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August 27, 2014

Today you should read: Daniel 9

Vs. 1-2 Daniel had observed from the books of the prophets, primarily Jeremiah, that there would be a time of desolation and calamity for Jerusalem because of the sin of God’s people.  You can see the same thing Daniel likely saw in Jeremiah 25:8-14 and 29:10-14.  This time of judgment and desolation at the hands of Babylon would last 70 years.

 

Vs. 3-19 Daniel’s response to what he read was to go before the Lord in a passionate prayer of confession and repentance on behalf of God’s people.  He acknowledged the sin of his forefathers and pleaded for the Lord to restore them for the Lord’s glory.  Verse 19 is a great summary of the entire prayer:

“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”—Daniel 9:19

Vs. 20-27 There is so much information contained in these verses that it would take multiple pages to cover all of it.  So, let me keep it short and sweet.

Daniel’s prayer garnered an immediate response.  The Lord spoke to Daniel through the angel Gabriel, who spoke to Daniel some prophecy with some real specific time periods.  Contained in Gabriel’s response are prophecies about the coming Messiah.   We can look back now and see the remarkable accuracy of the timing of this prophecy.  This gives us more evidence of Christ as Messiah.

Ok.What can we do with this passage today? What does it have to do with us?  Here are a couple thoughts for application:

1. Pray- Daniel’s example of prayer and confession is admirable.  When he learned the reason for Israel’s desolation and judgment, he went to the Lord in repentance and dependence.  We can learn a lot from his example.  He prayed for his people.  He prayed for the city.  He prayed for God’s glory.  May we be a people who recognize God’s sovereignty and go to Him in dependent prayer and repentance for our city and for His glory.

2. Celebrate- The fact that the prophecy of Daniel about the coming Christ actually happened is something to celebrate.  Jesus came to the earth to put an end to sin and make atonement for our iniquity.  That’s good news.  I don’t want to just celebrate the “idea” that Jesus came and that it makes for a good fairy tale type of story;  I want to celebrate the “fact” that this stuff really did happen just as it was prophesied.  What a great story!  What a great gospel!

Posted by: Rich Duffield


August 26, 2014

Today you should read: Daniel 8

“But I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it” (Daniel 8:27b).

If you are anything like me after I read this chapter I felt just like Daniel. There seems to be a lot of bad stuff predicted and I can’t understand any of it. All I know is that there is one horned flying goat that means business. Well I want to take a moment to share what some biblical scholars have had to say about this chapter.

“The vision of the Ram, the Goat, and the little Horn: In this vision, Daniel sees what is to come of the Medo-Persian Empire, Alexander the Great’s empire, and the Hellenistic empires that succeed it. The upheavals to come will mean terrible times for the people of God, but they must endure, knowing that God rules over it all.” (ESV Study Bible Notes).

So God is showing Daniel what is about to happen among the nations at this time and letting him know that things are not going to be good for God’s people. This had to be disheartening to Daniel who is currently living in Babylon because the Babylonians came in and ravaged Israel. He knows what Persecution looks like and more is coming. Why did God show him this? I think the answer to this question will be helpful to all of us.

God wanted to remind his people that He was in control everything. 

25 talks about how the “little horn” will even rise up against the “Prince of princes” (God himself) but he will be broken by God “by no human hand.” There is comfort in these words because even in the midst of great struggle Daniel can rest in the fact that God ultimately has everything under control. This is not only a word for Daniel but it is a word for those who are believers in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 2:8 reminds us that all things are under the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope and comfort in times of trial is that our savior is king and ruler over all. Even if we face great trials in this world we know that ultimately we will be with him and He has defeated all things (Hebrews 2:14-18).

 Because of his faith Daniel continued to serve.

“Then I arose and went about the kings business” (v.27).

This statement caught my attention because I would be ready to quit or run and hide after hearing this news. Yet, Daniel not only did not quit, but he continued to engage the culture around him and faithfully served the Babylonian society. Often, we are unhappy with the things that our government does or the things that nations around us do. This can cause some of us to disengage with our culture but we must engage even more and be even more intentional because we as believers should have big picture goals. I challenge each of us to remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

Posted by: Chad Wiles


August 25, 2014

Today you should read: Daniel 7

Daniel 7 is wild stuff. It is so wild that at the end of the chapter, Daniel is visibly freaked out. He says, “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.” (Daniel 7:28 ESV).

There’s so much Biblical foreshadowing and prophecy here that it’s hard to know where to start and where to end. Actually, the rest of the book is in that vein. Chapters 7 thru 12 take us on quite a journey as the book of Daniel turns toward dreams, visions, end times, the coming Messiah, and more. The NLT Study Bible encapsulates it well: The second half of the book features visions given to Daniel. These visions showed Daniel and his people, both those in exile and those who had returned to Judea, that the future is securely in God’s hands. All empires will ultimately fall before the Kingdom of Heaven. Daniel’s people will be rescued from all their troubles (12:1-3), and God will resurrect and judge all humankind (12:13). Daniel interpreted these visions with help from divine messengers (7:10; 8:15; 9:22; 10:14; 12:7).

There are references to Jesus in this chapter that I don’t want us to miss. The two unmistakable ones are ANCIENT OF DAYS and SON OF MAN. The name Ancient of Days points us to Genesis 1, John 1, and Hebrews 13:8. Son of Man is mentioned all over the Bible, namely the psalms and by referenced by Jesus Himself. Here’s a great article on Jesus and the messianic name Son of Man.

As you read this passage, be encouraged, even if you don’t quite comprehend a lot of this, by these things:

1) God clearly has a plan for the future.

2) We are a part of His plan for the future!

3) Even God’s servants who received these dreams and messages didn’t have it all figured out. 

4) Jesus is the King of the Universe, and He will reign forever.

5) He’s coming back, y’all.

And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’ (Daniel 7:27 ESV) 

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6 ESV)

Posted by: Todd Thomas


August 23, 2014

Today you should read: Daniel 6

Welcome to one of the favorite stories of Sunday school history. This is one of the stories that we always teach and act out with kids in church. This story is a great picture how:

Our faith, lived out, is one of the greatest witnesses we can give to others

At any point Daniel could have decided to throw in the towel and just give up his faith. He has been taken as a slave to a foreign land and now is forced to serve as an advisor to the king who has enslaved him. For many of us it would be a difficult situation to follow through with our faith. Now, throw on top of that a night in a den of lions and most people would just give up. Daniel didn’t. He stood on his faith until the end. God delivered him miraculously from the lions and this amazing act of faith moved the king to make a decree that the whole kingdom was to revere and worship Daniel’s God.

So, here is a question for you to ask yourself today:

Does your faith live itself out in such a way as to move others to worship your God?

As you go about your day today think about how your faith is reflecting to others and ask yourself this question. Am I moving people to worship God by my faith?

Posted by: Robbie Byrd


August 22, 2014

Today you should read: Daniel 5

The modern day party scene is a place of indulgence. There’s no moderation. None. One thing almost always leads to another. It one of debauchery, drunken stupor, and nothing is sacred, women are disrespected and taken advantage of. It’s hedonism at it’s worst. Movies like “Project X, Neighbors, the Jump 21 Street movie series and most reality shows” glorifies this culture even more.

This culture is no different in Daniel chapter 5 as King Belshazzar is trying to impress 1,000 people (quite a party) and getting drunk with his wives and his personal prostitutes. One thing leads to another and the King says lets get drunk out of the golden vessels from the temple in Jerusalem. This is a serious offense to God because the temple is where He dwells and speaks. Once again, no shame. Nothing is sacred. Who cares? The King says. However God does care. And He still cares today. Some of this defilement of the temple may even sound familiar to you because God says something similar to us when we defile our modern day temples of God.

17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.-1 Corinthians 6:17-20

Let’s get back to Daniel to see what happens next…

God crashes the party and the king freaks out in Daniel 5:5-9. I mean I think you would too if you saw fingers, no hand, no body just writing on the wall of this magnificent palace. The king then asks all of these magicians/sages to try to read it’s writing and interpretation to no avail.

So in Daniel 5:10-16 the queen comes in and says “Hmm, I seem to remember some holy guy who had a lot of wisdom and could speak into these things.

So here comes Daniel the missionary to the partiers and what does he say?..

Daniel 5:17-21: Testimony of his father who was once prideful and sinful but repented and embraced the One True God.

Daniel 5:22-23: You are doing the exact opposite as you mock humility and instead party.

Daniel 5:24-30: Interprets the handwriting which says “Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin”

Mene: God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end;

Tekel: you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; So REPENT & Turn Away.

Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

The king then dresses Daniel in royalty and promised him to be third in line to rule the kingdom and then that night he was killed by the Medes and Persians who ransacked Babylon.

And God has the same message to us who may be tempted by this party scene or already head over heels in it. Unless you repent, you will stay in this selfish, sinful community and will face severe consequences. Do you know someone who is sucked into this scene? Maybe they need to hear this warning before God crashes their party as well. God will fulfill their longing for community with Jesus’ biblical community.

Posted by: Erik Koliser


August 21, 2014

Today you should read: Daniel 4

Our lives are for God’s glory – plain and simple – but we’ve bought the lie.  The lie that it is all about us – that we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps – that life is what I make it.  It simply isn’t true.  This is especially hard when we experience fame or success – as in our story today.

King Nebuchadnezzar had it all.  Everyone bowed down to him – he had the choicest of accommodations, food, and women.  He had everything anyone could ever want… but he forgot where it came from.  He began to think it was because of him – his wisdom – his ability – his leadership.

God gave him a dream.  God often spoke through dreams and the king knew it.  The dream bothered him – what could it mean?  He asked all his magicians, enchanters, astrologers and fortune-tellers – no one knew.  Then someone thought of Daniel – God lived in him and would enable him to understand the dream.  Daniel explained that the kingdom was soon to be taken from Nebuchadnezzar if he didn’t repent and do what’s right (v.27).  He simply refused – he had a hard heart.

So… God let him live like a crazy man – like a wild animal.  He ate grass like a cow, he lived outdoors, his hair was as long as eagle’s feathers and his nails were like bird claws.  This would continue until he learned “that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses.”

This is true today, too.  God still rules in the same way.  He’s the one that allows us to prosper and suffer – he lets you flourish in business – find the right guy – build a successful church.  He is the one that rules and gives success and prosperity to who HE chooses.

If you are living a life of prosperity – it’s because God allowed it and He wants you to use it for His glory.  If you don’t – He might take it away.  If you’re struggling – it’s because God wants to get your attention and turn your focus to Him.

Never forget the words God spoke to king Nebuchadnezzar, “the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses.”

Posted by: Tim Parsons


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