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Between Impossible & More Impossible | Turning Worry Into Prayer

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2024 3:00 am

Between Impossible & More Impossible | Turning Worry Into Prayer

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 9, 2024 3:00 am

Here’s a good quote you can find on the Internet: “In times of trouble, don’t give in to your natural reflex of worry. Instead, condition your reflex to pray.” It’s a meme from a man named Greg Laurie. Well, that same Greg Laurie brings us a complete message on how to turn our worries into prayers today as he continues a new series called “Joshua: Living in the Land of Promises.” Glad you’re along for A NEW BEGINNING as we learn to awaken our faith, and put our worries to bed.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. and have faith that He can handle them. Here's a good quote you can find on the internet. In times of trouble, don't give in to your natural reflex of worry.

Instead, condition your reflex to pray. It's a meme from a man named Greg Laurie. Well, that same Greg Laurie brings us a complete message on how to turn our worries into prayers today as he continues a new series called Joshua Living in the Land of Promises. Glad you're along for A New Beginning as we learn to awaken our faith and put our worries to bed.

Let me start with a question. Have you ever been in a situation where the only way out was God? In other words, if God didn't come through for you, you were dead in the water.

Maybe it was a report from a doctor. They said, I'm sorry, there's nothing more we can do for you. Maybe it was a financial catastrophe and you were on the brink of collapse.

Maybe it was the death of a loved one and you thought, I cannot survive this. That's the very situation we find Israel in in the story before us. Now, as we all know, God delivered the Israelites from the land of Egypt.

And now he's going to take them to that land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, Canaan's land. But the problem is, as they were approaching this land, they were being chased by the Egyptian army. And they found themselves backed up with a red sea behind them and a really big army coming toward them. They were literally between the devil and the deep blue sea, between a rock and a hard place.

They were basically facing an unconquerable army and an impassable sea. But God was going to come through for them. And it looked like it was impossible, but the good news is, with God, nothing is impossible. That's what the Bible says. Have you ever looked up the phrase, but God, in the Bible?

Those two words together, but God. We see it in Noah's story. Remember the Lord told Noah to build an ark and he boarded it with his family and they bobbed around in the water for 40 days and 40 nights. And do you think Noah ever got discouraged? Like, are we ever going to get out of this thing? Like the 38th day.

I am so tired of hanging out with a bunch of stinking animals. Will we ever find dry land? And I love Genesis 8, when it says, but God remembered Noah and the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark. And the Lord sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded.

But God, God made a promise and God keeps his promises. I think of the story of Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, forgotten. They thought they'd never see him again, but through God's providence, he was charged falsely by the wife of Potiphar, the original cougar, also known as Mrs. Robinson. She hit on Joseph. He resisted her advances.

She falsely charged him with rape. He was sent to a prison, but there in the prison, he made contact with the butler and the baker of the Pharaoh. And it resulted in him being in the court of the Pharaoh and interpreting the dream and becoming the second most powerful man in all of Egypt. And one day his brothers, who had betrayed him, who had sold him into slavery, showed up because he was in charge of the food supply.

And if this was, you know, a Liam Neeson movie, they would have all been killed in slow motion. But instead what happens is we see that Joseph looked at them and said, you intended to harm me, but God, there's those two words again, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done to save many lives. Even death does not have the final word. Death seems so permanent, so hopeless, but I read in Psalm 49, 15, but God will redeem my life from the grave.

He will take me to himself, but God. So here's my question for you today. How big is your problem? How big is your obstacle? How big is what it is you are facing? Here's the good news. Your God is bigger than what you're facing.

Right? Moses' very life showed that God was bigger than any obstacle. I mean the story opens with the Pharaoh giving an order that all the Jewish baby boys are to be put to death. So go back to Joseph. When Joseph goes to Egypt, ends up in charge of the food supply of the Pharaoh, now the Jewish race begins to grow and one day this new Pharaoh down the road says, where did all these Jewish people come from? I think they're a threat to us. We need to start getting rid of them. So he said to the midwives who were delivering the babies, if you see a Jewish baby boy coming, drown him in the river.

I don't want him. It was almost like a precursor to Hitler's Final Solution where he was trying to eradicate the Jewish people. But those Jewish ladies would have nothing to do with that and one of those little baby boys that was born was Moses. And it's interesting because the Bible says he was a beautiful baby. You know, not every baby is beautiful. I mean, now look, in a broad sense all babies are beautiful, but let's be honest, some babies are a little more attractive than others. And some would say, look at my baby.

You go, wow, well, he looks very healthy. But then there are beautiful babies, right? You look, that's a beautiful baby.

That's the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. So this beautiful baby boy, Moses, is put in this little basket. You've heard of Noah's ark? It was like Moses' ark, but it was little, covered in pitch so it would stay afloat.

She taps it and it goes down the Nile River as if on cue the beautiful baby Moses cries and the daughter of the Pharaoh sees him and says, I'm adopting that little guy. And now he's taken into the court of the Pharaoh. He's living in the very lap of luxury. The world was his oyster, schooled in the finest university, eating the finest food, wearing the most amazing clothes.

He had it all. In fact, some believed that he would have become the next Pharaoh had he played his cards right. But underneath those Egyptian royal robes beat the heart of a Hebrew. And he saw how horribly his people were being treated. The Jews were slaves to the Egyptians. So one day, Moses, the prince of Egypt, sees an Egyptian beating a Jewish man and he looks to the right and he looks to the left. And he kills the Egyptian and then buries his body in the sand. If you're going to murder someone, don't bury them in the sand. First of all, don't murder anyone.

Let's establish that. Thou shall not murder. But don't hide someone in the sand because the little breeze blew and everyone knew. Pharaoh was so outraged he put a contract out on Moses and Moses now flees to the desert. For 40 years he's in the desert watching over a flock of sheep. And now God was going to retool him. God was going to recall him. Moses spent 40 years in the Pharaoh's court finding out he was a somebody. He spent 40 years in the desert finding out he was a nobody.

And he found out what God can do with someone who is a somebody who realizes they're a nobody. God was going to use Moses in a powerful way. So he goes in to see the Pharaoh. He demands the release of the Jews. The Pharaoh resists. But after a series of plagues came upon Egypt, finally Moses is leaving Egypt with the Jewish people.

Thousands and thousands of them. He could have said along with Martin Luther King, free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we're free at last. So off they go. But interestingly the Lord did not direct them in a direct route to the land of promise. He led them through a much harder, longer route that in many ways made no sense. But in fact it was part of God's plan. And it's explained in Exodus 13 verse 17. When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory. Even though that was the shortest route to the promised land, God said, if the people are faced with the battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So the Lord led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

We'll stop there. God did not lead them the shortest way or the easiest way, but it was the best way. The best way. And God always leads us in the best way. And there was an amazing GPS system the Lord set up.

I talked about this last time. It was a cloud by day. It was a fire by night. So when the cloud moved, you moved. When the cloud stopped, you stopped.

Same with the fire. I have a love-hate relationship with GPS. Like there have been times I'm driving in my car, going down the freeway, and the GPS says, turn right at the next off-ramp. I'm like, you don't turn right at the next off-ramp. You stay on the 405. Turn right at the next off-ramp. Turn, ok, finally I turn off. Now pull over to the street. Ok, go left. Go right. Now get out of your car. Jump up and down three times.

Wait, what? Go in the In-N-Out Burger. Order something. Take the food and leave without paying. Get arrested.

Wait, who's programming this? So then recently I was driving and I programmed my destination and my GPS and I'm cruising along on the 55 freeway and the GPS says, turn right at the next off-ramp. I know you don't turn right at the next off-ramp. So I kept going straight and I hit traffic. Oh, and I thought GPS was trying to help me.

So I had to apologize to artificial intelligence. I'm sorry GPS. But listen, God's GPS is always right.

It will never mislead you. We have something better than a cloud in the day and a fire by night. We have Christ living inside of us, guiding us through the word of God. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

We send these daily studies out via radio, satellite, and online. And we don't always know how these messages are touching lives. But when we hear the stories of our listeners, it really is encouraging to us. Hi, Pastor Greg. I watch you on YouTube almost every day and you have been a wonderful influence in my life. It was because of your teachings that I gave my life to Jesus. I pray that the Lord keeps you going strong and preaching God's word for many more years to come.

Thank you. If you've had your life changed because of Harvest Ministries, would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email, gregatharvest.org. Again, that's gregatharvest.org. Well, today we're walking beside Moses on the way to the Promised Land.

But the Egyptian army is in hot pursuit. It's a critical time to uncover God's will. Pastor Greg's study is titled, Between Impossible and More Impossible. You want to know the will of God?

Study the word of God. God will never contradict His word. And that's how we know what right and wrong are. And we have something better than a fire in the sky. We have the fire of the Holy Spirit empowering us to do His will. And we have His peace that will help us to know which way to go. Isaiah 55 says, He shall go forth with joy and be led forth with peace. The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. I love that. Trees clapping hands.

Mountains singing. But notice it says, you go forth with joy and you're led in peace. I've found when I'm in the will of God, I have joy. I've found when I'm in the will of God, I have peace. And there are times I might be in a situation, or it could be a relationship or something else, where you don't feel a peace about it. The Bible says, let the peace of God settle with finality, all matters that arise in your minds. Another way it's been translated is, let the peace of God be like an umpire.

Umpires are not very popular, are they? But someone has to call it. And the Holy Spirit, through His peace, will show us things to do and things not to do. Isaiah 30, 21 says, your own ears will hear them right behind you. The voice will say, this is the way you should go, whether you go to the right or the left. You know, we need God to direct us, because God's way is better than our way.

We think we know what's right, but many times we don't. It's like parents raising a kid. What if you let your children decide what they wanted to eat every day? For breakfast, they'd have what, Cap'n Crunch? For lunch, Frosted Flakes? For dinner, the kid would say, I'm trying to cut back on the sugar, so I'm going to go with Honey Nut Cheerios. This isn't good for you, kid.

This isn't even real food. I have to get the right food in your diet as well, and God does the same. And so we have to go with His will, and we have to go with His way. See, Solomon ascended to the throne and the place of his father, David. He became the king over Israel, and because of that, he had unlimited resources and power. And though God had given him amazing supernatural wisdom, he didn't want to live that way anymore. He decided he knew better than God, so he decided to push the envelope and try everything this world had to offer.

And think how long ago this was written, but how relevant it is today. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2, everything I wanted, I took. I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, and I held back nothing. Wow, that sounds awesome, right?

No, not so awesome. Solomon says, then I took a good look at everything I'd done. I looked at all the sweat and hard work, and I looked, and I saw nothing but smoke and spitting into the wind. That's a modern paraphrase.

There was nothing to any of it, nothing. Wow. So he realized it. He learned it the hard way. Then at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes, he comes to this important conclusion. Here's the final word. Fear God and do what He tells you to do. That's it.

Aha. Boy, young people, if you could learn from this, because we always have to go out there and learn it ourselves, and we can learn from the mistakes of others. Okay, so here now are the Israelites, and God's going to lead them through the Red Sea. Let's go to Exodus 14, verse 3.

Here's what happens. The Lord is saying the Pharaoh's going to think the Israelites are confused. They're trapped in the wilderness. And once again, the Lord says, I'll harden Pharaoh's heart, and he'll chase after you. I planned this in order to display My glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this, the Egyptians will know I am the Lord.

So the Israelites camped there as they were told. What kind of a military strategy is this? Okay, so the Pharaoh's going to think you're all going to die because you're backed up against the Red Sea. That's the plan.

So what do we do? You just stand there, look like prey to a predator, and he's going to go for this. He's going to go for this hook, line, and sinker, and sure enough, that's what the Pharaoh did. He heard about the Israelites.

He says, let's go kill them. See, the Pharaoh's heart was hard. That verse says that his heart would be hard.

You know what's interesting? In the book of Exodus, miracle after miracle was done to convince Pharaoh. Moses walked in, threw his staff on the ground. It turns into a snake, probably a cobra. He picks it up by the tail. By the way, never pick up a snake by its tail. Always get them right behind the head, because if you pick them up by the tail, he'll strike. He picks up a stick, or a snake rather.

It turns into a stick again. Plagues of frogs, plagues of lice. The Nile River turning to blood. All of these things happen to convince Pharaoh when we read, Pharaoh hardened his heart. Pharaoh hardened his heart. Pharaoh hardened his heart. Then we read, and God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Wait, what? That's a contradiction.

No, it isn't. Both things are true. You see, Pharaoh hardened his heart repeatedly, and the Lord effectively hardened his heart, meaning he strengthened it. God will not force you to believe. If you put your faith in Christ and follow him, he will strengthen you in that commitment. But if you go against God's will in a continual pattern of sin, you'll be strengthened in that as well. Pharaoh effectively went beyond the point of no return.

There is a point of no return. Jesus spoke of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is the unforgivable sin. You say, oh man, I might have blasphemed him sometime in my life. No, it doesn't mean you insulted the Holy Spirit once.

The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin and bring us to Christ. The blaspheme, or to insult him, means to reject the work he has come to do. So the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, or the unforgivable sin, is the rejection of Christ. Every other sin can be forgiven if you repent of it.

But if you reject Jesus Christ, the Bible says, how can you escape if you neglect so great a salvation? The Pharaoh had gone beyond the point of no return. So now here are the Israelites. They're facing the Red Sea. Here comes the armies of Egypt.

What do they do? What would you have done? You would have done exactly what they did. They freaked out. Look at Exodus 14, 10. As the Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked. When they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. And they said, weren't there enough graves for us in Egypt? Here was their problem. They always wanted to go back to Egypt.

The whole time they're in the wilderness, even though the Lord's providing them this amazing food called manna, and leading them with the ultimate GPS system, and everything's taken care of. They're always saying, oh, I don't know, I kind of wish I was in Egypt still. I missed the good old days back in Egypt. You know, it's just a thing they kept going back to. It took one night to get Israel out of Egypt. It took 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel. And so they blamed Moses, verse 11. They said to Moses, why did you bring us here to die in the wilderness?

Wow. That brings us to our next point, point number three. When facing an impossible and more impossible situation, pray. When facing an impossible and more impossible situation, pray.

Call out to God. Yes, they freaked out, but they also prayed. Look at verse 11. They cried out to the Lord and said to Moses, why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Now, they were complaining in their prayer.

Listen to this. Did you know it's okay to complain in a prayer? Oh, that's sacrilegious. Excuse me, have you ever read the Psalms? David did a lot of griping. But he didn't cry out against God, he cried out to God.

Even Jesus hanging on the cross said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? So bring your complaints, bring your questions to the Lord. But the key is bring them to the Lord. That's what they're doing. Lord, help us.

We don't like this one bit. And they prayed. It reminds us of one of the stories of the disciples out in the Sea of Galilee. And a great storm came and Jesus was aboard. So they woke up Jesus. And they said, don't you care we're going to drown? And then Jesus came out and stopped the storm.

But the thing is they did call out to Jesus. And that's what we need to do. When panic sets in, it's time to pray.

If your knees start shaking, kneel on them. Faith and worry cannot coexist. One drives out the other. They're bad roommates.

You have a bad roommate? Oh, I don't know if I can live with this person. You see, that's the way it is with faith and worry. When faith comes in, worry says, I'm out of here. And worry comes in, faith is like, I can't live here. Faith overcomes worry. That's why it says in Philippians 3, don't worry about anything, pray about everything. And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Solid counsel and encouragement today from Pastor Greg Laurie based on a riveting account we read in the book of Exodus.

Our study title today here on A New Beginning is Between Impossible and More Impossible. And there's more to come. Pastor Greg, we've seen how the Lord guides and provides for believers. What about the person listening who's never come to that point of entering into a relationship with the Lord?

They might be open to it, but they just haven't made that change. Well, they just need to hear more. They need to hear what the essential gospel message is. And I've got a great resource for you. We've set up a webpage that's called knowgod.org, K-N-O-W-G-O-D dot O-R-G. You go there, I have a video presentation of how you accept Christ, lead you in a prayer, and then it links to other spiritual resources that will help you grow spiritually. So just go to knowgod.org.

Do it right now. All right. Well, Pastor Greg, years ago, before you started preaching, some people may not know that you were a cartoonist.

True. But it's a skill that never left you, and you've taken that skill to a whole new level with a new project that we're launching just this month. It's called The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Tell us about that.

That's right. Well, yes, so these are our cartoons. I've never written a cartoon, so I needed a team of people to help me, and I found a very competent group of people that have helped me to write these, produce these. Even the voice actor is someone that's done professional work in cartoons, and the folks I've worked with have worked on other well-known animated films like The Iron Giant or Kung Fu Panda, and really gifted people that know how to communicate in this medium.

And so it's been a learning experience for me, but something I've really enjoyed along the way. And really also developing these characters more, too, because we had to figure everything out, like how tall is Ben Born Again and how tall is Yellow Dog compared to Ben Born Again, and what does Ben Born Again's little VW bus actually look like and what does this skateboard look like and what color is it, what do the backgrounds look like and what does this voice sound like? And so we worked with all these things and developed it, and then it's almost like these characters have just come to life before my eyes, and they're developed and now it's almost like it's sort of writing itself a little bit as we've sort of defined what Ben's role is, what Yellow Dog's role is, and soon we'll introduce other characters to the strip as well. So the first one is called Bridge Out and it's effectively an evangelistic cartoon.

Still very entertaining, lots of gags, very funny, but it brings across the message of the gospel. We have another one that deals with the theme of temptation and how to overcome it, and the title of the cartoon is Never Kiss a Jellyfish Goodbye. So Yellow Dog's out in the ocean and Ben calls him in, and so they get in the VW van, they're driving away, and Yellow Dog obviously has had something happen to his face and Ben said, what happened? And he said, well, I was out playing with the jellyfish and I kissed it goodbye. So Ben now is warning Yellow Dog about things he should be careful of and things he should avoid. Never kiss a jellyfish goodbye or hug a puffer fish or, and then there's a whole list of things. In fact, let me just play a little excerpt from it so you can hear the conversation between Ben and Yellow Dog about these things.

Oh, this hurts. Yellow Dog, how did a jellyfish get on your face? Oh, well, I was swimming the shore and thought I'd just give this little guy a kiss goodbye. Yellow Dog, you never kiss a jellyfish.

Well, in case you're wondering, they do not taste like jelly. Oh, but he was just so cute, I couldn't resist. Like the time you kissed that dolphin goodbye? And when you hugged that octopus.

Yeah, or pet that electric eel or hug that puffer fish. Do you see a pattern here? When you embrace the wrong things, you get nothing but pain and suffering. You know what?

You're right. Every time I go to Krispy Krunch Donuts, I try to eat just one, and then I eat 12. And then you get sick.

I can resist anything but temptation. So Ben explains a Bible story now to Yellow Dog that's also animated, and he tells the story of Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit, and so Yellow Dog learns how to overcome temptation. But lots of gags, lots of laughs as you watch it, but it has poignant, powerful truth in it.

And I think that the humor can be a great way to build a bridge to a listener. And so we have a lot of that in these cartoon adventures that we're calling The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Yeah, that's right, and we're so anxious for you to see it. The first episode is available right now.

You can watch it today for free. Just use our new Harvest Plus app. Or, of course, you can find it at our website, harvest.org. Spiritual lessons through the fast-paced Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. You know, it fits right in with our mission of going into unexpected places to reach unexpected people with an unexpected message. And you can help us continue to reach out with this animated series. Thanks for your partnership today. And Pastor Greg would like to send you something tangible to say thanks.

That's a redesigned copy of The Living Water Tract in comic book form. That's the project that started it all back in the 1970s. So get in touch today. You can call anytime 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. Hey, everybody. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Sunday at harvest.org and on our brand-new app, Harvest Plus, which is available on your mobile TV devices.

Download it now. And you can watch Harvest at Home with Christians from around the world as we worship together and study God's Word. So again, join us for Harvest at Home at harvest.org or on Harvest Plus. Well, next time, Pastor Greg brings us more from this engaging message called Between Impossible and More Impossible. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-09 05:14:13 / 2024-02-09 05:26:00 / 12

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