Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 341 }

So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. —Acts 14:3

Revelation itself is not going to help the body unless it goes through the process of interpretation and application. The interpretation may be accurate, but if a person jumps the gun and gets ahead of God in the application, a considerable amount of hurt and confusion may result. Consequently, there is as much need for divine wisdom in the interpretation and application as there is in the revelation. God never works as fast as people think He should. Don't get involved with prophetic people and words if you are not willing to wait on God to bring them to pass. God will declare His intention through the prophetic gift, but if the application is not in His timing, you'll find yourself trying to step through a door that is not open. The way is not yet prepared, and the grace is not yet sufficient.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, help me to understand that when Your Spirit speaks through Your prophets to Your people, we must clearly know how You desire Your people to apply those words to our lives. Don't let me get ahead of You or fail to respond when You speak to me.

God never works as fast as
people think He should.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Dead Men

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. —Philippians 2:12-13

We are all commissioned to grow up in Him to the point where we accept and walk in His will in every area of our lives. It is the difference between infancy and maturity.

True maturity comes when God's will can be worked through your will. This can only happen when your flesh is dead enough, and your will becomes submitted enough and you have been truly resurrected with Christ. Then what you will is not your will, but God's.

Dead men do not have a will! When you are dead to your own will, you can get up at 4:00 in the morning to pray; you can forgive the hurt; and you can have peace in the midst of the storm.

When you have grown into the fullness of the image of Jesus your prayer will be, "Not my will, but thine be done." God will then answer your prayer and impregnate you with His will for your life.

Lord Jesus, I submit my will to Yours. I pray that
You do whatever You desire in my life.
I am yours, O Lord. Amen.

 

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Honor Your Parents

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise—"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." —Ephesians 6:1-3

God could have added this word of promise to any of the commands, but He chose this one, thus giving an added incentive for keeping this command.

I find this sobering. In the light of this I ask, how long can I expect to live, based on this promise and my attitude toward my own parents? So if this command is true, and the promise is relevant, how long may you expect to live?

You could call this commandment a proposition. God makes a deal with His people. Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Parental respect must be taught in the home and in the church. It is the teaching of gratitude. We need to be taught gratitude, and that means to be thankful and respectful to our parents. And yet I must admit that this teaching will be easier for some than for others. Not all have good parents. My heart goes out to anybody who struggles here. I was once pastor of a church in which there was a lady who was abused by her father; her father had sexual intercourse with her as far back as she could remember. It messed up her life to no end.

Perhaps you have a father who was cruel and insensitive. Perhaps you had a mother who was not very loving. And now you are told to honor them, and you say, "I can't." I sympathize. I can echo the sentiments of David in Psalm 16:6: "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." That also means that I am without excuse. If you too have a father and mother who did not abuse you but who loved you, did their best for you, and loved the Lord, you ought to be very thankful.

Excerpted from Grace (Charisma House, 2006).

 


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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

A Sinking Heart

Luke 22:55-23:10 This passage in Luke tells about Peter's denial of Jesus. Yesterday we talked about the sinking feeling we experience when we face certain difficult situations. Fear and discouragement can cause the sinking feeling. Today we see an even deeper level of emotional turmoil. When Peter denied Jesus, he had more than a sinking feeling. He had a sinking heart. His heart was broken. When the Lord turned and looked at Peter after the cock crowed, Peter remembered the word of the Lord and how He told him that before the cock crowed he would deny Him three times. Peter left the scene and wept bitterly.

Peter had a broken heart, but more was broken in Peter than his heart. Something broke in Peter that changed his life. Earlier Jesus warned Peter that Satan wanted to sift him as wheat. Jesus said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (v. 31-32, KJV).

Peter responded confidently, "Lord I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death" (v. 33, KJV).

What did Jesus mean when he told Peter "when you are converted, strengthen the brethren"?

Wasn't Peter already converted? After all, he was the very disciple who confessed exactly who Jesus was by saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Then why did Peter have to be converted? On that fateful day when Peter denied Christ three times, more than his heart broke. Peter's pride was broken. He was converted from the confident, independent Peter to the broken, dependent Peter. On that day Peter experienced his own crucifixion—the crucifixion of his own flesh.

It is not easy to die to ourselves. Daily we are exhorted to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit reveals who we are without Christ, the picture is overwhelming and we have a sinking heart. We sigh and ask, "Lord, am I that wicked?"

Just as Jesus went to the cross and Peter had his cross experience on the day he denied Jesus, we must also have our cross experience. It happens when we lay down our self-sufficiency, pride and independence, and when we recognize that without Jesus we have the capability of being just as wicked as Charles Manson the murderer. It is only when we recognize our weakness that we can then turn to Jesus to be our strength. A broken, contrite heart Jesus will not despise. We all have our appointment with the cross when we die to ourselves so we can live in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Have you been converted?

READ: Judges 6:1-40; Luke 22:55-23:10; Psalm 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 14:5-6

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Deep Longing

Why have so many Christians embraced the idea that following Christ means losing individuality, creativity, ingenuity, and the passion for excellence in all spheres of life? Too many believers are trapped in "the ordinary" when God promised an extraordinary life!

In stark contrast, believers in the early church were often mistaken for "gods." What has happened to our power and influence? Have we neglected our access to God's ability and presence purchased through the cross?

It's time we lay hold of our core faith! Within each person is an innate desire to rise above the norm.

It's no surprise we're captivated by those who do remarkable feats or possess super powers: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, to mention just a few. Did you know that 17 of the top 25 blockbuster films of all time tell of extraordinary feats and superheroes? Strength and bravery capture our imagination and encourage us to believe in a life greater than we've known.

How intriguing that the bulk of the most popular movies of all time are not love stories, murder mysteries, espionage thrillers, war movies, sports flicks, westerns or dramas. No, the top box office draws are films that center on extraordinary characters doing remarkable feats. Why? Because "extraordinary" is how we were created to live. It was God's plan from the beginning.

This extraordinary life is more than a fairytale, it's available through Christ. You see, more than a need to escape or be entertained, there is a God-inspired longing in everyone for the extraordinary! Within every believer is a hero waiting to be unveiled!

"My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" (Ephesians 3:9-10, The Message)

Marked by boldness and passion, John Bevere delivers uncompromising truth through his award-winning curriculum and best-selling books now available in over sixty languages. His newest book is Extraordinary: The Life You're Meant to Live. More information is available at www.ExtraordinaryOnline.org.

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