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Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 55 }

Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd. My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the house of Judah, and make them like a proud horse in battle. —Zechariah 10:2-3

First, Satan deceives the leaders. Then he unites them around his diabolical purposes. He motivates them to devise clever ploys to capture public opinion and undermine righteousness. They plot to erase the wise boundaries of right and wrong, good and evil that God has marked out in His Word for benefit of the human soul. The momentum of unholy passion is building. Dark-minded rulers from every level of society—lawmakers, educators, corporate heads, entertainers, advertisers, religious leaders, media moguls, and others—plot to attack the holy commandments of God. They seek first to dilute, then to demolish them from society, one by one.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Place in my heart the names of the leaders of this nation that You desire to capture for Your purposes. Keep me faithful in praying for them, and show me how I can partner with You to bring Your will to pass in this great nation.

He provokes leaders to cast off the
restraints of God's written Word.


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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Character-Building Love

I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. —Matthew 5:44

Never forget that while you were yet a sinner, Christ died for you (Romans 5:8). It is easy to get caught up in the cares of the world, forgetting how much our heavenly Father loves us.

Rejoice today in a love so deep and sure that death could not extinguish it. His love stretches from time eternal and reaches out to you with grace and mercy. That same love has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

God wants us to not only recognize our responsibility to operate in all the gifts of the Spirit, but He also expects us to validate those gifts by living a lifestyle that glorifies His name. That means loving our brother when our brother is unlovable.

Is there someone unlovable in your life? Think about that person today. Ask God to bless and touch that person. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you a way to show His love to that unlovely person today. Determine to reach out to today with the love of Jesus.

Jesus, give me love for the unlovely people
in my life. Teach me how to love them
with Your unconditional love. Amen.


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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Remedy for Burnout

The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days. —Deuteronomy 33:25

God never promotes us to the level of our incompetence. What He truly calls us to do, we can do. As St. Augustine prayed, "Command what Thou wilt; give what Thou commandest." God always provides grace for what He has called us to do. "Your strength will equal your days" (Deut. 33:25). If you or I are operating at a level that brings fatigue and leads to what we now call "burnout," then something has gone wrong; we moved outside our anointing at some stage. It should never happen.

This is not to deny that God may hide His face from us. It is not uncommon to experience the "dark night of the soul." But this is not necessarily the same thing as burnout. God may leave us to test us, as He did Hezekiah, "to know everything that was in his heart" (2 Chron. 32:31). But burnout is what we bring on ourselves by taking on what God did not command.

The apostle Paul came to terms with his limitations and strengths. When his enemies scoffed, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing" (2 Cor. 10:10), it stung. It hurt. But he spoke with disarming frankness when he implicitly acknowledged nonetheless that his public speaking probably did not flow with the eloquence of a trained orator. "I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge" (1 Cor. 11:6).

"But I do have knowledge," he could say. He may not have been a trained speaker, but he knew what he was talking about. And as it happened, his expertise touched on the very issue that had become the focus at the time. So his anointing came through where it counted. It turned out he had training that mattered. To Paul's opponents, the issue was how you said it; to Paul, the issue was what you said. In other words, Paul's anointing of knowledge more than compensated for his deficiency in public speaking.

There are some lessons here for you and me. First, as I said already, nobody has everything. That is enough to keep all of us humble. But there is another lesson: For every limit there is a compensation. You may not have the gift you envy in another, but God has given you an anointing that person probably does not have.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).

 


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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Greatest Love Story

Matthew 28:1-20 This is the day men give candy and roses to their wives or sweethearts. For me it usually means a dinner out or a weekend away. This day of celebration is in honor of the love between a man and a woman. It is interesting that the symbol of this day is a heart and the colors used to decorate are red and white. The greatest love story ever told also involves the heart and the colors red and white. On the cross Jesus died because the weight of our sin broke His heart, but because of His sacrifice, we now can have our broken hearts mended. The red blood of Jesus poured upon the ground and was offered as an atonement for all sins, which satisfied God's requirements for a penalty for sin. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Though our sins were as scarlet, they became white as snow. On that day over two thousand years ago, the greatest love story was revealed to mankind. This story continues to unfold as we look forward to the day that we will sit at the table of the lover of our souls. There will be a marriage of the Bridegroom (Jesus) with the bride (the church), and the celebration will continue for all eternity.

In this passage today we see a portion of this great love story. First Mary Magdalene and Mary discover the empty tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. These women loved Jesus as both mother and friend, but soon this love would deepen into a supernatural love that would far exceed any human love. God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. God's love is inexpressible, but God's love found expression through Jesus Christ. The height of God's love is His grace, the depth of God's love is His forgiveness, the length of God's love is His mercy, and the width of God's love is His truth. All these four aspects of God's love were fully expressed in Jesus Christ, who is the express image of the invisible Father. When the angel appeared to the two Marys, they were first fearful. But then, when they heard the message, "He is not here, for He is risen, as He said," they were filled with great joy and ran to tell the disciples. This story of God's love expressed through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ had to be shared with others.

Whenever we experience a loving act in our lives, we like to share it with others. On this special dawn, the two Marys could not wait to tell their friends. Their response to this great news should be our response today. Later Jesus spoke to His disciples and said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:18-20, KJV).

Is there someone you need to tell the greatest love story to today?

READ: Exodus 37:1-38:31; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 9:9-10



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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Set Free from Sin

I received Jesus Christ as my Lord in 1979 and it changed my life. Immediately I lost the desire for alcohol, I stopped swearing, and other sinful desires gradually disappeared the more I read, meditated on, and spoke the Word of God over my life.

However, there was one area of sin that didn't go away as easily. I struggled with lust and was addicted to pornography. I had periods of freedom, but after time gravitated back to it. At the end of a four-day fast on May 6, 1985, I was set free from the stronghold of pornography and lust. By His grace, I'm still free today.

However, once I was set free from pornography's grip, I still had to resist the desire to engage. Prior to May 6, I seemingly couldn't resist with any success. After May 6, I could resist, but I had to cooperate with grace to fight off the urge to look at pornography. Its power over me was broken after fasting and intense prayer, but I still had to steadfastly resist the desire.

Over time, as I continued to pray and allow God's Word to saturate my mind, I noticed that my desires had changed. I no longer had to make myself turn away from pornography; rather, I was repulsed by it. God's grace had changed me thoroughly from the inside out. The writer of Hebrews describes this blessedness:

"For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law." (5:13-14, AMP)

I realized that God's Word had brought my senses and mental faculties into alignment with His desires and thoughts. Holiness is to think, talk, and live as He does. The flesh can be trained, but it loves habitual patterns. Just as it can be trained in unrighteousness, it also can be trained in righteousness. We can take dominion over our mind and flesh through the power of grace. Our flesh responds to what it is fed.

His grace is more than enough to set you free from any sin!

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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