12/03

December 3

1 John 2

“My little children” or “my beloved children” is a phrase where John is communicating the affection and the authority he has as a spiritual father, an apostle, giving the churches instruction they are to follow. In the preceding verses John writes about the forgiveness available for a repentant Christian. He didn’t stop his thought, but he continues on, speaking of Christ being our advocate with God. An advocate is a legal term, a lawyer, the one who represents us before a judge. Based on His blood, Christ makes intercession for us with a God who is relentless in reconciliation, as the Father of the prodigal son. Jesus doesn’t have to persuade the Father to love His children or to forgive the repenting Christian; God is more than willing to receive us when we miss the mark and come running back into His arms.

Verse 3 in the Amplified version says, “This is how we may discern [daily, by experience] that we are coming to know Him… if we keep (bear in mind, observe, practice) His teachings…” The more we spiritual mature in our relationship with the Father, the more we live in line with His righteousness and truth. We have recognized the lies we once believed about God, life, and ourselves. We have grown in our knowledge and experience of who He has created us to be, what He has provided for us to have in Christ, and what He is calling us to do. We grow in our righteousness, our authority, and our anointing. Those Christians who have not come to the place of maturity in their spiritual condition are going to show it in their wayward actions and in the way they extend love to someone else.

In verses 12-14, John gives us different stages of spiritual growth that go from little children to young men to fathers. Some think they are more mature than they really are because they battle pride and are condemning of those struggling with sin. They may know the Bible inside and out, but if they lack the ability to meet a carnal Christian where he or she is at, and then accurately and patiently lead that Christian further in the faith, they lack spiritual maturity. The older brother of the prodigal was hard on sin and hard on his returning brother. The older brother lacked the maturity of the love and grace of the Father. In verses 9-11, John talks about the spiritually mature Christian being the one who loves his brother. This is the one who truly walks in the light, the one who loves God and loves people. Maturity is not determined by the truth you think you know, but maturity is determined by the love you have, causing you to live in humility, honor, holiness, and honesty.

Our right living should not come out of obligation to obey rules, but out of a love we have experienced in relationship with our loving Father. In verse 10, we read that we will not harm our brother if we love our brother. A self-righteous spirit is one who lacks love for a fellow Christian, failing to be faithful and longsuffering. Instead, a self-righteous spirit will fault find, criticize, and condemn. A controlling spirit will lift itself up as if to be superior, pointing out what went wrong. If a self-righteous person tries to justify behavior that isn’t a loving and gracious behavior.

Verse 26 mentions those who would deceive you [seduce and lead you astray]. These are those who encourage a believer to sin. If we love the Father and have grown in His love, then we will grow in a holy lifestyle. In God’s love, we find truth that He gently guides us to learn and live. In God’s love, we find healing from past hurts and restoration from dysfunctional behaviors, leading us to even have the ability to function the way He created us to live. Many who have made wrong choices or continually find themselves being pulled toward a sinful behavior will find that they lack God’s love and light in some area of their being, their thinking, their feeling, or their behavior. God gets this. God knows what sin will do to a person. The Law of Moses pointed out what was wrong, but JESUS came to save us from what is wrong. He is on our side! He is patient. He is long-suffering. He is merciful. How merciful is He? If Jesus told His disciples to forgive a repenting brother 70×7 times a day, then how much mercy do you think God has for you? If He gave His Son to die in our place, then how passionate do you think the Father is when we ask for forgiveness again and again? God wants us to be WHOLE so we can be FREE. And He doesn’t want us to slip back into the bondage of trying to achieve His righteousness by works.

Love God. Love people. Apply the light of His love:
See the truth and reject the lies.
Receive His healing light and be restored.
Rise up and walk in the light of His glory and grace.

Daniel 1-2

Daniel was written by the prophet Daniel, a man who was taken into captivity with all of Judah as a Hebrew youth. In this book we see Daniel live over 60 years of life and prophetic ministry through several kings and two kingdoms during the 70-year captivity (Babylon and Medo-Persia) Kings he served were King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar of Babylon and King Darius through the first year of King Cyrus, kings of Persia.

Part of the book of Daniel was written in Hebrew and part in Aramaic (most of chapter 2, and all of 3-7). The purpose was most likely that the Hebrew parts were intended for the Jew and the Aramaic was intended for others. Chapters 2-7 were mostly prophecies for the current or near future. Chapters 8-12 were for the far future.

In chapter 1, we read about Daniel’s captivity, along with many others, including 3 Hebrew youths that are mentioned. One aim of the Babylonians was to dominate the Jewish nation. They did this in part by changing their identity, culture, language, knowledge, and religion. They focused on indoctrinating the young men by giving them a new education, feeding them their food, giving them names after Babylonian gods, and removing their worship.

The young Hebrew men were determined to serve their own God, which included eating what God instructed them to eat. When they were given permission to eat their own diet of fruits and vegetables for ten days, there appearance was better than those who ate the kings food, so the Babylonians let the four Hebrews eat their own food, obeying God. In addition, these young men learned ten times better than others in their education. This is God’s favor and plan, lifting Daniel to a place of authority under a foreign leader, a position where he would stand before kings and prophecy on behalf of Jehovah.

In Chapter 2, we see how God promotes Daniel and his friends to leadership positions. God does this through supernatural means, which will open a door for Daniel to have influence with the Jew’s oppressor. God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a troubling dream. The king new the dream had a meaning, but he didn’t know what the meaning was. Anxiety drove Nebuchadnezzar to find the meaning. Babylon was a nation that worshipped idols and had positions for magicians, astrologer, and sorcerers. Nebuchadnezzar believed in a spirit world. Because he knew the dream was spiritual, the king wanted his spiritual advisors to not only give the meaning of the dream; but he also wanted them to describe the dream itself. To describe the dream itself would be impossible for a mere man, but Nebuchadnezzar was looking for a supernatural disclosure.

Their response is important, “no other can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

The king is then furious, knowing he received a spiritual dream and an unsatisfied passion to discover its meaning. He begins to have the wise men murdered, and is soon coming for Daniel and his friends. Daniel, understanding his life and the lives of his friends are in danger, goes to the kin’s captain and asks for the opportunity to answer the king. Daniel pulls away from everything and seeks Jehovah in prayer. He sought mercies, or the deep love and compassion God has for His people. God reveals the dream and the interpretation to young Daniel.

The purpose in giving Daniel the information was not just to give the king a message. The purpose was in God showing Himself to Nebuchadnezzar as God, as well as to establish Daniel in a leadership position in Babylon while the Jews were in captivity. With Daniel in position, the Jews had a voice. In addition, God had prophetic words he wanted the foreign nations to hear. God cared about the Gentiles, wanting them to know Him. Also, God had prophetic words for the far future, often related to and symbolized by the present. This is the bigger picture. Remember, God often speaks in layers of time, looking for opportunities to reveal Himself to generations.

After the secret was revealed to Daniel, Daniel was thankful his life and the lives of his friends would be spared. Daniel was also overwhelmed to hear from God in such a supernatural way, with clarity and by the Holy Spirit. Daniel was humble before God. He was reliant upon Jehovah. He blesses God with praise in verses 20-23 saying of God, “He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings…” Daniel had a fear of the Lord that removed fear of a kind’s threat. Throughout Daniel’s life he would stand before the highest authorities among men and speak for God. He knew His God, and He knew He was a servant of God. Then he also says, “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” Daniel experienced a wonderful revelation by the Holy Spirit. He knew there was no possible human way to know what God showed him. There is a phrase, “knowledge is power.” God knows everything, deep things, that we could never know in our finite, limited understanding. Daniel is exalting God as God, acknowledging His dominion and authority over mankind.

I love how Daniel opens with the king. He says your best spiritual advisors could not answer you, “BUT THERE IS A GOD…” Daniel was a messenger to the king, introducing Nebuchadnezzar to Jehovah, the only true God. God wanted to be known by Nebuchadnezzar, not merely for the Jews’ sake, but for Nebuchadnezzar’s sake, for Babylon’s sake. When God reaches the ear of an authority, God also has influence on the people that authority influences. We need to listen to authority. We need to pray for authority. Oh, the merciful and deep love God has for people, even these idol worshippers. Imagine the love He has for the people of our nation today, even those we would call sinners.

In verse 29 Daniel describes God as “He who reveals secrets.” God has mysteries, but they are not mysteries that He is keeping FROM us; they are mysteries He is keeping FOR us. The only way to know and experience God is through the dependency of reliant faith. Reliant faith will not be satisfied with our own knowledge, but it has a SEEKING factor, a dissatisfied desire that drives us in a reliant quest to know God. Faith seeks. Faith waits. Faith may go through times of dissatisfaction or a dry, desert season for the purpose of going after God. If you feel dry spiritually, then start the quest to search God out. Don’t think something is wrong with you or your pastor or your church. Instead, go after God more. He will be found by you when you search for Him with all your heart. It’s not a bad thing; it’s good – it’s God calling you. It’s God giving you a hunger to come be filled, a thirst to come be quenched. It’s a spiritual hunger.

Then in verse 30, we see Daniel’s heart and acknowledgement of dependency on God. I believe this is why Daniel was promoted and positioned as a prophet. He acknowledges to this foreign king that he, or any other human, could give the king what he asked. Again, Daniel is winning Nebuchadnezzar to Jehovah. He is pointing to God. He lets the king know that God revealed this to spare lives, but also to give the king a message.

The dream was highly revelatory. It was no wonder Nebuchadnezzar was not at peace until the dream was interpreted. This dream of a statue covered many kingdoms that would reign on the earth until Christ’s kingdom was established. It was a weighty revelation of the Babylonian empire, the Medio-Persian empire, the Greek empire, the Roman empire, a conglomeration of ten ruling kings, and finally, Christ’s kingdom. Of course, from our perspective, we see the history of many of those nations. Christ’s invisible kingdom was started under the Roman empire with His first coming, and that kingdom has been growing since. Christianity is now covering the whole globe, and it continues to grow in preparation for the second coming of Christ. Before His second coming, there will be ten kings that rule over the Jews. By the way, God thinks by generation being built on generation, and nation being built on nation. He has an overview that sees in layers. From Daniel’s time and forward until the end of time, we see human governments that are based on human sufficiency. God is above all, and Jesus is His Son that came to redeem the world back to God, and also to establish a new government, a new kingdom, for God, where Christ would rule as king. This kingdom is higher than all earthly kingdoms. This kingdom will rule by a different system, a system that relies on God.

King Nebuchadnezzar then falls on his face in front of Daniel, overwhelmed by this supernatural act that just took place. His response to this prophetic word was to acknowledge Jehovah as the God of gods. He still needed to learn that Jehovah was the only God, but Nebuchadnezzar is beginning to learn who God is.

The king then promotes Daniel and his companions. If you want to be exalted, surround and support God’s chosen authority. Daniel, a Jewish captive, becomes a ruler over all the province of Babylon. Daniel is now positioned in a place where he will be able to help his people and give God a voice to multitudes of people. Do we see how a spiritual gift can cause God to use us to influence our generation? Today, let’s continually make ourselves available to God to use us in prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, miracles, healings, discerning of spirits, faith, messages in unknown languages or tongues, and interpretation of those languages (1 Corinthians 12). These supernatural workings will help us to make God known to the people in our sphere of influence.

#covertocoverwithmelanie #covertocover #growchurches #bible #biblecommentary #melaniestone #readthebible #readingthroughthebible #biblereadingplan

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