Spiritual Rants: “Back To The Future” December 3 Daily Bible Readings in a year: Daniel 11:2-35 1 John 3:7-24 Psalm 122:1-9 Proverbs 29:1

Old Testament: Daniel 11:2-35

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Daniel 11:2-35   Back To The Future

If the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 didn’t blow your brain out your ear maybe this will do it.  The prophecies in this chapter are so accurate that they make unbelieving theologians cringe.  They have to re-date Daniel so it seems like whoever wrote it must’ve written after the fact.  Or maybe Daniel just went “back to the future.”

Here’s who Daniel wrote about:

1)  Persia (v. 2)

2)  Alexander the Great of Greece  (vv. 3-4)

3)  The Ptolemies and Seleucids before Antiochus Epiphanes  (vv. 5-20)

4)  Antiochus Epiphanes  (vv. 21-35)

More details can be found in commentaries like Wiersbe’s or McGee’s.

Suffice to say, that these prophecies, like the one in Daniel 9, are amazingly accurate in their predictions.  What does it mean for us?  It says that God is God.  His book is absolutely accurate.  He knows things ahead of time because he is omniscient (all-knowing).  We can trust Him.  We can trust His Word.

New Testament:  1 John 3:7-24

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1 John 3:7-24    Reverse Day

When I was a kid, we’d kid around and say, “OK, it’s reverse day.”  Then we’d reverse the meaning of everything.  Black was right, right was wrong, sweet was sour.  You get the idea.  In our passage today, the false teachers were reversing right and wrong.  John called them out for it.  He didn’t like “reverse days.”

Again, the Apostle of Love calls his flock, “little children” (v. 7).  The false teachers were teaching that wrong was right and right was wrong.  Are we being taught that today?  Of course, we see it everywhere and some of it is being fed to us almost subliminally through movies, TV, music and the internet.  Some in my youth group laughed at me when I told them that a major animation company was feeding them Zen messages through their kids movies.  But, of course, we are receiving religious messages, materialism, and worldly philosophies through our media.  Sex is used to sell cars, sporting events, clothes and even cholesterol-rich, preservative-filled, hormone-laden burgers!  There has maybe never been a time when the world has been fed so much anti-biblical teaching.  Isaiah chastised the people of his day for exchanging right and wrong, light and dark (cf. Isa. 5:20).

John calls out the teachers who were practicing sin.  He said they were of the devil (v. 8a, cf. John 8:44).  Jesus came to earth to stamp out the devil (v. 8b) so that we live without sin (v. 7).

Don’t freak out reading verse 9.  It doesn’t mean that if you sin, you aren’t really saved.  The dilemma in understanding this verse is easily solved by realizing that Biblical Greek is a more precise language than English. The NIV translation helps a lot here by translating the phrase, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin.”  That is the sense of the Greek verb.  The NLT has, “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning.”  The idea is that Christians should not sin.  It is not normal for them to sin.  If they do sin, they move ahead in their Christian lives and mature so they sin less and less.  If they aren’t something is wrong.  Long ago, I had a non-Christian friend who told someone that it wasn’t like I didn’t mess up.  But, he said, unlike others, I tried to do something about it.  (That is a paraphrase since it was such a long time ago but that was the gist of it.)  I considered it a big compliment.  In fact, that kind of improvement is how non-Christians know that we are different.  As John puts it, that is how people can tell us from those who are of the devil (v. 10a).

The Christians stand out as well because they love each other (v. 10b, 11a, cf. John 13:34-35).  In case you hadn’t noticed, people will hate you for being a Christian.  They will hate you because you don’t sin like they do (v. 12a, cf. 1 Pet. 4:4).  The second man who ever lived, Cain, had that problem (v. 12b).  We shouldn’t be surprised if the people of the world don’t like us or even despise us (v. 13).  If we witness to them and show them love, they will be mean.   I hate to say it but even Christians who act like the worldly people can be the same way.  That is why John warns against hating (v. 15, cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:43-44).  It is not the nature of Christians to act that way.  They are supposed to be like our older brother and model Who laid down His life for us (v. 16).  Hating is the same as murder.  He learned that from Jesus (cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:21-22).

Like James, John was concerned that Christians not only think the truth but also act the truth.  He said that anyone who took something that someone else needed and didn’t help out was not acting like a Christian (v. 17).  Christians should not just render “lip service” but real service (v. 18).

Sometimes we might have a guilty conscience when we really haven’t done anything wrong.  If we can’t think of anything we’ve done wrong but still feel guilty, we should assure ourselves that God is bigger than we are.  He can certainly communicate to us if we’ve done something wrong (v. 20).  If we know our relationship with the Lord is clear, we can ask God for anything according to His will (vv. 21-22, cf. 1 John 5:14, 5,  Ps. 66:18-19).

Here is John’s theme, everyone in the world should choose to believe in Christ.  If you only do one thing in life, you should get that one thing done:  believe in Jesus (v. 23a).  You have to choose it.  See, it’s a commandment!  What do you do when you are commanded?  You choose to do it if you’re going to do it!  John is saying that that is the number one commandment in life (v. 23).  Choose Christ!

Then we are supposed to do everything else that God commanded us to do.  That is how we stay in touch with Him and have fellowship (v. 24a).  In other words, read the Word and find out what God wants of you.  And here’s how you know if you’re on track, on the “straight and narrow,” the Holy Spirit Who dwells inside you will let you know (v. 24).

 

Psalm 122:1-9   Happy Feet  A Song Of Trust By David


Proverbs 29:1   When Sands Have Run Out

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2 Corinthians 6:2 says that today is the day of salvation.  I think it means that no one can tempt fate and put off trusting the Lord.  If someone knows what is the right thing to do and doesn’t do it is in grave jeopardy (cf. James 4:17).  God will give someone as much time as they need to figure things out but after that they are standing on quicksand and in peril of being swallowed up at any moment.

Some people don’t fully realize that Christ is Savior and Lord.  They can be allowed to some of their questions and then have the gospel be explained to them clearly (see “How To Be Sure You’re Going To Heaven,” jerry rothauser.com).  Once they understand, they are completely responsible to trust Christ (cf. Eph. 2:8-9).

Check out the story of Pharaoh in Exod. 7-14.  He remained stubborn after many chances to trust Yahweh.

Years ago I ended up parking cars at the Atlanta Hilton.  I gave the gospel to one of the security guards who worked the overnight shift with me. I explained that 1) all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) 2) Christ died for our sins (Rom. 5:8) 3) that he had to personally trust Christ for salvation (Eph. 2:8,9). I asked if he understood all that I told him. He said he did. I asked him if he’d like to receive Christ. He said he’d like to think about it. I asked him how long he’d like to think about it. He said for a few days so we agreed on a day the next week I would ask him again. That day arrived and I asked him if he had thought about what I’d told him.  I thought he probably hadn’t thought through all that I had explained to him.  But he said he had.  So I asked if he’d like to trust Christ. He calmly replied that he did not want to trust Christ.

The next day he called in sick to work. The next day he was found dead. His opportunities in life had run out. God took him.

As verse 1 says, “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.”

 

Choose Life: Scripture:  1 John 3:24  NASB    “Fly Straight”

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”   1 John 3:24

 

I’ve never flown a jet but I have seen the movie Airplane!.  I’ve even flown on a jet more than once.  So one thing I understand.  You need two wings, at least, to fly.

The Christian life is similar to flying an airplane.  It takes two wings to stay aloft.  One keeps us objective, the Bible.  The other is more subjective, the Holy Spirit.

Here are four things we have to consider from the objective side because they are actually listed in the Bible as commands regarding the Holy Spirit:

 

1)  Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:15)

2)  Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18)

3)  Don’t grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30)

4)  Don’t quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19)

We can learn more about each of the commands but basically all those commands have to be interpreted by us with the help of the Spirit.

John says in our verse today that we must keep God’s commands.  That is the objective wing of the Christian life.  But he also says, that we’d know that we’re staying close to God by His Spirit.  That is more subjective.

How are your wings today?  Are you studying your Bible every day?  Are you learning to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit (see yesterday’s blog:  Sensitivity To The Holy Spirit).

See how far you can fly today.

 

 

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

The purpose of the Bible is to help us with our relationship with God.  Our relationship with God in this age is through the Holy Spirit.  How?  By following God’s commands to be filled, walk, not to grieve and not to quench the Spirit.  What does that look like?

A lady in our fellowship works at an assisted living home as a nurse.  She had a sense one day that a lady on the second floor should be checked on.  No one would listen to the nurse but as time went by she felt even more strongly that someone should look in on that lady.  Finally, though it wasn’t her job, she went and checked on her herself.  She found the lady slumped over and unconscious.  She was rushed to a hospital.

The stories in your life might not be as dramatic as that one.  Within biblical guidelines, there are many paths to take.  You might wonder who to marry, what job to take, which side of a fork in the road to drive on.  God guides us within the parameters He has laid out in the Bible.

Are you listening today?

 

 

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Back To The Future

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