Rising Above the Chaos

Daniel Slide

Scripture Passage: Daniel 7

God placed reminders throughout history that He is above the immediate circumstances. So many times our outlooks and attitudes are tied to our environmental circumstances. But our outlooks and attitudes SHOULD be tied to the anticipation that God will carry out His plan. He is up to something right now!

Every Christ follower can rise above the chaos by understanding three reminders of prophecy in Daniel 7:

1. Crisis is Part of the Plan
God is in control of history–even the difficult history! Belief that God is in control of all of history leads to confidence that He is in control MY history. When we give up trying to control God to orchestrate our plans, we can experience the freedom of allowing God to guide us through our decisions.

2. The King is Still on the Throne
Despite the chaos going on in Daniel 7, verses 9 and 13 give us a glimpse into the throne room to see who is in control.

3. The Kingdom is Forever
God is eternal. He has always been, and His reign and power will never end. When you think of how many earthly powers have risen and fallen, it is empowering to think about the role we can play in God’s eternal Kingdom.

Talk About It

• Is there an area of your life that feels like chaos right now?

How does the thought that God is still at work and is still in control in the midst of that chaos affect you?

• Take a few seconds to think about the concept of eternity. How does that affect your perspective on your day-to-day life?

The Prayers of a Patriot

Scripture Passage: Daniel 6

In this passage of scripture, we take a look at quite possibly the most well known story of Daniel’s life. The story of Daniel in chapter 6 is normally told as an account of his time in the lion’s den, but it is really a story about answered prayer. As we study this passage, we are able to learn from four elements of Daniels prayer life.

1. Daniel Had a Plan for Prayer
According to verse 10, Daniel was intentionally and purposefully falling to his knees before the Lord 3 times per day. We can learn from Daniel that practicing discipline in our prayer lives is essential.

2. Daniel Had a Place for Prayer
Daniel was not only purposeful about when he prayed, but also where he prayed. He chose a location where he could fully devote his focus to God, free from distraction.

3. Daniel Had a Posture of Prayer
Daniel physically got down on his knees to pray. This was a humble act of submission and worship. In the same way, we should approach the Father with a heart of humility and submission.

4. Daniel Demonstrated Persistence in Prayer
Daniel took his prayer life seriously. In fact, he took it so seriously that he was willing to be thrown into a lion’s den before he would stop. He allowed nothing to keep him from prayer.

Talk About It

Which of these areas of prayer are you strongest in? Which area needs to see the most growth?

Describe a time when you were persistent in prayer and later were able to see the work God had been doing behind the scenes all along.

Daniel was willing to risk his life for the sake of prayer. How valuable is prayer to you? Why is it valuable to you?

Satan’s Tired Tactics

Scripture Passage: Daniel 5

Throughout this chapter in Daniel, we see how Satan works and the lies that he tries to tell us. The enemy often tempts us with seemingly enticing gifts of position, possessions, and passions but, in reality, these temptations are only disguised as gold and carry no eternal significance. Yet, because we have been given Satan’s playbook, this also means we know how to overcome his schemes.

1. Scripture always uncovers the lies.

Scripture is God-breathed and is useful in every situation, especially when it comes to combating the enemy. The Bible illustrates how Jesus’s followers sought His Word in times of trial. The enemy has no hope in prevailing against the Word of God.

2. The way to overcome Satan is to be fulfilled.

We as believers are invited to experience true fulfillment in Christ Jesus. Once we have experienced this, we are filled with the power to overcome any and all of the temptations Satan could ever throw at us. Trying to fill ourselves with anything less than Jesus will always leave us wanting more. With God, however, we have all that we will ever need.

Talk About It

The enemy tempts us through position, possessions, and passions.

• What are some ways that Satan tempts you in these areas?

• What are some passages of scripture that would be useful to hide in your heart in order to overcome these temptations?

A Lesson in Pride

Scripture Passage: Daniel 4

We all want to be confident in the way God calls us to live. We want our lives to reflect God’s goodness and character and set a good example for others. There is, however, a fine line between walking in confidence and walking in pride. The Scriptures teach us how to walk in humility with the Father.

1. The Delicate Balance of Confidence and Pride
Humility is often seen as walking around telling yourself you’re “no good”, but that is not a biblical view of humility. Pride can be both positive (confidence) and negative (arrogance). Daniel faced a difficult task when he had to be honest with Nebuchadnezzar about his dream, yet he spoke it confidently and used the talents God gave him to be obedient.

2. The Elusiveness of Humility
One of the easiest ways we can deceive ourselves is to think that we do not need more humility. Nebuchadnezzar’s life illustrates a caution we should heed. Having been humbled twice before, and now a third time through this interpretation of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar continued living in arrogance.

Working on humility is the hardest thing for a prideful person to do. The cure to pride is not a focus on being more humble, because the focus is still on yourself! To truly work on humility, you have to look beyond yourself. Set your gaze on the things that carry eternal weight. There is no place more humbling than to stand beside the cross of Jesus Christ and staring at the wonder of what He did for you.

3. The Inevitability of Humility
Nebuchadnezzar found himself on the rooftop of pride. Rooftops are a dangerous place to be. A rooftop has the best place to look down at other things. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride got the best of him and he ended up acting like an animal for seven years. The warning is this: If you try to act like you’re God, the Real God is going to humble you.

Remember that it is not too late to look to God and surrender to Him. God, in His grace, gave Nebuchadnezzar 12 months to repent. It is not too late for any of us to do the same.

Talk About It
What are some things in your life that could be a palace rooftop that you use to look down on the world?

Describe a time you were in a situation where you had to swallow your pride and show humility.

What does it mean to you to see true biblical humility played out in your life?

Factors of Impact

Daniel Slide

Scripture Passage: Daniel 3

We all have the desire to live a life of impact–make a difference with our lives. The boldness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego show us an incredible example of what impacting culture for the glory of God can look like. From their example, we can see that influence is determined by two factors.

1. Who you’re willing to worship.
Worship can show up in subtle ways. In our day, it’s rarely a large golden idol, but we worship anything that captures our full affection and takes the place of God.

2. What it takes to make you quit.
Commitment is not about earning God’s blessing. It’s about responding to God’s blessing. You don’t commit your life to Christ to get anything. You commit your life to Christ because you have everything.

The bold decision Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made to honor God still resulted in being thrown into the fiery furnace, but God protected them and stood right beside them. What a beautiful reminder that as we encounter trials in our own life, Jesus has already proven that He will be right by our side.

Talk About It

  • What are some things in your life that are in danger of becoming idols by taking the priority and focus away from God?
  • Describe a time when you were put in a situation to have to choose between honoring God or going with the crowd.
  • What does it mean to you to know that God is faithful to stand beside us as we go through the fiery trials of life?

Confidence in the Word

Scripture Passage: Daniel 2

The Word of God can be trusted because, through the prophecies found in the scriptures, we see the past and the future as the same. No other book can do that! Review these points from today’s message and discuss the questions at the end!

The validation of prophecies fulfilled.
Through the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream we see the kingdoms of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and the Romans all came to be and the future kingdom of Jesus’ return is yet to come!

The validation of world events.
When you read news stories today it’s as though God wrote them 2000 years ago! Prophecy has been fulfilled through Jesus as our Savior, Redeemer and soon returning King!

Talk About It

What did you learn today about prophecy and the reliability of the Word of God?

How does the Lord’s Supper teach us about the promises of God?

The Book of Daniel

Daniel SlideJust a reminder that tomorrow, at 3:00pm Monday afternoon local time, a moment of remembrance will take place for those who served and gave their life for our country. All Americans are asked to pause for one minute of reflection, gratitude, and unity.

Scripture Passage: Daniel 1

This morning, we started a new series in the Book of Daniel by looking at how we, too, can make an impact in our world – even when it seems like everything is against us. Read Daniel 1:1-21 again and review these points from today’s message:

An attitude of Submission | You cannot be over those who are under you until you are willing to be under those who are over you. It doesn’t matter how above everyone else you think you are, if you let your pride get you out from under authority, you’re going to get in trouble.

1 Peter 2:13-15: 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (See also 2 Timothy 2:24-26)

An Attitude of Learning | We don’t study so that we can immerse ourselves in things that are anti-God, but to read them in light of what we know to be true. They never replace our knowledge of the Word of God – which is the basis on which we begin any conversation related to any other “wisdom.”

The Christian leader is always listening and always learning. We never forsake the timeless truths of Scripture, but are always ready to give an intelligent answer to the questions of the day and point people to Jesus.

An Attitude of Expectation | Daniel understood something that we often forget: Sometimes God allows evil people to have short-term success in order to be unexpected participants in His plan! Don’t believe me? God ordained the Babylonian invasion. He also ordained their later overthrow by the Medes and Persians! God was in control the entire time. (See also Genesis 50:20)

Warren Wiersbe: “Each believer is either a conformer or a transformer. We’re either being squeezed into the world’s mold or we’re transforming things in the world into which God has put us. Transformers don’t always have an easy life, but it’s an exciting one and it gives you great delight to know that God is using you to influence others.”

Think and Talk About It

• Who was/is the most courageous person you’ve ever met?

• What made him or her courageous?

• Did this person display any of the attitudes we heard about today?

• Which attitude is the most difficult for you to have?

• What makes that attitude difficult for you?

• How are you – or how are we as a family – making an impact in the world?

Finally, take some time as a family. Ask God to show you and/or your family how and where you can make a bigger impact in the world today for Christ.

The Blessing

The Blessing: A Choice, An Urgent Choice, A Powerful Choice

Passage: Deuteronomy 30:19-20

This week Brad Flurry continued our series on Restoring the Home by talking about blessings within our home.  A blessing is defined as choosing to give honor by intentionally ascribing God’s promises to another through the giving of unconditional love and acceptance. In looking at Deuteronomy 30:19-20, we see that we have two choices that we can make: to bless or to curse.  From that choice, there are two destinations: the road of blessing leads to life, but the cursed road leads to death.

Two truths about the choice of blessing:

1st Truth: The Blessing is an Urgent Choice

o   Joshua 24:15 reminds us that we have today to choose who we will serve. We need to choose to trust and follow God today, in this moment, and not wait for the future.

2nd Truth: The Blessing is a Powerful Choice

o   The impact of the blessing is far reaching and we can see this in Genesis 27:34, as Esau cries out for his father’s blessing.

Two Practical ways to bless the people in your lives:

#1: Bless who they are, not what they do.

o   We are blessing them for who they are, a child of God created with infinite value, dignity and worth, not for what they accomplish.

#2: Bless them by your presence and participation in their life.

o   We are blessing them by showing them that they are valued.

Questions:

o   What is one way that you can bless your family this week?

o   Who is someone in your life that has blessed you? How?

o   Who is someone outside of your family that you feel called to bless?  How will you do that?

Gratitude

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.”   -Deuteronomy 6:10-13

This morning, Pastor Rush reminded us through this passage that our homes should have a spirit of gratitude within them. He said, “In other words, don’t forget how God has blessed you. [This passage] reminds us to never start thinking you did it on your own.”

A healthy home, is therefore, a thankful home and is expressed in three ways:

Humility: It’s impossible to feel self-important (prideful) and thankful at the same time. Humility and thankfulness go hand-in-hand, because humility points the importance to others (most importantly God), not the self. It recognizes the blessings that come from another. (James 4:6)

Devotion: Devotion is much like commitment. It’s “giving God the benefit of the doubt during the good and bad times,” as Pastor Rush said. We must build within our hearts and homes reminders that when life gets hard (and it will), that God is completely trustworthy and worthy of our devotion. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Joy: Finally, joy is the sign of a thankful home, because it undergirds a heart and home that knows “God’s got this.” We can be joyful in all circumstances because even on the cross, when seemingly all hope was lost…God had it under control. We know He’s got us, because 3 days later, He did! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Questions:

Which expression of thankfulness is most difficult for you to express as an individual: humility, devotion or joy? Which is the easiest?

How about for your family? Where do you see your family expressing humility, devotion and joy?

Take some time right now to bless one another. Use this sentence as a guide: “____________, you bring me so much joy because…”

Finally, take some time as a family to pray and express your thanks for your Father in Heaven…and pray for Mom, too!

Secrets of a Healthy Home Life

Scripture Passage: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

God’s design for the family is distinctive and designed for the purpose of reflecting His image.

Distinction #1:  Our homes are a gateway (vs. 9).

God designed our homes to be a place where we love and honor Him. We guard our hearts and minds from things that harm our relationship with Him and with one another.

Distinction #2: Our homes are filled with conversations about God and His Word (vs.7).

God designed our homes to be a place where we grow in our relationship with God as we experience more of His presence, His promises and apply Scripture to our lives.

Distinction #3: Our homes are a place of legacy.

God designed the home to be the primary mission field to impact lives within our homes for His Kingdom.

Think and Talk About It!

* Ask God to reveal anything that is causing damage to your home and ask for His grace to remove/change those things.

* How can we invite God into our thoughts, speech and actions within our home?

 Faith Talk Cards (available in the Legacy Resource Center) is a great tool to help foster conversations about Scripture!