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How to Handle Discouragement | God–fearing

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2022 3:00 am

How to Handle Discouragement | God–fearing

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 23, 2022 3:00 am

When we fear God, we serve God. When we fear God, we obey God. When we fear God, we don’t need to fear much else. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us insights from the book of Nehemiah. It’s the story of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. God’s people were working hard, but we’ll see some began acting in a way that was out of sync with being a God-fearing man or woman. Pastor Greg helps us learn from this tense development in the story.

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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 made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at in fear before God, like, oh God, don't get me, don't be me. That's not the fear of God.

Take out the word fear, put another in. The respect for God. The reverence for God. The awe of God.

The honor of God. When we fear God, we serve God. When we fear God, we obey God.

When we fear God, we don't need to fear much else. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us insights from the book of Nehemiah. It's the story of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. God's people were working hard, but we'll see some began acting in a way that was out of sync with being a God-fearing man or woman.

Pastor Greg helps us learn from this tense development in the story. Jesus said, if a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand. As one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said after he signed the Declaration of Independence to the other founding fathers in the room, quote, gentlemen, now we must all hang together or surely we will all hang separately, end quote.

That's very true. Franklin knew that the greatest threat to this new nation called the United States was not the British coming from the outside. It was division and internal strife from the inside. And that's exactly what we see happening now as we go to Nehemiah 5, starting in verse 1.

About this time, some of the men and their wives raised a cry of protest against their fellow Jews. I'm reading from the New Living Translation, by the way. They were saying we have such large families. We need more food to survive. Others said we've mortgaged our fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine. And others said we've had to borrow money on our fields and vineyards and pay our taxes. We belong to the same family as those who are wealthy and our children are just like theirs. Yet we must sell our children into slavery just to get enough money to live. We've already sold some of our daughters and are helpless to do anything about it for our fields and vineyards are already mortgaged to others.

We'll stop there. So these folks, these Jewish people, have left Babylon at great sacrifice. They've left the comfort of their homes. They get there and they're rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. And by the way these people were not builders. They were construction people. They were just regular folks who saw a job that needed to be done and wanted to do something about it. But they were being taken advantage of by their own spiritual family.

To make matters worse there was a famine. According to verse 2 of chapter 5 they're paying these insanely high interest rates charged by greedy relatives. It's so bad that their children are becoming slaves.

They're losing their properties. And this just ticked Nehemiah off. Look at Nehemiah 5 says, when I heard their complaints I was very angry. And thinking it over I spoke out against these nobles and officials and I told them you're hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrowed money.

So we called a public meeting to deal with the problem. So Nehemiah is taking the bull by the horns here and there's something that needs to be done. These other folks, these other Jewish people, were taken advantage. Here's what I've come to know. There are people that say there are Christians that do not behave as Christians. And it's hard for me to believe they're believers.

But they profess faith. And sometimes I wonder. I mean how do I know you're a Christian? Hey how do you know I'm a Christian?

Because I stand here and preach? No that's not how you know. I mean maybe it's one indication. But you know by my life. You know by the choices I make. You know by my reputation or by fruit.

I know the same from your life. And it is possible to be in a church, to read a Bible, to know a few verses, and not know the Lord at all. At best these people were very disobedient believers. And at worst they were people pretending to be believers.

But whatever it was this was a bad situation. So they complain. The people that are being hurt complain. And by the way there's a place for complaining. There's a place for criticism. Sometimes you might see something that isn't right and you think it should change.

So you need to bring that to the attention of those who are in leadership. There's a difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Constructive criticism sees a problem and wants to help. Destructive criticism sees a problem, amplifies it, and wants to hurt. One wants to help you and build you up. The other wants to destroy you and tear you down. So if you have an issue with someone, don't talk about them.

Talk to them. I've had people come up to me and say, have you heard about so and so? What?

Yeah, so and so just did this. How do you know? I read it on the internet.

Oh. Then it must be true. Because everything on the web is true.

Right? Everything that's tweeted or posted it's all true. There's so much fake news out there it's a joke. And so I'll say, well have you talked to that person? No. Well why not?

You should go to the person and give them the opportunity to tell you their side of it. You may find that thing you heard was not true at all. Listen. When you hear rumors or negative talk you can throw one of two buckets on that fire. You can either throw water or you can throw gasoline.

You can either try to put it out or you can flame it even worse. But here's what the Bible says. Ephesians 4 and 3.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. Well Nehemiah was mad. He says in verse 6, when I heard their complaints I was very angry. Now generally anger is not a good thing.

Right? Not usually. Now we've all done things when we're angry. It's almost like when you have an angry brain you lose touch with reality. Just get out in the road. Look at the crazy things people do in cars. If you dare to use your turning signal and go into their lane and turn legally there they take it personally. And they get angry or they tailgate you or they scream at you or extend a certain finger in your direction.

What is that all about? Or maybe you're angry with someone. Your spouse makes you angry so you just turn low.

You let them have it with both parents. You feel really good about it. And then about five minutes later the adrenaline wears off and you're thinking what? What did I just do? Why did I even do that? Or maybe you're mad at someone. You're mad at your boss.

I'm going to send him an email or her and I'll tell them what I really think. You're typing hard. And then when you hit send it's like that. And off it goes.

A little sound of me. It's out there. Then the adrenaline wears off and you're Googling how do I get my email back?

Answer you don't. I should have given it some time. Thought about it. Prayed about it. There have been times I've written emails or letters and never hit send. I'll see if I feel that way in the morning.

I get up the next morning. What was I thinking? No way am I sending that crazy thing. Yeah so generally anger is a bad thing but sometimes it can be a good thing. And in the case of Nehemiah it was. It was righteous indignation.

And look what Nehemiah did. Verse 6. He's angry and he consults with himself. That's very interesting. He consults with himself.

That's King James Version. Which literally means to give oneself advice or counsel oneself. Have you ever counseled yourself? You know what I'm talking about? You say something out loud. This person said this or did that.

And I want to do this and get him back. And then you say oh wait. And then you quote a scripture to yourself.

You're almost like correcting yourself. That's what Nehemiah did. He thought this through. But then he did take action as he was led by the Lord. Nehemiah 5 verse 9. What you're doing is wrong he says to the leaders.

Is there no fear of God left in you? Don't you care what the nations around here or our enemies think of you. I and my brothers and the people working for me have also loaned the money. But this gouging with interest has to stop. So give them back their fur closed fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes right now. Forgive their claims on their money, grain, new wine, and olive oil. And they said we'll give it all back. Nehemiah says don't you care what your enemies think of you.

Listen to this. Non-believers watch you each and every day. They don't tell you they're watching you but they are.

And you know what they're looking for? They want you to slip up so bad. They're thinking I just want them to do something or say something so I can say you hypocrite.

You phony. And when you live a godly life, when you bring honor to the Lord despite suffering, or when you do something kind for somebody, or you forgive someone who has hurt you, it drives them insane. And this is really what Nehemiah is saying. Don't you guys even care what the outside world thinks about you? Does it even cross your mind what the other nations would think or what our enemies would think? And I wonder sometimes if people in the church think about this. How about just go out and disobey God? Christian couples getting a divorce.

What? Christian couple divorcing? Yeah, we're divorcing. But wait, you pledge your love to each other. I know, yeah, we're divorcing.

Okay, why are you divorcing? Irreconcilable differences. Really? Yeah.

What are they? They're just irreconcilable. As I've often said, I've had irreconcilable differences with my wife for 42 years. But you know, you can't forgive. You can't work this. No, no, can't work it out. We're getting a divorce. What's going on there?

Or how about this? When one Christian takes another Christian to court and sues them. Paul actually brought this up in 1 Corinthians 6. He says, when you have a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to unbelievers. And said one believer sues another right in front of unbelievers. Get his point?

Like what are you doing? Do you even think about your witness or lack thereof? This is why the prophet Nathan came to David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and really his hand in the murder of her husband Uriah. And he said, you have given the enemies of God an opportunity to blaspheme the Lord.

It's crazy. We need to think about these things. That's what Nehemiah is bringing up. And he asks a powerful question. Verse 9.

Is there no fear of God left in you? Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. I don't know if you know about this, but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world.

Listen to this. We even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the word of God. So join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Well today Pastor Greg is showing us Nehemiah's reaction hearing that some of the people were taking advantage of the others as the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt. He asks, is there no fear of God left in you? Pastor Greg continues now. The fear of God.

Where did that go? You don't hear much about the fear of the Lord anymore. We used to say He's a God fearing man.

That was positive by the way. Now we hear so much about the love of God and believe me the Bible teaches the love of God and we should preach the love of God. But it seems to me in the days in which we are living we hear a lot about the love of God but we never hear about the fear of God. We hear a lot about the glories of heaven but we never hear warnings about hell.

We hear a lot about forgiveness but we don't hear much about repentance. And all of that is the gospel you see. And it all needs to be proclaimed. You know criticism of days gone by was I am sick of all these hellfire and brimstone preachers.

My response is where are they? I want to hear one. I hear preachers talking about health and wealth and prosperity and free parking spaces and blessings galore no matter what. I would like to hear a hellfire and brimstone message and I would like to hear something more about the fear of God. And say well what does that mean the fear of God?

Not everybody is clapping. What does He mean? What does He mean? What do I mean by the fear of God? Let me say what I don't mean. When we talk about the fear of God it doesn't mean cowering in fear before God like oh God don't hit me.

Don't be me. That is not the fear of God. Take out the word fear.

Put another in. The respect for God. The reverence for God. The awe of God. The honor of God.

Why is that important? Because the Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It was because the Hebrew midwives feared God. We read in Exodus 1 17. They did not obey the authorities and kill the little Jewish baby boys. It is because the Pharaoh did not fear God that he brought the judgment of the Lord upon himself. Solomon went on a binge of excess and chased after everything this world offers. His sex and money and possessions and power and all the rest.

And he said ok after this little experiment here is my conclusion. Fear God and keep His commandments. Here is what I learned. Just fear the Lord. Respect the Lord. One definition of fearing God is a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. A person who doesn't fear God just says God loves me. I will do whatever the heck I want to do and God will forgive me and it is all cool. A person who fears God says oh I love the Lord and I know He loves me but I reverence Him and I don't want to bring dishonor to His name. And if I did that that could keep people away from Christ or stumble a younger believer.

Therefore I won't do it. You see you need to know the love of God and you need to have the fear of God. They are both really important. Oswald Chambers who is best known for his devotional My Utmost for His Highest made this statement about the fear of God. Quote, The remarkable thing about fearing God is when you fear God you fear nothing else. Whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else. End quote.

Well said. One last thing. Nehemiah told these disobedient believers to take action then and there. He says I want you to forgive their debts now. I want you to return their properties now. I want you to take action now. Not tomorrow. Not in a week. Now.

Right now. And they said we will do it. He said you better do it because you just made this statement before God. In fact sign on the dotted line to confirm it. And the same is true for us.

If we need to do something do it now. Maybe someone has been hurt by you. You hurt them. You slandered them. You said things that were not true about them.

And then you realized they weren't true. So you sheepishly said I am sorry. Well that is nice but you still damage your reputation.

How about this for an idea. Let your repentance be as widely known as your sin. So you did your sin and everyone saw it. Now let everyone know about your repentance. It is called making restitution. We don't think about that. Well I am sorry. Well wait. Make restitution.

What does that mean? Give it back and maybe give a little something extra to make up for the misery you caused them. Let's say I stole your car and I had your car for a month. You really needed your car.

Then one day I came back. Sorry I stole your car. Here is your car back. Had dental over it. Flat tire.

Thanks. Could you like fix my car. Hey maybe get me a new car. See that is restitution. So it is not just saying I am sorry. Make it right. That is what these people were being asked to do.

To make restitution. One day Jesus showed up in a little town called Jericho. And He is walking through a crowd of adoring people. And there is a little dude up in a tree named Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector. Nobody wanted to hang out with Zacchaeus because they hated him. They thought he was a turncoat working for the Romans. Taking advantage of them.

Not only taking taxes for Rome but pocketing extra that he put on top of it. So here comes Jesus to the crowd. Everybody wants a moment with Jesus.

Everybody wants to talk to Jesus. He is looking around. He is looking for Zacchaeus. He looks up. There he is. He says, Hey Zacchaeus. Come on down.

I am coming over to your house for lunch. Zacchaeus couldn't believe it. He scurries down the tree. Runs ahead of Jesus. Prepares a meal for Christ. And Christ walks into his house and the door shuts.

So pretty much the whole city is just standing there waiting. Why is Jesus hanging around with a loser like that? Why would Jesus spend time with a guy that rips off other people? Doesn't Jesus know how evil he is?

Time passes. And now here comes Jesus and Zacchaeus probably standing there on the front porch. And Zacchaeus says, I am sorry for what I have done. I will restore anything that I have taken unjustly. And I am even going to give you something on top of it. Jesus says, truly salvation has come into this man's life today.

Why? There was evidence. There was evidence.

He wanted to make it right. And the same Jesus that wanted to come into the home of Zacchaeus wants to come into your life right now. You know back in biblical times having a meal was something that they took their time to have. There were no fast food restaurants.

You didn't pull your chariot through, you know, in and out falafel or whatever. No you would get together with family and friends. You would sit down. And eating was a time to talk. It was a time to share.

Time to be together. So when Jesus says, I stand at the door of your life and I knock and I want to come in and sup with you, King James, or have a meal with you. He is saying, I want a relationship with you. I mentioned earlier, you know, you can be in the church and never know Jesus. You can be a religious person and never know Jesus. This is not about a religion. It is about a relationship with God. And I ask you, do you have that right now? Do you know that your life is right with God?

And if you don't, would you like that to change? Jesus Christ who came into the little house of Zacchaeus years ago can come into your house. He probably had a big house come to think of it. But he can come into your home right now and he can come into your heart and into your life and forgive you of all of your sin and start changing you. And so you can leave today knowing your life is right with God.

What did Nehemiah say to these people? Do it now. Do it now. And I am going to ask you to do it now.

Today everything can change for you. Yes there is a hell. And the last thing God wants is for any man or woman created in His image to spend eternity separated from Him in this horrible place prepared for the devil and his angels called hell. God wants you to join Him in heaven. But you have to say, I am a sinner. And you have to understand Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin and paid the price for all the wrongs you have ever done.

And then He rose again from the dead. And you need to say Jesus come into my house. Come into my heart.

Come into my life. And He will. He will do it right now. He is just a prayer away. Why don't we close in prayer and let me give you this opportunity to ask Christ into your life. Everybody praying with me please. Father thank You for Your love for us in sending Jesus to die on the cross in our place. Now I pray for any that are here or any that are watching that do not yet know You. Help them see their need for You and help them to come to You today and be forgiven. In Your name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you'd like to make that kind of change in your relationship with the Lord today, Pastor Greg will come back in just a moment to help you do that before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited about your new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. It's a look at the lives of dozens and dozens of well-known music icons and the way their lives rose to the top and then often crashed to the bottom and the reasons for that. Now some of the people you talk about in the book obviously have passed on. Which one of them would be at the top of the list of those you'd like to meet and have a conversation with if that were possible?

Yeah that's a really good question. I wish, oh my, there's so many, so many. I think of Janice Joplin, very talented young lady, harassed, made fun of when she was a young girl, extraordinarily talented, died so young, 27. I wish I could have sat down with her and said, Janice, God loves you. And even if others don't love you as they ought to, you are loved by the Lord and He has a plan and a purpose for your life. I wish I could have sat down with John Lennon and said, John, you need to just follow Jesus. You've made a profession of faith in Him. Now you need to just grow in your faith spiritually and continue on to discover all that God has in store for you. I wish I could have sat down with Jimi Hendrix, in my opinion the greatest guitar player who ever lived, by accounts of people that knew him.

He was a kind person, he was a humble person, but he was a man who was searching as well. And I just wish I could have told these people that there's a God in heaven who loved them and had a plan for their life. I wish I could tell them that their life matters and so many people care so deeply about them. And I can't tell them that, unfortunately, but I can talk to people who are alive today, who maybe are despondent, who maybe have thought about taking their lives.

Some who have even attempted to take their lives and say, look, this is not the way you want to go, here's the way you want to go. You want to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and discover His plan for your life and get to know Him. And then you'll have that happiness and that peace that you've longed for throughout your entire life.

Yeah, that's right. And you know, there are some listening right now who have a close friend or loved one who's at that same crossroad today. They need to hear that message of hope. Let us send you a copy of this new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. Read it yourself and then pass along this good news to the person you care about. It's a strong wake-up call, and it's a message of hope. And we'd like to send the book your way to thank you for your investment in Harvest Ministries and A New Beginning.

We're listener-supported, and without listener partnership, we simply couldn't be here each day. We're so grateful for your generosity. And when you make your donation today, we'd like to thank you with Pastor Greg's new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. So call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-hour phone number, 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Well, Pastor Greg, if somebody listening right now knows that they need to make a change in their relationship with God, they can do that right now, can't they? They really can, and I think some people might say, well, pray while listening to the radio?

Absolutely. Because guess what? Jesus Christ is with you right where you are right now. And if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sin, if you want to invite him into your life, why don't you pray this prayer after me right now? In fact, I would even encourage you to pray it out loud.

Let's pray. Lord Jesus, I want you to come into my life and forgive me of my sin. I thank you for dying for me on the cross and then rising again from the dead.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Be my Savior, be my Lord, be my God, and be my friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. Now listen, as you just prayed that prayer, maybe you felt something emotional. I've had people write me and tell me of how they prayed with me at the end of our radio broadcast and tears came down their cheeks or they felt a great joy. Maybe one of those things happened to you or then again maybe you felt nothing. Listen, irregardless of how you feel right now, I want you to know a fact. If you prayed that prayer and meant it, Jesus Christ has come into your life.

Why do I say that? Because the Bible says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. That first doesn't say so you can think you have eternal life or hope if God's in a really good mood you may have eternal life.

No, it says you can know it. And if you just prayed that prayer and meant it, Christ has come into your life. So let me say to you, welcome to God's family. And we'd like to help you get started in living your new life with the Lord. We'd like to send you some free follow-up materials called our New Believers Growth Packet. Just get in touch and we'll send that packet right out to you. As I said, it's free of charge and a special thanks to our Harvest partners and others who support this ministry for helping us to make resources like this available. Here's our mailing address, A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go to and click on Know God. Well next time as our study in the book of Nehemiah continues, Pastor Greg focuses on the opposition Nehemiah faced personally. And the strong lessons we can learn on being men and women of character. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. 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 / 2023-04-15 13:43:18 / 2023-04-15 13:54:39 / 11

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