Pray For Our Leaders

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: Daniel 4:34 NKJV

I don’t know how it is around the world, but here in the last days in the United States, we are becoming very polarized politically. I am afraid it is even affecting the church. A while back a young person in the church shared a meme on Facbeook, bashing a political figure with lies. I messaged my young friend and shared the documentation with her that the cruel meme was making a false accusation. She replied back that she did not need me telling her the meme was false because she already knew it was a lie. I asked her why she was spreading lies. She replied back, “They make the point I am wanting to make.” I replied back, “so your point is a lie?” She replied back that she had an agenda and did not need me judging her integrity. If it took a lie to promote her political agenda then so be it!

Sadly that is not an isolated case. Professed Adventist Christians are spreading lies and fake news about political figures to suit their political preferences. It is being done on both sides. What really saddens me is that many professed Adventist Christians are using social media to promote earthly politics instead of sharing the gospel. Not only are they being worldly focused but they are not even using integrity even by worldly standards. They are using lies, fake news and gossip.

In Daniel 4 we see a pagan king who repents and is saved. The first six chapters of Daniel are filled with stories that will be repeated as the prophecies in the last six chapters unfold. The image in Daniel 3 is similar to the mark of the beast. I believe if Daniel 3 repeats itself then Daniel 4 will repeat itself as well. I believe ruthless pagan political leaders will be converted int he last days. Why else would Daniel 4 be in the middle of other stories that are to be repeated in the last days?

As we prepare for the end time, instead of means that even the world recognizes as immoral, such as fake news, lies and gossip to bash political leaders who we think are pagan, lets instead pray for their conversion.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV

May I also suggest that instead of hiding behind an electronic device on social media, to hurl insults at others, that sensitive issues are better discussed face to face in real life? I have yet to see social media solve a social issue yet. Social issues are better solved in social real life discussions. It also helps us to be more responsible and Christlike with our comments.

You may read this week’s Sabbath School lesson here. 

Two Things I Love About Daniel

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

As we take a look at Daniel in this week’s lesson there are a couple of things I love about Daniel, that sometimes get overlooked. When his neck was on the line, I like how Daniel responded when God revealed to him the king’s dream.

Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.” Daniel 2:24 NLT

Daniel’s relationship with God did not only save his life. It saved the lives of all the wise men, even the fake ones. Daniel’s first thoughts were of others, not just himself. So it is today. The entire world benefits from the Christian influences around them. Like when the disciples asked Jesus to calm the sea, it was not just calm for their little boat. All the boats on the sea benefited. Daniel wanted to save others. Later when the Persian leaders conspired against Daniel, it did not bother him that others did not have his back the way that he had theirs. Daniel knew God had his back and that’s all that mattered.

I also marvel at Daniel’s humility. Daniel 1:20 says Daniel and his friends were found to be ten times wiser. Yet when Daniel tells the king’s dream look what he says,

And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart. Daniel 2:30 NLT

Nothing is more annoying than a wise guy telling you how wise he is. Daniel realized smart people don’t tell you how smart they are. Daniel did not credit his wisdom. He credited God’s grace in wanting to reach the king’s heart. Daniel had more thank just Scriptural knowledge and prophetic understanding. He had people skills! So much so he flourished in the heart of Babylon without ever compromising his faith!

As we prepare for the end times, let’s not only pursue Daniel’s prophetic abilities. Let’s pursue his people skills.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here. 

Growth Group Lesson Plan #17 – Decisions

DIALOGUE # 17 – DECISIONS
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: challenge people to consider the consequences of their decisions and to choose to live by God’s principles.

Additional resources: Read and study the material in the following pages.

Welcome (15) – Fellowship
• What was your favorite food your mom prepared you?
• How easy is for you to decide what to eat when you go out?
• When you go out to eat, do you count yourself in the camp of those who choose considering the quality or quantity?

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalms 34.1-5
Shout to the Lord
Come
• What are some of the decisions that God has helped you to make for which you are thankful to God tonight.
• Pray in groups of three

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read Daniel 1:1-20
• Place yourself in Daniel’s shoes and consider, how would you feel about God if you were only 17 and taken away from your country, family, and friends into captivity to a foreign land?
• Why do you think Daniel took the decision not to “defile himself”? v8
• When your loyalty to God is tested, how do you react?
• What is the relationship between what we eat and drink with the God we serve?
• How prone are you to remain faithful when no one is watching you? Why?
• What should we do with our principles when we face challenges? Explain. v8,12
• What do you think prepared Daniel and his friends to face this challenge?
• Consider the consequences/end results of the decision Daniel took in facing the test of loyalty. Why do you think it was all worth it or not? v8,12,15,17-20
• What principles should we take into consideration when making everyday decisions?
• What has the Lord taught you tonight?
• How would you apply it this week?
• To do: Challenge the group to repeat together and to store in their minds Daniel 1.8

Works – Witness (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• Allow one of the co-leaders or apprentices to share the vision God has given for GG.
• Invite people to study the Bible in order to have the right principles in making choices.
• Who do you know that needs help in making wise decisions and being loyal to God?
• Plan a social activity as a group: let members chose the what, when, how and who will be invited. Have some ideas ready. Remember visitors should be invited to this social/evangelistic activity.
• Finalize asking: How can we pray for you tonight?

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Informally as you eat something, ask your group members the names of the people they will be inviting to the social the group is planning.

Additional Resources: Prophets and kings, Chapter 39 – In the Court of Babylon, 379-390

Luke 8; Asking With Faith

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Luke 8:22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 

 8:23       But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled [with water], and were in jeopardy. 

 8:24       And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 

 8:25       And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. 

First of all I notice in this story that Jesus rebukes them while they came and ask him to do something about the storm. What more could they do? How was that a lack of faith? Aren’t we to come to Jesus with our problems? Is that not a sign of faith? Yes, the Bible says we are to come to Jesus with our problems, but it also tells us how, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6 Funny James even references waves tossed with the winds. Maybe the disciples should have said, “Lord help us overcome this storm” instead of implying that they were going to perish. We must have faith and remember too, in times of storms, that sometimes Jesus calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child, and lets the storm rage on. Peace does not mean there is no storm. Peace just means you are with Jesus in the storm.

Of course when Jesus calmed the storm, it did not just settle down for the little boat the disciples were on. The waters were calmed for everyone on the waters, believer and unbeliever alike. This is how it is, the blessings we ask and receive from God are to flow over and bless the rest of the world. We should ask nothing for ourselves, but for the whole world. Jesus never prayed “Give me my daily bread”, but rather, “Give us our daily bread.” In Daniel 2, Daniel asks God to tell him what the king dreamed so that he and the other non-believing wise men would be saved. As soon as God revealed the dream to Daniel, the first thing Daniel says to the King’s men was “Destroy not the wise men of Babylon.” So by Daniel’s prayer being answered the wise men of Babylon were saved as well. The world will never know or appreciate how many of its blessings it owes to the prayers of the believer.