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June 26 Daily Devotional
1 Thessalonians 5:8 - ARE YOU WEARING YOUR HELMET?
One of your most powerful spiritual weapons is the helmet of hope. Why is hope called a helmet? Because hope always deals with the future – with things that haven’t yet happened. Therefore, it’s a spiritual helmet because it protects our imagination, and keeps us thinking the right thoughts about what we’re using our faith to obtain from God. Faith always deals with the now – present tense. Hope always deals with the future – future tense. Both are needed to be strong and stay strong. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of what you hope for, so if the devil can take away your hope, your faith will fail because it has no goal or objective any longer. So, protect yourself by wearing your spiritual helmet every day. Keep your thoughts about the future firmly in agreement with your confessions of faith now.
Helmets are designed to protect our heads from injury. When I go bicycling, I always wear a helmet in case of a fall or crash. It has protected me from serious injury more than once. Hope is like that in a spiritual sense. Never forget this fact. Our God-given ability to create mental images which agree with God’s word is a weapon Satan can’t touch. And our ability to be patient while waiting for our faith seed to come up for harvest is called the helmet of hope. James 1:2-5 says that through faith and patience we will inherit the promises of God. However, if we’re to stand patiently we must have our helmet of hope on our heads, to protect our minds from the lies of the devil. In Joshua 14:7-10, Caleb reminded Joshua of a promise Moses made to him 45 years earlier! That’s the power of hope. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Paul talks about his ability to endure intense suffering and persecution, because of the fact he’s working for a far more eternal weight of glory and reward! That’s the power of hope. Colossians 1:5 tells us the hope we have that is laid up in heaven is our weapon to use in spiritual combat - keeping us strong in faith from start to finish in our lives. So, if you want to become strong in faith, you must wear your helmet of hope!
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June 25 Daily Devotional
Matthew 15:30 - HOW UNASHAMED IS YOUR FAITH?
I love this story from the ministry of Jesus. I love it because of what we see in the faith of those who came to Him for healing that day. First of all, notice in verse 29, that Jesus climbed to the top of a mountain and sat down THERE. Then, verse 30 says great crowds of people came to him, bringing with them some seriously sick people. Blind, mute, crippled and MANY OTHERS. So, if they came to Him, that means they had to climb the mountain to get to Him. Have you ever climbed a mountain? Even if you’re physically fit, it’s not that easy of a thing to do. And how much more difficult would it be for people who are handicapped or severely sick? And, there’s no indication in the story that Jesus sent disciples down the mountain to assist the feeble and weak people. No, He just let them struggle up the mountain on their own. And when they got to the top and saw Him, they THREW the sick at His feet. The Greek word here is the word “Rhipto”, which means to THROW WITH A QUICK, SUDDEN MOTION. The King James Versions uses the word “cast”, and that is a more accurate word in my opinion, than the words “laid down”, as it appears in the New King James Version. Are you that desperate to receive from Jesus with your faith? Most of us are so concerned about our social reputation, we wouldn’t dare do something like this. That’s why many times we never see the healings and miracles they saw that day on the mountain. These people didn’t care what anybody else thought. They wanted their healing, and if that meant climbing a mountain and then throwing themselves at the feet of Jesus, then so be it. Let’s face it friends. You have to have faith to pick up your sick Grandmother and heave her through the air towards Jesus, believing that when she hits the ground and bounces up she’ll be healed! You’d have to have faith to do it, and she’d have to have faith to let you do it! In our own crusades in the Philippines, we’ve seen things just like this, so I know what the scene looked like that day with Jesus on the mountain top. We’ve seen hundreds of people surging forward in public parks or bus terminals - pushing, shoving and trampling each other – just so that we could pray for them! That’s the kind of unashamed faith God is pleased to respond to. So, let me encourage you to analyze your own faith today, and ask yourself if you’ve got this kind of faith. Would you climb a mountain if you were sick, crippled or severely diseased? Would you allow others to pick you up and hurl you through the air towards the preacher to receive your healing? Sounds crude and unrefined, doesn’t it? That’s alright. God has already said He will use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). So, don’t be ashamed to be unashamed before God. David danced half naked publicly before the Lord, and when his wife objected to it, God rebuked her, not David! (2 Samuel 6:16-23). Determined faith! That’s what these people had, and that’s what you need to have today.
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June 24 Daily Devotional
Matthew 13:58 - YOUR FAITH IS THE KEY!
If you study the four Gospels, you’ll see that in most cases where Jesus healed people miraculously, it was their faith that gave Him opportunity to manifest the power of God in their lives. This verse confirms and verifies that truth. In His own hometown, He could not do mighty works BECAUSE of their unbelief. It doesn’t say He WOULD NOT do mighty works there. It says He COULD NOT do mighty works there. Why? Because of their unbelief. So, our faith is the key, isn’t it? How many times would Jesus minister miracle power to someone, and say something like this as He did it: ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH, BE IT DONE UNTO YOU. Well, things haven’t changed today. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:5), and God’s power is just as available for you as it was for anyone back then. But, like before, our faith is the key. It’s your choice to believe God that enables God to do the miraculous in your life.
Many people today cry, plead, beg and try to bargain with God to get answers to their prayers. But its faith and faith alone that opens the door to the miraculous. God is not moved by your tears, or by your emotions. If that was the case, every crying believer would be assured of getting an answer to their prayers. Yes, the Bible says Jesus is easily touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15), but that doesn’t move Him to action on our behalf! God is moved ONLY by your faith. If Jesus Himself, the Son of God, could not do any mighty works in Nazareth because of their lack of faith, who are we today to think it will be any better for us if we choose to doubt the promises of God? Never forget this. YOUR FAITH enables God, and disables the devil. Likewise, YOUR DOUBT enables the devil, and disables God. Its really that simple. Oh yes, there might be times when God, in His mercy, does something for somebody apart from their faith, but those instances are rare. The gifts of the Spirit operate as He wills, and if you’ve been in Christ for any significant length of time, you know they don’t manifest all that often. Why? Because God expects us to operate in faith the way He does. We’re made in His image and likeness, and He’s a faith Being. Everything He does to create is done by faith. He expects us to grow and learn how to do the same thing. So, remember what happened (or didn’t happen) at Nazareth, and purpose in your heart to never limit God because of your unbelief. Choose to believe! Choose to trust God. Choose to let faith open Heaven’s doors for you!
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June 23 Daily Devotional
Matthew 11:18-19 - JUST PLEASE JESUS, NEVER MIND ANYONE ELSE
In this passage, Jesus reveals to us the futility of trying to please people. Yet, so many of us live for the praises and acceptance of our peers, failing to realize it’s a “Mission Impossible”. You can’t please everybody, so don’t waste your time trying to. Just concentrate on being pleasing to Jesus, and never mind the rest. If people agree with you, then fine. If they don’t, too bad for them. It’s enough for you to know that God is pleased with you. After that, it doesn’t matter. A great man of God, T.L. Osborn, once said something very profound about this. He said: “People who are concerned about the opinions of others are slaves to the last person they had a conversation with. They’re always running under the shadow of somebody else because they’re carrying the burden of pleasing somebody else. I’m not a slave to anybody, but I’m a love slave to Jesus.” What a great truth! He said this back in 1983, and I’ve never forgotten it. Who are you a slave to, when it comes to public opinion? Psalms 118:8 says it’s better to please the Lord than put confidence in men. Why? Because everybody has opinions that change with their moods, what’s “current”, what’s “hot”, or whatever. Jesus said the religious hypocrites criticized John because of his lifestyle, wardrobe and eating habits, saying he had a demon! Then, they criticized Jesus because lived a lifestyle opposite to that of John the Baptist! (see Matthew 11:18-19). The point? Religion is full of self-serving hypocrites, so don’t waste time trying to please them - because you can’t. Just work to be pleasing to Jesus, and never mind what anybody else thinks about it. After all, you’re not going to stand before man’s judgment seat someday. You’ll stand before the Lord’s, so it’s His opinion of you that counts - nobody else’s. If you walk in the light of that, you’ll finally be set free from everybody else’s opinions of you. Not everybody loved Jesus. Not everybody agreed with Him. Not everybody thought the world of Him. Remember what He said in John 6:61? “Does this offend you?” In other words, I don’t care if you like my sermon or not. God liked it, so that’s enough. When Jesus offended the Pharisees and His disciples were so concerned about it, what was His reply? “Leave them alone. They’re blind leaders of the blind, and both will eventually fall into a ditch.” (Matthew 15:12-14). In other words: never mind what they like or don’t like. Follow God and everything will be fine for you. Its good advice. Follow it if you want peace of mind amidst your peers!
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