Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 345 }

You did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. —Deuteronomy 1:32-33

The church must discern the current move of the Spirit. Just as the children of Israel followed the cloud through the wilderness, the church needs to move when the Holy Spirit says to move. The relationship that exists between the church and the Holy Spirit is not static. The Spirit is forever doing a new thing with the church as a whole and, separately, with each congregation. The Ten Commandments given on Sinai are forever true and unchangeable, but the people of Israel were changing locations constantly as they moved around in the wilderness. The kind of moving I am referring to is the changing emphasis placed on elements of truth, structure, and strategy. The greatest expression of the church as a prophetic community is in those congregations or denominations that move on with the cloud but carry with them all the wisdom, experience, and maturity of their history.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Spirit, may I never be so content with my spiritual life that I fail to see the moment-by-moment, day-by-day ways that You are moving and revealing Yourself to Your people. Do a new thing in my heart, in my church, and in Your world.

We are moving around within the boundaries
of the unchangeable truth of God's Word.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Bow Your Knee

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. —Luke 1:38

The message delivered to Mary by the angel was not a command, but merely an announcement of what God intended to do. She did not ask for a sign to prove the word was true. She could have respectfully declined, but she did not. Even though she did not understand how she, a virgin, could bear a child, she believed the word from God and submitted her will to the Father's will.

God will often give us a word that requires us to receive it by faith. But remember, when God speaks, things happen. He spoke the earth into being, an impossible task according to scientists. Finite minds cannot grasp how this could be and yet standing on the earth, we are literally standing on the Word of God.

Blind submission requires blind faith. God made a demand on Mary's faith, and she accepted the challenge. Allow Him to bring you into His plan for your miracle by bowing your knee in humble submission and saying, "Be it unto me according to Thy Word."

If you had been Mary, would you have been so totally submitted to the will of God?

I submit totally to You, Lord Jesus. You are my
sole reason for living. How I love You! Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Loneliness of Success

David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. —1 Samuel 18:13-15

There is the loneliness of success. When you are successful, you will find that some people will desert you. They liked you when you weren't successful; they thought you were nice. You start succeeding, you get high marks, you obtain a good job, you have a higher income (it's envy, of course; that is all it is)—they can't cope with that. But you wouldn't be any different if it was reversed (you have to understand that), but you need to know that success means loneliness.

On the other hand, if you are successful, whereas some will desert you, others will cling to you. But what are their motives? It is not necessarily you they are interested in.

When you are successful or well known, you will find you can be very lonely. For when there is an anointing upon you, you will succeed in some sense. There may be those who are envious of you and believe that eventually you are going to fall. King Saul was so jealous of David that he would have done anything to get rid of him. King Saul had a great plan. He said, "I tell you what; how would you like to marry my daughter? But I think you should do something to earn it."

David said, "Oh, I am not worthy to be the king's son-in-law."

"Oh, well," said King Saul. "I'll tell you what I want you to do. All I would ask you to do is to bring back one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that's all!"

The only reason King Saul suggested this was that he thought David would be killed in doing it; that was King Saul's sole motive. But David came back with two hundred foreskins.

When there is an anointing upon you, you will succeed at a certain level, but don't expect your enemies to clap their hands. They will hate you all the more.

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).


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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Just Do It

John 2:1-25 My husband and I lead tours to Israel, and we are about to take our sixth trip together there. We always make sure we do not miss the lovely chapel that now marks the place where Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding of Cana. The presence of the Lord is always so strong in this place.

One of the greatest mysteries on earth is marriage, and it is not surprising Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding since He is our bridegroom. It is always our custom when visiting this chapel to take a few moments to pray in the courtyard before we go into the chapel. We pray for marriages, and we also pray for the singles who want to be married. The scripture we always pray for the singles is one I found in Isaiah: "Search from the book of the Lord, and read: not one of these shall fail; not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them" (Isa. 34:16).

After praying this at the Cana chapel on several trips to Israel, I decided to look that scripture up again. When I read it in context, I got a good chuckle. This promise is not for people, but for birds. The verse before this promise speaks of gathering owls and vultures. Of course, I never told our lovely singles about my discovery, and in spite of my mistake, many of those we prayed for got married. Wedding wine is sold just outside the chapel, and our tour people always insisted I buy some for the wedding of our three sons. I always said, "That wine will turn to vinegar before the boys get married." God is faithful, however, and all three of our sons were married in a space of nine months, and we now have grandchildren. The oldest son was thirty-five when he married.

Mary said something we should all take note of and heed. When the wine ran out she said, "Whatever He says to you, do it." David DuPlessis (often called Mr. Pentecost) tells of having a private audience with the pope. In this meeting he shared with the pope that even though their faiths differed a little, they did have one thing in common. He said, "We both believe in doing whatever Mary tells us to do." He was referring to these words Mary spoke just after Jesus began His public ministry. We all need for these words to resound in our ears daily. "Do whatever Jesus tells you to do."

Lord, help me to listen carefully to Your instructions daily. Most of Your instructions to me are found in Your Word, but You also speak quietly to my heart by Your Holy Spirit. Don't let me miss out on anything You want me to do. When I hear what You want me to do, empower me by Your Spirit to do it.

READ: Judges 15:1-16:31; John 2:1-25; Psalm 103:1-22; Proverbs 14:17-19

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Delight of God

You and I have what it takes to bring delight to our heavenly Father! Take a look at what the scripture says about this...

"Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us" (2 Peter 1:3, The Message).

"We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power" (2 Peter 1:3, CEV).

I know the next question: "What is the power that has been given to us, enabling us to please God?" The answer is grace. Much has been communicated about grace in recent times, yet it still isn't fully understood. Grace is, without a doubt, one of the most important truths a New Testament believer should grasp because it's the very foundation of our salvation and life in Christ.

We must always remind ourselves that it is by grace we are saved, and by grace we continue to receive the benefits of salvation. You see, grace goes beyond forgiveness. Grace is also God's empowerment. This is how we can live like Christ.

"Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 John 2:6, NIV).

Notice the apostle doesn't say should but must. We must walk as Jesus did! This is not a suggestion or goal; it's what God expects. The good news is that God never gives a command in the New Testament without supplying the power to keep it. So we can conduct ourselves as Jesus through the power of grace. It's this aspect of grace that many overlook, largely because it's not taught with the same emphasis. For this reason, believers struggle in their Christian walk and don't live an extraordinary life.

Strong's Greek dictionary brings to light the power of grace by defining it as "the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life." Notice the words "reflection in the life." It's obvious that there is more to the meaning of grace than being heaven-bound.

Grace is not just God's favor but also His empowering presence that gives us the ability to do what thrills Him. Grace gives us the ability to exceed our own ability. It gives us the ability to live extraordinarily!

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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