Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 264 }

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. —Psalm 126:1-3

God doesn't bring us to Zion for our personal enrichment. Often the Lord's blessing will rest on a person, congregation, nation, or city, and they start thinking the blessing was given mostly to add to their personal prestige or lifestyle. This is a danger we must avoid once we arrive at our destiny. Some people imagine that when they finally reach the fullness of their promise and place of destiny, they will have only joy. They picture complete contentment in their anointing and prominence. But it doesn't work that way, even in the grace of God. In our place of destiny, we will still experience pressures, persecutions, and pain. As you prepare to enter your destiny, set your expectations correctly.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, when I am tempted to believe that pressure, persecution, and pain are keeping me from reaching my potential in You, cause me to remember that You bring me to Zion for Your pleasure and Your plan, not for my own personal enrichment.

Arriving at Zion is about serving the  kingdom in
greater measure—a privilege far greater
than money or fame.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

No Vacancy

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. —Philippians 4:8

You can probably look back right now and see a time where you opened the door in your mind and let the devil in—where you did not submit to God, where you did not resist the devil; therefore, he did not flee.

When you are rejoicing, the devil cannot get in your mind. When you are shouting, he cannot get in your body. When you are praising God and thanking Him for His goodness and mercy, the devil has no access to your life.

Build up your spirit by praying in the Holy Ghost. Renew your mind with the Word of God, and fill your mouth with His praises. Hang out a "NO VACANCY" sign for the devil, and when he tries to enter in, slam the door by lifting up your voice in praise and thanksgiving.

Strive after Jesus Christ's excellence and perfection. If you are tempted to think thoughts beneath what is true, just, pure, lovely, and virtuous, then stop thinking and start meditating on His Word. Replace every worldly thought with His Word.

Jesus, fill my mind with thoughts that
are true, honest, just, pure, lovely,
excellent, and virtuous. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Greater the Affliction, the Greater the Reward

See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! —Galatians 6:11

Some scholars have suggested that Paul's thorn in the flesh was that his eyesight was deteriorating. Whether it was partial blindness or not, we do not know. Perhaps it was a disability.

Whatever our thorn in the flesh is, and regardless of whether we have asked for it to be removed (as we surely have), I urge all of us to realize that it is there because God says it is still right for it to be there. It is true that God will use you all the more and all the better because that disability is still there.

I once asked Joni Eareckson Tada, "Would you like to be healed?" I thought she would have a quick answer, because I thought everyone asked her that. But it was as though she had never even thought about it! Finally she said, "Yes, but," she continued, "the most precious time of my day is when they put me to bed, and I am alone with the Lord. I am so afraid that if I didn't have this paralysis, I wouldn't have that intimacy."

The reward for being patient and not complaining is worth the wait. It is what helps ensure a great reward when you get to heaven. In my opinion, because of this kind of affliction, when one doesn't complain, the reward will be far, far greater.

The greater the affliction, the greater the reward. The greater the suffering, the greater the anointing. All this is guaranteed if you and I don't give in to self-pity or complaining.

The thorn in the flesh gives us the possibility of a greater reward than we would have had. The greater the handicap, the greater the impairment, the greater the disability, the greater the reward if we don't murmur. Here below you may have felt it was a deprivation. In heaven you will say (if I dare use this word), "How lucky I was to have it." I guarantee that this is the case.

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

How Love Is Dispersed

Romans 5:3-21 Most Christians I know want to grow more like Jesus daily. They want to be able to love as Jesus loved. The school of love, however, could be called the school of hard knocks. If all is going well in our lives, those who watch our lives will say, "It's easy for them to be loving because they have never had the problems I have experienced." It is when we go through hard knocks—tribulations, trials, testings and temptations—that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. It is when our own human love has reached its limit that God steps in and disperses His love within our hearts to equip us to dispense His love to others. Experiencing the love of God is only possible for us when we become totally dependent upon Him. When we recognize that without Him we can do nothing, then we recognize also that without His love in our hearts we have no quality love to give to others.

When we were without strength, Christ died for us. And now when we are without strength to love another, Christ lives through us to dispense His love from our weak vessels to others. This passage in Romans shares the sequence that occurs that causes God's love to be manifested in and through us. First we go through one of these terrible "T's"—trials, tribulations, testings, temptations. How we respond during such times depends alone upon our dependency upon God in troubled times. If we respond with patience at such times, then experience is added to our lives and hope is birthed. People around cannot see the love God has shed abroad in our hearts, but they can see the patience and hope we display in troubled times. They may even ask us to share with them the reason we are at peace and have such hope.

The experience we gain through troubled times is invaluable because we then can look back at the hard-knock times in our lives and see how God revealed His love to us and gave us hope. We can share with others that God has no pets. He was able to get us through a time of trouble, and He is also able to deliver them through their hard knocks. Through their hard times, God will give them a personal love story to tell. I guess this is why James tells us to rejoice when we experience all kinds of trials. During these times God is dispersing His sustaining love to us in our own hearts so we in return can dispense that sustaining love to others. Whatever you are going through today, I can say with all assurance after my fifty years as a Christian, that God's love will see you through this. He is faithful. God's love never fails.

Lord, I am human, and I hate pain and troubles, but one of your promises to me as a Christian is that I will experience suffering. Who wants it, and who needs it? The answer to this question I understand today. Others need to see You show Yourself strong on my behalf when I am at my weakest. Others need to see that Your grace and love are sufficient to carry me through whatever suffering I experience on this earth.

READ: 1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30; Romans 5:3-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 19:18-19

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

A Book About YOU

God has set goals for each of our lives. In fact, He recorded them in a book before time began.

"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed" (Psalm 139:16, NLT).

That is phenomenal! Did you know a book was written about you? It's not just famous people who are featured in biographies. Your story is in a book, too, and the Author is none other than God. He wrote that book before you were conceived in your mother's womb. What a staggering thought—every moment of your life is recorded in that book. 

"For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]" (Ephesians 2:10, AMP).

God planned your paths beforehand, but notice that Paul writes "that we should walk in them." It doesn't say "that we would walk in them." There is a huge difference. Free will comes into effect here because fulfilling these assignments isn't automatic. We have to cooperate in our labor.

God has set the goals, but it's up to us to discover through prayer, reading His Word, and other spiritual means what's recorded for our lives. Then by His grace we fulfill them. For this reason Paul prays: "Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God," (Colossians 1:9–10, NIV)

Knowing God's will for our lives gives us the ability to always please Him. However, it is not inevitable. God has set extraordinary goals for us, and they will not be accomplished without prayer, faith and fervent labor. 

Your life is unique, special and by no means an accident. No one is common or menial. We all were created for a unique path that is extraordinary.

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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