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For Such a Time as This | When You Don't Feel God's Presence

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2022 3:00 am

For Such a Time as This | When You Don't Feel God's Presence

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 7, 2022 3:00 am

We’ve all heard the phrase “for such a time as this.” Today, we begin a study of where it comes from. Glad you’re along for A NEW BEGINNING today as Pastor Greg Laurie begins a study of courage in the face of danger, and of God’s providence when the odds are stacked against us. It concerns a young woman named Esther who was chosen to be queen . . . but, more importantly, how God chose her to help bring deliverance to the Jewish people. It’s a fascinating study of a true biblical hero.

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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 are 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@harvest.org Greg Laurie issues, we can place our confidence in God. Good times.

Actually, in the presence of the Lord. We see the hand of God. We don't feel God's presence. We wonder God, the answer is no, for he never has any never Jesus said I will never leave you or two times today begin to study word comes from Roger long for a new beginning. Greg Laurie begins a study of courage in the face of danger, God problems with the against concerns a young woman named was chosen to be Queen. More importantly how God chose her to help bring the Jewish people. Fascinating study of the true grab your Bible turned this is going to be a fantastic series that I'm really looking forward to sharing with you. It's been an absolute blast study for.

It's a powerful story but as you read it when you take a quick poll. How many of you read the whole book of Esther razor had quite a few of you. How many of you have never read it before. It's okay, I will mock you really know I will. Okay, read the book of Esther.

Love the book of Esther. I told the story to my granddaughter Allie last night. He said puppet tell me a story and I sometimes make up stories and sometimes I'll just tell her Bible stories are told of the book of Esther and then afterwards they said tell the story back to me.

I'm telling you she got the whole story you know why because it enfolds almost a little bit like a fairytale others. No fairies.

Of course there's no mermaids, no unicorns, but there's a story of a princess who was living in basic poverty who was chosen by God to change everything that follows almost a fairytale trajectory to so many of those stories that obscure girl is rescued by a prince, but fairytales are not true, but this story is true.

This story is actual history, a beautiful orphan girl who wins a beauty contest becomes a queen enter an evil man that plots or destruction along with her people, but because of her courage. She saves a nation and literally the people live happily ever after.

A unique feature of the book of Esther the name of God is not mentioned one time. Not only that but there's not a single prayer offered to God. While that should not cause us to wonder if it's inspired by God. It indeed is and it's here in the canon of Scripture that I believe that the author being led by the Holy Spirit. Use this as a literary device.

By that I mean he told the story of God's providence at work without mentioning God in it to simply make this point there are times in life when God seems absent, but he never is. God is always at work in the life of the believer every hour of every day. Listen to this. His silence is not his absence is hidden. This is not his abandonment. So says Timothy Keller member when the two disciples were discouraged after the crucifixion of Christ and they thought the plan said nonself and there was no hope for them and who joins them on their journey, but Jesus himself the risen Lord Yancey says of them guys while the long faces. What's the problem. Haven't you heard, they said to Jesus about Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty indeed.

We were hoping he was the one to deliver Israel but it's been three days since these things happen didn't realize it would. Christ himself was walking with them and at the end of their journey, he revealed himself to them and like to be that way to know were going through life and there are times we sense the presence of the Lord. There are times when we see the hand of God. And then there are other times we don't feel God's presence, and we don't see his hand and we wonder as God abandoned us and the answer is never. He never has any never will.

Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you. I want to introduce you to a word you're probably familiar with but I don't know if you understand the meaning it's a word providence, we is that a lot of what was providential's providence. What is that mean the word providence comes from the Latin word Provo didn't see you. The word Provo means before Ray had a time but didn't.

She means to see we get our word video from it. So when we use the word providence for simply saying this God sees things before they happen.

God sees things before they happen. So there's nothing haphazard about the book of Esther. There's nothing accidental or a result of dumb luck know it's all guided by the providence of God and so is our life, our life is described in the Bible is a story that's already been told or it's easy to understand. Your life is like a movie.

It has a beginning and there's a middle that has the that some lives are like the sound of music with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and other lives are like under no Braveheart lot.

The conflict lots of battle, but everyone has a life that is being lived and sometimes it doesn't make sense but if you put your faith in Christ. Be confident of this, God is at work in your life. As Christians we do not believe in coincidence we believe in providence because Scripture says that steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives sometimes ask my favorite scripture in the Bible. This kind of a hard question answer is net. I have a lot of favorite scriptures. Don't you a lot of it depends on what I'm going through in the moment princess of I'm in a difficult and worrisome situation. I suppose my favorite Scripture is Philippians 3 where it says don't worry about anything, pray about everything.

The peace of God that passes all human understanding, will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Then again, if things are making sense or seeming a bit chaotic. Maybe my favorite Scripture. At that moment is John 14 where Jesus says let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You believe in God believe also in me. When things are not making sense so absolutely Romans 828 is a go to verse right for we know that all things are working together to those that love God and the called according to his purpose continues on, for whom he did foreknow, we also did predestinate to be conformed into the image of his own dear son. But overall, if I had to just pick one verse I would have to say Jeremiah 2911 is a favorite not so the Lord says I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope you know God and simply said, I know the single thought that I can about your free nano second, says the Lord. I would be happy with that.

When you to think that the Almighty God, the creator of the universe even had a passing thought about little old me or you.

But that's not what God says is as I know the thoughts not singular or plural. I know the thoughts. God says that I think toward you, so they're not past tense their present tense and future tense. I know the thoughts that I'm thinking toward you, says the Lord will that can be good or bad on what kind of thoughts.

They are if their bad thoughts will I don't think I like that with her good thoughts. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope risen another translation puts it, to give you an expected is seen. So God is at work in your life, and he has a plan and he has a purpose for Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message just a moment or so encouraged when we hear the pastor Greeks teachings are making an impact on people's lives and relationships dear Pastor Greg message. He recently gave about going to seminar casting forgetting that my flesh didn't want to do and that I know that obedience brings a blessing and we are to be obedient to God and not R/I don't know how your message came to me today. They came at the right time God is never late right gives us what we need when we need it and I needed your message today. Pastor Greg May God bless you and your family. It's a blessing to know that God is using his word to touch hearts, pastor, Greeks studies impacted your life would you let them know drop an email to craig@harvest.org Pastor Greg is launching a study today in the Old Testament book of Esther.

Hopefully you can read along in your copy of God's word will the story of Esther begins with the king of Persia, Xerxes, also known as Ahasuerus, but better known as Xerxes.

Now why are we looking at Esther on the heels of Nehemiah because there's an overlap between these two books. But as you recall, the people of Israel were taken into exile by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar turned his kingdom over to Belshazzar who openly mocked God and that is when the judgment of the Lord came upon Babylon and they were conquered by the Medo Persian.

So enter Cyrus the great, who comes in and I was in control any changes Babylon to Persia and he releases the Jew sees as you can go on home. If you want go back and build your temple if you want to. Some did many did not.

In the first way was led by Ezra and they rebuilt the temple and then later along comes Nehemiah and he rebuilt the walls and we look at that together. But now this is a story of the people.

The Jewish people that stayed in Persia, modern Iran. By the way, so Xerxes is a powerful King ruling over this massive empire that ranges from India to Ethiopia again. He's the son of Darius the great and the grandson of Cyrus the great history depicts Xerxes is physically towering over his contemporary archaeologists doing some excavation at Susa have unearthed inscriptions in which King Xerxes is described as the great King or the King of Kings. So this is the guy that had a big ego and he was very powerful and and so he decided to have a party one day. Not just any party he decided to have a party that would last for six months food and drink provided by the King eat all you want. Drink all you want and it was in the beautiful palace on series of plates and the ornaments and it was just awe-inspiring and does so then the king ivory had shown all of his stuff to his people and all of his possessions decided to bring out his crown jewel and that would be Queen varsity. So let's read about that Esther chapter 1 verse 10 on the 70 of the feast.

When King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine. In other words, when he was drunk. He told the seven units who attended him their names are listed bring Queen varsity with a royal crown on her head.

He one of the nobles and the other mending keys on her beauty.

For she was a very beautiful woman when they can be the king's order to Queen varsity. She refused to come. This made the king furious and he burned with anger. There so varsity is like the ultimate trophy wife, a woman of incredible beauty the king gives the decree tell Queen varsity to come out wearing her crown. Some commentators believe this implies he wondered, only wearing her crown words will close just a crown. But even if that's not the case.

The sense here in this verse is that he wanted to sort of put her on display. He objectifies his wife treated her as as a servant and didn't value and love her as he should have. He wanted to sort of parade around his subjects and she wanted nothing to do with that because she thought it would be humiliating. Now the Kings in a quandary to be let Sir get away with this is a and say none of our wives will do what we want to do anymore and what the dues of sake will Queen varsity didn't show up when the king called him why should we show up when you call us.

This isn't going to work you need to get rid of for so now the king and his drunken rage makes a decision, he decides to reject Queen varsity and remove her crown and replacer enter Esther Esther chapter 2 verse five we read these words now in the fortress of Susa. There was a certain Jew named Mordechai son of JR he was from the tribe of Benjamin was a descendent of Kish and she mind his family and had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, along with King Jehoiada Kim of Judah and many other this man had a beautiful and lovely young cousin named Hadas who was also called Esther when her father and mother had died. Mordechai adopted her into his family and raise her as his own daughter in a result of the king's decree, Esther, along with many other young women was brought into the king's harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in pedals care haggle was an assistant to the king that would help to select to this candidate would be to bring before the king. I had thought was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments and Nutrisystem know I put that in an he also arranged or assigned or seven made specially chosen from the king's palace and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the palace. There so the search is on for the next great beauty of Persia. Whoever what it would be the next Queen and I got a lot of young girls were hoping that when I want to be Queen power aware that crown. What is it with girls wanting to be princesses right you know that they want to have the scepter they want to rule is, even when their little you know before they can even talk. They want the crown and they want the scepter right so I'm sure many girls were pining for this hoping for this many girls today and young men, for that matter, long for something very similar read an article about the desire of young people searching for fame today is articles not written from a Christian perspective. Just as an observation of culture and I quote from it now.

Blame it on reality TV. Blame it on the entrenched loneliness of postmodern America blame it on an educational curriculum that's designed to promote self-esteem, but ended up overshooting the mark to cure cultural poison. The result remains the same. American teenagers are fixated on faith more than the third of them would prefer fame over beauty, intelligence or strength even more problematic.

The article continues. These teens are just dreaming about famous there planning on it. 31% of American teenagers expect that they'll be famous one day." So whoever won this contest would be the most famous person in the kingdom.

And here's Esther.

I don't think she ever aspired to be a Queen though she was stunningly beautiful. I don't think she had any videos posted on YouTube. No head shots over on her Facebook page of our Instagram. She probably just figured she would live a quiet life in obscurity. Very nice Jewish boy and follow the Lord God and have a family, but God had a plan for her life and even head. I was impressed with there he served the King, he saw something special and asked her what it easy was it just her dropdead gorgeous look when you couldn't ignore that. But there was more because Esther was beautiful on the outside and the inside is she was what the Bible calls a woman of virtue. The Bible says you can find a virtuous woman strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at her future. Though she was very young. There was something special about her because God had put his hand on her and so the Lord put her in this special place.

Let me close with this. Maybe you're at a point in life. You're saying I don't feel like God is with me at all. I feel as though I'm all alone, let me just say this if you are not a Christian, God is with you in a broad sense because God is omnipresent God is everywhere you can call on God wherever you are, but there's a difference between God being with you and God being in you naturally would being a Christian is. It's having Christ live site. If you and God wants to be a part of your life. So maybe it seems like God isn't paying attention you but actually he is. I read about a hardened atheist to other young daughter. He didn't want her to believe in God so one day he told her to read these words, he wrote these words down in a piece of paper.

God is nowhere in this little girl who was just learning how to read look godly says I want you to read that out loud. God is nowhere, so she sounded out the words he said okay I see it daddy God is in OWHEREI get a daddy God is now here know that's what I was saying but he was so touched by that that he himself believed you might say God is nowhere know the opposite is the case, God is now here, God is here with us right now God was involved in the life of Esther and her people, and God is here with us involved in your life that does not Scripture say when two or more are gathered together in his name is there in the midst of them, and so he's not only here but he wants to come and live inside of us. Maybe your life isn't making sense to you right now but I'm telling you, God can step in and change everything and you'll never be alone again. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin and absorb God's wrath in your place, and rose again from the dead is here with you standing at the door of your life and he's knocking me insane if you hear his voice and open the door will come in, have you asked him to come in yet he will right now is just a prayer away. If you need Christ in your life if you need your sin forgiven, if you want to know that you will go to heaven when you die, respond to this invitation for you to believe in Jesus. If you don't yet have you then join the family of God. Let's all bow our heads for a prayer please father, thank you so much for loving us, loving us so much that you sent Jesus to die in our place in the Lord Jesus, we thank you that you're here ready to come in to any life that will open up in Jesus name I pray a great glory important prayer about coming to the Lord to find forgiveness of sins. And if you like to do that. Pastor Greg will help you in just a moment before today's addition of a new beginning wraps up, and then Pastor Greg were excited to announce your new book with the fascinating title Lennon Dylan, Alice and Jesus. Yes, 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 'n' roll and it's it's interesting that a pastor is writing a book about rock 'n' roll rock musicians seems like an unlikely pairing. Let me just say that I've always loved music. I've always loved rock 'n' roll. To quote the great theologian Joan Jett.

I love rock 'n' roll. And so I've always been aware of rock of always listen the raw guy.

I kinda became aware of it more as a young man watching the Beatles in this book.

This is not glorifying rock music are rock musicians. This is a book that is exploring the lives of people that have basically experienced everything this world has to offer and it 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 she seen the wind. It was like a bubble that bursts and so you know when you climb to the top of the mountain and you been all that and a bag of chips went when you been on a lunchbox or on a T-shirt or people you don't have your poster hung in their room.

You realize how empty all of that is so.

I explored 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. That's 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 showed 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 got to know personally like Dion to Mucci of DM and the Beaumont Ritchie pure of the Buffalo Springfield and Pogo and Alice Cooper who I've interviewed multiple times. This is a guy that is experienced all that this world has to offer and is found it empty, and now was 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's full of great reassurance and powerful insights on where fulfillment is really found so can resend the copier way again is called Lennon Dylan, Alice and Jesus. The subtitle is the spiritual biography of rock 'n' 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 get on 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 will Pastor Greg you pointed out the importance of asking Jesus to forgive our sins.

A few moments ago.

Yes, 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 any 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 while you've heard another voice speaking to you with 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 when here's what you need to do.

You need to pray and I would like to lead you in a prayer right now or you will be seeing the Jesus Lord come in the my life. I choose to follow you. So let's pray Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I think you for dying on the cross for my sin. I turned from that sin. Now and I put my faith in you be my Lord, my Savior and my God, 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 pray that prayer I want you to know on the authority of Scripture that Christ himself is coming to your life.

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. If you just pray that prayer and minute you can know today you have eternal life MEI be the first to save you. Welcome to the family of God and we want to help you grow as a believer. So let us in your new believers growth packet will send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg today. Just call us anytime 24 seven at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go to harvest.org and click on know God. Next time you see how the king selects a new Queen Queen Esther, it was actually part of the plan of God save the Jewish people from destruction.

Join us for more next time on a new beginning past revival feature Greg Laurie and I harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to become harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith harvest.org


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