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Best of 2020: Why Does God Allow Trials in the Life of the Believer?: Opportunity

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2021 3:00 am

Best of 2020: Why Does God Allow Trials in the Life of the Believer?: Opportunity

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 19, 2021 3:00 am

The song says if we never had a problem, we’d never know God can solve them. And if we never let God solve our problems, how will our friends know God can solve their problems? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out our trials are an opportunity to put our faith to work and to put our faith on display. It’s good insight from one of the top ten most requested messages of the past year. If you’re going through a tough time today, there’s good encouragement straight ahead.

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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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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If you would like to know how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.

That's harvest.org. Trials. We all have them.

Some seem to have them by the dozen. Today Pastor Greg Laurie says difficulty can lead to ministry. Okay, so you've got your problems and now here's the question. Can you somehow give glory to God through that? Can you find a way to remember that God is still in control of your life and He's going to work it out for His glory and your good ultimately? Can you use it as an opportunity to proclaim Christ to others? The song says if we never had a problem, we'd never know God can solve them. And if we never let God solve our problems, how will our friends know God can solve their problems? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out our trials are an opportunity to put our faith to work and to put our faith on display. It's good insight from one of the top 10 most requested messages of the past year. If you're going through a tough time today, there's good encouragement straight ahead. Why does God allow Christians to go through trials and testings?

I mean it happens. And that's what we're going to look at now. James chapter 1. We're going to talk about this for many verses.

But this will be our anchor text. We're going to read verses 2 to 4. My brothers, writes James, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the test of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work in you that you may be mature, lacking nothing.

Ok. So we wonder why does God allow trials? God allows trials in our lives so we will grow up spiritually. You want to be a growing Christian, right? God will allow trials in your life so you will grow up spiritually. The J.B. Phillips translation of verse 4 says, Let this process go on until you become men of mature character.

Here's number 2. God allows trials in our lives. And that's true. But even when things look bleak, all things work together for your good and God's glory. Again, even when things look bleak, all things work together for God's glory and your good. God is in control of all circumstances that surround the believer. There really are no accidents.

There's just providence. And that's a good thing to remember. Job's story shows us that the devil can do nothing in the life of the believer without the express permission of God. Well, remember the story of when the angels of the Lord went to present themselves before the Lord and Satan was among them because Satan is a fallen angel. And God started bragging on Job. You remember God said to the angels, Satan there as well, Have you considered my servant Job a perfect and upright man when the fears God and shuns evil? And the devil began to challenge that assertion of the Lord. But we might ask the question, well, why would God allow Satan to hassle us?

Because Satan went on to say, You know what? Job fears you because you bless him. Job follows you because you give him a lot of cool stuff.

Loose paraphrase there. Job is your servant because of what he gets out of it. But if he had any calamity, if he lost his possessions, if he lost his livelihood, and certainly if he lost his health, he would curse you to your face. And God actually allowed the devil to wreak havoc in Job's life with limitations you see. But why would God do that? If God loves someone why would He allow it?

Even the devil can serve the purposes of God. Now God will not allow me to be tested above which I am able. But what with the temptation? Give me a way of escape that I may be able to bear it.

Simple way to sum that up. God won't give me more than I can handle. God will allow these things.

Why? Because in a way the devil can sometimes do God's work. It will be determined if I am a wheat or a tare as Jesus mentioned in His parable. It will determine if I am really a believer or not a believer. Trials will only make a believer stronger because they will cling more tightly to Christ. But that same trial may turn a non-believer away because they were never clinging tightly to Christ.

So in a way these trials, these testings can help determine if you are really a Christian. Man Job's wife certainly wasn't supportive. After all the calamity befell him and his broke out and boils and he has lost everything. She says to him, why don't you just curse God and die?

Really? Job said, you weren't saying that when you were driving the Mercedes. So it doesn't appear that she ever believed.

I don't know about her at all. But he clung to the Lord. But listen. God works these things out for good. Did you read that crazy story in the news about this man that was bitten by a shark? I mean that is about the worst case scenario. I guess the only thing worse is being eaten and swallowed by a shark. This man was bitten by a shark. But the article pointed out that the shark saved his life.

Did you hear about this? As it turns out when he was being treated for his shark bite it was discovered he had a tumor on his kidney and it was cancer. And apparently if he had not been bitten this would not have been discovered.

And by then it could have been too late. He had the cancer removed and did not receive any radiation or chemotherapy. And this man whose name is Eugene Finney said, I am thankful for the shark attack. He said, the shark saved my life. They wanted to give the shark that bit the man an award but he texted he was too busy biting other people hoping for a positive outcome.

No but this is true except that part I just said. I am glad the shark bit me. And sometimes something will happen and you say, this is the worst thing that can happen. And then as time passes suddenly you look back and you go, actually that was kind of a good thing. Actually the Lord used that to make a very needed change in my life. Again we love that verse. Romans 8.28. All things work together for good to those who what? Love God and are called according to His purpose. And that brings me to my next point.

Point 3. God's ultimate purpose for us in trials and really in life is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. Let me say that again. God's ultimate purpose for us through trials and really in life is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. And His usual method for this is heavenly pressure.

Why? To produce a family like this. Yes we love Romans 8.28 but we forget that after that is Romans 8.29. And those two verses together give the big picture. Again Romans 8.28. We know that all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose.

Verse 29. For whom He foreknew He also did predestine that they might be conformed into the image of His own dear Son. People will stand around and argue endlessly about predestination and who is predestined and who is not.

And they will miss the point of why God predestined or chose us. What does predestination mean? It means God determined it before you were alive. You were predestined.

Why? To be conformed into the image of His own dear Son. God's long term goal for you is to become like Jesus. So there are things we go through in life and it is bad. And then the bad thing can become a good thing like the guy with the shark bite. But then there are things in life that are bad. They stay bad. And they are always bad.

Am I right? They never are good. Tragedies? That wasn't good. Now maybe good came out of it. But it never becomes a good thing. And by the way God doesn't say a bad thing always will become a good thing. It says He will cause all things to work together for good.

But here is the bigger picture. Some of the things that God is doing in your life are not going to be discovered until we get to heaven. And you will realize that all of those things were designed to make you more like Jesus. So some benefits of trials we will see in this life. And other benefits of trials will not be seen until the afterlife.

Just know this. God is at work. It might be through irritating people. Oh irritating people. Did you ever stop and think that you are maybe one of those irritating people. No not me. It is the other people.

Not me. Well we are probably all irritating to someone I am sure. It might be an emotional low. It might even be a tragedy. Like the loss of a loved one. But we must remember this.

These pains are temporary. 2 Corinthians 4.17 says, Our present troubles are small and they won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don't look at the troubles we see now. Rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone but the things we cannot see will last forever. I love that verse. So we will look a lot of times at the here and now and we don't think about the by and by.

But God is looking at the bigger picture. You know just like a kid. You know a kid only thinks of the moment. I want this toy. I want to eat this candy. I want to eat this candy and have this toy simultaneously. And the parent looking out for the greater good of the child says, No you can't have that candy before bed.

No you can't have that toy. And they are thinking of something that is better for you in general. And the kid doesn't understand it until the child gets older. So maybe you are in one of these situations right now.

You are backed up against a wall with no way to look but up. Good news. God is still in the miracle business. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from so many people who find Christ through Harvest Ministries. And it is a blessing to know that God is using His Word to touch hearts. Pastor Greg, thank you for leading me to Christ three years ago at the Harvest Crusade. Although I am not perfect, I realize that Christ in all His glory has made me want to become a better man because of everything you have taught me. Through the Word of God, I am now at peace.

I have struggled my whole life with addiction. And I have only overcome that battle because of everything that has been revealed to me. And I want you to know that you had a major influence on my life.

And I can't thank you enough. God bless you and harvest eternally. An encouraging story of how God's Word is changing lives through the ministry of Harvest. Do you have a story to tell of how Pastor Greg's teaching has touched you? Call us and let us know at 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well, Pastor Greg is offering some good encouragement today about the trials of our lives. It's one of the most requested studies of the year called Why Does God Allow Trials in the Life of the Believer?

Available at Harvest.org. Let's continue now. Point number four, suffering can bring glory to God. Suffering can bring glory to God.

How so? Well, any fool can be happy when the sky is blue and the sun is shining and everything is going well. But when a storm is coming, it's a different matter. Back to Job again. Satan challenged God who was bragging on Job and said, You bless him and that's why he follows you. So the Lord allowed the calamities. But what did Job do? When the bottom of life dropped out, he worshipped God, showing Satan was wrong.

And all of God's confidence in Job was not misplaced at all. And then there are those times when God can be glorified through just intervening and doing a miracle. I mean, maybe you're sick and you go to the doctor and they say, You have cancer and there's nothing we can do.

And you might as well get your affairs in order because you may only have a few months to live. And then you go to church and you say, I need prayer. And the Bible says if there's any sick among you, call for the elders of the church who will lay hands on that person and pray for them and anoint them with oil. And the effectual fervent prayer of an evangelist will accomplish much. And so you go and you get prayer. And then you go and you get rechecked and suddenly the tests reveal the cancer is gone and the doctors can't figure it out.

What happened? A miracle. God still does things like that today.

We hear stories like this all the time. He intervenes. He does the miracle. He provides that sum of money that is needed. He comes through in some amazing way.

He still does it. So sometimes God is glorified by removing the problem and resolving the situation. How many of you have had what looked like an insurmountable problem that was overruled by God?

He intervened. So that's most of you. That's fantastic. Thank God when that happens. But then there are times when God will be glorified not by the removal of the problem but by leaving it there and having you worship Him just the same. And that's a powerful testimony. That's what happened to Paul and Silas who were thrown into a prison for preaching the gospel. And the Bible says at midnight they began to sing praises to God and the other prisoners were listening.

And by the way that phrase listening means listening with pleasure. I don't think they had ever heard singing in a hellhole like that before. Paul and Silas were able to give God glory at midnight. And then of course you remember that they had been treated so badly by that Roman jailer who whipped them and had a hard heart. But then the earthquake came.

A miracle happened. All the prisoners could have run free if they wanted to. And the jailer was about to kill himself because he knew if he lost his prisoners he would be executed by Rome. And Paul said, don't harm yourself.

We are all here. And that jailer said, sirs tell me what must I do to be saved. You see their testimony won him over because they gave God the glory not after the earthquake but before. And that's the time to give God the glory. So let's say you are the person that gets the unfortunate diagnosis. You are the person that has the tragedy befall you.

You are the person that hears the bad news. You say, well I will give God the glory when He fixes it. No.

No. You give God the glory now. Right now you give Him the glory. Because He is still in control. He is going to work it ultimately together for His glory and your good. He is going to make you more like Jesus.

Again coming back to Job. When he heard the horrible things that happened. The loss of his possessions, his livelihood and worse of all the loss of all of his children. We read Job prayed and worshipped and said, naked came I into this world.

Naked go I out. Blessed be the name of the Lord. The Bible goes on to say, in all of this Job did not blame God or charge him foolishly. So that's important. Paul and Silas gave glory to God before the earthquake.

Before the answer. Sometimes God will allow the hardship. Listen to this. God can be glorified even in disability. A disability can become an ability when placed in the hands of God. A disadvantage can actually become an advantage. You say, I don't know what that means. Don't use these tricky words with me preacher. What do you mean?

Can you let me illustrate? My friend Nick Vujicic. You know who I'm talking about? If you don't, Nick was born in Australia without arms and legs. He's limbless. And he's one of the most joyful Christians I've ever met. And I'll tell you what, here's where his disability turns into an ability.

They'll put him in front of a bunch of high school kids. Many of them struggling with their own problems. Some of them being bullied. Some of them even feeling maybe life isn't worth living.

And Nick Vujicic is literally, and I mean no disrespect when I say this. He has to be picked up and placed on a table because he can't get there on his own. And there he stands and they look at this young man. And he talks about how good God is and how God has helped him.

And all of a sudden you look at your problems with a new perspective. You think, man, if he can rejoice, why am I not rejoicing? And though it's very hard for Nick and he's still, this is the most difficult challenge imaginable. He has chosen to not waste his pain and to leverage this problem into a way to bring glory to God. And the Lord's opened up doors for Nick all around the world to bring hope and help. And most of all to bring Jesus to so many people. So that's a disability being turned into an ability.

That's a disadvantage being turned into an advantage. Another example is Joni Eareckson Tada. You've heard of her. Joni is a wonderful lady who many years ago, actually in 1967, she was a young teenager. She dove off a little dock and had a spinal cord injury that paralyzed her from the neck down.

And just the worst thing that could happen to a young person. And yet Joni, despite the severe disability, has brought hope to millions of people. They made a movie about her life and she's written many books. But she still deals with pain.

In fact recently if it wasn't hard enough to be in her condition she got breast cancer. And she was interviewed by a magazine. And in this magazine she said these words. She said she was in a battle against principalities and powers that want us to despair.

She said, so I have to actively participate. And she takes as her theme, Hebrews 10, 38, where God says, My righteous one will live by faith and if he shrinks back my soul has no pleasure in him. Joni says, I don't want to be one of those who shrink back. I don't want to tarnish his name. Here's a lady who is a quadriplegic and has breast cancer. And she says, I don't want to bring shame to his name. I want to honor the Lord.

I don't want to shrink back. And thankfully they did surgery and the cancer was removed. But what a shining example she is.

She said, I'm on this battlefield and my question is how can I glorify God? Okay so you've got your problems and I don't want to diminish what you're going through. Because you say, okay my problems aren't that bad. But there's still problems Greg. Okay I'll give you that. Yeah a problem is a problem. A trial is a trial. Whatever it is.

Big, small, somewhere in the middle. Okay but now here's the question. Can you somehow give glory to God through that? Can you find a way to remember that God is still in control of your life and he's going to work it out for his glory and your good ultimately? Can you use it as an opportunity to proclaim Christ to others? Yes sometimes he will remove the affliction and sometimes he'll be glorified in the affliction.

Coming back to Job for the last time you know when his whole world fell apart he didn't say I understand it. He just said blessed be the name of the Lord. He just called out to the Lord and that's what we need to do as well. Solid encouragement from God's Word today in Pastor Greg Laurie's message, Why Does God Allow Trials in the Life of the Believer?

And there's more to come. It's one of Pastor Greg's most requested studies of the year here on A New Beginning. If you missed any part of today's program or you missed the first part of the presentation last time, contact us and get a copy of the full message.

You can order it on CD or download it instantly. Just go to harvest.org or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7.

Again dial 1-800-821-3300. Again the title of today's message, Why Does God Allow Trials in the Life of the Believer? And our thanks to our Harvest partners who help us make resources like this available. Pastor Greg, I was struck by a social media post of yours recently that really crystallizes our burden for this new year and what we plan to do moving forward. You write this, Our country is in dire shape spiritually and morally, and it's my firm conviction that the only hope is the proclamation of the Gospel.

I don't see anything else that can turn America around. That's just such a concise statement of what we're all about. The Gospel can save our culture from ruin. And I'm so glad to say that we have a tool we can put into our listeners' hands that will help them do their part in making that a reality.

Yes, well that tool is called a rush of hope. Many of our listeners may remember that we put it out on our social platforms, harvest.org, et cetera, and it's been shown around the United States now on television. But now we're offering it to people for their gift of any size.

They have their own copy of it on DVD. And here's how this works. Here's your job.

Here's your mission should you decide to accept it. It is to get people you know that are not yet Christians in front of a screen. Now it might be a tablet screen, could be a phone screen, better yet a TV screen, where you show them a rush of hope. What is a rush of hope?

It's what we call a cinematic crusade, beautifully filmed with a lot of incredible scenery from Montana and Colorado. But the main focus of the film is how God can intervene in difficult situations and transform human lives. Like the story of young Bart Millard, who had his mother walk out on him and he was left to be raised by his alcoholic, abusive father. But God intervened in his life and was able to change Bart's heart, enabling him to forgive his father and have an impact on his father coming to Christ later in life. We also have the compelling story of Jeremy Camp, who was a newlywed but tragically his bride, Melissa, got cancer and he walked with it through it hoping God would heal her, but ultimately she tragically died.

But this is a story of how he was able to face this with faith and still have hope and trust in God and believe even when circumstances were hard. Interwoven throughout a rush of hope is a message I give, offering hope to the viewer and ending with a gospel presentation where we even lead folks in a prayer. All you have to do is get someone to see it. We're effectively doing the heavy lifting for you and at the end of them watching it, you can turn to them and say, did you pray and ask Christ to come into your life with Pastor Greg and if not, would you like to do it right now?

Get your copy of A Rush of Hope. This will be a tool that will help you reach people with the gospel like never before. Plus we'll send a digital download code so you can watch the film online right from your computer or tablet or smartphone.

That way you can take it with you and share it with a friend, a sort of a cinematic crusade in your pocket or purse. So write us today at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300, 1-800-821-3300 and we can take your call anytime 24-7 or just go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg brings us his final insights from this important message, Why Does God Allow Trials in the Life of the Believer?, one of our top ten most requested studies of the year. So join us next time here on A New Beginning.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 07:29:17 / 2024-01-02 07:39:38 / 10

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