Miracles Are Born, When Faith Is Conceived

Daily Devotional|Day 256

“When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.’ Immediately her fountain of blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:27-29, NKJV).

Miracles are born when faith is conceived. Faith is a simple thing. Miracles are simple, too. When you have faith, you will have a corresponding assurance in your heart that what you believe shall happen. The life of Jesus shows us how different people experienced miracles in their lives through faith. In nearly all cases, it was a simple thing. Where miracles happened, most of the time Jesus was actively doing something (laying hands, for example) for the people who needed help. In today’s story, however, we have a different scenario. A woman came in quietly and received her healing miracle before anyone knew it. Let’s break down what happened. We will learn that miracles are born when faith is conceived.

 In the story, we will identify four (4) related stages in the woman’s miraculous experience and apply them to our lives:

1. Hearing: The woman had suffered hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent all her money on different physicians but her situation only got worse (Mark 5:25-26). Mark tells us that this woman heard about Jesus. Whatever she heard must have been encouraging/good news. Let’s pause for a moment. The Bible says, faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17; see also Galatians 3:2-5). This was the first stage. The woman heard.

2. Believing: When the woman heard the good news about Jesus, she moved to the next stage. She believed. Believed what? She believed that it was a simple thing for Jesus to restore her also. Many people hear good things about Jesus, but not everyone believes Him. When you hear the Word of God, it generates faith in you. But it is up to you to take advantage of what you’ve heard and cling to it with unwavering faith. When you arrive at this point, you won’t see limitations. You will see possibilities.

3. Seeing: When you truly believe the Lord will do something you desire, you will naturally ‘see’ yourself already in possession of the thing you desire. When the woman believed, she said to herself, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” When you look carefully at this statement, you will notice that the woman ‘saw’ herself healed. She ‘saw’ the result she desired before it manifested physically. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The woman’s healing was invisible at that time, but she ‘saw’ healing because that is the nature of faith. Before something is visible to the naked eye, faith can ‘see’ it and capture an image of it. 

4. Acting: Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). The woman’s faith was not passive. She didn’t just believe and sit back, hoping something will happen. She acted upon her faith. She conceived the idea that if she touched the clothes of Jesus, she would be healed. And she did exactly that. She acted on the ‘faith image’ in her heart. It was a simple thing; touch Jesus’ clothes. She laid aside all excuses, searched for Jesus, located Him, came behind Him and touched His clothes. And, bam!! Immediately, the flow of blood dried up.

 Miracles are born, when faith is conceived. Understand how faith works. When you want something from God, it’s a simple thing. Just hear and believe His word about that situation. When your faith is alive, naturally, you will ‘see’ yourself in possession of what you believe. Finally, act and speak in a manner that is consistent with what you believe.

And may the Lord be gracious unto you! Amen.

For further studyHebrews 11:1-29

Praying for Those Who Don’t Deserve It

Daily Devotional |Day 228

 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28, NASB).

Love is the most powerful weapon you have. Have no doubt about that. You will never win by hating or even disliking people. Keep your heart free from all resentment. The condition of your heart determines the condition of your whole life. If your heart is pure, your whole life is pure. If your heart is bitter, your whole life is bitter as well. You don’t want to make resentment your friend. Listen to what Jesus is saying today. It will liberate and strengthen you.

You will be tempted again and again to resent people, but you must say “No” to resentment and hate. The kind of love Jesus is talking about in today’s Bible passage is possible through faith. Jesus wants you to take, not just the highroad, but the divine road. Specifically, Jesus says, pray for those who mistreat or abuse you.

Being able to pray for those who hate or hurt you, identifies you with Jesus. Do you want to be like Jesus? Start by doing what He tells you. Prayer connects you to the Lord in a special way. When you pray for people who don’t deserve it, you are glorifying God and shaming the devil. The enemy wants you to hate; he wants you to resent. In short, he wants you to be like him. Don’t be like him, because you are a child of light (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:5). The truth is, when you hate, you lose. Haters are losers. Hate weakens you. Hate never wins anything. Love, and love alone, empowers you. When you pray for those who mistreat you, the power of Jesus will flow mightily through you

What you need to realize is, the spiritual realm, just like the physical realm, operates on laws and principles. You can’t hold on to anger/grudge/resentment and hold on to the grace of God at the same time. One has to go. As Christians, we are beneficiaries of God’s abundant grace which He lavished on us through His Son and the Spirit. We, in turn, are called to be ministers of graceWe give grace because we are grace people.

Identity and behavior go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. You are from grace (identity); therefore, you show grace (mission). One prominent way of extending grace to people who mistreat you or hate you is to pray for them. Jesus wants you to pray for them, not against them. 

Jesus’ teaching is deep and radical. You need to receive it with faith and a spirit of submission, even when your feeling is pulling you in the opposite direction. Keeping Jesus’ teachings will fill you with life, because His words are spirit and they are life (cf. John 6:63).

Take Jesus’ message to heart. You may not feel like praying for people who have hurt you. But be led by the Spirit of Christ, not your feeling. Feeling is just feeling. If you follow your feeling alone, you may never do what is right.

Do what Jesus tells you, your feelings notwithstanding.

May the Lord grant you victory over every adversity through The Power of Love! Amen.

 For further study: Romans 12:9-21      

Who Is this Who Forgives Sins?

WHO IS THIS WHO FORGIVES SINS? |Devotion Day 207

“And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:20-21, KJV).

Jesus was like us in all things, but did not sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15). But Jesus was also unlike us. He functioned as a man and also as God, being the Son of God. At times this confused some of the people who followed Him. In today’s Scripture passage, a paralytic is brought to Jesus to be healed. When He saw the faith of those who brought him, Jesus said to the man, “your sins are forgiven.” The people who followed Jesus’ ministry had seen (or at least, heard) Jesus cast out demons, heal the sick and perform other miracles. These miracles were astonishing enough. But this time, Jesus took His ministry to a whole new level. In the minds of the audience, Jesus crossed the line. Healing the sick is one thing, but absolving people of their sins?

The scribes and the Pharisees who heard Jesus were shocked. They reacted, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” The scribes and Pharisees, in a sense, were right to complain. God alone forgives sins. Anyone else who absolves others of their sins is usurping the authority of God, and is consequently, guilty of committing blasphemy. But we must ask, “Was Jesus usurping the authority of God? Was He guilty of blasphemy?” According to the scribes and Pharisees, yes, Jesus was.

They arrived at this conclusion based on their assessment of who Jesus was. In their view, Jesus was a man and nothing more. But, this is where they erred. They saw one side of Jesus – his humanity; but they missed His other equally important side – His divinity. While on earth, Jesus functioned both as a man and as God. When Jesus told the man, “your sins are forgiven,” He was essentially speaking like the God of Israel – JEHOVAH. Jesus forgave sins during His earthly ministry because He was God. Therefore, He was not blaspheming. He was just being Himself.

Dear friend, know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He was God then, and He is God now. He forgave sins then, and He forgives sins today. No human being can set you free from your sins. Whatever situation you are in, go to Jesus in prayer. By faith, cast upon Him every burden on your heart and let Him set you free. Amen.

For further study: Luke 7:36-50

When Is the Right Time to Forgive?

Daily Devotional: Day 200

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [died]” (Acts 7:59-60).

 When Is the Right Time to Forgive? This question assumes that you do forgive those who offend you. Forgiveness is one of the core teachings of Jesus Christ. We also know that it’s one thing to know about the teaching of forgiveness, but a completely different thing to live it. Without forgiveness, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a weak proposition, and in vain do we follow Christ.

Timing plays a vital role in making good decisions in life. The ability, for example, to make the right call at the right time is an essential part of discernment. In other words, if your sense of timing is right, you’re more likely to discern correctly. But if your timing is poor, you could make costly mistakes. The same goes for forgiveness. You may not think it important, but the timing of your forgiveness is almost as important as the forgiveness itself. This means it is possible to forgive at the wrong time. Today, let’s look at the life of Stephen – the first Christian martyr – to see when the right time is to forgive those who offend you.

Stephen rebuked the Jewish leadership and convicted them of the sin of resisting the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 7:51). And, he paid the ultimate price for his witness. The people brought false accusations against Stephen, condemned him and then stoned him to death. While they were stoning him, Stephen cried out to Jesus, asking Him to forgive the sin of his killers. Notice two things about Stephen’s forgiveness. First, he forgave his killers and prayed for them while he was being killed – while he was in pain. Second, he prayed loud enough for the murderers to hear him praying for them.  

When people wrong you, have a short window (the best time frame) to forgive. The longer it takes to forgive, the harder it becomes to forgiveThe longer you hesitate to forgive, the greater the chance of harboring bitterness, resentment and fear. If you get to this point, you have far bigger problems on hand than merely forgiving the offending party. Unforgiveness is like a seed that falls to the ground (of the heart). If it is allowed to take root, it becomes harder to removed. The best time to forgive people is during the time frame the offense occurs, not after. When it hurts, that’s the right time to forgive. A clear sign that you’ve forgiven is when you start interceding for those who have wronged you.

Forgive by faith, not by feeling. Stephen was in pain. If he followed his feeling, he would not have been motivated to forgive. Forgiveness is an action of faith compelled by the love of Christ. Whenever the offense occurs, that’s the right time to forgive and start praying for the offender, not days or weeks after. When you forgive at the right time, you leave satan no room to exploit the situation against you. At the same time, you gain spiritual advantage over the problem. The right time for you to forgive is now.

May the Lord bless you and give courage to forgive in a timely manner. Amen.

For further study: Genesis 50:14-26

When Your Heart Is Broken

Daily Devotional: Day 175

“He [the LORD] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, ESV).

The word “heart” used in today’s passage is referring, not to the physical heart located in your chest, but to your inner being. Throughout today’s message, that will be the intended meaning. Of course, the condition of your inner being can have implications for your physical heart as well. Your spiritual condition affects your physical condition. More people are wounded in their heart than they would admit.

You can’t avoid having social interactions with people. But we know that these interactions aren’t always as smooth as we would like. Occasionally, people get hurt by others, intentionally or unintentionally. Depending on the nature of the experience, the degree of pain will vary from individual to individual. At the end of the day, regardless of who (or what) got your heart broken, the earlier you got healed, the better for you and everyone around you. The Lord cares about your wholeness, especially your inner wholeness.

If your heart is broken, you don’t have to ignore it. It doesn’t help you to pretend to be fine when you’re not. God knows everything, so you might as well talk to Him about it. If someone has hurt you and you think it’s important to draw the person’s attention to it, you may do so. Remember, however, that no human being can fix a broken heart. God alone can touch the problem at the root, repair what is broken, make you whole and set you free. 

Often, people who hurt others are themselves broken, so don’t expect them to help you find what you truly need. Otherwise, you can inadvertently give them the opportunity to make your situation worse. Start by forgiving them from your heart; then, turn to the Lord in prayer. If you need to cry, feel free to do so in the presence of your Father. Open your heart to Him, and ask Him to touch your heart and heal you of all disappointment, bitterness and pain. He will do it. If you know a brother (or brothers) in the Lord in whom you can confide, you may do so and seek the support of Spirit-filled people. 

You need a healthy heart to worship the Lord and minister to other people. So, the condition of your heart is important. Keep your heart free from anything that can hinder your peace and joy in the Lord.

As today’s passage tells us, the Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” If you’re wounded, don’t feel ashamed and don’t be afraid. You have a Father who heals broken hearts. He will give you more than coping skills. He is interested in healing you, restoring you, and giving you a new heart. Go to Him today and be made whole.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.  

For further study: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11