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How to Look Up When Things Look Down | Opening Up to God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2022 3:00 am

How to Look Up When Things Look Down | Opening Up to God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 5, 2022 3:00 am

We like to put our best foot forward. It’s a cultural thing. We keep certain things to ourselves. If we’ve just bounced a check, or we’re in over our head at work, or there’s relationship stress, we stay silent on those subjects. But today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that when Jesus makes His home in our hearts, we give Him permission to explore the hidden issues we’re keeping to ourselves—yeah, including the one you’re thinking about right now. Let’s get some good encouragement.

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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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Today's episode of a new beginning is brought to you by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn and while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith with your heart everything should be open to pressure Greg Laurie points out, if we close our heart is really not when we wanted to be our Lord vitamin to the center of our lives.

Open your heart when your home when your resources open your future with everything you Lord when you hear tell me what you will do certain things were so an overhead word relationship Greg Laurie points out, when Jesus makes his home in our heart permission for the door so right now, so what the situation looked utterly hopeless.

There was no way out that you could see that it was like a worst-case scenario unfolded and you realize it was nothing you could do to change it so you found yourself resigned to it but you decided to give God the glory despite what you were going through you, praise him, and suddenly, unexpectedly, I might add, your situation turned around that thing that seem like the worst case scenario. Ultimately resulted in bringing about some good in your life.

The life of others here in acts 16 is a beautiful example of two men who saw the good despite the bad they saw the hand of God in the darkest of places and they praised him. Now what we're reading about here in the book of acts is the second missionary journey of the apostle Paul to this point in this first journey he was with Barnabas remember him be encouraging God. Barnabas was the name given to him. He was effectively Mr. encouragement. But Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement and they parted ways and others to missionary teams up Barnabas goes up with John Mark and Paul now has a new wing man in his name is Silas and so they're getting ready to go on this trip and they made a plan. They said hey let's go visit those churches we planted earlier and I in Asia minor. Let's see how they're doing but and got ready to go on their trip. But God had a different idea center help with you. You want to plan God had a different plan didn't quite work out your plan. I know I'm going to submit my resume and I went to get this job and get the job by knowing that a proposal this girl and she's going to say yes and she said no.

I know this other thing is going to happen. I'm certain of it. The Lord redirected you.

This is exactly what happened to Paul and Silas.

In fact, we read in acts 16 seven coming to the borders of Missy as they headed for the province of Bithynia.

But the Holy Spirit did not let them go.

Listen sometimes the door is closed in your face you always think that it's a bad thing, but not necessarily because God closes one door often to open another. There's a lot of ways that God can close the door in our life. And by that I mean not let you do what you wanted to do.

Sometimes it's just a complete lack of peace in your heart and Colossians it says let the peace of God settle with finality all matters that arise in your mind there been situations where I've just not felt comfortable inside. I haven't felt that peace of God, about a certain path I was pursuing and just thought I'm not going to go that way.

That's one way that God can close the door. Other times it can be circumstantially something happens. It could be sickness we always think that sickness is bad. Generally, it is ultimately it's a result of said that comes to all of humanity. But having said that God uses sickness to stop you. Paul spoke of his thorn in the flesh, and many believe that was some kind of a physical issue may be a result of being beaten and stoned and shipwrecked and all the other crazy stuff. Paul went through but Paul got your Paul even said the young Timothy who is ill probably had an ulcer, probably from running around with Paul and he said they take a little wine for your stomach. He was saying offering some medicinal advice of God wanted everyone healed. Certainly, Paul could've prayed for Tim if any would've been healed immediately. So God could slow you down or stop you through sickness or some other way, but the bottom line is the door was closed, so now they get on their boat. Another headed in a new direction.

Acts 1611 says, we ran a straight course to Samothrace and the wind was on our back. I love to say they had a tailwind if you will, the got there a little faster. Have you ever felt like the wind was at your back, you just cruise along the will of God, everything is really good.

You know you're on the road, the lights are green. The birds are singing. Everything is fantastic. Well that's what was happening that the beginning of their journey they started up beautifully, but then they took a bad turn then they took a good turn to another headed to a place called Philippi. Philippi is a Roman colony that was established by the Emperor you would organize colonies by ordering Roman citizens, especially retired military people ought to go to selected places of these would be pro-Roman cities in strategic areas. So Philippi was sort of like a Rome away from wrong. If you will very Roman culture very Roman in every way so here comes Paul and Silas headed to Philip.

I know II left on one thing Paul received a call from a man in the vision from Macedonia's income and help us in so Philippi is in the area of Macedonia so he arrives with Silas and a son of man that comes the very first but it's a woman so he got the Macedonian call if you woke from a member when he arrives there is this lady there. Her name is Lydia.

Lydia was a very affluent woman.

It says that she sold purple garments.

So back in this day are treating expensive cloth with expensive purple dye would be what we would call a designer down the designer shirt so this is a woman who was very affluent, very well-off and this is the first convert of this second missionary journey and you might say that the conversion of Lydia created a chain of events that ultimately brought down mighty wrong and it started with one convert this woman named Lydia that she was a worshiper of God is best seen you but she was seeking God. She reminds us of Cornelius that we talked about earlier will also worship to the best of his ability.

The Lord, a directed Cornelius to Simon Peter to hear the gospel and Cornelius will eat so here's another woman who's a true seeker of God, the Lord Dir. to the apostle Paul or should I say directed. The apostle called her and here's something to think about it other people that say I'm seeking truth. I'm trying to find the meaning of life and I've looked everywhere I've looked into Eastern mysticism and I've looked into New Age philosophy and I've attended this and I looked into that and then you say have you looked into Jesus, and you pull out your Bible and this I put that thing away when you're a seeker of truth right. Oh yeah, I want to have you ever read the Bible. No, I don't believe in that.

How can you not believe in something that you've not even looked into and if you are true seeker of truth, why don't you at least take a look at what Jesus said, the reality is there not a seeker of truth that they won't look into what the Bible sets and that because God says those that seek me will find me well this is true seeker of truth. This lady named Lydia, and now she hears the gospel look at verse 14 of acts 16 she listen to us and the Lord opened her heart and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her husband were baptized that she asked us to be heard.

Yes, if you agree that I'm a true believer in the Lord. They said yes. We believe that so they stayed at her home. I love this so they came to her home and there's this picture in the Bible of God making this home with us. Jesus said if we believe in him and follow him. The father and Jesus would make their home with us. Paul writes that Christ would settle down with finality and make his home in your heart is your great glory will have the second half of this message in just a moment. It's encouraging to hear from listeners who are impacted by pastor Grace teachings hi Pastor Greg, I'm a 65-year-old guy who grew up during the same era as you and have a similar background as I also came from an alcoholic family, I simply want to say that I feel really a special bond with you Greg and I'm sure there are others who share that with you as well. Thank you for sharing your testimony and I feel blessed to be exposed to harvest ministries. My wife and I are also harvest partners who want to help you speak the Holy Spirit guide over our world as it is needed so much in these times.

Thank you.

It is a privilege to bring these studies your way and were thankful for our harvest partners to make them possible. Would you consider partnering with us so they can continue. Make a donation that's now. Pastor Greg continues his message from acts 16: how to look up when things looked down you know the other day I was with Jonathan Rumi, who plays Jesus in the chose and that he contacted me and said he wanted to hang out a little bit as he's preparing for the role of Lonnie Frisbee in the film Jesus revolution and so I took him go all the places where these events happen. I took them down to Pirates Cove for that little beach is where people are baptized.

I took him to the high school campus were accepted Christ, and we sat down on the width of the story. So then it was getting later in the day said Jonathan you want to come over to her house for dinner. He said yes so I said to Kathy Jonathan's going to come over for dinner, so she's making dinner, and she's not met in so he is driving to our house and she says I'm at the stove working with the green beans, and I look to the window suddenly this car drives my inner looks like Jesus is in the car and really great time.

A great meal.

By the way Kathy cooked fish, which seems appropriate doesn't it even though she consciously thought about that but great time together fellowship in talking about the things of the Lord and that we know he's not Jesus. We know he's Jonathan Rumi, who plays a role, but to me it kinda presented a what Jesus actually came to your house and you know your cooking up the green beans. And here's Jesus driving and I and he comes up and he knocks at the door of your house and you hear a voice say, behold, I'm out the door so open it as it would be more modern rights and you open it in there comes Jesus Christ into your home, you probably would serve in fish, strike the devil's food cake really inappropriate for desserts but this is what is happening out of this woman. Jesus has come into our home. Jesus is come in to her life. This woman named Lydia, and I love how it says she opened her heart so she opened her heart. Then she opened her home and apparently she opened up her resources to because she said stay with us will take care of you guys and you know what Jesus really is come into your heart. Everything should be open to him. The story is told of Gen. Sam Houston, hero of Texas history and he came to Christ in the later years of his life and he decided he wanted to be baptized, and so the preacher took him down to the little river there and is getting ready to baptize general Houston. Any notice that Houston still had his eyeglasses in his pocket. He said he better take those up as a get and does of the diggers eyeglasses not been the preacher noticed he had a his wallet with his parents till he said Gen. You probably should take your wallet out. That'll get wet. The water in the general said. If any part of me needs to be baptized is my wallet so they baptized Gen. Sam Houston wallet and all. I wonder we've all had our wallet baptized Jesus said where your wallet is there. We are heart be also. We didn't actually say that, but he did and in other ways is where your treasure is, there we are heart be also. When you invite Christ into your life, you open your heart, you open your home you open your resources you open your future. You open everything up to him and say Lord I'm glad to have you in here tell me what you want me to do and where you want me to go outside. Well, the devil is not happy when he loses a convert. So here's the devil now with his counter attack, 16 verse 16.

As we went to prayer a certain slave girl possessed with the spirit of divination, who brought her masters much profit started following us so this demon possessed woman now starts following the apostles. She was shouting these men are servants of the most time and have come to tell you how to be say. Actually this word she said could be translated. She shrieked diggers Paul and Silas walked along, developed by she's behind him screaming out that Sarah outside God is really getting on my nerves and it's interesting because in the original language. It says she had the spirit of Python and what that means is, there was a myth that the python snake guarded the temple of Apollo and so there was this a weird demonic thing. Speaking of Python's I used to have a Python when I was a kid I collected all kinds of things, but I have despite any always Brittany I don't know what the deal was anybody else would put their hand in the snake cage and he wouldn't bite them, but when I put my hand in the cage, but we would strike every time he struck I was bitten by that Python so many times and does so one day I was feeding them a mouse to break this to you snakes eat live preachers okay little baby mice really cute to put them in there is not easy. So anyway when you put a mouse in a cage of the stake. The mouse thousands in the corner shaking in the stake season and he goes and I know even come to her this at church but this is happening in life people. I gotta let you know right so I put this one mouse. It any like a what's up. He seems to think how you doing are you doing in New York about what what you know he wants right up to the snakes think that what was going on a Python document YM the mouse walks around jets on top of this snake, now the snake is in fear over in the corner. The mouse owns the KJ said that mouse is not going to be lunch for my snake. I took the mouse out and made a my personal pet does. This was a supercool mouse. This has nothing to do with our story.

Okay, nothing. That's my token Python story. She had the spirit of Python.

This demon power and so Paul cast the demon out like were done with this. Why would he want that to happen because she was going to confuse people. People might even think she's part of the missionary team that she was in the policy was possessed by the demon. Well now the people who work in following this will effectively trafficking her pimping her out, if you will, and making a lot of money off of her were outraged because this witchy woman was their source of income. So when they exercise the demon. They also exercise the income for her masters. So now they're angry back 16 verse 20 the they go try to whip up the people in the whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews, they shouted their teaching the people to do things against Roman customs, a mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas in the city officials order them strip and beat them with the wooden lots stop there. So now these accusers. But Paul and Silas up on trumped up charges. Sounds like their anti-somatic. These Jews, these Jews have come into our city. They're not Roman's like us were obviously superior their thing. These Jews and whip the people up in and have done these horrible things for no Paul and Silas are beaten and now there's sent to prison. So we pick up in acts 16 verse 23 what happened after that they were severely beaten.

Then there were thrown into prison and the jailer was order to make sure they didn't escape. So he took no chances and put them into the inner dungeon in clap their feet in the stocks around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening underline that singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening. Verse 26. Suddenly there was a great earthquake and the prison was shaken at its foundations and the doors flew open and the genes of every prisoner fell off the jailer woke up to see the prison doors open. He assumed the prisoners that escaped and he drew his sword to kill himself. Paul shouted to him, don't do it wrong here trembling with fear.

The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas, and he brought them out and ask Sirs, what must I do to be say, they replied, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved along with your entire household, then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in this household the same hour the jailer wash their wounds, he and everyone in this household were immediately baptized and he brought them into his house and set a meal before them. He and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God is and that one of the greatest stories in the Bible so Paul starts out as a prisoner and ends up leaving the jailer to Christ. Another part is open now. Another house is open of the Roman jailer's home would be much different than Lydia's whole, she would probably have a luxurious home was servants and plenty of food. This guy the jailer had a much different home that then Lydia would've been upper-class he would have been middle-class in the demon possessed woman lower-class effect. She had no possessions to speak of, but it just shows that the gospel is relevant for every man, every woman, every class of person everybody needs a Greg Lord great insight today from our studies of the events of the first century church. The book of acts and there's more to come. Has this message continues here on the new beginning with Pastor Greg were making available your fascinating book on Revelation, yeah, but I think the first time a pastor decides to teach from the book of Revelation is a little sobering. You know little intimidating yes.

Do you remember the first time you dove in.

Yes, it it is all the above i.e. it it's an overwhelming book.

It's a book that's filled with imagery. It's a book that's filled with statements that are not always easily understood, but I think as you begin to piece it together and understand that studying the book of Daniel is a great help in understanding the book of Revelation. Understanding the format of it.

Understanding the purpose of it, it suddenly comes into focus for you, you know, just take the word Revelation by the way, it's Revelation singular, not revelations plural.

I bring this up because people often say why been reading revelations while it's Revelation, but Revelation means to unveil to God's not trying to hide things from us.

He's trying to unveil reveal things to I should go to just see Jesus in Matthew 24 I am what we call the all of the discourse says when you see the abomination of desolation happen then we read let the reader understand. So Jesus is talking about end times events and there's that little detail. Let the reader under stand. So why would Jesus say that if he didn't want us to understand Bible prophecy and how it applies to us today.

I believe were living in the last days. I believe Jesus could come back at any moment and I believe we need to be ready in the book of Revelation will help us to live a life that is prepared for the return of Christ, so we have a beautiful hardcover book commentary on the book of Revelation and simply called Revelation, a book of promises and I'm so excited about this because this is going to help you understand this great book of Revelation in out Bible prophecy applies to you so I hope you'll order this book that we will send you for your gift of any size and whatever you said we will use to enable us to continue to teach the word of God here on our radio broadcast a new beginning and also to proclaim the gospel and call people to Jesus Christ. So order your copy of this book. Revelation a book of promises and will send it to you for your gift of any size. It's right at such a rich book if I could even promises a special blessing.

No other book of the Bible does that and would like to send you this resource to thank you for your donation right now. Dave let me jump in really quick and not only are we offering this book. Revelation about the promises, but we have this really cool graphic bookmark that we have put together that gives you a timeline of end times events so you probably wondered okay I know I've heard about the rapture and the tribulation. In the antichrist and the second coming. What happens when will this very beautiful little visual bookmark shortly set out for you that's included in the book you're talking about right now. Yeah that's right it comes automatically to get in touch with your donation today and will thank you with a copy of Revelation, a book of promises you can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24 seven phone number 1-800-821-3300 four. Go online to Next time we'll see. There's so much more inspiration from acts 16 see the miraculous conversion of the Philippian jailer joined us next time you're beginning pastor and five of Greg for dad. Everybody thinks or listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting it.

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