Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 136 }

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless man would dare come before him! —Job 13:15-16

I speak this confession to God when I face pain and pressure: "I am loved, and I love You; therefore, I am successful. I love You even when my love is only in seed form and is still immature. Even though my love is weak, the position of my soul is to be a lover." The pain of pressure drives our souls into the secret place. When circumstances are difficult, many individuals hold to their confession that the circumstances will improve in a certain way. But a higher confession is this: I am loved, and I am a lover; therefore, I am successful. Pain will drive you to the only place of comfort—to that confession—the confession that delivers our hearts from despair.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, with Mike Bickle, help me to confess daily: "I am loved, and I love You. Even though my love is weak, it is my position and desire to be a lover of You. Therefore my life is a success."

One reason why God allows pressure is because it
refocuses our souls on reality.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

He Leads Us

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. —Isaiah 55:7

God's character is not our character; His thoughts are not our thoughts; and His ways are not our ways. But He has revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).

God not only revealed Himself to us through His Word, but through the life and ministry of Jesus, who was the Word of God incarnate (John 1:1). As we read His words and observe His life, the mind, heart, and ways of God are revealed to us.

Follow Jesus, and let Him lead you to the Father. Let His Spirit guide and direct you into all truth. Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd. Let the life of Jesus flow through you by the Spirit. As you study and meditate on the life and ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, you will have a more intimate relationship with Him.

Jesus, I want to be like You. I want to live and minister in
every way, every day, just like You. Jesus,
teach me to live for You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Road to Repentance Leads Back to His Presence

Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah. —2 Chronicles 32:26

The journey back to where you find the presence of Jesus involves passing through some important stages, one of which is repentance. In part, repentance means admitting you were wrong. Unfortunately, you seldom come to the place of saying "I was wrong" until you are forced to do so. The last thing on earth a person wants to do is admit to being wrong. The natural inclination in all of us is to defend where we are and why. Unless we are forced out of our comfort zone, we will stay in it.

God has to get your attention before you will repent, and He gets it by making you see what you have lost. As long as you can feel you haven't really lost His special presence, you are going to carry on. There are two ways by which you are called to repentance.

1.    You admit God's special presence is gone. Rather than continue as though nothing happened, you repent.

2.    You get caught—exposed. Someone discovers the truth. Someone "spills the beans." Public shame results.

If you do not admit that God's special presence is gone and repent, God resorts to the second plan—public exposure. When a person is forced to repent because of public exposure, the depth of the repentance remains an open question.

To be granted repentance is a gracious mercy of God. As the Word teaches us, we are "changed ... from glory to glory" as a result of repentance (2 Cor. 3:18, KJV). When a renewed measure of His presence reveals your sin and leads to your forgiveness and greater ability to do God's will ... you have received insight. The worst thing that can happen to a man or woman is to become stone deaf to the Holy Spirit, losing all sensitivity to His voice.

The way back is the way of repentance. It is admitting that you have lost the special presence of God and have been wrong in your thinking and presumption.

Excerpted from The Sensitivity of the Spirit (Charisma House, 2002).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Speed of the Spirit

James 1:19-2:17 This passage in James talks about the speed we need to set to cruise in the Spirit. We have a cruise setting on our car. When we set it at the right speed, we are able to take our foot off the gas peddle and the car will continue at the right speed. James tells us exactly what speed we should set our hearing, speaking and anger to allow the Spirit to go forward at a great cruise level as we travel the road of life. He says, "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20).

James says we should set the level of our hearing on high speed and the level of our speaking and anger on slow speed. We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we speak. Proverbs tells us that he who keeps his lips keeps his soul from trouble. Most of the trouble we encounter in this life is caused by our not being able to bridle our tongues. When we are willing to listen to instruction and learn from others, we are wise. When we are quick to listen, we also can hear the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit prompting us, inspiring us and instructing us.

We also need to set the speed of our anger on slow. An angry man stirs up strife, and strife never yields good fruit. When we get into strife, our tongues become uncontrollable, and we run the risk of damaging our own soul and the souls of others. Some people really have a problem with anger, and they are called "rageaholics." When people allow anger to rise up within them and flow out of them, sometimes they experience the same sensation a drunk feels. They are out of control and cannot even remember what they said during their rage. James tells us to be slow to wrath.

Today before you leave to travel through life's journey, check your speed. Be careful to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. When you set these controls at the proper speed, you are then ready to cruise with the Holy Spirit all day.

Lord, help me to set the controls of my life at the right speed. I want the Holy Spirit to be in control of my life, but if I am too quick to speak, I will run ahead of His still quiet voice prompting me to be still and quiet. Lord, I need to put my mind in gear before I start the motor of my mouth. Help me to listen more than I speak, and help me to seek peace and pursue it. I know if I allow myself to lose it with my anger, I have also lost the control of my life by the Holy Spirit. Forgive me, Lord.

READ: Ezekiel 37:1-38:23; James 1:19-2:17; Psalm 117:1-2; Proverbs 28:1

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Love and Pleasure

We can't do one thing to make God love us any more than He already loves us, and we can't do anything to make Him love us any less. However, we are responsible for how pleased God is with us.

If you have children, it might be easier to understand. Your love for them is inexhaustible but they determine by their actions, attitudes and behavior how pleased you are with them, right?

Lisa and I have put challenges before our four sons with the promise of nice rewards for their labor. It delights us when they rise to the occasion and we're thrilled to reward them. But when they don't fulfill the tasks, we can't reward their work. We want to, but when you reward children when they don't deserve or earn it, you take away incentive—and incentive is a good thing.

God's pleasure in us is no different—it is based on our choices in life. This is why Paul writes, "We make it our aim to be well pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9, NIV). We should be passionate in our pursuit to be fully pleasing to Him. Nothing else should take preeminence over this purpose. If we live with this supreme goal as our life standard, then two things will occur: abounding joy and complete fulfillment.

Our primary motive for pleasing God is driven by our love for Him. We adore Him because He first loved us and filled our hearts with His love! As a true child of God, your greatest satisfaction comes when you know God is pleased with me. If we walk in this knowledge, nothing can overpower that joy.

The second benefit of pursuing this supreme goal is that we'll be rewarded greatly. Earning a great reward is the exact reason Paul exhorts us to please God, and he elaborates on this in the next verse. "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:9–10).

We are advised to please God because someday He will judge us. You may ask, "But I thought Jesus had saved me from that?" Yes, He is your Savior, but one day you'll stand before Him as Judge. Many are unaware that on some future day every believer will stand individually before Christ's judgment seat and rewards will be given based on what was done in our short time on earth. Today's English Version states, "We will each receive what we deserve" (vs. 10).

Our sins will not be judged, for the blood of Jesus eradicated the eternal punishment ascribed to sin. Rather, we will be rewarded, or suffer loss, for our labor as believers in Jesus Christ.

And it's not just a reward God desires us to possess, but a full reward! "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully" (2 John 1:8, NIV).

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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