Wednesday, April 21, 2021

April 21st: Daniel

 Confirmation 4.21.21: Daniel

Read Daniel 1:3-17 (The Babylonian king who conquered the Hebrew people) commanded his palace master to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace... The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. 10 The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master: 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given healthy food to eat and water to drink. 13 You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” 14 So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. 16 So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink.. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.


·        Daniel and his friends were tempted to forget about God in Babylon.  In the book of Daniel, we see these young people remaining faithful despite numerous persecutions and temptations. They kept their focus on God and living according to God’s ways.  As teenagers, is it hard to focus on God and God’s ways?  What about as adults?


The Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their fiery furnace experience is a lesson for all Christians today.  It is a story of not compromising your beliefs despite severe persecution. 

Fiery Furnace Summary This story is from Daniel chapter three and involves the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, making a golden image and his requirement that all in the kingdom must bow down and worship it at the sounding of the music.  The three young Jews who refused to bow down and worship this image were Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  When the Chaldeans reported this news to King Nebuchadnezzar, he was furious and gave orders that the three men be brought before him immediately. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego where brought before King Nebuchadnezzar he asked them if it was true that they refused to bow down and worship the image.  The king told the three men that they risked being thrown into the fiery furnace if they didn‘t.  The three young men simply answered the king that it was true – they refused to bow down and worship the golden image.  These three Jews didn’t try to make excuses, give the king an apology or try to reason with him.  They flatly refused to bow down and worship the idol, even at the king’s command and with the threat of losing their lives.  Listen to their bold response:  we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up (Dan 3:16-18).  King Nebuchadnezzar was outraged and commanded the men to immediately be thrown into the fiery furnace.  In fact, the king ordered that the furnace be heated up to seven times its normal rate as an expression of the king’s rage against the men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and thrown into the furnace.  The furnace was so hot that it immediately annihilated the soldiers who threw the three men into it.  The three men were tied up and bound with their garments so as to have no possible escape.  King Nebuchadnezzar must have been present because right after this he was astonished and asked his counselors that Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?  They answered, ’True O King’. He then answered and said, ’But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods’” (Dan 3:24-25). The king apparently recognized the fourth person as being a divine being.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the furnace, their clothes were not harmed, not a hair on their heads were singed and they didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them (Dan. 3:27).  King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he commanded everyone in the entire Babylonian Empire to give homage to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to not even speak an ill word against him or be put to death.  Even the king gave honor and glory to this god, unknown to him as he was, he wrote praises for him: “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!  His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation” (Dan 4:3).

King Nebuchadnezzar understood that his idol was nothing in comparison to the three men’s God. This God may have been Jesus Himself as He is referred to as someone with the “appearance of a son of the gods“(Dan 3:25).  It is interesting that Jesus is referred to as “the Son of Man” more than any other single name in the Bible.

  • What bad things have happened to you in your life?
  • Is God with you during these times?
  • Is the sun shining during the darkest storms?

·        God was with these three young men.  In the fiery ordeal that they went through, God was with them and He went through it with them.  The lesson is that through life’s fiery trials and ordeals, God will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).  God not only knows about our suffering in trials, He goes with us in them and He goes with us through them.  He is ever present in times of trouble as Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  What this Scripture is saying is that God is “ever-present” or always with us in our troubles.

lesson that we can apply to our lives is that we sometimes have to do things that the world will be angry over.  A company may ask you to “cook the books” to cover up something illegal.  We may be asked to lie to a customer to save face for the company.  There is a chance that we might be told to do something unethical.  We might even be tempted to cheat on our taxes but our first and foremost obligation is to always obey God rather than others. We must stand firm in our faith at all times.  We must obey God over others when there are opposing interests (Acts 5:29).  When we face the consequences or are cast into figurative fiery furnaces – even if we are bound – we can rest assured that God is with us before, during, and after.   He will be faithful and present with us in our going through them.  You can believe God.  He will be with you, even in the fiery trials of life.

  • What daily temptations do you have as a teen, or as an adult, that go against God’s will?
  • What are some things do we put before God?
  • Do you have temptations that pull you away from worship on Sunday mornings?
  • What can help us to be more faithful, like Dan, Shad, Meshach and Abednego?

If you have more time, talk about what faith and church mean to you.  

If you have even more time, watch this video from The Bible Project:

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

April 14th: Mentor Night & Psalms

Confirmation 4.14.21: Mentor Night & Psalms 

  • Share highs & lows since the last time you met. 
  • What kind of music do you like? Do you have a favorite band or artist? 
  • Do you share anything in common when it comes to music tastes? 
  • In what ways does music influence your emotions? Are there certain songs in your memory that bring you back to a specific moment? 
  • Why do you think music is so important to humans? 

The Psalms are a type of Hebrew poetry. In Hebrew, the word for psalm means “praises”, and in Greek the word means “words to accompany music”. Psalms, then, are meant to be used musically. The moods of the psalms embrace/reflect the whole range of human experience—from praise to despair, from intense anger and doubt about God’s care to hope for a future based solely on God’s care. Psalms can help express emotions that we otherwise might not have words for or feel right about. The Psalms show us the reality of our up and down relationship with God, but they also move us steadily along the path of knowing God. There are a variety of psalms (you can explore in your Bibles on pages 849-850): 

Hymns of Praise: give witness (i.e. show) God’s love and grace through a call to praise and reasons for praise. They were composed for community worship. 

Community Laments: Characterized by crying to God for help in a time of crisis or distress. 

Personal/Individual Laments: The most common type of psalm, a crying out to God for help in a time of crisis or distress. Can be distinguished from communal laments with the use of “I”. Often include a call to be heard, complaints about God’s perceived absence, a persons suffering, and oppressors, pleas for help, a sentiment of trust in God, and a promise to praise God on the other side of suffering. 

Songs of Thanksgiving: These psalms thank God for helping an individual or community through a tough time like war, famine, plague, or other problems and distress. 

Wisdom Psalms: Reflects Old Testament wisdom literature (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes) 

Royal Psalms: Composed during specific times in a king’s life, like coronations, weddings, or even battles. Other’s celebrate the king as God’s servant, or meant for the king to sing/recite as a leader of many people. 

Find and Read the following Psalms (you can read the whole psalm, or just a portion) and answer the questions as best you can about each: 

    • Psalm 1
    • Psalm 21
    • Psalm 22
    • Psalm 23
    • Psalm 27
    • Psalm 30
    • Psalm 46
    • Psalm 100
    • Psalm 121 
  • What type of psalm is this (see categories above)?
  • Who is the author talking to?
  • What is the basic message of this psalm?
  • Are the words in this psalm familiar to you?

Try creating your own “mini Psalm” using the classic “Roses are Red” format. 

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
sugar is sweet,
and so are you. 

God is _______________,
Jesus is _______________,
______________ is ______________,
And so are/is ________________. 

Pray together.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April 7th: Job

 Confirmation 4.7.21: Job

Go through these questions and readings with a family member, and have a parent or guardian confirm that you met. 

·         What are some things about this year that have been difficult for you personally? What about for the world?

·         Were you responsible in any way for these difficult things?

·         What are some bad things that happen to people because of their own actions?

·         Have you heard of any stories about bad things happening to good people? Can you give any examples?


Read Job 1:1-5  [1] There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. [2] There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. [3] He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. [4] His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another's houses in turn; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. [5] And when the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." This is what Job always did.


·         After reading this passage, how would you characterize Job? (What do you know about him?)


Read Job 1:6-12 [6] One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. [7] The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the Lord, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." [8] The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil." [9] Then Satan answered the Lord, "Does Job fear God for nothing? [10] Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. [11] But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." [12] The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!" So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.


·         What is Satan trying to prove to God? And what does he want God to prove?

·         Where else in the Bible do we find Satan confronting God?


Read Job 1:12-22 [13] One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother's house, [14] a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, [15] and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you." [16] While he was still speaking, another came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you." [17] While he was still speaking, another came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you." [18] While he was still speaking, another came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house, [19] and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you."  [20] Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. [21] He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." [22] In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing. 


·         What kinds of things happened to Job? Who caused those things?

·         How would you react if this happened to you?

·         How did Job react after all this happened?


Later on in the next 34 chapters of Job, his friends come to console him because of all that has happened, but they end up telling Job that all his suffering must be because of his wrongdoings, or sins, so he must deserve all the suffering. After each accusation, Job defends his innocence.


·         How do you think Job felt in his conversations with his friends? How do you feel when people falsely accuse you?

·         What do you think Jesus would say if he were in on the conversations with Job and his friends? (Luke 6:37) 

·         Is it possible to be a perfect Christian? Is it possible to please God at all times?                           


Watch “The Book of Job” from The Bible Project


·         Reflect on this quote: “If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it.” What do you think? Is this a true statement? What about after having heard Job’s story?

·         What is wise about the Book of Job?

·         Why do bad things happen to good people?

·         How does faith in God help you in times of sorrow or trouble?


Read & Reflect on “The Footprints in the Sand” poem by Mary Stevenson


One night a man had a dream. He dreamed

he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. 

For each scene he noticed two sets of 

footprints in the sand: one belonging 

to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of

his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very

lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he 

questioned the LORD about it: 

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow 

you, you'd walk with me all the way.

But I have noticed that during the most 

troublesome times in my life,

there is only one set of footprints. 

I don't understand why when 

I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child,

I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering,

when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I carried you."