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Dare 2B: Dreams and stories from the Book of Daniel –  Courageous faith in times of conformity

In our study of the book of Daniel we will engage with six stories and four visions. These accounts are all, not only very entertaining; they also have valuable life lessons. Prepare to be challenged and encouraged if you dare. Don’t be shy, come join in what God is up to and see what he can do.
April 17th Standing in a Strange Land (Daniel 1) Everything changes for Daniel and his friends but one thing stays constant. God remains true. Plucked from home and brought to a foreign land and culture, Daniel is forced to choose what he is willing to lose and what must he hold on to.
Devotional thought: Can you think of a time when you took a courageous step of faith?
 April 24th Big Dreams (Daniel 2) The king has a dream that he can’t understand. A head of gold and feet of clay, standing tall then dashed to the ground. He needs someone to explain it to him – or else….  Just when it looks like the failed interpreters were to go to pieces – Daniel’s God comes through. A lot of time is covered in this dream with a present and future hope revealed.
Devotional thought: God is over all of history, past, present and future.  Do you see his hand at work today?
May 1st Getting Hot (Daniel 3) Can you be forced to worship? King Neb sets up a golden god to be worshipped when the music plays. Those who don’t bow down are to be fed to a furnace. Makes you ask, Is what or who you worship that important?  As the story plays out there is a clear answer.
Devotional thought:  There are a lot of faith and religious options out there.  Does it matter which one you embrace or are they all about equal?
May 8th (Mother’s Day) If a Tree Falls… (Daniel 4) The king has another bad dream and Daniel again is able to explain it. The king’s pride would go to his head and mess things up. It would be a while before he would come to his senses and learn a valuable lesson. This lost and found story is one of hope.
Devotional thought: If you were to express your experience of God in a psalm of praise, what would you write?
May 15th The Writing’s on the wall (Daniel 5) An important message can be clearly visible but not necessarily understood. God posts a note in dramatic fashion for the king’s son, Belshazzar. “Mene, mene, tekel, parsin”  Daniel is called in to interpret the writing on the wall. This second message is because Belshazzar ignored the first. God is communicating all the time if we have the eyes and ears of faith to receive.
Devotional thought: Reflect on a time when you sensed God was communicating to you?
May 22nd Not Just Lion Around (Daniel 6) This popular story involves hungry lions and a rescuing God. Daniel is forced to choose life and death at the same time. This is a remarkable story that roars a great truth.
Devotional thought: Can you see in this story anything that reminds you of the cross and gospel of Christ?
May 29th Son of Man (Daniel 7) Daniel has a bizarre dream that sounds a bit like Daniel in Wonderland. While the images are strange the message is clear and wonderful. It is from this passage the Jesus receives his title as the ‘Son of Man’. Kingdoms come and go but there is one that will last forever.
Devotional thought: Pray the Lord’s Prayer and be mindful of your invitation to the Kingdom of God.
June 5th Beyond Understanding (Daniel 8) Things start to get rather weird and hard to understand as we reach the final chapters in Daniel. After Daniel has a crazy dream, God sends an angel to explain. The vision concerned a future time but was so disturbing that Daniel was left exhausted and ill. Some things seem too much for us and yet we are called to trust.
Devotional thought: Sometimes we feel overwhelmed.  Looking back on such a time can you see the hand of God supporting you?
June 12th Appeal to Mercy (Daniel 9) Daniel takes not only a prophetic role but a priestly role as he prays to God for his people. It is a prayer of confession and a plea for mercy. Daniel receives a dramatic response that gives the sought after insight and understanding. He would hear of the coming Christ.
Devotional thought: Offer a prayer of confession to God and seek his mercy.  You can use Psalms 32 or 51.
June 19th (Father’s Day) Pastor Jim is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Beachville Baptist Church as their guest speaker today. Guest speaker is Rev. Alvin Lau.
June 26th Strength and Peace (Daniel 10 & 11) After an intense and lengthy time in prayer, Daniel receives an encouraging visit from God to help him face the difficulties ahead. “Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed, Peace! Be strong now, be strong.” With this Daniel could stand and speak.
Devotional thought: Can you think of a valuable lesson from the book of Daniel that you will give thanks for and put into action?