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Today's Devotion: The Garments We Wear: The Garment of Faith

The announcing of God’s Kingdom saw many miraculous verifications. Garments belonging to Paul, which were carried to the diseased and demonized, brought healing (Acts 19:12). Others were healed in Jerusalem when the shadow of Peter fell upon them as he passed by (Acts 5:14-16). And a woman who had been sick for twelve years was healed as she reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20-22).

Touching Jesus’ garment for healing is not a precedent for the Church to follow since He is no longer here on earth. But touching Jesus Himself—reaching out by faith through the crowded confusion of emotions and distractions of this world—is a precedent we can, and should, follow. If the prophet Isaiah refers to putting on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3), might not we also consider wearing a “garment of faith”?

Since Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), let us clothe ourselves with faith in Him, whatever our need.

Faith is knowledge passing into conviction, and it is conviction passing into confidence.
John Murray

Unscramble the five words below and place the answers in the space provided.
Use the circled letters to unscramble the final clue.

Cavenont

Smigdonk

Innovais

Riberth

Edsturciton

Person sitting upright in recliner (evidently startled after having been quite relaxed), surrounded by tabloids about American celebrities and magazines titled "The World of Me."

Caption: Why didn't I

?

Covenant

Kingdoms

Invasion

Rebirth

Destruction

See the Signs

Why has America in her short history outstripped the wealth, power, and influence of all ancient and modern civilizations? Can God have blessed a nation so richly without having a pivotal purpose? What is God's plan for America? What is its place in end–time prophecy?

To understand America's place in end–time prophecy, we must first explore the reasons for God's favor on America.

America Has Been the Force Behind World Missions

God has blessed America because we have been the launching pad of the world's great missionary movement. In the aftermath of World War II, Americans started 1,800 missions agencies and sent out more than 350,000 missionaries.1 Even before the widespread use of the internet, scholars believed that "more than 95 percent of the population of the world—people from every culture and language and country—will have access to the gospel through some portion of Scripture in their language, through literature distribution, radio transmission, audio recordings, the JESUS film or simply through the message of an evangelist."2

These achievements are due largely to the missionary zeal of churches in the United States.

America Has Been A Friend to the Jewish People

America's historic support of Israel is based not so much on efforts by Jewish lobbyists in Washington or the presence of Jewish groups in our society but on the Judeo–Christian heritage of our nation. President Truman's determination to recognize Israel as a modern state was fueled by his lifelong belief that, in the book of Deuteronomy, God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people for all time.

At the founding of the modern state of Israel, surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war on the new nation. Few felt Israel could survive, and Western nations did not want to become embroiled in the conflict. Truman was under pressure not to intervene.

Jewish statesman Abba Eban flew to Paris to meet with an American delegation regarding recognition. Secretary of State George Marshall had to return home for medical treatment, and his deputy, John Foster Dulles, assumed leadership of the delegation.

Eban later wrote that Dulles held the key to the success of the talks. "Behind a dry manner, redolent of oak–paneled courtrooms in the United States, there was a curious strain of Protestant mysticism which led him to give the Israel questions a larger importance that its geo–political weight would indicate."3

What Eban called "a curious strain of Protestant mysticism" is the historic love that Christians have for the land and people of Israel, based upon their shared religious heritage and Scriptures. This, more than anything else, has cemented the friendship between America and Israel.

God promised to bless those who bless Israel (Gen. 12:1–3). He has amply fulfilled that promise. America has been abundantly blessed as a nation because we have blessed the Jews.

1Gordon Robertson, "Into All the World," Christian Broadcasting Network, accessed November 1, 2007, http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/churchandministry/churchhistory/Gordon_Into_World.aspx.

2Luis Bush, "What Is Joshua Project 2000?" Mission Frontiers, accessed October 18, 2018, http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/what–is–joshua–project–2000.

3Abba Eban, An Autobiography (New York, NY: Random House, 1977), 134.

Complete audio message as heard at Shadow Mountain Community Church

Is America in Prophecy?

Complete audio message as heard at Shadow Mountain Community Church

America's activities are scrutinized by the worldwide media on a daily basis. How is it that the world's most powerful nation is not mentioned in the Bible? We can identify reasons for America's blessings, but only speculate about her role in the world in the prophetic future. Covers selected Scriptures.

It's been an interesting thing to watch as believers stand in pulpits and assault our culture as evil. And certainly, none of us would have any reason to doubt the truth of that statement. We live in a world, even in the so–called Christian America, that is filled with evil. And yet when we go back to a simple verse which outlines for us what can make a difference in our lives and in our nation, we don't find a commentary on cultural finger pointing. We find a commentary on us—Christians. It says, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Everyone who has ever done a definitive study on revival has pointed out that revival doesn't start in the culture. It starts in the Church. It starts in the heart of the Christian. And perhaps one of the things we can learn from some of our failures in these past years is that if we ever get to the place where we get so culture–minded that we are not Christ–minded, we are doomed to failure. We offer the world only the emptiness of our own rhetoric. We must come to them with hearts that are overflowing with the love of God and the peace of Jesus Christ. And then we can make a difference in this world.

I could prove to you from history that the greatest changes in American culture have not started in huge rallies, or even in patriotic demonstrations. They have started in quiet, small gatherings where people began to pray. And they began to pray that God would make a difference in their country. The four great spiritual awakenings that have been historically chronicled in this country were fueled by a seeking after God on the part of a few people. And it began to grow until it exploded into a revival that no one could understand if they didn't know God.

If we stand up and we don't kneel down, we have ignored the greatest resource God has given us to win the battle that is before us. A Christian stands the tallest when he is on his knees. We have forgotten that humility is the cause of change in the culture. Some evangelical leaders call us to political mobilization and strategic marketing, but God wants us to begin in the church first of all in mourning for what's happening in our culture.

We shake our heads at the demise of prayer in schools, and then we don't pray ourselves when we have the freedom and the right to do it. We champion the cause against taking the lives of children, and then statistics say we abandon our children at the same rate as non–Christians. So the problem is obviously not entirely "out there." It's in our hearts. And the rebuilding begins with the humbling of ourselves before God.

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