Morning Devotional

Move Your Mountains

Like many believers, you may have heard the teaching on mountain-moving faith based on Mark 11:22–23. I don’t know about you, but it always intrigued me: Why did Jesus curse the fig tree before He taught on mountain-moving faith?

One day, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes. The first time fig leaves are mentioned in the Bible, they speak of self-righteousness—after Adam sinned, he covered himself with fig leaves. Adam’s covering was a bloodless one, and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). That’s why God had to clothe him with animal skin instead, which meant the shedding of innocent blood. One speaks of righteousness by works, while the other speaks of righteousness by the shed blood of the Lamb.

So the fig tree here is a picture of self-righteousness. And what Jesus was saying is that before your faith can flow like a river, you have to curse (or get rid of) self-righteousness in your life and embrace His gift of righteousness!

Beloved, keep believing, meditating on and declaring that you are righteous in Christ apart from your works. This revelation is what causes faith for every breakthrough you need to rise effortlessly in your heart, and the mountains in your life to move!

Believer’s Daily Treasure

The Prophets Examples to the Afflicted

As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name.

[Jas 5:10 NET]

And shall not we aspire,

Like them our course to run?

The crown if we would wear,

The cross must first be borne.

Divinely taught, they show’d the way,

First to believe, and then obey.

Jesus Lives

STRIVING

Instead of rushing to pursue a goal, take time to talk with Me about it. I realize that striving to achieve comes almost as naturally to you as breathing. When a goal grabs your attention, your instinct is to “go for it” without really thinking it through. You may invest a lot of time and energy in the endeavor—only later realizing that it was the wrong pursuit. But when you take the time to first discuss matters with Me, you experience much more satisfaction.

There are many benefits to talking with Me—before, during, and after your quest. The Light of My Presence illuminates the pursuit so you can see it from My perspective. As your perspective lines up more with Mine, you gain a growing desire to please Me. This desire produces benefits far beyond the task at hand: It deepens your relationship with Me.

If you discern that your pursuit accords with My will, then you can go forward confidently. As you work collaboratively with Me, continue to communicate about what you are doing. When your goal has been achieved, thank Me for My help and guidance. Rejoice in what we have accomplished together!

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.

[Psalm 89:15–16]

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.

[Proverbs 19:21]

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.

[Psalm 37:5]

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

[Philippians 4:13]

Word of God

Duty After Privilege

So Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

[Matt 17:4 NET]

We should know that it was Peter who said this, even if his name were not given; it is just like Peter. He wanted to hold the heavenly vision on the mountain top, and not go back any more to the cold, struggling life of earth. It seemed such a heavenly place that he did not want to leave it. It certainly was good to be there; but they could not stay there long and yet be faithful to their duty and their mission. There was work waiting in the sad world below which they must hasten to do. There was a poor demoniac at the foot of the mountain whom the disciples could not cure; the Master was sorely needed there. Then farther off were Gethsemane, Gabbatha, and Golgotha for Jesus; He must make an atonement for the world. Then for Peter there was Pentecost, with many years of earnest service, and martyrdom in the end.

Devotion is good. It is very sweet to commune with God in the Closet, in the church, at the sacramental table; but we must not spend all our time in these holy exercises. While the raptures thrill our souls we must not forget that outside there are human wants crying for help and sympathy; and we must tear ourselves away from our warmest devotions and most exalted experiences to go down to answer these cries. Religion is not for enjoyment only; God gives us spiritual enjoyment that we may be strong for all loving service.

Hark, hark! a voice amid the quiet intense!

It is thy duty waiting thee without.

Open thy door straightway, and get thee hence;

Go forth into the tumult and the shout;

Work, love, with workers, lovers all about;

Then, weary, go thou back with failing breath,

And in thy chamber make thy prayer and moan.

One day upon his bosom, all thine own,

Thou shalt lie still, embraced in holy death.

Truth For Today

WHAT IS A FALSE PROPHET?

You will know them by their fruits

[MATTHEW 7:16]

The most dangerous characteristic of false prophets is that they claim to be from God and to speak for Him. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31).

Such leaders nearly always appear pleasant and positive. They like to be with Christians, and they know how to talk and act like believers.

False prophets usually exude sincerity and thereby more easily deceive others (see 2 Tim. 3:13). But you can identify false teachers’ true colors by noting what they do not talk much about. They usually don’t deny basic doctrines such as Christ’s deity and substitutionary atonement, the sinfulness of humanity, or unbelievers’ going to hell. They simply ignore such “controversial” truths.

But whenever a false prophet is in your midst, you must not ignore his presence or the harmful effects of his heretical teaching.

Devotional

Hard to Imagine

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

[1 Corinthians 2:9]

Recommended Reading

Isaiah 64:4-5

Moving to a new town or state, going to new schools, working at new jobs—what will it be like? Most of the time, things work out. Once we settle in, our worries subside and we get in the flow.

If moving to a new city is a big transition, what about moving from our earth to a new earth? And what about finding yourself in very difficult circumstances, wondering if things will ever change? That was Israel’s experience—under God’s judgment. Isaiah the prophet wrote first about judgment (Isaiah 1–39) and second about restoration (Isaiah 40–66). In the latter, God promised new heavens and a new earth (65:17; 66:22), telling the Jews it would be hard to even imagine what God has prepared for them (64:4-5). As that theme of blessing unfolded through Jesus the Messiah, the apostle Paul quoted Isaiah’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9—we can’t imagine what God has prepared for us.

Living in a new earth will be quite a transition, but it’s one with which we can trust God.

Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.

~ Augustine ~

Devotional

Do Not Be Anxious

Scripture Reading — Matthew 6:25-34

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

[Romans 8:28]

Several times in these verses Jesus says, “Do not worry,” or “Do not be anxious.” Yet simply telling an anxious person to stop being anxious rarely helps. Does anyone who is anxious make the choice to be that way? Why, then, would Jesus say this? His words run much deeper than simply saying “Stop it.” He reminds us that there are things beyond our control that require us to trust in God’s care and provision.

I’ve had to learn this lesson repeatedly in life. I’ve never been in charge. Yet my humanness wants desperately to be in control. I don’t like being dependent on others. And I often give lip-service to my dependence on God. My insecurity drives my desire for control, and realizing that I’m not in control intensifies my insecurity—and the result is anxiety.

Jesus points out that God provides abundantly for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. God cares deeply for all of his creation. So we can be confident that God will certainly provide for us.

And with God’s providence comes his amazing power to reset our focus in life. We cannot get past our anxiety without knowing that God, who is in control, also loves us and knows what is best for us—­always.

Father, help us to let go of our worry and stop being anxious about tomorrow. Teach us to trust in you, knowing you will work all things for good, in line with your purpose and for your glory. Amen.