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I Dare You: Step Up! - Part B

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January 5, 2023 5:00 am

I Dare You: Step Up! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 5, 2023 5:00 am

As Daniel and his friends faced the possibility of their own death, they displayed life-giving faith. How can you step up to life's difficulties and use them as spiritual opportunities? Find out when Skip shares the message "I Dare You: Step Up!"

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Skip Heitzig
Lighting Your Way
Lighthouse Baptist
Lighting Your Way
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Now, your prayer life is directly proportional to three things. Number one, your perception of prayer. Number two, your perception of God.

And number three, your perception of the problem. Many people often turn to prayer as a last resort when all else fails. But prayer should be the first place we turn when a challenge arises.

Today, Skip Heitzig explains how prayer helps you step up when it matters most. Before we begin, we want to let you know about a pair of resources that help you love the time you spend in God's Word. Ready to upgrade your Bible study in 2023? We have a plan and a package for you. Skip Heitzig's book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, is an ideal companion for a survey of the entire scope of Scripture.

Here's a great goal for the coming year. Conduct a personal study of all 66 books as Skip Heitzig guides you from a biblical altitude of 30,000 feet. We want to give you firm direction to unlock the riches of God's Word by sending you two resources from Pastor Skip, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It, and The Bible from 30,000 Feet.

You'll gain helpful Bible study tools as you practice how to observe, absorb, and interpret the Bible, then apply it to your life. These two resources are our thanks for your gift today of $50 or more. Skip has asked the team at Connection Communications to make it a priority in 2023 to take the daily messages as you have heard them today and expand them into more metropolitan areas.

Will you help us make that happen? And with your gift, you will receive copies of How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It and The Bible from 30,000 Feet, both books by Skip Heitzig to kickstart your 2023 Bible study plans. Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at slash offer.

That's slash offer. Okay, we're joining Skip today in Daniel chapter two as he begins the study. This whole incidence of failure for the Chaldeans rattles the faith of the king. Second thing it serves to do is it reveals the fraud of the Chaldeans. They can't really produce here. Dreams and omens were supposed to be their forte. They can't deliver the goods. So they're saying, well, look, King, tell us what the dream is and then we'll make something up.

That's really what they meant. We can figure this out. Nebuchadnezzar goes, no, I want you to actually tell me what I dreamt because then I know that you'll be able to tell me the interpretation. If you're in touch with the gods, cough it up.

They couldn't produce anything. Best they could do is some like generic fortune cookie thing. It will rain somewhere today. You will attain wisdom.

Just generic slop. I remember back to the days when I was experimenting with occultic practices, a thought that occurred to me as I was getting involved in some of these practices. I thought, I know I'm dabbling in things I shouldn't be dealing with, but there's power here. And then I thought, if there's this much power on the wrong side, what kind of power is there on the right side?

If I could get in touch with that, with Him, with truth, that could be life changing. So it rattles the faith of the King. It reveals the fraud of the Chaldeans.

And even more than that, it rallies the fervor of these captives. Daniel and his buddies. This is a setup so Daniel can show them up. To show them, no, there's not many gods.

No, it's not like pick your belief because we all get to the same place because all roads lead to God. He's going to show them there's only one God and that God, the God, has revealed these things to me. And King, I'm here to reveal them to you.

So the King can't sleep well. The Chaldeans can't see well. And now the camera shifts to the prayer room of Daniel and his buddies. Here the theme is the captives can't sit well. They're not the kind to just sit back and watch this happen. No, they get involved.

They insert themselves. Verse 14, Daniel 2. Then, watch this, with counsel and wisdom, Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He answered and said to Arioch, the king's captain, why is the decree from the king so urgent? Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel. So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time that he might tell the king the interpretation. And then Daniel went to his house and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and his companions that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. A dream happens when you're asleep.

A vision happens when you're awake. Daniel had been praying or was at this moment praying and it was revealed in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Daniel answered and said, blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are his. And he changes the times and the seasons. He removes kings and raises up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. He knows what is in the darkness and light dwells with him. I thank you and praise you, oh God of my fathers. You have given me wisdom and might. And have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's demand. What's immediately striking, first of all, is that Daniel doesn't panic. Okay, a decree has been signed to take the life of everyone who fits the job description that Daniel and his buddies are in.

Because remember, he had been trained for three years with all that wisdom of Babylon. So there's a death threat out. Hi, I'm Arioch. I've come to kill you. Daniel doesn't panic but he answers with wisdom and poise and says, okay, now tell me again, what's the big deal here? Most people in hearing this would try to figure out a way to run and get out of the way of who run and get out the back door. You may have heard the story about the pilot who was in the air in mid-flight and three of his four engines conked out. And suddenly the cockpit door opens and there stands the pilot with the parachute saying to everybody on board, don't worry, I'm going for help.

In other words, I'm bailing out, see you later. You would think when your neck is on the line that you would be tempted to do that but not so. Daniel answers with wisdom and with poise takes a different tact. Proverbs 15 says a soft answer turns away wrath.

Now just push the pause button. What a contrast between the king and the captives. Here's the king, a sleepless, concerned king. Here's a serene, calm captive trusting in the Lord. What a contrast. There's a great old poem that was written probably a hundred years ago and I've always loved it.

It goes like this. Said the robin to the sparrow, I should really like to know why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so. Said the sparrow to the robin, friend, I think that it must be they have no heavenly father such as cares for you and me.

Well life makes a big difference when you know the one who gave you life. When you walk with the creator, you can step into a situation like this and step up as Daniel does here steps up and make a difference. Now how do these four individuals, Daniel and his three buddies, how do they step up? Well first of all they step up by putting their faith on the line. Verse 16 says Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time that he might tell the king the interpretation.

So this is how it works. Ariah comes and says okay you're a dead man. I'm going to kill you and everybody else. Daniel says, ho ho ho wait wait wait wait.

Let me have a private audience with the king that I might tell him what his dream is and the interpretation. Now knowing the temperament of this king, that could mean Daniel's neck. He could die because of it. But you know what?

That's the whole point. If Daniel does nothing, he'll what? He'll die anyway.

So what does he have to lose? I'm going to die if I say nothing and if I fail, I'm going to die. Either way I'm going to die. But the Lord may give me, may give me the dream and the interpretation.

I'm going to go for it. I'm going to step up and talk to this guy. And so he goes in and he promises the king to do what no man has been able to do in his court up to this point and that is tell him the dream and the interpretation. If he's wrong, he'll die.

If he does nothing, he'll die either way. Reminds me of a great story in your Bibles, 2 Kings chapter 7. It says there's a famine in the whole area of Samaria, the Samaria area.

And that was not only a county but it was the city, the city of Samaria. There's a famine. People were starving to death.

And there's a story of four lepers who are at the gate of Samaria. And these four lepers are just kind of looking at each other one day and one of them says, why do we sit here until we die? If we go into the city, we'll die. If we stay here, we'll die. But if we surrender to the Syrians, they may kill us, we may die, but they may not.

We could live. If we do nothing, we'll die. So let's risk our lives because it could be that we won't die. And that's exactly what happened. They were spared but they took that dare.

They took that risk. So here's Daniel. He activated his faith in God because he had already abandoned his life to God.

What does he have to lose? He's in God's everlasting arms. Here's God saying, Daniel, step up, step out, jump.

He goes, done. I've abandoned my life to God. I will now activate my faith in God. See, it's one thing to say God can do it. It's another thing to say God will do it.

And if he doesn't do it, I'm dead. Boy, that's quite a step. You know that that actually happened not only here, but in more recent history, back in the 1800s, there was a missionary to the islands of Fiji named James Calvert. He was from Britain. And he got on a vessel, a ship with his family. And he was taken to the Fiji Islands, which at that time were filled with cannibals. And as they came to the shores, the captain warned James Calvert, don't go aboard, don't do this. Spare the lives of your family and those with you and yourself.

These are savages. You're going to die, said the captain. James Calvert, in exhibiting his commitment to Christ, said, you don't understand. We died before we got here. We've died. We died before we came here. We've already surrendered our life to the point of death to our Lord. What do we have to lose?

One person said it this way. Faith is putting all of your eggs in God's basket and then counting your blessings before they hatch. That's what I see Daniel doing. He steps up, puts his faith on the line. Go tell the king.

I'll tell him the dream and the interpretation. The second way he steps up is they stepped up by putting their faith in the Lord. Yeah, they put their faith on the line. They made the commitment before man. But now they place their faith in the Lord in this prayer meeting. In verse 17, then Daniel went to his house and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, his companions. I'm sure it was a very lively discussion.

You said what to the king? Yeah, I told them that we're going to come up with the dream and the interpretation. Let's pray now. I'm sure they wanted all of the details because their necks are on the line as well. So they had one incredible prayer meeting.

What a great picture. Four young men around 20 years of age praying in pagan Babylon. And what I love is that prayer is their first resort, not their last resort. It's not like, quick, let's find some of the magi.

Maybe they have some books on dreams and stuff. Their first resort was prayer. So often that's our last resort. We say things like, well, I've tried everything else and there's nothing left to do except pray.

Well, that's quite a statement. You should start there. You should start there. That's my first resort. Let's take this before the Lord and see what he's going to say.

Let's spend some time together. Let's step up our prayer lives and talk to the Lord about this. Now, your prayer life is directly proportional to three things. Number one, your perception of prayer. Number two, your perception of God. And number three, your perception of the problem.

Let me explain. Your prayer life is directly proportional to those three things. Number one, your perception of prayer. A lot of people see prayer as gibberish. You're just talking out loud. That's all you're doing. You're just talking out loud. That's all you're doing. You're just talking into the air. You're really just talking your confusion out loud to yourself. That's all prayer is to a lot of people. It's not real.

It's just people talking into the air. Or, yeah, prayer. That's the stuff you say when you're a kid. You memorize, now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Or bless us, O Lord, in these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen. You memorize that stuff.

And you say them at certain times. So, yeah, prayer. It's for preachers and for kids.

It's not what the Bible says. James says, the fervent, that means red hot, the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much or gets the job done. So your prayer life is directly proportional to your view, your perception of prayer, what it is.

Second, it's directly proportional to your perception of God. A lot of people are reticent to pray. They hesitate because they think, well, is God in a good mood or a bad mood? Does God really love me like some people say? Or maybe He just sort of tolerates me and I've ticked Him off lately so He's not going to answer this prayer. You know, we approach God sort of like we used to approach our dad. Is He in a good mood or a bad mood tonight? Did He win at the golf game or did He lose?

Was it a good day at the office or a bad day at the office? So their perception of who God is will alter how they approach that God. What I want you to notice is that they, Daniel and his buddies, prayed according to what they knew God to be. Their perception of God is given to us in the text. For example, in verse 21, they recognize God is in total control, absolute control. For they say, He's the one that changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings. That's their perception of God.

He's in total control. Also, it reveals that they believe their perception is that God is interested in guiding people. For in verse 21, the second half, God gives wisdom to the wise and understanding to those who have knowledge. And then at the end of their little praise session, thank you, Lord, that you've given me wisdom.

You've answered our prayer. So God's in total control. God's interested in guiding. The third thing they know about God, He's in tune with everything. Verse 22, He reveals the deep and secret things. He knows what's in the dark and light is with Him. Your perception of prayer, your perception of God, and third, your perception of the problem will determine what you pray, if you pray, and how often you pray.

Your perception of the problem. Have you noticed that when you have a problem, when you have a trial, when your life is hurting, when things are bad, that you prayed differently? You pray fervently. The fervent, effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much. People pray more and more intensely when life is harder than when life is easier. No wonder then, God allows a sufficient number of heartaches and trials to come our way because He knows we need Him.

We don't until life gets really hard. So I dare you, I dare you to step up. I dare you to put your faith on the line and I dare you to place your faith in the Lord. I dare you to step up and to talk to men about God and to talk to God about men.

That's the dare. Talk to men about God. That's evangelism. Talk to God about men.

That's intercession. That's the challenge here. Step up to that. You could say, yeah, but I'm so afraid of people. I don't know what they're going to think about me and I just don't like to engage in these kind of conversations. I don't like to engage in these kind of conversations.

They make me feel uncomfortable. That's why you begin with getting alone with God because here's the secret. Never forget this. If you can bow before God, you can stand before men. Make sure that you're bowing before Him, that you're on your knees before Him and from the strength you derive from that, like Daniel and his buddies, you step up to that diving board of crisis and you step out. Here goes God. Might get fired because of it.

Might lose this relationship because of it. Bad things might happen, but I've knelt before you. Now I'm going to stand before people. Let me tell you about a creative way that a high school class decided to do something like this. There were 93 in this graduating class and before the graduation ceremony, the principal vice principals and heads of the school got the class together and prepped them on the protocol for the graduation ceremony.

There had been a recent court ruling and the principal vice principal wanted them to know what that ruling was. Absolutely no blessings can be said. Absolutely no prayers can be said. This is a public school setting. This class can't have any prayers. Do you understand?

Yes, we understand. So the ceremony goes on, speech after speech, predictable speech, you know, have a good life, work hard, tie your shoes, brush your teeth, all the stuff you hear at high school graduations. But the last speech was the most impressive, the shortest, the most impressive and one that brought the standing ovation. This student goes up to the microphone, stands there after a strategic pause, gives his speech, which was one loud, amazing sneeze. And when he sneezed, the 92 other students stood to their feet and shouted out in unison, God bless you. And all the parents and all the parents and all the people in the audience gave a standing ovation that these students found a way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without a court's approval. God bless you in this graduation. Ask God for creative ways to talk to men about God and then go to your knees and talk to God about men.

Insert yourself into these situations, believing that the Lord will use you as a change agent to make your world different. Be bold. We have chalkboards at all of the campuses where people will write in, I dare to, not I dare you, but I dare to, that is this week or this series to do this. And one person wrote as I walked by and one of the chalkboards in big bold printing, I dare to be bold.

And it was big printing, bold face, exclamation point. And I thought, I love it. And I bet God does too.

Let's pray. Father, how thankful we are for the example of a man isolated from his home country with only three others around him in a very powerful pagan environment. One that did not sympathize with his belief system.

One in fact that tried to completely change that belief system. We find a young man who as a teenager purposed in his heart not to defile himself. He dared to be distinct.

And now we discover he dared to step up. To step up by putting his faith on the line. To step up by placing his faith in the Lord. To talk to men about God and to talk to God about men.

What a winning combination that is. I pray, Father, that our perception of prayer would be a biblical perception. That you've given it to us as a tool, a means to change our world. But not to stop with just praying about situations. But to then go in with divine appointments and open our mouths and speak your truth and see the world around us changed.

It might not be immediate or it might be. But I pray, Lord, that you'd give us those platforms as we are dared to step up to step up in our witness before men and women and our prayer life about men and women. That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series, I Dare You. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at Now, here's Skip to share how you can help keep this broadcast going strong. When Jesus came to this earth, he presented a brand new way of thinking that challenged the religious leaders of his day.

The truths that he taught still challenge worldly thinking. And through this broadcast, we want to inspire more listeners like you to live a Christ-centered life. So please help take these messages to more places by giving a gift today.

Here's how you can do that. Visit slash donate to give a gift. That's slash donate or call 800-922-1888. 800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig explains why you can't go through life as an undercover Christian. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-05 05:59:06 / 2023-01-05 06:08:31 / 9

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