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God Is Bigger Than Your Problem | God's Power Against Evil

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2024 3:00 am

God Is Bigger Than Your Problem | God's Power Against Evil

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 20, 2024 3:00 am

Some people are into trucks. The more power, the more capacity, the bigger, the better. Consider the Belaz 75710 mining truck. It weighs 750,000 pounds – empty. And its tires are 13 feet tall. There’s no comparison to consumer pickup trucks. Well today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that there’s no comparison between our enemy and our God. God’s power and capabilities are infinite.

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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. Satan is a fallen angel, a powerful one for sure. And once he has you where he wants you, he'll chew you up and he'll spit you out. But Pastor Greg Laurie says there's good news. He points out today that Satan is powerful, but his power is no match for our God. The Bible reminds us that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

So God is more powerful than Satan and God is bigger than your problem. Some people are into trucks. The more power, the more capacity, the bigger, the better. Well, consider the Belaz 75-710 mining truck. It weighs 750,000 pounds empty and its tires are 13 feet tall.

There's no comparison to consumer pickup trucks. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out there's no comparison between our enemy and our God. God's power and capabilities are infinite. God is bigger than your problem.

How does that sound? I'm sure I'm talking to somebody right now that is facing a problem of some kind. So I have a very hopeful message for you today. Starting with this thought. There is a God in heaven who deeply loves you.

If you forget everything else I say to you in this message, just remember that. You are loved by God. And God wants to reveal his custom-made plan that he has just for you. He wants to flood your life with love and peace and joy and purpose. And then if that's not enough, and that's a lot, he wants you to spend all eternity with him in this amazing place called heaven. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Jeremiah 29-11 where God says, I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. So yes, it's true. God loves you and God has a plan for your life and God has a future for you.

Now listen to this. Just as surely as there is a God in heaven who loves you, there is a devil from hell who hates you. He is a hateful, spiteful, wicked creature who opposes God and opposes anybody who follows God. The Bible describes him like a roaring lion skulking about seeking whom he may devour. Jesus summed it up this way. He said in John 10, the thief, speaking of the devil, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But in contrast, Christ says, but I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. So the devil, he wants to stop you from following Jesus Christ.

He wants to ruin your life. When you're being tempted, you ought to remember the words of the great evangelist Billy Sunday who said, quote, hell is the highest reward the devil can offer you for being a servant of his. Wow. Hell is the highest reward? With that in mind, why would anybody ever give in to the temptations of the devil?

Answer. Sin makes us stupid. I mean think about it. Think about the people that you know that are intelligent individuals who have gone and done the craziest things under the sway and power of sin. That's why we give in to these things. So though the devil is powerful, don't forget this, God is way more powerful.

Listen. The devil is not God's equal. God is the almighty creator of the universe. The devil, Lucifer, Satan, is a fallen angel.

A powerful one for sure. But not anywhere near the equal of God. And the Bible reminds us that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. So God is more powerful than Satan and God is bigger than your problem. I want to tell you a story from the Bible. Mark chapter 5.

I'd encourage you to turn over there with me right now. It's a story of a man who had been completely taken over by the power of the devil. A tortured, miserable, suicidal shell of a man in what appeared to be an absolutely hopeless situation.

That is until Jesus came along. What we see in this man is the devil's package deal if you will that he has in store for any person who is in his grip. You see the devil will start with just a foothold and then he'll take over.

Give him an inch and he'll take a mile. And once he has you where he wants you, he'll chew you up and he'll spit you out. Judas Iscariot is a classic example of this. One of the handpicked disciples of our Lord. But of course we know that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. I guess that money looked pretty appealing to Judas. But then after the devil got what he wanted from Judas Iscariot he kicked him to the curb like yesterday's garbage. So Judas found out the end result of doing the wrong thing. The story before us illustrates these points and more.

We see three forces at work in the text that we are going to be looking at. We see Satan, society, and the Savior. Or another way to look at it we see chaos, culture, and then Christ. Now as our story begins we see that Jesus is on his way to reach this tragic man who had actually been taken over by the power of demons. Not one demon.

Not ten demons. But many demons as it turns out. And so as Jesus is on his way a storm comes on the Sea of Galilee effectively sent by the devil to stop Jesus from reaching this man.

But Christ would not be stopped. And it reminds us how God seeks us out. How God loves us. Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and one sheep went astray. And he left the 99 sheep and sought that one stray lamb and found it, wrapped it around his neck, and brought it back rejoicing. That is how Jesus is. He is going to reach that person like that tragic woman at the well from Samaria who had ruined her life. And Jesus had an appointment with her. Like little Zacchaeus the tax collector who lived in Jericho. Jesus sought him out.

And Jesus will not take no for an answer. Years ago I was with my son Jonathan who is now in his thirties. But then he was just a little guy probably around five years old. So we were in a hotel and he loved to push the button.

I'd let him do that. And so he had always run ahead to get in the elevator. And so I said wait for dad Jonathan. And he ran ahead around the corner. And I come around the corner and just as they got to the elevator the doors were closing with little Jonathan in there all by himself.

Well I almost had a heart attack. I'm pushing the button. By the way when you push the button on an elevator over and over it doesn't make you come faster.

But it makes us feel better. I'm pushing the button. Pushing it. Pushing it. Pushing it.

It seemed like an eternity. Finally the doors open. No Jonathan. Oh my gosh. So I get in the elevator. I go down to the lobby.

I go to the front desk. Excuse me though ladies on the phone. Excuse me. Excuse me sir. No. No.

Excuse me. I need to tell you. Yes.

Yes. What is it? My son got in the elevator and I don't know where he is. I need you to call security. I need you to call the police. I need SWAT in here.

I need Delta Force. Help me find my boy. Well hold on one second sir. So I run back to the elevator and I push every button on every floor. And as the elevator would go to the floor the doors would open and I would yell out his name. And after about five floors the doors opened. And there he.

Oh man. I got him in there. I was so thankful to find him.

That was a very scary situation. But look I was going to find my son. Nothing was going to stop me from locating him.

I would have knocked on every door in that hotel until I found him. God is going to seek you out. He loves you.

He cares about you. But the devil tries to stop Jesus from reaching this man. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg I'm so thankful for your preaching. You're a light in a dark world and you were born to preach. I listen to your messages all the time and love your down to earth style. You also explain the Bible in an easy to understand way. Thank you so much for your diligence and love for God. I appreciate how you speak the truth. Never sugar coating the word.

Yet you have such a humble and sweetheart. Thanks for being an example of a real man of God. If you have a story to share why not call us and give us all the details. Here's the number 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well Pastor Greg digs into today's text now as he brings us our message God is bigger than your problem. Let's listen. Mark chapter 4 starting in verse 35. By the way I'm reading from the new living translation. As evening came Jesus said to his disciples let's cross to the other side of the lake. You might underline that phrase.

I'll come back to it. Let's cross to the other side of the lake. So they took Jesus in the boat and started out leaving the crowds behind and the other boats followed. Soon a fierce storm came up and high waves were breaking into the boat and it began to fill with water. Look at verse 38.

I love this. Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. He had a pillow.

That's nice. He was comfortable. In the lower part of the boat as a storm is raging the disciples woke him up shouting teacher don't you care that we're going to drown. Jesus woke up. He rebuked the wind and said to the waves silence be still. Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. And then he asked him why are you afraid?

Do you still not have any faith? And I love this last verse. The disciples were absolutely terrified saying who is this man that even the wind and the waves obey him. Storms happened all the time on the Sea of Galilee. Apparently this was a pretty bad storm because the seasons sailors themselves were freaking out. And then we find the Lord coming up on deck and stopping the storm. I wonder if I'm talking to somebody right now who is going through a storm. And when I say a storm I mean a hardship, a difficulty, perhaps even a tragedy. It's a big powerful storm and you feel like the disciples are saying to the Lord, Lord don't you care that I'm suffering. Don't you care that I'm in trouble right now.

Are you even paying attention. Storms come into our lives as Christians. Sometimes God Himself will send the storm. As in the case of Jonah who was disobedient to God. The Lord called him to go and preach to the city of Nineveh. And he said no. God said go. Jonah said no. God said oh. And God always has the last word.

So you might say that Jonah was the original chicken of the sea. Going the wrong direction. Running from God.

What happened? The Lord sent a mighty storm. And of course it was through that storm that God got the attention of Jonah. Sometimes we bring these storms on ourselves because of our disobedience. You might be in a situation right now where you are effectively reaping the consequences of your actions.

Chickens have come home to roost if you will. And you are saying why is this happening to me. You actually brought it on yourself. So sometimes God will send a storm. Listen to this. Sometimes the devil will send a storm as in the story before us. But God allows it. Sometimes we call on the Lord and He stops a storm like the story before us. Other times the Lord sustains us through the storm. But know this. Wherever you are at your storm has a beginning, middle, and an end.

One more thing I would add. You are either pulling into a storm or you are coming out of a storm. There will be another one coming. Just know that. And please don't let that sound depressing.

I hope it doesn't. Because Jesus is with you in your storms as well as when He is with you on your sunny days. And the fact of the matter is you learn things in the midst of storms or hardships or trials that you will not learn anywhere else. And besides there is no reason to panic.

Why? Jesus said to the disciples in Mark 4 35 let's cross to the other side of the lake. Now if Jesus had said let's get on the boat and go into the middle of the lake and die I probably would not have boarded that boat. But that is not what He said.

He said let's go to the other side of the lake. He did not promise smooth sailing but He did promise a safe arrival. He promises the same to you right now. He never said life is going to be easy. He said in this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer.

I have overcome the world. But He will get you to the other side. And ultimately for us as Christians the other side is when we get to heaven. Let's go to the other side. He was on board.

Listen to this. Better to be in a storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him. You know I find it interesting that the storm did not awaken Jesus from His sleep. I guess He was a deep sleeper. But the cry of the disciples did.

They say in verse 38 don't you care that we are going to drown. Has that ever seemed to you as if God is sort of asleep? Well in this sense Jesus really was asleep. Remember He was fully God but He was fully man and He was really exhausted and drained from the activities of the day. He really was asleep. But in a broader sense God never sleeps. The Bible says He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. So God is always aware of what you are going through.

But listen to this. In this story Satan was trying to stop Jesus but he failed. By the way when Jesus went out to the storm and said peace be still it could better be translated peace be muzzle. As though He was talking to a crazy aggressive wild animal or a dog. My wife and I were out walking the other day and we went into this one street and there is this big dog. No leash. And he is barking.

Kind of coming at us. And I kind of pushed her back. Let's not go down that street. I don't know what the owner was up to but that dog was clearly saying this is my street. But it is not usually the big dogs that bite you. It is those little yappy dogs. We recently or a while ago I should say we were walking through another area of our neighborhood where there is this tiny little park and we were walking on a little sidewalk and a lady was approaching with one of those small yappy little dogs.

And when I see a person with a dog I always go around the dog. I don't trust them. They might bite. And sure enough that dog bit Kathy in the ankle. And it broke the skin.

It was not a good thing. And it is always those yappy dogs. You know why do they bite so much.

Maybe they are just upset. I am little. I am yappy. I am not an attractive dog.

Even a cat is better than me. And they know it. Like the little chihuahuas are always shaking.

Why are they shaking. Because they are thinking I am not a rat. Don't feed me to a snake.

I don't know. But she got bit by the park. And the funny thing is now whenever we walk near that park I say let's go through dog bite park.

So we have sort of memorialized it. But look Jesus was speaking to the power behind the storm which was the devil like a wild animal or an aggressive dog. Peace be still or peace be muzzle. Listen when the devil has a person under his control he is not going to give them up easily.

He is sort of like a lion with a kill. Nothing is going to happen without a fight. That is why it is so hard to get someone to go to church with you. Well I don't know.

I have other things to do. The devil holds on to his prey. But again remember God is more powerful than the devil.

And God is bigger than your problem. So they come across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus has stopped the storm and what is waiting for them on the other side but a man who is possessed by demons.

Turn now to Mark chapter 5. I am going to read verses 1 through 9 which says, So they arrived on the other side of the lake in the region of the Gadarenes. And when Jesus climbed out of the boat a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained.

Even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles as he often was he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. And day and night he wandered among the burial caves and the hills howling and cutting himself with stones. When Jesus saw him some distance away the man saw him and ran to meet him and bowed before him and with a shriek he screamed, Why are you interfering with me Jesus son of the most high God? In the name of God I beg you don't torture me. And Jesus had already said to the spirit, Come out of this man you evil spirit.

Wow. What a story. This is downright spooky. A frightening evil man with superhuman strength hanging around in a graveyard screaming and howling. Another one of the gospel accounts tells us if that wasn't enough the guy was naked. So he was running around. Nobody wanted to go near that graveyard.

No one would want to go pay their respect to their loved ones who had passed. They might run into the crazy naked guy who broke chains. And so everyone wrote this guy off. Man he is out of his mind.

He is under the power of the devil. And notice it says he cut himself. Isn't that interesting. You know cutting or self-injury as it is sometimes called is becoming far more widespread among young people today. Kids cutting themselves with sharp objects like razor blades.

And by the way girls do it more often than boys. At the end of my message I am going to tell you a story of one of these young people. A young girl named Nikki who cut herself and was very despondent and what God did for her. How this guy ended up in this day where he is cutting himself and so tormented we can only imagine. This man was dead spiritually. The Bible says that we are dead in our trespass and our sin. The Bible also says that she that lives for pleasure is dead while she is living. You know when guards will lead a condemned man down the prison hallway they would call out the words dead man walking.

Dead man walking here. That is exactly who this guy was. He was a dead man walking. A dramatic story today here on the New Beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie with a study from Mark 5 titled God is bigger than your problem.

And he will have that final story for us in just a moment so stay tuned. Pastor Greg just spoke about how people are dead spiritually. He said we are dead in our trespasses and sins. But just a few verses later the Bible says but because of his great love for us God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ. Have you been made alive with Christ? Pastor Greg someone can come to the Lord right now can't they? That's right you see becoming a Christian it doesn't take years it doesn't take months it doesn't take weeks it it doesn't even take hours it can happen in a moment. The Bible describes it as turning from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. But before that happens the Bible says you need to have your eyes open and here's the amazing thing. It's just like in a flash a light goes on and you say this is all true.

That's how it happened for me. I just heard the gospel and all of a sudden I realized this is all true and maybe you've realized that as well. Let me ask you would you like Jesus Christ to come into your life? Would you like him to forgive you of your sin? Would you like this relationship with God we've been talking about today? If so why don't you just pray a simple prayer with me? You could pray it out loud if you like but say this to God, 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. Jesus I turn from my sin and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord as my God and friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and I ask this in Jesus name.

Amen. Hey did you just pray that prayer? If so I want to send you at no charge what we call a new believers Bible.

Here's Dave to tell you more and let me just say congratulations you've made the right decision. Yeah that's right and to help you begin to live this new life this life where you're at peace with God and can begin to enjoy the peace of God. Let us send you Pastor Greg's new believers Bible. It's the perfect resource for someone who's new to the faith and again we'll send it free of charge if you'll just contact us and request it.

Call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click know God. And then we're happy to have New York Times best-selling author Lee Strobel with us today. He's written a new book called Is God Real and we're so pleased to make it available to you right now. Pastor Greg. Lee told me recently 200 times a second people google in this question is God real.

Can you imagine that people from all around the world asking this very important question. So Lee decided to tackle the subject and write a book about it and I can't think of anyone that's more qualified to answer this question because Lee was formerly an atheist and also was the award-winning legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But it was actually when his wife Leslie came to faith that Lee wanted to disprove her newfound faith and in the process ended up coming to believe in Jesus Christ himself. So now he's written this brand new book Is God Real. So Lee we generally know you for your other books you've written like The Case for Christ, The Case for Your Creator and a recent one you wrote Get Off My Case.

No not really. I actually did one by that title. It was a children's book.

Get Off My Case. I love that. I haven't read that yet. So now this new book is a little different than your normal template but maybe it's not that different. Tell us why you wrote this book and why people ought to read it. Yeah I mean my format and my books all are the same in the sense that I don't present myself as the ultimate expert. I am a journalist and so I see myself as a bridge between the academic community, the scholarly community and the everyday community. My role I believe in the kingdom of God is to tap into this the brilliance of some of these academics and scholars who study this stuff in minutiae their whole life and yet may lack the ability to communicate it on an everyday level and so I use my journalism skill to go.

I seek out the smartest people I can who have the best background who have studied each of these topics that I deal with in the book and then I ask them the tough questions I had when I was a skeptic and the tough questions people ask me even today and to see and let the reader decide whether or not they answer the question in a way that satisfies their heart and soul. So you know we have a lot of brilliant people out there unfortunately they write sometimes on a level that so few of us can understand. I don't understand a lot of it but God has given me this gift as a journalist to to ask questions and to there's an old saying to put the cookies on the bottom shelf.

That's right you know so that make it available to everyday people. Yeah and I think you do a great job of that Lee you make these things very understandable so for our listeners right now maybe you're afraid of the idea of apologetics the defense of the faith you feel like oh man I don't have the answers to these hard questions. I think when you get your hands on this new book by Lee Strobel Is God Real you're going to have a lot of answers for yourself and for others that may ask you that very important question Is God Real? So we want to send you this book for your gift of any size to support our radio ministry A New Beginning and whatever you send will be used to touch lives with the teaching of the word of God and the proclamation of the gospel. So order your copy of this already best-selling book by author Lee Strobel titled Is God Real?

Dave tell them how to get their own copy. Yeah just get in touch with us and let us know you want the book called Is God Real? We'll send it to you to thank you for partnering with us so we can keep bringing the gospel and teaching the word of God to the people of God.

Take advantage of this eye-opening insight. Ask for Is God Real? when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to harvest.org. Well next time more of Pastor Greg's rich insights from this fifth chapter of the gospel of Mark.

But before we go Pastor Greg closes this way. I mentioned earlier about how young people are cutting themselves and I received a letter a while ago from a young lady named Nikki who came to one of our harvest crusade events and this is what she wrote and I'll just read it. She says my life lately has been in the slumps. I was freaked out about school. I was having boyfriend trouble. I was stressed to the max and to top it off my family life hasn't been the greatest. So Nikki says I started to cut myself to cope with all of this. It was just hurting me more.

I tried to stop but I was addicted. How do you reach a young lady like this? She's at the harvest crusade hearing the gospel. She said I heard that Christ saves lives so I decided to give it a chance and after attending your service I felt my like my life has made a complete turnaround. I committed my life to Jesus and I decided to stop hurting myself. At the time I thought God would never forgive me for what I'd done to myself and all the sins I committed but after hearing what Greg had to say God opened my eyes and Nikki concludes I'm now living my new life as a Christian.

Isn't that a great story? Am I talking to a young person like Nikki right now that's been cutting themselves? A young person that has a family that's falling apart? Am I talking to an older person that's lost hope in life? Whoever you are wherever you are God is bigger than your problem. 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 / 2024-03-20 05:35:30 / 2024-03-20 05:46:45 / 11

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