~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Daniel 6:1-28 ~ 2 Peter 3:1-18
Psalm 119:129-152 ~ Proverbs 28:21-22
Okay, we are definitely in the midst of some amazing readings today! The book of Daniel is continuing to challenge and inspire me - as certainly 2 Peter is. And Psalm 119 I seem to be appreciating more than ever. I hope you are having similar experiences!
Old Testament - Daniel chapter 6 today is as famous as chapter 5's writing on the wall. Today Daniel goes into the lion's den... Several things, as always, are going on in this chapter. One big note is that Daniel is about 80 years old at the time of this chapter. He's not a young man. And yet he is running laps around the other kingdom administrators with his work - and for this he is honored more and more by the king. And others are getting jealous of this old man Daniel. They realize the only way to trip him up is on religion. And - by appealing to the king's pride with a law that makes people worship the king only. Interesting thing that pride.... pretty easy sin for us humans to fall into? :) Well, then the old man Daniel gets tossed into the pit of lions - and comes out alive through the grace of God. And the king realizes he was duped by the admins and tosses them in the pit of lions. But enough of my Cliff Notes here... let's check out a few verses...
Verse 4 makes me reflect on my life and the way I live it - "Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and always responsible." How are we in handling our affairs? Our job, our tempers, our finances, our time? Are we faithful in all of these areas? Honest? Always responsible?
Verse 10 helps us look at how we should act / react when challenging circumstances come into our lives - "But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God." Daniel continued to worship God as he always had in the midst of bad news of the new law. He didn't blink. He didn't flinch. He didn't take a break from God. He kept worshiping. How do we act when bad news comes into our lives? Do we sulk? Do we decide to avoid God for a while? Or do we continue to worship God as we have always - giving thanks to God?
Verse 20 is a wonderful verse from the mouth of the remorseful king - "When he got there, he called out in anguish, "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you worship continually, able to rescue you from the lions?"" First of all - I love the term the living God. Do you realize that God is indeed a living God? Not a stoic God who just sets up the universe and lets it run on its own - but a God who is in the midst of every single one of our experiences - good and bad? A living God. A God who is with us on the mountain tops - and in the lion's den. Do you believe God is indeed a living God? Do you worship the living God continually?
New Testament - Today we finish the letter of 2 Peter! :( Again, I have been so blessed reading through this letter this year. It's always a good thing to read a letter from a guy that Jesus said this about in Matthew 16:18 - "And I tell you that you are Peter [which means rock], and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [or hell] will not overcome it." Do you believe that the gates of hell will not overcome the church of Jesus built upon the rock of Peter?
Verse 3 is a reminder to us all - "First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire." Keep in mind that we live in the last days - everything post-Jesus' resurrection and ascension into heaven is last days. So, in the time of Peter and the early church there were scoffers who laughed at the truth and do every evil thing they desire. Is this still happening today?
Verse 9 is helpful in knowing why Jesus has not yet returned - "The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent." He is giving more time for everyone to repent... Will we repent?
Verses 15 & 16 are very interesting. They are basically Peter giving props to Paul's writing - "This is just as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him-- Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of Scripture." Have you ever found Paul's writing hard to understand?! :) I know many of my friend's have. And I have too. But, there is so much going on in Paul's letters that need to be looked at contextually. Overall, Paul's letter's have been such a blessing to me personally, and I look forward to reading them and studying them again in 2005 with many of you!
And Peter closes the letter with the beautiful verse 18 - "But grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be all glory and honor, both now and forevermore. Amen." I don't know that I can add any more to this than simply another "Amen."
Tomorrow we start the book of 1 John! Wow... we are in for a treat with this book!
Psalms - Psalm 119 is continuing with it's amazing verses about God's holy Word, the Bible, and how it can transform our lives. Verse 138 is just one more small example from this incredible Psalm - "Your decrees are perfect; they are entirely worthy of our trust." Do you believe that God's Word, the Bible, is perfect? Is it entirely worthy of our trust?
I can't forget verse 130 which I have at the top of this blog in the NIV form! "The unfolding of your words gives light..." Do you believe this is true? Does reading God's Word, the Bible, bring light into your life? If you did not read God's Word would you be in darkness?
Proverbs 28:21 is a great reminder to not sell-out or sin for something so small... much less something big! But, sometimes it is the tiny things in life that really trip us up and lead us down the wrong path...
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!