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Staying Cool When Things Get Hot | Preparing to Make a Stand

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2022 3:00 am

Staying Cool When Things Get Hot | Preparing to Make a Stand

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 15, 2022 3:00 am

Many students wait until the night before to study for a test. The adrenaline makes them razor sharp—or so they say. But then they also hope for a little good luck when the test is handed out. Well, someone has pointed out luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Now, as believers, we don’t depend on luck, we depend on the Lord, but today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie shows the wisdom in letting preparation meet opportunity as it relates to the fiery trials we may all face.

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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 harvest.org. These times of testing can overwhelm our emotions. Pastor Greg Laurie says resolve beforehand. Many students wait until the night before to study for a test.

The adrenaline makes them razor sharp, or so they say. But then they also hope for a little good luck when the test is handed out. Well, someone has pointed out luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Now, as believers, we don't depend on luck. We depend on the Lord. But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows the wisdom in letting preparation meet opportunity as it relates to the fiery trials we may all face.

This is the day, the day when life begins. And the Lord said, if you don't turn from these false gods, I'm going to bring Babylon led by Nebuchadnezzar. Yet they ignored God's warning and the Lord did exactly what he said he would do. 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 one, verse one.

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 secret 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 Asphanez, 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 four.

Select only strong, healthy, and good looking young men, he said. Make sure they're well versed in every branch of learning and they're 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 five.

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 six. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Those were their names given to them as good Jewish boys. And by the way, each one of those names reflected an attribute of the true God of Israel.

But the chief official renamed them with Babylonian names. 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 here they are in the king's court. They're 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 eight. 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're not going to do that because in their minds that was a compromise. But Daniel is saying we're going to stand for the Lord and we'll 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. As we come to chapter three of Daniel. Daniel himself is out of the picture momentarily.

He returns later in the book. And it's just Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The king has erected a 90 foot tall god image covered in gold.

He wants everyone to engage in full tilt idolatry. And so he called the whole kingdom together for a big celebration. It was a number one show in Babylon. In fact it was the only show in Babylon. It was called Babylonian Idol. There were contestants who sang and there were three judges.

No wrong show. Ok. And so this celebration had a song. They would play the theme song of Babylonian Idol.

The theme song that everyone was about to and everyone did. So imagine this scene. Thousands and thousands of people bowing down before a 90 foot gold image and standing out like three sore thumbs. There were those three holy boys.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They wouldn't bow. So the king calls them in. He says I will give you guys a second chance. Now just be good boys and bow before the image.

Let's see what happens. Daniel 3 verse 14. Nebuchadnezzar said is it true Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that you refuse to serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up.

I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of musical instruments all will be well. But if you refuse you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, O Nebuchadnezzar we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace the god whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power your majesty. But even if he doesn't your majesty can be sure we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up. Your majesty let's just get this straight. We ain't bowing.

It is not going to happen. We want to just tell you that right now. 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. They said look if God rescues us great. If he doesn't then we will go to be in his presence but we are not going to bow. Listen to this. Sooner or later you are going to be asked to bow before some idol.

It probably won't be made out of solid gold and it won't be 90 feet tall but it will be some kind of an idol. Or someone will say look this is what everyone thinks. This is group think now.

This is politically correct. You have to agree with us. You can't be saying the Bible says thus and so. You have to conform. You have to say what we say. You have to do what we do. And you say well I am sorry the Bible teaches something different. That is the pressure right there. Or maybe you are in a classroom and the professor gets up and he makes some statement and you are the only person that has the courage to stand up and say excuse me I actually disagree with what you just said.

Or it might be another situation. Your friends they are all going to go out and party from work and we are going to drink. We are going to have some fun.

Come on. Don't be such a party pooper. Don't be a stick in the mud.

What is wrong with you? It will be the pure pressure to do the wrong thing. So here is the question. Are you going to bow or are you going to stand your ground? You decide that now. You decide that now.

But come a day when you will be tempted to have sex with your girlfriend before you are married. You say well I have the strength to stand on that day. You decide what you are going to do in the back seat of a car in the front row of the church. You figure it out right now. You say I am going to make a stand and I am not going to do that. I am going to do what is right.

See that is why we need to make the stand in the small areas and that gives us the ability to make the stand in the larger more challenging areas. 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.

For them it was win-win. Sort of like what Paul said. To live is Christ and to die is gain. Hey if I live fantastic. I will serve the Lord.

If I die I will go to heaven. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of today's message in just a moment. You know Pastor Greg Harvest Ministries has used many different ways to get the gospel to people. We have done crusade outreaches. Of course we are here on the radio. We are on television and of course feature length movies. But our biggest asset isn't technology. It's people isn't it? Friends who believe in the mission of Harvest to know God and make him known.

Yeah that is really true Dave. You know we try to use every platform that we can but it is always with a purpose and that is to proclaim the message of the gospel. The gospel according to the Apostle Paul is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes and we want to proclaim that gospel message to as many people as we can. But we need our friends to stand with us. If we all pray together. If we all work together. If we invest our resources we can do more together. So I am asking you who listen to this radio broadcast A New Beginning to join us as a friend and help us financially so we can reach more people with the only message that can change people for time and eternity.

The message of the gospel. Yeah that is right and the need for that hope is so apparent today. Why not partner with us to make a real difference. Can we invite you to become what we call a Harvest partner. Give us a call today and we will pass along all the details. Our number is 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 24 hours a day.

That is 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to harvest.org. And now Pastor Gray continues today's message called Staying Cool When Things Get Hot. From the pages of church history the story is told of a Christian who was arrested. He was brought before the Roman emperor and he was told to renounce his faith. The emperor said give up Christ or I will banish you. The Christian said you can't banish me from Christ.

For he said I will never leave you or forsake you. The ruler said I will confiscate your property. The Christian said my treasures are laid up in heaven. You can't touch them. The emperor said then I will kill you. And the Christian said I have been dead to the world in Christ for 40 years.

My life is hid with Christ in God. You can't touch it. And so the emperor turned to his court and discussed and said what can you do with such a man. My response is let's pray we have a lot more of them.

A lot more men and women like that. Upon hearing this insubordination on the part of these three teenagers the king flies into a rage. Listen. His furnace was hot but he was hotter. Nobody denies Nebuchadnezzar.

Let's pick the story up. Daniel 3 verse 19. Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego his face became distorted with rage and he commanded the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace fully clothed. And because the king in his anger had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace the flames leaped out and killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego securely tied fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly as he was watching Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisors, Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?

Yes we did that your majesty they said. Look Nebuchadnezzar shouted, I see four men unbound walking around on the fire. They are not hurt by the flames and the fourth looks like the Son of God. I love that story.

Staying cool when things get hot. You might wonder if you could make the stand of a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Well as I said earlier you determine that by the decisions you are making today. Maybe there will never be a test of this caliber but tests will come. God will always grade temptation to the fiber of your life. He will never give you more than you can handle. You will never be tempted above your capacity to resist the Bible says.

But there will with the temptation be a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10-13. But here is the key to their courage. It was their companion. Nebuchadnezzar said, There is someone walking around with them and he looks like the Son of God. Now in fairness another translation of this would say a son of the gods.

I don't think Nebuchadnezzar had the spiritual insight to know that this might be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, which I believe it was by the way. I just think he saw a fourth guy and they were walking around like it was a stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon. Hey.

How is it going? I don't know. Walking around in a furnace.

Who does that? But he saw the power of God on display. So are you in a fiery trial right now? Are you in the hot waters of temptation? Know this. You are not alone. Jesus is with you each step of the way.

That makes a big difference doesn't it? Isaiah 43. God says, When you pass through the waters I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned.

The flames will not set you ablaze. This is what I would call a Christophany. A Christophany is an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. You know Jesus being God is eternal. No beginning.

No end. So we talk about Jesus being born in the manger of Bethlehem, which he was. But of course he made many appearances in the Bible before that and I think this is one of them. I think it was the Lord himself walking with them through their fire.

And guess what? The Lord is walking with you through your fire. Jesus said, Lo I am with you even to the end of the age. In Hebrews 13 Jesus says, I will never leave you or forsake you. God was with them in this time of great difficulty.

But let me say this. This is only true for the true believer. If you are not a believer in the Lord, if you have not asked Christ to come into your life you don't have the assurance that God is in you. Now God is around and you can call on the name of the Lord but you don't have a relationship with him. You may know about him but that doesn't mean you know him. These young men knew him. That is why they could stare death in the face and say we are not going to bow.

Can you do that? Or do you live in fear and trepidation of death? I don't think anyone looks forward to it. Even the committed Christian. But the follower of Jesus knows when the day comes they will go into God's presence. They know God will walk with them through the days leading up to it and God will be there on the other side waiting to welcome them with open arms into eternity. That is the hope of the Christian and only the Christian. The nonbeliever has no such promise.

You walk through life alone. You don't have God with you and you certainly don't have God in you. And then one day when you enter eternity you will meet God but it will be a brief meeting I am sorry to say because he will not find your name written in the book and he will firmly but sadly say depart from me I never knew you you worker of iniquity. But if you know him now he will know you then. If you stand up for him now he will stand up for you then. If you say come into my life now he will say enter into my presence then. But if you say I don't want you now then he will say depart from me then.

You determine what is going to happen on the other side. And I ask in closing do you have this relationship with God? Do you have this Savior walking with you through life or do you find yourself alone? I don't know what you are chasing after. Maybe you are pursuing fun. You are pursuing pleasure.

Whatever it is you are pursuing it is only going to leave you empty. The only appropriate pursuit you should have in life is the pursuit of God. And if you will seek first the kingdom of God he will give you all the things that you need in life and you will have his joy and you will have his peace and you will have the hope of heaven. But if you don't follow the Lord you will have to face that judgment. And that is the last thing God wants. That is why he sent Jesus Christ to come to this earth and go to a cross and die in your place. Jesus who was fully God and fully man absorbed the Father's wrath in our place at the cross of Calvary. He shed his blood for every sin we have ever committed. But if we will turn from that sin and embrace him as Savior and Lord he will forgive us and we can start a new life with him.

Never alone. Have you asked Christ to come into your life? If you haven't I am going to give you an opportunity to ask him in right now as we close in prayer. So if you have never asked Jesus to forgive you of your sin if you don't have that hope of heaven if you don't have this relationship with God we have been talking about respond to this invitation that I extend now as we pray together. Let's all bow our heads if you would please and everyone praying. Father I pray now for these that may not yet know you. These that have joined us and are hearing this message and don't have this assurance that they will go to heaven when they die. I pray Lord that your Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin and convince them of their need for Jesus and help them to come to you now we would pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you know you need to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord Pastor Greg will come back to help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes.

Hey everybody Greg here with a very special guest in studio Sally Lloyd-Jones the prolific author of so many amazing books for children and she has done a series of four books for the really little ones. One is called Found, one is called Loved, one is called Near. Found is based on Psalm 23. Loved is based on the Lord's Prayer. Near is based on the first part of Psalm 139 and Known is based on the last part of Psalm 139. So Sally thank you for being with us and I'm wondering if you would do us all a favor and just read this book to us now. And your beautiful British accent in a way that only you can read because you wrote it and no one can do it like you.

So please share the contents of this book Known with us now. Known Psalm 139 God is a good daddy and I'm his little child. He knows when I wake up and when I put my shoes on and when I run outside to play. He knows my name and the color of my eyes and the dreams inside my heart. He knows everything about me and he loves me completely. He's interested in what I think and what I have to say. When I talk to him he listens to me.

He thinks about me all the time, more times than I could even count. He takes care of me every day of my life. No wonder God knows me so well. He made me. How wonderful.

Beautiful. Now folks if you know Psalm 139, King James it says you know my down-sitting, my uprising, you know my thoughts before I even think them. She's taken these words and made them understandable to a child and maybe to a few adults listening as well.

Good reminders. And this book is beautifully illustrated by an artist known as Jago. It's a very thick book, perfect for a little one to hold in their little hands and it'll survive if they bite it or drool on it or throw it. It'll be something you'll return to again and again and you'll keep in your library for other little children to read as well. We're offering this beautiful book written by Sally Lloyd-Jones illustrated by Jago for your gift of any size this month to a new beginning so we can continue to teach the Word of God and proclaim the gospel.

Yeah that's right. What a wonderful Christmas gift for the little one on your Christmas list and we'd like to send a copy to you right away. It's our thank you gift for those who invest in the work of the gospel right now. It's such a pivotal time for this ministry as we reach out to people in surprising, innovative new ways. Countless lives will be impacted through the generosity of those who partner with us.

So thanks for considering the part you can play right now. And when you give, be sure to ask for Known, Psalm 139 by Sally Lloyd-Jones. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock to take your call. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg, a couple of moments ago you talked of the importance of coming to the Lord to have our sins forgiven. If somebody listening right now wants to do that, could you help them? Yeah, I can do that, Dave.

I'd be happy to. In the book of Isaiah, we read these words. Seek the Lord while He may be found.

Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways, and the unrighteous man their thoughts. Let them return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them.

And to our God, for He will freely pardon. Listen, that's God's word to you. And let me address this to the person who has never asked Jesus Christ to come into their life.

Why don't you do it now? That verse says, seek the Lord while He may be found. God has touched your heart today, perhaps. And you've thought, I need this relationship with the Lord. One of these days I'm going to make that commitment to Christ. No, don't wait for one of these days. This is the day.

This is your moment. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Listen, God is near to you.

And He is ready to come into your life. And there's another part of this verse when it says, let us return to the Lord. I want to also extend an invitation to you that have fallen away from your faith. You've fallen away from the Lord.

And you need to make a recommitment. So, if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you want your sin forgiven. If you want to go to heaven when you die.

Or if you've fallen away from the Lord and you want to return to Him. Pray this prayer with me. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner. But I also know that You are a Savior.

And I need Your help. I need Your forgiveness. Come into my life and forgive me of all of my sins.

I choose to follow You from this moment forward. Be my Savior. Be my Lord.

Be my God and be my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. Hey, I want you to know on the authority of Scripture, if you just prayed that prayer and meant it, Christ has heard you.

And He has forgiven you. So, God bless you. And we want to help you begin to grow in your new faith. We want to send you some resource materials we call our New Believers Growth Packet.

It'll answer some of the questions you might have and get you started off right. So get in touch for your New Believers Growth Packet. We'll send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg for the first time today. Call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime or on the clock. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or just go to harvest.org and click Know God. Well, next time, Pastor Greg launches a new collection of messages to bring us closer to the Lord as the Christmas holiday approaches. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. 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 / 2022-12-15 17:38:10 / 2022-12-15 17:49:17 / 11

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