December 4 “Go your way & eternity”

eternityThe book of Daniel ends with verse 13, “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” While Scripture warns of judgment, God’s Word is also full of the promise of eternity for those who truly belong to Him.

 

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 11 & 12
Psalm 138.1-3
Proverbs 29.16
1 John 2.1-29

 

Daniel 11 & 12:

Go your way & take comfort in eternity

In Daniel 11 the angel Gabriel lays out an incredible prophetic view of future historical events. These prophecies are so detailed that people have tried to use their accuracy to discredit them, saying they had to be written after the fact.

It lays out the succession of kings to come in the Medo-Persian Empire and how each would be used by God in the process of the Jews return to their homeland. We can see the hand of God in using even heathen kings and other unbelievers to accomplish His will and care for His people. We also see in these chapters the ministry of angels on behalf of His people. Knowing and understanding that God is sovereignly in control of all the events of history—not just world or national history—also our personal histories should give us great encouragement to trust Him no matter what the circumstances of our lives.

The first three kings of Persia were Cyrus, Artaxerxes and Ahasuerus, who married Esther. The fourth was Xerxes who because of his great wealth and the army that his wealth supported pridefully took on Greece only to be shamefully defeated.

“Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these” (vv. 3-4).

This is Alexander the Great whose kingdom was divided among four of his captains when He died at the age of 32. He had created one of the largest empires in ancient history, but died once he had accomplished what God had used him to do. Two of his generals became more powerful that the other two, called “the king of the South” and “the king of the North” in Daniel’s prophecy. These became the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria who were constantly at war, with power, victory and defeat going back and forth between the two.

During all of this, Israel which lay between the two kingdoms, Continue reading

September 18 “What really are strongholds?”

stronghold, fortress When the Apostle Paul talked about strongholds, what did he mean? And how do we tear down strongholds in our lives?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 27 & 28
Psalm 107.33-43
Proverbs 25.20
2 Corinthians 10.1-18

Isaiah 27 & 28:

Woe to the drunkards …

Verse 1 of chapter 28 says, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine!”

This passage is written to the ten northern tribes represented by Ephraim. The area where they lived was very lush and fertile. God had blessed them with an abundance of beauty and fruitfulness, but they were puffed up with pride as if they had caused it and had wasted God’s blessings on “drunkenness”—their own sensual pleasures.

Verses 7-8 present a very unpleasant picture: Continue reading

August 16 “You are able!”

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As the Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able and, therefore, should be willing to get our hands dirty, risk what people may think, and risk rejection, in order to speak the truth in love.

Today’s Readings:
Job 23-25
Psalm 96.7-12
Proverbs 23.9
Romans 15.1-24

Job 23-25:

Understanding and comfort from a book like Job

As we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions.

How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings, disappointments, and temptations to wonder where God is? As the story continues to unfold, and we see God’s response and the latter part of Job’s life (chapter 42), how can it bring us comfort?

Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions. Now to today’s reading.

goldI shall come forth as gold

23.9-10, “When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

What a great statement of faith after all Job had been through! We may not be able to “see” what God is doing “on the right hand” of our lives. We may not understand why he is allowing something else “on the left,” but when we understand the goodness of God, the trustworthiness of God, the faithfulness of God, we can know that if we will stay focused on Him, when it’s all said and done, we, too, will have been tested and refined and come forth as gold!

anxiety & depressionIf you feel that you are being tested and you’re struggling to understand or if you want to help someone who is, James MacDonald has an incredible study called When Life is Hard available in print or on Kindle . You can also purchase a video Bible study kit from his website Walk in the Word. Continue reading

Ask the counselors: “A young widow asks about grief”

Lauren asks:

Question: I am 35, mother of two small children. My husband passed away suddenly last year in June. I have been working through my grief. I have shed many tears and have had many pity parties. However, The Lord always encourages me to keep pressing forward and to live with the knowledge that my husband is with him and that I still need to run this race of faith. I’m also a preacher. Many people think I have not grieved or reached this desperate place of grief. What are your thoughts? Can we as believers mourn, but mourn with the hope and expectation that to live is Christ and to die is gain? Continue reading