VIDEO Go With the Flow

I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. Revelation 21:6

The Congo River in Africa is the deepest river in the world—so deep we don’t know how deep it is. For 2,500 miles, it meanders back and forth through Central Africa, then it suddenly drops away, sending 1.45 million cubic feet of water into the Atlantic Ocean every second. There’s no delta—only a deep channel that’s fathomless enough to submerge a skyscraper. The force of the water is dramatic and deadly.

But you’ve got something better inside of you. The greatest river in the universe is the water of the Holy Spirit flowing from Christ through believers. Jesus told the woman in John 4:14: “But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” And in John 7:38-39, He said, “‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit.”

Try to picture it. From deep within you, the Lord Jesus is unleashing a river of grace that will refresh others. That’s the river of living waters!

Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day. Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way. Frances Ridley Havergal


Revelation 21:1-8 • New Heaven and New Earth

Giving God My Work

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23

The magazine I was writing for felt “important,” so I struggled to present the best possible article I could for the high-ranking editor. Feeling pressure to meet her standards, I kept rewriting my thoughts and ideas. But what was my problem? Was it my challenging topic? Or was my real worry personal: Would the editor approve of me and not just my words?

For answers to our job worries, Paul gives trustworthy instruction. In a letter to the Colossian church, Paul urged believers to work not for approval of people, but for God. As the apostle said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24).

Reflecting on Paul’s wisdom, we can stop struggling to look good in the eyes of our earthly bosses. For certain, we honor them as people and seek to give them our best. But if we work “as for the Lord”—asking Him to lead and anoint our work for Him—He’ll shine a light on our efforts. Our reward? Our job pressures ease and our assignments are completed. Even more, we’ll one day hear Him say, “Well done!”

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

On your job, what pressures do you feel to please others or yourself? In what ways would your work improve on every level if you started working “as for the Lord”?

Heavenly Father, as I face job pressures, it’s easy to forget that I’m working for You. Redirect my heart and mind, so I put You first in all I do.

Live Intentionally

When we align our goals with God’s, we’ll always end up on the right path

2 Timothy 4:6-8

We all want to live life to the fullest, but to do that, we must have goals to aim for. Few of us actually take the time to consider where we’re going. How tragic it would be to finish our life and find out we were on a course other than God’s, fighting the wrong fight and struggling to keep the faith.

The apostle Paul is a good role model for living life to the fullest. His goals were to know Christ, abide in His power, fellowship in His suffering, and preach the gospel (Philippians 3:101 Corinthians 1:17). Paul aligned his aspirations with the Lord’s, diligently worked to fulfill his calling, and persevered through suffering. He could face the end of his life with confidence since he’d “fought the good fight … finished the course … [and] kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. Don’t settle for the mediocrity of an unplanned life. Set aside some time this week to get alone with the Lord. Then ask for His help in setting goals that will take you where He wants you to go. Consider every area of your life—personal, relational, financial, and vocational—but make spiritual goals your primary emphasis.

Let God help you change direction so you can pursue things that align with His will. Then start living intentionally.

No More Problems

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)

All too often in these days of “easy believism” and the erroneous “peace and prosperity” teaching, we hear someone say, “Once you become a Christian, all your problems will be over.” It is doubtful that anyone really believes such a statement, much less experiences it. Certainly the Israelites who had just been miraculously delivered from bondage didn’t experience it.

Of course, this concept is not biblical. In fact, the Bible teaches quite the opposite. Christ promised, “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22). He, Himself, would have many problems. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Later, after experiencing many problems, John wrote, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:13).

These problems may take the form of general troubles that come from living in a sinful, cursed world; specific afflictions, which God allows in our lives to bring about His purpose; or discipline for personal sin, as well as direct persecution from without.

While troubles will come, all is not lost! Christ promised, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Through Him we have the strength to meet every difficulty of this life with peace, good cheer, and victory. Through Him we also receive the promise that throughout eternity “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). JDM

“Do as I Do”: Jesus

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13

There is a tendency for people to relegate everything in the realm of righteousness or iniquity to deity, whatever their concept of deity may be. For the true Christian, however, our risen Lord made a promise to us before His death and resurrection. That promise effectively removes our excuses and makes us responsible:

Howbeit 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 shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:13-15)

I will readily admit that we are not God. We cannot do in ourselves what God can do. But God created us as human beings, and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit and His presence in our lives, we should be able to do what Jesus, the Son of Man, was able to do in His earthly ministry. JMI059-060

Anyone can do the possible; add a bit of courage and zeal and some may do the phenomenal; only Christians are obliged to do the impossible. WOS012

Creative Commonplace

They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip.—Acts 6:5

No matter what happens to you or when it happens to you, it is never too late to become creative. Pray as one man did who was on the verge of going insane: “O Jesus, come into my soul, my mind, my body, into every brain cell, and help me to be a contributive person.” Jesus did come into every brain cell, and that man is now well and contributing to the kingdom of God in an astonishing way.

I wonder, am I talking today to someone who feels they are caught up in so many routines that they are in the rut? Routines often become (if I might coin a word) “rut”-ines. They make us into grooved, non-creative individuals unless—and this is the point—unless we make the commonplace a creative place. And how do we do that? By the creative spirit we bring to it.

Someone has described Philip the evangelist as “a third-rate man in a second-rate task who did a first-rate job.” He was quite different from the Philip who was one of Christ’s group of twelve disciples. He didn’t have the privilege of having been chosen as one of the apostolic band. He was instead one of “the seven” whose task was “to wait on tables.” He might have folded up under these limitations and said: “I am in a rut.” Instead, he accepted the commonplace as a consecrated place and gently pushed against the barriers until they broke. His creativity marks him out as one of the greatest characters of the New Testament.

Prayer

O God, help me to turn all common places into creative places. Give me the attitude of Your servant Philip, who turned a routine task into a redemptive one. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.

Further Study

Col 3:1-10; 2Co 5:17; Rm 12:2

In what image is the new self made?

What are you creating at present?

Seeing the Multitudes

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.

Then He began to teach them, saying. . . —Matthew 5:1–2

Christ sees people far differently than we do. Throughout the Gospels we see a pattern in the way Jesus taught His disciples. Whenever He saw the multitudes, Jesus would reveal to the disciples what was on His heart for the people. Jesus wanted His disciples to share His love for the people. The disciples did not always understand all He was telling them, but He assured them that later the Holy Spirit would reveal the significance of His words (John 14:25–26). When the multitudes began pressing in on Him, Jesus would get alone with His disciples and teach them about God’s love for people.

You will experience this same pattern as you walk with Jesus. When God places you in a crowd, you may sense the Holy Spirit impressing upon you the heart and mind of God for those people. Perhaps your Lord will lead you to a solitary place where He shares with you His compassion for the people you have been with. He may reveal to you His will for the people and invite you to join Him in His redemptive activity. He may place a burden on your heart to pray for them. If you are among people and are unmoved by their spiritual condition, God may develop your love for them so that you are prepared to minister to them as He desires.

The next time you are in a crowd, listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying. You may discover that God has much on His heart for those people and that He is waiting for one of His disciples to respond to His prompting.