Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 235 }

After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting. ... The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne.  ... Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder. ... Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" —Revelation 19:1, 4, 6, 9

I often wonder what Jesus was thinking the days before His crucifixion. How did He stay focused? What was on His mind? What mattered to Him in those moments? The Bible answers this for us in part. When Jesus came into Jerusalem for the last time, He carried a message in His heart. I believe He had waited three and one-half years to share this message. It was one of the deepest things on His heart. The essence of His last public sermon was, "There is a King—My Father—who is preparing a wedding for His Son." (See Matthew 22:2.) His heart was caught up in that glorious future day, the great bridal feast. Emotion must have surged in His heart as He opened the treasury of this parable to the crowds. He was revealing one of the primary reasons for the cross, which would secure the inheritance His Father had promised Him—an equally yoked companion, a bride.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

It is beyond my comprehension, dear Lord, that You chose me to be Your bride, to be Your eternal companion, and to share Your glory in heaven. Prepare me for that great wedding day, I pray.

Jesus looked toward one of the greatest events of
all history: the wedding supper of the Lamb.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Where Is Your Faith?

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. —1 Peter 2:24

Everyone has faith. We all believe in something or someone. In order to believe there is no God, atheists must have faith far greater than that of Christians. Why? To believe that the complexities of life and the universe are all accidental takes blind faith. And that's what they are—blind to the realities of a wonderful, creator God.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Because of a lack of faith, Jesus left the town of Nazareth, unable to perform many miracles (Matthew 13:58). Their problem wasn't really a lack of faith, however—their faith was misplaced in things instead of placed in Him.

The world may promise great things, but Jesus provides the truth. Promises rest on the future; facts stand in the present. Healing is a past fact, not a future promise. It is not something to look forward to, but a truth in which we can walk.

Lord, I believe Your Word. Create new
life in me today. Restore and heal me
through Your shed blood. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Sheer Grace of God

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. —Ephesians 2:8-9

What are you most thankful for? What am I most thankful for? There is also a distinction between what we feel most thankful for and what we certainly should be most thankful for. Chances are, however, that what we should be most thankful for is what we feel most thankful for—once we think about it for very long.

In one sense I am most thankful for my wife and for the children. But at the end of the day what ought we to be most thankful for? One word: salvation. The knowledge that we will go to heaven and not to hell when we die. Sublime knowledge doesn't get better than that.

The greatest reasons of all to be thankful are that (1) God sent His one and only Son to die for us on the cross, (2) that we heard this wonderful news, and (3) we were enabled to believe this message by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. Not all have heard the message, but not all who have heard it receive it. Why do some receive it? Is it because they are nicer or better people—or more worthy? No. The only explanation is the sheer grace of God.

The greatest mystery of all is why God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to die on a cross for our sins. I don't understand it. Do you? All we can do is stand back and worship. And be so very, very thankful.

Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Righteous Tongue

Psalm 35:17-28 Many years ago I did a study on the tongue of the righteous and the tongue of the wicked. This study revealed to me the power of the tongue and led me to write a book called The Tongue—a Mighty Weapon. Whenever I give talks to others, I like to speak about the power of our words and what God created our tongues to do. There is a psalm that says, "He that orders his conversation aright glorifies the Lord." (See Psalm 50:23.) Our tongues were made to glorify the Lord, to praise Him, to worship Him, to encourage and edify others, and to share the gospel with them.

Satan, however, wants to use our tongues to wound and hurt others and ourselves. In Mexico when I was teaching young children, I asked them this question, "How many of you would like to totally disarm the devil today?" They all eagerly raised their hands. Then I instructed them to stick out their tongues. "Now pull your tongue out," I shared, and of course they laughed because no one could pull their tongue out. Then I said, "If we could pull our tongues out we would disarm the devil." Another proverb says, "He that keeps his lips is wise and he keeps his soul from trouble." (See Proverbs 21:23.)

In this psalm David says, "And my tongue shall speak of Your righteous­ness and of Your praise all the day long" (v. 28).

If we made our goal daily to speak of His righteousness and to give the Lord praise, our tongues would not be available to the devil to do his dirty work for him. Today let your tongue glorify and extol the Lord in praise as you share with others all of His wonders and works.

Lord, help me to order my conversation aright today so that I glorify You always with my tongue.

READ: Esther 1:1-3:15; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 21:19-20

 

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Enemy's Secret Strategy

A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn't matter who you are or how you serve in life. If you're a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor, it doesn't matter because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role. The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God's will but also His great pleasure.

Hollywood, religious people, and our culture have painted a warped and limited image of God's people. What is the distortion? We have an enemy named Satan, who is called "the ruler of this world," "the prince of the power of the air," and "the god of this world." He influences the world's systems and sways the minds of those who do not belong to God. He has fallen angels and demons to help carry out his grand strategy.

The sad fact is that too often the church has limited Satan's chief strategy to certain behaviors, like trying to get people to drink alcohol or watch sex scenes in movies. He's much more crafty than that and uses a wide variety of snares and diversions. We've missed his primary purpose. Because what he fears most is Christians discovering who God's made them to be—extraordinary people with abilities to carry out remarkable and unusual feats. This should be the image society has of Christians.

In stark contrast to the present reputation of Christians, one of the great struggles the early church encountered was convincing people that they were not superheroes or gods. Cornelius, an officer in the most powerful army in the world, bowed down to worship Peter and his companions. Stunned, Peter immediately replied, "Stand up; I myself am also a man" (Acts 10:26).

In a city named Lystra, the mob "went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, 'The gods have come down! These men are gods!'" Paul sharply corrected them: "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods!" (Acts 14:11, 14, The Message). When Paul was on Malta collecting firewood, a poisonous snake bit him. He shook it off, and the inhabitants anticipated his death. "But when it was obvious he wasn't going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!" (vs. 28:6).

Unbelievers said of the early church, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (vs. 17:6). Christians were held in high esteem by their society. It's recorded that the entire city of Jerusalem's attitude toward the church was that "everyone had high regard for them" (5:13, NLT).

In our generation may we each live in such a way to recover that kind of respect for the church.

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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