Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 188 }

"I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the Lord. —Jeremiah 23:3-4

The Holy Spirit is raising up shepherds to teach God's people to live after His own heart. They will feed others from the reality they encounter through their own unyielding personal pursuit of God. They will only be able to shepherd others because they have given themselves wholly to the great Shepherd. Some of these shepherds will lead through preaching and some through writing, singing, or other skills and talents. Some will do it through one-on-one discipleship and spending time nurturing younger believers' faith in a spiritual relationship. Some will do it in the context of their business or workplace. I encourage you to pray specifically about this. You can't afford to miss your appointment in these end times.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Allow me to become one of Your shepherds, Father. Let me lead Your little lambs to a personal encounter with the God who loves them unconditionally.

Perhaps you are called to be a shepherd,
to aggressively pursue the knowledge of His
personality in your own life so you can feed
others with the truths you discover.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Let God Be God

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. —Isaiah 44:6

We serve a sovereign, holy God. It is good gospel news that what God does for us is not contingent on what we are able to do. He is going to be God, regardless of what you and I do. You are not going to make God what you want Him to be. You may make a god, but it will not be the God.

He is more than able for every situation of our lives. The kingdom of darkness is subdued, and the blood-stained banner of His Cross is exalted. He is sitting high upon His throne, far above every principality, power, might, and name that is named (Ephesians 1:20).

It is time to destroy our idols and manmade temples and return to the pursuit of the God we are supposed to be serving—an omnipotent, all-powerful, holy God of mercy and grace.

When you truly let God be God in your life, you will be able to attain the unattainable and reach the unreachable.

Jesus, in You I am reaching for the highest
heights and seeking the deepest revelation
by Your Spirit. Take me to Your place which
is beyond my reach and my imagination.
Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Power of Love

Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8

The power of love is what it achieves. Stephen demonstrated the immense power of love when he prayed for the people stoning him: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:60). This is what God wanted—this display of love.

Stephen, who almost certainly was Paul's role model, is one of the most outstanding people in the Bible. I cannot express how much I admire him. And then I examine his mastery of the Old Testament (Acts 7) and observe how he put his opponents in the succession of the disobedient in ancient history: "You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" (v. 51). Although no one was immediately converted, never had one spoken with such power.

The whole time he spoke, the pure love of God flowed through him and from him. The proof of this was his concern for them, not himself, when they were stoning him. He, therefore, fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." It was a virtual reenactment of Jesus' prayer on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

The love of Christ that resided in Stephen got to Paul. Paul wasn't able to shake off the power of love that Stephen showed, which led to the conversion of the greatest of the apostles.

Again, when Paul and Silas were in prison, they sang praises to God, and love took over in extraordinary power. God affirmed them with such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Even the jailer was suddenly converted!

The one who is filled with love allows the omnipotent God to move in. It becomes vulnerable, that is, the one governed by love is losing the battle to win the war. That's power.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Restoration of the Rejected

Isaiah 54:1-57:14 A rejected person is always vulnerable to the enemy's weapons. This passage in Isaiah lists the ten weapons the enemy tries to use against rejected people.

1. Fear

2. Confusion

3. Shame

4. Abandonment

5. Affliction

6. Restlessness

8. Oppression

9. Grief

10. Condemnation

The good news, however, is that God promises us that none of these weapons shall prosper and that we will have the power to condemn every word of judgment; this is our inheritance as servants of the Lord (v. 17). The enemy may fire every weapon against us, but we will not be vulnerable if we recognize our maker, God, as our husband. We are accepted in the Beloved. Jesus Christ is the Beloved of God, and when we are in Him, we have a husband who will protect us from all the weapons of the enemy. He will be our sun and our shield against every fiery dart of the enemy.

Thank You, Lord, for being my husband who shields and protects me from the weapons of the enemy. Heal any former wounds I may have received in my early years because I was vulnerable to rejection.

READ: Isaiah 54:1-57:14; Ephesians 6:1-24; Psalm 70:1-5; Proverbs 24:8

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

You Were Expensive!

God's love for us is unconditional and unchanging. This is clearly seen in the words of Jesus' prayer the night before His crucifixion: "Then the world will know that you [God the Father] sent me [Jesus Christ] and will understand that you love them as much as you love me" (John 17:23, NLT).

Did you catch that? God loves you as much as He loves Jesus! That's almost too much to comprehend!

Scripture records that God's love "is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]" (1 Corinthians 13:7-8, AMP). His love for you can never weaken or become obsolete. It is impossible, for His love for you isn't based on your behavior but on His character of faithfulness. God's love for us is so all-encompassing that we simply cannot comprehend its scope.

He sent Jesus to die for us when we were still His enemies (see Romans 5:10). John the apostle writes, "For God so loved the world [you and me] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Why did God give Jesus? The answer is simple: to purchase us back. Our forefather Adam gave up himself and consequently all his offspring (including you and me) to a new lord when he heeded Satan's words in the Garden of Eden. Adam disobeyed God and separated himself and his descendants from their Creator. But since God loved humankind so much, He wasn't willing to assign us the same fate as Satan and his angels.

God needed a creative plan to purchase our freedom. He did this by sending Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus was all man and all God and lived a perfect life (the only man ever to walk the earth without sin). He went to the cross and paid the price for our disobedience to God. He took our judgment so we wouldn't have to.

The price of our soul is so expensive that nothing else could have bought us back besides Jesus Himself. Scripture states, "God bought you with a high price" (1 Corinthians 6:20, NLT). Then again it's recorded that the Father "is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son" (Ephesians 1:7, NLT). No person or thing is more valuable to God than Jesus. Yet God saw our value equal to that of what He prized most.

Now here is the amazing fact: If you and I had been worth one cent less to God than the value of Jesus, He would not have purchased us because God would never make an unprofitable deal. God does not make bad purchases. (Recall the above scripture, "God bought you with a high price.") A bad purchase is when you give something of more value for something of less value. In God's eyes, Jesus' value is the same as yours! Do you see how important you are to God? This is why Jesus prays, "You love them as much as you love me" (John 17:23, NLT).

That's extraordinary love!

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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