Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 261 }

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. —Ephesians 4:2-6

The Lord told David to go to Hebron and only take a little bit of the kingdom. There were twelve tribes of Israel, and Hebron represented only one. God was testing and training David once again. He wanted David to find his identity in God, not in being king of Israel. Therefore, God only released a partial fulfillment of the full destiny promised to him. God will do this to us, too. It's an agonizing experience, but it builds incredible patience in us. David spent seven more years limited to the city of Hebron. Still, he didn't become angry with God for making him wait through another season of testing. He knew the Lord would give him all of Israel when it was time. He was after the perfect will of God and would not settle for less. The only reason David could act this way lay in his identity: being king of Israel was not the key to his sense of importance. And we too will triumph in the lesson of Hebron when we see we are already successful before God and don't strive for success before men by going after position and honor.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me, Father, that the accumulation of blessings that You have brought into my life pale in importance to the intimate relationship You long to share with me. Let me dwell in Hebron, the place of partial fulfillment of Your destiny for me, content to find my identity in You and You alone.

God wants you to find your identity
in God, not in earthly success.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Sealed

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. —Ephesians 1:13-14

When Mom took the canning jars from the pressure cooker, she lined them up on the kitchen table. My job was to watch and listen for them to pop as they cooled. If the jars didn't pop they were not sealed, and this meant germs on the outside could get inside and spoil the contents. Mom would have to pour the contents out and repeat the process.

The devil cannot contaminate our lives when we stay sealed by the Holy Spirit. Seek God daily to reveal areas in your life that are exposed to the influences of the world. Bring those areas under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Let the Holy Spirit seal you against evil and teach you to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1). Be careful to guard your heart so that nothing is permitted to break the seal on your life. Keep yourself free from garbage and contaminates that will pollute the holiness of your life.

Holy Spirit, keep me pure and holy.
Help me  to abstain from all
immorality. Seal me with
Your purity. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Overcoming Self-Pity

Those I love have turned against me. ... I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth. Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. —Job 19:19-21

Self-pity doesn't receive as much attention as some sins receive, and it doesn't cause the scandal that some sins cause. For instance, everyone is interested in a sexual sin because it causes such a scandal. But you can be overcome with self-pity, and it won't be as scandalous. You may think that the devil only wants you to fall into sexual sin. Listen. The devil doesn't care how he gets hold of you, so if he can get hold of you by causing you to wallow in self-pity, he will do it.

How can we define self-pity? It is feeling sorry for oneself, and it is a self-justifying condition. It always seems right. The frightening thing about it is that sometimes we fail to recognize we are in this condition. Self-pity is acquired without any training or discipline. It is as natural to us as a pig wallowing in mire.

The devil loves your self-pity, because once you start feeling sorry for yourself you will be no threat to him. He may leave you alone. He won't bring any other temptation into your life. He will say, "I've won with that person." He can now toy with you. If you stay in that condition, you are perilously close to self-destruction, and that's not just sin—that is gross, heinous sin. You are letting the archenemy of Jesus Christ have you where he wants you.

I will tell you where to begin to find your cure. You begin where Jesus ended His life on earth, at the cross. Until His last breath, He was being tempted to succumb to self-pity greater than any you will ever know. Jesus couldn't even allow Himself a single instant of self-pity, because it is sin.

Jesus never sinned despite being tempted at all points as we are. He knows what you are feeling, and He understands. But you need to recognize what self-pity is and come to terms with the problem. You have to stop blaming others and admit that you have sinned before God.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Hope Is a Part of Faith

Romans 8:24-39 Without faith it is impossible to please God. By grace are we saved through faith, and this faith is not of ourselves. Instead it is a gift of God. Therefore none of us can boast. This passage in Romans says that we are saved by hope. Paul writes, "For we are saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one hope for what he sees?" (v. 24). Another passage in Hebrews gives the definition of faith: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

When we put Romans 8:24 alongside Hebrews 11:1, we have a clearer understanding of how saving faith works. For anyone to enter into salvation, they must believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. They must believe in something they cannot see. They must believe that Jesus Christ lived, died and was resurrected from the dead and now lives to make intercession for us.

We believe, not because we have seen things with our own eyes, but because we have heard them from God's Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith is believing and receiving something in the now. When I believe, I receive what I believe by confessing my belief with my mouth. The Scriptures say, "The word of faith is in thee, even in your mouth." When we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord, we are saved. Hope is then born in our hearts. Once I am saved, I have the hope of eternal life, and this hope is also something I cannot see now, but I believe by faith it is true now. Faith is in the now, and hope is in the future.

Hope is the very substance faith is based upon, and that substance is God's Word, His promises to us that are in the future. Faith in the now always births hope in us for the future. As believers we share the blessed hope that one day we will live with Jesus forever. Praise the Lord!

READ: 2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22; Romans 8:24-39; Psalm 18:35-50; Proverbs 19:27-29

 

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

HOLY - Defined

The word holy is from the Greek word hagios. Some words used to define it are set apart, sanctified, and consecrated, along with pure and morally blameless. The fundamental qualities of holiness are separation, consecration and devotion to the service of God, sharing in His purity and abstaining from worldly defilement.

In the Old Testament, God's people were to be literally separated as a nation. Jews were not permitted to keep company with Gentiles in all areas of life. However, in the New Testament, believers are to be separate from evil while living among and interacting with people who are not in relationship with God. We are to go into the world as lights but not be contaminated by the world. We are to not conform to this world's ways, but to the higher standard—otherwise we are no longer lights.

God says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV). When God says, "Be holy as I am holy," He is actually saying, "I don't think, talk or live like you, so come up to My level of living.

"His holiness, therefore, includes more than separation and purity. If holiness just dealt with sexual purity, then the Pharisees would have been holy because they led an outwardly blameless life. Yet Jesus condemned their self-righteous ways. If holiness just had to do with separation, then the hippies of the sixties would have been very holy. It's not just purity, and it's not just separation. It's a transcendent separation and purity. It's a call to the "high life." It's a call to the realm of extraordinary living! It is to live as He lives, to imitate God as His dear children.

When we think like God, talk like Jesus, and imitate Jesus' lifestyle, we will not live like people of the world. Appetites and desires of the flesh will not drive us. We will be creative, innovative, pure in our morals, life-giving in our ways. We will be influencers and often envied by the world due to our success because we are thinking and acting at a higher level.

To walk in true holiness is to experience liberation and freedom at the highest level. It's healthy and will positively affect every area of our lives.

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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