VIDEO The River Within

Jun 12, 2015

The River Within (2009)


Jason returns home to get away while he studies for the upcoming bar exam. After visiting his oldest friend, a “coulda-been-girlfriend” who is now engaged, and a pushy preacher, his easygoing summer becomes filled with unwanted drama. Over the few months he’s there, he begins to question what life is about, and what is his purpose in it?

The Royal Law

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. James 2:8

President William McKinley grew up in a devout Methodist home, and he was close to both his parents. His mother’s faith was like an umbrella over his entire life, and her humble service for the Lord became a model he followed in public life. McKinley’s biographer wrote, “Nancy had charge of the Niles Methodist Church, keeping it clean and well maintained as if it were her home. A neighbor remembered she ran the church, all but the preaching. Mother McKinley (as she became known) tended to ailing friends and boarded traveling ministers and teachers in the family’s home. She also served as the small town’s peacemaker, resolving quarrels and neighborhood disputes.”1

Sitting at her feet watching it all was a future President of the United States.

We never know how our influence for Christ will change the world. God calls us to love others by encouraging and building each other up. When we raise our families, serve our churches, and make peace in our neighborhoods for Christ’s sake, we’re letting God’s love flow through us.

This record I want to be left behind, that I not only fell as a soldier for my Country, but also as a Soldier of Jesus. William McKinley

Learning Contentment

Philippians 4:10-13

We usually associate contentment with good conditions. When our family relationships are great, work is fulfilling, and we have no health or financial problems, then we feel at ease. But if something goes wrong, our satisfaction vanishes.

That’s not what today’s passage is talking about. Paul had learned to be content no matter what his conditions were. This is wonderful news for us because it means we aren’t at the mercy of our circumstances; we, too, can learn to be content regardless of what we’re facing. We should remember:

Paul was content because he rested in God’s faithfulness. He knew the Lord was in full control (Psalm 103:19) and promised to work all things for His children’s good (Romans 8:28). In any and every circumstance, Paul rested in the security of God’s sovereign, loving hand. The apostle also trusted that whatever he needed would be provided in the Lord’s time.

His contentment also flowed from a focus on Christ. Although he was writing from a Roman prison, Paul wasn’t feeling like a victim or wallowing in self-pity. Throughout the letter to the Philippians, he talked about Jesus. In fact, his greatest pursuit in life was to know Christ, His power, and the fellowship of His sufferings (Romans 3:10). No circumstance could hinder that pursuit. On the contrary, every situation—even when painful or difficult—was an opportunity to know Christ more intimately.

We’ll never be able to find lasting contentment in our circumstances, but we can find it in Christ. When we surrender our life to Him, our situation may not change, but we will. No matter what we face, we can be content.

Witnesses of the Trinity

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

In this passage we see, perhaps, a hint of the triune nature of the Godhead. It is as if God the Father is inquiring of God the Son and God the Spirit as to whom other than one of them would be an effective representative for them. Isaiah, in his freshly forgiven and purified state (vv. 6-7), offers to accept the commission and represent the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. A similar call is issued to each of us today.

Elsewhere in Scripture we are told more plainly of the fullness of our call to represent God the Father: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour” (Isaiah 43:10-11).

Likewise, God the Son called us to be “witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Conversely, we are not called to be witnesses of the Holy Spirit; rather, we are to be co-witnesses with Him of Jesus Christ. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27). “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you” (16:13-14).

What a privilege! What a message! What a Partner! JDM

“Thou has pleaded the causes of my soul.”


Genesis 44:14-34

Joseph ordered a silver cup to be placed in Benjamin’s sack, and when his brethren had set out upon their journey he sent his steward after them to bring them back. By this means Joseph tried his brethren, and brought them into a fit condition to be informed of their relationship. Our reading commences with the scene when the brothers had been brought back into Joseph’s court-house.

Genesis 44:15

This he said to help himself in acting the part he had assumed.

Genesis 44:16

Though innocent of the present charge, Judah confesses that their sad plight was well deserved by other sins.)

Genesis 44:17

To this Judah, the surety, could not yield; but pleaded in a marvellously touching manner. Note how eloquent he was. Our surety is our advocate, and his pleadings are mighty.

Genesis 44:18-34

The power of Judah’s advocacy lay very much in its truth. It is a simple unvarnished narrative of facts. But its master weapon is found in the proposed substitution of himself for Benjamin. He is ready to smart for his suretyship. Do we not remember how Judah’s great antitype not only proferred to be our substitute but actually was so: in this lies the power of his intercession.


Where high the heavenly temple stands,

The house of God not made with hands,

Jesus, our Judah, stands to plead,

A brother born for time of need.


He, who for men their surety stood,

And pour’d on earth his precious blood,

Pursues in heaven his mighty plan,

The advocate and friend of man.


It’s Time for You To Lay Aside Every Unnecessary Weight


Hebrews 12:1

What is it that keeps hindering you from living a life of obedience? Do you struggle with a particular sin, habit, attitude, or fear that keeps you from running your race of faith the way you ought? If so, you probably already know what it is, and I’d guess that you’ve already prayed, prayed, and prayed for victory in overcoming that problem because you really do want to please God.

Every now and then, we all tolerate things in our lives that make it difficult for us to please God. And when we know we’re not pleasing God, we typically aren’t happy with ourselves either. This is one reason that Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “… lay aside every weight….”

The words “lay aside” are taken from the Greek word apotithimi, a compound of the words apo and tithimi. As noted on January 6, the word apo means away and the word tithimi means to place or to lay something down. When these two words are compounded together, it gives a picture of someone who is laying something down while at the same time he is pushing it far away from himself. It means to lay something down and to push it far away and beyond reach. Thus, this word implies a deliberate decision to make a permanent change of attitude and behavior.

Removing wrong attitudes and actions from our lives will not occur accidentally. We must decide to change—to remove, to lay aside, and to put away attitudes and actions that don’t please God and adversely affect our walk of faith.

Hebrews 12:1 refers to these incorrect attitudes and actions as “weights.” The word “weight” is from the Greek word ogkos—a word that describes a burden or something so heavy and cumbersome that it impedes a runner from running his race as he should.

This word was particularly used in the athletic world to signify the actions of an athlete who would deliberately strip himself of excess weight before participating in a competition. This stripping process included the loss of excess flesh through dieting and exercise. Then on the day of the actual competition, he stripped off nearly all his clothes so no extra weight would slow him down. He had his eye on the prize, so he was determined to strip off all “weight” that might potentially keep him from being the best athlete he could be.

This sends a strong message to us! If we want to please God, satisfy ourselves, and do something significant with our lives, we have to choose to remove anything from our lives that would hinder those objectives.

The athlete of the ancient world didn’t become “unweighted” by accident. He dropped all excess weight on purpose. He dieted; he exercised; and he shed every other unnecessary weight he could find to shed. This stripping process demanded his attention, his decision, and his devotion. It wasn’t going to happen by accident, so he had to initiate the process of removal.

What if those athletes had tried to run their race with loads of extra weight? They certainly wouldn’t have been able to run very far! This is exactly what sinful habits and attitudes do to your walk with the Lord. If you don’t remove them, they will eventually weigh you down and knock you out of your race of faith!

The Holy Spirit is urging you and me to take a good look at our lives and then remove everything that weighs us down and keeps us from a life of obedience. We must be honest with ourselves and with God.

Do you have a habit or a wrong attitude that binds you? Are you plagued by a fear that weighs you down and keeps you from fulfilling your potential in Christ? Make a rock-solid, quality decision today to grab hold of those unnecessary burdens and remove, lay aside, and permanently put them away from your life.

Once you make that decision, you’ll find yourself running your race of faith with much more ease as you press on to victory!


Lord, I know that You’re on my side and that You want to help me. So today I’m asking You to help me lay aside the attitudes, negative thought patterns, and bad habits that keep pulling me back down into miserable defeat. I’m exhausted from trying to live for You while dragging along these old weights behind me at the same time. I need to drop them and leave them behind! So today I am asking You to help me make the big break. Help me make this the day I permanently drop all the unnecessary weights that hinder me and walk away from them forever!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I live a life of obedience! Sin, bad habits, negative attitudes, and fear have no influence in my life. Because I am free of these things, I am able to run my race of faith without any hindrances caused by my own actions. Because I want to please God, I do not tolerate things in my life that make it difficult for me to walk by faith or to please God. Absolutely nothing is more important to me than knowing God’s will and doing it in a way that brings pleasure to the Lord!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a “weight” that has been keeping you from running your race with grace and ease lately?
  2. How can you strip yourself today of that “weight” so you can stay in the race to win God’s prize for your life?
  3. Write down three ways you can please God, satisfy yourself, and do something significant in your life this week.




COMPASSION – A rather unsettling idea for people in a hurry…


How does a person feel compassion when he is cruising above it all in the fast lane: Scurrying secretaries, board meetings, flights to catch, weighty decisions to make.




Jesus however, had time for compassion. He felt people’s needs and was deeply moved by them. And ended up feeding the hungry hoards and lovingly healing society’s castoffs. (See Matthew 9:36; Mark 1:41-42)


But the disciples, like me, were rather annoyed by the heaving masses and the dirty lepers, who, today, are those frumpy, disheveled types with grubby beards, bratty kids, delinquent mortgage payments, dented cars and boisterous wives.


People surviving around the fringes of the American Dream and out of sync with the rest of us. People with whom I have nothing in common.


Do I have tolerance for them? Possibly. Do I feel compassion for them? Hardly.


In fact, if I am really honest, those people clutter up my landscape. But, because of my affluence, my education… really, because of my PRIVILEGED position in society, I am able to avoid and insulate myself from them.


And… If I care to admit it, the way I deal with them is to be polite, but NEVER get involved.


Could it be that the greatest plague today is not AIDS or inner city crime, or even the starving masses in some third world countries, but “our lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor who lives at the roadside assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease?”


Calvary love leaves me no option but compassionate involvement:


Jesus, while eating with the prostitutes and the city’s lowlife, instructed the censoring religious types:


Go and learn what this means, I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)