Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn more at harvest.org.
And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. The three hardest words to say. What do you think they are? I have sinned. You know, it's so easy. Well, they have sinned. We might even say in the broad sense, we all have sinned. Yeah, but how about just I've sinned? It's so easy to call out the shortcomings in others.
So hard to admit them about ourselves. Pastor Greg Laurie encourages us today. I wonder how many of us would be honest enough to say this to the Lord today. I have sinned. Let revival begin with you.
Some are in the fault finding business and business is booming. If we spend all our time finding faults, like a sightseeing expedition, we have little time to consider our own failings. And if we overlook them, maybe we can convince ourselves they're not really there. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points us to a man who not only accepted his own sins and shortcomings, but those of his people as well. It's an encouraging study about humility and self-sacrifice. We're now in Daniel 9. And this is a story where the prophet is reading the Scripture. And a certain passage just jumps off the page for him. Have you ever had that happen to you where you're reading the Bible and all of a sudden a verse or a series of verses just come alive and speak directly to the situation that you're facing in that given moment?
Or maybe it's in a message. If something is said, it's almost as though it were scripted for you. That's what happened to Daniel. So as he's reading through Jeremiah, it suddenly occurs to the prophet Daniel that this prophecy that Jeremiah gave is happening in real time. The prophecy Jeremiah gave is happening in Daniel's lifetime. He's going to literally see the fulfillment of a prediction that Jeremiah made and it impacted Daniel. And he experienced a personal revival. So if you want a personal revival, listen very carefully to what happened.
Let's read it together. Daniel 9 starting at verse 2. I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet that Jerusalem must lie desolate for 70 years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him with prayer and fasting.
I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. We'll stop there. So what's the background of this? Israel is living in Babylon. They're captives there because they kept turning to false idols and false gods. They were warned by prophets like Jeremiah and others to turn from this rampant idolatry where a time of judgment would come upon them.
But they ignored it and blew it off. And finally that judgment came. And Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians came and conquered Israel and took them back to Babylon. So they had been now in Babylon for 69 years. And Daniel realizes, wait.
God said 70 years. He counts. He counts it back. And he says, we've been here 69 years.
That means we're getting out of here in one year. So Daniel understandably was deeply moved by this discovery. Now here's Daniel. He understands that the reason they're in Babylon is because of their sin. He admits that they brought this on themselves. So here's now what Daniel does that brought personal revival in this life.
And if you're taking notes here's point number one. We have to admit we're part of the problem. Again we have to admit we're part of the problem. Look at Daniel 9 verse 7.
Lord, says Daniel, you're on the right. But as you see our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel scattered near and far. For you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. Oh Lord, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we've sinned against you. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving even though we have rebelled against him. So he owns it. He accepted responsibility for what he did.
Number two. God is right. And if we don't agree with it we are wrong.
How is that for a blunt point? Let God be true and every man a liar. The Scripture says this is a standard we measure all other truth by.
It doesn't matter if you agree with it or not. Ok so that brings me down to the three hardest words to say. What do you think they are? The three hardest words to say.
Ready? Write them down. I have sinned.
Oh those are hard. Oh I can say you have sinned. Sometimes I can even say we in a broad sense in our own way but me not as much as you have sinned. But for me to say I have sinned.
Those are hard words to say. But Daniel said them. Verse five. But we have sinned and done wrong.
We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. Now you know this is interesting because Daniel did not excuse himself or point a finger at others. Yet as you study the life of Daniel can you really find an instance where Daniel sinned? I mean Daniel he was so godly. You know not eating at the king's table because he saw it as a compromise. Probably because the food was offered to idols. Daniel speaking truth to power to King Belshazzar to King Nebuchadnezzar to King Darius.
He was not intimidated by anyone. Daniel who still got down on his knees and prayed when the law was passed that no one could pray to any god for the next 30 days. Yeah but he said we have sinned. So he knew he was culpable. He knew that he was responsible as well. Point number four.
Number four. If you want a personal revival you must intercede in prayer for others. You must intercede in prayer for others. Look at verse 20. Daniel says, I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people pleading with the Lord God for Jerusalem His holy mountain. You know pray for your forgiveness but pray for others too. If only we would spend as much time talking to God about others as we spend talking to others about others. You know you see someone compromising spiritually. Maybe you see someone who's fallen away.
So you talk about it to everybody. Do you know what they're doing? Do you follow them in Instagram? Did you see this photo?
Can you believe this? You know and okay yeah they have a problem. So what are you doing? I'm going to talk to everybody I can talk to about them. So when we see them we'll give them the evil eye. How about praying for them? How about interceding for them?
Why should I do that? Because my friend one day it could be you. Oh yes you. Me. Us. Any of us have the capacity to fall.
Right? So we pray and we intercede. We stand in the gap for them. And this is something we all need to do.
This is something we all should be doing. And we're asking you right now to be praying for non-believers that you know. We're praying that God will open their eyes. We're praying that God would open your mouth to share the gospel with them.
You know it's interesting. If there is a sin that the church as a whole is guilty of I would say it is this. Prayerlessness. Let me illustrate.
Bible study. Attendance will be good. If we announce a guest speaker people like attendance will be even better. If we announce special music or some artist people like to listen to attendance might even be stronger. If we announce a prayer meeting what happens?
Attendance goes down. Why? Well we don't need to pray.
Right? Do we need more Bible studies and more worship and listen to more artists? Yeah maybe there is a place for that.
Of course it is helpful. But are we above prayer now? We don't need to pray.
The Bible says you have not because you ask not. How important is prayer? It is time to intercede for others in prayer. When is the last time you spent time not praying for your needs?
And there is a place for that. But praying for somebody else. There is a story in the gospels of a man who had a child. And the child was dying. So he came to Jesus and he bowed down. And he asked Jesus to touch his son and heal him. And so Jesus says this. You know unless you people see signs and wonders you will by no means believe. You know.
What? A guy comes with a dying child. He bows down in reverence and respect.
Lord could you heal my son. Yeah you know and unless you people see signs and wonders you won't believe it. That almost seems like he is blowing the guy off doesn't it? Well here is what was really happening. Jesus wasn't blowing the guy off. In fact Jesus wasn't even addressing his words to that man in particular.
He was talking to the others that came to be entertained. He was just testing the man because he wanted the man to overcome a hurdle. See sometimes in prayer we pray for something and the Lord allows a hurdle because He wants you to press in. He wants you to keep praying. He wants you to keep praying. Keep seeking and keep knocking and then the door will be open. So Jesus finishes his talk.
The guy waits patiently. And then when Christ is all done the guy comes back to Jesus and says, Lord would you come down before my child dies. Jesus says, oh buddy listen your son lives. You are good. You can go now. You see He said, okay I will just wait. I will wait until you are done Lord. And then when the Lord is done the Lord says, oh your son is healed because you know what?
You passed the test. You kept praying. Don't give up so quickly in prayer today. Keep praying.
In fact pray a whole lot more. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg you are my new favorite pastor to listen to. I have your video on witnessing and I also listened to you on the radio in Ohio.
One day I heard you were talking about the Jesus movement and was excited because I was actually saved in 1975 during that time. The music artist who most influenced me was Keith Green. One month before my husband and I were scheduled to help minister at a Keith Green concert, Keith was killed in a plane crash. It was a real blow to not see him perform in person because he was so passionate about Jesus.
I still play his music and I'm also thankful that we'll see him in heaven one day. Thank you Pastor Greg for continuing to teach the word of God. If your life has been impacted through the ministry of Harvest would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop them an email greg at harvest dot org. Again that's greg at harvest dot o-r-g and find out more about the Jesus music movie available through us here at harvest dot o-r-g. Well we're learning important lessons today from the example of Daniel and Pastor Greg continues his message now called three of the hardest words to say.
Point number five. God wants to bless you even more than you want to be blessed. Let me say that again. God wants to bless you even more than you want to be blessed. How many of you want to be blessed today? Raise up your hand. You're crazy if you're not raising your hand. I want to be blessed. Don't you?
Guess what? God is not stingy with blessings. The Bible says it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. God loves to bless you and He wants to bless you but He is waiting for you to pray.
Check this out. Daniel 9 verse 21. Daniel says, as I was praying Gabriel whom I had seen in the early of vision came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. He explained to me, Daniel I have come here to give you insight and understanding the moment you began praying a command was given and now I am here to tell you what it is for you for you are very precious to God.
I love that. I love that it says that He came swiftly. Are your prayers heard in heaven?
Yes they are. Why are they all answered quickly? Because God has His timing. But sometimes He will answer your prayers so quickly it will make your head spin. You ever had that happen? You are so used to waiting, waiting, waiting. Lord I just pray for this. It happens.
Wow. Now you want it to be that way all the time right? But sometimes the Lord says yes. Sometimes the Lord says wait. Sometimes the Lord says no. Sometimes the Lord says grow. Sometimes the Lord says go.
He has His answers that are appropriate but pray about it and that is what He did. And who is dispatched from heaven but Gabriel. Man you know something is a big deal when Gabriel shows up.
There are only three angels mentioned in the Bible by name. Gabriel. Michael.
Can you guess the other? Lucifer. Lucifer.
Also known as the devil. Now he is a fallen angel so we don't really count him as an angel in that sense but the two highest ranking angels are Michael the archangel and Gabriel. Maybe Gabriel is an archangel.
I don't know. I know he is a high ranking angel. He is sort of like a five star general angel. So when Gabriel shows up something big is coming down. So Gabriel shows up when? To tell Mary you are going to be the mother of the Messiah.
Well that is a big announcement. I bet the angels all clamored to get that one. But Gabriel got it. And now Gabriel shows up and says, man while you are praying I was dispatched by God to you with an answer quickly. And God wants to bring a message to you as well. And I love what Gabriel says to Daniel.
He says, and I want you to know something. You are very precious to God. Did you know that you are very precious to God? No I am not. No actually you are. But I am not worthy. No you are not worthy. You are not even close to worthy. In fact you are the most unworthy sinner ever.
Just like me. This is not about worthiness. This is not about merit.
I wish we could move beyond this. We don't approach God because we deserve to. We never deserve to approach God.
We never will deserve to approach God. But God loves us and we are beloved to Him. You are loved by God. You are loved by God when you worship Him. You are loved by God when you read His Word. You are loved by God when you share the gospel. You are loved by God when you don't worship and when you don't read your Bible even when you sin. Now you are disappointing to God when you do that but you are still loved by Him. Our Father who longs for fellowship, friendship, and relationship with each and every one of us. He doesn't want anything to sever or separate that communication even for a moment. We are beloved to God.
Let me take it a step further. God the Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus Christ His own Son. Well I don't know about that. Where is that in the Bible? Ok I will tell you exactly John 17. And Jesus said in John 17 to the Father, Father may they know that you love them as much as you love Me.
It is true. He loves you as much as He loves Jesus. He loves you because of Jesus. He loves you because Jesus died in your place and transferred His righteousness into your account. And you stand positionally righteous before God. Not because you live a perfect life. You don't. I don't. But because Jesus did this for each of us. You are loved by the Father.
And know this also. Nothing will ever separate you from the love of God. Nothing or no one.
Not height or depth. Not angels. Not demons. Not any living creature. Not our fears for today or our worries for tomorrow.
Nothing will separate us from God's love. Point number six. And this is my last point.
If you want to see a revival let it start with you. Let it start with you. Oh it is so easy to point fingers. You know if only the church did this morning. The pastor if he could change that. You know and here in America and the president this and the congress that and the senate over here.
Hollywood. And if only. And you know how about you? Let's just start with you.
Yeah maybe all those people need to change. But you know what? You pray about that.
Start with you. Let revival begin with you. Daniel said I have sinned. I wonder how many of us would be honest enough to say this to the Lord today. I have sinned.
You know it is so easy. Well they have sinned. We might even say in the broad sense we all have sinned.
Yeah but how about just I have sinned. Sins of commission. Doing what I should not do. Sins of omission.
Not doing what I should do. This is where it all starts. This is where I say I have sinned.
And here is the good news. If you will confess your sin God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Coming back to an earlier point we have to understand that God is right and if we don't agree we are wrong.
Right. Ok. What does the word confess mean? It means to agree with God.
Agree with God. So if God and I are standing here right now and we are looking out there together at the sunset and the Lord says that is a beautiful sunset. I say it sure is Lord.
You did an awesome job. Beautiful. See we agree on something. And God says I don't like what is happening over there. And I say I agree Lord.
I don't like it either. I am agreeing with God. That is what it means to confess. So God says you have sinned. You have fallen short.
I agree. I don't make up excuses. I don't blame it on the person next to me.
Because we are so quick to do this. It is my husband. My wife. The dog. It is the cat.
Always the cat. It is you. It is you. It is me. It is me.
It is us. Let us start with you. Let's all bow our heads. Father thank You for loving us. Thank You for the doorway to You through prayer. That is wide open through Jesus.
Help us to walk through. And Lord we want Your forgiveness. We want revival. Yes in our country. Yes in the church.
Yes in our church. But Lord it needs to start with us. We want personal revival. So we are praying for that now. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important message today on the New Beginning. A study titled Three of the Hardest Words to Say.
And he has an important way to close our study time in just a moment so please don't turn away. Tell me your name and what you do in the music industry. I'm Amy Grant and I have been making music and telling stories since I was a teenager. I don't want to make this thing negative but at the same time I want to be honest. I can't believe I'm getting emotional. I don't know how to say this. I've never shared this with anybody. I don't want to say this. The whole thing came aloud. Allow me to be proud. I don't understand it. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.
This thing on paper shouldn't have worked. The Jesus movement is no longer a California fail. Contemporary Christian music has become a business. And we see all the intricacies and everything.
We're just gonna go. The story was so massive. That's an excerpt from a brand new film called The Jesus Music produced by the Irwin brothers. You know them best for their films like I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe and next year they're releasing a feature film based on my life and on the spiritual awakening called The Jesus Movement and the title of that film will be Jesus Revolution. Well out of this movement of God that happened in the early 70s a whole new form of music came to be that we call contemporary Christian music today but in the initial stage it was just called Jesus music. It became an industry with all kinds of people involved and there's some drama in this story as you'll see but what I love is it's a story of redemption.
How God has used flawed people to bring this music to us but listen God always goes out of his way to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. You're gonna be surprised by, blessed by, encouraged by this movie that we're gonna send you for your gift of any size on DVD, Blu-ray and also downloadable. Again it's called The Jesus Music.
You may have seen it in the theaters or on streaming platforms. Now you can have your own copy. Now listen whatever you send will be used to help us here at A New Beginning and Harvest Ministries to teach God's word and proclaim the gospel. So order your copy right now of The Jesus Music. You're gonna love this. Yeah it really is a terrific film.
It's a fascinating story along with plenty of surprises. We hope you'll let us send it your way. We're sending it to say thank you for your partnership. When you partner with Harvest Ministries and A New Beginning together we can reach even more people. You know more than 220,000 have made professions of faith in the last two years and it's the investments of friends like you that help make that possible. So contact us today with your investment and let us thank you with a copy of The Jesus Music.
As Pastor Greg said we'll send it on DVD, Blu-ray and also give you a way to download it to your tablet, your phone, your computer. So just give us a call at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime again at 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Ever start your day off wrong? You know things started badly and just kept going downhill. A lot of it has to do with your focus, where your mind is centered as the day starts. Why not plug into Pastor Greg's daily devotions?
They're free of charge. It's good encouragement to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. You can read each day's devotion or listen to the audio version, your choice.
Sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. You know the details of God's plan for the end times seem like a puzzle and we're left puzzled. Well next time Pastor Greg helps us put the pieces together. But before we wrap up, Pastor Greg closes this way.
I think we should close in prayer. And I'd like to lead you in a prayer. I'm going to ask you to pray a prayer with me. But don't pray it if you don't mean it.
But if you do, please do. If you want this revival we've talked about today, if you need to get right with God today, if there is some sin you need to confess today, I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I confess my sin.
I agree with You about sin. And I turn from it. And I repent of it.
And I'm sorry for it. Lord I want to be an intercessor. I want to pray for others. I want to share the gospel with others. I want personal revival.
So would You send it to me now. Revive me Lord. Fill me Lord.
Use me Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Oh Father You have heard those prayers. Your Word tells us that our prayers rise like incense to heaven.
They're pleasing to You. I pray this was pleasing to You. And Lord I know You will answer this prayer because You've told us to call out to You. Answer this prayer Lord and bring this great awakening and revival to each of us. For we ask it now in Jesus' name. Thank you. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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