Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

John designates three types of Christians, according to their maturity levels. His first exhortation is to the "dear children" whose entire experience and excitement revolves around the knowledge that their sins have been forgiven. Every new Christian needs to be taught and discipled in this simple truth. Unfortunately, most believers never fully enjoy the one basic fact that their sins have been forgiven on account of Jesus.

The second level of Christian maturity is the "young" (1 John 2:13). These Christians have moved into the level of spiritual warfare. They are strong in God's Word and have overcome the devil (v. 14). They have allowed God to tear down the strongholds of Satan over their minds, bodies, and past struggles. They understand the truths of spiritual freedom from bondage and live in that freedom.

The last group is the "mature," who know Christ (v. 13). These people, walking in close relationship with God, know Him as more than just Forgiver and Deliverer. They know God as Father in spiritual worship and intimacy.

Grow up, little one. Your Father has more of His goodness for you to enjoy.

Daniel 8:1-27

Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat

In the third year of King Belshazzar’sS Da 5:1 reign, I, Daniel, had a vision,S Da 1:17 after the one that had already appeared to me.In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of SusaS Ezr 4:9; S Est 2:8 in the province of Elam;S Ge 10:22 in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal.I looked up,Da 10:5 and there before me was a ramRev 13:11 with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later.I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power.Isa 41:3 It did as it pleasedDa 11:3, 16 and became great.

As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage.I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it,S Da 7:7 and none could rescue the ram from its power.Da 11:11, 16The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off,2Ch 26:16-21; S Da 5:20 and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.S Da 7:2; Rev 7:1

Out of one of them came another horn, which started smallDa 7:8 but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.S Eze 20:6; Da 11:1610 It grew until it reachedS Isa 14:13 the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earthRev 8:10; 12:4 and trampledS Da 7:7 on them.11 It set itself up to be as great as the commanderver 25 of the army of the Lord;Da 11:36-37 it took away the daily sacrificeEze 46:13-14 from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down.Da 11:31; 12:1112 Because of rebellion, the Lord’s peopleOr rebellion, the armies and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.S Isa 48:1

13 Then I heard a holy oneS Dt 33:2; S Da 4:23 speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilledDa 12:6—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfootS Isa 28:18; S Lk 21:24; Rev 11:2 of the Lord’s people?”

14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”Da 12:11-12

The Interpretation of the Vision

15 While I, Daniel, was watching the visionver 1 and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man.S Eze 2:1; Da 10:16-1816 And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulaiver 2 calling, “Gabriel,Da 9:21; S Lk 1:19 tell this man the meaning of the vision.”S Da 7:16

17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate.Eze 1:28; 44:4; S Da 2:46; Rev 1:17 “Son of man,”The Hebrew phrase ben adam means human being. The phrase son of man is retained as a form of address here because of its possible association with “Son of Man” in the New Testament. he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”ver 19; Hab 2:3

18 While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground.Da 10:9 Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.S Eze 2:2; Da 10:16-18; Zec 4:1

19 He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath,S Isa 10:25 because the vision concerns the appointed timeS Ps 102:13 of the end.Or because the end will be at the appointed timeHab 2:320 The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.S Eze 27:1021 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece,Da 10:20 and the large horn between its eyes is the first king.Da 11:322 The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.

23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise.24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people.S Da 7:25; 11:3625 He will cause deceitDa 11:23 to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.Da 11:36 Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.S Da 2:34; 11:21

26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true,Da 10:1 but sealS Isa 8:16; S 29:11; Rev 10:4; 22:10 up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”Da 10:14

27 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhaustedDa 10:8 for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business.S Da 2:48 I was appalledS Isa 21:3; S Da 4:19 by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and Goat

The original text from this point through chapter 12 is in Hebrew. See note at 2:4.During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me.In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River.Or the Ulai Gate; also in 8:16.

As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river.Or the gate; also in 8:6. One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one.The ram butted everything out of his way to the west, to the north, and to the south, and no one could stand against him or help his victims. He did as he pleased and became very great.

While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes,headed toward the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the river, rushing at him in a rage.The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power.

The goat became very powerful. But at the height of his power, his large horn was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four prominent horns pointing in the four directions of the earth.Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel.10 Its power reached to the heavens, where it attacked the heavenly army, throwing some of the heavenly beings and some of the stars to the ground and trampling them.11 It even challenged the Commander of heaven’s army by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple.12 The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion. So the daily sacrifice was halted, and truth was overthrown. The horn succeeded in everything it did.The meaning of the Hebrew for these verses is uncertain.

13 Then I heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, “How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven’s army be trampled on?”

14 The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.”

Gabriel Explains the Vision

15 As I, Daniel, was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, someone who looked like a man stood in front of me.16 And I heard a human voice calling out from the Ulai River, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision.”

17 As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.”

18 While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.

19 Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time.20 The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia.21 The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece,Hebrew of Javan. and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire.22 The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.

23 “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power.24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people.25 He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.

26 “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and morningsHebrew about the evenings and mornings; compare 8:14. is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.

12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.

19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.

27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

1 John 2:1-17

My dear children,ver 12, 13, 28; 1Jn 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21; S 1Th 2:11 I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocateS Ro 8:34; 1Ti 2:5 with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,Ro 3:25; 1Jn 4:10 and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.S Mt 1:21; S Jn 3:17

Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers

We knowver 5; 1Jn 3:24; 4:13; 5:2 that we have come to know himS ver 4 if we keep his commands.S Jn 14:15Whoever says, “I know him,”ver 3; Tit 1:16; 1Jn 3:6; 4:7, 8 but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.1Jn 1:6, 8But if anyone obeys his word,S Jn 14:15 love for GodOr word, God’s love is truly made complete in them.1Jn 4:12 This is how we knowS ver 3 we are in him:Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.S Mt 11:29

Dear friends,S 1Co 10:14 I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning.ver 24; 1Jn 3:11, 23; 4:21; 2Jn 5, 6 This old command is the message you have heard.Yet I am writing you a new command;S Jn 13:34 its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passingRo 13:12; Heb 10:25 and the true lightJn 1:9 is already shining.Eph 5:8; 1Th 5:5

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sisterThe Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family; also in verse 11; and in 3:15, 17; 4:20; 5:16.ver 11; Lev 19:17; 1Jn 3:10, 15, 16; 4:20, 21 is still in the darkness.1Jn 1:510 Anyone who loves their brother and sisterThe Greek word for brother and sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family; also in 3:10; 4:20, 21. lives in the light,1Jn 3:14 and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.ver 11; Ps 119:16511 But anyone who hates a brother or sisterS ver 9 is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.S 1Jn 1:6 They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.Jn 11:9; 12:35

Reasons for Writing

12 I am writing to you, dear children,S ver 1

because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.S 1Jn 3:23

13 I am writing to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.S Jn 1:1

I am writing to you, young men,

because you have overcomeS Jn 16:33 the evil one.ver 14; S Mt 5:37

14 I write to you, dear children,S ver 1

because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.S Jn 1:1

I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,Eph 6:10

and the word of GodS Heb 4:12 lives in you,Jn 5:38; 1Jn 1:10

and you have overcome the evil one.S ver 13

On Not Loving the World

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world.Ro 12:2 If anyone loves the world, love for the FatherOr world, the Father’s love is not in them.Jas 4:416 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh,Ge 3:6; Ro 13:14; Eph 2:3 the lust of the eyes,Pr 27:20 and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.17 The world and its desires pass away,S Heb 12:27 but whoever does the will of GodMt 12:50 lives forever.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

A New Commandment

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.

If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer,Greek hates his brother; also in 2:11. that person is still living in darkness.10 Anyone who loves a fellow believerGreek loves his brother. is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.11 But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.

12 I am writing to you who are God’s children

because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.Greek through his name.

13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faithOr to you fathers; also in 2:14.

because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.

I am writing to you who are young in the faith

because you have won your battle with the evil one.

14 I have written to you who are God’s children

because you know the Father.

I have written to you who are mature in the faith

because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.

I have written to you who are young in the faith

because you are strong.

God’s word lives in your hearts,

and you have won your battle with the evil one.

Do Not Love This World

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Psalm 120:1-7

Psalm 120

A song of ascents.

I call on the LordS Ps 18:6 in my distress,S 2Sa 22:7; S Ps 118:5

and he answers me.

Save me, Lord,

from lying lipsS Ps 31:18

and from deceitful tongues.S Ps 52:4

What will he do to you,

and what more besides,

you deceitful tongue?

He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,S Dt 32:23

with burning coals of the broom bush.

Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek,

that I live among the tents of Kedar!S Ge 25:13; Jer 2:10

Too long have I lived

among those who hate peace.

I am for peace;

but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 120

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

I took my troubles to the Lord;

I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.

Rescue me, O Lord, from liars

and from all deceitful people.

O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you?

How will he increase your punishment?

You will be pierced with sharp arrows

and burned with glowing coals.

How I suffer in far-off Meshech.

It pains me to live in distant Kedar.

I am tired of living

among people who hate peace.

I search for peace;

but when I speak of peace, they want war!

120 In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.

Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?

Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.

Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!

My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.

I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

Proverbs 28:25-26

25 The greedy stir up conflict,S Pr 14:17

but those who trust in the LordPr 29:25 will prosper.

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,S Ps 4:5; Pr 3:5

but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.1Co 3:18

25 Greed causes fighting;

trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.

26 Those who trust their own insight are foolish,

but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.

25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.

26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

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