Prepared for the Battle

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.  Proverbs 21:10-31 (KJB)

Prepared for the Battle – Proverbs 21:20-31

Verse 20 –  The treasure to be desired.  The oil in the dwelling of the wise.  Foolish spending.

Verse 21 –  Following righteousness and mercy.  The fruit of the find is righteousness and honor.

Verse 22 –  While the mighty may believe their wall is impregnable; the wise will scale the wall and defeat the city.  The confidence of the city is then cast down too.

Verse 23 –  More wisdom concerning the mouth and the tongue.  Keeping the mouth equals guarding what you say.  Those who will guard their mouth and tongue will have far less troubles and sorrows of soul.

Verse 24 –

“If you meet a proud and haughty man, just call him “Scoffer.” That’s his name! The name, of course, stands for what a person is. “For as his name is, so is he” (1 Sam. 25:25).”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary.

Verses 25-26 –  A difference in the slothful and the righteous.  The slothful desires big things, but refuses to labor; while the righteous labor in order that they might have to give to need.

Verse 27 –  Sacrifice of the wicked; the wicked mind.  Compare Cain’s sacrifice with Abel’s (Genesis 4:1-15); King Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:10-15ff) with the heart of David (Psalm 51:1-19).

Verse 28 –

“The contrast of a false witness with one who hears indicates that a person who testifies falsely has chosen not to listen carefully to either the matter at hand or the requirements that a witness act justly. Both the person and the perjury of such a witness will ultimately perish, because it is the Lord who clearly sees and judges these things (vv. 2, 12) and causes the word of the faithful witness to endure (cf. 12:19; 19:5, 9).”  From the ESV Study Bible notes.

Verse 29 –

“A wicked man hardeneth his face,…. Against all corrections and reproofs of parents, masters, ministers, and others; he blushes not at sins committed, and is not ashamed of them, but glories in them: or, he “strengthens with his face” (l); he puts an impudent face upon his words, and confirms them by his impudence; if he tells the most notorious lies, and says things the most shameful and scandalous, his countenance does not alter, by which he would be thought to have spoken what is right and true;

but as for the upright, he directeth his way; or “his ways” (m); according to the various reading; the man that is upright in heart, and walks uprightly, he directs his way according to the word of God; and, if he does amiss, when sensible he is ashamed of it, and amends.”  John Gills Expostion of the Bible.

Verses 30-31 –  “And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.”   (Jeremiah 51:29).  Note; “…for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed…”  No plan working against God will succeed.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary summarizes verses 30 and 31 this way:

“Verse 30: Nothing avails against God.
Verse 31: Nothing avails without God.”

No one is prepared for a victorious battle whose heart, mind, weapons, and armor are against the LORD.

The Power and Weakness of the Mind

The Power and Weakness of the Mind – Proverbs 20:1-30

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.  The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. Proverbs 20:1-3 (KJB)

Verses 1 – 5 –  Wine, any beverage alcohol will affect the thinking and actions of any who allow it to.  Those who would allow it to are not wise affecting their relationship to leaders (v. 27).
It will also affect them in matters of strife, and work plans (vv. 3-4).
It will take a clear mind – understanding – to bring out wise counsel in one’s inner being.

Verses 6 – 11 –  In many cases it is also true that beverage alcohol will give a man or woman an higher opinion of themselves; high thoughts of themselves that they do not normally have.
There is an arrogance in humankind which causes most of us to exalt ourselves anyway.
Faithfulness, integrity is a rare find.  It would be especially rare among those who stimulate their minds with drugs, or other stimulants.
Those who walk in their integrity will have a good example for their children to follow.
The king whose mind is not messed up by booze or other drugs will have good judgment and scatter away evil with just his “eyes”  (vv. 26; 25:5;  Revelation 1:14)  “Winnows all evil” (ESV)
It is an evil mind who misuses measures to gain mammon for themselves without considering their neighbor (v. 23).  We all also know children by their behavior; whether it is pure and right.

Verses 12 – 17 –  While verse twelve seems to stand alone by telling us who made the ear and the eye verses 13 – 17 deal with wealth.  The ear allows us to hear and learn.  The eye allows us to see, learn, and enjoy what we see.
One who loves sleep will never be wealthy; nor will they ever be a happy, satisfied individual (v. 13).
In order to get something at a lower price the buyer will make little of an article they desire; then after the purchase build up the item, and make much of the value, and his/her cheap purchase (v. 14).
There is value in rubies; there is “Precious” value in the “Lips of knowledge” (v. 15).
The use of collateral was a part of early systems of finance; even one’s garment.  Receiving collateral is good advice if one secures a debt for another; especially if the other person is an immoral individual (v. 16).
Deceit may be “sweet” at the beginning but in the end it will be like “gravel” (v. 17).

Verse 18 –  Good planning comes by wise counsel.  The wise individual will seek counsel in matters of person, state, or nation.

Verse 19 –  The gossip or “talebearer” will be sure to tell one thing and another.  What someone says to you about someone else he/she will probably tell someone else of you.

Verse 20 –  For a child to curse parents is a sure warning of darkness in that life.

Verse 21 – This verse could be also pointing to any wealth gotten quickly; such as lotteries, gambling, or thefts.  Since it was not worked for it has little meaning.

Verse 22 –  Recompense belongs to the LORD.  It is of great benefit to the child of God to wait for His “vengeance”.  See Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35

Verse 24 –  Though a man or woman is led by the LORD we may not know our path ahead.  We walk by faith, not by sight.

Verse 25 –  Be careful when vowing something to God.

Verse 28 –  Mercy and truth are good and godly qualities of a great king or a great leader.

Verse 29 –  Strength is the blessing of the young; while wisdom grows in the aging of mankind.

Verse 30 –  Probably referring to discipline, punishment in some cases.  The right use of corporal discipline/punishment will deter much evil behavior.  See Proverbs 10:13.

All of these ways of life have to do with the power and/or weakness of the mind.  The mind that is in the “Mind of Christ” will prosper in righteousness.

 

Unto Him Who is Able to Keep You from Falling

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, called: mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.  Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.  Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.  These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying,

‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
But, beloved, you remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”  Jude 1:1-25

REFERENCES: 2 Peter 2:4, 6, 10, 17; 3:2, 12; Revelation 12:7-9; 20;10; Psalm 34:7; 104:4; Deuteronomy 34:6; Numbers 31:16; Isaiah 57:20; Philippians 3:19; 1 Samuel 2:3; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 3:20; 6:18; Zechariah 3:4, 5; Colossians 3:22; Hebrews 13:8

Have a glorious Resurrection Day.  Because He lives we live, and live eternally with Him.

Our Faith

“Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loves Him that begat loves him also that is begotten of Him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.  Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  1 John 5:1-5

Faith is a much used word.  “You can accomplish anything, if you have faith”.  Many of us have heard such a phrase, maybe with a few variations.  That is in fact, having faith in faith.  It is not faith that accomplishes anything.

Let us look at the verses above…

  1.  Believing that Jesus is the Christ, one is born of God;
  2.  The ones who believe Him, having faith in Him keep His commandments, loving the children of God;
  3.  Who ever is born of God overcomes the world system, the devil; which is out to do evil, and tries to destroy all that is good and godly;
  4.  It is Our Faith in Christ Jesus that overcomes the world, the works of the flesh, and the devil.

Those who love Him keep His commandments.  These are the ones who have the faith that overcomes the world.

REFERENCES: 2:22; John 1:12; 3:1-21; 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:57

When We Walk in the Light

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  1 John 1:1-10

 

REFERENCES:  John 1:1, 9; 17:21; Acts 2:32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9; James 3:2; Psalm 32:5

On this Friday which Christians are remembering the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior let us also focus on the fact that in His suffering He won the victory over the devil whose head was crushed that day.  The victories of the cross are expressed in those seven sayings of Christ as He suffered, bled, and died.  He asked the Father to forgive us;  He told the thief “Today you will be with me in paradise; He cared for His mother;  He experienced the hell that should have been ours in the forsaking of His Father and God;  He finished the work He came to do; and lastly, He committed His spirit back to the Father.  His dying on the cross was the greatest of victories.

The devil was defeated His doom is sure.  The resurrection three days later was the proof and evidence of what took place – the victory – on Calvary.

Praise the LORD Jesus is risen.  He is alive.

Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

“From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not from this, of your lusts that war in your members?  You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.  You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume upon your lusts.
You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?’  But He gives more grace. Wherefore He says, ‘God rejects the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.’
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners; and purify hearts, double minded.  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.  Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.
There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you that judges another?
Go to now, you that say, ‘To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:’ you who do not know what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.  For that you ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.’  But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.  Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not, to him it is sin.” James 4:1-17

REFERENCES: Job 7:7; 22:29; Proverbs 3:34; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Peter 2:1; 5:9; Matthew 7:1; Romans 1:20; 2:1; Acts 18:21; Luke 12:47

Faith Living

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all liberally, and reproaches not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:  but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.  For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower of it falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed, the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God:’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and overflowing of evil, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. But who ever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to keep himself unspotted from the world.'”  James 1:1-27

REFERENCES: 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:26; Acts 2:5; 13:26; 1 Kings 3:9; Mark 11:24;  Job 5:17; 14:2; Numbers 23:19; Jeremiah 2:3; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 15:2; Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13; Luke 6:47; Isaiah 1:16; John 8:31-32

Jesus – The Anchor of the Soul

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers rejected, and nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  Hebrews 6:1-20

REFERENCES: 2:5; 3:1; 10:29; Acts 8:14; 18:21; Psalm 65:10; Leviticus 16:15; Genesis 14:17-24; John 14:1-6

Reminding the Brethren

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, which you have attained.  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself unto godliness.  For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.  These things command and teach.  Let no man despise your youth; but you be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:1-16  (KJB)

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 14; Daniel 11:35; John 16:13; Matthew 7:15; Romans 14:14, 20; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 8:8; 10:25; Ephesians 4:19; 5:23; Psalm 26:6; Acts 6:6

Getting Equipped for the Battle

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But that you also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that you might know our affairs, and he might comfort your hearts.  Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” Ephesians 6:10-24

REFERENCES: Isaiah 11:5; 54:17; 59:19; Luke 22:53; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 1 John 5:4; Matthew 26:41; Philippians 1:4

O, The Blessings We Have in Jesus Christ

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly in Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved.  In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.  In whom you also, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set at His own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:1-23

REFERENCES: Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Exodus 33:19; Matthew 3:17; 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Isaiah 46:10; James 1:18; John 1:17; Luke 21:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:4

The Building of God

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-10  (KJB)

References: Job 4:19; Revelation 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Isaiah 29:23; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Romans 8:24

That Spiritual Rock

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-10  (KJB)

References: Exodus 13:21; 16:25;17:6; 12:23; 32:6 Deuteronomy 1:33; Nehemiah 9:12, 15; Numbers 11:4; 25:1; Psalm 106:14, 29

Instruction for Pastors

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.  I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:27-35

The Gospel Preached in the Midst of Religious Superstition

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by Man whom He hath ordained; He hath given assurance unto all, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:22-31  (KJB)

God Answers Prayer

“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, ‘Lord, Thou God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, ‘Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ.’ For of a truth against Thy holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy Child Jesus.’
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:23-31  (KJB)

As You Are Praying

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
 Matthew 7:7-12  (KJB)

As you are asking, seeking, and knocking in prayer remember to also pray for your neighbors, your friends, your family, and yes, your enemies too; just as you are asking, seeking, and knocking good things for yourself.  Do the same for others.

Now I share the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 12…

Therefore — to say all in one word.

all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them — the same thing and in the same way.

for this is the law and the prophets — “This is the substance of all relative duty; all Scripture in a nutshell.” Incomparable summary! How well called “the royal law!” (Jas_2:8; compare Rom_13:9). It is true that similar maxims are found floating in the writings of the cultivated Greeks and Romans, and naturally enough in the Rabbinical writings. But so expressed as it is here – in immediate connection with, and as the sum of such duties as has been just enjoined, and such principles as had been before taught – it is to be found nowhere else. And the best commentary upon this fact is, that never till our Lord came down thus to teach did men effectually and widely exemplify it in their practice. The precise sense of the maxim is best referred to common sense. It is not, of course, what – in our wayward, capricious, gasping moods – we should wish that men would do to us, that we are to hold ourselves bound to do to them; but only what – in the exercise of an impartial judgment, and putting ourselves in their place – we consider it reasonable that they should do to us, that we are to do to them.” From JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

Only doable by giving oneself to the crucified, buried, and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When Things are Tough and You Sit Down With the Crowd

“And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, ‘This man was also with Him.’ And he denied Him, saying, ‘Woman, I know Him not.’ And after a little while another saw him, and said, ‘Thou art also of them.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’ And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, ‘Of a truth this fellow also was with Him: for he is a Galilaean.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I know not what thou sayest.’ And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.’ And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”  Luke 22:55-62 (KJB)

Peter had said to the Lord, “I will not deny You.”  Jesus had confirmed that Peter would; Peter did (Matthew 26:31-35).  Is there any way Peter could have avoided this tragedy of denying the Lord?

The first thing Peter did wrong was doubt the Lord’s words when He spoke it concerning his denial.  The second thing is at Jesus’s trial at the house of the high priest; he sits with the crowd who is wanting Him crucified.

If we desire to walk with the Lord and to be faithful to Him when we sit with the crowd in times of trial, and trouble we will cave to the pressure of the crowd.

O, Lord, give me strength to always stand and to be faithful to  You.  Amen.

He Preached With Authority

“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)

Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things.  His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.

I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority.  I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior.  I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.

Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

The Case of the Hypocrite Fig Tree

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.’ And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’” Mark 11:20-2 (KJB)

Do you desire to accomplish great things for God?  Do you desire having power with God in prayer?  Do you desire to be able to move mountains, and cast them into the sea?  It could also be asked, “Do I desire to have power to deliver people from demon possession?”

Jesus was able to curse the fig tree, and the next day was a teaching moment for the disciples to learn; and for us too.  Why would Jesus curse the fig tree?  It was saying it had fruit when it did not.  It was a hypocrite fig tree. The leaves on the tree, even though it was not the season for figs; was declaring that it had figs.  It did not.  Thus Jesus cursed the tree, and it died.

Jesus’s words when they see the tree died away was “Have faith in God…”.  Jesus then proceeds to describe the power of faith in God for those who are forgiven, and forgiving.

Here is a thought for you.  The fruit of being forgiven is forgiving.  If you cannot forgive what someone has done to you; you have not experienced forgiveness.  Can we figure out the rest?

Blessings Under the Table

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, ‘Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto Him, ‘Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.’ And He said unto her, ‘For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.’
And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30  (KJB)

For the commentary today I turn to Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture…

“CHILDREN AND LITTLE DOGS
Our Lord desired to withdraw from the excited crowds who were flocking after Him as a mere miracle-worker and from the hostile espionage of emissaries of the Pharisees, ‘which had come from Jerusalem.’ Therefore He sought seclusion in heathen territory. He, too, knew the need of quiet, and felt the longing to plunge into privacy, to escape for a time from the pressure of admirers and of foes, and to go where no man knew Him. How near to us that brings Him! And how the remembrance of it helps to explain His demeanour to the Syrophcenician woman, so unlike His usual tone! Naturally the presence of Jesus leaked out, and perhaps the very effort to avoid notice attracted it. Rumour would have carried His name across the border, and the tidings of His being among them would stir hope in some hearts that felt the need of His help. Of such was this woman, whom Mark describes first, generally, as a ‘Greek’ (that is, a Gentile), and then particularly as ‘a Syrophcenician by race’; that is, one of that branch of the Phoenician race who inhabited maritime Syria, in contradistinction from the other branch inhabiting North-eastern Africa, Carthage, and its neighbourhood. Her deep need made her bold and persistent, as we learn in detail from Matthew, who is in this narrative more graphic than Mark. He tells us that she attacked Jesus in the way, and followed Him, pouring out her loud petitions, to the annoyance of the disciples. They thought that they were carrying out His wish for privacy in suggesting that it would be best to ‘send her away’ with her prayer granted, and so stop her ‘crying after us,’ which might raise a crowd, and defeat the wish. We owe to Matthew the further facts of the woman’s recognition of Jesus as ‘the Son of David,’ and of the strange ignoring of her cries, and of His answer to the disciples’ suggestion, in which He limited His mission to Israel, and so explained to them His silence to her. Mark omits all these points, and focuses all the light on the two things-Christ’s strange and apparently harsh refusal, and the woman’s answer, which won her cause.
Certainly our Lord’s words are startlingly unlike Him, and as startlingly like the Jewish pride of race and contempt for Gentiles. But that the woman did not take them so is clear; and that was not due only to her faith, but to something in Him which gave her faith a foothold. We are surely not to suppose that she drew from His words an inference which He did not perceive in them, and that He was, as some commentators put it, ‘caught in His own words.’ Mark alone gives us the first clause of Christ’s answer to the woman’s petition: ‘Let the children first be filled.’ And that ‘first’ distinctly says that their prerogative is priority, not monopoly. If there is a ‘first,’ there will follow a second. The very image of the great house in which the children sit at the table, and the ‘little dogs’ are in the room, implies that children and dogs are part of one household; and Jesus meant by it just what the woman found in it,-the assurance that the meal-time for the dogs would come when the children had done. That is but a picturesque way of stating the method of divine revelation through the medium of the chosen people, and the objections to Christ’s words come at last to be objections to the ‘committing’ of the ‘oracles of God’ to the Jewish race; that is to say, objections to the only possible way by which a historical revelation could be given. It must have personal mediums, a place and a sequence. It must prepare fit vehicles for itself and gradually grow in clearness and contents. And all this is just to say that revelation for the world must be first the possession of a race. The fire must have a hearth on which it can be kindled and burn, till it is sufficient to bear being carried thence.
Universalism was the goal of the necessary restriction. Pharisaism sought to make the restriction permanent. Jesus really threw open the gates to all in this very saying, which at first sounds so harsh. ‘First’ implies second, children and little dogs are all parts of the one household. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to Israel for obvious and weighty reasons. He felt, as Matthew tells us, that He said in this incident that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of that nation. But His world-wide mission was as clear to Him as its temporary limit, and in His first discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth He proclaimed it to a scowling crowd. We cannot doubt that His sympathetic heart yearned over this poor woman, and His seemingly rough speech was meant partly to honour the law which ruled His mission even in the act of making an exception to it, and partly to test, and so to increase, her faith.
Her swift laying of her finger on the vulnerable point in the apparent refusal of her prayer may have been due to a woman’s quick wit, but it was much more due to a mother’s misery and to a suppliant’s faith. There must have been something in Christ’s look, or in the cadence of His voice, which helped to soften the surface harshness of His words, and emboldened her to confront Him with the plain implications of His own words. What a constellation of graces sparkles in her ready reply! There is humility in accepting the place He gives her; insight in seeing at once a new plea in what might have sent her away despairing; persistence in pleading; confidence that He can grant her request and that He would gladly do so. Our Lord’s treatment of her was amply justified by its effects. His words were like the hard steel that strikes the flint and brings out a shower of sparks. Faith makes obstacles into helps, and stones of stumbling into ‘stepping-stones to higher things.’ If we will take the place which He gives us, and hold fast our trust in Him even when He seems silent to us, and will so far penetrate His designs as to find the hidden purpose of good in apparent repulses, the honey secreted deep in the flower, we shall share in this woman’s blessing in the measure in which we share in her faith.
Jesus obviously delighted in being at liberty to stretch His commission so as to include her in its scope. Joyful recognition of the ingenuity of her pleading, and of her faith’s bringing her within the circle of the ‘children,’ are apparent in His word, ‘For this saying go thy way.’ He ever looks for the disposition in us which will let Him, in accordance with His great purpose, pour on us His full-flowing tide of blessing, and nothing gladdens Him more than that, by humble acceptance of our assigned place, and persistent pleading, and trust that will not be shaken, we should make it possible for Him to see in us recipients of His mercy and healing grace.” EXPOSITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE Alexander MacLaren

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

“While He yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, ‘Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’ And He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when He was come in, He saith unto them, ‘Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.’ And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with Him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, ‘Talitha cumi;’ which is, being interpreted, ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.’ And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And He charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.”  Mark 5:35-43  (KJB)

In the previous verses of this chapter they include the woman with an issue of blood for twelve years, and she had no healing from the physicians who had taken all she had financially.  The child of only twelve, was dead, by the testimony of these who had came to find their ruler, and those present at the home of Jairus who had been waiting.

A woman, a child. One an adult; the other a child.  Both are affected by sin.  There is no living individual who does not have sin affecting their lives.  Adults die.  Children die.  Death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

The adult can willingly reach out to Jesus and be healed.  The child cannot; at least this daughter could not;  she is dead.

Folks, we who are Christians were all dead in the trespasses of sin (Ephesians 2:1), and Jesus called us by name, and gave us new life in Him.  Like the little girl.  Jesus raises us to life.

After Being Forgiven Much; and We Do Not Forgive

“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’ And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’
” Matthew 18:21-35 (KJB)

Yes! A little bit of a lengthy parable.

As a man, and as all who will admit and confess to it we need forgiveness from our transgressions.  God has forgiven me more than I could ever repay.  How can I not forgive another who owes me very little?  Or owes me nothing?

Something we all need to think hard about if we ever want to be unforgiving toward another.

What About the Place, the City, the Country Where I Live?

“Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:
‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.’
”  Matthew 11:20-24  (KJB)

I have read this passage of Scripture, the words of Jesus here many times, and never has it caused me to ask the above question of today.  The work and presence of the Spirit of God has been at work in this land for centuries now.  Our country is not, neither has it ever been a land of perfection.  No man or woman is perfect.  We are all evil at heart.

We have witnessed the power of God in our Nation (United States of America), our States (my State of Missouri and the forty nine others), and in my home town of Jenkins.  I have seen the work of God in my own family and my life.  What about the place I live?

Will you ask that question with me?  Have you rejected power of God?  Have you rejected the work He has don in the place where you live?  There are places; cities and countries which will be and are condemned because they have rejected the work of Christ Jesus.

Let us not hear the “Woes” of Jesus upon our townships, towns, cities, States and countries.

May God forgive our sloth, slack, and attitudes of rejection of His power and works among us.

The Power of God in Christ Jesus; Yet Unwanted

“And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?’
And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought Him, saying, ‘If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And He said unto them, ‘Go.’ And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts.” Matthew 8:28-34 (KJB)

“The demon spirit seems still to tenant the lives of human beings. To what else can we attribute the paroxysms of passion, the awful cruelties and inhumanities of men? There is only one devil, but many demons; only one prince of the power of darkness, but many emissaries. Take heed, lest you open the door of your nature to the spirit of evil and he possess you. Watch and pray, and trust the keeping of your soul to the hands of Christ. He is stronger than the strong man.
Notice that the demon is set upon destruction. If he may not destroy the souls of men, he will destroy swine. This is the mark of evil. It is always destructive; whereas the Spirit of God is constructive and builds up from the ruins of Satan’s work a new heaven and a new earth, both in the soul and in the universe.
All the city besought Jesus to depart, because men count their gains more valuable than His presence. The same spirit rules in the commercial world of today. Let us beware. What shall it profit to gain the world, if we lose our souls?” From F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 8:28-34

Use Your Words Wisely

“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.” Proverbs 18:4
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 18:21

Using Words Carefully – Proverbs 18:1-24

Verses 1-4 –  These verses carry over from verses 27 and 28 of chapter 17.  There is much in the Proverbs of speech, the tongue and words.  We are taught to choose and handle words carefully; and not deceitfully.  The fool is one who cares only for his own words; is in the process to thought while another is talking; and only to have something further to say.
On a first look verse 1 could seem to have a positive intent; however with the word “intermeddleth” it means that the individual contends with wisdom.
Verses two and three then show the intent of the heart of verse one.  On verse 4 see Proverbs 20:5

Verses 5 – 9 –  Speaking good of evil, and evil of good to overthrow the righteous is not good.  Backbiting,  and slander is the heart of the destruction of the fool’s mouth.
A lazy individual is akin to the great waster (v. 9).

Verses 10 – 11 –  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions.  An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 –  You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17.  Verses 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc.  Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.
In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.
There is reward or destruction in our use of words.  They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

Verses 22 -24 –  See Proverbs 12:4; 19:14.  Marriage is good if it be found in the way of God.  For a marriage to be good the man and a woman must choose and use words carefully.  Good communication is a key.
In verse 23 we have a contrast between the poor and the rich.  The poor is humble before others when asking something from them.  The rich have no need of anything so they speak roughly to others.  Again whether one is rich or poor really makes no difference when it comes to our choosing and use of words.
In verse 24 we have a sentence which is familiar, “And there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother”.   Before that we learn that if one is to have friends, then, we must be a friend.
Friends choose and use words carefully.  The choosing and using words carefully has nothing to do with “Political Correctness”; but using words to build up.  A lot of times hard/truth words need to be used to bring out good quality in another.

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (5)

Your Own Wickedness

 

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
‘Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19

The Right Way; and the Way of Death

The Right Way; The Way of Death – Proverbs 16:25-33

Verses 25 – 26 –  There are many times men think what they do or are doing is the “right thing”; however the “right thing” in man’s vision can often be the wrong thing with God.  These ways are the ways that lead to death.  Proverbs 14:12; 24:20.  The “way” is a course of life, or mode of action; the “conversation” mentioned in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 1:12;  Galations 1:13;  Ephesians 2:3; 4:22;  Philippians 1:27; 3:20;  1 Timothy 4:12;  Hebrews 13:5, 7)

In most cases the laborers labor for their own benefit.  We hunger for things, particularly sustenance; these three main things, survival, security, and success.

Verses 27 – 30 –  These verses are connected to those who seek to do what they have deemed to be right.  Those who always keep trouble stirred, or “dug up”; seeking to cause strife among others.

16:27–30 These proverbs address people who cause problems. People who are worthless (v. 27), dishonest (vv. 28; 16:30), or violent (v. 29) negatively affect those around them. They bring evil by tempting and dividing those who associate with them.  From FAITHLIFE Study Bible online

We are warned about some of these things in the New Testament as well. The qualifications for the pastor includes “No striker”, and “Not a brawler” (1 Timothy 3:3); and we are warned of the “works of the flesh” in Galations 5:19-21.

Verses 31 – The gray haired individual is considered by some to be weak; however, the one who is in the way of righteousness, and his hair is a “crown of glory”.  Gray hair is often associated with age, and wisdom.  Proverbs 17:6; 20:29.  Also see Proverbs 3:1, 2.
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  Leviticus 19:32

We are told by history that the young men were to rise from their seated position when an older man passed within a distance of four cubits (From John Gills commentary of Lev. 19:32)

Verse 32 –  Mighty men can take a city by force; but a man, slow to anger, has conquered himself, and can lead a city in the way of righteousness.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty,…. Than a mighty warrior or conqueror; as Alexander who conquered his enemies, and even all the world, and yet in his wrath slew his best friends: a man that is slow to anger is esteemed by the Lord, respected by men, and is happy in himself; and is preferable to the strongest man that is not master of himself and of his passions;

and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city; one that has the command of his temper, that can govern himself, and not suffer his passions to exceed due bounds, is superior in strength to him that can storm a castle or take a fortified city; it is easier to do the one than the other; courage of mind joined with wisdom, and assisted by a proper number of persons, may do the one; but it requires the grace of God, and the assistance of his spirit, thoroughly to do the other. Cicero says (t), in all ages

“fewer men are found who conquer their own lusts than that overcome the armies of enemies.”
From John Gill e-Sword

Verse 33 –  “Casting lots” was the toss sometimes of multi colored stones, and the lay of the stones determined the outcome of the decision to be made.  It could be similar to a vote, the toss of a coin, or the roll of the dice.  We must realize that this be done with prayer and trust that the LORD will show His direction.  It is in no way associated with gambling, games of chance.

At any rate the ultimate decision will be God’s

Worship: It’s Not For God, It’s For Us….SAY WHAT????

Truth in Palmyra

This is the very first post I ever published, other than the one where I first introduced the blog. Ah, memories. I am actually rerunning a lot of my older stuff. Many have not read much of it, I have been crazy busy with work and church/ministry stuff and am also getting all of my posts into Word so I have them always. Thanks for your patience and consideration. It’s a bit longish, Back then I thought the more words the merrier.
Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

This is my first “official” blog post, and it’s about a topic/person I will probably write about often. It’s about my “favorite” pastor, Joel Osteen.

Mr. Osteen’s name will probably appear in this blog often since he often says things which make me want to say other things. Hardly a word comes from his mouth that doesn’t make me want to respond in some way. Having said that…

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Always, Up to Date

“For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:6 (KJB)

Old, outdated, and antiquated are words we might hear from some older people about the Bible.  We would probably hear it more from the mouths of the young, liberally “educated” college student.

The kings of Judah and Israel before Hezekiah were probably thinking they needed to be more “Up to date”, and trying to fit in with nations around them.  After all the Law of Moses, and the commandments were hundreds of years old.  They were written for the wilderness wanderers.  What does that word have to do with me today; or the people I lead?

Israel had fallen. They had been taken captive into Assyria.  It was because they had forsaken GOD, and His commandments (18:11-12).  So how does this coincide with people of 2018, and days and years to come?

My answer to that is this:  If it was good enough for Moses, Joshua, and Hezekiah; Hezekiah after hundreds of year; then it is good enough for me.  Let me get one thing straight though.  It is certain that not one of us can be saved by keeping of the Law of God.  The Law was given to show us our weaknesses.  It is solely by the grace of God that we can be in the presence of God, approaching His throne, and truly worshiping Him.

The word of God, the Law of God is as up to date as next weeks Newspaper, television News broadcast, and it is as up to date as next years Person of the Year publication of Time Magazine. The word of God is still like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

For Hezekiah, king of Judah loving GOD, and keeping His commandments was not a duty.  He loved GOD, he loved GOD’S word, and he lived accordingly.  Was Hezekiah perfect?  No!  He too was dependent upon the grace of GOD.

The full grace of GOD was displayed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross hundreds of years later (over 600 years), and Jesus was buried, and He rose from the grave.  It may have been around 2000 plus years ago; but He is still the only One who can save.

Old, Outdated, Antiquated?  Maybe we are the ones who have been outdated…  Something to think about.

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

Be Courageous; Be Strong

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good. 2 Samuel 10:12 (KJB)
“Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” 2 Samuel 10:12 (NKJB)

I share the other translation to give more clarity of what the phrase “…Let us play the men for our people…” is meaning.

The Ammonites had hired the Syrians to help them fight against Israel.  Joab; the general of Israel’s military, and Abishai his brother were commanding two garrisons of troops. Abishai was to fight the warriors of Ammon, and Joab the warriors of Syria.  Israel was greatly outnumbered.  The troops of Israel needed to hear their commander give words of encouragement, and strength.

Today is the Lord’s Day;  not the Day of the Lord.  Let us who are in Christ Jesus be faithful to attend the worship of our Lord and Savior with brothers and sisters in Christ at our local Church where the word of God is expounded, the cross of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection are proclaimed, and His name lifted high for all to see and hear.

In the places where Christ is exalted, and the word explained, and proclaimed there will be courage and strength for all who will hear.  Folks, we are in a battle.  The enemy of God is all around us.  The deniers of God and His Son are plenteous.  They are mean, vicious, and are of their father the devil.

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice in it and be courageous and strong in the faith of the Lord Jesus.

The Battles Within

“…The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.” 2 Samuel 3:39 b  (KJB)

There are battles within kingdoms of men. There are battles which occur within each individual man and woman.

King Saul had died in the battle with the Philistines by falling on his own sword, for fear that the enemy would mistreat him if he were taken alive.  David had been chosen as King of Judah, but the other tribes were still being led by the General of Saul’s army, and he had appointed the young son of Saul, Ishbosheth, as king.  That is an inside battle.  A nation at war against itself.

Abner had been murdered by Joab, David’s General, because Joab because in a battle between the two factions Abner had killed Asahel Joab’s brother.  Joab killed Abner in hatred, revenge, and at a time David had made peace with Abner.  It was not the act of King David.  It was the act of a vengeful Joab.

Joab’s act was a wicked act against God and King David.  The words of David in the Scripture of 2 Samuel 3:39 are words that are just and right.

Again the reader is reminded that there are consequences to our actions.  Good from good.  Evil from evil.  We all reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  We need; all of us who take a breath of air; need to flee to the cross of  Jesus Christ where, there alone, our sin debt is paid in full.

“The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

Our hope; mine and yours; lies in the death, the burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

BREAKING NEWS: President Trump orders expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats & spies, orders Russian consulate closed. Good move — but here are 5 more things President Trump must do, and soon.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

whitehouse

UPDATED:(Denver, Colorado) — To his credit, President Trump took further steps today to toughen his approach towards Vladimir Putin in light of a growing series of reckless and dangerous actions taken by the Russian dictator, specifically using chemical weapons against civilian individuals on NATO soil.

Mr. Trump is expelling 60 Russian diplomats and spies — 48 from the embassy in Washington and 12 from the Russian mission to the U.N. He’s also closing the Russian consulate in Seattle.

It’s not enough to truly get Putin’s attention and affect his behavior. But in combination with other actions President Trump and his administration have taken in recent weeks, it’s movement in the right direction, and that’s encouraging.

UPDATES:

  • 17 countries have also ordered the expulsion of Russian intelligence agents on Monday: US (60), UK (23), Ukraine (13), Canada (4), Germany (4), France (4), Poland (4), Czech Republic (3), Lithuania (3)…

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A veterans day reflection on the revival of communism in the United States.

Christian Theology

A veterans day reflection on the revival of communism in the United States.
 
Socialism cannot be Christianized. Communism cannot be baptized. It is irredeemably pagan in its philosophy and practice. Marxism should be viewed by the church as a religious heresy as much as Pelagianism and Unitarianism.
 
In God’s system, he intergenerationally draws worldly wealth, land ownership and social stability away from the faithless and toward his people. They bless the earth through obedience to his laws, mutual support and edification, Christian kindness, charity and fair dealing in business which manifests itself in low rates of crime, psychological stability (through the avoidance of drug use, wanton sexual relationship, perversion, disease, parental neglect and pagan spiritualites) so that the entire community grows in strength and godliness through time.
 
Communism by contrast is a system created for the purpose (in the guise of scientific progress and natural evolutionary development)…

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The Fight in Spiritual Warfare

 “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.” Daniel 10:1-9 (KJV)

 Daniel 10:1-21

 There are wars in our world today. That is no profound statement I realize that, but it is none the less true. We grieve over the wars that have been fought  in Iraq, what is going on in Syria, and many other places; and the young soldiers who are dying, civilians dying, women and children included in that. No war is pleasant. It is not really pleasant to even speak of. Sometimes, as bad as it is, wars are necessary to stand against what is evil. I do not think any one in their right mind would say that, “The attack of September 11, 2001 was not an attack from evil“.

Ever since the beginning of man; Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden we have come under attack from evil. The world is still under the domain of the chief of all evil and that is the devil. He still has his demons working and influencing the leaders of the world, but all his work and efforts will be to no avail. The devil and his demons are a defeated foe. They were defeated on the cross where Jesus died and conquered evil there. Proof of that is in that He rose from the dead.

There is a warfare which we as Christians are fighting today. Some will say, “You said that Jesus had conquered evil, why are we still fighting a war against it?” Jesus did conquer evil, and that is part of the glory of the matter. We need to remember that we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from the victory. “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

Paul the apostle told us…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Eph. 6:10-12 (KJV).

Paul also tells us that…

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” 2 Cor. 10:4 (KJV).

Daniel was finding out about spiritual warfare.

AS WE LOOK AT THE TIME THAT DANIEL HAD THIS EXPERIENCE (v. 1). It was approximately two years after Cyrus had made the decree that the captives of Jerusalem could return to their homeland. In the book of Ezra we read,

“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” Ezra 1:1-3 (KJV).

This event takes place a few years following the events of chapter 9, because we see at the beginning of chapter nine that it took place during the first year of Darius of the Medes.

It could be that Daniel may have written the document that gave the Israelites permission to return to Jerusalem. Remember Daniel was in the court of the king, so this may have been his responsibility.

THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF DANIEL’S MOURNING (vv. 2-3). It is not told us what it was that caused Daniel to mourn, specifically. We do know that it had been approximately two years since the decree had gone out for the people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

News had most likely came back to Daniel of the trying circumstances of the 50,000 Hebrews who returned to the land. There were other Hebrews who had never left who were mocking those who had returned, and were hindering the work of the temple. There was a spiritual battle raging in Jerusalem.

Daniel’s heart was greatly burdened. He was so burdened – maybe for a couple of reasons; First, he may have been burdened for the people’s circumstances in Jerusalem – the work had been hindered and stopped (Ezra 4:1-6). Secondly, Daniel was probably burdened to better understand the prophecies he had received. It is quite possible the battle in Jerusalem over the building of the temple is the scene of the battle between the angelic being (vv. 13 & 20). It seems to relate to an ongoing battle (v. 13b “…I remained there with the kings of Persia”, said the angel. Daniel, in fact, had spent 21 days in mourning and fasting, because of his sorrow, and desire to get God’s direction and will. The prayer was heard on the first day, but due to the spiritual battle Daniel endured in prayer and fasting until he received answer.

Fasting seems to have been an almost forgotten practice. Private fasting, where there is no self aggrandizement, is a practice that Christians need to begin practicing in order to be overcomers in the life of faith.

Let us never forget to pray for our nation’s leaders. It could very well be that there are evil spirits directing the hearts of evil men and hindering the works of godly men. In fact the Bible is clear about that. Let us always beware to never pray to angels nor worship them – they are servants of God and servants to us as well. We are to worship and pray to God alone.

DANIEL’S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD (vv. 4-9). The appearance of this “…Certain man” seems to be almost identical to the description given of Jesus in the Revelation…

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:“ Rev 1:12-17 (KJV).

It is because of this that many, including myself see this ‘certain man’ as a Christ phony – a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. It would be similar to His appearance in the fiery furnace with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. This revelation took place while Daniel was walking by the river Hiddekel. Sometimes when one becomes burdened a walk in a place of quietness brings the best encounters with God. What an encounter it was. This is the first time Daniel has a personal visit from our Lord, at least that is recorded.

Even though they did not see the One whom Daniel saw, the men with Daniel fled and hid, because they realized something was going on and it was too great for them to stay around (vv. 7-8). The vision was so awe-inspiring Daniel had no strength. He heard His voice. Being so weakened and overcome by His presence Daniel went into a deep sleep. We should in no way consider this “deep sleep” as bad on Daniel’s part. From the excitement he may have blacked out and lost consciousness. Sometimes it is when our minds are resting in the Lord we are renewed, refreshed, and revived. NOTE, Daniel’s position “…My face toward the ground.” Most likely this “deep sleep” was probably the same type “deep sleep” God put on Adam when He created Eve”. So it was a God induced sleep.

DANIEL IS TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL (vv. 10-21). It does not say it clearly but most likely the hand that touched Daniel was the hand of Gabriel the angel who had spoken to him previously (8:16; 9:20-23).

NOTICE: The words this angel speaks to Daniel; “…A man greatly beloved” is spoken twice in this chapter (vv. 11 & 19) and one other time in the previous chapter (9:23). He says, “Fear not” twice (vv. 12, 19). “Peace be unto thee”, and “Be strong, be strong”. A double admonition.

Why Daniel prayed for twenty one days – the Spiritual Warfare. The angel was hindered by the “prince of Persia”. This could not have been a mere man which the angel of God was battling. It had to have been a “demon angel” appointed by satan over the kingdom of Persia. If Daniel had quit praying this ‘prince of Persia’ could have won the battle. Let us never cease praying for God’s will to be accomplished in His people and in the governments of men. Because of Daniel’s unceasing, fervent prayer the angel came with an answer. Delayed prayers are FAITH TESTING and FAITH BUILDING prayers. Daniel was touched three times by the angel (vv. 10, 16, and 18).

There are some who believe that this whole encounter was with the pre-incarnate Christ. It cannot be – because Jesus would not need the help of Michael. Jesus could, but speak the word, “Be gone” and that demon would flee. There is no doubt in my mind that from verses ten through verse 21 the one who touched Daniel was an angel, and most likely Gabriel, who had spoken to him previously.

The angel came to give Daniel understanding of what the “latter days” held for the Hebrews, and Gentile nations.

The angel speaks of returning to battle the ‘prince of Persia’. He tells Daniel that the ‘prince of Greece’ is on the way. It almost seems the angel encourages Daniel to keep praying. PLEASE REREAD EPHESIANS 6:10-18.

The powers of darkness are at work in the world, its governments, plotting, scheming, deceiving, seeking to steal, to kill, and to destroy all that is godly, holy and righteous.  Let us as the Church of Jesus Christ keep praying too. Let’s pray for forgiveness of our own sin, confess them and repent. Let’s pray for those who are lost. Jesus is coming soon.

MARANATHA.

Dreams and Visions of Beasts

“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7:1-8 (KJV)

Daniel writes now of the few years before the events of Daniel chapter 5. The John MacArthur Study Bible note states,

“This represented a flashback to 553 B.C., 14 years before the feast of 5:1-3. Chapters 7, 8 occur after chapter 4, but before chapter 5.” (pg. 1238 NKJV).

God knows the directions of kings and kingdoms of men – enough that He could reveal the rise and fall of four Gentile kingdoms ruling the known world. I think at this point it would help any reading at this point to go and read Psalm 2.

THE TIME BEFORE THE MEDES AND PERSIANS (v. 1). Chapter 7 takes place before chapter five. It is possible that this is as many as 15 years before Belshazzar fell, and the Medes and Persians conquered the city of Babylon.

The dream Daniel has is not all that far removed from the visions of Nebuchadnezzar.

NOTE… In chapter two we had to look at a hideous monstrosity of the image of a man with a head of gold; breast and arms of silver; belly and thighs of brass; legs of iron; and feet part of iron and part of clay. By man’s standard it would be something beautiful to look upon. In chapter seven we see how God looks upon the kingdoms of men.

GOD’S VIEW OF THE KINGDOMS OF MEN (vv. 2-8). God’s vision given to Daniel has similarities of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but yet different in one’s perception. Nebuchadnezzar saw it as a good thing – something beautiful to look upon. To God and Daniel these were beasts. God seems to always liken governments of men as beasts.

There are four beasts mentioned in thise verses… 1) A lion with eagles wings; 2) A bear with three ribs between its teeth; 3) A leopard with four wings as a fowl and with four heads; 4) A dreadful beast, evidently unlike anything Daniel had ever seen – it devoured and brake in pieces… and had ten horns on its head.

The lion with wings represents Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. Its wings being plucked speaks of Nebuchadnezzar’s losing his mind and the fall of Babylon (You can easily notice that Nebuchadnezzar represents the total kingdom until its fall). Where king Nebuchadnezzar saw a head of gold, God saw a defeated lion.

The Bear with ribs between its teeth represents the Medo-Persian empire over powering Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt – the three ribs.

The four headed leopard represents the rule of Alexander the Great – the leopard is also seen by Daniel having four wings of a fowl. The Persians were defeated by Greece (Alexanders place of rule). The leopard is one of the swiftest of all land creatures and that is how Alexander conquered – without haste. A leopard with wings implies very swift, like never touching the ground. The leopard is also seen as having four heads. When Alexander died the Greecian empire was divided into four kingdoms led by his four leading generals. Alexander had only 35,000 troops when he fought against the Medo-Persian empire. He won a miraculous victory against two or three hundred thousand of the Medo-Persia army. Alexander could conquer the world, but he could not conquer himself. He was an alcoholic and died at the age of thirty two years of age. This is the kingdom of Brass. We see in Alexander the Great that the problem with alcohol is not a new thing. Lives cut short. Families destroyed. Just what are the real benefits of the poison? None, that are of any worth.

The next kingdom is almost beyond description. It is a kingdom of iron and clay. It represents the Roman empire – legs of iron and part clay. This was a divided kingdom – two legs; ten toes – iron and clay. The ten horns mentioned represent the ten toes. Horns are a symbol of power. The toes would represent the provinces (States) of Rome with the horns representing the human ruler. The “little horn” is the “end time” ruler of the world. The ten toes also, probably, represent the Roman empire risen again. This fourth beast is vicious, and it devours every thing that opposes it. God’s view of kingdoms of men – they shall fall. The only part of these beasts that has not yet taken place is the “ten toes” and the “ten heads”. This fourth beast is seen by Daniel as “dreadful”. This was the same empire that would put our Lord to death on the cruel old wooden cross. They had absolutely no power to take His life, because He gave His life willingly for our sins. Their cruelty just showed the depths and lengths of depravity men will stoop to rid the world of God.

This is seen again by the apostle John as He witnessed the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and wrote it down. It is written there for the people of the final days to be warned, and prayerfully turn their eyes toward the One who gave His life upon Calvary’s cross for the sins of the world.

The Man of Prayer

“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:4-10 (KJV)

THE PRESIDENTS AND PRINCES CONSPIRED TO FIND FAULT WITH DANIEL; FOUND NONE; SO SET ABOUT TO ESTABLISH NEW LAWS TO TRAP HIM (vv. 4-9). Daniel could not have won in any event in this deception. If he would have not prayed these men would have accused him of turning from his God. If he prayed he would be put in the lion’s den.

These leaders were jealous of Daniel. He was a captive Jew and their leader. He had God’s blessing on his life. The people of the flesh will always work against the people serving God in the Spirit. Look at Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob; Ishmael and Isaac. The flesh always strives against the Spirit – “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Gal. 5:17 (KJV).

According to the Proverbs 26:28 passage above “…a flattering mouth worketh ruin”, and this is most certainly what these men tried to do to Daniel. They were flattering the king. Flattery can sometimes cause the one who is on the receiving end of flattery to yield to all kinds of things. People love to be praised, and told they are wonderful; but LOOK OUT! What does the flatterer have in mind?

The law these men wanted the king to decree was a decree of emperor worship, and the king fell for it. He did it without thinking of Daniel or any others who might be Jehovah [YHWH] worshipers. Once this law was signed by Darius it was law. His signature was the seal of his ring in wax. There would be no annulling it. It had to be carried out. It was soon put to the test.

DANIEL DOES NOT CHANGE HIS PRAYING – EVEN KNOWING THIS LAW IS DECREED BY THE KING (v. 10). After the decree is signed by the king, Daniel goes to his regular place of prayer and he prays just as always. He prays at sunrise, noon, and again at the end of the day. This purely was not an act of defiance, but an act that had already been his practice. Daniel was not going to change his practice. Now, if Daniel had not been praying, and this law was decreed, then, he starts praying to God it would be an act of defiance, then, these others may have had a genuine charge against him.

It is my belief that if the Christians of the United States would have been praying before 1963 we would not have lost our right to pray, and study Christian materials in the public schools. Suddenly when it was lost we become defiant. That is not the answer. We must get to praying, and pray that God will place people in positions of ‘lawmaking’ who will uphold the laws of God for our country, and get us back to freedom to pray in any place, at any time; and in the name of Jesus.

Since writing this in 2006 there are many things that have happened in the U. S. of A. that make this even more needed for our time in 2017.  People running their businesses as Christians, who have the right to refuse service to anyone just as any other business does who are robbed of that right by frivolous law suits.  Some paying fines.  The right to pray on School campuses to one certain group, but Christians not even being able to wear T-shirts with a Christian theme on them without scrutiny.  It is not time to be defiant; but it is time to continue to practice our faith in Christ Jesus through our lives and living.

If you are not a Christian believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven to die for our sins on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, and is forever alive.  Call on His name.  He will hear you and save you from the condemnation, shame, and guilt of your sins.  (Romans 10:9-13).

If you are a Christian and have been fearful; stop being fearful of what men do; love God, and believe His Word.  Let the world see Jesus in you.

If you are praying now no one can ever stop you from praying. They may pass laws, but there is no law against the righteous, that can stop them from righteousness.

Loyalty to God and Kings Awarded

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel 6:1-3 (KJV)

A new king begins to reign. A new man often has new ideas. How is it that Darius is now the king of this land? There is only one answer to that question. It is the Almighty God of all that is or will ever be that sets up kings and brings them down. It has been seen, and testimony given by Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Daniel is now under the rule of Darius. As we get a little further in this chapter we will see that this king loved and greatly respected Daniel. We will also learn from this chapter that a man of integrity, and good character does not change his godly actions to please a decree by a king or a despot. The godly individual will pray, even when the laws of the land say, “NO MORE PRAYER”. This is not talking about an act of rebellion where someone; after an edict is given decides, “They can’t do that”, then decides to pray. This is the act of diligence. It is the act of obedience to God that was there before the law or edict was given.

In this chapter we must learn to pray. Prayer now will accomplish great things in our lives when we are faced with commands, laws, and edicts of men which tell us, “You can’t pray that way”. Let’s be faithful now, and continue in diligence, when we cannot. Sometimes things are made legal which are ungodly and unholy; such as abortion, homosexuality, and same gender marriages. Other times things are made illegal which are good, godly, and pure; such as outlawing prayer in schools, and in some places forbidding the preaching of the gospel on the street corner, and/or praying in “Jesus’s name”.

 DANIEL IS NOW UNDER THE RULE OF DARIUS (v. 1). What Belshazzar had promised now Daniel actually receives. Belshazzar is dead. Daniel is alive and ruling within a kingdom. Neither Belshazzar, nor Darius elevated Daniel to this position; only God can do such things.

In a place of any form of rule is by divine appointment. It may be hard for many people to accept, but even Hitler was appointed by God for his time. That does not tickle my fancy either, but it is still true. He was placed as a ruler by God and he was removed by God. If you are a father, it was God who placed you in that position – use it well. If you are the pastor of a church God placed you there, and he can remove you. If you are the Mayor of a small town or a large city you were placed in that position of authority by God Himself. He can also remove you. From the lowest levels of leadership to the upper echelons of government God has positioned leaders for His pleasure and glory, and He can ‘unposition’ you.

 DANIEL IS PLACED IN A POSITION OF RULE – OVER 120 ‘PRINCES’, AND CHIEF OF THREE WHO WERE ‘PRESIDENTS’ (vv. 2-3). These “Presidents” could also be called ‘Administrators’ or ‘Commissioners’. The ‘Princes’ were in charge of provinces around Babylon; gathering taxes, maybe solving problems was also involved. They were in charge of seeing that the king received his due. The ‘Presidents’ were to be sure that the princes were honest in their dealings. It seems that Daniel was the one who kept the two other presidents and their princes honest.

At any rate we clearly see that these others hated Daniel and the consistency of his lifestyle. The two ‘Presidents’ probably influenced the ‘princes’ to conspire against Daniel. They watched his every move. They could find no fault in his life. He never cheated the king, or did anything against the king to cause his demise or fall of the kingdom. The only way they could find fault was to make a law against his faith. With flattery, deception, and cunning they convince the king to have emperor worship for a month. Here is what the king should have heard, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Prov. 26:28 (KJV).

These other rulers know Daniel prays three times per day. They know these things because they have spied on him, trying to seek his weakness, to cause his downfall. The king is told this is an agreed upon law by all the other rulers – deception – Daniel does not know, nor would he have agreed with it. Deception, deception, deception; clear and simple. Darius signs the decree. The law says that no one is to worship any god accept the king for a period of one month (30 days).

Daniel is truly an example for all Christians to follow. He never protested. He never had a sit in, a march – he continued doing what he was now forbidden to do by the kings decree. He continued praying. HE HAD A CONSISTENT ATTITUDE. He also had a CONSISTENT PRACTICE OF PRAYER. That is also our need.