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The Influence of a Godly Life | When Culture's Against Faith

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 19, 2022 3:00 am

The Influence of a Godly Life | When Culture's Against Faith

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 19, 2022 3:00 am

There’s a part of our culture that dismisses a biblical worldview as fantasy. They reject the Bible and ridicule those who believe it. Even the government seems to propagate secularism and excoriate matters of faith. The prophet Daniel would be familiar with this trend, and he’d have some encouraging counsel to share on how to cope. In fact, that’s our focus today on A NEW BEGINNING as Pastor Greg Laurie brings a message from the book of Daniel called The Influence of a Godly Life.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. Daniel believed in a sovereign God. Daniel understood that dictators and kings who thought they were in control would come and go, but ultimately he knew the Lord was in control. Believers can sometimes feel disrespected and even marginalized. From the book of Daniel, Pastor Greg Laurie points to an important lesson. Daniel believed in a sovereign God, and we need to believe that too.

When things in life aren't making sense, go back to what you understand. God is in control of your life. There's a part of our culture that dismisses a biblical worldview as fantasy. They reject the Bible and ridicule those who believe it.

Even the government seems to propagate secularism and excoriate matters of faith. The prophet Daniel would be familiar with this trend. He'd have some encouraging counsel to share on how to cope. In fact, that's our focus today on A New Beginning as Pastor Greg Laurie brings a message from the book of Daniel called The Influence of a Godly Life. The other day I took two of my grandchildren out for ice cream, because that's what grandparents do. That's our job, to indulge our grandchildren, to enjoy our grandchildren. And so we went and got some ice cream. My grandson Christopher, who is now five, had mentioned a Lego set that he wanted.

Probably saw it advertised in a commercial on television. And so he came in and said, Papa, that's what he calls me, are there any chores I could do so I could get a Lego set? So I was aware of it, which I thought that was a great way to approach it. And so we went to ice cream, and afterwards I said, well, let's go over to the toy store. So we walked on over to the toy store, and I found the Lego section. And I said, do you see that set you want? And he found it.

And there was this one little character in particular he really wanted. And so I pulled out the box. And as you probably know, Legos are not cheap, okay?

These sets get kind of expensive. And this was a fairly good-sized one. And I went, well, okay. I looked at the pricing.

I don't know about that, you know? So and then I asked the guy in charge, is this little character he really wants in a smaller set? And he found it in a very small little box.

It was like the character and a couple of extra things. And so I went to Christopher, and I held both boxes up to him. I said, okay, Christopher, you can get the small box, or you can get the big box you choose.

He looked at both of them. He says, I'll get the small one. I said, why do you say that?

He says, well, I don't want you to have to spend too much money. So he got the small box, and we got out of there. No, you know. You know what I did, right?

I got him the big box. Why? Because he made the right choice. And in life we're faced with thousands of choices every day. We can choose to do what God tells us to do in His Word, or we can disregard it. But when we make the right choices, and they're not always easy, are they? When we make those right choices and do what the Lord tells us to do, He will bless us. God says, behold, I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life that you may live. I love how He tells us what the choices are, and He gives us the answer.

Like here's what you should choose, by the way, in case you're confused. And when we don't choose the right things, we face the consequences. Well, before us here in the book of Daniel is a man that made the right choices again and again and again. We're first introduced to Daniel as a teenager along with his three buddies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

And then as we come to the end of the book, we find the same man in his 90s, as passionate in his faith and as strong in his stand as he was from the very beginning of his life. And Daniel influenced so many people. He influenced Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

And what an amazing story they have. When King Nebuchadnezzar erected a giant image covered in gold and told all of the kingdom to worship it, and everyone complied except these three young men, they refused to bow. As it turns out, they served in the king's court. They were like counselors to the king along with Daniel and others. So the king sort of liked these guys. He thought he would give them another chance.

They said, now Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I will give you another chance. Just go ahead and bow before my image and everything is cool. Okay. They said, no.

Not okay. And I love their statement to him. And Daniel, they said, King Nebuchadnezzar, we don't 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 I love this part. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, we will not serve your gods. We are not going to do it.

We are standing on principle. Boy did this tick off the king. His face turned red and he said, heat that furnace up seven times hotter and throw him in. And those three young men were thrown into this giant furnace, this giant bowl of fire. And a little time passes and the king looks in and he sees them walking around like it is a Sunday stroll in the park.

And not only are the three of them walking around but there is a fourth one with them. And the king is rubbing the smoke out of his eyes and he says, I thought we threw three in and there is a fourth one and the fourth one looks like the son of God. One translation.

Another translation. The son of the gods. I don't know what Nebuchadnezzar thought but he was actually probably seeing Jesus Himself walking with His people through the fire. You know sometimes God delivers us from fiery trials in life. And other times He walks with us through fiery trials in life.

Either way He has got your back. You are not alone. And some of you might be going through a fiery trial right now. A very hard set of circumstances. I can think of several people I know that are going through them right now. A couple in particular who found out they have cancer. Man that is a fiery trial. Others are facing other challenges with their family.

With their finances. Whatever it might be. But here is what the Bible says. 1 Peter 4 12. Dear friends don't be surprised at the fiery trial.

It has come on you to test you as though something strange is happening to you. God will be with you in your fiery trial. Then as we continue through Daniel there is the unexpected conversion of Nebuchadnezzar himself. The most powerful man on the face of the earth. And he came to faith. Well God had to humble him first. And after he was humbled and actually lost his senses for a period of time and his senses returned he turned to the God that Daniel believed in. Because of the faithfulness of Daniel and the influence of Daniel Nebuchadnezzar became a believer and even sent out a letter to the whole kingdom and said, I now believe in the true and living God. This reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of God.

No one. You know I wrote a book of course and we did a movie about the life of Steve McQueen who was a famous actor and very successful. And toward the end of his life he came to faith in Christ.

And we made that into a film as I mentioned. And I received a text today from one of our pastors who said he had a coach from high school. And he shared the gospel with his coach. His coach wanted nothing to do with God. Well his coach grew very ill and he was on his deathbed and his care provider pleaded with him to watch this film we made.

Steve McQueen. The salvation of an American icon. And this man only moments away from eternity who never wanted to hear the gospel watched how God changed Steve's life. And that man accepted Christ and now he is in heaven.

So we thank God for that. But I bring that up to point out that no one is beyond the reach of God. Ok. God even reached Nebuchadnezzar. Then there was Daniel himself. A fearless follower of God who spoke truth to Nebuchadnezzar. Then to his grandson Belshazzar.

And later to Darius who conquered the kingdom of Babylon. And there is a number of things that stand out in Daniel's life. But maybe the key to his successful life and ministry is found in Daniel 1a. Where we read Daniel purposed in his heart he would not defile himself. And this was in a relatively small area about the food from the king's table.

But it was that resolution. It was that commitment. That determination that carried him through life. As I pointed out the end of your life is decided by the beginning of it.

The evening by the morning. He made a principled stand in a relatively small area. And then he made a much more difficult stand in a much bigger area that followed. And there is a number of reasons that Daniel lived this way. And number one it is because Daniel believed in a sovereign God. He believed in a sovereign God.

Daniel 4.25 says, the most high rules in the kingdom of men. Daniel understood that dictators and kings who thought they were in control would come and go. But ultimately he knew the Lord was in control. And don't forget he was taken from his homeland of Israel and became a captive in Babylon. So he had his whole life turned upside down. And they even changed his name. But they could not change his core beliefs or convictions. So he was a man that believed in a sovereign God. And we need to believe that too. When things in life aren't making sense go back to what you understand. God is in control of your life. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Just a moment. Emails, letters and phone calls from listeners are so encouraging to us.

And they let us know the effectiveness of these studies. Pastor Greg, unlike some other preachers, I never get bored or disinterested when I listen to one of your messages. I've been listening to you on the radio, TV and internet for probably 30 years or more. What a gift you have to keep your listeners engaged. Thank you for all you do for the mission of Christ.

God bless you. How have these studies in God's Word touched your life? If you have a story to share, why not call us and tell us about it? Call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well today, Pastor Greg is identifying important characteristics in the life of Daniel. Characteristics that set him apart as a godly man and helped him live a life of righteousness in an unrighteous culture. Not only did Daniel believe in the Sovereign God, but number two, he had a deep prayer life. He had a deep prayer life.

Do you? When the king asked for an interpretation to his dream, Daniel and his friends got together and they prayed for direction and the Lord gave it to him. And Daniel had that commitment to prayer no matter what the cost. Even when a law was passed by King Darius that no one could pray to any god except him. For 40 days Daniel, knowing that this law was passed, went to his home and he opened up his windows as he always did.

And he prayed giving thanks to God. He was summarily arrested and taken off to a pit of lions where he would be torn to pieces and eaten. And even King Darius, who really appreciated Daniel, didn't want this to happen.

But once he signed something in the law, even he the king could not change it. But that night we read the king was up. He couldn't sleep.

And Daniel slept like a baby. He probably leaned on a lion for comfort. You know. Pulled a big paw over like a pillow.

You know. And enjoyed the evening. But those lions were hungry. Make no mistake about it because after God delivered Daniel in the lion's den, the king threw in the men that came up with this horrible plan to do so against Daniel. And they were eaten very quickly.

I guess those lions had worked up quite an appetite. Another thing I'd point out is Daniel realized he had a work God had called him to do. Daniel realized he had a work God had called him to do. I mean he was stuck in Babylon.

Just like Joseph was stuck in Egypt. But we never read about Daniel complaining about his lot in life. He lived such a godly life that his enemies could find nothing in it to criticize.

Number four. Daniel was tactful and considerate. He had access to powerful people. Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar.

Darius. And he always spoke the truth to them. He was successful with Nebuchadnezzar. Not so much with Belshazzar. But he was always not so much with Belshazzar. But he did not agree with their lifestyles or beliefs but he respected their office. You know it is important that we understand that we cannot influence a person if we don't have some kind of engagement with them. And some Christians just can't stand the idea of you talking to any person out there that may not share your beliefs.

But my feeling is I want to engage people in relationships and seek to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ. Daniel understood that. And his influence resulted in the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar. And that is probably why Daniel was called to be a prophet of the Lord. Even Jesus called him Daniel the prophet.

To be a prophet means God gives you unique insight into the future. And Daniel had that insight and predicted the future with uncanny accuracy because it was given to him by God. It was revealed to Daniel who all the kingdoms of the world would be in history.

There was Babylon that would be overthrown by the Medo-Persians who would be overthrown by the Greeks who would be conquered by the Romans. And Daniel even saw beyond that into still our future to a coming world leader the Bible calls the antichrist that would emerge on the scene. You know it is interesting one of the signs of the last days. And by the way I believe we are living in the last days.

I believe that Jesus Christ could come back at any moment. But one of the signs of the last days is a renewed interest in Bible prophecy. In Daniel chapter 12 that we will read in a moment the prophet is disturbed by visions he has seen. And we read in Daniel 12.4 from an angel who says, You Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret.

Seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there and knowledge will increase. So Daniel was shown that these final visions were a glimpse into the future that would not be understood by him or anyone else until the end of the age. But the angel also told him at the end of the age knowledge about Bible prophecy would increase.

And so I think we are living in that time where our knowledge is increasing. We are seeing these things fulfilled before our very eyes. So let's read a few passages together.

Daniel chapter 12 I would like to read verses 1 to 4. At that time Michael the archangel who stands guard over your nation will arise and there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued. Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. But you Daniel keep this prophecy a secret. Seal up the book until the time of the end when many will rush here and there and knowledge will increase.

We'll stop there. So verse 1 tells us a time of anguish is coming. Michael the archangel is mentioned as well. Know this whenever you see conflict in the Bible Michael always seems to be involved. Michael is the mega angel. Michael is the archangel. Michael is the brawling angel. You don't want to get into a cage match with Michael. You are going down buddy.

Ok. That is just the way it is. Even Lucifer the devil himself cannot defeat Michael the archangel. So here he is protecting Israel. But it speaks here of a time of anguish. This time is spoken of by Daniel later in the book of Revelation and other passages of Scripture we also notice the great tribulation period. It will be a period in human history of unprecedented horror and holocaust. It is coming on the earth. Revelation chapter 6 to 19 describe this time we call the great tribulation period. In history as we know today will effectively end where it began.

Not in the battlefields of the United States or in Asia or in Europe. The final battles that will ever be fought between the nations of the world will take place in Israel and the final battle will be known as the battle of Armageddon. And by the way the word Armageddon comes from the root word Megiddo.

So it is speaking of a location. The valley of Megiddo which is there in Israel. And so that is where it is all going to end. In fact the Bible even tells us that not only will the final conflicts happen in the Middle East but it will center around the city of Jerusalem.

Isn't it amazing that the Bible gave us this prediction so many years ago and we see it being played out for us before our very eyes every single day. Jerusalem. Zechariah 12 says, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about and they will be in siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And on that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people and all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces though all the earth is gathered against it.

Interesting phrase. All the earth gathered against it. Why this hostility? Toward Israel today. Why do so many people oppose this Jewish state? Think of all that the Jewish people have gone through. All the suffering they have had to endure. Think of the Holocaust when six million Jewish men women and children were sent to a certain death in a concentration camp by Hitler and the Nazis.

And it was that horrific event that caused a determination in many of them to return to their homeland knowing that is the only place they would be saved. And a modern day miracle happened when on May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation. And guess what nation recognized Israel as a nation before any other.

The good old United States of America under President Truman. That was a very good thing to do. And we are told over in the book of Genesis chapter 12 God spoke to Abraham and his descendants and he said, I will bless those that bless you and I will curse those that curse you. So I believe as we stand by the Jewish people and support them we have God's blessing. And it is my belief that the next event on the prophetic calendar will be the rapture of the church. I know some say well you can't find the word rapture in the Bible.

Well that all depends. If you have a Latin translation you will find it because it is from the word rapturus. But it is a translation of the Greek word harpazo. If you are thinking of a name for a child you might consider that. It says harpazo. Little harpazo. Or harpy. I don't know. I don't really recommend this name.

But you can if you like. Just throwing it out there. But harpazo means to be caught up quickly. And it is used in many passages in Scripture including 1 Thessalonians 4 when it says the Lord Himself would descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel. There is Michael. With the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first and we which are alive and remaining shall be caught up.

That is the word harpazo. Caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This could happen at any moment. This could happen today.

This could happen tonight. Not only would you be caught up in God's presence but you would be reunited with loved ones who have died in faith. So moms and dads and brothers and sisters and for some even sons and daughters you would see them because you are reunited in faith because they died in faith in Jesus and will be caught up together with them.

With them. And we are to comfort one another with these words. Good news from Pastor Greg Laurie. We're gaining a glimpse of the time of the rapture through our studies of the prophetic book of Daniel.

And there's more to come in this message here on A New Beginning, a study called The Influence of a Godly Life. As you'll see in a new DVD called The Jesus Music, contemporary Christian music began in the Lord's timing in an unassuming way. Tommy Coombs of Love Song and Maranatha Music.

There was no contemporary Christian music industry at all. That was just Chuck Smith saying these kids need a record so that when they go somewhere and nobody gives them money they can at least sell the record and have enough gas money to get home. That's how Maranatha started in 1971. But it soon caught fire across the country.

Michael W. Smith. This thing called Jesus Music which exploded in Southern California somehow found its way in my hometown and it changed my life. A lot of people had their lives changed.

Isn't that right? Through that music? Mine was one of them, Dave. I was there. I had a front row seat to the explosion of this new music then called Jesus Music later to be called contemporary Christian music. And it was as simple as Tommy Coombs just said.

It wasn't some big master plan. Hey, let's start an industry. It was more of a hey, let's reach our generation with the message of the gospel and let's do it through music. And that's how these bands started.

And these bands would tour around and I would travel with them as a young man and preach the gospel and we would see thousands of young people come to Christ around the nation. And ultimately it has touched the world. It had such a simple beginning but what a powerful tool it has been in the hand of God. You know music is, it disarms us. It touches us emotionally. It's different than preaching.

I love to preach and teach the Bible. But you know there's something about music that touches us in a different way. God gave us music and God can use music. I remember the story of when King Saul was tormented by demons and young David would come in with a stringed instrument, some kind of harp, we might call it an electric or an acoustic guitar today. David would play a little bit, sing a little bit and Saul would be calmed.

I think that God can use Christian music to touch our soul, to calm us, to give us perspective. And I want to tell you the story of how it all got started. It's all found in this great documentary film produced by the Irwin brothers who also produced I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe and the soon to be released, well not too soon, but next year, the feature film based on my life and on the last great spiritual awakening in America that will be called Jesus Revolution. This is a really insightful film that goes back to the beginning of this music that we all love and brings us to the present day. And you're going to want to watch this. You've probably seen it, promoted, you might see it out there, streaming somewhere, but I want to send you a DVD, also a Blu-ray and a downloadable code where you can take this with you wherever you go. The Jesus Music, our resource for you right now for your gift of any size to our ministry so we can continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God. Order your copy. You're going to love this. Yeah, you really will. You'll hear from Steven Curtis Chapman, C.C. Winans, Lauren Daigle, Second Chapter of Acts, Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Kirk Franklin, Toby Mac, and so many more.

They give such a unique, such an inspiring background on Jesus Music. So get in touch with your investment and we'll say thanks by sending you the new film called The Jesus Music. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We're here to take your call 24 7. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home.

Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg has more to share about how Daniel's godliness is great inspiration for us to follow. More from Pastor Greg's message called The Influence of a Godly Life. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-22 15:09:36 / 2023-03-22 15:20:14 / 11

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