Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 186 }

Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth. —Psalm 26:2-3

Imagine this great tragedy: A woman walks with God for forty years, fully saved, redeemed, and following Christ. She comes before the throne in the resurrection, and for the first time, she realizes what she's missed. She feels wave upon wave of pleasure flowing from the Son of God, and she says to herself, "I could have drunk from this well of spiritual delight every day on Earth. I just had to encounter Your heart and Your beauty. Life would have been so much better! Everything would have changed, and I would have accomplished so much more." Beloved, we don't have to wait to experience the deep pleasures! God has ordained for the human heart to experience them even in this life. It's not optional for us to go on as generations have, without a transforming revelation of God's heart. We desperately need hearts anchored and sustained by an outrageous love that comes from another world.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I don't want to come to the end of my life with regrets for holding back on giving You all there is of me. Anchor my heart in You, and then pull out all the stops and let me soar with You.

Beloved, you and I cannot produce a good enough
argument to change God's emotions toward us.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Tested and Tried

And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. —1 Kings 17:11

Drought had caused great famine in the land and had driven Elijah to ask the widow for bread and water. Her response is probably similar to ones you have made when someone has made seemingly unreasonable demands on your resources. When we focus on the possibility of failure, we see only our limitations.

But the widow trusted Elijah because she knew he heard from God. She trusted enough to give sacrificially out of what she needed to survive herself! This is a divine principle of kingdom living that God has set before us: "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

It is not so much what is in our hand that matters as much as how we hold it. Give freely and joyfully, and the results will be as amazing as it was with this woman. Always remember, whatever you give to God never leaves your life-.-.-.-only your hand.

Lord Jesus, make Your kingdom the first
priority in my life. Fill me with joy as I
serve and give. I trust You to take care
of all my needs. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Coping With Sudden Change

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence. —Proverbs 3:25-26

Did you ever wake up one day only to discover nothing is like it was? Everything has changed. You have different surroundings, different people around you, and a different outlook—and it happened almost overnight. It is as if the bottom of your life dropped out without any notice. You are having to cope with sudden change. That happened to Jacob.

Now there's more than one kind of change. There can be an unforeseen change for the better, and you are glad that nothing is like it was—you couldn't be happier; there can also be voluntary change—you made it happen. Yet, even though the change for Jacob was caused by external factors and he didn't ask for it, no doubt it had the inevitable effect of changing him inwardly in certain ways, and that for the better.

When we are living within the purpose of God, the trauma of unwanted change will improve us, and the day will come, sooner or later, when we will thank God for all of it, although at the time we couldn't be convinced that was possible. But for the most part, we don't like change, especially if everything has been going along fairly well.

Four things happened to Jacob in a very short period of time. Three involved deaths, and the fourth was a family tragedy. Jacob moved twice during this time. Psychologists say that the second greatest trauma in life is moving; the first is the death of someone close to you. Here, Jacob was experiencing both; coinciding with the deaths of three people very close to him was a change of place.

Why did all these things happen to Jacob? God brings us to a place that we have to face life without any tie to the past, so that we will get our pleasure, not from knowing who finds out about this or that, but from knowing that God is pleased with us.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

God Expects Respect

Colossians 3:18-4:18 One of the major problems with youth in our culture today is their lack of respect for parents and teachers. Our son Ron wanted to be a teacher of chemistry in high school. He finished his degree at Georgia Tech and then began his practice teaching at a high school in an exclusive neighborhood. He experienced such a great lack of respect from his students that he decided not to finish his practice teaching. Later Ron had the opportunity to teach in China, and the students respected and honored him. He loved teaching in China, and he plans to return.

The trouble with our nation today is the lack of the fear of the Lord. God has been reduced to a Santa Claus-type image who never would chasten us if we are bad. Some people say "the fear of the Lord" is simply honoring and standing in awe of God. The fear of the Lord is much more than this. God has not changed. He deals with us with judgment and mercy. He still judges nations, and if a nation falls completely from their belief in Him, such nations will be reduced in their power and influence in the world. We should be fearful of disobeying God because disobedience will always bring consequences that are not pleasant.

We will be judged according to the works we did on earth. If we are saved, we will not be disqualified from eternal life, but we may be disqualified from many of the rewards in heaven. We should tremble at the Word of God instead of looking at the Word as a name-it-claim-it book of promises. God's Word is filled with promises, but most of these promises have conditions we must fulfill. One of the main conditions we must fulfill before we can claim the promises of God is to honor and obey God. Just as students will learn nothing in the classroom if they are rebellious and disobedient, we will learn nothing in the school of life if we are rebellious and disobedient. In the end we will fail at life and no one wants to fail.

Our passage in Colossians exhorts us to do the following: "And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality" (Col. 3:23-25).

Because God is no respecter of persons, we should respect and honor Him daily in both our words and deeds. God expects respect, and we should teach our children to respect and honor Him with their actions and words. The fear of the Lord is taught, not caught. I am afraid many of us have failed to teach the fear of the Lord to our children, and we are reaping what we have sown.

Lord, help me to live daily in the fear of You.

READ: Jeremiah 10:1-11:23; Colossians 3:18-4:18; Psalm 78:59-72; Proverbs 24:28-29

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Deep Longing

Why have so many Christians embraced the idea that following Christ means losing individuality, creativity, ingenuity, and the passion for excellence in all spheres of life? Too many believers are trapped in "the ordinary" when God promised an extraordinary life!

In stark contrast, believers in the early church were often mistaken for "gods." What has happened to our power and influence? Have we neglected our access to God's ability and presence purchased through the cross?

It's time we lay hold of our core faith! Within each person is an innate desire to rise above the norm.

It's no surprise we're captivated by those who do remarkable feats or possess super powers: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, to mention just a few. Did you know that 17 of the top 25 blockbuster films of all time tell of extraordinary feats and superheroes? Strength and bravery capture our imagination and encourage us to believe in a life greater than we've known.

How intriguing that the bulk of the most popular movies of all time are not love stories, murder mysteries, espionage thrillers, war movies, sports flicks, westerns or dramas. No, the top box office draws are films that center on extraordinary characters doing remarkable feats. Why? Because "extraordinary" is how we were created to live. It was God's plan from the beginning.

This extraordinary life is more than a fairytale, it's available through Christ. You see, more than a need to escape or be entertained, there is a God-inspired longing in everyone for the extraordinary! Within every believer is a hero waiting to be unveiled!

"My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" (Ephesians 3:9-10, The Message)

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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