VIDEO The Compelling Force of the Call

The Compelling Force of the Call

Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

Beware of refusing to hear the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact of his salvation. That, however, is not the same as the call to preach, but is merely an illustration which can be used in preaching. In this verse, Paul was referring to the stinging pains produced in him by the compelling force of the call to preach the gospel. Never try to apply what Paul said regarding the call to preach to those souls who are being called to God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved, because it is solely God’s sovereign work— “Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22). Our Lord never requires the same conditions for discipleship that he requires for salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Christ. But discipleship has an option with it— “If anyone…” (Luke 14:26).

Paul’s words have to do with our being made servants of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us as broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated to the gospel” means being able to hear the call of God (Romans 1:1). Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains— “…separated to the gospel…” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him. The Bible Training College exists so that each of you may know whether or not God has a man or woman here who truly cares about proclaiming His gospel and to see if God grips you for this purpose. Beware of competing calls once the call of God grips you.


Civilization is based on principles which imply that the passing moment is permanent. The only permanent thing is God, and if I put anything else as permanent, I become atheistic. I must build only on God (John 14:6). The Highest Good—Thy Great Redemption, 565 L

46 1 Corinthians 9-10 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

Pruned to Thrive

Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

As I watched a bumblebee land lightly on the Russian sage, I marveled at the bush’s lush branches exploding with color. Its brilliant blue blossoms attracted eyes and bees alike. Yet only last fall, I’d wondered if it would ever blossom again. When my wife’s parents trimmed the periwinkle plant down to a stub, I’d assumed they’d decided to get rid of it. But now I was witnessing the radiant result of pruning that had seemed brutal to me. 

The surprising beauty that results from harsh cuts may be one of the reasons Jesus chose pruning imagery to describe God’s work among believers. In John 15, He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (vv. 1–2).

Jesus’ words remind us that in the good times and bad, God is always working in us toward spiritual renewal and fruitfulness (v. 5). During “pruning” seasons of suffering or emotional barrenness, we may wonder if we’ll ever thrive again. But Christ encourages us to continue to stick close to Him: “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (v. 4).

As we continually draw spiritual nourishment from Jesus, the resulting beauty and fruitfulness in our lives (v. 8) will show the world God’s goodness.

By:  Adam R. Holz

Reflect & Pray

How have you seen God use struggle in your life to produce growth and fruitfulness? How do you think time gives us the perspective to see God’s hand at work in our lives?

Father, help me to trust You during difficult seasons in my life, knowing that You’re at work to bring beauty and change.

For help in strengthening your faith, read

This Is Amazing! A Baby’s Hand

Thank you, Doctor Bruner.  God Bless you and  little Samuel.  

 A Baby’s Hand – This Is Amazing!

Read Before Viewing the Picture –

A picture began circulating in November.  It should be ‘The Picture of the Year,’ or perhaps, ‘Picture of the Decade.’  It won’t be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which published it, you probably would never see it.

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner. 

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb.  Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta.  She knew of Dr. Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure.  Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby.  As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger.  Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. 

The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity.  The editors titled the picture, ‘Hand of Hope.’  The text explaining the picture begins, ‘The tiny hand of 21-week- old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother’s uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.’ 

Little Samuel’s mother said they ‘wept for days’ when they saw the picture. She said, ‘The photo reminds us pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person.’ 

Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful. 

Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome.  Incredible!

And, Hey, don’t forget to pass it on —

The World Needs to See This One!  

Don’t Tell Me Our God Isn’t an Awesome God!!!

Soaring to Strength

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

The Andean condor is the world’s largest soaring bird. With a wingspan of more than ten feet, condors can soar for up to five hours, covering one hundred miles, without flapping their wings once! In one study, a group of condors spent just one percent of their time aloft flapping their wings.1

The prophet Isaiah had never seen an Andean condor, but he had certainly seen eagles and other soaring birds in the Middle East. It is no wonder that he used the image of a soaring eagle to represent the one who waits on the Lord. Once aloft, it is the power of the wind that keeps the eagle soaring, not the power of the eagle itself. In the Christian life, it is the wind of the Spirit of God that gives us power to run and not be weary, to walk and not grow faint.

Spending time with God daily is a time to renew your strength as you wait upon Him in prayer and Bible study.

Only he who can say, “The Lord is the strength of my life” can go on to say, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” 

Alexander MacLaren

1“Andean Condor Can Fly for 100 Miles Without Flapping Wings” The Guardian, July 13, 2020.

Moratorium on Activity

The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. —Proverbs 17:3

I suppose my suggestion will not receive much serious attention, but I should like to suggest that we Bible-believing Christians announce a moratorium on religious activity and set our house in order preparatory to the coming of an afflatus from above. So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church, so shockingly irreverent are our public services in some quarters, so degraded are our religious tastes in still others, that the need for power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history. I believe we should profit immensely were we to declare a period of silence and self-examination during which each one of us searched his own heart and sought to meet every condition for a real baptism of power from on high.   POM094

Lord, I do pray that You would move in the hearts of leaders in churches everywhere to prompt this time of silence and self-examination. Stimulate our hearts and quiet us to hear from You. Amen.

God’s Kind of Love

He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. —John 14:21

God, being Himself God, an uncreated being, deriving from no one, owing nothing to anybody, must necessarily be the fountain of all the love there is! That is why I say that as our God, He must love Himself forever with pure and perfect love.

This kind of love, God’s love, holy and blameless—this is the love which the three Persons of the Godhead feel and hold for one another. The Father to the Son; the Son to the Father; the Father and Son to the Spirit; the Spirit to the Father and Son—the divine Trinity in perfect and blameless and proper love; loving one another with a holy, poured out devotion! The Trinity’s three fountains, eternal, infinite, pouring without measure into each other from the bottomless, boundless, shoreless sea of perfect love and bliss….

God being who and what He is, is Himself the only being that He can love directly. Everything else and everyone else that God loves, He loves for His own sake. EFE012-013

God loved us because of something in Himself, and so if Christ is dwelling is us, we will love because of the Christ within us. HS470

Does God Really Care?

1 Peter 5:7

Many questions well up from the heart of man, but none with greater urgency than: “Does God really care?” In our world, tragedy is written on the front page of every newspaper, etched in the faces of the people we meet, indelibly impressed upon our own memories because we too have known its terror and torment.

Does God look down with uncaring casualness upon man’s calamities? Upon its answer depends not only our faith but our peace and even our sanity.

“Does God really care?” The fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel tells of an occasion when this question was asked of God Himself. The disciples of Jesus were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a little ship. A storm arose, and the water was whipped with such violence that the waves threatened to sink the vessel. Jesus was there but, exhausted by the day’s ministry and teaching and healing, He had fallen asleep. The disciples awakened Jesus and, in voices that probably expressed irritation as well as fear, they asked, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38).

Storms are a natural occurrence on the sea. And just as surely, storms are natural to life and living. Disaster, misfortune, distress and violence are words which must be used to tell every day’s story somewhere in our world. Life is a serious business.

Happily, the disciples found not only a reason for their question but also a response to it. The Bible goes on to say that Jesus arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Quiet! be still!” (Mark 4:39). The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Does God care? Without directly answering the question, Jesus responded in such a manner as to prove His concern for their safety and His sympathy with their fright.

Does God care? “Anyone who has seen Me,” said Jesus, “has seen the Father”

(John 14:9). And what witness to the deep concern of God would be complete without this sublime truth: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The central truth of Christianity is that God cares. Because God loved, He gave His Son, who, in turn, gave Himself. Trust Him. Face life and all it brings with a positive faith in the reliability and compassion of God. Accept the Apostle Peter’s invitation to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point