Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
If you look back over your life, the times in which honor came to you, there probably was something humbling before it. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called, Providence, as presented at Granola Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout today's entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper in your study as we send you today's special offer.
Contact us at PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. I was thinking back to a story, true story, brother in our church, Todd DeNye, who some years ago, there was a time, I can't, I wish I remember what year it was, but you know, there was a time in which the construction industry really bottomed out. There was no business.
It all dried up. And a lot of, I mean, there were people in the construction business and, you know, some of you guys might have been in this, you know, and developers and others just like started to start looking for something else because nobody was building anything. So these two guys came by Todd's house one day, and I didn't know him, but he got to talk to him, and they used to be in the construction business, and they said, we've shifted.
We've pivoted. We're doing tree work. Have you got any tree work that needs to be done? And he said, I don't have any tree work right now. And I said, I wish I did.
I wish I could help you out. God bless you, you know. And they'd started sharing his faith, and it turned out the other two guys were Christian. And then they started talking about Jesus, and as the guys, Todd said again, he said, I'm sorry, I don't have any.
Maybe I'll have some work in the spring. I checked back with him. He got a card, you know, and he took their card, and the last thing Todd said, he said, you know, I'm sorry, I don't have anything, but I believe we're agreed together in faith the Lord will provide, and took their card.
You can't make this stuff up. The guys pulled out of the driveway, and as they started pulling out of the neighborhood, a breeze started stirring. It turned into a wind that just rose up out of nowhere, and he said, as he started to walk towards the back of the house, he heard crack, and a huge tree suddenly came falling down, blocking the driveway, hemming in his truck.
He pulled out his phone and called the guys who weren't out of the neighborhood yet. He said, the Lord has provided. Let the wind blow, and let the trees fall, and let the dungeon be what it may, but in the depths God is there, and he does provide. Call out to him from the depths, and discover deeper riches of his grace. The second thing that I notice in looking back over this story that's so beautiful about how God works providentially when life feels like it's falling apart is just the humility of it all. Isn't this odd?
One of the leading prophetic figures in the entire Old Testament drama who hears from God directly dreams and visions, and can take a stranger's dream and interpret it by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was favored by his Father, promenaded around in his special coat, and he's in a dungeon, lost everything, presumed dead, never sees his family, abused, nobody knows he's there, it's all forgotten. We quote often the scripture says, pride goes before a fall, but I'd rather cling to the promise of Proverbs 15, the fear of the Lord is instruction and wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Oh yes it does.
I bet you could do like I. If you look back over your life, the times in which honor came to you, there probably was something humbling before it. Jesus himself said, whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
It's a principle that Paul, the apostle, discovered and understood so deeply that when there was a demonic messenger, an assignment of satanic origin to attack him, bother him, harass him, trouble him, everywhere he went, that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12, three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But the Lord said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. And Paul therefore said, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so the power of Christ may rest on me. For the sake of Christ, then I'm content with weaknesses, insults, hardship, persecutions, and calamities, for when I'm weak, then I'm strong. He's not saying that I live a life of defeat. He's not proposing a worm theology.
He's not saying that we invite suffering in our lives. What he's saying is that I have discovered a principle. I have discovered that when I have lost human capacity to exercise earthly powers, that in that reliance upon God, in the depths of the humility that I experience, the power of God comes rushing in. And so he says, therefore, I like it.
Somebody starts insulting me, and he says, my default position is to go, God's going to do something good. I got to thinking about humility and providence, and my mind went to remembering Chuck Colson. At Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in 1974, Charles Colson was sitting in the day room focused on writing a letter when a prisoner named Archie suddenly called out, Colson! And President Nixon's former henchmen said yes, and Archie said, what are you going to do for us when you get out of here? And Chuck Colson looked at him and said, I'm never going to forget you.
Archie was playing cards, and he threw them down. He said, bull. He said, all you big wigs, get out of here.
You never remember us little guys. And Colson said, I'm never going to forget you. Before he was a federal prisoner, before he was number 22326, there was nothing in Chuck Colson's life that you would ever, ever imagine would have him behind bars. He was raised in Boston, graduated from Brown University, became the youngest captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, went on to graduate with honors from law school, then was at the pinnacle of all politics and became special counsel to Richard Nixon, was in the handful of people at the center of world power, shaping globally, influencing, and Watergate broke out, and he was involved.
He was ruthless. It was said of Colson, and he verified this, that he once said, quote, I'd walk over my dead grandmother to make sure Richard Nixon gets elected again. When he was aware that he probably was going to be charged and prosecuted himself, he went to visit a friend, and years later, Colson was reflecting back on this. And I liked hearing it after the years that went by of him looking back on that experience when he said, I visited Tom Phillips, president of Raytheon Company, at home outside of Boston. I want you to hear this story as you're thinking about the place of humility when life is falling apart and what God does.
Colson said, I'd represented Raytheon before going to the White House, and I was about to start again, but I visited for another reason as well. I knew Tom had become a Christian, and he seemed so different. I wanted to ask him what had happened. And that night, he read to me from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, particularly a chapter about the great sin that is pride. A proud man is always walking through life, looking down on other people and other things, said Lewis.
As a result, he cannot see something above himself immeasurably superior, God. And Tom, that night, told me about encountering Christ in his own life. He didn't realize it, but I was in the depths of deep despair over Watergate, watching the president. I'd helped for four years flounder in office.
I'd also heard that I might become a target of the investigation as well. In short, my world was collapsing. That night, Colson reflects all these years later, as Tom was telling me about Jesus, I listened attentively but didn't let on my own need. When he offered to pray, I thanked him but said, no, I'd rather see him sometime after I read C.S.
Lewis' book. But when I got in the car that night, I couldn't drive it out of the driveway. Ex-Marine captain, White House tough guy, I was crying too hard, calling out to God.
I didn't know what to say. I just knew I needed Jesus, and he came into my life. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing. It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. God's love, you've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, which you long for, can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says, The incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart, accept Christ's proposal, enjoy His embrace, revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The Gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. It's all you need to know is that you just need Jesus. You just need Jesus. You just need Jesus. That's what humility says.
I'm so tired of trying it on my own and looking down on everyone and everything as if that's going to be my sense of security. And when all seems lost and humility comes in the heart, our eyes turn because I need something immeasurably greater and superior to me. I need Jesus. Coulson said, I've been reflecting of late on the things God done over the years. He says, I think about my life, the beginning of the prison ministry, the fellowship which went on to be the largest prison ministry in the history of the world that he launched in fulfillment of his word to Archie. I'll never forget you guys. The providence of God.
The international ministry that addresses justice in hundreds of countries. At one point, a radio spot that he became well known for went out to a thousand outlets, all of that. He said, as I think about all that, I have come to appreciate the doctrine of providence.
God's ordered my steps. I could never have imagined when I was in prison that I'd someday be going back to the White House with ex-offenders to visit and talk about prison reform. I never thought we'd be running prisons that have an 8% recidivism rate. Unheard of. The established prisons that had such authentic rehabilitation through Christian ministry that only 8% returned to prison. It's astounding.
I never thought about the fact that Breakpoint would be daily heard on a thousand outlets across the United States. As I look back on my life, as not having been to Buckingham Palace to receive the Templeton Prize or getting honorary degrees or writing books, the greatest joy is to see how God has used my life to touch the lives of others, people in a hurting world. That's providence. I'll just mention one other thing. Not only do you hunger for God and find humility that makes you to draw upon God, but there's something that happens. It's hard to explain. I would just use the word identity, I guess, to speak of this, but there's something that happens in the times when life didn't go in the way you want it to where when you're in Christ, it establishes for you. It verifies for you. It significantly encourages you in this sense. You know that your circumstances do not define you.
God does. How do you know your identity is in Christ if everything is just going swimmingly for you? How would you know that your identity is not all wrapped up in the approval of others? How would you know your identity is not wrapped up in the prosperity and riches of this world? How would you know your identity is not wrapped up in all those successes that you've had? How would you know when it falls apart like it had for Joseph and he did not forget who he was? He was a son who had been loved by his father and given a dream by God.
And you, beloved, are not defined by the ups or downs of your circumstances but by what God has done for you in Jesus Christ to make you his child, to make you his co-heir. I was thinking of my pastor friend named Dennis who went through a really hard time some years ago. His wife died and he moved to a rural area in Texas to start a new ministry at a church and he'd been through a lot of sadness.
He eventually would remarry and he's doing great. But he said he got there to this rural area and his neighbor said they killed 32 rattlesnakes just the prior year. And he said, I got spooked by it. He said, I would pull home in my truck and I'd get out with my flashlight paranoid of stepping on a rattlesnake.
I'd tiptoe into the house and slam the door. And he said, I kept doing this, living in fear of the rattlesnakes. And he said, till finally one night something just rose up in him, you know. And he said, wait a minute, this is my property, this is my place.
I'm not going to live in fear of the rattlesnakes. So he went to his neighbors and said, what do you guys do about the rattlesnakes? They said, well, here are all the different tools and ways we kill them.
And so he went out and got all the different tools and said, here's how we kill them. And he went back to him and he said, what else do you do? And they said, well, cut the grass real low.
They like the high grass, so cut everything back way back, you know. He said, all right, so he started cutting everything way back. And then he came back and he said, what else do you do? And then one guy said, well, you do well to have some cats. He said, cats? He said, yeah, they eat the mice that attract the rattlesnakes.
He said, but they also harass the snakes. So Dennis pulled out his phone and said, look what I got. And show me about five or six or seven of the cutest little fluffy kittens that you've ever seen. He said, so here are my kittens. I'm just looking at them and said, they're cute. He said, yeah, they are cute.
They were in the house. And he said, they're cute. And he said, I was thinking about how cute they are. And he said, one evening not long ago, he said, I saw one of them pounce at a little ball in the living room. And he said, all of a sudden, he said, I realized I had to speak to those kittens. And he looked at them and said, you're not kittens, you're rattlesnake killers. And he said, when I said that to my kittens, he said, the Lord spoke to me prophetically.
And he said, that's the word that I've now got for my people. I tell them every week, I say, you're not kittens, you're rattlesnake killers. You might look cute and fluffy and soft, but in Christ, you tread on the scorpions and the serpents. And the demons are subject to you in my name. You're the head, not the tail.
Your circumstances don't determine that. Your identity in Christ does. I don't care if the whole world's falling apart.
You're rattlesnake killers. So I think the lesson in this is that providence, at least in one aspect of it, says that when you go through that time and it's difficult and maybe it's just your back went out that week or maybe a big disappointment came in your vocation or maybe somebody said something really cruel to you or maybe you're not really sure how you're going to make ends meet right now, whatever it might be, there's a way in which you hunger for God that's going to draw you into the grace of God more deeply, and there's a way in which the humility of having no reason or cause to look down on anyone or anything makes you to look up to Jesus, and you realize that your identity in this world as it will be forever is not wrapped up in whether or not things are going great for you in this world, but it's wrapped up in the great thing that Jesus has already done for you. In Christ Jesus, you've become his co-heirs. All of that's going on providentially in the hard times. That's providence, and that's the gospel. Allen Wright, our Good News message, it's God on the inside from the series Providence.
I encourage you to stick with us. Pastor Alan is back here in the studio with a parting Good News thought to share with all of us in just a moment. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Allen Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Allen Wright's daily blessing. It's free and just a click away at pastorallen.org. God's love, you've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Allen Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says, The incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy His embrace, revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Allen Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Allen Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Allen Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastorallen.org. Back here now with Pastor Alan, our parting good news thought for the day, and in this account of Joseph.
I have to say, revealing some things I had never thought about before, and I entrusted our listener today, listening right now, maybe in that same boat, and reflecting that from a personal point of view, and taking that inward and saying, Okay, the Lord is working in my life, much like Joseph. Well, and I just would say to a listener going through a hard time right now, what if God's got a plan to introduce you to the cupbearer to the king during this low time? What if there was something about this terrible circumstance that is actually going to be essential for something good that God wants to work out in your life?
What if that's what's going on? Wouldn't that change the way you're feeling about today, and wouldn't it grant you a spirit of perseverance? I believe that's who God is.
He is at work. Even right now, no matter what you're going through, He's providential. Thanks for listening today. Visit us online at pastorallen.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching, delivered right to your email inbox, free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener-supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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