Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 265 }

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. —Psalm 84:5-7

Zion is a prophetic picture of Jesus being made King over all the earth just as David was king over all Israel. It would be a shame to miss this beautiful portrait of what's coming. The Father has promised His Son an inheritance, a bride who will be His eternal partner. She will love Him in this age and the age to come. She will find her fulfillment in Him just as David found fulfillment of his earthly purpose in Zion. I want to assure you that there's a divine pattern in your life. In the pain and the maze of things, it seems as if there isn't a plan and you are wandering aimlessly from cave to cave, pursued by armies much stronger than you, and surrounded by losers. Yet God has a strategic plan and is bringing you to a specific purpose. Each one of us will, God willing, stand before Him one day in Zion. When we submit to His divine leadership in every season of our lives, we will ascend out of the wilderness entirely dependent on Him. He alone will be the reward of our hearts through every season of life.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I rest in the knowledge that You have a perfectly designed pattern of destiny for my life. Help me to understand that You are in each season of my life, are directing each step I take, and will never leave me or forsake me.

God has a prophetic pilgrimage for every one of us.

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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

When Should We Fast?

... and humbled myself with fasting. —Psalm 35:13

You might be thinking, I'm willing to fast, but when do I do it? I would therefore like to suggest five occasions on which fasting is justifiable.

I think the first of those would be when the burden we are under is so great that we do not really have a desire for food—for this may be a hint from God that we should fast. David experienced a time of great mourning when God smote the son born to him as a result of his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:15-16).

The second occasion that justifies fasting is when we are about to embark on a very great task for God or have to make an important decision. At the beginning of His ministry, after His baptism, Jesus fasted (Matt. 4:2). Maybe you need to know God's will and don't know what to do. It is justifiable to fast because you need wisdom for something in the future.

A third reason is if we feel that God is hiding His face. Perhaps we are in a rut or have known better days spiritually. Perhaps God is not as real as we have known Him to be, and we are not sure whether we have grieved Him or whether He has just chosen to hide His face for reasons we can't understand. Perhaps God is hiding His face from us in order to drive us to our knees to seek Him.

The fourth occasion is when we have experienced delay in the answers to our prayers. In the Old Testament in particular we have accounts of situations where God did not step in as it had been hoped He would, and as a result the people fasted.

The fifth occasion that justifies fasting is when we feel the need of unusual power that we don't have, such as in the case of demon possession in Matthew 17, which was too big for the disciples to handle.

Fasting is a way of ensuring that we are completely dependent upon God and open to Him. It seeks spiritual emptiness and cleansing, and it enables us to hear God speaking.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

To the Jew First

Romans 1:1-17 Jesus made it clear while He ministered near the Galilee and in Jerusalem that He came to minister first to the house of Israel. This was His first charge by the Father. He carried the message of the kingdom of God to the Jew first. We have the same commission Jesus had, but many of us have forgotten to go to the Jew with the liberating message of the gospel. Paul in this passage reminds us of our commission to the Jew first (v. 16).

Over the years I have seen many Jewish people completed in their faith when they have heard the good news of the kingdom. It seems that Jewish people who come to know Jesus as their Messiah are more zealous than the Gentiles who have known Jesus for years.

When we were in Russia at a festival designed to reach out with the message of the gospel to Jewish people, I heard the testimonies of many completed Jews. They all searched for a relationship with God deeper than they had in their Judaism. In Judaism they knew God as the King of the universe, but now through their belief in Yeshua, they received the spirit of adoption whereby they now could call God "Abba," which means "daddy" in Hebrew.

Jesus came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, which is something everyone who exists on earth desires. The gospel of the kingdom of God is simply the good news that on earth if we accept the King of this kingdom by faith, we can enter into His domain or dominion of peace, joy and right standing with God the Father. I have not met anyone who did not desire to have peace of mind and heart, joy and a feeling of rightness about themselves. I believe that preaching the kingdom of God is the way to reach the Jewish people today. We need to ask them if they want continual peace and joy in their lives, and the response will always be yes. Then we need to share with them that we know about a kingdom they can live in here on earth where they will always experience peace and joy no matter what circumstances they are encountering. This should peak their curiosity, and then we can share about not only the King of the universe, but also the King of this kingdom. Jesus said, "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it" (Luke 16:16).

Some Jewish people are familiar with the Law and the prophets, but now they need to know about the kingdom of God so they can press into it. Are you willing to reach out to God's chosen people with this message?

Lord, forgive me for keeping this good news to myself. I need to share it with Jewish people and with all those You place in my path. Open doors for me to share with Your chosen people. Amen.

READ: 1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17; Romans 1:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 19:4-5


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Kingdom of Heaven: Here or Near?

"Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons." (Matthew 10:7-8, NLT)

Jesus directed the disciples with these words after giving them power (grace) to minister (Matthew 10:1, NLT). They were to declare the kingdom. God's will was to be done on earth as it is in heaven. If there was a condition in a person's life that was not congruent with heaven's standard, it was to change. People in heaven are not tormented by demons. People in heaven do not have any diseases. People in heaven are not sick. People in heaven are not hungry. The power the apostles had received was to change what was contrary to heaven on earth!

However, we must note (see Matthew 10:7, NLT) that the disciples were to proclaim the kingdom only as near. Yet once the Day of Pentecost had come, it was no longer near but here! The kingdom is now in the hearts of men and women who are born again and filled with His Spirit, just as the kingdom was in and manifested through Jesus as He walked this earth.

In the gospels, when the apostles went forth to bear fruit, the Holy Spirit was only with them and the kingdom was only near. However, Jesus shows that after the kingdom comes, the Holy Spirit will be in us—within. This is why He instructed all of us just before His ascension to heaven, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21, NKJV). We have the power within to advance the kingdom in the hearts and lives of people exactly as Jesus did; it's all because of His amazing grace!

Once the kingdom is within, we can advance it, no matter if we are a businessperson, stay-at-home mom, doctor, schoolteacher, mechanic, student, or politician—our occupation does not matter. He commissions all of us.

I hope it's becoming clear. Grace is God's empowering presence, which gives us the ability to live godly lives in the present and to do what is required to advance the kingdom. Grace gives us the ability to go beyond our own ability in every area of life to please God—to live extraordinarily. The reason God set it up this way is simple: He gets all the glory, not us.

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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