Faithful Pray-er Or Panic-er??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 23

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 23 Faithful Pray-er Or Panic-er??

 

As we finish up our look at Daniel and his friends, we look today at chapter 6, and we’ll see quite a contrast in kings and circumstances.  We looked last week at an arrogant king who had no regard for God or the lessons he had the opportunity to learn from; and saw that king meet his doom.  This week we’ll see the conquering king (although there were co-rulers in the empire, we will only consider one king) and even though a wise and discerning king, even the wise and discerning can be subject to ego, vanity and deceit.

In that night was Belshazzar

the king of the Chaldeans

slain.

31 And Darius the Median

took the kingdom,

being about threescore and two years old.”  Daniel 5:30-31

Darius the Mede has taken control of Babylon after invading the city, as God prophesied through Daniel and the “hand-writing on the wall”!  Have you been paying heed to the “hand-writing” on your wall?  Or will you be taken unaware?  If we will pay attention to God’s voice and hand at work in our life, then we will find ourselves able to practice a faithful prayer life like Daniel.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom

an hundred and twenty princes,

which should be over the whole kingdom;

2 And over these

three presidents;

of whom Daniel was first:

that the princes might give accounts

unto them,

and the king should have no damage.

3 Then this Daniel

was preferred

above the presidents

and princes,

because an excellent spirit

was in him;

and the king thought

to set him over the whole realm.

4 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.”  Daniel 6:1-4

Remember God’s blessing on Daniel and his three friends?

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 1:19-20

Each of these men along with Daniel had “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself”, and God honored their faithfulness in this hard place, by blessing them with ability and success in all of their endeavors. How does your faithfulness and mine measure up against such integrity?  I hope well, but it doesn’t come without effort and devotion to God and His Word.  God displayed his faithfulness and revealed himself through his faithful servants in a pagan land; and I believe there is a parallel for our consideration today—we are finding ourselves living in a pagan land—a land that is defying the Lord God Almighty; redefining virtually everything that HE has established, for greed, gain and self-promotion.  How will we stand?  For how long?  Daniel has proven himself faithful for some 70 years in Babylon, and even the new Median King Darius sees the integrity and ability in “this Daniel” and promotes him to a place of honor and service; while he is considering an even greater promotion to chief in the land (under the king, of course)!  BUT—not everyone was excited about Daniel’s integrity or his success.  Why?  I think for the same greed, gain and self-promotion that pervades our culture today.  And I think, if you look closely, you’ll find the same tactics used these thousands of years ago, are being used today.  Satan’s tactics never change.  Let’s look?

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

I find it interesting that even Daniel’s enemies couldn’t find any “occasion against” him in the affairs of state; and just like politicians today, I’m sure they left no stone unturned to find some.  Yet, these men in their eagerness to discredit Daniel, realized that they would have to be cunning and wily to discredit Daniel and could only trip him up with the “law of his God”.  The very thing that brought him into favor with Nebuchadnezzar, would now be used to try and bring him into disfavor with King Darius.  How hard would people have to look to find cause for discrediting us?  For most of us—including me—not very far.  We have all made bad choices, mistakes and just outright failures; but Daniel was a man of total honor, integrity and devotion to his God.  How about you/me?  These enemies went after Daniel in a way that brings me shame, for my faithfulness and consistency is often lacking in regard to my prayer and study of God’s Word.  Let’s see what they come up with.

Then these presidents and princes

assembled together to the king,

and said thus unto him,

King Darius,

live for ever.

7 All the presidents of the kingdom,

the governors,

and the princes,

the counsellors,

and the captains,

 have consulted together

to establish a royal statute,

and to make a firm decree,

that whosoever shall ask

a petition of any God

or man

for thirty days,

 save of thee,

O king,

he shall be cast

into the den of lions.

8 Now, O king,

establish the decree,

and sign the writing,

that it be not changed,

according to the law

of the Medes and Persians,

which altereth not.

9 Wherefore king Darius

signed the writing

and the decree.”  Daniel 6:6-9

We ought to learn something from these men, a lesson in current affairs; their plan of attack started with a consensus of flattery, lies and deceit—ring any bells?  They told the king that “all” of the “leaders” had agreed to this plan—“all” that is, but Daniel.  But they left that part out!  They included only the information they wanted others to know about, the truth was irrelevant!  Sound familiar?  Then they flattered the king and used his ego to trap Daniel.  Are we so faithful to God that we could be trapped by our faithfulness?   This king fell into the trap of ego and self-importance, and we need to be careful of the trap.  And we also need to understand that the enemy doesn’t play by the same rules that we do!

So, back to Daniel, what does he do?

Now when Daniel knew

that the writing was signed,

he went into his house;

and his windows being open in his chamber

toward Jerusalem,

he kneeled upon his knees

three times a day,

and prayed,

and gave thanks before his God,

as he did aforetime.

11 Then these men assembled,

and found Daniel praying

and making supplication

before his God.

12 Then they came near,

and spake before the king

concerning the king’s decree;

Hast thou not signed a decree,

that every man that shall ask a petition

of any God or man

within thirty days,

save of thee, O king,

shall be cast into the den of lions?

The king answered and said,

The thing is true,

according to the law

of the Medes and Persians,

which altereth not.

13 Then answered they and said before the king,

That Daniel,

which is of the children of the captivity

of Judah,

regardeth not thee, O king,

nor the decree

that thou hast signed,

but maketh his petition

three times a day.”  Daniel 6:10-13

Here we find Daniel’s enemies gathered—probably at the only “prayer meeting” they’ve ever attended—to catch Daniel being faithful to his God.  And just FYI, when they come to find us faithful to our God, what will they find.  Will we be found continuing to be faithful?  Will we have to scramble to even know how to pray?  Or will we just count it too much trouble and cave to the culture around us?

Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

and whosoever will lose his life

for my sake

shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited,

if he shall gain the whole world,

and lose his own soul?

or what shall a man give

in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26

If you’re not following Him today, when do you intend to start?  God already had a plan for Daniel, who, like Job, knew in Whom he trusted.

Though he slay me,

yet will I trust in him:

but I will maintain mine own ways

before him.”  Job 13:15

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

God confirmed Daniel’s faith through this pagan king who had seen faithfulness in Daniel on more than one front.

Then the king,

when he heard these words,

was sore displeased with himself,

and set his heart on Daniel

to deliver him:

and he laboured till the going down

of the sun

to deliver him.

15 Then these men assembled unto the king,

and said unto the king,

Know, O king,

that the law of the Medes and Persians is,

That no decree nor statute

which the king establisheth

may be changed.

16 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.

17 And a stone was brought,

and laid upon the mouth of the den;

and the king sealed it with his own signet,

and with the signet of his lords;

that the purpose might not be changed

concerning Daniel.

18 Then the king went to his palace,

and passed the night fasting:

neither were instruments of musick

brought before him:

and his sleep went from him.”  Daniel 6:14-18

Darius knew by Daniel’s life of faithfulness and integrity that his God would deliver him.  What does our life tell others about our God?  Does our faithfulness cause even our enemies to look to our God?  Or do we look so much like the world that no one can see God in us?

As Peter tells us, our testimony in suffering can make a difference.

Dearly beloved,

I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,

abstain from fleshly lusts,

which war against the soul;

12 Having your conversation honest

among the Gentiles:

that, whereas they speak against you

as evildoers,

they may by your good works,

which they shall behold,

glorify God in the day of visitation.

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance

of man

for the Lord’s sake:

whether it be to the king,

as supreme;

14 Or unto governors,

as unto them that are sent

by him

for the punishment

of evildoers,

and for the praise of them

that do well.

15 For so is the will of God,

that with well doing

ye may put to silence

the ignorance of foolish men:

16 As free,

and not using your liberty

for a cloke of maliciousness,

but as the servants of God.

17 Honour all men.

Love the brotherhood.

Fear God.

Honour the king.”   1 Peter 2:11-17

So, what did Darius find in the morning?

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.

23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him,

and commanded that they should take Daniel

up out of the den.

So Daniel was taken up out of the den,

and no manner of hurt was found upon him,

because he believed in his God.”    Daniel 6:19-23

Daniel’s eyes were looking up to his GOD, not around at the lions; and his GOD delivered for Daniel’s good and HIS glory!  And, consequently, the destruction of the wicked, while God brought Daniel even greater honor.

And the king commanded,

and they brought those men

which had accused Daniel,

and they cast them into the den of lions,

them, their children, and their wives;

and the lions

had the mastery of them,

and brake all their bones in pieces

or ever they came at the bottom

of the den.

25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people,

nations, and languages,

that dwell in all the earth;

Peace be multiplied unto you.

26 I make a decree,

That in every dominion of my kingdom

men tremble and fear

before the God of Daniel:

for he is the living God,

and stedfast for ever,

and his kingdom

that which shall not

be destroyed,

and his dominion

shall be even unto the end.

27 He delivereth

and rescueth,

and he worketh signs

and wonders in heaven

and in earth,

who hath delivered Daniel

from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered

in the reign of Darius,

and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”   Daniel 6:24-28

Who or what is YOUR GOD?  Are your eyes on the prize—Jesus—or the lions—or the liars?

But thanks be to God,

which giveth us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren,

be ye stedfast,

unmoveable,

always abounding

in the work of the Lord,

forasmuch as ye know

that your labour

is not in vain in the Lord.”   1 Corinthians 15:57-58

May God bless and grow us in in HIS Word and HIS ways.  Keep looking up not around!  God hears and answers “prayers” not “panic”!

Amen and Amen!!!

Blooms Are Worth The Wait!!! Bible Ballistics Repost 22621

Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No.05  Blooms Are Worth The Wait!!!

A re-post that I felt we all might need today!

I love flowers. I love the beauty, the aroma (most of the time!), and the joy of watching those spikes and leaves pop up through the earth and produce the wonder of blooms. The daffodils, and crocus that peep through the cold ground to remind us that spring is on the way, are a delight to my soul. And then the forsythia and iris that make that amazing and wondrous show across the landscapes of our communities. I just love it!

Today, I thought we would take some time and consider the reality of blooming. Blooms are the yield of waiting—we plant many of the early-blooming bulbs in the fall, down in the earth—unseen, unnoticed—unaware of the growth that is going on ‘out of sight’. Yet while we can’t observe it with our eyes, those bulbs are putting down roots, nourishing that bulb to be able to bloom. We all love the show of the blooms, but seldom do we consider the cost of the wait—and if there isn’t the proper winter nourishment and time to develop, there won’t be much in the way of the beauty of blooms. The blooms are growing and preparing in that dark earth, the cold earth of winter—under the ground, under the snow, under the ice—doing what is necessary to be what God created them to be: flowers blooming where they were planted. Placed there for a purpose, placed there whether by design or just the propagation of nature—the blooms are still beautiful and the wait is still necessary. The same is true of our spiritual lives!

We can’t expect to be great, beautiful, awe-inspiring blooms if we’re not willing to endure the difficulty of the winter growing seasons! Yet oh my friends, it’s worth the wait! And while the blooms are often short-lived, we enjoy their beauty for that time, and God has a purpose and a plan for our ‘winter’ too, and our blooms can yield eternal results!

The wilderness and the solitary place

shall be glad for them;

and the desert shall rejoice,

and blossom as the rose.

2 It shall blossom abundantly,

and rejoice even with joy and singing:

the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,

they shall see the glory of the LORD,

and the excellency of our God.”   Isaiah 35:1-2

While the literal desert will bloom (And it is already blooming in God’s land of Israel—promises are being fulfilled!), we need to let God prepare the desert areas of our heart to begin to bloom. We must give Him our all, our dark places (and we all have them hidden from view—but not from God) so He can do His work in us, and no matter how long the winter, God can bring the blooms as we yield to His spiritual gardening skills.

I am the true vine,

and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me

that beareth not fruit

he taketh away:

and every branch

that beareth fruit,

he purgeth it,

that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean through the word

which I have spoken unto you.

4 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 15:1-5

Jesus reminds us that only as we “Abide in me, and I in you”, can we grow as we ought, and see God bring forth the blooms. We so often try to “force” the blooms to come before the time, instead of learning to “abide in” Jesus! You can’t rush spiritual growth, although we are to pursue it and learn to yield to Jesus, and allow His Holy Spirit to take us to the heights of glory as we seek His face in His Word, in prayer and by spending time in His presence! It is only in dying to self, and living to, for, with, and through HIS Spirit that the blooms will abound—in HIS time!

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by the faith

of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”   Galatians 2:20

Jesus is the root, the provision and nutrition for our life! Will we allow His Spirit to accomplish HIS purpose and will in our hearts and lives, or will we keep on trying to “force” our blooms in our own way, with our own strength or “Miracle Grow”—which isn’t a miracle at all, but self-will. But when we don’t practice the “crucified with Christ” life, we miss the joy of genuine blooms; when we don’t practice the “abiding” life, we miss the joy of His presence and work in us; we miss the beauty of blooms that have been grown out of sight of the world, and then amazingly in HIS time, they come forth to bring truth, beauty and life to the dark and dreary winter of the world around us—JESUS in us!

Jesus told a parable dealing with the contrast between “self” blooming or the true work of God, of being His or being master of our own soul!

And he spake a parable unto them, saying,

The ground of a certain rich man

brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying,

What shall I do,

because I have no room

where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said,

This will I do:

I will pull down my barns,

and build greater;

and there will I bestow

all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul,

Soul, thou hast much goods

laid up for many years;

take thine ease,

eat,

drink,

and be merry.

20 But God said unto him,

Thou fool,

this night thy soul shall be required

of thee:

then whose shall those things be,

which thou hast provided?

21 So is he that layeth up treasure

for himself,

and is not rich toward God.

22 And he said unto his disciples,

Therefore I say unto you,

Take no thought for your life,

what ye shall eat;

neither for the body,

what ye shall put on.

23 The life is more than meat,

and the body is more than raiment.

24 Consider the ravens:

for they neither sow nor reap;

which neither have storehouse nor barn;

and God feedeth them:

how much more are ye better than the fowls?

25 And which of you with taking thought

can add to his stature one cubit?

26 If ye then be not able

to do that thing which is least,

why take ye thought for the rest?

27 Consider the lilies how they grow:

they toil not,

they spin not;

and yet I say unto you,

that Solomon in all his glory

was not arrayed like one of these.

28 If then God so clothe the grass,

which is to day in the field,

and to morrow is cast into the oven;

how much more will he clothe you,

O ye of little faith?”   Luke 12:16-28

While Jesus isn’t saying not to be productive, He is telling us to trust our all to God, and not “fret” about tomorrow (or even later today!), but trust God to provide in those dark winter days, as well as the sunshine of the blooms! He’ll do HIS work in HIS time for HIS glory and our good! Oh, to be found faithful when He comes, or when He calls me to Himself! How about you

Jesus also had a message for those who claim to be “His” within the church, those who thought they had “it all” themselves, much like the rich man above! In my own vernacular—“saying so, doesn’t make it so”! Knowing the Master and Lord who is “the way….the truth….and the life…” is the only way to have a ‘genuine’ life that blooms for God!

I know thy works,

that thou art neither cold

nor hot:

I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm,

and neither cold

nor hot,

I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich,

and increased with goods,

and have need of nothing;

and knowest not

that thou art wretched,

and miserable,

and poor,

and blind,

and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me

gold tried in the fire,

that thou mayest be rich;

and white raiment,

that thou mayest be clothed,

and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;

and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,

that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love,

I rebuke

and chasten:

be zealous therefore,

and repent.

20 Behold,

I stand at the door,

and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup with him,

and he with me.”   Revelation 3:15-18

Without going into all of the contextual interpretations of the “who” or “what” specifically in these verses, my purpose today is to simply see what Jesus said to some who claimed to be His own, and if I might amplify that part it for us today as we bring these thoughts to a close, I’d like to leave you some food for thought to ponder throughout your day and week. Who is your Lord? Where is your treasure? Are you in a dark time of winter, waiting for the blooms? If so Jesus is sufficient to the task, and God has a plan at work—don’t rush His timing (And oh, I know how hard that is to practice—that “waiting” is just about the hardest thing that God asks us to do, but with His grace we can “wait”, and the “Blooms are worth the wait!”) Are you running your own life, trying to save and provide for your own soul? Is God about to say to you what He said to the rich man we looked at? As Paul said to the Philippians “think on these things….” (See Philippians 4:8-9)

Jesus said, “I KNOW”–

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”   2 Timothy 2:19

Jesus said, “You say….but don’t know!”!

.without me you can do nothing

You think you are self-sufficient, but you’re not!

Jesus said, “YOU are blind”!

What you say doesn’t match what I see or say!

YOU “knowest not” your real state!

Jesus said, “buy from me” what only faith buys!

 What you have isn’t equal to save anyone.

 “For by grace are you saved

Not by works, wealth, power, prominence,

Self-righteousness, there’s IS only ONE way!

Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock”!

(He was on the outside of His church!)

Self-righteousness will never save anyone!

You measure by what you see, not what is!

Jesus said, “open the door”!

If you are on the throne, Jesus can’t be!

Is He on the outside?

Or have you invited Him in?

Jesus said, “I will come in”!

Jesus will come in to those who bow before Him!

Behold,

I stand at the door,

and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup with him,

and he with me.

Jesus wants to help you bloom where you’re planted, but first we must bow before The “Master” gardener, and trust it all to HIM, that we might “be conformed to the image of his Son”, reflecting HIS glory as we bloom—right there where HE has planted YOU! The blooms are worth the wait!

The Eyes Of THE Lord??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #711

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #711  The Eyes Of The Lord???

 

A soft answer turneth away wrath:

but grievous words

stir up anger.

2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright:

but the mouth of fools

poureth out foolishness.

3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place,

beholding the evil

and the good.

4 A wholesome tongue

is a tree of life:

but perverseness therein

is a breach in the spirit.”  Proverbs 15:1-4

We live in a “media” culture and while it is most convenient to be able to “reach out” and connect with others near and far away, it can be a draw to behave unkindly, arrogantly or even be a “media” bully!  Our words matter, and I just want to remind us today that what we say, as well as how we say it, can make a difference.  Just because we “know” some miniscule piece of information, doesn’t mean that we have to speak it, write it, or post it to the harm of others.  God makes it very clear that we are called to a higher standard than what my mother used to call “gutter talk”!  Just because it’s popular, or stylish, or the “phrase-of-the-day”, doesn’t mean that it ought to come out of my mouth; and it certainly doesn’t need to be made public to “prove our point” or to “set the record straight”!   Dirty laundry doesn’t gain any appeal when hung in public! God speaks to these issues!

Recompense to no man

evil for evil.

Provide things honest

in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible,

as much as lieth in you,

live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,

but rather give place unto wrath:

for it is written,

Vengeance is mine;

I will repay,

saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger,

feed him;

if he thirst,

give him drink:

for in so doing

thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome

of evil,

but overcome evil

with good.”  Romans 12:17-21

We seem to have forgotten that “our God reigns” and our job is to “speak the truth in love” not spew out vengeance to justify our own thoughts and decisions.  What is your/my standard of response to others—be they close or distant?

Jesus gave the ultimate answer to Pilate as He approached His own death on the cross.  Jesus knew WHO was in charge and why HE had come!

Then saith Pilate unto him,

Speakest thou not unto me?

knowest thou not

that I have power

to crucify thee,

and have power

to release thee?

11 Jesus answered,

Thou couldest have no power at all

against me,

except it were given thee

from above:

therefore he that delivered me

unto thee

hath the greater sin.”  John 19:10-11

Peter helps us understand the reality of Jesus’ response.

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 2:21-25

So, my simple question today is: who is in control of your mouth?  The culture or The Lord God Almighty?  To whom are you trusting your difficulties?  Your own wit, wisdom and ability to cut others down?  Or will you trust to God’s wise and loving Holy Spirit to grant you/me the words to speak.  I’ll simply leave you with some scriptures to ponder this week.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith,

and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

unto a perfect man,

unto the measure of the stature

of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children,

tossed to and fro,

and carried about

with every wind of doctrine,

by the sleight of men,

and cunning craftiness,

whereby they lie in wait

to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love,

may grow up into him

in all things,

which is the head,

even Christ:”  Ephesians 4:13-15

Walk in wisdom

toward them that are without,

redeeming the time.

6 Let your speech be alway

with grace,

seasoned with salt,

that ye may know

how ye ought to answer

every man.”  Colossians 4:5-6

And in regard to vengeance—God speaks clearly:

Thou shalt not avenge,

nor bear any grudge against

the children of thy people,

but thou shalt love thy neighbour

as thyself:

I am the LORD.”   Leviticus 19:18

To me belongeth vengeance,

and recompence;

their foot shall slide

in due time:

for the day of their calamity

is at hand,

and the things that shall come upon them

make haste.”   Deuteronomy 32:35

For we know him that hath said,

Vengeance belongeth unto me,

I will recompense,

saith the Lord.

And again,

The Lord shall judge his people.”   Hebrews 10:30

And in conclusion, a word from the Psalmist.

O LORD God,

to whom vengeance belongeth;

O God,

to whom vengeance belongeth,

shew thyself.”  Psalm 94:1

May God open our eyes to see what HE sees.  May we say with the Psalmist:

Let the words of my mouth,

and the meditation of my heart,

be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD,

my strength, and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

Amen and Amen!!!

Too Late To Call??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 22

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 22    Too Late To Call???

 

As we continue our study of Daniel and his friends—men of character—we’ll look at Daniel chapter 5 from a perspective that you might not have considered.  I want to preface our study with some of my thoughts for you to consider as we delve into a new chapter and a new king.  A new king with a different perspective from Daniel, as well as a perspective that I think is urgent to share in our current circumstances.

We need to understand that while God is a God of mercy and grace, there is a time when God will not hear or respond to the call of men!  We can go too far, we can reject God too long, we can go beyond rescue! Noah saw this in his day, and I believe it is imminent in ours!

And the LORD said,

My spirit shall not always strive

with man,

for that he also is flesh:

yet his days shall be

an hundred and twenty years.”   Genesis 6:3

God was grieved with the way that men had chosen sin and self over their Creator!  We need to understand that this was a specific judgment on mankind of the hour, yet even with the impending judgment, God provided grace for one man who was willing to respond in faith and obedience.

And the LORD said,

I will destroy man

whom I have created

from the face of the earth;

both man,

and beast,

and the creeping thing,

and the fowls of the air;

for it repenteth me that I have made them.

8 But Noah found grace

in the eyes of the LORD.”  Genesis 6:7-8

Why Noah?  Because he had faith—and his faith was seen in his obedience.  Other scriptures confirm this for us.

But without faith it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God

must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder

of them that diligently seek him.

7 By faith Noah,

being warned of God

of things not seen as yet,

moved with fear,

prepared an ark

to the saving of his house;

by the which he condemned the world,

and became heir of the righteousness

which is by faith.”  Hebrews 11:6-7

Noah became an heir of “the righteousness which is by faith”, and we can too!  The righteousness that Jesus has provided by HIS blood for all who will come to HIM in repentance and faith in His substitutionary (in my place), atoning (paying a rightful debt), sacrifice (dying in my place that I could live by HIS blood!) for “my” sin.

To wit,

that God was in Christ,

reconciling the world

unto himself,

not imputing their trespasses

unto them;

and hath committed unto us

the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,

as though God did beseech you by us:

we pray you

in Christ’s stead,

be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin

for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made

the righteousness of God

in him.”  2 Corinthians 5:19-21

I truly believe that the time is coming when God will bring things to a close—HIS closing scene in the events of this earth.  Paul warned us that in the coming of that time there will be those who will reap the consequence of their rejection of God’s salvation by grace.  Those who will have, if you would, “sinned away their day of grace”!  They will be condemned by their own choice, to believe the lies of the enemy who will step up to lead the world in that time.

For the mystery of iniquity

doth already work:

only he who now letteth

will let,

until he be taken out of the way.

8 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 2:7-12

Without taking the time to go into details of this passage, I want us to notice the cause of judgment in verse 12: “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”!  Much like what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3, referring to Himself.

He that believeth on him

is not condemned:

but he that believeth not

is condemned already,

because he hath not believed

in the name of the only begotten

Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation,

that light is come into the world,

and men loved darkness

rather than light,

because their deeds were evil.”   John 3:18-19

What does all this have to do with Daniel chapter 5?  Good question!  We see a new king, who had a worse problem than his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, who repented and acknowledged God, after suffering the judgment of God Almighty.  Yet, according to Daniel (who has been a palace official for almost 70 years) Belshazzar saw and knew this experience of Nebuchadnezzar and refused to learn from it, or to change his ways.  Let’s take a look; but first let’s lay a little background.  Belshazzar is holed up within the walls of Babylon (walls that could hold several chariots riding abreast across the top) throwing a party to boost the morale of his leaders because the armies of Medo-Persia are outside of the gates ready to lay siege to the city.  In fact, it is said that Belshazzar was so confident in his resources for he knew he could supply their needs for up to two years!  But notice what he does at this banquet/party!

Belshazzar the king made a great feast

to a thousand of his lords,

and drank wine before the thousand.

2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine,

commanded to bring

the golden

and silver vessels

which his father Nebuchadnezzar

had taken out of the temple

which was in Jerusalem;

that the king,

and his princes,

his wives,

and his concubines,

might drink therein.

3 Then they brought the golden vessels

that were taken out of the temple

of the house of God

which was at Jerusalem;

and the king,

and his princes,

his wives,

and his concubines,

drank in them.

4 They drank wine,

and praised the gods

of gold,

and of silver,

of brass,

 of iron,

of wood,

and of stone.”  Daniel 5:1-4

Did you get it?  They took the vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, to not only use at their party, but to use to praise their own idols and exalt them—rejecting and blaspheming the God to whom the vessels belonged!  Guess what?  God seems to say, “enough is enough”; let’s just see who is in charge!

In the same hour

came forth fingers of a man’s hand,

and wrote over against the candlestick

upon the plaister of the wall

of the king’s palace:

and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king’s countenance was changed,

and his thoughts troubled him,

so that the joints of his loins

were loosed,

and his knees

smote one against another.”   Daniel 5:5-6

Needless to say, the king had a change of demeanor!  And without listing all of the verses in between, Belshazzar called for those good ole’ “wise men” to read the writing.  But none of them could, yet God had a message and through the advice of his grandmother, he sent for Daniel.  Now remember Daniel is somewhere around 80+ years old and has apparently been out of active service for a time, but he was still a “civil servant” in the palace.  So, Daniel comes in and his demeanor was somewhat different than we saw in him under Nebuchadnezzar.  There was not the respect that he had for Nebuchadnezzar, but an honest and blunt response to this man of arrogance and disregard of the truth he knew about Daniel’s God.  He has gone too far with his arrogance against God.  God has a lot to say about pride and arrogance (virtual synonyms).

These six things doth the LORD hate:

yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud

look,

a lying

tongue,

and hands

that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth

wicked imaginations,

feet that be swift

in running to mischief,

19 A false witness

that speaketh lies,

 and he that soweth discord

among brethren.”  Proverbs 6:16-19

And Jesus own message:

For from within,

 out of the heart of men,

proceed evil thoughts,

adulteries,

fornications,

murders,

22 Thefts,

covetousness,

wickedness,

deceit,

lasciviousness,

an evil eye,

blasphemy,

pride,

foolishness:

23 All these evil things

come from within,

and defile the man.”  Mark 7:21-23

The Apostle John also said it clearly:

Love not the world,

neither the things that are in the world.

If any man love the world,

the love of the Father

is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world,

the lust of the flesh,

and the lust of the eyes,

and the pride of life,

is not of the Father,

but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away,

and the lust thereof:

but he that doeth the will of God

abideth for ever.”  1 John 2:15-17

So, let’s see what God had to say to Belshazzar through our friend Daniel, and remember that “father” is used for any male ancestor, so Belshazzar is referring to his ‘grand’ father not his male parent.

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel,

Art thou that Daniel,

which art of the children

of the captivity of Judah,

whom the king my father

brought out of Jewry?

14 I have even heard of thee,

that the spirit of the gods is in thee,

and that light

and understanding

and excellent wisdom

is found in thee…

16 And I have heard of thee,

that thou canst make interpretations,

and dissolve doubts:

now if thou canst read the writing,

 and make known to me the interpretation thereof,

thou shalt be clothed with scarlet,

and have a chain of gold about thy neck,

and shalt be the third ruler

in the kingdom.”   Daniel 5:13-14 & 16

The king who had gone from stiff-necked to “knocking knees” is ready for an answer and will reward Daniel for his service, but let’s consider Daniel’s response, and take it to heart.  Have you been like one of Paul’s listeners, and put off responding to God, claiming “almost thou persuades me”, or will you bend your knee and your heart before God?  Don’t wait too long.  There will be a time when it’s too late to call!  Don’t be like Belshazzar!

Then Daniel answered and said before the king,

Let thy gifts be to thyself,

and give thy rewards to another;

yet I will read the writing unto the king,

and make known to him the interpretation.

18 O thou king,

the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar

thy father a kingdom,

and majesty,

and glory,

and honour:

19 And for the majesty that he gave him,

all people, nations, and languages,

trembled and feared before him:

whom he would he slew;

and whom he would he kept alive;

and whom he would he set up;

and whom he would he put down.

20 But when his heart was lifted up,

and his mind hardened in pride,

he was deposed from his kingly throne,

and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from

the sons of men;

and his heart was made

like the beasts,

and his dwelling was with

the wild asses:

they fed him

with grass like oxen,

and his body

was wet with the dew of heaven;

till he knew

that the most high God

ruled in the kingdom of men,

and that he appointeth over it

whomsoever he will.

22 And thou his son,

O Belshazzar,

hast not humbled thine heart,

though thou knewest all this;”   Daniel 5:17-22

But Daniel wasn’t finished, his message of judgment was a hard one, and he gave no quarter to this arrogant king who refused to repent or respond to God in faith or regard. The message was final—take note of verses 30-31!

But hast lifted up thyself

against the Lord of heaven;

and they have brought the vessels

of his house before thee,

and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines,

have drunk wine in them;

and thou hast praised the gods

of silver, and gold, of brass, iron,

wood, and stone,

which see not,

nor hear,

nor know:

and the God in whose hand thy breath is,

and whose are all thy ways,

hast thou not glorified:

24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him;

and this writing was written.

25 And this is the writing that was written,

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

26 This is the interpretation of the thing:

MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom,

and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances,

and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided,

and given to the Medes and Persians.”  Daniel 5:23-28

Please open your heart to the voice of God—it won’t call forever.  Today IS the day of salvation—not tomorrow.

In that night was Belshazzar

the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom,

being about threescore and two years old.”   Daniel 5:30-31

While it is said,

To day if ye will hear his voice,

harden not your hearts,

as in the provocation.”  Hebrews 3:15

We then, as workers together with him,

beseech you also that ye receive not

the grace of God in vain.

2 (For he saith,

I have heard thee

in a time accepted,

and in the day of salvation

have I succoured thee:

 behold,

now is the accepted time;

behold,

now is the day of salvation.)”.  2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Maybe Medo-Persia isn’t knocking at your door, but God’s judgment is at hand.  Are you ready?  How will you fare when it’s your turn to be “weighed in the balances”?  How sad to really come a day too late!

Be blessed and be prepared! Don’t be a “day late”!

Amen and Amen!!!

Bible Ballistics: BBs #710. COMFORTABLE

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #710  COMFORTABLE???

A Guest Post from my friend Taryn Spurlock

When you search the definition of COMFORTABLE you may find “providing a position of contentment and security.” Eleven months ago, I received a phone call from a sweet mentor asking me to consider writing occasionally for her blog. Eleven months ago, we were facing the beginning of a “historical event” known as The Covid-19 Pandemic. Here I sit today as a witness of another “historical event” all within a year’s time. This time we are facing multiple states experiencing historic cold temperatures and snowfall. This is just plain crazy. You know you have said the exact same thing.

The past few days have brought on so many challenges to stay warm, prevent damage to our homes and businesses, and our personal family favorite (NOT) virtual learning! However, my observations the past 24 hours have stirred my heart to think of the word “comfortable.” Please give me a moment to explain.

Multiple states and millions of people have been asked to turn off as much as possible to conserve energy. They are asking us to look at the “long haul” to avoid long term issues. Here are some comments that I have heard:

    • “Ummm… there are subzero temperatures out there and you want us to turn down the heater? It’s cold! I’ll freeze!”
    • “How do I keep my pipes from bursting?”
    • “How come I experienced my power being turned off but those people over there didn’t? Not fair!”
    • “How come the internet is running slow?”
    • “Don’t they know I pay them to have all the power I want!”
    • “My kids deserve to have fun and not have to do school work!”
    • “I deserve to be COMFORTABLE!”

These words keep coming to my mind:

When God wants you to grow, He makes you uncomfortable.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”                   Matthew 5:3-12

How many times do we find ourselves having those same types of complaints with God?

    • “God, have you seen my schedule? I don’t have time to do ministry and have any time to relax.”
    • “God, you want me to give 10% of MY EARNINGS? Seriously! I worked for that!”
    • “God, I go to church, I teach on Wednesdays, I serve on the welcome team, and THEY get their prayers answered and I don’t?!?!?”
    • “God, I need you to give me an answer NOW! Quit being soooo slow! I don’t have time for this!”
    • “God, I tithed… NOW GIVE ME WHAT I WANT!”
    • “God, I know our family has missed church several Sundays this year, but this team means the world to my kid and they deserve to have a fun childhood.”
    • “God, I deserve to be COMFORTABLE!”

Yep… I’ve said some things like this in 35 years… I admit.

GOD DOES NOT CALL US TO COMFORT. 

We want to serve God, but we also want to remain comfortable. But if we’re honest, true spiritual growth happens in our most uncomfortable seasons of life.

I’m currently going through a study about Elijah. When I read these words today regarding Deuteronomy 29:16-29, they stopped me.

Despite the fact that these negative results of the people’s disobedience would adversely affect Elijah too — such as the land being “unsown and unproductive” so that “no grass grows in it” (Duet. 29:23) — he was brave enough and committed to God enough that he still prayed for it. Out there in Gilead, in the remote starting point of Elijah’s ministry — the starting point of his process — he had developed such a commitment to Yahweh that he was willing to pray for His will to be done above all else, EVEN ABOVE HIS OWN COMFORT.”   

-Priscilla Shirer, ‘Elijah’

It is my prayer that I take the uncomfortable moments in my life, in the past and in the future, and seek how God wants me to grow instead of complaining or comparing. They are a part of my testimony; therefore, they are part of my ministry. God sees “the long haul” when He takes us to uncomfortable places.

Thank you God, for the cold, gray, and uncomfortable days. Use them for Your Glory and may we seek to see the beauty in those moments.