Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 206 }

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. —Psalm 43:3-4

It sounds romantic to us now, but as a shepherd boy watching the flocks, David was the equivalent of a night watchman sitting in a booth and making sure nobody breaks into a storage facility. Anybody who has held a job in security knows there is nothing special about it. It's boring, unglamorous, mundane work. You sit there filing your nails, listening to the radio, counting the crickets chirping outside. You don't even want to admit to your friends that you have a job like that. I can picture David, a young teenager sitting in the fields behind his house, playing his guitar, and biding his time. Nobody cared to hear the songs he composed on his nondescript, homemade harp. But as he wandered those back hills of Bethlehem and looked up at the stars, something caught his attention, and he began to sing, "I don't know You very well, but I love You. I want to know You. What are You like? Who are You? What is my life about?" What did David see? What did God whisper to his heart that became the foundation of who he was to become?

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like David, the little shepherd boy who spent his hours isolated and alone, teach me to spend my life in discovering who You are and what You want my life to be.

What did David find in the long hours of gazing on
God's beauty in the stars and the sunsets?

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

God's Order

And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the first-born. —Genesis 29:26

Everything in the Bible is given to show us God's order and purpose. Jacob tried to cut corners. He wanted to circumvent repentance and holiness in his quest for joy and happiness. Too often we want the reward without the labor, the honor without the fight. We desire gain without pain and victory without sacrifice.

We serve a God of plan and purpose, not one of short-cuts. Laban told Jacob he would have to marry the older sister, Leah, before he could marry Rebecca, the one he truly loved. It is easy to fall in love with happiness and joy, but there is a Leah of holiness our soul must learn to love first. We will never wear the crown if we do not first carry the cross.

Labor as Jacob did, in willing service to our Lord, as we await the wedding supper of the Lamb. When the time for the wedding feast arrives, Jesus will wash away the pain and toil of our labor.

Lord, You desire for certain things to
happen in my life that I know I am
resisting. Teach me to accept
whatever You want from me
so that I may know You and
Your will completely. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Marriage of the Word and the Spirit


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. —Colossians 3:16 Be filled with the Spirit. —Ephesians 5:18

If the Word and the Spirit come together in the church—both in emphasis and in experience—it will be the happiest event in many years. I believe this is God's heart. Yet it is my observation that most of today's church, speaking generally, emphasizes one or the other.

It can be argued that the two are always inseparable—for this is absolutely true. It is by the Spirit that we receive the Word; it is the Word that tells us about the Spirit. They cannot be separated.

But that is not the total picture. Jesus said to His disciples, "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you," yet He later breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 15:3; 20:22). This shows that there was more that they needed, even though they had the Word.

Jesus said to the Father, "I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them" (John 17:8), and yet He later told them to stay in Jerusalem until they had been "clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). Jesus Himself was the Word made flesh, but He too received the Spirit (Luke 3:22; John 1:33ff).

When we say that the Word and the Spirit are inseparable, we need to state what we mean. It is possible that one may have the full and undiluted Word but have the Spirit in less measure. That was the disciples' experience prior to Pentecost.

Those who emphasize the Word are not without the Spirit, and those who emphasize the Spirit are not devoid of the Word. It is the degree to which one emphasizes the Word over the Spirit or the Spirit over the Word in one's own ministry that is the issue. What is wrong with either emphasis? Nothing. Each is exactly right. But neither is complete. It is not one or the other that is needed; it is both.

What is needed, in my opinion, is a remarriage of the Word and the Spirit—the simultaneous combination of both the Word and the Spirit in today's servant of Christ and the church. If the Word and the Spirit come together in your anointing and mine, then, as my dear friend Lyndon Bowring said, "Those who come to see [signs and wonders] will hear [the Word], and those who come to hear will see." That is tomorrow's anointing, my friend, and when it comes, the world will be awakened.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).



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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

No Schoolmaster

Galatians 3:23-4:31 Didn't you just love to have substitute teachers when you were in school? When you walked into the classroom and you saw another teacher, you breathed a sigh of relief and probably thought to yourself, Oh boy, this means no pop quiz, and we'll probably have a free study period! Often some of the rascals in my class would give the substitute teacher a hard time. Substitute teachers earn every penny of their pay.

This never happened to me in school, but what if you entered your classroom and there was no teacher at all? You looked on the board, and written on the board in bold letters were these instructions: "Do whatever your heart tells you to do during this class period. I trust you." What would your response be to such an instruction? Would you want to be as bad as you could be and misbehave, maybe throw spit balls at your classmates? I know what my reaction to such an instruction would be. I would want to live up to the trust that teacher had placed in me. I would feel that the teacher really thinks I am mature enough to behave myself in her absence, and I want to prove to her I can do this. In fact, I think I would encourage all my classmates to demonstrate their capability of being mature and responsible by behaving themselves also.

Such a day may never come in the classroom of a school, but such a day has come spiritually. Paul makes the following bold statements: "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:23-26, KJV).

The fullness of time has come when Jesus Christ came and was made under the Law, but now has redeemed all those who were under the Law and has given us the spirit of adoption that makes us His children and makes God our daddy. The law now is written on our hearts, and we no longer have to have a schoolmaster. Jesus has become our life, and we now live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. Jesus, the obedient One, has fulfilled the Law so that now we are under grace (God's unmerited favor), which enables us to walk in the Spirit and thereby keep the law, which is to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

School is not out because we are ever learning in the school of life. Our teacher is now the Holy Spirit who lives within us, and He is the One who obeys through us.

READ: Isaiah 28:14-30:11; Galatians 3:23-4:31; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 23:19-21

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Live Extraordinarily

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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