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life speak

There is a quote by St Francis of Assisi that says “preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”

And I usually hate that quote.

Seriously.

I think people have used it as a spiritual cop out for actually talking to people about Jesus.   That they’ll just live their life and people will just look and see and just get it.

I’m more the peach the gospel at all times and use your words as well!  Im more the subliminal message gospel by osmosis thing doesn’t fly so speak up and be radically bold and just be real and tell your story.

 

But.

Our lives can often speak louder than what we say with our lips.

Our lives speak loudly.

Our lives can either back up what we say with our lips or can tell a whole different story.

 

Tonight I want to challenge you to live a life that loudly shows people that God is real, that He is good, that you can find hope and love and grace with Him, that living for Jesus is the best way to live and that He has real answers for real problems.

 

“The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.”  — Francis Chan

 

Your life speaks loudly when you have faith to step out and do something for God, just as Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water.

Your life speaks loudly when you say yes to God like the boy with his lunch that fed the 5000.

Your life tells a message when you choose to trust God in the face of your problems – like Joshua and the Israelites did when they circled the city of Jericho with its massive walls in silence for 7 days.

Your life tells a message when you make a choice to do what God wants even if its counter culture, like Daniel and his friends did when they refused to eat the kings food or bow down to idols or give up praying.

 

The Bible says in Philippians 2:15

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

So that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world

 

Breaking that down it says live lives that reflect who God is.  Live lives that shine for Him.  Live lives that are clean and pure so that you stand out in a generation of darkness, a generation that lives for themselves, a generation lost.

 

 

What kind of message is your life speaking?

 

Let’s look more at Daniel and his mates, Shadrach, Mesach and abendigo.

They were 3 fine young men, born in Israel, but taken into exile in Babylon.  Their countries were at war and Babylon won and so they king there took most of the fine young men, the potential leaders, with him to Babylon.  The kings plan was to change the culture of this captured country by assimilating the key influencers to be like them.

All around us we have a culture saying BE THIS, DO THIS, LOOK LIKE THIS. We follow trends and brands and shape ourselves to fit in. There is pressure to conform and culture tries to desensitize us to the lax standards of the world so that we wont stand out or stand up for God.

But Daniel and his friends made a choice to not blend in but to stand out.

 

Let’s read about what happened in Daniel 1:

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

 

You may not ever have to make stand on what you order for lunch but there are things that go on around us every day that we need to make choices about:

 

How we dress

What we watch on tv or youtube or play on xbox

Movies we go to

How we talk

Dating and flirting and all that

 

But deeper than that – cos those things are more like external symptoms of the inside standards – how we treat other people, do we join in the gossip or speak words of encouragement, do we join in with the smutty conversation or change the topic, will we be honest at all times, generosity, kindness, forgiving someone and moving on, trusting that God will do what He says He will do and be who He says He will be, that He has a plan and a purpose in our lives and for our lives…

 

It’s the times that we change the conversation from tearing someone down to building someone up.

It’s the times we turn up to church even though we could have slept in.  It matters.  It shows that church is a priority.

It’s the attitude we serve in when someone asks you to move the chairs, or fill in for the car park guy who didn’t turn up.

It’s the respect we show in the classroom.

It’s the language we use.

It’s the loops we allow our thoughts to ride on…. Do we let them loop around like a record player saying you’re a failure, worry worry worry, who do you think you are… or do you smash that record and start a new loop that has the voice of God that says you’re an overcomer, God’s got this and that He loves you and has a plan and a purpose for your life.  The words we speak and what we think about most determine what we believe.  And what we believe will leak out in our actions and words, in the way we live.  They will preach.

Small things eh.  They tell a story about who we are living our life for.

Never discount how much of an impact these small acts make on those in our world.

 

It’s interesting to note at the end of Daniel 1 we read that IN EVERY MATTER OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THESE GUYS WERE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. Why? Because they were faithful to God and so He was faithful to them.

God wants your life to the best life He can give.  He wants to take you on God adventures.  He has plans and purposes, dreams for your life.

God doesn’t want you to miss out.

The way to live that adventure and to do all that God has purposed for us is to live a life that consistently shows that living for Jesus is real for us.

 

Now I want to add a disclaimer.  None of us is perfect.  That is why Jesus came.  He is the only perfect one.  We all have flaws and make mistakes.  We all have good days when we feel really on fire and amped and its easy to shine, and we all have days when it feels like we shouldn’t have gotten out of bed because everything we did and do was wrong.  We are all growing.  There is grace to cover that.  This is not a message to make you feel stink.  It is to challenge you and if you’re feeling challenged ask yourself why….

 

I want to finish up by reading one verse to you 4 times, 4 different ways.   It is God’s invitation to live a life that shines bright like a diamond, shines bright like stars in the dark sky.  It is God’s invitation to step out and see Him step in.  You are not created to blend in, you are invited to stand out.

 

You are invited to let your life  speak of the amazing things that God does.  To shout with your life that God’s grace is real and covers every mistake, that His love is real and never runs out.

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. CEV

Do not be conformed to this world, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed and changed by the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. AMP

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. MSG

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In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem. The Lord let Nebuchadnezzar capture Jehoiakim and take away some of the things used in God’s temple. And when the king returned to Babylonia, he put these things in the temple of his own god.   One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families.  The king said, “They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language  and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials.”  Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah.  But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego. Daniel 1:4-7 

 

we have an enemy…   and Paul says we are not ignorant of his schemes.  one of his schemes is to assimilate us into his culture – in to the world.  we can see him operating to do that to the young Jewish leaders in Daniel’s day.  we are of the world but not of the world.    while there are many wonderful things in our day there is also things that we should separate ourselves from.  i’m not talking separatist life here but holy life.   don’t compromise and be permissive.  stand true to what you know God has said.

the enemy tried to change the names of daniel and his friends.  he tries to change our destiny and our calling – he tries to cover up the truth with a lie and a falsehood.

Names and their meaning:

  • Hananiah – God has favoured – to Shadrach – “of Shach”, which was a name of a god or goddess of the Chaldeans, they worshipped

  • Mishael – who God is – to Meshach – “the messenger the sun”

  • Azariah – God has helped – to Abendego – “a servant, or worshipper of Nego”. The word signifies “shining brightness”: which some understand of fire worshipped by them; others of the bright planet Venus; and others of Lucifer

  • Daniel – judge of God – to  Belteshazzar – Bel hath hid and treasured (Bel is a idol)

 

Don’t let anyone cover up your destiny.  Don’t let anyone hold you back.  don’t let anyone define who you are.  listen to the ONE VOICE that can speak into your life and say who you are.  God’s voice.

 

 

 

Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace. Daniel 1:8 

Daniel decided to obey God and live counter culture.  He made up his mind to obey God.  He resolved himself to obedience and while we know the end of the story, that he was tested and found to be more healthy and prosperous than his contemporaries who ate all the rich (and maybe idol offered) and unclean food, it could of led to his execution.   He preferred death and punishment to disobedience.

He stood up and he stood out.

Will you make a stand for the ways of God and his righteousness today?

lets not compromise and fit in.  Let us instead shine like stars in the darkness.

 

Philippians 2:12-16  My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved.   God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing.  Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world,   as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.

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Daniel 1:4-7  In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem. The Lord let Nebuchadnezzar capture Jehoiakim and take away some of the things used in God’s temple. And when the king returned to Babylonia, he put these things in the temple of his own god.   One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families.  The king said, “They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language  and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials.”  Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah.  But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego.

we have an enemy…   and paul says we are not ignorant of his schemes.  one of his schemes is to assimilate us into his culture – in to the world.  we can see him operating to do that to the young jewish leaders in daniels day.  we are of the world but not of the world.    while there are many wonderful things in our day there is also things that we should separate ourselves from.  i’m not talking separatist life here but holy life.   don’t compromise and be permissive.  stand true to what you know God has said.

the enemy tried to change the names of daniel and his friends.  he tries to change our destiny and our calling – he tries to cover up the truth with a lie and a falsehood.

Names and their meaning:

  • Hananiah – God has favoured – to Shadrach – “of Shach”, which was a name of a god or goddess of the Chaldeans, they worshipped
  • Mishael – who God is – to Meshach – “the messenger the sun”
  • Azariah – God has helped – to Abendego – “a servant, or worshipper of Nego”. The word signifies “shining brightness”: which some understand of fire worshipped by them; others of the bright planet Venus; and others of Lucifer
  • Daniel – judge of God – to  Belteshazzar – Bel hath hid and treasured (Bel is a idol)
  •  

Don’t let anyone cover up your destiny.  Don’t let anyone hold you back.  don’t let anyone define who you are.  listen to the ONE VOICE that can speak into your life and say who you are.  God’s voice.

Daniel 1:8  Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace.

Daniel decided to obey God and live counter culture.  He made up his mind to obey God.  He resolved himself to obedience and while we know the end of the story, that he was tested and found to be more healthy and prosperous than his contemporaries who ate all the rich (and maybe idol offered) and unclean food, it could of led to his execution.   He preferred death and punishment to disobedience.

He stood up and he stood out.

Will you make a stand for the ways of God and his righteousness today?

lets not compromise and fit in.  Let us instead shine like stars in the darkness.

Philippians 2:12-16  My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved.   God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing.  Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world,   as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.

notes from sunday night young adults service:

 

 

20030426-hello1

 

So who here knows what their name means?

Names have meanings and I don’t want to get into geeky airy fairy bogus unkosher stuff here but isn’t it interesting to find out what your name means and go yeah, that fits me. Take for example MY name. Claire. It means CLEAR. Deep eh. But the bigger meaning of it is BRIGHT AND ILLUSTRIOUS – which I think fits well with my heart and passion – to reflect the glory of God and live for Him so that people will know He is real and awesome.

 

God often had people in the bible specifically named and their name reveals their character. In many cases their names were prophetic and people lived out in actions what their names meant. Their names were rapped up in their identity. In our days names don’t mean as much but in those days names held a lot more weight than they did now. It often told more of a story than just being a cute name picked out by their adoring parents.

Eg: Joshua – God is my salvation

Caleb "faith, devotion, whole hearted".

You could often read a bit more into someone’s character when you look at the meaning of the name.

But though sometimes it fit other times they rose above it.

Take for example jabez. His name means BORN IN UTTER SUFFERING. Now that’s a nice name!

Elika="my God rejects" – davids 30

Jashen = "sleeping" aka lazy

Gareb = "scabby";

Nice. Real nice.

Jesus often changed peoples names – Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul – and it was a way of totally signifying the change in destiny. They were “like that” but now they are anointed and called and “like this”. God established a new identity by changing their names.

Abram – to Abraham – "father of a multitude"

Sarai to Sarach – "princess"

Jacob the deciever to Israel the prince

Four other young guys underwent the name change process too.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. Daniel 1:3-7

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and Daniel were probably only 15-20 years old when they were captured and taken into exile. It’s probable their families and friends were killed back in Israel.

Daniel "God is my judge" > Belteshazzar
Mishael "Who is like God?" > Meshach > who is what Aku is
Hananiah "Jehovah is gracious" > Shadrach > command of Aku (a Babylonian god)
Azariah "Jehovah is my helper" > Abednego > servant of Nebo (another Babylonian god)

Azariah renamed Abednego by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official Daniel renamed Belteshazzar by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official

Hananiah renamed Shadrach by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official

Mishael renamed Meshach by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official

There was an attempt to change their identity. The babylonians did this for a reason. It was to remove the God element from their name and to indoctrinate the captives that the God they had grown up with and put their faith and trust in was finished, destroyed, done with, history. Their old names were declarations about God but their new names identified them with the gods of Babylon.

So what does this have to do with my real life? What can we learn from Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and Daniel?

All around us we have a culture saying BE THIS, DO THIS, LOOK LIKE THIS. We follow trends and brands and shape ourselves to fit in. There is pressure to conform and culture tries to desensitize us to the lax standards of the world so that we wont stand out or stand up for God.

But what did Daniel and his friends do? They refused to bow to the pressure to conform. While King Nebuchadnezzar desired to change who these men were by changing their names, these names could not change who they fundamentally were on the inside.

While they were surrounded with all sorts of temptations they remained committed to Jehovah.  Despite their names being changed and the effort and energy expended to persuade them to behave as the world around them behaved, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were determined to take their stand for God. Daniel made a stand – the food thing was more than just food. God in the books of the law had made regulations about what food they could and couldn’t eat. Guess what the Babylonians were planning to feed them… so Daniel made a stand.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way. Daniel 1:8

But we should not be ashamed to stand tall and stand different. You may not ever have to make stand on what you order for lunch but there are things that go on around us every day that we need to make choices about:

How we dress

What we watch on tv

Movies we go to

How we talk

Dating and flirting and all that

But deeper than that – cos those things are more like external symptoms of the inside standards – how we treat other people, do we join in the gossip or speak words of encouragement, do we join in with the smutty conversation or change the topic, will we be honest at all times, generosity, kindness, forgiving someone and moving on, trusting that God will do what He says He will do and be who He says He will be, that He has a plan and a purpose in our lives and for our lives…

What does God say about it all?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. CEV

Do not be conformed to this world, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed and changed by the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. AMP

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. MSG

Making a decision to BE a Christian, aka to ACT like a Christian at all times and in all situations may mean that we make choices that may seem unpopular or misunderstood. But we don’t live to please the crowd, we live to please a real and awesome God.

It may mean when everyone is saying lets see X movie – that we say, no thanks, I’d rather see, and no thanks I don’t want to see that movie.

When I was flatting I made a decision to clean up my tv time and choices. I lived by myself for about 4 months and my friends would come round to watch tv and I said “no thanks” lets go do something else… after a few weeks they totally figured me out and asked what was going on. I told them that I didn’t want to compromise by watching X Y Z… seriously they looked at me like I was weird and a freak but I knew that I had made the right decision.

There is right and wrong in this world. There are things that are good and things that aren’t. There are things that are going to grow us and things that are going to stunt our growth. Let’s be honest about that.

Let’s see how it works out for Daniel and his friends:

Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see. So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

GOD REWARDED THEM FOR THEIR STAND

18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

IN EVERY MATTER OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THESE GUYS WERE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. Why? Because they were faithful to God and so He was faithful to them.

Daniel was always known by his Jewish name. By his Godly name. no detraction on his friends, but its interesting to note. He stood up for his God and refused to bow down to the obvious and full on pressure around him. It sent him to the lions den. It sent his friends into the fire. But they came out of the fire and out of the lions den and into greater authority and into their destiny as leaders in their generation.

There is reward FROM God for living for Him.

We are not of this world and we don’t cling to it.  We make a choice to live our lives in this world, living and breathing and physical, but we are citizens with a Holy Mighty King whom we serve.  We don’t blend in with the world.  That takes a decision to be made and a decision to be lived upon.  Our challenge is to be nonconformists.  To not blend in.  To be different.  To be counter culture. Or on the flip side… its to conform to God’s Kingdom culture, to be recognizable as His child, to be of His world, not of the world around us. The challenge is to be like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah – determined to follow God despite the cost.

What’s in a name?

Therefore if any person is in Christ he is a new creation, anew creature altogether; the old , the previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP

Because of Jesus you are a new person. You have a new start. A new identity. You are a child of God. God has changed who you are on the inside. Tonight the challenge is to live according to THAT name and THAT change – to live for Him not to please the world around us.

When you become a Christian you get a whole new identity.

You go from being LOST to found.

A SINNER to a saint

Dead on the inside to being alive forever more

Guilty to innocent

Impure to pure

Unrighteous to having the righteousness of Christ – exchanged through faith in Him, exchanged because of the great exchange paid on the cross

He bore MY PUNISHMENT to take away MY SIN

Let’s close our eyes and focus on God:

This is the moment you make a decision. You may be at that place of needing God to come in and change your heart at the very starting point – to be forgiven of your sin and to give your life to Jesus, so that He is Lord and Saviour, to remove the guilt and to change you from the inside out. This is your moment. God wants to do more than change your name He wants to change YOU to bring YOU near to Him innocent and righteous. This is what Jesus died on the cross for. And by trusting in Him, believing in Him, God does this awesome spiritual supernatural transaction.

This is also the moment of decision to live wholeheartedly for God. To be like Daniel and make stand maybe even about even basic things that affect our day to day living. I want you to consider your life. Are you conforming to the Kingdom of God or conforming to the world. Have you made a decision at all or are you just going along with the flow? Are there things you need to apologize to God for and then remove those things from your life. There is a cost, but there is a greater reward. The good thing is that we also don’t walk alone. God is here to enable us to be transformed and to have courage to make that stand.

Today is a new day. God wants to rename some of us here. He wants to remind us of His call and His plans. He wants to speak new passion and fire and resolve into our hearts.

Lord we ask that you would breathe new life into us – that we would have your heavenly perspective about our lives. Thank you that you love us and have a plan and a purpose. Help us to live for you, to make you famous, to demonstrate your reality and grace. Give us the boldness, courage and wisdom of Daniel that we would see how to live for you in this generation.

and then said, ” Daniel, your God thinks highly of you, and he has sent me.” Daniel 10:11

now THAT is a compliment!  that is a commendation!  GOD thinks highly of Daniel – oh i would like to be one that pleases God like that!

… praying for a move of God to ignite a generation of young people to stand and burn and shine for God, demonstrating his love and grace to those around them…. those that know their God will be strong and do exploits… praying that God would reveal himself in reality and glory, that he would come and turn our hearts towards him afresh….

i’ve just finished reading in daniel which is an amaizng prophetic book about a young man, daniel, and his friends who are exiled aka taken prisonor and kidnaped into babylon and the babylonian leaders try to assimilate them into their culture and religion and lifestyle… but daniel and his friends stand up and stay true to God and his ways… anyway long story short there is a cool cool cool verse in daniel 11 that says “the people that know their God will be strong and do exploits!” wow! it isnt those that are most qualified or are the bestest and strongest that are strong and do awesome things but those that KNOW THEIR GOD! that is what counts and matters in our life. that is what God looks at. that is what God rewards. that is what God wants… for us to know him, and to make him known, to do exploits…. how you going with your bible reading? have you taken some time this week to worship God and meet with him? remember, its not to get a tick on a chart or a “i’m a nice christian badge” but to really know God and to walk with him. he is real and near and personal and almighty and wow.


Thrones were set up

while I was watching,

and the Eternal God took his place.

His clothing and his hair

were white as snow.

His throne was a blazing fire

with fiery wheels,

and flames were dashing out

from all around him.

Countless thousands

were standing there

to serve him.

The time of judgment began,

and the books were opened.

(Daniel 7:9-10)

As I continued to watch the vision that night, I saw what looked like

a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven,

and he was presented

to the Eternal God. He was crowned king

and given power and glory,

so that all people

of every nation and race

would serve him.

He will rule forever,

and his kingdom is eternal,

never to be destroyed.

(Daniel 7:13-14)

Daniel wrote: I was terrified by these visions, and I didn’t know what to think. So I asked one of those standing there, and he explained, ” The four beasts are four earthly kingdoms. But God Most High will give his kingdom to his chosen ones, and it will be theirs forever and ever.” (Daniel 7:16-18)

While I was looking, this horn attacked God’s chosen ones and was winning the battle. Then God Most High, the Eternal God, came and judged in favor of his chosen ones, because the time had arrived for them to be given the kingdom. (Daniel 7:20-22)

This king will speak evil

of God Most High,

and he will be cruel

to God’s chosen ones.

He will try to change God’s Law

and the sacred seasons.

And he will be able to do this

for a time, two times,

and half a time. But he will finally be judged,

and his kingdom

completely destroyed.

Then the greatest kingdom of all

will be given

to the chosen ones

of God Most High.

His kingdom will be eternal,

and all others will serve

and obey him.”

(Daniel 7:25-27)

Daniel has an incredible vision of God and the last days. He sees God – the Eternal One – the Ancient of Days – and his throne and his son and his glory!

He also sees 4 earthly kingdoms.

Now i dont want to foucs on who these kingdoms are or what they mean i want you and me to catch the really exciting parts!

“But God Most High will give his kingdom to his chosen ones, and it will be theirs forever and ever.Then God Most High, the Eternal God, came and judged in favor of his chosen ones, because the time had arrived for them to be given the kingdom. The greatest kingdom of all will be given to the chosen ones of God Most High. His kingdom will be eternal, and all others will serve and obey him.”

In the last days it will be full on, strange, fearful, wonderous, scary, real. BUT it will also be a glorious time for those who know God. it is the fulfillment of the ages and the birth of something new and glorious.

We are called to be light in the darkness. The last days will be the darkest times of history. But the darkness may be sutble in places, disguised as light. We must know the ways and will of God.

God lives within us!

Greater is HE in me, God in me, than any power in the world.

By the power of the Eternal One we will stand by faith and overcome and shine. And the Eternal One will refuge us and strengthen us.

So even though the evil one may attack us and may even seem like he is winning the war – we know WHO DOES WIN! God does. We do! His chosen people do!

so have faith! stand firm! press on!

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet  in my flesh I will see God”

Sometimes when we read the Bible we read just words. We forget that a real person once was alive and experiencing the joys, the struggles, the circumstances.

We can forget that what they are saying is a reality in their own life, not just a awesome statement of love and faith to encourage, inspire us and print out to hang in our toilets (or wherever you hang your memory verses….)

Above are the verses I read recently that struck me afresh… it wasn’t so much WHAT the words say but WHO was saying it and how this must of been a REALITY in his life…

Now looking at it at face value one might suggest that it was Abraham who declared that he knew his Redeemer lives. He had seen God, a few times, talked like friends with him, seen the fire of God and had some radical encounters and significant life changing miracles.

No – not Abraham. Abraham is not the author of these verses.

Okay then, it must have been David, apart from the fact he wrote most of the Psalms he was a man of faith and saw God work on his behalf many times, delivering him and saving him. So yeah, my guess now is David.

What I’m not right….! No – not David.

Clutching at straws… Daniel… delivered from the prevailing political leadership and conspiring authorities, not to mention angelic encounters, lions and such…. no not Daniel…

The above verses are found in Job 19: 25-26.

Which means it was Job who said them. Job who up to that time of his declaration – at least in the book of Job – had no significant encounter with God.

But at the time Job said “I know my Redeemer lives” God certainly didn’t appear to be in the process of delivering him. God didn’t see to be near to Job at all.

In fact Job was on a dung heap picking his pus pouring sores, contending with a wife who told him to curse God and die, and friends who were anything but friendly, accusing Job of been a closet dirty old hypocritical sinner to say the least… Job I think, and I am using my imagination and ability to go “suppose”, had a fine relationship with God – and I mean relationship. He wasn’t just an arbitrary churchgoer, he went to church to worship his Lord. He prayed and heard from God and walked in His ways as he was led. Job knew God. Job 1 said he feared God. God was certainly aware of Job, commending Job for his righteousness. So it was with faith and with conviction that he could say “I KNOW my Redeemer lives (is with me, is here, has not abandoned me, is real) and that in the end He will stand upon the earth (have victory, overcome, rule and reign, no matter what it looks like now He is Lord of Lords!) and after my skin has been destroyed (though I die, if it gets to that point) I will see God in my flesh (I will see God!!!)

So I figure if Job, sitting on his dung heap picking his sores can hold onto faith and trust our real and interactive personal all-powerful all-knowing God in the midst of his circumstance, how much more so could we… who have the New Testament (and in fact the Old Testament too… Job had no Bible!), who have churches and cell groups (ie people to pray for us and support us), who have inspiring worship music (to help us remember WHO God is, and to stir our heart towards us, and just as the nature of music, to comfort us)….

Our lives should reflect that faith as we experience the highs and lows of living the human life, shining to those around us as an advertisement to God. Let us learn from Job and remember and KNOW that our God lives and is powerful and loving and is the Name above all names, the power above all powers, the Lord above all Lords!

Daniel 1:4-7  In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem. The Lord let Nebuchadnezzar capture Jehoiakim and take away some of the things used in God’s temple. And when the king returned to Babylonia, he put these things in the temple of his own god.   One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families.  The king said, “They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language  and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials.”  Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah.  But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego.
we have an enemy…   and paul says we are not ignorant of his schemes.

one of his schemes is to assimilate us into his culture – in to the world.  we can see him operating to do that to the young jewish leaders in daniels day.  we are of the world but not of the world.    while there are many wonderful things in our day there is also things that we should seperate ourselves from.  i’m not talking seperatist life here but holy life.   dont comprimise and be permissive.  stand true to what you know God has said.

the enemy tried to change the names of daniel and his friends.  he trys to change our destiny and our calling – he tries to cover up the truth with a lie and a falsehood.

Names and their meaning

Hananiah – God has favoured – to Shadrach – “of Shach”, which was a name of a god or goddess of the Chaldeans, they worshipped

Mishael – who God is – to Meshach – “the messenger the sun”

Azariah – GOd has helped – to Abendego – “a servant, or worshipper of Nego”. The word signifies “shining brightness”: which some understand of fire worshipped by them; others of the bright planet Venus; and others of Lucifer

Daniel – judge of God – to  Belteshazzar – Bel hath hid and treasured (Bel is a idol)

Dont let anyone cover up your destiny.  Dont let anyone hold you back.

Daniel 1:8  Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace.

Daniel decieded to obey God and live counter culture.  He made up his mind to obey God.  He resolved himself to obedience and whle we know the end of the story, that he was tested and found to be more healthy and prosperous than his contepories who ate all the rich (and maybe idol offered) and unclean food, it could of led to his execution.   He preferred death and punishment to disobedience.

He stood up and he stood out.

Will you make a stand for the ways of God and his righteousness today?

lets not comprimise and fit in.  Let us instead shine like stars in the darkness.

Philippians 2:12-16  My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved.   God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing.  Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world,   as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.

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