For King Neb’s magicians and prophets, it was not a stellar day. The king was having nightmares and now somehow it was their fault. That certainly did not seem fair. But, the fairness of the King demanding their lives for his unwillingness to work with them–even a little bit, was unbelievable. So, as the soldiers approached to take Daniel and his friends to be ripped limb from limb and their houses be laid to ruin, Daniel was able to keep his head about him and focus upon God–not on the current circumstance. He tactfully asked his executioner to lay the story out, and when he gathered all the facts, politely and humbly asked the king far a little extra time. Amazingly, the king gave him a day.
Next, Daniel got the gang together and did what true men of God do in dire circumstances–they prayed. While praying in the night, God revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel. No one saw that coming. So, Daniel did what mighty men of God do when God answers their prayers–He praised God for who He is and thanked Him for the great thing the Lord had accomplished. It was a good result for an unthinkable circumstance.
Life simply is not fair. Circumtances appear that are by most standards, unbelievably outrageous. They are insurmountable, awful, and impossible to manage. In the midst of those circumstances, God’s people hit their knees, keep their heads, and seek the Lord in humility and by faith. That is when God does what He does best–turn the impossible into a praisewothy and teachable moment.
After that, all that is left is the call for praise and thanksgiving. We have watched God come through time and again. As His chosen, to do anything other than to trust and seek Him in times of trouble, is simply foolish. Then, after He delivers, once again; we must remember to be thankful and grateful for His provision and protection.
That pattern has worked for many of God’s people–like Daniel. Help me, Lord to make that pattern work for me and my family as well!!!
God Bless You
This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
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. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
So, the end of Elisha’s story is as simple as his time as God’s liaison. He trusted God and simply did as he was told. So at the end, the bible records 3 significant things:
- On his deathbed, Joash the king seeks Elisha’s council and receives a very positive prophecy
- Elisha died and was buried
- After Elisha was dead and buried, a dead man was tossed into Elisha’s tomb and when he touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man came back to life!
Elisha was a man that did not enjoy fanfare. So God honored that in the telling of Elisha’s story. Truly, however, it was clear that Elisha was a powerful prophet that had God’s support and power even after his death. What an amazing tribute that even after he was dead and buried, Elisha could still raise the dead.
It would be amazing if one could be so faithful as to be able to show God’s power even after that person was dead and buried. I believe that would be a great tribute to the awesome power of God and his influence in and through my life. It is my prayer, Lord, that you would lead me to honor you as faithfully as did your pragmatic servant Elisha!
God Bless You
Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
15 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. 16 “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.
17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”
18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
20 Elisha died and was buried.
Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
In the end, there have always been two great commands from God; Love the true God, and love others as you love yourself. All other commands and direction fall within those parameters. John closes his letter to the church by laying that out very clearly. We are God’s chosen adopted children if we believe that Christ is the Savior and Lord. The evidence of our belief is our love for God and his people. Further evidence is following Him and doing what He has called us to do.
We see the truth through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We also testify to that truth by our words and our daily lives. We are not expected to be perfect, but, we are called to be different. That difference is a lifetime process of transformation that always centers on the gift of salvation. As we journey, we see God’s hand on our lives and become more like him with the passage of each day. In the end, however, it still comes down to this: “He who has the Son Has Life; and He who rejects that gift does not have eternal life.”
As we end the decade, we need to be reminded that our Journey is swift and our destination is eternity. We, therefore, are called to live for that end and not for the temporary promises of this world. Happy New Year.
God Bless You
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
God truly demonstrated His love for us. He loved us when we were unlovable. He accepted us when we were unacceptable. He calls us to love others the same way. John reiterated his original message from his gospel, For God So loved the world that he gave his only son. He tells the church –this is how we know what love is…Jesus laid his life down for us. He tells the church its response should be similar…the church should lay their lives down for others. Selfishness gets parked at the curb and believer’s lives are no longer their own. It is not a mopey life of dower expression and mundane existence. Instead, it is a life full of meaning and purpose where the needs of others supersede the needs of self. Amazingly, history reminds us that humans are at their best when they set their personal agendas aside.
In our lives, we have to choose each day to live for Christ and not for ourselves. It is a difficult task. Even on Jesus’s birthday, we can lose the focus and become consumed with the consumerism of the holiday and the consumables we feast upon. If we are not careful, our entire life becomes filled with a desire to promote ourselves and obtain all we feel we deserve. John’s reminder is stark and plain–live a life like Christ. Lay your lives and agendas on the alter and allow Christ dominion over them. When we live like that, we find ourselves full of life and purpose and we enjoy a glimpse of peace and joy like none other.
God Bless You
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brothers were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[b] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
There is no better illustration of evangelism than the parable of the sower. God’s message is told to a variety of folks. Some reject it, some dabble, some try to ride the fence and some follow and allow God to lead. The parable shows the impact on our lives. It is really a parable of the seeds and soils. The soils are us, the seeds the gospel and the various circumstances are life as we know it. Jesus wanted the people to desire to be soil and want to bear good fruit. He wanted them to understand that it was neither the message or the sower that controlled the fruit—but the soils.
2000 years later—it is still the soils. If we fail to accept his message or try to dabble in it, we will never become strong in the Lord. In addition, if we try to live with one foot in the world and one in Christ, we will be choked out and rendered useless. It is only when we submit to his leadership and grow in our faith that we are truly able to see the amazing impact he can have on our world thru us. We can choose to be Good soil by allowing him to prune, weed and nourish us through his word and godly fellowship. Then as we share his love we see fruit just as he did. Help me, Lord to follow your leadership and produce fruit.
God Bless You
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”