Tag Archives: harvest ministries

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Preparing Your Heart for Prayer

 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. 

—Psalm 8:1


Psalm 34:6 

So often in the psalms of David, he began with an acknowledgement of the greatness of God. It’s important for us to look at the attributes of God. It’s important for us to consider His unlimited power, His unlimited knowledge, and the fact that He is present everywhere.

When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He said, “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy” (Matthew 6:9 NLT). We should begin our prayers with adoration. We should consider the love, justice, and holiness of God and get our thoughts in order.

Thus, we start by recognizing who it is we are speaking to.

God is our Father in Heaven, not our servant in Heaven, our butler in Heaven, or our vending machine in Heaven. We are speaking to the almighty God, the Creator of the universe. That puts things into perspective.

This, by the way, is the reason we have a time of worship at the beginning of our church services. It prepares our hearts and helps us set aside the things that are distracting us and troubling us. It puts us into a frame of mind in which we can be refreshed, taught, strengthened, and, if necessary, corrected.

Before we offer a word of petition in prayer, we are to worship the Lord and recognize who He is. As we do, we’ll begin to reexamine things, and we may not pray for what we originally intended to pray for.

For instance, you may have wanted to pray that God would change your spouse or judge someone who has wronged you. But after spending time in the presence of God, you instead pray, “Lord, change me. Forgive me for the wrongs I’ve done. Change my heart.”

Things will change in your petitions because you’re aligning yourself with God’s will. And that is the objective of effective prayer.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – What Prayer Is . . . and What It Is Not

 Never stop praying. 

—1 Thessalonians 5:17


1 Thessalonians 5:17 

One of the most important practices of the Christian life is prayer. It’s as essential to knowing God and growing spiritually as breathing is to living.

Prayer isn’t something that we offer to some force out there. Nor is it some type of energy that can heal us in and of itself. Rather, prayer is the means of communication whereby we hear from and speak to God Almighty.

That’s why it’s important to understand what prayer is and what it is not.

Some would assert, even within the church, that we can speak things into existence through prayer. For instance, teachers of the Faith Movement advocate that you can pray and speak things into existence because they claim you are a little god. They say you can speak and it will happen, but you must speak by faith. And if you don’t, it won’t happen.

It is wrong to believe that we can order God around as though He were a celestial butler. It is also wrong to think that we cannot bring a specific request before God because He is merely a force.

Prayer is communicating with and hearing from God. True prayer is aligning our wills with the will of God and praying accordingly. We want to keep the lines open to Heaven to both speak to God and hear from Him.

Yet many of us are reluctant to pray. We don’t really know how to pray, and we’re embarrassed about praying.

However, prayer is something that we all need to be doing. In fact, it’s something the Bible commands us to do. First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us, “Never stop praying” (NLT).

Prayer is not an option in the Christian’s life. It’s both a privilege and an adventure. And it’s something that we need to keep learning about for the rest of our lives.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Ready to Listen

 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 

—John 15:7


John 15:7 

Did you know that it’s possible to read the Bible out of pure duty—and not remember anything? We may read three chapters, but if the words don’t affect our lives, and if we don’t understand what we’ve read, then we would be better off reading three verses instead.

In Psalm 1 we find a description of those who walk with God: “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (verses 2–3 NLT).

To meditate means to ponder or chew on something. It means to think something over.

When it comes to God’s Word, how do you listen? Whether you are distracted or paying attention will make all the difference in your life.

Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7 NLT). The New King James version of this verse begins, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you . . .”

Think of a deeply rooted tree that is soaking up the nutrients from the soil and growing every day. In the same way, to “remain” or “abide” refers to staying in a given place. It’s staying in fellowship with Jesus.

As we do this, as we start sinking our roots deeply into Christ, we will start praying for what God wants us to pray for. That is the objective of prayer. It isn’t getting God to do what we want Him to do. Rather, it’s doing what God wants us to do.

When Jesus’ words remain in us, it means that, ultimately, they affect our thinking, our living, and everything that we do.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Examples to Follow

 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 

—1 Corinthians 11:1


1 Corinthians 11:1 

In the Great Commission, Jesus gave the command to “go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19 NLT). But we cannot take someone any further than we have come ourselves.

Sometimes people who have been Christians for ten or twenty years are still spiritual babies. They haven’t learned to feed themselves spiritually. They haven’t become as mature as they ought to be.

Writing to believers in Colosse, the apostle Paul said, “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ” (Colossians 1:28 NLT).

Some of us are not as far down the road as we should be as followers of Jesus. Yet we ought to be living godly lives to the extent that we could say, as Paul did, “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT). In other words, “Follow my example.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “We should never ask people to follow our example. We should tell them to follow Jesus.” But that would be a cop-out.

Like it or not, people are looking at us as visible representatives of Jesus Christ. They are making evaluations about God according to the way that we live. Yes, it’s a lot of pressure. But it’s also part of being a disciple.

Being a disciple is walking with Jesus in such a way that you can say, “Follow my example.”

So, what if the church were filled with people just like you? Would it be a Bible-studying church? Would it be a worshipping church? And would it be an evangelistic church? What if everyone in the church walked and talked and dressed like you? What would the church be like?

Yes, we will mess up sometimes. But that doesn’t excuse us from being examples.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Truth That Sets Us Free

 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to teachings. 

—John 8:31


John 8:31 

The word disciple comes from the root word discipline. However, we typically don’t like discipline because it’s hard. We want things fast, and we want things now. We don’t like to wait for anything anymore.

If we want something, we can order it online, and we might even get same-day delivery. If we want to watch a movie, we can download it or stream it. And if we want the latest news, we can get it on demand instead of waiting for the evening news or the morning newspaper.

So, when we read in the Bible about taking up our crosses daily and following Christ, and when we realize that we need to slow down and meditate on God’s Word, it seems almost alien to us.

Yet God says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10 NLT). If we want to be real disciples of Jesus, then we need to slow down and learn to listen.

A disciple will carefully read, study, and live according to God’s Word. Jesus said, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32 NLT). The Bible says that He addressed these words to those who believed in Him.

Jesus wasn’t referring to just any truth. This is specific, absolute truth found exclusively in Scripture. The context is reading, studying, knowing, and living God’s Word. That truth will set us free.

Jesus prayed to the Father, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (John 17:17 NLT). The truth we find in the Bible is the only absolute truth we can be certain of in life. And when we understand what God says about life, it sets us free.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Sweet Spot of the Christian Life

If you love me, obey my commandments. 

—John 14:15


John 14:15 

If you play tennis, then you know that a tennis racket has a sweet spot. If you hit it, then you have maximum control and effect.

In the same way, the Christian life has a sweet spot. We find it in what we call the Great Commission. Here Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20 NLT).

But what does it mean to make disciples? It means taking a new believer under our wing to help them get established and grow spiritually. At the same time, it includes having someone in our lives who is helping us to grow as well.

God has called Christians to be disciples and disciple makers. And preferably we will do both at the same time.

Also, if you have accepted Christ, then you should be baptized. To be clear, baptism isn’t necessary for salvation. Neither is praying, studying the Bible, or attending church. But those are all good things to do. And Jesus specifically commanded it (see verse 19). So, we’re to begin with this simple act of obedience.

Next, we should obey God’s commands. Jesus said, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” Before we can teach others to obey His commands, we must first obey them ourselves.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t know if anyone can live up to those standards.” We can. And we must if we are going to be disciples. This is not an issue of whether we can do it. It’s an issue of whether we will do it.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Fruit Production

When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father 

—John 15:8


John 15:8 

One of the first things we do as Christians is produce spiritual fruit. Jesus said, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father” (John 15:8 NLT). If we are really disciples of Jesus, then we will have spiritual fruit, or evidence, in our lives.

For example, you stop doing sinful things and instead do godly things. That will intrigue some people in your life, and it might even perplex them. But it’s one way to produce spiritual fruit.

Another way is to give praise and thanks to God. Hebrews 13:15 tells us, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (NLT). When you’re in church singing praises to God, that is producing spiritual fruit.

A change in your conduct and character is also spiritual fruit. The Bible tells us, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22–23 NLT).

However, spiritual fruit doesn’t grow overnight. For instance, you wouldn’t pull up a chair in front of a fruit tree and just sit there waiting for fruit to appear. Of course, you could do that, but you wouldn’t see anything.

But if you were to set up a camera with time-lapse photography in front of that tree, you would see dramatic growth. The same is true with spiritual growth. We may not see any changes happening because it takes time. We need to start by saying, “I want to take up the cross daily and follow Jesus because I want to find the life God has for me.”

And we will find our purpose and meaning in life by putting God first.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Growing More Like Christ

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 

—Ephesians 4:15


Ephesians 4:15 

After I accepted Christ on my high school campus, I could have so easily fallen through the cracks. But one day a guy named Mark, whom I had never met before, walked up to me and invited me to church. Basically, he discipled me.

He also invited me to his house, where I met his Christian parents. We had Bible studies together around the dinner table, and Mark helped me get through my early days as a follower of Jesus Christ. Soon I found myself doing the same for other new believers.

When Jesus walked our planet, He spent a lot of time with twelve handpicked disciples. And in Matthew 5 we find this interesting detail: “One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them” (verses 1–2 NLT).

After this came the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus gave that message to His disciples who were gathered around Him. The point is that Jesus took time with them. They listened to Jesus and followed Him around.

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a disciple, but every Christian should want to be one. It doesn’t mean that you must be perfect. But you should want to be a growing disciple of Jesus.

Jesus commanded His followers to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19–20). It takes one to make one. Discipleship is really about living the Christian life to its fullest.

Can you be there for someone else who is new in the faith? If you know someone who has recently accepted Christ, will you seek them out and invite them to church? Would you be willing to help them grow spiritually? That is what new believers need.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – How Division Can Bring Unity

Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 

—Luke 12:51


Luke 12:51 

Billy Graham said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have.” That makes sense because some people don’t give their lives to Christ for fear of what others might think.

In Luke 9 we find the story of a man whom Jesus called to follow Him. But instead of following Jesus, the man said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father” (verse 59 NLT).

It’s important for us to understand that the man was using a common figure of speech that meant “I can’t do it right now. Let me wait until my parents have died and are buried, and then when it’s more convenient, I’ll follow You.”

He was making excuses, and people do the same thing today. They don’t want to follow Jesus because they don’t want to jeopardize a relationship, or they’re afraid that it might cause tension in the family.

That’s right. It will.

Jesus said, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against” (Luke 12:51–52 NLT).

However, this is division that can ultimately bring unity. It’s friction that can ultimately bring peace.

Let’s say, for example, that someone becomes a Christian and their family resents it. In fact, their family makes fun of them. But then as the believer makes a stand, one family member comes to Christ. Then two more become Christians. And then one day, an entire family that was full of nonbelievers is now a Christian family that is leaving a godly legacy to the next generation.

Are you willing to say, “Lord, I want to love You more than anyone or anything else”? That’s a good place to begin.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Called to Discipleship

 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit 

—Matthew 28:19


Matthew 28:19 

While it’s true that not every person who makes a profession of faith is a Christian, it is equally true that not every Christian is a disciple. To put it another way, every disciple is a Christian, but not every Christian is necessarily a disciple.

We shouldn’t say, “This doesn’t apply to me. I’m just happy that I’m going to Heaven.” A true follower of Jesus should want to be a disciple. And what is discipleship? It’s living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. It’s living the Christian life as Jesus taught it and as the early church understood it. Discipleship is real Christianity.

However, I think that some Christians are reluctant to want to live that way because it seems, well, radical. They don’t want difficulty, so they take the path of least resistance. Discipleship is challenging, but it’s fulfilling. It’s hard, but it’s more than worth it.

Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19–20 NLT).

But we can’t help someone else be a disciple of Jesus if we are not first disciples ourselves.

Here’s what it comes down to: Every follower of Jesus Christ should be a disciple. And we should either disciple someone who is less mature in the faith than we are or seek out someone who is more mature in the faith to disciple us.

Discipleship is all about growing up. It’s about going to the next level. It’s about really living the Christian life to its fullest, as Jesus meant for us to live it. It’s being a disciple and, in turn, going out and making disciples of others.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Pick Up Your Sword

 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

—Ephesians 6:17


Ephesians 6:17 

Before I became a Christian, I read some of the Bible, but it seemed largely meaningless. After I became a Christian, however, the Bible came alive to me.

I remember reading it and understanding it for the first time. It changed my life as I discovered new principles every day for living the Christian life.

When the apostle Paul outlined God’s armor in Ephesians 6, the only piece he listed that is both defensive and offensive is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (see Ephesians 6:17). With the sword we can block attacks, but we can strike with it as well.

The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible and illuminates the Scriptures for us. And the Holy Spirit enables us to know God’s Word, remember verses we’ve studied, and use them appropriately.

Jesus modeled this for us during His temptation in the wilderness. He responded to each temptation by quoting the Scriptures. He effectively deflected temptation using the sword of the Spirit.

Sadly, a lot of believers have all their spiritual armor in place but never use the sword of the Spirit. They talk about it. They study it. But they never actually use it in spiritual battle.

Meanwhile, the devil knows all too well the power and authority of the Bible, and he will try to keep Christians from it at all costs. He fears the sword. He knows the value of it.

What shape is your sword in? Is it polished from daily use and sharpened on the anvil of experience as you apply and obey its truth in your life? Or, is it rusty from a lack of preparation and dulled by disobedience?

If we neglect Bible study, our spiritual life ultimately will unravel. Everything we need to know about God is found in His Word. So, let’s follow the example of Jesus and use it.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – An Essential for Spiritual Survival

 Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 

—Zechariah 3:1


Zechariah 3:1 

On more than one occasion, the Bible describes Satan as an accuser.

We see this illustrated in the third chapter of Zechariah. The setting is a heavenly courtroom, God is the judge, and Jeshua, the high priest, is the defendant. Meanwhile, Satan is the prosecutor, trying to prove Jeshua guilty.

But then God says, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire” (Zechariah 3:2 NLT).

Satan also will accuse us before God when we have sinned. That is where the breastplate of righteousness comes in. In his letter to the Christians in Ephesus, the apostle Paul wrote, “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14 NLT).

Paul was alluding to the armor that Roman soldiers wore. The breastplate, or “body armor,” was a crucial element of the armor, protecting the soldier’s vital organs. In the same way, the “body armor of God’s righteousness” is essential for our spiritual survival. It speaks of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

God has saved us. He justified us. And He forgave all the sins that we have committed. He erased them and washed them away. Then He placed His righteousness into our account. God gives this righteousness to us. It isn’t based on what we do for Him.

The devil, however, has declared war on followers of Christ. He wants to keep us away from God. First, he tempts us and traps us. Then he condemns us and accuses us before God. He wants to make disobedient Christians doubly defeated.

Yet we are righteous in Jesus Christ through His finished work for us on the cross. So put on the “body armor of God’s righteousness”—and keep it there.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – What Weakens Our Witness

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 

—Ephesians 6:13


Ephesians 6:13 

Someone has defined integrity as what you are when no one is looking. We may come off a certain way in public, but what are we like when we’re alone, when no one is in the room with us?

That speaks of our integrity—or lack thereof.

Foremost in our Christian experience, we need truth. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be what we say we are, both privately and publicly. When the apostle Paul wrote about putting on the armor of God, he began with the belt of truth.

He said, “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14 NLT). We could call it the utility belt of truth. This represents a life and mind that are pulled together and ready to serve for the glory of God. It speaks of integrity.

The opposite of integrity is duplicity. Duplicity is hypocrisy. It’s trying to live a double life.

This is what weakens so many Christians today. James says, “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God” (4:4 NLT). Trying to live in two worlds just doesn’t work.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we join God’s army, so to speak. We’re no longer civilians; we’re under the command of the captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ. Of course, we have given up certain privileges, but we have gained far more.

If we haven’t put on the belt of truth, then all other pieces of spiritual armor will become somewhat irrelevant. We will be worthless and immobilized.

Duplicity and hypocrisy weaken our witness to a watching world. We need the belt of truth. We need integrity before God.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Steadfast

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 

—1 Corinthians 16:13


1 Corinthians 16:13 

Why is it so hard sometimes to read the Bible? Why is it so difficult to pray? And why is it so tough to make it to church?

Because Satan will stop us. He doesn’t always do this with obvious, demonic things. He uses little distractions in our lives—even things that seem to make sense at the time.

For instance, when you’re getting ready for church, he says, “It’s a beautiful day. Are you sure you want to go and sit in some building? Enjoy the splendors of God’s creation! You can always go next week.”

Then next week comes, and there’s a little drizzle outside. But you just washed your car, and you don’t want to get it wet. So, you sit it out again. The following week you have a little sniffle and think, “I’d better not go to church.”

Or, let’s say you reach for your Bible. The devil says, “You don’t need to read that again, do you? Didn’t you just read it in church four weeks ago? Why do you need to read it again?”

When it comes to prayer, he says, “You don’t need to pray. You prayed before breakfast. That’s good.”

He will do everything he can to keep you away from going to church, reading the Bible, and praying. Why? Because at church you get recharged with God’s people. And when you read the Bible and pray, you strengthen yourself in the Lord.

The devil knows that if he can separate you from God, you will become weak and vulnerable. That way he can pick you off, like a lion going after the weakest and most vulnerable animal in the herd.

We need steely determination that says, “No, I’m going to church. I’m reading the Word of God. I’m spending time in prayer.” Let’s be strong in the Lord.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Battle Isn’t Yours

O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help. 

—2 Chronicles 20:12


2 Chronicles 20:12 

King Jehoshaphat had the right idea when he was leading the army of Judah into battle against an enemy that greatly outnumbered them.

He prayed, “O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT).

In other words, “Lord, we’re depending on You. We’re standing in You. We’re looking to You.”

Then the Bible tells us that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah. . . . He said, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s’ ” (verses 14–15 NLT).

That is the best place to be—in complete dependence on God.

Sometimes it seems as though you can’t overcome the sin you’ve been struggling with for so long. It seems as though you can’t break free from the addiction that has had a hold on your life for many years. And it seems as though you can’t get out of that lifestyle you are trapped in.

God is saying that you can—but not in your strength. You can do it in His strength. So, admit your weaknesses and inadequacies. Then ask God to help you utilize the principles for spiritual battle from His Word.

Realize that in Jesus Christ, you belong to the family of God. Don’t let the devil cheat you out of that truth. The Bible says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NLT).

Live as a child of the King and walk in close fellowship with Him.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Christian’s Power Base

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 

—Ephesians 6:10


Ephesians 6:10 

God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. And God is omnipresent.

On the other hand, Satan is none of those things. Although he is a spirit being and has demons doing his dirty work, he is far from God’s equal. He has clear limits on his power.

God, however, can do anything that He wants to do, anywhere, and at any time. While God is omniscient, Satan doesn’t know all things. His knowledge, though vast, is still limited. In addition, he can only be in one place at one time.

Meanwhile, God can be present everywhere at the same time.

Satan is not the equal of God. And he wants to stop us from doing what God wants us to do.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).

We are in a spiritual battle against the devil and his demons, who seek to hinder God’s purposes and extend Satan’s power.

When the enemy is attacking, it should cause us to turn to the protective care of Jesus and cling to Him all the tighter, like a small child who clings to a parent when danger is near.

We must realize that in our own strength, we are no match for the devil. He is far more powerful than we are. That’s why we need to turn to God for help and strengthen ourselves in Him.

Satan recognizes that our power base is in our relationship with God. Thus, he will do everything he can to separate us from the Lord. The only thing the devil fears is the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why we must stand in God’s strength and not our own.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – When God Asked the Impossible

God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. 

—Genesis 22:8


Genesis 22:8 

Isaac came to his parents, Abraham and Sarah, much later in life. They were far beyond the age of childbearing. Yet God gave them a son as He had promised. And Isaac, whose name means “laughter,” brought much joy to Abraham’s life.

But one day God asked the impossible of Abraham. He said, “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you” (Genesis 22:2 NLT).

Of course, we know how the story ends. God did not actually require that. He was testing Abraham. As they were making their way up to the place of sacrifice, Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was. Abraham replied prophetically, “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son” (verse 8 NLT).

Most commentators believe that Isaac was probably between eighteen and twenty years old. So, Isaac could have said, “Now Dad, wait. The way I’m seeing this is that you’re going to offer me as a sacrifice. But I’m young. I have my whole life ahead of me!”

However, verse 8 continues, “And they both walked on together.” To Isaac’s credit, he went along with the plan. Father and son were in cooperation.

This is a perfect picture of what happened at the cross of Calvary. Even the area where Abraham prepared to offer Isaac was where Jesus died for us on the cross.

Yes, Jesus willingly went to the cross, but let’s also remember that God the Father sent Him. The Father had to watch His Son suffer. The Father had to watch as His Son was beaten beyond human recognition.

Father and Son were in cooperation. The Father sent His Son. And the Son willingly went.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Cross Wasn’t a Mistake

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 

—Luke 9:51


Luke 9:51 

At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples a question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13 NLT).

Different individuals came up with different answers. But then Peter, under the inspiration of God Himself said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (verse 16 NLT).

Jesus commended Peter for his answer, and everything was going wonderfully.

But then Matthew tells us, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” (verse 21 NLT).

Peter, probably thinking he was on a roll at that point, privately took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him for making such statements.

But Jesus replied, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (verse 23 NLT).

Why so harsh? Jesus was speaking to the spirit that motivated Peter to say what he did. It was the devil who was saying to Jesus, “Don’t go to the cross. Think about Yourself. What about You?”

Yet nothing would deter Jesus from His course. That is why Jesus responded to Peter so strongly. In fact, Luke’s Gospel tells us that “as the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (9:51 NLT).

Jesus Christ came to this earth to buy back that which was forfeited in the Garden of Eden.

The cross wasn’t a mistake. Jesus knew it was coming and spoke of it often. He had to go to the cross because there was no other way to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful humanity. The cross was Jesus’ goal and destination from the beginning.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – He Came to Free Us

 The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free. 

—Luke 4:18


Luke 4:18 

No doctor can heal a broken heart. He or she may be able to do other things for your heart, but a doctor can’t get to the source of your emotional problem. Only Jesus can heal a heart that has been broken.

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18 NLT).

Here are Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18 in the New King James Version: “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.” Jesus came to heal brokenhearted people. Maybe your heart breaks from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, or perhaps constant failures. Maybe your family has let you down and it seems like no one cares. Let Jesus Christ heal your broken heart.

He came to “proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” Are you crushed by life? Jesus can bring deliverance, but you need to want it. He came to free us—if we will go to Him, ask Him to forgive our sin, turn from it, and begin to follow Him.

If you have never done that, then why don’t you do it today?

The same Jesus who walked this earth and experienced the limitations of humanity loves you. The same Jesus who died on the cross, took the sin of the world upon Himself, and rose from the dead wants to forgive your sin.

Now is the time to take God’s lifeline. The Bible tells us, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NLT). Now is the time to find God’s forgiveness and His plan for your life.

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Only Path to Lasting Change

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 

—2 Corinthians 4:4


2 Corinthians 4:4 

Some people today believe in conspiracy theories. But I believe there’s a conspiracy that goes much deeper than any of their theories: the devil is at work, and he is behind so many of the systems surrounding us today.

The Bible describes Satan as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT). In fact, Ephesians 2, referring to Satan, says, “He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God” (verse 2 NLT).

That’s why all attempts to reform this world, this culture, this country, or this society apart from a change of the human heart are basically futile. Education won’t do it. Politics won’t do it. The economy won’t do it. Even morality, in and of itself, won’t do it. We need a change of heart that only God can bring when we follow Jesus Christ.

We need morality in our country, but how do we decide what is moral? How do we decide what is good? We need a greater foundation. The Bible teaches that God is truth. Although some people claim that all truth is God’s truth, some “truth” is not truth at all.

God’s truth is the only truth. And the only way to know whether what we are doing is true, moral, and good is to measure it by God’s standards.

When we look at this world and ask why God allows this or why God allows that, we must recognize that Satan, “the god of this world,” is the one to blame. He is the one who is responsible for the injustice, violence, and rebellion against God and His laws.

However, the Bible clearly says that “temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:14 NLT). The devil works with the combustible, sinful nature within every person. But he cannot bring us down unless we cooperate.