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Dream On! | God's Standards for Our Lives

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 20, 2022 3:00 am

Dream On! | God's Standards for Our Lives

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 20, 2022 3:00 am

Ancient Greeks and Romans decided to measure what we now know as one “foot” (12 inches) based on the size of a man’s foot. The trouble is: feet vary. If there’s no absolute standard, whose foot is right? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie speaks of the importance of following God’s consistent, unchanging standard in how we live. It’s a life of character and conviction, and the most rewarding life we can live. 

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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 made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at In a world of compromise and moral ambiguity, Pastor Greg Laurie says believers will never go wrong by making the Scripture our guide. Ancient Greeks and Romans decided to measure what we now know as one foot, twelve inches, based on the size of a man's foot. The trouble is, feet vary. If there's no absolute standard, then whose foot is right? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie speaks of the importance of following God's consistent, unchanging standard in how we live. It's a life of character and conviction, and the most rewarding life we can live.

A lady was walking down a beach here in Southern California. She saw something shiny in the sand, so she reached down to brush the sand off, and it was a lamp, and a genie appeared. True story. So the genie says, oh, Master, I will grant to you one wish. Whatever you desire will be yours. She said, one wish? What happened to multiple wishes? He said, oh, it's hard in the world of genies.

We've had to cut back. All right, one wish. Wow.

That's a hard one. So she pulls out a map of the Middle East that she happened to be carrying around with her, and she said, here's what I want, genie. I want peace in the Middle East. I want these nations that are always in conflict to stop fighting with each other.

Yeah, wait, wait. If I only can have one wish, I'm going to go even bigger. I want world peace. I want global peace, genie.

That's what I want. Give me world peace. The genie said, are you insane? There's no way I can grant him a wish like that.

It's just too big. Ask for something else. She said, well, I've never found the right man. I need a man that's considerate and fun and loves to cook and loves house cleaning and won't just sit around. I need a man that will smother me with affection and tell me how wonderful I am. I need to find the perfect man. That's my wish, genie.

I want the perfect man. The genie said, let me see that map again. Now this is actually not a joke about men. This is more about conflict in the Middle East. Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? The answer is yes and no.

But unfortunately it's going to be no before it's yes. The fact of the matter is the greatest conflicts in the world are going to happen in the future in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, the battles of Armageddon, the final battles that will be fought will be fought in the Valley of Megiddo. The word Armageddon comes from the word harmageddon and so it's really talking about where the battle will be fought. So we know there's going to be a lot of conflict there in the future. But ultimately there will be peace when Christ comes back and establishes his kingdom.

How will this all end? That's what the book of Daniel talks about among other things. Daniel is a powerful book that gives us an overview of human history.

It also gives us a penetrating look into our future as well. Because Daniel was writing about his future, which happens to be our past, we can see how accurate he is because Daniel predicted the success of kingdoms that would come after him. And now with 20-20 hindsight we can see the prophet was 100 percent accurate. The Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future not once, not twice, not three times, but hundreds of times with perfect accuracy. So in the case of Daniel, if what he predicted for his future, now our past, happened as he said it would, can we not trust the Bible and what it says about our still distant future?

The answer is yes we can. There's so much we learn in the book of Daniel. We follow the kingdoms of the world from the kingdom he was in, Babylon, right up to the Antichrist. And it is a reminder to us that God is in control of what is happening in the world today.

God is sovereign over the affairs of nations and over the leaders of nations. And the one thing that really comes out clearly in the book of Daniel is this simple fact. Jesus Christ is coming back again to establish his kingdom on earth. The parallel book to the book of Daniel would be the book of Revelation. You can't really understand the book of Revelation without a good understanding of the book of Daniel. There's so much we learn in this book. Among other things we learn how to identify the tactics of the devil and overcome them. We also learn how angels are actively involved in the life of every believer. And some of the greatest Bible stories are right here in the book of Daniel. Like Daniel in the lion's den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. But among other things Daniel just tells us how to live a godly life in an ungodly place.

Or in the words of Larry the Cable Guy, how to get her done. What are we supposed to do in light of the fact that Christ is coming back? A great answer is given to us in Romans 13. And let me read it to you. And this is from an expanded translation.

The Phillips translation. It says this, The night is nearly over. The day is almost dawn. Let us therefore fling away the things that men do in the dark. Let us arm ourselves to the fight of the day. Let us live cleanly.

As in the daylight. Not in getting drunk or playing with sex. Nor in quarreling in jealousies. But let us be Christ's men from head to foot. And give no chances to the flesh to have its fling. Isn't that a great translation?

How clear is that? Tells us what we should be focused on in these critical days. And we have a wonderful example of that in the stories before us in Daniel 1 and 2. In the lives of Daniel and his three buddies Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. As you recall Israel was conquered by Babylon.

Why? Because Israel kept turning to false gods and idols. And the Lord warned them through the prophets and they ignored what the prophets said.

Finally judgment came. So the people of Israel were taken into captivity for 70 years under the rulership of Babylon. Now the king of Babylon at that time the great Nebuchadnezzar asked for sort of the brightest and best of Israel. Some of the young men that he could bring into his court and school in the way of the Babylonians. And in the culture of Babylon. And in the worship of the false Babylonian gods. And among those that were brought in were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It is believed that they were around 14 to 19 years old.

Very young men. They were taken literally from a very simple lifestyle that they would have lived to being in the very lap of luxury. In the very palace of the king with the finest food in the world served to them each and every day.

The finest education the world could offer. And it was Nebuchadnezzar's desire to seduce them. To turn them into Babylonians. To have them leave their Hebrew roots and their belief in scripture and to think like a Babylonian.

But there was one thing Nebuchadnezzar did not consider. And that was these boys had character. Though they were very young they had character. What is character?

D.L. Moody the great evangelist defined character as quote what you are in the dark end quote. The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. I heard a story about a pastor that caught a bus one Monday morning. He gave the fare to the driver and then when he got back to his seat he noticed that he had too much change.

And so he thought well the guy gave me too much change so he went back to the driver and said excuse me sir you gave me too much change. And the driver said actually pastor I was in church last Sunday and I heard you talking about honesty and I was putting you to the test. Well fortunately that pastor passed the test. But you are being put to the test as well and you don't even know it necessarily. There are people that work with you that are related to you that live near you that are watching you because you have identified as a Christian. You are saying I knew I shouldn't have had that Harvest Crusade sticker on my car.

No it is a good thing. You are making your stand and they are watching you. And here is what a non-believer is watching you for. Here is what they are hoping you do.

They are hoping you mess up. They want to see you be a hypocrite because then they don't have to be uncomfortable with a message you proclaim. And when you live a godly life and when you stand in your principles and you treat people with love and kindness it drives them insane alright.

So we are all being tested more than we may even realize and that was certainly happening with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages.

God's Word ministers to them and it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Dear Pastor Greg, I wanted to let you know how much your daily radio ministry has meant to my wife and I. At the beginning of the pandemic my wife started chemotherapy for breast cancer. It was a difficult time for us both but I was thankful that I was able to be home during this time to help. Many mornings I would make breakfast and we'd listen to a new beginning on the radio while we ate. Your messages and especially your kindness that you always expressed while preaching were so important to us. They gave us hope to face this difficult challenge. Looking back with my wife now healed of her cancer, we both have such happy memories of those mornings spent listening to you. We will always be in your debt for your messages and your kindness. Thank you.

How have these daily studies ministered to you and your family? Would you let us know? Tell us your story by calling 1-866-871-1144.

That's a special number 866-871-1144. Well we're in the book of Daniel today here on A New Beginning as Pastor Greg brings us a message called simply Dream On. Let's quickly review what we saw in our first message and we'll dive into the one before us. Number one they had purpose and conviction. They had purpose and conviction. Daniel 1 says Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. See the king wanted them to eat at his table and they chose not to. Now we don't know exactly why.

The Bible doesn't tell us. It may be that they didn't want to eat the king's food because well it was just awful food. That sometimes comes into play.

You ever have someone serve you a horrible meal you don't want to eat? Somehow I don't think that was the reason. It might be because the things that the king was offering to them were foods that were forbidden in the mosaic law.

Certain things a Jewish person is not supposed to eat. Thirdly and this is probably the real reason. It may be because these foods were offered to pagan gods and they didn't want to eat that food. That would have been a compromise for them.

Whatever it was they were making a stand in a relatively small area but it mattered to them. And consider this fact. Nebuchadnezzar was an intimidating person. This was a cruel and wicked king. In fact we know from scripture that when he took Israel captive he took the king of Israel brought his sons before him and killed the king's sons while he watched. And then he gouged out the king's eyes. So the last thing the king of Israel saw was the death of his own boys. Talk about cruelty.

So that is the kind of man they are dealing with. Yet they make this stand in this relatively small area. We are not going to eat of the food from the king's table. Bring me the second point from last time. Little compromises turn into big problems. Little compromises turn into big problems. Pay attention to little things because one day they will become big things. In a single moment in time we can make a decision that affects our entire life. Therefore those little tests matter.

Number three. The stand we make today determines the stand we will take tomorrow. Let me say that again. The stand we take today will determine the stand we will take tomorrow. Daniel faced many tests in life. And we think of him bravely standing up for the Lord when a law was passed that no one could pray. And Daniel prayed anyway. And we think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refusing to bow down before the golden image of the king that he erected. So these are big stands they took but these little things prepared them for that. It was here that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego took their first stand.

Number four. God will bless you when you make your stand for him. God will bless you when you make your stand for him. Daniel struck a deal with the man in charge of enforcing the king's will. Who said you got to eat this food. He says look buddy we are not going to eat this food.

I will make you a deal. We are going to eat what we are going to eat. And you guys eat what you eat.

And let's do it for ten days. And everything will be alright. And the guy is saying okay fine but if you are sickly looking I am going to lose my head. And they responded buddy don't worry we are going to eat vegetables. Don't panic. It is organic. Everything is fine.

Right? Now this is not about what they were eating or not eating. This is not Daniel's new book on diet that we need to all study in that way. This was a principled stand that they were making on their faith in God and the convictions that they were holding.

But it brings up a really good point. Because here we have this man enforcing the king's will. And he goes along with the plan of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego reminding us that when you take a stand for the Lord on principle even non-Christians are impressed.

They are. And you know why non-Christians are impressed? It is because courage and conviction and principle are in such short supply these days. Proverbs 16 says, when a man's ways please the Lord he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. So the 10 days pass and guess what?

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were healthy and strong. In fact they looked better than the people that had eaten all that other food from the king's table reminding us of this single point when we make our stand for what is true God will bless us. And a little with God is better than much without him. You know what do we really miss in life? When we as Christians choose to not get on that merry-go-round of selfishness, drinking, drugs, partying, illicit sex, etc. You know you go your way in life and I'll go mine. And so you say okay I'm going to just live for pleasure. I'm going to do whatever I want. I'm not going to be faithful to my spouse. I'm not going to care about my kids. I'm going to pursue my passions.

Okay fine. And the Christian says I'm going to be faithful to my spouse. I'm going to raise my children in the way of the Lord.

And I'm going to do what God wants. Now let's fast forward 10 years. Now let's add 10 more years. Now let's add 10 more.

Let's add even 10 more. And now we're getting later in life. Let's see who made the right decision. And I guarantee when you get to that point if you put God first and the principles of Scripture first you will come out in the end and know that you made the right decision when the other person is reaping the massive consequences of their actions over and over again. And Daniel held his ground to the very end. Look at Daniel 1 21. Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Now understand what that means. When Daniel was taken captive he was a young boy. Nebuchadnezzar was in charge. Later Belshazzar was in charge. Remember the writing on the wall.

We'll get to that later. And then along comes Cyrus and the Medo-Persian forces and they overcome Belshazzar. And Daniel is still a counselor to the king. Meaning that Daniel had been in a place of influence for 50 years. And no one could find a bad word to say about him.

You know what this reminds me of? Billy Graham. Billy Graham who lived 99 years. When Billy started his ministry President Truman was in office. And we were wrapping up World War II. And then along came President Eisenhower. And then President Kennedy. And then President Johnson. And then President Nixon. And then President Carter. And then President Reagan. And then President Bush senior. And then President Clinton of course. And then President Bush the younger.

And then all the way to President Obama. Billy Graham has been in this place of influence. And he has been a counselor to presidents and a pastor to our country. And a man of integrity. Billy made the world's most admired man list more than anyone in history.

He was the right man in the right place at the right time. And then people say who is going to take Billy Graham's place? Ready for the answer? Nobody. And now let me expand the answer.

A lot of people. No one can be the next Billy Graham. No one can stand in the shoes of Billy Graham. But you can be the next you.

And you can be the next person that God will use in the area He has placed you. See our job is not to take the mantle of Billy Graham. Our job is to carry on the torch that Billy carried. And it is the torch of the gospel that must be passed from generation to generation.

Because every generation needs to hear the gospel. Daniel was that man in his day. Billy was that man in our day.

And there will be other men and women I might add that God will raise up the right people at the right time. The Daniels. The Daniels. The Davids. The Peters. The Pauls. The Esters.

The Debras. The list goes on. And so that is why you need to make your stand for Christ now. These guys did it when they were kids. And now when they are older men they are still making that stand.

And they passed the test. Pastor Greg Laurie with important encouragement today to follow in the footsteps of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And there is more to come in this message called Dream On. Well Pastor Greg we are making available your new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. The spiritual biography of rock and roll.

Let me ask you this. What is it that drives your interest in cultural icons? Especially in the music industry. I have always been a fan of pop culture.

Always been interested in it. And you have to understand that God has called me to be an evangelist. An evangelist builds bridges to the culture he lives in or she lives in.

Take Paul on Mars Hill recorded in Acts 17. At that time Athens was the cultural and intellectual center of the planet. It also was a city that had thousands of altars erected to various idols. Various gods that they worshiped.

So Paul went sightseeing and took in the sights and sounds of Athens. And the Bible says his spirit was disturbed. And so he got up in front of the people in the town square there.

Effectively the Areopagus. And began to speak to them. But it is interesting how he started. He said men of Athens I perceive that you are spiritual. One translation says religious. We might say today I see you are into spirituality. Then Paul quoted their own poets to build a bridge to the message that was based on the gospel. So I take this concept and I use it in my preaching. I'll often start one of my evangelistic messages.

That I would do one of our events that we call Harvest Crusades. And I might start by quoting a movie star. Quoting a rock star. Quoting a billionaire. Seeing something that lines up with what the Bible tells us as an example. I would quote actor Jim Carrey who would say.

I wish everyone could be rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of. So they would realize that's not the answer. Now I'm not basing my message on what actors or rock stars say.

But I use that to build a bridge to my listener. And then I tell them what the Bible says. Okay so now shift gears over to this book I've written titled Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. So I'm exploring the lives of these people who have had it all. Who've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt.

And in some cases have been the t-shirt. And I'm showing through their lives that the things this culture offers are not really going to meet the deepest needs of our life. Success isn't going to do it. A new record isn't going to do it. Global fame isn't going to do it. A bunch of cars or a mansion, that won't do it. A bunch of girls, that won't do it.

No, they need Jesus. And I tell the stories of those that found the answer they were looking for and became believers. People like Richie Furet, Kerry Livgren of Kansas, Alice Cooper, Dion Demucci, Roger McGuinn of the Birds, and many others. And then I also tell the tragic stories of those that did not find the answer. And how their lives ended like Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse, and Chester Bennington.

And the list just goes on. So it's a book that shows what happens when you make the right and the wrong choices. But ultimately, it's a book that I think will offer hope and say to you, there is no one that you know that is beyond the reach of God. Yeah, yeah, that's right. And maybe you've been looking for some help in reaching out to someone who seems so far from God.

Maybe the things of this world have captured their attention. Well, this can be such a great resource. Read it for yourself and then pass it along to someone who needs this message.

Again, it's called Lennon, Dillon, Alice, and Jesus. And we'll send it to say thank you for your investment in spreading the gospel through Harvest Ministries and A New Beginning. We're completely listener supported, and we're so thankful for your partnership. So call us today at 1-800-821-3300.

We're here to take your call around the clock. Again, that's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or just go online to Well, next time, more on Daniel's encounter with King Nebuchadnezzar. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-31 01:26:28 / 2023-03-31 01:36:26 / 10

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