VIDEO Air Polluter

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13

During COVID-19, many people began wearing masks, but one firm went a step further. They developed an air-purifying helmet that looks like it was designed for an astronaut. For about $400, people could walk around like a moon explorer with 360-degree protection and a built-in air purifying system.

In a spiritual sense, Satan is called the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), and he poisons the atmosphere wherever he is. He pollutes our minds, our media, and our whole planet. But God has a system for protecting His children and purifying the air around us. He covers us with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. He provides the helmet of salvation, and He pipes into our lungs the holy atmosphere of heaven.

Our Savior has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. The devil may try to tempt us, try us, oppress us, and defeat us. But when we’re clothed with Christ, we’re under divine protection. And that’s a breath of fresh air!

When we fill our minds with Scripture and live according to its principles, Satan’s schemes lose their power over us. Charles Stanley


Verse of the Day – Colossians 1:13–14 | Life Without Limbs

It’s Okay to Lament

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him. Lamentations 3:25

I dropped to my knees and let my tears fall to the floor. “God, why aren’t you taking care of me?” I cried. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I’d been laid-off for almost a month, and something had gone wrong with my unemployment application. I hadn’t received any money yet, and the stimulus check the US government had promised hadn’t arrived. Deep down, I trusted that God would work out everything. I believed He truly loved me and would take care of me, but in that moment, I felt abandoned.

The book of Lamentations reminds us it’s okay to lament. The book was likely written during or soon after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 bc. It describes the affliction (3:1, 19), oppression (1:18), and starvation (2:20; 4:10) the people faced. Yet, in the middle of the book the author remembers why he could hope: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22–23). Despite the devastation, the author remembered that God remains faithful.

Sometimes it feels impossible to believe that “the Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (v. 25), especially when we don’t see an end to our suffering. But we can cry out to Him, trust that He hears us, and that He’ll be faithful to see us through.

By:  Julie Schwab

Reflect & Pray

What’s making it difficult for you to trust God today? What will help you feel comfortable enough to cry out to Him?

Father, I need You right now. Please help me to trust You to come through for me in my difficult situation.

To learn more about suffering and the Christian faith, visit ChristianUniversity.org/CA211

God’s Rightful Share

Malachi 3:8-12

The prophet Malachi issued a warning to the Israelites about their unacceptable stewardship. By not following God’s principles in handling the resources He had provided to them, they were robbing Him of their tithes.

Since we too are given resources from the Lord, we must likewise handle our earnings according to biblical principles. First, that means acknowledging that God is the owner of all things (Psalm 50:10-12). He created the heavens, the earth, and everything in them, and everything we have comes from His hand.

Second, we are to recognize that God has appointed His children to be stewards of His possessions. We are to use wisely what He has given us and return to Him a portion of what He’s entrusted to us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:17-18). When we give to the church and to the needy, we are giving to God.

The Lord asks that we give Him the first part of all we earn (Prov. 3:9-10), but not because He needs it—He already owns it, whether we give it to Him or not. Rather, we’re the ones who need to learn to rely on Him as our provider and respond with generosity, obedience, and gratitude for His kindness toward us.

The Secret of the Lord

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14)

This is an amazing promise. The word for “secret” means the “inner counsel,” evidently of the triune God Himself.

But how can those who fear the Lord really know the secret counsels of the Godhead? The answer can only be by divine revelation to God’s prophets. Thus, the prophet Amos affirms: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but [unless] he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

When these ancient promises were given, however, much of God’s revelation, though already “settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89), was still not revealed to men. Then Christ came and promised His disciples, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost…shall teach you all things” (John 14:26).

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). In addition to the 12 disciples, God then also called the apostle Paul, and through these men the Son would convey to those who fear Him all the rest of His revelation. “By revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (…Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:3-5).

Finally, “the secret of the LORD” was completed in written form by John, the last of the apostles, with nothing else to be either added or deleted (Revelation 22:18-19), that “the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7). All we shall ever need to know of God’s eternal counsels is now available to all who desire to know, in the Holy Scriptures. HMM

“By What Authority?”

Matthew 21:23-27

HE who spoke as one having authority and not as the scribes was challenged by the scribes as to that authority (Matt. 21:23-27). Our Lord met question with question by asking of them whether John’s baptism was from heaven or of men. John had recognized Jesus, and to recognize John, therefore, was to recognize Christ. To discredit John would be dangerous, for the people believed in him. It was a master stroke that utterly defeated the questioners. Our Lord followed that by the parable of the two sons. The one who offered to go but did not is the prominent Jew who professed religion but did not receive Christ; the other is the publican and sinner who made no profession but did receive the Light. This is clear from Jesus’ declaration: “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (v. 31).

This does not teach that it is better to make no profession at all, just obey. Remember that John the Baptist is the topic, as verse 32 of Matthew 21 shows. The Pharisees had gloried in the law and professed to follow it. Yet John was directly in the line of the Scriptures as the forerunner who was to come. They had refused him, while many publicans and harlots who had not kept the law had accepted John’s message and entered the kingdom.

Our Lord gave next the parable of the wicked husbandman in which He made clear claim to be the Son of God. God, the Husbandman, sends His servants, the prophets, to gather fruit of Israel. When they are rejected, He sends His Son. Then came the judgment of God in the destruction of Jerusalem while the vineyard is let out to others—ministers, and the Church now standing by faith—while Israel is cut off.

Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 as applied to Himself: “The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Christ, resurrected from the dead, has become the chief cornerstone. Gentiles have succeeded to the privilege once enjoyed by the Jew. But we are not to be high-minded but fear, lest we also be cut off (Rom. 11:13-25).

“Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Those who fall upon Christ in repentance and conversion are broken in spirit, but woe unto him upon whom Christ falls in judgment!

The parable of the marriage of the king’s son (Matt. 22:1-14) pictures a King, God, making a marriage for His Son, Christ (the marriage of Christ and the Church is begun here and perfected hereafter: 2 Cor. 11:2, Rev. 21:2). He sent His servants from Moses to John to call them that were bidden, the Jews. Other servants, the early Church, went forth inviting, but they were rejected and persecuted. Then came the Roman armies and destroyed Jerusalem. Now all who can be found, Gentiles of every walk, are invited, both bad and good. One man comes not dressed in the true garment—which pictures the righteousness of Christ Himself. Having a form of godliness but no power, he is cast into outer darkness. Many are called, but few are chosen; and the chosen are they who wear the garments provided by the King.

Life to its Fullest

I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.—John 10:10

A nest which God seeks to overturn in our lives is spiritual complacency. Many Christians are content to live at a level far below the best. It might be comfortable in the nest, but it is far better to expand one’s wings, launch out into the clear, blue sky, and live life to its fullest potential. God’s desire is to get you out of the nest and up into the air.

I am thinking particularly of those Christians who, although soundly saved and fully committed to Jesus Christ, have never experienced all the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Although every Christian has the Holy Spirit (1Co 12:3), the Holy Spirit does not have every Christian. When you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came in to regenerate you, give you a new birth, but now you need to experience another encounter with the Spirit that lifts you clean out of the nest and up into the air.

The text before us today claims that Jesus came not merely to give us life but to give it—abundantly. One writer says of this verse: “At conversion, Christ gives us life, but when we experience the fullness of the Spirit, we encounter not merely life but life that is abundant. In conversion, God’s life is imparted to us. In the fullness of the Spirit, God’s life inundates us.” A sign over a shop read: “Life Ltd.” A sign could be put over our individual and collectives lives: “Life Ltd.” And yet Jesus said that the purpose of His coming was to give life more abundantly.

Prayer

O Father, take me from life limited to Life Unlimited. I have lived far too long in the nest. Now I want to get up into the air. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 1-2; Jn 7:38-39; 1Co 3:16; Rm 8:11

What caused the disciples to soar to new heights?

What does the word “quicken” (KJV) mean?

Making the Lame to Walk

Acts 3:6

It has been well said that the “The story of the Book of Acts is of the Lord going up, the Spirit coming down, and the Church going out.” At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down and created a new instrument, the Church.

Peter, the once-cowardly fisherman, put out his net to catch souls—some 3,000 of them. They could not have been saved by Peter’s preaching alone, but by the power of the Spirit.

Pentecost as a day had passed, but Pentecost as an era of the Holy Spirit had begun. The rushing wind was no longer heard, the tongues of fire no longer seen, but the post-Pentecostal church became visible where most the Church is needed: “in the common places and among the cripples” (G. Campbell Morgan). Faced with humanity’s lameness, Spirit-filled disciples offered a new life and a new walk in the name of Jesus.

The world still needs religion that can put men on their feet, give power to overcome disability and send them “leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8) into a place of worship. To such disciples the world, like the cripple, looks expectantly for a cure, but we can give only out of what we have.

The gate “Beautiful” where the miracle took place was, apparently, the best place for begging, and the vantage point the former cripple deserted as he held on to Peter and John. His first walk was to the Temple. The burning questions from men who could not accept the walking miracle before them were: “How did you do this? What power have you got or whose name did you use?” The authorities had simply given Peter an opening to reaffirm that there is no other name, nor power by which people may be saved.

I know a life that is lost to God,

Bound down by things of earth;

But I know a Name, a precious Name,

That can bring that soul to birth.

(Author unknown)

The hardening opposition of the worldly Sadducees had but one result: the disciples spoke the word of God with increasing boldness. Earlier the authorities had noted that “these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Behind the human events they saw the hand of a Sovereign Lord. The God who had healed the lame man would, if they remained faithful, heal many others.

Harry Read, Words of Life