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Archive for December, 2011

Kids Bible Study 12-31-2011


The Strange Handwriting on the Wall of the Palace
Daniel 5
Daniel interprets the strange handwriting on the wall.

A GREAT FEASTwas being held in the palace of Babylon. The king, Belshazzar , had invited a thousand princes and nobles to enjoy the feast with him and his many wives. And the palace was ringing with their voices and laughter and song.    Presently, while they were drinking wine together, the King remembered the beautiful vessels of gold that Nebuchadnezzar had brought from the temple of the Lord, in Jerusalem

He commanded his servants to bring the vessels into the palace, that he and his company might drink wine from them. And the vessels were brought, and the King commanded that they be filled with wine and passed among the guests, Then, as they drank from the golden vessels they praised the gods of gold, and of silver, and of wood, and of stone.

Belshazzar’s heart was merry, and he felt very secure and happy in his palace-home among his guests. He joined with them in praising the gods of gold, silver, wood, and stone.

Then suddenly he turned pale, and the gladness died out of his heart. A great fear swept over him, and caused his knees to tremble. For there on the wall of the palace, over near the candlestick, he saw the fingers of a man’s hand writing strange words, which he could not read.

All at once everything grew quiet in the banquet-hall.. And everybody became afraid, for no one could understand the strange words that the hand had written.

Then the King commanded that the wise Chaldeans be brought in at once; for he thought they might be able to read the words and tell their meaning. He promised to give a rich reward to the one who could do this; but none of the Chaldeans were able to earn that reward. They could not read the writing on the wall.

News of the strange handwriting spread rapidly through the palace, and soon the old Queen Mother heard about it. She heard, to, that the wise men could not read the writing nor tell its meaning.

So she came into the banquet-hall, where the King sat trembling among his frightened guests.

And she said, “O King, there is in this city a very wise man whom you have quite forgotten. In the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the king, this man was the master of all the king’s wise men, for the spirit of the gods dwells in him. Now send for him, and he will tell you the meaning of this strange handwriting on the wall.”

Daniel was now an old man. For a long time he had lived quietly in Babylon, for the kings who followed Nebuchadnezzar had not set him up to places of honor in the kingdom. And he was almost forgotten.

The Queen Mother, however, remembered how he had interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, and she knew that his wisdom was greater than any of the wisdom of the Chaldeans.

Belshazzar sent in haste for Daniel, and when the old man came before him he asked, excitedly, “Are you that Daniel whom my fathers brought out of the land of the Jews?”

Daniel replied that he was, and the King said, “I have heard of you, that the spirit of the gods dwells with you and enables you to understand deep mysteries. Now, if you can read the writing upon the wall and tell its meaning, I will cause you to be dressed in royal garments, and will make you the third ruler in this kingdom.”

Daniel did not care for the honors of the Babylonian kingdom. He did not care for the beautiful, kingly robes, and he told the King to give those gifts to someone else. But he said, “I will read the writing, and will cause you to understand its meaning.”

First Daniel reminded Belshazzar of great punishment that God had sent upon Nebuchadnezzar because of his wickedness and pride. Belshazzar had known about this, yet he had dared to be proud and to despise the God of heaven and earth.

He had dared to use the vessels that belonged in the Lord’s house, in Jerusalem, for drinking wine, and he and his guests had praised the gods of gold and of silver and of wood and of stone, which can not see nor hear.

Daniel told Belshazzar about these things, and then he said, “Because you did these things, God sent his hand to write upon the wall of your banquet-room, that you might see it and become afraid. The words that this hand has written are Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin, and they mean this:

“Mene; God has numbered your kingdom and finished it.
“Tekel; you are weighed in the balances and found wanting.
“Upharsin; your kingdom is divided, and is given to the Medes and Persians.”

Belshazzar commanded his servants to bring a royal garment and put it on Daniel, then he fastened a gold chain about Daniel’s neck and proclaimed before all the guests that Daniel was the third ruler in the kingdom.

But that very night the kingdom of Babylon was destroyed; for the Medes and Persians came into the city and killed Belshazzar, and placed the Median king Darius upon the throne.

Prayer 12-31-2011

Dear Father, thank you for all you’ve given me. I offer my time, talent, and treasure to you. Use me to impact others for your kingdom.

In Jesus’ name

Bible Study 12-31-2011

Psalm 106:6-15

6 We have sinned, even as our fathers did;
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.

7 When our fathers were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea

8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known.

9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
he led them through the depths as through a desert.

10 He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.

11 The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.

12 Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his counsel.

14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wasteland they put God to the test.

15 So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease upon them.

Sometimes an unanswered prayer is the best thing for us. The psalmist says, “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (v. 15). The Israelites had prayed selfishly. God was feeding them with manna from heaven, angel’s food, but they wanted meat. All they had to do every morning was step out of their tents, stoop down and pick up the precious, clean, sweet, life-giving manna. But after a while their old appetites came back. They said, “Oh, if somebody would give us some meat to eat.” So God sent them meat, but while they were eating it, many of them died (Num. 11:31-33).

We can learn from this experience. First, selfish prayers are dangerous. How dangerous it is to say, “Oh, God, I simply have to have this.” Such prayers are never beneficial. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

Second, prayer must change our character. The Israelites got their request, but it didn’t help their character. In fact, they were in worse shape spiritually after they got what they wanted. The prodigal son said, “Father, give me.” He got what he asked for, and it almost ruined him. Then he came home and said, “Father, make me”–and his character changed. He began to be a real son (Luke 15:19). Selfish praying erodes our character, but praying in the will of God builds our character.

Third, we must always pray for God’s will. The purpose of prayer, it has well been said, is not to get man’s will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth. Never be afraid to say, “Thy will be done.”

God knows best how to answer your prayers–even whether or not to answer them! The psalmist has given three valuable guidelines for effective prayer. Do you apply these to your prayers? Let God use your prayer time to align you to His will and His point of view. Let Him prepare you for His answer.

For forty years a little piece of my heart has been in Brooklyn, New York. For a few months in 1951 I lived there in order to attend a Spanish-speaking church and take language lessons before going to Ecuador. But now a bigger piece of my heart is in Brooklyn–so big, in fact, that I have felt a longing to give up the house we live in and the work we do and just move there!

I’ll explain. I’d been invited to speak to a group of women on a Saturday afternoon at Brooklyn Tabernacle. It sounded interesting, but I was not expecting anything quite so thrilling as it proved to be. Brooklyn, for a start, is a tough place. There’s a lot of poverty. Drugs and muggings and murders are practically everyday occurrences, and there had been some very ugly riots between Jews and blacks in one of the most “civilized” sections. The neighborhood where I had lived was pretty bleak back then, so I wondered if it could be any worse now. I was eager to try to find 519 Bushwick Avenue (a fifth-floor walk-up, at $17 per month–lots of noise, strange cooking odors, large rats, and very little heat or hot water). Abraham, the kind man who drove us around, managed to find the location all right, but the whole block had been razed (no wonder). There was nothing there but empty lots. Well, not empty really–mattresses, old refrigerators, bedsprings, tires, sofas with the stuffings coming out–you name it, you could have picked it up. In fact, there were such mountains of trash everywhere, I wondered where they’d put it if they ever did decide to clean up the place. Desolate and depressing in the extreme. Graffiti, that hideous evidence of defiance of all law and order, covered every surface within reach of the ground and many high above it. Abraham said thousands of people are always cleaning it up, and it’s back the next morning.

I kept thinking about the old gospel song, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” Here’s part of it:

Dark the night of sin has settled, 
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore
Let the lower lights be burning,
Send a gleam across the wave,
Some poor, fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

There on Flatbush Avenue stands Brooklyn Tabernacle, sending its gleam across the wave. Thousands have “made the harbor” because of its light. My audience was a wonderful mixture of colors and ethnic backgrounds, the music was louder than I’m used to but wonderfully exuberant and heartfelt. There was no doubt about it–those women were worshipping. I heard some of their stories–to me nearly unimaginable–of drugs, alcohol, abuse, poverty, abandonment. One mother’s anonymous letter to the pastor told of her own heartbreak. Just that week she had learned that her fourteen-year-old daughter was pregnant. The father of the baby was the girl’s seventeen-year-old brother. That mother said she had wanted to kill herself and her children, “But I’m making it,” she wrote, “with Jesus and the help of this church.”

We heard their two-hundred-voice choir at the Billy Graham rally in Central Park on Sunday afternoon. In the evening, after I had spoken again at the Tabernacle, we were having supper with a group of the church folks. I asked a woman named Marie to tell me her story. Her husband smiled and said, “She loves to tell it! It’s her favorite story.” How I wish I had room for the whole thing.

Her mother, five months pregnant, died of cancer. Marie, the baby, survived and was put in a foundling hospital. Later she was entrusted to the care of nuns who treated her cruelly, although they taught her about God. She felt sure God was better than they were, and she knew her daddy loved her, but she was hungry for more. At age ten she began sniffing glue. This led to smoking pot, then doing drugs for the next fifteen years. On a Club Med vacation in Mexico with her boyfriend she began to wonder why she was born. Why had God made her? What meaning was there in it all? God clearly spoke to her “Maria, give me your life. This is your last chance.” Suddenly she lost her desire for drugs and told her boyfriend she would not sleep with him anymore. On her return to New York she found that a group of friends had been praying for her at the very time when this happened. Hers is a totally transformed life. She’s married to the boyfriend, who is now a pastor.

“You should have seen me,” he said, “long hair, three earrings in each ear, feathers!”

I thought of my own upbringing–Christ as the Head of our house, parents who loved Him, each other, and us. No alcohol or drugs, just the Bible and hymn-singing. A clean house on a clean street. I thought of Nicky Cruz’s testimony that same afternoon at the Graham meeting–from deep sin and sorrow to joy; and of Johnny Cash’s simple words: “Alcohol never gave me peace. Drugs never brought me happiness. I found both in Jesus Christ. He changed my life.” Then he sang, “The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago,” while his dear June burst in with her lusty refrain, “Down on my knees!”

Tears come as I write, remembering the unutterable JOY I saw on those upturned faces during those two days. Those people were still living with huge tribulations and deep heartbreaks, yet there was joy, there was peace, and there was love such as I see in few churches. I don’t know when I’ve had so many hugs. How to account for it all? It’s quite simple:

This doctrine of the cross is sheer folly to those on their way to ruin, but to us who are on the way to salvation, it is the power of God…. To shame the wise, God has chosen what the world counts folly, and to shame what is strong, God has chosen what the world counts weakness. He has chosen things low and contemptible, mere nothings, to overthrow the existing order. So there is no place for human pride in the presence of God….He is our righteousness; in him we are consecrated and set free.

1 Corinthians 1:18, 27-30, NEB

Simple Breathing!

A day well lived does not have to include anything more than celebrating this Divine world through simple breathing.

Jude 猶大書 1:22-24

有些人存疑心、你們要憐憫他們.有些人你們要從火中搶出來搭救他們.有些人你們要存懼怕的心憐憫他們.連那被情慾沾染的衣服也當厭惡。那能保守你們不失腳、叫你們無瑕無疵、歡歡喜喜站在他榮耀之前的、我們的救主獨一的 神

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.


Scripture References – 
1 Samuel 14:49: – 49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal.

1 Sam. 18:20-28: – 20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.
21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”
22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’”
23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”
24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said,
25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed,
27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
28 When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David.

1 Sam. 19:11-17: – 11 Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.”
12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped.
13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.
14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”
15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.”
16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.
17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’”

1 Sam. 25:44: – 44 But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim.

1 Sam. 25:2: – 2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel.

2 Samuel 3:13: – 13 “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.”

2 Sam. 3:14: – 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”

2 Sam. 6:16-23: – 16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD.
18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty.
19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD.
22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

2 Sam. 21:8: – 8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.

1 Chronicles 15:29: – 29 As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.

Name Meaning – This name is allied to the previous name, Michaiah, and also to Michael, and mean the same – “Who is like Jehovah?” Michal, along with its cognates, illustrates the comparatively small class of proper names composed of more than two words. It is a name describing an admiring acknowledgment of the transcendant unapproachable majesty of the divine nature.

Family Connections – Michal was the younger daughter of Saul, Israel’s first king. Her mother was Ahinoam. She became David’s first wife, was given to Phalti the son of Laish, of Gallim for a-while, but was recovered by David. As the aunt of her sister Merab’s five sons, Michal cared for them after the somewhat premature death of her sister.

Michal, although a princess, does not appear to have had a very commendable character. Desire for prestige, fervor of infatuation, indifference to holiness, and idolatry mark out this Jewess who knew the covenant God yet persevered in idolatrous practices. Closely associated with David, her career can be broken up thus –

She Loved David
What young woman would not be attracted by such a strong, athletic young man, who was “ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to”? Further, David was the young shepherd who defied and killed the giant Goliath who had terrified Michal’s father and his people. Thus Michal grew passionately fond of David, and made no effort to conceal her love for this much-lauded champion of Israel. While there may not be very much to admire in Michal, we cannot but express sympathy for her experiences in an age when women were treated as chattels, being thrown from one husband to another. But while “Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David,” she did not love the Lord as David did. What a different story might have been written of her if she had been a woman after God’s own heart!

She Married David
Saul had vowed that the man who killed Goliath would become his son-in-law, and Merab, Saul’s first daughter should have been given to David, but Saul, regretting his promise, gave her to another man. David was now a veritable hero among the people, and Saul’s jealousy prompted him to devise means whereby David would be slain by the Philistines. Learning of Michal’s love for David, Saul asked as a dowry, usually paid to a father according to Eastern custom, the foreskins of 100 Philistines. David slew 200 Philistines, and Saul was forced to give his daughter to wife to the man whose death he had planned. As David had been victorious, Saul dared not go back upon his word. How Saul illustrates the adage that “Jealousy is as cruel as the grave”!

She Delivered David
Still bent on destroying David, Saul had David’s house surrounded. In a frenzy of envy Saul had messengers “watch David to slay him in the morning.” But Michal’s love smelled danger and, discovering her father’s intention, “let David down through a window; and he fled and escaped.” Then, as a truehearted wife she tricked her father and his emissaries. With her husband safely out of the way, Michal put a hair-covered image in David’s bed, and when the men burst into the supposedly sickroom, they found that they had been cleverly tricked. When Saul heard he had been outwitted, he accused his daughter of disloyalty to her father, and was most bitter in his reproach. Michal, however, pretended that David had threatened to kill her if she did not help him to escape.

She Forsook David
After this incident, Michal’s love for David waned. Where was the pleasure in being the wife of a man forced to spend his days a fugitive, hunted like a wild animal in the wilderness? Phalti of Gallem was a better catch, she thought, seeing he was on his way to royalty which she was eager to secure and hold. So Michal became the wife of Phalti. This was an illegitimate union seeing David was alive and was in no way lawfully separated from Michal as her husband. That Phalti cared for Michal is proven by the way he followed her, weeping, when she decided to leave him for her former husband.

She Was Restored to David
With Saul’s death, circumstances changed for David whom God had already chosen to be king over His people. Michal and her husband Phalti were living to the east of Jordan during the short rule of Ishbosheth. Abner made an arrangement to assist David to take over the kingship of the nation, and David made the restoration of Michal the one condition of the league. So despite Phalti’s sorrowful protest, Michal was forcibly restored to David as he returned from his wanderings as king. Evidently his ardor for Michal was the same as at the first, and his desire to claim her proves how he wanted her as queen in Hebron.

How pathetic it is to read of Phalti with whom Michal had lived for some considerable time. We see his sorrow as he went with her in tears, only to be rudely sent back by Abner! We do not read of Michal weeping as she left the man who had showered so much affection upon her. It did not require much force to make her leave Phalti. Her pride and love for prestige left little room for weeping and although she knew she could never become David’s ideal love, seeing she had been the possession of another man, yet as his first wife Michal thought of the position that would be hers at court.

She Despised David
The closing scene between Michal and David is most moving, for what love Michal might have had for David turned to scorn and disdain. After making Jerusalem his capital, David brought the sacred Ark of the covenant, the ancient symbol of Jehovah’s presence, to Moriah. On the day of the Ark’s return David was so joyful that, stripping himself of his royal robes, he “danced before the Lord with all his might.” Michal watched from a window and seeing David – the king – leaping and dancing before the Lord, she “despised him in her heart.” Although she had loved him, risked her life for his safety, she now abhors him for his loss of royal dignity. Her haughtiness was shocked by David’s participation in such an excitable demonstration.

Nursing her contempt Michal waited until David returned to his household. When they met, she with a biting sarcasm, revealing “her self-pride, and lack of sensitiveness to her husband’s magnificent simplicity,” sneeringly said, “How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” For her there were no pious and affectionate feelings at the return of the Ark to Zion. Like her father, Saul, she had no regard for the Ark of God (1 Chronicles 13:3: – 3 Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.”). But David, mortified by Michal’s pride as a king’s daughter, was curt in his reply. Resenting her reproach, he made it clear in no uncertain terms that he was not ashamed of what he had done “before the Lord” who had chosen him rather than any of Saul’s family to reign as king. Michal had missed the essential significance of David’s career, that in spite of his failures he was a man after God’s own heart. As Alexander Whyte put it, “What was David’s meat was Michal’s poison. What was sweeter than honey to David was gall and wormwood to Michal…. At the despicable sight [of David dancing] she spat at him, and sank back in her seat with all hell in her heart…. Michal is a divine looking-glass for all angry and outspoken wives.”

She Lost David
After such an outburst of reproach we read that “Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death,” and such a final flat statement practically means that she lived apart from David, more or less divorced (2 Samuel 6:16: – 16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart). The estrangement between them likely became more acute because of the other wives now sharing David’s prosperity. Childless till her death was a punishment appropriate to her transgression. David was given many sons and daughters, and her sister Merab bore five sons, but Michal never achieved the great attainment of being a mother. She ended her days without the love and companionship of a husband, caring for her dead sister’s five children, all of whom were ultimately beheaded.

What can we learn from this story of Michal and David? Misunderstanding arose in their relationship because of a clash of temperament, outlook and purpose. Had Michal shared David’s faith in God how different life would have been for both of them. But Michal made no effort to understand her husband’s Godward desires and so passed a wrong judgment upon him. How certain we should be of a person’s motive for his acts or attitudes before we condemn him. Further, had Michal loved David enough, she should have sought his forgiveness after he had explained his demeanor before the Lord. “She worshipped him when he was poor and unknown and now that he is King ‘she despised him in her heart’ … David realized they could never love the same God. Therefore he cut her from his heart.” But being eaten up with pride there was no tolerance in her heart and so harmony was impossible. Love brings harmony and understanding into every human relationship. A fellow-minister confided in Alexander Whyte that he preached and prayed best when his wife stayed at home. This was something of the gulf between David and Michal. How different it is when husbands truly love their wives and wives sincerely reverence their husbands!

Luke 2:8-12

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.

Kids Bible Study 12-30-2011

God Humbles the Proud Heart of Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 4
For seven years, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a heart like a beast’s instead of a man’s

ONE NIGHT WHILENebuchadnezzar lay asleep in his palace, God caused him to have another strange dream. This time when he awoke in the morning he remembered what the dream had been, and he wondered about its meaning. So he sent again for the wise Chaldeans, and told them about the dream that was troubling his mind.    The Chaldeans were glad because Nebuchadnezzar had remembered his dream; but when they listened to it they could not tell its meaning. So the King sent them away and called for Daniel. He believed that the spirit of Daniel’s God dwelt in Daniel and caused him to understand the deepest mysteries. And he called Daniel the master of all his wise men.

Daniel listened while Nebuchadnezzar told the dream that was troubling him. And God caused Daniel to understand what the dream meant. But at first he was afraid to tell the King. For a whole hour he sat quietly, wondering that he should do.

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Do not be afraid, nor let the dream or its meaning trouble you.” So Daniel took courage and spoke to the great ruler.

Now, the dream had been this: Nebuchadnezzar had seen a tree grow up in the earth and become so great that the top of it reached to the sky. Underneath its branches all the beasts of the field found shelter, and in its leafy boughs all the bird of the air made their nests.

And the people of the earth from the near and far came to eat of its fruit. Then Nebuchadnezzar had seen the Lord come down from heaven and cry out: “Cut down the great tree; cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get away from under the shadow of it, and let the dew come upon it for seven years.

But let the stump of the great tree remain with its roots in the ground until the seven years be passed. Let this be, that all who live may know there is a God in heaven who rules over all the kingdoms of earth.”

Daniel knew the dream was sent as a warning from God to the proud King. He knew Nebuchadnezzar was not willing to believe in the great God, who is over all.

But he spoke bravely and said, “This great tree which you have seen means you, for you have become a great king and you are known in every part of the land. And the meaning of that voice which you heard crying out that the great tree should be cut down is that you shall lose your kingdom for seven years and go out from men to live among the beasts of the field.

You shall eat grass like an ox, and the dew of heaven shall be upon you. But when you humble yourself and believe that the Most High God rules in the kingdoms of earth, giving them to whomever he pleases, then you shall return again to live among men and be restored to your kingdom.”

Daniel knew that God is very merciful, and he believed that God would save the King from such severe punishment if only the King would quit his sins and do right. So he urged Nebuchadnezzar to turn away from his wicked doings and begin to live differently. Then he went back to his own house.

One year passed by, and nothing unusual happened. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar almost forgot the strange dream, at least he did not try to do as Daniel had urged him to do.

He saw about him all the splendors of his kingdom and all the beauties of his palace grounds. He saw the famous city of Babylon, which he had helped to beautify, and his heart grew more proud and haughty.

Then one day as he walked about in his kingly palace, admiring the grandeur of his surroundings, he said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for my own royal house by my own power and for my glory?”

And while he spoke the words a voice called him from heaven, saying, “O King Nebuchadnezzar to you it is spoken: The Kingdom is taken from you.!”

In that very hour the great king lost his mind and became like a wild beast. And the people were afraid of him, and they drove him out of the city. There he lived in the fields and ate grass like the oxen.

And his hair grew like eagle’s feathers and his nails grew like claws. For seven years he roamed about in the fields, with a heart like a beast’s instead of a man’s. Then God allowed his mind to return again, and his heart to become like a man’s heart, and Nebuchadnezzar rose up like a man and thanked God for his mercies, and praised him for his greatness.

When the people of Babylon saw that their King had returned again to their city with the mind of a well man, they welcomed him back.

And they honored him as their king just as they had done before. But Nebuchadnezzar did not forget the lesson that God taught him, and he no longer believed that his greatness and his glory had come by his own strength.

Prayer 12-30-2011

Dear Father, thank you for choosing me as your ambassador. Help me to understand the authority you’ve given me. Show me ways to reach out and be a blessing to others and build your kingdom in the earth.

In Jesus’ Name

Bible Study 12-30-2011

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors…” – (2 Corinthians 5:20, NIV)

As believers in Jesus, we are called to be His ambassadors or representatives in the earth. In the natural, ambassadors are privileged. They are diplomats with the highest rank. They walk in the authority of the name of the one who sent them.

As God’s ambassadors on this earth, we walk in His power and authority. We are to promote relationship with Him. The Bible also calls us “ministers of reconciliation,” which means we are the ones to bring the message of hope in Jesus to the world. When you see yourself as God’s ambassador, it will change the way you think. It will change the way you act. It will change the way you approach people.

Today, remember, that you are a representative of Almighty God. Look for ways to promote relationship with Him. Speak words of healing that will draw people. Show kindness because it’s His kindness that leads people to repentance. Look for ways to bless others as we work together to build His kingdom.

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