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    • By c taylor in cm taylor
         0
      3. The Gold Standard

      Daniel Chapter Three


       
      Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

       If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

       But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

      Daniel 3:16-18


       
      K

      eep in mind that in chapter two, Daniel tells and interprets King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concerning the statue made of different metals. The dream spoke of other nations – one after another – taking over Babylon. But now in this chapter, perhaps Neb has had some time to think. Perhaps he has decided that Babylon doesn’t have to become subject to other nations. After all, we’re talking Babylon the great, conquering nation.

                  Is Nebuchadnezzar trying to render the dream impotent by commanding an image of gold to be constructed? Who or what is this image of gold? One of his gods? Or, himself? In the dream, only the head of the image was gold and it represented Babylon. This wide awake image is totally gold. And beginning with all of his administrators, people must fall down and worship the image when they hear the music.

                  Sure enough, the music plays and people gather – with the exception of some of the Jews (vv.1-12): Azariah, Mishael, and Hananiah (Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego). They are brought to Nebuchadnezzar. We know these guys have been called out because they are Jews and their colleagues have jealously sought opportunity to get rid of them.

                  Nebuchadnezzar asks a really dumb question when the guys are brought before him. I’m gonna give Neb the benefit of the doubt because, after all, Babylon is a big place and the king has a large staff, right? He can’t keep up with everybody, but apparently, when it suits their purposes, certain of his staff seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the staff.

      Of course, these guys do not worship the Babylonian gods – was there ever any question about that? Of course, they’re not gonna worship the golden image – duh! They express to the king that they firmly believe the Lord will deliver them – that’s their faith. But … even if God does not deliver them, they will not serve or bow to other gods (vv.16-18)!

      Well, Neb is undone! He orders the furnace to be heated seven times hotter, has the men bound by his mighty warriors and thrown into the furnace. By the way, the folks who threw them into the furnace are turned into crispy critters as they throw them in (v.22)!

      Neb sits back, “I guess I showed those self-righteous Jews who’s in charge!” And then, he looks and sees not three, but four men in the furnace (v.25)! And one, he says, looks like the Son of God! The sight draws the king off his throne and to the mouth of the furnace (where, interestingly, he’s not burned). He commands them to come out, acknowledging their God as he does so.

      He commends them for being faithful to their God, even in the face of death. He further decrees that anybody who speaks against their God will suffer dire consequences (v.29). King Nebuchadnezzar is reminded Who God is – again. Azariah, Mishael, and Hananiah are promoted – again.

       
      Livin’ Large

      We must choose – a life of service to the Lord or belly aching about what we’re entitled to. The message for years that has emanated from a bunch of pulpits has been one of entitlement more than and rather than service, loving God, and loving people. Of how to get what we want from the Lord than how to be faithful and obedient.  And, what to do when faith is called on the carpet.

                  All of us wonder at some time or another what we would do if we were called on to give up our lives for the faith.  Well, I had an opportunity to find out a few years ago.

                  I had a dream. It was dark, so I knew the dream was the enemy, but God had a purpose for it. I was standing before a man in uniform who was sitting at an empty office desk in a dimly lit room. The desk was the only piece of furniture.

                  “I will let you live,” he said, “if you deny Christ.” I stood staring at him and thinking (yes, I did!). If I deny Christ I will live, but I will go to hell. If I don’t, I will die.

                  I didn’t know how I would be killed, but I figured how ever long it took, it was nothing compared to eternity. So, I refused to deny Jesus. My hands were tied behind my back and a black hood covered my face. My heart was racing wildly as I was led by my unseen captors out of the building. I felt the noose being placed around my neck.  So. I was being hanged.

                  I played it out in my mind … what I knew about hanging: choking, bulging eyeballs, the jerking back and forth, neck breaking.  I waited. And waited. And then, my hands were free. I removed the hood. There I stood at a tree. The tree I should have been hanged on. It was a black, starry night.

                  I awakened, heart still pounding, soaking wet, shaking.  I got up and changed my sopping night shirt. I changed my bed linen. I got back into bed still shaky. My question answered – for that day.

                  Our guys in Daniel 3 had plenty of reason for backtracking on God. They had a rep: the guys who prayed and saved the lives of some administrators concerning the king’s dream (Daniel 2). They knew people: Daniel and the king. They had position – they were big dogs in the king’s court. They were able to use that position to help their people.  They had gone from gangly school boys who were Judean captives to livin’ large in Babylon. Who wants to give all that up?

                  But they were unaffected by the trappings of position and affluence. They remained faithful to the true God. Even in the face of death. They respected the king and honored his position, but they did not fear him – they feared God. They were still on a lifetime diet of beans and cornbread (unless they could now command kosher). They were still praying and consulting the Lord God. The change in name had not altered who they were – they were faithful worshipers of the only true and living God!

                  Imagine in your home, in your church, in your school, on your job, you are asked to do something that will cause you to break faith with God. At the time, you don’t recognize it as a trial, a test, a temptation. It just comes up one day. You know it’s wrong. What will you do? Will you be presumptuous and say, “Well, God knows. After all, I need this job (grade, position, person). God understands. He’ll just have to forgive me.” Or, what if you discover there’s a chink in the ol’ armor of God? You just can’t fight this battle anymore? But, the battle is the Lord’s, after all, isn’t it? Do you convince yourself that it just ain’t that serious and give in? What do you do?


       
      We’ve had it pretty good in this country as far as the practice of our faith (or any faith) is concerned. At the time of this writing, the competition for the presidency has been an experiment in insanity. What if a candidate is elected who thinks Christianity is dangerous and begins to consent by law or silence to the mistreatment of God’s people? What value will we place on the faith? On our GOD?
       
      Loyalty Points
      Let’s ask God to strengthen our hearts and give us ears to hear Him clearly and obey Him quickly. Let’s ask Him to make us aware every day in countless ways of His working in our lives – through signs, wonders, and miracles. Let’s ask Him to help us to be content and exercise godliness in our everyday lives. Let’s ask God for discerning hearts to know when.  Let’s ask God to constantly remind us that we are here to serve and that our reward is from Him. Let’s thank God for every jam He’s gotten us out of and every person He’s dealt with on our behalf. And, let’s ask God to help us remember that whatever we say or do or become, we are leaving a legacy for our loved ones and others. That legacy becomes a standard in their lives by which they will measure ---- something.

      In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

    • By ledwardsii in Louis Edwards
         0
      Text:

      Proverbs 16:18  
      Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.


       
      On April 10, 1912, one of White Stars’ crown jewels started its maiden voyage from Southampton England to New York.  Four days into its journey at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, the Titanic struck an iceberg that plunged it 12,600 feet to the bottom of the ocean in less than three hours.  More than 1,500 people became victims to a watery grave early that morning. 

      The White Stars’ promotional flyer for the Olympic and Titanic boasted: “As far as it is possible to do, these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable.”  Thus giving way to the saying, “Not even God Himself could sink her.”

      The tragedy of the Titanic lingers today.  Movies, documentaries, museums, and web sites remind us of the horrible event that took place over a century ago.  We often boast of the progress and achievements made in our lives while unaware of the iceberg of “Pride” waiting to sink us.

      Although Captain Edward Smith received six warnings about the danger that lie ahead, his confidence in an “unsinkable ship” cost him more than his life; it cost the lives of others.  Let us avoid the chilling hand of “Pride.” The cost not only touches us, but it affects others as well.

      Louis Edwards

      Recommended Reading:

      Isaiah 14:12-16

      Quote:

      A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.

      C. S. Lewis     Religious

    • By Keith Hobkirk in Keith Hobkirk's Blog
         0
      "(The Lord) tends to His flock like a shepherd: 
      He gathers the lambs in His arms 
      and carries them close to His heart; 
      He gently leads those who have young."
      ~ Isaiah 40:11 NIV UGANDA: Baby Poisoned During Ramadan Fast Sources: Release International, Morning Star News
      Nubu Kiiza and her husband Suleiman have
      been arrested for a crime against an infant.
      Photo: Morning Star News
        When a young 24-year-old mother by the name of Angel Nabirye decided to eat during the daytime fast of Ramadan, her mother-in-law was incensed with anger. Angel, who was breast-feeding her infant daughter at the time, thought it was important that she obtain proper nourishment so her unwell baby girl could gain needed strength. According to the practices of Islam, non-Muslims are not required to observe Ramadan. In addition, those struggling with illness, pregnant women, and breast-feeding mothers are excused from participating. On the morning of June 17th, Angel was visited by her mother-in-law Nubu Kiiza who brought some herbs for the baby. "After three hours, the condition of the baby worsened," Angel testifies. "I rushed her to Iganga Hospital but she was pronounced dead on arrival at 4 p.m." A doctor immediately took several tests, proving that the infant had been poisoned. Upon news of the passing, Angel's husband, Ayubu Meddie Kamwa, sent relatives to the hospital to retrieve the child's body. They wanted an immediate burial performed, in accordance with Islamic custom. However, Angel thought her relatives should be present for the ceremony. By this time, her husband and mother-in-law were so furious that they, along with other relatives, began berating the distraught young mother and calling her an "infidel" and "pagan." When Angel's mother and siblings, all professing Christians, arrived later that night, her in-laws served tea laced with chloroform which put them in a state of unconsciousness. When they awoke the next morning, Angel's sister discovered that the baby's body was missing, and a frantic search ensued. By this time, further verbal and physical assaults took place against Angel and her family. Fortunately, neighbours were able to intervene and stop the attack. Officers from Nakabugu police station soon arrived at the scene, arresting Angel's husband Ayubu, his parents, and an imam named Alamzan Waiswa, for questioning by Luuka District authorities. Police and neighbours have searched without success for the infant's body. Thank you for upholding this young mother, Angel, as well as her family, as they grieve over the loss of their precious baby girl. May God greatly comfort their broken hearts, consoling them with the fact that this child is now experiencing His loving care in heaven where they will all be joyfully reunited. Also, considering her husband's recent arrest, please intercede for Angel's troubled marriage, asking the Lord to work in the situation to bring about repentance, salvation, healing and restoration. Continue to pray for the church in areas of eastern Uganda where Christians are under mounting pressure due to persecution.   PAKISTAN: Father of Rape Victim Yearns for Justice Source: World Watch Monitor
      Sonia's house at the end of the yard.
      Photo: World Watch Monitor
        The father of a 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by a neighbour, believes his daughter has little hope of obtaining justice because the accused is well-connected politically in the local area. Nasar Masih is concerned that the police will ultimately favour the suspect who raped his teenage daughter in expectation of immunity from prosecution due to "some support from his family and political leadership of the area." On July 7th, Sonia, the victimized 16-year-old Christian girl, was returning to her home in Sheikhupura, Punjab, when she was unexpectedly confronted by Muhammad Iqrar, aged 23. As the two families share a yard, Sonia had to pass Muhammad's front door in order to get to her house. Sonia's father heard her cries and rushed to help. "I was home when the incident took place," Nasar explains. "Sonia tried to set herself free -- and shouted for help -- but we failed to hear her as the doors were closed. However, as we eventually heard her cries, we rushed and stormed into Muhammad's house. Seeing us, Muhammad fled from the scene, leaving Sonia in a critical situation." The First Information Report (a witness statement given by the accuser) was registered at the Saddar police station in Farooqabad. "I don't have much hope for justice," Nasar admits. "Even forensic reports can be interfered with. And if Muhammad isn't jailed, he will be free to harass us as their house is so near to ours." In the meantime, the concerned father has requested that the accused and his family use a different entrance to their home. Investigating Officer Malik reports: "We do not value Muhammad's claim. The medical report has confirmed that (Sonia) was raped. We have requested the mobile phone company to provide Muhammad's call data, which will be submitted in the court." Thankfully, there has been local support for the victimized girl and her family. To learn more about persecution in Pakistan, click here. Please join us in praying for Sonia and her family, asking the Lord to render justice in what is often considered an unjust part of the world (Psalm 140:12). In addition to providing them protection from threats or further harm, may the ongoing ministry of His Holy Spirit bring physical and psychological healing to Sonia. We can thank the Lord for the support this family has received from those of their local community, and for granting them the strength they need while pursuing justice in this case. In the process, may the young man who violated Sonia realize his own need of Christ who has willingly paid the price for the sins of a lost and broken humanity. PRAISE REPORT KENYA: Agricultural Projects Sustain Christians Source: icommittopray.com
      Persecuted Christians are developing
      farming projects in support of ministry.
        House churches in western Kenya have begun more than 30 farming projects to provide economic and discipleship opportunities to believers persecuted by the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabab. Funds from the harvests of these projects are sustaining the church communities, while also making it possible for them to install irrigation systems and further invest in ministry work. Church leaders are excited over the opportunity to use farming as a discipleship tool and demonstrate how the Gospel can transform all aspects of an individual's life. Please pray for the continued development of these agricultural projects. May God's blessings be upon the believers involved as they learn more about agriculture and, through this practical means, also build meaningful relationships with others of their communities. If you would like to post a prayer of praise or petition on behalf of our persecuted family around the globe, visit VOMC's prayer wall.
      The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of:
      The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1 Tel. 905-670-9721 Website: www.vomcanada.com     PRAYERCAST RESOURCES PLEASE WATCH AND READ   http://prayercast.com/uganda.html     http://prayercast.com/pakistan.html       http://prayercast.com/kenya.html     Sermons.. please listen with an open bible and open heart. Please note that you have to decide how to listen, you can click play audio, you can listen by clicking MP3 or download the MP3 or even watch the video, not all sermons have videos     http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=7201116620       http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=824152237246       http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=35081238439
    • By Mentus Udoka Okolie in ADVANCING IN YOUR LIFE
         1
      The Misconception About Female Ministers:

      "As in all churches of God's people, the women should keep quiet in the meetings. They are not allowed to speak; as the Jewish Law says, they must not be in charge. If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is a disgraceful thing for a woman to speak in church."

      1 Corinthians 14:33-35; GNT

      In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, the Apostle Paul tried to educate his flock of their Oneness in Christ; and so he said in the 13th verse, "In the same way, ALL of US, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptised into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink."

      Did you notice the difference in his communications?

      In the former, Paul's words were coloured by his Jewish background. However, in the latter, he spoke as one under the fresh anointing of the Spirit. He was not a "sexist" so to speak.

      He introduced man-made customs in his effort to give expression to the inspirations from the Spirit. He said, "They (women) are not allowed to speak as the JEWISH Law says..."

      If it had read, "They (Christian women) are not allowed to speak..." one would have accepted it as a directive from the Holy Spirit. But, it read otherwise.

      Paul spoke to Jews who had converted from Judaism to Christianity.

      The Jewish Laws on fellowship meetings no longer applied to them! They were now One Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). If God did not have a high level of regard for Women Ministers, He would have made it know to us by not using any woman to save Israel.

      He did it in time of Abraham on two separate occasions Genesis 12 - "Abram in Egypt" and Genesis 20 - "Abraham and Abimelech".

      He did it in Esther's, Susanna's, Judith's and Ruth's timelines to mention a few. So, female ministers are the Mind of God.

      Stop being unnecessarily religious and see the LIGHT.

      See beyond the ordinary...God bless you!
    • By David Ettinger in David Ettinger's Blog
         4
      Time to Yield the Floor
      Now that the Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians have had their say at their national Presidential conventions, it is time them for them to step aside and yield the floor. Nothing new or unexpected came from the multitude of orations delivered from their respective stages, and the three candidates – Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Gary Johnson – can now go about the business of convincing Americans to elect them.
       
      Promises will continue to be made; questionable statements of “fact” asserted; petitions dispersed; and party platforms presented. But, in essence, it will be more of what has been iterated for generations; as the Bible tells us, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
       
      But what about if God held a convention? What if He decided to address not just the people of the United States, but of the entire world? The world wouldn’t like it. After all, God doesn’t make empty promises, put forth questionable statements, or plea for approval. Instead, God proclaims, and everything He proclaims is truth. God doesn’t beseech, He commands. God doesn’t plead for approval, but demands obedience.
       
      He does, however, have a “platform,” and it is worth looking at. His platform, of course, consists of proclamations of truth which cannot be debated, denied, nor disproved. His platform is to be accepted; if not, there will be a price to pay. What is the Lord’s platform? Let’s see.
       
      God’s Sovereignty
      If God were to hold a convention, He would make perfectly clear who He is. His opening statements would include the following proclamations:
      “I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King” (Isaiah 43:15). “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool” (Isaiah 66:1). “… from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13). “This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).  
      God’s Invitation
      After stating His “credentials,” the Lord would then soften a bit, giving the people an opportunity to respond to His opening salvo by inviting them to act. Such invitations would include:
      “Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored” (Leviticus 10:3). “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).  
      God’s Assurance
      For those who accept God’s invitations, He, in return, would offer reassurances:
      “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:7). “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go” (Isaiah 48:17). “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). “I am your shield, your very great reward” (Genesis 15:1).  
      Closing Remarks
      God would wrap up with a final assurance, a last invitation, and a solemn commandment:
      “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4). “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). “I am a great king … and my name is to be feared among the nations” (Malachi 1:14).  
      And with that, God would put the explanation on His convention.
       
      The Reality
      The reality, however, is that God needs no convention. He has proclaimed His truth in His Word, and it exists for the world to see. The good news is that there is still time to “vote” – the people of the earth can choose to accept His platform or not. The polls close at the return of Christ, but until them, let all who believe in the Lord Jesus be God’s “campaign workers,” bringing the message of salvation to a lost and dying world.
      Read more by David Ettinger: https://ettingerwriting.wordpress.com/
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