Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 231 }

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God. —1 Corinthians 4:5, NKJV

When we think about God revealing the dark things and the hidden counsels of our hearts, we think rebuke and immediately recoil. "Oh no, not the hidden counsels!" we say, assuming that hidden things are dark and ungodly. But God says the opposite. Hidden within our hearts are not just shameful things but many good things, like the deep cry to be totally God's. Deep inside we fight to be fully His against all opposition of the enemy. Only God fully perceives the depth of this longing of our heart. And the good news is that on the last day He will reveal it and give us praise for it. The yes in our spirit is an imperfect yes, but it is a yes. It is the very work of God Himself in us. It is His supernatural activity in our inner man. He perceives our willing spirit in the struggle. While we may define ourselves by our failures, God defines us through His grace and by the sincere movements of our hearts, which we may not even fully understand.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

I am defined by Your awesome grace, dear Jesus. You see the deep cry of my heart to be like You, and You will someday praise me for it. Thank You for Your grace and mercy to me.

God is pleased with the longings of
sincere believers to be fully His.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Faith Comes by Hearing

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. —Romans 10:17

You have faith in what you can see, touch and understand. You did not stand in front of your chair and debate whether or not it would hold you before you sat down. Why? You trusted the chair. You had prior experience with the chair and knew the chair had always held you. Your knowledge surpassed your fear that the chair would fail. You had faith.

Faith in God comes through the study of His Word, learning who He is, how He behaves and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. As the Holy Spirit leads you into truth, you learn that God loves you and is ready to do anything for you. That knowledge produces understanding, understanding produces trust, and trust produces the faith to believe for your miracle.

Seek Him in His Word. Learn about Him. Let the Holy Spirit show you the Father's heart. Faith is simply knowing God. Faith says, "I can trust Him to be who He says He is. I can trust Him to do what He says He will do."

Hearing goes beyond listening and understanding. The faith that comes by hearing is a hearing that obeys God. Do you have ears to hear and a heart to obey?

Lord, tune my ears to hear all that You
say. Give me a new heart to obey all
that I hear from You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

"A Thorn Just For You"

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. —2 Corinthians 12:7

A thorn in the flesh is not the same for every person. But if you are a Christian worth your salt, you probably have a thorn in the flesh. What may be your may not be mine. What may be mine may not be yours. For some it is a handicap or disability. For some it could be unhappy employment—or even lack of employment. It could be an enemy. It could be coping with unhappy living conditions. It could be a sexual misgiving. The list is endless.

The "thorn" may be recognizable to you but unseen by others. God may afflict you with some sort of impediment—by which you may feel He has stripped you of all self-esteem—but this could be utterly unrecognizable to anybody else. Why? Because this "thorn" is for you more than it is for them. Or it may be for them indirectly. It may be so embarrassing and humbling to you that it will make you a different person, such that others will not have an inflated opinion of you. But it is mainly for you—to keep you humble. Certainly it may end up being for others in the sense that they unwittingly do not extol you as they might otherwise have done. This is why Paul's thorn kept him from being conceited; it kept others from exalting him beyond that which was warranted. But Paul's thorn was mainly for him, and yours is mainly for you.

It is one that is not likely to go away very soon, if ever. You will ask, "Do I have to bear this forever?" Maybe not, but you could. You are probably, though, going to have it for a while. Paul said, "I prayed three times that it might go away." It's like a prison sentence. It may be a life sentence, or it may be a short period of time. Paul's thorn apparently remained. In other words, it will stay with you as long as you need it.

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Why Faith, Hope and Love Last Forever

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 Most people are familiar with this passage of Scripture. It is often used in wedding ceremonies and often referred to as the "Love Chapter." Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians has much to say about love, but because of its familiarity we often miss the rich depth of this passage. After reading this passage one day, I asked the Lord a simple question that I have always wondered about. I asked Him why faith, hope and love last forever. In response to my question, I heard with my spiritual ears the following: "Faith, hope and love last forever because they are the eternal soul of Jesus Christ. Your soul consists of mind, emotion and will. Jesus also had a soul, but His soul was without sin. He had no lusts, even though He felt what it was like for you to be tempted. He was touched with the feelings of all of your weaknesses. His mind, however, was filled with faith; His emotions were anchored by hope, and His will was controlled by love."

As I meditated on what I heard in my spirit that day, I began to recall scriptures that confirmed this Word to me. I thought about the times Jesus was moved with compassion upon the people. His will was always to do the will of the Father, and God is love. His will was always controlled by love. Jesus felt all the emotions we feel, but He never lost hope. His hope was firmly anchored in the purpose for which He had come. He knew He would provide the way when He died on the cross and was resurrected to secure permanent hope for all mankind. The moment the veil of the temple was rent, God threw out the anchor of hope from His throne room, and now we all have the hope of eternal life and fellowship with the Father always. Jesus never doubted His destiny. He had faith always that the will of the Father would be accomplished in His life. His destiny was to become sin for us. Yes, the one who knew no sin at all would become sin for our sakes that we might be delivered from the power of sin in our lives.

Daily we are being conformed to the image of Christ as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this process. Our destiny is to have a soul like that of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is transforming us by the renewal of our minds as we read, hear and obey God's Word. Faith is ever growing in our minds and hearts. The Holy Spirit is constantly reminding us that our hope should always be placed in Jesus. It is our hope of eternal life that provides the anchor for our emotions when the seas of life get rough. The Holy Spirit prompts us to humble ourselves and surrender our wills by casting every care upon Jesus. When we do this, the Holy Spirit is able to shed abroad in our hearts the very love of Jesus Christ. Is it well with your soul today? Are you cooperating with this marvelous transforming power of the Holy Spirit? Today is a good day to pray:

Lord, mold me and melt me. Make me after Thy will while I am waiting, yielded and still. AMEN.

READ: Esther 8:1-10:3; 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 21:23-24

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Finishing Well

When we produce fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace, we have no reason to fall back into a life of sin and bondage. They are free, empowered and whole. However, this promise does not apply to believers who do not walk in true holiness. Hear what Peter says about this:

"But those who fail to develop these virtues of [holiness] are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away." (2 Peter 1:9-10, NLT)

We will never stumble or fall away. We are an invincible people, not because of our own ability, but because of the ability grace provides. So, in essence, grace gives us the power to walk the highway of holiness, which secures for us the promise of finishing the race well. It keeps us from becoming shipwrecked in our faith and falling short.

Peter covers the opposite side as well. Those who do not walk in the power of grace fail to develop the virtues of holiness. The result is blindness and forgetting that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. This blindness makes it very difficult, almost impossible, to stay on the narrow road of holiness. Quite easily they will venture back to a lifestyle captive to sin (and most often still believing they are covered and protected by God's grace).

Paul penned to Christians: "Don't you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die" (Romans 6:16, CEV). When we willfully and repetitively follow sin's desire, we become entangled in it and are once again its slave.

God has indeed given us His grace. We've been given the nature of Jesus Christ and have been freed from the dominion of sin! Why would anyone who has been made free want to venture back into sin's captivity and flirt with death?

So, my friend, don't fight for your right to habitually live in sin and still make it to heaven. That is the wrong way of viewing life. Rather, realize God has given you an amazing gift—freedom! You don't have to sin any longer; what you couldn't free yourself from before, you now can live free from through the power of His amazing grace!

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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