VIDEO First Responses – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

First Responses

Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel 2:19

Sadly, “first responders” is a term we know all too well today. They are the trained technicians who are the first on the scene of a tragedy or disaster: police, medical personnel, fire fighters, wilderness and water rescuers, various military units, humanitarian teams, and others. What is the first response of the first responders? It is to save, to help, to give aid and comfort wherever needed.

Christians might be considered “first responders” in the world as well, offering whatever practical help we can to those in need. But what about our “first response”? Paul gives three good ones in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: rejoice, pray, give thanks. Specifically, how often do we couple prayer and thanksgiving together? When we pray, and God answers, what is our first response? In Scripture, it is often praise before anything else. When Daniel and his three friends prayed for God’s intervention in Babylon, the answer came and Daniel’s first response was to praise God (Daniel 2:17-23).

God is to be praised and thanked in all things, as Paul wrote—but especially when He answers our prayers.

When all Thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys, transported with the view, I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise. Joseph Addison


Bible Study: Daniel Chapter 2 Prophecy Explained: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Part A


Bible Study: Daniel Chapter 2 Prophecy Explained: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Part B


Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream and Interpretation from Daniel 2

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Through a New Lens

God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.   Romans 1:20

 

“It must be amazing to look at a tree and see the individual leaves instead of just a blur of green!” my dad said. I couldn’t have said it better. I was eighteen at the time and not a fan of my new need to wear glasses, but they changed the way I saw everything, making the blurry beautiful!

When reading Scripture, I view certain books like I do when I look at trees without my glasses. There doesn’t seem to be much to see. But noticing details can reveal the beauty in what might seem to be a boring passage.

This happened to me when I was reading Exodus. God’s directions for building the tabernacle—His temporary dwelling place among the Israelites­—can seem like a blur of boring details. But I paused at the end of chapter 25 where God gave directions for the lampstand. It was to be hammered out “of pure gold,” including its base and shaft and its flowerlike cups, buds, and blossoms (v. 31). The cups were to be “shaped like almond flowers” (v. 34).

Almond trees are breathtaking. And God incorporated that same natural beauty into His tabernacle!

Paul wrote, “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature” are seen and understood in creation (Romans 1:20). To see God’s beauty, sometimes we have to look at creation, and what might seem like uninteresting passages in the Bible, through a new lens.

By Julie Schwab

Reflect & Pray

How can you look at Scripture in a new way to see God’s beauty in it? How has God’s beautiful creation drawn you closer to Him?

The Battle of Faith

2 Chronicles 20:1-18

Faith sometimes feels like a battle. One day we’re drawn in the direction of trusting God, but then suddenly we’re on the other side, doubting Him. The pendulum of our thinking and emotions can swing from confidence to uncertainty all too easily. But thankfully, God provides a key to stabilizing our faith.

Periods of doubt-inducing fear, anger, or stress are normal for human beings, but as Christians, we have the Spirit’s power to bring these natural feelings under subjection to the Lord. One of the best ways to begin this process is by recalling His nature and promises. When Satan feeds us reasons to doubt, God wants us to draw from our well of scriptural truth because focusing on the Father swings our pendulum to trust.

In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat learned of an incoming attack. Despite an initial reaction of fear, he demonstrated total confidence in God. Calling the people of Judah together, he offered an amazing God-centered prayer.

• He began by praising God as the all-powerful ruler of all the nations (2 Chronicles 20:6). 
• He recalled how the Lord had fought for Israel in the past (2 Chronicles 20:7-9). 
• Then based on God’s attributes and previous promises and provision, He requested divine protection in their current situation (2 Chronicles 20:10-12).

Jehoshaphat didn’t look at the approaching army but at His God. This is a wonderful pattern for us to follow whenever we feel our faith faltering. The more we contemplate the difficulties we’re facing, the bigger they will seem. But if we turn our attention to almighty God, He will be magnified and our faith will grow.

 

When God Doesn’t Appear to Hear

“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2)

People often complain that God doesn’t hear their prayers, especially when God does not respond in the way they would like. But He can hear, all right! “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?” He even hears our thoughts. “Thou knowest . . . my thought afar off” (Psalm 94:9; 139:2).

It is not that God cannot hear, but it just may be that we have not met the conditions for answered prayer so that He will hear. Probably the most important of these conditions is obedience to His Word. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,” said Jesus, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). But, “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).

There are other conditions, of course. “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6). “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do,” said Jesus (John 14:13). “If we ask any thing according to his will . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

Even if we do meet all the conditions, however, He may not answer immediately or in the way we prefer, and He might even answer no. After all, He knows better than we just what is best for us, and He will see that “all things work together for good” for us if we truly “love God” (Romans 8:28).

But, first of all, we need to check our lives in relation to His Word. Then, “if our heart condemn us not . . . whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments” (1 John 3:21-22). HMM

Find Normal Christians

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

—1 Peter 1:8

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in this world? If so, you can count yourself among normal Christians.

Is the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus Christ constantly drawing you to praise and worship? If so you are indeed among those whom God’s Word identifies as normal, believing, practicing Christians.

But I can almost anticipate an objection. If someone is that delighted and that occupied with the person of Jesus Christ, is he or she not an extremist rather than a normal Christian?

Have professing Christians really come to that time in their humanistic and secularistic leanings that they can sincerely deny that loving Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul and strength is normal Christianity? We must not be reading and studying the same Bible!

How can anyone profess to be a follower and a disciple of Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes? These divine attributes attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise. WHT105-106

Lord, I pray that You would restore in Your Church a belief that those who love You with all their heart, soul and mind are normal, and worthy of imitation. May we be overwhelmed by Your attributes. Amen.

 

Let not your hearts faint, fear not

Let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them.—Deuteronomy 22:3.

 

Son of the living God! Oh, call us

Once and again to follow Thee,

And give us strength, whate’er befall us,

Thy true disciples still to be.

 

And if our coward hearts deny Thee.

In most thought, or deed, or word,

Let not our hardness still defy Thee,

But with a look subdue us, Lord.

Henry A. Martin.

 

Half our difficulty in doing anything worthy of our high calling is the shrinking anticipation of its possible after-consequences. But if Peter had tarried, and cast up all that was to come, the poverty, and wandering, and solitude, and lonely old age, the outcast life, and chance of a fearful death, it may be he would have been neither an Apostle nor a Christian.

Henry Edward Manning.

 

Some men will follow Christ on certain conditions—if He will not lead them through rough roads—if He will not enjoin them any painful tasks—if the sun and wind do not annoy them if He will remit a part of His plan and order. But the true Christian, who has the spirit of Jesus, will say, as Ruth said to Naomi,” Whither thou goest I will go,” whatever difficulties and timers may be in the way.

Richard Cecil.

 

Need An Invitation to Pray?

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jer. 33:3

God encourages us to pray. They tell us that prayer is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the prayer of His servant. Let us call upon Him again, and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters?

God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of Heaven to succor them, if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace, and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once.