Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. What is your purpose?
Everybody has one. What you tell us about your purpose speaks volumes of how you live your life. It's the roadmap you follow. Pastor Greg Lorises, chart your course wisely. You should not be seeking pleasure but purpose. Don't be seeking success.
Seek significance. Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm.
Dare to make it known. Will you be a Daniel? Are you a person of purpose? This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear when the angels are singing.
This is the day, the day when life begins. God has work for us to do and he wants to equip us for that work. So often his training program includes some trials and challenges along the way. And at the time we may wonder why we're going through such difficulty. But God knows what he's doing. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Lorries points out how the Lord used Daniel in a powerful, miraculous way. And it was only because of the challenges Daniel faced that he could successfully complete the task he was given. This is the day, the day when life begins. Why don't you grab your Bible and turn to the book of Daniel.
Daniel chapter 2. The title of my message is Dream On. Sounds like a song. Maybe I'll sing it. No maybe I won't. As you recall Israel was conquered by Babylon.
Why? Because Israel kept turning to false gods and idols. And the Lord warned them through the prophets and they ignored what the prophet said.
Finally judgment came. So the people of Israel were taken into captivity for 70 years under the rulership of Babylon. Now the king of Babylon at that time, the great Nebuchadnezzar asked for sort of the brightest and best of Israel. Some of the young men that he could bring into his court and school in the way of the Babylonians and in the culture of Babylon and in the worship of the false Babylonian gods. And among those that were brought in were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And it was Nebuchadnezzar's desire to seduce them. To turn them into Babylonians.
To have them leave their Hebrew roots and their belief in Scripture and to think like a Babylonian. But there was one thing Nebuchadnezzar did not consider. And that was these boys had character. Ok so that brings us to what we are looking at right now. And that is that the king has a dream. And it is a doozy of a dream. I don't know if it is because he had too much pizza the night before.
Probably not. I don't think they had pizza back in those days. But I had pizza before I went to bed not long ago. And I had like a technicolor dream. It is like I was in a movie. Right.
That is the power of pepperoni right there. And you know the king had a dream. But this was not one influenced by food. This is a dream that was actually influenced by God Himself. The Lord gave to the king a dream that was effectively a flyover of human history.
So the king wakes up and the weird thing is he knows he had a very significant dream but he can't remember it. So he calls together all these people that are supposed to have the answers. The so-called wise men. Astrologers. Astronomers. All those people that were supposed to hear from the gods.
So he says bring them in. Bring in the palm readers. The clairvoyants. The mediums. Bring their crystal balls. Their tarot cards.
Their Ouija boards. Hey bring the Jumanji game. I don't care. Figure this thing out for me. Tell me my dream. He says I will make you guys a deal. If you tell me my dream I will shower you with riches and honor. If you don't tell me my dream I will tear you limb from limb and burn your house down. How does that sound?
And they are saying well wait wait hold on king. We can't tell you your dream. Tell us the dream and we will interpret it.
He goes no. If you are legit you will know the dream and the interpretation. And that is where we pick up in Daniel 2 verse 8. The king replied I know what you are doing. You are stalling for time because you know I am serious when I say if you don't tell me the dream you are doomed.
So you have conspired to tell me lies hoping I will change my mind. Tell me the dream and I will know that you can tell me what it means. Now they make a true statement. Verse 11. The kings demand is impossible.
No one except the gods can tell you your dream. And they do not live here among people. That is very true. But actually though the gods didn't have the answer God had the answer. And God had His men on earth and His name was Daniel. And the Lord had Him on direct dial. He could just push His name and Daniel would answer the phone. And He spoke to Daniel.
Daniel was a man on earth who had connections in heaven. And guess what? You are a man.
You are a woman on earth that has the same. Your prayers are heard by God. So the king's henchman Arioch storms into Daniel's house to kill him. Daniel and the boys are saying wait wait hold on what are you doing? We are killing all the wise men because they can't tell the king his dream.
And they say hold on give us a little time. That brings us to Daniel chapter 2 verse 17. Daniel when Homan told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
By the way those are the original Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He told them what happened. He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them His mercy by telling them the secret so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Very important.
Now stop there. Daniel did exactly what God told us all to do when trouble comes. Pray. How many of you are facing trouble or difficulty right now? Raise up your hand.
It is ok. Don't be embarrassed. All right. Here is what you need to do. Pray.
Here it comes. I don't know what to do. I don't know the answer. I am having problems with my husband. Problems with my wife. Problems with my kids.
Problems at work. Problems with the cat. Always the cat. You know whatever.
I am joking. Because cats are always a problem. And thus you will always have problems with them.
But still I digress. I just like to keep the cat people hating me. Because if I let it rest they stop. And then I bring it up again and they hate me some more.
I don't know. I actually like cats. I just like to provoke cat people.
I think that is really what it is. Cats don't care what I say. They care very little. I am very popular in the cat community. I don't know if you know that.
And they have a community. All right. So trust me that was not in the notes.
All right. That is just. So they pray.
That is what we should do. And what happens the Lord reveals to them the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. He reveals to them the secret and its interpretation. So now Daniel is appearing before King Nebuchadnezzar. And he wants to make it very clear to the king that this interpretation he is about to reveal has come from the Lord. Look at Daniel 2 verse 27. Daniel said, There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune tellers who can reveal the king's secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.
And He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed. While your majesty was sleeping you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen. And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream. It is because God wants you to understand what was in your heart. I love that.
What is Daniel doing? He is giving God the glory. Make sure you do that too. You do a well done job or something happens and someone says, Man you are just the most caring person. You are such a compassionate person. Oh I love that thing that you did.
Or hey you know what. The Lord helped me do it. You are so successful in business. The Lord helped me do it. Hey you are a great minister. Well that is the Lord coming through.
Thank you for that nice compliment. But I have to give the glory to God. Always make sure you give the glory to God.
Don't keep it. And Daniel had a good biblical template to follow here. And that template was the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis.
A very similar story remember. Joseph too had the ability to interpret dreams. He was thrown in prison on false charges. And while he was in prison it became known to him that the Pharaoh had a dream. That no one could interpret. But Joseph could interpret dreams. So he was brought before the Pharaoh and he told him what his dream meant. And the Pharaoh put him in a position of influence as a result.
Very similar. Which brings up a very simple point. And that is the Bible tells us how to live in life. This is why you need to know your Bible. This is why we study the stories of the Bible and the teachings of the Bible. This is why we memorize passages from the Bible. So you start learning how to think biblically. Because I am going to tell you something. The best way to know the will of God is to know the Word of God. And I think some people are running around trying to get a direct revelation from God.
They want the Lord to give them a word from heaven. Order the cheeseburger my child. No. Do this. Turn right.
Turn left. Let me tell you something. Most of the time when I found myself smack dab in the middle of the will of God it is not because I heard a word from the Lord. It is because I was just living by the Word of the Lord. Just applying biblical principles. So a situation comes up and I think, wait there is a story in the Bible I just read that had a very similar situation.
And I am going to apply that here. Oh I just started this verse that I memorized that totally applies to this thing. And then you apply those verses and live biblically and you will find you are walking in God's will.
That is what really Daniel was doing. Oh yeah Joseph the Lord gave him the interpretation. Now I am going to give the interpretation to the king and I am going to give God the glory. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know there is nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the Word of God together.
So join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well as we pick up our study Daniel is appearing before the king to not only interpret the king's dream but to tell the king what he dreamed in the first place. Pastor Greg continues. So here is what the king saw. He saw a giant statue and the statue had a head of gold and it had chest and arms of silver. It had a belly and a thigh made out of bronze. It had legs of iron and feet of clay and iron mixed together and then a rock that was carved out of a mountain smashed the toast.
How do you interpret a dream like that? God gave to Nebuchadnezzar a flyover of the great kingdoms of the world. Daniel interprets this for him.
And we will get into this later when we get deeper into Daniel. But verses 37 to 38 the head of gold was a representation of Babylon and the Babylonian kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon lasted from 636 to 539 BC. Jeremiah called Babylon a golden cup in the Lord's hand. So Babylon was the head of gold. And notice how as the metals go down they become less valuable.
Gold is the most valuable. Now we find that it has chest and arms of silver. A lesser nation than Babylon. The Medo-Persians under the leadership of Cyrus conquer the Babylonians. And that kingdom lasted from 539 to 330 BC. Then there are the belly and the thighs of brass of verses 39 to 40. That represents the kingdom of Greece led by Alexander the Great who conquered the Medo-Persians.
The kingdom of Greece lasted from 330 to 63 BC. And now here is where it really gets interesting. The legs of iron and feet of clay.
That is the Roman Empire that lasted a long time from 63 BC to AD 470. But then it has the toes. Ten toes. Feet of clay. Toes. You have heard the expression he is feet of clay. Meaning they are vulnerable.
They are human. That is where that expression came from. Feet of clay. Toes of clay that are crushed by a giant rock. Have you ever dropped something on your toes?
Oh man that hurts. Big old rock cut out of a mountain. Boom. Drops on the toes.
They shatter. What is this? There is a revival of sorts of the Roman Empire in the end times. And a world leader emerges on the scene with ten nations confederated behind him. He is identified in the Bible as the antichrist. The beast. And then his kingdom is destroyed by a rock. What is the rock?
The interpretation. Daniel chapter 2 44. During the reigns of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness and it will stand forever. This is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain.
Though not by human hands. That crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. It is the great God showing the king what will happen in the future.
The dream is true. And the meaning is certain. What is the rock? It is Christ returning and shattering these false kingdoms and establishing His kingdom on the earth while He rules as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What are the takeaway truths that we have learned together?
Number one. We win in the end. We win in the end. Read the last page of the Bible. You will see. The Lord will establish His kingdom. Number two. When crisis hits we need to pray.
That is what Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. Never back down. Never give up. Number three. We need to hold our course to the very end. Daniel did. You will be glad you did.
Not give in to the enticements of this culture. Maybe six months. Maybe a year. Before we went to heaven I was having lunch with Pastor Chuck Smith. Chuck was a man of few words by the way. I mean in the pulpit he would give messages but when you hung out with Chuck privately which I did many many times. He was not the most verbose person.
He would give rather kind of short answers. And so I was sitting with him and I said, so Chuck I have a question for you. If an older Chuck could speak to a younger Chuck what would you say to yourself?
What is the message you would pass on to a younger version of you? In between bites of whatever he was eating Chuck looked up to me and said, hold the course. Went back to eating again. I am like, ah. Hold the course. What does that mean?
He just sort of looks at me. I said, like keep doing what you are doing. Right. Oh. Like keep reading the Bible. Yeah. So keep praying.
Just keep walking with the Lord. Right. Hold the course. Goes back to eating. It is just like he is probably saying, go away.
I want to eat lunch. But really he was giving a really important point. Hold the course. Chuck did that throughout his life. Daniel did that throughout his life. And we need to do that throughout our lives.
Hold the course. Final point. We should be people of character and purpose. That is what we are told about Daniel in verse 8 of chapter 1. He made up his mind not to defile himself for literally he purposed in his heart.
I love that phrase. Purposed in his heart. Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm.
Dare to make it known. Will you be a Daniel. Are you a person of purpose. Paul wrote to Timothy and said, you have fully known my purpose.
And what was that purpose? Paul says in Philippians, my determined purpose in life is to know Him and the power of His resurrection being made conformable to His death. Lewis paraphrased, my purpose, my reason for existence is to know God and to become more like Christ.
That is our mission statement here at Harvest. Knowing God and making Him known. What is your purpose?
Everybody has one. Is your purpose knowing God? Is your purpose becoming more like Christ? Some people might say, well my purpose in life is to have fun man. All I want to do is have some fun.
I have got the feeling I am not the only one. Right. Whatever. My purpose in life is to enjoy pleasure. Or my purpose in life is to make money. Or my purpose in life is to be successful.
Listen. You should not be seeking pleasure but purpose. Don't be seeking success.
Seek significance. Be a man of purpose. Be a woman of purpose. And I am telling you all these things you chase after, the things that matter will come back to you. And the things you don't need won't. You want pleasure.
You won't find it in the things this culture offers. But if you walk with God you will have yes more fun than the nonbeliever. Because you will have a deeper joy and a real happiness that is guilt free. You don't have to wake up with a hangover in the morning. You don't have to live with a guilty conscience.
You don't have to face the ramifications of all the bad decisions you made that come to haunt you for years to come. Instead you will have the blessings of God follow you. As Psalm 23 says, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. That is the Christian life.
That is a life we want to live. Know Him. Now some people know about Him. They know all about God. We know all about a lot of people right now because of social media.
Oh I follow them on Instagram. I know what they had for lunch. Yeah but you don't really know them. Oh no I do. Actually you don't.
Ok. I think a lot of people know about God but they don't know God. You know sometimes people will call the church office. They will call my secretary and say I need to talk with Greg. I am one of his best friends. So she will text me and say is this person your best friend. I will say back to her rule of thumb if they say they are my best friend you can almost guarantee they aren't. And I will tell you why. If they are my best friend they have my phone number.
Right. They have my phone number. So if you don't have my phone number I don't like you.
No I am kidding. A lot of people have my phone number. But they have a way to contact me. You don't have to go through someone else.
Just come right to me. So I think we say oh I know I know God. If you know God you have His phone number. And by that I mean you have relationship. You have communication. You can take your phone. Hit that.
Boom. There is an answer. God will answer. Because of the death of Jesus. Let me come back to this thing these so-called wise men said.
They had one thing right. They said King no one could answer this even if the gods came and walked among us. Well the gods never can walk among us but the Son of God did walk among us. God in human form. And that is Jesus Christ. Fully God.
Fully man. Living a perfect life. Going to a cross and dying for our sin so we could be forgiven and come into a relationship with the Lord. Jesus who died on a cross for our sin and rose again from the dead. Jesus who is ready to forgive you of your sin no matter how horrible it is. He stands at the door of your life and He knocks and He says if you hear His voice and open the door He will come in. Have you asked Jesus to come into your life yet?
If not why don't you do it right here right now. Let's all bow our heads. Father thank You for Your Word to us. Thank You that Your Word is true. Thank You for Your promise of forgiveness through Jesus. And now I pray for any that have joined us here that don't have this relationship with You. Oh Lord help them to come to You.
Help them to believe in You right now. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes.
So please stay with us. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited about your new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. It's a look at the lives of dozens and dozens of well-known music icons and the way their lives rose to the top and then often crashed to the bottom and the reasons for that. Now some of the people you talk about in the book obviously have passed on. Which one of them would be at the top of the list of those you'd like to meet and have a conversation with if that were possible?
Yeah that's a really good question. I wish oh my there's so many so many. I think of Janice Joplin. Very talented young lady. Harassed. Made fun of when she was a young girl. Extraordinarily talented. Died so young.
27. I wish I could have sat down with her and said Janice God loves you and even if others don't love you as they ought to you are loved by the Lord and he has a plan and a purpose for your life. I wish I could have sat down with John Lennon and said John you need to just follow Jesus. You've made a profession of faith in him.
Now you need to just grow in your faith spiritually and continue on to discover all that God has in store for you. I wish I could have sat down with Jimi Hendrix in my opinion the greatest guitar player who ever lived by accounts of people that knew him. He was a kind person. He was a humble person but he was a man who was searching as well and I just wish I could have told these people that there's a God in heaven who loved them and had a plan for their life. I wish I could tell them that their life matters and so many people care so deeply about them about them and I can't tell them that unfortunately but I can talk to people who are alive today who maybe are despondent who maybe have thought about taking their lives some who have even attempted to take their lives and say look this is not the way you want to go.
Here's the way you want to go. You want to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and discover his plan for your life and get to know him and then you'll have that happiness and that peace that you've longed for throughout your entire life. Yeah that's right and you know there are some listening right now who have a close friend or loved one who's at that same crossroad today. They need to hear that message of hope. Let us send you a copy of this new book Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. Read it yourself and then pass along this good news to the person you care about. It's a strong wake-up call and it's a message of hope and we'd like to send the book your way to thank you for your investment in Harvest Ministries and A New Beginning.
We're listener supported and without listener partnership we simply couldn't be here each day. We're so grateful for your generosity and when you make your donation today we'd like to thank you with Pastor Greg's new book Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. So call us at 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24-hour phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Yeah. Someone can enter into that kind of relationship with God right now can't they? Yeah they really can. That's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't take days.
It doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot and I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for his forgiveness. A prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want a second chance in life, if you want to go to heaven when you die, stop what you're doing and pray after me these words. Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from it now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as Savior and Lord as God and friend.
Thank you for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen. And listen if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg and meant them sincerely, the Bible assures us your sins have been forgiven.
We're told the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And we want to send some resource materials to you that will help you in your new relationship with the Lord. We call it our New Believers Growth Packet and we'll send it without charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Just ask for it when you call 1-800-821-3300.
We can take your call anytime around the clock. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go to harvest.org and click on the words, Know God. Know God. Well next time we'll visit the fiery trial faced by three Hebrew teams, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It's an important story. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
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