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Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 343 }

It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade. —Mark 4:31-32, NKJV

Throughout the last two millennia, all the powers of hell have been unable to eliminate the gospel or the church. It has only continued to grow. The church in its survival and growth is living out the prophetic word. Its very presence is a continuing witness to prophecies fulfilled. The church is also a prophetic witness in its mission. Just as the apostles were in the early days, the church today is the witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the bride of Christ, all that the church does in order to make herself ready—gathering together, worshiping, celebrating Communion, witnessing, preaching the gospel, casting out demons, healing the sick, being peacemakers—is a prophetic trumpet to the world of the relationship of Christ to His church and of the fact that Christ is coming again. The next time you are sitting in a church service, remember that even though we are almost two thousand years removed from the first-century church, the very fact that you are gathering with others in His name is both a prophetic fulfillment and a prophetic statement to the world.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Jesus, what an incredible privilege it is to gather with Your people and prepare together to become Your bride. May our worship, preaching, witnessing, and works of spiritual service show an unsaved world Your love and draw them into a relationship with You.

The church's primary task has always been
to preserve and proclaim the good news
of His death, resurrection, and His
coming again to judge the world.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Conceive a Miracle

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. —Luke 1:28, 31

The story of Mary and the conception of Jesus reveals powerful keys to receiving God's miracle-working power.

Before you can receive a miracle, you must receive a Word from God. Whether it comes from the Bible, through anointed preaching, or from the Lord speaking in your spirit, you must receive the Word that speaks to your situation.

When God told the prophet Elijah to seek out the widow of Zarephath, He had a plan for her. He intended to provide for her needs and prosper her in a time of drought and famine. When Elijah came to her, she had not yet received that Word from God. The prophet had to put a demand on her faith to bring her into God's provision. She received God's Word through the prophet, and in so doing received her miracle (1 Kings 17).

Receive God's Word for your situation, and allow Him to conceive a miracle in your spiritual womb. Give God permission to birth new creation in your life. You are born of the Spirit, not of flesh. Be born anew in Christ Jesus.

Birth in me, Lord Jesus, Your new creation.
I desire to be born of the Spirit through
faith and truth in You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Accepting God's Call

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. —1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Our God is a God who calls people. This fact is essential to His dealings with us. After they had sinned, Adam and Eve "heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. ... the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" (Gen. 3:8-9). Could it be that God is seeking you? The sound of His voice is disquieting, and you may think, Oh, no, it couldn't be that He's calling me.

Let me define what I mean by God's call: I mean God getting our attention to make His own wish known. For example, He calls at conversion. Everyone who is a Christian is a Christian because he or she has been converted, and the reason of the conversion is that the person heard the call of God.

Allow me to ask you this question: When you get to the very center of God's will, is it perhaps at great cost? Could it be that there is a call to a spirituality at a deeper level than you have known? What if, in your midlife, when things are going well, God puts His finger on your lifestyle, the way you have been spending your time, your money—all the comfort you have taken for granted—and says, "I have something else in mind." The pain can be great, but the reward will be greater.

The "calling of God" is getting our attention to make His wish known. Are you ready for this? If not, get ready, for it is only a matter of time—God will call you.

Excerpted from When God Shows Up (Renew Books, 1998).



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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Proverbs 14:22-24 In a previous devotional we talked about the saying "Loose lips sink ships," which was a by-word in World War II. Those who were working in the war effort were cautioned to be extremely careful about what they shared with others. They didn't want any information to leak out to the enemy. We also have an enemy, and he uses our very own words as ammunition against us. We forget that the devil cannot read our minds, but he can give us thoughts and can hear what we say. A lot of the time we do his dirty work for him just by being careless in our words.

This proverb says that the talk of lips tends to poverty. Another proverb says he that keeps his lips keeps his soul from troubles. When we speak too much, we often let out information to the enemy that he will use against us. We serve a God who owns all the cattle on the hills and the entire universe. He is rich and wants to bless us with many of His resources, but often we rob ourselves of His blessings by speaking the wrong things. I have caught myself actually speaking curses over my own life by the words I say. I will say things like, "We'll never have enough money to do this or that." I also can bring poverty to my own soul by speaking things like, "I'm so depressed," or "I'm an emotional wreck." Pretty soon our souls will pick up on what we are saying, and the emotional area of our souls will respond to our words.

We can enrich our souls by what we speak also. David learned this lesson, and he often spoke to his soul: "Why are you cast down, O my soul; hope in God." We can speak encouraging words to our soul when we feel down. The Bible teaches us to speak in faith and often calls for us to call those things that are not as though they are. The Bible says, "Let the weak say they are strong." I've tried to practice this in my life, and if I am having negative feelings, I try to speak just the opposite. People sometimes feel this is not being honest, but when we are weak, in the Lord we are strong. When we are down, in the Lord we are joyful. When we are confused, in the Lord we have peace of mind. We need to speak what the Lord is in our lives no matter how we feel. Emotions are deceptive, and often the enemy wants us to wallow in our emotions rather than confess the Word of God in faith.

Many of the troubles we have are brought upon ourselves by what we speak. Make it your goal today not to speak any negative words. Ask the Holy Spirit to stop you if you begin to speak negatively. A prayer I pray almost every morning is:

Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You. You are my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

READ: Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:22-4:4; Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-24

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Living Larger

"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16, NKJV).

And of His fullness we have all received. The completeness of Jesus has been imparted to us! Not the fullness of a prime minister, president, celebrity, rock star, great athlete or scholar, but the comprehensiveness of Jesus Christ Himself. If you really hear this, you'll never envy another man or woman again. You have the full nature of Jesus Christ in you!

The word nature is defined as "the innate or essential qualities or character of a person."

We are in Christ, He is in us, and we have the fullness of His nature. The seed planted in us when we were born again is all that makes Christ who He is! How awesome. In this world we have the comprehensiveness of His nature!

John says it like this: "As He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17, NKJV). So many believers think that someday in heaven we'll be as He is, but for now on earth we are struggling sinners who've merely been forgiven. This is a mammoth lie, and it keeps people in bondage and nullifies the power of grace in their lives.

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. (John 1:16)

Here is the point so many miss: Receiving the fullness of God's nature is directly connected with grace. It is God's unmerited gift—a gift that not only saved us from eternal damnation but also gave us His characteristics. One aspect of grace is just as real as the other, and it was all provided the moment we were saved.

God's divine nature was freely imparted to us, and our once hardened hearts were replaced by the seed of God's inherent characteristics. We now have the ability to live as He intended humankind to live from the beginning—extraordinarily. We now can live this life as sons and daughters of God, in His image, His likeness, possessing His ability through grace!

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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