Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 264 }

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. —Psalm 126:1-3

God doesn't bring us to Zion for our personal enrichment. Often the Lord's blessing will rest on a person, congregation, nation, or city, and they start thinking the blessing was given mostly to add to their personal prestige or lifestyle. This is a danger we must avoid once we arrive at our destiny. Some people imagine that when they finally reach the fullness of their promise and place of destiny, they will have only joy. They picture complete contentment in their anointing and prominence. But it doesn't work that way, even in the grace of God. In our place of destiny, we will still experience pressures, persecutions, and pain. As you prepare to enter your destiny, set your expectations correctly.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, when I am tempted to believe that pressure, persecution, and pain are keeping me from reaching my potential in You, cause me to remember that You bring me to Zion for Your pleasure and Your plan, not for my own personal enrichment.

Arriving at Zion is about serving the  kingdom in
greater measure—a privilege far greater
than money or fame.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

No Vacancy

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. —Philippians 4:8

You can probably look back right now and see a time where you opened the door in your mind and let the devil in—where you did not submit to God, where you did not resist the devil; therefore, he did not flee.

When you are rejoicing, the devil cannot get in your mind. When you are shouting, he cannot get in your body. When you are praising God and thanking Him for His goodness and mercy, the devil has no access to your life.

Build up your spirit by praying in the Holy Ghost. Renew your mind with the Word of God, and fill your mouth with His praises. Hang out a "NO VACANCY" sign for the devil, and when he tries to enter in, slam the door by lifting up your voice in praise and thanksgiving.

Strive after Jesus Christ's excellence and perfection. If you are tempted to think thoughts beneath what is true, just, pure, lovely, and virtuous, then stop thinking and start meditating on His Word. Replace every worldly thought with His Word.

Jesus, fill my mind with thoughts that
are true, honest, just, pure, lovely,
excellent, and virtuous. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Speaking Out of Fear

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. —Philippians 4:6

Speaking out of fear always leads to evil (Ps. 37:8). God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7). Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we fear—and speak at the same time—what we say will come out wrong and may get us into serious trouble.

Take, for example, Abraham telling people that his wife was his sister. Abraham journeyed to Egypt and, knowing how beautiful his wife, Sarah, was, ordered her to say that she was his sister—so both of them would be spared. Abraham feared that someone would kill him in order to have her. So she did what he commanded.

It worked for a while. She was taken into Pharaoh's palace, where she was safe, while Abraham prospered. But God stepped in. The Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Sarah. Pharaoh somehow knew that God had caused these diseases and knew that Sarah was Abraham's wife. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife?" (Gen. 12:18). Abraham and Sarah mercifully were spared. They would never know what God Himself might have done had they trusted Him. Years later Isaac made the same mistake, repeating the error of his father (Gen. 26:7-22).

Speaking out of fear comes from assuming God is not going to look after us—so we speak in unbelief. It is the folly of self-protection. The truth is, God stepped in for both Abraham and Isaac. He will for us, too. But when we give into unbelief and speak—thinking we are justifiably protecting ourselves, our sin has a way of backfiring on us.

Excerpted from Controlling the Tongue (Charisma House, 2007).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Work of God

Romans 4:1-13 In one of the Gospels Jesus was asked the question, "What must we do to do the works of God?" His reply was, "Believe on Him." Paul makes it clear in this passage that we are justified by faith, not by works. He used Abraham as an illustration. If his works justified Abraham, then he would take the glory himself. God considered Abraham a righteous man simply because he believed. Paul also speaks of David and how he writes in a psalm about the blessedness of the man who is counted righteous not because of his works, but because of his belief and trust in God. If we consider ourselves as working for the Lord, then we are working out of debt, not out of grace.

For so long in my own life I was working (doing all the right things a Christian should do) to please God. In essence I was trying to earn points with God by what I did. I was a Christian, but I was bound in my effectiveness because I was not allowing God to work through me. All of this changed when I was twenty-six. I was attending a retreat, and we were asked to go by the lakeside and find a quiet spot. Then we were instructed to ask God questions and wait for an answer. This was new to me since all my conversations with God until that time were one way conversations. I simply gave my prayer requests and then said "Amen." I never realized God had many things to share with me, and I never stopped to listen. The question I asked God was simply, "What was wrong with my life?" I noticed other Christians seemed to have more joy than I did, and I wanted to know why. Then I heard the Lord speak the following to me not in an audible voice, but in His still quiet voice within me. He said "Linda, what is wrong with your life is that you have been trying to earn my love. My love is free. I gave it to you two thousand years ago on the cross. Receive My love today, rest in My love and quit trying to earn My love. Quit working for Me and allow My Spirit to work through you. If you did nothing but sit on that log by this lake the rest of your life I would still love you."

It was almost too good to be true. I understood for the first time that God's love for me did not depend upon what I did, but upon what He did on the cross two thousand years ago. On that day I resigned as an employee of God and became a co-laborer with Him and a joint heir with Him. I stopped trying to keep up with Jesus by following Him, but instead let Him begin to live His life through me. When we believe and trust God, then God does His work through us and He receives all the glory. My life scripture is, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). God gives me daily the desire to do His will, and then He enables me to do His work that day by empowering me with His Spirit. What then is my part? My part is to believe and trust Him, and then to obey Him as He leads me through the day by His Spirit. "Lord, lead me today by Your Spirit and help me to obey."

READ: 1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11; Romans 4:1-13; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 19:15-16


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Set Free from Sin

I received Jesus Christ as my Lord in 1979 and it changed my life. Immediately I lost the desire for alcohol, I stopped swearing, and other sinful desires gradually disappeared the more I read, meditated on, and spoke the Word of God over my life.

However, there was one area of sin that didn't go away as easily. I struggled with lust and was addicted to pornography. I had periods of freedom, but after time gravitated back to it. At the end of a four-day fast on May 6, 1985, I was set free from the stronghold of pornography and lust. By His grace, I'm still free today.

However, once I was set free from pornography's grip, I still had to resist the desire to engage. Prior to May 6, I seemingly couldn't resist with any success. After May 6, I could resist, but I had to cooperate with grace to fight off the urge to look at pornography. Its power over me was broken after fasting and intense prayer, but I still had to steadfastly resist the desire.

Over time, as I continued to pray and allow God's Word to saturate my mind, I noticed that my desires had changed. I no longer had to make myself turn away from pornography; rather, I was repulsed by it. God's grace had changed me thoroughly from the inside out. The writer of Hebrews describes this blessedness:

"For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law." (5:13-14, AMP)

I realized that God's Word had brought my senses and mental faculties into alignment with His desires and thoughts. Holiness is to think, talk, and live as He does. The flesh can be trained, but it loves habitual patterns. Just as it can be trained in unrighteousness, it also can be trained in righteousness. We can take dominion over our mind and flesh through the power of grace. Our flesh responds to what it is fed.

His grace is more than enough to set you free from any sin!

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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