VIDEO Thirty Miles a Second

Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more…. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities. Acts 8:39-40

This is one of the strangest trips in the Bible. After Philip shared the Gospel with the Ethiopian official near Gaza, the Spirit of God suddenly snatched him away. Philip was caught up by the Spirit and deposited in a flash about thirty miles to the north. 

Wouldn’t we love to travel that way!

Perhaps that’s a foreshadowing of how we will travel in heaven, but there’s an earthly lesson here too. When the Holy Spirit is within us and empowering us we can make more progress than we think. By God’s grace we are empowered to do far more than we can imagine. When we try to work in the strength of our own personalities, the results will be slender. But when we yield ourselves to the Lord and let Him work through us, the work goes faster and further than we realize. 

Don’t be discouraged if things seem slow. The Holy Spirit works on His own schedule.

The servants of Christ are called to glorify him in different scenes and stations of life.

Philip Doddridge in his sermon on Philip the Evangelist


The Saving Power of Scripture (Acts 8:25–40)

Hold Steady

I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand. Isaiah 41:13

Harriet Tubman was one of the great American heroes of the nineteenth century. Showing remarkable courage, she guided more than three hundred fellow slaves to freedom after she first escaped slavery by crossing into free territory in the United States North. Not content to simply enjoy her own freedom, she ventured back into slave states nineteen times to lead friends, family, and strangers to freedom, sometimes guiding people on foot all the way to Canada.

What drove Tubman to such brave action? A woman of deep faith, she at one time said this: “I always told God, I’m going to hold steady on you, and you’ve got to see me through.” Her dependence on God’s guidance as she led people out of slavery was a hallmark of her success.

What does it mean to “hold steady” to God? A verse in the prophecy of Isaiah might help us see that in reality it’s He who holds us as we grab His hand. Isaiah quotes God, who said, “I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (41:13).

Harriet held tightly to God, and He saw her through. What challenges are you facing? Hold steady to God as He “takes hold” of your hand and your life. “Do not fear.” He will help you.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What’s your biggest challenge right now? What can you do or say to let God know you trust Him?

Father in heaven, life is hard when I try to do it alone, so I need Your help. Please come alongside me in my greatest challenges and help me know I’m not alone.

Learn to face life’s challenges through your study of Soul Care at ChristianUniversity.org/CC201.

Made to Be Like Him

Romans 8:26-39

The Lord makes known His love for mankind in so many ways. Consider, for example, His providential care and kindness to all humanity, our beautiful planet filled with creation’s wonders, and the gift of eternal life to all who trust Christ as Savior. But have you ever recognized that God also shows love by transforming believers into the image of His Son?

Genesis 1:26 tells us that in the beginning, God created mankind in His likeness. Though that image was marred when Adam and Eve sinned, God’s purposes were not thwarted. Before He had created anything, the plan for mankind’s restoration was already in place (1 Peter 1:18-21).

God provided salvation through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Everyone who trusts in Jesus is forgiven, spiritually reborn, and adopted into the heavenly Father’s family. The Holy Spirit enters each new believer’s life and begins the process of molding the renewed heart and mind into Christlikeness. And ultimately the transformation will be completed when we are bodily resurrected and stand before our Father in our glorified state.

But even before we reach that perfected state, God is glorified through His followers—when the likeness of His Son is revealed in our character, conversation, and conduct to those around us.

The Worldwide Flood

“And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11)

Those Christians who accept the concept of the “geological ages” commonly have to explain away the great deluge by assuming it was not really a global flood. They realize that any flood that would rise until “all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered” and in which “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground” (Genesis 7:19, 23) would undoubtedly eliminate any evidence of the supposed geological ages. Therefore, they have suggested modifying the Bible record to mean an overflow of the Euphrates River or some such phenomenon that would destroy just the peoples of the “known” world at that time.

There are numerous problems with this “local flood” notion, however. Appendix 6 of The Henry Morris Study Bible, for instance, lists 100 reasons why the biblical Flood must be understood as worldwide and cataclysmic.

But probably the best argument is that such an argument makes God out to be a liar! God promised Noah that this kind of flood would never be sent on the earth again. There have been innumerable river floods, tsunamis, torrential regional rains, etc., in the more than four millennia since Noah’s day. If God’s promise referred only to some such flood as one of these, then He has not kept His Word!

But God does not lie, and He has kept His promise. There has never been another such Flood. “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar” (1 John 5:10). Theistic evolutionists, progressive creationists, and all others who believe the geological ages instead of God’s Word should, it would seem, seriously rethink their position. HMM

Preachers without Power

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. —1 Timothy 1:5-7

Another thing that greatly hinders God’s people is a hardness of heart caused by hearing men without the Spirit constantly preaching about the Spirit. There is no doctrine so chilling as the doctrine of the Spirit when held in cold passivity and personal unbelief. The hearers will turn away in dull apathy from an exhortation to be filled with the Spirit unless the Spirit Himself is giving the exhortation through the speaker. It is possible to learn this truth and preach it faithfully, and still be totally devoid of power. The hearers sense the lack and go away with numbed hearts. Theirs is not opposition to the truth, but an unconscious reaction from unreality. Yet scarcely one of the hearers can tell another what the trouble is; it is as if they had been hearing an echo and not the voice, or seeing a reflection and not the light itself.   PTP055

Lord, that’s a challenging thought. Deliver us from the error of preaching and teaching in our own strength, without the filling and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Depravity Is No Excuse

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. —Psalm 40:8

Because of the treachery of the human soul, it is possible to hide behind the fact that all have sinned. There is a kind of universal reaction which becomes an acceptable philosophy; that “if this is what is wrong with everybody, then nobody need worry about it.”

Therefore, when I say that man is a moral wanderer, away from God and still hiding, I do not want you to hide behind that and take comfort in it. I want you to know that it is a very personal thing and that the Holy Spirit never meant to give anyone a sense of comfort in universal depravity.

Actually, the Holy Spirit is saying throughout the Scriptures: “Thou art the man!”

God is calling us with many, many voices, but there is no doubt that He entreats mankind most perfectly in the revealed Word of God. EFE098

May Jesus enter into us and clear out and cast away all hindrances of soul and body, to the end that we may be one with him here upon earth and there in heaven. So help us, God. BME047

To Stand in the Gap

Ezekiel 22:30

We read in the Bible that once God said, “I looked for a man” (Ezekiel 22:30). Why was God looking? In this instance it was for the purpose of “building up the wall.” The wall of Jerusalem had been a sacred monument of Israel’s pride and glory. Within it the temple had proudly stood, the visible reminder of God’s sovereignty and His election of a chosen people.

God’s search for a man to be a builder was more than for a repair job with bricks and cement. He was looking for a man to be a leader for the rebuilding of the wall of faith and obedience in the hearts of His children. The invisible wall was the covenant of his promise and protection. Within it was the preservation of sound doctrine, the practice of pure worship, the execution of justice and the witness to God’s goodness.

This man was not only to build the broken wall, he was also to “stand in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30). The gap in a city wall was vulnerable to the attacks of enemies. The gap in things of the spirit gives opportunity for the enemy of our soul.

God was, and still is, looking for a man or a woman to “stand in the gap,” to help with the repair of those sacred things that have become broken, to be the watchman on the alert, to be the preserver of the faith.

During the June 4, 1989 massacre in Beijing, China, one lone man trying to make a point stood in front of an army of heavy tanks. His flesh and blood challenged the firing squad inside the metal monsters. He was indeed standing “in the gap” caused by an oppressive regime in his land. Few people in the world know his name, but his image has been etched deeply onto the hearts of millions. That man in China was a student. Behind him were tens of thousands of other students, all with the same goal, to bring freedom to China. I sensed the hopelessness on that day in front of the television set, watching the Chinese army open fire on the defenseless crowd. I never openly sobbed so much in my life.

What about the gaps in life all around us—in the lives of people, in our nation, in the world? Who will stand in these gaps for the Lord? Our Bible text reads: “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap… but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). May we respond, “But Lord, there is someone! It’s me. I am that man. I am that woman. I will stand in the gap for You and help rebuild the sacred things that are broken.”

Check Yee, The Salvationist Pulpit