“Submit Yourself to God” (James 4:7)

David Brandt Berg


God has a very special place for each of us in His kingdom, and He has a special job, a unique mission for you which only you can fulfill. But there’s only one way that you will be able to find His will for your life—much less be able to fulfill it—and that is to be truly yielded to Him. Only then will you be able to let your dust become diamonds that show the beauty of God, bringing the Lord’s wonderful life, love, and light to as many folks as you can.

The Lord has His children here to witness to others so they too can find the heavenly love and salvation that we have found in Jesus. And the wonderful thing is, we don’t have to witness and do the Lord’s work in our own strength. In fact, if we do, we’ll just make a mess of things. We just need to yield to Him, to “let go and let God,” and He will do the work through us.

People have got to see Jesus coming through you. But if your witnessing is too full of you, they’ll just go on and figure that what you’re saying is a waste of time. This is why He tells us that it’s “not by (your) might, nor by (your) power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord. For we have this treasure (the Lord’s Spirit and His love) in earthen (fleshly) vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (Zechariah 4:6; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

Jesus even said of our work for Him, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). So we don’t ever have to worry about carrying too much or pulling too big a load. We just need to learn to submit ourselves to Jesus and let Him do His work through us. As we “cast our cares upon Him”, we “can do all things through Christ.” Hallelujah! (John 5:30, 15:5; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:13).

Jesus says, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4–5).

“Not My will, but Thine be done”

God’s Word says, “I beseech you, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove (or know) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1–2). The first requirement in finding God’s will is yieldedness to God of your mind, body, and will. As someone has said, “The major part of knowing the will of God is to be prepared to do it before you even know what it is!”

If you’re a Christian, if you’re saved and have Jesus in your heart, you are not your own. Jesus bought and paid for you and your salvation with His own blood. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19 NIV). You don’t just belong to yourself, you belong to the Lord. “Know ye not that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

If you really believe the Bible, that Jesus bled and died on the cross to save you from hell and to give you eternal heavenly life, you should be willing to do anything for Him, go through anything for Him just in plain thanks for your salvation. Your life belongs to Jesus. He bought and paid for you, so how can you not surrender your will to His?

Although He bought and paid for us with His own blood, Jesus didn’t buy us just to make us His slaves, His servants who have to do what He commands. He said, “I have not called you servants, but friends” (John 15:15). He wants us to be His friends, who do His will not just because we have to, but because we want to, because we love Him. In fact, He not only wants us to be His friends, but His beloved, His Bride. “That we should be married to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4).

He wants a Bride who can bear everlasting children for the eternal kingdom of God. “For herein is My Father glorified,” Jesus said, “that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

To be the kind of Bride He wants, you’ve got to first of all have enough faith in His love to obey and come, and strip off all the outer garments of appearances, cover-ups, and false fronts, and expose yourself to the Lord, totally yielding yourself to Him in submission and humility. You must be willing to be stripped bare before Him. You’re just you, and that’s what He wants.

Give God a chance

Our whole existence in this life is like a schooling to teach us what we need to know about the Lord and salvation and about service to the Lord and others, submission and obedience to Him and keeping His loving rules and His Law of Love. This is why the Lord tells us, “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee” (Psalm 32:9). The Lord “loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), and He seldom ever forces anyone to do His will. In fact, if we won’t do His will for love, because we love Jesus, He’d just as soon get somebody else who will. He wants and prefers volunteers who freely and willingly submit to Him and His slightest bidding.

If you’ll commit your life and will to Him and be willing to accept whatever He wants, He’s promised to mightily bless you, and you’ll be whatever He wants you to be. It reminds me of what an unknown Sunday school teacher said to a lowly teenage shoe salesman in Boston that he had led to the Lord. He said, “Dwight L. Moody, there is no limit to what God can do with a man who is yielded and willing to do His will.” Moody looked him in the eye and replied, “By the grace of God, I am determined to be that man.” And he was!

A short while later he moved to Chicago, where he began preaching the gospel and witnessing to others, and was soon so thrilled to be able to lead other folks to Jesus, that he quit the shoe business and began serving the Lord full-time. He went on to become one of the world’s greatest evangelists, with literally tens of thousands of eternal souls won as a result.

But what if Moody had not determined to yield to the Lord? What a sad loss it would have been not only to him, but to literally millions who heard the gospel through his ministry. “But,” you may argue, “I could never do anything great for the Lord like Moody did. I’m no flaming evangelist or outstanding soul winner.” Neither was Moody to begin with. He was just a poor farm boy and a below-average student who became bored with life on the farm and moved to the big city. After several weeks in the city, he set a new goal for himself—to become a big businessman and to make $100,000. Giving his life to God’s service was the last thing on his mind.

In fact, when Moody was first saved, he was so completely ignorant of God’s Word and truth that when he went before a church committee to see if they would accept him, he was refused membership. His Sunday school teacher later wrote of him. “I can truly say (and in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon Mr. Moody), that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker when he came into my Sunday school class, or one who seemed more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear, decided views of gospel truth, still less to fill any sphere of extended public usefulness.”

But when he found Jesus and he realized how much the Lord had given for him, then he determined to give his life to the Lord to do whatever God would ask of him. The Bible tells us, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). This is the secret of success of not just Moody, but of every truly great man or woman of God whom He has ever used: They drew close to the Lord and relied upon Him and His power and His Word for guidance, strength, and inspiration.

Despite all our faults, weaknesses and inabilities, there is no limit to what God can do with us if we will simply turn our lives over to Him and be willing to let Him make us what He wants us to be. Of course, that is a very big “if,” because we each have our own free will, and we can choose to either commit our lives to Him and “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), or we can seek first our own desires and our own plans and our own ways. The choice is ours.

If you’re willing to be what God wants you to be—not what you are, but what God wants you to be—then He can mightily use you. God knows you can’t do it yourself. You have to turn your life, your mind, your heart, your everything over to the Lord and let Him work through you. When you finally get to the point where you surrender to Him and give up and let go and let God, then God has a chance to step in and do it. And He will. Just give Him a chance.

When we’ve submitted our all to the Lord, then we don’t need to worry about anything. Our entire lives are in His hands, under His loving care, and the Enemy has nothing that He can get ahold of or lay claim to. In fact, to really overcome the Enemy, submission is exactly what the Lord requires. He says, “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

But as long as there’s one little dark unyielded corner of your life that you’re not willing to yield to the Lord, one little part that you refuse to surrender, the Enemy can bother you in that one little thing, plague you with that one little thing. This is why God’s Word says, “Neither give place to the Devil” (Ephesians 4:27).

I’m reminded of the story of Huddersfield: A rich landlord desired to buy an entire village, and finally he bought every piece of land in the area. That is, all except one little plot. For there was one stubborn farmer who refused to sell his tiny piece of land, and nothing would change his mind. The wealthy landowner even offered the farmer much more money than his little piece of property was worth, but the old farmer, fond of his land, absolutely refused to sell. The landlord finally gave up, but encouraged himself by saying, “What difference does just one little plot of land make? I’ve bought everything else, so Huddersfield is mine. It belongs to me!” But the stubborn old farmer overheard him and reminded him, “Oh no it doesn’t. We own Huddersfield. It belongs to you and me!”

Don’t let the Devil be able to say that of you to God. “Aha! Look, God! He’s yielded everything except this one little thing. So even though he belongs mostly to Thee, a little bit still belongs to me.” To “overcome the wicked one,” and to have the “peace of God which passes all understanding” you must commit your all to the Lord. Then, when your will is in perfect harmony with God’s will, you are safe under the shadow of His wings, and He has promised to bless you with His perfect peace (1 John 2:14; Philippians 4:7; Psalm 91). As that dear old hymn says:

You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest or be perfectly blest
Until all on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.
—E. A. Hoffman, 1905

So present your life on His altar today, ask Him to take you and use you for His glory, and He will.—As much as you will let Him. You are His child, and He loves you and will always do His best for you to make you useful and happy in His loving service for others, so that you may bring them the same life and happiness that you have found in Jesus. God bless you!


Copyright © The Family International


David Brandt Berg


Our job: Mark 16:15

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” is not an option. It’s a commandment. The message is clear. There’s no denying it or excusing ourselves. We must simply have the faith to obey, even if it means going out not knowing whither we go (Hebrews 11:8).

Jesus made it quite clear that all Christians are ordained to preach the Gospel when He said in John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.”

Therefore, it is not just a nice thing to do when we feel like it, or can find the time, but it is the God-given job and responsibility of all His true children, as Paul expressed, “For though I preach the 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). (See also Ezekiel 3:17–19.)

This is why we devote our time and energies to preaching the Gospel to every creature and winning their souls to Jesus Christ and His service for others (Mark 16:15). That’s what we’re here for: to win people to Christ! For “herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples” (John 15:8).

Man’s greatest need: Matthew 9:36–38

Regardless of nationality, country, color, or creed, the heart of man is the same the world over, and his heartaches and sorrows and sins and pains and fear of death are the same. His longings, loves, and hunger for God and His truth, for joy and happiness and peace of mind, are God-created, and the same in men the world over.

Even though many people are really seeking genuine love, they seldom, if ever, find it. For there are never enough of God’s people who are willing to show them His real love. As Jesus Himself said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Therefore,” He commanded, “pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37–8).—His vast harvest of multitudes of frozen, cold, hungry people, wandering around in darkness without God.

God’s greater solution: Acts 1:8

Only the supernatural, miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit of God Himself can do the job and win their hearts, bring them to a decision, and cause them to be born again as new creatures. Therefore, God has promised an anointing of this very power to His witnesses to help them lead others to him. “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. And ye shall be witnesses unto Me” (Acts 1:8). The purpose of the power is for witnessing.

We’ve got nothing but God, so let’s show them His Spirit! As Paul said, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5). It’s this fiery anointing that counts. If you haven’t got the fire, I don’t care how “good” a witness you are; it’s just cold, dead icicles of facts and figures, and you’ll never set anyone else on fire without it! As Jesus said, “Without Me, ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But if you do your part, and “abide in the vine,” yielding yourself to Him in submission and humility, then the Lord will do His part, and inspire you, or fill you with His Spirit, so you can “bear much fruit”—newborn babes into the kingdom of God. (See John 15:1–8.)

As a young preacher with a real love for the lost and a sincere desire to try to win the lost the churches had failed to reach, I tried everything I could think of, dreamed up every method I could imagine to try to carry the Gospel to them. I preached on the streets and in the parks; I sang at the top of my voice; I showed pictures and movies anywhere I possibly could—to reach the people outside of the church with the message of God’s love! But it was still the meeting method and the mass evangelism approach, which only had moderate success.

Then, one day I found out the exciting truth and thrilling fact that you could win more souls witnessing individually to individual people wherever you could find them, without a church or a pulpit or a meeting of any kind, anywhere, any time, and all the time, everywhere to everybody! You have to search them out individually, personally, with tender loving care and personal attention. Jesus said that the good shepherd “calleth his own sheep by name (personally, individually) and leadeth them out” (John 10:3).

As children of God, you should have love and compassion for everyone, not just your own—young or old, rich or poor, strong or weak, even if you don’t like them—“every creature!” However, God’s Spirit will lead you especially to those who really need your loving help, and who will respond in appreciation, just as it will also lead them to you.

God’s Spirit goes where there are open and receptive hearts that are hungry: He seeks the low and the humble and the contrite heart, but resists the proud. His Word says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich (or full) He hath sent empty away. … For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (Psalm 34:18; Luke 1:53; 1 Peter 5:5).

Tips to use when witnessing: Proverbs 11:30

In leading people to the Lord, you often have to inspire their faith in you before they can believe God. You are their link with God. As Jesus said, “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 13:20).

You must establish points of contact with them. There must be something in common in order for people to communicate. Use the kind of language that will win them. If it takes strong language to get the point across—use it! If it takes sweeter language, use that. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).

One of the most needed abilities in witnessing is adaptability: being able to be anything to reach anybody and to become all things to all men. This tactic of adaptability was largely responsible for much of the apostle Paul’s soul-winning success. He said, “To the Jews, I became as a Jew; that I might gain (win) the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them. … I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:20, 22).

Sometimes, all some people need is for somebody to listen, and that’s half the job of being a witness. Let’s not fail them in showing them we’re willing to listen to their troubles. Often they’re really hungriest for fellowship and companionship and real love and sympathy, just somebody to talk to, to relieve their loneliness and to feel like somebody cares and shares their misery and their needs and problems.

(Prophecy:) “To love is to weep with them, to cry with them, to suffer with them that suffer, and to feel the agony of heart with them whose hearts are broken!”

Simplicity of the Gospel

I led a lot of people to the Lord with only John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That’s all you really need to know to win souls. You shouldn’t try to cram the whole Bible into the people you’re witnessing to anyhow. Often it’s good enough to harp on a verse or two until they’ve got them so memorized they can’t forget them.

Beware lest ye be led away from the simplicity of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3). Except ye be as a little child, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). You’ve got to be a baby! And babies don’t waste most of their time arguing over theoretical, theological, doctrinal shibboleths.

On answering questions

Answer sincere questions honestly and show people the truth, and if they really want to know, God will show them. “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27). You don’t necessarily have to always give them the answers they want, but the answers they need.

But it’s good to be aware that there are those that ask questions not because they want the answer, but because their minds are already made up and they don’t want to be confused with the facts, but are only trying to trap you or waste your time. This happened to Jesus, when the self-righteous Pharisees tried to trap Him with His own words. “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge Him vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things; laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him” (Luke 11:53–54).

Don’t try to cram the truth down the throats of those who don’t want it. Seek out the hungry sheep. Jesus walked miles out of His way in the heat of day to love and win one wicked woman at a well. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

This lowly lady at the well was so thrilled about her experience with this stranger named Jesus that she “left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, ‘Come see a man that told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?’” And as a result of her personal testimony, “many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman” (John 4:39–42).

So when witnessing, it often helps to give your own personal testimony. They can hardly deny that without calling you a liar, and they’re not likely to do that if you present it with earnest sincerity, love, and power of the Spirit—real conviction.

Lift up Jesus, who said, “If I be lifted up. I will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). Preach Christ.

On your greatest witness: Love

Your greatest witness is love, for the only love of God they can see is the love they see in you. If you don’t show them the love they can see and feel, they’re going to have a hard time believing that there is someone up there whom they don’t know and that He really loves them.

So you should always drop a little love into the hearts of those you pass by, even if only with a word, a smile, or a look of sympathy, and they will know that God has loved them that day. His Spirit will tell them so. It never fails, because “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and it’s impossible for Him to fail! And He will help us not to fail if we are willing to win them with the kind of love that led Jesus to the cross to lay down His life for you, to die that you might live.

That is the only kind of love that’s going to win the world: the love of Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Let them know that the true God is a good God who is kind and loving and concerned about His children, and who hates war and deplores the poverty of the poor and their suffering, and is determined to set things right soon.

On prayer power

It’s always helpful to have prayer with them, if the occasion warrants. Never underestimate the power of prayer. There are very few people who don’t respect prayer, or at least your right to pray.

You can show them that Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door (of their heart) and knock: If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). In other words, they can ask Him to come into their heart with all His love, life, liberty, truth, peace, plenty, and happiness—here, now, and forever.

Sometimes I hang onto my subject’s hand with both of mine for a word of prayer, or to try to get them to make a decision, and often they really break and accept the Lord. There’s something electrifying about prayer. As Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

The results and rewards of soul-wooing: Daniel 12:3

Spiritually, everyone you witness to, you’re wooing them in the spirit—wooing and loving and sowing the seed of God’s Word in the spirit. When the soul is receptive, the seed just pours in, and then you bear a spiritual baby!

This is the end result and greatest goal of soul-wooing, a newborn babe in the family of God, a whole new created soul made by the hands of God for all eternity to enjoy—the only thing we can take with us from this world.

As Paul wrote to one of his flocks, “We preached unto you the Gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:9), and “Ye received the Word of God, which ye heard of us” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). They got saved! Then, referring to Jesus’ return, he says, “For what is our crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye (the souls he had won) in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

These are the gifts the Lord is most pleased with: the lives and hearts of men. There was always a glorious presentation of gifts before the conquering king. We, God’s victorious army, will lay at His feet—the feet of the conquering King—the souls we have recaptured from the Enemy!

So get out and do your best for Jesus and lost souls, and God himself will reward you with everlasting souls and joy of the Lord for a job well done which has reaped much fruit, whose fellowship we shall enjoy in God’s Family, both now and forevermore, and for which both you and they will be eternally thankful and God everlastingly grateful! “Well done,” He’ll say, “thou good and faithful servant. … Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:23). Hallelujah! They that win many shall shine (Daniel 12:3).


Copyright © The Family International

Whose Fool Are You?

David Brandt Berg


Man can’t help but believe in God if he just looks at creation. If you have a reasoning mind, all you have to do is look at the creation to know that somebody had to design it, pattern it, and put it together and make it work as it does. It’s obvious when you look around you that all that didn’t just happen by accident. Somebody had to plan it and figure it out, because God’s beautiful creation works so beautifully, so systematically, so perfectly. God designed it; it’s created.

If you look at the sea, the sky, the clouds, the mountains, the valleys, the trees, the flowers, they’re all virtually shouting, “There is a God. Look what He made. Look what a beautiful world He made for you to live in!”

The Bible says, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Many people who claim they don’t believe in God actually do believe, but they’re in rebellion against God. They don’t want to know Him and they don’t want to confess that He exists, because if they do, then they have to recognize Him. And if they recognize Him, then they have to admit that they owe Him some kind of acknowledgment and obeisance and obedience.

The greatest proof of the existence of God is His creation. That’s why the theory of evolution is so damnable and ridiculous, because it tries to explain away creation by saying that it just happened by accident and it threw itself together.

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). His invisible existence is manifested or proven by the things you can see—His creation. The existence of our invisible God is proven by His visible creation.

That is why many people reject creationism and opt to believe in chaotic evolution. If the world and its inhabitants are God’s creation, then they’re His property—and if they’re His property, then He’s got the right to be boss—and they don’t want God to be boss. Therefore “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28).

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21–22). They decided that they could do without God and the Bible, and so they became absolute fools, who “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man … Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:23, 25).

Evolution—the theory that it all just happened by accident, that it all just kind of fell together—is the hardest thing in the world to believe. Just as there had to be a watchmaker behind the synchronized perfection and order of every watch, so there had to be a Creator behind the synchronized perfection of the universe.

Evolutionary theory has become the general theme of modern so-called science. And yet, evolution has never been proven to be either a truth or a fact. There is no proof for evolution. It has to be believed. Even Charles Darwin himself, who developed this theory, confessed that “the belief in natural selection (evolution) must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations… When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed … nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory.”

Some of those fossils that were supposed to be the missing links have now been debunked. Some were even confessed fakes, like Piltdown Man and Java Man.

“In the beginning, God,” not chaos, not some nebulous cloud of gases, but “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the right book, the Bible.

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27). Mankind didn’t look like some ape man or monkey, or some fish or bird. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Creation is the premise and preface and basic foundation of the entire Bible.

Evolution has no foundation in fact; there’s no evidence for it; no discovery has been made to prove it. The Bible prophesies that in the last days, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3–4). This time has come and these days are here, and their ears have turned from the truth and are turned unto fables—like evolution.

Do you believe in God? Look at the world, look at the beautiful trees, look at the flowers, look at the sea, look at the sky! Does God love you? You can see it and you can feel it in the beautiful world He’s given you to live in.

God is the only one who can give meaning to the universe and purpose to the planets and love to our hearts and peace to our minds and health to our bodies and rest to our spirits and happiness to our lives and joy to our souls and the wisdom to know that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” and “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (Proverbs 9:10; 1 Corinthians 3:19). Take Jesus and His truth today. God bless you.


Copyright © The Family International

What Will You Do With Jesus?

David Brandt Berg


What will you do with Jesus? Have you taken Him into your heart? Or will you take Him into your heart now, tonight, or today, or whatever time it is wherever you are?

It doesn’t matter where you are. You don’t have to be in a church building or a temple or a synagogue or a mosque. You can receive Jesus wherever you are; you can take Him into your heart right now. All you have to do is ask Him into your heart. You don’t even have to do it out loud, or pray aloud, or lift your hand, although sometimes we like to see it, to know that you’re asking Him in.

All you have to do is pray in your heart, “Jesus, please come into my heart.” For He’s knocking at your heart’s door. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice—I’m calling you—and will open the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20). He’s promised. All you have to do is open your heart’s door and ask Jesus to come in. Just open your heart’s door. He didn’t even say you have to ask Him. Just the fact that you open your heart and want Him, means He’ll come in.

Do you hear His voice tonight in your heart, in your own guilty conscience? In your spirit do you feel the conviction of His Spirit of love? Do you hear Him knocking at your heart’s door? All you have to do now is go to the door and open it, and He will come in. Have you done that? Did you want Jesus to come in? Then you opened the door.

You didn’t have to say a word! You didn’t have to raise your hand. You didn’t have to walk the aisle of some church or kneel at some altar. You didn’t have to pray aloud. You didn’t have to shake the preacher’s or the priest’s hand. You didn’t have to go through confirmation. You didn’t have to go through the whole missal. You didn’t have to go through the prayer book. You didn’t have to read the whole Bible first.

All you had to do is feel that tugging of His precious, loving Holy Spirit in your heart and want Him to come into your heart. Just open the door, and He said, “I will come in.” It’s a promise. If you wanted Him to come in, you opened the door of your heart and there He stood smiling in love, and then He walked straight into your heart. You didn’t have to say a word. You didn’t have to beckon Him to come in. You didn’t have to beg Him or plead with Him. All you had to do is turn the knob on that door, unlock that hard, resistant door, and open your heart’s door to Him, and He came in.

He said, “I will come in. If any man open the door, I will come in.” Did you open the door? Then He came in, and He’s now in your heart, in your soul, in your life forever, and forever after. If you opened the door and you wanted Him to come in, He has come in.

Now Christ lives in you, your hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Now Jesus is in your heart. He’s going to change your life. He’s going to help you to love Him more and love others more. He’s going to make you hungry for spiritual food, food for your soul from His Word, the Bible. He’s going to make you so hungry, like a little baby at his mother’s breast.

“Except ye be as a little child, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 18:17). For He says, “Ye must be born again of water,” the first time, “and of the Spirit,” the second time, “or ye shall not see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). You have to be reborn spiritually. You’ve been born once already, physically, of water in your mother’s bag of waters from which you came. But you must be reborn spiritually, a new birth, born again, or you’ll never see the kingdom of God.

If you’re therefore born twice this way, you’ll only die once. But if you’re only born once, you will die twice—the first a physical death, and then a spiritual second death, a terrible death to contemplate, if for no other reason than it’s just away from God, separated from Him, out of His fellowship. Even there, nothing can separate you, really, from His love and His mercy (Romans 8:38–39). Someday He’s going to have mercy on you anyway, but you’ll have to suffer and learn lessons first.

Why not take Him today? Why not open the door now, receive Him right now in your heart? In Jesus’ name. Just in your own consciousness, in your own mind, in your own heart, by voluntarily opening the door, wanting Him to come in, and He’s promised to come in. He has come in if you did that. He’s already living in you, and He’ll help you to love Him and love others and love His Word and love to tell others about Him and what great love and joy and peace and happiness He’s given you, and wonderful forgiveness for your sins, a clean heart.

“For the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). All sin. A-L-L, all sin. Past, present, and future. You don’t have to worry about mortal sins and venial sins, sins you can be forgiven and sins that you’re supposedly not forgiven, sins that you only have to go to purgatory for and other sins that you’ll have to go to hellfire for. You don’t have to worry about all those different kinds of sins, because you’re going to be forgiven for all your sins: past, present, and future. He promised, “For the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” Praise God!

You know you’ve done things you shouldn’t have. You know you’ve done things that were wrong, that were unloving, unkind, and hurt others, that hurt God and His loving Holy Spirit. You know that you’re a sinner. There’s no use trying to pretend you’re not, because His Word says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There’s none righteous; no, not one. For all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to our own way. But the Lord has laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all” (Romans 3:23, 10; Isaiah 53:6).

Lord, help them right this moment, even as we pray, or perhaps they’ve already done it, already wished You’d come in, already wanted You to come in, already opened their heart’s door and invited You into their hearts, and You have come in. We hope so, Lord. This could be their last chance.

You’ve done everything You could to convince them, convict them, love them, draw them, pull them, trying to persuade them with Your voice of love outside the door. But if they will not open that door, You’re not going to batter Your way in. You’re not going to force Your way in. You’re not going to insist on coming in. Just the meek and lowly Jesus will stand there still knocking at their heart’s door until their hour’s past and their time has come.

Lord, if they’ll just come now, You promised You’d receive anybody, that You’d come into anybody’s heart. “He that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). If they come to You right now, Lord, in their hearts, invite You in, You won’t cast them out. You’ll receive them, forgive them, save them, and make them happy forever. We hope they have, Lord. For we know if they have, they will be happy here and now and forever as they love and serve You and love and serve others and try to make them happy too, in Jesus’ name.

God bless you! I hope you have made that choice and received Jesus. Goodnight, good-bye, good day, good afternoon, good morning. Whatever it is, wherever you are around the world, Jesus loves you. Remember that: Jesus loves you!


Copyright © The Family International

What Is “Strong”?

David Brandt Berg


Your usefulness to the Lord and His kingdom depends upon your yieldedness to Him and His will. To be truly “strong in the Lord,” to have the kind of strength that God can and will use, you’ve got to be submitted to Him and led and inspired by His Spirit.

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24; 1 Corinthians 1:31).

This was the main difference between David and Saul: David relied on the Lord and gave Him all the glory. He knew that if it wasn’t for God, he’d just be a shepherd boy out in the fields somewhere. It was God who made him what he was, and he knew it.

In the beginning, Saul knew that too. He was very shy. When Samuel came to anoint him, the Bible says he was so shy that he went and “hid himself among the stuff,” even though he was head and shoulders above his brethren. (See 1 Samuel 10:21–23.)

The trouble was that he soon forgot that it was only the Lord. It went to his head, and he thought it was Saul who put him where he was. He got to thinking it was his own arm that had saved him, that it was his own brilliance that had made him king. So God said to him, “When thou wast little in thine own eyes, I did highly exalt thee” (1 Samuel 15:17). But when he became exalted and lifted up in his own eyes, God had to greatly abase him.

Saul is a good example of someone with a lot of natural strength and ability. He was a big man, head and shoulders above his brethren, a man of talents, a man of ability, a great leader, a good organizer, a tremendous king. God was with him and God blessed him as long as he was yielded and obedient to the Lord. But when the day came that Saul thought he could get along without obeying the Lord, without heeding God’s Word or obeying His prophet, that he could do things his own way, that was the beginning of his end.

Saul got to where he thought that he knew better than God, that he knew better than the prophet. He became rebellious and disobedient and went his own way and wrecked everything, including his own career and family.

Saul’s problem was that he began to trust in his own strength and his own wisdom and his own arm instead of the Lord. Look where it got him! He lost the kingdom and his place in it, and the whole thing had to be given to somebody else who was led of the Spirit and the Lord and not just his own mind and wisdom. What a sad, sad story! But what a good reminder to all of us that none of us are smart enough or strong enough in ourselves. We need to constantly cling to the Lord and continually seek His guidance.

Although he was called, ordained, designed and gifted by the Lord, because of his unyieldedness and disobedience, God was through with Saul, and had to toss him on the scrapheap of history—a brittle, unbending, unyielded, unusable tool who kept going his own way and kept going further and further astray till God had to choose a little shepherd boy out of the field, a little nobody, to take his place.

To be truly “strong in the Lord,” you’ve got to be strong in faith—which Saul obviously wasn’t. It was his lack of faith in God and God’s Word that caused him to disobey and go ahead in his own strength. He lacked faith because he didn’t heed the Word of God, and as a result he completely came to nought. (See 1 Samuel 13:8–14.)

No matter how talented you are, how great you are, how terrific you are, what great ideas you have, if they’re not God’s ideas, you’ll fail, and fall flat on your face like Saul did. You’ll go the way of all flesh instead of the way of the Spirit. The way of Saul instead of the way of David. Saul tried to do things in his own strength, and he found he wasn’t strong enough. David learned you have to let God do everything.

“It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). Regardless of all your gifts, talents, and strengths, without the Lord’s anointing and inspiration, you’ll never be as greatly used by God as He wants you to be. What makes you and your accomplishments really great is the greatness God gives—His Spirit, His inspiration.

Without the Spirit, there is no anointing or power, no real emotion. The fire’s gone! What good is a furnace when its fire goes out? It’s cold and dark and useless! Regardless of all of its intricate parts and wonderful abilities and marvelous design, without the fire, it’s dead, cold, and dark!

Whether your talents and strengths are many or few, to truly be used of the Lord to bring His life, light, and warmth to others, you must be yielded and obedient to Him. That’s the key.

So what is strength? True strength, godly strength, strength that God can use for His glory? It’s the result of believing God’s Word, yielding to God’s will, and obeying His plan and humbly fulfilling the role He has for you. God bless you as you yield to Him and let Him have His way in your life!


Copyright © The Family International

We’ve Got a Lot to Learn

David Brandt Berg


It’s good for you to make a mistake; it keeps you humble! I make lots of them. If I didn’t make some mistakes, I’d probably get really proud and think I was very wholly sanctified and couldn’t sin. If I didn’t make some mistakes, I’d probably get proud of my sanctimonious holiness! But it seems like the Lord makes me one of the biggest mistake-makers in the world to keep me humble.

Even St. Paul had a thorn in the flesh, which he said he figured was to keep him humble. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, a rabbi. After his tremendous conversion—which helped to humble him, even being blind for a while—then he became a Christian and such a powerhouse for the Lord and such an evangelist, such a missionary—he even had revelations, trips to heaven and whatnot—he might have gotten pretty proud over being such an outstanding Christian, undoubtedly the greatest of the apostles.

So St. Paul said he figured that’s why he had that thorn in the flesh. And what was it? Was it actually a sticker in his side? We’re not exactly told what it is, but from other scriptures about, “Behold with what large characters I write unto you” and “Some of you would have given me your own eyes,” it sounds like he had very poor eyesight, and that could have been a part of his thorn in the flesh (Galatians 6:11; 4:15).

It says he was buffeted by a messenger of Satan, an evil spirit that plagued St. Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7). He was pestered by it, annoyed by it; it just kept bothering him! Evil spirits cannot possess Christians, because we are the possession of the Lord! We are possessed by Christ and He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will never allow us to fall; we will always be His. All kinds of promises guarantee that you belong to Jesus and that the Devil cannot have you. But he sure as hell can pester you, tempt you, and test you, just as he did Job!

So St. Paul had to admit he was being plagued by a demon, “buffeted about by a messenger of Satan.” Here he was the greatest Christian in the world at the time, the greatest leader of the Christian faith, greatest missionary, evangelist, teacher, and rabbi; it seemed like he had it all. He’d had all kinds of revelations, he was a lawyer of the Word, he was brilliant. And yet he had this thorn in the flesh that kept bothering him to keep him humble. He confessed that he figured that’s what it was for. He said, “Lest I be exalted.”

Job and self-righteousness

Look at all the trouble the Devil caused poor old Job! He destroyed his home, he destroyed his cattle, all his wealth, he killed all his children, and then he made him so sick his wife wished he’d curse God and die (Job 2:9). But it finally humbled him. He thought he was pretty good up until that time; he thought he was pretty righteous, and he goes on arguing with his so-called “comforters.” They weren’t very comforting; they were constantly accusing him of some kind of sin. “You must have done something wrong or you wouldn’t be in this shape!” And they were right.

Even God was bragging about Job, how good he was! But the Devil is the prosecutor, the accuser of the saints (Revelation 12:10). He’s a snoop, and he noses around and finds what your weakness is and what your problem is, and he does his best to aggravate it. And what was dear Job’s problem? Self-righteousness.

One of his accusers really hit the nail on the head when he said, “Job, can a man be found to be righteous with God?” (Job 4:17). Job was contending and arguing that he was righteous and saying, “How come? Why me, Lord? Why did You do this to me when I’m so good?” He had been thinking he was pretty good, pretty righteous, and that in itself was a sin!

Self-righteousness, thinking you’re good and righteous and holy, is the most abhorrent of all sins because you think you know better than God, that you would do things differently; that you’re even more righteous than God. That’s the way Job seemed to be thinking: “God, if I were You, I wouldn’t do this to me. How come You’re not as righteous as I am? How come You’re doing these things to me when I’m so good?”

So poor old Job had to finally confess that he wasn’t righteous. And he finally confessed that he had to just trust the Lord, not his own righteousness. When his wife told him to just curse God and die, he said, “Though He slay me,” even if God slays me, “yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). In other words, he was attesting to the righteousness of God. “Even if God kills me, I will trust that He knew best and that He was righteous in so doing.”

So that was the worst sin of all, the sin of the scribes and the Pharisees, hypocritical self-righteousness!

How do we know we’re not righteous? The best answer you could give is: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And another verse that goes right with it: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

We’re all a mess! We’re all sinners. We all harbor evil in our hearts except for the Lord. “The heart of man is desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). God’s Word says you’re even born in sin. But that doesn’t mean it’s a sin to be born. It says, “And in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).

Probably a lot of people tried to worship King David because he was such a great man and so wonderful and did such wonderful things, in spite of all his evil. He was a murderer, a wife stealer, a liar, a cheat, a hypocrite; he was just about everything you could think of that was evil in those early days. I like to think, according to his Psalms, that he vastly improved later, so there’s some hope for me too!

Angels have choice

The quicker you find out that you’re not God, the better. And you’re not even a god, as the Devil promised (Genesis 3:5)! You’re sons of God and we will become like gods, like the lesser gods, so to speak, like angels, even greater than angels. Man was made a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5), but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stay there.

We’re even going to judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). If a third of the angels could fall along with Satan, and he could lead a third of them astray, I therefore disagree with the preachers I’ve heard saying that angels are like automatons or robots and have no will of their own; they just do the will of God. I’ve heard preachers preach like that, that they’re not like us, that we are the only ones upon whom God conferred the majesty of choice and decision to choose to serve the Lord.

We’re the only ones whom God saved this way. But if the archangel of all angels, Satan, the right hand of God, could choose to go against God, and then a third of the angels choose to follow him, don’t tell me the rest of the angels don’t have any choice! It wouldn’t be to their credit that they stayed with the Lord, would it? About the only thing to your credit for being saved is that you made the choice. You reached out the hand of faith and accepted the gift. That’s not much credit, but God will give you credit for it by saving you. So I believe angels must have choice.

We keep learning

If you didn’t have that human frailty, that human weakness to make wrong decisions and to fail, then there would not be the freedom of choice, the majesty of free will that God implanted in every heart, including, apparently, in the hearts of the angels, to make a choice, to voluntarily love and serve Him. Jesus said, “I have not called you servants, but friends. For the Master doesn’t tell everything to His servants, His slaves” (John 15:15). He wanted you as friends. He wanted you as His beloved; not only friends, but His bride!

Do you mean, then, that if angels and holy spirits have choices, that they may also have temptations and maybe they make a mistake once in a while? Those holy spirits, the saints, are human just like you and me! And just because you suddenly get a spirit body in the next world and you suddenly have some powers you didn’t have before, such as appearing and disappearing and walking through walls and flying and a few things like that, sorry to have to tell you this to your great disappointment, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never again make a mistake or never again make the wrong choice.

In the next world we are still learning, still developing, and we are not yet perfected. We will be the spirits of just men—in other words, good men—made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). But when? We’re being made perfect. It’s a continuative tense; it means, “I am being made perfect!

We use this verse for salvation a lot, that if you believe in your heart in Jesus, that God’s raised Him from the dead, it says to confess Him: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10). The Greek literally says, “If thou shalt keep on confessing.” If you’re saved you’ll keep on confessing Christ; you’ll continually confess Christ. That tense in the Greek is used many times in the Bible. There’s not a verb conjugation for it in English; there’s no way of saying it except to use words like I have: You’ve got to keep on confessing and we’re going to keep on learning and keep on being made perfect. We’ve got a long way to go before we become perfect, if ever!

Did you think that the minute you died and went to heaven you were going to be absolutely perfect? How could you be when you’ve been so imperfect down here? You’re the same person with the same thoughts, the same mind. That’s a part of the marvel and the wonder of this process of being made perfect, that it continues. And who knows, maybe there’s no end to it.

It’s wonderful to be able to make progress and continue. Even St. Paul said, “I do not count myself to have arrived”—and he probably hasn’t arrived yet, except in heaven (Philippians 3:13)!

Life is a learning process

Life is a learning process. And you don’t learn it by snapping your fingers or suddenly getting an injection!—Or like you’ve seen in some of these sci-fis where they put a skull cap on one guy and drain his brain and put all of his knowledge in your head. Wouldn’t that be nice? It would be so easy! But look what you would miss—this trial-and-error process, this trying-and-learning process.

Look how a baby learns. Why didn’t God have babies born like some of the animals, where they could just get up and walk around right off the bat? Baby goats and lambs and cows and horses can stand up within a few minutes after they’re born and walk around and follow their mothers—because they have to. Their mothers are busy wandering all over the pasture eating grass and can’t just stay there all the time letting them nurse.

Human babies are almost the most helpless babies in the world. Lots of other babies are made so they can almost shift for themselves as soon as they’re born. But isn’t it wonderful to watch a baby learn and grow? Even while he’s still in his mother’s tummy the baby is learning; he’s hearing sounds, voices, music, recognizing voices, even recognizing music.

They learn so many things! It’s so marvelous to watch them learn, and watch them learn the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong. There are a few things God puts innately in you as instincts, they’re called. An instinct is a talent that is not acquired; you don’t have to learn it. It’s a knowledge of something that God put in you that you just know how to do without it ever being taught or learned.

Don’t you think God enjoys watching you learn things? Even by mistakes, trial and error? And don’t you learn things better that way and for sure that way? Isn’t experience really the best teacher? Sometimes it’s the hardest, but you know, about the only mistakes I never made again in school—some of the only ones I ever remember—are the ones I made on a test, facts or figures where I made a mistake and got the answer wrong. I never forgot that again, let me tell you!

But some people are “ever learning and never coming to a knowledge” (2 Timothy 3:7). As the old Indian used to say, “The difference between white man and Indian is, Indian no make same mistake twice!”

The learning process is a marvelous thing! That’s what we’re here for. That’s what Adam and Eve in the Garden was all about. Why didn’t God just create them with the knowledge of good and evil and how to be good and not be bad? What was the surest way to learn, to really know and never forget? Of course, some people never seem to learn and they never seem to even try; they always forget!

Even when you make mistakes once in a while, it helps you to learn that it feels so good when you don’t. Because we all make them! We’re all sinners! “There’s none righteous, no, not one. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Nobody’s perfect.

That’s what life is all about! It’s all about, believe it or not, not being perfect. The Christian life is a constant learning process. I don’t mean you learn to be saved; you’re saved the minute you believe and Jesus comes into your heart. You believe the Word and you receive Christ, and you’re saved then and there. Because that’s a gift; you had nothing to do with learning it or earning it!

It’s a miracle of God. He does it all for you, He’s already done it, and it’s finished! But that is just the beginning of learning how to be a Christian and live a Christian life, to love others, and even how to love God and how to be faithful and how to be loyal, how to be diligent.

Learning in eternity

Then you have to die, and then you’ve got a thousand years and all eternity to learn all the things you didn’t learn while you were a flesh-and-blood human being. I think God has an awful lot of things to teach us, to learn all the things we didn’t learn in this life.

Not only this life, but the Millennium and eternity are a constant learning process, another grade, another step. Aren’t you glad you’ve got eternity to learn it? I’m going to look forward to the Millennium to learn a few things I haven’t learned yet. I’ve got a lot of questions to ask, for one thing, but I’ve probably got a lot of bad habits to cure and a lot of my failures to make up for. There’s so much!

How could you possibly think you could just somehow get a shot in the head the minute you die and go to heaven and suddenly you know it all? You’d be like God! Suddenly you’d have it all, know it all, be all-powerful. If you were that way you’d be God Himself. He’s the only one who is omniscient; that means He knows it all. He’s the only one that’s omnipresent; that means everywhere. He’s the only one that’s omnipotent; that means all-powerful. Not you, not me.

Now doesn’t that challenge you more than sitting on a cloud playing a harp for eternity? Why eternity if you know it all the minute you get there? What’s it for? We can call it time, but it’s eternity. What’s all that eternity for? If you’ve made it, you have arrived, you’ve got it all, you know it all and you’re all-powerful, what’s the use of living? What’s the challenge? What’s all that time for? I call it time for lack of a better word, but what’s all that eternity for? What’s it all for if you’ve arrived and got it all and know it all the minute you get there and it’s all over, no more problems?

There are a lot of things there aren’t going to be any more of: pain, death, sickness and sorrow (Revelation 21:4). He doesn’t say there’s not going to be any more tears, but He says He’s going to wipe away our tears. I think there’s still going to be some pain and obviously death. It says a child will die in the Millennium and there will be sorrow and tears in this world, but not with us.

Thank God, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for; there are going to be a lot of things done and finished that we’ll never have to worry about again. We’ve got so many new things to do and new things to learn and new problems, that we can’t be afflicted with all those things we used to have.

We’re making progress

Thank God, when we get to the next life, we won’t have to relearn a lot of the things we’ve already learned. There are some things you’ve already learned and it’s past, and thank God it’s done! You don’t have to learn that anymore; isn’t that wonderful?

Aren’t there some things in your adult life, thank God, that you have learned and that you don’t have to learn anymore?—That you surely have learned and learned enough and made enough of those mistakes that you’re not going to make them any longer? Thank God there are some things that we have learned.

There’s one good thing about looking back, and about the only good thing about looking back. The Lord says, “Don’t look back; look forward to the things that are before” (Philippians 3:13–14)—except for one thing: to see all the progress you’ve made.

That’s one advantage to looking back, at least you can see where you’ve been. Don’t you feel like you’ve made some progress when you look back and you see how you used to be, things you used to do, what you used to be like? Thank God for the progress you have made! Thank Him for where you have been. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling of satisfaction, of fulfillment, of a certain amount of completion? Didn’t you always have a certain feeling of real satisfaction when you graduated from a grade in school or in college?

Don’t sorrow over what you are today. The Lord said not to worry about yesterday and not to worry about tomorrow. The trouble with a lot of people is, they’re not only worried about yesterday, the past, they’re also worried about the future; and worst of all, they’re worried about right now, lamenting over the way they are now. They can’t even correct the present—they certainly can’t correct the past—but you can change the future, your future in a sense, by trying to change your present.

Look how marvelous it is that you’ve come this far! Don’t you think the Lord rejoices over it too? Don’t you think He gets excited about it just like you do every time the baby takes a new step or learns a new word or makes a little progress or that child learns to read? I still don’t know anything compared to what I’m learning and hope to learn! All the things I still don’t know about the Bible, all the things I still don’t know about nature and creation and heaven and the future!

Thank God for the past—that it’s gone and over with and done, and you don’t have to go through that again. I still make some mistakes, bad mistakes sometimes, but I hope I’m learning. Don’t you hope you’re learning? Don’t you hope you’re not going to make any more of those mistakes again? That you’re going to learn here so that you won’t have to learn there because you still hadn’t learned?

That’s what the future is all about, to continue the process that you have begun here. We’ve got a lot not only to be thankful for, the past that’s over, but we’ve got a lot yet to learn!

Would you like to undo some of the things you did in the past but now it’s too late, you figure it’s impossible, the damage is done? What if God gives you another chance to meet that person over there and straighten that thing out and undo it and tell them you’re sorry and help them to undo the damage you did? Wouldn’t you like to do that?

Aren’t there some things in your past you’d like to undo if God gave you another chance? I believe God’s going to give you a chance to do some of the things you failed to do and make things right with some of the people you hurt. Doesn’t that give you a good feeling, to think God’s going to give you a chance to do some of the things you failed to do here and undo some of the things you did?

That’s what this life is about, that’s what the Millennium’s about, that’s what eternity is about! That’s what it’s all about, why God made you and created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden and all the rest. Because you’ve got a lot of learning to do, and it takes time to really learn.

It’s all a part of God’s plan and process to make you learn for yourself what you can, and He will give you what you can’t! So be thankful for the past, that it’s over with. Be thankful for the present, that you’re learning, even if you’re not always successful. And thank God for the future when you can finish the job, we hope, or at least keep on with the job and do even better!

Thank You, Lord, for the past, the present, and the future. Thank You for all Your blessings, both the good and the bad, even the bad that taught us things in the past, and all the good things, and for the present, the better things, and for the future, the best things! Give us a good day to learn whatever we need to learn today, or to lean however we need to lean today on You, and on others. And Lord, to rest in whatever way we need to rest, and to love in whatever way we need to love! In Jesus’ name we ask, for Thy glory. Amen.


Copyright © The Family International.

Psalm 1

David Brandt Berg


“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1). What does it mean to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly? Don’t walk according to their advice. “Nor standeth in the way of sinners.” Certainly don’t stand, much less follow the way sinners do things!

“Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Who do you suppose the scornful are ridiculing? The Lord and God’s children.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (v. 2). The law of the Lord is the Bible, of course, because the Bible is God’s Word.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (v. 3). He will be fruitful. In his season. Nearly everything has its season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Every country has its season for harvest, so don’t get discouraged when you’re not having a big reaping.

A farmer is a man of great faith and patience. Farmers have vision, faith, and patience because they know they have to do a lot of work first—plowing and sowing and watering and fertilizing and weeding and tending the crop until they finally get a harvest, which is usually not more than once a year. Winning souls is like that too. We spend a lot of time plowing and sowing the Word and watering with our tears.

So don’t get discouraged if you’re not always reaping. Our job is mostly planting. We can do some of the watering—weeping and praying that the Lord will bless it. There’s one who planteth and another watereth and another reapeth, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6–7). God is the one who actually makes it grow. The increase means growing.

“His leaf also shall not wither.” First of all, what is our fruit? Souls saved. I’ve asked this of many church groups and they would say love, joy, peace, longsuffering. That’s what they thought, because they had not been taught that they’re to win souls and pray for souls.

What’s the fruit of an apple if you plant it? More apples! The fruit of Christians should be more Christians—not love, joy, peace, and longsuffering. That’s not your fruits; that’s the fruit of the Spirit in you (Galatians 5:22–23). Of course, it can result in your fruit. But except a seed or a kernel of grain fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone (John 12:24).

If you keep a bunch of seeds in the package and never get out the Word, it’s just all by itself. But if you plant it, then it falls to the ground and dies. In other words, you bury it—in a sense it dies—but it brings forth more fruit, everything after its kind (Genesis 1:12).

So if our fruit is souls, more Christians, what are our leaves? It says, “His leaf also shall not wither.” When you picture a tree growing by the water, what do you suppose the “river of water” represents? The Word of God: the Word watering the tree so it bears fruit and it has leaves.

What are the leaves? Let’s take an actual tree in botany. It’s a little factory which carries on the process of photosynthesis, which is a process caused by the action of sunshine and the fluids in the leaves which produces chlorophyll, for one thing, which makes it green, and various sugars. It absorbs oxygen at night and it produces oxygen in the daytime, and that’s going on all the time.

But the main process that it conducts is called photosynthesis, which is the manufacture of sugars in the sap of the tree by the aid of sunlight, which feeds the tree and produces fruit So if each little leaf is a factory which is not actually producing the fruit, but is producing the things that bear the fruit, what are your leaves? Our works! Factories are often called works. The iron works, the steel works, etc.

“His leaf also shall not wither” means your works are not going to wither, dry up, and blow away. You’re going to have good strong works that are going to last at least for the season. Your leaf, your works, shall not wither. They’ll be fruitful works, works that will not be burned.

But a lot of people’s works are going to be burned just like dry dead leaves when they face the Lord at judgment. Even the saved at the Judgment Seat of Christ, if their works are not of pure gold, silver, and substantial metal—in other words, real valuable works—but are just wood, hay, and stubble, they’re going to be burned (1 Corinthians 3:12–15).

What do you do with old dry leaves when they fall off? You burn them! But if you’re this kind of tree, your works will never wither. “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” That’s a promise. If you’re like this tree, everything you do will prosper.

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (v. 4). The chaff blows away the light flimsy stuff that’s not good grain. “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment” (v. 5). “What do you mean ‘the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment’? I thought they were going to stand in the Great White Throne Judgment of God?” (Revelation 20:11–15). They shall not stand in the judgment. It means they’re going to be knocked down, put down! They’ll not be able to stand the judgments of God.

“Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous”—they’re not going to be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” He knows your way; in fact, it’s sure. “But the way of the ungodly shall perish” (v. 6).

Just think, your way is going to last forever, because it’s the Lord’s way. It’s not the way of the sinners; it’s not the way of the ungodly. All that will perish and be blown away with the chaff in the wind of God’s judgments. But the Lord’s way, the way of the righteous, is going to last forever.

Thank You for Your wonderful Word and the encouragement it is, Lord, and the strength it gives us. Help us to be like that tree planted by the rivers of water, and continue to keep us fruitful and in Your will. In Jesus’ name.


Copyright © The Family International