WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Greg Laurie" [11-25 thru 12-2] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

God's Ministering Spirits

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people." 
—Acts 12:11

The Old and New Testament contain at least 300 references to angels. Everywhere in Scripture, we see examples of angels at work. Story after story tells us about the work of angels.

When Peter was arrested for preaching the gospel, the first-century church prayed. And in answer to their prayers, God dispatched an angel to deliver Peter, who was in such deep sleep, the Bible tells us, that the angel had to strike him to wake him up. The chains fell off his wrists, the prison door opened automatically, and Peter walked out.

Often when we pray, it might be an angel who is actually dispatched to help bring about the answer to our prayers. Angels straddle both heaven and earth, and it would appear that although they are created beings, they never die. Jesus said of people who have gone on to heaven, "Nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36).

And as Hebrews 1:14 tells us, angels have a special work they do in the lives of believers: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" Generally we don't know what angels are doing and when they are doing it. They are sort of like an elite fighting force: they are dispatched on a mission, they go in, they take care of business, and we are never aware of it.

As Billy Graham put it, angels are God's secret agents. They are His ministering servants, protecting, delivering, and sometimes guiding. You don't know it is them. You don't need to engage them. You don't need to try and communicate with them. They are simply doing the work that God has called them to do. 

 

 

 

MONDAY

 

 

Stay Alert!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 
—1 Peter 5:8

You have probably seen it on television at one time or another: some lions are hanging out, soaking in the rays, when along come the antelope. You can almost read the lions' thoughts as they size them up: Let's see, which one are we going to eat today? There is usually that lone antelope lagging behind all the rest by about 20 feet or so. That one looks like lion lunch. So the next thing you see is a lion covering an amazing amount of ground in a matter of seconds. And once the big cat sinks his claws into his prey and drags it down, you know it is all over for that antelope.

If you have ever watched a scene like this one, then you have an idea of how the devil operates. The Bible describes him as a "roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). This hungry beast of prey is looking for his next meal, and he is ready to pounce.

In Job, we read how the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan was among them. God directed His remarks to the devil himself and asked, "Where have you come from?" (Job 1:6). And Satan answered, "I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that's going on" (verse 7).

He is checking everything out. He is watching. He is looking for vulnerability, weakness. He is looking for his next prey to bring down. That is his basic agenda. And the devil never takes a vacation. He doesn't take a month off, a week off, a day off, or even an hour off. He never takes a moment off. He is always busy with his well-organized network of demon powers that is helping him accomplish his purposes.

 

 

TUESDAY

 

The End Game

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 
—John 10:10

Have you ever wondered why things are as spiritually and morally dark as they are? It is because there is a mastermind behind it all that goes deeper than one's politics or worldview. I am talking about a spirit power that infiltrates culture, that infiltrates government, and that infiltrates lives. It is the prince of the power of the air—that is who Satan is. And he leads a lot of people down his path through the basest of temptations.

 

He has gotten a lot of mileage out of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I am amazed how generation after generation goes after this one hook, line, and sinker. Young kids today are out there doing the same stupid things that we did when we were kids. The sad thing is that when they get older, their kids probably will follow in their footsteps, as though they are the only generation that has ever discovered these things.

 

I gave my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 17 and went a different direction. But I know of friends that I went to high school with who have stayed in the same lifestyle they had back then. And when I have reconnected with some of them, it is obvious to me how the world has chewed them up and spit them out. Some are into their third and fourth marriages. Some have substance abuse problems.

 

I have felt like saying, "Well, was it worth it? Was it a good ride?"

 

The end game of the devil is to steal, kill, and destroy. He may come with an enticing temptation. He may come with something dazzling that might even have an element of enjoyment in it at the beginning. But his end game, his ultimate goal, is to steal, kill, and destroy.

 

 

WEDNESDAY

 

The Good in Guilt

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, "My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline, and don't give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."
—Hebrews 12:5-6

Did you know that guilt can be good? Guilt means that your conscience is working. The time to be concerned is when you don't feel guilt, when you can sin against God again and again and feel no remorse or sense of wrongdoing. Hebrews 12:6 says, "The Lord discipline those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child." If you are a believer—one of His sons or daughters—and you go astray, the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin. He will call you on it, because He loves you. He will reprove you, just like a father reproves his child.

God disciplines His own children. So if you can do things that you know are wrong and don't feel remorse about it, then I have to wonder whether you are a child of God. But if you feel busted and come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit the moment you cross the line, then that is good. The Holy Spirit is working.

But we also need to know the difference between the Holy Spirit's conviction and the devil's accusations. The devil always will try to keep you from the cross, while the Holy Spirit always will bring you to it. When you know you have sinned, the devil says, "Run! Don't go to God!" He will try to drive you away into despair.

But the Holy Spirit says, "Repent—now." So that is what you need to do. Ask for God's forgiveness. And once you have, don't keep going over and over it again. You should not choose to remember what God has chosen to forget. God has a big eraser. And if He has used it your life, then be thankful that your sin is not only forgiven, but it is forgotten.

 

 

THURSDAY 

 

You may have seen the article in the Christian Post on my message from last Sunday at Harvest. This touches on some of the things I addressed, but there is a lot more as well. 

I look forward to seeing you tonight.

In case you missed it, here is the article:

Calif. Pastor Weighs in on Abortion, Homosexuality, Woods’ Buddhism 

Southern California pastor Greg Laurie took on some “hot button” issues from the pulpit on Sunday, covering everything from capital punishment and homosexuality to Tiger Woods’ apology.

Commenting on the professed faith of pro golfer Woods, he stated, “Here’s the problem with Buddhism: they don’t believe in a personal God that is there to forgive a person.”

He cited Stephen Prothero, a Boston University professor on Buddhism, who said that in the Buddhist tradition “no matter what Woods says or does, he is going to have to pay for whatever wrongs he’s done.”

“There’s no accountant in the sky wiping sins off your balance sheet, like there is in Christianity.”

Woods on Friday confessed to serial infidelity and said he’ll return to the Buddhist teachings that he drifted away from as he tries to regain his balance on life.

Buddhism, however, does not offer forgiveness, Laurie pointed out. But “Christianity says there is a personal God there to forgive you who sent His son to die on the cross and pay the price for your sins so you can indeed be forgiven.”

The brief comment on the famous public apology served as Laurie’s introduction to his sermon on Christian worldview.

The well-known evangelist believes Christians are often labeled as “bigoted” for expressing their faith or taking a stand on certain issues. One example he cited was when Fox anchor Brit Hume was blasted for suggesting that what Woods really needed was a relationship with Jesus Christ to be forgiven. Amid such persecution, Laurie sought to convey to his congregation the importance of thinking and living biblically and basing their beliefs on what the Bible teaches regardless of what “we feel is right.”

Hitting some of the most controversial and widely debated issues, Laurie asked the congregation not to respond to the hot topics “emotionally” or “logically” but biblically.

Having a biblical worldview means believing that there is a living God and that He has revealed Himself in Scripture, the Harvest pastor explained.

“We accept that we have absolute truth from God,” he said. “The objective is not to conform the Bible to the changing culture but to conform the changing culture to what the Bible teaches.”

On the topic of capital punishment, Laurie pointed to one of the Ten Commandments – thou shalt not kill. The Bible, he said, doesn’t condemn all killing. Self-defense, sometimes war, and capital punishment are justifiable, he said.

“I believe in capital punishment,” Laurie stated, though he acknowledged there are “good people” on both sides of this debate. “And I believe the Bible teaches it.”

Regarding abortion, he stressed that the Bible does not give an unclear word on when life begins.

“Life begins at conception, not at birth,” he stated. “This is absolute. Each child is created by God and should be given a chance to live.”

Indicating a “no exceptions” stand against abortion even if the life of the mother may be in danger, Laurie said just as a mother would instinctively lay her life down if she sees her child about to get hit by a car, she should do the same when it comes to having the baby.

Homosexuality is another clear-cut issue, the evangelist stressed. The Bible is very clear: homosexuality is not in God’s order, he said.

“God is not anti-gay. God is anti-sin no matter how it is expressed,” he stated, adding that people are not born gay.

“I will acknowledge that as a person who is born with a sinful nature you might be attracted to members of the same-sex,” he noted. “I would also acknowledge as a person who is born a sinner you might be more prone to issues of addiction. But having said that, all of these can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“You were born a sinner in need of a savior who can change you and help you live the life He has called you to live. That’s the answer.”

“We’re all sinners,” Laurie reminded the congregation. “I’m not standing here today as some pompous preacher looking down on everyone. We’ve all broken God’s commandments in some way shape or form. We all need forgiveness. He offers it graciously and lovingly if we come to Him.”

The “Christian Worldview” sermon series at Harvest kicked off on Feb. 7.

 

 

 

FRIDAY

 

Never Say Never

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 
—Proverbs 16:18

Don't ever say, "I will never fall in this one area. No matter what, I will never. . . ." Watch out. If you think you are invincible, that is probably the very area in which you will end up falling. You don't know what you are capable of.

If you look at a certain sin and think, It is just a small compromise. I can do this little thing one time. It will never lead to anything else. I can handle this one thing . . . be careful. An unguarded strength is a double weakness. The Bible says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).

Satan is smart. Don't underestimate him. Watch your thoughts, because most temptations will start there. The devil will come and say, "Wouldn't it be fun to . . . ?" And then you have a choice.

It is not a sin to be tempted. The sin is not in the bait; it is in the bite. Just because bait was dangled before you doesn't mean that you have done anything wrong. The very fact that you are moving forward spiritually means you will get tempted, because the devil wants to bring you down. So if you have faced temptation and attack, that probably means you are doing something right.

The devil will come to you with things that are enticing, so keep up your guard at all times. It is the little deals we make with the devil, so to speak, it is the little compromises, the small things that we lower our guard on that lead to bigger things later. Most people, when they fall into sin, do not fall for a big sin straightaway. It is a series of smaller things that lead to the big thing.

 

 

SATURDAY

 

LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY

Luke 11

One thing that stands out clearly in the pages of Scripture is that prayer can change situations. And

there is no greater example than Jesus, who would often pray all night long. Because Jesus was such

a man of prayer, His disciples came to Him in Luke 11 and said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” His

response was what we call The Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is more than a beautiful prayer to pray, though it is that. It is a blueprint for

prayer, a template for how to pray effectively.

PRACTICAL PRINCIPLEs

 

1. Our Father who art in heaven. Note that Jesus didn’t say, “Our Creator” or “Our Maker.” He

specifically says, “Father,” speaking of a warm, family relationship. And no matter how your

earthly father is, your heavenly Father is interested in you, always has time for you, and wants a

close, intimate relationship with you.

 

2. Hallowed be Your name. The word hallowed is defined as “to be set apart,” and that is an apt

description of God. He is to be set apart, given a special place, in every aspect of our lives.

3. Your Kingdom come. This is a three-pronged request: global, personal, and evangelistic. You can

read more about this in Relevant Reminders below.

 

4. Your will be done. Many times, we are afraid to ask for God’s will, thinking it will be less than

what we’re asking for. In reality, He might want to give us more than we’re asking for. Don’t be

afraid to ask for His will to be done.

 

5. Give us this day our daily bread. We are told many times in Scripture that God will provide for

all of our needs. As a result, this is an acknowledgement that everything we have comes from

God, and we are dependent on Him for further provision.

 

6. Forgive us our sins. If we are really in God’s presence, contemplating His glory and honor, we are

going to see that we have sinned. When you confess your sin, it keeps the communication lines

open to God.

 

7. I should also forgive others. Knowing that we have been forgiven should inspire us to forgive

others. It is the proof that we have been forgiven. A forgiven person should be a forgiving person.

 

8. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. It is a petition where we are asking

God to guide us so we won’t get out of His will and unnecessarily place ourselves in the way of

temptation. We are being taught to pray, “Lord, don’t give me more than I can handle.”

harvest.org

RELEVANT REMINDERS

As we said earlier, “Thy kingdom come” is request that works on three different levels, each very

important.

 

• Global: It is a request for Christ to return to Earth. The use of the word kingdom here doesn’t

refer to a geographical territory, but to sovereignty and dominion. In other words, this is a

prayer for Christ to take His rightful place as ruler of the planet.

 

• Personal: Second, it is a request for Christ to rule in our lives. That means giving up the

steering wheel of our lives, and handing it over to Him.

 

• Evangelistic: One way that God’s kingdom is brought to this earth is when a new soul is

introduced to Jesus Christ. So we are also praying for the rule and reign of Jesus in the lives

of others.

APPLICABLE ACTIONS

Is there something hindering your prayers from being answered? Is their unconfessed sin in your life

today? Perhaps you can think of something that is not right before God. It needs to be dealt with.

Confess it to God today. Receive God’s forgiveness.

Maybe there is someone you need to forgive. You need to stop harboring a grudge or bitterness

toward. Let it go.

Let’s ask God to help us to apply these principles from The Lord’s Prayer in our own lives.

 

 

 

THE WEEKLY WORD WITH GREG LAURIE

Can be found here:

 http://theweeklywordgreglaurie.blogspot.com/

 


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