Archive for the month “June, 2016”

Pondering the Word – Daniel 9-10

PonderingtheWordDaniel is largely known because of some of the outrageous stories that are a part of his life: As an interpreter of dreams, his den of lion’s experience, his connection with Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego. But it was really what Daniel did behind the headlines that made him the man that he was.

In Daniel 9 and 10 we learn a few things that give us insight into Daniel.

In 9:2 we read, “in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given by Jeremiah the prophet…”  So we know that Daniel was a man who read and studied the Word of God. It was this discipline that fueled his ministry, strengthened his faith, and transformed his life. It is this discipline that will do the same for us as we regularly become a student of the Word.

One of the outcomes of a life that prioritizes God’s Word is a healthy, vibrant, bold prayer life.

In 9:4-19 we get to overhear a prayer that Daniel prays. Whenever I read prayers in Scripture I am usually struck by how different they sound from my prayers and the prayers I hear most people pray. You will note when you read his prayer several things:

  • His absolute dependence on God
  • His overwhelming confidence in God
  • His incredible awe of God
  • His humble confession to God
  • His repentant spirit towards God
  • His bold requests of God

It is evident from this prayer that Daniel is a man who knew God and was not unfamiliar with being in His presence.

In 10:12, we read what an angel of the Lord says to Daniel… “Do not be afraid Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard…”

If you ever want to deepen your prayer life and know that your prayers are being heard, and not just stopping at the ceiling, then ponder this verse. And read Daniel 10 carefully for an example of what it means to be humble before God.

Daniel’s boldness in public life flowed out of his humility before God in private. Perhaps this is something we should take to heart.

Quotes Worth Pondering – Russell Moore

QuotesWorthPonderingOne of the reasons I say that it is good for American Christianity to no longer think of itself as a “moral majority” is that such a mentality obscures the strangeness of the gospel. When a vision of Christian political engagement hinges on building a politically viable network of ideologically united voters, Christ and him crucified will tend to be a stumbling block, not a rallying point.

If you want to read the context of the quote, it is found in an article entitled “Why Politics Can’t Drive the Gospel.” Check it out HERE.

Articles Worth Pondering – Jerry Bridge’s Seven Standout Spiritual Lessons

Articles Worth PTim Challies has summarized the life lessons that Jerry Bridges, author and former president of The Navigator’s, learned over the many years of his life and ministry. Challies says, “These seven lessons are his ministry in a nutshell. And, that being true, he has left behind a legacy of great faithfulness.” It’s a good read and well worth pondering.

Jerry Bridge’s Seven Standout Spiritual Lessons

Pondering the Word – Ezekiel

PonderingtheWordOf the four “major” prophets, Ezekiel probably gets the least amount of press. But there are some fascinating things to learn from him. The F260 Reading only hits a few highlights of his book but here are four things that Ezekiel came to understand that changed his life – and could change ours.

God is glorious beyond compare – Ezekiel’s God was too small – until he had a glorious vision that revolutionized his life and ministry (chapter 1). He saw God as he had never seen Him before. 1:28 says, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around Him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown….”

We need a big, robust view of God. A view that brings us to our knees. A view that captures our imagination and fuels our allegiance to Him. Pray that God will give His people this kind of revelation.

God is sovereign over everything – “Sovereign Lord” is the primary title that Ezekiel uses for God. It appears this way over 200 times. Ezekiel did not just know intellectually that God was sovereign, he knew it very personally.  Ezekiel 24:15-27 recounts the death of his wife, “the delight of your eyes” as she is called (v.16). It is obvious through the way that Ezekiel responds through this tragedy and in his grief that he trusts in the sovereignty of God – he knows that God is in control even when life seems out of control.

God is jealous for His name’s sake – One of the main themes in the book has to do with idol worship. In 14:3 God says to E “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces.” God’s jealousy for His people was an indication of His great great love for them. If He was not jealous it would be an indication that He did not care.

God is faithful to His promises – Ezekiel 16:59-60 says, “For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant,  yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant.”  That little word “yet” is a reminder that God has not forgotten His promises to His people. Just as He is faithful to His promises to us. Remind yourself often of the promises of God. Here are a few for you to chew on…

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Quotes Worth Pondering – Joel C. Rosenberg

QuotesWorthPondering“To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blind-sided by it.”

This quote has a lot of spiritual applications to it – but if you want to see the context of this recent quote then you can click the link below ….

Four critical truths the President & candidates need to understand in the debate over Radical Islam

Articles Worth Pondering: Do Christians, Jews, and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Articles Worth PYou can find a loving conception of monotheism in both Judaism and Islam, but only in Christianity does this love manifest itself in a one-way work of salvation of sinners apart from religious effort. For this reason, C.S. Lewis has famously said of Christian faith, “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists.”[1]

Read the rest of this article by Jared Wilson here:

Do Christians, Jews, and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Pondering the Word – 2 Kings 18-20

PonderingtheWordHezekiah is one of my favorite Older Testament characters. He was also one of God’s favorites:

He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. (2 Kings 18:5-7 ESV)

As I read and pondered these chapters there were several things about him that stuck out to me…

He was a man of action – 18:3-4 detail some of the actions he took to make things right with God. Many of the kings before him had failed to do anything to stop the idol worship that was taking place. Hezekiah was not idle when it came to dealing with idols.

The question that we have to ask ourselves is this: What are the idols in our lives and what are we doing to eradicate them?

He was a man of courage – 18:7 says “He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.” The Assyrians had recently taken the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity and now they were knocking on the door of Judah, the southern kingdom. Hezekiah was not willing to capitulate to the demands of the Assyrians even though they were a more powerful army. He knew that he had a secret weapon – God was on his side.

Question: How are we demonstrating courage against the our enemies and against the evil in this world?

He was a man of prayer – 19:14-19 and 20:3 mentions two prayers that Hez prayed. The first when he cried out to God to deliver Judah from the Assyrians. God’s response: 19:35 says, “That night the angel of the Lord put to death 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp.” The second when he was very ill and at the point of death. God’s response: 20:6 says, “I will add 15 years to your life…”

Question: Is prayer our first response to difficulties we face and to what extent do we cry out to God or merely say perfunctory prayers?

 

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Shay Reyner

QuotesWorthPonderingSince today is my birthday I thought I would share a song/poem I wrote a few years ago as I was pondering my own mortality. As I get more advanced in age I find that I am doing this more and more often. But I also have noticed that this was something the Apostle Paul did a lot of in his letters as he reminded himself often of the gospel and of the hope that we as believers have for the coming day of salvation. The crazier that our world gets the more we need to hold out the hope that is ours to a world that is more and more becoming hopeless and despairing. And while I am indeed looking forward to THAT DAY, I also echo what Paul said in Philippians 1:

22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

I hope you enjoy the song. Be glad that I am writing it and not singing it for you.

That Day

I’m longing for that day when I’ll be crowned with my reward
But more than that I cannot wait to see my precious Lord
For He has done so much for me
So much to set me free
And that is why I’m waiting for that day.

(chorus)
On that day He’ll come again
Or on that day I’ll go to Him
That day when this old journey is complete.
On that day my heart will sing
On that day I’ll see my king
On that day I’ll wake and know it’s not a dream.

I know it won’t be long before I enter heaven’s door
And then I’ll know just what my life of faith has all been for
I’ll see my savior face to face
I’ll feel the love of His embrace
And that is why I’m waiting for that day.

(chorus)

One day all the pain that comes with this life will be done
And I will cross the finish line and know the race is won
The victor will be on His throne
And I’ll see my eternal home
And that is why I’m waiting for that day.

(chorus)

Articles Worth Pondering – After Orlando Can We Still Weep Together?

Articles Worth PHere are some thoughts from Russell Moore after yesterday’s shooting in Orlando.

After Orlando Can We Still Weep Together?

Pondering the Word – Isaiah

PonderingtheWordThe F260 Plan took us through the book of Isaiah very fast. There was much that we did not read. Even so, what we did read gave us a feel for what the book was about. While much of the book talks about coming judgement there is also much about the coming Messiah and the coming hope of a new heaven and earth. Isaiah’s book is a prophecy of promise – some of the promises are hard to hear and some provoke joy and anticipation.

Here are a few choice verses that caught my attention this week. I will let them speak for themselves.

52:12“…for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

53:6 “We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

65:17-19 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

66:2“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”

Is2

Is1

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