Archive for the ‘Daniel’ Category

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“IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT VETERANS” – Nov 11

November 11, 2013

“He said, ‘Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end…And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise.  His power shall be great – but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints.”  Daniel 8:19, 23-24

My kids helped serve the local veterans at the annual VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Veterans Day dinner.  They told me that the dinner was very well received and attended.  I am glad that those veterans felt honored.  I initially was happy that the hall had been packed.  However, I found that fact a little depressing upon retrospection.

Imagine a world without war veterans.

I have nothing against veterans.  I have deep respect and appreciation for the service that they have shown to my country.  I am grateful for their sacrifice.  However, veterans come from only one activity – war.  If there were no wars, then there would be no veterans.

A world without veterans would be a world without wars.

VFW

I remember the small town parades of my youth.  The local VFW veterans always marched in the parade.  They were an assortment of older men primarily from World War II and the Korean War.  At the time, I could envision a day when they were gone and war veterans scarce.  Unfortunately, the VFW halls are now filling with veterans from Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and an assortment of smaller foreign engagements.  These veterans are now much younger than I am.  The parades of the future have a supply of veterans that will last beyond my life time.

English: Drawed by unknown Austrian newspaper ...A world without war veterans raises only feelings of skepticism. 

I recently listened to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast titled, “Blueprint for Armageddon I”.  Dan did a wonderful job in presenting the failure in leadership that allowed the intricate web of diplomatic stability to collapse after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

Just as during World War I, the world still has an endless supply of leaders with depraved souls that fight to pull the levers of power.  I believe that it always will.  I have never known a period in my life when there was not a war or “police action” occurring somewhere in the world.  All I have ever known is a world of wars and rumors of wars.

I can only imagine this fallen world with war veterans.

VFW Parade

I am aware of the bleakness of my world view.  However, my world view is the consistent theme throughout the Bible.  The hope of world peace resides in the return of the King of kings, Jesus Christ.  Lasting peace comes only through the new heaven and new earth of the Kingdom of God.  Until that time, we live under the reality of a world with the same character as shown to Daniel.  The character of this world is disturbing.  Daniel was disturbed by what he was shown.

And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days.  Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.  (Daniel 8:7)

I don’t understand all the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelations.  I am uncertain of the exact meanings and timing of these visions of the future.    However, I am confident in the trustworthiness of Scripture and know where to put my hope.  I have no hope in the kingdoms of men.  My hope is in Christ alone and His return.

I am certain enough of the future to be as appalled by the evil of men as Daniel.

Daniel responded to the future that the Lord showed him by falling on his knees in prayer.

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for you own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.  O God, incline your ear and hear, Open your eyes and see our desolation, and the city that is called by your name.  For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive.  O Lord, pay attention and act.  Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.  (Daniel 9:17-19)

I join my voice in appreciation of those who have served my country in the horrible duty of war on this Veterans Day.  I am sorry that my country needed to ask them to do what they  were willing to do.  I lament the necessity of their service.  I am appalled by the depravity revealed by war.  I am appalled by the fact that men continue to hurt and oppress other men.

Therefore, I follow Daniel’s example in prayer for this broken world.

PRAYER: O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for you own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your children in this desolate world.  To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our President, our legislators, our leaders in all forms, to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.  To the Lord our God belongs mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in His ways, which he set before us by His Son.  O God, incline your ear and hear, open your eyes and see the desperate condition of this world, my country, and those who are called by your name.  For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive.  O Lord, pay attention and act.  Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your Church and your people are called by your name.  Build your kingdom, O Lord.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“TRUSTING GOD WITH MY SANITY” – Nov 9

November 9, 2013

“But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.  He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys, He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.  Daniel 5:20-21

Wounded Warrior Project

I was recently watching a commercial for the Wounded Warrior Project.  The warrior they were highlighting had suffered a severe head injury.  Mentally, he is no longer the man his wife married.  He was expending tremendous effort to learn basic motor skills that a few years earlier had taken no thought.

However, the damage to this soldier’s brain has effected more than his ability to control his body.  My heart broke for this family when his wife explained that she now considered her husband among the children she cares for.  Her husband is no longer the decisive, independent, cheerful man that he once was.  His brain injury took more than what he could do.  It took who he had been.

Patrick Hoesly / Foter.com / CC BY

This story stirred within me a hidden fear.  I, like most people, do not relish the thought of a debilitating injury.  However, I have less fear of injuries and diseases that affect the body but don’t damage the mind.  While a person’s body may not function, they remain themselves as long as their mind functions.

I find the loss of my mind a fearful prospect.  Prior to public speaking, I have gotten a twinge of fear about sudden onset of tourette syndrome; what if I drop an f-bomb in the middle of a sermon or started barking during a City Council meeting.  When I can’t remember something common, I will go through a self-diagnosis for Alzheimer’s.  Depression’s thief of emotional balance, freaks me out.

Brain injuries, mental illness, Alzheimer’s, all defile the sanctuary of the mind and change the personality of a person.  I have difficulty separating my mind from my identity.  If my mind becomes lost, does the only person I’ve ever known myself to be, cease to exist?  Am I merely a unique network of synapses whose existence depends upon healthy tissue, proper chemistry, and the timely firing of neurons?

By my mind, I do all things.
By my mind, I know the world around me.
By my mind, I know my wife, children, and all whom I love.
By my mind, I read the scriptures and know my God.
By my mind, the world knows me.

ecstaticist / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

We learn in Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind.  Today, he would have been institutionalized rather than being left to eat grass and live exposed.  However, his reduction to beast was not due to random mental illness, an injury, or blood clot.

God took Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity. 

madamepsychosis / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I do not know the means by which he was deprived of his ability to reason but I know who its author was.  All that Nebuchadnezzar was; his position, wealth, status, intelligence, and personality were in God’s hands.  God took Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity from him so that he would “…know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Daniel 4:25)

I don’t know all the why’s behind malfunctioning brains.  I don’t know why age eventually strips everyone of clear thought.  However, I do know that God is in control of all things, including the function of brains.  I do know that God continued to know Nebuchadnezzar even when he did not know himself.

Therefore, I do not need to fear the loss of my mind.

Institut Douglas / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

God knows me.  I am His.  If my sanity leaves me, He has the power to keep me.  He will continue to know me even if the person I was ceases to be recognizable.  I am more than a network of synapses. There is a difference between soul and mind, even if I cannot perceive the difference.  The failure of my mind does not erase my soul.  No matter where suffering afflicts us, God keeps the souls of those who are His and brings them home.

God is great and greatly to be praised.  All that we have, even our sanity, is a gift from him.  All is His.  The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.  He is a good Father and knows what His children need.  He will take care of His children when they cannot take care of themselves.

Therefore, He can be trusted with all that we are and all that we have, even our sanity.

PRAYER: Lord, I lift up all my brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering through brain injuries and mental illnesses.  I pray that you will make yourself known to their troubled minds.  I pray that you will grant them a peace and understanding beyond the function of their mind.  Father, thank you for my mind.  Thank you for the gift of sanity.  Thank you enabling me to know myself and more importantly to know you.  Forgive me for my pride and fear.  I praise You, my Lord and Savior.  You truly are the most High God and all things are yours.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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