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You Are Not Alone | God Is with You

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2022 3:00 am

You Are Not Alone | God Is with You

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 22, 2022 3:00 am

We think of Christmas as a season of togetherness . . . family, friends, fellowship. But real life never quite looks like the greeting cards. Maybe a loved one has passed, or someone has let us down. We may have lost a job, or lost our good health. It’s the toughest time of the year for heartache and disappointment. But today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie has a message of hope and reassurance. No matter what’s going on in your life, be assured that you are not alone.

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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 more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Christmas is about undoing loneliness. But here in this holiday season, this is a sad time for a lot of people.

And here's what you need to know. God is with you. That's the real message of Christmas. Pastor Greg Laurie, with great assurance by way of a promise from the Lord.

You are not alone. That's a promise for your darkest, loneliest hours. Jesus said, I'll never leave you or forsake you.

Once he's come into your life, he'll never leave you. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace how sweet the sound.

Oh, can you hear all the angels are singing? This is the day, the day when life begins. We think of Christmas as a season of togetherness, family, friends, fellowship. But real life never quite looks like the greeting cards. Maybe a loved one has passed, or someone has let us down.

We may have lost a job or lost our good health. It's the toughest time of the year for heartache and disappointment. But today on a new beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has a message of hope and reassurance.

No matter what's going on in your life, be assured, you are not alone. This is the day, the day when life begins. Wow. Our world. It's a crazy place right now. All that's going on. All of these unexpected things.

All kinds of challenges and problems. And a lot of us are wondering, what is going on in this world? And what's going to happen next?

I mean, what if I get sick? You know, what if this happens to me? So where do we turn for direction at a time like this? Well, some will turn to political leaders. Others will turn to famous people. Some might even turn to a psychic.

Someone else might turn to a social influencer or even to their astrology column. Actually, that's what got the attention of the wise men. They looked to the stars for answers. And they were not only into astronomy. They were into astrology.

But God sent a special star to get their attention to lead them to Jesus Christ. You know, when I was a kid, I used to have this little toy. It was called a magic eight ball.

Anybody remember those things? So you'd shake it up. And it would answer your questions. And literally, as a young kid, I didn't know what to do in certain situations. I'd ask the stupid eight ball questions. And when I finally found an answer, I agreed with it.

I did it. Right? But you know, we're all wondering about these things. Some would even look to a fortune cookie, which I find quite amusing. I actually read these are real fortunes in fortune cookies. Here's one.

You open it up. And it says, to truly find yourself, you should play hide and seek alone. Pretty good. Another said, these are real fortunes. The fortune you seek is in another cookie. So someone has a sense of humor, whoever is writing these things. Here's another one.

You open it up and said, help, I'm being held prisoner in a Chinese bakery. So that's, you know. Another said, you will be hungry again in one hour. That's probably true. My favorite was, Confucius say, if you think you're going to sum up your whole life in this little bit of paper, you're crazy.

And that's true. People are afraid of the future right now. The top fears, according to psychology today, are as follows.

The fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of uncertainty, and the fear of loneliness. But here's what the Bible says about those fears. If you are dealing with any of those, the Bible says in Romans 838, I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor our fears for today, or our worries about tomorrow.

No, even the powers of hell cannot separate us from the love of God. So here is my message for you. Do not be afraid. That was the message of the angels to the shepherd some 2,000 years ago on the first Christmas.

Here's something I would like you to think about. Jesus Christ has been with you in your past. He is with you in your present. And he will be with you in the future. Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So know this.

You're not alone because God is with you. That's the real message of Christmas. If you ask retailers what the message of Christmas is, it would be shop, shop, shop. When we were driving in, we went by the mall. There were so many cars going in there. Off ramps were backed up forever or on ramps or other I should say. The parking lot was a sea of cars.

And I would bet money they're all men. Right? Oh yeah, it's like Christmas. I'm supposed to get something. You know, and off they go, you know, shopping, doing that last minute shopping. So it's not shop, shop, shop.

If you were to ask credit card companies, the message of Christmas would be charge, charge, charge. But the real message of Christmas is you are not alone because Emmanuel has come. God is with us. Jesus has always existed.

Then he came to us as a baby and he will come again as Lord. I read the story of a little boy living with his mother, missing his father. His father was away at war. And so when he would get really sad, the mom would take the little boy into the hallway where there was a large photograph of his dad. She'd say just look at that and remember your dad will come home one day.

And then one day when she was doing that with their little boy he said wouldn't it be wonderful if dad could step out of that picture and be with us right now. That's exactly what happened at Christmas. God stepped out of eternity and stepped right into our world. And so I want to give you three main points in this message. Number one, Jesus has always been there. He's always been there. The real Christmas story goes way way back before Mary and Joseph, before the innkeeper, before Herod the Great, or Caesar Augustus, before the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, before the wise men. In fact the first mention of Christmas is BC. You're thinking wait BC that's before Christ right? Yes it is because Christ has always been there. Yes he was born and he entered our world but he is pre-existent. He has always existed. He is eternal. He makes Old Testament appearances as well as New Testament appearances.

We call them Christophanies. I believe when Jacob was wrestling with the angel he was wrestling with Jesus himself for the place where he did it he called pineal which means he had seen the face of God. I think it was Jesus that appeared to Joshua as the captain of the Lord's host for he's identified not as an angel but the angel of the Lord and Joshua falls down before him to worship.

I believe it was Jesus that walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel in that fiery furnace they were thrown into because they would not worship the golden image erected by Nebuchadnezzar. Jesus has always been there. He was with the father at creation. John 1 says in the beginning was the word. The word was with God. The word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through him and without him nothing was made that was made and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory. And if you were to personalize it you would realize Jesus has always been there with you as well. I go back to my childhood and I think about how I was really fascinated by Jesus. You know I never went to church so my soul all of the knowledge I had of Christ came literally from watching movies on television about him. But in my grandmother's house where I lived for a time in my childhood there was a portrait of Jesus hanging on the wall that it would often look at. I believe Jesus was there. Whenever I was in trouble I called out to Jesus. I didn't call out to some other God.

I knew he was the one who could help me. When I was a little boy I went to a summer camp. I didn't even know it was a Christian camp. We were sitting around a fire and some guy was telling us about hell and I think I prayed a prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart. But it was a little later in my life at the age of 17 I put two and two together and realized Jesus was alive. Ironically it was after seeing the film Ben Hur. The original one with Charlton Heston. And I was showing in a theater sort of a revival of the film.

I love that movie especially the scenes of Christ. And as I was I was thinking about it I was really confused at this time of my life. I was really searching and I walked out of this theater and along comes one of these Jesus freaks from my high school and he says hey man Jesus is real and he loves you. And all of a sudden I connected the dots Jesus Jesus.

It's like yes he was a historical figure but I can have a relationship with him as well. He's always been there. He wasn't in you but he was there for you. And then Jesus came into our world and that's what Christmas is all about. He left the glory of heaven and was born as a baby in a manger. That stable or cave Christ was born in was damp and cold.

The stench of animals filled the room. It was the least desirable place for a baby to be born but that was a sacrifice he made for us. 2 Corinthians 8 9 says though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor that through his poverty you might be rich. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of today's message in just a moment. You know Pastor Greg you've talked about the Jesus movement the Jesus revolution of the 60s and 70s. Yeah. It was an incredible move of the spirit a true spiritual awakening. That's right.

But as we see the cultural decay in our cities and you know a moral decline across the culture a Jesus revolution really has to be a part of our future doesn't it? It really does. You know back in the 60s we use the phrase deja vu a lot.

Yeah. And deja vu is sort of like oh well I've been here before. Well almost in a technical sense it seems like hey we've been here before. Riots on the streets, failing economy, hopelessness in the air, young people searching for meaning in life, a drug epidemic. It was called the late 60s and early 70s. But I'll tell you what turned things around. It wasn't a political revolution. It wasn't a moral revolution. It was a Jesus revolution. It happened before.

It can happen again. Now listen we can't make a revival happen but perhaps we can prepare the ground or let me restate it prepare the ground by praying for another Jesus revolution. Praying for another spiritual awakening.

I really think we're long overdue. And so please let's all be praying for this in our nation and here at Harvest Ministries I want you to know that we're committed to the cause of proclaiming the gospel. That's one of the earmarks of the Jesus movement.

There was a lot of evangelism and I feel in many ways the church as a whole has maybe lost sight of the importance of preaching the gospel. We want to get the gospel to as many people as we can as quickly as we can in these critical days in which we're living and we want to see another spiritual awakening in America. Will you join us in that endeavor? Will you stand with us in your prayers and with your finances and help us to attempt to fulfill the great commission in our lifetime? Yeah you play an important part in that. So pray about being a partner with us as we share the hope of the gospel across town, across the nation, and even overseas. Your investments make a real difference in so many lives and it's an eternal difference. So prayerfully consider a year-end investment. Won't you do that? You can call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Now Pastor Greg continues his Christmas message called You Are Not Alone. Here in this holiday season this is a sad time for a lot of people and here's what you need to know. Christmas cannot deliver on its promises and I think that that build-up that we get in our hearts and our minds about this season is really a longing for something else.

It's not a longing for Christmas it's a longing for Christ. The fact is as one expert pointed out Christmas is a time when people are filled with anxiety and loneliness and great pain for many reasons. It may be because they come from a broken home. It may be because they lost a loved one. It may be because they have no family to speak of.

They feel isolated. But here's the real message of Christmas. Emmanuel, God is with you. Christmas is about undoing loneliness and maybe you're feeling lonely right now. I read the other day that the loneliest day of the year for singles is Christmas day. So maybe I'm talking to someone that's feeling especially lonely right now and I want you to know God knows what you're going through. Jesus is the loneliest man who ever lived. Have you been forgotten and forsaken by friends?

So was he. He lived a life of loneliness. Isaiah 53 says he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows. He's borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. When there was no room for him in the end for Mary and Joseph to deliver that baby that was indicative of the treatment that Christ received throughout his earthly ministry. There was no room for him. Ironically the one who said in my father's house our many rooms couldn't find a room to even enter our world.

So he knows what it's like to be lonely. But the loneliest moment of the life of Jesus is when he hung on the cross and bore the sin of the world. There he was suspended between heaven and earth taking all of the horrible things that we've done upon himself and even God his father and his holy righteousness could not look in his son. And that was the worst moment and the loneliest moment that Jesus faced. So he is with you.

He was forsaken that you might be forgiven. I have the unfortunate birthday date of December. Do any of you have a birthday in December? It's a really bad time to have a birthday because you know oh we have to give you two presents now. So my birthday is December 10th. Please mark it on your calendar. No don't. But so you know I just had a birthday and my granddaughter Allie wrote me a sweet little card from my birthday.

Here's a quote. Dear Papa I love you and hope you have a good birthday. You're the best papa in the whole world. You're so nice and you think about me a lot.

I love you. I thought wow that's interesting. You would think she would write I think about you a lot.

Which apparently she doesn't do that much of. But you think about me a lot which really is quite true. And I took it as a compliment that this little girl knows that I think about her a lot. And I bring this up to first of all point out I am an amazing papa.

But that's I want to mention when my birthday was and tell you I'm an amazing papa. But no the real reason I brought it up is really that's a picture of God. God is thinking about you a lot. His thoughts toward you are good because Jeremiah 29 11 the Lord says I know the thoughts that I think towards you says the Lord thoughts of peace and not of evil.

So I bring this up because he's thinking of you and he wants this relationship with you. Once he's coming to your life he'll never leave you. Jesus said I'll never leave you or forsake you. And in the original Greek that can be translated Christ speaking I will never no never no never leave you or forsake you. Emmanuel God has come. One of the most amazing truths taught in the New Testament is that Jesus Christ himself will enter into the heart of any person who believes in him. John 14 23 Jesus says if anyone loves me he keeps my word my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.

I love that. We will come to him Jesus says speaking of the father and himself and make our home with him. That's what God wants to do. You're not alone. No matter what you're facing you're not alone. Isaiah 43 2 says when you go through deep waters in great trouble I will be with you says the Lord. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up and the flames will not consume you. Are you walking through a river of difficulty this Christmas? Are you going through the fire of oppression?

Listen to this. God is with you controlling the events of your life and fighting your battles. This is the message of Jesus to our lonely world right now.

I am with you. Wherever you are I am with you and I'll never leave you. Great encouragement for our holiday season. Great encouragement just in the nick of time. Pastor Greg Laurie with his message you are not alone today here on A New Beginning and he has one more comment from this presentation before we go. Well it's a privilege to have Pastor Greg and his wife Kathy with us today along with a special guest. Pastor Greg we're making available a wonderful book for kids.

It's brand new. Yes. But when we're talking about the minds of children that can be a little mysterious you know. We don't always know what they're thinking. Right. But we have an expert here on communicating with kids don't we?

We really do. Her name is Sally Lloyd-Jones and for folks out there that are aware of the amazing Jesus Storybook Bible you know who I'm talking about. Sally is a prolific author who makes her home in New York City and Sally has an extraordinary gift of writing for children. She writes in a way that is understandable for the for the kids and I have to tell you something.

Making something understandable and simple not simplistic simple actually takes more effort than making it complex. And Sally as a way I would call it an art of turning a phrase of taking the scripture putting it maybe different verbiage that a child can grasp and touching their little hearts. I've seen it as I've read are her books to my grandchildren and also there are times I've even taken the Jesus Storybook Bible and read it and I've been personally really encouraged by it and a story kind of came to life in a different way for me. But Sally has a new book out and it's called Known and Sally this is one of your baby books.

You have a whole series don't you? Yes I have uh it's paraphrases really in very the tiniest human in the form that they can hold which is a board book so they can really make you know you throw it across the room or bite it like they like to these tiniest humans. So I yes it's a board book and we have a series and this is now the fourth title and they're all paraphrases really.

The first one was found which was a paraphrase of Psalm 23 and then we had loved which was a paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer and then the third one is near which is a paraphrase of part of Psalm 139 and now our newest title is known which is a paraphrase of the other part of Psalm 139. And that is the book that we're offering to our listeners this month for their gift of any size. This is a great book to give to a parent especially of a newborn maybe you know someone who has children and uh and they would love this because it's beautifully illustrated by Jago an artist you've worked with many times over the years and and it just takes this powerful psalm and brings it in a way that a child can understand and in some cases a parent can understand too. Yes I think well and you know Jago's art which we obviously no one can see while they're on the radio but um these books are stories told in two languages so the illustration is half of the story so I always encourage people when they've heard it read to check out the art to get the full story because what Jago does with his art it's what they call in publishing he has heart everything makes you want to hug that little baby that you see and that's what you want because the whole book is about love.

Wow. Anytime Sally's books are offered I want to be in on it because I love your words and as an adult if I was reading this book to a child when I first started reading it there was a few lines that just jumped right out at me and and touched my heart it's the phrase where you write about God he knows my name and the color of my eyes and the dreams inside my heart and I don't know what it was about that when it said the dreams inside my heart and I think a little child you're reading this to a little child for them to understand that I can't always articulate what I'm feeling but then for a parent to be reading it to their child they also sense that they want to pull out the dreams that are inside their children's heart but God knows all about those and he's right there in the midst of that. This would be such a great book Greg for anyone who's expecting a child anyone who has children in their life grandchildren grandparents really think about how you can make not only this book but maybe the full set a gift to your grandchildren it's something that I think speaks not just to the children but to the parents. That's right and we're offering this new book by Sally Louis Jones called Known which is a paraphrase of part of Psalm 139 to you our listeners for your gift of any size this month. Yeah that's right and we're ready to send a copy your way. Your partnership means so much to us especially right now with the new year almost here we have such exciting plans for sharing the gospel far and wide in the coming weeks and your donation right now will help us reach even further so thanks so much for investing in the work of the gospel at this important time of the year you can call us to make a donation and order known psalm 139 our number is 1-800-821-3300 call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg brings us even more biblical reassurance for our holiday but before we close he comes back with a final comment. I read a story about a hardened atheist who had a young daughter he didn't want her to believe in God so one day he told her to take out a piece of paper and then he wrote down these words God is nowhere God is nowhere he gave it to his daughter and said I want you to read that out loud so she looked at the little piece of paper she was just learning to read by the way she sounded out the words and she said God is let's see n-o-w-h-e-r-e oh I understand daddy God is now here he was so moved by that he was so moved by that he put his faith in Christ sometimes a little child can really make an impact can't they so Jesus was with you in your past he's with you in your present and he's going to be with you in your future a new beginning is a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God if this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 05:08:57 / 2022-12-22 05:18:46 / 10

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