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How God Can Turn Your Mess Into a Message | Recognizing God's Plan

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2023 3:00 am

How God Can Turn Your Mess Into a Message | Recognizing God's Plan

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 23, 2023 3:00 am

Our lives don’t always go according to plan. Or maybe we should say our lives don’t always go according to OUR plans. God knows what’s coming, He knows our heartache and our disappointment, He knows our strengths and limitations, and He has a plan hand-crafted for each of our lives. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us learn to recognize God’s plan in our lives and say yes to the Lord’s calling. That’s the most rewarding pathway you and I can travel.

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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. Sometimes we go through things in life that don't make sense to us, but we need to remember everything in life is preparation for something else. Sometimes the pain of life can overwhelm us, but Pastor Greg Laurie helps us draw strength from a more eternal perspective. God has a bigger plan.

So maybe there's something you're disappointed by right now. The Lord did not open that door you wanted him to open, and you're upset about it, but he was preparing you for something else. Our lives don't always go according to plan, or maybe we should say our lives don't always go according to our plans. God knows what's coming. He knows our heartache and our disappointment. He knows our strengths and limitations, and he has a plan handcrafted for each of our lives. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us learn to recognize God's plan in our lives and say yes to the Lord's calling.

That's the most rewarding pathway you and I can travel. Now we're going to look at Moses, and we're going to look at some of the excuses that he offered up to the Lord as a part of our series that we're doing on his life that we're calling Water, Fire, and Stone. Now when we left Moses, he was running for his life.

Why? Well he was the prince of Egypt. He was being groomed to be the next Pharaoh, but he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, and he decided to take matters into his own hands. So he went out and he saw an Egyptian taskmaster cruelly treating a Hebrew slave, and he thought I've had enough of this, and the Bible says he looked this way, and he looked that way, and he killed the Egyptian, and now he's running. Moses probably thought I'm done.

I have nothing left to say. I've ruined my life. I've ruined my testimony, and that's it. Well that wasn't it because God was going to turn his mess into a message. So now we come to the second half of the life of Moses as the Lord commissions him to lead the Israelites out of the bondage of Pharaoh, and much to our surprise instead of jumping at the opportunity, Moses turns into a human excuse machine.

Let's read about it. Exodus 3 verse 1. One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro the priest of Midian. He went down deep into the wilderness near Sinai the mountain of God.

He would return there later wouldn't he? That's where he received the 10 commandments. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush. Moses was amazed because the bush was engulfed in flames, but it didn't burn up. Moses said to himself, amazing why isn't this bush burning up?

I must go over to see it. And when the Lord saw that he had caught Moses' attention, God called to him from the bush. Moses. Moses. Here I am Moses replied. God told him don't come any closer.

Take off your sandals for you are standing on holy ground. Wow what a powerful passage that is. So Moses is then told by the Lord that God had seen the suffering of the Jewish people. He had heard their cries. And Moses' new job was not tending sheep.

It was delivering people. And he was going to go back to Egypt and demand the release of the Jews. 40 years have gone by. Moses hasn't heard a peep from heaven.

And all of a sudden this. You know if you would say to me tonight Greg it has been a long time since I have heard from the Lord. I might say to you is there any unconfessed sin in your life? Because the Bible says God speaking my ear is not heavy that it can't hear.

My arm is not short that it cannot save. But your sins have separated you from me. If you want to cut off your connection with God leave your sin unconfessed. Now I didn't say cut off your relationship with God but you cut off your connection. And the way to re-establish that connection is to ask the Lord to forgive you. But in the case of Moses here this is not because of unconfessed sin.

This was all timing. God was preparing him. He did not realize that but for 40 years tending those sheep God was showing him some things that would help him later. Don't forget he has been schooled in the court of Pharaoh. He is schooled in mathematics. He is schooled in music. He is schooled in Egyptian art and literature. And he is schooled in military tactics. He knows a lot of stuff. Well of late he has been schooled in watching wayward sheep.

Sheep that go astray. Oh he would have some experience with that in the days ahead with the Israelites. With the Lord was preparing him. And sometimes we go through things in life that don't make sense to us but we need to remember whatever you are going through is preparing you for something else.

Chuck Smith once told me everything in life is preparation for something else. So whatever you are going through right now you see this doesn't fit any narrative. This is not logical. In fact it seems quite illogical.

The Lord is preparing you just as he was preparing Moses. Let's consider this bush for just a moment. It was a burning bush. It is not unusual to see a bush catch on fire like a tumbleweed. But it doesn't keep burning. So for a bush to burn perpetually is unusual.

So basically it was an ordinary bush doing an extraordinary thing. It was something out of the ordinary that God used to get Moses attention and then the Lord spoke. Here is what I have discovered in life as a Christian. When something out of the ordinary happens sometimes it is the Lord's way of saying pay attention. What may seem to you like a coincidence may in reality be providence. What you may perceive as an interruption may be an intervention.

Does that make sense? So maybe you are driving home and you get a flat tire and you have to go to a gas station. Oh this is such a hassle. I hate this.

Wait just hold on now. That is an interruption in your normal schedule. Did it ever occur to you that God might put someone in your path you need to talk to? That little aberration, that little change in your normal schedule might be something sent by the Lord. Sometimes life does not go the way that we planned. Our dreams are not realized. But we need to remember that disappointment can sometimes become God's appointment.

So maybe there is something you are disappointed by right now. The Lord did not open that door you wanted him to open. The Lord did not allow you to do that thing you wanted to do and you are upset about it but he was preparing you for something else. The other message here is that it was an ordinary bush that God touched. It was not some supernatural bush that descended from heaven. And it is just a reminder that God does extraordinary things to ordinary people.

Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they are touched by the Lord. And by the way this bush is not unlike Moses at this stage of his life. He is not the young prince of Egypt. Now he is an older dude.

His skin is weathered and tanned from the blazing sun. He is 80. So this reminds us that God has a plan for every stage of our life. Serving God is not only for young people it is for all people. It is for young people, middle aged people, old people, old people who think they are young people, young people who think they are old people.

It does not matter. It is for all of us. God wants to use us. You know there is nothing sadder than a person who can't age gracefully. You know a woman who is older instead of being a virtuous godly woman of virtue she is a cougar. That is just frightening. Just a rule of thumb. If you are over 50 you just can't shop at Forever 21 anymore. Just stop. You can't. No.

They had to start carting people at the door. Excuse me. How old are you?

I am 50. Get out. What? Yeah. It is Forever 21.

Not Forever 50. Now just go. It is another store for you.

Somewhere. I think one of the reasons young people are so willing to be used by the Lord is because they are flexible. You know when you are young you like stuff happening. You want to do things. I was really reminded of this when I went to the amusement park with Levi Lasko and his daughter and two of my grandkids and they just wanted to go on ride after ride after ride and I was walking down Main Street and I saw a rocking chair on the porch there. You know what I am talking about?

Some guy was in it and I thought I would like to be sitting in that chair right now because I just ate a churro and a corn dog and I want to take a nap. Right? So when you are young let's get on the next ride. Let's do this.

Let's do that. It is so much fun. You get older. You are like yay I don't want to do so much. When you are older you like routine. You go to the same restaurant and you sit in the same seat at the same table and you order the same thing. You know you are older when happy hour is a nap.

Right? That is happy hour for you. Listen. You who are older get out of your lazy boy and get to work for God's kingdom because God still wants to use you. Applaud now older people. Come on. Come on. By the way I am an older person. I am officially old.

I am a senior citizen and I take all the discounts. But I am not ready for decomposition to sit in quite yet. I have a few things I want to do for the kingdom of God first. And I think we all should want to be serving the Lord because you have so much to offer. I think so many young people today could use godly older folks mentoring them. Because so many kids are coming from broken families today. They have never known what it is like to have a family. They don't know what a family meal even looks like. They don't know what it is like to have a mom and a dad and prayer and a Bible study and do this and don't do that.

And here you are. You have all of that wisdom that you have acquired over all these years. Find a younger person. Take them under your wing. Mentor them. Love them.

Establish them. Older folks did that for me when I was young and it made a great difference in my life. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hearing about listeners who find Jesus because of the ministry of harvest is so encouraging. Pastor Greg, I was saved as a five-year-old little girl while listening to preach the gospel. It was 1995 at Angel Stadium and I knew even at that age that I needed to make my way down for the altar call.

It's a day I will never forget. Even down to the harvest crusade counselor who prayed with me and my parents. I am now serving Jesus every day and walking out my calling. I just watched your movie Jesus Revolution and cried watching your story unfold. I'm so grateful that you accepted the call to Jesus all those years ago. Thank you Pastor Greg.

How have these studies in God's Word touched your life? If you have a story to share why not call us and tell us about it. Call 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well we're studying the life of Moses today in Pastor Greg's new series Water, Fire, Stone. We're considering the excuses Moses offered when it came time to be used of God. Let's continue. So here's Moses.

He's 80 years old. He's thinking, you know I'm over the hill. God says, no you're just getting started.

I've got a new hill for you and it's a big one buddy. But unbeknownst to you I've been prepping you. I've been getting you ready.

I've been equipping you. And then listen to what the Lord says in Exodus 3 6. I am the God of your father. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

I love that. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now take those names.

We think of them with great respect. Patriarchs of the faith. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Yes they were used by God. But Abraham but Abraham who was as godly as they come had some serious lapses of faith. Isaac his son was biased and did not listen to the Lord.

Jacob's mistakes and faux pas are legendary. Yet they were mightily used by the Lord. So here's what I think God is saying. Moses I am the God of men who have failed. I am the God of people who need second chances.

I am the God of ordinary men and women who have accomplished some extraordinary things. I think that's really what the Lord is saying when he says I'm the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So the Lord is saying to Moses verse 7 I know my people are suffering. The Lord said I have seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt.

I've heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sorrows. I know what's going on Moses. I've surely seen. I've heard.

I know. And you know what God knows that about you too. If you're suffering you're going through hardship you're crying out to him. Don't think that heaven is not hearing your prayers.

Your prayers are heard by God and he'll answer them in his timing. Hebrews 4 15 speaking of Jesus says this high priest of ours understands our weaknesses for he faced all of the same temptations that we do yet he was without sin. So God is saying Moses I have come to deliver these people and guess what buddy you the man.

You're my man. I've been getting you ready for this and you are ready to go. So let's look at one of Moses' excuses and then we'll stop in this message. Excuse number one in Exodus 3 11. I am not deserving to be used by God Moses effectively says. I'm not deserving to be used by God. Verse 11 of Exodus 3 who am I to appear before Pharaoh Moses asked God. How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Now you know what Moses did have a point.

If you were God would you have picked Moses. I mean come on let's get real. He was a has-been. A failure.

Many ways he was an embarrassment. But it seems that God always goes out of his way to pick the most unlikely candidates to do the most unlikely things. I mean think about it. The patterns there in the Bible. Jonah the guy's effectively a racist. He hates the Ninevites.

He wants nothing to do with them. So God says yeah I want you to go over there and preach to the people. Why Jonah.

Get somebody else. No he said I want to use that guy that doesn't think he would ever do this thing to do this thing so I'll get the glory. How about Gideon. Gideon was the man who effectively hid from his own shadow and an angel comes to him and says hey Gideon mighty man of valor the Lord is with you. Gideon was probably like who are you talking to. Is there another Gideon here. Because I am not a mighty man of valor. In case you didn't notice I'm hiding right now behind this wall so my enemies the Midianites don't see me.

Oh no. I know who you are. You're Gideon the mighty man of valor.

Why. Because God does not see us for what we are. He sees us for what we can become. So here's old Moses 80 years old called to face off with one of the mightiest kings in the world. But again the Lord chooses unlikely people so he can get the glory.

1 Corinthians 1 27 says God deliberately chose those things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise and those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. Look God can use you. God will use you. The question is will you make yourself available. As I've often said God is not looking for ability. He's looking for availability. God does not call the qualified.

He qualifies the called. So all he needs for us to do is to say here I am Lord send me. You know God is bigger than whatever problem you're facing right now and maybe you have fears oh I could never be used by the Lord and maybe there's some problem that's haunting you and and you don't feel you can ever overcome this problem. But just remember the story of David when he faced off with the nine foot six inch mountain of human muscle Goliath in the valley of Elah.

He went there and he saw that big old guy and he charged him and said I come to you now in the name of the Lord and he defeated his giant. And whatever your fears are as to why God would never use you you can dispel those right now because God is bigger than your fears. He's bigger than your problems and he wants to use you and he wants to use me. Maybe the devil would maybe the devil would whisper in your ear no no I'll always have control of you. You're you're never going to be used by God. You're a failure and you can just say to Satan you know what go to hell.

That's a one time you can say that and it's fully legit. I'm not going to listen to you anymore. I'm not going to give you any more time. You're not going to have one more day where you're in control of my life because I want to do what God wants me to do. Pastor Greg Laurie with strong encouragement today about resisting our adversary and embracing the Lord and his plan for our lives. Glad you're along for today's message God's Call Man's Excuses and Pastor Greg comes back to lead us all in an important word of prayer so don't go away. Well Pastor Greg Johnny Cash has been in heaven for about 20 years now.

That's right. If you had a chance to ask the man in black one question what would it be? What would I ask Johnny Cash? Hey Johnny are we actually related because you know when I was a kid you all know my story if you've seen Jesus Revolution my mother was out living her wild life so for a period of my childhood I lived with my grandparents. We called them Mama Stella and Daddy Charles and they were from Arkansas and I remember watching Johnny on TV in my grandparents home and every now and then Johnny would get himself into trouble and my grandfather would be reading the newspaper and he'd fold the top down look over to his wife Stella and he'd say Stella your cousin's in trouble again. So I grew up wondering if I was related to Johnny Cash.

Well I actually did some research with a genealogist that goes to our church and as it turns out I probably am related to him distantly because my grandparents came from the same area of Arkansas that Cash came from and my grandmother's maiden name was Stella Fowler Cash. So hey Johnny are we cousins? That might be interesting to find out but I thought how cool in heaven it would be to go see Johnny in concert.

You know the funny thing we think about heaven is this surreal place with you know just sitting around in clouds and actually the Bible describes heaven as a real place or real people where we do real things and you might be out with some friends and they say hey we're going to go to see Handel's Messiah tonight. Handel himself will be there want to come? You'd say no man I'm going to go see Johnny Cash. You mean the man in black? Well he's actually the man in white now. You know will we hear Johnny Cash perform music in heaven?

Why not? So one day we will see him and we'll be reunited with loved ones that have gone before us but you can hear him and learn a lot more about him right now in a new resource that we are offering. Now as you recall we did a film called Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon that was in theaters around the United States. Well now it's available for the first time on DVD. Now it is streaming out there on different platforms like capital and Amazon but we're offering it on DVD with some special bonus content including a special presentation of the gospel I did sort of wrapped around the story of Johnny Cash and also we have a streaming code with this DVD that we're offering you which means you can download the movie to your laptop to your phone to your tablet you can keep the DVD or give it away to a friend. What a great gift to give to a non-believer or someone that's really struggling spiritually. So we want to make this available to you now for your gift of any size whatever you send us will be put to good use to enable us to continue to teach God's word and preach the gospel here in the new beginning and we will rush you your own copy of this brand new DVD Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. Be generous in what you send we have to pay a bit more for this resource than we normally pay and we want to thank you in advance you're going to love having this movie in your home or available to show to people whenever you want it's yours to keep.

All right well the fastest way to make those arrangements is to call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock to talk with you again 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg comes back with more insight from the series Water, Fire, Stone. Join us here on A New Beginning but before we go Pastor Greg comes back to close this way. Now I'm going to lead you in a prayer I'm an evangelist I like to lead people in prayers right I don't want you to pray this prayer if you don't mean it and I'll give you a sneak preview so you're not surprised in this prayer you're going to pray Lord I want you to use me and I'll go where you want me to go and I'll do what you want me to do now you don't want to pray a prayer that you don't mean so if you choose to not pray this prayer I respect that I think you're missing out but please do not pray this if you don't mean it but if you want to be used by God if you want the Lord to work through your life and take all of your experiences and things you've learned and somehow take your mess and turn it into a message and take your test and turn it into a testimony we'll pray a prayer you pray it out loud after me if you want to and we'll see what the Lord will do all right let's pray let's all bow our heads if you want God to use you just pray this after me Lord Jesus you saved my soul I'm going to heaven because I put my faith in you but now Lord I want to be used by you here I am send me I'll go where you want me to go I'll say what you want me to say I'm ready to leave my comfort zone so I offer myself to you is a living sacrifice holy and acceptable which is my reasonable service in your name I pray and father you heard you heard those beautiful prayers from your people and now Lord answer these prayers and use us use this in ways we've never thought possible open up doors of opportunity Lord help us to pay attention it might be a burning bush in a way just an extraordinary thing that happens or an interruption in a schedule and and it's actually your plan and purpose unfolding before us help us to be available for your use use us for your glory we pray in Jesus name we ask this amen thanks for listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a harvest partner at harvest.org
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-27 19:07:22 / 2023-08-27 19:17:22 / 10

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