Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 298 }

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. ... It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. —Ephesians 4:7, 11-13

Paul writes to the Ephesians that "grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift" (Eph. 4:7, NKJV). Verse 11 makes it clear that the gift he was referring to is a ministry gift. We can't help but notice the misconception about the anointed people referred to in this passage. We commonly assume that people are given the gift of being a prophet, pastor, or evangelist. Paul saw it differently. "He ... gave some to be apostles ... prophets ... evangelists ... pastors ... teachers" (v. 11, emphasis added). Clearly, the minister was the gift to the church. It was not an issue of the anointed gift being for the benefit of the minister. That really changes the way we look at it. God's gifts are distributed to people who become vessels and conduits of His mercy for the benefit of others.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, help me to discern the giftings that You have given to me. And help me to remember always that the purpose of the gifts You placed in my spirit are that Your church may come to know You better.

God's giftings are not about our
promotions and esteem.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Spoils of Victory

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace. —Hebrews 7:2

Abraham had just come from defeating four kings when he brought Melchizedek, king of Salem, the spoils of his victory. Offerings given from the spoils of victory say, "Our enemies came, we conquered them; and here is our proof of victory."

Fear and greed are two of the greatest obstacles to claiming our spiritual possessions. God can't bless us when greed and fear have overtaken us. But if we drive fear and greed from our hearts, we can enjoy the bounty of the kingdom! God is not going to put blessings into our possession for them to be turned over to the devil.

He who brings the spoil of the battle to the Father will be given even more. But to he who has no spoil, even what he has will be taken away. (Matthew 12:12).

Consider this: "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). Already you are a victor over sin and death in Christ Jesus. The spoils of battle—eternal life—is yours. So, bring your tithes and offerings to God with an open hand, rejoicing in your victory!

Lord, I rejoice that You have won the victory
over sin and death and defeated Satan.
I give You my all. I rejoice in Your
victory, and I will live without
fear or greed. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

When God Lets You Down

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died." —John 11:20-21

Perhaps you know the feeling of God letting you down. Do you know when it usually happens? Not only will it be at the worst moment that it could possibly happen, but it will be at the very time when you are doing your very best to get things right—the moment you seek to do God's will.

Take the Christian who has strayed away or who has become lukewarm, who suddenly feels God talking to him and he answers, "Yes, Lord. I'll do what You say." They fully expect God to say, "Wonderful! Let Me tell you what I am going to do to reward that act of obedience: I am just going to bless you; I am going to fill you with love, and you are going to feel My presence. I am going to cause all sorts of good things to happen to you because you are doing the right thing!"

That is the moment when God lets us down. Why? Well, it's always with a good reason. For example, when Lazarus was ill, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick," and Jesus did nothing (John 11:3). They were convinced that Jesus would stop everything and go heal their brother—just like that. Instead, Jesus turned up four days after the funeral. The Lord let them down. They felt betrayed, only to find out later that the Lord had a strategy in what He did. What He ended up doing was far greater than what they wanted to happen.

We are not promised that God will deal with those who have hurt us in this life.

If you have been mistreated and have been hurt, and you wonder if God sees it happening, I want you to know that God doesn't like it any more than you do, and one day He will correct the situation. It is only a matter of time.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Building a House for God


Psalm 127:1-5 One of the seminars I teach is called "BUILDING A FAMILY FOR GOD." I wrote a short book about this, and many of the principles I share in this book and seminar are presented in this psalm.

The first step in building a family for God is surrender. We have to realize that our children are lent to us by the Lord, and we are only stewards of them during their lifetime. They are God's inheritance and His special treasures, so we have to handle them with care. We also have to understand that God loves our children even more than we do and that we can trust Him to take care of them even when we are not on the scene.

The reality of God's ownership of my children sank in when I thought I might die young and leave my small children without my guidance in their lives. This thought struck fear in my heart, and I was tormented with it for weeks. One morning after battling with this fear all night long, I finally asked the Lord about the thought. I asked the Lord, "Is this thought of dying young from You, from me or from the devil?" The answer I received in my spirit was not at all what I expected. The Lord spoke to my heart the following: "So what if you did die young? Don't you believe that I would be able to keep your children in the center of My will all of their days on earth and I could fulfill through them all I desire without your being present?"

My heart was overwhelmed as I meditated on the question the Lord was asking me. He was asking me if I trusted Him with my children. I had to repent of my controlling ways and ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him with my children. Whenever we are controlling, this is a sure sign that we are not trusting the Lord. Whenever we are in fear, we also know that we are not trusting Him. That morning I gave my three sons to God, and on that morning I died. No, I did not die physically, but I died to my possessiveness of my children. I died to the control and manipulation I often demonstrated in the rearing of my children. I died to all my plans for my children and desired only God's plans for them. I died to the pride within me that said, "I have to parent them all of their lives so they can turn out the right way." Kingdom work was done that day, and from that day forward I knew God would be a much better parent than I ever could and He would be faithful to see my children through every trial. Much of my attempts to build a house for God was just vanity until I surrendered totally to the Lord. All three boys are serving the Lord faithfully and teaching their children to do the same. My husband and I give all the glory to God. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it."

Lord, help me to always hold lightly all You have given me on this earth and to faithfully hold tightly to You. Amen.

READ: 1 Kings 5:1-6:38; Acts 7:1-29; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 16:28-30




 

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

How You Can Avoid Spiritual Heart Disease

Defining "heart" – Biblically speaking, "heart" is both the pump for your blood and the center of your soul or immaterial being. Just as your physical heart gives life to your physical body, your spiritual heart gives life to your spiritual body.

  • Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).
  • Men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth. (Luke 21:26)
  • How to remove fear: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
  • Live with an attitude of playfulness: A joyful heart is good medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

13 Stressors (emotional, physical, spiritual) which contribute to heart issues

Stressors on the Heart—Every level of separation between God and man, or any lack of complete obedience to His commands, puts a level of stress on the heart. Stress contributes greatly to heart disease.

Stressors

Fear - Men's hearts failing them because of harboring fearful thoughts.

Anger – Let not the sun go down on your anger (Eph. 4:26).

Unforgiveness – toward self, others, God, circumstances, evil people.

Dead works – Striving on my own to accomplish (Heb. 6:1,2). Sitting on the front edge of my chair ready to jump into action at all times. Type A personality leans this way. Satan's lie "I can" = life is about my efforts and my knowledge.

Unconfessed sin - God's hand is not so short that it cannot save, but your sins have made a separation between you and your God (Isaiah 59:1,2).

Unhealthy diet - Daniel would not defile himself with the king's rich food.

Toxic planet – 100,000 more chemicals in the environment now than 100 years ago.

Inflammation from bacterial and emotional roots.

Demonization – Jesus cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick (Mark 1:39).

Brokenheartedness - Areas in your heart which are broken off from the core you and are operating separate from God.

Generational sins and curses -These are passed down three to four generations (Ex. 34:7).

Lack of care of God's temple – I am the temple God dwells in.

Misplaced hope – Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Prov. 13:12).

Causes

Believing I must cope with life's pressures myself, and that my "resources" will prevail.

Over 90% of those in the "lifelong anger club" die of clogged arteries.

Hurts and failures in life result in hopelessness that God is nowhere to be found. Evil rules.

Not drawing continuously on the Holy Spirit's gifts, manifestations and fruit which are easily, readily available to all, but instead trusting in my abilities and tools and telling God, "I got this."

Going your own way rather than God's way. Arguing and making bargains with God because we want what we want and think it is better than what He has said.

Eating rich food, processed or refined, sugar-coated foods or GMO foods.

These chemicals fill the air, water and food, and they can stockpile up in our bodies.

Some of this inflammation is generational.

Ask the Spirit to show you any curses sent upon you or demons you have picked up through life's traumas.

A broken area is a part within that is trying to handle an area of life without drawing upon the power of the Spirit.

Ask the Spirit to show you any curses coming down through the family line.

I don't take the time to care for my body, e.g, through rest and exercise.

Placing your hope in anything (even one of His promises) rather than in God Himself.

Solutions

Faith - Believe God loves me and is in control, working all things out for good.

Love - Be merciful, compassionate, and judge not.

Forgive everything against everyone and your prayers will be answered (Mk. 11:25).

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:8). Prayer: Lord, what are Your thoughts concerning this situation?

Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).

Eat organic fruits and vegetables and high quality proteins. Take 20 minutes to enjoy and taste the foods you are eating.

Do cleanses regularly, breathe clean air, use non-toxic cleansers, drink pure water.

Find the root cause of the inflammation and remove it.

Forgive the person, honor and bless them and command the curse to halt in Jesus' name and the demons to leave.

Asking Jesus to heal the broken areas, knitting me back together, and enlightening me with His Spirit (Isaiah 61:1).

Forgive the person, honor and bless them and command the curses to halt at the Cross of Christ.

Come apart and rest awhile (Mark 6:31). Exercise - celebrate!

Hope in God (Ps. 42:11) and the God of hope shall fill you with all joy and peace (Rom. 15:13).

God's Picture of Stress-free Living Is Abiding in Christ

"I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Abiding is characterized by: living present tense, tuned to your heart, receiving wisdom, revelation, love and power from God and extending it out to others. (The EmWave2 device can help one quickly learn this posture.)

Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.

This article originally appeared at cwgministries.org.

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