Welcome to the Friday edition of The Encouraging Word, featuring the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilson.
Let's study together. In these next few moments, we'll be bringing you the conclusion of a powerful message, Can We Survive?, from Dr. Don Wilson. And as we study the Word together, Dr. Don would want us to remind you we are here to pray you through whatever's going on in your life. You may feel like you are just barely hanging on, it's hard to survive, but there's no need for you to strive through that alone. God has created the body of Christ, the Church, that we might encourage one another, and we're here to encourage you at the other end of 866-899-WORD.
That phone number is 866-899-9673, or we can connect online as well at www.tewonline.org. We're here to pray with you and for you. Matter of fact, we're just here to encourage you.
Now, Dr. Wilson. The Encouraging Word Let me just simply say this to you. It is very important for us to understand the things that Daniel is about to see. There is a sense in which Daniel, here in chapter 9, is sensing something. God is moving.
You just think about it for 67 years. Daniel has refused to defile himself with the food from the King's table. He's taken a stand. He's watched the antics of Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego. He has been witness to the fourth man in the fiery furnace. He has interpreted dreams and visions.
Meanie, meanie, tackle, you fasten. And even though you still don't know what it means, there was something deep down in the heart of Daniel that gave him a spiritual understanding of the heart of a sovereign God, of the character of a sovereign God, of the wrath and the anger of the righteousness of God poured out upon the disobedience of God's people. And so Daniel begins to prepare himself. And he says to the Lord, Lord, before I turn to you in prayer, I'm going to prepare myself for prayer, something that I think we have lost sight of today. I want to ask a rhetorical question of all of us here today. I wonder how many of us prepared ourselves to come into God's house this morning. Now, I could never understand that when I was growing up, brother Jim. My dad would say to me, son, don't come home so late on Saturday night.
It's God's the Lord's day tomorrow. Kind of went in one ear and out the other. It didn't matter. But you know, the older I've become and the more I've studied God's word, the more I've come to understand that there's something deeply significant about preparing to come into the presence of God. Well, I want you to notice what he did here, and I'm just going to outline it for you very briefly. First of all, Daniel turned away from himself. He turned away from himself. If you and I are going to turn to God, we've got to turn away from ourselves to begin with.
We need to become irrelevant in the picture. My own desires, my own interpretations, my own understandings, my own preferences, my own ways of doing become absolutely irrelevant. I need to turn my back on myself. Number two, Daniel turned to God. Verse three, chapter nine, so I turned to the Lord. We're going to come to grips with real intercessory prayer. We must begin by turning away from ourselves and we're going to see how this works out in just a moment. And we need to about face and turn completely toward God.
That means that our focus and our tension needs to be on the things of God. I don't want to pick on my dad, but dad always used to just really when I was growing up, and I know it may sound ridiculous to some of us here, but I grew up hearing this drone coming from my father's study. And I'm telling you morning after morning, if not almost every morning, my dad would be in his study on his knees and you could hear him praying.
You could hear this kind of drone going through the house. That's what I grew up with. And if you would peep into dad's study, which we did often, dad was on his knees there at his desk or at his chair, just pouring his heart out to God. And on Sunday morning, I'm telling you, it was deadly. You know, in fact, I kind of almost resented Sundays in a way because I was a preacher's kid and I kind of felt like our home resembled more of a morgue than it did a home. I mean, it was just so filled with prayer and preparation. Do you know what I'm saying?
For a teenager, it was almost kind of aggravating. I mean, I wanted to get out there and do something, but my father believed that if he was to come into the house of God and into the presence of God, and if he was to be able to present the word of God with power from on high, that he needed to turn away from himself and turn toward God. And he need to focus his attention on God. Today's day and age, we say, well, no, we'll go to a ball game and go to bed late and get up at the last possible moment. And we'll rush off and get to church at the latest possible moment right when the gong strikes and all these things.
And believe me, we understand that it happens in my household too. And we're so busy and tied up and many of us come in and we sit down in God's house and we say, we made it, you know, okay, let's have church. One of the greatest blessings we have in this church is our television ministry.
Wouldn't change it for anything. But it's not a total blessing because it causes the clock to control us. We like that by nature with or without television. I mean, we started this time and we end at that time and we, you know, we are a time oriented people. And Daniel here sensing in his heart that God was moving and God was going to do what God was going to do because he is sovereign and he is complete. He turns away from himself and he turns to God and he says, I don't want anything else to interrupt me.
I want to be totally focused. And the third thing he does is he begins to plead with God. Verse three, I turned to the Lord and pleaded with him.
Now that word plead there means beg. And folks, if you go into Daniel chapter nine, you begin to understand this entire intercessory prayer is punctuated with begging, pleading, pouring his heart out. Hear our prayers and petitions in verse 17. Verse 16, O Lord. In verse 15, O Lord our God. Down there in verse 19, O Lord, won't you listen? O Lord, won't you forgive? O Lord, won't you hear and act? O God, we are absolutely without hope outside of you. Do you know I really believe that God intends for us to plead for our children?
I really believe that. I really believe that one of the reasons today why I serve the Lord is because my mom and dad got on their knees and pleaded with God. They begged God to have mercy on me.
Can you imagine that? I mean, they just begged God. Lord, please, please, whatever you do, don't punish that boy. Have mercy on him.
Lord, I know he's a rascal. I know that he, Lord, just because, O God, would you hear our prayer? Now, what does the Bible say? The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Isn't that great? In fact, I'm going to show you, if you just mind me saying this, I'd like to kind of jump a little bit ahead and you're going to notice something. When the angel Gabriel comes to Daniel way down there in verse 23, he says, I'm going to give you an answer because you are highly esteemed. Look at that.
Now, wait a minute. Here's Daniel on his knees, pouring out his heart, turned away from self, turned to God, begging and pleading, and God, this is what God says about a prayer intercessor. He says, someone who is willing to prepare themselves and to plead with me, I am going to esteem them highly.
Intercessory prayer warriors are highly esteemed people. I really believe that's why mothers have got such a very special place in the heart of God because the average mother knows what it means to pour out her heart for sons and daughters. Not all, but many of us dads, we're just too masculine to do that.
It's kind of not the man thing to do. We prefer to just be a little quiet. Folks, I've heard people, and I believe reverence is very important, but I've heard people say, when you come into church, you need to be so reverent, you need to hear a pin drop. Not according to God's word. According to God's word, God's people need to be crying out to God. There's a problem in the house of God when people come to church and all they do is sit around and look at each other. And do you know why there are many people today who will leave churches that are on fire for God and they'll go to places that are quote unquote quiet?
It's because anyone who comes into the house of God and who worships God, it makes them very uncomfortable. But God says, those who plead and beg in His presence are highly esteemed. Well, there was a fourth thing He did, He made petition. It says there in verse three, so I turned to the Lord, I pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, made petition. A petition, by the way, is kind of like having a list. It's sort of like getting a list of things and saying, I've got all these things here. I've had this here, I've done that, I've had this hard job, I've gone this and this person and that person. A petition is to go to God. You're saying, look, we are presenting you with the facts. Here it is.
Well, what's on your petition list? He was very specific. Number five, He went through a period of fasting. Then in verse three, He says, I went to Him in prayer and petition in fasting. Now, the word fasting there basically means two things. You want to come to grips with spiritual fasting. It means two things. It means, number one, that you are willing to do without. That's what fasting means. Yes, it may be food. It may be some other form of pleasure. It may be without something that you can gain, a home or a motorcar or it may be without going on a trip somewhere. To fast means that you are willing to deny yourself something in favour of your time with God.
You're going to put yourself out for Him. But it also means a second thing in the Scriptures. Fasting not only means to do without, but it means to seek exclusively. That's what it means.
Fasting means the deprivation of myself in relation to something that would benefit me and then to seek exclusively the face of God. Forgive the interruption. We'll be back with more of Dr. Don Wilton and his Bible teaching, especially focusing into that concept of prayer being a quality of the heart. We're coming up in just a moment, but Dr. Don wants me to remind you, we're here to pray with you. 24 hours a day, we're connecting at 866-899-WORD.
That's 866-899-9673 and online at www.tewonline.org. Right now, if you visit us online, you'll see a wonderful book, Jesus in Me by Anne Graham Lotz. I want to encourage you to consider getting that book. Not only would your $30 contribution provide you that book, but it also would provide some fuel to the ministry that we are 24 hours a day celebrating Jesus Christ, literally around the country and around the globe with these messages of Dr. Don Wilton. Dr. Don doesn't talk about it a lot, but Dr. Don receives no salary from the encouraging word. None of his books, he receives any of that money. When you buy one of his books or one of Anne Graham Lotz' books, that's an opportunity for you to contribute to the ministry of seeing lives changed every single day by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
More information is online how you can give at www.tewonline.org. Now back to today's message, Can We Survive? There was a sixth thing that he did. He mourned.
He put on sackcloth and ashes. Well, here we've got a picture of mourning. Mourning literally means that he clothed himself in a genuine sorrow on behalf of those he was praying for. Now this is very interesting here, folks.
This is very interesting. Because what Daniel is teaching us here, he's saying that if we are going to intercede on behalf of a people group or on behalf of another nation or on behalf of another person or on behalf of another circumstance or whatever it might be, he said, all these things have got to do, but I have to not only deprive myself, but I have to mourn for them. Now what is mourning done for?
Mourning is always associated with death. And so what Daniel is doing here, he is mourning the impending death of the children of Israel. Now that takes some doing for a believer. You know, that's like you coming to me or Sam, if I could pick on Sam, I know that I can pick on Sam. And Sam and I want to tell you something. What God would be saying is I want you to begin mourning for the death of Jimmy 50 years from now.
It's tough to do. Jimmy's very much alive, you love her. She's your wife. What do you mean mourn for her?
She hasn't died yet. Well, God is saying here that intercessory prayer is a quality of the heart whereby God so moves me with compassion that I begin to mourn for that which is going to happen should God not be pleased to change his mind. So what is intercessory prayer?
Intercessory prayer is your and my begging with God to change his mind. Can you feel this? Let's put this just, let's just get a little bit. Let's just pick on Miss Barbara. Can I pick on you for a minute? This precious lady here.
Let's just assume for a moment, we're gonna go back. You are a lost person. You don't know the Lord Jesus. What God invites me to do is to intercede on your behalf as a lost person. And in so interceding, he puts into my heart a spiritual condition of mourning. It is a weeping, it is a realization that if Miss Barbara doesn't come to know Jesus Christ, that she's going to go to a Christless eternity. So what I'm doing here, folks, is I'm begging God to do for Barbara what God said he would do. I'm begging for there to be a change of heart and a change of mind.
Why? Because God says, those who do not trust me cannot come into my presence. Oh God, I don't want you to change your mind about the means by which someone comes into your presence, but I want you to activate your spirit and get a hold of that lady that I love because I am mourning for her impending doom.
It puts a real passion into my heart. I should imagine that many of us here tonight have got sons and daughters and family members who don't know the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, we've got a picture of humility here and then number seven, number seven, and the final thing he does is he confesses. Now this whole passage here is just filled with confession. So you have your preparation, then from verse four through 19 you have your prayer, and that prayer is very simple. Verse four, you get acknowledgement and adoration.
Who is God? I'm turning to God, I'm focusing on God, I'm putting all my retention on God. Verses five and six, confession. Lord, I'm willing to say to you, the nation of Israel has sinned. I'm willing to tell you that I've sinned. I'm willing to tell you that I not only do not deserve anything, but I am bringing this upon myself.
I want you to know the nation of Israel does not deserve to be set free. You said back in Jeremiah chapter 25 that unless your people turn to God and uphold his statutes and laws that even though I've said 70 years they'll be set free, they will not be set free because you've put a condition in there. Verses seven through 10, we have an incredible admission of guilt and that word shame comes through there so many times that this day we are covered in shame.
It is just so powerful, we are covered in shame. Verse eight, oh Lord, we and our kings and our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. Then verses 11 through 14, the acceptance of judgment. Friend, God's word teaches us that we've got to come to the point where we accept the fact that God says what he means and he means what he says. God accept that.
We've got to accept the fact that God is sovereign and God will not tolerate sin and that God is a holy God and all of his attributes are to be found in his holiness. And then the final part is this incredible petition. Now, oh God, in verse 17, really goes all the way back from verse 15, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant and he begins to cry out from the depths of his heart and friends, it's at this point that something incredible takes place. The angel Gabriel comes to him a second time and stands there over him and begins to tell him everything that God has in his heart for his people and then throughout the ages. Now next, just to give you a preview, I'm going to be giving you a kind of an outline of how this all works out.
It's quite clear if you sit down and really look at it. I'm going to explain to you what the 77s are, the decree of God to rebuild the holy city of Jerusalem. We're going to go back and look at Nehemiah in chapter 2 and see what this was all about. We're going to count the clock down. I'm going to show you something very interesting, folks.
Can I just say, I just got to say this here before we leave today. You go back and you calculate what God is saying here. The 77s, that's 490 years, of course.
Let me not get into details, all right? And the 62 7s and the 7 7s and you calculate all this from the time of the issuing of the decree. You're going to calculate almost exactly to the year 33 AD. What happened in the year 33 AD? Jesus Christ was crucified. Now I'm going to show you that it actually comes out to about the year 35 or 36 AD. And some of you are going to say to me, well, pastor, there's a little bit of a miscalculation here, but there isn't.
It's quite simple. You see, the Hebrews used a lunar system to calculate their days. Basically 360 days were in a year. What kind of system do we use?
The solar system, 365 days a year. And when you go back into the writings of Josephus and some of these other great historical writers, Frank, you constantly find that they were having to readjust their calendars because the Jewish calendar was all out of whack. They just didn't get onto it.
They just didn't get a hold of it. And so we're going to calculate this back to about 35 AD where the Bible says that the anointed one will be cut off. Then we're going to see how there's an incredible gap between the cutting off of the anointed one, the crushing of the temple in AD 70 under a merciless Caesar, and how that we enter into this church age and how that the clock is going to start ticking again with the final seven years, it is going to be initiated for the Christian Gentile by means of the rapture of the church. And it is going to be initiated for Israel and for the Jews by the signing of a covenant between the Antichrist and the Jewish nation. And it's right here, all the way back in Daniel.
It's incredible. If you want to know what the activities of the Antichrist are, you of course go back into chapter eight. We're going to do that. We're going to see the prototype under Antiochus Epiphanes who came out of the Greek Empire. We're going to see how that God's word correlates precisely with everything that God is. Now folks, watch this and I'll close with this. Into the middle of all of this, what do we see? We see the servant of God on his knees, interceding on behalf of the people of God.
What an incredible picture. And here's what happens. God hears his prayer. What happens at the end of chapter nine is in response to the prayer of a righteous man.
But it is tied into the predetermined foreknowledge and will of God. Real intercessory prayer. That indeed is the central concept of our calling as a ministry at The Encouraging Word. We want you to know Jesus. My own confession and my own testimony is that I knew about Jesus many years, active in my church, but I didn't know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
And when it comes to what really matters in life, that's the most important thing. That is indeed our entrance to heaven is knowing Jesus personally. Lord, we'd love to speak with you, pray with you about what it is to give your heart to Christ.
You can call us at 866-899-9673. Or perhaps before you call, you just need to act and react to what Dr. Don's about to say right now. Are you ready? Would you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that Jesus loves me and that He died on a cross for me. Today, I repent of my sin and I confess my sin to the Lord Jesus and I give Him my heart and my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. If you've prayed that prayer from your heart and you've given your life to Christ, I welcome you to the family of God. You are my brother, my sister in Christ. Let's get engaged together because we are connected together forever as believers in Christ. If the Lord has moved in your heart, during this time with Dr. Don Wilton, I pray you would let us know. Let us know how we can pray with you into the next step, whatever that might be. We'd love to put some great resources in your hands, especially if you've just given your heart to Jesus. We have grand tools that will help you grow in your faith. Just call for your copies at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673. If you've given your heart to Christ or maybe rededicated your life, we have wonderful resources just for you.
You can also visit us keyboard to keyboard online at www.tewonline.org where you'll discover great resources like this book from Anne Graham Lotz. In the midst of life's changes and losses, we each need a friend, a confidant, someone who will come alongside us and share every step of our journey, someone who will listen to us, advocate for us and comfort us, someone we can trust. This month, for your gift of support to the encouraging word, we will send you the inspiring book, Jesus and Me by Anne Graham Lotz. In Jesus and Me, Lotz draws on biblical knowledge and personal stories, including her recent cancer diagnosis to help us understand the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Call us at 866-899-9673 to request your copy of Jesus and Me today.
The encouraging word is a viewer and listener supported ministry sharing God's truth around the world. Thank you for your support. Thank you for listening today. You know, every single time I get up and have the privilege of being able to share God's word with you, I pray for you and I ask God to allow me to see you through my spiritual heart because I know how much God loves you.
I just want you to know that it means a great deal to me that you would write to me, that you would allow us to partner together. Your life is important. It's important, first of all, to the Lord Jesus every step of every day. But it's also important to me because I'm part of your family.
We are part of the family of God. So God bless you, my friend, and thank you for letting me pray for you. I have been watching the encouraging word for several months.
I always learn something every week that I can apply to my life. After a recent program, I got down on my knees, confessed my sins, repented and asked Jesus into my life. By God's grace and mercy, you showed me His love. I am a new Christian because of your efforts. I am grateful you led me to the Lord. Our time's gone for now, but we're connecting 24-7 online at www.dewonline.org and 866-899-9673.
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