Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 180 }

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." —John 14:23-24

Jesus equated obedience with love. Let's not deceive ourselves: it's critically important to obey God. David was tenacious, determined, and sincerely devoted to following hard after God's commands. This desire chiseled and shaped his heart over many years. But he was far from a model of obedience. There was often a yawning gap between his sincere resolve and his actions. In other words, he blew it from time to time, sometimes in spades. Yet he was still a man after God's own heart. That should flutter your heart a bit! What does this tell us? That there's more to being a person after God's heart than obedience. There is also the posture of your heart before God. God counted the sincere intentions of David's heart even when his great weakness led him to wrong decisions. God sees us the same way. Our sincere intentions to obey are very significant to God. He notices our desires, not just our outward actions.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, search my heart and show me where I have failed to walk in obedience to Your will. Keep my heart pure before You, and help me to walk in ever-increasing obedience to Your plans and purposes.

A sincere determination to love Jesus even in the
midst of your weakness is a huge part of being a man
or woman after God's own heart.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Shielded With Favor

For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. —Psalm 5:12

Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Right standing with God comes only through the blood of Christ and has nothing to do with our works; it is nothing we can earn. We are made the righteousness of God, and we will never be more righteous than we are right now.

Being in right standing with God positions us for blessing. We serve a "faith God." His promises are "yes" and "amen" to those who believe, and He wants every believer to walk in those promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Because God wants to bless you, He will give you supernatural favor with all men. God will cause your boss to give you a raise when he knows he can't stand you. He will cause the owner to sell you a house at a bargain price without knowing why. He will even cause your enemies to bless you. Because God rejoices as you come into His presence, you are wrapped in His blessing and favor—an impenetrable covering and shield of His loving grace and mercy.

God, release Your favor upon my life.
Cover me with Your blessing as I go out
and come in. Thank you, Jesus, for being
my righteousness. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

True Success

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. —1 Corinthians 9:19

To quote my friend Joseph Ton, "Success in the eyes of the world is how many servants you have. Success in the eyes of Jesus is how many people you serve."

God is looking for people who are willing to become servants, and we can expect that, like Jesus, we will be tested in that role to the extreme. Yet it is a great faith-builder, for one who is willing to be subordinate, and all that that means, must rely increasingly on God's faithfulness. So we must ask ourselves how willing are we to go in pursuit of God's standards rather than the world's, which will always be the reverse.

Too often when we first come to God we are under the impression that God owes us something. We think we have bargaining power with God to ask Him questions and make Him answer us. Yet suddenly we begin to realize that we are nothing and that God owes us nothing. He owes us, if anything, a place in hell. It is at this point that we begin to say, "I subordinate myself to you."

Everybody you meet thereafter will be your superior in some sense. And this is why Paul said in Philippians 2, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (v. 4). How humbling it is to accept authority from and be subordinate to one whom you think is less capable or qualified than you! How humiliating!

Yet the beginning of greatness is accepting authority. When the disciples asked for preferment, Jesus did not rebuke them. He just reversed the roles: let the greatest among you be the servant of the rest. This is just what Jesus did in His own life: He "emptied himself" and became a servant.

What we must ask ourselves, therefore, is to what extent will the marks of the bond servant, which characterized Jesus' life, be ours?

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

I Can't Do It, Lord!

1 Thessalonians 5:4-28 Do you know what you are called to do on this earth? We all as believers have common callings such as being witnesses in this earth, lights shining in the midst of darkness, salt to give flavor and preserve the lives of others by introducing them to Christ and discipling them. I believe, however, that each believer has a specific calling from God on his life.

What is a calling? A calling is the point where your passion meets a place of great need. A calling is not a vocation. It is not an office in the church, or even one of the fivefold ministries (teacher, evangelist, preacher, apostle and prophet). A calling is a common thread that gathers the various seasons and events of your life into one beautiful garment tailor-made for you—a garment that displays God's glory in a unique way. Let me share with you how God revealed His calling to my family members and myself. Discovering your own personal calling involves asking, seeking and knocking in prayer and then listening for the answer.

When my boys were very young, I asked the Lord to show me their calling in life. As I sought the Lord in prayer, He shared the following with me: "I have called your oldest son, Russ, to be a bridge between races.I have called your middle son, Ron, to be a bridge between nations.I have called your youngest son, Ray, to be a bridge between families."

I shared this word from the Lord with each of the boys, and all three are fulfilling their God-given call. Later I discovered the Hebrew word for priests is bridge. One morning as I was waking from a deep sleep, I heard a whisper in my ear. I knew it was the Lord, and He was calling me "Jochabed." I heard, "Wake up, Jochabed." I didn't know who Jochabed was, but I knew the Lord was calling me by a new name. I looked Jochabed up in the Bible and found she was the mother of Aaron and Moses—the first priests. God had called me to be a mother of priests (bridges).

My husband discovered his calling while seeking the Lord alone on Stone Mountain. He heard the Lord call him Joseph. We looked up Joseph in Hebrew and found it means "provider." Then as we researched we discovered that three Josephs in the Bible were all providers: Joseph, Israel's son, provided food for his whole family and all of Egypt during a famine; Joseph, the guardian father of Jesus, provided a home and nurturing for Jesus in His childhood; and Joseph of Arimathea provided the tomb for Jesus. My husband's motivational gift is giving.

I discovered my own calling when I asked the Lord which part of the body I was. Was I a foot, eye, hand or what? I heard in my spirit He had called me to be a voice, and then I remembered this was the call of John the Baptist—a voice crying in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." This call has taken many forms in my life—teaching, writing, singing, etc. Ask the Lord today what your call is. As you ask, seek and knock, you will discover your own calling.

READ: Jeremiah 19:1-21:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 25:8-10

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Cleansing Process

There is a huge difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is salvation from eternal death, whereas sanctification is the process of holiness.

We were justified the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. At that moment, our old self died and we became a brand-new created being, inwardly possessing the nature of Jesus. We were immediately justified in the eyes of God and all unrighteousness was eradicated from our spirit. We had nothing to do with this. We didn't earn it, nor did our "goodness" deserve it. It was freely given by God's grace.

However, the moment we were born again, the work of sanctification (holiness) began. This was when what was done on the inside of us, in our spirit, started working its way to the outside, into our behavior. Paul says it like this: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12, NKJV). What we must not forget is that sanctification (holiness) is also a gift of God's grace. But this time we have a part in the process and need to work in conjunction with it.

Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NKJV)

God's gift of grace supplies us with the power to cleanse ourselves! We cleanse ourselves from all filthiness inwardly and outwardly, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. So even though grace is a free gift, we have to cooperate with its empowerment to produce the fruit of holiness in our lives. Grace not only justified us but also now empowers us to serve God acceptably with holy fear.

Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28, NKJV)

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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