Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 318 }

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. —Ephesians 1:17-19

Neither functioning in New Testament prophetic ministry nor moving in the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit is an exact science. These things challenge our improper control issues and our religious codes. They've been designed by God for this very purpose! We are called to embrace the mystery of God and not to lust after neatly tying up every doctrinal or philosophical loose end that we encounter. Our hunger for a personal relationship with God Himself should overpower this drive within us to perfectly comprehend every fact. Our humility before God should instruct us that we will never have all the answers, at least not in this age. We are hard enough to live with as it is. As long as we're in this flesh, I don't think possessing omniscience would help us be any easier to live with.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, as much as I want to know more about You, my heart's desire is to have a dynamic intimate relationship with You.

True Christianity is a dynamic relationship
with a living God, and it cannot be
reduced to formulas
and dry orthodoxy.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Everybody Goes to Heaven

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:15

Not long ago I burned my hand grilling hamburgers in our backyard. God did not design my skin to withstand raging flames, and it hurt when I put my hand where it was never intended to be.

Now I didn't start cursing that fire for burning me, yet every day thousands go into eternity cursing God for condemning them to a hell that was never intended for them. One of the easiest ways to identify a cult is their denial of the existence of hell. They say, "My God is a loving God and He would never send me there; everybody goes to heaven!"

Everybody does go to heaven. We just do not all get to stay. Everyone will stand before the judgment seat of God someday, but there are those whose names will not be found in the Lamb's Book of Life.

Do not allow Satan to lull you into a sense of false security. If there is sin in your life, turn from it today. Tomorrow is promised to no man.

Jesus, I confess You as my Lord and Savior. I repent
of my sins and ask You for forgiveness. I receive
Your forgiveness through Your shed blood and
I joyfully declare that I have eternal life. Give
me the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

When It's Time to Move On

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on." —Exodus 14:15

You will know it is time to move on when circumstances have coalesced in such a manner that you just say, "I can see there is only one thing to do." It is when God takes things out of your hands. Do you know what Christian conversion is? It is when God has caused things to happen in such a way that you really had no choice. God has sent one signal after another, and you know that the only way forward is to move on. That's what I am challenging you to do now—to make the step.

Look at where you are and all that is there—famine—that which gives you no hope. Now look at what lies ahead: God promises life, and He will take care of you. Consider the possibility that one day you will go to heaven and you will see Jesus face-to-face. You will discover exactly what He looks like, what His voice sounds like, how tall He is. You will see Him. You will enjoy complete security: there will be no worries about employment, about where your next meal is coming from, about having to take exams, or having to prove yourself in some way. In heaven there will be eternal security, peace, and joy, no tears, no pain, no sorrow.

So I ask you, which do you prefer? Do you choose to go to heaven or live on this earth for another year or two of pleasure? How much time do you have left? Do you really want to cling to that habit, that lifestyle, that viewpoint, which have brought you near to ruin when the alternative is going to heaven?

I would challenge any Christian reading this to spend your time in prayer without seeking for a thing. Instead spend the whole time thanking the Lord. Sacrifice what you would like to ask Him. Sacrifice the time: just give it to Him, and be thankful. You have so much cause to be thankful.

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

This Is the Day to Rejoice

Psalm 118:19-29 As I looked through my mother's things after her death, I found a beautiful writing she clipped from a church paper. I do not know who wrote it, but I made copies of it and passed it out at Mother's memorial service. The title of it is "The Gift of a Day." I have included it at the end of today's devotional. It expresses what this psalm says: "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" (v. 24). The following poem is included in the reading:

Build a little fence of trust, just around today;

Fill the space with loving work, and therein stay.

Look not through the sheltering bars upon tomorrow.

God will help thee bear whatever comes of joy or sorrow.

As we arise in the morning we never know what will be facing us during the day. The good news is that God knows, and I believe if we will take time in His presence every morning He will prepare us to bear whatever we face, whether it be joy or sorrow. I especially remember the Lord preparing me in the morning for the day I hit a little eight-year-old boy with my car. It was an accident, and thanks to much prayer, the boy was spared. I even had the opportunity later to lead him to the Lord. On the morning of this accident, however, the Lord kept drawing me to spend more time with Him. As I was praying, there was a bird singing the most beautiful song just outside the window. It seemed as if the joy of the Lord came from that bird's song right into my soul and I was strengthened. I needed that extra measure of strength for what I faced that day. Each day is truly a gift from God, and whether it be joy or sorrow that we face, we can trust the Lord to see us through the day. One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is, "It came to pass." Whatever we are enduring on this earth, it too will pass.

The author of "The Gift of the Day" writes, "The gift of a day being what it is, surely we cannot maintain an indifferent attitude toward the Giver of it." What we receive each morning indeed is a sacred and solemn trust. How base were it then to abase it and abuse it, to spend any part of our day in ways from which He who gives it must avert His face! Let's ask Him to help us to use it as He wills.

It has been my custom to give the day to the Lord the first thing in the morning. I pray the following prayer; maybe you would like to join me this morning:

Father, I thank You for this day. It is truly a gift, so I give it into Your hands. Use me in any way You see fit today, and put me in the right place at the right time. I commit my words to You so that You may establish my thoughts. I commit myself and all I have planned for the day to You. Order it Your way.

READ: 2 Samuel 1:1-2:11; John 12:20-50; Psalm 118:19-29; Proverbs 15:27-28

THE GIFT OF A DAY

The burden of the day is often enough in our thoughts, and the duty of the day is not likely to lie forgotten. But what we constantly overlook is the much happier, and equally true idea, of the gift of a day. We receive a valuable present every morning—for the most part, thanklessly. We ask God to give us this day our daily bread, and we return thanks for that when it is set before us. But which of us remembers that He gives, not only the bread, but the day as well?

Stevenson declares that when a man who has got well beyond seventy lays his old bones in bed for the night, there is an overwhelming probability that he will never see the day. Even for the most youthful, however, sleep is a hazardous adventure. Our personality dies every twenty-four hours. Yet the spirit returns to its tabernacle; we wake again exactly to what we left last night, with never a gap in the seam to show the joining. What brings me back? Perfectly sure am I that I had nothing to do with it. I received a precious gift this morning. Someone has given me this day. Moreover, it is not yesterday that we get back, but a new day. You went to bed last night tired and worn. And when God brought you His gift this morning, behold, He had smoothed out all the weariness and had added strength and energy.

When we think of what a day brings, we are compelled to recognize the pure unmerited grace of giving. When our eyes open on a spring morning, how boundless are the riches within the reach of the poorest of us. The air, the sky, the song of the birds, the colors—all priceless things, and your entire very own, if you can only take them. There's nobody so poor that he cannot afford a spring day. Each morning we rise to a clean sheet on which we may write what we please. We have a chance to work, be kind, learn and pray. This morning was a blank check, valid for just as much as we liked to take.

And while we look with shame upon the time that we have wasted, every morning God in His mercy lets us begin again. Yesterday you were sad and gloomy. Today is your chance to prove yourself an unconquerable soul. Yesterday you spoke unkindly to a friend. Today you can go and tell him you are sorry. Every morning, God in His mercy lets us begin again.

Perhaps there is a hidden blessing in the fact that God's gift is only a day, that we are tenants of life only between sleeps. Around His gift God built a fence of night and unconsciousness as if each day were meant to stand by itself.

Build a little fence of trust just around today;
Fill the space with loving work, and therein stay.
Look not through the sheltering bars upon tomorrow.
God will help thee bear whatever comes of joy or sorrow.
Author unknown

The gift of a day being what it is, surely we cannot maintain an indifferent attitude toward the Giver of it. What we receive each morning, indeed, is a sacred and solemn trust. How base were it then to abase it and abuse it, to spend any part of our day in ways from which He who gives it must avert His Face! Let's ask Him to help us to use it as He wills.

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Greater Works

To be holy is to live like Jesus, to walk as He did on this earth, bearing the same fruit. Jesus made this clear: "You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures." (John 15:16, TEV)

What enduring fruit is Jesus referring to? He revealed the answer to this during His Last Supper: "The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works..." (John 14:12, NLT)

Greater works? He specifically states, "Anyone who believes..." I would have found these words difficult to believe if anyone other than Jesus had said them. However, this remarkable statement is straight from His lips, and His Word is infallible! We have been brought into His family, made one with Him, and given His nature and Spirit. Therefore, we are not only to do the miraculous works He did but to surpass them! How is this possible? Through His grace.

Grace gives us the power to go beyond our natural ability. It brings us into the extraordinary realm. Hear Paul's words: "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8, NKJV)

In this scripture, Paul was specifically discussing finances and giving, but the principle applies to all areas of life. There are several key words we need to highlight. First, Paul says, "...all grace abound toward you"—not a little bit of grace but all. Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 1:3). This is why the Holy Spirit through Paul states, "No one, then, should boast about what human beings can do. Actually everything belongs to you...and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God" (1 Corinthians 3:21, 23, TEV).

Paul continues by saying you will always—not just in some incidents, but always—have all sufficiency (total and complete) to abound in every good work. Jesus declares that each of us will accomplish greater works. So, abounding, empowering grace gives us complete and total sufficiency to meet every need we may encounter, no matter what it is! There is nothing that cannot be accomplished in regard to bringing heaven's provision to earth, for grace has fully provided it all.

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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