What will be on your Tombstone? – Daniel 12:13

Vol. 2, No. 32 – 8-6-2017

But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age. Daniel 12:13

Joe died at the age of 50; yet, he was not buried until the age of 67. What? How can that be? If the truth be told, Joe quit living at the age of 50; that is what should be carved on his tombstone. He gave up the race of life coming down the home stretch. He was tired. He did not like life as it was any longer.

I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

What will be on your tombstone? I know what is on mine. The grave site is purchased, the funeral has been paid for, and the headstone is in place. Romans 8:11 is engraved on my side of the headstone: “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.” Thus, it is clear that I cannot “quit” before I die. I am committed to living until God takes me home—as Paul would say it in the Greek, “Be being keeping on!” It is an expression of the continuous present. (My wife Donna’s side is from John 11:25, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.)

Both my knees have been replaced, there have been six ear surgeries, an eye surgery, nerve reconstruction on my left arm, ligament/cartilage surgery for my left knee, and both hands have received surgery (four times), and my neck has been fused with a metal plate installed. Yet I keep on keeping on. I hope someone will stop by to read our tombstones one day and then read the Scripture verses—God’s truth is there.

  • If you are tired, keep on keeping on
  • If you do not have the funds you used to have, keep on keeping on
  • If your dreams and ideas seem to be slowing, keep on keeping on
  • If your car no longer runs, walk, keep on keeping on
  • If you cannot hear like you once did, read, keep on keeping on
  • Even if you are on your “death-bed”, remember believers will be raised; we get to keep on keeping on in eternity

David writes reflective Psalm; he looks back at the involvement of God in his life. His objective is that we should also see God’s presence in our own lives. Notice how David begins Psalm 37—”Do not fret.” Fretting is almost a word of onomatopoeia (ονοματοποιία), we get the meaning of the word by saying the word. Fretting is worry. We are good at it.  What is the answer? Daniel says, “Do not fret.” God says that all things are in His hands. We will rise again.

Daniel is 90 years of age; headed toward his death-bed. He is finishing his course; however, he knows the truth of his reward. It is not simply a state of mind, but a reality. Daniel is looking for the rest that God provides to His own. His lot, a little spot, is in the territory of Judah. It was as a small garden. His life would end well for he was faithful to Almighty God.

Not everyone’s life ends well. All too often people of the earth, including many believers, strive to shape their lives only to suit them. Without God as the focus of the heart, life becomes traumatic, and does not end well.

I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith’ in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day’ and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

I wonder what was on Paul’s tombstone. Would it be remarkable that Paul could be buried in the garden next to Daniel? Just a thought; an imagination. Daniel and Paul never tired of their ministry; fatigue did not overpower them. They armed themselves with the truth of God, bathed their trials in prayer, and were found faithful to their end on the earth.

How is it with you?

Living in the Midst of Chaos in a Secular Culture – Daniel 11:36

Vol. 2, No. 31 – 7-30-2017

The king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. Daniel 11:36

In the history in which we have lived there have been many pompous leaders who strut across the world stage, attempting to say, “Look at me, I am made of great stuff; I have the bully pulpit and I will use it to my advantage—the nation be d_____.”

This self-centered king came with a message of hope and change; a message that promised what the people wanted—world peace. Has it been different in our nation’s leaders in recent years? Many get into office, make their own laws, and do what they want to do, regardless of any sense of accountability.

In Daniel’s day, a king comes on the scene; one who portrayed himself to be a superhero. The times were chaotic, tempestuous, hopeless, and people lived in despair. The people of the nation were pushed into thinking that things would never recover; that only the very wealthy people, people of stature, and people with connections would survive. In reality, the superhero, God’s man, was yet to come.

In our world, people are exhausted of world conflict. There does not seem to be answers that satisfy the people of the earth. Our world nations are looking—desperately looking—for a leader or two that will draw them out from their sufferings and chaos.

In Daniel’s day a dictator arises—a king—a man who very quickly takes office. He assumes great power; he is threatening. This dictator comes to power after a gap of 2000 years. It is a severe time. Daniel begins to contemplate as the Holy Spirit leads his heart. He begins to pre-write the coming history. He writes about the Antichrist who will come—both literally and in character. Scripture reveals him to be a man of sin, a son of perdition, a beast, and a prince that will come. The Scripture pictures him as high-minded, self-centered, and full of pride, arrogant, a man that covets, a man with an evil heart, a blasphemer of Almighty God. This Antichrist will control business, trade, government, and man’s religion. The people of the earth will bow their knees at the sight of him; to ignore their duty is to allow for their own deaths. Indeed, the people of the earth will be marked on their forehead—666—to identify their allegiance to the Antichrist.

Interestingly, as the believers of Almighty God dwell in Israel, the deceiver makes a peace covenant with them. The deceiver’s headquarters are in Jerusalem. He brings a false unity, brings prosperity, and brings a measure of peace on the earth; all for a very limited time. Such is the imaginations of people of the earth who will devote their lives to a corrupt and deceiving leader.

The Antichrist Daniel writes about is future. He will descend upon the people of the earth in the Last Days; the church will be absent as the Rapture will have already taken place. Armageddon takes place—all hell breaks loose. The final conflict takes place and God’s man is already the victor. The Antichrist fails.

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. Daniel 11:45

Many “leaders” ignore God’s time clock. God’s truths are contained in the Scriptures; He reveals what we need to know. God commands us to keep an eye on His truth as we live upon the earth. For there is a day when time will run out. It will arrive sooner than we imagine.

Leaders and other people of the earth need to live under absolute truth; not situational ethics. That is important; it impacts each person and it impacts the people gathered around them. What a person places in their heart makes a difference in how they think, in what they speak, and in the actions of their lives. Where do you go for the things you need to place in your heart?

God expects those He has created to be ready at all times to express the reason for the hope that lies within—in their hearts (1 Peter 3:15). One needs to express the reason to others with gentleness and respect. Daniel observed that the people of the earth did not receive gentleness and respect from their king. We can observe that we live in a world where gentleness and respect is not prevalent. But then, the greater number of people of the earth live through their pride, arrogance, materialism, and self-centeredness.

If you lead others, how is it with you? What kind of impact are you having with those around you?

1 Peter 3:15; 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21


Called to Temerity in a Secular Culture – Daniel 10:12

Vol. 2, No. 30 – 7-23-2017

Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. Daniel 10:12

Temerity = nerve, boldness, hutzpah, and the like.

Louie L’Amour (Guns of the Timberlands), writes about the quality and character of men who conquered the West. “They were tall men, short men; but all of them were strong men with skin like saddle-leather and clear eyes that saw beyond today. These men who stayed were not necessarily wealthy men, but they were steadfast men, confident men, strong with an inner-strength that knew no defeat.”

Daniel was like that. We live in a society, a culture that increasingly is secular. The foundations of a secular culture skew the mind to think not of character or strength, but in playing the victim and being so weakened that their dependence is upon other earth dwellers and its governments. Our culture has lost the daring that composed our nation in our early days. We also live in an instant society. We want instant communication, instant results, instant money and things, instant pudding, and even instant mashed potatoes. This is the dominant mindset of the secular.

Daniel was over 80-years-of-age. How are 80-year-olds today? Are they strong, full of character, undivided with Almighty God at the center of their hearts, purpose-driven? Or, do they stop their “output” in their latter days of life on the earth?

Temerity speaks of our set in heart.

It includes the plan and purpose that God has for us. When God expects you to follow His purpose, He expects fearlessness, courage, character, and steadfastness. God does not expect us to lose our temerity, for it is He who strengthens us and walks by our side; even when we live in an ever-increasing secular society. Why would God leave us here without expectations?

Who might we look at for a life of temerity?

  • David set his heart when he went after Goliath with a slingshot
  • Joseph stood fast in his faith when an Egyptian woman attempted to violate his character
  • Elijah stood strong in his faith on a mountain top with 450 priests of Baal
  • Job stood firm even in the midst of his wife calling for him to die
  • Moses stood before Pharaoh with plague after plague
  • Daniel did not resist the lion’s den for his faith had temerity
  • Stephen stood in the face of earthly death to suffer for the Lord
  • My dad, also named Daniel, worked three jobs to take care of two families

In reality, these are men of character and temerity desiring to end their life well. Regardless of the issues brought to them in life, they stood strong toward the One they believed. They faced the secular society with fixed purposes, sometimes with such an approach when feeling weak. Always in the end they staunchly gave evidence of their temerity.

Three practical suggestions:

  • Get to know the God who is our mighty fortress rather than relying upon people of the earth
  • Contemplate how you are becoming a person of God, realizing that this is more important than what you accumulate
  • Live the life of God on the earth, rather than living your life by the moment

‘Tis the set of the sail and not the gale that determines the way we go!” —Laurel Holman

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