Also read about praying for our enemies, the result of not parenting God’s way, and the importance of walking in the light.
Daniel 9 & 10
1 John 1.1-10
Could you be a Christian fatalist?
Are you doing your part?
In chapter 9, Daniel had learned from his study of the Scriptures that the 70 years of captivity was close to its end. But instead, of passively waiting for that to happen, he humbly prayed, confessing the sins of his people and asking God to fulfill His promises.
Too often, we take a “Christian fatalist” view that God’s going to do what He’s going to do. We fail to understand that God desires to use the prayers of His people as part of the process of fulfilling His will in the earth. Prayer doesn’t change God, but it ushers in the promises of God and changes us as we get involved in what God is doing!
Notice, though, Daniel didn’t pray based on what they deserved. He didn’t say, “This isn’t fair,” or “Why are You letting this happen to us?” (9.5-12). And even though he wasn’t personally guilty, he confessed their sins to God as a nation and asked for mercy. Then he asked that God move because of who He is:
18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name” (9.18-19).
In chapter 10 we see a glimpse into the heavenly battles which are behind the events of human history. Even though demonic powers are at work to influence nations and individuals to rise up against God, His people, and His work in the earth, it is God’s will which will stand.
Today’s Other Readings:
Praying for Our Enemies
This psalm was probably written toward the end of the captivity in Babylon. Perhaps the people saw the weakening of Babylon and looked forward to the defeat and complete annihilation of the enemy who had so pridefully and harshly oppressed them.
As believers we, too, should look forward to the time when God’s enemies will be defeated and destroyed, but not out of malice or personal revenge. In fact, we should be praying for our enemies in the hope that:
“… they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2.26).
A Child Left to Himself
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
There is a theory about child-rearing which says, if you discipline a child, you will break his spirit. It holds to the idea that when human beings are allowed to freely express themselves, they will be the best they can be. Although that theory has fallen somewhat out of favor, some of its residual effects have permeated our thinking. As with so many other areas of life, we need to renew our minds to God’s way of thinking.
Walking in the Light
Until the time when God makes everything new, we are to seek to live holy and righteous lives. John said we are to “walk in the light as He is in the light” (v. 7). He said that when we do, we have fellowship with Him and with others in the body of Christ and enjoy the joy-filled life we desire.
We maintain that right relationship with Him and others by “keeping short accounts”—by not letting sin and strife and conflict just lay there. We need to be good repenters, quick to go to God when we’ve sinned against Him and quick to go to others to seek forgiveness and accept our responsibility in any problem.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (vv. 9-10).
Are you really a person of prayer or are you more of a Christian fatalist? What will your goals for prayer be in the coming New Year?
Are you walking in the light of God’s Word and allowing Him to show you areas where you need to grow and change?
This is one of my all-time favorite resources. It not only talks about the discipline of prayer, but many of the other spiritual disciplines, as well. I go back to it year after year and find refreshment and motivation for my own quiet time and walk with God. As we come up on the New Year, what a great time to infuse your spiritual walk with fresh insights.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to become more like Christ and grow in character and maturity.
Do you have a plan to grow spiritually through god’s word in 2017?
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.