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Angels in the Life of the Believer | Surprising Protection

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 1, 2022 3:00 am

Angels in the Life of the Believer | Surprising Protection

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 1, 2022 3:00 am

Movies and cartoons have romanticized the king of the jungle. The cowardly lion, Tigger, Simba, Mufasa. . . But, in real life, lions can grow up to ten feet long, weigh 400 pounds, and sprint up to 50 miles per hour. They kill 250 humans each year. When Daniel was in the lion’s den, the danger was very real. But Pastor Greg Laurie points out today on A NEW BEGINNING that Daniel’s protection was very real . . . and quite surprising.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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A New Beginning
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We're glad you're joining us for a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Like a baby in the peril of a bunch of hungry lions. Better to be in a lion's den with God than anywhere else without Him. Movies and cartoons have romanticized the king of the jungle, the cowardly lion, Tigger, Simba, Mufasa. But in real life, lions can grow up to 10 feet long, weigh 400 pounds, and sprint up to 50 miles an hour.

They kill 250 humans each year. Well, when Daniel was in the lion's den, the danger was very real. But Pastor Greg Laurie points out today on a new beginning, Daniel's protection was very real and quite surprising. Let's grab our Bibles and turn to Daniel chapter 6.

And the title of my message is Angels and the Life of the Believer. The last time we saw our hero, Daniel, he had been arrested for praying. As I have asked before, if you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? By evidence, I don't mean how many Harvest Crusades stickers you have in your car or maybe how many Bibles you have at home. But rather real evidence where we could talk to your neighbors or members of your family or your co-workers and say, is this person a real Christian? Well, Daniel was a real believer and he had an amazing habit where he would pray three times a day.

And so he was very open about it. So anyway, the Babylonians had been defeated. Belshazzar, their final king, is now dead. And Cyrus and the Medo-Persian Empire has taken control of the nation. And Darius is the new king. Straight away, Darius recognizes that Daniel is the man. Even though Darius was a pagan king, he saw that Daniel was a man of integrity. He was a man of honesty. He was a man that would get the job done.

And he immediately favored him from the previous regime. And so he decided to put Daniel in charge of everything. And the others were very angry about this. They were jealous of Daniel and they wanted to bring him down. But there was one problem. Daniel didn't have any skeletons in his closet.

Daniel didn't have any scandals or any things to expose. And they said the only way we can bring Daniel down is if we find something concerning him and his God. So they came up with a bright idea. Let's get the king to sign a decree that no one can pray to any god but the king for 30 days. So they rushed into the king's presence and said, King Darius, we came up with an idea and we are all in on this, including Daniel. We think you should sign a decree that no one can pray to anyone but you for 30 days, king.

Very flattered by this. He said, that is a great idea. So he signed it into law. And here is the interesting thing about the law of the Medes and the Persians. Once the king signed it into law even he could not overturn it because he was regarded as a deity.

So he did not realize it but unwittingly he had condemned his top advisor, Daniel, to a certain death. So now a new law has been passed. You can no longer pray for 30 days. What if a law like that was passed in America tomorrow or in the state of California?

It almost seems believable, doesn't it? You can no longer pray in a restaurant. You can no longer say grace when your meal arrives in a public place. It is a new law. You can no longer pray in church.

You can't even pray in your home. Would you obey that law? Would you?

I wouldn't. Because there are times when the laws of God supersede the laws of man. And this is one of those times. So Daniel thought, well you know that is an interesting law they have passed.

But I pray every day and I am not going to change that. And you know there are a lot of ways Daniel could have wiggled out of this. 30 days. The kid would have said, you know I am long overdue for a vacation. I am going to leave town for 30 days. I am going to get back.

That law will be over with. Or he could have said, you know I am pretty prayed up. I pray three times a day. I think I could just kind of not pray for 30 days.

Or he might have said, I can be subtle about my prayer. You know I don't have to close my eyes or get on my knees. Or I will go home and I will pray. But I won't open up the windows like I normally do. I will kind of do it under cover.

No. Daniel thought, I am not going to change a single thing. So he went home and he prayed as he always had done.

And now if you are taking notes here is point number one. Daniel was a man of prayer. Daniel was a man of prayer.

This is a takeaway truth for us. Because we too should be people of prayer. Daniel's sixth sentence says, when Daniel learned the law had been signed he went home. He knelt down as usual.

You might underline that. Just as he had always done. And he prayed three times a day giving thanks to his God.

I love this phrase. Just as he always had done. Now when we are first introduced to Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the beginning of the book of Daniel they are kids.

They are teenagers. Now Daniel is an old dude. He is probably 80 maybe as old as 90. And he still has this habit of prayer. Which is a great thing isn't it. He always prayed. You know it has been said, so a thought, reap an act, so an act, reap a habit, so a habit, reap a destiny. And that is good or bad depending on what kind of a habit it is. If you think about bad things and develop bad habits that haunt you for a lifetime. But on the other hand if you think about godly things and develop good habits like Bible study, church attendance, giving to the Lord, and praying.

That will be a great habit that will become your legacy. And that was Daniel. Just as he always had done. And no doubt it was on his knees he received the fearless courage that he had that enabled him to stand boldly before kings like Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and now Darius. He understood that when anxiety came he needed to pray. He could have freaked out.

But no. He prayed as he always had done. Point number two. Daniel had an attitude of gratitude. Daniel had an attitude of gratitude. Look at verse 10. He prayed three times a day just as he always had done giving thanks. Underlying those two words. Giving thanks to his God.

Giving thanks to his God. Now listen. Here was the problem with Daniel. He had never read the book of Daniel.

Just like Job had never read the book of Job. Now we know how the story ends but he didn't. He knew that his certain fate was being fed to a den of lions. And by the way just in case you think these were docile lions understand that Daniel survived this.

I hope that is not something you weren't aware of. Spoiler alert. He survived. But the ones who accused him of this were thrown in the lion's den and they were eaten quickly. In fact before they even hit the ground the lions attacked and ate them.

Never underestimate a hungry lion. I was in Africa years ago. Actually Ethiopia. I was speaking at a pastor's conference with Franklin Graham and Dennis Eggigenian. And so we had a little time off one afternoon and we went to the Ethiopian zoo.

And there was really hardly anyone there working. And we walked right up. I am not making this up. I know it sounds insane.

This is the truth. We walked right up to a lion's cage. And if I wanted to I could have stuck my arm through this cage. And there in the corner of this cage was the most malnourished lion I have ever seen in my life. This lion looked like he was on the verge of death. And so I am looking at this lion.

And I said, man I don't even think he moves anymore. And Dennis Eggigenian thought it would be a great idea to shake the cage bars. So he started screaming. That lion came to life. Came lunging at us and roared about as loud as any lion would roar.

And after my blood went cold I was scared. Because that is a powerful lion. So these lions were hungry. So understand this was God's intervention. He gave thanks without any certainty of how things would turn out. The Bible tells us that in everything we should give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. It also tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice. See it is one thing that we give thanks to when things are going well.

And by the way you should. If everything is going well for you today remember to give thanks. Because the problem is sometimes we only pray when we have crisis. But when things are going well we are effectively saying, thanks God see you next crisis. No we should say, Lord thank you that all my bills are paid. Thank you that my health is good. Thank you that I have food on the table. Thank you that I have this day to serve you. Thank you for what you have done. But then when things are not going well I still thank God. Listen. Not for the adversity but for the fact that God is still on the throne.

He is still there in control. Now Lord I have this problem. And I don't know how I am going to get through this problem. But I know you are in control. And I know you are all powerful. And I know you love me. And I know you have a plan for my life. So I am committing even this to you. And that is how Daniel was praying. Hey I will probably be fed to lions but I am giving thanks anyway.

Because that is what I always do. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home.

Exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world. Listen to this. We even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God.

So join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today we are discussing the story of Daniel in the lion's den. Pastor Greg is pointing out what brought the godly man Daniel to this point of confrontation with the king.

Now let's see what happened. So he prayed. He was arrested. Daniel 6 verse 16. So the king gave order for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. And the king said to him, may your God whom you serve so faithfully rescue you. Easy for the king to say. He wasn't going to a lion's den.

And the story continues. A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. And the king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles so no one could rescue Daniel. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting.

He refused his usual entertainment and could not sleep that night. Very early the next morning the king got up and hurried to the lion's den. When he got there he called out in anguish, Daniel servant of the living God. Was your God whom you served so faithfully able to rescue you from the lions?

Verse 21. Daniel answered, long live the king. My God sent his angel and shut the lions mouths so they would not hurt me. For I have been found innocent in his sight and I have not wronged you your majesty.

We will stop there. Point number three. Daniel chose to trust God no matter the circumstance. Daniel chose to trust God no matter the circumstance. It appeared that all was lost. And this would be his last night on earth. But God was at work and he dispatched one of his secret angels. An angel of the Lord sent to deliver him. Notice that the king spent a sleepless night despite the comforts of the palace. Meanwhile Daniel slept like a baby in the peril of a bunch of hungry lions. Bringing me to this point. Better to be in a lion's den with God than anywhere else without him. Right. So maybe you are in a hard time right now.

A lion's den if you will. Is God with you? Well if you are a Christian he is.

So you are good to go. I would rather be there with God than anywhere else without him. And Daniel was trusting the Lord. And look at what he said in verse 22. My God sent his angel. You know it is interesting to me that the animals had reverence for an angel of the Lord. The animals apparently saw the angel of the Lord and backed off. I mean I don't know what happened in that lion's den.

The Bible doesn't tell us. But I imagine when he was dropped in the lion said, Ok time for food. And as they began to approach the prophet suddenly they backed off and they saw these powerful messengers sent from heaven. You know it is interesting to me that sometimes animals have more sense than people. Did you read this article in the paper about Coco the gorilla that died? Coco the gorilla understood sign language. And as it turns out this amazing animal was able to sign more than 1,000 words. And Coco the gorilla understood more than 2,000 words. I read a few articles about the gorilla. And one story that amused me is Coco had pet cats.

Who knows why. But she did. And she loved cats. And she would be very gentle with these little cats. And so she had this one little cat that she was very fond of. And one day Coco got angry and ripped a sink out of the wall.

Utterly destroyed it. And so her trainer came to Coco and said to her, Coco why did you do that? And Coco signed back, Cat did it. It is a true story. Cat did it.

So Coco was smart enough to blame someone else. But it reminds me of the story of Balaam and his donkey. Remember that story? The prophet Balaam was told by God to do a certain thing and he disobeyed him. He was going in the wrong direction. Riding his donkey. And it went a little ways and the donkey just stopped. And Balaam became very angry and began to nudge the donkey on. The donkey stopped again and went up against the wall and hit his leg. And so Balaam takes out a stick and starts beating the donkey. The donkey goes a little further and utterly collapses this time. Now Balaam is beating the donkey over and over again. And Numbers 22 tells us the Lord caused the donkey to speak. And the donkey turned to Balaam and said, Why have you beaten me three times? Now that is amazing that a donkey spoke.

What is more amazing is that I am missing a beat. Balaam says because you won't do what I want you to do. And then the donkey says, Haven't I been a good donkey? Haven't I always done what you asked me to do? Balaam says, True. You have been a good donkey.

I have to admit this. But you won't go what I want you to go. And finally the angel of the Lord makes himself visible with his sword drawn. And he said, Balaam it is a good thing that donkey spoke.

Because I was getting up tight with you beating him like you were. And that donkey had more sense than you had. So sometimes animals have more insight than people have. But angels. They are involved in the life of every Christian. We don't understand how many times angels have stopped us from doing something we should not have done. Or gotten us out of tight situations. Or protected us from harm. There might even be times that angels have spoken to us.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 34 and 7 the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him and he rescues them. This happened for Simon Peter. He was arrested. And he was going to certainly be put to death because James had already been executed by King Herod. And there he was in jail. And Acts 12 tells us the church began to pray. Constant prayer was offered to God for him. And an angel was dispatched from heaven. And the angel walked right into that prison cell. And Peter was apparently a deep sleeper. Because the Bible says the angel had, I love King James, had to smite him to wake him up. It is like wake up Peter. Wake up. He is just snoring away. What?

You are free man. The doors opened up for the prison cell just like in the supermarket you know. And out Peter walked. But the point was the Lord sent an angel to do that. And then we find angels in the Old Testament working as well as in the story before us.

In fact there are mentions in the Bible either directly or indirectly nearly 300 times. There are millions and millions even billions of angels. It appears that they are eternal and that they never die. Jesus in Luke 20 36 said they neither die anymore.

And so it would appear that they just go on and on. And they have this special work that God has called them to do. Hebrews 1 14 says their ministering spirit sent to serve those who are heirs of salvation. Sometimes angels speak to us and we may not even know it. The Lord had an angel tell Philip go to the desert.

And Philip went to the desert. And there he met a man who had come from Ethiopia searching for God. But it was an angel that told him to do it. There are times that angels will intervene in our lives in other ways. And it is even possible you have met an angel.

You say well why would you say that? Because Hebrews 13 2 says don't forget to entertain strangers. For in doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it. So look around right now.

Look next to you. Could be an angel. How would I know? Would there be like feathers on the ground or little clumps of angel food cake or something like that?

No probably not. Oh by the way I hate to break this to you. But whenever angels take on human form they never appear as women but always as men. Sorry it is in the Bible girls.

What can I say? I bring this up because we often use the word angel in a feminine way. Like she is as pretty as an angel. But in reality every time an angel appears in Scripture they appear as a man. They are all around us.

And here is the thing with angels. They are sort of like God's secret agents. They are sort of like the special forces like the Green Berets or Delta Force or the Navy Seals. They are often engaged in missions we never hear about. But they go and do the work that they are called to do. They are deployed to take care of something. And they accomplish that task in return.

And we don't even know who did what. We just know the job is getting done. That is angels.

They are not there to draw attention to themselves. They are there to do the work of God. We are gaining some interesting insight on angels today on A New Beginning.

It is part of Pastor Greg Laurie's study of how an angel was sent by God to protect Daniel in the lion's den. They had no idea they were helping to create an entire industry. I saw contemporary Christian music born right before my very eyes.

You don't know you're a pioneer of something when you're doing it. We were just doing what we love. You had grunge and you had pop and you had rock and you had hip-hop. There was so much great music going on. Everything felt so fresh and new. What we were doing said so much across the world. There was so much drama in the church.

Every setback, there would be a glimmer of hope. Hey, that's a little snippet from a special resource that we want to send you for this month for your gift of any size. It's called The Jesus Music. You may have seen it in the theaters.

You may have seen it on a streaming platform. So this documentary film, The Jesus Music, tells the story of how this contemporary Christian music that is so much a part of our lives today started. How it started out of a spiritual awakening. How young people had their lives changed and wanted to speak to their culture. And it's still alive and well today.

There's contemporary Christian music stations all around the world and concerts that are being done all the time. It's fantastic, but it had a very incredible beginning. And we want to tell you that story. You're going to be moved by this. You're going to laugh.

You might even get a tear in your eye. But you're going to love to hear the history of this music that is so much a part of the landscape today. So it's called The Jesus Music.

We're going to send it to you on DVD and Blu-ray and also send you a downloadable code so you can put it on your tablet or your phone or watch it on your computer. It's yours to keep and enjoy. So whatever you can send will be greatly appreciated because we'll put that to work helping us continue to preach the gospel and teach the Word of God. So order your copy of The Jesus Music. You might even do it right now.

Yeah, great idea. It's here waiting for you at a new beginning. And thanks so much for your generous donation that helps us continue to teach believers and reach unbelievers. Every day we hear from people whose lives have changed because of the teaching of God's Word. And when you invest, you play a part in that. So thanks for sending a donation today and be sure to ask for The Jesus Music.

It'll come to you on DVD, Blu-ray, and in downloadable form. So call us any time, night or day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time, more insight on angels and how they impact our lives in ways we're not even aware of. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Craig Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 11:57:42 / 2023-03-28 12:07:23 / 10

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