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The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial: Refined and Refreshed

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 18, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshment of the Spirit in Times of Trial: Refined and Refreshed

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 18, 2021 3:00 am

Wood that’s been split and sawn, and sanded and shaped can make some fine furniture. But if our compassion should get the best of us and we didn’t want to see that wood face that stress, most of us would just have some chunks of tree sitting in our living rooms. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how the sanding and shaping in our lives helps us mature into the kind of people God wants us to be. Good encouragement coming today.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Remember this, even when things look bleak, all things work together for God's glory and your ultimate good. Wood that's been split and sawn, sanded and shaped can make some fine furniture. But if our compassion should get the best of us and we didn't want to see that wood face that stress, well, most of us would just have some chunks of tree sitting in our living rooms. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how the sanding and shaping in our lives helps us mature into the kind of people God wants us to be.

Good encouragement coming today. 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.

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. So iron will enter our soul.

Let me explain. You have heard the story of Joseph. He is in the Old Testament book of Genesis. He was one of the sons of Jacob. And Jacob favored Joseph. By the way, your kids know if you favor one of their siblings over another. You think you are very secretive and even-handed.

They know. And they probably have little debates about who is your favorite child or favorite grandchild. My grandchildren come to me, who is your favorite grandchild, Papa? I say, you are all my favorite. Now come on.

Who is your favorite? And so all of the brothers of Joseph knew that Dad favored Joseph over them. And one of the ways he showed it was he gave him what is called a coat of many colors. Now this basically was just a coat that was more reserved for someone that didn't have to work in the fields. And so his brothers were cut off clothing and out there laboring and Joseph would come cruising in in his cool coat.

Hey guys, how is it going? And he would rat his brothers out and tell Dad what the brothers were up to. And one day the brothers said, we can't take this anymore. Let's just kill them.

Seems like an overreaction to me. Let's kill our brother Joseph. And then Reuben, the oldest brother, sees a group of slave traders traveling by. He says, why don't we just sell them to the slave traders instead.

We will make a little money on the side. They all thought that was a great idea. Then they took that beautiful coat Jacob gave to his son. Tore it up.

Covered it in blood. He went home to Dad and said, oh Dad, worst thing ever. Your son that you love so much is dead. He was killed. And Jacob was broken hearted. And so what happens to Joseph? He is bought by a guy who effectively was the head of the secret service for the Pharaoh.

And this man had a huge estate. His name was Potiphar. And Joseph was so responsible that Potiphar kept giving him more and more responsibilities.

Next thing you know, Joseph is running everything. Well Potiphar had a wife. She was the original cougar.

She saw the handsome young Joseph and started to hit on him. Her name was Mrs. Robinson. The wrong story.

That is a dated cultural reference. Google it. I don't even want to go into that. But anyway, if you know the movie, she was like Mrs. Robinson trying to get Joseph to be involved with her sexually. He resisted her advances and then she falsely accuses him of rape and he is sent off to prison. Now he is sitting in a prison cell. How easily could have thought, well is this what you get for following God? I made a principled stand.

I resisted the enticements of this woman and I am in prison. But God was at work. And it is interesting because he had an iron collar around his neck. And then we read this interesting verse.

Psalm 105 verse 18. They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. A different translation emerges from the original here which says, as he laid in iron, iron entered his soul. He was getting toughened up.

Guess what? God was preparing Joseph for something big. Maybe God is preparing you for something big too. Iron is entering your 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.

Here is another point. God's ultimate purpose for us is to be conformed into the image of Jesus. We often quote Romans 8 28. For we know that all things work together to those who love God another called according to his purpose. But verse 29 says, for whom he did foreknow he also did predestined to be conformed into the image of his own dear son. So put it together.

Here is what it says. Whatever you are going through in life God will ultimately work it for good but his end game is actually to make you more like Jesus. See we missed that last part.

Oh yeah I am going through a hard time. Where is the good? I don't see the good. He will work all things together for good to those who love him and then he wants to make you more like Jesus. So we have to get the bigger picture because God is preparing us for heaven.

Here is another one. Suffering can bring glory to God. Suffering can bring glory to God in our lives.

Listen. Any fool can be happy when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. But when you are going through a storm it is a different matter. You know you might have people that know you who are not Christians and they say look at this Christian smiling all happy. They go to church on Sunday. They are so happy. Praise the Lord.

Whatever. And then one day Christ has hit your life. Something horrible happens and now they are watching and you still have a smile on your face. And you still have faith in God. And they say whoa. Maybe I need to take a second to look at this Christianity thing.

Because maybe there is something to it. That is right. Because when a Christian can glorify God in a time of difficulty it is a powerful testimony to a lost and watching world.

Case in point. Paul and Silas. They were arrested for preaching the gospel.

They were treated in a very cruel way by a Roman guard who whipped them and then put their feet in stocks. And we read at midnight Paul and Silas sang praises to God. And then we also read and the other prisoners were listening. And that can be translated they were listening with pleasure. Because I don't think those other prisoners had ever heard anyone sing praises to God in that hell hole. In that dungeon.

And I don't know if Paul and Silas would have done like a two part Len and McCartney harmony. All I know is these people had never heard that kind of thing before. Suddenly a great earthquake comes. The walls are shaken and collapsed. And the Roman jailer knows he is dead. He will be executed for losing the prisoners. He pulls out his sword. He is ready to kill himself. And Paul stops him and says don't hurt yourself. We are still here. And this guy drops down on his knees and says what must I do to be saved.

Why? Paul and Silas earned the right for this man to hear the gospel by the way they lived in adversity. They were praising God when the walls collapsed at the prison. They were praising God when they were in stocks in the prison. And that man came to faith as a result. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

Hey everybody Greg Laurie here. Encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the word of God. You can watch it with your family in your front room.

Or you can watch it on the go on your tablet on your phone or your computer. Take it with you. Take the word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is pointing out the purpose of the challenging times in our lives. Good encouragement for times of trial.

Suffering can be used to prepare us for a special task. Back to Joseph. He's in a prison cell. So two of the guys are arrested. They work for the Pharaoh. It was the baker and the butler. So I guess the butler did it. He did something. And they had these weird dreams and Joseph interpreted their dreams. And he said when you get out of here make sure you help me. I'm the guy that can interpret dreams.

Ok. They forgot all about him. He sat there another two years. One day the Pharaoh had a troubling dream. And it was actually a dream about the future of Egypt and a famine that was coming.

And the butler remembered and he said, hey I met a guy in prison. He can interpret dreams. Pharaoh says bring him up here. Joseph comes before the Pharaoh. He interprets the Pharaoh's dream. Pharaoh is so impressed he says I am making you the one who is in command of the food supply of Egypt. And Joseph went from the prison to the palace and became the second most powerful man on the planet.

So the famine came. And he hid his brothers way back where they were living. And so Jacob said go to Egypt and get us some food.

So when to the palace come the brothers of Joseph. And he recognizes them but they don't recognize him. See he didn't dress like they did anymore. Now he looked like an Egyptian. He walked like an Egyptian. And he probably had a guy liner on. Right?

And a shaved head. He recognizes them. He starts talking to them. They don't know. They are talking to their brother.

They sold. And then he says everyone leave the room. And he looks at his brothers and he says I am Joseph.

I wonder if they are reverberated. I am Joseph. And they looked at him and collectively thought and we are dead dead dead dead dead. But no he didn't condemn them to death. It would have been the ultimate payback story.

But it wasn't. It was the ultimate forgiveness story. He forgave his brothers for the horrible things they did to him. But then he made this amazing statement. He said you meant it for evil but God meant it for good to save many people alive.

Incredible. I know it was in your heart. I know you were evil but God used it for his glory. God may have preserved you for something that is coming.

And here is the thing. When you have gone through a hard time you can really minister to someone else who is going through a hard time. Paul actually writes over in 2 Corinthians that we can comfort others with the comfort we have been comforted with.

Paul writes he comforts us in all of our troubles so we can comfort others. So if you are a cancer survivor and someone finds out they have cancer. Boy you are the person they need to talk to. I saw a woman who posted on our Harvest at Home service she has had some miscarriages. And she has a ministry to other women who have had miscarriages.

See here is how I got through it. My wife and I and our son we have a ministry that we never wanted. We have a ministry to parents who have lost children. I never wanted to join that club but I became a bona fide member when our son went to be with the Lord some 13 years ago. And as a pastor I have performed many funeral services far too many for children which are the hardest.

Because you are trying to find the right words. And I look at parents sitting in the front row and I think what can I say to bring a measure of comfort and hope to them. And then one day I woke up and I was in the front row and the pastor was speaking to me.

And I remember the devastation I remember wondering how I would get through it how I would survive it. But the Lord has helped us and continues to help us so we still miss our son so much. But the point is now I can comfort others with the comfort that I have been comforted with. And I found one of the things I do more of now than I used to do before our son had died is I am a better listener.

I am not so quick on the draw with the Bible verse. I will listen. Tell me what happened. I am so sorry. Well let me just share a few things that we learned in this journey that we are still on. And they will listen to me and to my wife and to my son because they know we have gone through it. So listen there are things that have happened to you that you wish did not happen to you. But if it ever occurred to you God allowed them to happen to you so you can help others that are going through those same things. This is very important for us to realize God has a plan and God has a purpose.

And He can use all of these things in our lives and in the lives of others. Now let me close with one thought. Thoughts can be long. This could be a 30 minute thought. This could be a 4 minute thought.

But it is going to be a shorter one not a longer one. The greatest travesty of justice in all of human history. The worst crime that was ever perpetrated against any man was the arrest, execution, and bloody murder of Jesus Christ the Son of God on the cross. People want to blame someone for it. It was the Romans that did it. Others will say it is the Jewish people that did it.

Let me say something that will blow your mind. It is God that did it. Because the Bible says it pleased the Father to bruise Him. Oh no the Father took no pleasure in watching the Son suffer and die. But the Father knew that through the death of His Son on the cross that salvation would be purchased for all of humanity. So out of the greatest travesty of justice came the greatest good of all time. Your salvation and mine.

Isn't that great to know? The fact is Jesus voluntarily went to that cross. No one took His life.

Jesus said greater love is no man than this. That He laid down His life for His friends. He laid His life down. He went voluntarily to that cross.

He died there as I have often said. It wasn't nails that held Jesus to the cross. It was love for you. And for me God loves you.

And God wants to forgive you. And I don't know why you are here today. How you got here today. Maybe this is your first time at church. Maybe you were brought by a friend. Maybe something bad has happened in your life and it has got your attention. I want to just say first of all I am just glad you are here.

And I want you to know that God will help you. If you will call out to Him and ask for His forgiveness. Because Jesus didn't stay on that cross did He? He rose again from the dead three days later. And He is with us right now in this place. Standing at the door of your life and knocking. And He says if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. Jesus can come into your pain. He can come into your struggle.

He can come into your life. And He can forgive you of all of your sin. And give you the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die.

And then if that wasn't enough. And then He will give to you the meaning of life. You wonder what is the meaning of life? Why am I here?

Short answer. The meaning of life is to come into a relationship with God and to walk with Him. And He will show you what your life is all about and where your life should go. But He won't force us in your life. You have to ask for Him to come in and forgive you of your sin. And in a moment we are going to close in prayer. And I am going to extend an invitation for you to believe in Jesus and be forgiven of your sin. And I am telling you it can happen in just a second.

It is so amazing how quickly we can change. I remember when I was just a kid, 17 years old. And I was on my high school campus, Harbor High School. And I saw the Christians sitting there. I just wanted to look at them. And I thought they are so weird. And there is no way this is true.

It is not true. They are crazy. Look at them. But I just kept watching them.

They are singing songs about Jesus. And then a guy got up to speak. And I thought, OK, what is this all about? And I don't remember most of what he said. But when he said, Jesus said you are either for me or against me. Suddenly I looked at the Christians and I thought, it is all true. How did that happen? How did I go from saying it is not true, I don't believe any of it, it couldn't be true, to it is all true and I want it.

I don't know how. But I didn't do it. God did it. It is a work of the Holy Spirit.

And you experienced it as well, didn't you? You know people have said to me, Greg you are an evangelist. Tell us the one thing you can say to a non-believer to make them believe.

What do you think I carry that around in my back pocket? If I knew such a thing I would have already told you. Trust me. There is no one thing I could say to make a person believe. But I do know as we proclaim the gospel, as we share our faith with others, God's Holy Spirit will open their hearts up and they can believe just like that. Like that man going back to the story of Paul and Silas and the Roman jailer. He just said, what do I need to do to be saved?

What do I need to do to have what you have? Hey believe in Jesus. He said, I believe in Jesus.

And that can happen for you. Right here, right now. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So we are going to pray and then I will extend this invitation for you to come to Christ today. For you to change your eternal destiny.

For you to find the meaning and purpose of life. If you need Jesus respond now. Let's pray. Father thank you for your word to us.

Thank you for your love for us. And I pray for any person here, Lord if they don't know you, let this be the moment they believe. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer.

And if you'd like to make that kind of change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you in just a moment before we wrap up today here on A New Beginning. Well we're making available a fascinating new book called The Jesus Music. Pastor Greg you wrote a book called The Jesus Revolution talking about the Jesus movement. How much is Jesus music linked to the Jesus movement?

Yeah Dave I would say it's very linked. It was, well they say the music of the 60's was a soundtrack of a generation and that's true. And the Jesus music which would be late 60's onto the 70's and really to the present day. Is also a soundtrack of a generation.

But it's a Jesus generation. And it's very important music because it was born out of revival. It was revival music in it's early stages. It's worth noting that in the beginning we called it Jesus music. And later it became an industry known as contemporary Christian music. But it really started with just songs about Jesus.

And I had a front row seat. We were attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in 1970 which was the epicenter of the Southern California Jesus movement. And all these bands were forming before our eyes. Every week it was like a new band. It was bands with things like love sung of course. Gentle faith, joy, country faith, mustard seed faith, lots of faith back in those days. But what was really unique was these were songs that were written to speak to people. They were songs that expressed this new found faith that these musicians had found after coming to Christ. And so it was very exciting to see and then it became a whole industry. And now there's contemporary Christian music. Stations of course and huge events and concerts that happen all around the world. But it started very simply and it started in revival. And we have a brand new book that sort of tracks the history of Jesus music back in the late 60's early 70's.

Yes we do. It's called The Jesus Music written by Marshall Terrell. And by the way there's a documentary film put out by the Irwin Brothers and Kingdom Productions by the same name.

An amazing film. But this book The Jesus Music written by Marshall Terrell tells you the story. And I was able to have some input in the writing of this book because I was there.

I wrote the introduction to the book as well. And as a matter of fact some of you may recognize Marshall's name because we have written three books together. One of them is Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon. Another is Steve McQueen The Salvation of an American Icon. And of course Billy Graham The Man I Knew. So Marshall is a great writer.

He's a good researcher. And this is going to take you back to the beginning of this music to the present day. There's a lot of stories you'll read and a lot of things you will learn. And I'm sure you did not know about some of your famous artists out there that have touched your lives in so many ways. Yeah it's such an interesting book. You'll love it even if you're a relative newcomer to Jesus music.

Again it's the new book called The Jesus Music. And we'd be glad to send a copy your way to thank you for your partnership with us and making these studies available each day. It's only through listener support that that's possible. So thanks so much for your generosity. Write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you pointed out the importance of asking Jesus to forgive our sins a few moments ago. Could you help those who want to do that very thing right now? Yeah you know the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ stands at the door of our life and he knocks. And if any man will hear his voice and open the door he will come in. Maybe as you've heard me speak today, well you've heard another voice speaking to you.

It's the voice of God. And you realize you need Christ in your life. You need your sin forgiven. You want the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die.

Well here's what you need to do. You need to pray. And I would like to lead you in a prayer right now where you will be saying to Jesus, Lord come into my life, I choose to follow you.

So let's pray. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. I turn from that sin now and I put my faith in you. Be my Lord, my Savior, and my God, and my friend. I choose to follow you Jesus from this moment forward.

Thank you for loving me, and calling me, and accepting me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer I want you to know on the authority of scripture that Christ himself has come into your life. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

If you just prayed that prayer in minutes, you can know today you have eternal life. And may I be the first to say to you, welcome to the family of God. And we want to help you grow as a believer. Let us send you our new believers growth packet. We'll send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg today. Just write a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or you can request it online at harvest.org. Just click on Know God. Well next time as Pastor Greg continues his refresh series, we'll consider how revival is the ultimate spiritual refreshment. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-21 13:17:16 / 2023-07-21 13:27:59 / 11

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