40 days is a long time and it is enough time to establish a habit, overcome an adversary or endure a trial. Do you feel like you are enduring a trying time in your life this Lent? Then, look to Daniel today and see God from His perspective. Daniel was a Jew who was taken from Jerusalem and deported to Babylon. He and his friends were smart and resourceful and were a part of the king’s wise men. The king had a dream and no one seemed to be able to tell him the meaning of it. He got frustrated and ordered all the ‘wise’ men killed. Daniel heard about this and ran to tell his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah. He asked them to pray and ask God for mercy concerning this mystery. During the night God revealed to Daniel the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Here is Daniel’s praise to God from Daniel 2:20-23.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Do you share Daniel’s high view of God? Daniel knew from first hand experience that God was sovereign, all powerful, eternal, wise, light, and worthy of praise. Where do you need strength or knowledge today? Ask Him like Daniel did then praise Him even before He answers.
Suggestion: As you journey through this day, keep Daniel’s prayer of praise in your mind. When you encounter difficulties, pray immediately and leave it to God. Then wait expectantly for His answers.
When we think about blessings and what it means to be blessed, one of the first things that comes into the mind of the believer is salvation. Truly being spared the wrath of God in judgement and being able to live with Him forever in heaven is a BIG blessing. Scripture tell us exactly that in Psalm 32:1-2.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
We are spared from the wrath of God (God’s anger over sin) because Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again so that we could be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10-12) His blood provides the atonement for our sins as He covers us so that when God looks at the believer He sees Jesus’ atoning blood not our sin. “God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy.” Romans 3:25 We are forgiven and God promises to not hold our sins against us. I love these verses in Micah about God, His forgiveness and the fact that He casts my sins into the depths of the sea. Praise God once confessed, our sins are gone forever! Micah 7:8-10
Lord, who is a God like you? You forgive sin. You forgive your people when they do what is wrong. You don’t stay angry forever. Instead, you take delight in showing your faithful love to them. 19 Once again you will show loving concern for us. You will completely wipe out the evil things we’ve done. You will throw all our sins into the bottom of the sea.
How blessed am I?Because of Jesus and His sacrifice, God forgives my sin and casts it into the depths of the sea. Because of Jesus, I can continue to walk with Him each day and have His light to shine for others. 1 John 1:6-7 puts it this way. “Suppose we say that we share life with God but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living out the truth. 7 But suppose we walk in the light, just as he is in the light. Then we share life with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his Son, makes us pure from all sin.”
May your day be filled with joy as you reflect on your treasured state of being- forgiven, all your sins are gone out of God’s sight forever, you are able to walk with Jesus in His light each day and saved for eternity. Now there are eternal blessings we can count upon!
I love the story of the shepherds and the angels. God’s heavenly beings announcing the biggest event in history to lowly shepherds, the guys out tending the sheep in the lonely hills. “In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. Luke 2:8-9
If you had been on guard duty that night, it would have been totally dark in the hills around Bethlehem. The only light would have been the moon and stars until out of nowhere you are suddenly surrounded by glorious flashing lights. I think terror would have been the emotion of the evening. Before we hear from the angels in tomorrow’s passage, let’s stop and consider why would God send holy messengers to announce His Son’s birth to shepherds? Why not to the powerful kings of the day, or nobles? Perhaps Jesus said it best, in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus came as our Savior to touch the lives of those that will seek Him. He came to save the world from the penalty of sin which is death. Timothy wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
As you listen and think about the flashing lights on that lonely night in Bethlehem, praise God that Jesus came. He alone can save. John 14:6 ” “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Isaiah wrote of the darkness in which man existed, the pervasiveness of sin and its oppression. Jesus came in light and glory to dispel that darkness of sin, show it for what it was and still is, and to point all peoples to God. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus spoke of this darkness and the coming of all people to the light. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The time of proclamation will not last forever but has an end when Christ returns. The time is now to step into His light and follow Him.
Isaiah 60:2-3 “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Jesus quoted these next words from Isaiah 9:2 in Matthew 4:16. Then Jesus began to preach “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” Matthew 4:17.
Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Jesus was and is the light that shines in the darkness bringing light, hope, and redemption to all who believe. Jesus confirmed this in John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the one who reveals our sins, that darkness around and in us, and brings us into His light for healing and cleansing.
Be encouraged and convicted as you consider the light Jesus brought to the world.
Because I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a child of the light. Paul made this bold statement to the Thessalonian Christians while he was telling them to be awake, aware and encouraged as they waited for the Lord Jesus to return. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” Throughout scripture light has been associated with God- He created light (Genesis 1:3), He is our light and our salvation (Psalm 27:1), He will be our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19) and Jesus proclaimed himself to be the light of the world on multiple occasions. John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Being achild of light is a privileged place. It is a state of being that is wholesome, pure and does not have a shadow of darkness anywhere. The opposite of a child of light would be a child of darkness. Satan and sin are associated with darkness, and it is a state that leads to death. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Without Jesus we are walking in darkness and are not guided by the ‘light of life’.
I love that Paul tells us in verse 8 above “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” We have salvation and the hope of eternity protecting our thinking, thoughts and future. We are to take this place of light seriously and be on guard, awake and aware of the enemy who would love to lure us back into the darkness. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We don’t need to be afraid but on guard, always standing firm with the Lord.