We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.
Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. God doesn't see us through that lens. We see a blank canvas. God sees the finished painting. We see a failure. God sees potential. We see the past. God sees the future. We see a zero.
God sees a potential hero. How is value determined? Whose opinion matters? Let's say someone says their car is worth $15,000. Is it worth that much? It's really only worth that much if someone pays $15,000. What's our worth?
There might be different opinions, but Jesus gave his life for us. That's the price he paid. That's what we're worth. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see ourselves through God's eyes.
We'll see our worth. We're in our series that we're calling The House of David, and we're in two passages for our message, and they are 1 Samuel 22 and Romans 12. 1 Samuel 22 and Romans 12, the title of my message is Don't Make Deals with the Devil. So Satan, Lucifer, is cunning. He's clever. He's wicked. He's evil. And he's been honing his craft for a long time. He knows that he generally cannot bring a Christian down in one fell swoop.
Therefore, he tries to dismantle them one bite at a time. And this is often done through the subtle and very effective trap of compromise. Show me a Christian that's starting to compromise, and I will show you a Christian who is headed towards spiritual ruin.
Let me say that again. Show me a Christian who's starting to compromise, lower their guard here, lower it there, going back to old vices, old sins, just a little bit, not all the way, just a little. You see that happen, and I can tell you they're headed towards spiritual ruin. Okay, so where are we in our series in the House of David at this point? David is running from the very jealous King Saul. Saul has been rejected from ruling over Israel because of his disobedience to God. David has been chosen to be the next king, and he's even been anointed by the prophet Samuel. Saul is going to do everything in his power to stop David from ascending to the throne. Saul reminds us in many ways of Satan.
He's relentless. He wants to murder David, and David is on the run. Now, here's David who has had such a great victory. He defeated the giant Goliath. He's defeated Philistines in battle. He is a warrior. He is a worshiper.
He is a man of integrity. But then the Lord begins to take away every little crutch David could potentially lean on. His family has effectively abandoned him. His wife has betrayed him.
His best friend really can't help him, and his father-in-law wants to kill him. So David has a temporary lapse of faith. And in desperation he goes to a place called Gath for some comfort. Now Gath doesn't mean a lot to us, but actually it was Philistine Central. Gath is where Goliath came from. So here is David who is a legend in his own time walking through town.
Everyone recognizes him immediately, including the king. And now David realizes he's in trouble, so he pretends to be insane. Now he runs from Gath and goes to a cave, and he's all by himself. He's tried to fix things.
He's only made them worse. He doesn't know what to do. Alone in this cave. No one's with him. Not his friends.
Not his family. But he is there with the Lord. He was alone with God. And he would emerge from this cave a different man than when he went in.
I'm sure he was feeling sorry for himself. Maybe I'm talking to somebody in a similar situation right now. You're not in a literal cave, but you're in a place where you're feeling isolated, hurt, alone, unappreciated, unloved. But no one cares about you. We've even thought someone listening to me somewhere. If I wasn't here, people would probably be happier. I want you to know that is the devil talking to you. You are loved. You are needed.
You are wanted more than you would ever know. But David was probably feeling pretty down at this point. But look what happens next. Let's go to 1 Samuel 22. 1.
David escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. Wait. What? His family. His family that effectively wanted nothing to do with him. His father who wouldn't even acknowledge the existence of his son David when the prophet Samuel came calling looking for the next king of Israel. His brothers including Eliab who mocked David when he showed up on the front lines as Goliath was bellowing from the valley of Elah looking for someone to take him on. This family who had not stood with him were now back.
And they go to the cave to comfort David. Isn't it great to be reconciled to people? Maybe there's a family member you've been estranged from for weeks and months, maybe even years, maybe even decades. And something happened. Maybe it was a death of a loved one.
Maybe it was something else. But you were brought back together and you mended those fences and you restored communication. That's a wonderful thing. That just happened for David.
That must have been very reassuring. I think his family was finally starting to get David. They took him for granted.
Now they're saying, you know what? He has done incredibly well. He's handled his success so well. Listen. The greatest test of character is not failure. It's success.
I've seen success churn more than one head and a person completely changes. You give them a little power and authority and they become a different person. Start with those mall cops. Right? First of all it's hard to take a mall cop seriously when they drive around on those little things. He even has a light going.
Right? And they pull over. You're under arrest. I'm going to take you back to the station. Get on my little vehicle and hold onto me.
Let's go. They act like they're law enforcement. They are. They're mall cops.
Right? But some people, they get that position. They get a little more authority and all of a sudden they become a different person.
They don't handle power well. David did. He remained humble. He remained considerate of others.
And the family could finally see that. But that's not the only ones that supported him. Look who else showed up. 1 Samuel 22, 2. Everyone who was in distress. Everyone who was in debt. Everyone who was discontented gathered to David and he became captain over them. And there were about 400 men with him.
I love this twist in the story. What a motley crew this was. This ragtag army.
They could be classified 3D. Distressed, in debt, and discontented. First everyone who was distressed. This means people who are under pressure. So David is now suddenly surrounded by stressed out people.
Ok. But that's not all. Now everyone who is in debt. Literally people who owed money to a lot of creditors. So he's surrounded by stressed out people who are saying, you mean I can borrow some money?
That's not all. Everyone who is discontented. This means to be bitter of soul. People who have been wronged and mistreated.
Oh man. Do you ever hang around with bitter people? They complain about everything and everyone.
Nothing ever meets their expectations. So these people were surrounding David. All of his rowdy friends were coming over tonight. And God was going to transform this group of discontented, distressed people in debt and turn them into David's mighty men of valor. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's word ministers to them.
And it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Pastor Greg, four years ago I was heartbroken when my husband went to be with the Lord. I prayed for God's comfort and for him to restore me and draw me closer to him. He led me to the sermons you gave a couple of years after your son Christopher went to heaven. I listened over and over to your messages as I mowed the lawn, planted flowers and worked around the house.
You use your gifts so well and I'm very grateful. Last fall, my mom broke her leg and my dad went to heaven. But through it all, your messages continue to be so helpful and comforting. Thank you, Pastor Greg. If you have a story to share, why not call us and let us know?
Here's the number, 1-866-871-1144, 866-871-1144. Well, we're tracking the life of David today and gleaning some important spiritual principles about our worth before God. Pastor Greg continues. Listen to this. God specializes in taking the outcasts of the culture and making them people of God.
Let me say that again. God specializes in taking the outcasts of our culture and turning them in to men and women of God. I mean, think about the apostles.
We put them on pedestals, but these guys were not the cream of the crop. Peter, the impulse of hot-headed fishermen. James and John, the sons of thunder who wanted to call fire down on people who were not hospitable to them. Matthew, the tax collector who was working for the occupying force of Rome and in effect was betraying his own nation. And then there's Simon the terrorist.
We call him Simon the zealot, but he's more like Simon the terrorist dedicated to the violent overthrow of Rome. Jesus hand picks these disciples and he says these are the men I'm going to turn the world upside down with. Throw in some others and these become the leaders of the early church.
Here's how the apostle Paul summed it up in 1 Corinthians 1 26. Take a good look friends at who you were when God called you into this life. I don't see many of the brightest and the best. Not many influential.
Not many from high society families. Isn't it obvious, Paul says, that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses. God chose these nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebodies.
How true that is. So here is David now with his reject army. David has suddenly become Robin Hood with his band of merry men.
His Sherwood Forest is a Judean wilderness. He's the outlaw king now. The outlaw king waiting for Saul to be dethroned. He's like William Wallace from the Braveheart movie. He's like Maximus, Meridius, Decimus taking on Caesar. He's Luke Skywalker taking on Darth Vader.
Whatever picture you like this is what we're seeing. This is David with a small little force taking on the powerful king and his massive force. And at this moment David wrote Psalm 57.
He's looking around at all these people stressed out, agitated, bitter, angry, in debt. And he writes this Psalm 57 verse four. My soul is among lions. I must lie down among those who breathe forth fire. Even the sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows.
Wait, David, what? No, he's seen their potential. Yeah, these guys, I know what they are, but these are lions.
I'm hanging around lions with great strength that breathe forth fire. Reminding us that God sees us not just for what we are, He sees us for what we will be. We see a blank canvas, God sees a finished painting. We see a failure, God sees potential. We see the past, God sees the future. We see a mess, God sees a message. We see a zero, God sees a potential hero. He sees you for what you can become. So the old David is back now. He's rejoicing. Again, Psalm 57, written at this time, he says, My heart is steadfast, O Lord, my heart is steadfast.
I will sing, I'll sing praises, be exalted above the heavens, O God. So David's come through a test. He's passed the test with flying colors. Now, here comes another test.
This is a big one. Saul is pursuing David at this time with 3,000 armed men. David and his mighty men are on the run. Now, what appears to be an opportunity for David opens up.
Let's read about it. 1 Samuel 24, looking at verse 3. Again, 1 Samuel 24, verse 3. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. At the place where the road passes some, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. Do we all understand what that means?
Okay. He's going to the bathroom. Before there were bathrooms. And as it happened, David and his men were hiding further back in that very cave. Now's your opportunity, David's men whispered to him. The Lord is telling you, I put your enemy into your power.
Do with them as you please. So David crept forward and cut out a piece of the hem of Saul's robe. But then David's conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul's robe. He said to his men, the Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn't attack the Lord's anointed one for the Lord himself has chosen him. So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
Wow. So here's the test for David. Would he be merciful or would he be angry and bitter like King Saul? David had every justification to take the life of Saul. Saul had thrown javelins at him. Saul wanted him dead. But yet David could have taken revenge at this point and he chose not to do it. David chooses to forgive Saul instead of taking vengeance on him.
Vengeance is not ours to deal out. It's God's. I told you to turn to Romans 12.
Here's what I wanted to read to you. Romans 12 14. Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them. Pray that God will bless them. Never pay back evil with more evil.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God for the scripture says I will take revenge.
I will pay them back says the Lord. There it is. Oh I know. That's a tall order. I know that isn't easy.
I know that doesn't come naturally. Because we live in a world today of conflict. Now we've always had conflict. But I think it's worse today than any time in my life where people are attacking each other. Where people are always in conflict with someone else and violence is escalating. And then you have social media that amplifies everything. And then you go to a movie and it's about exalting vengeance. The whole plot of the film is waiting for the bad guy to get it from the good guy, right? And it makes you feel like payback is the answer not forgiveness.
Let's wrap this message up now. Who are these people that came to David? They were distressed, they were in debt, and they were discontented.
This sounds like you and me. Why did we come to Jesus? Let's think of David as representing Christ. We came to Jesus because we're distressed. Rarely will a person turn to Christ when everything's going well. You know when all the bills are paid and the sky is blue and the birds are singing and the phone is charged and everything's great.
And then crisis hits. Or they have a problem with an addiction. Or they have a problem in their marriage. Or they have a problem with their family. Or they have an issue with their health. Something happens and they're distressed and they come to the Lord. Oh, that means they're weak. No, that means they're smart. Stupid people are the ones that don't come to Jesus. Oh, that's not very nice.
Wait. Every one of us is weak. Every one of us is in need. If we saw our true spiritual state before God, it would shock us. Because we stand as sinners separated from a holy God who wants to forgive us so much that he sent his own son to die in our place. And if we reject that offer of forgiveness, that's insanity. So sure, when we're distressed, we come to Jesus. Most people do.
Not all, but most. The prodigal son came to the end of himself and he found the beginning of God and he returned to his father. Those who were in debt. We're all in debt spiritually. The Bible says the wages of sin is death and we pay for it. As I've often said in our crusades especially, Christ came to pay a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.
So we're in debt so we come to Jesus and those who are discontented. You know, you can have everything the world offers and be empty. In fact, I think you find yourself more empty when you've been there and done that and bought the t-shirt.
As long as you think if I just get to this place, I'll be happy, that might keep you going. But when you get to that place and go beyond that place and go beyond it even more and see how empty it all is, this is why these people end up so messed up. Amy Winehouse, a very talented singer, made this statement and I quote, famous like a terminal cancer. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
And tragically she died of alcohol poisoning. So we're just like these people. We're distressed, we're in debt, we're discontented. So the people had a choice. Who did they want their king to be? Do you want to follow Saul or do you want to follow David? We have the same choice. Who do we want our king to be?
Are we gonna follow Satan or are we gonna follow Jesus? He said, well, I wouldn't put it quite that way. I'm kind of the master of my own destiny, the captain of my own ship. Oh, give me a break. You are not. Do you think you're in control of your life?
You aren't. The reality is the god of this world, also known as the devil, has you under his control. The only one who can free you from that power is Christ himself. So you make that choice. You choose who your king will be. You choose who you're going to follow. Every day you get up, you make that choice and you make more choices to affirm that choice.
You make right choices or wrong choices and then you make your choices and your choices make you. Follow Jesus. He is the king worth following. He is the one that will truly set you free. He is the one that will take you one day to his kingdom. Remember what he said to the thief on the cross? That man said, Lord, remember me. When you come into your kingdom, he said, verily, verily, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
That's the hope of the Christian. And so if you would like to know that when you die, you will go to heaven. If you want your sin forgiven wherever you are, I want you to pray this prayer after me right where you are. I can't just pray this prayer.
You can even pray it out loud. Pray, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I choose to follow you now from this moment forward as my savior and lord and as my God and my friend. In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen. Today on A New Beginning, an important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie with those making a change in their relationship with the Lord. And if you've just prayed those words and meant them sincerely, well, we want to first welcome you into the family of God. And then we want to help you get started in living each day with the Lord. Let us send you what we call our New Believers' Growth Packet. It'll help answer your questions and help you build a solid foundation for spiritual growth. We'll send you the New Believers' Growth Packet without charge when you call us at 1-800-821-3300.
Call any time 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Pastor Greg? I'm speaking with Randy Alcorn, the author of Heaven for Kids, a book that we're offering this month as a resource for all of our listeners so you can learn more about the afterlife and especially how to share it with your children. Randy, one of the questions I've had asked of me over the years is what happens to pets when they die? Now, we've heard it said all dogs go to heaven.
I think I can make a pretty good case for cats not entering into heaven. I'm just kidding. Maybe not, I'm not sure.
Send your cards and letters to Greg Laurie. Yes, that's right. No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding people.
But play a laugh track, Dave, so they know I'm kidding right now. Okay. Okay, so anyway, seriously though, Randy, what happens to our pets? We can grow very attached to them. They become a part of our family. When a pet dies, where do they go? Well, I just had an experience what was a year and a half ago when our golden retriever, Maggie, was going to die and we knew it.
I took a walk with our grandsons Jake and Ty who live nearby and they'd grown up around Maggie and when they would come over and spend the night and we'd go on walks and adventures together out in the woods and us along with Maggie and so I got those guys together and we took one last walk with Maggie and they were saying goodbye to Maggie but I was saying, you know, here's the thing, guys. I really believe, I actually believe that Maggie will be on the new earth with us and here's why. Because Romans chapter eight says that the whole creation groans with longing looking forward to the resurrection of God's children and he keeps saying the whole creation. It's people groan and we suffer. Well, who else suffers besides people? Well, animals and so he's saying the whole creation's looking forward to the resurrection.
Well, why? It would make no sense to be saying that unless there were other suffering beings and who else would that be but animals? So then it comes down to, I think that's clearly saying some animals alive today that have suffered in this world will be on the new earth and live there forever. Animals can have a ministry in your life. I come home to my dog Gracie now every day and I'm telling you she is a comfort to me since Nancy has gone to be with Jesus. I mean, I loved that dog before but there's times where I'm crying and she's just cuddling up to me and God is ministering to me through her. So I think that the relationships that we have with animals I would not at all be surprised if they're there.
In fact, I'd be very surprised if they weren't there. Excellent. These are insights from author Randy Alcorn about how to share the truth of God's word specifically on the topic of heaven with the little ones at different ages. And the title of the book is Heaven for Kids and we want to send this book to you for your gift of any size as we continue to preach the gospel and teach God's word to people here in A New Beginning. Yeah, and your investment helps that important work continue.
So thanks so much for your partnership. Get in touch today for your own copy of Heaven for Kids. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg continues our study series called The House of David as David encounters a young man named Mephibosheth. Good encouragement coming our way. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
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