Set Your Faith Free: Eliminate ‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’

Daily Devotion | Day 278

“And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:22-23, NKJV).

Jesus speaks one language. It’s the language of faith. Consequently, He can’t deal with faith-less communication. Listen to Him voice His frustration: “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” (Mark 9:19). Jesus was fed up; thank God He didn’t give up on us! By “faithless generation,” He meant a generation that lacked faith. Jesus’ statement tells us about the pivotal role faith plays in our life. Anyway, let’s dive into today’s opening passage.

This man had a son who was tormented by an unclean spirit. He brought him to Jesus’ disciples. Unfortunately, they couldn’t cast out the spirit. Jesus found out and asked the man for some details about his son’s situation. Today’s reading captures part of the man’s response. He is describing the harm the spirit has been inflicting on his son. After that, he tells Jesus, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Before we continue, let’s compare this man’s statement with that of a certain leper who approached Jesus for healing: “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2). Take some time to reflect on the similarities and differences of the two statements.

The man in today’s story had a problem. His faith (if he had any) was shaky. He had problems with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts.’ His own words revealed his unbelief: “But if You can, have compassion on us and help us.”  He had doubts, and this wasn’t helping his son. As you know, doubt is an expression of unbelief. Unclean spirits don’t respond to doubtful people. In fact, they thrive in an environment of doubt. However, they can’t stand an environment of faith. With his ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ the man was making his son’s situation worse. Knowing his problem, Jesus gave him a brief lesson on faith: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

As a Christian, you’re going to fly on the wings of faith. Faith is your access key for supernatural breakthrough. To set your faith free, you need to eliminate doubt (‘ifs’ and ‘buts’) from your faith-life. If you’re going to walk with Jesus, you need to speak a language He understands, i.e. faith language. If you’re going to overcome unclean spirits, you need to switch from the frequency of doubt to the frequency of faith. Cooperate with Jesus by faith, and watch your life change.

BlessingMay the Lord command His blessing upon you and your household. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyMark 7:24-30

Learning from History

Daily Devotion|Day 262

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:2, NKJV).

The forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness were a period of test. The test was primarily one of faith. Some failed the test. Consequently, they did not enter the Promised Land. However, others did pass the test. They went in and took possession of God’s promises.

At this point in the Letter to the Hebrews, the author is warning his Christian audience. He does so by reminding them of what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. The basic problem at stake for the Israelites was a lack of faith (faith understood as confidence/faithfulness/obedience). In 4:1, the author tells his audience to approach their salvation with fear lest anyone comes short as it happened in the Old Testament.

In today’s opening passage, the Scripture says the Gospel was preached to the Israelites of old as well as to current believers (Christians). Unfortunately, the word which they heard (i.e. the Gospel) did not profit them. This means it is possible to hear the word of God in vain. The Bible then tells us why the word of God did not profit them: They did not mix the word with faith. The author of Hebrews wanted his audience to understand this so they too don’t become victims of unbelief.

The underlying message here is that hearing the word of God isn’t enough for one’s salvation. When the word of God comes to us, it doesn’t work independently of our heart’s disposition. For the word of God to benefit us, it must be mixed with our faith. This means putting complete confidence in what God says and making choices consistent with such confidence.

BlessingMay the Lord surround you with favor as with a shield. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 13:1-23 and Numbers 14:1-38

Walk in Resurrection Power

Daily Devotional: Day 182

“But we were hoping that it was He [Jesus] who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened” (Luke 24:21, NKJV).

Jesus was risen from the dead – fresh from the grave. A new day had dawned in the history of humanity. Heaven rejoiced. Satan was defeated. Suddenly, a lost world woke up to a new day – a day of living hope. Jesus had overcome sin, the world, the devil and the grave. And, He did it all for the Father’s glory and for our benefit. No longer would man be a captive to sin or the devil, unless he chose to do so.

Despite this Good News, some of Jesus’ own disciples were trapped in “bad news” due to ignorance and unbelief. Today’s Scripture passage tells us that after Christ was risen, two of His disciples were walking to Emmaus. Jesus joined them, though they didn’t recognize Him. He then asked them for an account of what had happened in Jerusalem. Their response was shocking, depressing and disappointing. You wonder what the risen Lord must have felt listening to their uninspiring testimony.

Notice what they said, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” What we see in the life of these two disciples, can be seen in some ‘disciples’ of Christ today. They look like disciples. They talk like disciples. But they walk defeated, still bound by sin and fear, because they have lost touch with Jesus’ resurrection power. They speak about Christ, but the resurrection of Christ remains foreign to them. They appear to walk with Christ, but their walk is uninspiring.

The resurrection of Christ is the only hope of the world. Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh; that’s great. Jesus was a great teacher and prophet; that’s marvelous. Jesus did great miracles; that’s awesome. He also died for our sins; that’s appreciated. But if, after doing all these marvelous things, Jesus did not rise from the dead, we would still be under the dominion of satan, sin and death. Paul put it bluntly: “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17, emphasis added).  

The resurrection of Jesus is more than an idea in the Bible. It should become a dynamic power at work in your life, bearing fruit of boldness, conviction and decisive victory over sin and fear. Ask Jesus to teach and impart to you His resurrection power. Through this power, you will become an effective witness for Christ. Walk in resurrection power today. Walk in true freedom. Amen.

For further study: Luke 24:1-35

How Satan and His Antichrist Agents Twist God’s Word to Influence Belief

Daily Devotional: Day 86

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1, NKJV).

When someone hates you, one of the things they do is to twist your words. When satan tempted Eve, he used a simple yet effective method: the method of twisting God’s Word. Thousands of years later, he hasn’t changed. Even today, he continues to twist God’s Word through false prophets who are operating inside and outside the Church. Everything written in the Scriptures is for our instruction (cf. Romans 15:4). Therefore, the incident about how the enemy tempted Eve was recorded in the Scriptures for our benefit, to instruct us about how the enemy works. In a battle, knowing your opponent’s tactics is a big step toward victory. It’s the same with our spiritual warfare; knowing how satan operates is key.

In today’s Bible text, notice how the enemy begins by undermining the Word of God: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ (Emphasis mine). In the first place, God did not forbid Adam and Eve from eating of every tree. By adding the word “every” to God’s original words, satan twisted God’s original command. Not only that, notice how he set up his question: “has God indeed said . . .?”

On the surface, it appears that satan was posing a question, but in reality he was making a statement, i.e. introducing his own version of God’s Word. His purpose was to get Eve to doubt the reliability of God’s Word. Here’s the trick: After all, if God’s Word is not trustworthy, why should people bother obeying it? Eve got confused and indeed she began to doubt God and His Word. The result was rebellion and rejection of the reliability of God’s original command.

Lesson for us: Let’s pay attention to the accuracy of God’s Word. A seemingly innocuous mistranslation or misinterpretation can change the original meaning of the Bible and corrupt the originality of God’s Word, which is what satan wants. And that is what many antichrist prophets have done from the beginning (cf. 1 John 2:18).

Today, many antichrists have infiltrated (In fact, they’ve always been around!) the Church and are confusing and deceiving lots of people. They have perfected the art of  twisting God’s Word. When God’s Word is twisted, it eventually leads to doubt, disobedience wrong belief. Let’s be vigilant and make sure that no one is adding to God’s Word or removing things from it. Just one word can make a big difference in what you believe or do not believe.

Prayer:

Father, give me a heart to follow your Word as it is. And preserve me from the deceptions and manipulation of the enemy. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Mark 7:1-13