Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 85 }

On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him but did not find him. I must arise now and go about the city; in the streets and in the squares I must seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him but did not find him. The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, and I said, "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" —Song of Solomon 3:1-3, NAS

Sometimes the Lord gets our attention in discipling us by gently withdrawing His presence for a season. That is the way He caused the maiden to repent for refusing Him. When the Lord corrects His sincere, yet immature, disciples, He is not angry with us. He still loves and enjoys us in our immaturity; however, He loves us too much to let us stay there. Although we do not always understand it, He is bringing us forth to maturity. He knows what awaits us—the glory of being His bride and the spiritual treasures that come with being mature coheirs of the glorious Son of God.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

In the seasons of the night, dear God, when Your presence seems far removed from my life, teach me to look forward to the morning when the light of Your love bursts into view and brings me into a new level of relationship with You.

Our fear and weakness do not anger the Lord.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

A New Creature

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old Things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17

The process of exchange begins with repentance—the only passport recognized at the gates of His kingdom. To repent means "to turn from." You turn from your sin to His forgiveness; your pain to His healing; your lack to His abundance.

God's Word gives you a new realization of your resources: You are a child of more, not of less. You are a child of provision, not of poverty.

God's Word requires you to submit your will to His. The greatest barriers to His blessing are stubbornness and conceit. Believing we have all the answers doesn't give God room to work.

God's Word requires you to control your emotions. Self-discipline, combined with God's abundance, brings good stewardship.

Abundance begins with obedience. Accept God's authority over your life, and allow Him to do His transforming work in your mind.

Lord Jesus, transform me. Renew my mind
so that my every thought will be of and from You.
Keep me in Your perfect will. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Forgiveness Begins in the Heart

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God. —1 John 3:21

Total forgiveness must take place in the heart or it is worthless. If forgiveness truly takes place in the heart, one does not need to know whether one's enemy will reconcile. If I have forgiven him in my heart of hearts, but he still doesn't want to speak to me, I can still have the inner victory. It may be far easier to forgive when we know that those who maligned or betrayed us are sorry for what they did, but if I must have this knowledge before I can forgive, I may never have the victory over my bitterness.

If Jesus had waited until His enemies felt some guilt or shame for their words and actions, He would never have forgiven them.

It is my experience that most people we must forgive do not believe they have done anything wrong at all, or if they know that they did something wrong, they believe it was justified. I would even go so far as to say that at least 90 percent of all the people I've had to forgive would be indignant at the thought that they had done something wrong.


Total forgiveness, therefore, must take place in the heart. If I have a genuine heart experience, I will not be devastated if there is no reconciliation. If those who hurt me don't want to continue a relationship with me, it isn't my problem because I have forgiven them. This is also why a person can achieve inner peace even when forgiving someone who has died.


Confidence toward God is ultimately what total forgiveness is all about; He is the one I want to please at the end of the day. He cares and knows whether I have truly and totally forgiven, and when I know I have His love and approval, I am one very happy and contented servant of Christ.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Jacob's Ladder

Genesis 28:28:1-29:35 As a child I remember singing, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder." In the song was the phrase, "Every rung goes higher, higher." Jacob experienced a divine connection between heaven and earth. In his dream he saw a ladder between heaven and earth, and he saw angels ascending and descending this ladder. The Lord stood above the ladder, and He spoke to Jacob and told him how the families of the earth would be blessed through his seed. He promised Jacob that He would keep him wherever he went, and that the time would come when He would bring him again to the land He promised Abraham, his great grandfather. When Jacob woke up, he said "Surely the Lord is in this place."

The good news is that if we never dream a dream as Jacob did, we can still experience daily the same divine connection between heaven and earth. We may not see angels ascending and descending a ladder from heaven, but we can daily say, "Surely God is in this place."

Where does God dwell? I remember asking my mother that question as she gave me a spot bath one Saturday evening in preparation for Sunday church the next day. "Mommy, where does Jesus live?" My mother wisely answered, "Jesus lives in heaven, and He also lives in your heart." Later as an adult I understood completely how correct her answer was. I now know that Jesus is seated on the right hand of God the Father. He has been raised from the dead, and He is in a glorified body, one that has the ability to defy matter. This would have been too much for a girl of seven to understand, but I could understand that He is in heaven and also in my heart. As a young child I invited Jesus to come into my heart, and He did. My picture of Him in my heart was what a child would have. I pictured Jesus sitting at a desk, and there was a list He was checking. It had two columns that said "Good and Bad." Above the columns was my name, "Linda." He was checking the list twice to see if I had been naughty or nice that day. My view of Jesus at that time was a "Santa Clause image." Unfortunately many adults still have this Santa Clause image of God—He blesses us when we are good and curses us when we are bad. Thank God I now understand more about God than I did as a child.

I don't have to climb a ladder of success now to reach heaven. I don't have to prove to God my love for Him by what I do or don't do. He loves me just as I am. He is for me, not against me, and He is not checking up on me to see if I am misbehaving. When Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and when I received this as true and asked forgiveness for my sins, there was no separation between me and my heavenly Father. The Scriptures say, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20).

Is heaven in your heart today? I trust that you will know for sure that God lives in the home of your heart.

READ: Genesis 28:28:1-29:35; Matthew 9:18-38; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 3:11-12

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Free from Sin

??"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14, NKJV).

Why shouldn't sin have dominion over us? Because we no longer possess a sin nature, but we have entered God’s empowerment, possessing the nature of Jesus Himself. We are free from the power of sin!

The Message says, "Sin can't tell you how to live." God's Word, the truth, declares here that gossip, slander and lying no longer have dominion over you. Adultery, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, pornography or any other impurity no longer dominates you. Hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, prejudice and envy no longer control you. Uncontrolled anger, rage and outbursts of wrath have lost their authority in your life. Stealing, substance abuse and alcohol addiction are no longer a master over you. Disobedience to authority, stubbornness and insubordination have lost their dominion over you. And the list continues.

You don't have to yield to such sins anymore because you are now under the empowerment of grace! Look at it this way: You were once imprisoned by your own nature to some of these things and unable to live a godly life. Jesus came and threw open the prison door. He took the keys to sin's powerful domination, and you can now walk out of the prison. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are free and a child of God!

Before we were in Christ, we were slaves to sin and had no power over it. Now we do. We can choose to either submit to sin or we can walk in grace free from sin. Christians have power over sin because they possess Jesus' nature. God did not set you free from sin so that you could continue to sin and be forgiven—without reaping its consequences. God set you free from sin so that you could indeed be free and walk in true holiness as Jesus did. The true believer's goal is not to sin. However, if we sin, forgiveness is still found in His provision of grace.

Grace empowers us to be pleasing to God, to live an extraordinary life! However, if we choose not to walk in our new nature and continually yield to sin, then we give up our freedom and again are captive. New Testament repentance is about truth and represents a complete change of mind or heart. It is when we are deeply sorry we've hurt the heart of God and are now committed to obeying His desire in this area. It takes both confession and repentance to free a believer from sin's grip.

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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