Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 86 }

My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. —Hebrews 12:5-8

The Lord pries our fingers loose from the things to which we cling so tenaciously. Firmly, but tenderly, He woos us away from anything that would hold us back from that which is His best for our lives. He could say to us, "If you only knew the glory that you will inherit, you would never refuse Me. Have I ever led you into a place where I could not meet you and provide for you? I will never take anything from you that will not be restored tenfold. My disciplines are good. They seem sorrowful for the moment, but afterward they yield the fruit of righteousness."

{ PRAYER STARTER }

I feel Your gentle tug on my fingers, Lord, prying them loose from those things You know must be dismissed out of my life. I release them to You, Lord. May they never hinder me from growing more like You each day I live.

When the Lord's presence departs from us
in our place of compromise, we must arise
in obedience and faith and seek Him.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Be Bold

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. —Proverbs 28:1

This is the heritage of the righteous. We are warriors with enemies to overcome. One of our strongest enemies is fear. Fear stifles the church from fulfilling its destiny.

What would you attempt for God if you knew it was impossible to fail? God gave a direct order when he said, "Fear thou not" (Isaiah 41:10). It isn't an option. He also told you why you need no longer be afraid: "For I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (v. 10). Fear is counteracted by faith.

Perfect faith cannot exist where there is doubt concerning God's will to prosper you. When the will of God is known, faith comes alive and fear dies. Faith and fear cannot exist in the same space. Fill your heart with faith in Christ, and fear will flee.

Jesus, I renounce fear for faith in You.
I rebuke the spirit of fear and stand firm
trusting You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Love to Cope

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. —1 Corinthians 13:7

Why be filled with the love of God? In the time of testing, in the time of trial, does it work? And the apostle Paul pauses, almost dramatically, to show that this love of God will not only enable us to be like Jesus, but also will support us in the time of severest trial. We can put up with anything if we have this love.

The verse contains four descriptions of love: love trusts, hopes, protects, and perseveres. And these four descriptions stand alongside four envisaged situations. They are four negative situations that you and I face all the time. Paul shows how love meets each particular situation. These situations are listed in ascending order with regard to the amount of pressure that they have on us. So the minimal level, or the minor pressure, is where a wrong has been done to us. Alongside this Paul says, "Love always protects."

Then there is the next level, that of moderate pressure where there is an external want in our lives. Alongside that Paul says love "always trusts." Then there is a higher level, that of major pressure, where a worry totally dominates us. Alongside that Paul says love "always hopes." But the highest level, that of maximum pressure, is spiritual warfare. Addressing this situation, Paul says love "always perseveres." So, at each level of pressure, we are given descriptions of love, but there is more. We need to see that the grace that equips us for the situation is that which also enables us to protect, trust, hope, and persevere.

Paul is showing us the benefits that are ours that enable us to cope in the time of pressure. He says that we protect, we trust, we hope, we persevere. He doesn't say we will be shouting "Glory! Hallelujah!" all the time. He doesn't say, "Oh, this is wonderful!" Nothing like that. But what he does say is that it works.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Come Unto Me

Matthew 11:7-30 The invitation extended throughout the Word of God is "Come unto Me." We live in a world that is burdened and heavy-laden, a world where men have no rest for their souls. Men everywhere seek peace of mind and long to have joy in living. They run to drugs for pseudo peace and alcohol for temporary highs, but there is no lasting peace or joy apart from the Lord. Only the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ, can offer eternal peace and joy and right standing with God the Father. He gives us the invitation today, "Come to Me, and learn of Me meekness and lowliness of heart."

Daily we have the choice to accept His gracious invitation or to reject it. He alone can teach us meekness and lowliness of heart, but we must open the textbook, which is His Word. As we read His Word, He teaches us and transforms our restless souls into rest filled-souls—souls filled with His joy, His peace, His righteousness. How can we ever refuse to enter His classroom daily? Each day we attend class, we will learn more, and we will grow more like our great Teacher.

I have seen restless souls, and it is not a pleasant sight. Restless souls run from conference to conference, ever seeking to learn the truth and to gain knowledge. But they return from these conferences the same as they were before they went. Restless souls are not willing to spend time in the classroom. They are always looking for recess—the time in the day when they can feel something—some thrill or excitement in the game of life. These restless souls are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. They have never learned the truth that in the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more.

So many of us are guilty from time to time of seeking the feeling instead of the Person. Every day I take time to be with the lover of my soul, Jesus, who is my spiritual husband. If I spend quality time with Him, my soul is always touched. I may not have a thrill, but knowing His nearness is enough for me. I listen intently as He teaches me meekness and lowliness of heart, and I make sure I do not miss one of His classes. Every day I have the privilege of sitting at the feet of the greatest lecturer and teacher in the whole world—Jesus Christ.

Are you going to attend class every day this week?

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for teaching me meekness and lowliness of heart. If I learn the lessons You teach, I will pass every lab test I encounter in this life. Help me to be attentive today to Your words, and don't let my mind wander to recess time.

READ: Genesis 32:13-34:31; Matthew 11:7-30; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 3:19-20

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

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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