Whose destiny are you fulfilling with your life? Are there mentors or heroes of the faith whose examples have particularly impacted you? What connection is there between your walk of faith and their accomplishments? Could it be that what you do as a follower of Jesus Christ has far more significance than you realize?
This month, we celebrate a very important date. On August 14, 2015, Derek Prince would have been 100 years old. I begin this letter by expressing how grateful I am that Derek Prince was born 100 years ago on August 14, 1915, in Bangalore, India. My life would not be this rich and full had it not been for the impact of Derek’s life and ministry upon me.
But this letter goes way beyond mere gratitude for the fact that Derek was ever born. In a measure, because of his influence, I carry a responsibility for the fulfillment of the legacy Derek left. The same is true for you. Like me, through your ongoing connection with DPM, you also carry Derek’s legacy. I want to explore that statement further — because I believe it is far more expansive for you and me than we may comprehend.
Heroes of the Faith
Over nine years ago, when I started full-time work with Derek Prince Ministries, I was in the midst of a renewed personal study of Hebrews 11. (It is a very familiar passage to all of us — the marvelous record of the heroes of faith we so admire.)
With this particular study of Hebrews 11, however, I was especially aware of the legacy of faith left by Derek Prince and my father-in-law, Don Basham. Very pointedly, I sensed that my work with DPM would represent a strong and direct connection with their destinies.
As a confirmation of that awareness, I discovered something I had never seen before in two verses that completely astonished me: Hebrews 11:39-40.
Apart from Us
I had progressed in my study through the first section of Hebrews 11, containing all its wonderful stories of the faith of Noah, Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and many others. Then there was the middle part of the chapter, where the writer of Hebrews says “…time would not permit” a discussion of other heroes like David, Samson, Gideon and the like.
Following that section, the stories get a little tougher, citing the heroes who went about in animal skins, lived in caves, were sawn in two — abused and martyred for their faith. Verse 38 carries this profound commentary concerning them: “The world was not worthy of them” (NIV). Then came verses 39-40 — the verses that blew my mind:
“And all these, having gained approval [obtained a testimony] through their faith, did not receive what was promised [the promise], because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect,” (NASB).
Here is the clear implication of those verses — connecting us not only to Derek’s legacy, but also with all the heroes of the faith upon whose shoulders we stand. They did not receive the promise. Much remains yet to be accomplished. God’s intention for us (a better one, according to verse 40) is to play a pivotal role in the fulfillment of His promise to those who have gone before us. We are to complete the tasks they began.
Receiving the Baton
The baton — not only from Derek Prince, but other heroes of the faith as well — has been passed to you and me. It is now our turn to run our leg of the race. The responsibility now rests upon us.
When that realization — “apart from us” — hit me during my early days at DPM, I felt not only a huge weight of responsibility, but an exhilarating lift in my spirit at this amazing privilege. Derek had gone on to glory a few years prior. He had seen a partial fulfillment of the promise God had given him. “And it shall be like a little stream; the little stream shall become a river; the river shall become a great river; the great river shall become a sea, and the sea shall become a mighty ocean. And it shall be through thee.”
Could it be that the fulfillment of the rest of that prophetic promise remains for you and me and all those connected with DPM worldwide? Is it now our mandate to take up the baton — running our part of the race to complete the work Derek began? Stretching beyond Derek’s legacy, we may also be destined to fulfill promises made to the heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11.
Does it stir your spirit to consider these thoughts? I believe if we can fully grasp the magnitude of this truth, it will set the course and tone for the rest of our lives. We are to run the race that is set before us, fulfilling God’s destiny — not only for us, but for them as well. What an incredible challenge that is! Are you ready to take it on?
“Do You Want to Go Further?”
As I write this, I am reminded of an encounter Derek Prince had with the Lord many years ago when God urged him to go further in His purposes. Here is how that took place.
I had just returned to Europe from five years on a mission field in East Africa. I was on the top of a lonesome cliff in the northwest corner of Denmark, worshiping the Lord. There was nothing to interrupt me — just seagulls and wind.
The Lord spoke to me… not audibly, but absolutely clearly. He rehearsed my spiritual career up to that point, reminding me of the various things I had accomplished. Then He said, “Are you satisfied or do you want to go further?”
That shocked me. Do you know why? Because — I am embarrassed to say it — I didn’t think there was anything further.
Well, one thing I’d learned by that time was not to give God a hasty answer. I said, “Lord, I need time to think this over.” About three days later, I got back to the same cliff top, got in touch with the Lord and said, “Lord, I’m ready to give you my answer.”
Then I said, “Lord, I’m not satisfied.” (Only when I said that did I realize how dissatisfied I really was.) I said, “If there is anything further, I want to go further.”
Will You Respond?
As you read the response Derek made to the Lord, does something stir in you to respond the same way? I know it may seem implausible that you and I have a part in the fulfillment of God’s promises for the heroes of the faith we read about in the Bible. How could we possibly have a connection with the destinies of men and women long gone who have inspired us by their faith? Could it really be up to us to complete their tasks? The answer is yes. In fact, I firmly believe they are depending upon us to do so.
As improbable as this may seem, and as inadequate as you and I may feel for the task, let’s rise to the challenge of this message. Without knowing all the details of how the Lord will use us, can we step forward on their behalf? Can we volunteer to run our part of the great race they began? Let’s take that step together with the following prayer:
Lord, please help me grasp the full implication of these profound verses. I am mystified that somehow I could have a role in the fulfillment of all You have promised to the heroes of the faith who have gone on before me. By faith, I receive Your word that You have something better planned for those of us who remain — and that apart from us, these heroes of the faith will not be completed.
By Your grace, I offer myself in service to finish the tasks they began. By faith, I receive from Your hand the baton they have passed to me. I will run the race set before me with endurance, fixing my eyes on You, Jesus — for You are the originator and the finisher of all faith.
In Your strength, I rise to this challenge. I will live the rest of my life in the awareness that by obeying Your calling for me, I am also fulfilling the destinies of Your faithful men and women who have gone on before me. Thank You for this marvelous privilege. Help me to be faithful to this amazing task. Amen.
Let’s Run Together
You and I have just committed ourselves to a remarkable lifelong pursuit — and I can’t help but believe that the Lord is very pleased with the step we have just taken. Do you feel a sense of exhilaration right now? If you do, it’s understandable. Having made such a dynamic commitment, the times ahead could be very exciting for you and me and all who are connected with Derek Prince Ministries worldwide.
In light of the love and admiration we all share for Derek Prince, your first natural step may be to find ways to extend his powerful teaching legacy throughout your circle of influence. Here at DPM–USA, it’s our goal to assist you in that pursuit — and as always, our first step is an offer for free material. To enhance your appreciation for Derek’s legacy, we thought you might enjoy a fascinating interview called Derek Prince: His Life, His Work — Derek’s history in his own words. We are providing it free of charge. If you already have this item, you may wish to share it with someone less familiar with Derek Prince and his teachings.
A second item — which we cannot offer for free — is a new special offer introduced this month to celebrate Derek’s 100th birthday. It is the audio version of Derek’s biography. The print version was first released 10 years ago, and is still available for those who prefer to read rather than listen. Derek’s biographer, Stephen Mansfield, voices this abridged audio version of the story of Derek Prince’s life. You can order it by clicking this link for MP3s or this link for CDs.
The Legacy Continues
As I end this letter, I want to thank you for receiving what I have said here with openness and faith. One way you regularly express that faith is through your participation with this ministry, for which we are so very grateful. We could not complete our task of carrying on Derek’s legacy without your prayers and financial help. Thank you for every contact you make with us, every prayer you lift up on our behalf, and every gift you send our way. It is a tremendous privilege for us to be connected with you in this wonderful endeavor.
Not much more needs to be shared at this point. You and I have already prayed a dynamic prayer, and it will be exciting to see how the Lord answers. Now the task lies before you and me — and all of us who have received the baton — to fulfill that remarkable statement: “apart from us they would not be made perfect.”
We move forward in faith, encouraged to know that our obedience is accomplishing far more than we realize toward the destinies of our heroes of the faith. Now, in view of your close connection with DPM, here is the reminder one more time: You carry Derek’s legacy!
All the best,
P.S. What a joy it is to partner with you in this profound task! Thanks again for all you do to express your support for us. Please make sure to click here to download: Derek Prince: His Life, His Work. We know it will be a blessing to you.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.