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The Writing is on the Wall: Steadfast and Immovable

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 6, 2021 3:00 am

The Writing is on the Wall: Steadfast and Immovable

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 6, 2021 3:00 am

Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. That was an exhortation from the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians. We DO the work of the Lord, and we’re to BE steadfast and immovable. When the winds of change blow through our culture, we’re to be solid as a rock. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how to do that as we consider a man who showed us how NOT to do that. We’re considering an epic failure in the Old Testament.

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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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Greg Laurie

Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Pastor Greg Laurie says we need to make sure we're not living a lightweight form of Christianity. Today he points out our faith needs to be robust and it needs to be substantial. When we get on a scale, in general, we want to weigh less, not more, right? Well, that's not true of God's scales. When we get on God's scales, we want to be a heavyweight.

We want our life to have substance and meaning and weight because of our relationship with God. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

Again you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. That was an exhortation from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians. We do the work of the Lord and we're to be steadfast and immovable. When the winds of change blow through our culture, we're to be solid as a rock. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how to do that as we consider a man who showed us how not to do that. We're considering an epic failure in the Old Testament.

This is the day, the day when life begins. Maybe a year ago I went to the gym. Believe it or not I go to the gym. Okay.

And they had this really fancy high-tech machine. And the guy says, hey Greg, we'd like to do a test on you. No charge. It's free. We'll measure you. We'll tell you what your body fat is. You know, you'll learn everything you need to know about where you're at right now physically. I said, free?

Okay, let's do it. And so they measured me, my height, my weight, my body fat, etc. So right out of the gate the guy asked me, how tall are you? I said, I'm 5'10 and a half.

He goes, oh. He measured me. He says, you're actually 5'9 and a half. So wait, no, I am 5'10 and a half.

No, you aren't anymore. So I realized, oh great, I've shrunk an inch. And then he says, and you're overweight.

Great. So now I'm bald, I'm fat, and I'm shrinking. It's like that song says, I'm not half the man I used to be.

I guess that's true. In my case I thought, why am I gaining weight? And then I realized, I think I know the reason. It's something I discovered at the market. Not long ago they're called Chica chips. Have you ever seen these?

Okay. So these chips, they're very affordable. They're like $3.50 a bag. So I bought a bag and tried them.

I thought, these are good. They're like addictive. I ate the first one. Then I ate two. Then I ate three.

Then I'm almost eating an entire bag. So I blame it on Chica chips. So I said to my wife, Kathy, I have to stop buying these chips. They're evil chips. Don't let me buy them anymore.

But I was at the market not long after that with one of my granddaughters. And I grabbed a couple bags and put them in the basket. And she said, Papa, why are you buying the evil chips?

Because I like them. Well, so I did a little post on Instagram about these chips. Jokingly calling them the evil chips. And I got contacted by the Chica chip company. And they were very happy. Because I pointed out, I call them the evil chips only because I'm addicted to them.

Because they're so good. And they thank me. And as their way of saying thanks they sent me a big box full of chips.

And I didn't know this. They're a Christian company. And I noticed that next to the little character. This little tortilla chip guy on the back.

They have John 3 16 written there at this side. All right. So my wife says, why are you eating the evil chips? I said, they're not evil chips. They're Christian chips.

And it is my responsibility as a Christian to support this company. But that didn't work out too well on the scale. So I've gone on this keto diet. Has anybody here tried the keto diet? You're really screaming for the keto diet?

Okay. The keto diet is the greatest diet on earth for the first three days. Because you can eat meat. You can eat cheese. You can eat fattening things. Avoid carbs. But like literally after two days I'm dreaming of carbs.

I'm dreaming about pizza. And the worst kind of diet to be on is the keto diet. And then eat carbs while you're on it.

Because now it becomes the weight gain diet. So you know when we get on a scale in general we want to weigh less not more right. Well that's not true of God's scales. When we get on God's scales we want to be a heavy weight.

We want our life to have substance and meaning and weight because of our relationship with God. So we're going to look at a story now that you've probably heard before and some of you maybe haven't. About a young man who happened to be the king of Babylon who was weighed on God's scales.

And this guy was the lightest of light weights. And this is a story where God wrote on the wall of the palace. You've heard that expression.

The writing is on the wall right. This is where that expression came from. This is the story of Belshazzar who was the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. So this king we're going to look at in a moment went out of his way to mock and attack God. And he faced the consequences.

Listen to this. It's never a good idea to mock God. Because the Bible says, Be not deceived. God is not mocked.

Whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap. Don't be a mocker of God. I used to mock Christians because I didn't know any better. I thought they were crazy.

I thought they were delusional. But I had to admit they were pretty happy. And so as a 17 year old kid. This is 10 years ago.

Plus decades more. On my high school campus I decided to eavesdrop on the Christians. And I started off looking at them with skepticism and sort of laughing at them. And for the first time I heard what it was they were saying.

And that was the day that I ended up believing. And so this is what happens here. Here's a guy who could not respond appropriately to the writing that was on the wall.

And I think the writing is on the wall for our culture right now. You see it in the newsfeed. You see it in events that are happening around the world. You see it in violence. Random acts of violence. I was just talking with the police chief. And he was telling me violent acts are up. I said chief I see these things on the news. Is it really that bad?

He says it is. More than ever. It's hard for the police officers out there right now. And we of course have the continuing opioid crisis. And we continue to have conflicts over in the Middle East. And we continue to have just instability among the nations of the world.

And the potential for war. We are literally seeing Bible prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. And the writing is on the wall. So are we going to read it? Or are we going to ignore it? Are we going to pay attention to it?

And here is what the writing said to young King Belshazzar. Buddy your number is up. And one day your number is going to be up. And one day my number is going to be up.

And we don't know when that is. Heard about a pastor that went to visit a man named John who was very sick. In fact he was dying in the hospital. He couldn't even breathe. He needed an oxygen mask to assist him.

Therefore the pastor could not hear what he was saying. And his condition suddenly grew worse. And so the pastor dropped to one knee and began to pray fervently for John. And he could see John was trying to say something.

But he couldn't speak because of the oxygen mask. And the pastor gave John a pen and a piece of paper. And John scribbled something down. And tragically right there John passed into eternity. So the pastor took that little note that John wrote and put it in the pocket of his coat.

And kind of forgot about it. Until a few days later when he was doing the memorial service for John. And as he was getting ready to speak it suddenly occurred to him. John wrote me a note. These are actually his last words. And without even reading it he said to all the people assembled at John's funeral. He wrote me a note.

I am sure it will inspire all of us. And he pulled it out and read these words. Pastor you are standing on my oxygen tube. It is a joke people. There never was a guy named John dying in a hospital. It is a joke. Ok. Ok. Make a note. Wait one sec. I never used this joke again.

People took it seriously and were traumatized and didn't really laugh. Ok I got that. It is all a joke. But there is going to be a day when we hear those final words. And we too will pass into eternity. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners. Pastor Greg has been instrumental in my walk with the Lord.

I came to Christ 11 years ago after having been an addict for 17 years. I just started hearing him on the radio. My mom used to leave it on that station so that maybe I would hear something. Well what I heard back then is still helping me today. Along with all the things I have heard in between. In every way. In every part of my life. He has helped me and I am so grateful. Thank you Pastor Greg.

God bless you. Wow stories like that really move me. I think of this young lady as a little girl hearing our program. And then she obviously made some bad choices in life.

Becoming an addict by her own admission. But coming back to the Lord. You know the Bible says if you train a child in the way that they should go. They will come back to it. They will return to it. And that is what happened with this young lady.

And that is why it is so important to when you are driving around with your kids in your car. Great to listen to contemporary Christian music. Great to listen to Christian radio. And can I just say really great to listen to A New Beginning.

Because the Word of God will not return void. So we are so thankful that our ministry has touched her back in her childhood into this present day. And that is why we do what we do. And we couldn't do what we do without the support of our listeners. Thanks so much for praying for us. And for investing so this work can continue.

You can make a generous year-end gift today at harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is highlighting the biblical account of the demise of Belshazzar. Today's message is titled, The Writing is on the Wall. A little background on Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. So Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. He conquered Israel and brought them into captivity.

Back into this land that was filled with all kinds of false gods and idols. He was a very cruel king. In fact he took the king of Israel and forced him to watch his own children be put to death before his very eyes. And then he gouged out the eyes of the king of Israel. So this is a wicked man. This is an evil man.

This is what you would probably think of as an unreachable man. But the prophet Daniel interpreted the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar. And God ultimately humbled this powerful king. And he came to his knees and he put his faith in God and literally told his entire kingdom he was now a believer in the Lord God of Israel. It would be like if someone like Kim Jong-un of North Korea came to Christ and told everyone I am a Christian now. Or someone like Saul of Tarsus who was a Christian killer hunting down followers of Jesus. But the Lord got hold of him and transformed him into the Apostle Paul.

One of the greatest preachers of all time. This is a reminder that no one is beyond the reach of God. Think of the most evil person you know. Maybe it's your mom or dad. Maybe it's a neighbor. Maybe it's a co-worker.

Maybe it's somebody else. But whoever this person is you can't even imagine them ever believing in Jesus Christ. And I'm telling you right now start praying for them and don't give up on them. Because no one is beyond the reach of God. God reached Nebuchadnezzar.

So he told everyone he believed. But somehow this message did not get passed down to his son and ultimately to his grandson. So Nebuchadnezzar died and his son ruled in his stead. And the name of his son was Evil Miradoc. Who names their kid Evil Miradoc? I mean that kid ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. He lived up to his name. People come up with really random names to name kids these days.

I actually did a Google search. Weird names that parents have given to their children. And these are all real names.

None of these are made up. These are things that parents have literally named their kids. Starting with A, B, C, D, E. What kind of a name is that for a kid?

At least they know the beginning of the alphabet. How about this one? A real name. Arson. Do you really want your kid to live up to that name?

Arson. Another child was named Bacardi. Why not Tequila? I mean you're naming your child after booze.

How about this one? They named their child Banana. Oh that kid's going to have a great time in school.

I guarantee it. Another child was named Brick. Brick? Another child was named Burger. Another was named Chaos. Would you hang around with a kid named Chaos? Hey how's it going? My name is Chaos.

Want to go do something? Not really. Well I've got my friend Arson. Well I've got my friend Arson here. Now I don't want Arson or Chaos.

I want nothing to do with you. Here's another one. I'm not making this up. Parents named their kid Gassy. That's just sad.

Gassy. Another kid was named Hashtag. Really? Another kid was named Ikea. Really? What about Target?

I don't know. That would be really a bad name. But then another child was actually named Kale. Oh that's really sad. No one will ever play with a child named Kale.

Because no one really wants to eat kale. They're forcing it on us. Right? Another child was named I can't believe this. Netflix?

Really? Is this our child Netflix? We almost named him Amazon Prime. Or Hulu.

But we went with Netflix instead. And then one kid was named Riot. Riot.

Hey Riot do you want to play with Chaos? I mean it's crazy. Two more. They named their child Keesh.

Oh man. Keesh. And the final one Velveeta.

Velveeta, Keesh, and Burger were all going to play together. Gassy you fit in here somewhere as well. So Nebuchadnezzar named his son Evil Miradoc. He lives up to his name.

He turns out to be an evil person. And clearly Evil Miradoc did not pass that faith on to his grandson. Look my son Jonathan is a pastor today. He's not a pastor because his dad's a pastor.

He's a pastor because he put his faith in Christ. You have to make your own commitment to Christ. God doesn't have any grandchildren. Just sons and daughters. And the way you become a son or a daughter of God or a child of God is by receiving Christ. The Bible says for as many as received him he gave them the power to become sons of God. So as Daniel 5 opens we have the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. The son of Evil Miradoc going out of his way to laugh everything off. And he went out of his way to mock and challenge God.

Let's see how that went for him. Daniel 5 starting in verse 1. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. King Belshazzar had a great feast for a thousand of his nobles. He drank wine with them. And while Belshazzar was drinking the wine he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem.

I'll just throw in a little detail. These cups and such were used for the worship of God. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. And he brought these gold cups taken from the temple. The house of God along with his kings and nobles and they drank from them.

And when they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, and stone. So he's going out of his way to laugh at that which God had set apart. Suddenly they saw the fingers of a human hand riding on the wall of the king's palace near the lampstand.

The king himself saw the hand as it wrote and his face turned pale with fright and his knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. So it all starts when Belshazzar said, I'm going to have a big party and I'm going to show off all my cool stuff. Kind of like what guys do when another guy comes over to visit. Come out in the garage and look at my stuff. So that's Belshazzar. Check out all of my stuff.

Look at what we took from Israel. Look at all of these things. So he's going out of his way to make fun of God and then the drinking begins. You know drinking makes you do stupid stuff doesn't it? I just read about a four-year study that determined the following and I quote, young adults who drink frequently are more likely to show bad behavior, bad decision making, and other patterns that their peers who don't drink show.

You needed a four-year study to reveal that? I could have told you that for free. You know when you drink and you come under the influence of alcohol this can really lead to some bad things as it did in this story. They're worshiping these false gods and they're breaking God's very law and now they see a hen riding on the wall. Verse five, at that very moment they saw the fingers of a human hen riding on the plaster wall of the king's palace.

So check it out. They're looking at the wall. There's a lamp lighting it and they see the hand on the wall. And they see this hand. They don't see the arm. They just see a hand riding this heavenly graffiti up on the wall. What is that? And they read it and it those mysterious words.

Many many tackle farce. So here's a man who had reached all of his goals. This is a man who had checked all the boxes for success.

He climbed to the top and he found there was nothing there. Belshazzar was the most powerful and famous and wealthy man in all of the world. You know a lot of people think fame is going to fill their soul. You know if I can just get some more followers on Instagram or Twitter. You know if I can just become more well known. I read a survey that said 81 percent of 18 to 25 year olds said getting rich is their generation's most important goal.

81 percent. Getting rich is the most important goal. 51 percent said the same thing about being famous. My response is careful what you wish for.

You might get it. Actor and comedian Jim Carrey was quoted to say, I hope everyone will one day get rich and famous. And they will have everything they ever dreamed of.

And no that is not the answer. David Bowie of Fame said, Fame puts you where things are hollow. Amy Winehouse who tragically died of alcohol poisoning at the peak of her fame made this statement, Fame is like terminal cancer. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Justin Bieber posted on Instagram a while ago, Hey world that glamorous lifestyle you see portrayed by famous people on Instagram. Don't be fooled into thinking their life is better than yours. End quote. Careful what you wish for. Because a lot of people get it.

A lot of people get it and they see how empty it is. Bill Shazzar had that and more. And he is terrified as he sees this writing on the wall. The smirk is gone. The defiance of God is gone.

And now he is sobering up quickly. Pastor Greg Laurie pausing at a pivotal moment in the story of Bill Shazzar from Daniel chapter 5. And there's more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg, as many of our listeners know, our mission here at Harvest Ministries is to make disciples. We reach out as far as we can with the gospel. And then we help new believers get started in their walk with the Lord. And now we're making available the TV series called The Chosen.

It's a great series. How can this resource help those who are new to the faith? Well I think it strengthens us in what we believe. These are true stories that are in the Bible. They're the greatest stories ever told.

But when they're dramatized, when you see them in cinematic form, they can come to life for you in a way that maybe they didn't come to life for you reading them from the page. Of course I encourage everyone to read the Bible. But I appreciate any tool that is out there that will reinforce the great stories of Scripture. And I can't think of anyone who's done a better job of this than Dallas Jenkins, who is the producer and director of this new series on the life of Christ called The Chosen. It is a monstrous success.

Millions and millions of people have watched it and are watching it. And I'm very excited to announce that we are offering this month, the month of December, the month when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, season one of The Chosen. You're going to want to sit down and watch this with your family.

And let me add this. What a great way to start an evangelistic conversation. Invite somebody over and have them watch an episode of The Chosen with you.

And then afterwards talk about Jesus. You'll find this is a very engaging series. It's something that's going to actually be a blessing to you.

And I have to say it's very entertaining as well. So order your copy of The Chosen and we'll send it to you for your gift of any size. Let me encourage you to be generous because we will take the resources that you send, the money you send, and use it to expand this ministry to reach more people. Look, I've dedicated my life to teaching the Bible, to telling people about Jesus.

So this is a great resource to reinforce that. Help us to continue to bring the message of the gospel to our generation. So whatever you send will be put to good use and we'll rush you your copy of season one of The Chosen.

Yeah, that's right. And your investment helps us reach literally all over the planet. In fact, we received this note.

It said, I'm 16 years old from the United Kingdom. I've been listening to the New Beginning podcast for the past seven years, since I was nine. I'm so thankful for the content you put online. You've been a blessing to my friends and family. Well, you know, it's only through the investments of listeners that we can reach out like that. If you've been a partner with us, thank you so much. And if you can partner with us right now, we hope you'll ask for a copy of season one of The Chosen. You can donate securely online at harvest.org or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Well, next time, Pastor Greg comes back to conclude the story of the handwriting on the wall. We'll find out what happened to King Belshazzar. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg 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 / 2023-07-13 13:50:53 / 2023-07-13 14:01:46 / 11

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