Hope for the Future

Hope for the Future

It is impossible for us to imagine the emotional rollercoaster endured by young Daniel and his three friends. They had lived all of their lives in one of the most spiritual times in the history of the Jews. In the six decades before they were born, king Manasseh and king Amon, had brought idols into Solomon’s glorious temple. Yet Daniel grew up knowing only of the temple worship which Josiah had restored. For the two decades before they were taken Babylon, the worship of God had been restored—they knew nothing of idolatrous worship. If you marvel at Daniel’s faith, remember that the world in which he lived was a world where the Jews faithfully served God.

God provides hope for the future when all around appears dim and bleak.

God provides hope for the future when all around appears dim and bleak.

Three years after Josiah’s death, Daniel was taken by Nebuchadnezzar to serve him in Babylon. That “rollercoaster of faith” descended into a pagan world saturated with immorality. After Daniel and his friends arrived in Babylon, idol worship began to flourish once again because of the new kings, sons of Josiah. Nebuchadnezzar would soon make two more assaults against Israel and finally destroy the holy city. Jeremiah was in Jerusalem and watched as Jerusalem was filled with false prophets. They prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would return the holy temple vessels taken from the temple and be defeated by the Jews. These prophets were courageously confronted by Jeremiah for twenty-three years (Jer. 25:3). The world in which Daniel had been reared no longer existed. Sin had returned to Judah and God had sent the sword, famine and pestilence to try to get the Jews to see His judgment and return to Him.

Jeremiah sent a letter to those Jews who had already been taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. It specifically told them they would be in Babylon for seventy years, but then the prophet told them of God’s promise. “I know the thoughts I have toward you…to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). Two chapters later, God said, “There is hope in your future…that your children shall come back to their own border” (31:17).

How could there possibly be hope? The temple was destroyed, the city was leveled and the only physical connection Daniel could have with Jerusalem was to go to his window and pray in the direction of the ruins of the temple. How could there be hope when Nebuchadnezzar demanded all those in Babylon worship his golden idol. (Remember the fiery furnace?)

There was no physical evidence there would ever be a return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. How could there be hope when they were in a hopeless situation? The answer is simple. God promised them a future and God cannot lie. Are you on a “rollercoaster of faith”? Has your world collapsed around you? Have hope, for God cannot lie about your future!

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Seeing God the Father

Seeing God the Father

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. – ESV

[No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.- KJV]

John 1:18

This verse is not saying that no man had ever seen any sort of manifestation of God.  The Bible records several instances in which God had manifested himself to prophets in certain ways.  Yahweh had told Aaron and Miriam about Moses, “With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord” (Num. 12:8), and the Bible says repeatedly that the Lord spoke to Moses “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11; Deut. 34:10).  Yet, even then God would not fully show the glory of his face to Moses (Ex. 33:18-23).  Isaiah also saw the Lord and feared for his life because of it (Is. 6:1-7).

We see God the Father through Christ the Son.

We see God the Father through Christ the Son.

Contextually, John is talking about Jesus, the Word “who is God” (John 1:1).  While others like Moses and Isaiah had seen various forms of God which he allowed to be shown to them, it would be Jesus who would make God known as never before.  Christ the Son of God, being “the only God, who is at the Father’s side,” had not been made known before…but now is known through Jesus.  Moses, Isaiah, and the other prophets taught the people what they had heard God speak to them, his creation…the Creator talking to the creation.  Jesus, on the other hand, taught the people what he knew of God as his equal, and thus was able to give a greater understanding as to God’s nature.

It is for this reason that he would say to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), and later that same evening pray to his Father, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world” (John 17:6) while speaking of “the glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).  Paul would say of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God…” (Col. 1:15).  The writer of Hebrews perhaps put it best:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.  After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

(Hebrews 1:1-4)

Jesus knew God more than any of the prophets who came before him, and when we read about him and how he was in the gospels we are seeing God revealed as never before.  It is for this reason that it is impossible to truly know God without first knowing Jesus (John 14:6).

Not only that, but consider this also.  As followers of Jesus, we must strive to be like him (Luke 6:40)…and by becoming more and more like him, we are becoming more and more like God, because Jesus is God and reveals through his own teaching and character how God truly is more than anyone else.  It was God’s plan from the beginning that we be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29), in other words, that people would see Jesus in us.

Are we allowing that to happen?

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An Abomination

An Abomination

Fifty years ago, to a God-fearing people, it was unthinkable. Fifty years ago, to a God-fearing people, it was unimaginable. Fifty years ago, a God-fearing nation full of God-fearing people never could have conceived, in their worst or wildest nightmares, that they would ever, in their entire lifetimes, have to face the reality of such a ghastly, horrific, ungodly, and satanic occurrence. It no more occurred to a God-fearing people then, than it occurred to God Himself what an awful and horrible abomination His Old Testament people would commit in the fiery massacre and sacrifice of their own God given offspring (Jeremiah 32:35; Psalm 127:3-5).

Minds and behaviors far from God.  They have become an abomination.

Minds and behaviors far from God. They glorify not but have become an abomination.

And yet, today, a somewhat similar satanic abomination has become an almost constant and commonplace occurrence. And so much so, that now schools scheme for it; colleges collaborate over it; and police forces and S.W.A.T. teams must routinely plan, practice, and prepare for it. After all, how often since Columbine have we switched on the news and seen it? Yet another cowardly and deranged, suicidal teen or twenty-something, with absolutely no regard, respect, or reverence for almighty God or God-given human life, goes to a school somewhere and starts mowing down defenseless students… But in the name of all-consuming common-sense, legitimate life-learned logic, and especially divinely-inspired and God-given Scripture, WHAT ELSE SHOULD ANYONE, WITH ANY WHISPER OF WISDOM WHATSOEVER, REALLY AND TRULY EXPECT TO HAPPEN?

Scripture says: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). Over the course of the last fifty years, masses of confused and misled Americans have constantly and continually sought to run God and any semblance of respect or reverence for the sanctity of godly standards, godly morals, godly discipline, or God-given human life out of our society, starting in our schools and court systems. When you deny the fact that God created us in His image; deny school students the right to pray openly and publically; legalize the outright murder of millions and millions of unborn baby human beings; illegalize any attempt whatsoever to introduce or reinforce godly morals, standards, or discipline at a young age; and then, instead, replace such good, pure, holy, righteous and lovely, life-giving and respecting restraints and lifestyles with such deviant, satanic, and suicidal moral, physical, and sexual license – WHAT ELSE COULD YOU POSSIBLY, REALISTICALLY EXPECT, AS THE ONLY POSSIBLE OUTCOME?

Just like the arrogant, ignorant, self-deluded and power-hungry rulers of old (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8), those today who thus seek to minimize, marginalize, neutralize, and/or outright deny the very existence of almighty God and what His eternal, inerrant, and all-authoritative word perpetually prophecies and promises, actually and in all reality, wind up completely fulfilling, validating, and verifying it – and to the very letter at that! Not only do we see this powerfully, perfectly, and perpetually proven in places like Galatians 6:7-8 as noted above, relative to recent church, school, concert, and military installation shootings on American soil, we also see it when we turn to places like James as well: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18).

The root of the problem today, and what needs to be desperately and immediately corrected – ungodly liberal bias and ignorance notwithstanding of course – is not that we have too many guns in our hands and homes, but that we have too little of God in our hearts and minds! The root of the problem is, that those who seek to deny the very existence of their all powerful and eternal Creator simply because they do not want to humble themselves before, and submit to and obey Him, have been so militantly and aggressively advancing a decades-long agenda, that they have now succeeded in producing several generations of progressively worsening decadence, in whom “there is no fear of God before their eyes,” which is where the foundational seeds of all such evil and violence subsequently take root, ripen, and eventually produce such deadly and devastating fruit (once again, just as the God they seek to deny, they once again validate, by so very clearly and concisely fulfilling exactly what He said would happen nearly two millennia ago – See: Romans 3:10-18).

In fact, we have regressed so far back into the abyss by now, that we have produced a whole generation, a number of which are apparently not even intelligent enough to realize or to be able to tell if they were born a boy or a girl, and believe consuming deadly poison laundry detergent is somehow a sign of intelligence and/or maturity. Where oh where will this ugly and ungodly progression of God-denying darkness take us next? God help us all to turn back to Him before it’s too late… if it’s not already.

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