Encounters

Story Time

Tormenting Dream

Daniel 2

King Nebuchadnezzar is pitching a fit because he has this dream that is tormenting him. It’s keeping him awake at night and basically never leaves his mind. He refuses to tell anyone the dream because, in his way of thinking, the only way to know for sure the wise men are interpreting it correctly is for them to first be able to tell him what the dream was. (Dan. 2:5-9) Well, no one can do it, so he orders all the wise men to be killed. I can just picture it, he just kind of waves his hand and says, “Okay fine, just kill them all. They’re useless to me.”

Then Daniel pops into the story asking the king’s captain what is going on… because Daniel and his three buddies are part of the group about to be killed. So, he pops in to King Nebuchadnezzar (which will now be referred to as “Nebby”) and says, “Hey, give me a few and I’ll get back to ya on this whole dream business.”

He goes home and seeks the Lord. He doesn’t expect to be able to do it on his own. He even gets his buddies to pray with him. (2:17-18)

God answers by giving him a dream revealing Nebby’s dream. Daniel gets up, praises the Lord, and then goes in to tell Nebby the dream and the interpretation of it. The king honors Daniel by making him ruler over the province of Babylon.

The 3 Buddies

Daniel 3

Looking on in Daniel 3. King Nebby gets his statue built and tells everyone to worship it … I’m guessing that statue looked a bit like the king, himself. Nex we get to see the 3 buddies in action. Their focus is on their King – the One True God – and they say, “Nope! Not happenin’ dude! Our God is God and we ain’t bowin’ to that thing. You see, our God – the Real One – has the ability to deliver us from that stinkin’ hot furnace. You can’t stop Him. And dude, even if He chooses to let us fry, just let people know we refused to bow to your lame statue that has no power. We only serve the One True God. Your gods, well, they simply do not measure up!”

Nebby orders the fire to burn hotter and then for them to be thrown in. His soldiers cannot survive the heat from outside of the furnace. Then the miracle happens.

They stepped on out of there like, “See dude, no bonds, no burnt hair, not even the smell of smoke. That’s our God! Now, what’s your god, I mean statue, got?”

Dreaming Again

Daniel 4

Next, Nebby has another dream which Daniel interprets. Basically, King Nebby is going to learn who the real God is. You’d think he would’ve already gotten it, but he was a little hard-headed and it just didn’t stick.

The dream this time tells Nebby that he’s too full of himself. Since he’s just not getting it, he’s going to lose his mind and go live with the animals – even act like them. Then, after 7 years, his kingdom will be given back to him – after he finally comes to know that the Most High is the True God.

Next we see Nebby looking at Babylon being all proud of himself for the great job he did in building such a grand place… by his own might and power. (4:30)

And God said, “I warned you. Now here goes.” And the king is out eating grass with the oxen. Until finally, he lifts his eyes toward heaven and blesses God, praising and honoring Him.

Nebby’s First Encounter

King Nebby is about to kill a bunch of super smart guys, including Daniel and his 3 friends. Daniel steps up and gives him the answer he needs – showing him the power of God.

Bringing it home…

Mark 4:3-9, 14-20

So, you’re listening to a sermon and the teacher mentions Romans 12:2 – how you are transformed by renewing your mind. You think about it for a minute, “I need to remember that. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to change this thing about me. If I get into this mind renewal thing, it’ll help me overcome it.”

You spend 5 minutes and a paragraph or two in your head and then realize you’re missing the sermon. Ten minutes later, the service is over and you go out to hang with your friends for a few minutes before heading to lunch. Then you head home and the message you heard is forgotten.

And then Nebby praises God.

Nebby’s 2nd Encounter

Nebby immediately turns his focus back to his own greatness and builds himself a golden statue. Which turns out, is just a dead monument to himself, and God comes on the scene.  Nebby praises God and gives the 3 guys a promotion!  (3:28-30)

Home Again:

Mark 4:18-19

You’re just sitting around killing time on your phone and realize you haven’t done your devo for today. Maybe it’s even been 3 days … so you switch apps and the devo title is “Mind Renewal.” Suddenly you remember what you heard on Sunday. You look up the verse – after searching “renew” because you have no idea where the verse is. After finding it and reading it, you go back and read the devo – realizing Romans 12:2 was in it. So you did all that unnecessary work to find it. You screen shot the verse so you don’t forget. Even make it your wallpaper so you can see a word or two of the verse behind all your app icons.

Then, it’s time for the show you were waiting for to come on… the cares of the world…

Nebby’s Third Encounter

Another dream. He gets Daniel immediately … he knows Daniel’s God … yet, even after the warning, he just cannot look past himself and how awesome he is. Finally though, it is settled within him that God is God. (4:34-37)

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Mark 4:20

After several encounters with Romans 12:2, running into it through sermons, devos, friends, bumper stickers, etc. It begins to sink in that God is trying to get you to renew your mind and be transformed. God isn’t shy about encounters. He will give you as many as you need to get that thing settled in you. He isn’t going to stop pursuing you and there’s nothing, NOTHING, you can do to get Him to stop because He loves you.

That’s a Wrap!

There have been many times I’ve talked to people who are, in a sense, torturing themselves over where they are. Beating themselves up because for a few days they get super fired up – being sure to chase after God and that thing He revealed to them. Then, they slip back into routine and a week later, God is speaking to them again. It’s okay.

You know that person you’ve watched and admired for the relationship with God they have? They slip too. In fact, at several times in their life, they’ve looked back and said, “Why did I stop pursuing God regarding this?” or, “Why, when I know how wonderful it is to sit and talk with God, do I not do it more?” “Why do I often find it difficult to go to that place?”

So, relax. You’re not going to be perfect. But, when you hear Him calling – instead of wasting precious time beating yourself up for not going yesterday – just go today. When suddenly you remember that you’ve missed three days of the studying you promised yourself you would do, just go do it.

The Take Away:

  • It usually takes many encounters to get a word from God settled within you.
  • Beating yourself up wastes time. God isn’t mad at you, so don’t be mad at yourself. Just get back in there!

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety – Trust God

Overcome Fear and Anxiety

“Arachnophobia.” Have you seen that movie? Before watching it, I had no fear of spiders.

Seeing a spider in my house was not cause for anxiety, the unwanted pest simply met it’s demise — typically with the bottom of my shoe. After viewing the movie however, I developed an irrational fear of sitting on a toilet without checking it first. It was years before I could go without turning lights on and looking around. Silly, I know.

Irrational?

In Matthew 8:23-27, we find the disciples facing a similar problem. An irrational fear of a storm. Why was it irrational? Because when they got in the boat, Jesus had said specifically, “Go to the other side.” (Matt. 8:18)

Jesus had just finished performing many miracles and teaching about the kingdom of God and life as a child of God. Plus, He had given them a command to cross right on over to the other side.

How easily we forget all we have seen Jesus do — in our own lives and the lives of others — when a storm arises and stirs up fear within us!

Who is in that boat?

Jesus did not say, “He guys, let’s go about halfway across and then drown!”

When a storm arises, do you forget who is in the boat? God Himself was hanging out with those men, as He is always hanging out with us… Sure, He was napping, but so what?! He knew what was going on and He wasn’t the least bit concerned. If He didn’t have a plan to get through the storm, He wouldn’t have gotten in the boat.

It would be like God saying, “Oops! I had a plan for the salvation of the world, but then Jesus drowned in a freak storm. Sorry about that, my bad!”

He had a way out of that storm and yours as well!

The disciples allowed the fear and anxiety of that moment to take over and bring them to a place of doubt and unbelief. If you don’t take captive the fear filled, anxious thoughts and emotions, you will quickly spiral into the place the disciples found themselves, “We are perishing.” (Matt. 8:25)

How to overcome:

  • Keep your eyes on Who is in the boat with you!
    • Jesus is INSIDE of us and therefore His power to overcome the world is there… all the time.
    • 1 John 5:4
  • Choose to focus on and believe the Word of God more than you believe in your storm. Be it a troubling circumstance, sickness, feeling, or emotion. Make the main thing the main thing!
  • Cooperate with God in order to receive His best
  • Take yourself off the menu!
    • Satan, “May I devour you?”
    • You, “NO!”
      • 1 Peter 5:8 – after all, he’s not a ferocious lion… I picture his roar like that of the young Simba in the Lion King when the hyenas made fun of him. Just jump in and roar like Mufasa! Satan doesn’t have any power over a believer unless you give him the reigns through allowing fear and anxiety place in your life.

I’m happy to say, I have no problem sitting on my toilet anymore – even with the lights off at 3 in the morning. (Now rats.. that is a story for another time, lol.)

I’m sure I will face things that frighten me in days and years to come – in fact, this big adventure we are on can bring some of that – but God is God and I know Him and trust Him. He’s got me and He’s got you … and do you know why? Because He absolutely loves you with an everlasting love.

There is a list, I call it, “The List” on my site. This list is a group of confessions you can use to help you grow in faith and really know who you are in Christ. Click here and print it out! Use it regularly, with faith, and I promise your life will be changed for good.