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How to Live a Successful Christian Life | Reconnecting with God's Word

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 8, 2024 3:00 am

How to Live a Successful Christian Life | Reconnecting with God's Word

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 8, 2024 3:00 am

When astronauts used to orbit the moon, there was a period of about 45 minutes when they were on the back side of the moon and couldn’t receive any signals from NASA’s Mission Control. Those were the longest 45 minutes of the mission! Well, believers often go through periods of disconnection from the wisdom of God’s Word. We’re without that supernatural power and direction. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us reconnect to Scripture, and see more success in our walk of faith.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. If you want to succeed spiritually, you must know and keep the Word of God. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how vital it is to dig into our instruction manual for living the Christian life. God will speak to you through the Bible, but what should I do? I should meditate in it day and night, and you hide it in your heart.

You memorize it. That's how you bring forth fruit in the spiritual life. When astronauts used to orbit the moon, there was a period of about 45 minutes when they were on the backside of the moon and couldn't receive any signals from NASA's mission control.

Those were the longest 45 minutes of the mission. Well, believers often go through periods of disconnection from the wisdom of God's Word. We're without that supernatural power and direction. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us reconnect to Scripture and see more success in our walk of faith. We all remember the day that Jesus Christ came into our life, right?

It's a big day, a day you don't forget. It was like we went from darkness to light. It's like we went from black and white to color. I remember, I'm old enough to remember when color television came out, okay? I don't know if some of you have never heard this before, but we used to watch black and white television, and the TV sets were gigantic boxes.

There was no remote control. If you wanted to change the channel, you had to walk up there and turn to one of three channels that you could watch, right? And then one day color TV came out. It was like a revelation. We couldn't believe it.

We'd been fiddling around with rabbit ears on top of black and white TVs, and now it's color television. Well, that's what it's like when you come to Christ. You go into this whole new world. Sin no longer is controlling you as it once did. Your addictions fell away, your depression cleared, your guilt was gone, and there was an inward peace and a joy you did not previously have, and you opened up the Bible, and this is like the user's manual of life you've been searching for.

Here it is. I remember as a 17-year-old boy reading the Bible for the first time, and it spoke to me in my young life, and it still speaks to me now in my 40s because plus a few more years, but it was relevant then. It's relevant now, and then, of course, prayer. What an amazing thing it was to pray and know that there was a God in heaven who listened to our prayers and cared about what we were facing and would answer our prayers. Do you remember your first answered prayer?

I remember mine. I was a brand new believer, 17 years old. I'd accepted Christ, and my grandmother found out, and I lived with her and my grandfather for a number of years when I was a little boy, and she said, Greg, I want to get you a brand new Bible, a nice leather Bible. Funny thing, that very day I prayed, Lord, I would like a nice leather Bible.

I didn't have any money. I had this cheap paperback one. I wanted a proper Bible, you know, with ribbons and all the cool stuff that Bibles have, and that was my first answered prayer. So amazing, and I remember the first time I went to church how life-changing it was for me to be in this environment of people of all ages, different cultures, different races, men and women, young people, older people worshiping the Lord together, and this is what happens when we come to Christ, and we say, man, I'm never going to go back to that old life again. This is the way I'm going to live, and from this point on it's blue skies, singing birds, sunshine, butterflies, and maybe even a unicorn.

I don't know. It's looking good, and then inexplicably you started having some issues. It was like you would take one step forward, and you would take two steps back, and you found you were falling into the same sinful patterns again. In fact, if you were to describe it, you might liken it to wandering in a wilderness or being in a desert. Listen, that can change if you want it to, and that's what we're about to look at together, because the book of Joshua is the story of the end of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites as they enter into the promised land, and what happened for them can happen for you. Joshua chapter one, I'm reading verses one to four from the New Living Translation. After the death of Moses, the Lord's servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses' assistant. King James calls him Moses' servant.

He said, Moses, my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I'm giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses. Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you, from the Negev wilderness to the south of the Lebanon Mountains to the north, from the Euphrates rivers in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live, for I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. We'll stop there. Are those not powerful words?

So if you're taking notes, here's point number one. To succeed in the spiritual life, you must overcome fear and admit you need help. Let me say that again. To succeed in the spiritual life, you must overcome fear and admit you need help, and lots of it. Look at how many times God tells Joshua to have courage. Verse six, be strong and of good courage. Verse seven, only be strong and very courageous. Verse nine, have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Don't be afraid.

Why do you think the Lord said this so many times to Joshua? Probably because he was afraid. There are things that you're scared of. Are you afraid of something right now?

Is something terrifying you? Maybe it's a job you've been asked to do. Maybe you're starting your family.

Maybe you just got married. Maybe there's some other thing that's frightening you right now. Remember what God said to Joshua. Joshua 1-5, I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage. And that's his word to him, and it's his word to us. Point number two, point number two, the way to succeed in the spiritual life is to be consistent.

Be consistent. Not just in the big things, but in the little things. Look at verse one. After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses' assistant. That's pretty accurate, actually.

That's new living. King James says, Moses' servant. Joshua was like the executive assistant to Moses. I don't think he realized that he was effectively being groomed to become the one that would lead the Israelites into the promised land. It probably all assumed Moses would do that. But in fact, God was raising up Joshua, and he was a worthy successor to Moses. And it's just a reminder that God raises up new people.

You know, people come and go on the stage. Our job is to be faithful in our generation. Acts 13, 36 says, after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors. After he had been faithful in his own generation, I have my generation, and a new generation comes.

One day you'll read, maybe in the paper or newsfeed, I don't know if it'll make the news, Greg Laurie died. Don't you believe a word of it? At that moment, I'll be more alive than I have ever been, right?

But I'm a realist. I understand death will come. I'm kind of hoping the rapture will come first. Lord, are you listening? I prefer that.

Vote of transportation. But whatever it is, my job is to serve the Lord faithfully in my generation. Then the Lord raises up another.

That's what he always does. Some people think they're indispensable. Listen, graveyards are filled with indispensable people.

So just serve God in your generation. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody, I want to encourage you to check out the new Harvest Plus app. It's on Roku, Apple TV, and Google Play, among others. And you can stream incredible content on all major platforms for free. You're going to find live events, our evangelistic films like A Rush of Hope, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon, and our newest film, Fame. Plus, our TV programs, our podcast, Harvest at Home, and a lot more.

Stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Glad you're joining us today for Pastor Greg's message from our studies in the life of Joshua, how to live a successful Christian life. Okay, that brings me to our third and last point. If you want to succeed spiritually, you must know and keep the word of God. Again, if you want to succeed spiritually, you must know and keep the word of God. Look at Joshua 1.8. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written. Underline that, all that is written in it.

Then you will make your way prosperous, and you will have good success. Well, God said that Joshua was unprecedented historically. Up to this point, when God spoke to people, He spoke audibly to them. God spoke audibly to Noah and told him to build the ark. God spoke audibly to Abraham and told him to leave for a distant land he had never been to before. God had spoken audibly to Moses through a burning bush.

He spoke audibly to Abraham and spoken audibly to Moses through a burning bush. But now the Lord says, I'm going to speak to you through the book. And that is how God speaks to us today. I'll be honest. When I talk to people that say, God speaks to me all the time, I get a little suspicious.

I'm not so sure. But I know this, He will speak to you through this book, right? Jesus said, lo, in the volume of the book I have come, it is written of me. God will speak to you through the Bible. But what should I do? I should meditate in it day and night. Meditate in it.

Now what does that mean? When we use the word meditate biblically, we're not using it in the same way they might use it in Eastern religions. For them to meditate is to empty one's mind and sit on a yoga mat wearing Lulu lemon clothes.

I'm not sure. But that's not what we're doing. In the Bible to meditate means to contemplate, to ponder, to consider these things. Another way to translate the word meditate is to mutter. To mutter. Or to speak aloud. Sometimes it helps to read the Bible out loud. Because you can read verses and it doesn't penetrate your brain. Someone might say, I read 10 chapters of the Bible today. Really? Wow. What were they about?

I have no idea. I'd rather read 10 verses with understanding than 10 chapters without it. So that's where meditation comes in. You think about it, you consider it, and you hide it in your heart. You memorize it.

The Bible says your word of I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Don't tell me you can't memorize things. I can't.

It's hard. You memorize lines from films, lyrics to songs, sports scores going back decades. And you tell me you don't have any bandwidth in your brain to memorize the word of God.

Of course you do. And in Psalm 1 it says blessed or happy is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord or the word of the Lord and in it he meditates day and night. Notice day and night. And he'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He'll bring forth fruit and his leaf shall not wither.

I memorized that when I was 19 years old and I still remember it today. It's a great place to hide God's word in your mind and heart. You know you can carry the Bible in your purse or your briefcase or your man bag but I mean what do they call those now?

A murse? I'm not sure what it is. But the best place to hide the word of God is in your heart.

Meditate in a day and night but that's not all. You have to observe all that is written in it. That's what the verse says. Observe all that is written in it. It's not for you to pick and choose what parts of the Bible you like and throw out the parts you don't understand or like.

And some people do that. Well I like the Bible. I like what God says about forgiveness and love and grace and peace. I'm not so sure about what the Bible says about sexuality. I mean this is our choice and we can do what we want.

It's my body. So if I'm pregnant and I want to terminate that pregnancy, my body, my choice. I'm sorry that's in contradiction to what the Bible says. The Bible says that we're fearfully and wonderfully made and that life begins at conception.

That's another body now inside of your body that has the right to live. Well I don't agree. Well okay you can say you don't agree but you're going against what scripture says.

I'm just saying this. Oh we talk about sex. Well you know I don't really like sex. I don't really like the restrictions of the Bible on sex. You know I want to have premarital sex or extramarital sex.

No. God created sex in marriage. The only place that he will bless it is in marriage. Anything outside of that is disobedience to him. Well my God would not judge me. Well you, I don't know who your God is but he's not the God of the Bible. We don't pick and choose what parts of the Bible we like like we're at some celestial salad bar. Jesus said you are my disciples if you do whatsoever I command you. And he says and if you really love me do what I tell you to do. So it's as simple as that. He gives us his word.

We need the word. And by the way you never outgrow this. There's come a point where you say well I don't really need to read the Bible. I've read it so many times.

Well okay. And besides it nothing ever changes in the Bible. That's one of the great things about the Bible. It doesn't change.

I love that. Unchanging truth in a constantly changing culture. I'm glad there's something I can believe in and trust in and live by. But haven't you found that certain verses of the Bible that you've read before come alive to you in a whole new way when you read them again depending on where you're at in life. So you read a Bible story when you're 18.

It's different than when you're 68 or older or whatever it is. So that's why the Bible says his mercies are new every morning. And I can think of so many times I've been listening to someone preach and they'll say something and it's like they wrote that just for me.

Has that happened to you? Yes Greg not when you're preaching. Not when you're preaching but others yes.

Okay it's all good. But God will speak to you through his word. This is the golden key of spiritual growth. This is a secret password that will unlock your spiritual life.

You say what is it again? Reading, studying, memorizing, meditating on, and obeying all that the Bible says. Now I'll be honest with you there are times I come to things in the Bible it's not that I don't agree with them I just don't like them. Example forgiving someone that has hurt me. I don't want to forgive them. I want to get back at them. That's human nature right? But the Bible tells me to forgive. Turn the other cheek.

Go the extra mile. Oh really? But I have found that when I even do those things I'm uncomfortable with I see the blessing that comes on my life as a result. So we need to trust God's word. Jesus gave us what is called the parable of the sower. A sower goes out and sows seed and back in those days they just threw the seed out. So some seed fell on the road and the birds came and ate it quickly. Other seed fell on ground and bedded with thorns and it began to grow but the thorns and the weeds choked it out. Other seed fell on shallow soil and shot up in the sun but withered because it wasn't rooted and some seed fell on good ground.

And then Jesus said there in Mark 4 the seed that fell in good ground represents those listen who hear and accept God's word and produce a harvest. That's it. You hear it. You accept it. You believe it.

You apply it. That's how you bring forth fruit in the spiritual life. So let's wrap this up. What have we learned together? Number one we found the golden key of spiritual growth is hearing receiving and obeying the word of God.

Also we discovered that we must overcome our fears and admit we need help and lots of it. And we also discovered we must be consistent in the spiritual life. Be faithful with what God has set before you. Be faithful in the small things and God will give you greater things to do. Be faithful with your finances. Be faithful in your marriage.

Be faithful in your singleness. Faithfulness in whatever you do and you will find the blessing of God will come to you. But this all starts with a relationship with God.

God loved us so much he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and shed his blood for every one of us and there is no person Christ cannot change. I was talking with a retired police officer named Mike a little bit earlier today and he was talking about our prayer meeting that we have at Harvest Orange County and Harvest Riverside. And he was at a table with some guys that were very tatted up. These are not hipster tattoos.

These are like prison tats and when you're a law enforcement you know what different tats mean because it gives you a sense of who they were affiliated with or what kind of lifestyle they may have lived. And so here are former gang bangers sitting down with a retired police officer and he said he told them what he used to do and they looked a little alarmed. But here they are talking together and praying together and I thought only Jesus Christ could bring those kinds of people together right. So yes the gang banger needs Jesus. Yes the drug addict needs Jesus. Yes the criminal needs Jesus. Yes the upstanding citizen needs Jesus. Yes the relatively moral person who's not as moral as they think they are needs Jesus. Every man needs Christ. Every woman needs Christ. Every person needs Jesus.

He's here for everyone and he shed his blood for us so we can come into this relationship with him. Those Israelites had to take that blood of the slain lamb and put it on their door and we have to take that blood that Jesus shed for us and say Lord I'm sorry for my sin. I turn from it and I invite you to come into my life to be my Savior and Lord. And I ask you in closing have you done that yet?

And if not would you like to do that? We're going to close now in prayer and I'm going to extend an invitation for anyone here anyone watching wherever you are. If you don't have this relationship with Jesus. If you don't have the confidence that you'll go to heaven when you die. If you're not ready for the Lord's return you respond to this invitation. In the beginning of my message I talked about what it's like to believe in Christ. Does that happen for you yet?

I talked about guilt being removed and a joy you didn't have previously. Has that happened for you? If not why not? It can.

Do you want it to? He's just a prayer away. Jesus says behold I stand at the door and I knock and if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. You say well maybe I need to get a little religion. You don't need a little religion. You need a lot of Jesus.

You need him to come into your life. So if you want Jesus to come into your life pray a prayer with me right now. This is a prayer where you're asking Jesus to come into your life. Again as I pray just pray this out loud right where you are. Just pray it out loud. Pray these words.

Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner but I know you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord is my God and friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer Lord. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making a change in their relationship with the Lord. If you've just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant the words you just prayed your sins have been forgiven and you're now a brand new child of God. And we want to help you get started in this brand new life of faith. Let us send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. It's in an easy to understand translation with scores of special articles and helps to answer the questions new believers often have. We'll send it to you without charge.

Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 24 7 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited about the new project The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Yes. It's an animated feature series based on the track you designed many many years ago The Living Water Track. Yeah. Let me ask you where do you get the ideas for each of these episodes?

I get them from everywhere. For instance we have some gags in one of these cartoons about dogs and strollers but we turn it into cats and strollers. So Yellow Dog has an irrational fear of cats and strollers and so you've heard me say these things in my sermons who knows maybe a Prius will end up in one of these cartoons and I'll find a way to mock Kale too because that comes up every now and then but here's a little conversation between Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog where Yellow Dog is talking to Ben about all the things that frighten him.

Give a listen. Tell me buddy what kind of things frighten a dog like you? Thunder and lightning, losing my favorite phone, vacuum cleaners, fireworks, rusty door hinges, other dogs, disco music, and maybe the lid being closed on my favorite drinking fountain. Do you mean the toilet? Ugh gross.

I'm also afraid of people who push cats in strollers. Another one of these cartoons in fact it's the title of the cartoon is never kiss a jellyfish goodbye where Yellow Dog is out in the ocean and he's playing with the jellyfish and he kisses it goodbye and his face is all puffy cartoon style. This actually happened to my grandson Christopher. His mother Brittany was calling him in from the water and he came in and his face was all red. She said honey what happened to your face? He said well mom we were playing with a jellyfish and we decided to kiss it goodbye.

No kidding. And so when he said that I thought okay that is definitely going to find its way into a sermon and now it's become a cartoon so I was able to take that and use it and I told Christopher you're going to get a writing co credit on this one because it's your story. It actually happened. So I draw from all kinds of things uh that that I find amusing and I have also stories from my childhood that I've adapted to Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog like some of the listeners we remember the story I've told about when I went to a pet store to pick up a snake with my mother that she was letting me by and we put it in the little cage in the trunk of the car and by the time we got home the snake was out of the cage and she never wanted to drive the car again and she had to drive it a couple of weeks later and she was at a stop light and she felt a cold coil dropping her ankle and she jumped out of the car screaming and it turns out it was a loose hose but she didn't want to drive the car after that and actually gave it to me.

So I said if you want to get a car from your parents lose a snake in the trunk. So that story finds its way into this cartoon as well but instead of it happening to me it happens to Ben Born Again's mother because Ben Born Again in a way is my alter ego he's sort of a version of me from my childhood and so everything anything that happens is potential humor for these cartoon adventures. Yeah yeah well that's why they're so enjoyable and friends you'll love them your kids and grandkids will love them and not only will they enjoy them they'll learn some important biblical principles without even realizing it. So we hope you'll check them out the first episode is available to view for free through our Harvest Plus app and also at harvest.org and then consider partnering with us so we can continue to bring the gospel in innovative new ways. It's a great time for you to invest in getting the gospel out to people who need it and Pastor Greg wants to thank you for your donation. He'd like to send you a copy of the art piece that started it all. We'll send you a redesigned version of the Living Water Tract in comic book form it's a classic so get in touch today you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org.

Well next time we follow along with Moses as the Israelites move toward the promised land only to be pursued by a powerful Egyptian army. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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 / 2024-02-08 05:50:56 / 2024-02-08 06:01:57 / 11

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