Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 27 }

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. —Psalm 27:13-14

In a Dennis the Menace cartoon, Dennis and his friend were walking out of Mrs. Wilson's house with cookies in both hands. Dennis's friend wondered what they had done to deserve the cookies. Dennis explained, "Mrs. Wilson doesn't give us cookies because we are nice. We get cookies because Mrs. Wilson is nice." It is God's goodness, not ours, that is the basis for blessing. Understanding this frees us to place our confidence and trust in God Himself instead of being forced to rely upon our own righteousness or upon whatever faith we can muster.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

God, You are a good God! Out of Your goodness You have blessed my life abundantly. I place my trust and confidence in Your goodness, and I commit to living my life in faithfulness to You.

We cannot twist God's arm or throw a temper
tantrum to make Him give us what we want.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Deliverance

And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. —Exodus 2:24

God knew the descendants of Abraham would suffer the bonds of the Egyptians for more than four-hundred years, and He even told Abraham about it when they established their blood covenant (Genesis 15:13-16).

God had a plan for Abraham's descendants before Abraham had any children. He looked forward through time and chose the land He would give to them. He foresaw the results of idolatry, and in His perfect time brought forth a covenant people to establish a holy nation.

When the cry of Abraham's descendants reached God's ears, He was ready, and He "remembered His covenant." Because of the everlasting promises He had made to Abraham, deliverance was on the way!

The promises of the covenant will never be broken. When you are in need, cry out to God. Declare your covenant relationship with Him through Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus, not on your need. Refuse to be entombed by your circumstances because you are in covenant with the Resurrection and the Life. Rejoice in everything (Philippians 4:4). Your deliverance is on the way!

Jesus, You are my bondage-breaker. You have repaired
every breach. You are my bridge over my circumstance
to Your deliverance. Help me to rejoice always,
fixing my eyes on You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

God Is for You!

If God is for us, who can be against us? —Romans 8:31

I love the psalm in which David says, "God is for me" (Ps. 56:9). To know that God is with us and "for" us is a greater cause for rejoicing. This always make me think of my Grandpa McCurley, who was almost the only relative who stood with me when my theological views changed in 1955. "I'm for him, right or wrong," he said to the rest of the family in those days. That was the kind of support I needed at that time. And yet that is how much God is with us and for us all the time!

This does not mean He approves of all we believe and do. Yes, He is for us—right or wrong, but it does not follow He will uphold my unrighteous cause. He is able to be for me—whether I deserve it or not—in order to demonstrate patience that I might be brought to repentance and get sorted out, if that is what needs to happen. The amazing thing is that He still maintains love and support for me when I am unworthy. He sees the end from the beginning. He does not have to explain Himself for maintaining an everlasting love toward us, even when we are in the wrong. This is why we should not be self-righteous if we feel the presence of the Lord and claim this proves we are in the right.

God has a way of manifesting His presence to the most unworthy child! That is why He can be real to me. It does not mean I am better than others or that God approves of all He sees in me. He is that way with all His children! He stays with them until they get sorted out. What love! Amazing love! This is why we rejoice always ... in the Lord.

Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).




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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Pleasing Men

Mark 15:1-47 This passage in Mark gives the details of what led to the crucifixion of our Lord. Pilate was warned by his wife in a dream not to harm Jesus, but Pilate was a man pleaser. We hear these chilling words: "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified" (Mark 15:15, KJV).

Pilate listened to the people, and he put their desires above anything else. He wanted to be popular with the people, and so he gave into their demands. One might say that Pilate was subject to peer pressure.

Peer pressure is one of the main causes for teenagers to get into drugs. Our youngest son, Ray, got into drugs because he wanted to have friends. He was rejected in his late grammar school days because of his faith in Jesus. When he reached high school, he found a group of friends who accepted him, but unfortunately they were drug users. It was not long before Ray got into drugs. Even though he knew the Bible and had been raised in a Christian home where prayers went up for him daily, he got into drugs. Why? The answer is that he wanted to be popular with the people. When Pilate chose to please man over pleasing God or his wife, the result was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

When we choose to please men above God, we are in a sense crucifying Christ afresh. We are exhorted to crucify our own flesh or reckon it dead daily so that we might be alive to Jesus Christ. Just the opposite happens when we choose to please men rather than God. We reckon ourselves alive to sin and dead to Christ whenever we willfully please men rather than God.

The good report is that God is a redeemer and restorer, and He sent Jesus Christ to make a way of escape when we are tempted. God in his mercy redeemed and restored Ray, and he now is serving Christ in Budapest, Hungary as a missionary with his wife. The fear of the Lord became evident in Ray's life when he wanted to please God more than himself or other people. Could it be that "peer pressure" is one of the reasons for America's steady moral decay? The Bible speaks about how in the last days men will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God and they will seek their own rather than the welfare of others. Some politicians are even willing to sell their soul for the almighty vote.

There is only one vote I am concerned about in this life, and that is God's vote. Is He for me and will He support me when the campaign of life gets rough? The answer is "yes," because He said, "I will never leave you or forsake you." Even though Ray for a season was seeking the vote of acceptance from his peers, God was giving him His vote of confidence. God knew that Ray would turn back to Him, and God was with Ray even during his rebellious season of life. Whose vote are you seeking? Are you seeking God's approval or man's approval? The truth is that God already approves of you. After all, He gave His only begotten Son to save you. If you were the only person living on the earth, God would still have sent His Son to die for you.

READ: Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:1-7; Proverbs 11:5-6

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Never Fall Short

God has freely given us the tools we need to live a holy life that pleases Him—that's fabulous news! There's no need to fall short. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

"Pursue...holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God." (12:14-15, NKJV)

The main point here is clear: We need the grace of God to walk in true holiness. We might ask, "If, as we've been taught, grace is only about forgiveness, then what does 'fall short' mean in this verse?" The Greek word here is hustereo. Strong's Concordance defines it as "to be inferior, to fall short (be deficient), come behind, be destitute, fail." Thayer's Lexicon goes into more depth by stating that this word's meaning is "to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end."

Holiness is crucial to finishing our race well. Hear the prophet Isaiah's words: "There will be a highway there, called 'The Road of Holiness.' No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the LORD has rescued will travel home by that road. They will reach Jerusalem [heaven] with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief." (35:8–10, TEV)

God says that when we walk in the power of the grace of God, bearing true fruits of holiness, we are invincible because of Him. Isaiah says that no fierce animal, such as a bear or lion, will be able to take us out! (This includes our supreme enemy, Satan, who walks about as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" [1 Peter 5:8].) So, we have no reason to fail when we produce fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace. This ability is not because of us but because of Him. We must abide in the grace of God in order to live holy, fruitful, extraordinary lives! 

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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