FEBRUARY 22

Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 5
     Job 22
     Luke 8
     I Corinthians 9
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me I do not preach the gospel!'' (I Corinthians 9:16)                       ·
 
IS GOD CALLING YOU?
            In our memory verse, Paul is remembering the call of God upon his life and declaring a necessity to obey that call. Because of his call, the one passion of Paul's life was to proclaim the Gospel of God.  He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment and tribulation for only one reason - these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God.
Everyone who is saved is called to be a witness for Christ and to testify to the fact of His salvation. That however, is not the same as the call of God to preach, but is merely an illustration that can be used in preaching.
            Paul was emphasizing a compelling force of God's call upon him to preach the gospel. I have been asked often, ''how can you know when you are called to preach?'' I assure you, you will know. Second only to the day of my salvation, the most memorable experience of my life was when God clearly called me to preach His Word. Because of that, I can do nothing else. Even the attempt to do something else would cause me to be most miserable.
            I remember going to my godly pastor to share with him that God had called me to preach. The aging white-haired man said to me, ''Son if you can do anything else, don't preach." I was momentarily offended by what he had said, but later I understood. Because I am called, I can do nothing else but preach the Gospel.
            Paul is telling us of the stinging pains produced in him by the compelling force of the call to preach the gospel.
One of the aspects of the ministry that God has given to our organization is to train men of God throughout the world that are called to preach the Gospel. We have discovered some men who have seen preaching the Gospel as a good vocation where they could make a comfortable living. They don't last long. We have discovered others who have been distracted from a God-given call by satanic substitutes turning them in other directions. Beware of competing calls once the call of God grips you.
            How can you know you are called? The realization of the call in a person's life may come like a clap of thunder or it may dawn gradually. But however quickly or slowly this awareness comes, it is always accompanied with an undercurrent of the supernatural - ''something that is inexpressible and produces a glow." At any moment the sudden awareness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life may break through. The call to preach the gospel is infinitely different than your salvation experience. Paul described it as a compulsion that was placed upon him.
            If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn't matter how difficult the circumstances may be. You simply must obey the call of God in your life or you will find yourself living in absolute misery. The call of God came into my life as a fifteen­ year-old teenager. It has now taken me into more than 40 countries to preach the Gospel and into circumstances that brought apprehension, but He has always been faithful to guide and provide. The most exciting adventure on planet earth is to be called of God.  Be obedient to that call. Consider His call upon your life today.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            During my 20's and 30's, I preached often in Argentina, from storefront buildings that had been made into churches, to large crusades. There was a wonderful response in this country that is constitutionally Roman Catholic, and that denomination still boasts of more than 90% of the population. Evangelicals number only 6% of the population. Dictatorship and the defeat in the Falklands have brought about significant changes that have led to religious hunger, democratic government, and economic recovery. We can rejoice that God has answered prayer with spiritual renewal and a great response to the Gospel throughout the country.
             I have been to the city of Lujon twice in recent years with great results. A wonderful evangelical church is making a powerful impact upon this city which is the most Roman Catholic city in the country. It is evidence of how the Spirit of God is at work through the believers in this challenging country.
            As you pray for Argentina today, pray for revival above all else. The church there needs new vision, and especially needs unity of believers. Spiritual warfare is as evident in Argentina as you will find it anywhere in the world. Evangelicals have more than 300 missionaries stationed and serving in Argentina. Pray for them and their strategic task.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''How shall I feel at the Judgment if multitudes have missed opportunities, passed before in full review, and all my excuses prove to be disguises of my cowardice and pride?''
Dr.  W  E. Sangster