Daniel 3:17-18 Even If God Does Not Help

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18

King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a large statue of gold of himself and wanted every person in the nation to bow down to it. Three young men, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, known more as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, had refused to bow down to the statue. The king gave them several chances to change their minds, warning them that they would be thrown into a hot, fiery furnace if they did not do it. The men stated that God would deliver them, but even if He did not, they still would not bow down to that statue. They would obey and follow God, no matter what happened.

It is common to hear of a person who had believed in God for a time, but chose to walk away from God because God did not deliver them from something. One of the more common reasons is that the person prayed for either healing for a loved one and God did not heal the person. The person prayed for died in without healing. The one praying gives up on God and walks away.

Acting like that does not give God absolute authority or control. God is the one in control and knows what is best for each and every person.

In the Old Testament, God made the rule not to bow down to idols. The young men chose to do that regardless of what God does. They did not set any stipulations on obeying God.

You have to set it in your heart that you will follow God, no matter what the cost is or what He will or will not do. You have to trust that He is doing everything that is the best for you.

Make the choice to not bow down to any idols in this world. Worship God and God alone. In reality, the worst that can happen is death, which then will allow you to step into heaven for eternity.

Who are you going to bow down and worship today?

I pray today that God will reveal His power to you; that God will strengthen you to not bow to sin; that you will turn from all sin to God; and that you will not fear this world or anyone in it. 

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Jeremiah 38:2 An Insane Sounding Plan

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ Jeremiah 38:2

God had a plan to use the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and Judah and bring all the people into captivity. The people had a choice to make. The choice was to either fight against the Babylonians and not go with them, or to surrender to the Babylonians and go with them. God said that those who refused to go would die in some manner. Everyone who went with the Babylonians would live.

Looking at the plan God had for the people it looked insane. Why would God want His people to surrender to the enemy?

The Israelites had chosen for a time to reject God and not follow Him. Going into exile in Babylon was a punishment meant to get them to focus back on Him. In the process of this plan God had their best interest in mind. Living for self or sin would only bring death, living for and following God would bring about life.

There are times in life when God has a plan for a person’s life that looks insane. It does not allows appear to make sense in why God has the person walking down a certain road, yet He does.

Walking into persecution, prison, punishment, pain, or suffering does not appear to be the best thing for a person…according to man. God sees a bigger picture. He sees the end results and the value of everything that occurs in a person’s life.

Going through these situations will be a very difficult choice to make. You need to trust God’s decision and see what God wants you to learn through the situation. The reasons for going through the situation may be one of many different reasons. Know that God has you going through it, if for nothing else, to make you more like Jesus.

The world gives you a path that appears to lead to life, but will only end in death, staying in the city. God will only give you a path that appears to lead to death, but will lead you to life.

One appears sane, but brings death. One appears insane, but brings life. Which will you follow?

I pray today that you will know the plan God has for your life; that you will trust God’s plan for your life; that you will know the life God has for you; and that you will follow God with all of your life.

What Are You Watching?

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Watching television and movies is a favorite pastime of many people. People love to watch something. It allows them to escape into a different world for a short time. It allows them to step out of reality into a fantasy world.

The things that people watch cover an extremely broad band of categories. Many of those categories overlap each other, creating new categories. Fantasy, drama, horror, and comedy are the base line of movies. Then they broaden out to fantasy/drama, or comedy/horror, or some other combination.

Movie Types

It is very interesting to watch what most movies are about. If you really look at them closely, most of them tell the same story that has been told a dozen times before. The only real difference is in how it is told. One time it is live action, next time it is with fantasy, next time it is with anime, the next is with puppets, the next is with music, and the variations of the same story keep going.

Other times it is the same type of story, such as boy meets girl, falls in love and after a time of rejection from her they get married. This story has been told hundreds of different times in different ways. Or the hero saves a person, city, nation, or the world. Or the flip side the bad guy does not get caught or die in the end, and they come back with a sequel.

Billions of dollars are spent every year watching movies, whether in the theater, pay-per-view, paid channels, television, or online rentals. People love to watch movies.

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Now you may be asking why did I say all of this. Where am I going with all of this?

During this past week the movie, “It,” came out as a remake of this classic movie. Many of the students I teach in 6-8th grade had went to see it. Several had seen it several times. Along with those in my public, non-Christian school, I know of several in the church that also went to see it or want to see the movie.

During one of my classes, one of my students asked me if I was going to see the movie. I had told the student that there is no way I would go and see it. The question was then raised as to why. The answer to that is what led me to write this post.

People who study movies and plays will always try to point out the good in a movie. They want to point out how the bad guy loses in the end. How good always triumphs over evil. They point out the good moral points of the story. It is true that in every movie there is usually some good moral point in it, no matter how bad it appears as a whole.

Christians will be very quick to point out that the bible does not say that a person should not watch movies. Many will be also quick to point out all the immoral stuff that is written in the bible. With both these arguments they want to say that it is acceptable to watch anything that they want to watch.

The first thing I would like to say is look at what Paul had said:

1 Corinthians 10:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Paul says that you may do whatever you want, but not everything is beneficial. There are things that do not benefit you at all. It does not help you in any way.

Free To Do

Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

God does not work that way. Everything that God does has a purpose. Everything that God allows has a purpose.

Many people think that God is just a great big ogre out to make life miserable for them. That He will not allow them to have any fun in life and is always out to get them or punish them.

God has given you the right to do whatever you want to do. However, what many people do not like to hear is that there are consequences to the choices made. If you want to make a choice to sin, God will allow that, but the consequence is death. God allowed Adam and Eve to make that choice, and He still allows people to make that choice.

Ezekiel 36:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36,26

God wants to give you a new, living heart of flesh. He wants you to live life to the fullest.

John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

With God giving you a new heart and a new life, you should live the way He planned for you to live.

Going back to watching movies.

Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Paul says that you are to think about certain things. These things are what are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

When watching a movie, the movie may be excellent in the way it was made. It may have excellent acting and excellent filming, but that does not finish out what Paul said to think about. Does it fit the pure? Is it admirable? Is it praiseworthy? Is it lovely?

Watching someone or something just go around and kill does not fit the description of what Paul said to think about. Watching a couple or a person be unfaithful in their marriage is not pure. Watching the thief or crook be honored as good, is not praiseworthy.

Time To Decide

And of each of these few examples, how do any of them really benefit you? Do any of them bring you closer to God? Or make you more like God? If not, why watch them?

What you take into you will eventually come out. If you fill your life with garbage, that garbage will come out in the end.

Everything that you say, do, watch, or listen to should be done for the benefit of God and to bring you closer to God, or to bring others closer to God. Yes, you are allowed to do whatever you want, but there is a price to do it. If you choose things that bring about death, then it will be death that you will receive.

Take a moment and think about the movies or shows that you watch. What benefit is there in watching those movies or shows?

If Jesus were standing right next to you, would He choose to watch them with you? Would you be comfortable with watching them with Him next to you?

Ask God what He wants you to see or watch before you watch something. See what He has to say about it.

Jeremiah 21:8-9 Choice Of Life Or Death

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. Jeremiah 21:8-9

The king of Judah had sent someone to Jeremiah to ask God to stop the attacks on Jerusalem. God’s answered that He was going to destroy the city and there was nothing that could be done about it. He also stated that they had a choice to make. The two choices would be a matter of living or dying. If they stayed in the city, they would die. If they surrendered to the hated enemy, they would live. God left the choice up to the people.

God has not changed at all over the years. He still gives each person a choice and that choice involves life or death. Many try to say that God does not really give them a choice. They say that they are who they are, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Or that they are in the position they are in and cannot leave it.

Even today you have a choice to make. One option is to stay where you are at, in sin, in this world, not really living for God. Even as a believer, you have to keep growing and moving with God. If you stay where you are, you may end up not following God, you stagnate and begin to die.

The other option is to leave where you are at and follow God. Live your life fully for God, following and obeying Him in every area and you will live. God will make the way.

The leaving may not be a physical leaving, but it is one of leaving behind the past sins, and leaving a sinful life, and obeying God. This will open the way to eternal life.

God always makes a way for this to happen. Think of the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt. God made a way through a sea that looked impassable. He can make a way for you to make that choice, if you want too.

Choose life today.

I pray today that you will know the path God has for you; that you will choose to live for God; that you will choose to obey God; and that you will know the life He has for you.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop Trusting In People

Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? Isaiah 2:22

Isaiah was talking about the day of the Lord that is to come. It would be a day when God takes out His wrath upon all mankind for refusing to follow Him. Every person will attempt to flee from His presence and anger, and yet will not be able to do so. As he finishes this chapter, he tells everyone to stop believing in mere humans.

People like to trust other people all the time. There is a certain amount of trust that everyone has. One trusts that the other driver will stay on his side of the road. One trusts that the cook in a restaurant will cook the food safely.

Others will put greater trust in people, such as trusting those in government positions to fix various problems in society. Trusting that the police force will be able to stop all crime from occurring. Trusting that the economy will get better. Trusting in their job to provide all their needed finances. The list for trust goes on infinitely.

The problem with all of this trust is that it is all in mere humans. Humans can do some things, but they are not really in full control of anything, but their own personal thoughts and actions. And even those things are being led by the devil.

People try to do good, but are often caught up in selfish motives, which in turn bring about the wrong choices. They can only see in the immediate, they cannot see the future or into the hearts of others. These are things that only God can do.

God is the only one who is truly in control. Regardless of how bad things turn out, God can work it out for your good. He can turn any situation around in a moment.

You must put all of your trust in God. Trust that God will guide the other person driving down the road. Trust that God will provide for your needs when a bad situation occurs. Trust that it is God is providing the abundant blessings in your life.

Man is just vapor in light of eternity. Who will you trust today? Man or God?

I pray today that you will know God personally; that you will trust Him with all of your life; that you will not put all your trust in man; and that you will live your life for God.

Peri

Book: Peri
Author:C.A.Richards
Published Date:2015

The story is an allegorical look at the birth and life of a person looking predominantly at the inner thoughts of the person. There are very few characters in it and not a lot of dialog. The book is mostly descriptive in nature with easy to read wording and sentences.

The main character, Peri, sees things from a perspective of learning as he goes through life. He makes many choices as he goes along, and some of them later learns to regret. Peri starts off as an innocent person not knowing anything and slowly learning about many things. As he gets older he wants to take on the world and be his own master and ruler of his world. Through his choices others get hurt or killed. He learns that it was his mistake that caused the problems. Towards the end of his life he realizes the mistakes he has made and tries to correct some of them. Some of his mistakes he was able to make amends for, while others were unable to be changed.

In real life, people do these very things. They want to be in complete control of their own life and have everyone bend to their desires. Many people feel that the rest of the world owes everything to them. Some of those people learn that the world does not owe them anything and that they are there to help others. Others never learn that lesson as Peri did towards his end. Everyone has to live according to the choices that they make.

This book will make for excellent discussion on the meanings of different aspects of the story and how they pertain to real life. Although it is a good book, there is no mention or symbolism of anything that represents Jesus or God. There is nothing in there about salvation or sin. This is the one major negative about the book since it is not, in my opinion, Christian in any way. It does show the views of the world very well.

This book is relatively short book of only 152 pages. It is this author’s first full length book and his first published book. There are some spelling errors in the book, but overall it is very well written.

John 6:67 Do You Want to Leave Also?

“You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve.” John 6:67

Jesus had just finished talking about that He is the bread of life and that people have to eat of His flesh and drink His blood to have that life. Many people chose to walk away from Him at that point. They had a hard time with His teaching. He then asks the disciples if they were going to walk away also.

You hear of people choosing to no longer follow Jesus a lot. The reasons for their choosing are many in number. Some it is because of some major loss. Others were hurt both other Christians or the church. Still others have a difficult time with the teachings of Jesus.

Ultimately choosing to not follow Jesus is due to the choice of refusing to accept His teachings. Jesus stated that there would be difficult times and hard choices to make. He had to go through massive persecution and had to make the choice to go through with the crucifixion. Jesus never asks you to do anything less or more than what He would do in your situation.

While there are many that completely walk away from Jesus, there are still many other believers who step away for a short time. They will choose to walk into sin even while the Holy Spirit is urging them not to do so.

Being willing to do a sinful act is choosing to leave Jesus for a time. Jesus cannot be with sin. If you are choosing to sin, you are also choosing to move away from Jesus and leave Him. Do not make that choice.

Realize that Jesus is the only one with true life. His teachings may be difficult at times, but they are worth it. He taught only what was needed to give you an abundant life here on earth and forever in heaven.

Are you seeking Jesus? Are you staying with Him? Are you accepting His teachings? Or are you walking away from Him?

I pray today that you will stay in the teachings of Jesus; that God will reveal the life He has for you; that you will know and follow Jesus all the way; and that you will pass on the teachings of Jesus.