VIDEO Who Holds the Future… Looks Uncertain.

As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.  Daniel 2:29

In the first half of the twentieth century, the American federal government and courts began ruling that buying and selling stocks based on non-public information—what came to be called “insider trading”—was illegal. Just think of the advantages one might have if future information about a company—or a nation—were to be gained.

That was the kind of knowledge the prophet Daniel had—not on his own, but by virtue of God’s revelation to him (Daniel 2:27-28). Daniel foretold to the king of Babylon, the existing king of kings of the world, that his kingdom would fall and be followed by three more. And all those kingdoms would be replaced by the kingdom of “the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:44). Daniel didn’t reveal this information to profit from it personally, but to cause Nebuchadnezzar to humble himself before the God who “removes kings and raises up kings” (Daniel 2:21).

We may not fully understand and know everything the future holds, but we can place our faith and trust in the One who does. Our future is in good hands—place your trust in Him.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie ten Boom


The Future Looks Uncertain…but God – Daniel 2 – Skip Heitzig

Freed from Our Cage

[God] brought me out into a spacious place.  Psalm 18:19

While out taking walks, writer Martin Laird would often encounter a man with four Kerry Blue Terriers. Three of the dogs ran wild through the open fields, but one stayed near its owner, running in tight circles. When Laird finally stopped and asked about this odd behavior, the owner explained that it was a rescue dog that had spent most of his life locked in a cage. The terrier continued to run in circles as though contained inside a confined box.

The Scriptures reveal that we’re trapped and hopeless unless God rescues us. The psalmist spoke of being afflicted by an enemy, entrapped by “the snares of death” with the “cords of death . . . coiled around” him (Psalm 18:4–5). Enclosed and shackled, he cried to God for help (v. 6). And with thundering power, He “reached down . . . and took hold” of him (v. 16).

God can do the same for us. He can break the chains and release us from our confining cages. He can set us free and carry us “out into a spacious place” (v. 19). How sad it is, then, when we keep running in small circles, as if we’re still confined in our old prisons. In His strength, may we no longer be bound by fear, shame, or oppression. God has rescued us from those cages of death. We can run free.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What are the cages that have you confined? How are you living as though an old cage still traps and holds you?

God, You say You set the captives free. Help me to believe it. Help me to live it. I want to be free. I want to be in Your spacious place.

Our Choices in the Midst of Tragedy

Job 1:6-22, Job 2:1-10
Imagine what it felt like to be in Job’s shoes. Warriors, fire, and wind wiped out his fortune and killed his children. Then, his body was so covered with boils that he scratched at the inflamed skin with broken pottery. Had Job not believed in the Lord’s faithfulness, he probably would have taken his wife’s advice to just “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

Job was brought low, and he didn’t know why—nor did he ever find out the reason. Thanks to Scripture, we are privy to the conversation between God and Satan, but the Lord didn’t share those details with Job. Left in the dark, he had to decide if his faith in God’s goodness would stand.

Job decided to trust God in the midst of tragedy (Job 42:2). He could have railed against the Lord, as his wife suggested. Or he might have followed his friends’ advice and racked his brain for some unconfessed sin. But neither of those actions would have been fruitful. Instead, Job chose to view everything as part of the divine plan, acknowledging the Lord’s right to do whatever He wanted for the glory of His name (Job 1:21).

Accepting the good that God sends our way is easy. Our challenge is to receive tragedy with a willing attitude and a teachable spirit. Chance is not part of the equation—nothing comes into our life except through the Lord’s permission.

A Lifelong Love

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)

The above wise advice was written by King Solomon in his later years after many years of searching for happiness through intellectualism, worldly pleasures, riches, and power, and finding that all of it was mere “vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Solomon had 700 wives, all of whom were “princesses” and thus at least partially for purposes of prestige and politics, but various references in his book of Proverbs suggest that these were more a problem than a help. It is interesting that he had only one son, Rehoboam, plus two daughters, as far as the record goes.

That one son was born a year before he became king, while he was still very young, and Naamah (Rehoboam’s mother) was thus very likely the only wife he really loved (compare 1 Kings 11:42; 14:21), as described so beautifully in his Song of Solomon, which Solomon himself called his “Song of Songs.”

So, it seems poignant and significant that, near the end of his life, Solomon is counseling young men to cultivate that special love “with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity.” (Note also Proverbs 5:18-19.) The Bible very seldom refers to romantic love or marital love (nearly always biblical love is agape love), so this rare reference to romantic love (as between a young bride and bridegroom) is especially noteworthy. The admonition to “live joyfully” is from a word usually translated “alive,” so his advice was to keep that young marital love alive and fresh all through life! HMM

Wild-Eyed Fans

Quench not the Spirit .Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

—1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

 

This is a crude illustration, but let me tell you what we did after planting a field of corn when I was a young fellow in Pennsylvania. To save the field of corn from the crows, we would shoot an old crow and hang him by his heels in the middle of the field. This was supposed to scare off all of the crows for miles around. The crows would hold a conference and say, “Look, there is a field of corn but don’t go near it. I saw a dead crow over there!”

That’s the kind of conference that Satan calls, and that is exactly what he has done. He has taken some fanatical, weird, wild-eyed Christians who do things that they shouldn’t, and he has stationed them in the middle of God’s cornfield, and warns, “Now, don’t you go near that doctrine about the Holy Spirit because if you do, you will act just like these wild-eyed fanatics.”   COU063

Keep us, Lord, from shying away from such valuable truth and experience as the ministry of the Holy Spirit because of the excesses of a few fanatics. We lose too much, and we can’t afford the loss. Amen.

 

Faith—the Highest Kind of Reason

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

—Ephesians 2:8-9

 

In our day, we send reason ahead on its little short legs and faith never follows. Nobody marvels, because the whole business can be explained. I have always claimed that a believing Christian is a miracle, and at the precise moment that you can fully explain him, you have a Christian no longer!

I have read the efforts of William James to psychologize the wonders of God’s workings in the human life and experience. But the genuine child of God is someone who cannot be explained by human reasoning.

In this relationship with Jesus Christ through the new birth, something takes place by the ministry of the Spirit of God which psychology cannot explain. This is why I must contend that faith is the highest kind of reason after all, for faith goes straight into the presence of God. FBR040

The reason that faith is so important an element in every true life is simply because it links our nothingness with God Himself. CTBC, Vol. 3/146

 

Our Valentine’s Day

1 John 4:8-10

Grandma, why do we give Valentines to each other?” The question sent me scurrying to find the answer. No use simply saying, “It is to show we love someone!” That would never satisfy the questing mind of this young lady!

We sat down on the rumpus room floor with books before us and began our search. We discovered, of course, that Valentine was a man and not a message of love. He was a young pagan priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius II. He hated the persecution the authorities had unleashed against the Christian community and he helped as many of these tortured people as he could, but he was found out and imprisoned.

During his imprisonment he was converted and became a Christian. He became a martyr, for he was clubbed to death on February 14, in the year 269 A.D. Actually, St. Valentine’s day is consecrated to his memory.

While Valentine was in prison, he wanted most of all to tell his loved ones of his affection for them. Tradition has it that he could reach his arm through the prison bars and pick violets growing in the yard. He picked leaves and pierced a message on them, “Remember your Valentine” and sent them to his friends. The story says that eventually, he changed the wording simply to, “I love you.”

The story of Valentine is but the faintest reflection of God’s “Valentine” to us. God did not send a sentiment, He sent His Son.

“God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:8-10).

Janet Wiseman, Bridging the Year