Tonight we continue our Daniel series with the first of the visions in chapters 7-12.
We live in troubled times. Violence, the struggle for power and suffering seem to characterise our world. It’s sad and scary. In these troubled times, we might ask this question; “who’s in charge?” Listen as we discover how Daniel 7 answers that question. Let us think about how this answer ought to affect our lives today.
Who doesn’t know the feeling of wishing they could undo some aspect of the past and start all over again! We all know the shame (and perhaps embarrassment) of these passages of life. In today’s message we see how the Israelites made a fresh start with God. For more than 20 years they had treated God with disrespect. They had given in to the temptations and worshipped the idols of the Canaanites, but this way of life only led to misery …. and they knew why. Under their godly leader Samuel, the people repented and turned back to the Lord, and what a difference that made! Is it time for you to do the same?
How do you view God? It is virtually impossible to describe Him in a short, simple sentence. And most definitions are hopelessly inadequate. However, in 1 Samuel 5-6 we see the way God dealt with the Philistine and israelite people through their involvement with the ark of the covenant, and through these interactions we see things about God that are very sobering …… His absolute authority, His terrifying power, and His awe-some holiness. Yes, God does want us to have a deeply personal relationship with Him, but we must never become casual or overly familiar with Him. He is GOD in the fullest sense and always deserves our worship, awe and fear.
Our world doesn’t talk a lot about sin. But when it does, there are so many different voices we could listen to. Everyone seems to have a different understanding of or attitude towards sin! As Christians, we can find ourselves a little confused about sin. What is sin? What does it mean to be a sinner? What things are sin, what things aren’t?
When it comes to the topic of sin, there is one voice that we should listen to above all others; the voice of God. In Daniel 5, we meet Belshazzar, a picture of sin. Listen as we see what God has to say about the nature and reality of sin, and of course, it’s consequences. Let us consider again the reality of sin in our own lives, that we might truly appreciate what Jesus has done for us.
It’s common to find people who view God as a kind of last resort ….. “when all else fails, try God”. Since the beginning of time people have tried to manipulate God and harness His power, especially in those times when He’s our only hope. The Israelites were in big trouble in their battle against the Philistines and they tried to “use” God in this way but it failed miserably. I wonder how many of us have been guilty of doing the same thing?
n a world of feminism and sensitive-new-age-guys there is a lot of confusion about the role of fathers today. There is a general feeling that domineering fathers are bad, but what constitutes a good father? And where can we get information to help a generation of Dads who want to do better? Contrary to much modern thinking, God sees fathers as having the major responsibility for raising their children (with their wives giving solid support, of course!). Today Pastor Murray takes us to God’s parenting manual, aka the Bible, and encourages Dads with some truths that will clarify their role in the family and spur them on.
By the end of 1 Samuel 2, Israel (and especially it’s leadership) is in a state of spiritual disarray. How will God turn this around? The answer is found in chapter 3. God speaks his word and we see the beginning of a spiritual restoration in the nation of Israel. Listen as we explore this story and consider it’s implications for our lives as the people of God today. Let us say to our God whose word is powerful, “Speak LORD, for your servant is listening” (3:9)
We love the gospel reality that we have been set free from the Law… that Christianity is not a hard slog up an impossible mountain of rules and regulations but a glorious rest in the work of Jesus on the cross. But I wonder how often we think about what our freedom is for. We hear NT teaching and our pastors calling us to spiritual disciplines like prayer, bible reading, evangelism and the like and it sounds suspiciously like the law we are supposed to be free from. Tonight Pastor Joe from Rosalie Baptist examines how we can use truly embrace our freedom and how spiritual disciplines are not laws that must be followed but one of the greatest expressions of our freedom.
It is a fact of life today that people are cynical about leaders. We know that we need good leaders, but we don’t want to trust them (too much!). This is specially obvious in the world of politics, but is also evident in the church. In today’s message we see how badly the spiritual leaders of Israel failed their people around 1050 BC. The nation was crying out for some godly leadership, but sadly they got opposite. For many it seemed that God had given up on them. But though He had rejected Eli and his family as priests, God was preparing a future leader in Samuel, and an even greater leader in Jesus Christ. Our human leaders will let us down, but Jesus will never fail us. You can always trust Him.
Daniel knew that God is the only source of true wisdom. He found himself with the opportunity to declare God’s wisdom to a pagan king who needed to hear it. Our world is equally desperate to hear the wisdom of God – even when it won’t admit it! The question is, will we keep it to ourselves or be like Daniel and declare it to those who need to hear it?