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Sign up at harvest.org. God has a plan and a purpose, and that plan involves you, if you're available. Pastor Greg Laurie says you may be surprised at what can happen. God loves to take what we have and multiply it.
Let me prove it to you. Take your time, take your talent, take your resources, and always give the first and the best to the Lord. And watch how He blesses you. Watch how He provides for you. Watch how He guides you. The only part where your car touches the ground is where the wheels contact the pavement, right?
Well, you may have hundreds of horsepower under the hood, but if that power doesn't reach the ground, nobody's going anywhere. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the power of God is ready to do great things, but he wants our help to bring it to ground level. We'll follow the example of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and see how we can be a part of God's plan. So now it's time for Act 3, the life of Elijah. He's going to see God's power to provide and do miracles. His faith would grow even more. Go to 1 Kings 17, verse 8. By the way, Sidon was a Baal's central, the false god Baal.
This is where there were more images erected to Baal than any other place. Where does the Lord call Elijah? I'm taking you to the place where all the idols come from. I've instructed a widow there to feed you. So he went to Zarephath and he arrived at the gates of the village. He saw a widow gathering sticks. He asked her, would you bring me a little water and a cup? And as she was going to get it, he said, hey, could you bring me a bite of bread too?
That's kind of an audacious thing to say. A bold request from some hairy looking dude to an impoverished woman. And the lady actually responded and said, I don't really have enough bread to spare. I'm out of flour and olive oil to make more. In fact, this is my last meal. Elijah was like, yeah, whatever.
Get me some food. But that's not the way it was. This was a test. This was a test for Elijah and the woman. Would Elijah humble himself and become dependent on a widow woman? Would the widow woman humble herself and trust God to provide for her when a representative of God, a man of God came to her?
Well, the answer for both of them was yes. Verse 15. She did as Elijah had said. And she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
Wow, I love that. I'm impressed that she made this food from scratch. I am not a good cook. How many of you are good cooks? Raise your hand. I used to do a fair job on the scrambled eggs.
I kind of prided myself on that. And the grandkids would come over. You want scrambled eggs? Sure, Papa.
And then one day they didn't want them anymore. Well, you don't like them? Well, you don't like your eggs, Papa. So now my thing is I make really good toast. There is a technique to good toast.
So I'm not much of a chef. My wife, she can just whip up this amazing meal out of nothing. She made me the most incredible omelet today.
And the other day I was over at Jonathan's house. My son and his daughter Allie goes into the kitchen. She's got the flour out. And I go, what are you doing? She goes, I'm making crepes. What?
You're a kid. You're making crepes from scratch? Impressive to me. So this lady would make the food every single day.
And Elijah was being humbled by God. Let's be honest. Guys, we like to do it ourselves. We like to come in and fix things, solve problems, have the answer. We'll do it.
We'll make it right. And to be dependent on a widow for his daily sustenance. This was a humbling thing for the man of God. But the Lord, again, was getting him ready because he had some big challenges ahead of him.
He was already the guy who threw the gauntlet down at the nerve center of Israel when he stormed into the court of Ahab and Jezebel. And that's intimidating. I've had the opportunity to be in the White House a few times. I've been in the Oval Office a couple of times.
Been able to pray for the president. It's intimidating to walk into the Oval Office. Especially because there's all these red dots on you all the time. What is that?
Snipers. Keep an eye on him. He looks suspicious. Not really. But you know, the first time I walked in, I was just, this is the Oval Office. The first thing that struck me was how small it seemed.
And it really is, obviously, in the shape of an oval. It's not really a very practical room, quite honestly. But this is a room that is the center of power in America and probably the center of the greatest power in the world today. And when you're in there, it's intimidating. And when the president asks you a question, it's intimidating. I remember the first time I was in the Oval Office, not in the White House, but in the office of Chuck Smith as a young kid.
And it felt like the Oval Office to me. I was 17 years old. I was a brand new Christian. I said, Pastor Chuck, I want to serve the Lord here at church. So if you have any jobs for me to do, I'm ready to do it. And I was thinking to say, Greg, why don't you preach Sunday morning?
Or why don't you go over here and do this ministry? And he said, talk to Romain. Well, I didn't know who Romain was.
He was an associate pastor of Chuck's that used to be a drill sergeant in the Marine Corps. And Romain said, okay, grab that broom and start sweeping under that tree. They had this pepper tree. All it did was drop leaves.
I mean, what function did it have apart from dropping far too many leaves for any tree? I'd sweep and three minutes later, there's leaves again. And I just swept. They basically had me do janitorial work for free for quite a long time.
And later I realized that there was a method to that madness. Oh, you want to be used by God? Are you willing to do a menial task? Are you willing to humble yourself? Or do you have to be the big guy?
Do you have to be the important person? Listen, you can never be too small for God to use, only too big. And Jesus said, if you'll be faithful in the little things, the Lord will give you greater things. And Elijah was faithful in these little things. And he trusted the Lord at this time.
And it was a good principle for the lady to learn that she needed to trust the Lord as well. God loves to take what we have and multiply it. God loves to take what we have and multiply it. I had so little to offer when I was a brand new Christian. I drew cartoons.
That's pretty much it. But God had put some gifts in me that were going to develop over time. And God has put gifts in you as well.
Now, you have talents. We're all born with certain talents. But then there are supernatural gifts that God gives as He chooses to give. It's kind of funny what He gives to who, because it doesn't always make sense.
For me to be a teacher is half of a joke, because I was the worst student. But God gave me that gift. And God may be cultivating and developing in you a supernatural gift right now.
And He's getting you ready for other things in the future. He loves to take what we have and multiply it. If you don't believe me, ask that little boy with the loaves and fish who gave what He had to Jesus.
And 5,000 people were fed. There are basically three things that we can give to God. Time, talent, and treasure.
Time, talent, and treasure. So you have the time given to you each and every day. You can dedicate that to the Lord. You have your talent, whatever that may be, that you can give to the Lord. And you have your treasure that is your finances.
But here to me is a great spiritual principle. This woman was impoverished. This woman had nothing, but she took what she had and she gave it to God's representative.
And the Lord blessed her. The Lord makes an amazing promise in the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, when the Lord says, bring all of the tithes into the storehouse so there'll be food enough in My temple. And if you do, the Lord says, I'll open up the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing so great you will not have room enough to take it in. Then the Lord says, try it. Let me prove it to you. That's the only time the Lord says, put me to the test on this.
So here's what it means. Take your time. Take your talent. Take your resources and always give the first and the best to the Lord. This is the principle Jesus was giving us in Matthew 633 when He said, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Put God first, put them to the test and watch how He blesses you. Watch how He provides for you.
Watch how He guides 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 Harvest.org. Well, we're seeing how the Lord tested Elijah before He used him in a mighty way.
Pastor Greg's message today is titled, Exit Stays Left. But now another test. First, King 1717. After these things, the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, what have you done against me, O man of God?
Have you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son? Wow. Strange turn of events.
Everything's going great. They're having meals together. They become like a little family. And all of a sudden, the boy gets sicker and sicker, and he dies. This lady has already lost her husband, and now her son has died.
She's devastated. After these things, that verse says, verse 17. After what things? After Elijah had trusted God with every test that had come his way. After he faced off with Ahab and Jezebel. After he went off the grid and waited on birds to bring him food. After he went to be dependent on this poor woman and see God provide. After these things, worst case scenario, her son dies.
And she even accuses Elijah. I mean, a little ungrateful. Hello. He's been taking care of them.
Oh yeah. What if he came here to just, so my son would die? But people do things like that when the bottom drops out. People get angry at God. People get angry at God's representative. How could a God of love let this happen to me? Why did you even come into my life?
And they take their anger out. Am I being punished? Is that why my child died? Am I being punished?
Is that why I'm sick? The answer is no. When a loved one dies, it's not a punishment.
The Bible reminds us there's a time to be born and there's a time to die. But I can understand this mother's pain. Of course, as I said earlier, my wife and I and our son have all been there. But she did what Elijah said. He said, just give me your son. He could have said, you're so ungrateful. He didn't say anything.
He just kind of took the hit. Just give me your son. But I love it. She just gives her son to me.
Even though she's angry, she knows. I'll give him over to Elijah. See what the Lord does.
The Lord would say that to you. Just give it to me. What is your problem? My son, my daughter, they're a prodigal. Okay.
Just give them over to the Lord right now. My husband, he's the worst. I know. He probably is. But still. Or maybe he's not as bad as you think he is.
Maybe the problem is you too. But still. Give him over to the Lord. I have this anxiety, this fear. Yeah. Give that over to the Lord. I have this problem.
Yeah. Just give it to the Lord. That's what the woman did. She gave her son to the Lord. 1 Kings 17, 21. And Elijah stretched himself over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, O Lord, my God, let this child's life return to him. The Lord heard Elijah's prayer and the life of the child returned and he revived. Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. Look, he said, your son is alive. And the woman told Elijah, now I know for sure you are a man of God. And the Lord truly speaks through you. This is radical. I mean, he's getting ready for Carmel.
For sure, that's a big one. But just a point of reference, no one had ever been raised from the dead in the Bible up to this point. There was no precedent. So he couldn't say, Lord, even as you raise this person from the dead, I pray you'll do it for this child. It had never happened. But this is the first time a person was resurrected from the dead.
This was next level faith. I can imagine the joy of the mother to have her son back. You know, when our son died, I would have given anything to have him back. I would have traded my life for his without hesitation so he could live his life out because I'd already lived so many years of mine even at that point.
But I wasn't given that choice. But I know that one day I will have my son again in heaven and I'll be reunited with him. I had a dream the other night. It was so real and vivid.
And you who have lost loved ones will know what I'm talking about. In this dream, I'm working on a dream. I'm working on a dream. I'm working on a dream with my two sons, Jonathan and Christopher. They're both younger.
They're not married yet. And we're out in the ocean. I'm standing on a ledge. And they both go into the ocean. And so they kind of disappear in this little cave.
And I hear, I think, Jonathan saying to Christopher, this is really fun. You can catch a wave out of here. And I'm getting really nervous. And I'm saying, I can't see you boys. Come out of there.
Come out of there right now. And then I see them underwater. And then they come. And they come up on the ledge.
And I help them up. We're all just standing there. And I said, you guys will understand what it's like to be a dad one day. And you'll know what I'm experiencing. I got a little scared, guys. And they're looking at me. And I'm just thinking, Christopher's here with me right now. It's so amazing. And then I realized, it's a dream.
Why can't he always be with me? Well, he will be one day. And I'll be with him. This is the hope of a Christian.
Let me say this. God sent his son to die on the cross for our sin. You know, we think of the sacrifice of Jesus. It was a tremendous sacrifice.
He laid his own life down. But think for a moment of the sacrifice of the father to watch his son suffer and die. I can't think of a worse thing for a father than to have to watch their child suffer. Any proper self-respecting father, in a moment's notice, would step in and take the blow. They would take the pain. They would take whatever their child is facing in their place.
I would even say it's instinctive. But yet the father had to allow all the sin of the world to be placed upon his son because he loves you so much. Listen to this. You have a closer relationship with God than even Elijah had.
No way, man. The Lord doesn't speak to me like that, doesn't he? See, there wasn't a Bible as we have today in the time of Elijah. So Elijah just heard from the Lord. Then he wouldn't hear from him for kind of a long time. And the Lord would speak to him again. God speaks to you.
Well, I haven't heard him lately. Do you have one of these? This, my friends, is a Bible. Open it up.
Read it. Pray. And God will speak to you each and every day. Is God on Instagram? Not really. Can he just tweet? Well, in a way he does if you want to read the Scripture.
But the point is this. Just open the Word of God and let Him speak to you. But why is my relationship with God closer than even Elijah? Because Elijah heard from God. But the Christian has Christ living inside of them. It's a relationship.
It is, isn't it? As Elijah said to King Ahab, as the Lord God lives before whom I stand, he walked around with an understanding that God was there. But God was there. But in your case, in my case, in our case, God is here. Yeah, He's here broadly with all of us. But He's in your heart.
He's in your life if you're a Christian. Well, we're all Christians. We're all God's children.
Actually, we aren't. We're all created by God. We're all loved by God. But one becomes a true Christian when they ask Christ to come and live inside of them. And they ask Him to forgive them of their sin. And then they develop a relationship with Him. And I want to close this message by just giving you an opportunity to make sure Christ lives inside of you.
You'll know if He does. And if you're not sure if He lives in your heart and life, you should pray and ask Him to come in right now. And then you have the hope of heaven. And then you have the hope of reunion with loved ones that have passed on before you.
Who had faith in the Lord. Now you have hope for the future. You have hope beyond the grave. But if you don't have Christ living inside of you, I don't know what hope to offer you.
I don't see a lot of hopeful things. But I find hope in my relationship with God. And you will too. If you would like Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you would like Him to forgive you of your sin. If you would like to know with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die, you can pray a simple prayer after me right now. Just pray this prayer. You can pray it out loud if you like. Just say, Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner.
But I know you're the Savior who died on that cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and my Lord, as my God and my friend. In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie, praying with those asking the Lord to forgive their sins. And if you've just prayed that prayer and meant those words, then your sins have been forgiven and you're a new child of God, and we want to welcome you into the family of God. Let us send some resources to you that will help you get started in the pathway of faith.
We call this resource collection our New Believer's Growth Packet. We'll send it free of charge when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime. That's 1-800-821-3300.
Or just go online to harvest.org. You know, Pastor Greg, so many of us are fascinated by Bible prophecy. We want to know what's coming. But we hear so many terms that apply to Bible prophecy. The Mark of the Beast, the Millennium, the Great Tribulation.
And our understanding might be a little hazy about what those terms mean and in what order they come. Yeah. Could you maybe give us a little flyover of God's end times plan? Yes, I'd be happy to, but I need some trumpets and echo and then I'll do it. So are you ready?
I'm ready. A flyover of the Book of Revelation. Okay, so this is my understanding of how all these events fit together. The next event on the prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church. That's when the Lord comes in a moment in the twinkling of an eye and we're caught up in the air to meet him. It's also when we're reunited with loved ones who have preceded us to glory.
So we're caught up to heaven. On the heels of that, this mysterious character called the Antichrist is revealed. That inaugurates what is called the Great Tribulation period that lasts for seven years. Interestingly, the Antichrist comes initially as a good guy. I'll put that in quotes, a peacemaker.
But in reality, he's a troublemaker. He rebuilds a temple for the Jewish people, but he erects an image of himself and demands that people worship him. This marks the halfway point of the tribulation period and this event is called the Abomination of Desolation. So the first part of the tribulation is the peaceful reign of Antichrist. The second part of the tribulation is where he unleashes his fury against Jewish people, against Christians, and God ultimately brings his judgment upon the Antichrist. In the tribulation period, we have a group called the 144,000.
These are Jewish people who have put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah and they travel around the world proclaiming the good news. Okay, so everything culminates to what the Bible calls the Battle of Armageddon. And then Christ returns again in the second coming. This inaugurates the 1,000 year reign of Christ, which is called the Millennium. Then heaven and earth becomes one. The New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to this planet fulfilling the prayer of Jesus when he said, Thy kingdom come that will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
So that's a flyover, event times event. And by the way, we've put this all on this really cool bookmark that comes with our book called Revelation, a Book of Promises. And we want to put this book in your hands because I've written it to help you to understand how this great book of the Bible applies to you.
The very title says it all. Revelation means unveiling. And God's desire is not to conceal, but to reveal.
He wants us to understand these things. And so I want to help you with that. So for your gift of any size, we'll send you your own copy of this book from Harvest Ministries that I've written, simply called Revelation, a Book of Promises.
Yeah, that's right. And we'll be glad to send a copy your way as soon as we hear from you. Your donation is an investment in changed lives. Your investment helps bring the gospel through our evangelistic harvest crusades, such as SoCal Harvest coming up November 5th and 6th.
So thank you so much for your generosity. You can write us today at a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-hour phone number, 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. And again, the title of Pastor Greg's book, Revelation, a Book of Promises. Well, next time, Pastor Greg brings us the well-known confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.
Fascinating story. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
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