fireproof your future for hard times

How,s youe heart
Contact Me

Fireproof Your Future - Preparing for Times of Uncertainty

Daniel 3:1-3:30

Fireproof your Future - Preparing for times of uncertainty
A godly life brings opposition
A godly life brings hard choices
A godly Life requires that we know Who we believe in
A godly life brings blessing and peace
We are living in very uncertain times.

We have a financial system that cannot seem to find its footing.
Homes are being foreclosed on
Retirement savings have been decimated
Jobs are being lost by the thousands
The Cost of living continues to rise

This is not only in America, but across much of the world

Administration change
We are in for a change of administration for sure
We are certain to have a president that scares a lot of people, whether that is John McCain or Barak Obama.

Societal changes
We live in a different society that we did 10 years ago.

Terrorism affects all of us now.
Our country has always been a bastion of liberty.
Liberty is freedom with responsibility.

One of the greatest things about our country was that people understood and took their responsibilities seriously.

Freedom = License, not Liberty
We now live in a world that doesn’t view freedom as a liberty but as a license – a license to do whatever I want to do and you can’t do anything about it.

Maintaining liberty in that environment is very difficult.

Even more than 150 years ago, French Historian Alexis De Tocqueville saw that. As he travelled America to discover why the American experiment was so successful, he noted, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

And he noted that “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”

When America believes that
freedom is more of a license to do what we want rather than a liberty that carries with it responsibilities, or
when those responsibilities are not defined by a faith based morality,
we will see the nation cease to be great, because she has ceased to pursue goodness by the power and strength of the Living God.

We see the struggle today to maintain liberty in the face of a society that no longer has a faith based morality.

We struggle with things like the Patriot act, which gives the government unprecedented powers in denying what were once constitutional freedoms, so as to protect us from terrorists, from abroad as well as from home.

To be safe in a society that is not good, means limiting freedoms and giving authority over to others to protect us.

But if we have a government that is “of the people, by the people and for the people” (Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address), and the people as a whole are not good or do not have a faith based morality, do we expect them to wisely use, or at a minimum to not abuse, the unprecedented power they have been given?

Challenging and uncertain times are certainly what we are living in.

As we view these things, it is easy to focus only on these changes and uncertainties and become discouraged.

We may even wonder where is God in all of this?

Well, often it is in times of hardship and uncertainty that God shows up in unbelievable ways in the live of His people.

Fireproof transition
We have been talking over the past month about how we fireproof our relationships.

We need to have a relationship with Christ and keep our eyes on him if we are going to
experience a great marriage, if we are going to
overcome temptations against things that will be parasites in our relationships and
Forgive others so we do not wind up in the prison of an unforgiving and bitter heart.
This morning I want to talk about how we can Fireproof our Future, not just in our relationships, but in all of life.

We are going to take a look at 3 individuals that lived in very challenging and changing times but, as we will see, they had Fireproofed their future.

Turn with me to Daniel 3 (p. 627)

A little bit of Background before we get to Daniel 3 and our main characters Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

They were Jews who were taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar was a king who was about himself, surrounded by many advisors who were concerned about themselves.

Anyway, in the first chapter of Daniel, we find that Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refuse to dishonor God by eating food from the kings table.

These men, even in this less than ideal circumstance, kept their eyes on God.

And God blessed them.

Now in chapter 3, these three young men are striving to follow God the best they can as foreigners in this pagan society that worshipped multiple gods and was filled with people that were all about themselves.

This sounds a lot how Peter tells us to live.
1 Peter 1:17 - live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

That is what these men were doing as they lived in Babylon.
They knew who God was and had a reverent fear of Him which helped them live in a way that glorified the Lord.

As we look at their lives and particularly this event in Daniel 3, I want us to see
what we can expect as we strive to live godly lives and
how we might better prepare ourselves to live godly lives
during these uncertain and changing times that we face.

Those are some of the questions that we are going to be seeking to answer as we jump into Daniel 3.

Daniel 3:1-12
3:1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon-Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego-who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."

Let’s stop here a moment.

Here we have Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, going about living there lives, doing their job, when times start to change.

Notice that nothing they did changed, but their culture and society and circumstances changed that made their beliefs stand out a bit more and brought about opposition.

A Godly Life will Bring Opposition
This seems counter intuitive to us.

If we are living a godly life, shouldn’t we have an easy life?

Well, here is the problem with that thinking.
We confuse a blessed life with an easy life.

Now I fully believe that God will bless us as we live a godly life.
The Scriptures speak about this all throughout.

Proverbs 3:33 - The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.

Psalm 128:1 - Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.

God blesses us as we live godly lives, lives that show we “walk in his ways.”

But blessing does not always equate with ease of circumstances.

There are times when God does bless us with that, but being blessed by the Lord is more about experiencing His presence in the midst of life, whatever that brings.

God’s blessing is often finding Comfort in the midst of Suffering.
2 Corinthians 1:5 - For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Or it is Finding peace amid trouble
John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Living a godly life does not guarantee ease of life.
In fact, It guarantees just the opposite.
2 Timothy 3:12 – “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”

We need to realize that as we strive to live a godly life, we are going to face opposition and persecution, especially during times of change and uncertainty.

Well, let’s continue the story to see what else living a godly life will bring.

Daniel 3:13-15
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

That’s a Bummer
Not only does living a godly life bring opposition, but living
A Godly Life will Bring Hard Choices
These guys have to choose between
worshiping a false idol and keeping their physical life or
worshipping the living God and most likely losing their physical life.

Now, we could make rationalizations and argue that God has given us this physical life as a gift and we should do all in our power to save our life for God’s glory so in this case it might be ok just to outwardly bow down but not to really worship inwardly.

However the second commandment says
Exodus 20:4-5 – "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God

In the New Testament, Jesus says in
Revelation 2:10 –
Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

That is a tough choice for these young men.
They know what God wants them to do, but that means death.

It is not too often in this country today, that we are facing a choice that is going to risk our life, like these young men.

In many other parts of the world they do, however.
Muslims who seek to live a godly life in Christ face death.

While we don’t typically face life and death choices based on living a godly life, we still face choices that are hard and could greatly affect our life.

Now, I am anything but a legalist when it comes to regular church attendance.
Things come up on occasion, special events happen, work emergencies happen, some jobs, for the good of the people, require that we work on some Sunday’s, like firemen, police, doctors and nurses.

But there are many situations that we face that we do have a choice, even if it isn’t always an easy choice.

Kids Sports
Our child is good at a sport so we want him or her on the traveling team.
They only play on Sunday mornings for the next 3 months.
If you can’t play then, your child can’t be on the team.
If they don’t play travelling sports, it will be hard to play in High School.
If they don’t play in High School, they won’t get that scholarship.
If they don’t get that Scholarship, they won’t get a good job and their life won’t be as good.
But God’s word says in Hebrews 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

What do you do?

Work pressures
In this election year, perhaps your union or work place favors one candidate over the other and you are being pressured to support a candidate that you have moral disagreements with on some of their stands.
Not supporting them may affect your job and your ability to make a living.

Do you support them outwardly but inside say I will not vote for them,
do you stand openly for certain positions saying I can’t vote for a candidate who holds certain positions that are in opposition to God’s word, even if there is no candidate that deserves your support fully.

What do you do with hard choices?

That is the choice that these 3 young men are faced with.

What choice do they have, really?
Dishonor God by bowing down and live or
Honor God by refusing and die.

Let’s see what they do.

Daniel 3:16-23
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

These guys made the hard choice and the consequences were severe.

We respect that kind of stand, but really how do you make those kinds of choices in the heat of the moment like that?

I will tell you this.
The responses that we make to hard choices we face that concern how we live a godly life are not made on the spur of the moment.

You need to prepare ahead of time to make choices like that in those moments.

We need to prepare ourselves to live godly lives in times of change and uncertainty
And to truly live
A Godly life requires that we know Who we believe in
Look at what these three say to the king.
Daniel 3:17 - If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it

They know who they believe in and serve.
They know that the God they serve is good.
They know that the God they serve is able.

They know who it is they have put their trust and their hope in and it shows up in their actions.

They don’t serve themselves.
They don’t serve the king, although there are times that as they serve the Lord, they will serve the king.

They serve and believe in God almighty, a God
who is powerful, who is able, who is mighty to save.

They know the God they believe in.

Who you believe in Matters
You see it is not just about having faith or believing.

It matters what and who you believe in.

I could put my hope in an idol, but it has no power to save me.
I could put my hope in a god that I make up, but that “god” is not able to do anything
I could put my hope in myself, but I will soon find out that I will fail myself.

People put their hope in things that offer no hope.

Even God is astounded by this. Listen to what He says in Isaiah 44.
Isa 44:6-7, 9, 13a, 14-15, 19
6 "This is what the LORD says--Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come--yes, let him foretell what will come. ..

9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless…

13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker…

14 He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. 15 It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. …19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?"

Who are you serving?
In whom do you believe?

Is it the one true God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and showed His power by resurrecting from the dead never to die again?

Or is it a block of wood?
A block of wood in the form of our self?
A block of wood in the form of our job?
A block of wood in the form of our desires?
We say we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, as
the God who came and put on flesh,
the God who always was and always is and always will be
the God who resurrected from the dead to never die again
the God who offers eternal life to all who put their trust in Him.

The God who displays his glory throughout the heavens.
The God who created each of us in our mother’s wombs
The God who spoke the earth and the entire universe into existence.
The God who sustains all things.
The God who conquered the grave.
The God who is mighty to save.

If we really believe in a God who is so able, then how is it that we end up worshipping other things in our actions?

So often we are like, I am like, those Pharisees that Jesus said this to in
Matthew 15:7-8
7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 "’These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.

The reason is that we are not preparing ourselves well.

We need to be growing deep
in our relationship with the Lord,
in knowing truly Who it is we believe in,
not just knowing about who we say we believe in.

When we really know Him and trust Him, He enables us to stand in the face of all things knowing that He will watch over us and protect us and if not in this life, then for the next life which is far, far more important and permanent than the life we live right now.

How do we prepare ourselves?
How do we prepare ourselves to live godly lives?
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18 to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Bible Study, prayer, worship, service
We grow in our grace and knowledge of him by spending time with Him in Bible study, prayer, worship, & in serving Him.

Join a group
If you aren’t in a Bible study you need to be in one.
We have a study on Tuesday and one on Thursdays that have several openings.
You can jump right in.

Set a time to pray
Begin spending time in prayer.

Get up 15 minutes earlier during the week and spend time praying.

Read the Bible. If you have had trouble understanding, read what you are studying in your small group or pick up a Daily bread or a Today in the Word and begin doing these short devotionals daily. This alone is not going to make you mature, but it is a good place to start. Just like a baby starts with milk, and then moves to solid food, just begin with some nourishment.

Peter tells us to “crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” - 1 Peter 2:2

Make corporate worship a priority
Being out of church worship service for extended periods of time will only weaken you in your ability to live godly lives.

Begin serving
Start serving the Lord through the church or in your neighborhoods by being a light for His truth.

All of these actions will help us keep our focus and that divine perspective that each of us need and will prepare us to live a godly life even in uncertain and challenging times.

As we are prepared and actually do live a godly life, We are going to find that living a godly life not only brings opposition and hard choices, but that living
A godly life brings blessing and peace
Even as we face opposition and hard choices.
These 3 young men had a great peace as they went to what appeared to be certain death.
But let’s look at the end of this story after they are thrown into the blazing furnace.

Daniel 3:24-30
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."
25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

These three young men were able to stand firm in the strength and power and might of the Lord, trusting Him fully, even unto death, and God blessed them and glorified Himself by saving them out of the fire.

Our God is mighty to save.

But the even more amazing thing is that these young men trusted Him even if they died. That is the peace that God gives that surpasses all understanding.

Listen, there are many who will go to their death and suffer for living a godly life.
The apostles did
Many missionaries throughout history have.
We may too.

But when we truly know who we believe in, we can face the opposition and hard choices with peace and blessing knowing our eternities will be in the presence of the One who is mighty to Save and has provided eternal salvation through Jesus.

We are going to close singing Mighty to Save. (Worship team come up)

Worship the Living God and His Might
Make your prayer to Him to be strong like these young men who knew who they believed in where able to say to the King
Daniel 3:17-18
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

If you feel that your future is not fireproof, if you don’t know the God who is mighty to save, and you would like to talk with someone about trusting Jesus as your Savior
if you would like someone to pray with you regarding some issue in your life, we have some people that will be up at the front that you can come up and pray with immediately following the service.

Now let’s sing the last course and truly worship the God who is mighty to save.

Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Jesus you did conquer the grave and You are mighty to save.
Lord as we continue on in this life you have given us, we pray that you would help us by strengthening us to be able to stand firm in the face of opposition so that we can make the right choice when it is hard. Help us to prepare now by guiding us to your word so we can grow in our knowledge of you and bring glory to you as we experience your presence and are blessed by it.

Thank you for the salvation you have given through your sacrifice upon the cross.

You are mighty to Save.


Enter content here

Enter supporting content here