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August 24, 2022 3:00 am
Ever lose your electricity at home? It’s surprising how much we depend on it. We know the power’s out but, when we walk into a room, what do we automatically reach for? The light switch. Muscle memory. We take that connection for granted. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the connection we each have with God through prayer. And when we ignore that connection, it starts to feel like the lights are out in our faith. Good encouragement coming from the book of Acts today.
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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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Eli, listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by harvest partners for more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk and roll and pastor breaks free online courses firstname.lastname@example.org is there something troubling you write will commit to the Lord in prayer permitting prayers a last resort. Well we tried everything and all we can do no that's the first thing you should do, pray about everything.
Greg Laurie reminds God can make the impossible possible, even probable, maybe even unequivocal is hard for the Lord God all things are possible. Surprising how much we depend on. We know the powers out walking the Rome. We automatically reach for the light switch.
We think that connection for grad Greg Laurie points out the connection we each have with God. Prayer and when we feel like a light coming from the back story about you guys were making their way to the forest together, they came to a large regime reverently needed to get to the other side so they decided to pray the risk.
I pray Lord I pray that you will give me the strength to cross the river suddenly bulging biceps. He swims across the river.
It took him about four hours. He almost drowned twice what he did make it to the other side. The second guys want to think about okay I'm in a pretty little differently.
He prayed Lord give me the strength and the tools across the river boat into bed, bulging biceps, but he also had a Robo know it took him about two hours to get across the Size twice what he did make it 1/3 guy watching all of this the Lord give me the strength give me the tools to give me the intelligence to cross the river approve. He turned into a woman. She checked the map walk 100 yards up the way and walked over the bridge okay so I just lost all the men well. There's clearly a right and a wrong way to pray and we've all had times in life and some of you are having the time. Right now we're in a desperate situation and you need God to intervene in your situation right now and you need to understand that God could change circumstances if necessary. He can change the course of nature through prayer, but most of all, what changes in prayer is you your change through prayer, God often will allow hardship or difficulty challenge in need. Sometimes even tragedy so he can reveal himself to us and put his glory on display.
Because really when we pray were acknowledging our weakness and this is hard for a lot of people because we think I can figure this out. I can resolve this conflict. I can save my own family. I can get everything resolved all do it and it doesn't work and we have to: God say Lord I'm weak, I need your help come through for me this maybe is a little harder for men than it is for women sometimes and why is that it's harder for men because were stupid. Remember my jokes to the beginning but listen guys consider this for a moment.
Who was the strongest man who ever walked this earth don't say Superman. He's not real. Samson is the right answer is to be God's Jesus strongest man whoever lived. He was omnipotent. He was all-powerful, and yet we see Jesus spending hours in prayer, calling on his father. So Jesus ago needed to pray how much more should we be praying during X12 is a story about the power of prayer. Things are looking very dim for the believers at this moment and it looked like I was going to be the worst ending imaginable. But God change things for them. Now, at this point historically and asked a new wave of persecution is that the church.
The first way was Saul of Tarsus, hunting down Christians, arresting them and executing them effectively come to an end with the conversion of Saul and he is now being molded into the man God wants them to be and he will dominate the second section of the book of acts as the apostle Paul. So now here it comes back with a wave of persecution against the church.
But now we also see that the church is sort of shifted gears if they were in first gear there in second or third gear now because now they understand there are did take the gospel to everybody not just you. So the Lord showed Simon Peter that he was to go with the gospel to others and that he brought the centurion and Cornelius and Simon Peter together so everything is in high gear. Everything is moving in the right direction and the devil attacks again because Satan hates it when we are advancing. He hates it when were making a difference and he especially hates it when were pulling people out of hell and having them change their membership to have it right so there's a story. One of my favorite words in the Bible.
I know I say that about a lot of stories, but this really is one of my favorite stories in the Bible.
X12 verse one now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some of the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword because he saw that it please the Jews. He proceeded further disease.
Peter also that this was during the days of unleavened bread, so when he and arrested him. He put him in the prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep them intending to bring him to the people at Passover but I love verse five. Underline the whole verse. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Constant prayer was offered to God or him by the church.
So the first thinking Herod does is he murders James this is James of James and John.
These guys did everything together. They works close brothers and this must've been so devastating for John to lose his beloved brother. Remember it was James and John that that wanted to be seated on the right and left hand of Jesus when he came in the glory it was James and John who were nicknamed the sons of thunder.
Now one of the sons of thunder is passed into heaven and this is you showing the wickedness of Herod you know sometimes you get confused as we see that name Herod so many times in the New Testament, and you need to understand. There were a number of Herod, all related to each other. This was a devilish dynasty.
First there was Herod the great, he wasn't called that because he was a great man, but because he was a great builder. There are structures in Israel today still standing built by Herod the great, like his retreat called Masada and he also rebuilt the second Temple. He spent over 40 years doing so. So he was a man was very paranoid. He had been declared by Roman authorities to be the king of the Jews. So in those wise men came from the East saying we want to worship him is been born the King of the Jews. That was the most inflammatory rhetoric you could use with a paranoid tyrant like Herod the great and of course he gave the order to execute all those baby boys born in Bethlehem, so that was the first Herod now they Herod that were reading about of this story is Herod Agrippa one. He is the grandson of Jared the great is already martyred James now.
He intends to martyr Peter and then later Paul would stumble for. Agrippa to this is a classic example of the sins of the parents being visited on the children. I don't believe in what some describe as a generational curse where there's a curse on your family and you need to break the curse but I do believe God bless and godly behavior can be passed on as a legacy and we proceeded and families were.
It just seems like every generation is as wicked if not more wicked than the generation before and we also know that if you been raised in an alcoholic home with far more likely you might become an alcoholic. If you come from a divorced home. It's more likely that you yourself will get divorced about some people will you even excuse their behavior. Lorenzo my family. This is the way we are well. I was raised in an alcoholic home. I was raised in a home or a lot of divorce happened. I'm not an alcoholic. I don't drink at all and I've been married over 47 years of God can change the narrative God to change the narrative in your family can break that cycle of sin, but here is a world that we could, but your great glory will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Whenever you send us a letter text and email or post a comment on social media.
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Call 866-871-1144 that speech 668-7111 44. Well, we're in acts chapter 12 today is Pastor Greg presents his message. What happens when Christians prayed together. Let's continue. So Herod gives the order to arrest Simon Peter. He is delivered to four squads of soldiers to keep them. He's buying two gates treated two guards guarded by 14 more now.
Normally he would be cheating maybe to one soldier if you were a high risk but to have a soldier in each arm. By the way, I think both of those soldiers heard the gospel right that you get Jean to a preacher you're going to hear a sermon right and I'm sure he shared the gospel with those men, but in so here now is this bleak situation. James is already dead. Now Peter is surely going to be next. So what did the church do we read these words. So the church organized a protest and storm Herod's palace dog food that's not in their photo here at the church had a boycott of all products made in Rome, though we don't read that either. There's a we read again verse five. Constant prayer was offered to God or him by the church.
The wall doors remain close one door was open the door of prayer the door into the presence of God get for many prayers, a last resort. Well, we've tried everything and all we can do now is go pray with you talking about. That's the first thing you should do, pray about everything. That's what Paul tells us in Philippians 4. He says don't worry about anything, pray about everything in the peace of God that passes all human understanding, will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Nothing is too small to pray about their something troubling you right now commit that to the Lord in prayer. Nothing is too big to pray about. Nothing is too hard for the Lord with God all things are possible. So the church wisely went to prayer. You defend said Satan crumbles when he sees the weakest same upon his things. Now here's some vital insights into how to pray effectively the title of my message is what happens when Christians prayed together. What happens when Christians prayed together a lot, as shown in this story here is point number one, the prayer that has power is the one that is offered to God there prayer that has power is the one that is offered to God. Verse five again constant prayer was offered to God what is that all prayer offered to God not necessarily did you know it's entirely possible to prayer prayer with no thought of God whatsoever. We've all done it. I mean we worship what is worship. Worship is prayer set the song.
Have you ever had your mind wander and worship you think you know Lord I love you so much. The lion and the lamb and what you're thinking about is what you can eat after church Carl or some other thing that's entered your mind how good they come to church where he matter whatever it is that's happening and you may have no thought of God that all Jesus told the story of a Pharisee who prayed thus with himself, which is a King James way of saying his prayer wasn't heard by God. It was sort of a performance.
Sometimes prayers can be a performance.
I think it's great thing by the way, when Christians are in restaurants and their meal comes in. They say grace together that absolutely do that just don't make a show. No, don't send them say Lord we thank they probably know you feeling what's going on over there and here's another tip. Don't pray too long.
Why do some people fielding up to pray for all the missionaries in the world. When the food comes to we do that after let's eat the food delivered the food get cold anyway, but it can be a performance. You know Isaiah said I saw the Lord sitting on his throne. He was high and lifted up his glory filled the temple. And I said whoa is me, but sometimes a prayer it'll be more like look at me, looking at how long I can pray look at how eloquently I pray look at me that's not what prayer is about.
Here's a real objective of prayer. It's not to get God to do what I want him to do is to get my will in alignment with him right so in alignment with God.
Jesus said in John 15. If you abide in me and my words abide in you shall ask what you will and it shall be done for you. Another translation more from the original Greek would go as follows Jesus speaking. If you maintain a living communion with me. My word is at home in you. You will as one for yourself. Whatever your heart desires.
It will be yours. So we gravitate for the latter end of that statement will whatever my heart desires awesome way to hold you have to maintain the living communion with him and his word needs to be at home with you so get in alignment with the will of God is a will. How do you know the will of God by careful study of the Scripture.
Nothing lies outside of the reach of prayer, except that which lies outside of the will of God.
That is why Jesus in the Lord's prayer taught us to pray our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread, and so forth. But notice in their prayer, we should pray, and it's a model for prayer, not just a prayer to pray pray in this way, pray in this manner. Your kingdom come, your will be done effectively.
I say Lord. This is what I think I need this is what I know I want but if this is somehow outside of your will. Please overrule it and veto it right.
That's a good thing to pray, don't be afraid to pray that they'll be afraid to pray that is coming back to James and John, what was their desire Lord we want to be on your right and your left hand, Jesus said, not going to do that for you.
Thank God for unanswered prayer Lewis on the right and left hand of Jesus when he died on the cross to criminals. You didn't want to be there. Sometimes God will say no and I'll come back with that in the moment, for your own good rights of principle number two they prayed with passion and persistence.
They prayed with passion and persistence constant prayer. Underline those two words constant prayer was offered to God's phrase, constant prayer could be translated earnest prayer. Another way you could translate is stretched outwardly. If you ever reach for something to upset them in between the seat your car into your reach can't get it. You know that's how they were pray that just we can and can't reach him a little bit further when I get to give up another way you could translate this is a prayed with agony. It's the same word used of Jesus in Luke 2244, when in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed more earnestly. This is not a flippant old Lord help pull Peter out.
This is old Lord deliver Peter all Lord told don't let Peter die Lord were calling on you with passion with persistent we need your help, Lord, you know, much of our prayer is no power in it because there's no hard and it and if we put so little hard in our prayers. We should not expect God to put much hard in answering them. So they're praying passionately persistently constant prayer was offered and this is another problem. Sometimes we pray for something once and we don't have their prayer answered in the affirmative, and we conclude it's not the will of God.
Why do you think that she pray why prayed for my husband to come to Christ.
I bring once leading them to Christ, so whatever no-no keep praying. Why because you notice the will of God to save people so near, praying for someone to be safe you are praying in alignment with God's will, because Scripture says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Don't stop praying for that husband that doesn't know the Lord don't stop praying for the wife.
It needs Jesus don't stop praying for that son of that daughter of that grandchild. She pray. Jesus said, knocking the door will be open seeking you shall find, ask and it shall be given in the original languages keep asking, keep seeking keep knocking pray with persistence. Don't give up. My mother came to the Lord.
Toward the end of her life. I prayed for her for 30 years is a long time to pray but thank God there prayer was eventually answered. So don't give up and keep praying for Greg Moore good example from his own experience great encouragement today here on a new beginning as pastor Greg continues his practical studies in the book of acts. If you're enjoying the studies, we heard a drop pastor Greg a note and let them know he can be reached at email@example.com pastor Greg this month we are inviting our listeners to consider becoming a partner with us in ministry were inviting them to become a harvest partner. The big question is why. Why would they want to use some of their resources and that way because you're investing in the kingdom of God. Jesus said don't lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven were neither moth the rust can corrupt your thieves can break in and steal. Then he added these words for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You know we give toward what we value.
So if you go over your checkbook guard over your expenses and your credit card expenditures.
You know what matters to you as you review those expenses. Are you investing in the one thing that can never be taken from you. The one thing that will be a treasure waiting for you any eternity. That one thing is investment in the work of the kingdom investment in ministry investment in reaching people with the gospel in teaching them the word of God. Listen, that's exactly what you're doing when you send a gift to harvest ministries but I wanted to get up a notch. I want to say would you consider not just sending a gift to us, but would you consider becoming a harvest partner, what's a harvest partner that is someone who stands with us monthly and gives a reoccurring gift now. The advantage of this for us is when they do so we have a sense of what income is coming in that we can invest in reaching other people with the gospel. It means we can respond to that new area.
We could reach out in via radio it. We can respond to another opportunity that comes our way. So pray about that and make some spiritual investments become a harvest partner and in advance. Let me say thank you so much for considering that's right it really is an investment that can change someone's life. We receive so many letters from people who found the Lord through pastor Greg's teaching of God's word and that kind of impact is only possible through listener support. We're looking for new harvest partners will join us because we have new listeners who need to hear the gospel joining us each day.
Would you like the Lord use you in this way, we have some special ways to say thank you this month were sending pastor Greg's book, Steve McQueen, the salvation of an American icon, so let us know we can count you in. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock again, dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to the special webpage harvest.org/next time more insight on the power of productive prayer study in the book of acts chapter 12. Join us here on the new beginning pastor Bible teacher Greg Laurie everybody thinks or listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting it.
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