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. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.
Healthy people are hungry people. When we want more of the things of God, we'll want less of the things of this world. Pastor Greg Laurie says that should be our focus. There's always more to learn as a Christian. Listen, no matter how much you love, you want to love more, right? No matter how much you pray, you always can pray more. I'm always wanting more of Jesus. Maybe you remember, there was an old TV commercial for potato chips that said, bet you can't eat just one.
And they were right. When is the last time you were satisfied with just one potato chip? With some things, one taste and you want more, a lot more. Well, the psalmist wrote, taste and see that the Lord is good.
And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us do just that as we dig into the Beatitudes, a biblical attitude adjustment from the Lord's sermon on the mouth. Why are we here on this earth? What is the purpose of our existence?
Now some would say, well, it's to be happy, of course. And some would think this is a uniquely American mindset. I mean, it's actually there in our Declaration of Independence, right? Where it states, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.
And among these are life, liberty, and what? The pursuit of happiness. So it's a big deal to Americans to be happy.
But this is not a uniquely American idea. You can go back 2,000 years to the writings of the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, quote, happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the aim and end of human existence. Is that true? Are we here to seek happiness? It was philosopher Eric Cofer who made this statement, and I quote, the search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness, end quote.
Right? You know, if you are chasing after happiness, you might end up being a very unhappy person. We imagine wealth and fame and fortune and all that will bring us happiness. Well, Jim Carrey knows a little bit about that. He's made a lot of money as an actor and a comedian. He made this statement, and I quote, I hope everybody could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of so they will know that is not the answer, end quote.
Interesting statement from someone like him. Okay. So how do we find happiness? Well, there is a lot of studies that have been done on this topic.
And here is what a bunch of experts came up with. They identified a number of things that must be in play for you to be a happy person. Number one, it has been found that families and friends are the best antidote to unhappiness.
Having a strong family and having friends. One expert said, marriage makes people happier, and a close family inoculates many kids against despair according to long-term research. And the happiest people seem to be people that have good friends. Number two, they have discovered through study that things don't make you happy. In fact, University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diner made this statement, quote, materialism is toxic for happiness, end quote.
I find that interesting. And he said, even rich materialists aren't as happy as those who care less about getting and spending. Principle number three, they found if you want to be happy, be grateful for what you already have. If you want to be happy, be grateful for what you already have. Psychologists say, gratitude has a lot to do with life satisfaction. Talking and writing about what you are grateful for amplifies your happiness.
They also found that learning to savor even the small pleasures has the same effect. Number four, forgiving people are happy people. Forgiving people are happy people. Forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness, says University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson. He adds, it's the queen of all virtues and probably the hardest one to come by. One last thing, if you want to be happy, Scandinavians are the happiest people.
So let's put it all together. Having a good strong family, having friends, being grateful, be forgiving, not expecting things to satisfy you, and being Scandinavian. How many of you are Scandinavian? Raise your hand.
This blonde guy raises his hand. Of course you are. You got it all brother.
It's all yours right there. So we can't all be Scandinavian now can we? But we can apply these other principles in our lives.
And so here's what I'm bringing this up for. These are biblical virtues all except for being Scandinavian. Bible does not address being Scandinavian. But all these other things, having a strong family, being thankful for what you have, being a forgiving person. Are these not virtues found on the pages of Scripture? Here's my simple point. God had it right all along.
The so-called experts are just catching up. That's all it is. God tells us how to be happy right here in Scripture. In fact in the Sermon on the Mount the point of entry is what we call the beatitudes. Another way to put it is the be happy attitudes. If you have these attitudes you can indeed be a happy person because each beatitude starts with the word blessed. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are they that mourn.
Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the peacemakers and so forth. The word blessed is an interchangeable word with happiness. So you could just as easily take the word blessed out and put in the word happy. Happy are those that mourn over their sin.
Happy are the peacemakers. Happy are the pure in heart and so forth. So Jesus is really saying to us repeatedly this is how you can be a happy person. The Sermon on the Mount is the official manifesto of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You want to know what Jesus thinks about marriage? Read the Sermon on the Mount. You want to find out what Jesus thinks about material things? Read the Sermon on the Mount. You want to know what Jesus says about forgiveness? Again read the Sermon on the Mount. All of that is there and much more and it starts off with these beautiful beatitudes.
So let's read them together. Matthew 5 starting in verse 3. Blessed or happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted the prophets that were before you. So the title of this message is happiness. What it is and how to have it. So let's review what we looked at last time in the initial beatitudes we took a look at.
Number one if you are taking notes. Happy are the nobodies. Happy are the nobodies blessed are the poor in spirit. Everybody wants to be a somebody. So many people want to be a star. We want to be number one. We want to be in the front. We want all the attention.
That will make us happy or so we think. Jesus effectively says happy are the nobodies. Now when He says poor in spirit that has nothing to do with how much money you have in your bank account.
This is about your attitude toward God. It is poor in spirit. So another way to translate this is happy or blessed is the person who sees the real spiritual condition. And what is your real spiritual condition. You are spiritually destitute. You are spiritually impoverished. You are desperately in need of God.
So if you want to be a happy person you have got to know that about yourself. I am a sinner in need of a Savior. So that is the beginning. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed is the man of the woman that sees themself as they really are spiritually bankrupt. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We are encouraged when we hear that Pastor Greg's teachings are made possible by people's lives and health. I grew up as a Christian. I accepted Christ. I was six years old and I lived in a Christian family.
I married my lifelong sweetheart and we have an incredible wonderful Christian marriage. In 2020 I came down with COVID. I am a healthy individual.
I served 30 years in the military but this COVID hit me extremely hard. So bad that my wife finally ended up dropping me off at the hospital and we said goodbyes to each other. I thought I was a dead man. Through lots of prayer God brought me back to life and saved my life. Once I started down the road of recovery I analyzed my life, my spiritual, my mental, and my physical.
My mental was fine. My physical needed a little bit of work as I wanted to lose some weight and my spiritual and my spiritual definitely needed work. I started down this path with Pastor Greg and listened to his podcast every day that I worked out. Now two years later 50 pounds lighter and a spiritual health that includes a daily walk with Jesus. Listening to Greg's podcast and reading my Bible.
I'm in so much of a better place. Thank you so much for your daily gift of the podcast from Pastor Greg. What a great story of how Pastor Greg's teachings from God's word have made an impact in this man's life. 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. And drop Pastor Greg a note if you like.
Greg at harvest.org. Well we're reviewing the beatitudes today as Pastor Greg continues his message called happiness what it is and how to have it part two. Number two unhappy people are happy people. I know that sounds contradictory. Let me put it another way. Happy people are unhappy people.
Well how does that work? Well blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. The idea of mourning here is being sorry. Being sorry for my sin. So I mourn over my sin. So I see my condition before God as a sinner but it's not a hopeless situation because there stands a savior who died on the cross for me and shed his blood for every sin I've ever committed who's ready to pardon and forgive. But I say Lord I'm a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin.
Because the Bible says godly sorrow produces repentance. See if you're really sorry for something you'll change. Like I could be cruising down the freeway and all of a sudden the CHP pulls up behind me and lights me up.
They pull me over. I'm really sorry. Why am I sorry? Am I sorry I was speeding?
No. I'm sorry I wasn't being more careful to look out for the CHP. And next time I'm going to keep my eye open. See that's not sorrow for what I did. That's sorrow for the repercussions of what I did. Because when those lights go on my insurance rates are going up right. But this sorrow it's talking about in the Bible is I'm sorry enough to change my condition.
I'm sorry enough to change my behavior. I see God and His holiness. I see the life He wants me to live and I see how far I have to go. If ever there was a man who could be proud of his accomplishments it was the apostle Paul. He had the finest education. An incredible spiritual pedigree if you will.
He was a brilliant orator. Yet Paul wrote of himself oh what a miserable person I am. So blessed are those that see themselves as they are.
Blessed are those that mourn over that condition. Step number three. Happy are the humble.
Step number three. Happy are the humble. Happy are the humble or blessed are the meek. Seeing myself as I really am produces a vital spiritual quality meekness. Remember we pointed out meekness is not weakness.
Meekness needs power under constraint. So it's I'm humbled by the fact that God has forgiven me of my sin. So happy are the humble.
Number four. Happy are the spiritually hungry. Happy are the spiritually hungry.
Verse six. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. Listen healthy people are hungry people. That's why I know I'm healthy right now. I'm hungry. I'm always hungry. Aren't you?
A lot of people aren't. I don't know how my wife does it. She'll wake up in the morning. She doesn't care about breakfast. Sometimes she'll even say I forgot to eat lunch today. I'm like who forgets to eat lunch. You forgot to eat lunch.
I wake up in the morning and the first thing in my mind I would like to tell you it's Jesus. It's the Bible. No. It's food. And coffee.
Very closely linked together. I want coffee. I want food. And you know and I'm counting down the time to lunch. Then I'm counting it down toward dinner.
But if you're really healthy you're hungry. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness. See the fact that you guys are at a midweek study tells me something about you. It tells me you have no life and so you're no I'm joking. You know what it really tells me? It tells me you have a strong Christian life and that's why you're here.
So that's a great thing. It tells me that you're hungry for God. You know a lot of people show up to church on Sunday to worship the Lord and hear the Word of God.
Some people show up on church on Sunday because well that's what you do on Sunday or it's expected of them. But when you're here in a midweek study this is a decision you made. You're busy. You have jobs.
You're in school. You have things that you're doing. But you carve time out of your schedule to come worship the Lord and hear the Word of God. That says to me you are spiritually healthy people.
That's a good thing. And here's the thing we need to recognize. There's always more to learn as a Christian. There's always a lot that needs to still change in my life. Listen. No matter how much you love you ought to love more.
Right? No matter how much you pray you always could pray more. I'm always wanting more of Jesus. And we all know like when we are waiting for a meal we don't want to spoil our appetite. You know my wife when she'll make a meal she'll have everything cut up in the little sections and in perfect portions and I like to swipe food. I like stolen food.
I mean in a you know in my own house that I paid for. Understand. All right. Don't eat that. No the moment she says don't eat that I'm gonna eat that. The other day she made beautiful deviled eggs for well no they were angeled eggs. We would never make deviled eggs. Actually they were deviled eggs.
But and they were great. She made them for the ladies. She's gonna have a meeting with the ladies and give them deviled eggs. Can I have one?
No you cannot. There's only enough for them. She walks out of the room. What do you think I did? I ate three of them. And then I rearranged them.
And she never knew until right now. But there you know there are things that we'll do that will spoil our appetite. Uh there are these chips that I found in the market. They're called chica chips. Have you seen these chips? Um I got my first bag and I thought these are the most amazing chips ever.
And then I and they're not that expensive. They're like three dollars and twenty cents a bag. So I kept buying them and the problem is I eat one and before I know it I've eaten the entire bag of chips. These are big bags. Big bags of chips and so I thought this is out of control. So uh I realized it was a problem. And I said to one of my granddaughters you know these are like the evil chips. I cannot resist them. But then we're at the market and I picked the bag up.
Threw it on my little basket. She said Papa why are you buying the evil chips? Because I love them.
That's why. So I did a post about this on Instagram. I took a photo of a display of these chica chips.
And I just said what I said to you. I love these chips. I call them the evil chips.
But actually they're fantastic. Well then I got a letter from the company that makes these chips. First of all they thanked me for doing a post about their chips. They understood I was actually complimenting them not insulting them.
It was the very opposite of insulting. I was just saying they're addictive. And they sent me a whole box of the chips. And I found out they're a Christian company.
It's a Christian family that makes them. No wonder I like them so much. You see I just had that spiritual discernment.
There's something special. Something special about these chips. They even have John 3 16 written right under the little cartoon character of the chip on the back. So I was eating the chips the other day. My wife says you're eating those chips again. I said they're Christian chips.
So it's ok. But the problem is you eat stuff like that. It spoils your appetite. There are things that we can do that can spoil our appetite spiritually. There are certain people that when we hang around them they don't build us up.
They tear us down. There are certain things we can do that can dull our appetite. Like what? Maybe sitting in front of the television for three hours. You ever done that? You know I'm going to just binge watch something on Netflix.
Really? Ok. Or you spend all this time looking at your phone endlessly flipping through it. You know looking looking looking. And you realize you can just waste a lot of time and sometimes those things can dull your appetite for the Word of God. So here's something to ask yourself about relationships.
About pursuits. And by the way these are not always evil things. I'm not talking about sin necessarily. I'm just talking about things we can get sidetracked doing. So ask yourself the question in the race of life this thing that I'm doing.
Is this a wing or is it a weight? By that I mean does it speed me on my way in the race of life or does it kind of slow me down? Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Good counsel today from Pastor Greg Laurie from his message called happiness what it is and how to have it part two.
It's part of his sermon on the mount series called salt and light. You know Pastor Greg my wife and I haven't been to the movie theater much since the pandemic but sometimes I really miss the popcorn. But we we've been thinking about seeing some movies once again.
Any suggestions come to mind? Let's see here um I have an idea why don't you go see the brand new documentary film Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon showing soon in a theater near you. You can go get your popcorn and if you're like me you'll get milk duds and I'd love the combination of popcorn and milk duds but after I'm done eating them it looks like a war zone.
There's popcorn everywhere I feel so bad but you know it's a wonderful thing to be able to go to a theater and those lights dim down and that screen lights up and you watch an amazing story and you're taken to another place to another world. You're going to see a fantastic film that has just been completed it was done by the kingdom story company the Irwin brothers best known for I can only imagine Woodlawn I Still Believe and the soon to be released Jesus Revolution. This is a very professionally done film there's interviews with significant country music stars like Marty Stewart, Winona Judd, Tim McGraw and Sheryl Crow and many others. You're going to see scenes from Johnny's life performances that he did but the most important thing you're going to see is how God got hold of Johnny Cash. You know Johnny Cash started out wanting to be a country singer he went to Sam Phillips who ran Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee and Sam Phillips says no one wants to hear gospel songs so he steered Johnny in a different direction with his first hits I Walked the Line and Many to Follow and then there was a slump in his career and he had this amazing comeback in a series of records that were called the American Recordings.
Johnny recorded a song originally written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails titled Hurt and it won multiple awards. It's like Johnny was back sadly he didn't live a lot longer and went on to heaven but Johnny always loved to talk about Jesus and Johnny had moments where he fell away in his faith but he always came back home because Johnny was a prodigal son. That's really the story that you will see in this film Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon. It's like a modern retelling of the story of the prodigal son Jesus said a father had two sons. Well there was a man named Ray Cash who had two sons as well one was named Jack one was named Johnny. Jack the oldest of the two who wanted to be a preacher one day tragically died in an accident and it impacted Johnny for the rest of his life but Johnny had many struggles in his life.
He had struggles with amphetamines and other drugs. Johnny had struggles with his family and his marriage and much much more but Johnny always knew where to go just like the prodigal son and in the end of his life he had a musical comeback and a spiritual comeback as well. You're gonna love this film it's a cutting edge brand new documentary and it's coming hopefully to a theater near you this is a Fathom event. Now Fathom is an organization that books theaters around the country and you can get tickets to go see this event we're going to tell you how you can get tickets in just a moment but you could take a friend because listen the gospel is in this movie and people who go will hear how they can come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. So here's Dave to tell you more now about how you can get tickets to this brand new documentary film Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. Yeah that's right and it's coming up soon the dates are listed on our website harvest.org and we're making tickets available to our friends who stood by us and supported us friends who believe in bringing the gospel to where people are so when you show your support today with a generous donation we hope you'll go to harvest.org to get your tickets for Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon tickets are limited and this is too important to miss so contact us today you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 1-800-821-3300 or again go online to harvest.org well next time more practical insight found in the Lord's sermon on the mount you won't want to miss it join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie 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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