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The Future Looks Uncertain...but God
Daniel 2
Skip Heitzig

Jump To: Worship | Message

Daniel 2 (NKJV™)
1 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.
2 Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
3 And the king said to them, "I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream."
4 Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation."
5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, "My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.
6 "However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation."
7 They answered again and said, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation."
8 The king answered and said, "I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm:
9 "if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation."
10 The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, "There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.
11 "It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh."
12 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13 So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
14 Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;
15 he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, "Why is the decree from the king so urgent?" Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.
16 So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.
17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,
18 that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.
23 "I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king's demand."
24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: "Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation."
25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, "I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation."
26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?"
27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.
28 "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:
29 "As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.
30 "But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31 "You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.
32 "This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 "its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
34 "You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 "This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.
37 "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;
38 "and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all--you are this head of gold.
39 "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
40 "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.
41 "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.
42 "And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
43 "As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
45 "Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold--the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.
47 The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret."
48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.
49 Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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...but God

Prognosticators and forecasters abound all around us, from weather reporters to psychics. Even the National Geographic Channel hosts programs about aliens who are trying to tell us poor earthlings a thing or two about the future. And everyone seems amazed that someone as distant as Nostradamus could’ve predicted life in our modern culture—or did he? The future is shrouded in mystery for us all but God specializes in knowing and predicting the future. To what end? What is the purpose of God showing us today what will happen tomorrow?

All of us experience times of desperation, but as James Montgomery Boice said, "If you understand those two words, 'But God,' they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely." In this series, Skip Heitzig explores the "but God" moments of David, Jonah, Moses, and other biblical figures, encouraging us to let the Lord turn our personal periods into pivot points.

Outline

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  1. The Future Is Unknown to Us (vv. 1-2, 10)

  2. The Future Is Well Known to God (vv. 15-23)

  3. The Future Is Made Known to Us (vv. 26-30)

  4. The Future Makes God Known to Us (v. 45)


Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: July 8, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "The Future Looks Uncertain…but God"
Text: Daniel 2

Path

Prognosticators and forecasters abound all around us, from weather reporters to psychics. Even the National Geographic Channel hosts programs about aliens who are trying to tell earthlings a thing or two about the future. And everyone seems amazed that someone as distant as Nostradamus could've predicted life in our modern culture—or did he? The future is shrouded in mystery for us all, but God specializes in knowing and predicting the future. To what end? What is the purpose of God showing us today what will happen tomorrow?
  1. The Future Is Unknown to Us (vv. 1-2, 10)
  2. The Future Is Well Known to God (vv. 15-23)
  3. The Future Is Made Known to Us (vv. 26-30)
  4. The Future Makes God Known to Us (v. 45)
Points

The Future Is Unknown to Us
  • Nebuchadnezzar had a restless night filled with troubling dreams. He called in religious experts—people who dealt with dreams and omens—but they had to admit the truth: they could not tell the future.
  • Nebuchadnezzar's reaction was typical for his day. Hepatomancy, divination by examining sacrificed animals, was standard procedure in Babylon and Rome. Later, people like Nostradamus and Jeanne Dixon were noted for their supposed predictions. Today, 125 million people believe in astrology for divine insight.
  • Any seeming truth from these practices is ambiguous; information can be read into anything retrospectively.
  • Probe: Have you ever had a dream that really caused you to ponder its meaning? What was it about? It's possible that God still uses dreams, as some attest to in the Middle East.1
The Future Is Well Known to God
  • Daniel was called to interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dreams in a last-straw attempt to know the future. This brought him in contact with God who alone knows the future.
  • Daniel believed it was possible to know the future if God revealed it. He trusted in the Lord who knows everything, including the future. He understood that God exists outside of and unconfined by time.
  • God is omniscient. His knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, and without deterioration.
  • Eternity is the absence of a timeline. Like someone viewing a parade from a helicopter, God sees the beginning, middle, and end all at once.
  • Probe: Beyond omniscience, what are other attributes of God? Define and discuss God's omnipresence, omnipotence, immanence, immutability, and impeccability.
The Future Is Made Known to Us
  • In verses 26-29, Daniel essentially said, "They can't tell you what you dreamed and neither can I, but God can. And God wants to make it known to you."
  • God wants to make a limited amount of the future known to us.
  • Bible prophecy tells us what's going to happen. For example:
    • God revealed to Israel their captivity in Babylon and their eventual return.
    • God revealed to Israel the coming of Messiah and the Messiah's kingdom.
    • God has revealed future judgment, including the rapture, tribulation, and Jesus' eternal rule.
  • One fourth of the Bible is prophecy. Anyone can make a prediction, but fulfillment is different. And the more detailed the prophecy, the less likely it is to happen.
  • Old Testament prophets predicted over 300 prophecies concerning the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled them all. It is impossible to arrange that many prophecies apart from God's hand.
  • Bible prophecy is not just a good guess, but good news to a guessing world.
  • Probe: Discuss the prophetic element found in some of these references regarding Jesus' life, death and resurrection: Genesis 49:10; Psalm 16:10; 22:16; 22:18; 34:20; 41:9; Isaiah 7:14; 9:1; 35:5-6; 53:5; 53:9; 53:12; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9; 11:12; 12:10.
The Future Makes God Known to Us
  • God reveals the future to reveal He's the Father so we'll realize He is the one true God. Biblical prophecy shows that other religions are a sham (see Isaiah 42).
  • Jesus said prophecy is a reason for faith (see John 14:29).
  • Jesus has three credentials:
    • His impact on history—His life and teachings
    • His resurrection
    • Fulfilled prophecy
  • Most other religions are based on philosophical postulates, but prophecy is absent. Christianity is confirmed by observable evidence, including prophecy. It's as if God is saying, "I know the future, and I'll make the future known to you because I want to make Myself known to you."
  • So, why does God reveal the future?
    • Not just to make people aware, but to make people adore
    • Not just to inform people of His plan, but to conform people to His plan
    • Not just to get people to say, "Wow," but to get people to worship
    • His desire is for you to surrender yourself to Him and His future.
  • Probe: Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promise to bless the whole earth (see Genesis 12:3). When He returns, everyone will recognize Him for who He is (see Zechariah 12:10). How does God's prophetic track record confirm and strengthen your faith?
Practice

Connect Up: Worship the Lord together in song and prayer. Thank Him for who He is—His attributes and splendor.

Connect In: We should never overtly dwell on prophecy, since Christ alone deserves our full focus. Consider why prophecy is important to the church. How does it give us more credentials to share Christ?

Connect Out: How can you use prophecy to share the gospel? Consider the nature and purpose of prophecy. How does it reveal God's trustworthiness and sovereignty?


1 Christian Today, "Visions and Dreams Awakening Muslims," https://www.christiantoday.com/article/visions.and.dreams.awakening.muslims/30537, 2017, accessed 07/09/18.

Transcript

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The Future Looks Uncertain...but God - Daniel 2 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Would you please turn in your Bibles to the book of Daniel chapter 2? We are doing our series but God. And this week and next week, we'll finish that off. But we're in Daniel chapter 2.

And I brought with me a book that has been in my library for a few years. That's called Predictions for the Next Millennium. And these are predictions by celebrities. And they predict what will happen in the next 1,000 years. These are celebrities, who are some politicians. Some are statesmen. Others are musicians. Others are actors.

So some of them are not deep. And some of them are downright funny. But some of them are interesting. Among the predictions of what will happen to us in the next 1,000 years, one predicts that we'll have a common language and a common currency. Someone else's, a world government that will heal the planet, good luck with that. And even this one, the Earth's politicians will be taking interplanetary economic lessons from alien beings, to find out how to cooperate and operate a government without taxing people to death.

Interestingly, that was given by one of the original cast members from Star Trek. I kid you not. Knowing the future or predicting the future is big business. From reading fortune cookies to reading horoscopes, people have tried to create an industry. And it's no less than an industry. It's a $2 billion per year industry in our country. In fact, it's triple that for some unknown reason in Italy. It's a $6 billion industry.

When I say, industry, it includes palm reading, carda mansi, which is predicting the future using cards, mediumship, aura readings, and astrology. In fact, today has been called the new era of astrology. They tell us there is a resurgence of astrology among a very particular group of people. An age group called millennials.

You know what they are. And according to Atlantic Magazine, it says, "Millennials have taken astrology and run with it. They feel that they are the most stressed out generation of all. And they're looking to astrology to cope." Now, why is it that people have been so obsessed about knowing their future? And I've noticed this for years among virtually every group of people. They want to know what the future's going to hold. Why is that?

And I say, all people, I mean even Christian people. You want to see seminars sell out, go to a prophecy seminar. You want to see books that sell out, get a prophecy book. My publishers for years have begged me to do a book on prophecy. Because they know that those people will buy those books, knowing the future sells.

And I found a quote by a psychologist. That I thought was interesting. That helps explain it. He says, "One of the most powerful influences on fear is uncertainty. The less we know, the more threatened we feel. Because lack of knowledge means we don't know what we need to know to protect ourselves."

Then he gives an illustration. He says, picture you're driving down the road, on open country road. You're doing 85 miles an hour. Let's just forget speed laws right now. You're just on the open road dong 85 miles an hour. Now, you close your eyes. You go a half a mile, a mile. Just the thought of that terrifies us. Why? Because we will not have what we need to know in order to survive.

Self-preservation is such a basic instinct. That we lack that, when we can't see where we're going. So when we drive. We peer as far down the road, around that curve as possibly we can. So we can get the information, we need to know to survive.

Knowledge, he says, knowledge of the future, even if it's incomplete knowledge, is power. And if we don't know. We get afraid.

But I have a question. Do you really want to know your future? I mean, do you want to know all the details of what's going to happen to you next week, next month, next year to 10 years from now? If you found out that somebody you love was going to die a horrible death on a certain day. Would you want to know that in advance and have to live with that? Probably not.

And so God wisely withholds such information from us, so as not to overwhelm us. But looking at Daniel chapter 2, I do want to give you some certainties about your future. I'm going to make some basic statements that are there for you and your outline. And you know Daniel chapter 2, it's a long chapter. There's 49 verses in it. So we're just going to highlight a couple of them to get the gist of it.

But it's a story about a King, Nebuchadnezzar. He is the world ruler at the time. And the story tells us that he was wondering about his future. He knew that he was going to die one day. And he wondered what's going to happen after he dies. And into the future who's going to take over my position? Who's going to rule the world, et cetera?

And that's the setting that Daniel the prophet finds himself in. So let me make the first certainty about the future. And that's pretty basic. The future is unknown to us. From a human perspective, it's impossible to predict future events.

Now, let's look at verse 1 of Daniel chapter 2, a couple verses down. And we'll get the setting. "Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign Nebuchadnezzar had dreams." Notice not one, but several, it's plural, dreams. "And his spirit was so troubled. That his sleep left him."

So picture a guy having a bad night's sleep. He wakes up. He's troubled by what he saw in his dream. He can't get back to sleep. He doesn't wake up refreshed. His sleep left him. "Then the King gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams.

So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, 'I've had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.' So this king named Nebuchadnezzar has a weird set of dreams. And because pizza had not yet been invented. We can't blame it on that. This is from God.

God gives him dreams. The problem is, he can't remember the details of his dream. There's probably certain parts of it he could remember. But he can't remember all the details. He can't remember how it all fits together.

We're just told he had dreams. And his spirit was troubled. It's a very strong Hebrew word. Troubled is pa am, which means to beat something persistently. So something was hammering his thoughts. While he was lying on his bed that night. And he woke up uneasy. And so he can't remember what the dream is.

So he tells his wise people to-- wise men of the court, to tell him what it was he dreamed and what the interpretation was. By the way, we dream. We're told, every night. You said, well, I don't dream every night. Well, you do. Recall is a different issue.

But we're told that about 90 minutes after you fall asleep, you have your first dream episode and about 90 minutes thereafter. So that the average human being has five dreams per night. From a scientific standpoint, the reason we dream is that the large cells in your brain stem spontaneously fire about every 90 minutes and sends the stimuli to the cortex of your brain, which tries to unjumble and make sense of that. Now, that's just a very naive, simplistic way of describing it.

But in this case, Nebuchadnezzar's case, God was superintending those cortical stimulations. He was getting the message across to this king. So because the king happens to have on his payroll guys who traffic in dream prognostication. He calls them all in. This is their forte. This is what they do.

Notice in verse 2-- and we won't take the time to explain what they all did apart from the others. But magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans, let's just say, this was the cream of the occultic crop, right. If anybody can tell dreams, they should be able to do that. Dreams and omens were their forte.

Now, what they tell the king is this. Tell us what you dreamed, king. And then we will tell you the interpretation. This king says, no, I can't remember the details. You have to tell me what it was I dreamed and what it means. And if you don't, I'm going to cut you up into little pieces and make your houses a dunghill. So he's pretty upset at what he dreamed. And this doesn't sit very well with him.

And so in verse 10, let's just go down there. "The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, 'There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter.' Mark that, they finally admitted that they can't tell him what it was he dreamed. In fact, no person on earth can. We can't read your mind. And no person on earth can predict the future. We can't do it.

"Therefore-- they continue, 'no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean." Nobody on earth can predict the future. Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7 said, when times are good, be happy. When times are bad, consider God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

So why is it that people keep trying? Why is it that for time immemorial in every generation, people will do almost anything to predict their future? In ancient times, there were things called or people called oracles. And oracles were like intermediary interpreters of the gods to the human population. So these people, these kind of counselor beings in the ancient temples, these oracles would get themselves into a hypnotic state or a drug induced state and bring the message from the gods to the people.

Of course, when you're in a drug induced state, you think you hear a lot of things. And they would tell those things to the people. Supposedly, the gods were speaking through them. And then during the Roman times, there was a very interesting way of predicting the future. I can only describe it as prophecy by chicken.

They would put hens in a cage and put food into the cage. And if the hens ate it avidly, attacked the food enthusiastically, that was a good sign. It was a good omen. If they ignored the food in the cage. It was a very bad sign. So it's a very foul way to tell the future. As you can see.

[LAUGH]

And there was even an ancient way called hepatomancy, which was these oracles reading livers of animals. They would kill an animal, sacrifice, and take out the trails and specifically the liver. And the liver would be on a plate and kind of jiggle. Depending on which way it jiggled-- and I don't know how many jiggles per minute. It told them something. And they would look at that jiggles and predict the future. It was crazy stuff and we laugh at that. We laugh at that.

However, in the United States of America, 125 million people believe in astrology. And 70 million people read their horoscopes every single day. In fact, 7% of them say, they have changed their behavior based on their horoscope. You say, well, that's a small amount, 7%. That's 12 million people in our country every day. Say, they change their behavior based upon their horoscope.

What's even more shocking, according to the Gallup organization, the Gallup Poll, is 10% of people who say they are evangelical Christians also believe in astrology to some degree. Now, every time I bring up this stuff, there's always somebody who will say, yeah, but what-- I saw this special on TV. About this person, Nostradamus. You know, he was amazing. He predicted the future.

And yeah, you can always find that crazy National Geographic special. And they'll give you the spooky music. And they'll pan the camera this way. And then they'll say something he said and isn't that amazing that happened. And supposedly, Nostradamus, who by the way, was a 1500 French pharmacist. They say, predicted from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Twin Towers falling on September 11, 2001.

When you look at what he actually said, it's so vague. It's so hazy. It's so ambiguous. That retrospectively, you could make it mean almost anything. And I've done that. I've actually looked at what he said. Well, that could be a number of things. It's not all that great.

But what I remember back in the 1960s was a gal who was called America's most famous psychic. She was actually in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. I think she died in the 90s. Her name was Jeane Dixon. And Jeane Dixon was most famous for supposedly predicting the assassination of JFK. That's what launched here into fame and got her name in the newspapers everyday, Jeane Dixon.

What she actually said in 1956 was this. A Democrat will win the election and die in office. And people are going, wow. Well, is that all that amazing? First of all, there's a 50% chance that a Democrat is going to win the election, right. Last time I checked, there's only two main parties, so either Republican or Democrat. She predicted a Democrat.

In those days maybe was even a higher percentage, since JFK was running against Richard Nixon, the incumbent Vice President for the Republican Party. And you know, people often change parties from one side to the other. So maybe even greater than 50%. But let's say, 50. In the 1960s, the odds that a president would die in office is rated at about 40%. Because presidents were largely unprotected in those days.

So let's just grant her 20% chance that her prediction is going to come true. When you compare that to biblical prophecy, that ain't that good. And you add to that the fact that Jeane Dixon also predicted that World War III would start in 1954. And it didn't start in 1954. In fact, it didn't start ever.

And she also predicted that Jacqueline Kennedy would never marry again. When in fact, she did marry Aristotle Onassis some years after JFK's death. So a lot of the things she said never happened. So she would be considered a false prophet by Old Testament standards. And it was just very generic what she predicted.

All of that to say, what these Chaldeans told the king, the future is unknown to us. It's unknown to us from a human perspective. Here's the second certainty though, though the future is unknown to us. The future is well known to God. And Daniel knew that down to verse 15. I'll fill in the blank.

So the king says, OK, you guys, you tell me what I dreamed or what it means. Or I'll cut you in pieces and make your house an outhouse, basically. And they say, well, nobody can do what you're asking, king. So the king gives this command to kill them all. Part of that group happens to be Daniel and his three friends.

So Daniel gets wind of it. In verse 15, "he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, 'Why is the decree from the king so urgent?' And Arioch made the decision known to Daniel." Now, watch this, "So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation." Now, why is it that Daniel tells Arioch to stop the king's edict? And why does he call a prayer meeting, which he does immediately thereafter with his buddies Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah? Why does he do that?

Well, in verse 16 it tells us why, "that he might show the interpretation to the king." Stop right there, how is he going to do that, if the future is unknown to us? How is he going to tell the king what he dreamed and the interpretation of the future? Because Daniel believed it's possible to know the future, if God tells you. If God tells you. And that's the only caveat. If God tells you, which he did, verse 19.

"The secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision." Now, a vision is different than a dream. A dream happens in your sleep. A vision happens when you're awake. So Daniel, while he was awake one night, saw what the king had seen in the dream state, powerfully displayed before him in a vision.

"So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, 'Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And he changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank you and praise you, God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You. You have made known to us the king's demand.'

God can do that. You see God has a quality. He has an attribute. He has a characteristic that makes knowing the future possible. And that is this. He knows everything. And when you know everything, you know the future.

In Psalm 139 David said, "LORD, you have searched me and known me. You have known my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down. You are acquainted with all my ways. There is not a word on my tongue, but behold, LORD, You know it altogether."

In other words, even before I think the thought. You know what I'm going to think. You know my thought afar off. You know it before I know it. That's how comprehensive God's knowledge is. So God has all knowledge. The Bible portrays Him as that, all knowledge. He is omniscient. He is the know-it-all God. And that means, you can never tell God something He doesn't know.

Now, I think most of us believe that. But even the best we can ever do to describe this attribute of God, because it's so foreign to us. We kind of walk away going, I don't get it. Because God's knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, and without deterioration.

None of us can relate to that. If I were to give you a test from your high school days. You'd probably failed. Because all of that knowledge you learned right before the test, it's gone pretty quickly. In fact, a lot of us forget what we did yesterday.

So God's knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, without deterioration and without painstaking research. You know, for me the preaching is easy. It's all the research that leads up to it. God doesn't have to do that. he doesn't have to move from one logical premise to another logical premise to come up with a conclusion.

God never had to go to school. God doesn't ever have to be informed. God never says, oh really, or wow, or huh, or I didn't know that. He never says those things. Because His knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, without deterioration. Now, because He knows it all. He therefore, knows the future.

And that is what Daniel is banking on. That is why Daniel stands before Arioch. He's not panicking. He's very poised. He's very confident and unruffled. Because he knows God knows. And all it is, is a matter of God revealing it to him.

Now, God exists out of time. That is, He is not confined by our space time continuum. He dwells in the realm of eternity. You might call it the eternal present. That is why God can predict the future. And you'll notice this when you read the Old Testament. He often predicts what hasn't happened by using past tense verbiage, as if it has already happened. Because to Him, it's like it already has happened.

I'll give you a little illustration. Let's say, it's the 4th of July parade. And I'm there on the curb, right in the middle of the parade route. And so I'm there. The parade is going by and the clowns on bicycles go by, not spooky clowns, nice clowns. Happy clowns are waving. I waved back at the clowns. The clowns go by.

Now, the mayoral float is still at the beginning of the parade route, that hasn't come by yet. I haven't seen that. Let's say, one of you sees me there. And you come up. And I say, we'll just sit right here. And you can enjoy the parade.

And you go, well, man, I really want to see the clowns on bicycles. I say, well, they've already gone by. But if you go ahead, you can see what's passed. Somebody else comes up and says, man, I hope-- where's the mayoral float? I want to see the mayor on the float. I don't have much time. I said, well, they're still at the beginning of the route. But if you go to the beginning, you can see the future. What is the future to me.

Now, let's take it a step further. Let's say, we were to leave the ground level, get in a helicopter and get over the parade. Well, now, we can see it all at once. I can see the clowns on bicycles. I can see the mayor on his float and everything in between at one time.

Daniel knows that God has this attribute. So Daniel activates his faith in God. Because the God he knows, knows it all. And that is what Daniel is banking on. Somebody once said, faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket and then counting your blessings before they hatch.

That's why he says, Arioch, dude, cool your jets, man, chill, give me a little bit of time. God'll tell me about this stuff. And I'll tell the king. So the future is unknown to us. The future is well known to God.

Let me give you a third certainty. The future is made known to us. Just like it was made known to Daniel. Daniel will now make it know to the king, who had the dream to begin with.

If you go down to verse 26, it says, "The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, 'Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?' Daniel answered in the presence of the king. And he said, 'The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.'

Verse 28 is the key verse in our but God series, in this particular instance. " 'But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets. He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days, the future, your dream. And the visions of your head upon your bed, were these. As for you, O king, thoughts came into your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this. and He who reveal secrets has made known to you what will be.'

So Daniel stands before the king and says, they can't tell you about your dream. And I can't tell you about your dream. But there is a God in heaven who can. And the God in heaven knows your future. He's revealed it to me. And I'm about to tell it to you. So the future is made known to us.

Now, here's the principle, God wants to make known to you, to us the future. Not all of it, as I said, all the details of it would be overwhelming, but parts of it. He wants to give us a limited amount of knowledge. And that's essentially what biblical prophecy is. It's God telling us what's going to happen in the future.

So for example, He told Israel before it happened, you're going to go into captivity in Babylon. They did. I'm going to bring you back. They came back. He announced that there would come one day a ruler, a Messiah, the mega prophet, the deliverer. And the prophets told about his birth, his life, his death, and his resurrection.

The Bible reveals to us future judgment is coming one day. A rapture is coming one day. A great tribulation period is coming one day. Jesus will come back to the Earth. That's going to happen one day. He's going to rule and reign for 1,000 years. That's going to happen one day.

There's going to then be an eternal kingdom with a new heaven and new earth. That's going to happen one day. The future is given to us revealed by God. Now, how impressive is biblical prophecy? Pretty impressive, because there are some accounts where events and people are spoken about before they are born.

Some of them are even named by name hundreds of years before they existed. And we're told what they would do. And in fact, 1/4 of the Bible is prophecy. That's a big chunk. A fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy. God telling people what's going to happen in the future.

Now, anybody can make predictions. Having those predictions come true, that's a whole other level. I can make all sorts of predictions. But having them happen is quite a different category. Especially as you add details to those predictions.

Now, when you make a prediction. And then you add detail upon detail, upon detail. Now, you complicate the prediction. And when you complicate the prediction, you add risk. And the risk diminishes the possibility of it ever being fulfilled.

So you enter a realm called compound probability. The more details you add, the odds of it ever happening are slim. So the Jewish prophets, for example, predicted about 300 to 330 different layers of what would happen to this Messiah who was going to come. Where he would be born. As I said, his life, his death, his resurrection.

Here's a sampling. They predicted he would be born of a virgin, that narrows the population down quite a bit. That's Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14. That he would be born in Bethlehem, Micah chapter 5 verse 2. They predicted he would be born into the tribe of Judah, Genesis 49, 10. They also predicted that his ministry would begin not in Jerusalem, but up in Galilee, Isaiah 9, 1.

They predicted he would work miracles, Isaiah 35 verse 5 and 6. They also predicted he would one day enter into Jerusalem on a donkey, Zachariah 9 verse 9. He would be betrayed by a friend, Psalm 41 verse 9. He would then be sold for 30 pieces of silver, Zachariah 11, 12. He would be wounded and bruised, Isaiah 53 verse 5. His hands, his feet would be pierced, Psalm 22 verse 16.

He would be then crucified with thieves, Isaiah 53, 12. His garments would be torn and lots would be cast to see who owns them. That's Psalm 22, 18. His bones would not be broken, Psalm 34 verse 20. His side would be pierced, Zechariah 12 verse 10.

He would be buried in a rich man's tomb, Isaiah 53 verse 9. And he would rise from the dead, Psalm 16 verse 10. Those are 16 only of those 300 predictions, very detailed predictions of what would happen to this Messiah.

Now, I think you will agree these are impossible to arrange from a human level. You can't decide in advance what tribe you're going to be born into. Or who your mother's going to be. Or where you will live as a baby. All those are predicted. In fact, 100 billion years isn't enough time to give us enough chances for those processes to ever be fulfilled without God.

That's why Dan said, but there is a God in heaven who knows all these things and reveal secrets. So that's Bible prophecy. You see, Bible prophecy isn't a good guess. It's good news to a guessing world, to give them certainty. And that is because in Bible prophecy, you have multiple contingencies and features. Different layers of those that cannot be known. They cannot be controlled.

And so you're left at the end going, there's only one explanation for that, divine authorship. There's really no other way to explain the Bible's ability to predict the future. Unless you see God as the author. Because the precision is undeniable, undeniable. So the future is unknown to us. The future is well known to God. The future is made known to us.

And fourth and finally, the future makes God known to us. This is the most important point. The reason God predicts future events is to make himself known to people. So go down to verse 45. After Daniel tells him what he saw, what it means, what's going to happen after he dies, all the kingdoms that are coming, verse 45.

'Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieced the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, the gold-- these are all the kingdoms that would come after Nebuchadnezzar. The great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this.' Notice what he calls God, not just a god or my God, but the great God. The great God is made only the capable will come to pass. And then look what he says, " 'The dream is certain, the interpretation is sure.

Then verse 46 Nebuchadnezzar said, cool. I on purpose misread that. Nebuchadnezzar did what anybody would do. In having a guy tell him exactly what he dreamed. Exactly what he was thinking about before he fell asleep. And exactly what it means in terms of future prophecies.

Says, "Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. And the king answered Daniel, and said, 'Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this matter.'

That is the reason for biblical prophecy. So that people will realize there is only one God. There's only one true God. And that's the God who can predict the future.

Did you know that God himself uses prophecy as his business card? He does. He uses prophecy to show that other world religions are all a sham, all made up, all demonic endeavors that don't add up to anything.

I want you to listen to Isaiah 41. This is God speaking. He says, present your case, set forth your arguments, bring in your idols and have them tell us what is going to happen, declare to us things to come, tell us what the future holds. So that we may know that you are gods. See God is showing off.

He's saying, I can predict the future. Can they, can your idols or false gods? No, they can't. Jesus saw prophecy as basically the same thing, as a reason to believe, a reason for faith. John 14, 29, Jesus said, "And now I have told you before it comes to pass, so that when it does come to pass, you may believe." That's the goal. That you may believe. That you may trust.

You see Jesus has basically three credentials that set him apart from every other religious system or belief system. Number one, his impact upon history is incomparable. Number two, his resurrection from the dead and number three, fulfilled prophecy, fulfilled prophecy.

Most religions in the world will base their beliefs on the philosophical postulates of their founders. The things they said, words of wisdom, a lifestyle captured by disciples and written down. But of the 25 books that are out there or there abouts, about 25 books that claim to be scripture, there is something absent in all of them except one. That's detailed prophecy, detailed prophecy.

You won't find it in the Quran. You won't find it in the writings of Buddha. You won't find it in the writing of Lao Tzu and Taoism You won't find it in the sayings of Confucius or the Hindu Vedas. Prophesy about the future, of which God stakes his reputation on, is found only in the Bible.

So here's God saying, I know the future. You don't. Nobody does. But I'm in the business of revealing it to you. But it's so that I can reveal myself to you. I want to make myself known to you. I want a relationship with you.

Remember when Paul stood in Athens on the Areopagus, on Mars Hill. And he confronted the philosophers of Athens. And he was ingenious. He said, you know, you guys are so religious. You have so many gods. I was even wandering through your streets today. And I found a statue to an unknown god. It said, to the unknown god.

So you worship all these gods. And you've even made one up called the-- in case you left somebody out, this is the unknown god. And then Paul said, Him I proclaim to you. The God you don't know, is the God that you should know. And He wants you to know Him. And he from that point preached the gospel to them.

God wants to make Himself known and made Himself known to Nebuchadnezzar. And I love it, verse 45, notice Daniel says, "The dream is certain, the interpretation is sure." Do you hear any hesitation in his voice at all? He didn't say, did I get it right, Mr. King, sir? He said that this is a done deal, king. It's certain. It's sure. There's a weighty ring to his speech. He knows he has heard from God.

And that's what's going to happen in the future. So that's why God reveals Himself in prophecy. It's not just to make people aware. It's to make people adore. It's not just to inform people of God's plan. It's to conform people to God's plan. It's not just to get people to wow. But to get people to worship, to surrender, to submit to His plan.

And by the way, since you don't know what's ahead in your road. You can't see around the curves. God does. He knows. And He will be there to meet you when those events occur in your life, to give you grace to endure them all. But doesn't it make most sense, that because we are limited, and God is unlimited, we who are limited would surrender ourselves to the unlimited being, who wants to be a part of our lives? That makes most sense.

Corrie Ten Boom, one of my favorite people in modern history was a Christian believer, who helped hide Jews during World War II. She was caught. Her family was caught. Some were killed. She was put in a concentration camp in Nazi concentration camp and then another concentration camp.

She almost died. She was brutally treated for years. She said this, "Never be afraid to entrust an unknown future into the hands of a known God." That sums it all up, never be afraid to trust an unknown future into the hands of a known God. That makes sense.

And if you don't know this God, He wants to reveal Himself to you and to walk with you and to have a relationship with you. Let's pray together. Father, I love the book of Daniel. And I love the prophecies. And we didn't really do this chapter justice. We just basically gave an overview and skimmed it. But these principles are so apparent.

We don't know what's ahead of our road. The future is unknown to us, but not to you. It's well known to you. You know every nook and cranny, every detail, every thought before we think it. But you make the future or limited parts of the future known to us. But ultimately, that you might make yourself known to us.

Lord, I pray that you will ever reveal yourself to people this morning. And that some who have been resistant to your power, your control, your authority in their lives, would relinquish their own control to yours this morning. Some have just wandered away, walked away. Something happened in their past that was spiritual, but they're not living a life of surrender to you in obedience to you.

And they need to come back to that place of being before you. As somebody who needs your help and a willingness to turn from their past and turn to the Jesus who died for their sins. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. This will take just a moment.

If you have yet to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. If you are willing to do that this morning. Or you need to come back to him to get your sins forgiven. If you want to make sure that when you die, you'll go to heaven. If you want no ambiguity. But you can say, it's certain, it's sure, then give your life to Christ.

Come back home to him, if need be, if you've wandered from him. But if you're willing to surrender your life to Christ this morning. I want you to raise your hand in the air. I'll keep my eyes open. And I'll acknowledge your hand. And I'll pray for you before we close this service.

That raising your hand, you're just saying, Skip, here I am, pray for me. I need to give my life to Christ. And I'm going to do that right here. Just raise your hand in the air, so I can acknowledge that. I love to pray for you. I need to know who I'm praying for. Raise your hand up in the air high enough so I can see it.

God bless you, right up here in the front to my right, to my left, on the side, toward the back, I see your hand on the left right there in the middle on my right and in the back to my right, in the balcony. Thank you for that, thank you for the hand way up there, my limited eyesight. I appreciate it, over here in the family room, thank you.

Lord, it's my prayer then for these along with all of ours, that you have revealed your incomparable power just through biblical prophecy. Maybe opened some eyes and awakened some consciences. Lord, I pray that now, these who have raised their hands would know what it is to enter into a life of being forgiven of their past and the freedom that the gospel brings. The joy that it brings. May it be theirs, in Jesus' name.

Let's all stand to our feet. We're going to close in a song. And finally, I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hands to do something that might seem bold to you or a little bit uncomfortable, but please don't let it be that way. Because we're doing this to encourage you.

I want you to get up from where you're standing, even if you're in the balcony, come down the stairs. We're going to wait for you. And you come stand right up here. Where I'm going to leave you in a prayer to make Jesus your Lord and savior. Jesus called people publicly. And there's something about a public stand for Christ that settles it in a person's heart. Trust me when I say that.

So if you're in the family room, come through the doors. If you're in the outside, raise your hand. Somebody will bring you here. If you're closer to the front, please just say, excuse me, and find the nearest aisle and stand up here.

I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer, a surrender to Jesus Christ. God bless you, man.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Break every chain, break every chain, break every chain, there is power in the name --good of Jesus.

Awesome. Awesome.

There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain, yeah. There is power of the name of Jesus, oh.

We're going to wait just another moment. And then we'll pray. I just want to make sure that you're included. That you are given an opportunity, an opportunity to enter into God's grace, means unmerited favor, undeserved outpouring of favor. He is willing to forgive you, give you a do over. By just you asking Him to do that and receiving His son as savior. Anybody else? You get up and come.

You say, well, faith is a private matter, not in the Bible. It's a public matter. Jesus died publicly for me. The least I can do is live publicly for him. Anybody else want to come and join these who are up front. Well, those of you who have come forward, so good to see you guys. I'm going to lead you in a prayer.

I'm going to ask you to say these words out loud after me, say them from your heart, OK. Mean them as you give your life to the Lord. Let's pray. Lord, I give you my life.

Lord, I give you my life.

I know that I'm a sinner.

I know that I'm a sinner.

Please forgive me.

Please forgive me.

I believe that Jesus died on a cross.

I believe that Jesus died on a cross.

That he shed his blood for me.

That he shed his blood for me.

That he rose again from the dead.

That he rose again from the dead.

I turn from my sin.

I turn from my sin.

I turn to Jesus as my savior.

I turn to Jesus as my savior.

I want to follow him as my Lord.

I want to follow him as my Lord.

Help me.

Help me.

In Jesus' name I pray.

In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen.

[APPLAUSE]

We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know, email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/1/2018
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Jesus Died...but God
Skip Heitzig
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4/15/2018
completed
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Haters Hate…but God
1 Samuel 23:14-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
I want to help you today to view the circumstances of your life correctly; I’d like to clear up your spiritual vision. This week and next, we will examine the lives of two well-known characters in Scripture who were attacked by people close to them, but God changed the outcome. Their evil hatred couldn’t stop the great plans that a good God had set in motion. Today, a five-verse pericope gives rich principles that clear up our vision.
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4/22/2018
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Evil Happens…but God
Genesis 50:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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The story of Joseph is one of the Bible’s most compelling tales. And the most gripping feature is the difference between Joseph’s outlook and that of his eleven brothers. After all the intrigue, the ups and downs of Joseph’s life and career, and the years of deception and selfishness by Joseph’s brothers, the finale comes after their father, Jacob, dies. This is one of the Bible’s best but God moments,as forgiveness eclipses failure. Let’s consider Joseph’s brothers as they approach him one last time.
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4/29/2018
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Judgment Is Coming…but God
Genesis 6-8
Skip Heitzig
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The two worst days of the human race are days of destruction. A near total annihilation happened in the distant past and will happen again in the future. Both are directly the result of God’s judgment. Just as certain as the sun will shine tomorrow, judgment is coming eventually—but God has a better alternative. As we examine His past judgment on the earth, we will be able to better understand His future judgment and how we can find purpose in His plans for His world.
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5/6/2018
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We’ve Failed...but God
Nehemiah 9
Skip Heitzig
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Most all of us know that we are not what we should be or could be. Sin has scarred our lives. We are aware of personal failures. The really good news is that we may fail but God forgives. The whole reason for the atoning death of Christ was to provide clemency for transgressions and mercy for our offenses. Nehemiah knew the history of his people, and after gathering them back in the land after the captivity, he prays on their behalf. We learn four vital lessons in this prayer about the human condition and the divine solution.
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5/27/2018
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You Can Run…but God
Jonah 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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I’ll bet you played hide-and-seek as a kid (or as a parent with your kids). After a while, you get really creative in finding places to hide. But can you imagine actually trying to hide from God? This is the story of a prophet of God who found out that you can run but you can’t hide. As Jonah runs from the call of God, God pursues him. In this scene we discover three principles every one of us should remember.
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6/3/2018
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Families Are Dysfunctional...but God
Genesis 31
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most used (if not overused) terms of our culture is the term dysfunctional. It has become the chic descriptor of flawed and broken people and especially families. Too often this expression is used as an excuse to justify bad behaviors in other people. But this story of Jacob and Laban yields much insight into human behavior as well as divine intervention. Here we discover three levels of relational interaction and family dynamics.
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6/24/2018
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Death Is Certain...but God
Psalm 49
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We have all heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quip, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Given death’s sure nature, why is it that most people try to avoid talking about it? And why do most people place all their energy and stock in this life alone? Death is the enemy of us all (see 1 Corinthians 15:26), and it is the assured fate of us all. But God changes this enemy into a friend and provides confidence to face it.
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7/15/2018
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You Were Dead…but God
Ephesians 2:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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This is the tenth and final study in our series ...but God, and today we get most personal. Rather than considering Joseph, David, Nehemiah, Isaac, or Daniel, we focus on our own story. Four simple phrases describe for us the spiritual journey all believers take through this life on our way to heaven. If you are a believer, all four of these things should happen. Unfortunately, too many stop with the first two and never successfully engage the last two. Let’s look at each one and evaluate how our lives can be lived to the full potential.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.