June 19, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 8

Today, in Daniel 8, we continue in the prophetic and eschatological section of the book of Daniel. This is what the ESV Study Bible says about today’s 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.”

This chapter is important for God’s people, because it was a warning to them. It was a warning meant to prepare them but also to give them a choice. They could either trust in God or trust in themselves during upcoming trials and suffering.

While we will probably not be facing the same type of persecution God’s people in Daniel were facing, we will face suffering and trials and we too have a choice to make: are you going to trust God or yourself in trials? Are you going to run from God or to God?

Make the choice now to see that God is your only hope in the middle of trials!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

June 18, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 7

Daniel 7 is primarily about the Son of Man. For Daniel and the people of the Old Testament, the coming of the Son of Man was greatly anticipated. In Daniel 7, the Son of Man is seen as having dominion and power. It says that “all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” The main verse to focus on is verses 17-18:

“These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”

If you look back over history, there have been nations described as having characteristics of the first three animals in our passage. The first beast like Nebuchadnezzar, which is seen in Jeremiah 49:19-22. The second beast like the Medo-Persian Empire. The third beast like the four kings of Greece that came after Alexander the Great. This is important to notice because all of these were mighty and strong empires that ultimately collapsed. They collapsed because God has all authority and control, not the empires. The Son of Man has more power and authority than any earthly power.

We know the Son of Man to be Jesus, and that is exactly who this passage is talking about. As I mentioned earlier, the Son of Man was much anticipated during this time and we should be grateful that we have the opportunity to know Jesus and have a relationship with Him. Also, we know and have hope that Jesus has all authority and one day He will conquer all nations! Praise God for the blessing of His Son and the fact we can have confidence for the judgement day.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

June 17, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 6

Thanks for being a faithful Jumpstart reader!  How is God using Jumpstart in your life? Please comment below and let us know.

I LOVE Daniel 6!  What an incredible chapter!  So much to learn from it!

Daniel was a leader (v.3)

Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps…

Daniel is a teenager – most believe between 17-19 years old.  God’s hand was on him in incredible ways. He must have had great parents who instilled the Bible into him and taught him how to stand up for what is right.

Jealousy is real (v.4)

People don’t like it when our righteous lifestyle convicts them of their sinful one.  This is true of lost and saved friends. Jesus told us:

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Matthew 5:10-12

Daniel was committed to God regardless of the cost (v.10)

When Daniel knew that the document was signed – the document that would send him into the den of hungry lions for not worshipping the king – he prayed anyway!  With his windows open for all to see – just like he did every day.

He was NOT going to let this stop him from worshipping and crying out to God.

God is a faithful Father (v.22)

God protected Him.  This was a major witness to a lost king and a watching world.

God is still the same… Be a leader – make a difference in your job or your school or in your neighborhood.  Jealousy is real – people may not applaud your efforts – but that’s okay. Be committed to God regardless of the cost.  Stay true and faithful to God and His Word because God is a faithful Father and He will protect and bless you.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

June 15, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 5

This is one of the most interesting stories in all of Scripture to me. Nowhere else in the Bible do you read about a human-hand writing on a wall! This is something I would expect to read in Goosebumps, but not the Bible.

Yet here we are, reading of King Belshazzar’s great feast for 1,000 of his nobles. He commands that the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem be brought to them, so they could drink wine from them, and while they drank from these cups they praised their own idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

The Jewish people had been in exile for quite some time now, and this was yet another slap in the face. They may have felt that their God was powerless because an earthly king was drinking from stolen cups worshiping other gods. King Belshazzar was trying to make a mockery of the Lord Most High.

But God showed his power and his faithfulness to his people in writing on the wall. Daniel revealed what the writing meant on the wall. Daniel tells Belshazzar about Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance and God’s Sovereignty. The message on the wall, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin,” meant that the Lord had “numbered” the days of Belshazzar’s reign and ended it. God “weighed” Belshazzar, sizing him up and seeing him as not being fit to rule. The Lord “divided” his kingdom and gave it to the Medes and Persians.

What Belshazzar failed to understand was that the God Most High that Daniel served was sovereign: he was in control and ruling over all Creation, including Babylonian kings. While Belshazzar worshiped idols and drank from the Temple cups, God was bringing up a different people to overthrow the Babylonians.

What can we take from this story?

First, we must realize the foolishness of worshiping idols. In the Old Testament, they worshiped carved images and statues of gold, silver, bronze, wood, and stone. Today, we often worship things like approval, power, money, sex, relationships, and anything that takes first place in our lives. We have to realize that God is the only one deserving of our adoration and praise.

Second, we must understand that God is sovereign. Since God rules over all creation, he has control of what goes on. He is mighty and powerful, yet loving and caring. Therefore, we can trust that in his goodness, God is working all things for our good. No matter what you go through you can trust that God is at work and cares for you.

Take some time today to confess to God any idols that you have been worshiping and thank God that in his sovereignty and goodness, he is working in your life.

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice