My Thoughts on Daniel (pt 10)

“Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words”. Daniel 10:12

Daniel is visited by, what some feel, COULD be Jesus. I will leave that up to you to decide. But, he is visited by this man who tells Daniel of what is going to come. What I want to address is the above verse.

Daniel is told because he has “SET” his heart “to understand and humbled” himself before God, now God would answer Daniel.

Lets take a moment to pause and reflect on this. If we have a problem we are going through, if we have an obstacle, a trial, a heartache, a situation…whatever it may be..sometimes going to the Lord in just prayer is not the way to get the answer. Now bear with me. Jesus told his disciple that :

20 And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith [i]the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 [[j]But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”] Matthew 17:20-21

Some situation need different kind of prayer. Can’t God hear me no matter how I pray? He sure can. But I think what is being said here, is God wants to see how dedicated you are. How faithful we are to our God, how fervent in seeking him about a situation. Clearly, it is about the heart, as well. As in the case with the disciples perhaps. (my interpretation)

Daniel, was desperate for the answer from God. We read earlier that, I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. ” Daniel 10:2-3

He wanted the answer and he was willing to do whatever it took to have the Lord hear him. God looked upon the sincere genuineness of Daniels heart. So God replied.

Challenge to us

As our families, our nation, our world goes through various trials and situations, what are we willing to do to hear from God? To see “mountains” moved?

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before God and He will exalt you”

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 

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Winter Jam

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This is my third year to attend Winter Jam. For those who may not know what it is, it is a night were Christian artist, Leaders and maybe a celebrity or two, come together to for a good clean night of fun, entertainment, worship and fellowship with fellow believers. (of course all are invited)

This year was great like all the others. The bands were awesome! Everyone gave glory to God, gave testimonies, shared the salvation message, shared how God changes everything in our lives etc. I wanted to share a couple things that moved me. For the good and the bad. I say it as a something to ponder, reflect on, maybe to evaluate in our own lives as we walk this walk with the Lord.

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The night starts out with a few no name artist. Giving them their time to be heard. Each one great and giving God glory in all they did. The picture above is one of the first groups that performed. Good clean fun. Singing about God and hitting some balloons around. Fun atmosphere. Who says Christians cant have fun with each other? We are not mean to be all “doom and gloom” followers of Christ. Singing about the Lord is fun, joyful, and an awesome time to be had with fellow believers.

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The night goes on the bands are awesome! Then technical difficulties happen. Colton Dixon’s band wasn’t able to hook up some how to the sound system. Other than a piano and mic. So, being a trooper he goes on. But the performance was amazing! Genuine and pure sounding. Just a man singing about the Lord. Gods presence was felt through out the night (yes even in…gasp…the heavier sounding artists) But this was a beautiful moment. A reflecting time, that I believe, God wanted some in the audience to have. I know because i chatted with a person who said that that particular session was what they needed.

Then came Newsong. Just some good’ol southern, gospel, rock style music. And, like they do every year, they performed Arise my Love. Such a beautiful song. If you have never heard this song you  have to check it out. It is about Jesus’s resurrection. And the talent God has given these men to sing this song amazing. But, the set to this was so neat too. A three story high cross. Made of lights. Every one responds so well during this song. And why not? It is about our savior rising from the dead victorious. If that doesn’t move you then you have a cold heart that does not know my Savior.

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There was a beautiful sermon presented by Tony Nolan. About the good news. A salvation message. Because though there may have been a lot of Christians there, there are still those who have been brought as part of a witnessing tool.It was a great message. Sadie Robertson spoke as well. She asked are you a Champion or a Legend? Champions get rewards and fame for what they do. But a legend leaves a legacy and a wake of after they are gone. A legend impacts lives for years to come. David was the key focus. He was a champion yes! But, how he served the Lord made him inspirational, a legend, and people still talk about him today.

Tenth Avenue North was one of the bands that performed as well. I had heard a few of thier songs before, but seeing them and hearing their heart, I think I found a band that I would definitely see again and support.

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Now this next part I’m not going to spend too much on. I am ashamed that it happened. But the next performer…a female, came out in skinny tight jeans, shaking her tail feather. Trying to be light-hearted about this. But, her performance truly  interrupted the flow of the night. Everything was about God, then she stepped on stage, and the whole atmosphere changed. About half the audience sat down. They could feel the shift. It wasn’t very godly. In my opinion. She didn’t speak to much about God, nor were her song.

To be fair, this particular kind of performance I had never seen at Winter Jam before. I understand that the host of this night knew how she’d perform but maybe didn’t know to what extent. So either they just do not say anything in fear that they would offend or that they could lose an “x” amount of attendance, or they just didn’t care. I hope..it is the former, though sad about that, rather than…they just didn’t care. I really don’t know why they didn’t tell her to keep it christian in her dancing. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked. I understand reaching to the “non=christians” that might be there. But, dancing around on stage in tight jeans shaking your pelvis is not a way to win the ungodly.

Then, the main show came on. David Crowder. Made all things better again. Brought a church atmosphere back and a time of worship unto God.

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The over all experience was great. To see that building filled up with mostly believers. To see so many hands lifted high in worship unto God, it is moving. Moving, because…this is what heaven will be like. People giving glory to God, In One mind, in One accord. NO one arguing over doctrine, theology, how to worship, how to sing, who has a better way or understanding of scripture But, people coming together just simply praising God.

That is why I would go back next time and suggest people to attend. It is encouraging to see and experience this type of godly entertainment.Yes, it is entertainment. But God gets the glory and we get a time to honor him with fellow believers. There is nothing wrong with that. I would rather attend this then allow myself to attend something that is ungodly in risk of being offended, mocked, and feeling “blah” ..after I left.

You know when Christians come together and sing about God it is going to be a good time.

So…there are my thoughts about Winter Jam.

 

My Thoughts on Daniel (pt 9)

To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.” Daniel 9:8

Many Christians have felt that our nation, The United States, was set up to be a light to the world. That our land, our government, was made in such a way to bless other nations. That Gods “favor” (not to speak prosperity gospel) has been poured on us so that we would be a beacon to those. Sharing the love of Christ with the world. Not many countries in the world can openly preach, witness, proclaim the word of the Lord like we can here in the U.S. Yet, like in the letters to the churches in the book of  Revelation, we hear the words directed towards us, “this I have against you..” We have sinned.

Now, just a side note:I’m not saying that we are something special as a nation. But, we have been given special opportunities to be able to share Christ easily with the world. People come from all over the world to live here. Go to school here. Prosper here. But, if we study scripture, we know that we (U.S.) are not really mentioned in end times things. We have no real significance to add or share with when we read about the end times. I am only sharing this because, many Christians feel that America will be or is part of that. I personally feel, and so do many scholars, that America will be so involved with its own problems and/or destroyed. That may be why we are not really mentioned in the end times studies. I could be off but this is my take on it. With that said, I do feel we have a special purpose in the history of the world. God has given us so much. Why? Because we have favored Israel. If you notice in our History, when bad things happened, usually it had something to do with how we treated Israel. I know not every situation but, it does seem to be linked. And it goes the other way as well, It seems. Coincidence? I don’t think so. But, I may share more about that some other time.

Here we have Daniel praying…no pleading to God on behalf of his nation, Israel. Asking for forgiveness. This is what I am trying to say, America, has been given this amazing gift. The gift of freedom. Freedom that so many take for granted. We have laws that allow us to say or do anything we want. And in doing so, we have allowed things to be done that are UNGODLY in every way. We act out against God in our actions as a nation. We deny him. Deny what our Founding Fathers had established. In our anti-Christ attitude, his favor has been lifting.

Our debt is in the trillions, people of the world do not respect us, we see devastation through weather, famines, plagues, droughts, etc. I know God gives favor to those who follow him. That is not prosperity gospel, that is truth. And despite being in a sinful world God does like to bless his own. But, we have sinned greatly in the sight of our God. Anyone who reads their bible knows, that we have gone against His word so many times as a nation.

Israel, in the times of Daniel, did the same. But, what did they do? They cried out to God. Their leaders and often times the nation. They would go on fast as a nation. Repenting of their deeds. We currently have, and had, leaders that do not give God the time of day. Let alone, five minutes to seek His face for themselves or the nation. This is where we have gone wrong. But, this is where the church must arise. Fill in the gap. Don’t just say you will pray for the nation..its president…etc. Actually pray!!!

Lift up your voice to the Lord. Repent of your sin, repent of the sin of our leaders, and repent for the nation. We must humble ourselves before the Almighty. We must!! It is never too late to turn to God.

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.… 2 Chronicles 7:13-15*

WE MUST, humble ourselves to God and Repent.

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*yes this is directed towards Israel, but note: that God is gracious to all. More importantly to a humbled heart. This is what we can understand from this verse

Quick thought

When we suffer,  as Christians,  for being a Christian.. Example:locked for praying,  wearing Christian shirts,  beaten up for our faith or arrested or threatened with death,  etc.. All for Christ.. We should find it joy.. And not retaliate.  Just like Jesus did not retaliate.  He bore it all.  Taking the beating etc.

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.1Peter 2:20-23

So, we are not to respond.  But,  show compassion,  mercy,  love,  and forgiveness towards those who “persecute” us for our faith in Christ.

But…..

We are NOT to stay silent when it comes to sin.

I think Christians get confused about this.

They think we are to stay silent and out of the way of the world.  When it comes to sin and ungodly things.. We are to speak up .

  • Ezekiel 3:17-18
  • Matthew 18:15
  • Galatians 6:1
  • 1Timothy 5:20

Here are just a few verses to check out about calling out sin.  We should.. But.. Only by being led by His spirit , so we do not come across as “holier than thou”

Every action should be led by his Spirit.

As Christians,  should we remain silent when our nation is sinning?

Should we speak up ?

Of course we should pray!  There is no question.  But.. These are things we have to think about.. Not everyone is bold to speak up against sin.. Publically. And I understand that.

But, Some can.  And we should! In my opinion.

So I leave you with this thought and this verse…


My Thoughts of Daniel (pt 8)

27 And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”

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“God what are you doing?” “What does this mean?”

You know how a child always wants to know what they will be doing next? My kids do this to me. They know we will be going to church that night for some event, but they will nag all day , “when are we going? Is it time now to go? Are we eating there?” We too can be like our children. We know something is about to happen in our lives spiritually, physically, or emotionally. We may be given a vision, dream, prophetic thing, or maybe it’s an obstacle or trial. And then we ask all the question..” God, what’s going on?”

There are things God will give us or have us go through. We may not understand why or what He means by it at the time, but later he may reveal what he was doing or saying. We just have to wait on him.

I am sure this is what Daniel was thinking. He was given this vision and then …puzzled by it.The vision, in a sense, was explained to him. But, he could not understand it fully. He wrote it down..shared it with us…for us to read and understand.

What is amazing for us, is that we can read it now and are able to  make some sense of it. It is a confirmation that when God gives you a “sign” you better heed the warning or whatever he is trying to say.

Nevertheless, somethings may not be seen or understood right away. Like Daniel, we must store it away, or wait for God to reveal it to us. So, hang in there, be patience, remain faithful to God, and wait on him and his perfect timing.

My Thoughts on Daniel (pt 7)

“Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.” (v 28)

This chapter is of Daniel describing his dream/vision that was given to him by God. It talks of end time events, the lords coming, beasts, destruction..etc..(go read it) If I were Daniel, I too, would say the above quote. Yet, he kept it all to himself.

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Daniel just amazes me. He is given the gift of visions, dreams, and interpretation of dreams, and instead of telling people, he is moved by it, and keeps it in his heart. He has the wisdom, to know, “I shouldn’t share this…not yet”

The reason why I love Daniel, is because the Lord has given me a similar gift. I don’t share that to boast, but to humbly say, I am no where near that kind of maturity that Daniel was. Sure, he is much older when this takes place. At least we assume he is. Which is probably why I have not been given interpretations to my dreams. And I sometimes share them, probably not the best wisdom to do. But, I am learning. So I read his book for wisdom on such matters.

Friends this is why we must read scripture. It gives insight into all areas of our lives. It is not “just stories” or “a history book”…it is that..but so much more. It is wisdom. God allowed these books to come together to be a guide for our daily walk.

You ever feel sad and depressed? There are a ton of scripture that can lift you up. Let alone tell you stories of those who got down too and how God helped them up.

There is so much in scripture. Don’t just read it, but study it. Dig DEEP! Research the backgrounds of each story, the people, the cities etc. It deepens your ideas of God. It creates a firm foundation. It helps you in all areas of your daily walk with God and his creation.

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I know there is so much to this chapter and the next few chapters. However, like I said before, I am giving a different take on each chapter. My own thoughts and feelings and questions. Some may be off the wall and random..goofy even. And some may be serious and challenging. SO, bear with me as we continue in our walk through this book and My Thoughts on Daniel.

My Thoughts on Daniel (pt 6)

First off. What’s a Satrap. I see that word and I think of this….itsatrap!! lol

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Star Wars:Return of the Jedi

Ok, so you know what a satrap is?Definition: a governor over provinces in Persia.

They all got together to get Daniel in trouble. They asked the king to make a rule that no one is to pray to anyone for thirty days unless it be to King Darius.

Now Daniel was not moved by this decree. He continued to do what he did normally. Praying to God as he did everyday. In an upper room in front of some windows. Now here is the crazy part. The satraps and leaders had to be spying on him to see him in his upper room. What we call a “peeping tom” (no offense to any Tom’s out there. lol)

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Anyone else a little creeped out at this picture? The point is these leaders had to really hate Daniel and the position he was getting, for them to creep on Daniel like this. The satraps basically…set a trap for Daniel. Because they knew Daniel prayed to God everyday.

What does that say to us? Do we have that kind of consistent walk with God? Do we have that kind of prayer life? Daniel wasn’t moved because he knew God was with him. He had a relationship with God and nothing was going to stop him from speaking to God. Even if it meant being fed to the lions. God was faithful to Daniel and Daniel was faithful to God. When we read on we know God continued to be faithful and he rescued Daniel from the Lions Den.

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This is a challenge every christian should realize. When we take up our cross to follow Christ. We know that we may and/or will suffer persecution. Though living in freedom loving countries, we may not feel the full effect of this kind of persecution. Yet, are you still willing to stand for Christ when: your class mates make fun of you christian t-shirt, when  your co-worker ridicules you for thanking God for you meal at lunch time, when you say to that friend, “i can’t watch this movie because it goes against everything I believe”, to that family member “I can not support this homosexual wedding because it was not what God approves of”. Or maybe we will see the worse and be asked to deny Christ or be killed.

How will you stand? Will you stand for God when things bad happen all around you? Times are changing and this very thing may be asked of us Christians. Will you deny our self, deny our pride, deny our life and stay faithful to God?

Will you still seek God, like Daniel did?

Those Red Letters


I’m reading through Matthew 5 and I can’t help but feel refreshed.  Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples but, also to anyone who will listen.  This is his sermon on the mount.  

I read through and feel his voice speak gently.  Teaching me.  The very same voice that has the authority to say “let there be light ” says in a humble and gentle voice “Father, forgive them for the know not what they do“. This voice that is loving,  firm,  and yet full of power is teaching me with every red letter I read.  Instructing me on how I should live. 

I am in awe as I read.  What God would humble himself to help instruct us on how to live this life?  How to overcome obstacles? 

God who cares and loves me where I’m at.  In my lowest point he brings words of love.  In my struggles he corrects me, though it stings, it is for my help, not harm. 

 Like a mighty victorious king bending down low to help his servant clean, Jesus left his heavenly kingdom to help a sinner such as I.  In Matthew 5. we read his words of help,  encouragement,  and love.  

Those reds words are like love letters to me.  Helping me to know him more.  Opening my eyes to love him more.  

I encourage you to read some of Jesus words from the Gospels.  Pray God opens your ears and hear,  that you would be filled, refreshed,  and challenged to apply them to your lives. 

Are you loving like Christ loves?

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Christians spout of phrases like, “God is love”, “Love one another”, “They will know you are Christians by your love”. Yet this I hold against you, Oh Christian…

that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4

What happened to you? You received, accepted, acknowledged, believed (whatever your denominations terminology is) the Lord Jesus as your Savior. You loved him so much. You were willing to go anywhere for him, fight any battle, stand up against any foe in the name of Jesus. Yet,today many of you have NOT demonstrated the love that should be in you.

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I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.” Revelation 2:2-3

I see Christians display this  very verse proudly. They study Gods word diligently, which is good, but they are all about the study and not the seeking Him. They think they are so “spiritual.” but they forget the relational aspect of our walk with God. Then the fruit of this labor is they can not be relational. It is hard for them to love others as they do themselves. Because they have lost the love they once had. They play church and know Gods word but they don’t really know it.

I find that it can be easier to some to show love, because they themselves want to give what they may not have received, or they want to give what they have been given. Which are you and why are you not giving? If we all have been treated poorly, in love, by humans, we at least know how to love because our God first loved us! He demonstrated that on the cross for us! So why are we not showing that love? Here is why, because we are not abiding in him.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” John 15:4

We have been so easily distracted by the world and its desires. The things that allure us from our ONE TRUE LOVE …Jesus. We, Christians need to wake up! We need our eyes to be opened to the fact that we have drifted so far from Him. It is not just about the “head knowledge” but about the “heart knowledge”. And i know some get get all crazy why i mention “heart”, but i am not saying it from the sinners aspect, but from the spiritual side. the “deep calling to deep” side. Our spirit longs to be in relationship with the Lord. But we turn to other things because of pride, our flesh, etc.

Then the world see Christians who say:

“I can forgive the person who wronged my but, I don’t have to love them”

Did Jesus say that to us?

“I will forgive them but I don’t have to love them.”

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NO! In fact while we were still SINNING He still loved us! But the love that was demonstrated on the cross has grown dim in some believers. And so they do NOT know how to love like Christ loved us. They will spout off all the verses that talk about love, but can not demonstrate true sacrificial unfailing love. Friends, Christians…if we abide in Him we CAN demonstrate this kind of love. I have seen it among those in the faith. It is possible!

God help us and forgive us! I leave you with this quote and this verse. Family of God we need to start getting our act together. The Lord is coming soon!

Brennan Manning Quotes. The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:7

 

Thoughts from Daniel (pt5)

10 The queen,[c] because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods.[d] In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” Daniel 5:10-12

The king, Belteshazzar, had brought all together to feast with him. He had ordered the dishes, from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in and used for their ungodly feasting. While doing so giving all praise to the gods of gold, silver, iron, bronze, wood and stone. Then out of nowhere a hand appears and writes on the wall: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin

Everyone is terrified! The king ask for someone to interpret it and the queen(we assume is the mother of Belteshazzar) tells him about Daniel.

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Picture by REMBRANDT ( ART INFO )

Daniel is brought in and interprets the message from God, which means:

Mene, God has numbered[g] the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 Tekel, you have been weighed[h] in the balances and found wanting; 28 Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”[i]” Daniel 5:26-28

What a thing to be told! Maybe something we can talk about in another blog.

What I wanted to point out was that years(1) have gone by, and Daniel was still remembered and used by God. Some feel that because they are old in age they can not be used by God.  This is obviously false. As we see throughout the bible God uses many in their old age. God is NEVER done with you. As long as you have breath you can still be used by God. Remain faithful to him no matter what age. Look what Daniel did! He not only interpreted this message from God, but then he was used, several more years, in so many ways.

I love that fact that someone remembered what Daniel did.That they remembered what Daniels God did. Stay true to following God.Now  and even through the quiet seasons of life. We never know who we are impacting. One day someone may call upon you, woman/man of God, and ask you to help them with a situation. This could be the opportunity for God to use you to reach that person.

In those years, where we hear nothing about Daniel, we know that he was still seeking God and drawing close to him. In your season of silence keep seeking God. Stay faithful to him. He is faithful to you. Though you may not see the fruit of seeking him, one day it may come to fruition. One day you may be called up to testify, to lead, to proclaim, to be used in a way that could save one ..or many. Be like a Daniel. Stand up for what is right, seek God in season and out, and be ready when you are called to serve Him.

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(1) years had gone by… I make this statement, because of a little light research that indicates that Belteshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. And therefore, we do not hear much about what daniel, or even Shadrach, Meshach and Abnedgo, have been up too. Were they just busy serving the nation(as they had been assigned to positions and therefore busy with the things of state) that we do not read much about them? Just some things to ponder in addition. Belteshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar link