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BIBLE READING
 
February 27: Galatians 1
February 28: Galatians 2
March 1: Galatians 3
March 2: Galatians 4
March 3: Galatians 5
 
March 6: Galatians 6
March 7: Ephesians 1
March 8: Ephesians 2
March 9: Ephesians 3
March 10: Ephesians 4
 
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Malachi

 

Scripture

Malachi 1:8

When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.

Observation – What does it say?

Under the old covenant or the law, Israel was forgiven and accepted by God because of their sacrifices to him. God is calling them out for offering unacceptable sacrifices. They wouldn’t be okay with offering a lame or diseased animal to their governor, but they were willing to offer them to God.

It was as though they were devoting their best animals to other things and giving God what was left over: the blind, diseased and lame. And, it obviously displeased God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

I felt convicted reading this. It reminded me of Pastor Gary’s question in our current sermon series, The Journey: “How often do we settle?” How often do we go halfway in our worship and obedience?  I don’t want to settle for giving part of my tithe, giving part of my life or part of my heart. And I don’t want to keep the best for myself while giving God the leftovers. Jesus doesn’t deserve to get put to the sidelines, to be sought when it’s convenient or as we’re falling asleep at night. It’s dishonoring to make sharing our faith or encouraging others something that, “I’ll try to get around to…”, all the while giving the best of our time and energy to other things.

God deserves and desires our best… he’s jealous for it.

Life Application

God, please keep us from keeping the best of our time, energy and resources for other things. Show us the areas we have settled and been trying to offer you the lame and diseased leftovers and what it looks like for us to give you our best. Thank you for giving your best for us. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.


Joel

 

Scripture

Joel‬ ‭2:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Judah was invaded by an army of locusts that destroyed everything-the field, the ground, the grain, trees, etc. (Joel 1:10-12) and ultimately led to famine in the land. The prophet Joel was warning Judah of additional destruction if they do not repent of their evil ways and return to the Lord.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Repentance leads to restored relationship with the Father, but rebellion leads to destruction.

This is another prophecy being given to a nation, revealing what God will do in His righteous anger and holiness if they don’t repent and turn from their wicked ways and return to Him. However, it is also a book that highlights how God would respond if they sought His forgiveness and repented from their evil ways. He is a God who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, with the power to leave a blessing instead of a curse (Joel 2: 13-14).

Life Application

God calls His church, His bride to repentance.

Repentance is different than just asking for forgiveness because repentance does a 180 degree turn from a life of sin. Just as Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but rather told her to go and leave her life of sin, (John 8:10-11), He commands us to do the same.

God is very slow to anger, giving us so many warnings before revealing His wrath, but His return is imminent (near). Although no one knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return, the Day of the Lord and the Day of Judgment is near. Will we be judged for choosing our own selfish wants and desires or will we be judged and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.” 

As we’ve been going through the book of Revelation in Higher Learning, Pastor Parker also taught that there will be 2 types of judgments–one for His children and one for those who closed their hearts to Jesus, which will result in destruction and despair in hell. So, let us not give up in prayer and opportunities to share with our loved ones and those on our PII card who do not yet know Jesus. We must also pray for our missionaries who are spreading the Gospel to the unreached parts of the world. 

Dear Jesus, it is true that Your Word is like a double edged sword, convicting us straight to the heart, judging our thoughts and the attitudes of the heart (Heb. 4:12). Writing this honestly convicted me to the point of making my heart hurt. Thank You for the hope and reminder that You will be returning soon to judge the living and the dead. Thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ who made a way for us all to come to You and be freed from the sin that used to bind us. Greater are You who are in us than he who is in the world. (1John 4:4).

May I keep these truths in my heart when I am tempted to stray. I also pray for those in the Church (with a big C) in a season of rebellion. Please draw them back to You in repentance.

Additionally, I pray for continued opportunities and boldness to share Your testimony and my testimony with those who don’t yet know the Good News and our brothers and sisters who are currently in the mission fields around the world. Thank You that You are not slow in keeping Your promise, but are patient with us all, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance  (2 Peter 3:9). May Your Kingdom come, as we continue to work together as Your hands and feet, shining and sharing Your light in this darkened world. We pray this all in Your name and for Your glory alone Jesus, Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Haggai

 

Scripture

Haggai 1:3-6

“Then the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Within two years of their return from captivity in Babylon, God’s people had returned to Jerusalem. They began to build God’s temple. But when their neighbors (the Samaritans), and others who had moved into the land in their absence, saw just how rapidly the returning exiles were reestablishing their society and their temple, they mounted an aggressive campaign to stop the building. And you know what?.. It worked! Progress on the temple stopped for 16 years! Instead of building a house for the Lord, the Israelites began building houses for themselves. Instead of seeking God, they sought to please themselves. Then the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, in which Haggai spoke to Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, and Joshua the high priest. Haggai basically told them that they had lost their way and that they have forgotten the instructions of God, the God of their fathers.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Whose kingdom am I building here on earth? Is it God’s or my own?

The people of Israel got caught up with the busyness of life and they let the world around them help determine what they put their values in. They lost focus. They sought out earthly riches instead of seeking out God. And no matter how hard they worked to attain all these things, they just couldn’t gain any ground. Without God in the center of their lives, they were not receiving His blessings.

Now it’s easy for me to say “shame on you Israel!” But as I reflect on my own life, I hate to admit that sometimes I can be guilty of the same thing. How many times have I put my personal gains ahead of God’s plan? And no matter how hard I worked to attain certain things, I never felt satisfied. The more I got, the more I wanted. It can be a vicious cycle. The only thing that can break that cycle is coming to an understanding that God’s values are worth more than anything I value. 

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NLT

Life Application

What am I doing with the blessings God has given me?

One thing that still sits with me to this day is a sermon that Pastor Gary preached on. In it he reminds us that one day we will see God face to face and He will hold us accountable for the things He has blessed us with, and how we used those things to further His kingdom. And at the end of the day, God is not going to be impressed with how big a house we bought for our family, or what kind of car we drove, or even the money we accumulated that set up our families financially for life. God is more concerned with how we built His church, and furthered His kingdom on earth in His absence. It can be a bitter pill to swallow if we lose our ways like the Israelites did in this chapter. But as long as we learn from the past, center ourselves in God’s ways, there’s no telling the blessings that awaits us as we enter His kingdom.

God forgive me for my selfish ambitions. Forgive me for losing my way at times and falling trap with the worldly values instead of valuing Your’s. Give me a focus and a fire to help build your kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. Thank You for blessing me with so much. Help me to maximize those blessings the way You intended. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Zephaniah

 

Scripture

Zephaniah 1:14-15
The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath.

Zephaniah 3:17The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Observation

Zephaniah prophecies about the coming Day of the Lord and pronounces judgement upon the nations; the enemies of Israel (Philistia, Moab and Ammon; Cush, and Assyria); even the whole earth. Judah and Jerusalem herself are not immune to God’s wrath because of her oppression, corruption, harlotry and rebellion. Yet, as always with God, He offers salvation and deliverance to any remnant who will not bow down to worship idols. Those who remain faithful and repentant will be gathered unto the Lord; freed from fear and unburdened; purified and restored. God will take great delight in them and He will give them honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth.

Understanding

The “Might Warrior” is mentioned twice in Zephaniah’s prophecy and comes to bring either wrath or deliverance. All the people of the Earth will encounter him on that great and terrible Day of Lord and they will be either cursed or blessed depending solely upon their faithfulness to the Lord God. This separating of the chaff from the wheat begins with Israel (Romans 2:9-10) and reminds me of two truths. Not all who are of the nation of Israel are members of the true Israel – those children of Abraham not by parentage but by faith who will participate in God’s in-gathering and restoration (Matthew 3:9); and that God is and will be faithful to His promise to Abraham and to His chosen people (Romans 11).

Life Application

We dare not rely on our parent’s faith, our church membership, record of attendance, service in ministry, generous giving, bible knowledge, or any works, for that matter, as the means to earn God’s favor, experience His blessing and enter His kingdom. I must allow the truth that all of these things cannot be earned but are only received as the free gift of God by faith and grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) to inspire me to respond to God’s election, unconditional and unmerited love with devotion, surrender and obedience as my highest act of worship; motivated by love and gratitude.   
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Habakkuk 3

 

Scripture 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
 and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
 and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
 and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
  I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
  he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
 he enables me to tread on the heights.

Observation-What does it say? 

The entire book of Habakkuk is a conversation between God and man. The first 2 chapters detail Habakkuk’s complaint and God’s answer. But in chapter 3, Habakkuk’s complaints turn to prayer – from worry to worship. 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Habakkuk lifts up complaints that I think all of us have at one time or another…
    •    Why is there injustice? 
    •    Why must there be strife and conflict and violence? 
    •    Why me?
    •    Why do you allow this? 
    •    Why do you stay silent? Why aren’t you listening?
    •    Why do the wicked prevail?
I believe most Christians have asked these questions…and I know many non-Christians that have used these questions as the basis for why they don’t believe. 

But just as God answers Habakkuk…
1: 5 Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.

2: 3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
  it speaks of the end
 and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
 it[f] will certainly come
 and will not delay.

We are reminded that God’s thoughts and plans are greater than ours…and that his timing is perfect. 

Life Application 

As human children of an all-knowing, all-present God, there is much we do not know or understand.
 
Help us to trust you in times of doubt. May we lift up our complaints and listen for your response. May we remember that you never fail, never leave us or forsake us…but, rather, that your plans are perfect, your love for us is greater and purer than even our best love, that you have a plan and purpose for each part of our lives and that we can experience peace and rest in trusting in you as our Father. Because of that, may we be like Habakkuk and turn our worries to worship. Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Rei Bailey


Nahum 2-3

 

Scripture

Nahum 3:19

Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?

Observation – What does it say?

The prophet Nahum declares the coming destruction of Nineveh, the great capitol of Assyria. It will be a complete destruction, and no one will pity them. Why? Because the world around them suffered at the hands of the Assyrians. The destruction of Nineveh, to the rest of the world, was the destruction of their oppressors – their enemies.

The Assyrians were notoriously barbaric, killing all in their path. They would pile the skulls at the entrance to the cities as a sign to any who came by that the Assyrians had been there. They would plundering all the city had that was valuable and burn the rest. They were ruthless and like the prophet said, “…who has not felt your endless cruelty?”

Understanding – What does it mean?

You reap what you sow!

King David found himself deeply troubled when he observed the prosperity of the wicked in his day. He wrote this (Psalm 73):

12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.

He was deeply troubled. It had appeared that you don’t reap what you sow! Righteous are suffering and the wicked are without trouble. But then God gave him revelation…

19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!

Although the wicked may prosper for a time, they will eventually reap the destruction they’ve sown. And, thought the righteous may suffer for a time, they will eventually reap eternal life if they don’t give up!

The Apostle Paul reminded the Christians of his day, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”  (Galatians 6:7)

Life Application

What are you sowing?

Am I sowing wickedness or righteousness? Am I sowing faith or doubt? Am I sowing for my own benefit or the benefit of others? Am I sowing in prayer or in gossip?

We are always sowing. And I’m reminded that if it doesn’t have to do with loving God or loving others, I’m not going to like the harvest.

God, may we learn from the Assyrians that we will never get away with evil. Purify us your people that we may shine bright like stars in the universe, showing the world what you’re like. May we be intentional to sow love and righteousness. We rejoice that although we may suffer for a time, we will receive a glory that far outweighs the suffering. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Nahum 1

 

Scripture

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.

Observation-What does it say?

Why does Nineveh sound familiar? Because we read about it yesterday. That is the place that God called Jonah to. Even though Jonah was disobedient and swallowed up by the whale, he eventually obeyed and went to Nineveh. As a result, Nineveh turned from their wicked ways. However, in this chapter of Nahum, a prophecy was given to Nahum concerning Nineveh. Nineveh was going to return to their vomit (Prov. 26:11), rebelling against the Lord and choosing a life of wickedness once again. This chapter shows God’s righteous anger towards them.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus‬ ‭34:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”” 2 Peter‬ ‭2:20-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Understanding-What does it mean? 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” ‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God’s character is a combination of love, grace and patience, coupled with righteousness, jealousy and anger. He doesn’t let the guilty go unpunished according to vs. 3.

Although there is grace, there is also judgment and consequences for rebellion. We like to focus on His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy, yet forget that He gets angry too and the consequences of getting Him angry is a place no one wants to be.

Life Application

The Godhead of grace, love and mercy is the same Godhead who created the Universe and burned with intense anger towards the nations and people that turned their face from Him. He deserves even more fear and respect than we give to our spouses, parents, bosses or anyone else in human authority. He is not just Savior, but Lord!

I vividly remember the worse season of rebellion I had towards the Lord 15 years ago. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to return to that time. I felt every single one of those consequences, from lost relationships, to lost of respect, to hurt and pain and even separation in fellowship from Him, as I stopped praying for awhile. Looking back, He was disciplining me because of how much He loved me and was also fighting for me to return to Him. It’s not a fun place to be, in rebellion towards Him. It’s easier to do things right the first time instead of learn the hard way and experiencing His disciplinary correction as a result. Being an enemy of God and testing His patience is not a place I want to return to.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Sounds hopeless and impossible because we have all fallen short of His grace. (Ephesians 6:10-18) However, the good news is that we have His Holy Spirit and His Word to protect us from the evil one and keep our hearts pure. We have victory over sin because as Christ followers, we are no longer slaves to it! (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6).

Thank You Jesus that You are a God who loves and forgives and never gives up on me. Thank You for also disciplining me when I rebel and sin to get me back on the path that I was meant to be all along. You know and want what’s best for me and I praise You for that! I pray for more of Your Holy Spirit to protect us and lead us away from our evil human desires that gives birth to sin.  We cannot do it without You Holy Spirit. Amen!

“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:5-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Jonah

 

Scripture

Jonah 1:1-2

“The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

Observation-What does it say?

Jonah gets instructions from God to go to the city of Nineveh and to tell them that God’s wrath is out to destroy them because of their sinfulness. This makes Jonah anxious because Nineveh is Israel’s enemy.  I mean, who wants the task of going to your enemy’s home turf, tell them that they are a bunch of wicked and sinful people, and that God is going to destroy them all because of it? Needless to say, Jonah tries to flee from this task that God has given him. He then boards a ship to try to “hide” and “run” from God. He gets thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish. Jonah, while inside the fish’s belly, prays to God.  God hears Jonah’s prayers and then has the fish spit out Jonah onto dry land. God instructs Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh and tell them what is coming for them. This time Jonah listens. The people of Nineveh get the news from Jonah, and believe him. So all the people and animals of the land wore sackcloth, began to fast, and the people turned away from their evil ways. When God saw this, He relented from bringing the destruction He had threatened. This angered Jonah. You see,  Nineveh was Israel’s enemies, and Jonah kinda wanted God to wipe them off of the face of the earth. But God chose otherwise. His grace chose to save and not destroy.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God’s love extends beyond Israel. His love is for all nations.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God desires for everyone to know Him and have a relationship with Him. He chose Jonah to partner with Him to save the people of Nineveh. He calls all His followers to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to ALL people. God’s love is for all who are willing to accept it. 

Now Jonah may have been angry with God’s decision to spare the people of Nineveh because of his own personal feelings against them, but it is God who has the final say. It is God who shows grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness to all those who believe in Him and repent from their sinful ways. 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭

Life Application

Today I choose to pray for those who oppose me or persecute me because of what I believe.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭5:43-45‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Heavenly Father, I pray for my enemies today. I pray for those who mock me for my beliefs. I pray for those who who put their faith and trust in false things and teachings. I pray that You may one day open their heart to the truth. Help me Lord to live a life in such a way that can point them to You. Give me opportunities to share with these people the Gospel. Please give me courage and strength to see it through. And Lord willing, when that time shall come, may You give me the words of truth to speak into their lives. I pray these things in Your name Jesus, Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Daniel 12

 

Scripture

Daniel 12:8-9, 13
I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end…go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

 Observation

Daniel is given prophetic insight concerning the end times:

  • A time of trouble destined for Israel, the likes of which the world has never before seen; a time about which Jesus himself prophesied                 (Matthew 24:21)
  • A promise of deliverance for true Israel
  • The resurrection of the dead and the eternal destinations for the righteous and the wicked
  • A command to “shut up the words” and to “seal the book until the time of the end.”
  • A 3-1/2 year timeline for this “time of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jeremiah 30:7) – the second half of the seven year tribulation period, known as the           Great Tribulation – the end of which that will culminate in the return of the Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom.
  • A promise for those who persevere
  • A personal promise and encouragement for Daniel

 Understanding

I find great solace in knowing that even Daniel, the great seer of visions and interpreter of dreams, did not understand all that he heard. During our introduction to the Book of Revelation at Higher Learning, I cautioned us all that there will be much that we will read that we may not ever really understand; at least to our understanding. What intrigued (and encouraged) me was the angel’s answer to David’s question; he said, “Go your way, Daniel.” God had said all He was going to say to Daniel. Daniel was not to hold out until fuller revelation came and all his questions were answered. He was commanded to walk in obedience to the revelation he received and trust God for the rest.

 Life Application
 
 I am reminded that “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Part of my faith is to trust that God has a plan and that He chooses to reveal only a portion of it to his children. This partial revelation forces me to continually rely on Him in the midst of the places where the road is not clear before me and to show my faith by obedience even when I don’t fully comprehend the what, where, why and how of the matter. As the angel instructs Daniel, so the word of God instructs me not to demand complete revelation before I move forward serving God but, rather, press on, go on my way, continue to walk in the revelation that I have and trust that God is leading me on the road that He has ordained for my life.
 
Psalm 139:16
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Daniel 11

 

Scripture

Daniel 11:32-35

32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

Observation                                      

Rei’s real talk here…my only observation as I read this was that kingdoms run without God are a hot mess.

We see a lot of rise and fall of kingdoms throughout this chapter; but you’ll note there’s not mention of God (until vs. 32); in fact, more than once, it speaks of kings and invaders “doing as [they] please” (v. 3, 16 and 36).  And…the outcome is, well, messy!

Understanding

In short, people had become selfish, self-promoting and seemed to be acting without a true sense of purpose.  However, even in the midst of the seeming madness, the people of God were set apart.  They were able to resist the flattery (v 32).  If/when they stumbled, it was that they may be “refined, purified and made spotless” (v 35).

As I look around current day affairs, the picture doesn’t seem too different.  Would you agree?  There’s a lot of self-promoting going on…a lot of people “doing as they please.” I can admit that I’ve even shared in those sentiments with phrases like “be true to you!”  Granted, as Christ-follower I believe that we are created uniquely with God-given gifts to use for His honor and glory; but that can quickly get side swept if there’s not relationship with God and regular accountability with fellow Christ-followers. Without Christ at the center, though, we can quickly find ourselves in the same hot mess (if you will) that we see throughout this chapter – fallen, deceived, riches stolen and dispersed, betrayed and destroyed.

Life Application

Dear God, forgive me for the times I take you off the seat of the throne of my heart to do as I please.  May I be as consistent in the way that I seek and serve you as you are in the way that you love me…remembering that even when I stumble, you can refine me, purify me and make me spotless. 

Purified and refined, may my life be a witness to those who have not yet made a decision to follow you. 

Love you lots!  Amen. 

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– Rei