Prayer and Fasting Gave Daniel Understanding

 

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In the tenth chapter of Daniel, we read that Daniel lacked understanding of what would happen to Israel in the last days (Dan. 10:14), and so he began fasting.  In his fast he did not eat any tasty food, eat meat, drink wine, or use any ointment; but he mourned in prayer for three weeks.

 

daniel prayerDaniel 10:2

In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.

 

Then finally, at the end of three weeks, an angel came to him with the answer to his prayer.  But first he explained his delay: “Your prayers were heard on the very first day, and I immediately left to give you the answer.  But an evil angel, the prince of the kingdom of Persia interrupted me and fought with me for three weeks.  Then finally, at the end of the three weeks, the angel Michael came to help me” (v. 12, my own paraphrase).

So, as it happened, after three weeks of prayer and fasting, God gave Daniel an understanding of what would happen to Israel in the last days (v. 14).  But I don’t think he would have received that understanding had he not so earnestly desired it and sought it out in prayer.

You too can receiver more understanding through prayer if you really desire it.  The Bible tells us clearly that if we pray for wisdom and understanding God will give it to us (Prov. 2:6, Ja. 1:5).   But we must keep praying and wait patiently for it; for the devil doesn’t want us to have God’s understanding; and he may send his demons to delay your prayers just as he did with Daniel.

 

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Three Purposes for the Prayer of Thanksgiving

 

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There are at least three purposes for the prayer of thanksgiving:

 

 1.  To give honor to God. This is the primary purpose of thanksgiving—to acknowledge that God is God and that He has supplied us with all we have. Psalms 100:3-4 says it well:

 

Know that the Lord, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

 

Look also at Romans 1:20-23 to see the consequences of refusing to honor God and of not thanking Him.

 

2.  To show our dependence on God. When we are grateful and thankful to God we show to Him and to the world that we are dependent on Him and that we desire to stay in that humble place of dependence, love, and trust.

 

3.  To aid us in prayer. Thankfulness helps us in every other part of prayer. It helps in confession because when we express our thankfulness to Him our mind becomes more focused on God and therefore we are more apt to desire His forgiveness and cleansing.

Thanksgiving aids our praise because when we thank Him He does a work in our heart so that our personal gratitude overflows into praise.  Likewise, the more we see how God is good to us and we are thankful to Him, the more we will see all the good qualities of God, and that He is not only good to us, but to all of His creatures; and so our thankfulness turns into praise.

Thanksgiving prayer is an inseparable part of petitionary prayer.  In fact, God will not hear petitions that are not made with thanksgiving.  This apparently is because without thankfulness our petitions tend to be with wrong motives.  But when we remember to pray with thanksgiving it softens our heart and gives us right motives and the right attitude—an attitude of gratitude.

 

Thanksgiving also works to contribute to the overall purpose of prayer: to establish His holiness, His kingdom, and His will.  When we are thankful in prayer we establish a position of dependence on Him and a loving relationship with Him as a son or daughter to a Father.  Accordingly, because our thankfulness keeps us in that dependent, family relationship with Him, with an attitude of loving gratitude we are always working and praying to establish His holiness, His kingdom, and His will.

 

 

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Daniel Prayed for Israel’s Deliverance after 70 years of Captivity: Daniel 9:3-19

daniel prayerIn the first year that Darius was king, Daniel happened to be reading the prophesies of Jeremiah and observed that the seventy year time period of the desolations of Jerusalem was almost complete (Jer. 25:11, 12).  So Daniel, with a great anticipation of the release of the exiles, sought the Lord in this prayer with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

 

Daniel 9:3-19

3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day — to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.

13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day — we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

16 “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17 Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

 

He began his prayer with great praise to God.  He prayed, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.”  Then Daniel, knowing that he and all Israel had not kept His commandments, proceeded in his prayer to confess sin, iniquity, wickedness, and rebellion (v. 5).

The prayer sets before God a contrast between a righteous, holy, and faithful God and a sinful and rebellious people.  Thus (in v. 7) Daniel prayed, “Righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face.”  Hence, when Daniel requested that God turn away His anger and wrath against Jerusalem (v. 16), and to bring Israel back into the land, he prayed not according to their own merits, but rather according to God’s great compassion (v. 18).

This prayer of Daniels pleads for God’s mercy based on His own faithfulness and not according to their love for Him, because Daniel feared that their love for Him was sadly lacking.  So Daniel cried out, begging for God’s mercy to forgive them and to deliver them for His own sake, and because His City and His people were called by His name (v. 19).

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How is God Using ISIS for His Purposes? Four Possible Uses for ISIS

Originally posted on Studying Bible Prophecy:

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The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has their own purpose—to establish an Islamic state that will encompass the Arab world, and after that to go to other countries, eventually to include the entire world. And their methods, as we have witnessed, are barbaric and evil.

But the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has other plans for the world—plans for good and not for evil.  And in His wisdom He uses and orchestrates all things and all people to accomplish His will.  He will even use, and has been using, the evil, terrorist group ISIS.

Ever since ISIS has been on the move beheading and crucifying people who will not submit to them, I have been racking my brain and searching the scriptures, trying to find in the bible how they fit into prophecy.  Some, like Bill Salus, have strongly suggested that they are the…

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Five Purposes for Praise

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  1. The primary purpose of praise to God is to honor Him, to bless Him, and to please Him. We praise Him with our words, with our songs, and with our loving obedience. We praise Him for who He is and for all of His wonderful works, especially for His grace in accepting us and saving us (Eph. 1:5-7).

Along with this primary purpose of praise, God has also designed a secondary purpose for praise: to encourage and aid believers. (Overall, I think this is true for all of God’s purposes: that there is a primary purpose, which is directly for God—to praise Him and do His will, so that He will be blessed; and then there is also a secondary purpose, which is for us—basically, to be dependent on Him, to be aided and encouraged by Him, and to become like Him.)

Here are four secondary purposes of praise for believers:

 

  1. To encourage us. God designed that when we praise Him He wouldn’t be the only one to receive a blessing; we would be encouraged as well. Therefore, He gave us a command to be filled with the Spirit in order that we would praise Him and be encouraged (1Thess. 5:18, Eph. 5:19, Ps. 43:5).

 

  1. To keep the devil away from us. I think in many cases our way of escape from temptation is to sing and praise God and to listen to good Christian music. The devil, and all those evil doers who follow him, hate God and are repulsed by our praises to Him. Therefore, when they hear our praise, they will stay away from us (1 Cor. 10:13; Ja. 4:7-8).

 

  1. To aid us in our prayers. When we have things to petition God for, or if we just need to spend time with Him, praise at the start will help to set the right mood. It will get our mind focused on God so that our heart is filled with love for Him.

 

  1. To make us more like God. To praise is to be full of joy and rejoicing; hence, when we praise God we sing to Him and we rejoice because of Him. And we know that this is what God is like—full of joy—because it is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, when we praise Him we are being like Him (and it is proof that we abide in Christ).  This I think is the main purpose for praise for us, ranked above the other three; it brings a deeper meaning to the purpose of praise.

 

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January Full Moon

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This is in Minnesota, U. S. , near where I live.

 

 

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How 17 U. S. Presidents have Treated Israel

Originally posted on Studying Bible Prophecy:

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In Genesis 12:3 God gave Israel this promise:

And I will bless those who bless you,

And the one who curses you I will curse.

There have been 17 U. S. presidents, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama, that have brought either a blessing or a curse to America based on their treatment of Israel.

I just finished listening to Jan Markell’s radio message in which she talked about these 17 U. S. presidents and how they have either blessed or cursed Israel.

Press HERE to listen to this timely message.

I was a little surprised at what she found.  Seven presidents since, and including, Woodrow Wilson have blessed Israel and ten have not blessed Israel.  In fact, three or four of them have been downright anti-Semitic, with Barack Obama being the worst.  Currently Israel is viewed by our present leadership as a “near terrorist state.”

I am not…

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