(click on the date above for today's readings)
Daniel 2:24-3:30 ~ 1 Peter 4:7-5:14
Psalm 119:81-96 ~ Proverbs 28:15-16
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am quite excited for a 4 day weekend. But, most importantly, I'm looking forward to spending time with family and spending some time in reflection on the past year and on the one to come. I do hope that you have some quality time to spend reflecting and offering thanksgiving to God for the good things going on in your life currently.
Interestingly, we will be in the midst of Psalm 119 this next week, which is basically a Psalm offering thanksgiving to God for his Word, the Bible. I do hope that each of us gets a chance to offer thanksgiving to God for the journey through the One Year Bible this year. If you can't think of the words to say, Psalm 119's readings this week will suffice quite nicely.
I hope you get a chance over Thanksgiving weekend to consider joining me on the One Year Bible journey in 2005. We now have over 87 people signed up for 2005, and I would love to have you on the journey with me next year. (20 people have signed up just over the past week from all over the U.S. and South Korea, so it seems that momentum is building for 2005).
Also, as you are interacting with your family this Thanksgiving weekend, please let them know about your One Year Bible journey in 2004 and please feel free to invite interested family members in participating in the One Year Bible in 2005. Just send me their email addresses post-Thanksgiving and I'll get them on the email list for 05.
Old Testament - Today in Daniel chapter 2 we see Daniel conducting his affairs with Nebuchadnezzar with wonderful humility. In verses 27 & 28 Daniel says - ""There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can tell the king such things. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future." Here we see that Daniel is giving God the glory for the dream about the be revealed. Daniel was taking no credit for this. Do we regularly give God the glory in our lives? Or do we take credit?
The dream interpreted by Daniel is summed up in verses 44 & 45 - "During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand forever. That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain by supernatural means, crushing to dust the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold." The dream & interpretation are prophesying the kingdom of Babylon (gold), followed by the Medo-Persian Kingdom (silver), then Greek kingdom (bronze), then the Roman empire with a mix of iron & clay - representing strong and weak states w/in the Roman empire. These are all B.C. kingdoms, taking us up to the time of Jesus the Messiah, when the rock cut from the mountain comes and becomes the everlasting Kingdom of God.
Nebuchadnezzar is impressed with the dream interpretation and says to Daniel in verse 47 - "Truly, your God is the God of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret." Think Nebuchadnezzar is sincere about this? Or, think he will be the next day? Check out where he goes in Chapter 3....
In chapter 3 we read the phenomenal story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. In verses 16-18 we read: “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Focus on the words in verse 18 – “But even if he does not”. Do we have the faith of these 3 men in God? Even if God does not show up in our lives as we hope he might, will we still have faith? Will we not serve other gods or worship false idols? Back to verse 16 - Do we realize that we do not have to defend our faith to others? Do we believe that God can rescue us from the most dire of situations, including a fiery furnace?
In verse 28 we hear Nebuchadnezzar giving props to God again - similar to chapter 2 verse 47 above - "Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king's command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God." Are we willing to die rather than serve or worship any God? (big question I realize... but a fair one... this is happening to Christians around the world today.... please remember to pray for the persecuted church around the world...)
New Testament - We finish the book of 1 Peter today! Nice quick letter jam packed with great stuff. In 1 Peter 5 today we receive a stern warning we should heed - "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith." Do you believe the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion? Will you take a firm stand against him? How will you do this? Memorizing scripture on a regular basis is one very effective tool in this battle...
Psalms - Psalm 119 verse 95 actually backs up that last sentence above quite nicely - "Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your decrees." How can you quietly keep your mind on God's decrees? Maybe memorizing scripture on a regular basis? :)
Proverbs 28:16 today is a great reminder that we should hate dishonesty and bribes...
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!