Daniel 4:34-37 Video Devotional

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. – Daniel 4:34-37

Nebuchadnezzar’s story ends with him praising God after his ordeal in the wilderness. His was a journey with lots to overcome, but as far as we can read, through Daniel’s account, Nebuchadnezzar finished his life praising and extolling the God of Heaven. We don’t know for sure if this was a full-on salvation experience for him, but I think it is safe to assume that.

The Babylonian king’s salvation means a few things for us today. First, if the guy who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple can be saved, then anyone can! Think of all the death and destruction he brought to the Jews when he sacked the city. Not only that, but with his own people, he was an arrogant tyrant of a king who wanted people to only bow down to him!

But God is in the business of saving people just like that. People who are ruled by their sin; completely helpless without God, are some of God’s favorite salvation circumstances. Whether it is the thief on the cross next to Jesus, Peter (a bumbler in his own right) or Paul (murderer of Christians), the Bible gives many accounts of people being saved who would not pass a par role hearing. God saves the lost.

Next, in the process of saving, He chooses to use people who are willing to invest and even sacrifice for those that may never appreciate it. Daniel suffered greatly in his efforts to be a good influence on Nebuchadnezzar. It took a long time to get these results, but Daniel never gave up. Has anyone ever told you to give up sharing your faith? That it’ll never work on them? Never give up praying for them and loving them! No one ever knows what God will do – and He likes to surprise. Stay tuned to God’s marvelous work and allow yourself to be amazed at His creativity in saving His creation!



Daniel 4:9-18 Video Devotional

“O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

“I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.” – Daniel 4:9-18

We come to another dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s – this one a warning. Despite his movements towards humility and honor of God, Nebuchadnezzar still holds on to a lot of arrogance, thinking very highly of himself. Though it is interesting that we have seen multiple instances of him praising God, this story shows us clearly that one’ coming to God is a process, not a one-time thing. This dream is the big change-maker in his life.

Of course no one but Daniel can interpret the dream, thus leading the king to go to one of his most trusted advisors for the answer (however, he still hasn’t learned to go to Daniel first). He recognizes the power in Daniel and trusts him with the interpretation.

The king had a lot to learn, but it is cool that we are shown his progression towards God. We don’t know har far he goes in his spiritual journey, but we definitely see a journey, and that is something we need to understand with all people. In our zeal to tell others about Jesus, we need to realize that everyone is on a journey and us jumping in at some random point is a small blip on the totality of their journey. It is an important blip, but they might be better served if we make sure our presence is more than one blip.

In other words, let’s make sure to enter in to other people’s lives and journeys before presenting Jesus. We need to build relationships with them, love them, and truly know them. Then we can be most aware to when the right time and the movement of the Spirit is leading us to present Jesus. Proper witnessing is a long-term relationship, sprinkling the gospel over many conversations. Take the time to invest in those relationships (like Daniel did) and watch the spiritual fruit grow!



Daniel 2:12-16 Video Devotional

Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. – Daniel 2:12-16

Right at the start of this story, we see Daniel thrown again into the fire, this time simply because he was part of a certain group of advisors! He had nothing to do with the situation, but was looped in and, as verse 13 states, was hunted for death. It is really just predicament after predicament.

Note here that again, this had absolutely nothing to do with Daniel or his actions (even positive action). He is merely an innocent person thrown into a life and death situation. None of this was or even could have been his fault. I can imagine anyone in these situations becoming increasingly frustrated or even angry over constantly being looped into things that he had nothing to do with; yet, Daniel chose to respond with prudence.

Again, respect and love were how Daniel chose to treat the man who was literally hunting him for death. He reached out to Arioch directly and asked for clarification and immediately offered to give the king what he is seeking – an interpretation to his dream. There is no hesitation, annoyance, or desire to seek revenge on the man sent to kill him. Simply business – Daniel learns of the problem and calmly offers to fix it.

This can be a challenge for me; not responding to actual threats to my safety but responding to one of my children when they constantly interrupt me with questions during a movie. It doesn’t have to be a life-threatening situation; only an opportunity disguised as an irritation. This is a very real-life problem.

How often do we respond to people that are a thorn in our flesh (for whatever reason) when they come around the corner? Are you mean to them? Do you ignore them? Do you simply just wish in your heart they weren’t there? Or, like Daniel, do you choose to show nothing but love and respect and seek to serve their needs. That’s Daniel’s example. That’s our challenge.



Acts 25:13-22 Video Devotional

“Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.” (Acts 25:13-22)

I find it very interesting that in these verses we get a unique conversation between Festus and Agrippa, which offers some insight into how the Romans view this conflict. King Agrippa was the “king” of Judea, but since the Jews were under Roman rule, he was more of a Roman client in place in that territory for the benefit of the emperor. As such, he had a place and some authority, but was ultimately another stop for Paul on the way to Rome.

He was introduced to Paul and Paul again took his chance to share his story – which means he shared the gospel with them. This “defense” Paul made gave the Roman officials enough evidence to actually render their verdict (at least among themselves) – Paul did nothing that deserved death. They couldn’t even properly lay out the charges against him.

It seems like Paul was going through all this craziness for nothing! Right? It’s clear to the Romans that there is no need to send him on to Caesar, as there is no reason to hold him. Yet, to Caesar he goes. Why? Because this journey is not about getting cleared of the charges. This journey is about reaching Rome and sharing the gospel to Caesar, along with anyone else who will listen. 

There are many things that we get lost in. Maybe it’s an unplanned job change or cross-country move, maybe an unexpected death or loss of a home; whatever the circumstances, it can be easy to get lost in the drama of the situation and seek only the end of the situation. But often there is more – if we are willing to take the journey to its full conclusion and allow ourselves to travail the difficult path, we can find incredible rewards in the fullness of His path and presence. Don’t run from the bad situation. Journey through it and seek God in, allowing yourself to find the plan God has for you in that pain. 



Acts 23:23-35 Video Devotional

“Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” And he wrote a letter to this effect: “Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.” (Acts 23:23-35)

The Jewish council responded to Paul’s argument by getting angry and violent. They wanted him dead so badly that they vowed not to eat or dink until Paul was killed. I am guessing they got pretty hungry (and lost some weight), as thankfully their efforts and plotting were unsuccessful. Paul’s nephew was warned of the ambush and set off to save Paul’s life, leading the tribune to pass Paul off to the governor Felix. With Paul went 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, 200 spearmen! That might have been a bit much, but it is incredible to see how overtly God protected His witness.

This was the first step in Paul’s movement up the chain of the Roman command. It began with a tribune and a murderous plot by the Jewish council. It ended with the Emperor in Rome. God is amazing in how He sets everything up so perfectly!

While it was perfect planning and timing by God, that didn’t mean it was an easy road for Paul. Once they got to Caesarea and to Felix the Governor, they were told to hurry up and wait. Paul would spend a lot of time waiting – for Felix, Festus and even the emperor himself. But what did Paul do with all that time? What would you do with all that time?

Paul used every chance he got to share the gospel of Jesus. More often than not, I feel I would end up getting impatient and let too many of those small moments pass. Waiting is never fun. But, we can be joyful and trust in God during any situation. I pray that is how I would act in that situation. I will pray the same for you.



Genesis 50:24-26 Video Devotional

“And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” (Genesis 50:24-26)

The ending verses of Genesis chronicle the end of Joseph’s life and the last words he said to his brothers. Joseph knew Egypt was not their home, and with his unusual understanding of the time it can take for God’s promises to be fulfilled, seemed clear that their journey from Egypt would not happen for a while. But again, Egypt was not their home.

This was so clear to Joseph that he made his brothers promise to carry his bones with them when they left, a promise fulfilled in Exodus 13:19 by Moses. What is cool here is that Joseph had the future vision in his sights – he wasn’t focused on the immediate, he was intent to see God’s promises fulfilled despite how long it may take to come to pass.

This is consistent with his character throughout his story. God’s promises may take time (see Hebrews 11:39 – “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised”), but they are all fulfilled. Whatever situation you find yourself in, relax and be patient, for God’s promises will come to completion in Christ Jesus. We just don’t know exactly when. Blessings to you!



Hebrews 12:1-3 Video Devotional

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

I may have good excuses for being exhausted lately, but they are nothing compared to friends that are taking extra jobs, including night shift work to provide for and protect their families. People who are doing what it takes to properly care for their loved ones are to be commended during this time (and any time, for that matter). 

And even they are not alone in this. Everyone is exhausted. Mentally, physically, socially, emotionally. Maybe even spiritually. This is a time when we can very easily be weak and become more prone to sin. I know temptations have been higher for myself and I am sure I am not alone in that.

That’s where today’s verses come in – friends, this is an long range situation we are in and we have to endure through it. There is no option; either we endure or we die. To do that, we need to shed the sin and get ourselves free of entanglements – then stare straight at Jesus and run! He will give us the strength and energy we need – just keep your eyes on Him.

As a way of running towards Jesus and connecting with the hall of fame in Hebrews 11, please reply to this thread or make a new post and tag me/the church in it and share your testimonial. What was the key turning point that brought you to trust in Jesus? I would really love to hear your story. Blessings to you!



Exodus 12:40-42 Video Devotional

“The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.” (Exodus 12:40-42)
 
Sitting here at my desk, it is difficult to put my mind around the next few months and how to make it through this time. It literally feels like forever. Yet it is only a couple of months. Imagine trying to picture the idea of waiting 430 years! That’s how long the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Every moment of every day they were holding their breath, unsure of what would happen next and constantly waiting for their rescue. It must have been excruciating. Yet, through it all, God was right by their side, feeling their pain with them, but putting together the perfect solution that would ultimately help them understand the sacrifice Jesus would make on the cross. God passes over the Christians’ sin because we are hidden in Christ.
 
I am with you; this waiting is hard. But we can do it, because we know that God is working out something good for us, as well as showing the whole world His greatness and glory. People will come to faith in Jesus as a result of this difficult time. God is faithful and will work it all out for His purposes and glory – and one of His main purposes is to bring life and healing to people.
 
So, let’s be patient together, bearing one another in love, gentleness and humility (Ephesians 4:2).


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