Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 302 }

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." —1 Samuel 16:7

Throughout Bible times, God forgave and extended great mercy to people who, by our standards, did some pretty despicable things. Without diminishing the gravity of some of the more serious sins on our list, Jesus showed everyone that things like pride, hypocrisy, treatment of the poor, unforgiveness, and self-righteousness were more serious to God than we could have ever imagined. It seems He is rather patient and merciful with people who do bad things due to the fact that they are unwise, immature, or just weak. But to those who continue to deliberately disobey God, attempting to misuse God's grace and turn it into an excuse for sin, He often exercises His judgment, exposing such deliberate rebellion. We need to be careful about judging spiritual gifts as invalid because of people's weaknesses and immaturity. God may be more concerned about what He has set out to accomplish in the life of the prophetic vessel than about passing full judgment on that person.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Holy Spirit, give me the grace to understand that Your purposes are far above what I can see with my human eyes. When I am tempted to discredit a prophetic message from You because of unwise, immature, or weak actions in that prophet's life, remind me that You often speak through weak vessels.

When compared to the purity and holiness of God,
the differences between the best of us and the
worst of us are not as great as some
of us might like to imagine.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Crumbling Foundations

If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do? —Psalm 11:3

Every day the world is witnessing murders of every kind in every country, as innocent people die needlessly from senseless crimes and terrorism. America is witnessing the assassination of the spiritual power and prowess of the body of Christ. We have sown to the wind, and we are now reaping the whirlwind. We have spent a generation raising irreverent children, training them to question authority at every level instead of teaching them that "to obey is better than to sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22).

Where are your children today? What is the condition of their spiritual lives? Where will they be five years from now if they continue on the path they are on now?

Hitler said what we teach our children will mold the nation. You cannot mold your children into what you want them to be, but you can help them become what God wants them to be.

Keep the foundations of our Christian heritage strong by giving your children the Rock of Jesus upon which to build their lives.

Jesus, give me wisdom in raising my children.
Put Your words on my lips and Your
knowledge in my heart that my
children might see You
in me. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Letting God Love Us

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." —Lamentations 3:22-24

Someone once told me that my main theme of my preaching could be summed up in one word—vindication. I didn't know what to think of that, but I think it could be summed up in the words "letting God do it." Then I realized something: I wished it could be said that my preaching was summed up in this phrase: "letting God love us."

There is a connection between the principle of vindication and the principle of letting God love us. "Vindication" means to have your name cleared. God alone wants to do that. The moment you and I start to clear our own names, God backs off and says, "OK! Now you do it!" Immediately we are in trouble, and we see the absurdity of trying to do it ourselves. So unless we let God do it, it won't really happen in the right way.

The same is true when it comes to this principle of letting God love us. In much the same way, we don't let God love us. Instead, we compete with Him by trying to perform for Him so that we feel worthy of that love. This message is intended for those who feel that God doesn't love them because they haven't matched His standards and feel, therefore, they don't have His approval.

You see, there is so much wrong with all of us, and if we knew just how much, we wouldn't hold our heads high. How is it that we manage to get through the day? How do we manage to come to the Lord's Table when we are all so unworthy? It's because Jesus shed His blood on the cross, and that means infinitely more to God than our getting it right. At the end of the day, despite all our obedience and our efforts to please God, nothing matches the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. Any one of us can hold our heads high in the presence of God, not because in ourselves we have come up to standard, but because of what God has done for us.

You see, that is what makes God, God. He's different. It's a wonderful thing when we come to the place where we just let God love us without our having to perform.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

No Silver and Gold to Offer

Acts 3:1-26 It was about three in the afternoon when Peter and John encountered a lame man begging at the Gate Beautiful as they entered the temple courtyard. Peter looked into the man's eyes and said, "Silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" (v. 6).

Peter then took the right hand of the man and pulled him up. Instantly strength came into his ankles and feet, and he entered the temple with them walking, leaping and praising God.

Peter gave all he had to give, and it was more than enough. He had the name of Jesus and the ability through the Holy Spirit to deliver and heal people. We have the same to give to others.

The name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit are much more precious than silver or gold. We cannot take silver or gold with us to heaven, but we can take two very precious treasures to heaven with us—people with whom we have shared Jesus on earth and the Word of God we have hidden in our hearts. Peter delivered to this lame man the words of life that are eternal. Every day we have that same opportunity through phone calls, personal conversations, letters, writings and now even e-mail and chat rooms. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."

When I read this proverb I visualize a beautiful painting of golden apples framed in silver, and the title is WORDS OF LIFE. Peter said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." There are many spiritual cripples on this earth who need the words of life you have within you to deliver. Be on the lookout today for such people, and let your words be led, anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, thank You for the words of life that are hidden in my heart. I know I can take them to heaven with me, but I want somehow to dispense some of these words to others today. Help me to do this if someone calls me on the phone or perhaps You have someone I need to call. Help me to share Your words through my writings and letters. The world is full of words that bring death and discouragement to people. Help my conversations today be seasoned with grace and my words to be life giving and life changing. Amen.

READ: 2 Samuel 23:24-24:25; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 123:1-4; Proverbs 16:21-23

 

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Kingdom Is Within

Jesus made a remarkable statement to His disciples: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Luke 11:2, NKJV). This was a futuristic prayer for the disciples, but not for Jesus. And it's not futuristic for us either because it applies right now. Allow me to explain.

The Pharisees had problems with Jesus since He hadn't come on the scene the way they expected. When He showed up—a Nazarene, a carpenter from a poor family, and a friend of prostitutes and mafia (tax collectors were the mafia of the day)—they didn't buy in to Him as Messiah.

So they confronted Jesus and He answered: "The kingdom of God does not come with observation...For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21, NKJV)

"The kingdom...is within you"? Jesus was speaking of those who would be born again and filled with His Spirit. He had earlier promised to those who loved Him, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32, NKJV).

But when was the kingdom to be given? Jesus' disciples asked Him this nagging question after He was raised from the dead. Put yourself in their shoes. It was finally clear: Jesus, alive and well, was standing before these faithful followers—but where was the kingdom? They were still confused about this even just before His ascension.

They too were still looking for a physical kingdom to manifest itself. While looking for this literal throne on earth, they forgot His words: "The kingdom...is within you." So He corrected their thinking:

"The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be [the establishment of His physical kingdom upon His return]. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power [the kingdom within]." (Acts 1:7-8, TEV)

"Filled with power" from the Holy Spirit to do what? Advance the kingdom! This was not only for them but also for us. Once the Holy Spirit came to dwell within humankind, the kingdom and all its power would be within us! We now possess the power to advance the kingdom in the hearts and lives of others. And we can now do the works Jesus did in advancing the kingdom—and even greater works!

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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