VIDEO Kingdoms vs. the Kingdom – Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Kingdoms vs. the Kingdom

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Daniel 2:44

Besides his scientific expertise, Sir Isaac Newton (d. 1727) was an historian. He wrote a lengthy book—The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended—that outlined the chronology (rise and fall) of six ancient kingdoms: Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonians and Medes, Israelite, and Persian.

We could add more kingdoms to the ones Newton wrote about; the pages of history tell of many. There is something in the nature of man that wants to create a kingdom and rule over it—probably a vestige of man’s commission to rule over God’s kingdom on earth (Genesis 1:28). But all such human kingdoms have been temporary. Their failure should serve as a reminder that a permanent, eternal Kingdom is coming—first for a thousand years on earth (Revelation 20:1-4), then on the new earth for eternity (Revelation 21:1-3).

Do not be discouraged at man’s failed attempts to govern himself. Instead look for the coming of the One whose government will know no end (Isaiah 9:6-7).

History can be understood only in terms of God’s kingdom. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Nebuchadnezzar dream interpreted by Daniel chapters 2:34, 2:44 Last Days, return of Jesus Christ

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Expect Delays

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

 

Are you kidding me? I was already late. But the road sign ahead instructed me to adjust my expectations: “Expect Delays,” it announced. Traffic was slowing down.

I had to laugh: I expect things to work on my ideal timeline; I don’t expect road construction.

On a spiritual level, few of us plan for crises that slow us down or reroute our lives. Yet, if I think about it, I can recall many times when circumstances redirected me—in big ways and small. Delays happen.

Solomon never saw a sign that said, “Expect Delays.” But in Proverbs 16, he does contrast our plans with God’s providential guidance. The Message paraphrases verse 1 as follows: “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Solomon restates that idea in verse 9, where he adds that even though we “plan [our] course . . . the Lord establishes [our] steps.” In other words, we have ideas about what’s supposed to happen, but sometimes God has another path for us.

How do I lose track of this spiritual truth? I make my plans, sometimes forgetting to ask Him what His plans are. I get frustrated when interruptions interfere.

But in place of that worrying, we could, as Solomon teaches, grow in simply trusting that God guides us, step-by-step, as we prayerfully seek Him, await His leading, and—yes—allow Him to continually redirect us.

By Adam Holz

Today’s Reflection

How do you typically face unexpected delays and detours? When frustrations come, what will help you lean into God and trust Him more?

Pursuing Wisdom

Proverbs 4:5-10

We live in the information age, where news pops up on our cellphones and college can be attended online. But I’ve noticed that while there is an abundance of knowledge floating around, there isn’t much wisdom. Godly wisdom is the capacity to see things from the Lord’s viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. This wisdom isn’t a natural characteristic, but you can develop it gradually over time through practice and prayer.

In God’s opinion, wisdom is a valuable treasure (Prov. 8:11). Believers need His perspective and His principles to live abundantly and obediently—that’s why acquiring wisdom is not a suggestion but a command (Prov. 4:5).

Think back to stories about “gold fever” during the 19th-century gold rush. People risked their lives in a single-minded quest for riches. Wisdom is worth so much more than a vein of precious metal. In comparing the two, the Lord calls us to passionately pursue godly knowledge and discernment.

Proverbs 8:17 personifies wisdom, who says, “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” God will see to it that believers who pursue wisdom acquire it. Moreover, when the desire of our heart is something with lasting value, we receive a bonus—knowledge, prudence, and discretion (Prov. 8:12).

King Solomon, the wisest man of his time, wrote about the importance of acquiring wisdom (Prov. 4:7). Determine in your heart to pursue this great treasure. As you study the Word, seek the Lord’s will, and observe His principles in action, God will pour wisdom into your mind and spirit.

Messages from the Messiah’s Life: Walking on the Water

“And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.” (Mark 6:48)

Right after feeding the 5,000 just outside Capernaum, Jesus remained behind to pray while His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee at night. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John all record some details of this event.

After the disciples had gotten about “five and twenty or thirty furlongs” across the sea (about halfway), “the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew” (John 6:18-19). Somewhere between three and six in the morning, “Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea” (Matthew 14:25).

When the disciples saw Him, “they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear” (Matthew 14:26). Jesus “talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid” (Mark 6:50). Peter asked to join Jesus on the water and stepped out. When he “saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30).

When Jesus brought Peter into the boat, “the wind ceased” (Matthew 14:32), and “they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:51-52). But Jesus gently said to them, “It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went” (John 6:20-21).

This event displays Christ’s omnipotence by the way He ignored gravity, immediately stopped the wind and waves, and instantaneously transported the ship to shore from the middle of the Sea of Galilee. HMM III

Bow not to the Givers

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:19

Remember, my giving will be rewarded not by how much I gave but by how much I had left. Ministers are sometimes tempted to shy away from such doctrine as this lest they offend the important givers in their congregation. But it is better to offend men than to grieve the blessed Spirit of God which dwells in the church. No man ever yet killed a true church by withdrawing his gifts from it because of a personal pique. The Church of the First-born is not dependent upon the patronage of men. No man has ever been able really to harm a church by boycotting it financially. The moment we admit that we fear the displeasure of the carnal givers in our congregations we admit also that our congregations are not of heaven but of the earth. A heavenly church will enjoy a heavenly and supernatural prosperity. She cannot be starved out. The Lord will supply her needs.   GTM183

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your incredibly generous provision and faithfulnessboth to us as individuals and to the churches we lead. Amen.

 

For their sakes I consecrate Myself that you may be also

For their sakes I consecrate Myself.—John 17:19.

 

The thought may help us in regard to all the temptations of our life, even the most hidden and solitary, It may help us to do battle with our despondency and sadness, with our restlessness and resentment, with the perverting and corrupting misery of ambition. We must be watchful and uncompromising, if the self-consecration is to do its work. One sin alone indulged, condoned, domesticated, may spoil it all; may cripple all our hope of helpfulness; may baffle the willingness of God to use us in His work for others. “For their sakes I consecrate myself.” This, then, is our constant hope, that God will so cleanse and purify our hearts that they may not hinder the transmission to others of that light and truth which issue from His Presence. For that hope we would cast out all that defiles and darkens us, we would freely give ourselves to Christ, that He may enter in and rule and animate us; so that, through all our unworthiness, something of His brightness and peace may be made known to men.

Francis Paget.

 

Did I but live nearer to God, I could be of so much more help.

George Hodges.

 

Go Out With Joy

“And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out.” Deut. 33:18

The blessings of the tribes are ours; for we are the true Israel who worship God in the spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh. Zebulun is to rejoice because Jehovah will bless his “going out”; we also see a promise for ourselves lying latent in this benediction. When we go out we will look out for occasions of joy.

We go out to travel, and the providence of God is our convoy. We go out to emigrate, and the Lord is with us both on land and sea. We go out as missionaries, and Jesus saith, “Lo, I am with you unto the end of the world.” We go out day by day to our labor, and we may do so with pleasure, for God will be with us from morn till eve.

A fear sometimes creeps over us when starting, for we know not what we may meet with; but this blessing may serve us right well as a word of good cheer. As we pack up for moving, let us put this verse into our traveling trunk; let us drop it into our hearts, and keep it there; yea, let us lay it on our tongue to make us sing. Let us weigh anchor with a song, or jump into the carriage with a psalm. Let us belong to the rejoicing tribe, and in our every movement praise the Lord with joyful hearts.