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The Refreshing Power of the Word of God | Hungry for God's Word

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

The Refreshing Power of the Word of God | Hungry for God's Word

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 8, 2024 3:00 am

Ever been so hungry you felt weak? Not just hunger pangs, not just in a “hangry”
mood. You actually felt sluggish and powerless. Food is at the top of your mind. Well,
we can start to feel weak spiritually . . . but so many times our spiritual food ISN’T at the top of our minds. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out just what God’s Word does for the weary traveler on the road of life. We’ll see it gives us actual power for living. And we shouldn’t deprive ourselves.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. The Bible restores you. The Bible refreshes you.

The Bible transforms you. Ever been so hungry you felt weak? Not just hunger pangs, not just in a hangry mood, you actually felt sluggish and powerless. Food is at the top of your mind. Well, we can start to feel weak spiritually, but so many times our spiritual food isn't at the top of our minds. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out just what God's Word does for the weary traveler on the road of life. Well, see, it gives us actual power for living, and we shouldn't deprive ourselves. The refreshing power of the Word of God. Listen, if you want to be a growing Christian, if you want to be a successful Christian, if you want to be a believer that brings forth spiritual fruit, as Jesus says he wants us to bring forth, then you need to be a Bible-studying Christian. And as a believer, we are either progressing or we're regressing. We're either going forward or we're going backwards.

And the moment we stop the forward momentum is when we begin the backward regression. I read not long ago about a coach, a guy who trains people for a living. And most of his clients were quite overweight, some 60, 70 pounds overweight.

This guy, this trainer, was in perfect shape, washboard, abs, ate the right foods, loved to exercise, and he really couldn't relate to what his clients were going through. So this guy decided to intentionally put on 70 pounds to see what it was like. And so he started by changing his diet from the foods he used to eat to fattening foods. For instance, for breakfast he had Captain Crunch cereal. And then he would have a snack. It would be banana bread. And he would have chicken alfredo, pasta for dinner, and lots of corn dogs and donuts in between. By the way, this diet sounds really good to me except the Captain Crunch cereal. I could live without that.

But all the rest, this sounds amazing. Well, it was exhilarating to him because at first there was no difference in his body. He still looked good. But then he noticed the first thing to go were the abs. And then he started getting flabby. Then he found that his blood pressure was going up. He was tired all the time.

He found himself lethargic and depressed. And to me, this is the picture of what it's like when we start going in the wrong direction spiritually. Instead of eating the nutritious message of God's Word, we fill our lives with spiritual junk food. So when that happens, you need a restart. You need a reboot. You need a refresh. And I want to talk to you about the refreshing power of the Word of God. Because the reality is, as believers, we all have those moments when we stumble, when we trip up, when we make that wrong decision, we think that wrong thought, and we need to repent. We need to reboot. We need to be revived and refreshed.

And that's what we're going to be focusing on together. Because you want to build your life as a Christian on Christ and His Word. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave this summary statement in Matthew 7. Whoever hears these words of mine and puts him into practice, he is a wise man who builds his house on the rock. And the rain came down and the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against the house, but it did not fall because its foundation was on the rock. But then Christ goes on to say, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does not put them into practice, he is a foolish man who builds his house on the sand.

And the rain came down and the streams rose and it fell with a great crash. Look, every life is going to be tested. Every one of us is going to face storms in life as followers of Jesus. So make sure you're built on the right foundation, which is a relationship with Jesus Himself and, of course, on God's Word. Don't build your Christian experience on experience. Don't build your faith on your fickle emotions.

Build your life on Christ and His Word. Because as you read, study, memorize, and dig into the Word of God, it will refresh you. Psalm 19, verse 7 says, the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The word that the psalmist uses, therefore converts, means to revive, to restore, and to transform.

Now when we say the law of the Lord, that could just as easily be translated the word of the Lord or simply the Bible. In other words, the Bible restores you. The Bible refreshes you. The Bible transforms you.

I can think of so many times in my life where my mind was going in the wrong direction. Have you ever been gripped by fear, worry, or anxiety and found by just quoting the right scripture that had sort of righted you? Or when you're dealing with pain or with grief?

You know, we just marked 13 years since our son Christopher went to be with the Lord. And since that has happened, I've spoken to countless families who've lost loved ones, especially children. And I've talked to them about grief. Grief is powerful, and it can overwhelm you. And there were times when our grief was so powerful and so overwhelming, we didn't know if we could go on. But the thing is, is grief has its place. It's the process of healing.

It's the process of processing the thing that has happened to you. I compare it to being out in the ocean. Maybe we're on our surfboards or our stand-up paddle boards, or maybe we're on our boogie boards, right? Have you ever gone over the falls, like going over the front of a wave, and you're in white water?

It's like you're in a washing machine and you don't know which way is up. So if you have a boogie board or some surfboard and a leash attached to your ankle, you know one thing is certain. That boogie board, that flotation device will always go to the surface. Because people have become disoriented when they've gone over the falls, especially if the wave is big, and they don't know which way is up. And instead of going up, they go down. So here's what you do. If you've got that leash, grab the leash and go in the direction of your surfboard or your boogie board, and get your head above the water and get a gulp of air, because a new set of waves might be coming. That's grief.

It just turns you upside down. You don't know what to think. You don't know what's going on.

Your emotions are running amuck. Grab the leash. What is the leash? The leash is the Word of God. And it pulls me to the surface, and I can get my eyes on Jesus for a moment, and it can get me sorted out and back in alignment with God again. How important the Word of God is in our life. The Word of God restores us. It refreshes us. It transforms us. Listen to this. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of God's Word you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it.

Let me repeat that for emphasis. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of God's Word you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. God told His people back in the book of Joshua, if they want to succeed spiritually, they needed to constantly be looking at His Word. Joshua 1.8, it said, This book of the law, or the Word of God, shall not depart from your mouth. Meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.

And if you do this, your way will be prosperous, and you will have good success. Meditate in the Word of God. What does it mean to meditate? Well, in the Bible it means to contemplate. The idea is given in Scripture of chewing one's food carefully.

In Eastern meditation, one empties their mind. In Biblical meditation, one fills their mind with the Word of God. And as you memorize and know and understand Scripture, it will be a weapon to use as you share your faith and a weapon to defend yourself when you are being attacked. Remember, the first temptation that happened back in the Garden of Eden is when Satan effectively came to Adam and even challenged them to doubt the Word of God. He said, Did God really say what you think He said? Has God really said you cannot eat of all of the trees in the garden? And this is one of the first things that happens to a person when they become a Christian.

They have doubt about what they believe. And Jesus told us how to handle this and showed us, really, when he was tempted in the wilderness. Remember, three waves of temptation came to Christ from Lucifer, and in each instance Jesus says, It is written. It is written.

He came back to the Word of God, which the Bible describes as the sword of the Spirit. Listen, a growing believer will delight in and love the Word of God. You will love it. It is not like you will dread reading it.

You will look forward to reading it. Psalm 1 describing the happy man says, Happy is the man that doesn't 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 Word of the Lord, and in it does he meditate day and night. The psalmist said in Psalm 119, How I love your commandments, Lord, they give my life back to me because your unfailing love and your words are true. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well, today Pastor Greg is presenting his message on the importance of Scripture, called The Refreshing Power of the Word of God. How do you know the Bible is the Word of God?

Sometimes, well, doubt it. Can I believe the Bible? Can I be certain that this really is God's Word to me? So if you have a Bible, why don't you just grab it right now and hold on to it? Maybe it's an app on your tablet or your phone, but I want you to think about this book that we call the Bible.

This is God's message to us. Technically speaking, the Bible is not one book, but it's actually 66 different books written over a 1,500-year span of time. Its words were written by authors, 40 of them all told, from every walk of life, kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, statesmen, and scholars. Yet all of the authors of the Bible write about one primary theme, and that theme is God's redemption of mankind. And each one of these individuals was inspired by God to write these words. 2 Peter 1.20 says, You must understand, no prophecy in Scripture came about with the prophets themselves, as they wanted to prophesy, but it was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God. How do I know the Bible is the Word of God? Here's one point. I know the Bible is the Word of God because it gave me the experience it claimed it would give me.

Now don't say, well, Greg, you shouldn't build your life in experience. This is just one of many points as to why I believe the Bible is the Word of God. But I believe it because everything the Bible promised to me was true. Everything the Bible says to me I have found to be true. And the Bible says God would forgive me of my sin.

1 John 1.9 says, If I will confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. So I read that verse, and I said, Lord, cleanse me of my sin. One of the first things I remember experiencing as a brand new Christian was the sensation of having a massive weight removed from me.

Now I didn't know what I had just done. I prayed and asked Jesus into my life. He said that I should cast all of my care upon Him, for He cared for me. I hadn't read any verses yet, but I remember feeling this weight lifted off of me. That was God forgiving me of my sins.

The Bible says to me, if any man be in Christ, he is an altogether different kind of person. The old things have passed away. Behold, everything becomes fresh and new. I became a different person after I gave my life to Christ. I saw that change inside of me, and I knew it was real. I tried to be a better person. I wanted to be a more caring person.

I wanted to be different than I was, but I couldn't change myself. Suddenly, with Christ living in me and reading the Word of God, I saw that these things happened for me as the Bible said they would. I read in the Bible that God could give to me a peace that passes all human understanding because in Philippians we read, don't worry about anything. Pray about everything, and the peace of God that passes all human understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Have you experienced that peace that passes all understanding? I mentioned already that my son went to be with the Lord, and I tested the Word of God then.

I couldn't even get to sleep at night, and I would remind myself of what Scripture says, and I would quote Scripture to myself, and it would console me and comfort me and sustain me. I believe the Bible is the Word of God because it gave me the experience it promised. Number two, I believe the Bible is the Word of God and that it is true because it's confirmed by science. Now, some of you might be thinking, no, Greg, you're wrong. Science and the Bible contradict each other.

That's not necessarily true. People over the years have scoffed at the Bible, saying it's so unscientific. The people that believe the Bible, they're fools. Well, it's actually the Bible that told us that the Lord sits on the circle of the earth. It's a Bible that told us the earth was round, not flat, as many of the experts thought, at one stage in human history. It's the Bible that tells us and told us that the stars in the sky were innumerable. But, of course, astronomers said, well, that's ridiculous. We can actually count the stars, and they had their count, and then they'd get a more powerful telescope and add some more numbers to that, and on it grew. But the Bible tells us that God stretched forth the heavens into a limitless expanse, which can never be measured, and filled it with stars which are as numerous as the sands upon the seashore.

Well, now modern science says, confirm this is true, that we really can't even count the stars in the sky. It was the Bible that told us the things that we see are made out of things that we don't see. Hebrews 11, 3 says, by faith we understand the entire universe was formed at God's command, and what we see now is made out of things we don't see. Everything that we look at right now is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and also croutons.

No, those are on your salad. But the idea is God told us the things we see are made of things we don't see, so the Bible was ahead of science in many ways. But listen, the Bible is not a scientific textbook. If it were, it would be much larger and much less comprehensible. The objective of the scripture is not to tell us how the heavens go, but how to go to heaven.

Let me say that again. The objective of the Bible is not to tell me how the heavens go, but how to go to heaven and how to know God. Here's another point. The Bible is true because it's the one book that dares to predict the future.

Not once, not twice, but hundreds of times with 100% accuracy. Think of all the scriptures in the Old Testament that pointed to the arrival of the Messiah. The Bible told us in the Old Testament Messiah would be born of a virgin. He'd be born in Bethlehem.

He would be crucified. And the Bible said in the Old Testament he would be crucified before the actual act of crucifixion even existed. The Bible is the one book that tells us what is coming in our future as well. I'm not talking about Nostradamus here or the Mayan prophecies. I'm talking about a reliable source. And that really is the mark of a true messenger from God or a book that comes from God.

Can it predict the future? And the answer with the Bible is yes. Then I could go on and talk a lot about how archaeology confirms the Bible.

It doesn't contradict it. It seems like whenever there's a new archaeological find, it confirms what the Bible said. And I could talk about so many things happening in our world right now that are fulfillments of Bible prophecy, the turmoil in the Middle East, and much, much more. As we're reminded in 2 Timothy 3, all scripture is inspired by God.

Or another translation says all scripture is breathed by God. Pastor Greg Laurie with insights on why we can rely on the Bible as the Word of God. Our message today on A New Beginning is titled The Refreshing Power of the Word of God.

And there's more to come. We've talked a lot about the Bible, God's love letter to His children, and how He cares for His kids. Well, Pastor Greg has a further comment he wanted to share. So as you've been listening today, maybe you've thought to yourself, Man, I wish I had this relationship with God that is being talked about.

Well, you can't. He's only a prayer away. You see, becoming a Christian, it doesn't take years. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't even take hours. It can happen in a moment.

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? 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 Believer's Bible.

Here's Dave to tell you more. And let me just say congratulations. You've made the right decision.

Yeah, yeah, that's right. And listen, to help you begin to live this new life, this life where you're at peace with God and you can begin to enjoy the peace of God, let us send you Pastor Greg's New Believer's Bible. It's the perfect resource for someone who's new to the faith. We'll send it free of charge if you'll just contact us and request it. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. Again, that's 1-800-821-3300.

Or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or just go online to Harvest.org and click Know God. Pastor Greg? Hey everybody, I'm in studio with my friend Jay Warner Wallace, best known as Jim.

Jim was a cold case detective, came to faith at the age of 35, and has taken his incredible skills as a detective and applied them to our faith in helping us to understand our faith and articulate our faith. And you know, Jim, we live in such a self-absorbed culture. You know, the Bible even says, in the last days, people would be lovers of themselves. Now, that's always been true to a certain degree, but I can't think of a time when people have been more self-obsessed in this moment in human history. And of course, the smartphone plays a key role in that. We have to photograph everything.

Here we are taking selfies. So you've written a brand new book that we're offering to our listeners this month for their gift of any size, and the title of the book is The Truth in True Crime. And you have a chapter that's titled Legends, Liars, and Liability.

Tell us about that chapter in particular and what you've discovered. Well, it's exactly what you just said, is that a lot of times when you work in gang cases, people survive on the street by their street cred, right? Which is about, are they legendary enough, even before there were smartphones?

Because I was working these cases when I was a pretty young investigator. And there was no social media platforms in which to make you an influencer or somebody who's famous. But you had your street cred, you had your reputation. And reputations often serve as a surrogate, kind of a celebrity surrogate. In my generation growing up, there were gatekeepers to celebrity. If you wanted to be known nationally, you really needed to be on some show, right? Like on these legacy media, ABC, NBC, CBS. Well, there were only so many shows and those producers, those networks were the funnel point, the gatekeeper that kept celebrity at a minimum.

But you know, in this generation, there are no gatekeepers. There are people now who garner more views on their YouTube channel than people who are garnering on any of the streaming media or legacy media. So, you actually have an open road to celebrity if you simply would do whatever outrageous thing you need to do in order to garner it. It turns out that studies show that there are two things that motivate our desire for celebrity.

One is our desire to be known, to be cared for, to have really good friendships, people who care about you. Two is what they call a symbolic immortality. This idea that if I'm famous enough, I'll kind of live forever. We're still talking about Marilyn Monroe because she's entered the vocabulary even though she is no longer with us. But it turns out both of those things, our desire to be known and our desire to live forever are not met by celebrity. Now, Christianity actually offers both of those things because we're created in the image of an eternal God who lives forever and offers that for us and is trying on a relationship. But we also sometimes will point at the thing that's closer to us, celebrity.

It never satisfies. And it's as Lewis would say, right? If there is something that I seek satisfaction in but I can't seem to find it in this life, it might just be that it's pointing me to its ultimate satisfaction in the next. And so I think that's part of what we're trying to do in this book is to show you that, yeah, these things we all feel that are part of true crime stories are pointing you to your Creator and are best explained on the pages of the New Testament. Excellent. So you're listening to G. Warner Wallace, and he's written a brand-new book called The Truth in True Crime.

He knows what he's talking about. He was—how many years were you a detective for? Twenty-five. And then you were in law enforcement prior to that as well.

Well, my total—I went to investigations pretty fast, probably three years before I started working in investigations. And is this your art in your book? Yes. I see these illustrations. He's a very good artist, and so he is not only writing this book for us to enjoy, but he breaks it down in an understandable way, and his illustrations are very helpful. And so we want to offer this book to you, The Truth in True Crime, by J. Warner Wallace, for your gift of any size this month to help us continue to teach God's Word and to preach the gospel and call people to Christ. And we'll give it to you for your gift of any size. Whatever you can send, we'll use it to continue on in this mission to make God known to people that need to hear about him.

Yeah, that's right. We so much appreciate your investment in the work we do here. And we want to thank you tangibly by sending you a copy of this fascinating new book, The Truth in True Crime. Get in touch today by calling 1-800-821-3300. Call any time 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, more insights on the importance of God's Word and how it refreshes the lives of believers. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Craig Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-08 05:16:08 / 2024-05-08 05:26:54 / 11

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