A young man named Daniel was taken into captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had just conquered the kingdom of Israel and Daniel was enslaved and sent to Babylon as spoils of war. Daniel knew that his life was going to become very difficult. However, Daniel had already “purposed in his heart” that he was going to serve God no matter the situation.
Daniel was to be trained to become a teacher and servant for the Babylonian nobles. He was trained by Ashpenaz who after some time would have to present Daniel to the king as a ready servant. Ashpenaz tried to feed Daniel food that would make him look as healthy as possible for the king. Unfortunately, Daniel could not eat the food given to him. Daniel, being a Jew living in the Old Testament, had to abstain from certain foods that were forbidden in the Law of Moses. Christians today are not under the Law of Moses, but Daniel was.
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Because “all have sinned”(Rom.3:23) and the “wages of sin is death”(Rom.6:23), no one deserves to go to heaven. There is a way for us to go to heaven, but it will not be on the basis of our own merits. The means of getting to heaven will be through the forgiveness of sins offered in Jesus Christ.
He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”(John 14:6). Jesus came and died on a cross to give you the means of salvation from the condemnation your sins demanded. We earned our condemnation by sinning. But, how do we come to enjoy the salvation that Jesus wants us to enjoy?
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Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
We crave the thought of being saved. Our favorite movies and TV shows are proof of that. We love watching men and woman being saved weekly by incredible heroes.
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We need a mirror to examine our physical health and appearance. If there is something wrong in our appearance we can adjust the hair or brush the teeth, or we can deal with blemishes or see how to shave or apply makeup. Mirrors serve us well on a daily basis, but only if we DO something about what we see in the mirror.
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“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings . . . Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (Hebrews 10:32-35).
The Hebrew writer said that after his readers had become Christians they “endured a great struggle with sufferings.” But he encouraged them not to give up the great reward they were pursuing. “Do not cast away your confidence,” he said. The Hebrews needed to remember something we all need to remember: good things come at a price — and when the price begins to hurt, we have to recall the value of what we have gained.
Continue reading “Don’t Devalue What You’ve Purchased”
”Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”(Psalm 27:14)
If eternity is in our hearts, that means we have a desire that can’t be fulfilled right now. And if this desire is, as I believe, our deepest desire, then our lack of fulfillment may be grievously felt. Whatever our hearts most truly need, they need it now, and the very depth of our longing means that its lack of satisfaction is painful. So the thought of waiting is, to many, an unwelcome thought.
Impatience is more of a problem than we like to admit. In its more trivial forms, it can be amusing, of course, but in more serious matters, impatience can be destructive to our spiritual lives. In a sense, impatience comes close to being the taproot of sin. It is a demanding attitude: it wants its own way and it wants it now. Impatience insists that everything be done on its own terms.
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”Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-3).
In this promise, God takes the attention off this one man and expands it to all families of the earth. So how does the attention go from one man to all families? Faith. By faith Abraham had to leave his father’s house and go to an unknown land. So it will be by faith that God will also bless us. God is virtually asking of us the same thing that he asked of Abraham. God is asking us to leave the comforts of our life and our ways for a promised land (Heaven). The faith is not just a mental assessment but an unwavering trust in His ways.
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“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
When we suffer hardship, the challenge is not merely to accept it with resignation but to “count it all joy.” Recognizing the good that can come from what we suffer, we must learn to give thanks. Here are three thoughts that can help us.
(1) If we are to share in Christ’s glory, we must also be willing to share in His sufferings. Peter wrote, “Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). They took Jesus outside the city to crucify Him. “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13).
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“If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17).
More than anything else, the thing that determines our discernment of God’s will is our intent to do His will. It is an honorable and necessary thing to love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10), but our love for God’s truth must be active rather than passive. We must not only desire to know the truth; we must actually intend to obey it. And when we study the Scriptures, this motive is the main thing that determines whether we get the right answers to our questions. If we’re honestly looking for information that will help us improve our own obedience, then we have God’s assurance that we’ll get the information we need. On the other hand, if we’re looking for any other reason, then we’ll probably not discern the Lord’s will even when it’s right in front of us. Paul wrote, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11,12).
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I don’t know if you do this too or if it’s just me, but when I hear the word “relationship” my mind almost always goes to who is romantically involved with whom. Who is he or she dating? How is that couple doing? Are they still getting along with each other? Even on social media, when you look at the “family and relationships” section, most people note who they are married to or dating.
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