Sermons

Summary: We can learn how to cope with change in a positive manner by the example of a young teenage boy named Daniel.

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Introduction

SHARP – The word “change” is a powerful word. At the very thought of “change” varying emotions of fear, anxiety, excitement, anticipation, caution, can be felt depending on the circumstances and context in which the thought of “change” occurs.

Illustration

We all experience change. While you are sitting here you are changing. During this message about ½ million cells in your body are going to die and be replaced with a half a million new cells during my message. You are being made new just sitting here. How awesome is that! Our skin replaces itself every month. Your stomach lining undergoes a complete change in 5 days. Your liver every 6 weeks and your skeleton every 3 months. Change is natural. Our bodies are continually changing. It is the natural aging process where we gradually get older and hopefully wiser.

Illustration

Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion states “everything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon it.” Everyone in this room either has experienced, is experiencing, or will experience change by forces impressed upon you. It could be PCS, ETS, change of career, change of position or responsibility, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a loved one, deployment, redeployment, etc. One thing that is constant in our lives is change. As we experience these varying types of change sometimes we don’t handle it very well. Sometimes we become “testy”, or angry, sometimes simply unbearable. Sometimes, depending upon the situation, we may even lose hope. We can learn how to cope with change in a positive manner by the example of a young teenage boy named Daniel.

Background

In approximately 605BC the lives of the Israelites were turned upside down when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. Defeat itself is humiliating but what was even worse was the looting of the Temple. The holy vessels used in worship were taken and placed in the shrine of a pagan god. Also, some of the citizens of Jerusalem were taken into exile in Babylon. Four of those mentioned here are young teenage boys named Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They are now living in a foreign land. They are living in a foreign culture that did not care about the things of God and offered them opportunities to do things and participate in things that they never imagined. They were far away from their families and anyone who would have provided supervision or guidance. Lets learn from Daniel how to cope with change.

I. Look Up

The first thing we need to do when coping with change is to LOOK UP. Take your eyes off of your circumstances and “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” When we focus upon our circumstance we are taking a world view that is short sighted and distorted. All we can see are our immediate circumstances. But when we focus upon God and who He is and who He says we are then we gain a biblical view of the world and we remember that our citizenship is in heaven and whether I am in Germany, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Houston, Texas or wherever any of us claim to be from we realize that we are just passing through as we pursue God until that day when our pursuit is over and we have arrived home with Him.

a.) God is in Control – As we LOOK UP and receive a biblical view of the world we remember that God is in control. Verse 2 shows us that God is active in this event because it says that “the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God.” This probably should not have come as a surprise since he told the people through the prophet Isaiah approximately 100 years before that this was going to happen when he said, “The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." I’m sure Daniel and his friends did not understand what was going on or why. They probably had lot’s of “why God?” questions. But ultimately, they knew that God was in control and He would carry them through.

b.) God is with You – The second thing that happens when we LOOK UP and receive a biblical view of the world is that we remember that God is always with us. We are all familiar with the Great Commission found in Mat 28:19-20. We all know that Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” But a lot of times we forget the very end of verse 20 where Jesus says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." He isn’t just there sometimes. He is with you ALWAYS. He isn’t there just for part of the journey. He is with you every step of the way on your journey home to be with Him and then for all eternity. There is no place that you can be that He is not there with you. He is with you in the good times and the bad times. Before leading the Israelites into the Promised Land God told Joshua 3 times “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God tells you today, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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