Raise your eyes to Heaven and gain sanity.  Praise God for all He does is right and good.

 

Happy Mother’s Day – There are mixed emotions on this day – grief and happiness – it is hard to celebrate the one without minimizing the other – but often in life situations are bittersweet.

Sweet video of an Alzheimer’s patient in Arkansas.  A silver alert went out because Melvyn took off by himself and his wife could not find him.  The police found him two miles from home not wondering aimlessly – he had gone out for a purpose the day before mother’s day.  He did not remember his address but he knew that he needed to get flowers for his wife for Mother’s Day like he had every other year since the birth of their first child.

 

We want to celebrate Mother’s Day

There are flowers as you leave to say thank you for being a Godly mother – thank you mom for all you do.

 

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Last week confusion – I was too clever for my own good.

I do not approve of same-sex weddings and I will not participate in same sex wedding.  Same –sex couples would only come to me if they were wanting to cause trouble and find a minister to take to court.

I will be glad to talk with any sinner who walks through the doors or calls on the phone.

If a drunk asked for money for a drink I would not condone his activity but I would share Jesus with him and try to help him get sober.

If an adulterer sought my approval they would hear they need to repent and I would tell them about the love and forgiveness found in Jesus.

If a same-sex couple sought my approval and services I would share Jesus with them, letting them know that Jesus is the only one they truly need to choose to love.

Jesus is always the answer – He is our only Hope!

Please know that my door is always open – You are allowed to ask me a question or disagree with me.  I ask that you to come to me if you have a concern.

The battle ahead of us as Christians is going to be huge.

Listen to the message of the gay agenda from a New York Times op-ed in April.

[In] the end, the continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision. It’s a choice. [It is based on tradition.]

So our debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn’t cling to.

Professor David Gushee, an evangelical Christian who teaches Christian ethics at Mercer University says, “Human understanding of what is sinful has changed over time,”

The article continues – Religion is going to be the final holdout and most stubborn refuge for homophobia. It will give license to discrimination.

Founders of an advocacy group, Faith in America, which aims to mitigate the damages done to L.G.B.T. people by “religion-based bigotry.”

Mr. Gold, a co-founder said that church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.”

The conclusion of the article says: His [Mr. Gold’s] commandment is worthy — and warranted. All of us, no matter our religious traditions, should know better than to tell gay people that they’re an offense.

God says that sin is an offense to Him and sexual immorality and homosexuality is a sin – not a tradition that can be changed by the whims of any generation.

We have been studying how much of an offence sin is before God.

What did we read this week?

Why is Daniel in Babylonian captivity?  Because God removed sinful Judah from His presence.

Signs and Wonders

Daniel

We find Daniel and his three friends as captives in Babylon in 605 BC.  They were the nobility and royalty of Judah, the wise and handsome (Daniel 1:3, 4).  They were forced (“had the opportunity”) to attend a three year Babylonian culture training for free.  Given room and board – forced to eat what the King allowed and changed their names (Daniel 1:6, 7).

Anything sound familiar?

This is how you indoctrinate people.  Teach them the language and literature and history of your country.

Much like an immigrant who has to pass a Citizenship test before they can become a US citizen.

Can you pass the test? (A few sample questions – http://www.testimmigration.com/Sample_Test_Online.html)

  1. What is the supreme law of the land?
  2. What does the constitution do?
  3. What is an amendment?
  4. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
  5. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
  6. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
  7. What is freedom of religion?

 

Daniel was a captive but he would not allow his oppression to effect his faith and faithfulness.

Daniel 1:8  But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9  Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel

Daniel did not want to break God’s law by eating animals not slaughtered in the proper manner (Deuteronomy 12:23-24), or of animals prohibited to the Jews as food (Leviticus 11:4-7; Leviticus 11:10-12; Leviticus 13-19, 20).  He did not want to eat anything offered to a Babylonian god.

Why was it only these 4 young men who remained faithful to God, maybe the others had already began to worship false gods or they were mad at God for letting them be carried away from their home land.

Even though eating from the Kings table was a temptation Daniel would not offend God that way.

The Babylonians wanted the Jews to change their diet and their names – they needed to realize that they were becoming Babylonians and they needed to lose their Jewish ways and identify with the Babylonian gods and not the God of Judah

Many famous have changed their names:

Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr converted to Islam and changed his name to identify with his heritage – you know him as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr changed his name after he converted to the Nation of Islam – you know him as Muhammad Ali

Daniel did not choose to change his name, it was changed for him,

Daniel means God is my judge, his new name Belteshazzar means May Balak protect

Han-a-niah – The Lord is Gracious to Shadrach – Command of Aku

Mish-ael – Who is what God is to Meshach – Who is what Aku is

Az-a-riah – The Lord has helped to Abednego – Servant of Nebo

Their name change did not cause them to change their allegiance from the one true God of Heaven

They remained faithful and God blessed them in the midst of captivity. Very much like God blessed Joseph as a slave and prisoner.

Daniel 1:17  To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. 18  At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19  The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20  In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom

Four teenage boys changing the world while they were in captivity.

That is what each of us are to be doing.

1 Peter 2:11  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Pagans will accuse but in the end God will be glorified.

All the wise men of the Kingdom was about to be killed because they couldn’t tell King Nebuchadnezzar his dream.  When Daniel heard about this he prayed.

He asked the king for more time and then went home and prayed with his friends.  Pleading for mercy – in the middle of the night God revealed the mystery to Daniel in a vision (Daniel 2:16-19).  He praised God and headed to the King.

Daniel 2:45  This is the meaning of the vision … “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” 46  Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47  The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”

God was praised by a pagan King

One lesson we learn from Daniel is that when there is a crisis he prayed.

What do you do in the midst of a crisis?

1 Thessalonians 5:16  Be joyful always; 17  pray continually; 18  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

After Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego really Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah was rescued from the fire King Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to God again.

Daniel 3:28  Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29  Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

The King is preaching truth – no other God is as powerful enough to save – because there is no other god that saves.  I wish we had a King that would protect our religious freedoms like King Nebuchadnezzar and like King Darius.

After God delivered Daniel from the lion’s den the King proclaimed.

Daniel 6:26  “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27  He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

We may have to go through the fire or thrown in a lion’s den.  We may be sold into slavery like our brother’s and sister’s around the world or we may be killed on the spot.  Whatever the future persecution of American Christians it will be no worse than those who have been martyred before us.

We must remain faithful so that God will be glorified.

I want to show a video next Sunday evening about 69 churches being burned down in Niger, 10 people killed and 11 more Christian’s houses burned.  Why?  Because the Muslims were upset over the cartoon that the French paper Charlie Hebdo printed

Now that is persecution and that is coming to an American town near you.  Muslims and Liberal activists will continue to grow bolder in their persecution.

We had better grow in our faith so we will be ready to be thrown in the fiery furnace.  We had better be able to say what the three Jewish heroes said.

Daniel 3:16  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar praised God for His wisdom in chapter 2 and praised God for His power to rescue in chapter 3, thirty years later the King praises God again.  This time he seems to be humble and repentant

Daniel interprets another dream for the King – this dream tells of his demise not of his powerful rule.

Daniel 4:29  Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30  he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31  The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, …Your royal authority has been taken from you. …33  Immediately …He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

Daniel 4:34  At the end of that time (7 years), I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. …37  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Raise your eyes to Heaven and gain sanity.  Praise God that all He does is right and good.

God is waiting – Jesus is calling

Sinner come home – humble yourself – repent of your sins

Come and be immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and God the Holy Spirit will indwell you.

Praising God for His wisdom and power are great but until we praise Him in repentance we remain in our sin.

Please come as we sing.