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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 299 }

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." —Ephesians 4:7-8

The gifts of God in a person's life are not merit badges signifying that person's consecration, wisdom, or 100 percent doctrinal truth. You might interpret the meaning of Ephesians 4:7 like this: out of unmerited grace, each person is given gifts for the purpose of being used to bless others. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, whether they are in the form of manifestations of power and revelation or in the form of people given as ministers, are for the purpose of blessing the church. Yet, most of us can hardly avoid the temptation of seeing supernatural power gifts working through an individual as a symbol of God's approval of that person's life, spiritual maturity, and doctrine. The more significant the giftings and power, the more approval from God—or so it would seem. If we understood that the manifestations of the Spirit are for the common good and not for the good of the individual whom God uses, we would be less likely to stumble over the idea that God uses imperfect, often immature people to bless the church.


Father, use me to bless others. Display Your spirit and Your giftings in my life in such a way that no one sees anything of me, but sees only You.

Out of unmerited grace, each person
is given gifts for the purpose of
being used to bless others.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Why the Withered?

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. —John 15:6

In Ohio we have a lot of clay reserves. In some areas the topsoil is very thin, while underneath there is a hard layer of clay called a "hardpan." We can have an all-out downpour, and within hours the topsoil will be as dry as powder.

Some Christians shout victory on Sunday, but by Monday they have no joy, no victory, and no peace. They are as hardhearted as our Ohio clay, and their fruit withers on the vine. They are without patience, mercy, gentleness, meekness, temperance, or compassion. They are just going through the motions.

Others wither as soon as the hot winds of temptation, trouble, and tribulation blow their way.

Keep your faith fresh and alive by constantly tilling the soil of your heart. Pray for the Holy Ghost to send the rain. Stay in union with the source of all life, and your faith will blossom and bear fruit in season.

Holy Spirit, send Your rain. Keep me
united with Your vision. Bear Your
fruit in my life. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

How to Cope With Mistreatment

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:  Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. —Ephesians 6:6-8, KJV

How do you cope with mistreatment? The story about Laban and the way he treated Jacob may have much to teach us.

Jacob worked for Laban fourteen years, keeping his agreement in exchange for Laban's two daughters. Then another six years elapsed before Jacob finally made the break, and it was after Joseph was born when Jacob turned his thoughts toward going home.

Maybe you can identify with the kind of mistreatment Jacob endured for so many years. I have known many people who have put up with so much from others, a controlling parent or a spouse, for instance, who makes life so unpleasant. It may be a boss. I dare say many reading this dread returning to work on Monday mornings.

I want you to see three ways in which Jacob coped with mistreatment.

1. Jacob was careful not to pick a quarrel with Laban. He knew that what was happening to him was God's way of breaking him. Jacob knew he had been a deceiver himself; now he had met his match. This is the way God may choose to break you: to let you meet your match.

2. Jacob preoccupied himself with what he did best. He gave himself to what God had called him to do. You may have been mistreated, but God has given you a gift. Use it well. One day your time will come and God will say, "Enough is enough."

3. Jacob didn't really break away until he had divine confirmation. "Then the Lord said to Jacob, 'Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you'" (Gen. 31:3). Until then, it had been Jacob's idea, but God had been watching and He said, "Enough is enough. I am with you."

God knows how much you can bear, and He is coming to your rescue at this moment to remind you that the one who was mistreated the most was Jesus who died on the cross.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

When to Cover Up

Proverbs 17:9-11 It is the nature of man to cover for himself when he has done something wrong. When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they noticed was that they were naked, and they were ashamed. They were vulnerable. They dressed themselves in fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Before this time Adam and Eve wore glory clothes. God's glory light shone around them and protected them from being vulnerable. We are created in God's image to show forth His glory, but since the Fall, Satan has used shame as a false covering for those who sin. The good news is that Jesus bore our shame on the cross. He became vulnerable and naked for our sakes so that we might be covered with His blood and robe of righteousness and thereby be protected from shame.

God killed an animal to make clothes for Adam and Eve. The covering of fig leaves was not sufficient to cover their shame. Blood had to be shed to cover their shame, because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Before sin entered the earth, there was no need to cover anything. Everything on earth was covered and protected by the glory of God.

Sin always brings shame into our lives if our hearts have not been hardened to sin. The Bible tells us that if a man hides iniquity in his heart, he will not prosper. We are not the ones appointed to cover our own sins. Jesus wants us to be honest with Him and confess our sins to Him so He can forgive us our sins and cleanse and cover us with His blood. There is nothing that feels better than coming clean with God through the confession of our sins. After confessing our sins, the enemy no longer has a foothold to cause us to be ashamed or condemned.

This proverb tells us there is a proper time for us to cover sin, however. That time presents itself when we see another person sin: "He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends" (v. 9).

Whenever we tell a person about the sins of another, we are passing on a bad report, which is gossip. We also cause the person we told to be prejudiced against the one who sinned. When we discern sin in another person's life, we are to pray and never repeat what we discern to another. Sometimes, however, the Lord may call upon us to confront that person with the sin, but this is always done in private one on one with that person. On rare occasions the sin may be presented to the church if the person is unrepentant, but in most cases God wants us to seek love, pray for that person and cover their transgression by not sharing it.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have told a person's sin to another. Help me never to do this again.

READ: 1 Kings 15:25-17:24; Acts 10:24-48; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 17:9-11

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Cleansing Process

There is a huge difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is salvation from eternal death, whereas sanctification is the process of holiness.

We were justified the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. At that moment, our old self died and we became a brand-new created being, inwardly possessing the nature of Jesus. We were immediately justified in the eyes of God and all unrighteousness was eradicated from our spirit. We had nothing to do with this. We didn't earn it, nor did our "goodness" deserve it. It was freely given by God's grace.

However, the moment we were born again, the work of sanctification (holiness) began. This was when what was done on the inside of us, in our spirit, started working its way to the outside, into our behavior. Paul says it like this: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12, NKJV). What we must not forget is that sanctification (holiness) is also a gift of God's grace. But this time we have a part in the process and need to work in conjunction with it.

Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NKJV)

God's gift of grace supplies us with the power to cleanse ourselves! We cleanse ourselves from all filthiness inwardly and outwardly, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. So even though grace is a free gift, we have to cooperate with its empowerment to produce the fruit of holiness in our lives. Grace not only justified us but also now empowers us to serve God acceptably with holy fear.

Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28, NKJV)

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

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