VIDEO Ripple of Hope

water ripple
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3

In 1966, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy made an influential visit to South Africa. There he offered words of hope to opponents of apartheid in his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech at the University of Cape Town. In his speech, he declared, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

At times in this world, hope seems scarce. Yet there is an ultimate hope readily available for the follower of Christ. Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Jesus can infuse #hope into the most hopeless of situations.

Through the certainty of Christ’s resurrection, the child of God has a hope that is more than a ripple. It is an overwhelming current of confidence in the faithfulness of the One who conquered death for us. Jesus, in His victory over death—our greatest enemy—can infuse hope into the most hopeless of situations.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. Edward Mote

In Christ the hopeless find hope.

By Bill Crowder

Your Fountain of Blessings

water fountain blessings

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. —John 4:14

The picture our Lord described here is not that of a simple stream of water, but an overflowing fountain. Continue to “be filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and the sweetness of your vital relationship to Jesus will flow as generously out of you as it has been given to you. If you find that His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame— something is obstructing the flow. Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38).

We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of living water” in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea, always receiving but never giving, because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive blessings from Him, He will pour out blessings through us. But whenever the blessings are not being poured out in the same measure they are received, there is a defect in our relationship with Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything hindering your faith in Him? If not, then Jesus says that out of you “will flow rivers of living water.” It is not a blessing that you pass on, or an experience that you share with others, but a river that continually flows through you. Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.

Is it excessive to say that rivers will flow out of one individual believer? Do you look at yourself and say, “But I don’t see the rivers”? Through the history of God’s work you will usually find that He has started with the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but those who have been steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.

Beware of bartering the Word of God for a more suitable conception of your own. Disciples Indeed, 386 R

Oswald Chambers

Our Help in Prayer

Romans 8:26-27

Does this sound familiar? Determined to spend more time in prayer, you come to the appointed hour, drop to your knees, open your mouth, and—draw a blank. Sure, you manage a few words about what you need the Lord to do for you and your family, but you should be praying for more than that, shouldn’t you?

Yes, you should. Believers’ needs are indeed the Father’s concern; not even the smallest detail escapes His notice. However, He tells His children to imitate Jesus—they should “not merely look out for [their] own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

Selfless prayer, though, isn’t natural to us. We too easily (and wrongly) think of God as a genie—someone to do our bidding as we live life our own way. Thankfully, He has supplied a Helper. The Holy Spirit, our willing and able partner in praying effectively, intercedes for us when we can’t “pray as we should” (Rom. 8:26).

How should we cooperate with the Spirit’s intercession for us? First, we must recognize God’s authority, holiness, and glory. Then, we need to submit our lives to His leadership. When we do, God’s will and desires become foremost in importance for us. Finally, we must submit our future to Him, trusting Him to bring great good out of negative as well as positive events in our lives.

In submission to the Holy Spirit, we will discover greater peace and joy. We will also find new words for our prayers to the Father as we bring petitions inspired by His Spirit. Even more importantly, we will develop a deeper understanding of God’s greatness.

Labor or Service?

“Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work.” (Deuteronomy 5:13)

The term “labor” to many seems to connote drudgery or routine, repetitive, demeaning toil. As used here in the fourth of God’s Ten Commandments, however, the Hebrew word abad means rather to “serve” and is so translated 214 times in the King James. Only one other time is it translated “labor,” and that is in the first rendering of the commandments (Exodus 20:9). Thus, the command could well be read: “Six days shalt thou serve. . . .”

Furthermore, the word for “work” (Hebrew melakah) does not denote servile labor but “deputyship” or “stewardship.” The one whom we are to serve or act as deputy for, of course, is God Himself when we do our work. In the ultimate and very real sense, the Lord is our employer, and we serve Him, not man. Therefore, “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). Every honest occupation, if carried out for the Lord’s sake and to His glory, is “divine service,” and every Christian who holds this perspective on his or her work (be it preaching, or bookkeeping, or homemaking, or whatever) is in the Christian ministry—for “ministry” simply means “service.”

Note also that God has ordained not a four-day or five-day workweek: “Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work,” He says, thus commemorating the six days in which He worked in the beginning, “for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth” (Exodus 31:17).

One day, Lord willing, we shall hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21). Then, throughout the ages to come, “his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3) with everlasting joy. HMM

Blessing on Our Terms

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. —Matthew 16:24

Here is what grieves me, and I believe this also grieves the Holy Spirit: My hearers rise to this call emotionally, but they will not confirm it by a corresponding change in their way of life. Their goodness is like the morning clouds—by 9 o’clock the sun has burnt off the fog. This is what happens to many people’s good intentions. They rise emotionally to an urgent message that we become a New Testament church, that we become a model church, that we have the order of the New Testament and the power of the Holy Spirit in order that we might worship, work and witness. Emotionally they rise to it, but they will not confirm their emotions by corresponding changes in their way of life.

They want to be blessed by God, but they want God to bless them on their terms. They look pensively to God for victory, but they will not bring their giving into line. They will not practice family prayer, rushing off without it. They will not take time for secret prayer and will not forgive those who have wronged them. They will not seek to be reconciled to those with whom they have quarreled. They will not pick up their crosses and say, “Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave, and follow Thee.”

Lord, may my desire for You rise above emotions. I do want to be blessed of You, both personally and in my ministry. I commit myself this morning to a willingness to take my cross and follow You—and to take the necessary action to come on Your terms. Amen.

A Minister Must Not Be a Privileged Idler

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:27

I know that my writing this will not win me friends, but some men called to the ministry end up doing what comes naturally and just take it easy!

It is easy for the minister to be turned into a privileged idler, a social parasite with an open palm and an expectant look. He has no boss within sight; he is not often required to keep regular hours, so he can work out a comfortable pattern of life that permits him to loaf, putter, play, doze and run about at his pleasure.

To avoid this danger, the minister should voluntarily impose upon himself a life of labor as arduous as that of a farmer, a serious student or a scientist. No man has any right to a way of life less rugged than that of the workers who support him. No preacher has any right to die of old age if hard work will kill him!

On the other hand, it should be said that some men of God have learned to labor in the Holy Spirit and have thus escaped both idleness and death-by-exhaustion, and have lived to a great age. Such men were Moses and Samuel in olden times and men like John Wesley, Bishop Asbury, A. B. Simpson and Pastor Philpott of more recent times.

These wrought mighty deeds without injuring their constitutions, but not every man has been able to find their secret!

A Lower Level

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. PSALM 71:17

There are leaders and there are churches within the Christianity of our day who will surely answer for their failure to apply the disciplines of the New Testament to the present generation of young people.

Much of Christianity today does not hold to the necessity for disciplines in the Christian life. If we have any of God’s concerns in our hearts, we must grieve over the lack of spirituality in the lives of great segments of professing Christian young people.

It is not my calling to assess blame. It is part of my Christian calling to proclaim the fact that no one, young or old, has the right to come to Jesus Christ and stake out their own conditions and terms.

Segments of Christianity have made every possible concession in efforts to win young people to Christ; but instead of converting them to Christ, they have “converted” Christianity to them. Too often they have come down to the modern level—playing, teasing, coaxing and entertaining. In essence, they have been saying to them, “We will do everything as you want it,” instead of giving them Christ’s insistent word, “Take up your cross!”

O Lord, our young people are the future members and leaders of our churches. To the degree that we teach them the ways of the Lord, they will either be vibrant or weak believers. Lord, don’t let us forsake our youth!