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The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial: All We Need, All We Have

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial: All We Need, All We Have

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 17, 2021 3:00 am

It’s been said that, when we get to the end of our rope, we get to the beginning of God. A lot of truth in that statement. When we’re out of answers, and short on hope, God opens His supply of reassurance and direction. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie has good insight for those challenging times. We’re glad you’ve joined us for his new series called “Refresh: What Every Christian Needs to Know.” Valuable information for believers who face the challenges of life.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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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 supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. Sometimes in the dry wastelands of life, I will find God more than I find him anywhere else. Do we grow closer to the Lord in times of spiritual success and excitement? Pastor Greg Laurie says we often realize God is all we need when he's all we have. I would love to perpetually live on a mountain top, never having an emotional low, but the reality is spiritual fruit does not grow on mountain tops, it grows in valleys. It's been said that when we get to the end of our rope, we get to the beginning of God.

A lot of truth in that statement. When we're out of answers and short on hope, God opens his supply of reassurance and direction. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has good insight for those challenging times.

We're glad you've joined us for his new series called Refresh, What Every Christian Needs to Know, valuable information for believers who face the challenges of life. Have you ever been working on your computer and things sort of freeze? And I have a little bar I'll tap trying to wake my computer up and sometimes it won't wake up.

I may have to restart it, reboot it, and effectively refresh it. In the same way in our lives as Christians, sometimes we find ourselves, well, a little bit down, a little bit frozen. We're not living the way we ought to be. It's not working as well for us. We're struggling spiritually.

That is not a 21st century phenomenon. Way back when the psalmist wrote these words in Psalm 42, my heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be. Can someone here say those words maybe today describing their life? There was a time when you were stronger spiritually than you are today. And so you say, I remember how it used to be.

And then the psalmist continues, I walked among the crowds of worshipers leading a great procession to the house of God singing for joy and giving thanks. But then he honestly admits this. So why am I discouraged?

Why is my heart so sad? And that can happen to any of us. You can be in the middle of a worship service. You find yourself down. You're discouraged.

You're sad. And I love it because in the middle of a psalm he corrects himself. And he says, I will put my hope in God.

I'll praise Him again, my Savior and my God. Sometimes I do that. I preach to myself.

I'll be thinking something down about this or concerned about that or something else. And I'll even say, Greg, shut up. I'm very close to myself so I can talk that way to myself. Greg, shut up. The Bible says, and sometimes I'll quote the Bible out loud to myself to sort of write my course.

Have you ever done that? Then the psalmist continues and says, As the deer longs her streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.

Here is what he is saying. I need some spiritual refreshment. And that is something God wants to give to every one of us. Remember in our last message we mentioned Ephesians 5 where Paul says, Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord. In the original Greek that is a command. So the Lord is saying, I command you to be filled with the Spirit. Also in the Greek it speaks of something that's continuous. In other words the Lord is saying, I command you each and every day to be filled, refilled, and filled again with the Holy Spirit.

So we need to ask God to fill us. And by the way that isn't an emotional thing necessarily. As I illustrated I don't know about you but I don't have an emotional experience when I fill my car with gas. Or if you have an electric car when you plug it into the wall it's emotional. Well unless you're standing in water and you plug it in the wall that will be very emotional. But no the idea is that it's just something you do.

It's functional. And when you pray for God to fill you it's not so much am I going to have an emotional experience but rather am I going to receive this from the Lord. And that brings you refreshment. As Peter said on the day of Pentecost, times of refreshment come from the presence of the Lord. Listen. God wants to refresh you today. Right here.

Right now. How does He do that? Well one way He does it is through reading and studying the Bible. Reading and studying the Bible. Because Psalm 19 says, the Word of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. Proverbs 25, 25 says, good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty. So as I read and study the Word of God it refreshes me.

Number two. This is really important. I will find myself spiritually refreshed when I think of other people more than myself. That's counterintuitive. It seems to me that if I want to be refreshed, if I want to be happy, I have to focus on my needs. And I'll even find myself saying something along the lines of, I need more me time.

And you even use that voice which is especially obnoxious. I need more me time. You don't need more me time. You need more Jesus time. That's what is going to refresh you spiritually. And think of others.

Here is the reality. When I do things only for myself that might bring a momentary happiness but studies have found that selflessness brings happiness not selfishness. They have even come up with a description of it. They call it the helper's high.

You know it. When you do something for someone else it can be as simple as holding the door open for someone. Or helping someone load their groceries into their car. Or it might be providing some food for someone that is in need.

Or sharing your faith with someone. As you do that you find yourself replenished in the process. And we are told in Scripture, Proverbs 11 25, a generous person will prosper and whoever refreshes others will be refreshed himself.

Ok. So here is another thing that brings refreshment. And this one might surprise you. Spiritual refreshment comes from times of spiritual testing. God says in Isaiah 43 19 I am about to do something new. See I have already begun.

Don't you see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness and rivers and the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. So listen. Sometimes in the dry wastelands of life I will find God more than I find Him anywhere else. I would love to perpetually live on a mountaintop. Never having an emotional low. But the reality is spiritual fruit does not grow on mountaintops. It grows in valleys. But why do I have to go through trials as a follower of Jesus?

Here is the answer. James 1 verse 2. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. And know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow so let it grow. And when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete.

We will stop there. One of the things that often happens when crisis comes our way. When hardship comes our way. Maybe it is trouble at work. Maybe it is trouble with your family. Maybe it is trouble with your health.

But whatever it is, is you ask why. Why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve such a faith? I have been walking with the Lord. I have been reading His Word. I have been praying. I have been going to church. I am doing all the right things.

I am checking all the boxes. And this hardship is happening. Why?

Simple answer. For your own good. What?

Oh yeah. Trials are allowed in the life of the Christian for their own good so you will grow up spiritually. In fact 1 Peter says, don't be surprised that the fiery trials you are going through as though something strange were happening. Instead be glad for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering. Look it is not a matter of if you are going to have trials and hardship.

It is just a matter of when. Jesus said, in this world you shall have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

So if you are taking notes here is point number one. God allows trials in the life of the Christian so we will grow up spiritually. Again God allows trials in our lives so we will grow up spiritually. J.B. Phillips translates verse 4 as follows.

Let this process go on until you have become men of mature character. Basically it is God testing you to see if you have learned the material. Back when I was in school I remember when the teacher would come out and say close your textbooks. We are having a pop quiz. All the nerds and the geeks got excited. They are all like yeah. And they even had voices like that. Not really but.

And I was not excited. And by the way we don't call them nerds and geeks anymore do we. We call them boss now.

We probably work for them. Isn't it interesting how the word geek is positive now. Right. So I can't get my computer working. I need a geek.

Help me someone. So they were excited. Why? Because they were prepared.

They had studied the material. I was not excited. Why? Because I was not prepared.

I had not studied. Instead I sat in the back of the classroom mocking people creating disruptions and perpetually being sent to the principal's office. Kids don't do this at home. I am a professional. Idiot.

So don't follow my example. But why would a teacher do that. They wanted to see if you were learning the material. Guess what. God gives pop quizzes too.

He wants to see if you are learning the material. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from listeners all over. Some who listen to A New Beginning, Pastor Greg's podcasts and even to the recent SoCal Harvest. My message is to Pastor Greg Laurie and amazing SoCal Harvest. I watched on my cell phone and I was crying and wanted to let him know that my son died in a car accident too like his son and you never get over it. But I have a grandson named Jonathan.

His name is his son and it's amazing that he has to go through the same thing but yet his son is a pastor now but my grandson is a prodigal. So could you please hold him up in prayer. I'll never forget watching that. It was beautiful.

I watched the whole thing and it came in so clear. And I want to let you know how much I appreciate you Pastor Greg Laurie. Thank you so much. God bless you. Be assured that when you request prayer we'll make sure to pray for your need. If you have a story of how one of Pastor Greg's outreaches has touched your life, would you call and share it with us? Call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well in today's study Pastor Greg has been explaining how God often brings times of testing in our lives to see if we're learning the lessons he's teaching us. It helps us grow and mature. Take as an example the children of Israel. Why did it take them 40 years to get from Egypt to Israel? I mean if they took their time they could have gotten there in 40 days.

If they picked up the pace they could have gotten there in three weeks or so. Why did they wonder like that? Because men were in charge and they would not stop and ask for directions. No that's not the reason.

Here's the real reason. Deuteronomy 8 says, remember how the Lord your God led you all this way in the wilderness 40 years to humble you. To test you in order to know what was in your heart whether you would keep his commandments or not.

God allows tests in our life to humble us because sometimes we think we're all that and a bag of chips. We kind of believe our own presence. I am so awesome. I am so smart. I am so spiritual.

You might need to be humbled a little bit and be brought back to reality. And so the Lord allows a test. Here's a perfect illustration found in John chapter 6. A huge multitude gathered to hear Jesus. And it was lunchtime and people and people were hungry.

Maybe you heard their stomachs crumbling. You can set a clock to my stomach. I am ready to have lunch at 11 o'clock. Not 12. That's late to me. 11 o'clock and I'm ready for dinner at five by the way.

So that they're hungry. And so I love this because Jesus goes to Philip and actually says to him, hey Philip where are we going to buy bread to feed all these people? Do you think Jesus was perplexing? What are we going to do? Philip help me.

No of course not. He knew exactly what he was going to do. In fact that verse goes on to say Jesus knew what he would do but he was testing Philip. Philip where are we going to find bread?

Where are we going to buy bread to feed the people? Philip's like I have no idea. Andrew's standing nearby and he's listening. He says well there's this kid here with five loaves and two fish.

And then catching himself he says ah but what is that among so many? So both of them effectively failed that test. What was the test? That test was can you trust God when you need food on your table? Can you trust God when you need your financial needs met? Can you trust God when you're having a challenge physically or in some other area? Can you believe that God will come through for you? He has after all promised to provide all of your needs according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus.

So trust him. And God will test you and retest you and retest you again. I had a physical recently. It tested my hearing. They tested my eyesight. They tested everything.

And why? I did this a year ago. Why am I doing this again? Because you need to be tested and retested. Why am I going through this trial right now?

Because you need to be tested and retested. Think of this another way. Instead of seeing these trials and challenges as horrible things could you possibly think of them as good things accomplishing a greater thing.

Another translation of James 1 is as follows. When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers don't treat them as intruders but treat them as friends. They've come to test your faith and produce in you a quality of endurance. So let the process go on until the endurance is fully developed and you'll find you become men and women of mature character.

Men and women of integrity with no weak spots. It's like going to the gym. How many of you like to go to the gym? You love to work out.

Wow. Not a real active bunch are you? Well I'm actually one of you. I don't like to but I go to the gym a couple times a week. You'd probably be surprised to hear that. Maybe just to remain mobile you know.

To stay in relatively good shape. I would far rather skip it and sit around and eat donuts all day long. I love donuts. I watched a documentary the other day with my wife on donuts.

And why would you even watch something like that? I don't know but I did. And it's late at night and guess what I wanted? Donuts. Where can I buy a donut at 9 20 at night? Answer.

Probably nowhere. Unless it's a supermarket. And those don't count. Those are not legit donuts okay. What are you anti-supermarket here?

I don't know. But you know you go to the gym. People do interesting things in gyms don't they? There's a person that dominates all the equipment. Like they're like using three things at once and you want to get in there but they've got their own private circuit going on. Then there's the guy who makes loud noises when he lifts.

It's just you know it's like seriously. He usually has headphones in. And it's the same guy that when he's done drops his weight.

Like drop boom it hits the ground. Then there's a person that gets on the treadmill and sweats on everything. There's like pools of perspiration.

People are fleeing in horror. Well why don't we go to the gym to show off. I don't know. You go and you break your muscle down to build it up. Okay trials are like God's gym where He breaks us down to build us up. Not to make us weaker but ultimately to make us stronger. Because character is not made in crisis. It is revealed.

Now think about Joe. Because some people when they have hardship they just turn against God. They walk away from God. I've heard people say I lost my faith. This crisis hit. This tragedy happened. I lost my faith.

Okay maybe that's good. What was your faith in? Listen the faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. What are you putting your faith in? Are you putting it in a person? Are you putting it in the church?

Listen put your faith in Christ and your faith will grow stronger through difficulty not weaker. So Joe. Poor old Joe. The problem with Joe is he never read the book of Job. Because if he had he would have realized that God was in control.

But he had not. He just woke up one morning and everything in his life collapsed. His children died. His career was gone. His health was gone. He probably wished his wife was gone too. Because of what she said to him. She looked at poor Joe losing everything.

Covered head to toe in massive boils. And she says why don't you just curse God and die. Thank you for those encouraging words Mrs. Job.

I was kind of hoping for something a little more hopeful right. But here's what Job did. He could have said I don't want to believe in you anymore God. I've served you and this is what you give me.

No here's what we read. Job 1 21 he said I came naked from my mother's womb and I'll be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord. And then it says Job did not sin by blaming God.

This is the whole thing. We turn to God in times of trial. What is the purpose of trials? Again to make us stronger spiritually. So iron will enter our soul. God is toughening you up for something He has in the future.

And remember this. Even when things look bleak all things work together for God's glory and your ultimate good. God has a plan.

God has a purpose. You never know. I heard a story. I actually read a story about a guy who was bitten by a great white shark. How many of you have been bitten by a great white shark?

Okay nobody. Okay well this guy was bitten by a shark and the headline was man is bitten by great white and is thankful it happened. I'm like what? So I click this and here's what happened. This guy's out swimming. He's attacked by a great white shark. He's rushed to the hospital and as they're doing surgery to save his life they see that there is a tumor on his kidney.

It's cancer. They remove the cancer and the man later said he was thankful for the shark attack because if the shark attack had not happened he would not have known of the cancer. Who would ever think you would give thanks to God for being bitten by a great white shark? They tried to contact the shark for comment but he was unavailable.

He was too busy looking for other people to bite hoping for a positive outcome. But anyway so there's a really bad thing that turned out to be a really good thing. Even when things look bleak all things will ultimately work together for God's glory and you're good. Important insight today on a new beginning from Pastor Greg Laurie's message called the refreshment of the spirit in times of trial.

Many of us in hindsight can look back and see how the guide used the challenging times of our lives to bring about a greater good. Well Pastor Greg you have a one-hour weekly music program called refresh heard on many Christian music stations across the country and we're expanding to even more stations. That's right. But it wasn't so many years ago that the number of stations that played contemporary Christian music or Jesus music was close to zero.

Yes. And the story of how that music was born was born and was incubated is told in a brand new book a beautiful hardcover edition that we're making available. That's right the title of the book is the Jesus music. So I had an opportunity to have a front row seat to the beginning of this music. We didn't know it was going to become an industry with Christian radio stations around the world. We just were hearing what we believed in music that we could connect to in the late 60s. You know groundbreaking artists and bands like Love Song and Larry Norman and Andre Crouch and the Disciples and Mustard Seed Faith and many others that followed to the present day of the bands that you love.

So this is sort of a behind the scenes look at how it all got started. It's called the Jesus music as you mentioned it's a beautiful hardcover book written by my friend Marshall Terrell that I've written three other books with and I had the privilege of writing the forward for this book and so we are offering to all of our listeners a copy for their gift of any size. So whatever you send we'll send you a copy of the Jesus music but I'm going to encourage you to be generous. This would be a fairly expensive book if you were to order it at amazon.com or your favorite bookstore but I'm going to give it to you at no charge but I do want you to invest in our ministry. So whatever you can give it's greatly appreciated and we'll put it to work getting the word of God out getting the gospel out so order your copy of the Jesus music from us right here at A New Beginning. Yeah that's right we have a copy waiting for you so get in touch with your investment today and be sure to ask for the new book called The Jesus Music. Our address is A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time more insight on the challenging times of trial and suffering we may face and the way God will use those times to help us grow. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie. Hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-21 23:29:47 / 2023-07-21 23:39:21 / 10

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