December 1 “The party’s over: handwriting on the wall” + LINKUP

handwriting on the wallHandwriting on the wall: Can you imagine the scene at the company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash! God was letting him know “the party was over”!

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 5 & 6
Psalm 136.10-26
Proverbs 29.12-13
2 Peter 2.1-22

 

Daniel 5 & 6:

The handwriting on the wall: the party’s over!

Every chapter of Daniel is packed with excitement greater than any action movie. Can you imagine the scene at your company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash!

Belshazzar had thrown a huge party for his lords, wives, and concubines? (Ladies, how would you like it if your husband brought a few of his mistresses to his next party?)

Besides the ne 29 “Christians & alcohol”" href="http://donnareidland.com/june-29-christians-alcohol/" target="_blank">drunkenness and immorality, he had the arrogance to bring out the temple instruments and drink from them. God used this party with all these people present to let Belshazzar know that the party was over!

He thought he was safe inside his castle and his city walls and was free to live any way he pleased. History tells us that very night his kingdom fell to the Medes and Persians and Belshazzar was killed.

Sadly, that is much like it will be when Jesus comes back. People will be eating and drinking and living life as they please.

And it is already happening on an individual level every day just like the parable Jesus told in Luke 12:

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying. “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Riches can be a huge trap which keeps people from seeking God, and causes them to think they can handle anything. Like Belshazzar it can lead them to believe they are protected from the ne 3 “The importance of consequences”" href="http://donnareidland.com/june-3-value-consequences/" target="_blank">consequences of their actions. So can man-centered education that causes us to think we are smarter and more enlightened than others.

Today our society has taken it a step further. In our arrogance we have begun to demand protection from consequences for every kind of sinful behavior. We demand our right to live any way we choose as if making something legal or intimidating people into silence will somehow protect us from the judgment of a Holy God.

But just as it was in Belshazzar’s life, the hand writing is on the wall. Romans 6.23 says, “The wages of sin is death …” But for those who repent and turn to God, “… the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Continue reading

August 30 “Settling for poor substitutes”

Fake crown, jewelsst 30 “Settling for poor substitutes”" >

God gives us so much to enjoy within the framework of His commandments, but we constantly feel we have to go outside of His guidelines. We end up settling for poor substitutes for God’s best.

 

 

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 8-10
Psalm 103.6-14
Proverbs 24.10-12
1 Corinthians 10.19-33

Ecclesiastes 8-10:

Delayed justice

courtroom, judge, gavel,st 30 “Settling for poor substitutes”" >

“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (8.11).

And we wonder why our criminal justice system doesn’t work?

It’s not that we shouldn’t take the time to allow for a clear investigation and give an accused person a chance to defend him or herself, but when cases drag on for years and sentences are not carried out in a reasonable amount of time, punishment is much less of a deterrent.

couple at home eating  pizzast 30 “Settling for poor substitutes”" >Eat, drink & be merry

“So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun” (8.15).

This is not about living a party lifestyle, doing whatever we please, but about enjoying life’s simple pleasures within the framework of God’s will. The sad fact is that just like Adam and Eve, we constantly feel we must go outside the guidelines God has given to find the pleasure we think we “deserve.” God gave them the whole garden to enjoy and they settled for a lousy tree!

“Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun” (9.9).

couplest 30 “Settling for poor substitutes”" >

Again, He gives us all the benefits of marriage to enjoy and we will settle for some other guy or some other woman who we think “understands us” or builds up our ego—forgetting the spouses they are willing to neglect while they commit adultery with us! We will destroy two families, our testimony, and our relationship with God to have what we think we want, and realize too late it doesn’t deliver. Continue reading