Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 170 }

Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. —Matthew 9:15, NKJV

Have you ever felt that you just could not stand to go on living without more of Jesus Christ in your life? I have. It's for such seasons of spiritual hunger that God has given us the Bridegroom fast. It is a fast that enlarges our capacity to receive freely from the Spirit of God. Instead of having an external purpose such as averting a crisis, this kind of fasting changes us on the inside. When you cannot live without something in God, some place of depth of communion in His love, then it is God's will for you to cry out for it with a new resolve and intensity. If you absolutely cannot live without a new depth in your intimacy with God, the Lord will usually increase your portion of it over the following months and years.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, sometimes my heart is filled with intense longing for more of You. Sometimes I feel as though I cannot go on without a fresh revelation of Your love. Draw me into a new and higher level of intimacy with You.

We receive spiritual tenderness and new discoveries
of intimacy with God more quickly and more deeply
when we fast.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The Circle Is Unbroken

Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. —Acts 11:14

My grandmother was the greatest Christian I have ever known. Her entire life was a living witness of her faith. I was concerned about the salvation of my uncle, and I wanted to be sure I did the right thing, so I would go talk to my grandmother. Every time she would pat my hand, give me that big faith-grin of hers and tell me, "Don't you worry, Rodney. All my children will be saved. I have His Word on it."

She was right-.-.-.-a few years later my uncle was gloriously saved. Never give up on anyone in your family who is lost. Pray for them daily. Share the Word with them. Love them. Minister to their needs. Commit them to the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict them.

Every year the family circle grows smaller and smaller on this side of glory. But thanks be to God, because Jesus died on Calvary and rose again from the dead, a day is coming when the circle will be unbroken.

Jesus, I lift up to You this day all in my
family who are not saved. Save and
redeem them by Your blood. Amen.


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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Turn an Enemy Into a Friend

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:10

Have you a rival now? Is there somebody bugging you? Is there somebody needling you? Is there somebody trying to get your goat—or have they already got your goat? If you think long and hard about this, and you dwell on it, it could destroy you. There's no guarantee that the devil will overreach himself if we become full of self-pity and develop a judgmental spirit. It is then that the devil will be saying, "Oh, it's working! It's working!" Don't let that happen.

God trusts us in letting us have an enemy so that if we respond in the right way, we will be so much better off.

Satan works through our enemies to defeat us, but if we react without grieving the Holy Spirit, then the result will be that it will refine us, not defeat us.

Has it occurred to you that God would want reconciliation between you and your enemy? The heart of God is reconciliation. Here are three principles of reconciliation.

First, if reconciliation is delayed—that there is no chance of reconciliation at the moment—then be sure it's not your fault. Paul said, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Rom. 12:18). Do everything that you can do to embrace that person.

Second, your enemy today might be your friend tomorrow. Be sure, therefore, that you show such love to that person now, for you may become friends later.

Third, pray for your enemy. How do you pray for them? You must not pray that God will deal with them or punish them, but you must pray for them to be blessed.

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Whom Do You Rebuke?

1 Timothy 5:1-25 Later in 2 Timothy Paul writes Timothy and tells him to rebuke those who oppose themselves by going their own willful way even after they have walked for a season with Christ Jesus. We are to rebuke those who will not endure sound doctrine, but who instead walk after their own lusts. In today's reading we see a clear warning to Timothy about not rebuking certain people. Paul says, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren" (v. 1, KJV).

Rebuke should always be done with a meek spirit. If we ever rebuke anyone, we should do it with the attitude that but for the grace of God we also might go our own willful way. The reason Paul tells Timothy not to rebuke an elder is because of the respect we should show toward our elders. Timothy should leave such rebuke to another elder. Whether Paul is speaking of not rebuking those in the office of eldership in the church, we do not know. The message, however, is clear. Timothy was exhorted not to rebuke those who were older than him either in the spirit or in the flesh. I believe the understanding was for Timothy to leave such rebuke in the hands of older people or more mature Christians. We know Timothy was very young.

Timothy is also exhorted not to rebuke younger men. I believe this exhortation to Timothy was to protect those who were young in the spirit from being crushed by such a rebuke. We have to constantly be reminded that reproof and rebuke are for only one purpose. We rebuke or reprove a brother or sister in Christ with meekness of heart and with the intent to soften the heart of such a brother of sister so that they will repent. Reproof and rebuke are always used to restore a brother, not to crush or embarrass a brother or sister in Christ.

Paul in this letter is challenging us all to tread lightly when we feel we should reprove or rebuke a fellow Christian. We always have to do this with a heart of love toward this person, not a heart filled with criticism and judgment. Remember, if we rebuke or reprove in any spirit other than the spirit of love, we open ourselves to fall into sin in the same way the one we have rebuked fell. Remember Jesus' words: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with what measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Matt. 7:1-2). What a sober thought to end this devotional with! I am challenged to tread lightly in reproving and rebuking. Frankly, if I am busy about my Father's business, I won't have time to judge the sins of others.

Lord, forgive me for looking at the sins of other more than I look at my own sins. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and I confess to You the many times I have sat in judgment of others.

READ: Jeremiah 35:1-36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 25:25-27

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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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