Manna for Today

 

Peace During Anxious Times

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

           We are currently going through a unique period in the history of the world.  Everyone’s life is being affected by COVID-19.  Maybe you have been diagnosed with or know someone who has been diagnosed with it?  Maybe you have gone out to the grocery store to get something and you find the shelves are bare?  Maybe your work hours are getting taken away and you and wondering how you are going to pay your bills?  Maybe you have kids in school and now must figure out who’s going to watch them, or you have to decide between staying home or going to work?  These are all very overwhelming situations and have the ability to make any person shrink back in fear. 

            The Scripture I have up above is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount which comes from Matthew 6:25-34.  I think we can relate to this in a new way today.  There is a lot for us to be worried and anxious about what the future will hold.  We need to plan accordingly but trust that God will provide for us.  Whether it is food, money, or future plans.  Whatever we need God will get it for us.  It won’t mean things will be easy or we won’t have to sacrifice.  It means that God is with us and knows our needs.  It’s easy to want to sit and think things through to death.  Yet, I like what Jesus said in verse 34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  We just have to take this thing one day at a time.  

            In the verse before that, 33, Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God.  That is where our minds and hearts need to be focused.  If we are focused on building God’s kingdom we will have peace.  But how can we be focused on building God’s kingdom when we are discouraged to leave our house?  Great question!  There are many ways we can still be about God’s business.  Prayer, we need to be praying for each other and for others going through many difficult circumstances.  Phone calls, while we may not be able to physically be near to one another we can still call people and talk to them.  If you’re good with technology you can use social media, Facetime, or other video chat apps.  These are great ways to stay connected to encourage the body of Christ and hopefully impact unbelievers.   We still need to love the people around us. 
             Pray and see what God wants you to do to love people near you.  Who does God want you to reach out to?  Who could you check in on and encourage?  Is there someone you could go buy groceries for and deliver it to them?  What better way to use this time than to seek God’s kingdom.  If we do that, God will continue to provide for our needs and bring peace to our lives. 

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Hope in the End Times (Daniel 12)

Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”

7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time.  When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”

8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”

9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”  (Daniel 12:5-13)

Learn it:

            The last chapter in Daniel gives us one more conversation Daniel has with some angels.  Daniel is curious about when all these things will happen and “the man clothed in linen”, often believed to be Jesus, gives an answer.  His answer is based on the discussion of 70 weeks from the last chapter.  He is focused on that final 70th which is broken up into two 3.5 years.  The man in linen says that the events will take place in the second half of the 70th week.  That is when the anti-christ will cause the most pain for those who are still alive. 

            There is still hope for people during this time to accept Jesus as their Savior.  I believe that people who accepted Jesus as their Savior before this 70th week will be taken up in the rapture.  People who remain on earth will have an opportunity to recognize Christ as their Savior during the seven years of tribulation.  When the man in linen refers to the holy people being broken in verse seven, he is referring to Israel.  Some of their eyes will be opened to seeing Jesus for who he is. 

            Finally, Daniel is told to seal up his writings.  The angels, and Christ, know that these writings will be important for God’s people, which includes us!  We are then given more dates which apply to the length of the second half of the tribulation (1,260 day).  So what’s the extra 30 days?  Some believe that is the length of God’s judgement.  Then we see some extra days added on to that to make 1,335 days.  So what’s this addition 45 days?  Some believe that after the judgment of Christ, there will be a period of time in which it will take for God to setup is Kingdom.  Most of this is speculation because we don’t know what happens.  Then Daniel is told to rest and he will raise up again and receive what he is due at the right time.

Live it:

            There is a lot in this passage and in all of Daniel.  We are given a glimpse of what the end holds for believers.  There will be difficult times, but we are promised deliverance.  We are promised victory.  God will judge the earth but for those who have faith in Jesus we have a hope that cannot be stopped!  We will reign with God in his kingdom and it will be awesome!  Until then we are to continue on our work with no fear.  Just like Daniel was told to go his way, we should go our way as well.  Not with fear or anxiety but with faith that God has already delivered us.


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End Times (Daniel 11)

 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.  (Daniel 11:36-45)

Learn it:

            Chapter 11 is a detailed picture of things to come.  The first half of the chapter is about the near future for Daniel.  Things that will happen between 536 BC – 164 BC.  It is so detailed and accurate that some people believe that it was added in later to the book of Daniel.  As we have seen through the book of Daniel is that we have several predictions that we are able to verify.  What this does is that it allows us to have confidence in the things that have not happened yet.  It gives him strong credibility. 

            In the second half of this chapter, verses 36-45, are all about the end times.  The king described in it is the coming anti-christ.  He is going to be an authoritarian and will be blasphemous against God.  He will be a smooth talked and will start a great world war.  He will dominate Israel, the Beautiful Land, and make that is home base.  He will also accumulate great wealth in the process.  Yet again, as we have seen in other prophecies his reign will not last forever.  God will raise up other armies and he will come to an end. 

Live it:

            We keep seeing vision after vision telling similar stories but with more details every time.  We have learned that many of the prophecies that Daniel told have come true.  Things that he never could have predicted happened.  There are still many things to come and we await the coming of the Lord.  There are many people today that spend a lot of time looking for current events that line up with these and other prophecy’s in the Old Testament.  While that’s not wrong it distracts us from the mission Jesus gave us.  There are intense times coming in the future so we should be intensely focused on Jesus’ business. 


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Spiritual Warfare (Daniel 10)

10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”

18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 “Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”   20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.  (Daniel 10:10-21)

Learn it:

            For Daniel’s third vision we are given more details about how he receives it.  In the beginning of chapter 10 we see that he is in a weakened state and all of these visions are weighing on him.  When an angel arrives to tell him about this great war that is about to come, he falls to the ground and is unable to look at the angel.  The angel gives Daniel strength so he can stand and then encourages him.  He lets him know that God has heard his prayer.  It just took awhile for the angel to reach him because of some spiritual war that is going on.  When Daniel was feeling better after meeting with the angel, the angel then prepares him for his third message.

Live it:

            This passage is so cool because we get a glimpse into the spiritual realm.  We see that when God hears our prayers one way, he answers them is by sending out angels.  We read in the New Testament that part of angel’s roles is to minister to humans (Hebrews 1:14).  When angels are dispatched some of the delay may be in the fact that they get slowed down by demons!  What a thing to imagine!  This gives us some understanding about why we may have to wait for God’s help.  It’s all in his perfect timing and there is a war going on that his angels are battling against.  Have faith that God hears your prayers and trust he will meet you where you are when the timing is right. 


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Pastor’s Corner