Ruth Hamilton was asleep in her bed when she was awakened by the sound of a crash through her ceiling and the sensation of debris on her face. “I just jumped up and turned on the light, I couldn’t figure out what the heck had happened,” she said.
The British Columbia resident called 911. A police officer arrived; after exploring their options and examining the hole in her ceiling and a black rock on her pillow, the two decided that a meteorite had come through her roof.
Others in the area had seen a bright light in the sky that exploded and caused some booms. Ruth, however, experienced personally what others only observed. She says her experience has given her a new perspective: “Life is precious and it could be gone at any moment, even when you think you are safe and secure in your bed.
“I hope I never take it for granted again.”
Why is Squid Game so popular?
There are many “meteors” in today’s news, from a bow-and-arrow rampage in Norway now being treated as an apparent terrorist attack, to a high-rise fire in Taiwan that left at least forty-six dead and dozens injured, to reports that US drug overdose deaths reached a new high in the twelve-month period concluding in March 2021.
It is therefore unsurprising that a survival drama called Squid Game is now Netflix’s biggest hit ever. Associated Press explains that the show is “about desperate adults competing in deadly children’s games for a chance to escape severe debt.” The drama’s enormous popularity is clearly a sign of the times.
On a planet where Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and “the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), we can expect to face tribulation (John 16:33), trials (1 Peter 4:12), and temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). This week we’ve discussed Satan’s nefarious strategies and the urgency of turning our temptations and challenges immediately into prayers for God’s strength and victory.
Today, let’s focus on the paradoxical fact that the more initiative we take in attacking the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18), the more empowered against the enemy we become.
What St. Francis never said
You are undoubtedly familiar with the “spiritual armor” Paul describes in Ephesians 6:10–18: the “belt of truth,” the “breastplate of righteousness,” “shoes for your feet” composed of the “gospel of peace,” the “shield of faith,” the “helmet of salvation,” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Notice that this “armor” covers the front of warriors as they go into battle. If they flee from the conflict, there is no protection for the back.
You and I will experience the power of God to the degree that we fulfill the purpose of God (cf. Acts 1:8). When Jesus’ seventy-two disciples went on an evangelistic mission, they “returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!'” (Luke 10:17). He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (v. 18).
Here we discover a clear reason why more Christians are not more empowered to stand boldly for Christ in an anti-Christian culture. If we step into the river, our faith positions us to experience God’s miraculous provision (Joshua 3:14–17). If we march around Jericho, God will bring down its walls (Joshua 6). If we stand boldly for our Lord, we will be filled with his Spirit (Acts 4:8).
Ours is a day of declining commitment to evangelism, fueled in part by a growing belief that sharing the gospel is wrong in a culture that elevates tolerance above all other values. But the “passive congeniality” that is unwilling to speak of Jesus in everyday conversation is not enough.
We often hear the advice, “Preach the gospel at all times—when necessary, use words” attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. In fact, he never spoke these words and usually did the opposite. His first biographer, writing just three years after his death, reported that Francis “sometimes preached in up to five villages a day, often outdoors. In the country, Francis often spoke from a bale of straw or a granary doorway. In town, he would climb on a box or up steps in a public building. He preached to . . . any who gathered to hear the strange but fiery little preacher from Assisi.”
Why a teenager is running for the school board
A teenager in Florida is running for his local school board “to give a voice to the voiceless.” An eighteen-year-old cookbook author is donating all of her author proceeds to a non-profit fighting childhood hunger; if her first print run sells out, she hopes to provide kids with about seven hundred thousand meals.
When last did you take a risk to serve your Lord? Here’s how:
- Agree to do anything your Father calls you to do (Luke 6:46).
- Ask him for your kingdom assignment today: the people you are to influence and the work you are to do for his glory and our good (Romans 12:2).
- Submit to the power of his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
- Step out in obedient faith (Hebrews 11:1).
- Trust the results to God’s sovereignty and eternal purpose (Psalm 37:5; Philippians 1:6).
My mentor when I pastored in Atlanta taught me this life motto: “Attempt something so great for God, it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.”
What will you attempt for God today?