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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grand Teton with hymn portion
Grand Tetons
Photo by
Howard Blichfeldt
(click on photo to enlarge)

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"The Forever Enduring Kingdom"

"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever"  (Daniel 2:44).

September 11 will never be the same again for those of us living here in America. No matter how you format the date, it immediately brings to mind the anniversary date of the horror, the hate, and the vile wickedness of a diabolical religious system that was unleashed upon thousands of innocent lives on this day seven years ago.

Writing this devotional is a challenge.
  • Do I write a message of comfort, since I am sure pain still lingers for the thousands who lost loved ones? May God flood their souls with divine peace.
  • Do I use this as an opportunity to scream in print that these are the tactics of our ancient foe who still seeks to work us woe? Indeed, I can become so distressed at the blindness of scores of people who fail to see that this is fundamentally a spiritual conflict.
  • Do I challenge believers to be steadfast? Always!
But today I primarily want to share a timeless message of assurance. Let's go back in Scripture some 2,500 years ago and hear the Word of the Lord as we examine a rather obscure verse from the prophet Daniel.

Daniel lived during the period of the Babylonian captivity.  As a youth he had seen the horrendous destruction of his country described in graphic detail by Jeremiah in his book of Lamentations. Surely, like we do today, he must have wondered, "Where is God in all of this?" Though unanswered questions surely filled Daniel's mind he stayed faithful to his God. Believers have always had to accept that some questions just won't be answered on this side of eternity. God calls us to live by faith as described in Hebrews 11:1:  "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

In the second chapter of his book Daniel interpreted a dream that had tremendous prophetic insight into the future kingdoms from that point on. "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a  kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Daniel 2:44). "In the days of those kings" describes the Roman period. The kingdom which the "God of heaven will set up" is the Kingdom of Christ expressed in the first coming. (This prophecy was made some 550 years before the incarnation.)

Note two descriptions of this glorious Kingdom in the daily text. It will "never be destroyed" and "it will itself endure forever." Sinking, shifting sand is an apt description of what we experience in the temporal kingdoms of this world. We saw that so graphically on 9/11. But the great God we serve is absolutely steadfast and His Kingdom will endure forever, for it has no end. Praise Him today and serve Him wholeheartedly! The words to the classic hymn, "Rejoice the Lord Is King", come to mind as we conclude today's message.

His kingdom cannot fail; He rules o'er earth and heaven.
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say rejoice!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, with solemn hearts and painful memories we remember the extremely wicked events that took place on 9/11/01.  Though we witnessed mayhem and saw evil at its worst, mercifully, we also witnessed acts of goodness at their best.  Help us to spread the overflowing, enduring hope that does not diminish in the midst of evil, but instead it directs our attention to the unseen future kingdom, the New Jerusalem.  The New Jerusalem where Your presence is with Your people for all eternity. Where You will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone, and You will make all things new.

(See Romans 15:13, Revelation 21:1-5)

Howard Blichfeldt

Today's photo was taken by Howard
Blichfeldt. Al Worthley, my chaplain representative, met Howard at a Christian service conference and suggested we collaborate since Howard wants to use his photography to honor God.  He has given me permission to place his photos on this site. Today's photo is taken in the Grand Tetons. Howard's website is here.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

Today I was unable to find a suitable online version of the hymn "Rejoice The Lord Is King" quoted in the message but I want to share three versions of another great classic hymn I found in the process of searching:

"Praise To The Lord The Almighty"

"Praise To The Lord The Almighty"

"Praise To The Lord The Almighty"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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