VIDEO Life Is What You Make It: Make Waves For Growth – Don’t Give Up!

Life Is What You Make It: Make Waves For Growth

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

Ever heard of Karl Friedrich Gützlaff? He was the first Lutheran missionary to China, and he died in 1851 in Hong Kong at age 48, shattered by disappointment. But the ministry he formed later sent out J. Hudson Taylor, who opened the interior of China to the Gospel. And Gützlaff’s writings touched a British doctor, David Livingstone, who later opened the interior of Africa to the Gospel. Gützlaff died with a sense of failure, yet his work created ripple effects resulting in waves of missionary growth on two continents.

Sometimes we need to make some waves if we’re going to create ripple effects that outlive us. Even when disappointed with visible results, we must remember God’s promise—if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully.

Discouragement is from the devil. Our job is to keep walking and working by faith. If we keep splashing around in the work God has given us without losing heart, we’ll make some waves for His glory and the ripples will reach all the way to the heavenly shore.

Discouragement cannot have its source in God…discouragement comes from an evil source. Hannah Whitall Smith

“Don’t Give Up!” – Galatians 6:9-10

The Blessing of Encouragers

But Barnabas took [Saul] and brought him to the apostles. Acts 9:27

The 2010 movie The King’s Speech tells the story of England’s King George VI, who unexpectedly became monarch when his brother abandoned the throne. With the country on the brink of World War II, government officials wanted a well-spoken leader because of the increasingly influential role of radio. King George VI, however, struggled with a stuttering problem.

I was especially drawn to the film’s portrayal of George’s wife, Elizabeth. Throughout his struggle to overcome his speech difficulty, she was his constant source of encouragement. Her steadfast devotion provided the support he needed to overcome his challenge and rule well during the war.

The Bible highlights the stories of encouragers who gave powerful assistance during challenging circumstances. Moses had Aaron and Hur’s support during Israel’s battles (Exodus 17:8–16). Elizabeth encouraged her pregnant relative Mary (Luke 1:42–45).

After his conversion, Paul needed the support of Barnabas, whose name literally means “son of encouragement.” When the disciples were fearful of Paul, Barnabas, at the risk of his own reputation, vouched for him (Acts 9:27). His endorsement was essential to Paul being welcomed by the Christian community. Barnabas later served as Paul’s traveling and preaching companion (Acts 14). Despite the dangers, they worked together to proclaim the gospel.

Believers in Jesus are still called to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). May we be eager to offer encouragement to help support others, especially as they face difficult circumstances.

The encouragement of a friend can make all the difference.

By Lisa Samra 


Barnabas was an encourager. In the Scriptures, he is singled out as a believer who encouraged others by his generosity (Acts 4:36–37). He encouraged Paul, as we see in today’s text, and he also played a critical role in encouraging John Mark, a young man who was deemed an unreliable failure by Paul because he had abandoned the first missionary journey (13:13). Barnabas wanted to take John Mark on the second missionary trip, but Paul refused, causing a severe break in their partnership (15:36–39). Barnabas took a risk and gave John Mark a second chance, restoring him to effective ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). Without Barnabas, there might not have been the great theologian Paul, who wrote thirteen books of the New Testament, or John Mark, who wrote the gospel of Mark.

Who has been a “Barnabas” to you by encouraging you, believing in you, and restoring you to wholeness and usefulness? Will you be a Barnabas to someone who needs a fresh start?

K. T. Sim

The Divinely Inspired Book

2 Peter 1:12-21

How important is your Bible to you? If you’re like most Christians in the Western world, you probably have several copies of Scripture in your home. But the number of Bibles we own is no measure of their value to us. It’s what we do with God’s Word and what it does in our heart that reveals how much we treasure it.

The Bible is the most important book in the world because it’s the only one that is the inspired Word of God. Nothing else ever written can match the wisdom and revelation of the Scriptures.

How then did God give us this sacred text? 2 Peter 1:21 says that the writings did not result from “an act of human will” but came to be through “men moved by the Holy Spirit.” While retaining their own personalities, intellect, and vocabularies, these human authors were borne along by the Spirit of God, writing only what He willed them to say.

Amazingly, the same God who created the universe divinely inspired the writing of Scripture. He did so to reveal Himself to us and to explain how sinful mankind can be made right with a holy God. Everything we need for life and godliness is found within its pages (2 Peter 1:3).

And He hasn’t left us on our own to interpret what He has written (2 Peter 1:20). The truth is that in ourselves, we can’t understand it. But God has given us His Holy Spirit so we can know His mind through the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). However, if we rarely open it, we won’t know His thoughts and as a result will forfeit His blessings and wisdom.

Propitiation, Interested?

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

Most words in the King James Bible have one or two syllables. Our text verse, for example, has 21 such short words and only one big word; but that word, “propitiation,” has five syllables, and so has elicited much complaint from folks who don’t like to use dictionaries. What does “propitiation” mean?

The Greek word is hilasmos and occurs just two other times. These are as follows:

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:25). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

As an aside, note that these two verses contain two words of two syllables, three of three syllables, and 48 of one syllable. But both also include “propitiation,” and that seems to be a problem. Nevertheless, “propitiation” is certainly the most accurate word to convey the meaning of the original. The dictionary gives “expiation” and “conciliation” as definitions, but that probably doesn’t help much.

In any case, the action of the Lord Jesus in submitting His body to be a substitutionary sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins and to endure God’s wrath against all the sins of the world, thereby enabling Him to be reconciled to us, with Christ’s perfect righteousness credited to our account, is seen in these three verses to be a basic theme of this great truth of Christ’s propitiatory work on the cross. And surely, as John says: “Herein is love,” that God would so love us that He would offer up His Son, and Christ would so love us that He would die for us. Surely, this is love! HMM

God sent you a text: Read it

Greg Laurie explains why the Bible is so offensive to many

In the weeks leading up to SoCal Harvest at Angel Stadium in Anaheim last month, some of our billboards in Southern California were taken down because the images were considered offensive. The offending image showed me holding up a Bible. The good news is that it became a national news story, and I was able to talk about the Bible all over America.

The fact that people say the image of a Bible is offensive speaks of the power of the Bible. If someone thinks the Bible is filled with myths or made-up stories or is full of contradictions, then why do they care if I believe in it? Why do they care if I even hold it up? The fact that someone would find such an image offensive is an acknowledgment of the power of the message that is in this book.

If you don’t believe me, try pulling out a Bible sometime when you’re in public – like when you’re on an airplane in that middle seat in coach. Some people will be alarmed, as though they’re afraid it will attack them.

People recognize what the Bible represents. The Bible is a book like no other. Millions of people will attest to the fact that it has changed their lives. Its words have brought hope to the hopeless, perspective to the hurting and comfort to the bereaved. The words found in the Bible have healed marriages and cured the addicted. Why are these words so powerful? Answer: because they are the very words of God.

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, with 3.9 billion copies having been sold in the last 50 years. Despite the fact that the Bible is often ridiculed, destroyed and attacked, it lives on. Many books are released, last for a few years and then disappear. But the Bible lives on because it is not just the book of the week, the book of the month, the book of the year, or the book of the decade. The Bible is the book of the ages, because it’s God’s book. And God speaks to us through it.

Imagine for a moment if you received a text from God. Would you read it? Would you respond? I think you probably would. God has sent you a text, and it’s called the Bible. He’ll speak to you through this book.

The Bible says that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). Hebrews 4:12–13 says of the Bible, “His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it – no matter what” (MSG).

Think of the impact the Bible has had on the United States. Six of our nation’s original nine colleges were started by people who believed in the Bible. The Salvation Army, which has touched thousands and thousands of people over the years, was founded by a man who believed what was said in the Bible.

The abolition of slavery was led by men and women who believed in the Bible. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln believed in the power of the Bible. George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Abraham Lincoln stated, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world is communicated in this book.”

Think about how the Bible is used to make a point. For instance, if you’re trying to convince someone of the truth of what you’re saying, you might say, “I swear on a stack of Bibles.” But you don’t say, “I swear on the dictionary this is true” or “I swear on my iPad it’s true.” When someone gives testimony in a court of law, he places his hand on the Bible.

Nine of every 10 American homes have a Bible. But the problem is that fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels found therein. We have Bibles, but we don’t know what’s inside the Bible. We don’t actually read it.

The No. 1 reason people give for not reading the Bible is they don’t prioritize it. They get up in the morning and have all these other things they might do: check their email, see if anyone texted them, or catch up on social media. But they don’t prioritize the Bible.

Yet when trouble comes into their lives, this is the first book they’ll go to. I know this from experience. Ten years ago, our oldest son Christopher died in an automobile accident. It was the worst moment of our lives. What got me through this was the Lord speaking to me through the Bible. Looking at verses of Scripture gave me perspective. It was a lifeline to heaven.

Steve McQueen was the No. 1 actor in the world, but he became disillusioned with Hollywood and went on a search that led him to a little church in Ventura, California. There he gave his life to Jesus Christ.

About eight months later, McQueen learned that he had terminal cancer. He was hoping to get an unorthodox treatment in Mexico, so he chartered a jet to fly there. But before he left, he made one request of his pastor: McQueen wanted to meet Billy Graham.

His pastor, Leonard DeWitt, contacted Graham, who came to see him before the plane took off. McQueen was alarmed because he had misplaced his Bible, so Graham gave him his personal Bible.

In Mexico, McQueen’s surgery was a success. But sadly, he died of a heart attack shortly afterward, holding the Bible Billy Graham had given him. The Bible was the last thing McQueen held in his hands before he entered eternity.

When you buy a new gadget, you get out the user’s manual to find out how it works. A lot of people don’t realize there is a user’s manual for life, and it’s called the Bible. It is God’s word to each and every one of us … if we would just open it and read it.

Have You Been God’s Beneficiary?

To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 1:4)

The Holy Spirit has made it plain throughout the Scriptures, that generally whatever God does becomes a means toward something else that He is planning to do.

Therefore, when God elects a man or woman it does not mean that he or she can sit down and at ease announce: “I have arrived! Put a period there and write ‘finis’ across my experience!”

No, of course not! God begets us into His provision and that which is still before us always is greater than that which is behind us.

Peter was not using figures of speech. He said plainly his persecuted brethren were believers in Jesus Christ, elect and begotten! The electing and the begetting were means leading into a hope and an inheritance—the true Christian believer is actually the beneficiary of God!

This is not a figure—not just a poetic phrase. It is openly taught from Genesis to Revelation that God being who He is, His beneficences are infinite and limitless!


Broad Rivers Without Galleys

“But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.” Isa. 33:21

The Lord will be to us the greatest good without any of the drawbacks which seem necessarily to attend the best earthly things. If a city is favored with broad rivers, it is liable to be attacked by galleys with oars, and other ships of war. But when the Lord represents the abundance of His bounty under this figure, He takes care expressly to shut out the fear which the metaphor might suggest. Blessed be His perfect love!

Lord, if thou send me wealth like broad rivers, do not let the galley with oars come up in the shape of worldliness or pride. If thou grant me abundant health and happy spirits, do not let “the gallant ship” of carnal ease come sailing up the flowing flood. If I have success in holy service, broad as the German Rhine, yet let me never find the galley of self-conceit and self-confidence floating on the waves of my usefulness. Should I be so supremely happy as to enjoy the light of thy countenance year after year, yet let me never despise thy feeble saints, nor allow the vain notion of my own perfection to sail up the broad rivers of my full assurance. Lord, give me that blessing which maketh rich, and neither addeth sorrow, nor addeth sin.


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