Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 176 }

And this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. —Luke 2:37, NKJV

Anna—what an interesting woman! She served the Lord (ministered to the Lord) with fasting and prayer night and day. The word ministered is often exchanged with the word serve. What an unusual idea for a woman to minister to the Lord in prayer and fasting. Anna was probably about seventeen or eighteen years old when she was married, and after seven years she was widowed. So beginning in her early twenties she began ministering to the Lord night and day. At eighty-four years old, sixty years later, Anna was still faithful in this! She was constantly in prayer in the temple. What a woman! This calling is not reserved only for Catholic monks. The Protestant church must call the Annas forth, find a place for them, honor them, and find ways of releasing them into their calling.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I may not be remembered for sixty years of faithful intercession, but I pray that I will be remembered as a faithful intercessor—no matter how many years I have left to live for You.

Beloved, in this very hour the Lord is wooing the
Annas of the end-time church, and He personally
is setting them into their place.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

God's Pruning Shears

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. —John 15:1

God will put people in your life to perfect the fruit of His Spirit in you. But if you say, "We have a personality conflict, and I am just going to have to get away from that person," you take the pruning shears of the Holy Spirit out of God's hands.

When He wanted to cut that thing off that hindered your growth, you said, "No, God, I won't change there. I like that fruit. Don't change that, God. Get your pruning shears away from me."

God brought that person or situation into your life, because there is an area of your life only that person, that relationship or that situation can perfect in you. They may be God's sandpaper, smoothing out the rough edges in your life. They may be the irritation, like sand in an oyster, that produces a pearl in your life. Notice the people God brings into your life, and you will begin to see the kind of person you are with God. He says, "Show that person the same love, compassion, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance I have shown you."

Lord, help me stop complaining about
irritating people in my life. Use them
to help me grow in faith, wisdom, and
maturity. Thank you, Lord, for pruning
the dead wood and rough areas out of
my life. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

True Motivation

Then I said, "Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God." —Hebrews 10:7

What do you suppose motivated Jesus? First of all, it was reverence. It was reverence for His Father. If you want to know something about the mind of Christ, I challenge you just to make a study of the Gospel of John and look at the relationship Jesus had with His Father. He put it like this, for example, in John 5:30:

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

And then later in that chapter He said this, a verse that many years ago gripped me and I hope will grip you:

How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? —John 5:44

If that kind of thinking will grip you, then you are a candidate to think about the mind of Christ.

All this will only make sense once there is embedded in you a true fear of God. All that a preacher or writer may say or expound will only become relevant if this is so. And that has to happen between you and God. As long as you are looking at someone else and hoping that you will be noticed by this person and are thereby getting your motivation, then your motivation is phony and will not last. Perhaps you want your church leaders to notice your endeavors, and this drives you to carry on. But this cannot work. Something, sooner or later, has to happen so that your honor comes from God. That is all that matters. Then you are not looking to see who else notices you: you are consumed with the passion of wanting God to notice you, taking your orders from above.

Excerpted from Meekness and Majesty (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1992, 2000).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Teach Me Your Ways

Psalm 86:1-17 This is one of my favorite psalms. I pray this psalm almost every morning. I usually paraphrase several verses and pray, "For You are God. You do wondrous things. Teach me Your ways, Lord. I want to walk in Your truths. Unite my heart to fear Your name, and I will glorify You forevermore."

God has been faithful over the years to hear my prayer. My desire has always been to know the ways of the Lord, not just His works. The children of Israel knew the mighty works of the Lord, but only Moses knew His ways. What is the difference between His works and ways? The works of the Lord are always the outer manifestations of His power, but the ways of the Lord are His character traits and His heart. When we begin to know His ways, we can be secure in His love for us. We can be confident in His desire to grant us all we need to get through whatever circumstances in life we may face.

All we need is found in God's character. He is longsuffering, patient, merciful, loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, truthful and full of grace. The more intimately you know someone, the more you can trust Him. When I married my husband I thought I knew Him, but even after many years of marriage I am still learning his ways. My trust level in my husband has increased greatly because I know now how much he loves me. I never question this. However, when we were first married, I sometimes was not secure in his love for me. It was not because he didn't love me. It was because I was insecure in my ability to hold his love forever. This dilemma is one we will never face with God. His love for us is forever and for all eternity, and nothing we do or say will stop His love for us. Of course, many times we may not please Him, but His love is unconditional.

My husband and I have a great relationship now because we both are secure in our love for one another. We never have to prove our love to each other. When we get to know God's character through intimate fellowship with Him, we realize we never have to prove our love to Him. He loves us, and all we have to do is receive His love and walk in His love with others. God's ways truly are wondrous.

Lord, I want to know You in a deeper way than I did yesterday.

READ: Jeremiah 28:1-29:32; 1 Timothy 1:1-20; Psalm 86:1-17; Proverbs 25:17

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Finishing Well

When we produce fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace, we have no reason to fall back into a life of sin and bondage. They are free, empowered and whole. However, this promise does not apply to believers who do not walk in true holiness. Hear what Peter says about this:

"But those who fail to develop these virtues of [holiness] are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away." (2 Peter 1:9-10, NLT)

We will never stumble or fall away. We are an invincible people, not because of our own ability, but because of the ability grace provides. So, in essence, grace gives us the power to walk the highway of holiness, which secures for us the promise of finishing the race well. It keeps us from becoming shipwrecked in our faith and falling short.

Peter covers the opposite side as well. Those who do not walk in the power of grace fail to develop the virtues of holiness. The result is blindness and forgetting that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. This blindness makes it very difficult, almost impossible, to stay on the narrow road of holiness. Quite easily they will venture back to a lifestyle captive to sin (and most often still believing they are covered and protected by God's grace).

Paul penned to Christians: "Don't you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die" (Romans 6:16, CEV). When we willfully and repetitively follow sin's desire, we become entangled in it and are once again its slave.

God has indeed given us His grace. We've been given the nature of Jesus Christ and have been freed from the dominion of sin! Why would anyone who has been made free want to venture back into sin's captivity and flirt with death?

So, my friend, don't fight for your right to habitually live in sin and still make it to heaven. That is the wrong way of viewing life. Rather, realize God has given you an amazing gift—freedom! You don't have to sin any longer; what you couldn't free yourself from before, you now can live free from through the power of His amazing grace!

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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