You probably know that about 71 percent of the surface of the earth is covered by water. The 29 percent that remains isn’t all habitable. In fact, only 43 percent is habitable—just over 15 billion acres. Those acres are divided among 197 countries (though there are various ways of counting countries). From the days of the Tower of Babel, the earth has been divided. It seems only a major existential crisis could bring all the countries of the world together under a single government. Some people advocated for a global government to confront the COVID-19 crisis, but it will be something worse that triggers such an event. Perhaps the Rapture?
Even today, the nations of the world are interconnected as never before, and one day an existential cataclysm will trigger the rise of a one-world government, which will ultimately be dominated by the Antichrist.
For now, the Church of Jesus Christ has a commission—to take the entire Gospel to the entire globe. We’re to sow the Gospel seed, and the field is the whole world. Look around for someone needing Christ and do your part to share Jesus today.
It is the great business on earth of every Christian to save souls.Charles G. Finney
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. Hebrews 11:39
When Anita passed away in her sleep on her ninetieth birthday, the quietness of her departure reflected the quietness of her life. A widow, she had been devoted to her children and grandchildren and to being a friend to younger women in the church.
Anita wasn’t particularly remarkable in talent or achievement. But her deep faith in God inspired those who knew her. “When I don’t know what to do about a problem,” a friend of mine said, “I don’t think about the words of a famous preacher or author. I think about what Anita would say.”
Many of us are like Anita—ordinary people living ordinary lives. Our names will never be in the news, and we won’t have monuments built in our honor. But a life lived with faith in Jesus is never ordinary. Some of the people listed in Hebrews 11 were not named (vv. 35–38); they walked the path of obscurity and didn’t receive the reward promised to them in this life (v. 39). Yet, because they obeyed God, their faith wasn’t in vain. God used their lives in ways that went beyond their lack of notoriety (v. 40).
If you feel discouraged about the seeming ordinary state of your life, remember that a life lived by faith in God has an impact throughout eternity. Even if we’re ordinary, we can have an extraordinary faith.
God wants us to be diligent in our work and faithful to complete it. But in our self-absorbed, pleasure-seeking culture, it’s very easy to get side-tracked into laziness or irresponsibility. This sin is dangerous in a Christian’s life because of the harm that can result: Relationships with loved ones go untended, the needs of others are overlooked, and our work becomes sloppy.
As Christ’s followers, we are to represent Him in our character, conduct, and conversation. Laziness, however, suggests we are unreliable and untrustworthy. What’s more, it wastes both the time and the gifts the Lord has given us. All of these things hurt our witness.
Irresponsible behavior doesn’t fit who we are in Christ. Our Lord modeled diligence for us by accomplishing all that the Father gave Him to do, and as a result, the Father was glorified (John 17:4). Some day we will each give an account to God and receive compensation for what we have done, whether it was good or worthless (2 Cor. 5:10). If you realize you’ve been careless in some area of your life, confess it as sin. Then ask God for the grace to resist laziness and pursue diligence.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)
The apostle Paul invokes the Lord as “the God of hope” in this verse, which is an unusual but important description for God and found nowhere else in the Old or New Testament. So, how are the two nouns related in this Greek text, which is known as a genitive phrase, “the God of hope” (ho Theos tēs elpidos)? The encouraging answer for us as believers in Christ Jesus is twofold.
First, our mighty Creator and Redeemer God is the only source who can give true hope. This hope is for the present life: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14); and for the one to come: “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
Even more amazing is that Paul desired that we would “abound” or literally overflow with hope, as the Greek verb (perisseuō) implies. God does this “through the power of the Holy Ghost” blessing His people with “all joy and peace in believing” as they trust in him.
Second, God is also the object of our hope. The psalmist declared, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:25-26). So we look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Because we live in a sin-cursed world devoid of true hope, we must focus on the God of hope, not the problems of this life or our own strength. JPT
Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding so that I can learn Your commands. Those who fear You will see me and rejoice, for I hope in Your word. I know, Lord, that Your judgments are just and that You have afflicted me fairly. May Your faithful love comfort me, as You promised Your servant. May Your compassion come to me so that I may live, for Your instruction is my delight. Let the arrogant he put to shame for slandering me with lies; I will meditate on Your precepts. Let those who fear You, those who know Your decrees, turn to me. May my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes so that I will not be put to shame (Psalm vv. 73-80).
This ancient believer-musician places his complete hope in the Word, since the Lord has delivered him from pain and has made of him an example and encouragement to other believers.
He is acutely aware that his life has come from God. Infinitely powerful hands have made and formed him. He is not a product of chance. Now he requests understanding to learn God’s law so that others will be filled with joy when they observe his life.
The staggering truth dawns that I am the only Bible some people will ever read! Am I living it’s precepts faithfully so that unbelievers “rejoice when they see me and rejoice, ” or are the pages of my life so marred with my own errors that they are difficult to read? Is the music of my life flat, dull, and boring?
I cry out to the Lord for compassion! I need another chance to live out his Word before the world so I will point others to him.
Thank you, Lord, for forming me, for forgiving me, and for sending me as your love letter to the world. May the words and music of my life be consistent with your truth.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood.—Ephesians 6:12
Ephesians 6:10-20 concerns the spiritual protection that is available to every Christian when doing battle with the Devil. All those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ know (or should know) that the kingdoms of God and the Devil are locked together in mortal combat. And Christians, whether they like it or not, are thrust right onto the cutting edge of that conflict.
Many Christians are pacifists when it comes to the matter of earthly warfare, but no one can be a pacifist when it comes to the matter of spiritual warfare. Once we enlist in the army of God, we are then expected to train in the art of offensive and defensive spiritual warfare. At certain times and occasions in the Christian life, we find ourselves in a battle that demands fierce hand-to-hand combat with the forces of darkness, and unless we know how to handle these trying situations, we shall easily be overthrown.
The Bible shows us that the Devil and his minions are bitter enemies of God, but because they are powerless against the Almighty, they turn their concentrated attention on those who are His followers—you and me. Notice how many times the word “against” appears in Ephesians 6:10-13. It occurs six times in all, showing that when anyone comes over to the side of Jesus Christ, they are immediately identified as being for God and against the Devil. There can be no compromise on this issue, no peaceful coexistence pact. To be for God is to be against the Devil.
Gracious and loving Father, help me get my perspectives clear. Train me in the art of spiritual warfare so that I will be able to resist every onslaught of the Devil and come through every conflict victoriously. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
To their pious claim of superior knowledge of God’s ways with man, Job retorted: “Doubtless you are the people and wisdom will die with you” (Job 12:2). Andrew Blackwood calls this “the most humorous verse in the entire Bible.”
This was a new Job taking the offensive. For the first time he reacted with sarcasm to the harsh judgments of his would-be comforters. In his three-chapter rebuttal, he called his contestants “quacks”: “You are worthless physicians, all of you!” (13:4) And like the speaker of whom it was said that he could not have said less unless he had said more, Job satirized: “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom” (13:5).
Job may have lost his possessions, but he had not lost his sense of humor. To be able to see the humorous side of a situation redeems many an otherwise hopeless predicament. Norman Cousins has written in The Anatomy of an Illness:
“I was greatly elated by the discovery that there is a physiological basis for the ancient theory that laughter is good medicine.”
The writer of Proverbs expressed this truth centuries earlier: “A cheerful heart is a good medicine” (17:22). The preacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is “a time to laugh” (Eccles. 3:4). Learning to see the humorous side of things is one of the most serious subjects in the world to master. When life loses its humor, it is hard to be spiritual. Thomas Merton wrote: “The mark of a saint is the ability to laugh.”
When Victor Frankl was in a German concentration camp, he made a pact with another prisoner. Every day they would find a joke in their experience in that hell that was Auschwitz. Incredible as it may seem, they were able to do just that, and it helped keep them sane and able to survive.
Are you going through a difficult experience? How instructive it is to note that the Book of Job, the saddest story of the Bible, contains some of the most humorous verses of the Bible. Stand back for a moment and capture a perspective that will enable you to laugh through your tears and trials. Humor and laughter are great gifts of God and can be a therapy in time of trouble.