Sunday, September 23, 2012
Welcome to Day 266 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Daniel chapters 10-12 is a (another) prophecy of Israel’s humiliation and, of course, their restoration.
The prophet reveals a final vision concerning the future reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but looking beyond his reign to another that culminates at the end of the age. RSB
Daniel 11:31, “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”
36 ““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.”
It is generally believed that these passages refer to the “Anti-Christ.” Jesus quoted from Daniel 11 in Matthew 24:15, ““So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’… spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand…”
With Jesus quoting this, it certainly took the timeframe from having anything to do with ancient Babylon to sometime in the future, past Jesus’ time. The big question is, is it in our future?
The prophet reveals a final vision concerning [possibly] the future reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but looking beyond his reign to another that culminates at the end of the age. RSB
Daniel 12:1, “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
Much of Daniel 10 and 11 and events from the latter chapters of Revelation all line up with what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24.
Luke 6:32, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Luke 6 is rich with wisdom and insight for us all…
It’s easy to love those who love us. Not so much for those who don’t.
In one statement, Jesus sets the bar very high for how we are to treat our enemies (those who don’t like us? I don’t have too many enemies, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t like me…) “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”
What Jesus is saying is that we should not do business the same way as the world does. We should approach things differently.
It’s easy to ignore people. Cut them off emotionally. Distance ourselves from those who hurt us.
It’s difficult to bless those who curse you.
But that’s what we are called to.
OK, I get that… but we are also to lend, expecting nothing in return?
Well, in very practical terms, if they hate us, revile us and curse us, why would I expect them to pay me back?
Because the issue isn’t them, it’s us. Me. How I treat others, how I respond when under pressure.
I can’t control you, I can only control me.
Controlling me is hard enough. Trust me on that. It takes a lot of work, a lot of self-control… It takes deciding I am going to treat others well, regardless of how they have treated me.
I find that when I love and accept people right where they are, they often respond differently. Of course there are those who paint me with the stereotypical pastor-brush, that I’m judgmental, narrow-minded, etc…
But love covers a multitude of sins.
And Jesus is not calling us to be foolish… in fact, he said to manage our expectations! “By the way, they won’t pay you back when you do this. Do it anyway.”
When you invest in others, love them unconditionally, be available to them, they will respond differently.
It’s when we stand in judgment that they go, “See. I told ya.”
I have blogged many times this past year about this topic… how Jesus spent time with the tax collectors and “sinners.” They loved him!
It was the religious leaders that hated him. After he healed a man on the Sabbath, that’s when they began plotting to kill him!
Luke 6:22, “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.”
The flip-side of this concept is this found in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
No matter what we do in this life for the Kingdom, these will be the two results. No getting around it.
Some will hate us for it.
Others will praise (glorify) our Father in heaven.
Lord help me to respond in kindness when others seek to harm me…