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How to Handle Discouragement | Spiritual Attacks

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2022 3:00 am

How to Handle Discouragement | Spiritual Attacks

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 20, 2022 3:00 am

When people stand against us, it’s often because of what we stand for. Some people can’t stand people of faith, but they tolerate just about everything else. We have to remember that the attack is nothing personal, it’s something spiritual. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see what’s behind that hostility. We’ll look at a time in the Old Testament when a great work of God faced open hostility. And we’ll see how we can compose and conduct ourselves just as our forefathers did.

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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. There's going to be times when you're misunderstood, misrepresented, unappreciated. People may impugn your motives and even say things about you that are not true.

So what do you do? Give up? If people mistreated the Lord, his followers can expect the same kind of hostility. Pastor Greg Laurie offers hope. Some of you have been thinking about giving up today, but what I want to say to you is don't give up.

Get up and keep your focus on Jesus Christ and you'll get through this. When people stand against us, it's often because of what we stand for. Some people can't stand people of faith, but they tolerate just about everything else. We have to remember that the attack is nothing personal, it's something spiritual. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see what's behind that hostility. We'll look at a time in the Old Testament when a great work of God faced open hostility, and we'll see how we can compose and conduct ourselves just as our forefathers did.

We're looking at Nehemiah. And here are some of the things we learned in our last message. Just a couple of recap points.

Number one. When you build, you also will battle. When you build, you also will have to battle. So we're reading about the Jewish people returning from Babylon where they were held captivity for 70 years, coming to Jerusalem and rebuilding the walls that surrounded the city that now lie in charred rubble and ruin. And the moment they started building, the attacks came in various forms.

So when you build, you will also have to battle. Another thing we learned together, when you're doing God's work, you'll be roundly criticized. When you're doing God's work, you'll be criticized.

Nehemiah and his people were, and we will be too. Opposition and criticism, just go with the turf. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 6 26, beware when all men speak well of you.

So if someone is criticizing you right now, that might be a good sign you're on the right track. So the devil has two basic ways he attacks the church. Number one, he attacks outwardly. That's what he often does historically. That's what was happening to Nehemiah and the folks. And that's what happened to the early church that Jesus started. The Day of Pentecost happened. The Holy Spirit was poured out. They were just thrilled at what God was doing. And now the persecution comes.

And what did it do? It drove the church out of Jerusalem. And they fanned around the world.

And here's the problem. If the persecution had not come, they may have never left Jerusalem. Because that was where all the action was. But now they went out and they began to share the gospel as Christ told them to. Otherwise they probably would have stayed there forever in a little holy huddle. But now the gospel is getting out. So what the devil meant for evil, God used for good. And the gospel went out. So instead of making the church weaker this persecution made the church stronger. And the same happens to us. The devil will attack us outwardly. And this is what will happen as we seek to do the Word of God. So Nehemiah now has got everyone on the wall. And everyone has a part to play in the rebuilding process.

But it was an overwhelming task. And then to make matters worse now they are threatened by Sanballat and Tobiah. Two guys. Sanballat and Tobiah. If you translated their names from the original Hebrew it would translate out to our English words beavis and butthead. I made that up. Or dumb and dumber.

Or tweedledee and tweedledum if you like. But these crazy guys were joined by others that opposed Israel rebuilding the wall. The Geshem and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites. And they tried to stop them. So look at Nehemiah 4 verse 7. And when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that work was going ahead and the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired they were furious. And they made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But look at what they did.

But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. So I told you there are two ways the devil attacks. One is outwardly. And that is what was happening up to this point. Now the devil changes his tactics.

And that is point number one of this message. The next attack he will use if he can't get us from the outside he will try to get us from the inside. Again if the devil can't get us from the outside he will try to get us through the inside.

It is inside infiltration. Instead of conquer and destroy it is divide and conquer. So the devil stirs division. They are getting discouraged. They are halfway through and they just got overwhelmed.

Look at Nehemiah 4. The people of Judah began to complain saying the workers are getting tired. And there is just so much rubble to be moved we will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.

Do you feel that way right now? You are trying to fix something. You are trying to repair something. Maybe it is your marriage. Maybe it is your family. Maybe it is your ministry. Maybe it is your own life. You are just trying to get closer to the Lord. And it seems like you take one step forward and take three steps backward. And you don't understand why that is happening. You are just a bit overwhelmed. Well just know this. Even the best and most godly people get discouraged at times.

So if you are discouraged just know you are in pretty good company. Moses was very discouraged on multiple occasions. And it is recorded in the Bible. David.

Oh man. He got discouraged. You read about it in many of his Psalms where his heart was overwhelmed.

Elijah was so discouraged he wanted to die. Paul the apostle was discouraged. And the list goes on. You get discouraged. I get discouraged. It often happens when a project or a plan or a relationship is not going the way we want it to go. Because it is easy to start something. It is not as easy to finish it. Right. Like going on a diet.

How many of you have ever gone on a diet? Raise your hand. Ok. A few more of you should be raising your hand. I am not going to say who but you know who you are. I am just kidding. Actually not.

But anyway. I have gone on many diets over the years. And my favorite of all diets is the Atkins diet.

You know what that is? The high protein diet. Oh man. There is not a better diet on the face of the earth than the Atkins diet for one day. Maybe two.

But one for sure. Because it is a high protein diet. It is a great diet for guys because we usually like to eat a lot of stuff you know. And so you can have protein. You can have meat. You can have fish. You can have chicken. You can have cheese. Lots of cheese. You can eat bacon. You can have a big giant omelet with a big side of bacon.

Isn't this making you hungry right now? It is making me hungry. But don't eat toast. Don't eat starch. Don't eat carbs. So avoid potatoes and things like that. Well here is the problem with the Atkins diet. If you go off of it and cheat a little it isn't a weight loss diet. It becomes a weight gain diet. And I know this from experience. So it is great for a day or two and then you start dreaming of bread and pizza and potatoes or anything else you can have. It is easy to start.

Not easy to stay on. It is easy to join the gym. A lot of people do that at the beginning of a year. I am going to join the gym. But the problem is most of them never go back. Do you know that gyms actually build their business models around people signing up and never returning?

One gym chain I read about in a business magazine called Planet Fitness is one of the biggest in America. And one of their gyms had the capacity to only accommodate 300 people but they signed up 6,000. And they were asked, how are you able to do it?

They said, no problem. Most of the people never come back. You see we sign up. It is easy to sign up. It isn't easy to stay with it.

It is easy to say I do on the day of your wedding and pledge your love and state your vows to your husband or wife to be. It is another thing to hang in there month after month, year after year, decade after decade. It is exciting to volunteer for a new ministry. You know your heart was touched for the little kids. And there you are with the four-year-olds. And you just taught them the story of Joseph and how he was betrayed by his brothers.

And the little kids have tied you up and they are looking for slave traders to sell you to. It is not going well. That is what is happening here in Nehemiah. They start mocking. Chapter 4 verse 4. And I prayed, hero God we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land.

Do not ignore their guilt. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I would like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is bringing us a message called How to Handle Discouragement from Nehemiah chapter 4.

And you can get a permanent copy of this insight at Harvest.org. That brings me to my next point. When you are being discouraged.

This is a big one now. Don't miss it. When you are discouraged put your eyes on the Lord. Put your eyes on the Lord. See when we take our eyes off of the Lord we will get discouraged because there is going to be times when you are misunderstood, misrepresented, unappreciated. People may impugn your motives and even say things about you that are not true.

So what do you do? Give up. Well if you want to do what the devil wants you to do by all means give up. The devil's two favorite words are give up. And some of you have been thinking about giving up today. Some of you are thinking about giving up on that marriage. Giving up on that ministry.

Some of you have even thought about giving up on your Christian faith because you have been disappointed by things that have come your way. But what I want to say to you is don't give up. Get up and keep your focus on Jesus Christ and you will get through this.

What does Nehemiah tell them in Nehemiah 4.14? Don't be afraid of the enemy. Remember the Lord who is great and glorious. Remember the Lord you guys. We are doing this for the Lord. Get your eyes off your circumstances.

Get your eyes off the half-built wall. Get your eyes off of your enemies who mock you and hassle you and put them back on the Lord. Now Hebrews 12 talks about running a race.

We dealt with this text not too long ago in our series that we called World Changers. And the writer of Hebrews 12 says, Lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily besets you and run with endurance a race that is set before you looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of your faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and now has set down on the right hand of God. So basically Paul is saying, Man get your eyes on Jesus and run this race for Him.

And then in verse 3 he says, Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people and then you won't become weary and give up after all. You have not given your lives up for your struggle against sin. But Greg you are saying it is hard for me. You don't know what I am going through. No I don't know what you are going through. But I know the Lord is with you.

Take your eyes off of yourself and put them on Christ. Corrie ten Boom. How many of you have heard of Corrie ten Boom? You need to know who she is. A wonderful lady.

Been in heaven for a while now. But she survived the Holocaust. And she was not a Jewish lady.

She was actually a Dutch Christian lady. But her crime in quotes was hiding Jewish people in her home along with the rest of her family during World War II from the Nazis. So the Nazis warned the ten Boom family, Stop hiding these Jews.

And they said, We will keep doing it because they are the apple of God's eye. And so the Nazis came one day and arrested Corrie's father who was named Casper. Her sister who was named Betsy. And they were all thrown into concentration camps. The father died quickly. He was an elderly man. Betsy and Corrie were put in a place called Ravensbrück. Horrible.

Awful place where they were literally sending Jewish people to the crematoriums. But Corrie survived that and spent the rest of her life bringing encouragement to people. I had the privilege of hearing her in person a couple of times. But I love this quote from Corrie ten Boom. She said, quote, If you look at the world you will be distressed. If you look within you will be depressed. And if you look at Jesus you will be at rest.

So true. See we have to do it for the Lord. We can't do it for the applause of people. Because if you do it for the applause of people you will fold when you have to face the criticism of people. So it is not about applause.

It is not about criticism. It is about doing it for the Lord. Billy Graham.

In the early 90s I had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with him and helping him. And so I remember one time we were in Portland, Oregon. He did a crusade. And that is a wild place to do an evangelistic event.

Portland, Oregon. Not the most church city in America. We will put it that way. And it was a wonderful event. And many people came to Christ. And I remember when Billy was walking out of the stadium there were crowds lined up on both sides. They wanted to reach out and touch Billy Graham. And I was walking right next to him. He just kind of had his head down. He was just sort of looking ahead. He would acknowledge people.

But he wasn't waving. And you know he was just moving along. And we got in the car and we are driving out.

And you know preachers like to be encouraged. And so I thought I am going to say something encouraging to Billy about his message. And so I was in the front of the car riding shotgun.

His longtime aide, G.W. Wilson was driving. Next to Billy was sitting his son Franklin. So I turned around and looked back over the seat and there was sitting Billy and I said, Billy great message tonight.

Billy looked at me with those steely blue eyes and he said, it is just gospel. I turned back around. I am thinking, I know. Just trying to compliment him. Then I thought of something else to say. A point he made in his message. I turned back around and I said, Billy I love the point you made when you said Christ can resensitize your conscience. And he looked at me and he said, well he can. I know.

But you know what I learned that day. Billy didn't want to be complimented. He didn't do it for the applause of people or the compliments of someone else. He did it for the Lord.

But this little sign hanging on the wall in his home says, what is that to thee follow thou me. And that is based on a conversation that Jesus had with Simon Peter after the Lord rose again. Remember Peter had denied Christ three times. So they talked about it. Jesus said, do you love me?

Feed my sheep. And then Jesus went on to say to Peter in so many words, you are going to die the death of a martyr. Well Peter didn't like that. He looked over at John the apostle and he said, what about this man. And then Jesus said to Peter, hey if I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? Follow me.

Follow thou me. In other words, Peter is saying, well that is not fair. It is like my grandkids.

You know if I do one thing for a grandchild that is perceived as being a little more than what I do for the others, they all started with it. It is not fair Papa. And here is Peter saying, it is not fair. Jesus is saying, hey what is it to you?

You follow me. And that is what he is saying to you. Well it is not fair Lord.

They got more than I got. There are things going better than mine. Hey what is it to you? You are in your lane in the race of life. Run your race. You are not competing with fellow Christians. Your competition is not other believers. We are not in competition here at Harvest with other churches.

Our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. We need to run this race for Christ. And we need to do that as individuals as well.

So here is another point if you are taking notes. We need to make our stand in our own homes first. Make our stand in our own homes first.

Look at Nehemiah 4.14. He says, don't be afraid of the enemy. Remember the Lord who is great and glorious and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes. See each person for the most part was to build the part of the wall that was nearest to their home. So think about it.

Here you are. You are out building the wall. And here is your house right here. Now do you think you are going to do a good job securing the wall?

Well of course. Because that is your house. And in that house is your family. So you do a good job.

Everyone worked around their own house. And really that is where this begins. A spiritual life. It starts with us as individuals.

Then it is our family. I want you to notice something very significant here. These words are addressed to the men. He says, remember your brothers, your sisters, your daughters, your wives, and your homes and fight for them. Well why wasn't it addressed to the women?

Because the men were told, fight for your family. Look if someone breaks in your house guys are you going to defend your wife and children? Of course you are. You are going to stop the intruder. Do what needs to be done.

I know you would do that. But what about spiritual attack against your wife? What about spiritual attack against your children or your grandchildren?

Will you be there as well? See the idea here is that men need to be the spiritual leaders in their home. We need more men of God leading their families and setting an example.

Stop being a slacker. Get up and lead. I know you will lead in other areas.

Lead in this area. And lead your family in Bible study. Lead your family to church.

Lead your family in prayer. Be that man of God. You'll be so blessed if you will do this. Great encouragement today from Pastor Greg Laurie from our studies in the book of Nehemiah.

And there's more to come from this message called How to Handle Discouragement. And then Pastor Greg we're excited to announce your new book with the fascinating title Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. It's a deep dive into the lives of some famous names in music and where they stand or where they stood with the Lord. The subtitle is The Spiritual Biography of Rock and Roll. And it's interesting that a pastor is writing a book about rock and roll and rock musicians.

It seems like an unlikely pairing. Well, let me just say that I've always loved music. I've always loved rock and roll. To quote the great theologian Joan Jett, I love rock and roll. And so I've always been aware of rock. I've always listened to rock. I kind of became aware of it more as a young man watching the Beatles.

But in this book, this is not glorifying rock music or rock musicians. This is a book that is exploring the lives of people that have basically experienced everything this world has to offer and have found it empty. It's sort of a modern version of the story of Solomon who had everything this world offers. And then he concluded it was all emptiness. It was like chasing the wind. It was like a bubble that bursts. And so, you know, when you've climbed to the top of the mountain and you've been all that in a bag of chips, when you've been on a lunchbox or on a t-shirt or people, you know, have your poster hung in their room, you realize how empty all of that is. So I explore these stories. One fascinating section of the book is about the so-called 27 Club.

Ever heard about that? These are artists who are very well known who all tragically died at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27.

So did Janis Joplin. You have to put Jim Morrison in there as well. Fast forward a number of years and you put Amy Winehouse in there along with Kurt Cobain, people that had it all and yet died at the very young age of 27. So I sort of show the birth of rock, the growth of rock, the pinnacle of rock in the 60s and 70s, and then the just complete collapse of so many of these iconic people. But then I explore the lives of those rock stars who have come to Jesus Christ and are following him.

People I've gotten to know personally, like Dion Demucci of Dion and the Belmonts, Richie Furet of the Buffalo Springfield and Poco, and Alice Cooper, who I've interviewed multiple times. This is a guy that has experienced all that this world has to offer and has found it empty and now is following Jesus Christ. So it's a book that shows what happens when you make the right and the wrong choices, but ultimately it's a book that I think will offer hope and say to you there is no one that you know that is beyond the reach of God. Yeah, it's full of great reassurance and powerful insights on where fulfillment is really found.

So can we send a copy your way? Again, it's called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. The subtitle is The Spiritual Biography of Rock and Roll, and it's our gift to thank you for partnering with us right now. Your investments help these studies continue to come your way, and they help us reach out with the gospel as we did several weeks ago at Boise Harvest.

And you know, in the last couple of years, more than 220,000 people have made professions of faith in Christ. Your donation is a worthy investment. So get in touch with your investment today. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-hour phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, more solid encouragement from our studies of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 05:20:59 / 2023-04-16 05:30:56 / 10

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