What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The End of Daniel


So we finished discussing Daniel 12 and summarizing Daniel. There is still much I could have gleaned from the text and the notes, but for now I have a better understanding of Daniel and his prophecies.
I don’t want to forget some of the early lessons from Daniel’s life. First, he determined he would not defile himself by giving up God’s laws. I also need to be determined to follow God’s commandments and take a stand whenever necessary. The examples of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego are poignant. They stood up to rulers and the prominent “wise-men” of Babylon in order to stay pure before the Almighty God. Am I willing and able to take a stand when it counts? Do I know God’s commandments well enough to know what to stand up for and what not to? My prayer is that God will continue to show me, through the study of His Word, what is worthy of a stand.
Through the prophecies I’ve learned that God is in control and at work, even if we cannot see it in the here and now. One thought is worthy of being called a summary for the book. (It’s not my original thought. I wrote it down from the notes.) “God’s power and our deliverance come not through our strength but through our weakness.” This is demonstrated throughout Daniel, but it’s also true throughout history. When the Biblical characters (including the nation of Israel as a whole) were at their weakest, that’s when God’s power shown through and miracles were performed. Whether it’s Abram and Sarai having a son when it seemed impossible or Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection, God’s power is seen when things look the most dire. God comes through when we are weakest. It’s His power that prevails in our weaknesses.
In Daniel’s life and in the prophecies, we see God at work. We see God fulfill His promises for our welfare. We can be confident that He will continue to take care of the faithful in our weaknesses. I’m counting on His promises as I move into my future and I’m trusting God will meet your needs as you go into your futures.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Warning Signs


Last week I briefly mentioned that there are warning signs that the end is coming. The various theologians and scholars debate the timing of these signs. Some think the prophecy in Daniel 10-12 is being fulfilled now. Others think that they are only for Israel and do not involve the church at all; they believe these things will take place after the church has been removed from this earth. I do not claim to know which is the truth, and I’m not going to worry about it.
Daniel 11:36-38 lists some of the signs:
1.     the king will do as he pleases
2.     he will exalt and magnify himself above every
3.     he will speak monstrous things against the God of gods
4.     he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.
5.     he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers
6.     nor will he show regard for any other god
7.     he will magnify himself above them all
8.     instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know
9.     he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.
We see some of these in our world today, but not all. There are many who speak monstrous things against the God of gods, but they have their own gods they are following. This end time king (often referred to as the Antichrist) will only exalt himself. All other gods will be forbidden. That has not happened yet (for a time, Russia tried to enforce this, but that has subsided.) 
As a result, many of the people groups we see in our world today are not the source of the Antichrist. We need to be busy loving and sharing Christ with those people, and praying that their eyes will be opened and their hearts will be changed. We do not know God’s timing. Anyone who proclaims they know exactly how the end times will play out is deluded. That information is not in the Scriptures. Those scenarios are developed from man’s imagination. We must be careful not to claim knowledge that only God the Father has. As we wait for God to reveal His plan for the end times, we need to be about loving and helping others in Christ’s name.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Daniel 11: Thoughts for a New Year


It’s confusing and a bit overwhelming. Daniel gets an interpretation right from the angel’s mouth as to what would happen in the future. Daniel still didn’t understand it all, probably most of it. We should not expect to understand some of the prophecies either. God has told us what He wants us to know. It’s right there in the Bible. To speculate further will lead us to disappointments and misinterpretations.
Some of Daniel’s prophecies have come to pass. Many years after Daniel, events happened that exactly fit the details of some of the prophecies. Those events are now recorded in the history books and scholarly analysis is done comparing the prophecies to what actually happened. They prove Daniel’s prophecies were from God and that God was orchestrating events to unfold according to what He said would happen. In other words, God kept His promises. I am encouraged by those kept promises.
Kept promises prove to me that what God has said, and recorded in the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, will come to pass in our future as well. Even right now He is at work managing world events to bring about the promised end results. Exactly how that will happen He didn’t explain to us. There are some things we can take as warnings but we cannot tell if the time is near or still a ways off. All I know is that God is dealing with the spiritual forces and the human forces to bring His promises about. How exciting to be part of that plan.
I’m also comforted by the fulfilled promises, because God, through Jesus Christ, made some promises for this present age as well as for the future. Those can also be relied upon. Those promises can be found throughout Scripture, Old and New Testaments. Peace, hope, futures, love, acceptance, care, provision, and so much more are ours as we serve God in our lifetimes.
I’m going to start this New Year off, by focusing on who God is and what He’s promised us and living this life in the joy and hope of fulfilled promises.