1/30/14

From Ben Fronczek... Mission Impossible Daniel (Chapter 2)





Mission Impossible   Daniel  (Chapter 2)

(By Ben Fronczek)


In our last lesson I talked a little about how and why Daniel and a few other Jews were in Babylon. The Jewish nation had turned their back on God and the covenant they had made with Him during the time of Moses. In that covenant God had told them that He would greatly bless them for their faithfulness, but if they turned their back on Him and the covenant they had made they would eventually suffer dire consequences. As far back as the time of Moses God predicted that the Jews would one day do just this and so God told them that one day He would allow a king and a kingdom they did not know to come in and destroy their nation and all but a few would survive. God also told them that some of the survivors would even be carried off and they would serve the king that captured them. All this took place about 587BC as predicted..

As we looked at Daniel chapter 1 last time, we read where the king ordered his servant to choose some of the finest young men, who had been captured, who were somewhat wise and showed a aptitude to learn so that they could be trained to serve in the royal palace. Daniel and is 3 companions were chosen and they were given new Babylonian names. The king also provided them with food from his own table. This may have seem like a blessing to those who had just come out of a city that was besieged and nearly starved out during a time of war, but for Daniel and his companions they just could not eat the kings food. Daniel and his companions were obviously young men that had a good upbringing and were some of the few that remained faithful to the Lord. So they made a decision not to defile themselves by eating the kings food. As the story goes God honors their loyalty and commitment to Him and the Mosaic covenant and blessed them with good health and more wisdom than any in Babylon. That leads us to chapter 2.  Read 2:1-13 (click on and read)

It seems to me that king Nebuchadnezzar was no fool. He had all these magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers in his service (on the pay role as it were) and so after having this disturbing dream he tests to see if they were scamming him and playing him for a fool.  After calling them in he demands that they not only tell him what he dreamt but also what it meant. If they didn’t he’d have them torn limb from limb for being phonies.

Well these guys were frantic, and they even admitted that there was no way that they could tell the king what he dreamt. They said no king ever made such a request.

At that point the king sees them for who and what they really were… a bunch of phony charlatans who were mooching off him. So in anger he sends the order out to have all these so called ‘wise men’ executed in Babylon.    Read 2:14-24 (click on verse and read)

Being in the company of the wise men, Daniel and his 3 companions were to be rounded up with the others to be executed. The text goes on to say that Daniel spoke to this commander with wisdom and tact. – I think its important how we talk to others… The NASB says that he spoke with discretion and discernment. The KJV says the he answered with counsel and wisdom.

How we speak to another can make all the difference in a stressful, difficult  time of peril. All too often we are quick with our tongue and shoot our self in the foot when we need to be careful and think before we speak.

Proverbs 13:3 says, Proud fools talk too much; the words of the wise protect them.”
Even at a young age Daniel was wise enough to see this. I wonder if he memorized some of those proverbs written by Solomon? Maybe he did!

After finding out what was going on, Daniel goes to the king and asks for a little bit of time so that he could come back with an answer. Here we see Daniel stepping out on faith. Not only is he bold enough to confront this powerful king who was obviously upset with all the wise men, we also see that Daniel believed that the Lord would help him with this problem.

Where the other magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers said that it was impossible, Daniel said ‘give me a chance.’   Why and how could Daniel believe that he had such a chance to do this? Because Daniel knew the scriptures, and Daniel knew that his God and our God can do amazing things, and will bless those who are truly faithful to Him as He had already done for Daniel and his companions and for others throughout the Bible (e.g.).

So Daniel returns home and tells his three friends what’s going and asks them to pray. And what happens? God shows Daniel what the kings saw in his dream and what it meant. After thanking and praising God he returns to the king and tells him that there is a God in Heaven who knows all and has revealed to him what the king saw in his vision.  Read 2:25-49 (click on and read verse)
So what did the King see in his vision?  He saw a great statue with a head of gold, with a chest and arms of silver, with a belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet part iron and part clay, and then he saw a stone smash it all to bits. That stone became a mountain and would last forever.

What does the image of this great statue represent? Well Daniel lets the king know that the God of heaven had revealed the future to him in that vision. Each section represented a different kingdom or empire. The gold head represented him, this king and the Babylonian empire. The empire to follow depicted as silver would be a little inferior representing the Medo-Persian Empire. This would be followed by the Greek empire seen as the bronze section, followed by the Roman Empire first depicted by the iron legs and then the feet of iron and clay as the Roman Empire as it deteriorated. And finally the empire that would outlive them all and last forever (that is the church and the kingdom of God) that was the stone that would strike them all down and grow into an everlasting mountain.

At this explanation Nebuchadnezzar is not only awed and blown away, this great and powerful king humbles himself and falls prostrate before this young man Daniel.

 As I said earlier, this king was no fool, Daniel had produced the goods. Because Daniel gave God the glory and credit right from the beginning, rather than himself, Nebuchadnezzar recognized God for who He is; the God of gods, and Lord of Kings and praised Him as such.

Daniel is promoted to rule over the entire province of Babylon and was placed in charge of all its wise men. Sounds a little like the story of Joseph to me.

So what lesson can we take away from this story today?                  
I believe we can learn some principles that can help us handle predicaments which seem way beyond our own ability. You may not have a king demanding you to tell him what he dreamt last night and what it means but we all face our own crisis that seem beyond our ability to solve on our own. Maybe it’s a health issue you or a loved one has, maybe it’s your marriage, or a financial problem, maybe a disastrous relationship problem, or a habitual sin problem and you can’t seem to fix yourself or stop on your own.

#1. I believe God’s work is most obvious when it our situation becomes humanly impossible. All too often we take God’s involvement and blessings for granted.
But when we’ve done all that we can do or we are face with what may seem like an impossible situation, we have a heavenly Father who loves us who we can turn to.
 Daniel understood that a humanly impossible situation can only be resolved with divine help. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the trials he faced he wrote,  

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us… “ 2 Cor. 8-10

No matter how impossible a situation may seem it is important for us to turn to God for help. 

In  Mark 10:27 Jesus said, “All things are possible with GOD!”

#2. When you don’t know what to do or how to do it, PRAY! Ask others to pray for you as well. Over and over when in difficult situations we see men and women of God praying for themselves and for one another. James wrote that if we lack knowledge or wisdom we should pray for it. But he also goes on to say,   

6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

#3. God wants us to believe and trust in Him, even if we don’t understand how He can fix things. That’s what we call faith. And that kind of faithful prayer will see results.  Such prayers of faith will eventually produce praise. Praise from you and praise from others.

#4. When things like this happen when we see God resolving great problems, our faith grows. Our faith grows from trial to trail, from faith to faith. I believe Daniel and his 3 friends grew stronger with each passing trial, and they needed to because they would have more trials to come. Likewise we are to grow stronger from trial to trail, from faith to faith. I believe sometimes God may allow certain things to happen in our life hoping that our faith will grow stronger.

#5. Miracles like this not only build our faith, it opens eyes of others as well, just like it opened the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar who praise our Lord in Heaven. Sometimes it’s not all about you.
So whatever you face you need to remember that there is a God in Heaven and He is able.  

Eph 3:20  

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

For more lessons click on the following link:

From Jim McGuiggan... HOW TO CONQUER THE WORLD

HOW TO CONQUER THE WORLD

Overcoming a sexual addiction is not the same as overcoming “the world”. To see a pleasing increase in your capacity for patience is not the same as overcoming “the world”. To gain ground in the pursuit of moral excellence is not the same as overcoming “the world”. To overcome “the world” is to overcome a world and not just to gain ground against specific wrongs! To overcome “the world” is to experience complete triumph over it and not simply to fight it. To “overcome the world” is to leave that “world” and enter into “the new creation”.
“Look, I have overcome addiction to alcohol—see? I have overcome ‘the world’.” And what of those who are in the Lord Jesus but still struggle with alcohol, bitterness, pride, lust, envy, ill-temper or whatever? Have they not overcome “the world”? And what of the other sins that you haven't left behinddo these show that you haven't overcome “the world”?

We will continue to be sinners until the world is better and what we call “free” will will truly be free. For how can we at a serious level speak of free will when we are capable of choosing what we know is evil and unlike the Lord Jesus? There’s an important tension here in life as we now live it. It’s clear that “free will” is in some respect a reality or the Holy One would not call us to heartfelt obedience. Yet, if knowing the sweet and strong will of God for us we still wrestle for moments or perhaps weeks to respond in obedience. How could a will completely free, will to disobey our Holy Father? But all of this though very important leads us away from what I’d like to pursue. I just want you to know that I know that I don’t know very well what I’m talking about. It isn’t that it is obscure—it’s that it’s too deep and complex. We don’t have enough breath to dive deep enough and stay down long enough to come back up fully satisfied.

It isn’t simply that we don’t live what we know. We don’t know what we know!
My guess is that there only a relatively few believers lived comfortably in the pig-pen before the blessed God, like a great lion confronted them and barred their way as they strode further down the road to perdition. My guess is that many of them by God’s grace were good girls or boys and without any jarring experience, in a smooth and almost “natural” transition, took Jesus’ hand when he offered it to them in the gospel. They were morally aware and decent before they ever entered into a faith union with God in Christ.

There are multiplied millions like you throughout the world who have not yet come to our Lord and who do not know there is a Lord to come to. God has always been and is at work in the lives of the nations [Acts 14:15-17; 17:24-29]. We’re not competing with non-Christians in a moral competition, to see who gets the best score. Our obedience is not obedience to the moral law; it is the obedience of faith in the Lord Jesus [Romans 1:5; 16:25-26] and that means that we respond in Christ-imaging righteousness. Paul would insist in Romans 6:1-8 that we are not to forget the meaning of our baptism and what took place there.

The cross of the Lord Jesus is the place where God reconciled us to himself and reconciliation to God means that our lives and purpose are reoriented and realigned with the heart of God.

The “obedience of faith” is how the “world” is overcome. Not merely specific sins—“the world”! In what way is “the world” overcome and in what way are our specific sins overcome by faith?

The faith that conquers “the world” is not simply our subjective act of inner believing. It’s the internalizing of truth that is true whether we believe it or not, truth about Jesus; it’s the glad embracing as true what God’s work in Jesus is and means. For our point at this moment, in entering into him by faith we enter into a full identification with the one who slew “the world” [Galatians 6:14].

The entire pagan “world”, religious, political or social and the corrupted Jewish “world” were the creations of sinful humanity. The beauty and goodness of the creation and the strength and wisdom of the authorities and powers that God created for the advancement of life in and under his grace and guidance—all these were corrupted and became avenues and instruments to express the alienation between God and his human creation.

Among the many things the death of the Lord Jesus did is this: it exposed and sentenced “the world” for what it truly is—God’s good creation as seen through the eyes of “the prince of this world”, God’s good creation as it is construed by all those who are enslaved to and by the “god of this world” [John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4].
Only Jesus of Nazareth refused to join the war against God, only he saw life and all that goes with it as life to be lived in joyful devotion to God. His absolute devotion to the Holy One exposed the powers for what they were and they slew him for it. This was no surprise to him for he came to do his Father’s will and to give his life a ransom for humanity [his entire life that culminated in his death]—Matthew 20:28; 1 John 2:2.

He chose to die [John 10:11, 17-18] knowing that in dying he would defeat the powers [John 12:31-32; Colossians 2:15] and in this absolute obedience to the Holy One he would be granted absolute power to guide and rule the world [Ephesians 1:17-23; Philippians 2:5-11]. But in dying he not only did the will of the Holy Father, it did it to rescue the human family [Galatians 1:3-4].

However we “explain” the “atoning” process, the NT writers place the dying of the Lord Jesus at the heart of it. He gives his life to ransom us, he carries our sins up on to the tree [1 Peter 2:24] and he gives himself for us [Ephesians 5:2].

All this to say, he is himself the conqueror of “the world” which is anti-God, anti-holiness and anti-life [John 16:33; 1 John 2:15-17] and when by faith in him we embrace him we embrace all that he is and means—we triumph over “the world”.
We don’t triumph over “the world” by becoming sinless. We triumph over “the world” by embracing the Sinless One, by trusting his judgment on sin; all sin, including our own sin. In believing in the “world’s” Conqueror we approve of the sentence he passed on “the world” and so it is by and on his cross the world is not only crucified to him—it is crucified to us [Galatians 6:14].

By faith in him, which is generated by his faithfulness his crucifixion becomes our crucifixion and our relation to “the world” has definitively ended [Galatians 2:19-20; Romans 6:7].

And so we hear 1 John 5:4. Because by his grace we believe who and what we believe we conquer the entire anti-God “world” and are now part of a “new creation” [2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 1:29].

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Mark Copeland... Useful For The Master ( 2 Timothy 2:20-26)






                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                    Useful For The Master (2:20-26)

INTRODUCTION

1. To motivate Timothy toward faithful service, Paul used an
   illustration involving 'vessels'...
   a. Of varying qualities and value - 2Ti 2:20
   b. How one could be a vessel for honor, prepared for every good work
      - 2Ti 2:21
   -- Thus becoming "Useful For The Master"

2. By considering the context (2Ti 2:20-26), we too can learn how to
   be...
   a. Vessels of gold or silver, not wood or clay
   b. Vessels for honor, not dishonor
   -- And thereby also becoming "Useful For The Master"

[It involves effort, but such is necessary if we are going to be
prepared for every good work.  First of all, to be useful for the
Master...]

I. WE MUST WORK ON OUR PERSONAL CONDUCT

   A. THINGS TO AVOID...
      1. Must cleanse oneself from "the latter" - 2Ti 2:21
         a. I.e., vessels of dishonor - 2Ti 2:20
         b. E.g., teachers of false doctrine like Hymenaeus and
            Philetus- cf. 2Ti 2:16-18
      2. Must flee youthful lusts - 2Ti 2:22
         a. The lust of the flesh, such as fornication - 1Co 6:18
         b. The lust of the eyes, such as materialism - cf. 1Ti 6:9-11
      -- We must avoid both wicked associations and wicked conduct

   B. THINGS TO DO...
      1. Must pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace - 2Ti 2:22
         a. Qualities without which no one will see the Lord - He 12:14
         b. Qualities well suited for the "man of God" - cf. 1Ti 6:11
      2. With those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart - 2Ti 2:22
         a. Together with those who sincerely love God
         b. I.e., not alone, nor in the company of  those 'vessels of
            dishonor'
      -- We must seek both holy conduct and holy associations

[Avoiding wicked associations does not mean we do not reach out to those
in error.  For the Lord desires all to be saved (cf. 1Ti 2:4; 2 Pe
3:9).  To be "Useful For The Master" in teaching them...]

II. WE MUST WORK ON INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS

   A. THINGS TO AVOID...
      1. Must avoid foolish and ignorant disputes - 2Ti 2:23
         a. That generate strife - 2Ti 2:23; cf. 1Ti 1:4; 6:4
         b. That bring ruin to the hearers - 2Ti 2:14; cf. Tit 3:9
         c. That increase to more ungodliness - 2Ti 2:16
      2. Must not quarrel - 2Ti 2:24
         a. That is, strive or fight over words - cf. 2Ti 2:23
         b. "engage in a war of words, to quarrel, wrangle, dispute"
            - Thayer
      -- We must avoid discussions that are little more than 'word
         battles'

   B. THINGS TO DO...
      1. Must be gentle to all - 2Ti 2:24
         a. "affable, that is, mild or kind" - Strong
         b. "not only to troubled minds, and wounded consciences, by
            supplying them with the precious promises and truths of the
            Gospel; and to backsliders, by restoring them in a spirit of
            meekness; but even to those who contradict the truth, and
            themselves, by mild and kind instructions." - Gill
      2. Must be able to teach - 2Ti 2:24
         a. "apt and skillful in teaching" - Thayer
         b. Thus able to both exhort and convict those who contradict
            - cf. Tit 1:9
      3. Must be patient - 2Ti 2:24
         a. "patient of ills and wrongs, forbearing" - Thayer
         b. "The Greek word here used does not elsewhere occur in the
            New Testament. It means, patient under evils and injuries"
            - Barnes
         c. A Christ-like quality much needed in 'word battles' - cf. Co
            3:13
      4. Must correct in humility - 2Ti 2:25
         a. That is, with "gentleness, mildness, meekness" - Thayer
         b. Even against those who:
            1) Who oppose the truth
            2) Who are ensnared by the devil
         c. For such qualities are weapons "mighty in God" - cf. 2 Co 10:1-5
            1) Not carnal, such as wrath, anger, and strife
            2) But mighty for casting down arguments, bringing thoughts
               into captivity to Christ
      -- We must develop and demonstrate a Christ-like character toward
         the opposition

CONCLUSION

1. A servant of the Lord must therefore give careful attention...
   a. To his personal conduct and associations
   b. To his interpersonal relations with those in error

2.  A servant of the Lord who does so can then be...
   a. A vessel of honor
   b. Sanctified (set apart for a godly purpose)
   c. Useful to the Master!

What kind of 'vessels' are we becoming for the Lord...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 30



Bible Reading  

January 30

The World English Bible


Jan. 30
Genesis 30

Gen 30:1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I will die."
Gen 30:2 Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in God's place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
Gen 30:3 She said, "Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her."
Gen 30:4 She gave him Bilhah her handmaid as wife, and Jacob went in to her.
Gen 30:5 Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:6 Rachel said, "God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son." Therefore called she his name Dan.
Gen 30:7 Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:8 Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed." She named him Naphtali.
Gen 30:9 When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
Gen 30:10 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:11 Leah said, "How fortunate!" She named him Gad.
Gen 30:12 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:13 Leah said, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy." She named him Asher.
Gen 30:14 Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
Gen 30:15 She said to her, "Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes, also?" Rachel said, "Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's mandrakes."
Gen 30:16 Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, "You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." He lay with her that night.
Gen 30:17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son.
Gen 30:18 Leah said, "God has given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband." She named him Issachar.
Gen 30:19 Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
Gen 30:20 Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons." She named him Zebulun.
Gen 30:21 Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
Gen 30:22 God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb.
Gen 30:23 She conceived, bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my reproach."
Gen 30:24 She named him Joseph, saying, "May Yahweh add another son to me."
Gen 30:25 It happened, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country.
Gen 30:26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you."
Gen 30:27 Laban said to him, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake."
Gen 30:28 He said, "Appoint me your wages, and I will give it."
Gen 30:29 He said to him, "You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me.
Gen 30:30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?"
Gen 30:31 He said, "What shall I give you?" Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it.
Gen 30:32 I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire.
Gen 30:33 So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen."
Gen 30:34 Laban said, "Behold, I desire it to be according to your word."
Gen 30:35 That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
Gen 30:36 He set three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
Gen 30:37 Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
Gen 30:38 He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink.
Gen 30:39 The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
Gen 30:40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn't put them into Laban's flock.
Gen 30:41 It happened, whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods;
Gen 30:42 but when the flock were feeble, he didn't put them in. So the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
Gen 30:43 The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys. 

 


From Gary... What God can see in YOU


I watched the state of the union address the other day in disbelief. Lies, distortions, cognitive disconnects (something new I learned the other day: saying two opposing comments in the same context).  Or as the Indians in the 50's westerns used to say: White man speaks with forked tongue).  As I watched, I realized that I was viewing a radical change for the United States of America.  We now have a President who thinks he can bypass congress and with the stroke of a pen or a phone call; in my mind this changes his status from President to dictator.  And our spineless representatives allow this person to remain in office????  Yet amid this disheartening news, I realized that God can use even this horrible person to do his will.  The proof of this is found in the Scriptures in the examples of Jacob (the supplanter) and Nathanael.  There are many others, but just these two will do.

Genesis, Chapter 28
 10  Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.  11 He came to a certain place, and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. He took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.  12 He dreamed. Behold, a stairway set upon the earth, and its top reached to heaven. Behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 Behold, Yahweh stood above it, and said, “I am Yahweh, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed.  14 Your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. In you and in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.  15 Behold, I am with you, and will keep you, wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.” 


John, Chapter 1
45 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 

  46  Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” 

Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 

  47  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 

  48  Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” 

Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 

  49  Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!” 
  50  Jesus answered him, “Because I told you, ‘I saw you underneath the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these!”   51 He said to him, “Most certainly, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Jacob was not a very nice person, but God thought enough of him to change his name to Israel.  Nathanael was one very prejudiced person (“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”) comes to mind.  The point is: God sees who you really are and will work with you in ways that are beyond your understanding!!!  Jacob (later Israel) did in fact follow God and so did Nathanael (I really like verse 49, above because he was willing to change his mind very quickly, when confronted by Jesus).  God had a unique relationship with both Jacob and Nathanael.  Something like the relationship the author of the above picture must have with its intended recipient. And this applies to both you and me as well. Let me repeat this again: ...God sees who you really are and will work with you in ways that are beyond your understanding!!!  


Father in heaven: 

Please work on President Barak Hussein Obama's heart to bring it into compliance with your Word!!!  Please, LORD, before this country is beyond restoration.  Thank you for listening!!!!


1/29/14

From Ben Fronczek... Daniel – No Pork Chops Thank-You








Daniel – No Pork Chops Thank-You

Daniel Part 1    (By Ben Fronczek)

Background: 

In Deut. Chapter 28, God promised to bless the Jewish nation as long as they remained faithful to Him and the covenant they had made with Him. He also warns them that if they turned their back on the covenant they made with Him and disobeyed His holy law, and if they chased after false foreign gods they would suffer the consequences until they repent.

But despite the numerous warnings over the years, the Jews turned their back on God and the covenant they had made with Him.  After sending Israel and Judah prophet after prophet to warn them to repent, God followed through with the promises made during the time of Moses. In Deut. 28 God told them that He would allow another nation that they did not know to come in and invade them. Their nation would be destroyed, only a few of them would survive, and some of their sons and daughters would be carried off in exile to a foreign land to serve their conquering king.

It is not only a Biblical fact it is also a historical fact that all this took place in 587BC. That leads us to the opening chapter of Daniel.

But before we read Chapter 1 there is one lesson I would like you to remember here: God does not forget the promises He makes, to bless or curse. He never forgets His promises!  

In 2 Peter 3:3-13 we read how some people made fun of and scoffed at the promises God has make. But Peter reminds and warns people that there is a great day coming.  

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

Even though men are short-sighted and forget, God, and His word, and His promises last forever. They are never forgotten by Him, so we can take comfort in His promises..

Read  Daniel:1:1-4  

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.”
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.

Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Jews and some were carried off into exile as predicted. Then the king ordered that some of the finest young men be groomed and trained to serve in the royal palace.   

I believe we see our 2nd lesson here.  The king, (the enemy) was not  interested in the weak, the blind, the poor, the lame, nor the simple in his service, but rather he wanted Israel’s finest, those of noble or royal birth, those who not only looked good, but also those who were intelligent, wise and able to learn.  I would dare to say that our enemy the devil is just as cunning.  I believe he is more interested in enlisting those of us who are children of God. He already has the rest of the world so I believe he especially goes after those who have the most influence in God’s kingdom; the elders, the preachers, the Bible professors and Sunday school teachers, and those who are dedicated Christians. I believe he wants to win us over and into his service hoping that we compromise truth; maybe so that we will allow that which is untrue, even ungodly into our churches and schools to influence those who are weak.

Herein is where we learn from Daniel’s example.   

Read Dan. 1:5-16  

“The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”     So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”

The Babylonian strategy was to take the brightest and best from each culture and make them Babylonian in their thinking and Babylonian in their religion.

Daniel and his friends were humble and smart enough not to balk at being renamed, they knew that sticks and stones and Babylonian spears can break their bones, but changing their names could not really harm them. Name back then had more significance than names today.

In Hebrew DANIEL meant:  “MY JUDGE IS ELOHIM.” Or GOD IS MY JUDGE                            

BELTESHAZZAR meant: “BEL (Lord of the World) PROTECTS THE KING.” ( Bel was the patron god of Babylon.)

HANANIAH meant:  UNDER YAHWEH’S GRACE. Or God’s favored
 
SHADRACH meant: UNDER AKU’S  Command  (another Babylonian god)

MISHAEL meant:  WHO IS WHAT GOD IS?
 
MESHACH meant:  WHO IS WHAT AKU IS?

AZARIAH meant:  SERVANT OF YAHWEH. Jehovah has helped
 
ABEDNEGO meant: SERVANT OF NEGO. (their god of wisdom and Literature)

They could handle being renamed but when it came to changing what they had to eat and drink, that was another story. Long before we knew about germs and microbes and the nature of diseases, God knew. So He forbid the nation of Israel from eating certain foods that were prone to disease if not handled right. Foods like pork chops and crustaceans. Foods that the King likely to serve for dinner.

In addition, the Babylonians had a practice of offering their animals up to their gods as sacrifices before they ate them. So Daniel and his friends wanted to stay away from eating any meat that had been offered to idols. And this is where we see what Daniel and his companions are made of, and why I believe God preserved their lives and did not destroy them along with almost all the other Jews.

Neb. was trying to get them to do the very thing that God had told them not to do from the time of Moses. Neb. would have them turn their back on the Lord and what He commanded in His law. It was the very reason He allowed Babylon to conquer Judea in the first place. Even at a young age (probably around 16) Daniel and his companions recognized this and they made a decision not to eat the king’s food or drink the kings wine.

Another thing we see here is that Daniel and his friends never said anything negative about the Babylonians or their particular customs and eating habits.  They didn’t necessarily agree with all of it, but they were wise enough not to insult them and simply chose not to do that was against their moral and religious beliefs.  They simply chose to follow God’s way not matter what.

As I thought about this I could not help but ask myself, ‘In the land of the Jews where immorality seem to prevail  and the fear of God had faded away, how and where did these boy acquire the good morals and religious ethics that we see them possessing here?’

I can think of no place other than their home. Either one or both of their parents must have thought it important to teach their sons about God and what pleases Him even though everyone else was doing their own thing.  That up-bringing, the religious instruction, and hearts that loved and honored YAHWEH is probably what saved their lives and brought them to Babylon.

But here they were again, having to make a decision to do something different than what everyone else was doing. Before they probably acted different than everyone else in Israel, now they chose to be different than everyone else in Babylon. They simply chose to do what God asked of them before they were ever  captured.

But how could they do that? Why did they do that?
 
Well, they probably understood that God is in control.  They may have even understood why God allowed Babylon to conquer their homeland and why they were in the palace this foreign king.  It was all there in Deuteronomy 28. It was not a mistake. And maybe they recognized that God had placed them there for a purpose. So the culture did not threaten them. After all that they witnessed, they probably feared God more than they feared the king.

And because of their desire to obey God, rather than taking the easy way out they chose to obey God rather than this man. And what happens, God shows them favor in the eyes of the kings servant who would care for them.

Not only that, God blesses Daniel and his companions with healthy bodies, healthier than all the other young men. So the servant allowed Daniel and his companions to continue on with their diet.

So Here is Another lesson: 
If you want to be wise and set yourself on a course for success always chose to do what God wants you to do over what others want and expect of you. You don’t have do what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to go along with things that are popular in our culture, in your workplace, or school. Nor should we  be the one going around  complaining and criticizing the culture we live in or particular customs of others. Instead, live with freedom and peace of mind knowing that our God in heaven rules. Just live right, be a good example. Be salt and light and God will help you rise above and even lead others if you put Him first. He was even polite as he asked the servant of the king, by saying, ‘please’.

Read Daniel 1:17-21 

 “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.  And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Because Daniel and his companions remained faithful and true to Him, we read here that God continued to bless them with intelligence, wisdom and more over the next three years of their training. The text goes on to say that they were 10 timeswiser that anyone else in the kingdom.
I personally believe Daniel and his companions entered Babylon with more wisdom and understanding than any of those other young men from other conquered lands.  Why do I believe that? Because faithful Jewish boys in that day, as well as some today, are taught by their fathers to read, study, and memorize Scripture. And Scripture carries with it a promise of making your wise and smart. – This might explain why over 90% of all Nobel prizes have been won by ethnic Jews, even though ethnic Jews make up less than 1% of the world’s population. 
They study the scriptures.

The author of Ps. 119:99-100 wrote, 
I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.  100 I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.

Daniel and his friends had high I.Q’s. because they knew God’s word.
 
So our final lesson for today is seen right here. If you want to grow in wisdom and understanding, read God’s word, study it, digest it, even memorize it if you can. By doing so, the wisdom of God will become yours.

For more lessons click on the following link: