VIDEO Satan’s Sway

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 1 John 5:19

Why are our public universities, the global media, the global economy, and the governments of the world gripped by wrong thinking and godless conduct? Why is the persecution of Christians reaching unprecedented levels? Why are people screaming at each other on television, and why has pornography overtaken our technology?

It’s because the whole world is under the sway of the wicked one.

He is the father of lies (John 8:44), the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13), the ruler of this world (John 14:30), the prince of the power of the air, and the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). His craft and power are great. But, as Martin Luther said, “Though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.”

We are the children of God, and He has provided us with all we need when we face spiritual battles. Let’s be armored up, prayed up, and filled up—so we can stand up.

Our Commander in Chief has already won the war, and He wants us to get in on the victory every day that we live. David Jeremiah


62 1 John 5 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

A Remarkable Life

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. 1 Peter 2:12 nlt

I came to learn about Catherine Hamlin, a remarkable Australian surgeon, through reading her obituary. In Ethiopia, Catherine and her husband established the world’s only hospital dedicated to curing women from the devastating physical and emotional trauma of obstetric fistulas, a common injury in the developing world that can occur during childbirth. Catherine is credited with overseeing the treatment of more than 60,000 women.

Still operating at the hospital when she was ninety-two years old, and still beginning each day with a cup of tea and Bible study, Hamlin told curious questioners that she was an ordinary believer in Jesus who was simply doing the job God had given her to do.

I was grateful to learn about her remarkable life because she powerfully exemplified for me Scripture’s encouragement to believers to live our lives in such a way that even people who actively reject God “may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).

The power of God’s Spirit that called us out of spiritual darkness into a relationship with Him (v. 9) can also transform our work or areas of service into testimonies of our faith. In whatever passion or skill God has gifted us, we can embrace added meaning and purpose in doing all of it in a manner that has the power to point people to Him.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

What has God called you to do? How might you do it today in Jesus’ name?

Jesus, may Your love and grace be evident in my words and deeds today

Experiencing God’s Best

Isaiah 30:1-22

We all want the Father’s best for our life, but sometimes we get in His way. That was certainly the case with Israel. Today’s passage from Isaiah begins, “‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ declares the Lord, ‘Who execute a plan, but not Mine’” (v. 1).

Instead of trusting in God’s promises and power, Israel focused on the threat of an enemy attack. They decided the safest approach was to rely on Egypt’s help even though God told them the solution was to repent and trust in Him. By substituting their plan for the Lord’s, they missed His best for the nation and suffered as a result.

When you have a decision to make, do you focus on God and His Word or on the problem you’re facing? Are you quick to accept other people’s advice before seeking guidance in the Scriptures? Although your plan may seem like the most promising option, if you have left God out, it’s very possible you’ve become an obstacle to what He desires for you.

When you are tempted to take matters into your own hands, remember the Lord’s guidance: “In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isa. 30:15). When you follow Him, He’ll guide you to the optimal path for your life.

The Beginning and the Ending

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things.” (Revelation 4:11)

Two essential truths are rationalized away in Christian circles. Biblical creation is ditched by those who intentionally ignore its truth. Many are intimidated by today’s modern science that is founded on evolutionary assumptions that jettison our Creator God into deep space. Likewise, eschatology (the study of prophecy) is the other foundational truth avoided by many because of its supposed inability to be easily comprehended. But we know that eschatology does matter and is beneficial in both understanding the gospel and the everyday sanctification of the believer.

As the apostle John writes, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3). Promises of rich blessing flow from God’s throne when one reads, hears, and heeds these words. Like feasting on a juicy steak, the disciple is commanded to desperately feast on these revelatory words.

So, what is the practical benefit of these words? This world is not our home, so we should not have a tight grip on the stuff of this world. Consequently, we are easily consumed by consumable things. But God desires the believer to possess a worldview that is focused heavenward. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Believers must be ready! Understanding our future deliverance from the cursed creation helps us release our grip on this temporal world. Scripture’s beginning and ending are indeed the bookends of God’s redemptive plan. CM

“Occupy Till I Come”

Matthew 21:1-22

JESUS entered Jerusalem as the Messiah (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:26-44; John 12:12-19). He dropped all reserve and for a brief time assumed His position publicly as the long-expected One who should come. He entered as King; later He acted as Prophet and Priest. He fulfilled prophecy when He entered in the way predicted (Zech. 9:9)—but He was refused. However, one day He will enter Jerusalem as King and will reign! He knew upon this entry that He would be rejected and that the bitter way of the Cross lay just ahead. Before He can reign as triumphant King, He must die as suffering Servant.

Luke records His weeping over the city. Their eyes were blinded, their hearts hardened. What misery the years have brought upon the city that refused Him! His prophecy that the enemies would cast a trench about Jerusalem and lay it even with the ground and not leave one stone of the temple upon another was literally fulfilled.

They did not realize that their day of visitation was upon them. They had their chance and did not know it. Is it not so with men today? Christ calls us, and we do not heed the Spirit’s pleading. One day He will come in judgment. Ah, that we knew the things which belong unto our peace! Pharisaism stands by and scoffs at the believer’s joy. Sadduccism criticizes in its skepticism. A wild world hurtles onward to ruin. But He will come again to reign, and woe unto His enemies in that day!

Jesus proceeded to cleanse the temple. After He enters the temple of the heart, He cleanses away all that offends. He made a rugged use of force. As He worked, He quoted Scripture (Isa. 56:7; Jer. 7:11). To the surprised and displeased Pharisees He quoted even more (Ps. 8:2). There are still those stilted and sanctimonious souls who resent joy in God’s house. The hallelujahs and hosannas have vanished from many of our churches.

The fig tree which Christ condemned to unfruitfulness is a type of the Jewish nation, having only the leaves of an external religiousness but no spiritual reality. Jesus symbolically condemns the Jewish nation, and that has been fulfilled. The fig tree is beginning to put forth leaves nowadays in the rehabilitation of Palestine by the Jewish people. This is a clear sign that the end draws nigh (Matt. 24:32-33).

The fig tree incident is also an illustration about the power of faith. Peter seemed surprised that the tree had actually withered. He should have known it would when Jesus had said so! Is not that like our faith—which asks, but really doesn’t expect to see things happen? The faith of God (Mark 11:22) orders the mountain to move and then expects to see it move! Our prayers fail because we ask and then do not believe we have what we ask. We demand to see, but faith takes without seeing and believes it has what it asked.

But the Lord also added here that we need not pray with an unforgiving spirit and expect to receive. Of course, under grace we forgive because we are forgiven, but an unforgiving spirit breaks our fellowship, and those out of fellowship cannot pray and receive because their hearts condemn them.

Jesus enters the heart as King and cleanses it as Priest. Is your heart a den of thieves?

We Become What We Say

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.—Proverbs 15:2

Why is the tongue so important? Because the expression of a thing deepens the impression. A word uttered becomes a word made flesh—in us. We become the incarnation of what we express. Jesus said, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt 12:37). After I saw that a person becomes what he says, I have looked at this verse in a different light. If you tell a lie, you become a lie. The deepest punishment of a lie is to be the one who tells the lie. That person has to live with someone he cannot trust.

Now look at what I am saying from the opposite perspective. When we express good things, positive things, loving things, scriptural things, these things go deeper into us. Clear expression deepens impression. A brilliant young physicist tells how he often discusses complex issues relating to physics with his wife who doesn’t know the first thing about the subject. He told a friend, “I describe in detail what I am doing and she doesn’t understand a word. But sometimes when I’m through—I do.”

If it is true—and I believe it is—that we become the incarnation of what we express, then how careful we ought to be to ensure that what we say is guarded and governed by truth, integrity, and kindness. Always remember: every word you utter becomes flesh—in you.

Prayer

O Father, how awesome is this thought—I become the incarnation of what I express. Cleanse me deep within so that I may be pure in soul as well as speech. I would be a clarified person. Grant it please, dear Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

1Tm 4:1-12; Ps 34:13; Php 4:8; Pr 21:16-31

In what areas was Timothy to set a good example?

What should our thoughts be focused on?

Christian Faith In This Computerized World

Job 36:26

Voltaire, the avowed social critic and atheist, admitted, “The world embarrasses me, and I cannot think that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.” Indeed, if watches must have a watchmaker, the incredible wonders of creation all about us, and within us, eloquently witness to a “world maker.” Gerard Manley Hopkins, the poet priest, exclaimed: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

Recent discoveries, in both the infinite and the infinitesimal, open new revelations of the majesty and magnificence of the Creator’s handiwork. The computer revolution has hit as a seismic force, collapsing time zones and national boundaries. Where does our Christian faith fit into this milieu of change? Gratefully, the church has long since emerged from the infamous Galileo episode where religion vigorously resisted and suppressed new advances in scientific discovery.

If you look for Christ on the Internet, you may find Him listed some 146,000 times. Even prayer receives momentum from the Internet, with prayer concerns daily posted by Internet and e-mail users.

But of course, technologies are not neutral. C. S. Lewis reminds us: “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” The church today is challenged by the widespread virus of cyberporn and cybersex with their anonymity and easy access. Christian families must vigilantly protect their young from the pernicious influence of salacious offerings on the Internet.

“Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” is the penetrating question that comes to us from the ancient Book of Job (11:7). Man has an insatiable passion to explore how he fits into the grand cosmological scheme. The advanced resources from technology today can help us recapture an awareness and awe of the transcendent God. We want a God who is beyond the probe of our minds and satellites, a God higher than the utmost reach of our ultimate questions. Job reminds us that we have just such a God: “How great is God—beyond our understanding!” (36:26)

But the God of the Cosmos is also the God of Calvary. The God who holds the stars in their unerring courses also holds our frail and finite lives in His mighty hands. The God who knows the names of the incomputable billions of stars, knows us each by name and need. The God who flung galaxies into space condescends to hear our prayer, forgive our sin and accept us as His children.

Henry Gariepy, The War Cry