Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free eBooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Turn it into prayer. Pray more and worry less. No one ever teaches us how to worry. Our parents don't sit us down and say, okay kids, I want you to put your head in your hands, look really discouraged, and stress out on something you can't change.
Well, we pretty much picked it up on our own. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us lay down that wish we picked up. He'll offer some practical precepts in a message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Let me give you a little bit of advice and say things to you that you need said to you as a younger person.
This first one may be surprising, but I'm going to start with this. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be okay. I know when you're young and you're experiencing things for the first time, life can seem kind of scary. You're wondering about what you're going to do with your life, where you're going to go, who you're going to marry, what career path you're going to choose, and then maybe something bad happens to you.
You have a huge setback. You break up with your boyfriend or your girlfriend, and it almost seems like your world has just ended. Listen, it's going to be okay. Whatever you're going through, you're going to get through it.
Number two, what would I say to my younger self? Put God first in your life. Put God first in your life. This, of course, starts with asking Christ to come into your life.
But then it means following Him. Jesus summed it up this way in Matthew 6 33, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Now what was He talking about when He said all these things?
Jesus said, don't be like the non-believers. All they think about is what they're going to wear, what they're going to drink, what they're going to eat. But I say to you, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these things will be added to you. And we're obsessed with all those things.
What we'll eat, what we'll drink, what we'll wear, where we'll go, what we'll drive, where we will work, where we will live. These are not bad things, by the way, to think about. But Jesus is saying, don't make those the focus of your life. Put God first in your life. Seek first the kingdom of God.
What does that mean? The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of Christ in your life. See, one day we'll go to heaven and enter into the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God will come to earth. But also, when the Bible tells us to seek it first, it means just put Jesus first. Think about God's will when you make those decisions. Don't put money first. Don't put career first. Don't put politics first. Don't even put ministry first.
Put Jesus first, and He will take care of you in life. There was a young Solomon ascending to the throne. His father David had died, and the Lord comes to Solomon and says, Solomon, ask me for whatever you want, and I will give it to you. Imagine for a moment, if God came to you and said, ask what you want, and I'll give it to you.
What would you ask for? Solomon said, Lord, I pray for wisdom. Wisdom to lead your people. The Lord in effect said, because you didn't pray for stuff, you didn't pray for possessions, you didn't pray for great wealth or honor.
I'm gonna give you the wisdom you asked for and all these other things as well. It's a perfect illustration of why putting God first is the right thing to do. That doesn't mean that God's gonna make everybody incredibly wealthy. But what it does mean is God, the Bible says, will supply all of your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. So put God first in your life.
That's where I would start. What is the will of God, you might ask, about this thing I'm about to do? How do you know the will of God? Answer, by reading the Word of God.
He'll reveal His will to you in Scripture. Understand this. Why are you in this earth? And this answers a big question. The question of why am I here? What is the meaning of my life?
Here's the answer. The meaning of your life, you are here to bring glory to God, not to bring glory to yourself. Isaiah 43, seven, God says, everyone who was called by my name, whom I created for my glory. That's why you're here. So know this, God wants to speak to you.
God wants to fill you with this Holy Spirit each and every day. Put God first in your life and the rest will be blessed. Here's point number three.
What would I say to my younger self? I would say, young Greg, read the Bible every day. And I pretty much followed that advice, thankfully.
And I hope many of you are following it as well. Because sometimes I think Christians, as they grow in their faith, think, well, I don't need to read the Bible as much as I used to. No, listen. You need to read the Bible every single day. You should start the day with it. You should end the day with it. And someone, it says, happy is the man or the woman who doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful.
Listen. His delight is in the word of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. Then it goes on to say, he'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.
His leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Happy is that man. You want to be a happy man.
You want to be a happy woman. Read the word of God. It says meditate in it. In eastern meditation one seeks to empty their mind. In biblical meditation one fills their mind with the word of God. This is how you're going to grow spiritually. This is how you will be able to resist temptation. We're told in the Psalms, how shall a young man cleanse his way?
Answer. By listening to what the word of God says. So you need to read the Bible every day. Because scripture says study to show yourself approved unto God.
A workman that does not need to be ashamed. Rightly dividing the word of truth. Listen to this. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. I'm going to repeat that. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the word of God you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. So read the word, treasure the word, memorize the word. I've never met a strong Christian who is not full of scripture. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hearing about listeners whose families are impacted because of the Ministry of Harvest is so encouraging. Pastor Greg, thank you for your messages. My husband and I were headed for divorce because of anger and addiction problems. But we stopped and went back to church.
Because of that we're in love again and have been together 25 years. We listen to your podcast every morning with our children while they get ready for school. God has prevailed and it's been amazing to see our family happy today and mended. Thank you for spreading God's word. What a great story of how Pastor Greg's teachings from God's word have made an impact on this family. And if you'd like to listen to Pastor Greg's podcasts, you can do that through Google, Apple, or Spotify, or just go to harvest.org.
That's harvest.org. You've tuned in for a fascinating study from Pastor Greg today called what I would tell my younger self. Let's continue. Here's the fourth thing I would say to a younger me. Stop worrying and start praying. I know we all have things we worry about in life but I'm reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4 when he says don't worry about anything. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need.
Thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus. Worry. Worry can ruin your day. It can ruin your week. It can ruin your month. Actually, worry can effectively ruin your life.
The word worry comes from a root word that means to choke or to strangle. A number of years ago my grandkids would like to come up and choke me from behind. They thought that was very cute and fun. And it was okay.
They were very small. They weren't hurting me. And so they would come over and say Papa can we choke you? Well as they've gotten older if I let them do that now I might die.
So we can't play that game anymore. But that's what worry does. It chokes you out. It doesn't make things better. It makes them worse. John Curtis director of the University of Wisconsin Stress Management Institute says quote I believe that 90 percent of the stress we face is brought on by not living in the present moment worrying about what's already happened or what's going to happen or what could happen.
Listen to this. When you worry about the future you cripple yourself in the present. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.
It empties today of its strength. I mean even when things are going well. Oh it's a good day. Nothing's going wrong. And then you start worrying what's going to go wrong. Something's going to go wrong. I just know it. What's that all about.
That cannot be helpful. I read a Peanuts comic strip and Charlie Brown says I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time.
Well actually Jesus said this. Today's trouble is enough for today. Don't worry about tomorrow.
Just take each day and take that worry and turn it into prayer. I would compare this to a natural reflex and a conditioned reflex. To learn how to turn worry into prayer is a conditioned reflex.
Let me explain. Natural reflex. You don't have to teach this. If even a little child touches a hot stove they pull their hand back right. Because they know that's hot.
They know they should not touch that. That's a natural reflex. If you touch a hot iron the same thing happens. I heard about a guy that went to see a doctor. He had two horribly burned ears. So the doctor said what happened to you? He says well doc I was ironing and I got a phone call and I answered the iron instead of the phone. The doctor was horrified. I can't believe you did that.
But what happened to the other ear? The guy says well he called back. Okay so anyway natural reflex. I touch something hot. I pull back again.
But then there's a conditioned reflex. This is something I'm taught to do. I have a granddaughter named Ally.
She has swim meets on Saturdays. And before the meet begins they have someone sing the national anthem. What does everyone do? We stand. We put our hand over our heart in respect for our nation.
Which is represented by our flag that we look toward. That is a conditioned reflex. I would not have done that naturally. Someone had to teach me to do that. Same thing with driving. You know when you first learn to drive remember I have a granddaughter that's just learning how to drive. So I let her drive the other day and I was next to her. And you know she had to think about everything.
You know oh what do I do now? Turn your turning signal on. Oh and parking.
That's a situation isn't it? Trying to figure that out. So you have to consciously think about everything you're doing. And if you're in a stick shift car manual manual transition. Okay I got to push in the clutch. I have it in gear. I slowly release the clutch. Then I hit the accelerator. You know a lot of things to remember.
But after a while you don't think about it anymore. You drive. You eat burritos. You do your taxes.
You actually shouldn't. But you do all kinds of things when you're driving because you've turned that into a conditioned reaction. A conditioned way to respond to what you're facing. So now in the same way worry hits. Anxiety hits. Panic hits.
Right away. Pray. Oh I'm scared. Let's pray.
Just let's pray. Stop everything you're doing and commit it to the Lord. In 1 Peter 5 we read these words.
Give all your worries and cares to God for He cares for you. And by the way in the original language that signifies a definite act of our will where we choose to stop worrying and let God assume the responsibility for our welfare. You take out the trash. I don't know why it is but men have been basically chosen to take the trash out. That is our job. And that's what we're supposed to do. And I don't know why but I always put off taking the trash out.
It's not hard. I have these big plastic cans with a handle and a wheel. All I have to do is throw the trash in the can. Take it out a few feet. Put it in front of my house and the trash man picks it up.
But I have to take it out. Your worries, your anxieties are like trash. Take them out and make a deliberate choice to give them over to the Lord.
The same is true of all anxiety and worry. Pray more and worry less. Billy Graham was interviewed and he was asked the question if he had his life to live over what would he do differently. Billy's response was quote I would study more. I would pray more. I would travel less.
Take less speaking engagements. If I had it to do all over again Billy said I would spend more time in meditation and prayer just telling the Lord how much I love and adore him and looking forward to the time where I will spend with him for all eternity. Well Billy's in that time now.
Billy's in heaven. But I love how he said if I had life to do over he doesn't say I'd speak more. I'd do more. He says I'd pray more and I would spend more time in God's presence. I think that's really good advice.
Remember this. God is in control of your life. There are no accidents in the life of a Christian.
Only providence. We don't believe in fate. We believe in faith. Here's another thing an older Greg would say to a younger Greg. Advice I would give to anyone young people but older people as well. Have an attitude of gratitude. Have an attitude of gratitude. Back to the verse I quoted in Philippians 4. Thank God for all he has done.
Then you will experience God's peace which exceeds anything we can understand. Listen there are things in life that happen to us that make no sense. Inexplicable things.
Yes it is true. Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes bad things even happen to godly people.
Take Job as an example. This was a godly man. This man was so godly the Lord was bragging on him in heaven. But the Lord allowed a series of calamities to befall his servant. And Job lost pretty much everything. He lost members of his family. He lost his possessions.
He lost his health. And we read that Job gave thanks to God. Not for what was happening. But despite what was happening Job gave thanks to the Lord. And so we should have an attitude of gratitude.
We say Lord I don't know why this is happening. But I am rejoicing that you're still on the throne. And I'm going to give and I'm going to give thanks to you because you are good and you are in control of my life. So spend less time complaining and spend more time rejoicing. You'll feel better if you do.
Actually a medical research has been done that has revealed that people who gave gratitude to God and gave thanks for what they had experienced fewer heart issues, fewer aches and pains, and it changed their outlook on life. Here's another piece of advice an older me would give to a younger me or that I would give to any person especially a young person. Live with honesty and integrity. What is integrity?
Integrity is what you are in the dark when nobody is watching you. And I bring this up because you know there are people in life that cheat and they lie and they steal and they cut corners and they seem to get away with it. And they say well why shouldn't I do that? Why should I play by the rules? They don't play by the rules. And look they got that job because they lied on their resume.
Or they got that job to build that building even though they cut corners and didn't pull the proper permits. Or look that person cheated on their spouse and they got away with it and I've been faithful to my spouse and why shouldn't I do what they do? Because in the end all these people are going to reap what they sow. The Bible says don't be deceived God is not mocked whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap. Listen the longer I live the more impressed I am with character over charisma. I've seen a lot of preachers with dynamic personalities flame out because they did not seek to maintain honesty and integrity. Psalm 101 verse 2 says I'm careful to live a blameless life.
I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. Then Psalm 119 one says joyful people are people of integrity. The great evangelist D.L. Moody once said if I take care of my character God will take care of my reputation. In the Bible we read of Daniel a man of integrity.
A man who did the right thing. In fact one time he was arrested for it because he prayed after the king had signed a decree that no one could pray to any god except him. Well Daniel prayed anyway and his enemies came and had him arrested and thrown into a lion's den.
Pretty bleak scenario but how did that story end? Oh the very men that lied about Daniel ended up being eaten by the lions and Daniel lived to pray another day. Same thing is true of Joseph. His story is in the book of Genesis.
This is a young man who lived with honesty and integrity and though he was falsely accused of raping the wife of Potiphar he was vindicated in the end and you will be too. Great insights today from Pastor Greg Laurie from his message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self and he has much more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning. And then we're excited to make available a new DVD. It's the film called The Jesus Music. We hear contemporary Christian music every day but it developed during a revival in the late 60s and early 70s called The Jesus Movement. Pastor Greg. It's interesting that the first wave of Christian music was called Jesus music.
That says a lot right there. It was the Jesus movement and there was Jesus music and then it became contemporary Christian music but what I love about worship is it's really going back to Jesus. The Jesus movement is no longer a California fair.
It's a song singing and clapping full-fledged old-fashioned revival that's weaving the country. It was quite a thing. I mean The Jesus Movement made the cover of Time magazine.
That's right. In fact speaking of Time magazine in the very late 60s they put out a cover story. It had this ominous question on a black background with red letters. Is God dead?
Question mark. But then just a few years later is this vibrant sort of psychedelic design image of Jesus with the words Jesus revolution. What a difference a revival makes. You know it was actually Time magazine that dubbed it The Jesus Revolution. We called it The Jesus Movement but they saw it as a revolution and you know what they were right. It was a revolution because it turned things upside down. Lives were changed. Churches were changed and music was changed. So one of the main expressions of it was in these new songs that were coming from these young men and women who had come to Christ and had their lives transformed and so they started putting bands together and next thing you know an album or two are coming out and next thing you know it's like a wave sweeping the nation. Now as mentioned today we call it contemporary Christian music but it started out as simple songs of praise and worship and proclamation written by some gifted forerunners out there that got this ball rolling and we want to tell you this amazing story of this music that was born out of revival called Jesus Music. In fact that is the title of the resource we want to send you. It's called The Jesus Music produced by the Irwin brothers from the Kingdom Story Company. You've seen I can only imagine I Still Believe.
They did those movies and they also did this documentary film. We want to send you a copy of The Jesus Music in DVD, Blu-ray and a downloadable version for your gift of any size. So whatever you can send us here at Harvest Ministries so we can continue to teach the word of God and preach the gospel here in A New Beginning we'll rush you your copy of The Jesus Music.
So thank you in advance for whatever you can do. So I think you're going to love this. Get your copy soon.
Yeah that's right. Why not call right now? We won't be mentioning this much longer so contact us soon. Our 24-hour phone number is 1-800-821-3300 and we'll thank you for your investment right now by sending you The Jesus Music.
Again dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg has more godly counsel by way of his unique message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God.
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