Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 50 }

Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. —Matthew 22:37-39

God designed the human soul to be passionate and committed. This is the only way that we can function to our fullest. Without abandonment to God, our hearts sink into restlessness, boredom, and frustration. We must have something in our lives that is worth giving everything up for. God intended our souls to be fascinated with Jesus. Our highest development and greatest fulfillment lie in worshiping and serving Jesus with all our heart.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

That's what I want to be, Lord—passionate and committed to You. Let me find my highest development and greatest fulfillment in worshiping and serving You with all my heart.

If we have nothing to die for, then
we have nothing to live for.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Burn Brightly

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. —John 9:5

Jesus said, "While I have been here, the kingdom has been here, and light has been shining in darkness. I'm leaving soon, but don't worry. I'm going to light candlesticks that will shine into the darkness, decadence and degradation. Even though darkness presses in around them, it cannot extinguish their light."

You say, "I don't have a dollar to change." What an opportunity for your light to shine! The doctors say you will not live much longer. What an opportunity to burn brightly! "I lost my job." What an opportunity! When things are darkest in your life, you have the opportunity to shine the most brightly for Jesus. Refuse to give your attention to the dark areas in your life. Look to the Light—Jesus Christ—who dispels all darkness and lights your life as a powerful witness for Him.

Lord Jesus, You have made me a candle to light
the darkness of this world. Help me to embrace
the nightfall so I can shine through the
darkness, shedding Your light in the
hearts of the lost and drawing them
into the brightness of
Your presence. Amen.


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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

I Am Loved!

"I have loved you," says the Lord. —Malachi 1:2

How does it make you feel to know that someone loves you? Many people are just a little uneasy when someone comes up to them and says, "I love you." Sometimes I say it to people I know really well. As I am about to get off the telephone, I say, "Love you," and they don't know how to respond. "Right, oh well, um ... " is often all I get in return. Once in a while, if they are used to me telling them I love them, they say, "Oh well, same to you." But it is a good feeling to know that you are loved. I want to hear it from my wife every day, and I guess she wants to hear it from me every day, too. Victor Hugo, the nineteenth-century French writer, said, "The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved."

We all have a need to be loved. When people are difficult to understand, when I wonder what makes them tick, I find that what they most need, and what they most want, is to be loved. There is nothing that breaks the hardest heart like the feeling of being loved. All of us can face terrible opposition and suffering if we feel approved of, accepted, and loved by someone whose opinion matters to us.

There is an even greater feeling than knowing another person loves you, and that is knowing that God loves you. There is no greater feeling than that. When I feel that God loves me and approves of me, I can face a thousand foes. And the message of Malachi is just that, You are loved. We all have skeletons in our closets, and God knows every one of them, yet He still says, "I love you."

Excerpted from Between the Times (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 2003).

 



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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Character of God

Psalm 36:1-12 This psalm says so much about the character of God. One of the tactics of Satan is to try to bring doubt in our hearts about God's goodness. So many times I have heard the enemy whisper, "If God is so good, why did He let this happen?" To defend ourselves against this tactic we need to know what the Bible says about the character of God. This psalm gives a great character sketch of God.

The verses in this psalm reveal that God is merciful, faithful, righteous and excellent in loving-kindness. He is our protector and provider. When we become grounded in scriptures like this, we will not be overwhelmed when trials and tribulations come our way. We know that because God is good, His desire is to bring eternal good out of every situation we face in life. You have heard this expression: We have to accept the bitter with the sweet in this life. God desires to work everything for the good in the lives of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. When we love the Lord and respond to His call and purpose for our lives, we can rest assured that all He allows in our lives will ultimately work for our good.

The best illustration I heard about how things work together in our lives for the good was shared in a Bible study I attended. The teacher shared that life is like baking a cake. First, all the ingredients are laid out; if you taste each ingredient separately, you would doubt these ingredients create a delicious cake. The salt is salty, the flour and eggs are tasteless, the baking powder is bland, and the vanilla that gives flavor to the cake tastes bitter. When all the ingredients are stirred together and then baked, out of the oven comes a delicacy that tastes, looks and smells delightful. Two steps are essential for a good cake—all the ingredients must be blended carefully, and the temperature of the oven and the time the cake is left in the oven have to be correct.

We have the Master Baker, and He is blending the different situations, trials, testing and circumstances of our lives with loving care. He will make sure that when we go through fiery trials, the heat will not burn us. He will never allow us to be tested above that which we are able to stand. What will help us the most when we are in the oven of testing is to remember God's character and review His marvelous acts through the years. David knew the secret of this. Circumstances and situations may change in our lives, and sometimes things may look very dark, but God dwells in the midst of darkness. When you put a cake in the oven, unless you turn on a light, the only light you see is the cooking element. God's Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When we go through fiery trials in our lives, the key to overcoming is to shine the light of God's Word on the trial. Then we can clearly see that God is working, and in His timing the results of this trial will be good simply because God is a good, caring God. Remember, God's character is formed in us when we turn to Him in our trials.

READ: Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 10:1-2


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Free from Sin

??"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14, NKJV).

Why shouldn't sin have dominion over us? Because we no longer possess a sin nature, but we have entered God’s empowerment, possessing the nature of Jesus Himself. We are free from the power of sin!

The Message says, "Sin can't tell you how to live." God's Word, the truth, declares here that gossip, slander and lying no longer have dominion over you. Adultery, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, pornography or any other impurity no longer dominates you. Hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, prejudice and envy no longer control you. Uncontrolled anger, rage and outbursts of wrath have lost their authority in your life. Stealing, substance abuse and alcohol addiction are no longer a master over you. Disobedience to authority, stubbornness and insubordination have lost their dominion over you. And the list continues.

You don't have to yield to such sins anymore because you are now under the empowerment of grace! Look at it this way: You were once imprisoned by your own nature to some of these things and unable to live a godly life. Jesus came and threw open the prison door. He took the keys to sin's powerful domination, and you can now walk out of the prison. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are free and a child of God!

Before we were in Christ, we were slaves to sin and had no power over it. Now we do. We can choose to either submit to sin or we can walk in grace free from sin. Christians have power over sin because they possess Jesus' nature. God did not set you free from sin so that you could continue to sin and be forgiven—without reaping its consequences. God set you free from sin so that you could indeed be free and walk in true holiness as Jesus did. The true believer's goal is not to sin. However, if we sin, forgiveness is still found in His provision of grace.

Grace empowers us to be pleasing to God, to live an extraordinary life! However, if we choose not to walk in our new nature and continually yield to sin, then we give up our freedom and again are captive. New Testament repentance is about truth and represents a complete change of mind or heart. It is when we are deeply sorry we've hurt the heart of God and are now committed to obeying His desire in this area. It takes both confession and repentance to free a believer from sin's grip.

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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