Category Archives: Daniel

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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Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

Psalm 91 (ICB), a well loved and oft repeated psalm of refuge and protection throughout the centuries, one I have spent many a struggle professing; because sometimes it’s important to be reminded that I have a protector that can be trusted and that I am not alone:

1Those who go to God Most High for safety

will be protected by God All-Powerful.

2I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety and protection.

You are my God, and I trust you.”

Yesappa, I trust you. You are faithful. You are full of power. You are above all. Even in the midst of danger and trials, you can be counted on to protect me as your beloved child.

3God will save you from hidden traps

and from deadly diseases.

4He will protect you like a bird

spreading its wings over its young.

His truth will be like your armor and shield.

You outstretch Your massive arms over me acting as my covering. My Savior and Giver of Truth rescue me from that which seeks to trap and destroy me. Be my armor. Be my shield in the midst of my trials.

5You will not fear any danger by night

or an arrow during the day.

6You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark

or sickness that strikes at noon.

Make me brave and give me courage to face the dangers that come into my life by day and by night. Remove fear that tries to control me. Remove sin that tries to defeat me. Remove illness that tries to snuff my life.

7At your side 1,000 people may die,

or even 10,000 right beside you.

But you will not be hurt.

8You will only watch what happens.

You will see the wicked punished.

It doesn’t matter what happens around me, the destruction, the despair. My focus is on You. My understanding acknowledges Your judgement and rejoices at Your redemption, Your grace, Your mercy as I turn toward You, as I look at Your face.

9The Lord is your protection.

You have made God Most High your place of safety.

10Nothing bad will happen to you.

No disaster will come to your home.

11He has put his angels in charge of you.

They will watch over you wherever you go.

12They will catch you with their hands.

And you will not hit your foot on a rock.

13You will walk on lions and cobras.

You will step on strong lions and snakes.

I can walk without fear into the scariest of situations, the most dangerous circumstances and I am assured of Your care for me. I can be certain that You will never leave me nor forsake me. I can be firm in my belief that Your arms are a place of strength and safety.

14The Lord says, “If someone loves me, I will save him.

I will protect those who know me.

15They will call to me, and I will answer them.

I will be with them in trouble.

I will rescue them and honor them.

16I will give them a long, full life.

They will see how I can save.”

I love You Lord and I know that You Love me more than I can ever imagine. I call to You for help and You are there. You listen to my prayers. You give me answers, solutions to my problems. You put Your hedge around me, enveloping me in Your arms. You strengthen me. You encourage me. You give me life.

Thank You for being my refuge and my fortress. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings,

Julie (juliet2912)

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Daniel 4-6; John 18

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in bed. At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. “While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see.” Daniel 4:4-11NLT

Just like I can lose sight of God’s hand in my life, the King had forgotten that it was God who built the city and not him. “As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.” Daniel 4:30 NLT. The king was relying on his own strength. And even though he was professing the Lord with his mouth, his heart had turned prideful. God used this dream to humble the king and show him that He is in control.

God has used situations in my life to remind me that I am not in control and to draw me closer to him. Recently, I was worried and afraid. My husband asked me, “Did you pray about it?” It sounded so simple, but I had not. He prayed for me, and afterwards I felt a great sense of peace. Sometimes, I am apprehensive about being vulnerable, even with God. But, God is showing me, that can be a form of pride. Because, when I admit my weakness…it’s God’s power that is displayed in my life, not mine.

Daniel willingly went into the lion’s den. It didn’t mean that he wasn’t afraid, but he trusted his Father to take care of him. Do I?

Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions mouth so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your majesty.” Daniel 6:20&21 NLT

Dear Father,  Forgive me when pride creeps in. Because, you have given me everything that I have, my very life. I pray that I would use it to further your Kingdom and not my own. Thank you for Jesus, who is the greatest example of humility. Amen.

Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthy kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world. Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true” John 18:36&37 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Daniel 1-3, Psalm 88, John 17

Finally! We are out of the first stage of child rearing, praise the Lord! Finished with diapers, super late nights and early mornings. All of the kids can feed themselves and use the bathroom. They can even shower independently and help clear the dishes meals. Ending this stage of life brings a huge sigh of relief for my husband and me. Most days we felt like we were in survival mode just trying to make it through. Now that the children have all entered elementary school, our challenges are no less but very, very different. As they leave our home each morning, I am often praying that they will be able to live in the world without being of the world. That’s certainly difficult concept to explain to a young child and something that makes much more sense as their relationship with Jesus grows over time. As parents we are now in the teaching and guiding stage. They rarely understand why we make certain decisions or why we set up restrictions for their protection. We are not always the most well liked parents and we have already heard of how uncool we are because “everyone else is allowed to do or have _______” (and we don’t even have teenagers, yet).

I love reading the books of the Old Testament to my kiddos. They speak of real life people, their experiences and the lessons they learned. Daniel is a great example of one who lived in the world but was not of the world. He was taken from the comfort of his home, surroundings, and family and plopped down in the middle of a foreign country to serve a pagan king. Everything he grew up knowing was put to the test. But despite the change in his environment and surroundings, Daniel maintained his faith in the one true God. He remained faithful and lived with integrity even when the king commanded him to do something against his spiritual beliefs. Daniel did not give in and the Lord rewarded him for his faith.

“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine that he drank. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.”  Daniel 1:8a, 9

Daniel faced many challenges particularly in relation to his faith while in the king’s court. The world he was thrown into was not one whose goal was to glorify God and serve him but to serve a pagan human king. Daniel maintained his integrity and faith and knew that answering to the Lord was far greater than answering to the king.

After reading this story with my kids and talking about living in the world, we tried to come up some modern day examples of things they are asked to do that would compromise our integrity and beliefs. In Daniel’s case, he was asked to eat foods that were offered to idols and to bow down and worship the king’s golden image. Today, it may be listening to music that’s not encouraging and uplifting, watching a movie, TV show or video game that has inappropriate content or pressure to use foul language.

Like Daniel, Christ lived away from his home when he came to earth to save us from our sin. He experienced the trials and tribulations that we suffer and was even tempted to sin. He knew as long as we live in the world, we will be tempted to become part of it. He even prayed for us.

15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth. John 17: 15-19

Instead of becoming part of the world, the Lord wants us to be separate and share His love with others. We are here to glorify and worship Him alone no matter the cost. It is becoming more and more difficult to carry out this mission in our culture. As Christians, we are looking more and more foolish to the unbelieving world where the lines between right and wrong and good and evil are beyond blurred. We must pray for our children daily as they learn to live out their faith.

Dear Jesus. Help us as we live in this world to remain faithful to your call and be separate from this world. Help us to lead our children with truth and wisdom. Amen.

Kate

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Daniel 10-12; John 20

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. 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. 

Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”

Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”

As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” Daniel 10:12-19

I have been holding on to God, holding tight to what I believe He’s told me; and yet there is a battle going on for the break through. I believe that it’s a battle, not against flesh and blood, but in the spirit…the enemy desiring the breakdown of family, bitterness, and a turning from faith. Most of the time the enemy isn’t succeeding, but here and there my resolve to be strong in the circumstance weakens for a time and I am left frustrated and bewildered.

My husband and I got married in India in February 2010. I was born and raised in the US and he is an Indian citizen, and through a series of events – a long story for another time – we were brought together, a marriage arranged by God.

For the past year and a half we’ve been following procedure to acquire the visa that will allow our family to be reunited in this country – a process that can typically take up to 8 months. Through all this time apart, my husband has continued ministering to the orphans, widows, lepers, and poverty stricken. Meanwhile, I am stateside nurturing our family, educating our children, and praying for a miracle.

There have been minor roadblocks throughout the process – illness, a baby born, waiting on finances, etc. But a few months ago we hit a major obstacle that requires a miraculous breakthrough. Because I have been on and off the mission field since 2008, I have not held a paying job for any length of time. Needless to say, the income of a non-paid volunteer* is well below poverty level, and I do not financially qualify to be considered the sole-sponsor for my husband, a requirement for the next step in the process. In order for my husband’s visa to be granted, we need a co-sponsor who is able to team up with our family, and so far the search for that person is proving to be difficult.

This recounting in the book of Daniel, strengthens my hope and encourages me. It helps me remember that just because I pray hard with expectancy, I may not hear the answer right away. But that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t heard my prayer; it doesn’t mean that He hasn’t already put the answer in motion. God loves me and calls me precious to Him.

Even when I am most frustrated, I believe God already knows who will join with our family in this crazy adventure. I believe that person’s heart is being prepared even as I write this. I believe that God didn’t bring us together from worlds apart to allow the barricades the enemy sets up to tear us down and steal our family’s hope. I hold onto the peace He gives that surpasses understanding. I hold onto the encouragement He sends my way through His Word, through music that honors Him, through family and friends. I hold on to His strength. I hold on to the truth that God knew we’d experience this trial and that He already knows the solution; and I trust that He will give me the wisdom to know where to walk and through this journey, He will transform me more into His image.

Yesappa, Thank You in advance for the answer. Thank You in advance for making it possible for our family to be reunited. Thank You in advance for leading me to the person who will partner with us in this adventure. Thank You for Your peace and Your strength in my weakness. Help me walk out each day in this journey in a way that displays Your glory, and help me glean from the lessons this trial is teaching me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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