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Staying Cool When Things Get Hot: Feeling Dissatisfied No More

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 26, 2021 3:00 am

Staying Cool When Things Get Hot: Feeling Dissatisfied No More

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 26, 2021 3:00 am

Many of us carry smartphones, and most of them have cameras. And it’s great to have a camera at your fingertips. But why do we take pictures? To preserve “moments.” Fleeting moments. We want to hold on to the happiness, because it so quickly disappears.

Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see real joy comes on another level . . . a level that can’t be captured by a snapshot. It’s a level that brings the richest fulfillment, and also delivers us from the most fiery trials.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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Learn more and subscribe to Harvest updates at harvest.org.

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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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. Many people are frustrated because they never get what they're searching for. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out pleasure isn't what they should treasure. We should not seek pleasure. We should seek purpose.

We should not seek success. We should seek significance. Many of us carry smartphones, and most of them have cameras.

And it's great to have a camera at your fingertips. But why do we take pictures? To preserve moments, fleeting moments. We want to hold on to the happiness because it so quickly disappears. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see real joy comes on another level, a level that can't be captured by a snapshot.

It's a level that brings the richest fulfillment and also delivers us from the most fiery trials. Look, here before us is a story of three young men that were in a real fiery trial. In their case, it was literal because they were put into a fiery furnace. I think you know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about Huey, Dewey, and Louie. No, I'm talking about the Pep Boys. No, I'm talking about Shadrach, Meshach, and the Bendigo. How did they end up in this furnace of fire? They ended up there because they would not deny God and bow before a false image.

It's a story of how they stood up for what was right even at the risk of losing their own lives because they had character. So here are Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and the Bendigo living in Babylon. Now how did four good Jewish boys end up in a place like that? Well God had warned Israel to stop turning to idols and false gods. But Israel did it again and again. And the Lord said, if you don't turn from these false gods, I'm going to send you into captivity for 70 years. Yet they ignored God's warning. So now they're conquered by Nebuchadnezzar exactly as God said they would be. Now Nebuchadnezzar, he wanted them to abandon their faith. He wanted them to embrace the pagan Babylonian culture and religion. It was the intention of Nebuchadnezzar to erase 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 could have them indoctrinated in the ways of Babylon. And that's where our story begins. Daniel chapter 1 verse 1.

Let's read it. By the way I'm reading from the New Living Translation. During the third year of King Jehoiakim's reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it with his armies. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah. Interesting it 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 placed them in the treasure house of his God in the land of Babylon. Then the king ordered Asphonezz who was in charge of the palace officials to bring in some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families who had been brought to Babylon as captives. So here clearly the king is looking for young Israeli men to corrupt. Verse 4.

Select only strong healthy and good looking young men he said. Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning and they are gifted with knowledge and good sense and have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace. Teach these young men the language and the literature of the Babylonians. Verse 5.

The king assigned them a daily ration of the best food and wine from his own kitchens. Now they were to be trained for a three year period and some of them would become advisors in his royal court. Their names are given. Verse 6. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Those were their names given to them as good Jewish boys. But the chief official renamed them with Babylonian names. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego. 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.

So we will stop there. So it is believed by many commentators that 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 he changed their names.

But he could not change their hearts. But their world as they knew 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 have lived in basic conditions. Now they are in the very palace of the great Nebuchadnezzar. And Babylon in 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 has happened to you recently. Your world has changed. You are living in a new place.

Maybe you are in a college campus or your business has sent you to a different city. Here is what you need to know. No matter where you go in this big old planet if you are 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 but he could not change their hearts. They had a God to serve and they had a stand to make. And understand that Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were facing heavy duty temptation. The world was their oyster. They were given the finest education. Before them were the most delicious foods and wine in 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. Their mothers and fathers raised them right. So here they are in the king's court. They are allowed to eat of the food from his kitchen and yet they decided to make a stand and not do it.

Now I find this very interesting because this doesn't necessarily to us seem like a big deal but this is where they made their first stand. Verse 8. Daniel made up his mind to not defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. Or if you have a King James version or a new King James it says Daniel purposed in his heart to not defile himself. Now why would it be defiling himself to eat of the food made in the king's kitchen?

Well I can only offer a guess. I think one obvious reason would be that it violated the dietetic laws given by the Lord to Israel. But I think perhaps another reason is this food was dedicated to the false gods of Babylon. And so Daniel and the boys said we are not going to do that because in their minds that was a compromise. You know sometimes there are things that we will simply choose to not do because we are a Christian.

And sometimes these so-called liberties can vary from person to person. You know we have different metabolisms right. You all remember Steve Wilburn our youth pastor. And he has his church up in LA now Court Church.

It is doing very well. I have known Steve for years. And he is just wiry. He doesn't have any weight on him. And when he was a younger man in his twenties and he ate like a horse I would say, Steve you watch what is going to happen. Your metabolism will change and you will start putting on weight.

Guess what. His metabolism never changed. And I have been to In-N-Out Burger with him.

He will eat two double doubles fries and I will just have my one little hamburger and he doesn't gain weight. And I do. And it drives me crazy. I hate him. No I don't. I love him.

But I wish I had his metabolism. And for some they may be able to do a certain thing and it is not necessarily wrong. But for another, maybe who has a conscience that is a little more tender, if they were to do that same thing that would be a violation. Romans 14.23 says, Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Another translation of that verse says, If anyone who believes that something he wants to do is wrong, he shouldn't do it.

He sins if he does, for if he thinks it is wrong, to him it is wrong. So Daniel made us stand here because for him it was wrong. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the Word of God.

You can watch it with your family in your front room or you can watch it on the go on your tablet, on your phone or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Today Pastor Greg is focusing on the trials experienced by Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Explained in Daniel chapter 1. Another temptation here was just the basic appeal of the food and wine of course, but also this was the way to climb the corporate ladder of Babylon. I mean if you wanted to succeed in Babylon make nice with the king.

Right? He asks you to eat food from his kitchen. Don't blow him off. Be like your boss saying, I want to take you to lunch. And you say, I don't want to go to lunch with you boss. That's not a very smart thing to do. And then if you do decide to go eat lunch with your boss and he orders you something it's probably a good thing to eat it if you can.

You don't take the food and throw it on the floor. You don't want to offend him. So there was that intimidation factor in play. Nebuchadnezzar was powerful and he was wicked. You know when he captured the king of Israel he forced the king to watch his own sons be put to death and then he gouged the king's eyes out. That was the kind of guy Nebuchadnezzar was. You don't want to mess with a person like this. And yet Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego make their stand right here.

We are not eating of that food. We are drawing the line right here. And in the same way there is going to come a time when you need to make your stand for Jesus Christ.

Are you going to be able to stand in that day? Daniel did verse 8. He made up his mind to not defile himself or the King James is he purposed in his heart.

This is what we need more of today. Purpose. Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known. Paul wrote to Timothy you have fully known my purpose.

Could you say that to someone? What would you say your purpose is? Maybe the best way to find out your purpose would not be to ask you but it would be to ask someone that knows you really well. Hey what is his purpose? What really gets that guy going?

What really makes that girl excited? What is it that drives him in life? That is your purpose. What would you say your purpose really is? Some if they are honest might say hey my purpose is to just have fun. For another they might say my purpose in life is to experience pleasure. Another might say my purpose in life is to be successful.

Another would say I want to make money. Another would say I want to be happy. The problem is if you chase after happiness you will never find it. But if you seek to be a holy person you will find happiness is a byproduct. No we should not seek pleasure. We should seek purpose. We should not seek success.

We should seek significance. So Daniel made a deal with the man who was in charge of enforcing the king's will. He said, look you guys you can eat all this food from the king's kitchen. We don't want to do this. And you eat your rich luxurious foods.

And the boys and I we are going to just eat vegetables and drink water for ten days. And let's just see who comes out best when it is all said and done. Now the man identified as the chief official in Daniel 1.9 had great respect the Bible tells us for Daniel. You see when you take a stand for the Lord on principle even non-Christians are impressed.

And that is because it is so hard these days to find people that have conviction and courage. Proverbs 16 says, when a man's ways please the Lord even his enemies are at peace with him. The king's official says, guys don't mess this up. Because if you look unhealthy and weak after your little fast I am going to get in trouble with the king. Daniel reassures him, listen don't panic.

It is organic. We will be fine. Just give us our vegetables and our water.

You eat your other food. We will see how it turns out. This reminds us that a little with God is better than much without Him.

Let me repeat that. A little, and I would put that in quotes, with God is better than much without Him. I would rather have God's worse than the world's best. What is the world's best? I don't know.

You know all the things the world celebrates I guess. But what is God's worst? What is the worst thing about being a Christian? I would say probably the worst thing is persecution perhaps. Being ostracized.

Being mocked. Sometimes being assaulted. And in some cases even being put to death. That is one of the worst things about being a Christian. I would rather have God's worse than the world's best.

I would rather be in a storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him. But then there is the other side. Then there is eternity. And then whatever it was, the discomfort, the hardship, or even the death of a person on this side is all sorted out when we get to the other side and we receive our reward and we get the big picture. So you just stand on what is true. You know what do we really miss as Christians when we get off that merry-go-round of selfishness?

Drinking, drugs, illicit sex, parties, whatever. You know you go your way in life and I will go mine. Let's compare notes later and see who made the right decision. I am up for that.

Are you? You know you want to live that life. You can go live it if you want to. But Daniel is saying we are going to stand for the Lord. And we will see how that turns out. Well it turned out very well. Because when it was all said and done they were healthier looking than everyone else.

And God blessed them because they were faithful in the small things. And now the king has a dream. And it is a troubling dream.

It is a nightmare. And he wants to find out what the meaning of the dream is. So he calls in all of his astrologers and magicians and other weirdos that were on the palace payroll. He says, you guys have got to figure this out. I have this dream. What does it mean? He said, tell us the dream and we will give you the mystical interpretation. And Nebuchadnezzar said, if you are any good you know what the dream is and the interpretation.

So you tell me what my dream was. Uh. They didn't know. Because they were all phony. And so he was ticked off and said, I want all of you killed. Well as it turns out Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel were kind of on the palace payroll as advisors.

So they would have been killed too. Daniel says, well hold on. Hold on. Let me see the king. I will tell him the dream. So Daniel walks into the king's court and says, I know what you dreamed king.

You dreamt of a giant statue. Am I right so far? Yes. Yes.

Ok. The statue. It had a head of gold. It had chest and arms of silver.

Belly and thighs of brass and legs of iron and feet of clay. Is that right so far? Yes. That is it.

Ok. Here is what it means king. The first part of this dream. That is Babylon. You are the head of gold.

That is you. But one day you are going to be overtaken by another nation represented as arms and chest of silver. So God is telling you your kingdom will be overtaken one day.

That is the meaning of your dream. The king says in Daniel 2.47, your God is the God of gods. The Lord over kings. A revealer of mysteries. You have been able to reveal the secret. Did King Nebuchadnezzar believe in the Lord after that?

No. In fact it actually went from bad to worse as we come to chapter 3 of Daniel. Daniel himself is out of the picture momentarily. And it is just Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The king has erected a 90 foot image covered in gold. So he took that dream where Babylon was represented by a head of gold and made a statue of gold. Probably a replica of himself. And he told everyone in the kingdom to worship it.

And talk about missing the point. He wants everyone to engage in full tilled idolatry. And standing out like three sore thumbs there were those three holy boys. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They wouldn't bow. See they understood what the Bible said. And they knew what the second commandment said. And the second commandment said, Do not make idols of any kind. You shall not worship or bow down to them. For I the Lord your God am a jealous God and I will not share my affection with any. So everybody in Babylon bowed but they stood up straight.

They figured better to burn on earth and bow in heaven than to bow on earth and burn in hell. We're learning a lot from the strong resolve shown by these four godly young men. Pastor Greg Laurie with his message, Staying Cool When Things Get Hot.

And there's more to come here on A New Beginning. Now we realize sometimes interruptions happen as you listen to these studies. But you can hear what you miss by going to our website. Today's full presentation is available there.

Again it's called Staying Cool When Things Get Hot. In fact you can even download an MP3 and listen at your convenience. Either way it's free of charge. But we hope you'll remember that it's your support that helps keep these studies coming your way. Our web address is harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg we're making available two resources from the renowned children's author Sally Lloyd-Jones. A book called Near and also something called Babies Carry Along Bible.

Let me ask you something. As the grandfather of five grandchildren who has spent a lot of time with grandkids sitting on his lap reading books to them. Speak to the person who wants to spend more quality time with his or her grandkids. Okay. Give them some tips on how they can make the most of that time reading something that teaches them about God.

A lot of things come into my mind. I would start with this. Put away the electronic devices and sit down and open a book. There's nothing like a book. You know I read some things in a digital format like Kindle or Apple Books. But I still prefer a book. I love to turn pages. I love to earmark pages. I love to underline key things. And there's something very special about a book that you open up. Especially a book similar to the one that we're offering and I'll tell you about it in a moment. But here's what I would say to a parent or a grandparent on teaching the word of God to your children.

Number one. Don't be boring. I think too often you know we feel like we have to give them a lecture. And it's almost like you're talking down to them. Don't talk down to them. Talk to them. And engage them and involve them in the conversation.

Number two. Don't go too long. You know I think sometimes they'll say we're going to do devotions with the children.

So everybody gather around the table and the way it's presented is almost negative. Maybe do it outside. Maybe do it in a park.

Maybe do it at an unexpected time. And just introduce it. And it's great if you can have a great way to introduce it. And I have a resource for you especially if your children are very young up to around age four or five.

One is a book written by my friend Sally Lloyd-Jones that is simply titled Near. And it's based on Psalm 139. And it is telling the child about how they're never alone.

God is with them wherever they go. It's written in a way a child can understand. All you have to do is read it to them. Or if they're old enough let them read it for themselves. And we also have another book that we're including. And it's called Babies Carry Along Bible. It's beautifully illustrated high quality hardcover book that will I think survive even a toddler. And they can carry it around and read it and open and close it as much as they want. And even if they don't understand all the words they see the pictures of Daniel and the lions.

Dan and Jesus calming the storm and David and Goliath and other great stories of the Bible. And it's a great way to get them started with their own personal Bible. So we encourage you to order a copy of Near. And also Babies Carry Along Bible by our good friend Sally Lloyd-Jones who I would describe as an expert in writing to children. She understands how a child thinks. She knows how to speak in a language a child can understand. Her writing is fun but it's also deep. And she has a great biblical knowledge and conveys scriptural truth in a very effective way to people of all ages especially children. So you can order your copy of Near and Babies Carry Along Bible. And we'll send them to you immediately for your gift of any size. Yeah that's right they're such great resources. They capture a child's imagination with the wonderful pictures and text. And then while they're engaged it points them back to their Heavenly Father.

What better way to spend quality time with your kids or grandkids. So get in touch today with your donation and we'll send you Near and Babies Carry Along Bible to say thanks. And we won't be mentioning this much longer so contact us soon. Write 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. Well next time Pastor Greg points out we'll all eventually face our own fiery trial in life. And he counsels us to make a stand now not when the crisis hits. That's coming up next time here on A New Beginning with Pastor Greg Laurie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-19 22:39:09 / 2023-09-19 22:49:11 / 10

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