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July 23, 2021 3:00 am
But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out people of integrity do good even without getting credit, and avoid the bad even when they wouldn’t be blamed. We’ll see some tremendous examples of that today as Pastor Greg introduces us to four young men from our Scripture text. We’re in Daniel, chapter 1.
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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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Visit our website and learn more about harvest firstname.lastname@example.org Derringer chose to measure limo's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never go know how do our actions do for Greg Maurice's character is doing the right thing when no one is.
Is it because you're afraid of the repercussions will because you love the Lord would not want to do anything that would bring my getting another the right and then when we messed up you today of a new beginning. Greg Laurie points out, people of integrity do good, even without getting credit for the bad even when they would play season tremendous examples about Dragon is for young men from our Scripture text Daniel chapter 1 robotlike God you don't know what they're made of it so you put them in hot water.
Are you in the hot water of trial right now or are you in the hot water of temptation will first of all I want to say, don't freak out because you're not alone.
It's actually a confirmation that you as a Christian are on the right track.
First Peter 412 dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials are going through is it something strange were happening to you. Be happy if your exalted or been a Christian for then the glorious spirit of God will come upon you.
Listen. It's strange if you're not going through a trial.
It's strange if you're not being tempted.
If you are going through trials. If you are being tempted is effectively the norm of the Christian life. By the way, it's not a sin to be tempted.
We forget that some thought, because temptation comes at the worst times, doesn't it. Have you bring it up that thought come to you in church you get how can it be tempted in church while the double skinny kid to do whatever he wants to effectively kicked you, but the sin of temptation is not in the bay. It's in the by, if you see it for what it is and you rejected and you resisted no harm no foul temptation came knocking, you said no done deal, but if you bring it inside of your mind that for the problems begin. It's been said you can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair. Okay, now my case is not allowed to work with the bird would have to bring his own material, but you get the idea of what that same easy. The temptation flies all over. It's when you bring it inside and to the point, even Jesus Christ himself was tempted in the wilderness, so anyone can be and if you're a follower of Christ. You will be tempted to let me add something else to that. If you would say to me I can't remember the last time I was tempted, then you are either dead or worthless, I think, honestly, some people right with a double once up these marginalize them. Please neutralize them he would say why waste time on them. I'm going up to that man of God that starting to read his Bible every day and take his faith seriously, I'm going after that godly woman that's actually engaging people with the message of the gospel.
Those people are trouble and I've got to stop them. So he's going to come with his temptations to those people wallets on water of temptation. Now here before us is a story of three young men that were in a real fiery trial. I'm talking about Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo it's a story of how they stood up for what was right even at the risk of losing their own lives because they were prepared ahead of time. Know this hardship, calamity and tragedy. The loss of a loved one is going to come your way. One day in trials and temptations and testings will come to so take steps now to be prepared that lesson there's going to come a time when your faith is going to be tested when people are going to challenge what you believe when temptations are going to come in your direction. Trying to pull you in the wrong way and so the question you might ask is, will I be able to stand when the day of testing, will I be able to resist when the time temptation comes my answer may surprise you. That's entirely up to you so you know it's up to God. No, actually it's up to you of God will give you the strength to resist the temptation God will give you the power to get through the trial, but he won't do it for you is either something is only God can do, and there's some things only I can do.
Only God can forgive sin only I can repent of my sin. God won't repent for me I have to do that and in the same way.
Only God can get you through your hardship, but only you can take hold of his promises and believe him so if you want to know if you're going to make it in the day of testing you need to start thinking about it right now. The stand you make today will determine what kind of stand. You will make tomorrow the end of your life is determined by the beginning of it. The evening is determine by the morning is not unlike building a house. The most important time when you build a house is not when you hang pictures on the wall or when you lay your carpet down or when you landscape those of the fun parts. The most important time when you build a house is in the wiring the electrical and the plumbing and having your foundation done properly because of you messed that up.
Everything else doesn't matter.
The same is true of life. The most important time is in the beginning when you're laying the foundation and if you don't get that right. Everything else is of no consequence because when it's all said and done character counts effective. The most important thing in a person's life, not just what you think you are or what other people think you are but what you really are the comes out of this when you're all alone when no one is looking. When there's no one to impress. That's who you are, the measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. Why don't you go and commit certain scents is a because you're afraid of the repercussions. Why don't you go rob the bank. Think of all the money you would have will you don't do because will I would be caught. I would be arrested or or or do you say why would do that because that's assuming that the wrong thing to do, whether to go and have that affair. Well, my wife would literally kill me if I did not want okay that's a deterrent. I have a better one because you love the Lord and he would not want to do anything that would bring shame to his name and he would not want to disgrace your family and hurt your fellow Christian friends and so forth. But the ideas why don't you do those things. If you are real character.
That's were all start to see the real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. What if you knew you could get away with what you do it then that's a lack of character. Let's understand you make today will determine what kind of stand. You will make tomorrow. You decide what principles you're going to live by.
You're going to decide what road you're going to take the Bible is a very honest book as an and it tells us the truth about our heroes and our villa antihero messed up. The Bible tells us that we are people that started well and self-destructive like Saul and Samson. We have other people that started well but messed up toward the end of their lives like Gideon or Noah or even Moses.
We have other people that had character from beginning to when it did well throughout their lives like Joseph and Daniel and Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo, but a lot of times when we want to tell her own story. We wanted airbrush out those flaws and inconsistencies. But the Bible is not do that when Oliver Cromwell had his portrait painted. He said that the artist Pinckney warts and all in the Bible gives us its heroes and its villains, warts and all we hear is a story of four young men that didn't seem to have any warts if you will. I can't really find any deficiencies or flaws to speak up on talking about Daniel Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo they were ready for the big stuff later in life because they made a stand in a relatively small area.
We think of Daniel are mine usually raises to Daniel and the that's right you got it Daniel in the lion's den, and we think of Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo within primarily of the fiery furnace at the strength to make the stand that they came from a standing made in a much smaller area that will look at the moment master Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message just a moment joining here when these studies are truly impacted lives.
Listen to these comments from one of her listeners.
Pastor Greg in the last air Pantani was furloughed from the job I was absolutely passionate about my work in a university as a coach with young adults who have very little knowledge of God is not doing what God wanted me to do is just going through the motions of being a Christian and not utilizing the position kind and I've been a Christian. Most my life has been a very lonely year and I know that it's because I have strayed from God because of your lessons on the range down payment received the wake-up call and getting back into reading the Bible and devoting my life to Jesus. Thank you Pastor Greg for your passion and wisdom and rejuvenating as a Christian and I look forward to listening to more lessons. It's a blessing to know that listeners are hearing these messages God is using his word to touch hearts will have Pastor Greg studies impacted your life, drop an email to email@example.com that's firstname.lastname@example.org today we're considering the importance of integrity as we highlight the examples of some remarkable men of God in the Old Testament. Pastor Greg once again. So here are Daniel, Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo living in Babylon now hunted for good Jewish boys and up in a place like that. Well, God warned Israel to stop turning to idols and false gods. But Israel did it again and again. The Lord said if you don't turn from these false gods ominous in doing the captivity for 70 years, but they continue to worship the false gods.
Then the Lord God specific and he said to Jeremiah chapter 25 verse eight. Thus says the Lord God because you will not listen to me. I'm to gather together all the armies of the North under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy under bring them against this land and its people and against the other nations. So gonna say no, listen, if you don't stop worshiping idols. I'm gonna bring Babylon, led by Nebuchadnezzar, so that was very specific and I find it interesting that God referred to Nebuchadnezzar as his deputy and yet here was a godless man in charge of a godless nation that was going to take a godly nation in the captivity if they did not repent, yet they ignored God's warning and the Lord did exactly what he said he would do I think about our own country. At one time. I think you could say America was comparatively speaking, a godly nation. I think you can say at one time in America we reveled in those Judeo-Christian values that gave us the liberty we all enjoy so freely. But today in the United States. Things are different now. There's a hostility in our culture toward the person that believes what the Bible teaches.
Now it's becoming increasingly unpopular to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. So we found our nose at God.
We break his commandments left and right and sometimes I wonder if the Lord would allow another nation to overtake us. Even a godless nation to do so old I would never have it. How can you say that he let it happen.
The Israel he warned them that it happened to us. You know they loved idols.
So God sent them to idle central Babylon.
Babylon was known to be a place of rapid idolatry, where they worship thousands of God's careful what you wish for.
You might get it reminds us of the story. The Israelites are for they left Egypt they were wandering in the wilderness by the way, it should not have taken 40 years. Why did it take them 40 years to get from Egypt to Israel because men were in charge and no one would stop and ask for directions know the real reason was they were disobeying God they were going around in circles, they have only seen the cactus before I carved my initials and it was bigger now yeah you're going around and around but the Lord provided for them and gave them their food every single day. It was called manna that wake up in the morning right outside of their tent door manna would be waiting, and they would eat that manna will because they were in the wilderness for so long they got tired of manna they had read Moses's book on hundred one recipes for manna they had, you know, banana pancakes and manna sandwiches and manicotti and you name it they had it and they got tired of it. So they started complaining. They said hey we remember the good old days back in Egypt. What we used to eat garlic and leeks and onion in their breath must've stuck right and then they said we mincemeat were tired of manna every day.
It's manna. We don't want anymore manna we want and they cried out for me over and over again words of Moses them back, to get what they want. The Bible says that heavens open up and God bring quail on all these little birds this dropping of the ground. These people were so desperate for me. They didn't even kill the bird and prepare it.
They eat it while it was still alive and you know what the Bible says it tells us that quail that meat turned bitter in their mouth. Scripture says he gave them the request but he sent leanness to their soul again. Careful what you wish for you might get it. I want this. I want this cuts is that I don't want to give that to you. I don't want to give it to. I know I will hear that's what happened to them.
They wanted it. God said okay you got. You want idols you like to worship false gods.
You don't appreciate me you don't want my manna anymore.
Welcome to Babylon.
Ladies and gentlemen see how that works out for you. So, another conquered by Nebuchadnezzar exactly as God said they would be no another to measure. He wanted them to abandon their faith. He wanted to embrace the pagan Babylonian culture and religion. It was the intention of Nebuchadnezzar Torres every vestige of identification between the Israelites and their God, and he gave a decree that he wanted Israel's brightest and best brought into his court so he can have them indoctrinated in the ways of Babylon and that's where our story begins, Daniel chapter 1 verse one.
Let's read it.
By the way I'm reading from the new living translation during the third year to enjoy Kim's ring and Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it with this armies the Lord gave him victory over King Joya Kim of Judah. Interesting that says the Lord gave him victory when Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon.
He took with him some of the sacred objects from the temple of God and place them in the treasure house of his God in the land of Babylon. Then the king ordered Aspen as it was in charge of the palace officials to bring in some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families would been brought to Babylon as It so here. Clearly, the king is looking for young Israeli men to corrupt verse four. Select only strong, healthy and good looking young man.
He said make sure they're well-versed in every branch of learning and are gifted with knowledge and good sense of the poise needed to serve in the your royal palace team sees young men the language in the literature of the Babylonian verse five the king assigned them a daily ration of the best food and wine from a zone kitchen. Now they were to be trained for three year. At some of them would become advisors this royal court. Their names are given. Verse six Daniel Hannan, I Michelle and Azariah, those with their names given to them as good Jewish boy. By the way, each one of those names reflected an attribute of the true God of Israel, but the chief official renamed them with Babylonian names had and I was called Shadrach. Michelle was called Misha. Azariah was called the Bendigo, but Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to him by the king. He has the chief official for permission to eat other things instead.
There so it is believed by many commentators at these four young men were somewhere between 14 and 19 years old. They were teenagers. Clearly they were raised in believing homes by godly parents.
Nebuchadnezzar wanted to change that. So we change their names. What he could not change their hearts with their world is a new it literally changed overnight. They went from a simple God-fearing culture to a decadent one.
These young men torn away from mother and father were placed in this alien culture of paganism and unparalleled luxury. Up to this time they would've lived in basic conditions. Another of the very palace of the great Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon of that day was an amazing city. In fact, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world included the hanging Gardens of Babylon. They were surrounded by jaw-dropping opulence, but there was no reverence for the Lord God in this place everyone cowered in fear before King Nebuchadnezzar and I wonder if this is happened to you recently. Your world has changed your living in a new place. Maybe you're in a college campus or your businesses send you to a different city or you're in the military are you work overseas and you'll find yourself in a place like Iraq and Afghanistan are somewhere else but here's what you need to know no matter where you go in this big old planet. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, God will still be with you and God was with them in this pagan culture Nebuchadnezzar could change their names. What he could not change their hearts. They had a God to serve in this den to make and understand that Daniel and Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo were facing heavy duty temptation.
The world was their oyster. They were given the finest education before the with the most delicious foods and wine and the entire planet.
Nebuchadnezzar was sure such young men would be seduced by all of this luxury, but he had not considered. One thing they had character, Greg Laurie is just getting started in the study called staying cool when things get hot. There's much more to come here on a new beginning. But listen, if you missed any part of today's program. You can hear what you missed by going online to our website harvest.org you can listen while you're online or download MP3 here later and keep in mind we make the studies available without charge because of the faithful, supportive listeners like you again find email@example.com well is such a joy to have children's author Sally Lloyd Jones with us today. A good friend of the ministry and pastor Greg is speaking to her today about the great books were making available near and children's carry along Bible Sally I think you are such a gift for communicating with children, both in your writing but also when you speak it doesn't hurt that you have a British accent cinema what you say. It sounds better than my accent any other American but but if you're sitting down with the child and you want to convey biblical truth.
Give our listeners a few tips on how to do a little devotion with the child.
What should they do and maybe what should they avoid well and parents know best how to reach the children but I would say one of the things I plant by watching a really amazing teaching sketch on the same level as the child's literally sit on the floor with them. Yes because I think the one thing we shouldn't be doing is coming at them from on high is if we controlled the ounces that we do have a lot of the ounces and there are times when we should be teaching them that my feeling is in a time activation it's really important that both of us. The child and the adult come before a heavenly father together. Yes because that's how you would with a friend is in it and so I think with a child he want him just be honest like this is how I feel with God and I one that you can wonder out loud, so one time I had to teach and talking to a child they just read the Jesus story that Bible and the story of the feeding of the 5000 and instead of what they could have done the could have said will now children. What does this story teach us about how we should share our lunch with without the people which is to me and very sad thing because that's not the point of the story and it suddenly times the story into salmon and makes it all about and I left.
Sounds but it takes the story and turns it into a moral lesson. Instead, what you can say is wow. That little boy gave Jesus everything was very much but it was everything. What would I wonder what would happen if I gave Jesus everything you sent as an adult you can wonder with the child about year-end devotional life and that way you being truthful, you're not trying to fool's crime. Some moral lesson down the channel strategy go to Gaza, wondering at the amazing truth that you but you have a father who left you, no matter how grown-up you, Sally Lloyd Jones is with us today were so happy to be making available two books of hers near based on Psalm 139 and babies carry along Bible sturdy board book with 10 memorable Bible stories told in rhyme and Wilson. Both of these children's resources your way to thank you for your investment. So pastor Greg's teaching can continue to come your way. Each day we so much appreciate your partnership. You can write a set a new beginning.
Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org everybody Greg Laurie here. You know my uncle Fred Jordan at one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It was called church in the home.
I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents we have church in the home for you every weekend is called Harvest at Home. You can find it, harvest.org we have worship in a message of God's word. So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home harvest.when next I pastor Greg points out that so many can't find the happiness that are searching for because they're searching for it in the wrong places source of real joy. Next time your new beginning and cast with meat will buy harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to do, harvest partner, sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith harvest.org