Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Who is the GOD who will DELIVER you?

This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. I pray that you are doing the same on this beautiful day. Enjoy the RIGHT NOW of God's presence. Why not just stop and soak up what He has for you at this VERY MOMENT!

Today I want to talk with you for a few moments about what the Babylonian king asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego just before they are thrown into the fiery furnace. He wanted to know, "who is this god who can deliver you from my power?" Well, the King was about to find out. My friends, if we want to see God bring great deliverances in our lives, then we need to take a look at these young men, and find out what they did, then emulate them. So, let's look together at this wonderful testimony:

Daniel 3:15 I'm giving you a second chance--but from now on, when the big band strikes up you must go to your knees and worship the statue I have made. If you don't worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked. Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?"

There are a couple of things that the Three Hebrews did that you and I need to do as well:

I. Choosing DISCIPLINE over DELIGHT (Daniel 1:8)
Daniel 1:7-8 The head of the palace staff gave them Babylonian names: Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah was named Shadrach, Mishael was named Meshach, Azariah was named Abednego. (8) But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king's food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet.
Our church begins a 21-day Daniel Fast this Sunday (March 2nd) and continues until Saturday, March 22nd. Why the Daniel fast? Because it is what God laid upon my heart as I read through Daniel. God spoke plainly to me that we were to have a corporate Daniel fast. There are FOUR types of fast. I will share them tomorrow on this blog.
Now, there are a couple of things that we need to remember. Number one, this is a FAST, not a DIET. When we diet, we find out what we can do to substitute so that we can still get the GOOD STUFF without it affecting our diet. One of the meanings in the Greek for the word FAST is ABSTINENCE, to go without. Webster's dictionary says that fasting is to "abstain from food, and to abstain from SOME foods". This fast is going to HURT the flesh quite a bit. Some have asked me about sweeteners. I personally choose not to use them at all. Why? Because I WANT, even NEED my flesh to not be satisfied during this fast. Every time that I have a CRAVING or a HUNGER PAIN, I will make the choice at that moment to spend some time with God. Instead of searching out some food or snack to satisfy that craving, I will seek out God and His Word. Nor will I drink coffee or tea, whether it is decaffeinated or not. I plan to drink water. You see, we are choosing DISCIPLINE over DELIGHT. We are choosing to go without some of the delicacies in our life. I pray that we will not become so focused on the FAST that we forget why we are fasting…to FOCUS on GOD. Again, if we become too focused on the fast, it could very easily just become a DIET, and we might LOSE some weight, but we won't GAIN insight or the great things that God has for us.

To choose DISCIPLINE over DELIGHT we must ask ourselves,
A. "Can my CONSCIENCE be stretched?"

I shared yesterday on my blog how a young man told his employer, "your fabric may be able to be stretched, but CONSCIENCE cannot be". How about yours? Can it be stretched? Are you a person of integrity? Would you lie to serve your purposes? Would you cheat on anything if it would benefit you? God help us to DETERMINE in our hearts that my conscience WILL NOT be stretched. That's what the Three Hebrews and Daniel decided. Oh, they had to pay a great price for not stretching their conscience, a fiery furnace and a lion's den, but GOD HONORED THEIR FAITHFULNESS and BROUGHT THEM OUT!

Listen to what Paul says in Acts 24:16:
Act 24:16 (AMP) Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.
(ASV) Herein I also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always.
(BBE) And in this, I do my best at all times to have no reason for shame before God or men.
(CEV) And because I am sure, I try my best to have a clear conscience in whatever I do for God or for people.
(ESV) So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

Paul daily did the following:
1. Mortifying my body (Crucifying DAILY) (I John 2:16)
2. Deadening my carnal affections (Spirit) (Romans 7:14; Romans 8:7; I cor 3:3)
3. Deadening my bodily appetites (Body)
4. Deadening my worldly desires (Soul)
5. Endeavoring in all RESPECTS

Paul said I EXCERISE (I work very hard) to: have a conscience VOID OF OFFENCE towards God and men ALWAYS. Guys, we become offended way to easily. We need to determine in our hearts like Paul did, that I will work hard at not becoming an offence to God or man, and I will not be easily offended by anyone or thing. May we have the same desire that he had to work hard to not become offended or cause a SHAME to God or anyone. He wanted to have a clear conscience in whatever he did before God and man. How could he do that? His conscience and INTEGRITY were not for sale or compromise. Like Daniel and the Three Hebrews, he REFUSED to give in to the pressures of the world to COMPLY to the whims and wants of this world. His love for God was too great for that. My prayer is that each of us will make up our mind that our conscience (and integrity) cannot be stretched in any form or fashion.


B. We must have INTEGRITY in the SMALL matters or we will not have integrity in the larger matters. (Daniel 1:11-15)
1. The Three Hebrew Men

They refused the Kings FOOD BEFORE they could refuse his IDOLS:

Daniel 1:11-15 But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: (12) "Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. (13) Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see." (14) The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. (15) At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu.

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "Your threat means nothing to us. (17) If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. (18) But even if he doesn't, it wouldn't make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn't serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up."

The Three Hebrews in Daniel 3 would have NEVER been able to say NO to the Kings IDOL if they hadn't learned to say NO to the Kings food. Our integrity starts with the small matters BEFORE it can will be effective in the larger matters.

2. Joseph (Genesis 39)

The same can be said about Joseph. He had to be FAITHFUL over Potiphar's house BEFORE he could be put in charge over all of Egypt. Too many times we want to go right to the BIG STUFF and have GREAT RESPONSIBILITIY, but we MUST prove ourselves FAITHFUL in the smaller responsibilities FIRST:

Genesis 39:3-6 His master recognized that GOD was with him, saw that GOD was working for good in everything he did. (4) He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. (5) From that moment on, GOD blessed the home of the Egyptian--all because of Joseph. The blessing of GOD spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, (6) and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day.

Genesis 41:39-41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "You're the man for us. God has given you the inside story--no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom. (40) From now on, you're in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you." (41) So Pharaoh commissioned Joseph: "I'm putting you in charge of the entire country of Egypt."

II. Choosing TRUST over FEAR (Daniel 3:28)
The next thing that they did was they REFUSED to allow their trust in God to be crowded out because of FEAR. They TRUSTED GOD completely! Think about this for a moment. They REFUSED to bow to the Kings idol even though they KNEW the consequences. They would be thrown into the fire. At that point, they didn't know if their decision to follow God would cost them their lives or not. But THEY REFUSED TO COMPROMISE REGARDLESS OF THE COST. God was faithful to them and brought them out of the fire, without even the smell of smoke upon them. Now listen to what King Nebuchadnezzar said, the same man that had asked "who is the god who will deliver you from my power":

Daniel 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

Notice a couple of things about these guys:

A. Trust was in place before the FIERY FURNACE was ("who trusted in him")

B. It wasn't the first time that they had to choose to OBEY GOD over MAN

C. They were delivered BECAUSE they FASTED ("set aside the kings command" the command to bow AND the command to eat the kings food)

D. They developed the DISCIPLINE that it takes to victoriously make it through a major test. ("yielded up their bodies")

E. They REFUSED to bow to any other god in their lives ("rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.")

I hope this Word will minister to you today as much as it has to me the past couple of days. I love you guys, and look forward to fasting with you! We KNOW the God who will deliver us! He is FAITHFUL and GOOD! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty
Today's "THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR" Bible reading: February 27, 2008 (Wednesday) I Samuel 13:1- I Samuel 15:35


Anonymous said...

We will never be where God wants us unless we are willing to let go of the things that stand between us. My pleasure cannot be my God. He will only give me the desires of my heart, when I find my pleasure or my delight in Him.