At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, And he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Dan. 4:34-35
Dear heavenly Father, I need to “bookmark” this passage and return to it often, for it doesn’t just tell the conversion story of a pagan King; it’s the ongoing story of my heart. Your sovereignty is our sanity; your rule is our rest; your dominion is our delight. Navel-gazing and circumstance watching, and talk-radio-fixating and political-pundit-feasting never serve us well.
Father, help us to understand the glorious implications of your perpetual enthronement. Your dominion is the only eternal dominion. November elections and political insurrections; temperature instability and terrorist insanity don’t affect your reign one micro-bit or one nanosecond.
For your kingdom endures from generation to generation. There never has been, nor will there ever be, any nervous sweat, furrowed brows, or anxious pacing in heaven. There’ll never be one moment of consternation or vexation in the corridors of paradise; no need for a contingency plan to emerge from the “big boardroom in the sky.”
Father, you do as you …
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Isaiah 45:9 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, even your “Woe’s” are gifts of grace, for they warn me of the foolishness of my reasoning, the limitations of my perspective, and the self-centeredness of my musings.
Sometimes, I “think” I’d like to be you for fifteen minutes. That’d give me a chance to fix people that need fixing; fund ministries which serve you the best, but struggle with finances the most; bring judgment upon those who’ve “got it coming”; alleviate the sufferings of friends whose physical and emotional pain is overwhelming; exact revenge on people who’ve hurt me the deepest and betrayed me the most; put an end to human trafficking and the pornography industry; rid the world of annoying politicians and “liberal” pundits; and, heal broken marriages of friends and obliterate cancer, once and for all.
Alas, Father, I am such a mix of good desires and broken agendas. I look at my list and realize how much I need the gospel—every day and every hour. Of course, you the Potter, have hands—big, loving, mighty ones. And not only that, you have a heart bigger than the universe; wisdom beyond all imaginings; and a timetable that makes Swiss precision seem like laissez-faire tardiness.
There is a …
In his hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, this promise brings me immeasurable peace, humility, and joy. I’m so thankful to remember that you are robustly engaged in determining and directing all of our steps. You’re working all things together after the counsel of your will; and you’re working in all things for your glory and for our good. You open doors no man can shut and you shut doors that no man can open. Hallelujah, many times over!
Many years I labored under the arrogance and anxiety of assuming that if I prayed hard enough and long enough, I could know the specifics of your will for my life, well in advance of any decision needing to be made. Of course, my assumption was that if I was in your will, life would be enjoyable, pleasant, and hassle free.
If I bought the right car, it would never break down. If I chose the right house, the roof would never leak. If I married the right person, we’d never disagree. If I went to the right college, I’d get the right job and life would be all right. If I sent my kids to the right school, they would never act out, and would end up on the mission field. I guess I wanted you to be more like a genie granting my wishes, rather than a Father directing my life.
You’re most definitely honored when we work hard to make good plans, in keeping with the truth of the …
Therefore he (Jesus) is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. Heb. 7:25 (NIV)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning’s too deep for words. Rom. 8:26 (ESV)
My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. Job 16:20-21(NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, as I think about the multiple ways you love and care for your children, few things create a deeper sigh of relief, sense of peace, and smile of joy than knowing the whole Trinity is praying for us—including me.
Father, nothing or no one can sabotage your sovereignty, warp your will, or divert your decrees for us, (and for your entire cosmos). You do all things well. And we are so thankful we don’t have to strive to get your attention, make a case for ourselves, or convince you anything. Indeed, we don’t have to gussy up, buck up, or ramp up our spirituality when we come before you. We come as beloved children with a welcoming Father, and as real people with real tears.
Lord Jesus, because you ever live to pray for us, may we evermore abandon ourselves to you. Certainly, anything and …
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you. Isaiah 43:1-5 (ESV)
Dear heavenly Father, your Word is solace for the sad and ballast for the bewildered, a firm rock for the freshly rocked, and bread from heaven for the hungry on earth. This isn’t theory, the wisdom of sages, or just true and good theology. It’s our reality, and we praise you. You’ve made promises you alone can keep, and you do not lie. No god is as near or good, merciful or mighty as you—no matter the storm or season.
As you have spoken clearly through Isaiah, you created us and are redeeming us, all for your glory. You summoned us by name, calling us to life in the gospel. You gave us a new name—“Mine”. There’s …
“After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ’What do you mean by doing these things?’ Daniel 4:34-35 (NLT)
Dear heavenly Father, like Nebuchadnezzar, I am never more sane than when I am worshiping you and acknowledging your sovereignty. I am so very thankful that you are God, and I am not. Forgive me when I think less of you, and otherwise of me.
I am grateful that you do as you please, and not as we often beg you to do. Indeed, Father, I’ve lived long enough to praise you for some of the “No’s” I’ve received to prayers for which I desperately wanted a “Yes”. You do all things well, not easy; but in time, you will make all things beautiful. Give me grace to wait for that Day, Father.
Help me to trust your heart when I cannot see your hand at work. Forgive me for thinking I need to draw certain international crises and personal situations to your attention, as though you’re not aware, or worse, as though you don’t care. Thank you, Father, …
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 1 Chron. 29:11-12 (NLT)
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning from ancient times, what is still to come I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isa. 46:9-10 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, though there are days when I, the clay, presume to tell you, the Potter, what to create next; and though there are stories that I the character, want to dictate to you, the Author, how the plot should change; and though there are circumstances about which I, your subject, want to order you, my King, into action, not really—a thousand times over, not really.
I am so thankful that you are God, and I am not. I am so thankful that you are the Alpha and the Omega, and everything other Greek letter in between. I am so thankful you know the beginning and the ending, and every other moment as well. I am so thankful that …
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Dan. 4:34-35
Dear Lord Jesus, this Scripture confronts our unbelief, tames our fears, and consoles our hearts. We can’t be reminded too often whose kingdom and which King is actually in control, of world events and our daily circumstances.
You have no rivals, contingencies, or concerns. There’s no sweat on your palms, vacancy in your eyes, or vexation in your heart. You set up kings and you sit them down at your discretion. You live forever, your dominion is eternal, your kingdom endures, and you do as you please . . . period!
Even as you brought King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to his theological and political senses, so keep us in gospel sanity. Forgive us when we pay more attention to political pundits, sensational blogs, news-naysayers, and talk shows crazies, than we take notice of the occupied throne of heaven and listen intently to what you have to say to us in your Word.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
Heavenly Father, there’s no other god as merciful, gracious, and engaged as you. Your forbearance is immeasurable; your kindness is inexhaustible; your plans are irrepressible. When your people received this letter of encouragement from Jeremiah, they were in exile in Babylon. How could they not feel bereft, bewildered, even betrayed by you?
Yet we know by your own testimony, Father, that when you lead us into difficult seasons, it’s not to punish us but to prosper us. When you send hardships, it’s not to bring us harm but to give us hope. When you discipline us, it’s not to send us into the “doghouse” of your displeasure but to guarantee our good future.
You know exactly what you’re doing with your people and everything else in the world, and you always act congruent with the gospel. You know the plans you have for us—individually and corporately. There’s no happenstance in heaven. You don’t make up things as you go along. You’re not a God who reacts out of irritation, but one who always acts out of great affection. There are no coincidences, just providences. “Stuff” doesn’t just happen; sovereignty is always happening.
Father, this way of thinking would be utter madness if you never sent Jesus—a big-time spitting into the wind; the spin of all …