Around the Word in 365 Days

Many of these devotionals can be delivered to your email inbox each morning, sign up here.

Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 229 }

Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies. —Deuteronomy 28:47-48, NKJV

This doctrine of God's gladness isn't a theological curiosity meant to entertain us. It is foundational to helping our hearts grow into spiritual maturity. When we enter into God's joy and gladness, the door to much of Satan's activity slams shut in our lives. The joy of serving God keeps us from compromise. A glad heart is a strong heart. The Bible says the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). And don't get the wrong idea about the above verse from Deuteronomy. God is not acting out of spite. He's not pouting and saying, "I was glad, and you would not enter into My gladness, so forget it. You're going to serve your enemies. Now you're really going to hurt." Rather, He is laying out the only two options that exist. Either we enter into His gladness with whole hearts, or we will eventually come under the influence of the enemy, giving in to his accusations, becoming offended at God.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, that's exactly what I want. I want You to realign my heart, transform my spirit, and strengthen, mature, and renew my life. I will not give way to the enemy, but I will accept the joy of the Lord as my strength.

God would have us experience His happy heart
so our hearts might be realigned, transformed,
strengthened, matured, and renewed.

Discuss this devotional

Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The Spirit of Life

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. —Romans 8:2

John Lake was a missionary in Central Africa when an epidemic broke out. Thousands of people were dying. One of the doctors sent by the local government asked him what he used to inoculate himself with against the virus.

Lake directed the doctor to put a sample of the living virus under a microscope, and view the masses of living germs. He then took the sample in his hand for a moment and then returned it to the microscope. To the doctor's amazement the germs were dead.

"That is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," he declared. "As long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God-.-.-.-no germ can attach itself to me. My spirit and body are so filled with the blessed presence of God, it even oozes from my pores."

The "law of the Spirit of life" is the regulating, activating power, and life of the Holy Spirit that has set us free from the power of sin, hell, and the grave.

Fill me Lord with Your Spirit of life.
Empower me to overcome the
power of sin, hell, and the
grave in Your mighty
Name. Amen.

Discuss this devotional

By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Fruit of Brokenness, Part II

... love is kind. —1 Corinthians 13:4

There is another demonstration of the fruit of brokenness—kindness. Most of us know what this word means. We certainly know when we are not treated with kindness.

Kindness is a positive action. Whereas patience shows how we react, kindness shows how we act. But how do we show this positive action of kindness? True kindness is the fruit of brokenness. It is more than being nice; we can be manipulative and still be nice. It is more than being courteous; we can be manipulative and courteous because we hope to achieve something. Niceness and courtesy are mere imitations, the fruit without the root. Kindness comes from the root, which is brokenness.

There are three words that demonstrate what Paul means by this word that is translated "shows kindness." It first of all means goodness. It is possessing that quality that could be called "unself-righteous-morality," that is, morality without being judgmental. That is what Paul means by love showing kindness. We can't manipulate that. It flows from within a person who has been broken.

Second, this word translated "shows kindness" also means graciousness. Graciousness accepts people just as they are, seeing the rough diamond that others want to dismiss out of hand, noticing the potential in someone that others are blind to. Graciousness puts the intimidated person completely at ease. God is gracious.

And so, when Paul says "show kindness" he means goodness, graciousness, and, third, gentleness. Gentleness is having the grace to use our words to diffuse tension as opposed to saying what is emotive. There is just something about this kind of person. I am not talking about syrupy, mushy emotionalism, but just a special quality in the person that makes us want to be around them.

There is one further description that transcends all the others: kind people are peacemakers. They are the mediators of the world; they get enemies together; they don't take sides; they are ruthless in their objectivity, but sweet in the way they talk to people. A person like that has been broken and has come to terms with suffering. There is a kindness that mirrors Jesus, expecting nothing but continuing to be good, gracious, and gentle.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

Discuss this devotional

Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Gift of Helplessness

Job 12:1-15:35 Throughout our lives there is one goal God has for us. His goal is that we become totally dependent upon Him. There is also one goal Satan has for us as we live our lives on earth. His goal is that we become totally independent. Interdependency is God's heart for us. Independence is Satan's plan for us.

Here in this passage from Job we see how Job knew he could do nothing without God. He had to trust God in everything simply because everything that exists came from God. Job says with God is strength and wisdom. He has the power to make the weak strong and the strong weak. He is in charge of nations. Our days are determined by Him.

Because Job knew the power and greatness of God, his only choice in this life was to trust Him with His life, possessions and everything. Job says, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15).

Knowing God's power and wisdom caused Job to acknowledge that his own ways were ever before the Lord. He was completely dependent upon the Lord. He says, "The hand of the Lord has wrought everything and the soul of every man and every living thing is in His hands. He gives breath to every living thing." (See Job 12:9-10.)

Job was able to get through his trials because he knew his life was in God's hands. He had to depend upon Him and Him alone. This is called the gift of helplessness. God gave Job the gift of helplessness that opened the door for him to have the revelation of the Lord of lords, King of kings, his redeemer and his restorer. Job had nowhere to go but the Lord. His friends offered little comfort, and his wife exhorted him to curse God and die. Job had no where to look but up. His circumstances were so traumatic that if he dwelled on them, he would be swallowed up with cares. Because of God's beautiful gift of helplessness, he had no other choice but to release all of his cares to his redeemer. The rest of Job's story reveals God's love and care for Job.

Catherine Marshall, the author of many books and wife of Peter Marshall, a well-known Presbyterian pastor and one time chaplain of the Senate, tells the story of when she contracted TB. She could do nothing but lie in the bed for several years. Then one day she recognized that she was closer to God than she had ever been in her life, and she thanked God for the gift of helplessness. She told the Lord if she had to be bed bound the rest of her life, she was willing to be if she could continue to know His presence as she did. Shortly after this declaration to the Lord, Catherine was healed and raised up off her sick bed. Helplessness brings total release.

READ: Job 12:1-15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 21:30-31


Discuss this devotional

Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Self Image

All of us have three images: projected image, perceived image, and actual image. Your projected image is the way you desire others to see you. Your perceived image is how others see you. Your actual image is who you really are.

For so many, their perceived image is what matters most. Their reputation is of greater importance to them than the true motives of their hearts. This causes them to project themselves in the way they desire to be perceived. Their efforts are focused on appearances, status, titles, saving face and so forth.

Consider Jesus—He was rejected by many, slandered by the influential, lied about by the rulers, and viewed by the establishment as a heretic or even demon inspired. His perceived image was not favorable in the eyes of many, especially the notables. Yet His actual image was quite different, for Scripture states that He is the express image of the Father (see Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus was a person of integrity—He was the same with the people He met as He was with His Father. He did not boost His reputation and did not seek the accolades and approval of men. He only cared for what was important to His Father. That is our Father's goal for us, and it should be our goal as well.

"We must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:10, AMP). We must remember that our projected or perceived image is not what will be revealed before the entire assembly of heaven. Rather it will be our actual image, our true heart motives and intentions.

Paul continues: "It is because we know this solemn fear of the Lord that we work so hard."

(2 Corinthians 5:11, NLT). The fear of the Lord keeps us in touch with our actual image. The opposite is true as well: The more we lack the fear of the Lord, the more we lean upon our projected image.

You will serve who you fear. If you fear God, you'll obey God. If you fear man, you'll ultimately obey man's desires. For this reason, Proverbs tells us it is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you. (see Proverbs 29:25).

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.

 

 

Discuss this devotional

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit