Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 262 }

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." —Jeremiah 29:13-14

One reason God gave David only one-twelfth of the kingdom in Hebron was because He wanted David's core of fighting men—the future army of Israel—to become mature and seasoned. God wanted a core of submitted, committed leaders free of ambition. To their credit, these men became righteous warriors, using their strength for the greater glory of God and Israel instead of doing their own thing. They found the secret that working together produces far greater results than going it alone. Hebron speaks to us of finding God in times of partial fulfillment of His promises. This can be a painful season in our lives. The blessing seems to come so slow. You may pass the test of isolation and obscurity in Bethlehem, the test of early promotion in Gibeah, and the test of adversity in Adullam. But many of God's servants stumble in this place represented by Hebron. We must keep our identities in Him even when the promises are at our very fingertips. Even in that place of tantalizing closeness, God demands a righteous response.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, when my Hebron seems empty and lonely, and only a few others seem willing to fellowship with You, teach me that a few is mighty in Your power. Raise us up a mighty army You can use to make Your name great among our nation. Make us righteous in our Hebron.

Our greatest private agenda must remain to
be loved by God and to be a lover of God.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Sealed

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. —Ephesians 1:13-14

When Mom took the canning jars from the pressure cooker, she lined them up on the kitchen table. My job was to watch and listen for them to pop as they cooled. If the jars didn't pop they were not sealed, and this meant germs on the outside could get inside and spoil the contents. Mom would have to pour the contents out and repeat the process.

The devil cannot contaminate our lives when we stay sealed by the Holy Spirit. Seek God daily to reveal areas in your life that are exposed to the influences of the world. Bring those areas under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Let the Holy Spirit seal you against evil and teach you to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1). Be careful to guard your heart so that nothing is permitted to break the seal on your life. Keep yourself free from garbage and contaminates that will pollute the holiness of your life.

Holy Spirit, keep me pure and holy.
Help me  to abstain from all
immorality. Seal me with
Your purity. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Abandon Self-Preservation

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. —John 5:30

Now what are we like when we are full of ourselves? We want to talk about ourselves rather than listen; we want to defend ourselves and do not even want to consider the possibility that we could be wrong, which makes us defensive and touchy. We feel sorry for ourselves rather than look on another person's need. We want to excuse ourselves rather than facing up to our real responsibility, which makes us critical and negative. What we have is self-preservation.

I wish to focus on what I will call the abandonment of the self-preservation.

It is an abandonment, first of all, of rights. We live in the "me" generation. "Human rights" is a phrase that we often hear. But the New Testament says, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Jesus gave up the right to Himself (Rom. 15:3). He said in John 4:34, "My food ... is to do the will of him who sent me." What does this mean for us? If He did not come to do His own will, and He gave up rights to Himself, how does this relate to us practically?

What will be the consequences if we do live like this? The other side of emptying yourself is really trusting God for the outcome. When we let go of ourselves, we affirm God's manner of working things out. As long as we hold on to ourselves, we may not be impoverished, but we lose the fruitful outcome. But when we abandon self-preservation, surprise, surprise, we get it back a hundredfold! It means, therefore, that we trust God for the outcome. It may not be the way we would have done it, but remember that, as Christians, we have a loving heavenly Father who is all powerful and able to give what is best.

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

True Satisfaction

Proverbs 19:22-23 This proverb speaks of something that will cause us to be continually satisfied. That special satisfying something is called "the fear of the Lord." When we fear the Lord, which means to love Him and to keep His Word, we will abide satisfied.

Most men and women seek satisfaction in life. Some seek it through pleasure, some through material things, some through food, but only the fear of the Lord will cause continual satisfaction in our lives. The fear of the Lord will give us a satisfaction that causes us to want more. The best way to explain it is when you eat a good meal, you are satisfied, but this does not mean you won't be hungry again. The continual satisfaction of the fear of the Lord in our lives causes us to continually seek to draw even closer to Jesus. We have tasted some of the good things of walking with Jesus daily, but we want to walk even closer to Him. We know our walk of drawing closer to Him will last eternally, so the possibility of His satisfying and satiating our souls moment by moment both in this life and the next is a reality.

Continual satisfaction is one of the promises to those who fear the Lord listed in this proverb. Two other promises are given in this passage to those who fear the Lord. The promise of life and the deliverance from evil are promised to those who fear the Lord. No evil will befall those who fear the Lord. Does this mean a person who fears the Lord will be exempt from troubles? Of course it doesn't. It means that whatever evil Satan has planned for us will ultimately work for our good if we fear the Lord daily. No weapon he throws our way will prosper, and only God's good plan for us in the end will prevail.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Nothing bad in God's sight is going to happen to us if we daily walk in the fear of the Lord. Oh yes, it may seem bad to us at the time we are experiencing suffering or trouble, but in the end whatever seems bad will work for our good because God is a good God. His goodness is everlasting, and His mercy endures forever.

In the midst of whatever we consider a bad thing happening to us, there is a good God who is working out His eternal purposes in that situation. I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Good God, bad devil." God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt any man with evil. God only allows Satan to tempt us with evil because God plans to have us overcome the temptation, trouble or trial by depending upon His goodness.

Lord, I am challenged today to walk in the fear of You by obeying Your Word and loving You with all my heart. I have the confidence now if I am faithful to do this You will never allow evil to overcome me. Thank You.

READ: 2 Chronicles 4:1-6:13; Romans 7:1-14; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 19:22-23

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

What Is the Fear of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is not being scared of God. How can we have intimacy with someone we are scared of? God's greatest passion is to have close fellowship with us.

The person who fears God has nothing to hide. In fact, he or she is scared to be away from God. King David had a holy fear of God and still ran toward Him and said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you" (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).

To fear God means you give Him the place of glory, honor, reverence, thanksgiving, praise, and preeminence He deserves. He holds this position with us when we esteem Him and His desires over and above our own or others'. You hate what He hates and love what He loves. You passionately seek truth in your "inward parts."

Holy fear is manifested by our unconditional obedience to Him, whether we understand what He is doing or not. When we properly fear God, we know that we can't hide anything from Him. 

We must allow the Word of God to penetrate deep into our heart to judge our thought processes, attitudes, perceptions, intentions and so forth—thus changing the way we behave.

We can't fool God by making a superficial acknowledgment of the importance of pleasing and fearing Him but departing from it when it isn't convenient. It must be a firm and never-changing decision, for upon it hinges whether we are capable of growing into the image of Jesus Christ.

If you don't truly fear God, you will grow distant from Him. For this reason we are told: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). And again: "Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant" (vs. 25:14). The Lord will not reveal Himself to those who lack holy fear. He must take preeminence in a person's life in a deep-rooted heart decision: My life is not my own; it belongs to my Lord, Jesus Christ.

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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