Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 214 }

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. —1 Peter 1:8-9

You may have discovered in this life that you don't have the power to change your emotions directly. You can't say, "Joy!" and elicit joy from your soul. You can't demand, "Gladness, rise up within me now!" It will never happen. You might get a jolt of adrenaline, but long-lasting emotions are not awakened by determination. That's God's part of the division of labor, and it's a supernatural work of the Spirit in us. But here's the good news: all our emotions are linked to thoughts or ideas. Correct thoughts about God bring wonderful emotions. This is why the truth sets us free (John 8:32). You can indirectly change your emotions by flooding your thoughts with the truth about God.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

I choose to think about Your truth, O God. I choose to harness my mind and focus it on Your grace and goodness to me. Complete Your work in me through Your Holy Spirit.

Beholding God's emotions is something only you can
do in your own secret life in God.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Set Your Sights

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. —Philippians 1:20-21

Jesus was Lord in the apostle Paul's life, and his example to us today is unparalleled. Paul's entire purpose in life was to boldly speak forth for Christ's sake and to become more like Him with each passing day. Paul disciplined himself, setting goals and priorities to glorify God.

Each one of us has the same amount of time before us today, but how we use that time is going to determine just how far we go in the things of God. We are each responsible for the depth of our own lives.

How much time today will you spend on yourself and the pursuit of material things? How much time will you spend with God? How much time will you spend on building the relationships you have with others?

Set your sights today on living your life as Paul did, magnifying Christ in everything you lay your hands to do, your every step, and your every breath.

Christ, it is my desire to magnify You in
all that I do and say today. May you be
exalted in all that I am and all that I
do. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

How Do We Come to Brokenness?

Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." —Matthew 26:38-39

Behind the slain ego, first, is the way of the cross. That is how Jesus did it. It seems that Jesus suffered more in the five days between Palm Sunday and Good Friday than in the rest of His thirty-three years on earth. His whole life was a life of suffering and self-denial, but what He endured in those five days was the greatest conceivable kind of suffering. He was helpless, nailed to the cross, refusing to defend Himself. He was willing to be misunderstood. And on top of that, God hid His face.

Behind the slain ego is a willingness to be broken. Salvation works in three stages: mind, heart, and will. I am grateful to Dr. Lloyd-Jones for this insight. It is the order in which we perceive, get gripped by things, and carry them out. It is true with salvation, and it is also true with suffering. For example, the mind perceives it as being the way forward. The heart is gripped by the opportunity to be more like Jesus.

But there is a third stage: the will. We make a deliberate choice. When the devil comes and hits us hard, and we are sorely tempted—that is when we make a choice for brokenness. Mind, heart, will—it becomes a choice.

Things may devastate us, and sometimes we cry to God, "Lord, how could You do this to me?" And God says, "You just blew it!" God would rather have us accept the hurt without the complaining, accept His timing in our lives, and be open to any further word from the Lord.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

His Train Fills the Temple

Isaiah 6:1-7:25 We are entering the High Holy Days for our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is the season of their New Year and their ten days of awe, which end with the Day of Atonement. The timing varies according to their calendar, but this season usually occurs during September. We will be speaking more of these days of awe, which is a time set aside for the Jewish people to examine their hearts in preparation for the Day of Atonement. They review the last year and confess anything they did or said that they feel did not please God. They cry out for God's mercy for another year of life so they might be written in the book of the righteous. The Jewish people believe there is a book of the righteous, a book for those who have not been too sinful and a book for the wicked. Join me the rest of this month as I too join our Jewish brothers in examining my own life. Also, this would be a meaningful time to lift our Jewish brothers and sisters before the Lord by praying for the veil that is over their eyes to drop so they may see Jesus as their Messiah. He is their hope of glory.

Isaiah, a good Jewish prophet, had a magnificent encounter with God. Listen to his words. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple" (Isa. 6:1).

When Adam and Eve were created, they were dressed with God's glory. There was radiance that covered their nakedness. God has similar glory garments. One time I learned that as we praise the Lord, the radiance of His presence in heaven and on earth intensifies. He has given us the garments of praise that lift the spirit of heaviness. Every time we praise Him, His glory garments intensify. Our praises do more in the heavenlies than we think. What a privilege it is to dress God with our praise every morning. God is a Spirit, and you can see His form only because of the glory garments He wears. Isaiah saw Him sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. His glory garments did not just fill the temple, but they also filled the whole earth. The whole earth was filled with His glory.

Recently I heard a message by a man who had an encounter with God. He said God visited the church where he was a guest speaker and the glory of the Lord just kept coming in waves upon the people. It was at that moment he remembered this Isaiah passage. He also remembered the scene of the wedding of Princess Diane and Prince Charles. Princess Diane wore a wedding dress with a train that extended beyond the aisle of the cathedral and out the door. God's presence came and just kept coming because His train filled that church. The response to His presence was repentance. Everyone prostrated themselves on the floor and wept. This too was Isaiah's response. Isaiah wrote, "Woe is me; for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (v. 5). Pray for us all, including our Jewish brothers and sisters, to see His glory.

READ: Isaiah 6:1-7:25; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33; Psalm 54:1-7; Proverbs 23:1-3

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Mercy and Grace

Grace is when we get what we don't deserve.

Mercy is when we don't get what we do deserve.

Mercy manifests when we don't get justice for our sin. Grace, on the other hand, is imparted power we don't deserve that frees us from the tyranny of sin.

Many Christians have lumped the two words together and assigned to both the same meaning. Am I splitting hairs here or is this just semantics? Not at all. Here's a way to think about it: Suppose you play both football and basketball with football rules. Football would go well; however, with basketball you'd lose the uniqueness of the sport in addition to incurring numerous injuries. We've lost the power of the identity of grace because so many have combined it with mercy. We've also incurred numerous injuries by playing grace with mercy's rules.

Grace gives us the power to live, and mercy keeps us free from guilt, condemnation and shame, all of which try to pull us back into sin's grip. Mercy keeps our conscience clear of the judgment we deserve. What amazing mercy God has shown us!

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace,...that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need. (Hebrews 4:16, AMP)

Mercy is given for our failures, our sins we've repented of. However, grace is given to help, to empower us. What a great salvation our Father has given us—complete and lacking nothing!

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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