Faithfully Standing For ____??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #704

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #704  Faithfully Standing For ____???

 

And when thou prayest,

thou shalt not be

as the hypocrites are:

for they love to pray

standing in the synagogues

and in the corners of the streets,

that they may be seen

of men.

Verily I say unto you,

They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest,

enter into thy closet,

and when thou hast shut thy door,

pray to thy Father

which is in secret;

and thy Father which seeth in secret

shall reward thee openly.”  Matthew 6:5-6

This may seem like an odd continuation of our study of Daniel’s character, but in our last session, I believe we saw this principle in action!  Daniel and his friends didn’t whine and complain that they couldn’t “obey”; they didn’t make demands of their “captors”—or if you would, their adversaries—rather they behaved with respect toward those who were over them and went to God with their plight!  How about you and me?  Now, don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with public prayer that lifts others and calls our hearts to join in praise, adoration, and petition for those in need (even ourselves), but we are talking about taking our issues before God rather than men!  Why?  Because if it is God that we truly know and serve, then He should always be our first source of help!  OH, that I could learn to do this better and continually!  For, you see, we have something that Daniel and his friends didn’t have, the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide, teach and support us—God in us and with us continually, the very promise of the New Covenant!  Jesus’ own promise to His followers—even us!

These things have I spoken unto you,

being yet present with you.

26 But the Comforter,

which is the Holy Ghost,

whom the Father will send

in my name,

he shall

teach you all things,

and bring

all things to your remembrance,

whatsoever I have said

unto you.”  John 14:25-26

Now don’t presume on this promise—it is not a promise for instant “knowledge” or “wisdom” from God, but Jesus said that His Holy Spirit would bring things to our “REmembrance”; but if you haven’t taken the time to “member” God’s Word and know His ways by study, exercising truth, and applying it to your life, you won’t have anything to “REmember”!  I love what the author of Hebrews proclaims to God’s children—we have a King and we have been given the privilege to come to HIM who is on the throne—boldly!  Not presumptuously, but as a little child who knows “my daddy” can take care of anything!  Where are you running to when you are in need?  Won’t you stand with me and join Daniel in staying before that amazing and wonderful throne of God!  He is always ‘right’, and ‘right here’ when we will avail ourselves of HIS presence!

Seeing then that we have a great high priest,

that is passed into the heavens,

Jesus the Son of God,

let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not an high priest

which cannot be touched

with the feeling of our infirmities;

but was in all points tempted

like as we are,

yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore

come boldly

unto the throne

of grace,

that we may obtain

mercy,

and find

grace to help

in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16

Now maybe I’m the only one, but I find that my needs are ever present and continual—oh, to be found pursuing HIS presence and supply rather than my own, or the flimsy solutions of the world!  That was Daniel’s very way of life, even in his youth.  And I praise God for those young friends who encourage my heart that God is still raising up young people who love HIM and are ready to seek, serve and share HIM with others!  Let us be faithful to pray for our young people as we encourage them to Bible study and holy living; even as the Apostle Paul encouraged his young protégé, Timothy, to pursue God with courage, and not be stopped short because of his youth!

For bodily exercise profiteth little:

but godliness is profitable unto all things,

having promise of the life that now is,

and of that which is to come.

9 This is a faithful saying

and worthy of all acceptation.

10 For therefore we both

labour

and suffer reproach,

because we trust in the living God,

who is the Saviour of all men,

specially of those that believe.

11 These things

command and teach.

12 Let no man

despise thy youth;

but be thou an example

of the believers,

in word,

in conversation,

in charity,

in spirit,

in faith,

in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:8-12

And may I just add that Daniel was a perfect example of this kind of godly commitment to faithful seeking, serving and sharing his faith in God; and we’ll begin our look at chapter 2 in our next post, but I do want to share a portion to whet your appetite, to recognize the understanding and wisdom of these young men of faith who found themselves serving a Nebuchadnezzar!  How about you?  Are you resting in this awesome GOD, or something less?  Do you know HIM in all these characteristics?

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel

in a night vision.

Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel answered and said,

Blessed be the name of God

for ever and ever:

for wisdom and might

are his:

21 And he changeth

the times and the seasons:

he removeth kings,

and setteth up kings:

he giveth wisdom

unto the wise,

and knowledge

to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth

the deep and secret things:

he knoweth

what is in the darkness,

and the light

dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee,

and praise thee,

O thou God of my fathers,

who hast given me wisdom

and might,

and hast made known

unto me now

what we desired of thee:

for thou hast now made known

unto us

the king’s matter.”  Daniel 2:19-23

May God encourage your heart today and remind each of us, that no matter what “Nebuchadnezzars” we may live under—God is still KING, and HE still expects us to “quit you like men” and live faithfully like we believe what we profess!  God is still on HIS throne—and HE “never says oops”!

Amen and Amen!!!

Willing To Wait & Trust??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 17

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 17 Willing To Wait & Trust???

 

As we continue in our study of Daniel’s character and that of his three close friends, today we will consider their trust in their God in the midst of a crises of faith and obedience.  Their personal faith and integrity are put to the test in the midst of their Babylonian captivity and service to King Nebuchadnezzar.  But let’s rehearse Daniel’s mindset in the midst of his circumstances.

But Daniel purposed

in his heart

that he would not defile

himself

with the portion of the king’s meat,

nor with the wine which he drank:….”    Daniel 1:8a

This young man (and his 3 friends) had made up his mind and set his heart on God and his faith in Him, with a determination to be faithful to the law of his God, regardless of the circumstances or the consequences.  But the thing I want us to focus on is the rest of verse 8 which shows us Daniel’s behavior with decorum!  What about us—you and me?  What does our behavior reveal?  Sometimes mine just plain slips off the page; how about you?  I need this lesson whether you do or not!  I want to be found faithfully waiting on my Lord with decorum—not the flesh!!!

…therefore

he requested

of the prince of the eunuchs

that he might not defile

himself.”  Daniel 1:8b

Here we find Daniel behaving with that “decorum” that we spoke about last week; behavior that was a reflection of the glory of his God.  Which, in the later years of his life, even his enemies had to admit was the lodestar of his life and behavior.  Note, this passage took place close to 70 years later (a man of some 80-90 years old, and he was still a man of honor, integrity and faithfulness to his God) than the events of chapter 1.

Then the presidents and princes

sought to find occasion against Daniel

concerning the kingdom;

but they could find none occasion nor fault;

forasmuch as he was faithful,

neither was there any error or fault

 found in him.

5 Then said these men,

We shall not find any occasion

against this Daniel,

except we find it

against him

concerning the law

of his God.”   Daniel 6:4-5

Not only did his enemies recognize his integrity (even though they used it against him, God had other plans!) but King Darius recognized in Daniel a heart, mind and life that was different—and it was all due to his service to his GOD! What about you and me?  What would our enemies say about us?

Then the king commanded,

and they brought Daniel,

and cast him into the den of lions.

Now the king spake and said unto Daniel,

Thy God

whom thou servest continually,

he will deliver thee

…Then the king arose very early in the morning,

and went in haste

unto the den of lions.

20 And when he came to the den,

he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel:

and the king spake

and said to Daniel,

O Daniel,

servant of the living God,

is thy God,

whom thou servest continually,

able to deliver thee

from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king,

O king, live for ever.

22 My God hath sent his angel,

and hath shut the lions’ mouths,

that they have not hurt me:

forasmuch as before him

innocency was found in me;

and also before thee,

O king,

have I done no hurt.”  Portions of Daniel 6:16-22

The Apostle Peter had a similar thing to say to believers in times of trials, suffering and persecution.

For this is thankworthy,

if a man for conscience toward God

endure grief,

suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it,

if, when ye be buffeted

for your faults,

ye shall take it patiently?

but if, when ye do well,

and suffer for it,

ye take it patiently,

this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto

were ye called:

because Christ also suffered for us,

leaving us an example,

that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin,

neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who,

when he was reviled,

reviled not again;

when he suffered,

he threatened not;

but committed himself

to him that judgeth righteously:”   1 Peter 2:19-23

We see this same kind of commitment in the young man Daniel; he who also “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously”!  How about you and me?  Are we trusting to God to take care of us when we suffer unjustly or are you like me; getting out your pencil and paper and figuring out what “we” need to do.  I think we can learn a lot from Daniel and his friends about trusting, waiting and allowing God to provide in His way, in His time and for His purposes.  And what we’re going to see in the next few weeks as we peruse Daniel’s story, is how God will show Himself faithful time and time again, when we will but love HIM, obey HIM and then just “let God BE God”!

In verse 8 we saw Daniel asking “permission”—well, pardon me, “I” am “entitled”!!!  NOT necessarily, let’s see what Daniel’s experience was; and WHO was really in charge!

Now God

had brought Daniel into

favour

and tender love

with the prince of the eunuchs.

10 And the prince of the eunuchs

said unto Daniel,

I fear my lord the king,

who hath appointed your meat

and your drink:

for why should he see

your faces worse liking

than the children which

are of your sort?

then shall ye make me endanger

my head to the king.

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar,

whom the prince of the eunuchs

had set over

Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants,

I beseech thee,

ten days;

and let them give us pulse to eat,

and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances

be looked upon before thee,

and the countenance

of the children that eat

of the portion of the king’s meat:

and as thou seest,

deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them

in this matter,

and proved them

ten days.”   Daniel 1:9-14

Daniel went, if you would, through ‘channels’ and asked the first level for permission; but when this guy thought about it, he said he was fearful of his “head” if he disobeyed the King’s edict.  Then Daniel went to the next in line and offered a solution to the danger in giving them this leeway of their food and drink.  He asked the official to simply test them for 10 days and then he could decide how they appeared, and Daniel said they would abide by his decision.  No ‘doubting, pouting, and dropping outing’ but a willingness to pursue obedience and trust God for the outcome!  We must abandon our “western” mindset of demanding our way—or no way.  Or if you would, “it’s my way or the highway”!  I don’t know about you, but I wrestle with letting go of “my way” and pursuing and trusting to God’s plan without reservation……as Peter said, we ought to be committing ourselves “to him that judgeth righteously”!!  God is absolutely trustworthy!

The results are amazing when we let “God be God”, and simply do what God asks us to do, and be what HE has transformed us to be!

Whether therefore

ye eat,

or drink,

or whatsoever ye do,

do all to the glory of God.”  1 Corinthians 10:31

And back to Daniel 1:

And at the end of ten days

their countenances appeared

fairer

 and fatter in flesh

than all the children

which did eat the portion

of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away

the portion of their meat,

and the wine that they should drink;

and gave them pulse.

17 As for these four children,

God gave them knowledge

and skill

in all learning

and wisdom:

and Daniel

had understanding

in all visions

and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days that the king

had said he should bring them in,

then the prince of the eunuchs

brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them;

and among them all

was found none

like Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah:

therefore stood they before the king.

20 And in all matters

of wisdom

and understanding,

that the king enquired of them,

he found them ten times better

than all the magicians and astrologers

that were in all his realm.”    Daniel 1:15-20

So, what do we conclude?  You can make your own conclusions, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”, trusting to His love, care and provision in every matter; and pursue His ways and not my/our own!   Are you ready and willing to trust and wait on God?  I think we better learn, and learn quickly!

Jesus puts it pretty concisely:

Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit

of itself,

except it abide in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide

in me.

5 I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth

much fruit:

for without me

ye can do nothing.”  John 15:4-5

Amen and Amen!!!

Commitment With Character??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #703

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #703   Commitment With Character???

 

But Daniel purposed in his heart

that he would not defile himself

with the portion of the king’s meat,

nor with the wine which he drank:

therefore he requested

of the prince of the eunuchs

that he might not

defile himself.”  Daniel 1:8

Last time we talked about the circumstances that brought Daniel to Babylon; and while they were difficult things to deal with, Daniel was a young man committed to God, as well as a young man with dignity, integrity, character and a most godly demeaner—also known as decorum.

Decorumdignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc.

WOW!  What a mouthful!  Many today don’t even know what decorum is, much less desire to exhibit it in their lives.  Daniel could have been the poster-boy for decorum in all his ways—especially his devotion to God and the ways in which he reflected his God to a lost, pagan culture who had taken him captive far from his own home.  For most of us, we’d have been ready to “doubt, pout and drop out”; in fact, I think most of his companions from Jerusalem did just that, for we never hear anything more of the others who were also chosen for training for service to King Nebuchadnezzar.  But Daniel and his three like-minded friends became men of honor and valor in a difficult place, through whom God made Himself known in a dark place.  A place where they were suffering the consequences of other’s choices.  But their valor was evident to many in amazing ways.

Valorboldness or determination in facing great danger….heroic courage; bravery.

Daniel and his friends determined to be faithful to their God with a heart of humility (not whining, pouting or blaming God for their situation!) that God used to make a difference; not only in their lives but also in the the lives of others, as they lived out their commitment to God with respect, and a character that set them apart from others.  We will see this as we continue this series and see see what God provided for them in ways made evident to those willing to really see!

All this began with Daniel’s decision to set “his heart” on God no matter the consequences!  Oh, that we could learn to have such faith, decorum and valor! Oh, how we need more “Daniels” today!  Godly men, women, boys and girls, who love Jesus and are willing to stand against the tide of popularity and greed and be humbly faithful to our Lord Jesus and Father God, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and truth!  Oh, God raise up Daniel’s to make a difference in our world today, and “let it begin with me”?

While Daniel had probably been ceremonially defiled already at the hand of his Babylonian captors, he made up his mind to never do anything to “defile” himself before his God!  What about you and me?  What have we decided to do about our lives in a world gone crazy?  Will we “withstand in the evil day” (See Ephesians 6:10+) or will we just throw in the towel and quit?  Will we cave to the pressure of our peers and join in the chaos or will we speak “the truth in love” (See Ephesians 4:15 & 1 John 3:18) regardless of the consequences.  Remember that Jesus told us that when we follow Him and live righteous lives, as HE called us to, we will often have to endure persecution and suffering!

These things I command you,

that ye love one another.

18 If the world hate you,

ye know that it hated me

before it hated you.

19 If ye were of the world,

the world would love his own:

but because ye are not of the world,

but I have chosen you

out of the world,

therefore the world

hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you,

The servant is not greater

than his lord.

If they have persecuted me,

they will also persecute you;

if they have kept my saying,

they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things

will they do unto you

for my name’s sake,

because they know not him

that sent me.”  John 15:17-21

I remember years ago when we were helping to start a new church, someone gave us some advice on seeking a pastor; they told us that we needed to look for the “oldest godly young preacher-boy” that we could find!  I thought that was one of the most profound pieces of advice that I had ever heard; and we followed that advice and found a young man who had a great heart for God, and a wisdom beyond his “young years”—in other words we were blessed to find the “oldest godly young” man who served, blessed and helped us do God’s work in that little church!  Daniel fit that bill!  He was a godly young man with wisdom, devotion and character beyond his years.  What about you and me?  Now, I’m way beyond the “young” years part, but I know many my age who still have no wisdom and willingness to be “God’s” man and woman!  How about you?  Are you still stuck in what the author of Hebrews calls the “babies” of the faith?  Or will you “quit you like men” and “withstand in the evil day”!  And if you haven’t noticed, we are there!

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,

ye have need that one teach you again

which be the first principles

of the oracles of God;

and are become such as have need of milk,

and not of strong meat.

13 For every one that useth milk

is unskilful in the word of righteousness:

for he is a babe.

14 But strong meat

belongeth to them that are of full age,

even those who by reason of use

have their senses exercised

to discern

both good and evil.”  Hebrews 5:12-14

Watch ye,

stand fast in the faith,

quit you like men,

be strong.

14 Let all your things

be done with charity.”  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

And in closing this session, Daniel gives us a great example in verse 8; “therefore he requested”!  Daniel didn’t pout, pitch a fit, or demand his way!  He simply made up his mind and set his “heart” on God and did right with humility, character, and respect for the authorities over him.  He “requested” permission to do that which would be acceptable to his GOD and left the results with his God!  Join us next time to see the results (or you could read ahead and see for yourself before then!)!  What an awesome God we serve—the same awesome God that Daniel served with commitment and godly character!  The choice is yours, but there is a test!

Amen and Amen!

Disappointed Or Devoted??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #702

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #702   Disappointed Or Devoted???

 

Continuing in our examination of Daniel’s experiences with God, we will begin with a verse from Job that is one of my favorites, for it expresses the trust that I share with Job, and I believe Daniel and his friends.

Though he slay me,

yet will I trust in him:

but I will

maintain mine own ways

before him.”  Job 13:15. Amen and Amen!

May this ever be our heart’s cry and the delight of our life?  As we continue our look at Daniel, I would ask you to consider what you will do when we are called to be under a Nebuchadnezzar?  Will you be a Daniel, and trust to God’s perfect care, or will you “doubt, pout and drop out”?  The choice is yours, but the consequences won’t affect just your life; they will affect those around you, those watching your so-called life of “faith”!  Where does your faith stand?  In God or your ability to control you own circumstances?  Whom do you trust?  Can we proclaim with Job the truth of our Lord and Savior?

For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand

at the latter day

upon the earth:

26 And though after my skin worms

destroy this body,

yet in my flesh

shall I see God:

27 Whom I shall see

for myself,

and mine eyes

shall behold,

and not another;

though my reins be consumed

within me.”  Job 19:25-27

Life or death can never separate a true believer from Jesus!

Jesus said unto her,

I am the resurrection,

and the life:

he that believeth in me,

though he were dead,

yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth

in me

shall never die.

Believest thou this?”  John 11:25-26

Just as Jesus asked Mary if she believed, He is asking us today, “do you believe” me—not just “in” me, but believe “ME” for life, now and in the future?  Daniel was faced with the most extreme of trials, let’s see what he did.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim

king of Judah

came Nebuchadnezzar

king of Babylon

unto Jerusalem,

and besieged it.

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah

into his hand,

with part of the vessels

of the house of God:

which he carried

into the land of Shinar

to the house of his god;

and he brought the vessels

into the treasure house

of his god.”  Daniel 1:1-2

Here we have the background of the situation with Daniel and his friends; the people of Judah (the southern 2 tribes of Israel, upon the division of the nation after Solomon’s death).  The northern 10 tribes (called Israel) had already gone into captivity to the Assyrians some 100 years earlier, but Judah had been spared because of God’s grace and some good kings (the northern tribes never had a good king, although some were less wicked than others, they all rejected God).  But Judah had refused to respond to the preaching of Jeremiah the prophet to repent, so God’s judgment has come upon them, and God has given them into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  Yet, there were those who were faithful to The Lord God Almighty of Israel and Daniel and his friends were a part of the faithful remnant within Judah, but you see—a principle that America needs to grasp—when God judges a nation, even the righteous are affected, and Daniel and his friends give us an awesome picture of the character of the godly when they suffer.  Peter had some things to say to us about this as well, it’s a bit lengthy, but I think it will benefit us to consider this important passage.

For this is thankworthy,

if a man for conscience toward God

endure grief,

suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it,

if, when ye be buffeted for your faults,

ye shall take it patiently?

but if, when ye do well,

and suffer for it,

ye take it patiently,

this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto

were ye called:

because Christ also suffered

for us,

leaving us an example,

that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin,

neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled,

reviled not again;

when he suffered,

he threatened not;

but committed himself

to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self

bare our sins

in his own body

on the tree,

that we,

being dead to sins,

should live unto righteousness:

by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep

going astray;

but are now returned

unto the Shepherd and Bishop

of your souls.”  1 Peter 2:19-25

And just as a reminder in the same letter, Peter reminds believers that our call is to faithful devotion, service and submission to whatever God may allow into our lives.  HE is trustworthy, and His purposes are often beyond what we can see, understand or comprehend!

Beloved, think it not strange

concerning the fiery trial

which is to try you,

as though some strange thing

happened unto you:

13 But rejoice,

inasmuch as ye are partakers

of Christ’s sufferings;

that, when his glory shall be revealed,

ye may be glad also

 with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached

for the name of Christ,

happy are ye;

for the spirit of glory and of God

resteth upon you:

on their part

he is evil spoken of,

but on your part

he is glorified.

15 But let none of you suffer

as a murderer,

or as a thief,

or as an evildoer,

or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

16 Yet if any man suffer

as a Christian,

let him not be ashamed;

but let him glorify God

on this behalf.

17 For the time is come

that judgment must begin

at the house of God:

and if it first begin at us,

what shall the end be

of them that obey not

the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved,

where shall the ungodly

and the sinner

appear?

19 Wherefore let them that suffer

according to the will of God

commit the keeping of their souls

to him in well doing,

as unto a faithful Creator.”   1 Peter 4:12-19

This, along with Paul’s simple reminder that choices matter, of which we need to be mindful, continually.

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap.”  Galatians 6:7

So, as we look at Daniel’s situation, we can recognize that he was caught up in the “reaping” of the sin of his people, even though he and his friends were so obviously young men of integrity, and devotion to God.  Let’s consider what the next verses of Daniel 1 tell us.

3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz

the master of his eunuchs,

that he should bring certain

of the children of Israel,

and of the king’s seed,

and of the princes;

4 Children in whom was no blemish,

but well favoured,

and skilful in all wisdom,

and cunning in knowledge,

and understanding science,

and such as had

ability in them

to stand

in the king’s palace,

and whom they might teach

the learning

and the tongue

of the Chaldeans.

5 And the king appointed them

a daily provision of the king’s meat,

and of the wine which he drank:

so nourishing them three years,

that at the end thereof

they might stand before the king.

6 Now among these were

of the children of Judah,

Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah:

7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs

 gave names:

for he gave unto Daniel

the name of Belteshazzar;

and to Hananiah,

of Shadrach;

and to Mishael,

of Meshach;

and to Azariah,

of Abednego.”  Daniel 1:3-7

History tells us is that not only were these young men taken to Babylon for training in public service, but more than likely were also made eunuchs—after all they were under the “master of his eunuchs”, and while we see from our passage that they were outstanding and upstanding young men in the nation; chosen because of their looks and their intelligence; castration was in itself a ceremonial defilement to them (See Deuteronomy 23:1 & Leviticus 21:20). Yet, Daniel and his friends endured this shame, (this was common practice in pagan kingdoms—for many reasons), and while we don’t know how many were taken, (it could have been upwards of 100 young men) only these four are noted by God as faithful!

Consider the situation of Daniel and his friends for a minute, and then we’ll close till next time; Daniel was a young man (probably a mid-teen youth) with intelligence, good looks, and who had no defect.  He is being taken away from his home, his family, and friends to a distant place to learn a foreign language, to be put into service to a pagan king/kingdom, to be trained (literally brain-washed to accept the culture of the kingdom) for civil service; and on top of all that, they were each given a Babylonian name (look up their Jewish names in contrast to the new ones—you may be surprised by what you find)! That’s a boatload, of heartache, but that’s not all, these young men would be inundated with the king’s food and drink.  WOW, that sounds great to most of us, but here are young men with religious convictions in regard to food and drink—in particular, not only the food itself, but the fact that it would have been offered upon idolatrous, pagan altars before it was served to them.  What was Daniel to do?  His friends? Well, we’ll look at verse 8 and leave you to ponder Daniel’s choice, and consider the answer next time!

But Daniel purposed

in his heart

that he would not defile himself

with the portion

of the king’s meat,

nor with the wine

which he drank:”   Daniel 1:8a

Daniel could have been “dis-appointed” in his circumstances, but I truly believe that he was keeping a divine “HIS-appointment”!  Will you see your ‘disappointment’ as “HISappointment”, and stand devotedly with Job and Daniel, or be one who “doubts—pouts—and drops out”?   It’s your choice—but there is a test!

Blessings on your week!

Amen and Amen!!!

Love Or Hate–May Not Be What You Think??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 16

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 16 Love Or Hate–May Not Be What You Think???

 

This is the beginning article of a multi-week series in which I want us to consider the book of Daniel—not necessarily the prophetic emphasis, but rather a look at choices, character, honor, integrity, real courage, and devotion of Daniel (and his friends) to GOD!

But Daniel purposed in his heart

that he would not defile himself

with the portion of the king’s meat,

nor with the wine which he drank:

therefore he requested

of the prince of the eunuchs

that he might not defile himself.”   Daniel 1:8

Like many of you, I am just plain tired of the noise and clamor that is going on in our country—all the opinions, reports (true and false), and the voices all over the national media as well as social media.  Yet, contrary to popular belief haters may not be “hating” and those who claim to love may not truly “love”.  What I want to do is to lay out some foundational passages of scripture that will define the principles that I believe in and try to live by.  The other thing that must be set out in the beginning, and which I believe we must recognize and acknowledge, is that there IS the force of evil in the world, and it is “alive and well” in our culture, our world, yet there is coming a time of judgment by God’s standard not man’s!  I pray that you will consider these passages as we begin our series from Daniel.

My little children, these things write I unto you,

that ye sin not.

And if any man sin,

we have an advocate with the Father,

Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 And he is the propitiation

for our sins:

and not for ours only,

but also for the sins

of the whole world.

3 And hereby we do know that we know him,

if we keep his commandments.

4 He that saith,

I know him,

and keepeth not his commandments,

is a liar,

and the truth

is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word,

in him verily is the love of God perfected:

hereby know we that we are in him.”  1 John 2:1-5

In this the children of God are manifest,

and the children of the devil:

whosoever doeth not righteousness

is not of God,

neither he that loveth not his brother.

11 For this is the message that ye heard

from the beginning,

that we should love one another.

12 Not as Cain,

who was of that wicked one,

 and slew his brother.

And wherefore slew he him?

Because his own works were evil,

and his brother’s righteous.

13 Marvel not, my brethren,

if the world hate you.”  1 John 3:10-12

Ye are of God, little children,

and have overcome them:

because greater is he that is in you,

than he that is in the world.

5 They are of the world:

therefore speak they of the world,

and the world heareth them.

6 We are of God:

he that knoweth God heareth us;

he that is not of God

 heareth not us.

Hereby know we the spirit of truth,

and the spirit of error.

7 Beloved, let us love one another:

for love is of God;

and every one that loveth

is born of God,

and knoweth God.

8 He that loveth not

knoweth not God;

for God is love.

9 In this was manifested the love of God

toward us,

because that God sent his only begotten Son

into the world,

that we might live

through him.

10 Herein is love,

not that we loved God,

but that he

loved us,

and sent his Son

to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us,

we ought also to love one another.”   1 John 4:4-11

For this is the love of God,

that we keep his commandments:

and his commandments

are not grievous.

4 For whatsoever is born of God

overcometh the world:

and this is the victory that overcometh the world,

even our faith. ‘

5 Who is he that overcometh the world,

but he that believeth that Jesus

is the Son of God?”  1 John 5:3-5

Do you see how God’s “love” is manifest?  He sent Jesus to be the “propitiation” (payment in full for our sin debt—see Rom. 3:23 & 6:23) for sin.  Love takes a stand for truth and righteousness—love doesn’t compromise the TRUTH, for Jesus IS truth (See John 14:6)!  What ‘truth’ is our culture clinging to, while it professes “love—love—love” yet denies and defies GOD!   Another important passage that defines much of what I have to say is from the prophet Isaiah.

Woe unto them

that draw iniquity with cords of vanity,

and sin as it were with a cart rope:

19 That say,

Let him make speed,

and hasten his work,

that we may see it:

and let the counsel of the Holy One

of Israel

draw nigh and come,

that we may know it!

20 Woe unto them

that call evil good,

and good evil;

that put darkness

for light,

and light

for darkness;

that put bitter

for sweet,

and sweet

for bitter!

21 Woe unto them

that are wise

in their own eyes,

and prudent

in their own sight!

22 Woe unto them

that are mighty

to drink wine,

and men of strength

to mingle strong drink:

23 Which justify the wicked

for reward,

and take away the righteousness

of the righteous

from him!”  Isaiah 5:18-23

While Isaiah’s words were addressed to the conditions in his day, they are totally apropos to our culture today—and I believe this is the root of the problem in our nation and our world—for men have redefined “evil” and “good”; the result is that we find ourselves with two sides who not only disagree but are diametrically opposed in the basic principles of truth, morality and decency.  How can we have meaningful, productive exchanges if we are speaking two different languages?  Not likely!  So as a follower of Jesus Christ, who has been born again by the blood of the Lamb, how are we to respond?  We MUST respond biblically, and with commitment to “stand fast in the evil day”—and yes there is “evil” afoot, whether you acknowledge and recognize it or not!  What does that look like?  Well, I hope to share my personal understanding of biblical truth and how we can apply it to our lives in these evil days.  I invite you to join me as we peruse and consider what God says, and while I will give my opinion and commentary, I pray that you will hear what God has to say, and study for yourself.  After all, it is God we will answer to, not men!

I would like to make some preliminary observations that are important to me and can hopefully be helpful and thought-provoking for you.

First and foremost, we have abandoned The God of The Word as well as The Word of God!  As a culture we no longer respect, honor or promote godly, biblical living, even within many of our churches.

Secondly, we have abandoned the biblical principle of the family.  What do I mean by “the family”?  I am referring to the God-established home of one man and one woman in marriage for life, to comfort, be companionable to one another, sharing life together, as well as to procreate the human race.  God makes it clear that from the “beginning” (which we have also abandoned—the very foundation of scripture, God, man, and the God-breathed creation of all that exists, we deny not only the Genesis account, but the many other scriptures replete with the truth that God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit were present at creation and all things hinge on their creative power and love!) God knew we would fail and sin, yet He created us anyway, and had already made provision for our salvation through the Lamb of God who “takes away the sin of the world”!  But we must recognize and acknowledge that SIN is the issue! (See Genesis 1-3: John 1:1-5: Colossians 1:12-17: Hebrews 1:1-4; Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20 for more insight!)

In our homes, we have, as a nation, failed our children by teaching (by example if nothing else) our young people that sex is a toy—our young women can (and are almost encouraged to) have babies out of wedlock.  How can I say that?  Well, just look around you, we financially support these young women, yet if they choose to marry and live “moral” lives with the man with whom they are sleeping, they get no “support”, no “medical care” or other help.  But if they just “shack-up” denying the benefits of godly marriage, they will get their “check”!  One reason our country is falling apart with floundering children raised without fathers in the home, with no compunction (look it up) to live morally—yes biblical morality!  Also, we have not only accepted sexual perversion but promoted it, in our educational institutions—taxpayer funded institutions–as well as our churches.  I might also add, we have turned our children loose to the influences of “Hellywood” and in many cases exert no control or interest in what we allow to influence them—often because the parents practice the same things.  We allow (even encourage) our small children, as well as our teenagers, to dress like, act like, pursue and follow people of ungodly character, lude and immodest attire, with outright vulgar and wicked songs, actions, movies and other media influences.  Then we wonder what’s wrong with our culture!  Pardon my French, but “DUH”? Where have we put God?

The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen

to nought:

he maketh the devices of the people

of none effect.

11 The counsel of the LORD ‘

standeth for ever,

the thoughts of his heart

to all generations.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD;

and the people whom he hath chosen

for his own inheritance.

13 The LORD looketh from heaven;

he beholdeth all the sons of men.”   Psalm 33:10-13

Happy is that people,

that is in such a case: yea,

happy is that people,

whose God is the LORD.”  Psalm 144:15

Happy is he

that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope

is in the LORD his God:

6 Which made heaven, and earth,

the sea,

and all that therein is:

which keepeth truth

for ever:”  Psalm 146:5-6

Be not deceived:

evil communications

corrupt good manners.”   1 Corinthians 15:33]

We can choose to honor, worship and obey The God Almighty of creation—The God of the Bible—or we can walk in the world’s ways and devices and reap the consequences.

The Proverbs speak so well to the fate of those who reject God and His ways.

Turn you at my reproof:

behold,

I will pour out my spirit

unto you,

I will make known my words

unto you.

24 Because I have called,

and ye refused;

I have stretched out my hand,

and no man regarded;

25 But ye have set at nought

all my counsel,

and would none of my reproof:

26 I also will laugh

at your calamity;

I will mock

when your fear cometh;

27 When your fear cometh

as desolation,

and your destruction cometh

as a whirlwind;

when distress and anguish cometh

upon you.

28 Then shall they call upon me,

but I will not answer;

they shall seek me early,

but they shall not find me:

29 For that they hated

knowledge,

and did not choose

the fear of the LORD:

30 They would none of my counsel:

they despised all my reproof.

31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit

of their own way,

and be filled

with their own devices.

32 For the turning away of the simple

shall slay them,

and the prosperity of fools

shall destroy them.

33 But whoso hearkeneth

unto me

shall dwell safely,

and shall be quiet

from fear of evil.”  Proverbs 1:23-33

And Jeremiah’s word to Israel is so fitting for us today.

And at what instant I shall speak

concerning a nation,

and concerning a kingdom,

to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight,

that it obey not my voice,

then I will repent of the good,

wherewith I said

I would benefit them.

11 Now therefore go to,

speak to the men of Judah,

and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

saying,

Thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I frame

evil against you,

and devise a device

against you:

return ye now every one

from his evil way,

and make your ways

and your doings

good.

12 And they said,

There is no hope:

but we will walk

 after our own devices,

 and we will every one

do the imagination

of his evil heart.”   Jeremiah 18:9-12

I don’t like to be all doom and gloom, but real love speaks truth; it warns of danger.  If I were to shout at people to not continue down a road where the bridge was out, you wouldn’t call it “hate”, you’d call it “love”; yet we have called “evil good….and good evil” and reject those who warn us of moral danger.  We can’t escape the consequences if we continually fail to recognize our error or turn to Jesus in repentance and faith!

Paul in his letter to the Thessalonian church, advises us that in the last days those who choose wrongly will reap the consequence of their choice—because God is righteous, holy, and just as well as “love”—and if you/I reject truth, He will allow each one who willfully rejects HIM to believe the lie.  Real love will warn you that sin is to your detriment; but you must decide what you will do with real love and truth, and remember, saying you won’t choose, is choosing!

And then shall that Wicked be revealed,

whom the Lord shall consume

with the spirit of his mouth,

and shall destroy

with the brightness of his coming:   

9 Even him,

whose coming is after the working of Satan

with all power

and signs

and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness

of unrighteousness

in them that perish;

because they received not

the love of the truth,

that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause

God shall send them strong delusion,

that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned

who believed not the truth,

but had pleasure

in unrighteousness.”    2 Thessalonians 2:8-12

Yet there is hope, if you will but turn to Jesus, who saves, transforms and delivers us from the penalty of sin, and its power over us!  And HE is coming to deliver us from the very presence of sin!  How about you?  Are you ready?  Will you believe the truth while you have the opportunity, or will you be deceived when the time comes and believe the lie and doom your soul (and probably the souls of those around you!)?  I pray that you will hear the truth from a loving heart, and come to Jesus today.  And if you belong to Jesus, please stop whining (perilous times are here) and “stand fast in the evil day” by keeping your eyes on “the prize”, Jesus, (See Phil. 3:13-15) and digging into HIS Word not the world’s words of deceit and delusion.  Paul gave the Thessalonians a powerful word of encouragement after the grave warning from his loving heart.

But we are bound to give thanks

alway to God

for you,

brethren beloved of the Lord,

because God hath from the beginning chosen you

to salvation

through sanctification of the Spirit

and belief of the truth:

14 Whereunto he called you

by our gospel,

to the obtaining of the glory

of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 Therefore, brethren,

stand fast,

and hold the traditions

which ye have been taught,

whether by word, or our epistle.

16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself,

and God, even our Father,

which hath loved us,

and hath given us

everlasting consolation

and good hope through grace,

17 Comfort your hearts,

and stablish you

in every good word

and work.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

Amen and Amen!!!