Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book of Daniel - Study

Chapter 11
(Author's Note)
Most commentators believe that chapter (11) is past history. This takes place at the Mede prophecy, about Grecia and Alexander the Great. Chapter 8, ( vs. 20) shows 4 divisions of Alexander's kingdom. (Dan. 8:22) Anti-Christ comes from one of these kingdoms (8:8-12). Anti-Christ (8:8 & 11:4 match).

There is so much to understand within this chapter. I have now read it 3 times and have decided my brain went to overload. Sometimes I believe Satan tries to confuse me through the Scriptures. God never intended to make His Holy Word difficult, He made it easy for all to understand and learn from.

After reading over chapter 11 one more time (now my 4th), God lead me to discovery! I found a commentary on Daniel 11 by Ron Beckham. This much wiser person broke the chapter down by verse by verse. God showed me the best way to tackle this was to just allow you to see what Ron Beckham wrote. It was so helpful and he relates so much more into the history and culture during Daniel's life. Here is he link to Ron Beckham's study. It is long but the knowledge and insight is so profound. Please set time for yourself and read Beckham's message.

Key verses that I found amazing through Beckham's study of Daniel were, beginning with verse 1. "And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him,"

Beckham speaks of angelic encouragement...he makes this statement, "When you feel better than you did a little while ago, it may be more than simply a beautiful sunset or some lovely music or that "Tums for your tummy" – it actually may have been literally the touch of angel’s wings, sent by God, because He loves you."

There are times I know God is sending me out to be His encourager. To speak life into someone who needs to hear God's voice. If you truly believe we are the "Body of Christ" doesn't it make sense that if the tummy is hungry for food that the message is sent to the brain to provide the nourishment? God uses each one of us to play a role in His Kingdom. It could be He sends one to serve in a community far away, or He sends one to serve the neighbor right next door. He uses the Body to complete His purpose.

Verses 2-5 give some history to the vision Daniel was given. Beckham speaks about Alexander the Great and his reign through history. He speaks of those who come after the fall of this ruler and how many plotted to gain their power.

I believe God gives us stories like this through His Holy Word to show us how much like our lives today are just like those in the Bible. Really we are no different today...sin is still alive and well. The very uprising in Egypt our example of a man taking on his idols and using a people, their resources, for his own pleasure. God does not allow this to happen forever. When evil enters, it is simply us saying we don't love God or the things God loves. We are rejecting the very One who gave us our lives, our breath! I agreed with Beckham that our lives seem to play out like a soap opera just thinking about it!

Verse 9 "Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land."

Actually verses 9-11 speak on Invasion of territory...these verses spoke to me this week. How someone can invade our space...not really meaning harm...but find themselves changing who we are on any given day.

I witnessed 3 high school students this week crossing the major highway I drive down everyday do something very stupid. Our high school sits at a tremendously busy cross road...Hwy 79 and FM 685. I watched these 3 students trying to cross the roadway to get to the north side but not crossing at the actual light. Well they started out at the them some credit. Then they decided that they would not wait on the signal to give them permission to walk...they started walking between the cars that were waiting for their GREEN LIGHT. After walking through several...they were standing in front of an 18 wheeler...and it was a gravel truck. They decided to go under the vehicle instead of walking in front of it or going behind it. As I watched the kids...I could see it happening. The light changed to green, the driver had no idea they went under his truck and he put the vehicle in gear to move...just as the last girl crawled out from under his vehicle. Now they were lucky on this day! They made it out safely...but it could have been a different story. I could have been a witness to a much more tragic event. Bottom line, we invade each others spaces. Sometimes the result is positive. We learn never to do that again. But then sometimes we get away with it and think, that worked for me...I will continue to move in the same direction. It can be all gone in a moments time. Our backpack can get caught on something...and we find ourselves either standing before God now, or wishing we had made a better choice.

Verse 13. "For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment."

This talks about a time of peace...Beckham tells us that it is about 13 years that "there were no open hostilities of any significance,". When actually it was a staging time to, "an amazing 130 years of open war."

Beckham reminds us about past hurts. His example is one of a marriage that experiences a past hurt. Even though it took place so long still seems to find it's way into the present day. When we experience those deep hurts and can't seem to find resolution in God. They resurface to be something that can destroy a relationship. Only to find out that it could have been given to God...and peace and forgiveness could have won the battle!

Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Who wants rotting bones?

Verse 19 "So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more."

Beckham reminds us that we need to have "loftier goals in life." When we put our trust in, cars, material things...all this can just disappear. Our very economy today speaks of the tragedy of power. Very rich powerful people have found their way to this power dishonestly. The "ponzi scheme" of investor Madoff...perfect example. Now he sits in prison...with nothing! I believe many of these high profile investors that have been caught embezzling millions if not billions...are responsible for the fall of our economy. How can it not affect our market today, if you are talking about billions of dollars? I agree that putting your trust in Christ is the true way to happiness!

1 Timothy 3:14 "Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus."

Verse 24. "In a time of tranquillity he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty, and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time."

Beckham reminds us of this, "You’ve heard the phrase "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" which actually refers to the siege of Troy...The same will be the case with the "antichrist" who is to come. He will seem to be generous and wise for a time, but his purpose will be to make himself master over the people of the earth.

We have to find discernment...for such "discernment" only comes from God."

Remember the insight we have for real discernment comes from a relationship we have with God. If we are unsure of something we should be seeking His will through prayer. Believe me when I say, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

Verse 34-35. " Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. And some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge, and make them pure, until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time."

I appreciate how Beckham reminds us that even the ungodly have their purpose "in outcomes of God's." How many people were taken from complacency to faith? I have learned that "Antiochus became like a parable, a historical "picture" of the "man of sin" who is to come at the time of the end."

"Antiochus magnified himself and so will the antichrist. What a contrast between them and our Lord, who said "I can of My own Self do nothing; as I hear I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent Me" (John 5:30). J. Vernon McGee expressed the antichrist as the "final and logical extension of humanism" – that which exalts itself. I have kept wondering, through the years, how could God allow such men to exist? Part of the answer is that He only allows them for a set time (that which is "decreed"). The troubles (and troublesome people) in your life have set limits, and your problems, whatever they are, have a purpose. God is good; God loves you; and His ultimate aim is to bring a good, satisfying FAITH, into your life." (Ron Beckham)

Verse 45. "And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."

Beckham closes with this...

The sad ending for these men (and others like them), is that they will be like the one(s) described in this verse – alone. They will go to the "hell" they previously did not believe in, sent by the God they rejected. Hell will not be a place where we find "all of my friends", as some say. Actually, just the opposite. By choosing the opposite of love (selfishness), viewing others only as objects to be manipulated, men like Antiochus and the antichrist will become utterly alone, out of the company of others – this is the place "where the worm does not die and their fire is not quenched." The only company of those in hell will be the demons that torment them.

On the other hand, to receive Christ is to be satisfied – forever. Jesus is the "Bread of life" (John 6:48), Who will fill you, and the "living water" (John 4:10) Who will satisfy your soul. That ache you feel, deep inside, the emptiness you keep trying to fill but cannot, can only find healing and satisfaction – in Him.

Mama Barb

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book of Daniel - Study

First we must review chapter 9, we learned the revelation of the 70 weeks of Daniel...70 (and, of course 7) is a key number in the Bible. Each of Daniel's 70 weeks is a 7 year period, making a total of 490 years. This figure of 490 years plays an important part in Scripture.

* There were 490 yrs. from the Exodus to the building of the Temple.
* There were 490 yrs. from the building of the first Temple to the building of the second Temple.

Our study review on Chapter 9 mentioned a study by Larkin that has figured out 7 periods of 490 years in the Word of God. Here they are from our review:

[1]. From Adam to Enoch
[2]. From Enoch to Noah
[3]. From Noah to Abraham
[4]. From Abraham to Moses
[5]. From Exodus to the 1st Temple
[6]. From the 1st Temple to the 2nd Temple
[7]. 490 years (actually 483 - the last 7 years yet to be fulfilled in the Tribulation) from (Neh. 2) to the triumphal entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday.

I love the internet where you can "Google" anything and find information at your fingertips. So I did a search on "Larkin" and found this reference from the website "Precept Austin" at

I scored a wells-worth of knowledge for my study of Daniel from this website...and want to include it here for our study.

Why Seventy Years?
The question of course arises, "Why did God choose seventy years to chastise the Israelites?" Was seventy just a number that God picked out of a hat? Was there a reason for it? Yes, there was a reason.

Back in the book of Leviticus, when God was giving Moses the laws for the people to obey, He said, Lev. 25:2-4 “...When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard."

Then He warned that if they did not obey Him and observe the commandments, He would remove them from the land and scatter them among the nations. Lev. 26:34-35 ‘Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the days of {its} desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it.'

For 490 years, the Israelites lived in the land, but never gave it the sabbath rest commanded by God. Instead, they walked in wickedness and rebellion. God, in His compassion, kept sending the prophets to remind them, but they only mocked the prophets (2Chron 36:15-16). Finally, mercy had been exceeded, and it was time for justice. The Babylonians attacked, killing many, burning the temple, and stealing the treasures. 2Chr. 36:20-21 And those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.

Seventy sabbaths for the land had been ignored. Now, they were given back to the land. God had waited 490 years, but they never learned.

I find it interesting that Peter asked Jesus, Matt. 18:21 ...“Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?

The answer was not what we might expect. Instead, Matt. 18:22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Seventy times seven - suddenly not a fancy figure of speech, but exactly how many times God had allowed the Israelites to be punished.

I found all this to be very fascinating to say the least. God is very purposeful in His plan and when you go and research His very Word, He reveals so much about Himself to us. Now let us begin with Chapter 10...

Chapter 10 of the Book of Daniel

Daniel 10:1-3 we find Daniel(who was called Belteshazzar) in prayer and mourning. "The time appointed was long". The answer to Daniel's prayer was a long time in coming. We are too often impatient for God's answer. God's Word tells us that Daniel had been in mourning three full weeks.

Daniel 10:2-3 "At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."

Daniel went on a three week fast of all but a basic, minimal diet. He was serious about his prayer.

Something I learned while studying Daniel 10-12 is, these 3 chapters of the Book of Daniel are the least read and studied Books. Further, commentators who have written on this book have given less space to these last three chapters than to any which preceded them. It was hard for me to find valuable, reliable resources to learn from and be able to share with you. So as I move forward with this study, it is with humility and reverence to God's Holy Word, that I approach it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So I might give at best, my human understanding of it.

Much was given to Daniel because he WAS a man of prayer. 10:4, is carefully placed in space and time. The Bible is history first, and also includes imagery, symbolism, poetry, and prophesy, but it is firmly anchored in history. Often the human authors were eyewitnesses of the events described. I have become convinced God the Holy Spirit is the Author behind it all, and He is Eyewitness to everything. AND we shall learn that, Daniel understood the message of this vision and it troubled him greatly.

Verse 5. "I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz."

This "certain man" has been the topic of many commentators. About half of them will tell you with great assurance that this is our Lord Jesus Christ, and many will state convincingly that it was not Him but rather a created angel.

I also found myself confused about this verse. I started thinking about how God reveals Himself to others. Our Lord imparts His nature, His character, HIMSELF, on those who have faith in Him. Certainly in this verse, the "certain man" was of impeccable appearance, suggesting the "robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10) given in God through Christ. And in the following verse, we see the implied power of this being. So then I lean toward the position that this is our Lord – but the wondrous news is that He imparts HIMSELF to others.

Have you ever noticed a husband and wife who love each other so much that there is a blurring of just who is who? So is the blending of you into Christ. In this verse, is this Christ, or a being He lovingly created? Hard to tell, isn’t it? For that reason I more convinced it is the pre-incarnate Christ.

Verse 6. "His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sounds of a tumult."

Now, verse 6 pulls me strongly to a belief that this is the pre-incarnate Christ. That is, we are seeing our Lord as He "was" in eternity or is, or will be. In Revelation 1:11-18, a Person is written about and there is no doubt that John the beloved is describing our Lord: "One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and His hair were white like wood, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like a fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters." John "fell at His feet as dead" (1:17) and Daniel (10:9) was about to do the same thing.

Verse 7. "Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves."

Thomas Merton wrote, "All people need enough solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of the soul to be heard." Daniel was alone now, but it was because the men who were with him – ran away!

This quote from Gordon Watt is comforting to me when I feel alone in my Christian walk: "Victory for God is never won by the multitude; the man who dares to go alone where others hold back, will find himself alone, but he will see the glory of God and enter into the secrets of eternity."

Remember the Apostle Paul had a similar experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9) in that he saw the Risen Christ (right before he was struck blind) – the men with him "were speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one." The men Daniel wrote about were afraid because they did not know God personally, like Daniel did.

There is a process in this "knowing" – when I meet someone, we are not instantly "friends." First we meet, and then we get to know one another. The same in my relationship with God. The more I get to knowHim...the better I am able to see things with His Eyes, to hear things with His ears, to love things as He loves. I hope you understand my point. We become sensitive to who that person is. Their needs become important and we even put aside our needs in relation to theirs.

God extends His Hand of friendship in Christ Jesus. We just need to take that Hand, and He will indeed do the rest. OH, that we would not be like the men who ran away, but like Daniel, who saw the Lord.

Paul was allowed to see the Lord, early in his walk, but the experience first blinded him (he was soon healed from that blindness), and then came the years in Damascus (Galatians 1:15-18), in which he was blessed to get to know his new Friend. If we want God, if we want to really know Him, we must travel a road where we will meet Him, face-to-Face.

In verse 19 we find that Daniel has been strengthen and made to listen to the Angel of the Lord.

"And he said, ‘O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!’ Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, ‘May my Lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’"

Daniel is made to listen...he receives strength. Much like the word we see in Isaiah (35:3-4) "Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

I love what I find in Daniel 10:19, because it reminds me of the healing power of the Father.

1) He will heal your fear. God intends that you will trust in Him, to the extent that you will no longer need to be afraid.
2) He will give you peace. You can count on it – you will eventually know the peace of God.
3) Courage. Gideon (Judges 6-8) is interesting, because God took an essentially fearful little guy, and turned him into a man who acted in concert with the will of God.
4) Strength. He will make you strong for all situations. But it will not be your strength (II Corinthians 12:9), it will be His Strength in you; and you will become useful in the service of God.

Verse 21. "However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince."

This angel had a job to do, as indicated in verse 20, including a battle with the forces of evil, in the spiritual realm. Paul has told us we are in battle too ("we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" – Ephesians 6: 12). In that context, Paul told us to arm ourselves (Ephesians 6:10-17) and protect ourselves, with truth, righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, faith, and salvation. He continues in verse 18, that we are to be "praying always." The "preparation of the gospel of peace" was a factor here, for the angel was sent that Daniel would know what "is inscribed in the writing of truth," the written Word of God.

That is what God counts as valuable for us. All of us have certain goals. You may want to help others in life, or be a good friend. You may want to make a lot of money, give good advice to others, be a good worker, or whatever. But God’s first choice for you is that you will be "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). He wants you to find true faith in all areas of your life, especially in times of trouble, for He wants to protect you from the "forces" mentioned here in Daniel. The kind of faith we need "comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). We need His Word. We need His word to strengthen our very soul.

Daniel lived in a time of persecution, but he found comfort in knowing that God transcended the political limits and destiny of Israel.

Daniel realized that there are events that take place beyond human understanding. Daniel was comforted to know that God will not forget those who follow Him.

"Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens." Psalm 119:89

Mama Barb

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book of Daniel - Study

First I want to apologize for the long period of time between postings. The holidays came and my sweet daughter returned home from the Dominican Republic for a long awaited visit. I opened my Bible on 2 separate occasions to study chapter 9 of the Book of Daniel, but only made a few notes before Cara Jane came into my room wanting to plan our daily activities. I cherished the entire time she was home. I wanted to make sure I devoted my whole self to this Bible study, so I knew God excused my absence...because the blessings I received with Cara Jane was His gift during this Christmas season to me. For that I am forever thankful to my Savior.

Chapter 9

Here we go with Chapter 9 of the Book of Daniel...

Our online study reminds us that Daniel is now 90 years old and the chapter begins with Daniel reading from the Book of Jeremiah 24:1-14. The Lord causes Daniel to see that his people would be in Babylon 70 years. Babylon invaded Palestine and began its siege in 606 B.C, and Daniel understood the prophecies in the year 539-538 B.C; so there were but 2 years left in the 70 years promised by the prophet Jeremiah. Most of this chapter is a prayer that Daniel prayed for his people. It is called a Penitent Prayer.

The Cause Of The Prayer

It must have been an overwhelming realization to Daniel that after 68 years of Babylonian captivity Israel had not changed very much. His Prayer seems to-reflect a great concern for what might happen to Israel if there was no dramatic change in the two years to come. Daniel's attitude is revealed to us in verse 3.

"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes."

How strange it must have been for Israel to see the Prime Minister wearing sackcloth and ashes.

The Nature Of The Prayer

Things for us to learn and know about Daniel's prayer in this chapter is its a prayer of confession. It is one of the longest prayers in the Bible and would be a good one for a Christian, church or nation to-pray. Daniel identifies himself with the sins of the people - notice: verse 4 says,

"I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed;" This is Daniels confession to the Lord.

In verse 5 Daniel says, We have sinned", "We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws."

Verse 6 Daniel says, "We have heard you but have not listened to the commands God gave to the prophet if we didn't stop sinning."

"We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land." (Daniel 9:6)

We need to look deeper to some of the things Daniel confesses through verse 5. One is departing from God's precepts or His Laws and what happens to us when we do.

The precepts of God is the final authority of His Word. Christians, I myself included, are no different today - how many of us are really willing to submit our lives to the authority-of God's Word.

God commands us to:

1. Keep His precepts (Psalm 119:4) "You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed."
2. To understand His precepts (Psalm 119:27) "How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life."
3. To long after His precepts (Psalm 119:40) "How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life"
4. To seek God's precepts (Psalm 119:45) "I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts."
5. To meditate in them (Psalm 119:78) "May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts."
6. Not forget them (Psalm 119:93) "I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life."
7. To choose them (Psalm 119:173) "May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts."

Keep in mind that Daniel had been studying Jeremiah who had Personally preached to three different Jewish kings, none of which heeded the messages of the prophet of God (Jeremiah 21,25,36, & 38). God's people have always had trouble accepting the message of God's prophets.

Luke 13:33-34, "In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."

The Results Of Sin

Confusion - God is not the author of confusion "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people" (1 Corinthians 14:33), so we must conclude that man brings it upon himself and it snowballs.

Verses 7-8 in Daniel 9 say, "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you."

"I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame" (Psalm 44:15).

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice"(James 3:16).

These are just a few verses reminding us that sin causes disorder and confusion. We loose focus on God and find ourselves living in a place of disgrace.

Scattering and the Curse

Verse 7 Daniel tells us of the scattering of his people:
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you."

Verse 11 Daniels speaks of the curse as a result of the sin. “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you."

This scattering was first prophesied in Deuteronomy 28. It was a direct result of disobedience. Jerusalem had been a city of great privileges. At one time it was the religious, economic, educational and political capital of the world. Jeremiah 52 gives us a brief picture of the overthrow of Jerusalem and the desperate condition it was left in.

The Plea For Mercy - (9:16-19)

Verse 18 makes it very clear that there is no basis of personal righteousness upon which Israel can approach God. If we as Christians today, will ever turn to God we will have to forsake an attitude of self-righteousness that controls us today. Daniel knew there was nothing left to appeal to except the mercies of God. God help us!

Daniel is about to receive some of the greatest information that has ever been revealed to mankind. He is to receive the timetable of prophecy. In verses 20-27 of this chapter God sent the answer to Daniel's prayer which was to understand the numbering of God's Word, which he does in verse 2, and then Gabriel comes to Daniel in verse 23 and tells him, "As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision."

The picture being presented in chapters 9 & 10 in this book that there are forces in the universe that battle against the messengers of God. Of course God could overrule at any time, but God informs us in Ephesians 6, "that we wrestle against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places." The only piece of armour that is not listed in Ephesians 6 is shin guards, which makes it obvious God intends the warfare to be conducted on our knees in prayer.

SO all this being can we take this information and use it in our daily lives today. How can we worship Him in prayer? By first reflecting upon who God is and thanking Him for the things He has revealed about Himself. To worship in prayer is to allow our spirits to feast upon what God has reveled concerning His acts in the distant and recent past, and what He has told us about Himself.

Slowly, as I review these things in a spirit of thanksgiving and recognition, I can sense my spirit beginning to expand, to take in the broader reality of God's presence and being. Slowly I am able to accept the fact that the universe about me is not closed or limited, but is in fact as expansive as the Creator meant for it to be. Then as I enter into worship I am reminded of how GREAT He is!!

In the light of God's majesty, we are called to an honesty about ourselves: what are we by contrast. This is the second aspect of our prayer: confession. Spiritual discipline calls for a regular acknowledgment of our true nature and the specific acts and attitudes of the recent past that have not been pleasurable to God as He has sought our fellowship and our obedience.

"God be merciful to me as a sinner" is an abbreviated version of the prayer of confession. We need a daily humbling experience of being broken before God as we face up to our imperfection, our propensity to seek evil ways.

If we apply Daniel's methods to our lives, fasting and prayer done in humbleness to God can remind us that we are dependent on Him. When you need guidance, fast and pray. Whether you fast for part of a day or an entire day, spend the time in prayer and meditate on God's Holy Word.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Daniel knew after studying God's Holy Word, that there was just 2 years until the end of the exile. I ask, "How ready are you?" Don't wait until you find yourself in exile. Begin your relationship with the One who Saved us today!!

Mama Barb