Monday, June 21, 2021

Strength and Vitality

O. T. #1967  "Strength and Vitality"

June 21, 2021

Daniel 1-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

I am writing this ahead of time, for when you read this, I am enjoying being with all our children and grandchildren. (all 13 of us) It has been 2 years since we have seen our Rhode Isanders because of the pandemic. Please pray for our safety as it is supposed to be stormy all week. (But this grandma has games packed away to take and snacks to enjoy.) I know that it will be a time of rejoicing for us.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High. To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1-2)

For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands. (verse 4)

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (verses 12-13)

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourish; To show that the LORD is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (verses 14-15)

Do we take time to recall the good past deeds that God has done in our lives? Do His works in our life cause us to rejoice? Are we publicly thanking and praising our Lord Jesus for His love and faithfulness to us? Is God really our rock?

The blessings of God should inspire His people to praise Him for who He is, thank Him for what He has done, and trust Him for what He will do.  (Tony Evans)

The cedars of Lebanon grew to 120 feet in height and up to 30 feet in circumference; thus, they were solid, strong, and immovable. The writer saw believers as upright, strong, productive, and unmoved by the winds of circumstance. Those who place their faith firmly in God can have this strength and vitality. (Life Application Study Bible)

Is our faith making us strong and full of vitality?

LET IT GROW

Last time, we read of the supreme world leader, Nebuchadnezzar, invaded Judah and Jerusalem. He took precious and valuable items from the Jewish Temple back to his land and placed them in the temple of the false god of Bel, also called Marduk. (verse 2)

Then the king of Babylon brought certain foreign captives to the king's palace for teaching them their language of the Chaldeans. What characteristics did those young men have? They were unblemished, well favored, skillful in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, and understanding science. They were smart one, right?

The king had a plan for those chosen ones:

  • Their academic program would include math, history, science, astronomy, and magic.
  • Their provisions would include the king's meat, dainties, and wine that he had. (verse 5)
  • They would learn the language of the Chaldeans.
  • This would last for 3 years, they would come before the king.(verse 5)
  • Their Hebrew names would be changed into the foreign name, by which we remember them-Daniel (Belteshaz'zar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego).

King Neb was trying to make those Hebrew guys and God-worshipers into pagan god worshipers. Look at the meanings of their Hebrew names and the new names:

  • Daniel (God is my judge)-Belteshazzar (Bel, protect his life);
  • Hananiah (the LORD shows grace)-Shadrach (under the command of Aku, the moon god);
  • Mishael (Who is like God?)-Meshach (Who is like Aku?);
  • Azariah (the LORD helps)-Abednego (servant of Nego/Nebo, god of learning and writing)

[Resource: Life Application Study Bible]

This is one way the king attempted to change the religious loyalty of these young men from Judah's God to the gods of Babylonia. As we read through this book, we realize that Daniel and his friends did not allow the outward circumstances or name forced upon them, to change the integrity of their hearts, for they served only one King and held only one worldview. There were times that they demonstrated such faith and loyalty to God.

Are we showing the world around us that we are a new creature in Christ? That we have a new name written down in glory? Are we showing them that a Christian life is different, loving and forgiving, faithful to God?

LET IT GO

Keep us near the heart of God today, Lord Jesus.

Keep us planted in Your house.

May we older folks continue to bear fruit of the Spirit for Your glory.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Staying Faithful

O. T. #1966   "Staying Faithful"

June 18, 2021

Daniel 1

LET IT GLOW

Here we are again in another prophetic book. Because if that, we hare continuing in Psalms for some assurance in these hard times.

Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation. (Psalm 91:14-16)

Have we set our love upon God? Do you know Him as Savior and Lord? Did you notice that God promises to deliver and protect those who set their hearts on Him. Also, He will answer when we call upon Him. Jesus is our answer to all our problems. So we can count on God to rescue us when we need it and satisfy us with the full length of days ordained for us. Remember, Jesus is only a prayer away.

Romans 8:18 tells us that the sufferings of this present time are not worth to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Dear one, keep on keeping on, for the best is yet to come-heaven. It will be worth it after all.

LET IT GROW

We know that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah in 605 BC. Daniel was among the first group of three to be deported to Babylon. (It thrills my heart to see teenagers faithful to God.) And Daniel was one. He was drafted to be a counselor to King Neb. To show his dominance, Neb took many of Jerusalem's most intelligent, gifted men, and most beautiful women as captives to Babylon. Neb had also defeated the Assyrian and their allies(who conquered the northern kingdom of Israel).

Now, Daniel was born during the middle of Josiah's reign as a good king of Judah. He probably heard Jeremiah since 9:2 quotes the prophet. Josiah was killed in battle in Egypt, and within only 4 years the southern kingdom returned to its evil ways. Then Josiah's son, Jehoahaz reigned for 3 months and his broth, Jehoiakim became king of Judah. This brings us up to the time when Daniel was taken to Babylon, during Jehoiakim's reign. (The last 4 kings of Judah were bad kings, leading Judah to turn to idolatry.) This is the reason for God sending Babylon to wipe out Jerusalem.

This early invasion of Neb resulted in taking back to Babylon:

  • some vessels from the house of God, Solomon's Temple; (verse 2)
  • some young men from the royal family;
  • some from the nobility; (verse 3)

Neb took those objects and placed them in the treasury house of his god. Isaiah had prophesied that this would happen, some 100 years earlier. (Isaiah 39)

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

Daniel remained faithful to God, in spite of his surroundings. We will read about several tests for his character. Are we determined to stay faithful to God?

LET IT GO

Leave behind this world, trade them for the joy of the Lord Jesus.

Set my heart to love God.

Call upon Him in my times of trouble.

Oh what a Savior! Isn't He wonderful? Sing hallaleuh! Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Angels, Dreams, and Visions

O. T. 1965  "Angels, Dreams, and Visions"

June 17, 2021

Introduction to Daniel

LET IT GLOW

 I figure we are still in need of some encouraging words as we step into the book of Daniel, another prophesy book. So, we are still looking at Psalm 91 to spur us on today. (Encourage means to spur on.)

For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (verse 11)

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot. (verses 12-13)

Did you recognize verses 11 and 12 as those quoted by Satan when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness? (Matt. 4:6) The Lord responded with Deut. 6:16-Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God...                  

 If the Father had commanded Jesus to jump from the temple pinnacle, then the angels would have cared for Jesus, but to jump without the Father's command would have been presumption, not faith, and that would be tempting the Father. (Wiersbe)

I hope we do not give our guardian angels a hard time in protecting us from harm. Isn't it comforting to know God is watching over us?

LET IT GROW

Here we are, stepping into another deep book of the Bible to study. We are blessed to have godly men who spent time writing commentaries and lead the way through another book of prophesy.

Background

This book begins in 605 BC when Babylon conquered Jerusalem and exiled Daniel, his 3 friends, and others. It continues through the conquering of Babylon by the Medo-Persians and beyond that. It was because of idolatry of the Jews that God brought judgment upon His people. (Through the warnings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel they did not repent and turn back to only worshiping God.)

Daniel's background is alluded to in part by Jeremiah, who names 3 of the 5 last kings in Judah before the captivity-Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiachin. Ezekiel mentions Daniel as a righteous and wise man. Daniel was among one of the first groups of deportees, and Ezekiel followed. Earlier, Israel, who was the northern kingdom, had fallen to Assyria in 722 BC.

The Author

Daniel's name means God is my judge. He was probably a teenager upon his exile and lived out the rest of his life in a foreign land, living at least to the age of 85. He quickly rose to the role of statesman by royal appointment and served as a confidante of kings, as well as a prophet in two world empires. Christ confirmed Daniel as the author of this book in Matthew 24:15.

Themes

Nine of the twelve chapters relate to revelation through dreams and visions. Daniel declares God's present and future plans. He was God's mouthpiece to the Gentile and Jewish worlds. This book was written in Aramaic and was one found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We read of the sovereign rule of God as He allowed Gentiles to dominate Israel. The main theme is the Messiah's future coming to rule the world in glory over all people. Also, we read of miracles God does for His faithful people (while in a lion's den and fiery furnace, hand writing on the wall).

Daniel recounts and interprets dreams through his God-given ability, which God uses to reveal His will. The main challenges involve passages about future tribulation and kingdom promises. The second coming of Christ will bring a new Temple, kingdom, and hearts.

[Resource: The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

Let's be like Daniel, instead of giving in or giving up, hold fast to our faith in our God. Despite our circumstances, God is sovereignly in control and working out His plans for us and for nations. 

 

LET IT GO

I see You in everything, all day. No matter where I go, I know Your love is finding me.

I'm going to sing, in the middle of the storm. Death is defeated, the King is alive.

Go meet the challenges of this day and stay close to God.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Protection and Presence

O. T. #1964   "Protection and Presence"

June 16, 2021

Summary of Ezekiel-Part 10

Friend, are you dwelling in the secret place and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty God today? Are you fearful today, not sure about anything in your world? Has this pandemic caused you to hide? We are still in Psalm 91 today for encouragement.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (verses 5-7)

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (verses 9-11)

Have you noticed that this unknown writer has used the names of God in these verses to encourage us to trust in Him?

  • The Most High (Elyon)- verses 1,9
  • The Almighty (Shaddai) and all-sufficient God
  • Lord-verses 2,9,14
  • God (Elohim)-verse 2

This is the God who invites us to fellowship with Him in the Holy of Holies! Those who abide in the Lord are safe when they are doing His will. (Wiersbe)

One more name for God is found in Ezekiel 48:35, the last verse this prophet wrote:

... and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

The divine glory of God will never again depart from the Temple and the new Jerusalem, for the LORD is there.

Is our hope placed in Jesus and His return to earth to reign as King? His rightful place is as King and Lord. There, in Jerusalem, new people with new hearts will worship the Savior in His holiness. What a wonderful place it will be.

May we not let the pressures of everyday life cause us to focus on the here and now, thus forgetting God. Worship brings things into the right perspective-this world is not our home. Heaven is our eternal home. This was brought clear to me this past weekend as we attended the memorial service of a close preacher friend, who passed away in January from Covid. Our time may be short on earth, so we must be about our Father's business.

 


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Shadows and Shields

O. T. #1963 "Shadows and Shields"

June 15, 2021

Summary of Ezekiel-Part 9

Oh my, Psalm 91, the whole chapter, is filled with so much. May it speak to your heart as it does mine.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall delicver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.  (verses 1-4)

Is our security found in dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty God? With Him there is protection. As the baby bird takes refuge under its mother's wings, so can the believer who lives under the cover of God's covenant find safety.

When we think of how big our God is, then we should have peace being under His care. As I have shared before, one day I was outside and suddenly a huge shadow came over me. As I looked up, I saw an eagle flying above me. That experience made me realize how awesome it is for us to be under the care of Almighty God. If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us; and if our God is with us, what can stand against us? Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God You are higher than any other.

 

When Jesus comes back to earth to reign as King for a thousand years, there will be a new Temple for Israel to worship in located in Jerusalem. The Islamic Dome will be no more. The Temple will be a holy place where only Jesus Christ is worshiped, not idols. He will establish a new kingdom of love, then.

And He said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. (Ezekiel 43:7)

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Are we going to Him daily for instructions on how He wants us to spend our day? Jesus is always walking with us, but are we walking with Him? Genesis 6 tells us that Noah walked with God. Even among a perverse and evil generation, Noah chose to live uprightly before God. Because of that, God chose Noah and his family to be saved from the flood. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Let's stay close to God, even in the marketplace and on the job.

 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Dry Bones and Dry Spirits Can Live!

O. T. #1962  "Dry Bones and Dry Spirits Can Live!"

June 14, 2021

Summary of Ezekiel-Part 8

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us: yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it. (Ps.90:17)

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Ps. 91:1)

The Lord's beauty implies His delight, approval, and favor. By God's mercy and grace, one's life can have value, significance, and meaning. (MacArthur)

As a baby bird takes refuge under the wings of its parent, the believer who lives under the cover of God's covenant finds safety.

Because our days are numbered, we want our work to count, to be effective and productive for kingdom work. If we feel dissatisfied with this life, we need to remember our desire to see our work established is placed there by God. Are we applying ourselves to loving and serving God?

Looking at Ezekiel 36, we find:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (verse 26)

And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, Thou knowest. And again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these boned, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD. (37:3-4)

First there was bone to bone clinking, then sinews, flesh, and skin covering them, and finally breath. What a unique vision and privilege for this prophet.

This vision Ezekiel had illustrated the new life and nation of Israel that was restored, both physically and spiritually. Those dry bones referred to  hopeless Jews in captivity, those scattered, and those dead. so it is with us when we have a dry spirit, feeling hopeless. God can restore us when we pray for renewal instead of giving up. His Spirit can bring us new life into our dry hopelessness and dead churches. God is always at work calling His people back to Himself.

So, will we keep praying, keep surrendering?

I raise up hallelujah, and watch the darkness flee; I'm going to sing in the middle of the storm, louder and louder, You will hear my praises. I raise up hallelujah.

Amen! I can't get over what You have done for me, Jesus! Breath of life, beating heart, no breast cancer; how awesome You are!!

Fill us with Your joy for life today!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Teach us to Number Our Days

O. T. #1961 "Teach us to Number Our Days"

June 11, 2021

Summary of Ezekiel-Part 7

Still looking at Psalm 89:

But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. (24, 26)

Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail. (verse 33)

Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance. (90:8)

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (verse 12)

Our sins can be committed in public or in secret, but all are visible to Righteous God. However, His loving kindness and faithfulness is for us when we repent of our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) During our short stay on earth, we should pray for guidance to make godly choices. Once our time is spent, it is gone.

I realize this since yesterday was another birthday for me. How grateful I am to still be alive.

I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong: I will feed them with judgment. (Ez. 34:16)

We know we can turn to God for help. He is still in control and can transform any tragic situation into good for His kingdom. God gives strength to carry on and mends broken hearts.