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Overcoming or Overcome | Faith for Our Struggles

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2024 3:00 am

Overcoming or Overcome | Faith for Our Struggles

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 19, 2024 3:00 am

Special effects companies are masters at building small models of railroads or high rises or mountain ranges. But in the movie theater, they seem huge—they fill the screen! Could it be that our problems only LOOK big? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see our challenges through the lens of faith. And we’ll see, whether our problems are small or big or incalculable, nothing’s too hard for the Lord. Glad you’re along for our series in Joshua.

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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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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Our problems often seem bigger than they really are. They can overwhelm us. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie puts that challenge in perspective. Sometimes God will allow us to look at our big problems so we'll see that our God is even bigger. And maybe you're facing a big problem right now. You've tried to overcome it, and it takes you down again and again and again. It's time for you to call out to God and say, God, I can't do it on my own. Help me. Have you done that yet?

Bring your problem to God. Special effects companies are masters of building small models of railroads or high rises or mountain ranges. But in the movie theater, they seem huge.

They fill the screen. Could it be that our problems only look big? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see our challenges through the lens of faith. And we'll see whether our problems are small or big or incalculable.

Nothing's too hard for the Lord. Glad you're along for our series in Joshua. Here now in the book of Joshua, the wilderness wanderings have come to an end. That first generation that doubted God are not entering into the promised land, but their children are. They're poised now to enter into Canaan's land, the land flowing with milk and honey, the promised land, modern day Israel. And the Lord's going to give them the battle plan.

And it's pretty interesting. I wonder what Joshua was thinking. Okay, Lord, how are we going to do this?

First city, how's it going to go down? Put a bunch of ladders up, we'll scale the walls, attack them in force, overwhelm them with force. Lord said I had something a little different in mind. Joshua chapter six, starting in verse one, I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites.

No one was allowed to go out or in. And the Lord said to Joshua, I have given you Jericho the king and all of its mighty warriors. Your entire army is to march around the city once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the ark, each carrying a ram's horn. On the seventh day, you are to march around the city seven times, and then the priests blow their horns. And when the people hear the priests give long blasts on the horns, then you give a mighty shout and the walls of the city will collapse.

And then you can just charge right into the city. They walked around that city in total 13 times. That's a lot of time to look at your obstacle. Whoa, look at those walls. Look at those soldiers up there. This is a big problem.

They went around it again and again and again. And sometimes we have to realize that our problem is so big, we can't solve it on our own. It's like if God doesn't come through, I'm in trouble. Just take the Christian life. The Christian life is not hard.

It's impossible, isn't it? It's impossible to be a Christian without the help of God, without the work of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus said, apart from me, you can do nothing. But then the Apostle Paul said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So yes, it's impossible through human effort, but it's entirely possible with the help of God's Holy Spirit, changing you each and every day. But sometimes God will allow us to look at our big problems so we'll see that our God is even bigger. And maybe you're facing a big problem right now. Something you've tried to overcome. It's a broken marriage. And your marriage is hanging by a thread and the thread is on fire.

Maybe it's an addiction to gambling, to drugs, to pornography, to alcohol, to hostess ding-dongs, I don't know, whatever it is, something. You've tried to conquer it. You've tried to overcome it.

And it takes you down again and again and again. It's time for you to call out to God and say, God, I can't do it on my own. Help me.

Have you done that yet? Bring your problem to God. That's what Israel had to do. It was too big for them in their own strength. You wonder what the inhabitants of Jericho were thinking about all of this. Was this a joke to them? I mean, they knew the Jews' God was powerful because they locked the city up.

We don't want those people coming in here. And as they marched around again and again, seven times, eight times, nine times, 10 times, 13 times in total, they may have wondered, why do these people do this? Why do they live the way that they live? Why do they walk the way they walk? Non-believers look at us and wonder the same thing. Why do you Christians do what you do? Why are you the way that you are?

It doesn't make any sense to me. But then they might also ask, how is it that you were able to come to that problem with such joy? How is it that you have a marriage that's lasted so long?

How did you raise such amazing kids? That's not even possible. Oh, it's possible. And they wonder, but it's even worse when non-believers say, why aren't you the way that you should be? Have you ever been corrected by a non-believer?

That's really humbling. When a non-believer will say, aren't you a Christian? And will say, well, yes I am. Why do you lose your temper all the time? Why are you always gossiping about people? Why do you drive like a psychopath? Why do you sleep with your boyfriend or girlfriend when you're not married?

Why are you getting drunk? I thought Christians weren't supposed to do that. Well, you know, let me just shut up. They're right.

You're wrong. He just got busted. I remember years ago I got busted. I was new in the ministry. We had just started our church. And I went to a pizza place in Newport Beach. It used to be called Steve's Original Pizza. Now it's a Taco Bell.

But anyway, so I hadn't been there for a few years and I had a friend named Eric who was a musician. And so I said, I'm going to take you to a killer pizza place. I used to go here when I was a kid. So we'd get our table and we're waiting for our pizza. And funny thing is it hadn't changed at all since I went there as a kid. Same bizarre mural on the wall.

Everything was the same. And as we're waiting for the pizza, I looked at the guy next to me, the other table. And I thought, I recognize this guy. You know how some people never change physically in their face? Like they look the same as a baby, as a teenager, as an adult, and as an older person.

They always look like themselves and other people change radically. You can't even tell that adult was once that child. This was that guy. His name was Paul. I said, excuse me, is your name Paul?

And he says, well, yes, it is. Who are you? I said, I'm Greg Laurie. Well, I looked a lot different. Because when I was in high school, I had blonde hair parted on the side.

But then I had hair parted down the middle, down to my shoulders with a long beard. He goes, why you look a lot different? Yeah, well, I'll tell you, I'm a lot different in a lot of ways, Paul. He said, really?

I said, yes, Paul. I'm a Christian now. Really?

Really? You're a Christian? Oh, yes. Not only that, Paul, I'm the pastor of a church.

He's thinking, who are they giving churches to these days? Why? He said, Greg, I remember you in high school. You were always getting in trouble. You were always being sent to the principal's office for discipline.

You were disrupting classes, making jokes, insulting people, and always doing pranks. I can't believe that you're a Christian. No, I'm not like that anymore, Paul. I'm a changed person.

Okay, great. Well, that's great. I can see you seem happier. Yes, I'm much happier.

I was feeling very good about myself. So my friend Eric went to the restroom, and our pizza arrived, and I had a devious thought. Wouldn't it be funny to take those red pepper flakes and other ones at pizza places and pour them all over his side of the pizza? Then when he eats it, it'll burn his mouth. So I'm pouring the pepper. I forgot about Paul. I'm pouring the pepper flakes. Paul watches me do this.

He actually says, haven't changed much, have you, Greg? Busted. So I felt it was only appropriate I spin the pizza around, and I ate the hot pizza. I actually kind of liked it, though.

I like spicy things. But anyway, I digress. The point is, it's hard to be called out by a non-believer, isn't it? So here are the Israelites marching around.

And listen to this. The Canaanites could have believed and been spared, but they refused. God would have forgiven them. God forgave Nineveh of their sins, sending Jonah to preach to them. God would have forgiven Sodom and Gomorrah if they repented. He was looking just for a few righteous people there.

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, the Bible says. God didn't want to judge these people. They could have believed. They'd heard all about Israel. Their reputation preceded them.

Forty years ago, they crossed the Red Sea. They knew about that. They knew that God fed the Israelites with manna and led them with a cloud by day and a fire by night. And more recently, they knew that they had crossed the Jordan River. They knew they were coming their way, and now they're marching around their city.

Sounds to me like a good time to repent. Because they sealed up the gates knowing the danger, but they didn't believe. And so they faced the judgment that ultimately came upon them. These were extremely wicked people. These were people that sacrificed their children to their false gods.

And they watched them march around again and again and again. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We send these daily studies out via radio, satellite, and online. And we don't always know how these messages are touching lives. But when we hear the stories of our listeners, it really is encouraging to us. Hi, Pastor Greg. I watch you on YouTube almost every day, and you have been a wonderful influence in my life. It was because of your teachings that I gave my life to Jesus. I pray that the Lord keeps you going strong in preaching God's word for many more years to come. Thank you. If you've had your life changed because of Harvest Ministries, would you let Pastor Greg know?

Just drop him an email, greg-at-harvest-dot-org. Again, that's greg-at-harvest-dot-o-r-g. Well, we're exploring the biblical account of Joshua and the Israelites in the fall of the walls of Jericho. Pastor Greg is pointing out the practical lessons it teaches us.

Let's continue. They overcame their enemy by faith, not by feeling. They overcame their enemy by faith, not by feeling, giving commentary on the battle of Jericho.

Hebrews 11 30 says, By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were surrounded for seven days. By faith. Israel had to march by faith, not by their emotions. Faith doesn't believe God can do it. Faith believes that God will do it. Faith sees invisible things. Faith doesn't just see what's there. It sees what could be there, because according to Hebrews 11, faith is a substance of things hoped for. It's the evidence of things not seen. But it's not just faith. It's also patience, because Hebrews 6 12 says, We don't want to become, have you become lazy, but instead through faith and patience, you will inherit what God has promised. We need patience.

Sometimes God doesn't come through for us as quickly as we want Him to, but we need to keep having faith and we need to have patience for the work that He is going to do, because listen, you might be at the verge of quitting. You might say, I've given up in this marriage and nothing can be done. Really? Well, we have irreconcilable differences. Every marriage has irreconcilable differences. I've told you this before.

I've had irreconcilable differences with my wife for 50 years. She's neat. I'm messy. She's cute.

I'm fat. What can you do, huh? The point is you don't dissolve a marriage when you have a disagreement. You work through it. You work through it. You learn to forgive.

You learn to resolve your conflict, but people will give up so quickly. Oh, I've given up. I've given up on my child. They'll never come back to the Lord, won't they? Keep praying for them. I've given up on this ministry.

I've tried. It just hasn't happened the way I wanted it to. Hang in there, because the moment you're ready to quit may be the moment right before the miracle happens. It might be coming. It might be right around the corner. Galatians 6, 9 says, don't be tired of what's right, doing what's right, but after a while, you'll reap a harvest of blessing.

If you don't get discouraged, then give up. So they blow their trumpets. They give out their shout, and what happens? The walls of Jericho collapse in a mighty heap, and Israel goes in, and they conquer their enemies. Loud shouts, blasting trumpets.

Remind you of anything else? The Bible speaks of an event that will come, often referred to as the rapture of the church. In 1 Thessalonians 4, it says, the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we which are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Listen, one day this world system, this wicked culture will collapse. Revelation 11, 15 says, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord. Jesus said, heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away. The Jericho's, if you will, will fall, and the word of God will prevail.

You can be sure of that. In Acts chapter 12, we have a pretty bleak scenario. The apostle James had been arrested and executed by the wicked king Herod. Then he arrested Simon Peter. It didn't look good, so the church started praying, and we read in Acts 12, constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

I love that, so much truth packed in that little verse. Constant prayer, not just one single prayer, constant prayer offered to God for him by the church. They prayed together. They prayed with passion.

They didn't give up. They're praying, they're praying, they're praying, they're praying. What does God do? He sends an angel and delivers Peter from that prison. The door of the prison, the door of the prison opened all in its own, just like when you're going to the supermarket, right?

Amazing. He walks out. He's free, so think about how that story starts and how it ends. It starts with Herod triumphing, James dead, and Peter in prison. It ends with Peter free, and the word of God triumphing, because Herod ended up dying after that. God judged his king for what he did. I know it seems at times in our culture like evil is prevailing and evil will even win.

It won't. We win in the end. The Bible is clear about this. We're in a spiritual battle, and in a spiritual battle, you fight with spiritual weapons, so put on the armor of God.

Don't retreat. Rather, attack, and the best way to attack is with the message of the gospel, because this kingdom can come one person at a time. Listen, my job is not to turn vegetarians into meat eaters.

It's not to turn Prius drivers into anything else. My job is to call sinners to Christ so they can be forgiven of their sin. That is the objective of the church. That's what we should be focusing our energies on. Everybody needs Jesus.

That's our message to this lost and dark world. Jesus taught us to pray, our Father who art in heaven, how it would be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. One day his kingdom will come, and it will come when Christ returns in the second coming, but before that we have the rapture.

I'm not a date setter. Jesus says no one knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return. If you were to translate that from the original language, it would say no man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return, and what it actually means is no man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man because people get all psyched up about blood moons and ashes of red heifers and this or that happening. This is it.

This is it. I'm on my rooftop from this point on. The rapture may happen in 10 years.

It may happen in 20 years, and it may happen in 10 minutes. I don't know when the Lord's going to come back. I just know what I'm supposed to do while I'm waiting for him to come back, and he told me to occupy till he comes, and what that means is I am to do everything I can to extend his kingdom and to call people to Christ based on me living a godly life. This is what I'm here to do.

To shine is his light in a dark world, and if the Lord calls me home through death or the rapture, it's all good. I don't care how I get there, if it's a taxi, if it's a Prius even. I don't believe there'll be any Priuses in heaven. I hate Priuses. It's not the car. It's the way people drive them. What is the problem? Go faster.

That's it. I'm done with that, but I digress, and cats driving Priuses, don't get me started, but we need to be ready because Jesus could come back today. He's coming for those who are watching and waiting. We're going to pray in a moment. I want to extend an invitation to anybody who is not sure if their sin is forgiven, anyone who does not have the confidence that they would be ready to go if the Lord called us home in the rapture of the church, which could happen at any moment, anyone who's afraid to die, anyone who's looking for the meaning and purpose of life. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin, and he rose again from the dead, and now he stands at the door of your life, and he knocks and says, if you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. He wants to come into your life, but he won't force his way in.

You need to open that door, and he will come in. Let's pray. Father, I pray that your Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of every person here and every person watching and listening wherever they are. If they don't know you yet, Lord, let this be the moment they believe, the moment they receive the forgiveness of their sins, the moment that they get themselves ready for your return.

So speak to their hearts, we ask now, in Jesus' name. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before we wrap up today here on A New Beginning.

Pastor Greg, the living water tract dates back to the 70s and of course was wildly successful. And now you've turned it into the animated series called The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Yes.

So you've taken this booklet, this inanimate object, and breathed life into it. You're like Geppetto. Geppetto. Oh yes.

Yes. So then, okay, have you ever stopped and thought about the storyline of Pinocchio? So he makes his puppet, the puppet is animated, comes to life, and what does he do? The next day he sends him off to school. Just sends this little defenseless puppet who doesn't know anything off to school.

Pinocchio meets some rather unsavory characters, gets into a lot of trouble, gets ultimately swallowed by Monstro the Whale. I thought, why would you let him go to school? You should have walked him to school, Geppetto.

What kind of a parent are you? It's outrageous. But anyway, well, that's right. We brought him to life. Brought Ben Born Again, this little character I've been drawing for years.

And in case you missed it, it's a play on words. Ben Born Again, as in I've been born again. He's like a little surfer dude.

He has blonde hair and he likes to hang around the beach. He's passionate about Jesus. People have said, is this like an animated version of yourself when you were a kid?

Yeah, more or less it is. He's sort of my alter ego for sure. And Ben, he's sort of the narrator.

He's the straight man, if you will. And Yellow Dog, a dog that talks. He is sort of the, he's there for the laughs.

He's there for the comedy. And so Ben's always trying to help Yellow Dog. Yellow Dog gets himself into all kinds of trouble.

He's afraid of all kinds of things. In fact, one of the little cartoon adventures that we've done is when Ben takes Yellow Dog out into the surf. Now Ben's a competent surfer and Yellow Dog is behind him on an inner tube attached by a leash to Ben as they're paddling out. And they get caught in some big waves and Yellow Dog starts to freak out. In fact, here's a little scene from one of our new Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog cartoons. Listen to this.

Outside Yellow Dog. Big set coming. Isn't there a beginner's course around here? Don't worry, man. Don't be afraid. I'm not afraid.

I'm just very, very, very concerned. Come on. We've got it. Oh, we don't got it. Jesus. Help us.

That sushi is a little too fresh for me. Oh, dude. That was insane. Yeah.

Well, the next wave coming is from me waving goodbye to this ocean. Yellow Dog gets himself into some real scrapes. And of course, he's the perfect comic relief. Ben has to keep his eye on his furry companion. And together they learn so many important biblical principles.

It's all in the adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. And the first episode is available right now. Why not watch it for free through our Harvest Plus app or at harvest.org.

It's the perfect length for active kids and their short attention span. We think you and your child or grandchild will really enjoy it. And we hope you'll consider partnering with us so we can continue to reach out in this innovative new way.

Pastor Greg is focused on going into unexpected places to reach unexpected people with an unexpected message. And we hope you'll partner with us. You can get in touch by calling 1-800-821-3300. We're here 24-7 to take your call. 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Pastor Greg, you've mentioned how someone can become a Christian with just a simple prayer. Yes. Maybe somebody would like to do that right now. Could you help them with that?

Sure, I'd love to. A simple prayer is right. In fact, I would like to just pray a prayer and I would ask you to pray it after me right now.

Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. But I also know that you are the Savior because you died on the cross for my sin. And you rose again from the dead. Jesus, come into my life and forgive me of every sin I've ever committed.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer, Lord. And I pray all of this in Jesus' name.

Amen. If you just prayed that prayer and meant it, I want you to know on the authority of Scripture, God Almighty has heard your prayer and He will answer this prayer. You are now a newly minted child of God. So congratulations. You've made the right decision and welcome to the family of God.

I want to send you a special gift because of that prayer you've just prayed. It's called the New Believer's Bible. So the New Believer's Bible is the New Testament in the New Living Translation with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you are making to follow Christ. There's some other materials included as well in what we call the New Believer's Growth Pack. But let me get this New Believer's Bible into your hands as quickly as possible.

Here's Dave to tell you more. Yeah, we'll be glad to send it all your way free of any charge if you prayed along with Pastor Greg today. Just ask for the New Believer's Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

You can reach us any time 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well next time Pastor Greg returns to our studies in Joshua with a caveat, a warning.

His message titled, Don't Make Deals with the Devil. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-19 05:05:02 / 2024-02-19 05:15:58 / 11

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