Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 271 }

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. —1 Corinthians 6:19-20

When you want to retaliate, remember that the fundamental reality in the kingdom of God is found in the words of our Scripture today: "For you were bought at a price; ... in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (NKJV). Beloved, when you show kindness to your enemies, it declares you belong to another. Your resources belong to God, your reputation belongs to Him, and your time belongs to Him. When your enemies bring pressure on you, malign your reputation, or steal your resources or your time, the Lord invites you to make a transfer of ownership and put your complete self into His hands. This makes room for His vengeance and His agenda. He is your defense and your ally. This is the path to true liberty and true power. Every time someone harms you, it's another divine opportunity to shout to the world that the Lord owns you and will defend you according to His righteousness.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Jesus, what an incomprehensible price You paid to redeem my soul from hell. Let me never forget that I belong to You. Be my defense, be my ally, and show me the path to true liberty and power.

If He is not concerned to Punish immediately the
injustice done to you, then neither should
you be worried—you belong to Him.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

A Compassionate Heart

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. —Matthew 14:14

Here, as throughout the Gospels, Jesus unveiled the compassionate heart of God to the people. In both the Old and New Testaments, the words "mercy" and "compassion" are derived from the same word and carry the same meaning: bestowing sympathy and selfless tenderness.

Psalm 145:8 says, "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." Our Father is a God of boundless love.

It is not our faith in God's power that brings about His wonder-working presence, but faith in His love and in His will for us: to pour out His blessing upon us. Micah 7:18 says that He is constantly searching for those He can bless. He is not only willing but eager to pour out His blessings on those who call Him Lord.

The Lord is eagerly seeking you out today. Are you eagerly seeking Him out? Are you passionately in love with the Savior today? Seek Him out today as eagerly as He is seeking you.

Jesus, I eagerly seek You today. This day will
not be full without Your Spirit filling every
moment with Your grace and power.
How I love you, Lord. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

When Should We Fast?

... and humbled myself with fasting. —Psalm 35:13

You might be thinking, I'm willing to fast, but when do I do it? I would therefore like to suggest five occasions on which fasting is justifiable.

I think the first of those would be when the burden we are under is so great that we do not really have a desire for food—for this may be a hint from God that we should fast. David experienced a time of great mourning when God smote the son born to him as a result of his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:15-16).

The second occasion that justifies fasting is when we are about to embark on a very great task for God or have to make an important decision. At the beginning of His ministry, after His baptism, Jesus fasted (Matt. 4:2). Maybe you need to know God's will and don't know what to do. It is justifiable to fast because you need wisdom for something in the future.

A third reason is if we feel that God is hiding His face. Perhaps we are in a rut or have known better days spiritually. Perhaps God is not as real as we have known Him to be, and we are not sure whether we have grieved Him or whether He has just chosen to hide His face for reasons we can't understand. Perhaps God is hiding His face from us in order to drive us to our knees to seek Him.

The fourth occasion is when we have experienced delay in the answers to our prayers. In the Old Testament in particular we have accounts of situations where God did not step in as it had been hoped He would, and as a result the people fasted.

The fifth occasion that justifies fasting is when we feel the need of unusual power that we don't have, such as in the case of demon possession in Matthew 17, which was too big for the disciples to handle.

Fasting is a way of ensuring that we are completely dependent upon God and open to Him. It seeks spiritual emptiness and cleansing, and it enables us to hear God speaking.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Judging Righteously

Romans 2:1-23 There are only a few things we are permitted to judge according to the Scriptures. We are permitted to judge ourselves, to judge or know others by their fruits and to judge the times. We are warned by Paul and Jesus of the danger of judging others. The reason it is so dangerous to judge another is because if we misjudge or accuse another, we open ourselves up to the very same things we are judging in another person. We can judge a person's actions, but we cannot judge their motivations. Only God can know the hearts of men. Sometimes the Lord may give us discernment about what is in another person's heart, but this knowledge is not to cause us to judge, but instead to cause us to pray for that person.

We have a righteous Judge who judges all things. He judges us and gives to every man according to his deeds. That righteous judge is Jesus. If we are saved, our salvation will not be judged, but our works on earth will be judged, and we will be rewarded accordingly. As the Lord judges our works, He also sees the motivations in our hearts when we did those works. Sometimes we fall into the trap of doing good deeds for others because it is expected of us or because we want the praise of men. Our works on earth that will last forever are those works we do in love and obedience to God's will and the leading of His Spirit.

Several years ago I was visiting regularly a troubled girl in a mental institution. It seemed my visits were availing nothing, and I was burdened down with the obligation to visit this girl. My pastor had asked me to do this, so I did. One day a prayer warrior asked me, "Linda, did the Lord ask you to visit this girl?" I thought for a moment, and then I realized He never led me to do this, but instead I was visiting this girl out of obligation, not obedience to the Lord. I learned a great lesson that day. People can ask us to do many things, and we can do many good deeds, not out of love and obedience to the Lord, but out of obligation to men.

There are works created from the foundation of the earth that we are to walk in. I believe when we die the works that will last forever and not be burned will be those that are written already in our book of life. We also need to be careful to obey God not out of duty, but out of love for Him. When I think about how I need to get my own act together and be busy about the Father's will, I will not have time to sit in judgment of others. I daily pray that the Lord will cleanse my heart of every wrong motivation and cause my actions in obedience to Him and in reaching out to others always to be rooted in love. Jesus came to do the will of the Father, and every action He displayed on earth was rooted in His love for the Father. I want to be like Jesus in His desire always to please the Father rather than men.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have done works simply out of obligation to others. Purify my heart and cause me to always be motivated by love, not duty.

READ: 1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17; Romans 2:1-23; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 19:8-9

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

A Life You Were Created For

??Have you often thought, "There must be more"? You’re not alone. I believe a fresh revelation of truth will unlock the God-potential within you. You probably know that by God’s grace you’re forgiven and saved, but do you know that His grace empowers you here and now in this life?

"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16, NKJV). Here's the point so many miss: With grace we can receive the fullness of God's nature! Grace is the gift that not only saved us but also imparts to us the completeness of Jesus. We are in Christ, He is in us, and we have the fullness of His nature. Without this insight, we cut ourselves off from the flow of grace. Most believe God's grace has forgiven their sin and saved them from hell, but there is so much more! We have been given a new nature, and we are empowered to walk as Jesus (see 1 John 2:6) with authority to bring heaven's will to earth.

My life changed dramatically once I discovered that grace not only includes God's amazing forgiveness and promise of heaven, but also His empowerment in this life. Before this, I struggled trying to be good in my own strength. I found many of God's instructions too difficult to fulfill, I battled inferiority and poor self-image as I wondered why there was so little eternal fruit in my life. However, once the realization came that I possessed the fullness of God's nature, my life stabilized, blessings flowed and my impact for the kingdom greatly increased.

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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