Sunday, July 11, 2010

catching up...

I am so far behind!!! We had two weeks of swimming lessons then a week of VBS where I was the games leader, this was followed by a week of sniffles and trying to catch up at the house. In addition to that I received a homeschool catalog in the mail and got very distracted in researching kindergarten curriculums. Unfortunately for anyone who reads this blog (and I am not sure that there are more than 2 or 3 who do) the first thing that always seems to not get done is blogging :( I did complete the homework, I just have not blogged about it. I simply have to go back through my notes for week 4 and 5 to make the posts, and then will backdate the entries until I catch up. Can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daniel Week 5 - Day 1

Belshazar, Fact or Fiction

Today's homework revealed one of those mysteries that I love to hear about.  A portion of Bible history that was eventually confirmed by world history.

King Nebuchadnezzar (I hope that is the last time I have to type that name - sheesh) has long been gone and the current king is named Belshazzar.  Not to be confused with the name given to Daniel which was Beltashazzar.

According to the Bible, Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon.  However, according to other historic records a man named Nabonidus as the final Babylonian ruler.  For centuries this was considered one of the inconsistencies of the Bible, causing many to believe that it was a fictional story.

But wait!  How cool is this which I will quote from the homework, "Behold the words of researchers since the late nineteenth century: "abundant evidence has come to light that demonstrates not only that Belshazzar did live but that he was both the son of and co-regent with Nabonius."  And this also explains why Belshazzar offered the third position to Daniel.  Nabonius was first and Belshazzar was second.

Daniel 5:7 "Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."

The Bible is true, complete, and all of it can be taken literally.  Yes, including creation which by the way is so much fun to study with preschoolers!  We are on Day 3 right now and I have beans sprouting on my window sill to show them how God first provided light, then He made dry land and water, then seeds and plants.  It is so cool to see them understand how God gave seeds to put in the ground, and light and water to nourish the seeds to grow.

God reveals answers to Biblical mysteries in His time and for His purposes.  I personally can hardly wait until He reveals the location of Noah's Ark or the Ark of the Covenant containing the 10 Commandments!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Daniel Session 5

The Handwriting on the Wall

Daniel 5:30-31 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain,  and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Prophecy is being fulfilled!  Babylon falls to the Medes.
But what caused the handwriting on the wall?  What was the king doing that caused such a response from God?
Daniel 5;3-4 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

During their great banquet they started to drink from the gold goblets taken from God's temple.  The NLT states that they then began to drink "toasts" to the various gods of their culture.  They treated the holy as unholy.  The goblets were holy objects from the tabernacle, everything in the Tabernacle was holy.
Leviticus 8:10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and everything in it, thus making them holy.
This can be applied to us as well, because we are considered holy...
Ephesians 1:4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
What the king did with the goblets is exactly what Satan wants to do with us.  Treat the holy as unholy.  We of course are holy, but he can make us think we are unholy.  He will do everything he can to convince us we are defiled and that there is nothing sacred about us.  It pleases him when he finds something in us that he can draw us to by toasting to it and making us think we are unholy.  But this is just so not true! We are holy!  Nothing can change that fact.  Isn't that simply mind-boggling!  Nothing Satan can do will change it, we simply need to believe in what God tells us so we can stand firm against the enemy.
1Corinthians 1:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Daniel Week 4 - Day 5

Break Off

Another look at Verse 27

Daniel 4: 27 `O King Nebuchadnezzar, please listen to me. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past by being merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.'

 The NKJV uses the phrase "break off".  There are things in our lives that we simply have to break free from or make a clean break from.  The homework said this "Some things - substances, activities, relationships - are so toxic to us that moderation won't work... Some things don't need to be cut back. They need to be cut off."

If you have struggled with alcohol or drug addiction, "just one" may be impossible.  If you have someone in your life that is destructive to you, you may have to use "Tough Love" and cut them out of your life - completely!  If there are things in your life that are keeping you from increasing your faith or getting closer to God - cut them out, break free!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Daniel Week 4 - Day 4

Stripped Leaves and Scattered Fruit

In the homework we were asked to draw a picture of the images in the dream. I can hardly draw a stick figure, so let's do a picture study instead!

Daniel 4: 10-12 " `While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.

A large flourishing tree reaching to the heavens...
Wild animals lived in its shade...
birds nested in its branches...

fresh green leaves and loaded with fruit for the whole world to eat...

Imagine the size and beauty of a tree that can feed the entire world!!!

Now imagine it being cut down...


But there is so much more to it than that!  God will cut down what needs to be cut out of us but he will not destroy us! As it says in the homework... His desire is to "re-grow us free from the fruit-rotting parasite of pride.  God is not trying to destroy us.  He's trying to keep us from destroying ourselves."

If we have been cut down or hit 'rock-bottom' we can look up and see that all that is left is God guiding our re-growth!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Daniel Week 4 - Day 3

Stubborn Minds

Daniel 4:8 Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)

Nebuchadnezzar still did not believe that God was the one true God.  He still referred to Daniel by the Babylonian name, named after a god, and he used "gods" in the plural form.

It may be frustrating for us when we are trying to share God's Word with unbelievers.  We may even share with and pray for the salvation of loved ones for years and years.  But it that person's salvation and their understanding of the Word is completely out of our control.

Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

1Corinthians 2:14 But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.

Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes

Does that mean we should give up?  Of course not, it means that we should try harder and pray more!  God is working through us to reach the lost.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Daniel Week 4 - Day 2

The Lap of Luxury

Today we take another look at this verse.

Daniel 4:4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous.

Contented and prosperous.  What do think of when you think of contented and prosperous? Is it happiness, satisfaction, wealth?

The word 'prosperous' is translated as flourishing or luxuriant.  The king was lounging in the lap of luxury.

The word 'contented' is translated as 'at ease, at rest' which is a sense of contentment and security. 

In the homework it states that we can "picture a life that has finally discovered a means of security in which it can contentedly rest."  How can we find that life and achieve that security?  Simple - it can be found with God!

Psalm 62: 1-2  My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.   He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

The purpose of life is not a pursuit of prosperity, wealth or luxury.  True prosperity, and where we find true contentment is only with God.  When we seek a relationship with Him, we are achieving the true purpose of our lives!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Daniel Week 4 - Day 1

Week 4 - Day 1
My Pleasure To Tell

Daniel 4:2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

This was Nebuchadnezzar's testimony.  A testimony is simply how we share how God brought us to Him and we became Christians or how God has worked in our lives.  A testimony is how we share the greatness of God.  We need to be very careful of being prideful when we share about ourselves, the purpose is to glorify God not to show how well we do something or how well we stay away from sin.  Satan will use any opportunity, including puffing up our own egos as we try to share about God.  

We can take "pleasure" in sharing our testimonies but our intent should always be to glorify God.