Thursday, September 30, 2010

Working the Steps the Bible’s Way

And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; Luke 3:10-15

Steps: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

John the Baptist was like a sponsor, prophet, educator, counselor, all mixed into one. He had touched the hearts of the people and they were ready to ask for guidance and to know what to do. They listed out the inventory of their behaviors, and then God instructed them as to what to do to correct and pay back what they had done and then how to live on a day by day basis. John did such a nice job that the people wondered if John was the Messiah or should they look for another.

Prayer for Today: God help us to be willing to investigate our thinking and behaviors. We need Your help to know the difference between good and evil and we ask that when You tell us about what we are doing that we will be willing to listen to You and not our own selves. When You tell us Your perspectives on us, help us to not react as though You are being mean to us, but that You are simply telling us the facts. Then when You tell us about ourselves, help us to also believe that You have the power and the desire to help us. Grant us the courage to accept Your ways and to accept the power to change. Thank You for Your help.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inventory Time

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:7-12

Steps: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

In this story the prophet of God takes the inventory of the Jewish leadership. He calls them vipers for in their hearts they did not want to serve God. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to the prophet to look like they were in harmony with God when they were not at all. God knows the hearts of all men and He chose to reveal these men’s hearts publicly to give them a chance at recovery and to alert the people around them that all was not as it appeared. The mission of Jesus was to reveal the hearts of men and to give each and every one a chance to repent, to get power from Him and to get into recovery through His power. That opportunity is available to all people, including us.

Prayer for Today: God, it is scary to know that You can reveal our heart to all the world at any time. We know that You are not intent upon embarrassing us but to give us all a chance to repent and to come into recovery with You. Help us to recognize that You are not trying to hurt us, but our addictions are intent upon killing us. Help us to surrender the addictive thoughts and behaviors to You and to receive the gift of recovery from You. Thank You again for Your mercies toward us.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Call of John the Baptist

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. Matthew 3:1-6

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12

After the childhood years of Jesus had concluded and Jesus was a man of about 30 years of age, he hears the call of John the Baptist. He recognizes that John is the forerunner. Scripture prophesied that one would come to prepare the way for the Messiah about the time of 27AD in fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. When stories started coming into Nazareth of the work of John the Baptist, Jesus recognized that His time had come. The Father was calling to Him through the prophet. As in all things, Jesus was immediately ready to obey the call of His Father in heaven. He prepared the people around Him to care for the carpentry shop because He had to leave to attend to His calling to start His ministry. Jesus recognized that His ministry would be only 3.5 years long according to the prophecy of Daniel 9:26-27. Jesus was ever ready to do His Father’s will and He was ready to respond to the call of John the Baptist.

Prayer for Today: Thank You God for Your detailed care of Jesus. Help us please to recognize that as much as You helped Jesus is to show how much care You want to invest into our care as well. It is amazing that You want to work with us and to help us to have victory over addiction in all of its forms in our lives. Thank You for your watch care and for Your efforts to care for us. Thank You for these stories to give us hope in You.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jesus Stayed with Joseph and Mary for 18 More Years

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:51-52

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

Jesus was aware of Who He was and yet He chose to stay with Joseph and Mary and stayed under their direction while He developed and matured as a man. Jesus recognized prophetically that His time had not yet come. He stayed out of sight in Nazareth until the time was full and He knew that His Father would make it abundantly clear when His time had come. Yet all of the time in Nazareth He continued to increase in wisdom, and in size, and He was increased in the respect of God and man. He was becoming a man and when His time to step on the scene would come He would be fully developed and fully ready to do the will of His Father in heaven. Jesus trusted in the care of His Father in heaven.

Prayer for Today: We thank You again Father that we can see glimpses of how One totally surrendered to You waited upon You to care for Him and to guide Him day by day – one day at a time. Help us to develop that same level of trust in You so that we don’t go out and force something that is not yet ready. Help us to learn to trust You like Jesus did. Help us to believe that You have a plan for us just like You had a plan for Him. Help us to have a spiritual awakening like He did, and to cooperate with You like He did as well. Thank You for Your love and patience.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jesus in His Temple as a Child

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. Luke 2:41-50

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

When Jesus was 12 years, old enough to be a participant in religious activities in Israel, Jesus’ parents brought Him to Jerusalem to participate in the Passover sacrifices in the time of March-April. Jesus participated in the whole ritual and recognized His role in the Passover services and knew that in the providences of His Father in heaven He would someday be the real Passover Lamb of God and have to be sacrificed for mankind. When the services were done His family headed back to Nazareth and were not aware that Jesus was not with them. After three days they found Him and He was teaching in the temple. Jesus’ parents heard Him interacting with the professors of the temple school and all were amazed and His understanding and His answers to questions. When Mary and Joseph finally got Jesus alone they chastised them by asking Him why He had not come with them. Jesus corrected them and reproved them for losing Him by saying that He was doing the work that His True Father in heaven had called Him to do, while they had gotten caught up in the celebration. Jesus was telling them that He recognized Who He was but they did not understand what He had said to them.

Prayer for Today: Help us to recognize that many things are going on around us and many times we do not understand what You are doing for us and in us. Help us to trust You that You have a plan and that we will be blessed if we will just stick with You and allow You to communicate with us. Thank You for Your special gifts to us.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jesus Grows Up Anonymously

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Luke 2:40

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

When Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to Nazareth they set up their home, Joseph returned to his business as a carpenter and the family settled into the task of raising a family. They lived their lives and did their work and the greatest work they did was to teach Jesus how to be a God-fearing child and to learn the things of God. Jesus was taught about the truths of the Word of God like any other child. The biggest difference was that Jesus never sinned against God, or His family, and so He had a particularly sweet disposition and He was filled with the Holy Spirit and God blessed Him with many gifts and Jesus took full advantage of all of the gifts of God and He grew up in a manner that God intended every child of the world to grow up. God had told us how this was to be done in Deuteronomy 6:3-9 “Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” These highlighted principles Joseph and Mary did to the best of their ability and God did for them what they could not do. God blessed them and Jesus grew up a totally converted, totally surrendered, non-addicted child of God.

Prayer for Today: God, when we look at Jesus, and certainly when we hear Him as an adult, we see total success and we are stunned by Your original plan. We see how poorly we were raised, in many cases anyway, and are tempted to feel that life was unfair and if we had lived with Mary and Joseph and had Your blessings we would have turned out differently. While that may be true in some cases, most of us had many opportunities to work with You but we have been so preoccupied with our own ways that even when You offered us special help we turned You down. Help us now to recognize where we went wrong and be willing to surrender to You for help and start on the right path today. Thank You for coming to look for us and to offer us Your assistance today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jesus Comes to Nazareth

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:19-23

Steps: 11, 12

After God had sent His Son to Egypt then He called Him back again after the death of Herod. Again God instructed Joseph when and where to bring His Son and Joseph obeyed. He brought Mary and Jesus back to Israel and sent them to Nazareth where God had instructed him to go. This town was familiar to Joseph and it was another part of the prophetic puzzle for this name was to be a part of Jesus forever. God wanted us to know Him as a Nazarene or a Nazarite – one who separated from his brethren and one dedicated to God in a special way like Samuel and Samson. Numbers 6:1-21.

Prayer for Today: God, when it is our turn to be led by You we pray that we may listen to You as well as Joseph did. Help us to learn to trust Your voice and to trust You in such a way as we do not think we are smarter than You are. Help us to rest in Your care and to believe that You have thought all these things out and that You know where You are going, and where You are leading us. Help us to trust Your steps, and Your leading. Thank You for Your patience in working with us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Addictive Nature of King Herod

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. Matthew 2:16-18

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

When God arranged for the wise men not to return to Herod it was because God knew of the character of this king. He would stoop to anything to accomplish his purposes of removing any competitor for his throne, including killing babies. This is the addictive nature of this king, that he would have power and if necessary he would kill many babies to accomplish his goals. In this story we see that fear of losing power will drive some people to do anything to preserve power, just as an alcoholic will continue to drink in spite of the death of family members and loved ones. Only God can stop an addict and Herod was willing to attempt to kill God to keep his perceptions of his throne and kingdom alive. Herod ordered the death of all children in Bethlehem that were two years old and younger. The only thing that stops us from this same kind of behavior is God Himself in our lives.

Prayer for Today: God, You know that it is difficult for some of us to think we would stoop to such behavior to keep our pretend lives intact. Yet those of us in recovery know the lengths that we went to to keep our lives going in a direction we felt secure with. We thank You that You have delivered us and we pray for our brothers and sisters that You will deliver them before they go to the same lengths as Herod did. You know us, and You know our defects of character, please rescue us from us.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

God Pays the Way to Egypt

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Matthew 2:13-15

Steps: 11, 12

When God sent the wise men He knew what He wanted to accomplish with Jesus and He knew what needed to be accomplished in order to fulfill His plans. The gifts the wise men brought were just what was needed to fund the trip to Egypt that another one of God’s prophecies would be fulfilled and that was the prophecy that “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.” Hosea 11:1 In this situation Jesus is the fulfillment of the nation of Israel when they were called out of Egypt. God considered that Israel was His first born son among the nations. God warned them to flee, and He funded the trip. This shows again how detailed are the plans of God for His people.

Prayer for Today: God we are beginning to see how You plan things out and in your total power, and foresight You know and have planned for every contingency. You sent the wise men, You blessed with gifts, and You sent Your angel to guide and instruct Your family on Earth. Thank You for the assurance that You will protect us and plans for us as well. What a comforting thought.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wise Men Find Jesus

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11

Steps: 11, 12

God allowed the wise men to come to Jerusalem to alert the people that the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-25 had been fulfilled and Messiah had been born. The wise men from the East had discovered this and had been willing to follow a star from their homeland to Israel looking for the promised King. When they alerted Jerusalem they then went on their way hoping to find this prophetic King. Once they left Jerusalem they saw the star again and were willing to follow it again. The star led them to the place where the King lay and they went into the place and found Mary and the Baby Jesus. When they worshipped Him they left Him sanctuary gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. They had done what the Holy Spirit had led them to do and they were blessed. Then God blessed them again. He warned them through the gift of prophecy not to go back to Herod but to go back to their country another way. God knew that the heart of Herod was not right toward His son, nor toward any who worshipped Him. In God’s providence and in His blessing He sent these men home safely to share this gospel to the people in their homeland.

Prayer for Today: God, again we are amazed and how detailed You are in accomplishing Your tasks. We just want to thank You for the lives of these innocent men. We also want to thank You that You granted them the courage and the star to help them find the King that their hearts desired to see and worship. What a thrilling story to know that they could understand Your prophecies and that they could know the time of the birth of the Messiah, and that they would come and seek and be blessed above what they could think or ask. How gracious You are to Your people, even when they don’t know all of the truth, they just responded to the truth that they knew. We hope to see these men in heaven when You come again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jesus is Blessed by the Prophet Simeon

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:25-35

Steps: 3, 4

Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem to have Him circumcised according to the law, and to have Him dedicated to God. When the priest dedicated Jesus the priest did not know anything special about Him, Jesus was just another child to him. But when the priest had finished dedicating Jesus God intervened and had a special dedication for His Son. God sent a man named Simeon to bless Jesus. While blessing Him Simeon gave a prophecy to both Jesus and to Mary. God spoke through Simeon and told Mary that Jesus was the Messiah and that He was to be a blessing to all peoples, both Jews and Gentiles, and thus all recovering peoples. Simeon then blessed Mary and Joseph and told them that Jesus would cause the fall and recovery of many people and reveal the thoughts of many hearts and they would have a chance to change if they wanted to. Simeon also told Mary that a sword would pierce her own heart because of Jesus. Shortly after Simeon blessed them a prophetess by the name of Ana came in and blessed them also that God would verify this message by two witnesses. Mary and Joseph had much to ponder after this visit to Jerusalem and this conversation with God.

Prayer for Today: God we never know what You will do on any given day. Help us to be prepared so that when You do talk to us we will be prepared to accept that these things are from You. We thank You for allowing us to see how You worked in the lives of Joseph and Mary, and Jesus, help us to anticipate that You will want to talk to us as well. Help us to remember that we are precious in Your sight and You want to help us and bless us in many ways.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Wise Men and the King Discuss Baby Jesus

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. Matthew 2:1-8

Steps: 11, 12

God tells the story of the wise men coming from the East, following a star, seeking the baby Jesus – the King of the Jews. God sent them to Jerusalem to be sure to create a stir in the minds of the people and of the king. This time fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-17 and God wanted to be sure that everyone in Israel knew about the coming of Jesus. The wise men were excited about meeting the king but the people of Israel, and the current non-Jewish king were not excited about Jesus as the king but about their feelings of someone getting in the way of the progress of the nation. The people and the king did not know what the Messiah was going to do but it did not look good for their business. So the king found out where Jesus was to be born, according to the prophecy of Micah 5:2, so that he could send the wise men to find the baby and then he could do what he wanted to do, kill the potential opposing king before he could gather a following. Israel could have known the time of the arrival of the King sent by God, but they were not interested in someone who could disrupt their lives. They were content to live life out without God interfering with their plans.

Prayer for Today: God, forgive us for getting preoccupied with things and being unaware of Your plans for us. Please help us to have some interest in Your plans, for Yourself, and for us. Help us not to get irritated with the fact that You want to get us into recovery. Help us to choose to cooperate with Your plans for us. We need Your help, and we ask for it again today.

Friday, September 17, 2010

God Wanted Plenty of Witnesses

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Luke 2:8-12, 15-20

Steps: 11,12

God wanted all of His people to know what He was doing when He allowed His Son – Jesus – to come to the Earth. He knew how dangerous it would be for Jesus, and all of mankind. This was going to be their only hope. If Jesus failed all would fail. All the world would know that even God was not big enough, strong enough, smart enough to be able to handle sin/addiction. But God knows the end from the beginning and He has seen this whole battle between good and evil and He knows who will end up on top – God only. So God sent a number of shepherds, people simple enough, and humble enough that when God showed them something they would believe Him. So He told them where they could find Messiah and told them what sign to look for - He would be wrapped in swaddling clothing in a manger. It was an interesting place for Divinity to abide. When the shepherds heard and saw, they returned glorifying God and praising His name, while Mary pondered all of these things in her heart.

Prayer for Today: God it is amazing what You will do to get these thoughts straightened out in our minds. Help us to ponder all of these things in our hearts and trust Your love. Thank You for Your help and assistance. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your witnesses.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Uses Rome to Tax Israel

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7

Steps: 11, 12

God promised in Daniel 11:20 that a raiser of taxes would come up and sure enough prophecy was fulfilled. Caesar Augustus, the king of Rome, was raised up and he passed a tax for the whole then known world. God used this king to accomplish this so that His son would be moved from Nazareth to Bethlehem so that the prophecy of Micah 5:2 would be fulfilled. God had stated that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and God would see that it happened according to His will for He had seen it in the future. Isaiah 46:9-10. All of these prophecies had to come to pass to be sure that people could trust God’s Word. Trust is very important to God and to His children. When God promises something you can take it to the bank for God can be trusted. So when He says something to you and I we can trust it and do it and we will be blest. We may still suffer but in the end we will receive the blessing. Daniel 3:15-18

Prayer for Today: God, we fear that you will tell us something specific about ourselves and then we will have to believe and obey. We say we want to know the truth and then get all frustrated when You tell us the truth. Help us to have victory in these areas so that we can see Your power and great deliverance for us. Help us to love You so much that we have victory over our fears, for You have told us that perfect love removes all fear. Help us to experience this victory.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Faith of Joseph

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. Matthew 1:18-25

Steps: 11, 12

The story of Mary’s faith in accepting the fact that she would be the mother of Jesus the Messiah was truly impressive. It is also interesting to try to get some idea of what Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, went through as well. Mary was engaged to marry Joseph but before their wedding night it was found that Mary was pregnant. No one had ever heard of such a thing as the Holy Spirit overshadowing someone and that they would become pregnant with God. It was a struggle for Joseph to believe Mary’s story for he was not there to hear it for himself. So he was going to try to do the honorable thing and divorce her quietly. But while wrestling with these things Joseph slept and God blessed him with a dream and explained the situation to him and verified what Mary had experienced and more importantly it was explained to Joseph that all of this was done to fulfill prophecy. Prophecy, according to II Peter 1:16-21, is more dependable than what you can see and experience through your senses. Once Joseph got the message he immediately married Mary. He did not have sex with her until after her pregnancy was completed. They named the child Jesus which means Saviour. God also stated that they would call Jesus Emmanuel which means God with us.

Prayer for Today: God, it is totally amazing that people could go through with such an experience as Joseph and Mary did. It is truly wonderful what You are able to do, with people and in people. When it comes to be our turn, help us to remember some of these stories and to be able to trust you as these two wonderful people did. Help us to develop faith in You by reading stories about them and You. Thank You Lord for Your love for us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Surrender of Mary

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38

Steps: 1, 2, 3

This story of Mary, and her surrender to God, is one of the amazing stories of the Bible. It speaks to the power of faith and the mystery of surrender to God. It is a wonderful story of a young girl who accepts the statement of God and does not doubt. It is also a wonderful story that God Himself would be willing to be born of a woman and to live out His life as a man among men. Then God commands Mary to seek out her cousin Elizabeth so that He can bless both of these women.

Prayer for Today: God help us to be willing to be used by You to accomplish Your holy purposes. We certainly do not understand all of Your ways, but by reading Your word we can safely concluded that You are not trying to harm us but to bless us in all of these things. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help us to trust You and to choose to work with You to bless others as well as ourselves.

Monday, September 13, 2010

John the Baptist

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. Luke 1:11-22

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

God came to tell Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that John would be given to them as a gift from God and that he would have a special work to do for God. Zacharias was surprised at this because he and his wife were too old to have children. But they forgot the story of Abraham that God can grant the gift of life, and of children, at any time He chooses. God granted them the gift anyway and they received the blessing. God also granted them the gift of being speechless until John was born so that they would remember this and that they would be a testimony to others of the special care of God for them, their child, and for the people he would in turn bless.

Prayer for Today: It is difficult for us to think of You as this intimately involved in our lives. It is also difficult for us to think that You know everything about us and our children to come. Help us to learn from the experience of others, and to trust our all in Your care, even our children. Thank You for such intimate involvement in our lives, it is scary and a blessing at the same time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Time Between Nehemiah and John the Baptist

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1

Steps: 4, 5

In the providence of God there was much silence between God and man from the time of Nehemiah down through history until the time of John the Baptist. God did not send prophets to communicate His will to men. He simply watched over His people and preserved them until the time of Messiah came. Yet the true people of God held on to the promises of God and they waited as well and kept the Word of God as the central part of their experience. They waited for the sure word of prophecy to be fulfilled. They knew that there would be a forerunner because God told them that it would happen in the above verse. When this text is combined with the promises of Daniel 9 the people had some appreciation of when the fullness of time would come and God gave them opportunity to prepare their hearts and be ready to meet God when He came to Earth as a man like His brethren, like us.

Prayer for Today: This promise of Your coming is a difficult idea to process. How can the God of the universe come as a simple human being? These thoughts are amazing to us, and we are sure that these thoughts were amazing to Your people long ago. Help us to profit by their faith and to believe that You would do all of these things to help us. Thank You for the opportunity to wrestle with these ideas. Grant us faith to accept You at Your word.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nehemiah Confronts the Same Problems

In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? Nehemiah 13:23-27

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

A number of years later, Nehemiah is granted special blessings by Artaxerxes, King of Persia, to go to Jerusalem to help them rebuild the wall and get the people and the city into good shape. What Nehemiah found was that the people’s hearts were still in rebellion and chapter 13 of the book of Nehemiah describes the general sins of the people which translated out to inertia regarding building up the wall and the city. The people rebelled against God on several specific points: First of all the priesthood had united with the worldly powers surrounding the city and were willing to compromise principle for financial and political gain. The second point was that the people were not supporting the priesthood by their tithes and offerings and therefore the people were not getting educated in the principles of the Word of God. Third, the people were working on the Sabbath, the 7th day of the week – Saturday, for financial gain, thus neglecting the works of God. To reject God’s Sabbath was to reject Him. Lastly, the people were again intermarrying with non-believers. When this happens the people have not ability to establish the principles of God in the house and the understanding of God, the “Jew’s Language” or the true understanding of God’s Word and teachings, were totally neglected and the children did not learn of God. As long as the people chose to rebel against God on these points the building of the city, and the wall, would not be accomplished. The first priority of business is to be right with God.

Prayer for Today: How many times have we read about these problems in Bible history. God, we are no better than our spiritual fathers, and only You know how many times we have rebelled against You. Today, we want to come back again, and apologize to You, and ask for more help. It is embarrassing Father but yet it is needed. Help us to believe by faith that You welcome us back again. Please help us again, and help us to be more mature and stable this time. Thank You for Your grace and mercy toward us.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Events Leading to the Time of Jesus

Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. Ezra 9:1-4

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

God shares the story of what happened to His people when they went back to Israel and were given the opportunity to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and to restore the people and the city as well. God’s people had learned a few things in their 70 year captivity, and yet almost as soon as they returned to Canaan they began to return to the same behaviors that had led to their captivity. God chose to confront it again through the prophet Ezra. He wanted them to learn the lessons of repentance and reformation. If they did not then the 490 year prophecy of Daniel 9 would come into effect and Israel as a nation would cease to follow God.

Prayer for Today: We have seen this story play out before and we know the inevitable results of rebellion against You. We pray for these people in the past, and we pray for ourselves as well. We pray that we might get it right for ourselves so that we can be in harmony with You and someday meet and greet You directly and personally. Thank You for the opportunities You have granted to us.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Decree in 457 BC

At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Daniel 9:23-27

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

God has promised that from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince (Jesus Christ) would be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. That is 69 weeks. 69 literal weeks would be less than 1.5 years from 457 BC the date for the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in Ezra 7. 69 prophetic weeks gives us 483 years, a year for each prophetic day. This brings us to 27 AD and the anointing of Jesus. Luke 3:1-23. Also in Daniel 9 is the remaining week of 7 years. In the middle of this week Jesus would be crucified for all of mankind. Thus Ezra 7 and Daniel 9 are forever linked as the two chapters that reveal the time of the coming of the true Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth.

Prayer for Today: God it is totally amazing that You would share such a prophecy with us. We can’t imagine how You know the future but thank You for the assurance, and the confirming data, that You do know the future. You know the future of nations, and You know the future of individuals, like us. Thank You that You know and that You are taking steps to protect and encourage each one of us today. Help us to trust Your Word that You only have thoughts of blessings toward us (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and You want us to grow in grace and truth (II Peter 3:18). Thank You for Your love.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

God Promises to Make This Temple to Be Blessed More Than Any Other Temple

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:9

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

God knew how difficult it would be to rebuild His temple in Jerusalem. God sent many prophets to help and encourage His people to grow and to accomplish His holy will for them and for us. God sent Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zephaniah, Zechariah, and Malachi to help His people. God even sent the above simple prophecy to encourage His people because they were waiting for a display of power like in the blessing of the temple that Moses built, and the temple that Solomon built. Exodus 40:34-38; II Chronicles 7:1-4. But since the visible testimony of acceptance by God was not granted to the builders the spiritual testimony of acceptance was given by the prophets. This prophecy was not fulfilled until the coming of Jesus of Nazareth literally came into the temple and preached in it and performed His miracles of healing in this same temple hundreds of years later. When God promises He will fulfill it to the letter.

Prayer for Today: God, You have promised to accept us, to forgive us, and to heal us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9. Help us to accept this promise simply because You have said it. Help us to trust in Your wonderful care. Bring our thinking into harmony with You as You did for our fathers in the past. Thank You Lord for Your love and patience.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Temple in Jerusalem is Completed

Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. Ezra 6:13-15

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The people of the land of Canaan tried to stop the building of the temple by complaining to the reigning king of Persia – Darius. After checking the books Darius concluded that he should bless the building of the temple in Israel and he decreed that it should be built. Finally the people of God cooperated with Him and the Temple was completed in 515 BC. This was a cause of great rejoicing at the providences of God.

Prayer for Today: God, You know how difficult it is for us to build things for You. Help us to remember Israel of old and all of the struggles that they went through, their fears, their doubts, their hesitancies. Yet, in the middle of all this crisis and confusion You still got the job done. You are amazing to us that You can get so much done with such a rag tag group of people. Yet we acknowledge that we are no better than them. Help us to grow up in You and give us strength and courage to accomplish the things You have appointed for us to do. Help us to play our role, whether small or great, in Your great plans for this Earth. Thank You for allowing us to participate in this with You.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cyrus Gives Permission for Israel to Return to Canaan

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. Ezra 1:1-8

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

Now that we have had the opportunity of seeing the overview and victory of the Great Controversy as seen in Daniel we must get back to the historical step by step process that God has brought His people through. In Ezra 1 we have the record that Cyrus allowed God’s people to return to the land of Canaan and restore the temple and the city. Cyrus allowed Israel to go because he chose to believe in the prophecies of Isaiah 44:27-45:13 where God calls Cyrus by name and gives him instructions to let His people return. Cyrus had seen what happened to Daniel in the lion’s den and he had a sense of the power of God. He had also heard of what had happened to King Nebuchadnezzar, and the experiences of the Golden Idol and the burning fiery furnace. He had seen his name in Scripture and he believed in God sufficiently to obey the call given specifically to him by the One and Only True God of heaven.

Prayer for Today: We think that if only our names were specifically written in the Bible we would be willing to obey You. Help us to accept by faith that our names are written on Your hands, Your head, Your feet, Your heart when You died for us on Calvary. Help us to recognize that Your call has gone out to each and every person and we can accept it or reject it as so many of our fathers have done. Help us to believe that You came specifically to save us and to help us to grow up into You. Thank You Lord for Your special care for us.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Michael Stands Up for Us.

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Daniel 12:1-4

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

In this section of the Bible God tells us that things will continue to agitate until there is a great time of trouble, so great in fact that Michael will have to stand up to Satan to deliver us. God has already told us a few days ago that we win in the end but there will be some pretty tough days that we will have to go through. None the less, Michael will win in the end. Michael is an interesting person and it might be helpful for us to stop here and interpret who Michael is. In the above text it says that Michael is the Great Prince who stands up for His people. In Daniel 10:13 it says that no one is able to help Gabriel the angel except Michael one of the Chief Princes. In Daniel 10:21 Michael is described as Daniel’s Prince. So it is clear that Michael is a Prince. In Joshua 5:13-15 Joshua meets a man near Jericho and asks him whether he is for or against Israel. The man states that He is Israel’s Prince/Captain and immediately Joshua falls on his face to the ground and worships this man. In Revelation 19:9-10 John attempts to fall down and worship an angel and is strictly forbidden to do this. Joshua, however, is not reprimanded for worshipping this “man”. This would lead to the conclusion that the “man” in Joshua 5 was the Pre-Incarnate Jesus. In Daniel 9:25 the Prince is identified as Messiah. We know that the Messiah was the Incarnate Son of God – Jesus of Nazareth. Michael, One Who is Like God, was Jesus.

Prayer for Today: God, it is amazing the things You have put in this book – the Bible. Help us to be willing to look into it and to study if for ourselves. Help us to understand why You do these things and what it is that You want us to understand by these things. But while we are figuring these things out, we want to thank You for letting us know that You know what You are doing for us. Thank You, Thank You for Your love and for Your plans for us.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Prince – The Messiah

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Daniel 9:24-27

Steps: 4, 5, 11, 12

In this section of Scripture we have a very unique message. All through history the great question was when would Messiah, the Great Prince of God, finally come. In the time of Daniel the date was finally set by God as to when His Son would come to Earth. This prophecy sets the date and the time when Messiah would finally come. God gives Israel a probationary period to come into full recovery with Him. God says that from the time of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince would be 69 weeks of years or 483 years – 69x7 = 483. The time of the decree was 457 BC, the end of the 69 weeks would be 27AD. This is the year that Jesus was anointed as Messiah. Luke 3:1-22. This year Jesus was about 30 years old. Luke 3:23. 30 years before 27 AD would give the time of the birth of Jesus to be about 5-4 BC. Thus if the people had wanted to know they could have calculated from these dates the time of the birth of Jesus, and the place of His birth had already been established – Bethlehem. Micah 5:2. God wanted us to know. On top of that God also told us, in this same Scripture that in the middle of the 70th week, Jesus would be crucified 3.5 years after His Anointing. In 31AD Jesus would die on the cross.

Prayer for Today: Now God this is a lot of information to swallow at one time. It is amazing to us that You know that much about the future, yet You have clearly stated this knowledge all through the Bible. Isaiah 46:9-10. We would have to believe that if You knew when You would come, that You must also know all about us and what our future will look like as well. We think we would like to know about our future also, but it might scare us into a premature death. Help us to learn to trust You for one day at a time, and when You see fit You will give us more information if it would be helpful to us. You are amazing, and we thank You for the opportunity of getting to know someone like You.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Little Horn

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Steps: 4, 5

In Daniel chapter 2 we have our first glimpse of the Little Horn power. In Daniel 2 this Little Horn is the feet and toes of iron and of clay – meaning it is a mixture of church and state. In Daniel 7 this Little Horn comes out of Rome and seeks to change God’s times and His laws. In Daniel 8 this same Little Horn attacks the people of God, the intercessory ministry of Jesus Himself, the sanctuary, and the truth. In Daniel 11 this same kingdom, under the title of the King of the North, God seems to think He can handle gives it a two thousand three hundred year probationary time and then sets things right.

Prayer for Today: God we are not sure why You want us to know about this Little Horn power but we can see that it clearly has some problems. We pray that if we have thinking like this kingdom does that You will help us to come to You and get is straightened out before it is too late. Thank You Lord for revealing this government to us, so that we can avoid it, and it’s thinking, at all costs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jesus, and His People, Win in the End

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Daniel 7:13-18

Steps: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

God here pulls back the curtain a bit and allows us to see some important events in heaven. God the Father is presented as moving from one place to another and thrones are set up to accommodate His activities. Then we are shown a picture of His throne room with millions of angels ready to do His service. Then we see One like the Son of Man – Jesus – who comes to the Ancient of Days – the Father – and judgment was pronounced upon the Son in a favorable decree. Jesus wins dominion for Himself, and for His people, in spite of the great negative words of the four beasts and the little horn that comes up from the fourth beast. But the saints, God’s people will be granted the same decree as their Lord and Saviour was, they shall possess the kingdom for ever.

Prayer for Today: We don’t know exactly how You will do it but thank You for allowing us to be on Your side in this judgment scene. As You know we are generally afraid of judgment scenes because historically we are always on the wrong side of the decisions. But in the judgment scene we come out on the positive end with You. Thank You for Your love and care for us.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

God’s Message Goes to the World

Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Daniel 6:19-28

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

Darius had allowed himself to get caught up in vanity and his counselors took advantage of this to attack an innocent and faithful man – Daniel. As a result of Darius’ vanity he passed a law that the counselors knew would convict Daniel of a false crime. When Darius found out what was happening he could not turn the law back. Daniel was cast into a den full of lions. The king hoped that Daniel’s God would be able to save him for Darius knew that Daniel was innocent of any true crime, yet was faced with a capital punishment. In the morning the king found out that Daniel’s God was able to deliver even from the lions jaws. Darius was so moved that he exalted Daniel to an even higher position in the kingdom and killed off the false counselors. God used this event to influence both Darius and Cyrus to deliver Daniel and Israel. Cyrus was so touched by this that he released the nation of Israel and sent them home at God’s request. God was glorified before the whole world.

Prayer for Today: God, thank You for Your power to deliver Daniel. We ask that You will deliver us for we need it desperately. We want You to deliver us, not because of our good deeds, for we have few of those, but because we believe in the good deeds of God. Thank You thank You.