2/2/14

From Ben Fronczek... Daniel (part 4) Humble Grass Pie


Daniel (part 4)  Humble Grass Pie  

(By Ben Fronczek)

How many of you consider yourself a quick learner? Some are in many areas, but unfortunately concerning some things some may have to learn the ‘hard way’. And what do I mean by ‘the hard way’. It’s when we don’t learn a lesson the first time or right away because we have an unteachable spirit because sometimes we are stubborn, proud, arrogant, or we think we know it all, or because we simply keep putting off what we do know we should do.

In our study today we’ll see that Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon was one those guys who had to learn a spiritual lesson the hard way.

In the first three chapters of Daniel we see where King Nebuchadnezzar learned of our Lord God and saw His power demonstrated through Daniel and his companions Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In Chapter 2 with the Lord’s help Daniel was the only one in Babylon who could tell the king what he dreamt one night and then was able to give him an interpretation of that dream with God’s help. It was something that had never been done before. And even though Nebuchadnezzar was blown away and threw himself prostrate before Daniel and declared that Daniel’s God was the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and the revealer of mysteries. The best he could do was offer God some praise and give Daniel a good position in his kingdom.

In chapter three we saw how arrogant and puffed up Nebuchadnezzar was when he had a 90 foot statue of gold of himself erected and then commanded everyone to bow down and worship it. To me it almost sounded like Nebuchadnezzar saw himself as some kind of god and was trying to start a new religion (who knows maybe called Nebuchadnezzar-ism) where he and his statue would be memorialized and worshipped for years to come. In that story we saw how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship that statue. They could not do it knowing it would displease our Lord and God who commanded His people not to make or worship an idol or graven image. As the story goes Nebuchadnezzar  in a fury of anger had them thrown into a blazing furnace. But again our Lord God demonstrates His power when He protects and saves Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire. The three men came out of the fire unharmed not even smelling of smoke and again Nebuchadnezzar praises the God of the Jews.

But apart from praising God and promoting these three men and telling everyone not to say anything against God, that’s as far as his faith took him.

Even though God showed Nebuchadnezzar that He personally put him in his high position of power and leadership, there was no personal commitment, no allegiance on his part to the God of Heaven, just a little admiration and praise.

You see it one thing to appreciate and praise our Lord, it’s quite another to pledge one’s allegiance to Him and recognize Him as our personal Lord.

In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says  

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

In Luke 6:46 He says  

”Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

So in Daniel 4, We are going to see Nebuchadnezzar sharing the story of how God taught him a lesson concerning who was really in control, and who really deserves our praise and worship and allegiance. Basically how he became a believer. Actually this is all we will hear of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the last story we have of him in scripture.

Read Daniel 4:1-3    

“King Nebuchadnezzar,
To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:
May you prosper greatly!
It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;     his dominion endures from generation to generation.”

To begin with I want you to notice who the author of this portion of scripture is, who his is addressing, and the perspective he is writing from.

- First of all: This is a personal letter from Nebuchadnezzar. He is the author. He either wrote it himself or at least dictating it to a scribe.

- 2nd, He addresses it to everyone; to all people, every nation , to people of every language who live on this planet.  (Maybe even us in our time)

- 3rd, He writes this from the viewpoint of a humble believer. Something happened to change his attitude and heart.

Then he tells his story: Read Daniel 4:4-18  (Click on verse to read) 

So Nebuchadnezzar had another disturbing dream and like we saw in Chapter 2 no one else could tell him what it meant except Daniel. As we read we see that Daniel is a little nervous apprehensive about telling the king what he saw in his dream.

Read  Daniel 4:19-26      (Click on verse to read) 

Daniel lets the king know that as great as he is, the Lord God of Heaven was about to humble him. For whatever reason Nebuchadnezzar would lose his mind and he would be driven out of Babylon and would eat grass like an animal for 7 years when he would finally acknowledge God for who He is, the Most High and Sovereign Lord over all, the one worthy of praise and honor.
Then in verse 27 Daniel goes on to give Nebuchadnezzar some good advice and wise counsel that he apparently ignored   Read 4:27

  27 Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”

And then Nebuchadnezzar shares what happens to him a year later, and why and how it changed him. Read Daniel 4:28-37  (Click on verse to read) 

Nebuchadnezzar had to learn a lesson the hard way, but at least he learned.

What about you? How many times have you heard a teaching from God, a preacher, or the Bible, and you know that the teaching applies to you because it hits the nail on the head and you know it is right and true yet for some reason you do nothing and don’t apply it to your life?

Maybe God tells you to forgive yet you do not forgive. His word tells you not to gossip or be quarrelsome but rather to seek peace and show mercy, yet you say nasty things either to someone or maybe behind their back.

We are told to fix our thoughts on things that are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and to think about things that are worthy of praise; not on selfish ambition, discord, sexual impurity or getting more and more stuff.  Yet what do we do and what do we put most of our time and
effort and into?

Maybe you’ve heard a preacher teach that we should be helpful, loving and generous and share with others, yet you turn you back on the needs of others and dip into your bag of excuses when faced with a need.

Daniels advise to Nebuchadnezzar was to stop doing anything evil and start being kind to those who are oppressed so that he would continue to proper…. But did he listen? NO. So God had to teach him a lesson.

In 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 the Apostle Paul wrote  

 These things happened to those individuals as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” NLT

Yes I want you to acknowledge and praise God, but more importantly I want to encourage you to accept Him as your God, as your Lord and the master of your life and do what He says, and do those things because you love Him. And as Daniel counselled Nebuchadnezzar, if you do these things then you will prosper, and I believe you will feel good, having peace of mind knowing that you have done your best to please your Lord..

For more lessons click on the following link:
http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... 1 Peter 2:18-24, doormats? [1]

1 Peter 2:18-24, doormats? [1]

A reader and I have been both struggling with the issue of injustice and abuse. It’s an extremely complex issue and you don’t read or listen long before you hear phrases like, "But on the other hand" or "But I don’t mean by that". I suppose we talk about the matter to keep from saying nothing or because someone in their pain and bewilderment asks us what we think.

How much should a Christian take? Are there no limits? Does "turn the other cheek" (see Matthew 5:38-44) mean we’re supposed to see ourselves as doormats and act accordingly? That tough passage in 1 Peter 2:18-24 seems easy enough to understand until somebody starts sticking it to you. When that happens, we don’t say it isn’t the word of God, but we’re inclined to read all the different versions and commentaries to make sure it means what it looks like it says.

It makes for a hard life if you’re daily suffering injustice and being abused and someone says to you, "God called you to this so take it patiently." See 1 Peter 2:20-21. It makes for a hard life if someone abuses you in this way and you’re told to offer yourself as the object of abuse in another way (compare Matthew 5:38-44).

We can’t function in life without generalisations but we’re idiots if we’re not fully prepared to accept that there are many exceptions to our generalisations. Bearing that in mind, I tend to think that Western Christians—generally speaking—whine too much and want too much and expect too much. Setting aside—as hardly worth even talking about seriously—the sinful and sickening lunacy of the "prosperity gospel" preachers I think it’s true "in general" that when Western Christians ask for "more" that something is badly out of whack.

Nevertheless I personally know people—lots of people—and you do too, that go through daily purgatory. It’s bad enough that the emotional or physical abuse is severe and painful and enduring, what makes it worse is their uncertainty about how they should to respond to it. Are they supposed to just take it?

My impression is that it’s only the very sensitive believers that go on enduring daily and marked injustice. Those less devoted to God (I’m guessing) will quickly walk away from the situation "no matter what the Bible says." That makes sense at one level; "don’t delve into scriptures to see what they say, if it gets where you think it’s too much just walk away and don’t look back!"

Sounds like good advice. Sounds like the kind of advice that society at large operates on (compare marriage vows). But it leaves untouched the kind of texts cited above. What are we to make of them? Should we go through the scriptures and take what pleases us and dismiss the rest? Can sensitive Christians consciously do that kind of thing?

That’s the major problem with the advice but there’s also the question, what’s "too much"? For some of us it would appear that even a criticism is "too much". And you hear of marriages foundering because "my emotional needs were not being met" or "I have a right to be happy and he/she wasn’t making me happy." It seems clear that there are people whose every other sentence is something like, "Damn ‘community’ what about my rights?" Friendships collapse because the expected "gush" of gratitude wasn’t always forthcoming. That kind of thing, while others have the skin stripped from their bones by a merciless tongue day after day. That kind of peevishness about minor dissatisfactions, while others are deliberately and consistently mistreated and/or physically abused by those who swore to provide the reverse. I think it’s fairly easy for us to spot what we would call the "extremes" but it’s that broad area in between that’s hard to define—isn’t it? Even the sufferer has a hard time convincing him or herself about the meaning of "too much". The definition of that would depend in part on the nature and make-up of the sufferer so those that are on the "outside" offering advice need to be confident that they have a good grasp of the situation.

But what about those texts—the kind we mentioned earlier? Do those not deal with extreme situations and still they call the sufferer to stay and endure as part of his or her life for Christ? I don’t think it’s that simple.

I think we should make a distinction between what we can’t alter and what we’re at liberty to alter.

Take the case of the slaves in 1 Peter 2:18-24. That’s not a text about "employees" who can change their jobs if they aren’t satisfied with the boss or the prevailing conditions, so we mustn’t use it as if it were. We can’t tell employees that 1 Peter 2 teaches that they can’t change jobs but that they must endure the injustice and abuse heaped on them by the bosses. The text isn’t dealing with a relationship shaped and sustained by mutual commitment so we mustn’t use it as if it were. Peter isn’t writing to people that have been rescued from an oppressive society that owned slaves the way people own shoes so we mustn’t use the text as if it were.

Peter speaks to people as they find themselves, in a situation they can’t change and calls them to live out their lives in that situation as people that belong to Christ. The passage says nothing about the evil of the "slavery system" but as sure as God made little green apples the gospel of Christ is the death of all such tyrannous arrangements. The passage works within the existing circumstances and doesn’t forbid a free man or woman appealing to the proper authorities about injustice (compare Paul’s appeal to Caesar—see Acts 25:10-12).

I would say if a Christian can change an oppressive situation that he or she has the right to do so. How that change might be effected depends a lot on the situation. And I’d say that given the right set of circumstances that a Christian would have the responsibility as well as the right to work to change the situation. The oppressor might need something more than another cheek turned to him. In a case such as that, the sufferer is no "doormat". To rebuke oppression and protest against it is no crime—we learn that from Christ and some overturned tables. It’s true that in that temple incident Jesus was standing for someone other than himself but injustice is injustice! And if it turns out that the one that needs the cup of cold water is oneself the need is still real.

Of course it’s perfectly acceptable from someone who has the power to escape injustice to choose to forfeit his or her right to do it. Christ could have called for divine aid and put a stop to the injustice being heaped on him but refused to do it because the will of the Father was better served by his self-denial. And don’t we all know people who, for reasons best known to and understood by themselves, refuse to walk away from an oppressive relationship?

Relationships are rarely simple and for the sake of others or with certain goals in mind, or moved by commitments made, those that are being hurt choose to remain. When you choose to remain the "doormat" notion vanishes. If you choose to endure abuse to gain something more precious to you than an abuse-free existence it doesn’t matter how it appears to others.

I’ve told (page 149) of C.S Rodd’s rehearsal in The Expository Times of a wife who’d run off every so often and live for extended periods with some man and then come back. The husband received her back every time it happened. A friend tried to bring it up to the husband but he whispered with intensity, "Not a word! She’s my wife." She came back after her final absence, sick, and wouldn’t get better. The husband gently nursed her until the day she died in his patient arms. Rodd mentioned this in a sermon and on his way out of the building a psychologist said to Rodd that "the psychological problems of the husband need to be looked at."

Maybe, maybe not. Had the husband been firmer would the wife have lived differently? Should he have given her an ultimatum? God knows! But I find it interesting that a family counsellor who knew no more about the situation than you or I do, was willing to conclude that the husband was a disturbed man.

The one who gladly paid the awful price needed therapy?

©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... The Scriptures Inspired Of God ( 2 Timothy 3:14-17)






                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                The Scriptures Inspired Of God (3:14-17)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Paul prepared the Ephesian elders for the time when he would be
   gone...
   a. He commended them to the word of God's grace - cf. Ac 20:29-32a
   b. Which was able to build them up, and give them their inheritance
      - Ac 20:32b

2. With Timothy, Paul did the same when writing his last letter...
   a. He admonished Timothy to continue in the things he had learned
      - 2Ti 3:14
   b. He first referenced the Holy Scriptures known since his childhood
      - 2Ti 3:15
      1) When Timothy was a child, the only scriptures available was the
         Old Testament
      2) So Paul clearly had the Old Testament scriptures in view
   c. He then spoke of the value of "all Scripture" - 2Ti 3:16-17
      1) That which was inspired of God
      2) That which had the ability to make the man of God "complete"

[If both the Ephesian elders and Timothy needed the word of God after
Paul's departure, much more do we today!  To fully appreciate why,
consider what our text (2Ti 3:14-17) reveals about...]

I. THE VALUE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

   A. IT DEVELOPS WISDOM...
      1. The OT makes one "wise for salvation through faith which is in
         Christ Jesus" - 2Ti 3:15
      2. How?  The OT provides information regarding:
         a. The fall of man and the rise of sin
         b. The background and development of God's scheme of redemption
         c. Messianic prophecies which describe what to expect when He
            comes
      3. One cannot hope to fully understand such books of the New
         Testament like:
         a. Hebrews, without a knowledge of the Levitical priesthood
         b. Revelation, without a familiarity of OT prophecy and
            apocalyptic literature
      -- If one desires to be wise concerning their salvation, study the
         Old Testament!

   B. IT OFFERS HOPE...
      1. Note carefully what Paul wrote in Ro 15:3-4
         a. He appealed to a passage in the OT
         b. The things "written before" (i.e., the OT) were "written for
            our learning"
         c. The OT was written and preserved especially for the
            Christians' benefit!
         d. The OT provides "patience and comfort", that we "might have
            hope"!
      2. How?  The OT provides a record of God's faithfulness, how He
         kept His promises:
         a. To Abraham and the nation of Israel
         b. To judge the wicked and avenge the righteous
         c. To forgive the penitent, and protect the humble
      -- As we read this history of God's dealings with Israel, it gives
         us hope that God will keep His promises to us!

   C. IT PROVIDES ADMONITION...
      1. Consider what Paul wrote in 1Co 10:11
         a. He had just reviewed the fall of Israel in the wilderness
            - 1Co 10:1-10
         b. The events described may have happened to Israel
         c. "They were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of
            the ages has come"
         d. The OT was written and preserved especially for the benefit
            of Christians!
      2. Thus the NT writers often appealed to the OT to admonish
         Christians
         a. As did Paul, writing to the Corinthians
         b. As did the writer of Hebrews, exhorting Christians to remain
            steadfast - He 3:12-19
         c. As did James, encouraging Christians to be patient in their
            suffering - Jm 5:7-11
         d. As did Peter, warning of false teachers and scoffers - 2 Pe 2:3
      -- As we read the Old Testament, we should learn from what
         happened to Israel!

[Though we do not live under the Old Covenant, the Old Testament is of
great value to the Christian.  Together with all Scripture from God, it
provides every thing we need.  Indeed, Paul reveals...]

II. THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES

   A. THEY ARE INSPIRED...
      1. All Scripture is "given by the inspiration of God" (NKJV)
         - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Literally, "God breathed" (theopneustos)
         b. Cf. "All Scripture is breathed out by God" (ESV)
      2. "The idea of 'breathing upon, or breathing into the soul,' is
         that which the word naturally conveys." - Barnes
      3. The writers of Scripture were moved along by the Spirit of God
         - cf. 2Pe 1:21
      4. The Spirit gave them their very words (i.e., verbal and plenary
         inspiration) - cf. 1Co 2:13
      -- The Scriptures are not the words or thoughts of mere men, but
         of Spirit-guided men who spoke and wrote the very Word of God!
         - cf. Jn 16:13; 1Co 14:37; 1Th 2:13

   B. THEY ARE PROFITABLE...
      1. For doctrine - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Teaching, instruction - Thayer
         b. Regarding all that God wants us to know regarding Himself
            and His will for us
      2. For reproof - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Proof, conviction - Strong
         b. Convicting those in error of their wrong, showing them the
            need to change
      3. For correction - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Correction, improvement of life or character - Thayer
         b. "the Scriptures are a powerful means of reformation, or of
            putting men into the proper condition in regard to morals."
            - Barnes
      4. For instruction in righteousness - 2Ti 3:16
         a. "Instruction in regard to the principles of justice, or what
            is right." - Barnes
         b. "Man needs not only to be made acquainted with truth, to be
            convinced of his error, and to be reformed; but he needs to
            be taught what is right, or what is required of him, in
            order that he may lead a holy life." - ibid.
      -- The Scriptures are truly "profitable" (helpful, advantageous),
         as extolled by David - cf. Ps 19:7-11

   C. THEY MAKE ONE COMPLETE...
      1. Thoroughly equipped for every good work - 2Ti 3:17
         a. That is, completely furnished to do what is expected of him
         b. Note well:  equipped for every good work; not some, but all
            that God considers a good work
      2. Regarding life and godliness - cf. 2Pe 1:3
         a. We have been given "all things that pertain to life and
            godliness"
         b. Not 'some' things, but 'all' that we need for spiritual life
            and godly living
      3. Having been given once for all - cf. Jude 3
         a. The faith has been delivered "once for all" to the saints
         b. There is no need for 'modern day revelations', just as there
            is no more need of sacrifices for sins - cf. He 9:26-28;
            1Pe 3:18
      -- The inspired Scriptures alone are more than adequate to make
         the man of God "complete" (competent, ESV), to do everything
         God desires of Him for salvation

CONCLUSION

1. Dear friends and brethren, do we truly desire to...
   a. Be wise concerning the salvation by faith in Christ?
   b. Have hope in the promises of God?
   c. Learn from the mistakes of those in the past?
   d. Be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work?

2. Then take up the admonition of Paul to both the elders and the young
   preacher...
   a. Continue in the things learned from the Holy Scriptures!
   b. Let the inspired Scriptures be your guide in life through its
      doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness!

3. Give yourself to diligent study of the Word of God, which is...
   a. "able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in
      Christ Jesus"
   b. "able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those
      who are sanctified"

   "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when
   you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed
   it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,
   which also effectively works in you who believe.'  (1Th 2:13)

Could Paul have written the same about us...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading February 2






Bible Reading  

February 2

The World English Bible



Feb. 2
Genesis 33
Gen 33:1 Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau was coming, and with him four hundred men. He divided the children between Leah, Rachel, and the two handmaids.
Gen 33:2 He put the handmaids and their children in front, Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph at the rear.
Gen 33:3 He himself passed over in front of them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
Gen 33:4 Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and they wept.
Gen 33:5 He lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, "Who are these with you?" He said, "The children whom God has graciously given your servant."
Gen 33:6 Then the handmaids came near with their children, and they bowed themselves.
Gen 33:7 Leah also and her children came near, and bowed themselves. After them, Joseph came near with Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
Gen 33:8 Esau said, "What do you mean by all this company which I met?" Jacob said, "To find favor in the sight of my lord."
Gen 33:9 Esau said, "I have enough, my brother; let that which you have be yours."
Gen 33:10 Jacob said, "Please, no, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present at my hand, because I have seen your face, as one sees the face of God, and you were pleased with me.
Gen 33:11 Please take the gift that I brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough." He urged him, and he took it.
Gen 33:12 Esau said, "Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before you."
Gen 33:13 Jacob said to him, "My lord knows that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds with me have their young, and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die.
Gen 33:14 Please let my lord pass over before his servant, and I will lead on gently, according to the pace of the livestock that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord to Seir."
Gen 33:15 Esau said, "Let me now leave with you some of the folk who are with me." He said, "Why? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord."
Gen 33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.
Gen 33:17 Jacob traveled to Succoth, built himself a house, and made shelters for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
Gen 33:18 Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan Aram; and encamped before the city.
Gen 33:19 He bought the parcel of ground where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money.
Gen 33:20 He erected an altar there, and called it El Elohe Israel.



From Gary... Too ridiculous, NOT TO NOTICE


OK, we all know there is "one in every crowd"; that certain someone who can see humor in almost anything and as soon as they do- you hear about it.  But, what if a sensible, "down to Earth", serious person says or does something funny?  To my way of thinking, whatever they say or do is many times funnier than the "joker" in the crowd.  Take Jesus, for example- the following passage shows his sense of humor...

Matthew, Chapter 7
 1  “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged.   2  For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.   3  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye?   4  Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye?   5  You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Can't you just imagine the scene: someone is trying to find fault with another, while at the same time THEY HAVE AN EXTREMELY OBVIOUS FAULT THAT EVERYONE CAN EASILY SEE!!!  How ironic!!!  When Jesus says "don't judge", he means hypocritical judgement; else why would he say .."First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye."  Now, I am NOT saying that Jesus was a clown, just that his sense of humor was a focused one- something that was meant to bring one closer to God. Frankly, the more I learn about Jesus, the more I find there IS TO LEARN!!!  I can't wait to meet him and find out what sort of jokes he thinks are funny- I mean, besides the joke in Matthew 7!!!