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What in the World Is Going On? | Being Faithful in the Small Things

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2022 3:00 am

What in the World Is Going On? | Being Faithful in the Small Things

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 17, 2022 3:00 am

Remember the first time you drove a car? It was unnerving. Just starting the car and adjusting the mirrors took concentration. But before long, you were driving in traffic . . . merging . . . parallel parking -- or something close to it. But you had to start with the small things before you could tackle the big things. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie says the same dynamic applies in our walk of faith. Being faithful in the small things equips us for the big things.

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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. Remember the first time you drove a car? It was unnerving, just starting the car and adjusting the mirrors to concentration.

But before long, you were driving in traffic, merging, parallel parking, or something close to it. But you had to start with the small things before you could tackle the big things. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says the same dynamic applies in our walk of faith.

Being faithful in the small things equips us for the big things. Grab your Bibles and turn to Daniel chapter 1. Daniel chapter 1.

And the title of my message is What in the World is Going On? We've looked at a couple of books recently, Nehemiah as well as Esther. And in Nehemiah we read about the return of the Jewish people who were living in captivity in Babylon back to their homeland and they rebuilt the walls of the city. In the book of Esther, that is during their captivity when Xerxes was reigning and Haman wanted to destroy the Jewish people.

Ok. So this is now going back to the beginning where they are taken into captivity in the Babylon. Why did Israel end up in Babylon?

Simple answer. Because they kept worshiping false gods. And the Lord warned them over and over, stop worshiping false gods. Turn from these false gods.

And they weren't paying attention. So now the Lord says, you want idols? I am going to give you idols. Welcome to Idol Central Babylon where they worship thousands and thousands of false gods. Careful what you wish for. You might get it. You know the Israelites got tired of manna that the Lord provided for them after they left Egypt.

Not true. They ate it every day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, manna, manna, manna, and manna. What is for breakfast? The manna pancakes. Lunch? Manicotti.

Dinner? More manna. So they got tired of it and they said, Lord we are tired of manna.

We want fresh meat. We don't want to eat this manna any longer. They kept crying out to God.

So the Lord said, Moses stand back. And the Bible says it rained quail. Quail. These little birds just fell out of the sky. And they were so ravenous they took the birds where they were still alive and began to eat them.

And they bit into it and it turned bitter in their mouth. Careful what you wish for. You might get it. You say, God I want this. I want this person in my life. I want this career. I want this ministry.

And you keep asking and asking. You know a better prayer to pray is, Lord I think this is what I should have. It seems to me this is a good idea. But then add this. Not my will but yours be done.

Because God knows better. Right? Years ago we would go and visit Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, North Carolina. Billy had a few dogs. German Shepherds. And there was this one dog. I don't know what happened to this dog.

It is like he ate loco weed or something. And every time I saw this dog he was literally going in circles the whole time. Just circles. Circles.

Never never stop going in circles. I asked, what is wrong with this dog? They said, he is chasing his tail.

I said, now I have heard that as an expression. Like a dog chasing its tail. But I have never actually seen a dog do it. Look even a cat has more sense than this.

Ok. This dog is chasing his tail. The whole time he literally never stopped chasing his tail. So a few months passed and I came back to visit again. First thing I asked was, where is the dog that chases his tail?

They said, he got it. Crazy dog. We can be that way chasing our tail. Chasing after what God doesn't want us to have. So now we have Israel. Captives of Babylon. And now that Nebuchadnezzar is in control he wants the finest young men of Israel brought to him.

He wants to school them. He wants them to abandon their Hebrew faith. He wants them to embrace Babylonian culture and religion.

Let's read about it. We are in Daniel chapter 1 verse 1 and we read these words. During the third year of Jehoiakim's reign in Judah King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it with his armies. The Lord gave him victory. I find it interesting that the Bible says the Lord gave him victory over Jehoiakim of Judah.

When Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon he took some of the secret objects from the temple of God and placed them in the treasure house of his God in the land of Babylonia. Then the king ordered Asphanez who was in charge of the palace officials to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families who had been brought to Babylon as captives. Select only strong healthy and good looking young men. Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning and 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 literature of the Babylonians.

The king assigned them a daily portion of the best food and wine from his own kitchen. They were to be trained for a three year period and some of them would be made his advisors in the royal court. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah were four of the young men chosen all from the tribe of Judah. The chief officer renamed them with these Babylonian names. Daniel he called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach.

Mishael was called Meshech and Azariah was called Abednego. But look at this verse. But Daniel purposed in his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to him by the king.

He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead. Okay we'll stop there. So let's pick this story up. Four young men among others taken captive to Babylon. Many scholars believe they were around 14 to 19 years old.

So very young guys. All of their names had a form of the Lord's name in their name. A form of the name Jehovah.

Daniel meant Jehovah is my judge or God is my judge. His new name was Belteshazzar named after a pagan god. The god Bell favors.

One of their deities Bell. Hananiah his name was a great name beloved of the Lord. It was changed to Shadrach which means illuminated by the sun god. And that's a name downgrade for sure. Mishael his name meant who is like God and his name is changed to Meshech which means who the moon god is. Azariah his name meant the Lord is my help. His name was changed to Abednego which means the servant of Nego another false god. Their world as they knew it changed overnight. Young men torn away from their mother and father and placed in this alien culture of paganism and unparalleled luxury.

And the man in charge was the greatly feared Nebuchadnezzar. Now I don't know what's happened in your life lately but maybe you've had a change of location. You've been moved from one place to another. You moved to a new neighborhood. You transferred to a new school or started college or maybe you're in the military and you were transferred over to some other foreign country. I know this because people listen to these messages on podcasts that are in the military and they'll tell us how important it is to have sort of a lifeline back home. Because you might feel isolated. I don't have any friends here.

My business moved me to this new place. But listen they were not alone. God was with them and wherever you are God is with you too.

Just remember that. The Lord is going to be with them every step of the way. See Nebuchadnezzar thought that Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel would be seduced by all of this luxury.

And more than one hit has been turned by such things for sure. But he didn't bargain on one thing. He didn't prepare himself for the fact that these boys had character. They had been raised in godly homes by godly parents as evidenced by their beautiful names given to them by their parents. And these boys had something he did not have or anybody else. They had purpose and conviction.

And that's my first point. These young men had purpose and conviction. My question is do you have purpose and conviction? Look at verse 8 of Daniel 1. Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to him by the king. He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead. Now we don't know why he didn't want to eat this food.

I don't even know what he was being offered. Maybe it was the dietetic laws of Israel. It was forbidden under Mosaic law. Things that were not kosher. So it might have been they were being offered un-kosher food. Then again it may be because the food was offered to false gods and they didn't want to eat that.

We don't really know why. But let me say this. It is a seemingly small thing.

But it is in the small matters that big victories are won. There might be small things you choose not to do as a Christian. Because it drags you down personally. You feel uneasy about it. A sense that it is not right before God. Despite the fact that others may be doing it you choose to not do it because you don't feel right about it.

And that is a good thing. Because the Bible says in Romans 14 23 whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Or another translation of that verse says anyone who believes that something he wants to do is wrong shouldn't do it. He sins if he does.

For if he thinks it is wrong for him it is wrong. Let me illustrate. Let's say that you have the liberty so-called to drink alcohol. So you go out to a restaurant. You order a beer. You order a glass of wine. You order a cocktail. You say this is no problem for me. I can handle this.

Okay. Let's just concede that point and say do you ever stop and think about the influence you have on other people. Because there might be someone that just accepted Christ and they came out of a full-blown alcoholic lifestyle and God gloriously delivered them. And they see you drinking and they say wow if they are drinking then I can drink too. And they take a drink and they fall off the wagon and go back into horrible things. And you say well that is their problem.

No excuse me. We have responsibilities. We aren't an example to other people. And so maybe you would say I have the liberty to do this. But could your liberty as the Scripture reminds us be a stumbling block to somebody else. So just because someone else does it doesn't mean you necessarily should do it. Because the Lord may give you a conviction.

You shouldn't do that thing. And that is what was happening with Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel. They said we are not going to eat your food and we are not going to drink your wine. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know there is nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the Word of God together. So join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well we are learning some important lessons from the life of Daniel today as Pastor Greg presents his message called What in the World is Going On. Let's continue.

Number two. Little compromises turn into big problems. Little compromises turn into big problems. Remember little things turn into big things. Kittens turn into cats. Bunnies turn into rabbits.

Chicks turn into chickens. Small things become big things. And we don't think about this sometimes because we will say well it is alright. This is just a minor infraction.

But here is the thing. If you are willing to cheat on your test in school will you now lie on your resume when you are trying to get a job? And if you are willing to cheat in school and lie on your resume where else are you willing to cheat?

How about on your spouse? You know a study was done by some business group and this is not from a Christian perspective. But they found that when there is affairs in the workplace that there was a breakdown in other areas of the people's lives. In other words if two people were having affairs being unfaithful to their spouses and would lie in that area they found they would pad business expenses. They found that they would cheat here. Cut corners there.

They found a pattern of it. And doesn't that make sense? Because if I am willing to take this wall down why not kick this wall down too and kick that wall down as well? Why have any walls in fact because you are having fun. You are in the euphoria of sin. You are not thinking about the repercussions yet. So little things turn into big things. Now there are some small areas that you are making compromises in now.

Isn't it time to go shore those walls up and stop doing those things? Is the Holy Spirit convicting you right now of a certain thing? Just right now you are going, oh I know what it is.

I know what it is. Deal with that. Because the Lord is showing you that for your own good you see. Because little compromises turn into big problems. And Jesus says, whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. And whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Listen to this. In a single moment in time we can make a decision that affects our entire life. The Bible is filled with the stories of lifelong repercussions that came as a result of single decisions. Adam ate of the forbidden fruit and it cost him paradise. Sarah compromised God's Word and sent Abraham to her servant Hagar.

Abraham willingly went I might add. Hagar bore Ishmael and we lost peace in the Middle East. Esau compromised for a single meal and lost his birthright. Samson's sexual compromises cost him his strength, his eyes, and ultimately his life. Judas Iscariot compromised his supposed love for Christ and he lost his soul.

What are you compromising in? One decision can affect you for a lifetime. So yeah this is a small thing. We won't eat at the king's table but later on they are going to face some big tests man. You ever heard of Daniel in the lion's den?

You ever heard of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace? And we read that and we say wow what courage. Where did they get that? The bravery. Hey it started in little things. If you are faithful in little things God will give you the strength you need later for bigger things.

So start now. And the biggest thing of all is what you do with Jesus Christ. I never understood this. When I was a kid of 17 and I went to a little Bible study. By the way I wasn't even invited to.

That was being held on the front lot of my high school campus. I was curious to know why these Christians believed these crazy things they believed and read the Bible and talked about God. It all seemed so nutty to me. But I sat down close enough to sort of eavesdrop on their conversation but not so close where it looked like I joined them. But as I watched them, as I observed them there was something about them I really admired. I didn't see it in the friends I hung around with.

I hung around a bunch of lowlifes doing stupid things including drugs to be honest. But I saw these Christians and I thought man they have something that seems real. And then a guy got up to speak. I don't remember most of what he said but it was one statement that got my attention. He said, Jesus said you are for me or against me. I looked at those Christians and I thought well they are for them.

And I am not one of them. Does that mean I am against Jesus? And that was the day I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to come into my life and I have never regretted that decision. Not even once. It was the best decision I ever made.

Right. And you remember when you made that decision too don't you? But there are some of you here that haven't made that decision yet. You see Jesus as an option. One of many gods.

Multiple choice. Whatever. Oh no. Jesus makes radical claims. He claims to be the only way to the Father. He said, I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but through me. Are you for Christ or are you against Him?

Listen a lot is at stake. I really believe what I am saying to you today. I really believe Jesus is coming back.

He could come back today, tonight, tomorrow. Would you be ready? Those people would.

The people who clap first are ready. Not the rest of you. You are just copying. No I am kidding.

I am joking. No but He could come back at any time and I think when your life is right with God you are great with that. It is like yes Lord. Come. But if your life isn't right with God it is a little scary. He is going to come like what?

Yeah. And if He came for us in the rapture that I have talked about and you didn't believe in Jesus guess what? You would be left. You would be left to face some horrible times. Get right with God.

Get right or get left. Jesus stands at the door of your life and He knocks and if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in because He died for you on the cross 2000 years ago. And He rose again from the dead. And now He can be your Savior. And we are going to close in prayer. And I am going to give you an opportunity to ask Jesus Christ to come into your life. So let's all bow our heads for a prayer if you would please. Everybody praying. Heavenly Father we thank You for Your Word that it is true. Lord Jesus thank You for coming and laying Your life down for us and dying for our sins and rising from the dead and offering total and complete forgiveness right here right now. And now I pray for every person here and every person watching and listening wherever they might be.

If they don't know You yet Lord help them to come to You and believe in You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer today you're on a new beginning. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with God Pastor Greg wants to help you.

And he'll do that in just a moment. And then we want to mention Pastor Greg's brand new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. It's a look at the life stories of so many famous music artists whose lives self-destructed. And Pastor Greg some might look at all the trouble that those people get into and say yeah that's why I don't even listen to that crowd anymore. But often their struggles are common struggles. That's right. And there are some things we can learn from them. Isn't that right?

Oh sure. These are just people. When the day is done and they go behind the closed doors of where they live they're just regular people like you and I are. They have the same struggles. They have the same insecurities.

They have the same questions. And just because they have all these things doesn't mean that they're happy. In fact that's why so many of them turn to drugs or other things because they're not finding the fulfillment and the things they may have thought they would find fulfillment in. A lady wrote a book talking about hitting the high note and she referenced different people who had great success in their careers like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. And she said the reason they turned to drugs is because they couldn't hit the high note anymore. And by that she was not speaking of literally hitting a high note but they couldn't maintain that level of excitement and euphoria that they may have experienced when it first started for them. You sort of adjust to that.

You become acclimated to that. So then you say what is the next high note? What's the next accomplishment?

What is the next mountain to conquer? Then you conquer that. Then you say what's the next thing to do? What's the next car I should drive or what's the next house I should live in or houses I should buy or yacht I should have?

Then you accomplish that. You say what's in and on and on it goes and it's just empty empty empty. The Bible says there's nothing new under the sun. It was Malcolm Muggeridge who once said all news is old news happening to new people. And you would think that rock stars would look at the lives of other rock stars who have crashed and burned and say I'm not going to do that but yet so many of them do. So it's a story of people who are searching but many of them have found the Lord tragically many of them have not found the Lord. So this book looks at both sides of that and what happens with the decisions you make in life. I think though ultimately it will be a very encouraging book for you to not give up praying for people you know that are not yet believers. And listen this would be an excellent book to give to anyone you know who is not a believer but they're a fan of rock music because I think this book will really speak to them. Yeah yeah that's right and again it's called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. It's subtitled The Spiritual Biography of Rock and Roll. Help that loved one learn from the mistakes of these high-profile music icons and avoid the heartache and tragedy.

It's a book with some strong warnings but it's also a book of strong hope as well. And we'd like to send you Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus to thank you for your donation right now. It's your investments in this outreach that allow us to keep bringing Pastor Greg's insights each day. So call us today at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Pastor Greg you mentioned our need to come to Christ for forgiveness of sin in today's broadcast. Yes. Maybe there's somebody listening right now who'd like to do that. They'd like to take that step.

Yeah. Maybe you could help them with that right now. I'd be delighted to listen. If you would like to accept Jesus Christ into your life right now, by that I mean if you would like your sin forgiven and have the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die, would you pray this prayer with me? Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin and rising again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin Lord and I turn from it now and I put my faith in you to be my Savior, my Lord, my God, and my friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer in a minute I want you to know on the authority of God's word that Jesus Christ has just come to take residence in your heart. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. Listen we want to send you some resources that will help you grow spiritually. So here's Dave with some details and let me say God bless you and welcome to the family of God. Yeah and those resources Pastor Greg mentioned are all included in something we call our New Believers Growth Packet.

It'll help you get started in living your life for the Lord. Can we send it to you? Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet.

You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here 24 7 to take your call that's 1-800-821-3300 or our mailing address is A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click on know God. Well next time Pastor Greg takes us further in our study of the fascinating life of Daniel. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner. Sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-31 16:37:33 / 2023-03-31 16:47:50 / 10

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