Old Testament: Daniel 1:1-2:23
Daniel 1:1-2:23 Diet And An Exercise
Daniel is an amazing book written by an amazing man. I don’t know anyone other than Daniel that you can point to and say he didn’t seem to ever sin. We teach our kids some of the most entertaining and profound stories from Daniel like the story of the lions’ den and the young boys in the furnace. One of the most brain-crunching prophecies is found in chapter 9. In fact, Daniel is often paired with Revelation as the combination of books that tell us the most about the future. There are even visions of four of the most powerful nations in history in chapters 2 and 7. Here we go:
Chapter 1 Daniel and his buds are taken captive into Babylonia. Jehoiakim was king of Judah who was besieged and ransacked by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Daniel may have been as young as fourteen but was most likely about seventeen years old. His friends were about the same age.
Daniel and friends were groomed and educated to serve the king. They were given the king’s rich food to eat though Daniel demurred and asked to eat only a simple diet (v. 8). As a result, he was tested and allowed to eat only vegetables for ten days (v. 12). Though it was feared the boys would be pale and frail, it turned out they were healthier than all the others servants (v. 15).
I myself have been searching for the best way to be healthy and found a diet similar to Daniel’s. Though I was afraid I wouldn’t be getting enough protein, I have found that with a vegetable protein powder and eating things like beans that I have had much more energy and been much more healthy. Here is my diet essentially:
- no sugar (also no sugar substitutes including saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, stevia, not much xylitol which can be good for teeth and in gum – the absolute worst is HFCS, High-Fructose Corn Syrup!)
- no dairy
- no eggs
- no meat, not much fish, limited salmon is good
- no nightshades (e.g.tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, white potatoes – though sweet potatoes are OK since they aren’t nightshades)
- limited or no whole grains (corn, air-popped popcorn OK)
- no little caffeine (white tea is good, though)
- no alcohol
- exercise 30 min. a day
- fast when possible (unless diabetic)
When Daniel and his buds took their final exams after three years, they came out better than all the pagan kids (v. 20).
Chapter 2 One night the king had a really bad nightmare. When he woke up, he was distraught. Further, he was tormented that he couldn’t remember the dream! So he brought in all his wise guys, magicians, and astrologers. The king encouraged them to remember his dream for him. Here’s how he encouraged them. He said if they could tell him his dream, he would give them riches and honor. On the other hand, if they couldn’t remember it, he would have their arms and legs yanked off. Now, there’s incentive! They stalled but the king was on to them. They said they couldn’t interpret his dream unless the king could tell them what it was (v. 7).
The king was furious and decreed that all of his advisors, including Daniel and the boys, be executed (vv. 12-13). Daniel told the executioner to chill and that with a little time he could tell the king what his dream was and what it meant (v. 16).
Dan went home and prayed with his friends.
New Testament: 1 Peter 3:8-4:6
1 Peter 3:8-4:6 Maintaining A Good Conscience
Peter exhorted his flock to get along (v. 8). They weren’t to retaliate for wrongs but instead look for ways to make others’ lives better (v. 9). God gave them salvation for that very purpose. He quoted Psalm 34:12-16 to show that long life is a result of speaking words that help others (v. 10). His actions must be the same (v. 11). A person who lives that way will have a powerful prayer life because God will hear his prayers (v. 12a). He won’t bless those whose goals end up hurting others (v. 12b).
Peter knows that some in his flock are being hurt and persecuted. He encourages them to keep doing good. No one will hurt them for doing good (v. 13) but even if they are harmed for doing good, God will bless them (v. 14).
They should always be ready to explain themselves and their Christian lives (v. 15b). They must do it with the right attitude, being gentle and empathetic since they want to honor Christ (v. 15a, c). Just as Paul tried to have a good conscience in every he did (cf. Acts 24:16), they should also keep a good conscience in all that they do (v. 16).
Peter knew by experience that it was better to suffer for doing right if things come to that (v. 17). As an example, Jesus died for us even though he was sinless (v. 18a, cf. 1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15). He died for us who were sinful so that we could have a relationship with God (v. 18b, another statement of “substitutionary atonement”). His body was killed but He was still alive spiritually (v. 18c). Christ preached through Noah to those who are now in Sheol. Those “spirits,” or people from Noah’s age sinned by not listening to the warning preached to them (v. 19-20a). Sheol is a “holding tank” for all the dead, believers or non-believers. (In the future there will be Heaven and Hell – cf. Matt. 25:41 – though believers now go to Paradise, cf. Matt. 23:43). Only eight people from Noah’s age, Noah’s family, escaped the flood (v. 20b). Thus, Noah is an example of someone during Old Testament times who endured abuse and suffering while preaching through the “spirit of Christ” (cf. 1 Pet. 1:11). We are to follow his example, as well as Christ’s, to persevere through trials and ill-treatment.
Noah and his family were saved through the flood by floating in the ark. Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which occurs when we are saved (cf. 1Cor. 12: 13), also lifts us to Heaven and eternal life (v. 21). It does not remove dirt from our bodies but removes dirt from our souls and yields a good conscience (v. 21a, cf. v. 16). The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the reason we can have that hope (v. 21b). He is now sitting next to the Father in Heaven with all authorities, powers and even angels now subservient to Him (v. 22).
1 Peter 4:1-6 Throne Appearances
Christ suffered as a man. Those of us who suffer in the body, for the cause of Christ, won’t end up sinning as much (v. 4:1). Suffering for the cause of Christ leads to holiness which is the will of God (vv. 1-2, cf. 1 Thes. 4:3). After salvation, it is time to leave our old lives of lust behind us (v. 3). Old friends will be surprised we don’t want to hang with them anymore (v. 4). They will end up standing before Christ at the White Throne Judgment (v. 5, cf. Rev. 20:11-12).
God wants all who are spiritually dead to be saved (v. 6, 1 Tim. 2:4). His hope is that they will not meet Him at the White Throne Judgment of unbelievers (Rev. 20:11-12) but at the bema seat judgment of rewards for believers (v. 6, cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10).
Psalm 119:65-80 The Word, Part 5 A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous
Proverbs 28:14 Fear Thee Well?
Remember Pharaoh? He didn’t fair well, did he? His heart was hardened. God made it hard (cf. Exod. 4:21; 7:3). He made it hard himself, too (cf. Exod. 8:15).
He didn’t fear the Lord. He hadn’t read Proverbs. I know it hadn’t been written yet, at least in the form it appears in our Bibles. He wouldn’t have heeded it anyway.
The main theme of Proverbs is that wisdom comes from respecting and worshipping Yahweh (cf. Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 19:23). Solomon also made clear in the book of Ecclesiastes that the purpose of life is fearing the Lord (cf. Eccles. 12:13). True contentment and happiness can only be found in a deep relationship with God.
Some, in the end of end times, will shake their fists at God, even in the midst of extreme judgment (cf. Rev 9:21; 16: 9, 11, 21; Job 15:25 NIV).
Choose Life: Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15 NASB “How To Apologize”
” . . . but set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence . . .” 1 Peter 3:15
I took several courses in seminary on apologetics. What is apologetics, you may ask? They were courses on how to apologize! That comes in very handy in the ministry.
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. OK. Just kidding. Apologetics is the field that studies how to defend what we believe. We studied things like how to prove that God exists, whether the Bible has errors, and proofs that Christ rose from the dead. Things like that.
Peter says that all Christians should be able to defend what they believe. Oh, wait. Does he really say that all Christians should be able to explain what they believe? I must be mistaken there.
Nope. That’s what it says.
Now you might not have to go to school and get a doctorate in apologetics but it would be helpful if you could, at least, explain how you got saved or how someone can be saved. All Christians should learn at least that much.
One of the most exciting things you can do in life is lead someone else to the Lord. It doesn’t really require a lot of information but it does require a little.
Today would be a good time to write out your testimony or prepare what you would say to someone who asks, “Are you a Christian? What does that mean?”
I did that years ago. I asked someone what it meant to be a Christian and now decades later I am writing this because he knew how to answer a few basic questions.
Can you do that?
If can, you will find an excitement you never had in your life and you will also find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
What would you say if someone asked you why you were a Christian? Would you be able to tell them? Would you be able to answer simple questions about Christ rising from the dead?
If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Do you know basics of the faith so that you can “apologize” properly?
Now would be the time to assemble some information you can share like the basics of being saved (see my home page and look for “How To Be Sure You’re Going To Heaven (no fine print, no caveats)”). Write out your answer and learn it so you can use it. Learn the “Roman Road” as outlined on my home page.
Be ready (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15).
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: Diet And An Exercise