VIDEO Every Realm In The World

“. . . and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” — Genesis 1:28

Yesterday we learned that the early Christians “turned the world upside down.” We addressed the need to proclaim the Gospel, which has the potential to change individual lives. Today I want to deal with the social impact of the Gospel.

When you look at the impact of the Church in history, you can see the incredible ways Christianity has transformed the world for the better. Although these changes didn’t happen overnight, we see the Gospel’s influence in abolishing slavery in the United States, bringing about university education, inspiring some of the greatest art in the world, causing hospitals to be built all over the world, and spreading a higher morality the world over. These changes occurred as Christians spread the Gospel to the world around them. These powerful results reflect obedience to what I call “the cultural mandate” that God gave to humankind in Genesis 1—that we should subdue the earth for God’s glory.

God has commissioned us to transform the world. Unfortunately, it’s easy to put our blinders on and ignore the impact of worldwide events. Too many professing Christians have developed a certain pietistic, self-centered view, pursuing only that which makes them feel good rather than the revolution Christ desires.

I thank God for men and women who are genuinely concerned that the gospel of Christ has its application in every realm of the world. What part are you playing in making this dream a reality? Will you join me and the rest of God’s devoted servants as we endeavor to change the world for the better?

““Jesus Christ is ‘the Man who changed the world.’”” —Herbert Lockyer

Is Genesis Literal History? John MacArthur – Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis

From Lament to Praise

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:18

Monica prayed feverishly for her son to return to God. She wept over his wayward ways and even tracked him down in the various cities where he chose to live. The situation seemed hopeless. Then one day it happened: her son had a radical encounter with God. He became one of the greatest theologians of the church. We know him as Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.

“How long, Lord?” (Habakkuk 1:2). The prophet Habakkuk lamented God’s inaction regarding the people in power who perverted justice (v. 4). Think of the times we’ve turned to God in desperation—expressing our laments due to injustice, a seemingly hopeless medical journey, ongoing financial struggles, or children who’ve walked away from God.

Each time Habakkuk lamented, God heard his cries. As we wait in faith, we can learn from the prophet to turn our lament into praise, for he said, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (3:18 italics added). He didn’t understand God’s ways, but he trusted Him. Both lament and praise are acts of faith, expressions of trust. We lament as an appeal to God based on His character. And our praise of Him is based on who He is—our amazing, almighty God. One day, by His grace, every lament will turn to praise.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What are your laments today? How can you turn them into praise?

Dear Jesus, remind me of who You are and of what You’ve done in my life.

For further study, read Wounded in Worship.

Sunday Reflection: Together Again

Because of Jesus, believers look forward to an eternal home with the Father in paradise

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

We might think of Eden as the infamous place of mankind’s ultimate failure. But what happened there didn’t just ruin humanity’s track record—it also severed our relationship with God. Before Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17), they existed in perfect union with the Lord. They walked with Him freely, unhindered in their ability to receive His love and love Him in return (Genesis 1:26-31). That’s hard to picture, isn’t it?

Imagine the grief they experienced in leaving their first home, as God expelled them from the garden and sealed its entrance. The gates of that earthly paradise closed forever. The thought of it would be unbearable if it weren’t for what God did— He so wanted to be with us that He sent His only Son to die on the cross and rescue us from sin and death. Jesus Himself became the door to paradise, restoring our relationship with the Father for all eternity.

Think about it

• Read Isaiah 43:1-7. According to this passage, why does God want to be in relationship with you?

Visible Love

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

It has become popular for Christian organizations to cite this verse as their mission to help the poor and struggling peoples of the world. There is no doubt that God’s people are to give alms to the poor and represent Christ even with a “cup of cold water” given in His name. But this passage emphasizes how the believer is to treat another Christian brother or sister, and not about the needy unbeliever.

The continuing message in this small epistle begins with our fellowship “in the light” (1:3-7), producing love that is perfected by keeping God’s Word (2:5), which in turn is necessary to abide in the light (2:10-11). This commandment is as old as the beginning (2:7) but also “new” in the sense that it now includes both Jew and Gentile (2:8).

The vivid example of love is clearly displayed by the substitutionary atonement of our Lord Jesus (3:16), whose selfless and sacrificial love demands both sympathy and empathy toward our brothers and sisters in Christ (3:17). It also demands specific action in “deed and truth” (3:18). Our precious Lord did feel for us, but He also did for us.

The external action in addition to the internal attitude is certainly parallel to showing our faith by our works (James 3:18). We must be doers of the Word and not just hearers only (James 1:22). The emphasis on works by the apostle James is certainly in keeping with the apostle John’s insistence that the love for our brother be “in deed” as well as “in truth.” HMM III

The Gadarene

Matthew 8:28-34

AFTER mastering a wild sea the Lord Jesus masters a wild man. Three Gospels give us the story of the Gadarene demoniac (Matt. 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39), and it is unusual that Mark’s account, usually the briefest, is here the longest.

There are those who would make this man to be only an insane case, but our Lord clearly recognized demon-possession by His saying, “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” That He was merely accepting the common view of His time is an argument too foolish to reserve room for refutation.

Much has been said about the destruction of the swine who refused to endure what men put up with. Huxley made much of this “destruction of property” as an argument against the Lord. Our Lord never went at anything tamely. He made bold strokes and brushed everything else aside to get at a needy life. What are a few hogs compared to a human soul? The destruction of the swine was a bold evidence of the miracle and a daring declaration that lives are ever more important than property. If the owner of the hogs had accepted the Lord Jesus he would have had a treasure inestimable. Instead, he saw only temporal loss and gain, and because Jesus was hurting his business, he besought Him to leave. Men have followed that procedure through the ages. When Christ interferes with our personal gain we usually beseech Him to leave.

There is a beautiful truth in the healed man’s desire to go with the Lord and His disciples in the ship to other parts. Doubtless he wanted to get away from the scenes of his past, and it looked very inviting—this prospect of sojourning with the Lord in new fields, ever hearing His words and witnessing His miracles. But it was not so to be; he must stay in the old, unromantic spot and tell what the Lord had done for his soul (and what a witness he must have been!).

Many of us have known this experience. We have longed to follow the Lord across the sea or into some more interesting field, but He has commissioned us to stay at home—live down an evil past, perhaps—and be an obscure and unknown witness. It is not given to everyone to go far afield; there must be the disciple who stays at home. Time and time again we meet with those who went to foreign fields or undertook vast enterprises under mistaken leadings. It is so easy to confuse our wants with God’s leadings. The work of the gospel is too often made the springboard from which to dive off into water too deep for us. This man obeyed the Lord’s command, and as he proclaimed his story men marveled, according to Mark’s account. Together with a marvelous experience of deliverance he had an obedient spirit, and that makes a great combination.

Are you willing that Christ should do His wonders in your life at any cost to property and circumstances? Then you need to be willing to let Him station you where He will, to be His witness.

“Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”

Genesis 8

Genesis 8:1

The Lord did not forget the saved ones. He thought on Noah first, and then on those with him, and even thus he remembers his dear Son, and us for his sake.

Genesis 8:2

How readily are all things ordered by the Lord’s providence. Winds and waters move at his bidding, as well for the deliverance of his people as for the destruction of his foes.

Genesis 8:7

This foul bird could light on carrion; just as wicked men find delight in sin.

Genesis 8:9

Even thus our weary souls when renewed by grace find no rest in polluted things, but return unto Jesus their rest; and he graciously draws us in to himself when we are too faint to come.

Genesis 8:12

In the new and renovated world the dove could live at liberty, as regenerated souls dwell amid holy things.

Genesis 8:15-18

He did not come forth till he was bidden to do so by the same voice which called him into the ark. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.

Genesis 8:20

Before he built a house he built an altar. God must be first worshipped in all things.

Genesis 8:21-22

Thus Noah’s sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord and the ground of a new covenant; and so the offering of the Lord Jesus is evermore a sweet savour, and for his sake the covenant of grace is made with all the saved ones. Have all of us an interest in it?

O Jesus, Saviour of the lost,

Our ark and hiding place,

By storms of sin and sorrow toss’d,

We seek thy sheltering grace.

Forgive our wandering and our sin,

We wish no more to roam;

Open the ark and take us in,

Our soul’s eternal home.

The World Changes, But Not the Human Race

... That ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. Ephesians 4:17

To a Christian, conditioned as he is to observing life from above and judging all things in the light of eternal values, the modern feverish devotion to the newest invention and the latest happening seems more than a little ridiculous!

One thing seems to be quite forgotten: the world moves and times change but people remain the same always. Just as a pendulum remains fixed at the top while it swings back and forth from one extreme to another, so the human race remains basically unchanged while it moves through its limited arc.

No responsible person will deny that some changes made by the race over the years have been improvements and so may have represented progress and advance. However, just what we are supposed to be advancing toward has not been made very clear by our leaders!

It would seem humanly difficult, indeed, to show that we are moving toward an end when we do not know what or where that end is, or even if such an end exists at all.

The only parallel we can think of at the moment is that of a deadly-serious and fanatically determined dachshund chasing breathlessly after its tail—a tail, incidentally, which is not there because it has previously been removed. Add a large number of other dachshunds, bespectacled and solemn, writing books to prove that the frustrated puppy’s activity is progress, and you have the picture!