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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 296 }

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you ... ? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? —Galatians 3:1-3, NKJV

Paul wrote these words to the Galatians, who had difficulty understanding grace and who kept putting law and works back into their equation. Apparently, the Galatians had experienced a filling of the Holy Spirit and, with it, certain manifestations of spiritual gifts. Paul reminded them that just as being spiritually gifted is by grace, so justification is by grace. You can turn that idea around as well. Just as we are saved by grace, not by works of merit, we receive the gifts of the Spirit by grace, not works.


Thank You, Father, that Your gift of grace has provided justification from my sins and has enabled me to be the receiver of Your gifts of the Spirit. May I never assume that my works enabled me to receive either of these blessings.

Just as we are saved by grace, not by
works of merit, we receive the gifts
of the Spirit by grace, not works.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Keys to the Kingdom

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. —Matthew 16:19

If you have keys to your home, you have authority in your home. If you give the keys to someone else, you also give them authority. Would you give the keys to your home to someone you didn't trust? Jesus gives the keys to His kingdom to those who acknowledge Him as Lord of the kingdom and submit to His Lordship within the kingdom.

You can't just casually wander into Jesus' kingdom, either. You may enlist in an army. You might join an organization. You are hired as an employee. But as a child of God—a citizen of His Kingdom, you must be born (John 3). As a matter of fact, He compared it to the process of birth! It is not something to be taken lightly, and it requires earnest commitment (Philippians 3:14).

But praise to God, once we are born again as citizens of His kingdom, we have power over all oppression operating outside His kingdom. We have protection from everything the powers of darkness would try to array against us!

By Your Spirit, Lord, birth me into Your Kingdom.
I long to be Your child and a loyal, eternal
citizen of the Kingdom of heaven. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Coping With a Rival

I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. —Ecclesiastes 4:4

Do you have a rival? Is there someone who is in competition with you? Is there someone who gets under your skin?

A rival is a competitor, someone who is a threat, a person who could upstage you. Sooner or later most of us know what it is to have a rival. It may be a close friend. Perhaps you don't mention the rivalry between you, you rarely think about it, and yet it's just beneath the surface. Sometimes that rival is an enemy, and it would seem in this case it almost came to that. Leah and Rachel were so jealous of each other because although Rachel had the looks, Leah could produce children; that was her claim to fame. We don't know whether this caused rivalry between Leah and Rachel as they grew up, but it's possible.

Ambition will get things done, but achieving that ambition will make another person jealous. You know the feeling when you've achieved something and someone says, "I'm very happy for you," and somehow you don't really think they are. Sometimes it's the loneliest thing to have accomplished something and you don't have anyone you can tell who will be glad for you.

You see, an ambitious person may start out wanting people to admire them, but that won't be enough, ultimately, to bring glory to God. God wants to bring you to a place where you just want to please Him.

Perhaps a rival spirit has brought you to a place where you have lost all sense of pride, you've been put down, and you have lost all sense of self-esteem. Often a rival lives for one thing, and that is to make you look bad. It is very painful. What can you do if you have a rival? You can let a rival spirit throw you or destroy you, or you can let them be the best thing that has ever happened to you. The day will come when you are so thankful for that "thorn in the flesh."

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message


Acts 12:24-13:15 This passage in Acts reveals some of the secrets of multiplying the church through the spread of the gospel. The first verse says, "But the word of God grew and multiplied."

One of the secrets to causing an increase in the spreading of God's Word and multiplying the members of the body of Christ was fasting and praying. We see this in Acts 13:2-3. "As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away."

To be effective in spreading the gospel, we have to recognize that our first ministry is to the Lord, not our own ministry. We minister to the Lord through fasting and prayer, and it is at those times that we receive clear direction about what to do and when to go. This is exactly what happened in the early church. Several men gathered together and began to fast and pray, and they received clear direction from the Holy Spirit. The church today is just now coming into the understanding of how fasting affects the spread of the gospel and the coming of revival. The last revival in the United States occurred because men met together to pray and fast. We now are seeing a new interest in prayer and fasting, and many in the body of Christ are fasting and praying for revival in the United States. Jesus gave us a command to pray for laborers for the harvest. As we participate in praying for laborers for the harvest, we also become laborers because prayer is labor. No new births ever occur without the labor of prayer preceding them.

Another secret of spreading the gospel is separation. Once a person is discipled, it is time for him to separate himself from that disciple and disciple someone else. This is what happened to Barnabas and Saul. Both had a similar call, and until this time of prayer and fasting, they always worked with the other men as a group in the spread of the gospel. The Holy Spirit spoke to those praying and told them it was time to send Barnabas and Saul out on their own. They would be a gospel team no longer attached except through prayer to those other men. Barnabas and Saul could have refused to separate themselves from this fine group of prophets and teachers because they enjoyed such wonderful fellowship with them. Don't we sometimes see that attitude today in some churches? People get satisfied with their little fellowship, and no one is being sent out with the gospel. We can become so attached to the church that we forget the purpose of the church—to disciple many nations. Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs and His sheep if he truly loved Him. We have the same commission. We run the risk of becoming spiritual gluttons by not fulfilling the Great Commission.

READ: 1 Kings 20:1-21:29; Acts 12:24-13:15; Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 17:16

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Never Fall Short

God has freely given us the tools we need to live a holy life that pleases Him—that's fabulous news! There's no need to fall short. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

"Pursue...holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God." (12:14-15, NKJV)

The main point here is clear: We need the grace of God to walk in true holiness. We might ask, "If, as we've been taught, grace is only about forgiveness, then what does 'fall short' mean in this verse?" The Greek word here is hustereo. Strong's Concordance defines it as "to be inferior, to fall short (be deficient), come behind, be destitute, fail." Thayer's Lexicon goes into more depth by stating that this word's meaning is "to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end."

Holiness is crucial to finishing our race well. Hear the prophet Isaiah's words: "There will be a highway there, called 'The Road of Holiness.' No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the LORD has rescued will travel home by that road. They will reach Jerusalem [heaven] with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief." (35:8–10, TEV)

God says that when we walk in the power of the grace of God, bearing true fruits of holiness, we are invincible because of Him. Isaiah says that no fierce animal, such as a bear or lion, will be able to take us out! (This includes our supreme enemy, Satan, who walks about as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" [1 Peter 5:8].) So, we have no reason to fail when we produce fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace. This ability is not because of us but because of Him. We must abide in the grace of God in order to live holy, fruitful, extraordinary 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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