And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.” Daniel 9:4
We’ve seen it in many comedic movies: A frustrated person is seeking information from a government agency only to be told numerous times that he is in the wrong office. “I don’t handle that complaint. You need the folks on the fourth floor”—the search for answers often seems never ending. Such a scene illustrates a theological point: It’s not enough to make a sincere request in prayer. It is more important to pray to the right Person, the One who actually has the power and authority to answer the prayer.
When Daniel began praying about the release of God’s people from captivity in Babylon, he began his prayer with an acknowledgement of God’s ability, authority, and faithfulness. He addressed God as “great” and “awesome,” as merciful and promise keeping. Mercy implies forgiveness; promise keeping implies faithfulness; great and awesome imply power and authority. Daniel knew he was praying to the God who could answer his prayers.
Imitate Daniel’s prayer in your own life by confessing who God is as a way to build your faith.
The recognition of who God is, is a lifelong process. Elisabeth Elliot
Great and Awesome – Daniel 9:1-19 – Skip Heitzig
By grace you have been saved, through faith—and that is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
“Jerry was a good man,” the pastor said at Jerald Stevens’ memorial service. “He loved his family. He was faithful to his wife. He served his country in the armed services. He was an excellent dad and grandfather. He was a great friend.”
But then the pastor went on to tell the friends and family gathered that Jerry’s good life and good deeds were not enough to assure him a place in heaven. And that Jerry himself would have been the first to tell them that!
Jerry believed these words from the Bible: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (6:23). Jerry’s final and eternal destination in life’s journey was not determined by whether he lived a really good life but entirely by Jesus—the perfect Son of God—dying in his place to pay sin’s penalty. He believed that each of us must personally accept the free gift of God, which is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 23).
Jerry was a good man, but he could never be “good enough.” Watch Rasool Berry’s “Jesus, the Good Man” devotional video. He, like us, had to learn that salvation and righteousness aren’t the results of human effort. They’re gifts by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8).
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16)
On the fourth day of the creation week, God made the two lights for day and night, and then—almost like an afterthought—“he made the stars also.” Nothing, of course, is an afterthought with God, but this emphasizes the relative importance of these parts of His creation. Whether or not the earth is the geographical center of the universe, Earth is the center of God’s interest in the universe. This is where He created man and woman in His own image, and where He will reign over His creation in the ages to come.
The primary purpose of the stars, as well as the sun and moon, was “to divide the day from the night; and…be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And…to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15). They could not fulfill these functions, of course, if their light could not be seen on the earth, so we can be sure that these heavenly bodies and their light rays were created—like Adam and Eve—“full-grown,” in a state of functioning maturity.
All that can be known scientifically about the stars must be determined from their light intensity and spectra. (Their distances can be measured geometrically only to about 300 light-years.) Any other information—any greater distances, size, temperature, etc.—must be derived by inference, based on some theory of stellar evolution.
Although the stars all look alike (even through a telescope, they all appear as mere points of light), these calculations have shown that each one is unique, as revealed long ago in Scripture: “One star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:41). Those who believe can learn more about them in the ages to come, for “they that be wise shall shine…as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). HMM
Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.
I think we are the busiest bunch of eager beavers ever seen in the religious world. The idea seems to be that if we are not running in a circle, breathing down the back of our own neck, we are not pleasing God!
When Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), Peter probably leaped to his feet and, no doubt, scooped up his hat on the way out. He was going to go right then!
But the Lord said, “Peter, come back, and ‘tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49).”
I heard a Christian leader warn recently that we are suffering from a rash of amateurism in Christian circles. Christianity has leveled down and down and down. We are as light as butterflies—though we flit, flit, flit around in the sunshine and imagine that we are eagles flapping our broad wings.
Sometimes I think the Church would be better off if we would call a moratorium on activity for about six weeks and just wait on God to see what He is waiting to do for us. That’s what they did before Pentecost. COU095
Lord, this morning I’ll stop for a while at least to “just wait on God.” I know You’re wanting to work, and I for one am willing to wait this morning to hear Your voice and discover what You want to do for me today. Amen.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Our attachment to the Person of Christ must exclude all that is contrary to Christ. These are the days when we are trying to be 100 percent positive. But the Scripture says of Jesus, “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness” (Psalm 45:7)….If He had to hate in order to love, so do you and I.
To be 100 percent positive would be as fatal as to inhale steadily all your life without exhaling. You can’t do that….
When the Church inhales the Holy Spirit she must exhale everything that is contrary to Him.
I don’t believe any man can love until he’s able to hate….I don’t think he can love righteousness unless he hates sin; for the Scripture leaves us with the belief that in order to accept there are some things you must reject. In order to affirm there are things you have to deny; in order to say yes you have to be able to say no. TCC008-009
Jesus, breathe Thy Spirit on me,
Teach me how to breathe Thee in,
Help me pour into Thy bosom
All my life of self and sin. HCL251
1 Corinthians 15:20
What if His practiced and ruthless executioners were deceived? What if He never really died after the tortuous hours endured in measureless agony on the cross? What if Jesus had planned all along to dupe His loyal disciples into believing Him to be the victor over death, finally fleeing away to somewhere in the Himalayas to live out His days in obscurity? The grave clothes discovered by Peter as if His body had simply evaporated? That memorable early morning encounter with Peter and his friends on the shores of Galilee; and even Thomas’ confession wrenched from his cynical soul: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). What if it were all a dream?
The resurrection was the consistent testimony of the Gospels, the defining affirmation of the apostles and the early Church. This was the central theme—an inescapable, incontrovertible, indispensable fact: Christ is risen from the dead. To this they bore their testimony with their blood!
Doubt it if you will. The consequence is a gutted gospel, powerless to offer the peace of God or the possibility of transformed lives. And a never-ending stream of witnesses will rise up joyfully and irrepressibly to declare with the Apostle Paul: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!” (I Corinthians 15:20).
We heard the thousands of believers crowded into a Beijing church on an Easter morning sing it: “I know that He is living whatever men may say. He lives, Christ Jesus lives today. You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart!” Fifty years of determined denial had not quenched the fire of their faith.
Because Christ is now risen from the dead, we live in the “now” of God’s salvation—the day of His grace and favor (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). His presence can be real to us. His power can be released within us, by faith.
So many of us are boxed in by circumstances. We are paralyzed by the impossibility of our situation. We have long since exhausted our options. We are in the grip of a “fatal attraction.” Addictive behaviors are sapping our strength and destroying our will to freedom. Why dream any longer of what cannot be? There is no way out. No hope.
But now hope lives again in Jesus. Christ is now risen from the dead! The power that burst the bonds that held Him and broke open His tomb to the brilliant light of an Easter morning can open again the airless grave where your dreams may have been entombed.
Paul A. Rader, The War Cry