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The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 27, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 27, 2021 3:00 am

In this episode, we continue in our series, Refresh, with Pastor Greg Laurie’s new message, “The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial.” The Christian life is not an easy one. Have you ever felt tired or worn out spiritually? Your faith seems to not be working, you struggle spiritually, and you feel exhausted. 

Pastor Greg shows you where to find hope and encouragement from James 1!

Notes

“Times of refreshment come from the presence of the Lord.” —Acts 3:20

You will be spiritually refreshed when you read and study the Bible.

You will be spiritually refreshed when you think of others more than yourself.

Spiritual refreshment comes from times of spiritual testing.

Every Christian will face trials in life for their own good.

1. God allows trials in our lives so we will grow up spiritually.  

Trials are like God’s gym where we are broken down to be built up.

Trials make you stronger not weaker.

2. Even when things look bleak, all things will ultimately work together for God’s glory and your good.

3. God’s ultimate purpose is that you might be conformed into the image of Jesus.

4. Suffering can bring glory to God.

A disability can become an ability when placed in the hands of God.

God will allow suffering and sickness to get our attention.

5. Suffering can be used by God to prepare us for a special task.

Scripture Referenced

Psalm 42:4

Psalm 42:5

Psalm 42:1–2

Psalm 19:7

Proverbs 25:25

Proverbs 11:25

Isaiah 43:19–20

1 Peter 4:12–13

Deuteronomy 8:2

John 6:5

Job 1:21–2

Psalm 105:18

James 1:2

John 9:1–2

John 9:3

Romans 8:29

Psalm 119:67

2 Corinthians 1:3–5

Psalm 42:4

Psalm 42:5

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

Support the show: https://harvest.org/support

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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, harvest.org.

So thanks for joining me for this podcast. of the Spirit in times of trial. Hey, have you ever been working on your computer and things sort of freeze up? What do you need to do? You need to refresh your screen.

Sometimes that means a reboot of your computer, get everything working again. In our life, as Christians, sometimes we need a reboot. We need a refresh because we're feeling down. We find ourselves depressed. And by the way, that is not a 21st century phenomena. The psalmist writes in Psalm 42, my heart is breaking.

I remember how it used to be. I walked among the crowd of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks. But then he honestly says, why am I discouraged and why is my heart so sad?

Do you connect to that? Maybe you've been at church recently and you were sad instead of glad. Even as you're watching this service right now, you find yourself feeling down. Well, now I love how the psalmist shifts gears.

He goes from an honest question, asking why is my heart so sad? And then he effectively preaches to himself and says, I will put my hope in God. I will praise him, my Savior and my God. I found myself doing that. I'll get down and I'll quote a scripture to myself, sometimes out loud.

Have you ever done that? The psalmist also says in Psalm 42, is that deer longs for streams of water. So I long for you, O God. I thirst for you, the living God.

So really, what is he saying? He's saying, I need some spiritual refreshment. Do you need some spiritual refreshment right now?

If so, you've come to the right place. How Ephesians 5 says, be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing a making melody in your hearts of the Lord. By the way, in the original language, that's a command, not a suggestion. God is effectively saying, I command you to be filled with the Spirit.

And in the original language, it's implied that it's a continuous thing. To be filled with the Holy Spirit. So that's something we all want and that brings refreshment into our lives. In Acts chapter three, verse 20, Peter said, on the day of Pentecost, times of refreshment come from the presence of the Lord. And Jesus himself said, come to me, all of you who are burdened and I will refresh you. Now let's review some of the things I already pointed out that will bring spiritual refreshment into your life. Number one, you'll be spiritually refreshed when you read and study the Bible. So when you open this book up and read it and study it and memorize it, it will refresh you spiritually.

Psalm 19 says, the word of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. Number two, you'll be spiritually refreshed when you think of others more than you think of yourself. Now I know this can seem counterintuitive because it seems the way to be happy is to think about yourself and do things for yourself and you'll say things like, I need a little more me time. By the way, if you ever say that, please just stop. You actually don't need a little more me time.

You need a lot more Jesus time. And you need to think about others as well. Selfish people are basically unhappy people.

Studies have actually confirmed this. You do get a momentary burst of what we might call a temporary happiness by doing something selfish, but that is short lived. But studies have also found that selfless people are happy people.

I mean, you know this already. Think about when you just did something for someone else, how it made you feel. Experts have actually described this as the helper's high. They experience emotionally when they're focused on the needs of others. And of course, the Bible tells us that a generous person will prosper and whoever refreshes others will be refreshed himself. So as you seek to help others, as you seek to refresh others, you yourself will be refreshed. Now here's one that might surprise you.

And this is really my theme I'll be dealing with in this message. From times of spiritual testing. Spiritual refreshment comes through times of spiritual testing. God says in Isaiah 43, I'm about to do something new. See, I've already begun.

Don't you see it? I'll make a pathway through the wilderness. I'll create rivers in the wasteland.

Yes, I'll make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. In the wasteland, in the hardships, in the difficulties, I often experience God in a way that I don't experience Him anywhere else. You know, we want to live on mountaintops and have constant emotional experiences, but the reality is spiritual fruit does not grow on mountaintops.

It grows in valleys. It grows in times of difficulty. So why, we ask, does God allow trials and hardships and difficulties? Into the life of the Christian?

Here's the answer. James chapter one. That's gonna be our primary text for this message. James one, starting in verse two, he writes, dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

So let it grow. You'll be perfect and complete. Wow, powerful words. So maybe you're facing a time of hardship right now. Maybe I'm talking to someone who just had the bottom dropout in life. You've gotten bad news from a doctor. Or maybe your marriage seems to be unraveling. Or you're having trouble at work.

Or trouble somewhere else. And you're asking this question, why is this happening to me? I'm a Christian. I'm walking with Jesus, and this hardship has befallen me. What have I done to deserve such a fate?

Here's the answer. Every Christian will face trials in life, listen, for their own good. It's for your own good. Jesus said in this world, you will have tribulation. He didn't say you might have.

He said you will have. There are no fiery trials you're going through as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad that you might be partners with Christ and share in his suffering. Okay, so with this in mind, here's point number one on why God allows hardship and trials in our life.

It's simply this. God allows trials in our lives so we will grow up spiritually. You can't be a baby forever. It's cute when a baby is a baby. So helpless.

So dependent. But as they get older, they learn certain skills. They learn to feed themselves. They learn to dress themselves.

They learn to take care of themselves. You don't want to be a baby Christian your whole life. You want to grow up and you want to mature.

You want to become men of mature character. Listen, sometimes God tests us to see if we've learned the material. Go back in your minds now to your days in school. Some of you are still in school. And the teacher might come before the class and say, kids, I'm going to test you today. It's a pop quiz. So close your textbooks.

Get out a sheet of paper and answer these questions. Some of these back in my day would get all excited when an announcement like that was made. They'd be like, well, they didn't sound actually like that. But you know, they're excited. Why? Because the nerds and the geeks studied.

And they were prepared and they were ready. Me, the troublemaker. Me, the mocker. Me, the person who was drawing cartoons sitting in the back of the room was never excited by the idea of a pop quiz. By the way, those nerds and geeks, we don't call them nerds and geeks anymore. We call them boss now.

It's interesting how the word nerd and geek has become positive now instead of negative as it used to be. But the reason I did not want a pop quiz was because I was not prepared. I had not learned the material. In the same way, God will bring pop quizzes, if you will, into our life. He'll test us to see if we've learned the material. Oh, we're so quick to tell others how to live. To have faith and to pray about this.

But then when it comes into our life, sometimes we just freak out. So God allows us to go through tests to make sure we really know what we say we know. You know, Israel wandered through the wilderness for 40 years. By the way, it doesn't take 40 years to get from Egypt to Israel, even on foot. But it took them a long time because they were effectively going around and around in circles.

Learning the lessons they needed to learn. Sometimes we find ourselves in a self-imposed wilderness. But you wonder, why did God allow Israel to wander in the wilderness? The answer is given in Deuteronomy 8-2 when it says, God allows us to go through times of trial, a wilderness, if you will, to humble us and to make sure we're learning and growing. In John chapter 6, we have a story that perfectly illustrates this. It's a story of the feeding of the 5,000.

Multitudes, thousands of people were flocking to hear Jesus speak. And one day, they were all sitting there and lunchtime came. And I don't know about you, but you can set a clock by my stomach. Because I'm telling you, I am ready to eat at 11 o'clock. That's when I eat lunch, at 11 o'clock. And I eat dinner at 5 o'clock in the evening.

My friends would call up, hey, you wanna go get dinner? Yeah, sure, when? 8 o'clock. I'm like, are you serious? No way, 5 o'clock.

And so you can set a clock by the pain in my stomach. And so I'm sure Jesus could see there was a lot of hungry men, women, and children up there. And so we read in John 6, 5, Jesus, seeing this great crowd of people, turned to Philip and said, Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all of these people? Now, was Jesus really asking Philip for help as if he didn't know what to do? Clearly not.

In fact, we even read that Jesus was testing Philip for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip's response is, well, Lord, it would require a small fortune to feed all these people. And besides, McDonald's isn't even open.

Or maybe it would be McDavid's. There were no restaurants anywhere. There's no way we can feed all of these people. Then Simon Peter's brother, Andrew, speaks up and says, well, there's a young boy here with some loaves and fish. But then he says, ah, but what is that among so many? They performed miracles. They knew what he was capable of. Could they trust him to provide food for a bunch of hungry people? Apparently not. Because Andrew didn't know what to do.

Philip didn't know what to do. And you might say that they didn't pass that test. But haven't we been in those times of tests? A big financial issue comes up in our life. Do we make ends meet? We all know what that's like.

Have you ever been in a situation where you literally had no food to eat? I can tell you this. After walking with the Lord now for almost 50 years, God has always come through for me. And I believe he will come through for you. He promises that he'll supply all of your needs according to his riches and glory in Jesus Christ. Now, he did not say he'll supply all of your greets.

But he said he'll supply all of your needs. They were being tested. And we will be tested. And then there are times we will be retested.

I recently got my physical done. And they test everything. They test my strength. They test my lung capacity. They test my eyesight. They test my hearing. You say, well, I did that a year ago.

No, you have to be tested, retested, and tested again. And God does the same thing in our life. Coming back to James 2, here's how another translation puts the verses that we already read. Brothers, when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don't treat them as intruders, but friends. Realize they've come to test your faith in producing you a quality of endurance.

Let this process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you'll become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots. I know when a trial comes, you think, oh, no, again? Have you ever thought of that as it's not an intruder.

It's a friend. It can actually help you. It's sort of like going to the gym and working out. I don't know about you, but I hate going to the gym. I do go to the gym twice a week. But I don't enjoy it. If I never worked out again in my life, I would be just thrilled with that. I would far rather go eat donuts. But I do go to the gym so I can stay mobile and flexible and retain a certain amount of strength.

Let's all admit it. There's some weird people that hang out in gyms, right? I don't know about what gym you go to, but there's always those certain people. Like I go to a gym where it's all guys in this gym, and there's always the guy that hogs the machine. It's like he puts his towel there, and he's on another machine, but it's sort of like he's got this machine chosen, and he's on another one, and he's working on another. It's a little circuit going on, and you really can't get in there. And then there's the guy who grunts really loudly. They're usually wearing headphones, so they're oblivious to what they're doing.

You're making all these noises. And how about the person that sweats everywhere? I saw a guy who was on a treadmill, and the people on each side of him got up their treadmills. Sweat was flying everywhere.

There were pools of sweat. I'm really not exaggerating with this guy. So we see all of these people doing whatever they do. How about the person that drops away?

So get him up here. Boom! Everyone jumps.

Headphones in too. So we're people hanging out in gyms, but still. There are certain benefits of working out. One of them is you break your muscle down in order to build it up, right? So in the same way, trials are like God's gym where you're broken down to be built up. You go through trials so you will get stronger. Trials are not sent to weaken you. They're sent to strengthen you. Trials make you stronger, not weaker. It's been said, character is not made in crisis. It is revealed. Now, honestly, for some people, when hardship comes into their life, even tragedy, they give up on God.

They abandon God. Think about Job for a moment. Job's a character in the Old Testament. His very name is a point of reference to the worst suffering imaginable.

We'll use it for a moment. Job's the expression, the patience of Job. Because Job was a man who was living a great life, he had a beautiful family, he was very wealthy, he was very successful, and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, a series of calamities befell this poor man. Now we know from reading the book of Job that there was a conversation between God and the angels, including Lucifer, who's a fallen angel, in heaven. And God had been bragging on Job, saying, have you considered my servant Job? He's a perfect and upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil. And Satan said, oh, give me a break. You let me have a little time with Job.

We'll see what he's really made of. And the Lord allowed the devil to bring a series of difficulties into Job's life. And on that day when he lost members of his family, and he lost his possessions, and he lost his own health, he was covered in boils. That's what Job said in Job 1 21. I came naked from my mother's womb, and I'll be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I have, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord. And then it says, Job did not sin by blaming God.

Wow. Natural faith. That's my faith.

Really? Maybe you should lose that faith. Because the faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Put your faith in Christ. Don't put your faith in a person. Don't put your faith in the church. Put your faith in Jesus himself.

He is the one that will sustain you in your times of difficulty. Of your life. The moment when you felt God more than any other time. I had to think about that.

I thought, wow. Was it the day that I accepted Christ into my life as a 17-year-old kid on my high school campus? I don't really remember that being an emotional day, but it was the most important day of my life.

So I thought, that's not it. Maybe it was the day I was baptized. That was a little more emotional for me when I went into the water of baptism in the ocean.

At Pirate's Cove at Corona Del Mar Beach. But that wasn't even the most emotional moment. And I thought, maybe it was the day I got married to Kathy.

She was a vision of beauty in her white bridal gown and I look like one of the guys from Duck Dynasty in the worst looking tuxedo ever designed. That was an emotional day, but that was not the most spiritual moment of my life. More than any other moment was also the worst moment of my life. My most spiritual day was on my worst day. I know the actual day.

July 24, 2008. It was the day that I heard the unspeakable news that my son Christopher had died in an automobile accident. I felt like my life had just ended. Literally. I had to go on from something like this.

But I have to say this. God was with me. My home was immediately filled with people. I don't know how they got there so quickly.

I think I lost touch with time. I was in a state of shock and all these well-wishers are crowding into my home saying things to me. Some which were helpful.

Other things were not helpful at all. And I went to my little office which was on top of our garage and I shut the door and I fell down on the floor. I said, Lord, you gave me my son and I give him back to you. And I experienced the presence of God.

I want to tell you something. If God didn't come through for me at that moment, I would have given up preaching. But he did come through for me.

And he still comes through for me. And he was with me in that time of trial. We don't like times of trial. We don't want times of trial. But God will give us strength when we're in them. He will give us the purpose of trials to make us stronger spiritually.

So we'll develop a spiritual toughness, if you will. We all know about the suffering of Joseph. Now if you don't know what I'm talking about, Joseph was a character in the Old Testament book of Genesis. He was a young man who was doted on by his dad, Jacob. In fact, clearly Jacob favored Joseph over all the other kids. He wore a little coat.

Now sometimes we call it the coat of many colors. And really what it was was sort of what we might describe as a very nice jacket that he wore while his brothers would be out there laboring in the hot sun working and Joseph is cruising around in his super cool jacket. And the brothers were envious of him and jealous of him. And one day they got so sick of him, they decided to kill him. And then reason prevailed and they said, well, maybe that's a little too much.

Yeah, do you think? And they saw a caravan of slave traders passing by. They said, let's just sell him as a slave. And they sold out their brother, Joseph, to slave traders and he was taken to a distant land.

And he ultimately was hired by a man who was effectively the head of the bodyguard for the Pharaoh of Egypt. In this state, the guy's name was Potiphar. And then Potiphar had a wife named Mrs. Robinson. No, she wasn't Mrs. Robinson, but she was like Mrs. Robinson.

That's an old cultural reference, but Mrs. Robinson was a movie about an older woman looking lustfully on a younger man. So that's what Potiphar's wife did. And she tried to seduce Joseph and Joseph resisted her advances and she falsely accused him of rape and he was sent to prison. And there sitting in a prison cell, it seemed like the worst thing of all. I wonder if Joseph thought, hey, this just didn't work out so well, serving God did it.

I mean, I'm honest, I work hard, I don't give in to the advances of this woman. And where does he get me? In prison. But God had a plan for Joseph and he was getting him ready for the future. You know, it's interesting, it says in Psalm 105, verse 18, they bruised the feet of Joseph with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar.

Imagine that for a moment. An iron collar. He's chained up, but then there's a different translation that emerges from the original that gives us a really interesting insight. It says, as he was laid in iron, iron entered his soul. So, though he was in the worst circumstances, he was toughening up on the inside.

God was getting Joseph ready for something big that I'll talk about in just a moment. You may be going through a time of trial so you'll get stronger. So, iron will enter your soul.

It's in the wilderness. You find the streams of water and it's in hardship. You find spiritual refreshment. Now, there are different trials that come into our life as Christians. Verse two of James says, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.

They can be translated many colored trials. So, you might be going through a hardship that's different than the one that somebody else is going through, but you are going to go through them. But here's point number two. Even when things look bleak, all things will ultimately work together for God's glory and your good.

Let me say that again. Even when things look bleak, all things will ultimately work together for God's glory and your good. God is in control of all circumstances that surround the believer. Coming back to the book of Job.

Before Satan could bring the hardships into Job's life, he had to get permission from God. And the same is true of you. God knows what you can handle.

And he's always keeping an eye on you. And these attacks will come. But this is an opportunity for you to turn to the Lord and to trust the Lord. You never know how God can take a hardship and use it for good. A while ago, I read this story about a man that was bitten by a shark. Now, that happens every now and then. But this story was unusual because it talked about a man who was thankful he had been bitten by a shark.

Well, I had to read that, right? So, here's what happened. This guy was out swimming, and he was attacked by a shark. And so, he's rushed to the hospital, and as they're stitching him back up from the shark, a shark bite, they realize that this man has cancer. And because they discovered it at an early stage, they were able to remove it without chemotherapy or radiation of any kind. And this man, who had been bitten, said he was thankful for the shark attack because if he had not been bitten by the shark, he would not have known that he had cancer. Who would ever think that a shark attack could be a good thing? And so, he got a reward, but he was unavailable because he was looking for other people to bite, hoping there would be a positive outcome from that as well.

That's a joke, by the way. But this brings me to point number three. God's ultimate purpose is that you might be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Now, we all know Romans 8.28. We know that all things work together for good to those that love God. Another call according to his purpose. Whom God did for no, he also did predestined to be conformed into the image of his own dear son.

Here's the big picture. Here's God's end game for you. He wants to make you like Jesus. God is preparing you for your future ministry, life here on earth, but also for your future in heaven because heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Know this, God is at work in your life.

Here's point number four. Suffering can bring glory to God. When we're suffering, we can bring glory to God. Listen, any fool can be happy when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

But when the bottom drops out, when adversity hits and you're still rejoicing, that's another thing altogether. There's a couple of guys in the New Testament in the book of Acts. Paul was the lead among the two and he, of course, was an apostle. And so they were preaching the gospel and they were arrested and thrown into a Roman dungeon for doing so. Their backs were ripped open by Roman whips and their feet were put in stock. So you think of Joseph with a collar around his neck. These guys were chained around their feet and around their wrists and in this hellhole of a prison.

This dungeon. We read at midnight, Paul and Silas sang praises to God and the other prisoners heard them. It's an interesting phrase there for heard them. It means to listen with pleasure. Have you ever been driving along and your favorite song comes on the radio so you turn it up?

Yeah, you listen with pleasure. I don't think these other prisoners had ever heard anybody sing songs of praise to God. You know, Paul and Silas did a little two-part harmony there or not.

But all I know is this was an unusual set of circumstances. And then an earthquake comes. And the walls are shaken and the prisoners are able to go free if they want to. And the man in charge, this Roman guard, realizing he'd be put to death for losing his prisoners, pulls out his Roman sword and is about ready to kill himself. Paul says, stop.

Don't hurt yourself. We're still here. The man who actually whipped Paul and Silas and put him in stocks fell down on his knees and said, sir, what must I do to be saved?

So here's my point. They're in hardship. Instead of moaning, they were worshiping. Instead of complaining, they were giving praise to God.

Everyone was listening and that resulted in this Roman jailer coming to faith. You see, as they gave glory to God, it reached other people as well. Sometimes God allows hardship in our life so he can be glorified.

So we can glorify him despite our circumstances. In John chapter nine, we have a story of a man born blind. The disciples are wondering, why is this guy blind? In John nine, we read, as Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. Teachers, his disciples asked him, why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins? Or those of his parents?

What a weird question. Kind of a twisted reincarnation view. A result of his own sins. How can you face something because of your sins before you're even born? Did he sin in the womb or something?

It's ridiculous. And Jesus sets him straight and he says, this man's blindness did not come as a result of his sins or anyone else. He says he was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. Now, a hardship so he can step in and deliver us from it and people will be amazed. So pray about it. Maybe the Lord wants to heal you of something.

Maybe the Lord wants to deliver you from something. Now God doesn't always deliver us from our circumstances. God doesn't always take the problems away. And sometimes we can glorify him despite our problem. You know, a disability can turn into an ability.

A place into the hands of God. A disadvantage can turn into an advantage as well. So God will allow these things for his purposes. And another reason sometimes God allows sickness or hardship is to get our attention. Sometimes we're running from God. We're disobeying God. We don't have time for God. So something happens to get our attention.

And the only way you can look is up. And there is the Lord saying, I love you and I will help you call out to me. Here's another point. Suffering can be used by God to prepare us for a special task. Suffering can be used by God to prepare us for a special task. That was the case with Joseph. Going back to him again. Remember he's in jail. So the Lord gets him out. And he interprets a crazy dream that the Pharaoh had. I left out a part where Joseph was able to interpret dreams. He had a special ability given to him by God. And because of that, he was made the second most powerful man in the land of Egypt. So this kid had gone from spoiled young man to running an estate to being a prisoner to being sprung from the prison to becoming the second most powerful man in all of the world in charge of the food supply of Egypt.

They were the ones who had food because Joseph told them to prepare for the future as he interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh. So one day the brothers of Joseph walk in. He recognizes them.

They don't recognize him. He probably dressed in the way of the Egyptians. Maybe his head was shaved. Maybe he was wearing guy liner. Maybe he moved like this. He walked like an Egyptian.

Old song reference. But the point is they didn't know who he was. He recognized all of them. He told everyone to leave the room. They shut the door. And he looked to his brothers and he started crying. And they're thinking, what's wrong with this guy?

Why is he crying? And then he says these words, I am Joseph. And I wonder if it echoed. I am Joseph. God did it. He didn't even say God allowed it.

He says God did it to save many people alive. And frankly I never wanted a ministry to people who had lost loved ones, especially children. I found myself as a voice to people who had lost children and a voice for people who had lost children. And there's something that you have when you have suffered like this that you can share with someone else.

I know that when our son died I sought the counsel of people who had lost children. I wanted to know what was ahead. What was I in for?

What was I going to face? But I found people coming to me and reaching out to me and saying, can you help us? Can you take time with us?

I get these requests all the time. And I'll meet with families and mothers and fathers and siblings. And I don't have all the answers for them. But I point them to Jesus and I share some of the things that I've learned in this process. But the way I look at this is I don't want to waste my pain.

Because I helped them. And let's say that you got cancer. And you're a cancer survivor. And then somebody else gets cancer and they think their life has ended.

And someone says you need to meet this person who's a cancer survivor. You can share words with them with an authority that no one else can share. You've gone through experiences in life that God can use to help other people.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians chapter one verse three. Now you might say well I don't know if I can handle what Joseph had to go through or what Job had to go through. I remember when I would do services for children who had died.

I've done far too many over the years. And I was always trying to find the right words and bring comfort as I looked at that mom and dad devastated by this news sitting in the front row of the service. And I remember I would walk away from those services saying to myself, I hope this never happens to me because if it did I don't think I could handle it. I'm just being honest with you. And then one day it did happen to me.

I was in the front row listening to the pastor talk about my son who was now in heaven. So I've been on both sides of it and I know what it's like. And here's what I want to say. No matter what you go through God will be there for you and with you. You say well I don't think I can handle this. Well you don't have the strength you need now to deal with that yet. God will give you what you need when you need it.

Not necessarily before and certainly not after. You need when you need it. And wherever you are in life I want you to know God is here. God is ready to step into your life. He's here to bring comfort to you. He's here to bring hope to you. He's here to bring forgiveness to you depending on what you've done. But you must come to Him. I mentioned earlier there might be somebody watching who's had some kind of a tragedy or problem come into their life that's gotten their attention.

Good. Now call out to the Lord. And He will save you and in some instances He may even rescue you. Let me close with this thought about the worst tragedy turned into something good. The worst travesty of justice in human history was the trial and execution and murder of Jesus Christ. The very son of God had come to this planet to walk among us and heal us and give us the greatest teachings ever given.

And what do they do? They beat Him and they nail Him to a cross and leave Him to die. But this was all part of a bigger plan. For Jesus did not have His life taken from Him. He came to lay His life down for our sins. Jesus said for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. So from the greatest tragedy came the greatest good. Salvation for everybody.

The forgiveness of sin. You see Jesus didn't stay on that cross did He? He rose again from the dead three days later and He is alive and He's here with us right now. And He is standing at the door of your life and He is knocking and He is saying if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. And I ask you now in closing is Jesus Christ living inside of you?

Are you down and depressed and hurting? Jesus is saying let me come in. Let me refresh you with rest. Let me give you the meaning and purpose of life that you've been searching for. And then Jesus gives us the hope that when our life in this earth comes to an end we will go to heaven. Not everybody has that hope. Heaven is not the default destination of every human being. It is only the future destination of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. And I pray that through prayer.

It's so simple. In a moment you can pray and ask God to forgive you of your sin and Christ will hear your prayer. If you want that hole in your heart filled. If you want His peace that the Bible says passes all human understanding. I would like you to pray this prayer after me. You can pray it out loud if you like. Or you can pray it quietly but I want you to pray it.

I encourage you in this important step you've taken. So let's pray together. Father I pray now for every person watching.

Wherever they are I pray that your Holy Spirit will convince them of their need for Jesus and help them to come to you and believe. Listen if you want your sin forgiven. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven.

If you want a new start in life. If you want Christ to come and live inside of you pray this prayer. Just pray Lord Jesus. I know I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now Jesus. And I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Harvest dot org. And by the way if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God go to know God dot org. That's K and O W G O D dot org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-26 13:23:51 / 2023-09-26 13:37:50 / 14

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