Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 143 }

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. —2 Corinthians 11:2, NKJV

The revelation of the Bridegroom was preached by the apostle Paul. Paul saw his ministry as betrothing unbelievers through conversion to a Bridegroom God and presenting them as a pure bride. In this ministry identity, namely, as friends of the Bridegroom, we operate very differently than those without this revelation. We get our identity through the power of relationship with God Himself. When I consider God the Bridegroom, I first think about His desire for us. Oh, to be exhilarated with God's love! Nothing is more invigorating than the revelation of the God filled with pleasure, the God who has intense desire for human beings, and the God who woos us through spiritual pleasures.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

God, give me a new revelation of Yourself as the Bridegroom awaiting me, His bride. Draw my heart to You, and allow me to help prepare the way for others to become Your bride as they accept the sacrifice of Your Son.

Friends of the Bridegroom are fearless because
we are connected to something far bigger
than ourselves.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Resurrection Seed

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. —Romans 8:29

Mankind was careening helplessly on its way to an eternity in hell. The world needed a miracle, and there was no way humanity could manipulate its own salvation. There was no sacrifice dear enough to pay the penalty for our sins. Then God planted a seed, and that seed was Jesus.

Jesus took the penalty for our sin on His body, suffered unspeakable agony on the Cross, and died. His lifeless body was placed in a tomb. On the third day, life infused His body and He rose again, triumphant over the power of sin and death.

That first Resurrection Seed brought God a harvest of souls, those who believe on His name and are redeemed to receive the blessings of salvation, healing and abundance. For two thousand years, that original seed has continued to multiply. Jesus was the firstborn of many children and the firstfruits of the resurrection. We are part of a harvest that has never ceased.

Risen Lord, live in me. May Your resurrection revive me—body,
soul, and spirit. Plant in me Your Resurrection Seed that I may be
both Your field and harvest this day. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Prayer as Worship

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. —Acts 2:42

If we follow His impulse, the Holy Spirit will always lead us to pray. Consequently, when the Spirit is absent, we will find excuses not to pray: "God understands. He knows I love Him. But I'm tired ... I'm so busy ... It's just not convenient now." When the Spirit is absent, our excuses always seem right, but in the presence of the Spirit our excuses fade away.

All prayer comes from the Spirit—be it disciplined prayer or spontaneous prayer.

We pray spontaneously, both privately and with other Christians, when we are suddenly aware of a great need in the world or the church. God often uses something external to bring the church to her knees. We ought to see it as the kindness of God when He allows trouble to drive us to prayer. In our individual lives, family tension, financial worries, or illness will do it.

We also pray spontaneously when there is an overwhelming inner pressure from the Spirit resulting in a vivid awareness of the Spirit's presence. When this happens within the church, people come from everywhere to be there.

What are the characteristics of this kind of spontaneous impulse to pray? There are four: time becomes unimportant; there is a caring for others (for example, in Acts 2:44); there is clear guidance; and there is unity (Acts 2:46).

The result of all of this is worship. We need to understand that worship is not just singing hymns, nor even consciously adoring God. Some people think that worship is limited to the moment in which one is saying, "God, I worship You." But this is a wrong idea. Worship is any activity that is carried out under the impulse of the Spirit of God. We are also worshiping God when we are praying for others or witnessing to others.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Two Kinds of Wisdom

James 2:18-3:18 There are two kinds of wisdom we can experience here on earth. We can experience the wisdom of this world or heavenly wisdom. Earlier in this letter James tells us that if any man lack wisdom, he should ask God, and God will grant him wisdom. The kind of wisdom God gives is described as follows: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).

If we could daily walk in such wisdom, we would be great ambassadors for Christ. The world needs such wisdom, but most people in this world are bound by the wisdom from below. James tell us "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there" (James 3:14-16).

Any time we get into strife, we are operating in the wisdom of this world, which is demonic. If we are jealous or confused, we also are experiencing the wisdom of this world. The fruit of worldly wisdom is always bad.

If we think ourselves to be wise, we can easily become fools the moment we get into strife. We are exhorted in God's Word to cease from anger and strife and to seek peace and pursue it. God loves a peacemaker, and whenever we bring His peace into a strife-filled situation, we have pleased the Lord. Those who make peace always sow the fruit of righteousness in peace.

Lord, help me to operate in Your wisdom today and help me to be a peacemaker.

READ: Ezekiel 39:1-40:27; James 2:18-3:18; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 28:2

 

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Road of Holiness

God has given us the resources we need to live a holy life that pleases Him! There's no need to ever fall short. Consider what 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. Again 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."

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].)

We have no reason to fail when producing fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace—not because of us but because of Him. Grace gives us the power to walk the highway of holiness, which secures for us the promise of finishing the race well.

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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