities, believers.

Divided=conquered. Or at least it feels like it. Spiritual warfare.

When Daniel is told about kingdoms and battles and things that look nothing like what he knows, I think about a day’s agenda, juxtaposed to the biblical refining heat of persecution.

I find encouragement in these scriptures. Comforting words of “do not be afraid,” and “you are very precious to God,” and (New Testament) “blessed.”

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Purpose of the Book

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:24-31)

The day is full of new dimension.

Lord, help me to be mindful that not everything is as it seems to my limited sight. As I go through the days, let me rest in the security that you are in control. Strengthen me to do what is good and right. Equip me to speak love and life.

Courtney (66books365)

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