The rapid changes in our world can give us a sense of unease and uncertainty. We can be thrown off balance by the suffering we see around us, the evolving technology that outpaces our ability to absorb it, and the daily rise and fall of the financial markets. Sometimes what seems worthwhile to us today has less value tomorrow.
As problems mount, we can become discouraged and lose heart. But basing all our hope on man’s ability to solve problems or modify a situation is not the answer. We can achieve only temporary peace when we alter our own circumstances or adjust our outward behavior.
The root problem in our culture is spiritual—namely, man has a sin nature that is at enmity with God. Sin prompts us to look out for ourselves and pursue what we want. Neither our intellect nor talent could have changed our sinful state or brought us peace with God. However, those who trust Jesus as Savior receive a new nature and are reconciled to the Lord. As His adopted children, we not only are at peace with Him but also have been given the power to live in harmony with one another.
No matter how much life changes, we can have hope, for we are anchored to a firm foundation that will never be shaken (Isa. 28:16).
Remember, the believer’s hope rests in the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our heavenly Father knows each of us by name (Isa. 43:1). Our Savior keeps every divine promise (2 Corinthians 1:20). And the Holy Spirit assures us that we are secure in Christ, both in this life and the one to come.
“And . . . the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.” (Ephesians 1:19)
The power of the triune Creator, as displayed in the resurrection of Christ, is directed toward us! We can be certain we will never fully comprehend that, but the Scriptures provide several clear statements that will help us gain a small grasp on this magnificent resource.
• We receive power when the Holy Spirit indwells us (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit takes up residence in everyone who is twice-born (John 14:17) and is therefore readily accessible to all believers (Ephesians 3:20).
• We use the power of God every time we preach the gospel (Romans 1:16), whether to one person or to thousands (1 Corinthians 1:18).
• We learn of the power of God through “great and precious promises.” Indeed, those promises involve “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
• We see the results of the power of God in our lives when we are “strengthened with all might” so that we demonstrate “all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:11).
The Lord desires “that [we] might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) and “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (v. 16). The purpose of this empowering is to be “rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith” (Colossians 2:7), “able to comprehend . . . the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19). HMM III
For though I preach me gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
—1 Corinthians 9:16
The true minister is one not by his own choice but by the sovereign commission of God. From a study of the Scriptures one might conclude that the man God calls seldom or never surrenders to the call without considerable reluctance. The young man who rushes too eagerly into the pulpit at first glance seems to be unusually spiritual, but he may in fact only be revealing his lack of understanding of the sacred nature of the ministry.
The old rule, “Don’t preach if you can get out of it,” if correctly understood, is still a good one. The call of God comes with an insistence that will not be denied and can scarcely by resisted. Moses fought his call strenuously and lost to the compulsion of the Spirit within him; and the same may be said of many others in the Bible and since Bible times. Christian biography shows that many who later became great Christian leaders at first tried earnestly to avoid the burden of the ministry; but I cannot offhand recall one single instance of a prophet’s having applied for the job. The true minister simply surrenders to the inward pressure and cries, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” GTM087-088
Lord, I’m here in this ministry not because I chose to be, but because I’ve sensed Your call on my life. Help me always to be faithful to that call, in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.—Matthew 2:11.
Give yourselves anew to God and to God’s service, and He will give you the desire and the power to open your treasures; to give to Him, it may be wealth, it may be time, it may be personal service, it may be life itself. In His store there is a place for all, for the tears of the penitent, the barley loaves of the child, the two mites of the widow, the savings of the Philippians’ “deep poverty,” as well as for Mary’s ointment, for the land of Barnabas, for the gold and incense and myrrh of these Eastern sages. And if the vision of Christ be before his eyes, and the love of Christ be in his heart, the man of wealth will give his large offering, the man of learning his dear-bought knowledge, the man of business his hard-earned leisure, for the glory of God, for the benefit of his fellow-men, for the Church or for the poor; to feed the hungry, or to teach the ignorant, to help the struggling, or to guide the erring; and each gift will be welcomed by Him who gave Himself for us all, and who asks in return for ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.
“Yea, I will help thee.” Isa. 41:10
Yesterday’s promise secured us strength for what we have to do, but this guarantees us aid in cases where we cannot act alone. The Lord says, “I will help thee.” Strength within is supplemented by help without. God can raise us up allies in our warfare if so it seems good in His sight; and even if He does not send us human assistance, He himself will be at our side, and this is better still. “Our August Ally” is better than legions of mortal helpers.
His help is timely: He is a very present help in time of trouble. His help is very wise: He knows how to give each man help meet and fit for him. His help is most effectual, though vain is the help of man. His help is more than help, for He bears all the burden, and supplies all the need. “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me.
Because He has already been our help, we feel confidence in Him for the present and the future. Our prayer is, “Lord, be thou my helper”; our experience is, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; our expectation is, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help”; and our song soon will be, “Thou, Lord, hast holpen me.”