Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 211 }

I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness knownthrough all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. —Psalm 89:1-2

When we begin to understand God's emotions for us, a corresponding emotion is quickened in our hearts. For example, when we behold the passion in God's heart for us, our own hearts start to feel passion toward Him. We enjoy Jesus—why? Because we finally "get" that He enjoys us. We pursue Jesus because we grasp that He is pursuing us. The point is that our gazing into the emotions of God transforms us from the inside out. If you want to become a fiery lover of God, then you must understand God as the fiery lover of all the ages. The secret to having more love—or peace or joy or faith or any fruit of the Spirit—is enjoying God more. Wow! What a revelation! Trying harder will get you nowhere.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

God, I finally "get" it—You are pursuing me, You are seeking ways to bring me into a relationship with You. Here I am, Lord; overtake me and overwhelm me with Your glory.

We are committed and dedicated to Jesus because it
hits us that He is committed and dedicated to us.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

He Sends the Wine

And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine. —Joel 2:24

God intends for our hearts to overflow with His joy. He fills you with joy as a result of your spirit man being in tune with Him.

Nehemiah 8:10 declares, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." His joy sustains you when the doctor says you will not have long to live, when your kids are on crack, or when you don't have a dollar to change. True joy is unaffected by your circumstances.

When you become filled with the Holy Spirit, you receive His joy. In Acts 2, those present in the Upper Room became "intoxicated" with the Holy Ghost, causing the crowd to believe they were drunken with wine. In Luke 10:21, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 reveals that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

They became drunk with joy! The early disciples of Jesus were drunk with the new wine of His Spirit and with the joy of the Spirit. Thank Him for His incomparable joy permeating your spirit.

Thank You, Jesus, for filling me with
Your joy. Guard my heart so that
nothing will rob me of Your joy.
I will rejoice in all things,
giving You praise. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Being Accountable

He does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. ... But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. —1 Peter 4:2-5

Did you know that Jesus was always accountable? He was the Son of God, yet He was accountable to His Father the whole time. Paul used the little phrase in Romans 15:3, "even Christ did not please himself." Everything Jesus was doing, He was looking up to the Father, getting His approval and instructions. He said, "I seek ... to please ... him who sent me" (John 5:30).

Now we know that we are accountable to God. We are not our own. There is also a sense in which we are accountable to each other. Both are evident when we consider some of these verses that we like to sweep under the carpet. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36:

I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Now when this matter of accountability grips you, I will guarantee you one thing—you will change. Knowledge of your accountability will change the way you live. You will watch your conduct, you will watch your attitude, you will watch your words.

If we really believed that, we would change, but we do not like to take verses like that. We would like to just cut them out and not have to worry about them, but this is part of humbling ourselves: that we take all of God's Word seriously.

That is the way our Lord got His joy, and it makes me wonder, have we learned the joy of just pleasing God and getting our approval from Him?

Excerpted from Meekness and Majesty (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1992, 2000).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

We Shall Return the Same Way We Came

Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12 When Ron, our middle son, was about eight years old, he asked us this question: "When we meet Jesus in the air, will we have on any clothes?" My husband thought for a moment, and then said with an official scholarly voice, "Son, the Bible says naked we come into the world and naked we leave the world." Our son surprised us with his response when he said, "Streakers in the sky." The whole family laughed uncontrollably. The thought expressed, however, is true. We cannot take it with us. As some have said, "I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul."

So many in this life spend years accumulating material things that will not be translated to heaven with us. The Egyptians used to fill their tombs with riches in the hope that those treasures would go with them into the next life.

When my mother died I was made acutely aware of how our earthly possessions can be quickly dispersed or dissolved. When my mother was first widowed we were faced with closing up the house she had lived in for over thirty years. The attic and basement were bulging with things she had saved over the years. My sister and her husband gave most of this away and only kept the essentials she would need in her new apartment. All of her earthly belongings at that time were reduced to fit into a two-bedroom apartment. When she had her stroke and had to live in a nursing home, we had to reduce her belongings to fit into one room because we knew she would never return to her apartment. After her death, I gathered up her things in her room in the nursing home; they all fit into three plastic trash bags.

My favorite definition of heaven is, "Heaven is where there will be no stuff." We should all be challenged by the goal to accumulate in our lifetime those things that will be translated with us to heaven. What can we take with us? There are only four things we can take with us to heaven: the people we have witnessed to, the Word of God we have hidden in our hearts and sown into others, the prayers we have prayed and all the times we have spoken about the Lord to others. In fact, a book of remembrance is in heaven, and each time we remember the Lord and His mighty works and talk about Him to others, we add to our book of remembrance. These are the treasures we can take from earth to heaven.

Lord, help me to invest more in people than I do in things. I don't need more stuff, and there are so many who need You. Lead me to someone today with whom I can share the greatest treasure of all—Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

READ: Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7; Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 22:16

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Equipped For So Much More

One of the main reasons I avoided Christianity for years was its portrayal. I, like many others, saw people of God as Bible-thumping critics who were quick to judge the flaws of others. Or I thought they were passive, backward and ignorant. The idea that Christians were pioneers who lived and thought outside the box, behaving in extraordinary ways, never crossed my mind.

I viewed Christianity as lifeless. Becoming a believer would mean losing my individuality and foregoing creativity, excellence, passion and the ability to succeed in the marketplace, sports, politics, education and other arenas of life. I didn't know it then, but my views were the opposite of how God created us to live because He is the One who breathed into us the desire for the extraordinary.

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth." God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!" (Genesis 1:26–28, The Message)

We were made to reflect God's nature. He spoke both to men and women, saying, "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!" Adam, the first man, named every species of animal on the earth. God brought the animals to Adam and gave him the responsibility of naming them. There are over one million species of animals on earth. Not only did Adam have the creativity to name them all, but he also had the capacity to remember each one. That was an extraordinary man doing a remarkable feat!

You may ask, "But since Adam fell, weren't those abilities lost due to his disobedience?" No, Jesus flipped the mess Adam created for humankind. Paul wrote, "Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!" (Romans 5:18, MSG).

The word life doesn't merely describe the way we'll live in heaven; it also means the "here and now." Jesus not only recovered what Adam lost, but He also provided so much more—the potential of an extraordinary life!

The truth is, God not only desires you to live extraordinarily but also has equipped you to do so.

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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