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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Photo of fall porch arrangement
Porch arrangement in Lancaster County, PA

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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).

Well, as most everyone that gets news on the planet knows by now, our national election is over. A slight majority of our voting population is happy with the outcome this morning while to varying degrees the rest are not so happy. As a follower of Christ, believer in Scripture and the sovereignty of God I affirm once more that my hope is in the Lord.

Today we 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. The nation, as promised by God*, was being judged. It is one of the most horrendous portions of Scripture that is there for the historical record, more so than inspirational verses that we would choose to memorize and from which we would draw strength. Daniel was displaced from his homeland as the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar "ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel" (Daniel 1:3).

Much like we do today, he must have wondered, "Where is God in all of this?" Surely he prayed that God would deal with the godless authorities of his day. Though unanswered questions must have 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 as to how God accomplishes His will in spite of our genuine, Scripture based prayers. God calls us to faith and faithfulness as described in Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Daniel took a very bold stand in his new land of exile and chose to live by the godly standards he had learned from his upbringing (see Daniel 1:8). He excelled as a personal aid to the King and interpreted a dream that had tremendous prophetic insight into the future kingdoms from that point on (Daniel 2). In a prayer prior to giving the interpretation he stated, "It is He (God) who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings." Since that time, many kingdoms have come and gone and most certainly present kingdoms will come and go as well.

But Daniel looks to a future, 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). "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's around us today in the temporal kingdoms of this world. 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

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I lift up to You not only my heart from which my love for You is firmly established, but I also lift up to You my soul so that You will fill it with spiritual nourishment and unwavering hope. When my spirit grows faint within me and my heart is dismayed I am strengthened and encouraged as I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done. I trust You to be what You have been over the eons of time; a faithful, powerful, loving, and redemptive God who rescues me from danger and preserves my life for eternity. I spread out my hands to You as I thirst for You like a parched land. Fill my cup, Lord, fill it up and make me wholly useful for Your kingdom, most especially in these troubled times. It is in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen.

(Psalm 143 was my inspiration for the prayer today.)

We sent this message in for our one minute daily encouragement radio program that will air tomorrow morning around 8 A.M. on WDAC FM 94.5:

God’s Unfailing Love

The Psalmist David was pursued by King Saul day after day to the point that his spirit grew faint. Worn down physically and spiritually he wrote, “My heart within me is dismayed.”

We find ourselves dismayed as our country moves farther and farther away from God. Following the election results I was inconsolable and wrestled with it through the night hour. Sleep would not come and fear was taking up residency in my troubled heart. Suddenly the words of David came to me that I had memorized years earlier:

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You, show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” I began to consider the godly leaders in the Bible who spoke out courageously and lived fearlessly in the spiritual mine fields of their day.

Today we invite you to lift up your soul to God, trust Him, and receive His unfailing love in these troubled times.

* This "promise" is found in Deuteronomy. We realize many only want to see God's promises as something with a positive outcome for us, but we are using the word in the sense of God speaking and keeping His word, including a message of judgment. God keeps all His promises.

Here's the full prayer used in our daily message: "Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, for You have made known to us the king's matter" (Daniel 2:19-23).

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Rejoice, The Lord Is King!"  Video  Generation Hymns Live

"Hallelujah"  Video  Opera Company of Philadelphia accompanied by the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.

"Be Strong And Take Courage"  Video  Brooksyne testifies that she found encouragement in this song.

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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