Armenian Orthodox Leader: ‘We May Forgive One Day … But We Will Never Forget.’

Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, on what comes next after US House recognizes Armenians’ “legitimate claim” of genocide.
Armenian Orthodox Leader: ‘We May Forgive One Day ... But We Will Never Forget.’

The Armenian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. According to tradition, Armenia was evangelized by Jesus’ disciples Bartholomew and Thaddeus. In 301 A.D., it became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion.

An Oriental Orthodox church, the Armenians are in communion with the Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopian, and Malankara (India) churches. They differ with Catholics and Protestants over the 451 A.D. Council of Chalcedon decision to recognize Christ as one person with two natures: human and divine. Oriental Orthodox Christians declare Christ has one nature, both human and divine.

The Armenian Church is governed by two patriarchs, entitled Catholicos. One, Karekin II, is Supreme Patriarch for all Armenians and sits in Armenia.

CT interviewed Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, which was once located in modern-day Turkey but since the Armenian Genocide relocated to Antelias, Lebanon, five miles north of Beirut. His jurisdiction includes the Armenians of the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.

Aram I discussed the genocide, the US House of Representatives resolution this week to finally recognize it, and Armenians’ desired response from Turkey.

How do you respond to the US resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide?

Yesterday I made a statement welcoming warmly this action taken. I believe it is very much in line with the firm commitment of the United States of America in respect to human rights. The rights of the Armenian people are being violated. After more than 100 years, we tried to bring the attention of the international community that the Armenian Genocide is a fact of history.

Whether we call it genocide or massacre or deportation, the intention is important. The intention of the Ottoman Turkish government at the time was to destroy [and] eliminate the Armenian people for political reasons. The presence of Armenian people in the western part of present-day Turkey and [historic] Cilicia was an obstacle to their project of pan-Turanism.

This is our legitimate claim: that the international community make a visible, tangible manifestation of their concern in respect to human rights, and recognize the Armenian Genocide. It was carefully planned and systematically executed by the government at the time.

Our people all around the world warmly greeted this action of the House of Representatives. It is our firm expectation that the Senate will reaffirm their decision.

To what degree are you responsible for the Armenian genocide file in your church?

I am not the only person, but I am on the forefront—a dedicated spiritual soldier of this combat, for the restoration of our human rights. This center is a victim of the genocide. My predecessor was in Cilicia, in Sis, present-day Kozan [in Turkey’s Adana province]. The Holy See of Cilicia [now in Lebanon] was there for centuries. With his bishops, he was forced to leave.

The very existence of the diaspora is due to the genocide. It is an imposed reality. You saw the chapel, the relics of the genocide: Did they come from heaven? We didn’t decide to come here; the circumstances forced us.

The pursuit of our rights has been one of the top priorities in our agenda. The human rights issues are part of the mission of any church. We want to help our people continue this struggle.

For the first time, we took a legal action against Turkey. We filed a case demanding the return of our Holy See in Cilicia. Let’s see what will happen. What we are doing is the restoration of historical truth. Turkey has through illegal ways questioned our claim, but the historical reality and evidence is there. No one can deny that.

If Turkey really wants to establish contacts with the Armenian people and open a narrow window of opportunity to turn that page, if they have a good will, this case is their chance. So far, their reaction is negative.

What would the restoration of your legitimate rights include? How is the injustice of 100 years made correct today?

We may get different answers to that question. We must make a distinction between rhetoric and concrete reality. We should not be emotional.

The first step could be the return of the Holy See of Cilicia and the churches, monasteries, and community properties. We can limit our expectations to within the church. In politics, we have to be down to earth. Any package deal might not lead us in the right direction. We have to move step by step.

If Turkey shows “a good will,” what are the different visions of a second step?

I don’t want to anticipate anything. Nobody knows what will happen. Some of these churches have been converted into restaurants or mosques. In the last 100 years, some have been totally destroyed, some partially destroyed. But the Holy See of Cilicia can be a first step, as it has a profound symbolism—spiritual, national, and to a certain extent political. But it should not be mixed up with politics. For us, the church is the people. It is not just a piece of land.

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The creation of good will is very important in international relations. But the American resolution comes at a moment of profound “bad will” between the US and Turkey. Does the resolution threaten to damage the good will necessary to restore Armenian rights, since only Turkey can grant them?

Let me answer your question in a different way. America acts according to two principles: geopolitical interests, and human rights values. Sometimes—very often—you see contradiction between the two. I understand that reconciling them is not easy.

The United States has established relations with Turkey. This is reality. But the role of the church is always to remind and challenge the state authority to give serious consideration to human rights values—to go beyond the narrow geopolitical interests of a country.

How does the church’s spiritual role for forgiveness and reconciliation apply in the issue between Armenians and the Turks?

Forgiveness is an essential element of our Christian faith. But forgiveness comes when there is confession. The Armenian church said, ‘We may forgive one day when justice is done, but we will never forget.’

The church has a prophetic role to play. It must take a clear stand. I don’t believe in easy forgiveness, or easy reconciliation. Easy forgiveness may lead us in a wrong direction. The church must have the guts to say “no”; not always “yes” [and] not always “we forgive.”

The church’s role is one of reconciliation, but it is the result of a long process that implies accepting the truth and practicing justice. There is no real, lasting, permanent peace without justice—without accepting the truth.

The Turkish denial for 100 years of the genocide committed by their forefathers created an image of “enemy” with the Armenian people. We have a problem, and that problem is solved by the people and state accepting there was a crime committed. This is our legitimate claim.

In every “battle,” there are often others working behind the scenes to facilitate an eventual peace, even while the fight is going on. Is the Armenian church also involved in spiritual outreach to soften the hearts of the Turkish people or government, as the legal battle for rights is being waged?

The atmosphere in Turkey needs to be changed, and I see certain emerging positive signs. Some intellectuals have started referring to the genocides, using that word. And more than a million Turks have started saying openly that they have Armenian origins, and were forcefully converted to Islam. This is a new reality. They are born as Turks, but have identified their roots as Armenians. We have not yet discussed this issue: Muslim Armenians? This is a new phenomenon.

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I hope these signs increase day-by-day, and the people will come to realize that something very bad has happened against the Armenians. Erdogan, from time to time, refers to that. I hope he goes further, and says it was a crime, carefully planned and executed by the government at the time.

On the level of states, reconciliation is easier. They tried to open borders and start diplomatic and economic relations without mentioning genocide. But on the level of nations [peoples], I think it is very difficult.

The genocide is deeply rooted in our common consciousness. You cannot uproot it. You cannot solve this problem around the table, by coming to dialogue. The atmosphere must change.

Five years ago, I invited the first Turkish intellectual who had written a book recognizing the Armenian Genocide to come here. I told him, “My predecessors will anathematize me if they see from heaven that a Turk has come here. But they will see you in a different way.”

My telephone rang: It was my father, who heard I had invited a Turk to come here. When he gets angry, he starts talking in Turkish, because he was born in Turkey. He started criticizing Turkey with harsh words, and the author was sitting next to me.

“How have you accepted a Turk here in our church?” he said.

I said to the author, “I’m sorry for this embarrassing situation.”

He said, “No, this is the old generation, how they react.”

I told the author, “The new generation in Turkey should change this atmosphere of animosity, by taking certain concrete steps. And one of these steps could be the return of Armenian churches and monasteries.”

This does not have to be a political action. It can be an act of good will in accordance with international law and human rights.

The European Court of Human Rights has said that churches and monasteries need to be returned to their legitimate owners. We’re expecting this. Let’s see.

Read more: Will US Genocide Resolution Satisfy Armenian Christians?

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/november-web-only/aram-i-armenian-genocide-orthodox-catholicos-cilicia-turkey.html

VIDEO Kanye West Brings Sunday Service to Houston Jail: ‘This Is a Mission, Not a Show’

kanyejailsundayservice1

 

HANNAH BLEAU 16 Nov 2019

Rap superstar and fashion mogul Kanye West brought his famous Sunday Service to inmates in a Houston, Texas, jail this week, describing the effort as a “mission, not a show.”

The Jesus Is King artist appeared at the Harris County Jail this week with his choir and performed for inmates. The visit came ahead of West’s expected appearance at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, slated for Sunday.

“On this date, @kanyewest visits @HCSOTexas jail system. ‘This is a mission, not a show’- Kanye,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted. “@kanyewest visited us today. I know he has a busy weekend in H-Town surrounding his visit to @lakewoodchurch, so appreciate him and his choir spending time with us. #HouNews.”

Jason Spencer, Public Affairs Director for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, posted a series of photos, showing inmates praying, demonstratively moved by the moment.

Kanye West is expected to attend Lakewood’s 11 a.m. service on Sunday and hold his Sunday Service performance at the church at 7 p.m., local media reports.

The Grammy-winner and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump brought his Sunday Service to Bethany Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earlier this month, where 1,000 attendees dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ, according to Crossroads Church Pastor Curvine Brewington, who detailed what he witnessed in an Instagram post.

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Tonight, @candacebrewington & I got to experience Kanye West’s Sunday Service at @bethany_church in Baton Rouge. If you’ve ever doubted the legitimacy or spiritual impact of this #sundayservice project, simply look at this incredible shot taken by @the.smitan during the altar call. YES, I said ALTAR CALL. 😲 Tonight, worship was lifted, the name of Christ was exalted, the Word of God was preached, a multitude prayed together, the Gospel was clearly proclaimed, and an opportunity to respond was given. In a crowd of 6,000 people from all walks of life, all ages, and all races, i witnessed over 1,000 people respond to The Gospel by raising their hands to accept Jesus as their Lord & Savior! 😱🙌🏾 Say what you want, & think what you want…. But trust me when I tell you – The Spirit of the Living God was indeed present. I danced, wept, stood in awe of God’s redemptive work, & can honestly say that tonight I witnessed a new wave of REVIVAL first hand. #Jesusisking • Isaiah 43:19 “Behold I do a NEW thing. • 1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. • #excited #inspired 📸 @the.smitan

A post shared by Curvine Brewington (@curvinemusic) on

West’s commitment to Christianity prompted the American Bible Society (ABS) to hand out 1,000 free Bibles to those interested in Christianity, launching an initiative called “Bibles for Kanye Fans.”

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2019/11/16/watch-kanye-west-brings-sunday-service-to-houston-jail-this-is-a-mission-not-a-show/


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https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2019/11/16/free-tickets-to-kanye-west-performance-at-joel-osteens-church-scalped-for-hundreds-of-dollars/

The Rise and Fall of World Powers

The Forgotten Dream and the Unforgettable Daniel

By John MacArthur

 

INTRODUCTION

George Washington once said, “Few men have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” He was right. Most people have a price. A truly uncompromising man or woman is a very rare commodity. But that’s exactly the kind of person God looks for to do His work. He wants choice servants for choice ministries.

Daniel was such a person–he wouldn’t compromise (Dan. 1). So God used him to reveal His redemptive plan for Israel and the nations of the world. In Daniel 2 we find the most comprehensive prophetic picture of human history in the Old Testament. God chose Daniel because his uncompromising virtue and character put him in a position to influence the world through his prophecy.

The first 30 verses of chapter 2 divide into two simple thoughts: the forgotten dream (vv. 1-13) and the unforgettable Daniel (vv. 14-30). Daniel received a divine commission to reveal God’s plan in the midst of a crisis.

 

LESSON

I. THE FORGOTTEN DREAM (vv. 1-13)

A. The Dream (vv. 1-3)

1. The king’s response (v. 1)

“In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him.”

In Daniel 2:28-29 Daniel says to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, “Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these: As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter.” Lying in his bed one night, Nebuchadnezzar wondered what would happen to the world after he died.

Cataclysmic things had already taken place. The Babylonians had recently supplanted the Assyrian Empire and decisively defeated Egypt, which would never fully rise from its ashes. Israel had been taken captive, and Judah was in the process of dissolution.

Apparently God gave Nebuchadnezzar several dreams because the Hebrew word translated “dreams” is plural. But I believe one particular dream gave him the most anxiety. The Hebrew word translated “troubled” refers to a deep disturbance. Ordinary dreams can trouble a person, but not with the intensity indicated here. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream troubled him because it was God ordained.

Dreams Ordained to Reveal the Truth

It was not that unusual for God to reveal His plans in dreams to people in the past. Numbers 12:6 says that the Lord spoke to the prophets in visions and dreams. In Genesis 28:10-15 Jacob had a dream that promised him the land of Palestine. God spoke in dreams to Joseph (Gen. 37:5-10), Abimelech (Gen. 20:3), and Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15). God revealed to Pharaoh in a dream that Egypt would experience seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (Gen. 41:1-8). Through a dream God indirectly provided encouragement to Gideon and his men (Judg. 7:13-15). God no longer speaks through dreams because He has completed His revelation. Hebrews 1:2 says He “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” But in former days, God chose to speak through dreams.

 

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream panicked him. To make matters worse he couldn’t remember much of the details. (I believe God removed most of it from his memory.) Since only the fear of the dream remained, the king probably spent the remainder of the night in sleepless anxiety. By morning he was an emotional wreck.

2. The king’s request (vv. 2-3)

“Then the king commanded to summon the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.”

a) Gathering the experts

Nebuchadnezzar appealed to the brain trust of the Babylonian Empire to help him figure out his dream.

(1) Magicians–The Hebrew term translated “magicians” refers to fortune-tellers. It can also refer to scholars. In ancient societies it wasn’t unusual to see the two roles combined.

(2) Astrologers–These stargazers charted the positions of the stars and tried to determine peoples’ destinies on the basis of how they were arranged, much like those who make up horoscopes claim to do today.

(3) Sorcerers–These spiritualists and enchanters were mediums who attempted to talk with the dead.

(4) Chaldeans–Originally from southern Babylonia, the Chaldeans eventually rose to a place of prominence in the courts of Babylon after Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, himself a Chaldean, became king. Supposedly they were the wisest and most knowledgeable in the arts and sciences of Chaldea (Babylon).

As so many people do today, the king sought out the so- called experts. The king’s advisors believed in the importance of dreams, so they were anxious to help out the king.

 

The Chaldean Dream-Reading System

The Chaldean “experts in dreams worked on the principle that dreams and their sequel followed an empirical law which, given sufficient data, could be established…. Dream manuals, of which several examples have come to light [see A.L. Oppenheim, “The Interpretation of Dreams in the Ancient Near East,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 46.3 (1956): 203ff] consist accordingly of historical dreams and the events that followed them, arranged systematically for easy reference. Since these books had to try to cover every possible eventuality they became inordinately long; only the expert could find his way through them, and even he had to know the dream to begin with before he could search for the nearest possible parallel” (Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1978], pp. 86-87).

 

b) Presenting the problem

The king presented a challenging problem for his advisors: he had a dream, but had forgotten it (v. 3). The text in verse 1 indicates the king dreamed many dreams, but the use of the singular in verse 3 indicates that only one made a lasting impression. The king’s problem was about to become his advisor’s problem.

B. The Dilemma (vv. 4-9)

1. The Chaldeans’ confidence (v. 4)

“Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in Aramaic, O king, live forever; tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”

This verse begins a lengthy section written in Aramaic instead of Hebrew (Dan. 2:4;7:28). Aramaic was the main language used in the courts, and later in all southwest Asia. The wise men began, “O king, live forever” which is to say, “Long live the king.” That phrase was standard court etiquette. Then, with great confidence, they asked the king to recount his dream so they could interpret it for him. But the king couldn’t do so.

2. The king’s challenge (vv. 5-6)

“The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me. If ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation of it, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a refuse heap [dung hill]. But if ye show the dream, and its interpretation, ye shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor; therefore, show me the dream, and the interpretation of it.”

Nebuchadnezzar put his advisors on the spot. If they couldn’t reveal and interpret his dream they faced ruin. But if they were successful they would receive great reward and honor.

I believe Nebuchadnezzar was cynical of his advisors’ system of interpreting dreams. He may have believed the lot of them were nothing more than charlatans. So he put his court wise men to the test to determine if they had been telling the truth in the past, and if they were worth his confidence in the the future. And He had to know, because forgetting a dream was considered an ominous sign in the Orient: it meant the gods were angry.

Commentators translate the phrase “the thing is gone from me” (v. 5) differently. Some believe the king said, “I am sure of it,” implying he did know the dream but was holding it back from his advisors. However I believe he had forgotten the dream–it is the only solution that makes sense to me given the context. I believe God wanted the king to forget the dream to expose the impotence and deception of Babylonian wisdom. At the same time it established Daniel as the mouthpiece of God unequaled by any of the Babylonian wise men. As the king gave his wise men the ultimate test to determine their integrity and true abilities, he appeared tyrannical and unreasonable. Commentator H.C. Leupold said, “We venture to say that, if the Chaldeans had not made pretense of having access to the deepest and most completely hidden things, the king would never have made this unreasonable request of them” (Exposition of Daniel [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969], p. 89).

The king promised a devastating punishment if he discovered they couldn’t interpret his dream: he would cut them to pieces and turn their houses into manure piles. Such a punishment was not uncommon in ancient middle-eastern cultures when someone had severely dishonored himself or defamed an exalted person. The victim was executed and his house torn down and replaced by a public outhouse (e.g., 2 Kings 10:27). But if the Chaldeans did what the king asked, they were to be greatly rewarded.

3. The Chaldean’s claim (v. 7)

“They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.”

Not having any other choice, the wise men held their ground. They realized they faced a serious dilemma. They knew they couldn’t recount the dream–they didn’t have access to divine truth; they couldn’t ascend into the supernatural realm. Their pretentious claims would be exposed unless they knew the dream.

4. The king’s cynicism (vv. 8-9)

“The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you; for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time is changed; therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me its interpretation.”

The king could see that his advisors were stalling. He knew they had prepared wicked lies for him. That gives us a true indication of how he felt about his advisors. He saw the phoniness of their system. He probably remembered past predictions that had never come to pass. He was cynical about the whole system.

C. The Deficiency (vv. 10-11)

1. Confessed (v. 10)

“The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can reveal the king’s matter; therefore, there is no king, lord, nor ruler that asked such things of any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.”

The wise men claimed the king was asking them to do the impossible. No one can predict the future. Horoscopes aren’t reliable apart from demonic influence and mind control. The only place anyone can read about the future is in the Bible. The wise men concluded that no ruler, no matter how great and powerful he might be, was justified in asking anything like Nebuchadnezzar did.

2. Contrasted (v. 11)

“It is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is no other that can reveal it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

The wise men correctly identified the supernatural as the only source from which such information is available. They were trapped in their inability to gain access to that realm.

D. The Decree (vv. 12-13)

“For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.”

The wrath of a demanding monarch knows no limitations. The king was angry for several reasons: he couldn’t remember the details of a dream that had caused him great fear, he couldn’t trust his wise men to tell him the truth, he was convinced they had lied to him in the past, and they criticized him, claiming he had no right to demand of them what he had. So he stooped to the depths some dictators will when their desires are crossed: he ordered that they all be executed.

Daniel and his fellows were sought because they were part of the corps of court advisers. Since they were only apprentices, however, I don’t believe they were in the group of wise men who had been summoned by the king.

 

II. THE UNFORGETTABLE DANIEL (vv. 14-30)

The king’s wise men had been forced to admit that only a supernatural being could reveal the details of a forgotten dream to anyone. That admission set up the scene for Daniel exactly as God planned. He was God’s man commissioned to reveal prophetic truth at a time of crisis.

Certain character qualities make a person useful to God at such a time. Many people are useful to God when life is calm, but when a crisis hits, those with true commitment are separated from the marginal. Daniel was faced with an angry monarch about to slaughter all his wise men, himself included.

A. His Composure (vv. 14-15)

1. A calm attitude (v. 14)

“Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon.”

Daniel was calm and composed even though his life was on the line. He never panicked because he had confidence in God. He knew his destiny rested in God’s sovereign will. People who respond to a crisis like that are prepared before the crisis ever comes.

The phrase translated “counsel and wisdom” could easily be translated “wisdom and discretion.” Daniel spoke appropriately and reasonably. When the king’s guard approached Daniel to inform him of the decree and seize him, he responded appropriately with great counsel, wisdom, and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the guard.

Since the Aramaic root translated “captain” comes from a verb that means “to slay,” Arioch may have served as the king’s executioner. Although other soldiers in the guard were collecting the various wise men, the captain himself went to see Daniel. That enabled Daniel to have direct access to the king through the king’s own executioner.

2. A careful question (v. 15)

“He answered and said to Arioch, the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.”

We can see that God controlled Arioch’s response since he took the time to explain the situation. Daniel had the ability in the midst of panic to put people at ease. Daniel was fearless because his life was in God’s hands. A man without composure will never have an effective long-range ministry because ministry involves meeting one crisis after another.

B. His Courage (v. 16)

“Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the [dream and its] interpretation.”

Instead of executing Daniel, Arioch apparently arranged an audience with the king for him. Though only a youthful apprentice, Daniel boldly asked the king to give him time to show the king the whole interpretation. Daniel was not at all presumptuous in his request to the king. He knew God had given him the ability to reveal dreams and visions (Dan. 1:17).

The king did not grant the wise men the time they so desperately needed, yet he did to Daniel. Why? Perhaps he remembered when he first examined Daniel and his friends and found them ten times wiser than the wisest men in Babylon (1:20). But also Daniel was courageous. Its hard not to admire a man with strong, confident faith in God, and the willingness to face a frustrated, raging king.

If you don’t have composure and courage, you’ll never make it through a crisis. But you can be composed and courageous any time when you know you stand on the authority of God’s revealed Word.

C. His Prayer (vv. 17-19a)

1. The request (vv. 17-18)

“Then Daniel went to his house, and he made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, his companions; that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

Daniel went back to tell his friends that he had been granted time to determine the dream and its interpretation. At once they began to “desire mercies of the God of heaven.” That’s a long way of saying that they began to pray. Daniel’s confidence was in God, so he immediately sought communion with the Lord. God’s special servants are people of prayer. Daniel could have depended on his righteous character and his gift of interpreting dreams and visions, but he depended on God. He didn’t expect to receive what he needed without prayer. He depended on God’s mercy. He didn’t look to men’s wisdom or in dream books; he got on his knees. God’s man in a crisis doesn’t take his troubles to other people; he takes them to God. He may ask other people to pray with him as Daniel did, but he knows God is the source.

2. The answer (v. 19a)

“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.”

In the middle of that night of prayer, God revealed His secret to Daniel.

D. His Praise (vv. 19b-23)

1. He blessed God (vv. 19b-22)

“Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his, and he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to those who know understanding; he revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.”

Daniel blessed God in what amounts to a hymn of praise. His blessing was directed to “the name of God,” which is all that God is. He blessed God for His attributes such as His wisdom, power, and omniscience.

2. He thanked God (v. 23)

“I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee; for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”

Daniel thanked God for His blessings and especially for answering his and his friend’s urgent prayer request.

E. His Compassion (vv. 24-26)

1. Daniel’s plea (v. 24)

“Therefore, Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and said thus unto him, Destroy not the wise men of Babylon. Bring me in before the king, and I will reveal unto the king the interpretation.”

Daniel went to Arioch to make sure the executioner didn’t carry out his assignment. Here we see Daniel, a Hebrew captive, countermanding an order given by the king! I think Daniel was motivated by compassion for the wise men. He knew they were lost in their idolatry and doomed to hell. He didn’t want them to die.

2. Arioch’s declaration (v. 25)

“Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.”

With much excitement, Arioch brought Daniel before the king, taking more credit than he deserved. Actually Daniel had approached him, but when you’re a servant of the king there’s a tendency to do all you can to impress your master.

3. Nebuchadnezzar’s question (v. 26)

“The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation of it?”

The king put Daniel on the spot. If Daniel couldn’t fulfill his claim, there would be an even greater reason for his execution since he had postponed the king’s original command. So he pressed Daniel for a confirmation of his ability.

F. His Humility (vv. 27-30)

In spite of all his gifts, brilliance, and spiritual maturity, Daniel remained humble. Furthermore, he had received extensive training, was ten times wiser than the other wise men, and could interpret visions and dreams. If anyone had anything to be proud of, Daniel did. But he remained humble.

1. The ineffectiveness of the wise men (v. 27)

“Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, reveal unto the king.”

Daniel wanted to affirm the futility of astrology and the like. He set the true God against useless dream manuals.

2. The supremacy of God (vv. 28-29)

“But there is a God in heaven who revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king, Nebuchadnezzar, what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these: As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and he who revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.”

God had given the king a dream about the “latter days,” which refers to the final portion of a time period. In this case Daniel was referring to the time of the Gentiles, extending to the millennial kingdom.

3. The attitude of Daniel (v. 30)

“But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.”

Daniel wouldn’t take any credit for knowing the king’s dream. God is the revealer of secrets. Daniel knew he had been used by God for His purposes.

 

CONCLUSION

Daniel was a man for a time of crisis. He was composed and courageous. His relationship to God was strong as seen by his communion with Him in prayer. And he had the right attitude toward others, revealed by his compassion and humility. Daniel was a rare man, and that’s why God used him the way He did. He was a choice servant.

 

Focusing on the Facts

1. What did George Washington mean when he said, “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder”?

2.What virtue of Daniel put him in a position to be greatly used of God?

3.What was the king’s response to the dream that he received from God (Dan. 2:1)?

4.When was it normal for God to reveal truth in dreams? Why would it be abnormal today?

5.What action did the king initially take to find answers to his dream (Dan. 2:2-3)?

6.What did the king’s advisors believe about dreams? What tools did they use in their analyses?

7.Why did the king decide to put his court wise men to the test?

8.Why didn’t God allow Nebuchadnezzar to remember his dream?

9.According to Daniel 2:8-9, what was the king’s analysis of his advisors and their dream-reading system?

10.What is the only source that can accurately predict the future (Dan. 2:11)?

11.Explain why the king wanted to destroy the wise men of Babylon (Dan. 2:11-12).

12.Why didn’t Daniel panic under the threat of death?

13.What is significant about Arioch’s coming to arrest Daniel?

14.What did the king grant to Daniel that he refused to give to the wise men?

15. What gave Daniel boldness to go before Nebuchadnezzar?

16.What did Daniel and his friends do with the time they’d been given to determine the dream and its interpretation (Dan. 2:17-18)?

17.What do we learn about God from Daniel’s prayer (Dan. 2:19-23)?

18.How did Daniel reveal his compassion (Dan. 2:24)?

19. Why might Daniel have had reason to be proud? How did he demonstrate his humility (Dan. 2:30)?

 

Pondering the Principles

1. Do you personally know people who consult mediums and horoscopes to gain direction for their lives? Have you offered them the Word of God as the most trustworthy guide for living? Make a brief study of the following passages to learn what you might share with them to help lead them away from their dependence on the occult to faith in God:

* occultic practices condemned by God (Ex. 22:18Lev. 19:263120:6Deut. 18:10-12Gal. 5:19-21Rev. 22:15)

* the tendency of the occult to overshadow divine truth and authority (1 Sam. 15:23Isa. 8:19-20)

* demonic influences behind the occult (Acts 16:16-18)

* the impotence of occultic practices before God (Isa. 44:24-25Acts 16:18)

* the association of the occult with false prophets (Jer. 27:9-10)

* the consequences of occultic practices (1 Chron. 10:13-142 Chron. 33:69-11)

Use these passages to direct your friends toward faith in God: Deuteronomy 29:29Isaiah 46:9-1055:6-8John 8:1216:13.

2.How does your character hold up under crisis? What was the last crisis you faced? How long did it take before you prayed to the Lord for guidance and strength? Do you feel you were fully trusting God for the outcome? Are you spiritually prepared for the next crisis? How do you feel you can best prepare yourself for it? Meditate on the following to increase your confidence in the Lord’s protection and deliverance: Psalms 4, 23, 27, and 34.

https://www.gty.org/library/study-guides/182/the-rise-and-fall-of-world-powers

God Help I Need Direction

 

by Pastor Ray Patrick

Yesterday I had a serious call from a dear friend of mine who was very anxious about the future, not sure what to do and not clear what God is saying. Do you need direction in your life? The first question we need to ask ourselves is, “am I acknowledging God in all my ways and in all areas of my life?” In other words, is He first place in your life?

When you are driving on the roads and motorway say, “Father, thank You for keeping me safe.” When on the job say, “Lord, help me to be focused and productive.” At home, “Father, bless my children.” Before you go to bed, “Lord, thank You for a good night’s rest.”

Today, if you want to know God and His direction for your life, seek Him first. Throughout the day acknowledge Him, ask for His help and wisdom, follow His Word and commands, and thank Him for His goodness. Each morning, wake up and say, “Father, thank You for another beautiful day. I commit this day, my plans and my future into Your hands.” When you start the day like this, you are acknowledging God. He promises to crown your day with success. The bible says, when you acknowledge Him in every way, He promises to direct your paths and He will lead and guide you every step of the way into everlasting life!

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

(Proverbs 3:6, NKJV)

Pray With Me
Yahweh, I acknowledge You in everything I do. Father, I invite You to direct my steps and search my heart. I surrender every area of my life to You. Keep me close to You always, in Jesus’ Name! Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/10/26/god-help-i-need-direction/

The Fight Against The Midianites!

November 6, 2019 hepsibahgarden

And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. Judges‬ ‭7:16-17

There are 3 important things mentioned here:

  • Trumpet in every man’s hand
  • Empty pitchers
  • Lamps within the pitchers.

The story in brief: The Lord chose Gideon to fight for the Israelites against the Midianites. The Israelites had gone into captivity of the enemy because they had sinned against God. Now, being in the midst of slavery and bondage, the Israelites remembered God and called out for help; as an answer, God sent a prophet to strengthen them and chose Gideon to lead His people out of captivity. Judges 6:1-16.

After getting his confirmation from God, Gideon set out to gather an army to fight the Midianites. When God promises something, He delivers 100 percent. Gideon was asked to make an army of 300 men who were divided into three groups. Each group had the above mentioned things in their hands. In our lives, what do these represent?

1. Trumpet – Refers to having a life of prayer and reading the Word of God. We cannot fight the enemy with our own ability/strength. We need God’s strength for this. God will fight our battles, we just need to be still. Jesus, Daniel, Hezekiah, Moses —each of them had a life of prayer by which God did miracles.

Secondly, the Word of God also makes us perfect. Word of God is Word of Grace. Through His Word, God gives us victory over our enemies.

2. Empty Pitchers — This refers to our individual lives. Genesis 2:7. God made man out of the dust of the ground. And as a fact, man does not really have anything to boast about in his life. If at all there is, then it is purely God’s blessing, His Grace in their lives. However, every one who reminds himself of his own frame, tend to live a life of humility and acknowledgement to God.

But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah‬ ‭64:8‬. An earthen vessel is breakable; may not last long. Our body is also an earthen vessel and it needs to be surrendered to be broken for the Lord (for the ministry). That is, using our strength to work for God. 1 Peter 4:1.

3. Lamps – This refers to living an exemplary life. A lamp is lighted not to be kept under a basket but upon a lamp stand. Our lives should be so full of Christ’s light that those straying away would see the light in us and be attracted to it. Our light should shine before others. Mathew 5:14-16.

There are 3 qualities the children of light need to have: 1 Thessalonians 5:8

  • Breastplate of Faith
  • Breastplate of Love
  • Hope of Salvation

With the trumpet, empty pitchers and lamps within the pitchers, God helped Gideon and his men fight the Midianites and win a great victory over them. May God help us also to have them in our lives as well to fight every spiritual warfare that comes against us.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

VIDEO Less religion means less civilization – and freedom

Jerry Newcombe on devastating impact of Christian values waning in America

Oct 29, 2019

Pew Research Center recently wrote about “the decline of Christianity” at a “rapid pace.”

Pew stated: “More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%). In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious ‘nones,’ and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.”

Some scholars, like Byron Johnson of Baylor, object that some Americans described as “nones” actually attend non-denominational churches, but are misclassified as if they are unbelievers.

Still, regardless of the statistical details, it does not bode well for society that Christianity is losing it influence.

In 1798, Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale, warned, “Where there is no religion, there is no morality. … With the loss of religion…the security of life, liberty and property are buried in ruins.”

The scary thing about Christianity losing influence in society is what it means to morality in America – and thus to freedom. As William Penn once noted, “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.”

Yet our cultural elites do so much to banish any vestiges of religion in the public square.

Even as I write this, the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), is dealing with a case involving a retirement center in Florida, where residents display all sorts of lawn ornaments – oh, but there is a 12-inch white cross on one couple’s lawn. The cross is not allowed. Everything else is.

Because of so many liberal judges and so few Christian ones, the courts have sometimes gone to ludicrous lengths to keep any kind of religious – no, I should say Christian – expression out of the public arena. Perhaps the situation is moderately improving, since there are fewer justices on the high court who are legislating from the bench than in previous eras.

However, even to this day, we are still dealing with the damage caused by these court cases that have driven expressions of Judeo-Christian religion out of the public square.

A shocking and classic example is when the Supreme Court declared that the Ten Commandments were not allowed in the classroom. In the 1980 case of Stone v. Graham, the high court sided with the secularists in a Kentucky case involving privately funded copies of the Decalogue of Moses that were displayed in some public schools.

Justice William Brennan wrote the decision, striking down public displays of the Ten Commandments with these chilling words: “If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause.”

Imagine that. Children obeying the Ten Commandments. How awful.

In a recent television interview, Christian attorney David Gibbs III of the National Center for Law and Liberty told me, “Now, shockingly, we live in a day where unfortunately school shootings and other things dominate our news at levels that are heartbreaking. And I think many American citizens would disagree with the Supreme Court and say, ‘You know what? We would like to see some principles and some values, where the young people of our nation would be taught that there is a right, there is a wrong, that thou shalt not kill.'”

Gibbs continued, “Why is murder against the law? Well, it’s against the law, because the Bible teaches that life has value and that God condemns. When you look at many of the things that we put into our legal system that we might consider core, you know, in terms of the safety and protection of people, it was all Bible-based.”

In the mid-1800s, former Speaker of the House Robert Charles Winthrop (descendant of John Winthrop) wisely warned us, “All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”

A professor at Harvard Business School shows in a 90 second video the same idea: The less internal morality, the greater the need for external policing and vice versa.

This is a sober message as so many Americans seem to be entering a “brave new world” and leaving God and therefore morality behind – and thereby our freedom as well.

 

Original here

Faith: Still Strong Enough To Alter Today’s Facts

30/10/2019 by Ihagh G. T.

YOUR OUTCOME IS DETERMINED BY WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN—FAITH OR FACT.

If people have been altering facts, then faith can still alter today’s facts.

Achieving greatness shouldn’t be guided only by what can be seen or sighted.

It should go beyond that, and be governed more by what can’t be seen—the unseen: faith.

Even God’s word hinted in 2nd Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight”.

Faith is rooted in the spiritual, while facts are more rooted in the physical.

Faith is superior to fact, and stronger than it!

Fact is temporal and changeable, while faith is eternal and unchangeable.

Even history has shown that fact can become untrue.

Decades ago it was considered a fact that malaria had no cure; in fact many people died because of it.

However, that is no longer the case today. 

In the past, it was considered a fact that iron/steel could neither fly in air, nor float on water.

But today large quantities of iron/steel are flying in the form of aircraft.

Also, large quantities of iron/steel are floating in the form of ships from one part of the world to another—carrying people and cargo anywhere they wish.

In the same vein, it was once believed in the past that mankind would never be able to set foot on the moon, but someone first did it.

In the past there were no drugs for treatment of many diseases; however, there are so many drugs for treatment of many diseases today.

As it happens in every generation, it will still happen again and again: people of faith will discover many things and change many facts.

Always remember this: If people and time have altered fact, then faith can still alter today’s facts!

Past events that disproved the impossible: one person’s impossibility is another person’s possibility

Faith: still strong enough to alter today’s facts