Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 236 }

Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see [the King] ... on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart. —Song of Solomon 3:11, NKJV

What Jesus accomplished on the cross is exceedingly powerful. But why He did what He did is just as stunning. What motivation beat in His heart as He endured the cross? What burned in His emotions? What was the divine logic behind the event? Simply put, He longed to be united with His bride. He burned with desire for human beings. Any bridegroom who plans a wedding knows the feeling. The Bible even gives us a glimpse into the gladness of Jesus's heart on His wedding day in the Song of Solomon. This natural love song depicting the beauty of married love is an excellent picture of the spiritual love between Jesus and His church. The cross was motivated by a God who had great gladness about His wedding day. The cross became a reality because, from before the beginning of time, He desired to marry us.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Jesus, it amazes me that while You hung in agony on the cross of shame to redeem me for Your own, You were anticipating that great coming day when You will return from heaven and claim Your bride for eternity. How I love You for Your inexplicable love for me.

The plan of redemption flows from a God who
eagerly anticipates the intimacy He will have
with His people for eternity.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Live in the Spirit

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. —1 Corinthians 2:12

Most Christians do not know much about the realm of the Spirit. It is as if they are separated from the Promised Land by the Jordan River. Once in a while, when no giants are around, they may rush across the water and take some fruit from the trees and then run back. This is a long way from dwelling in the land!

Perhaps they hear a rousing sermon by a strong evangelist. For a brief time their spirits are stirred up, and they reach out and take hold of their healing, their strength, their joy, their peace, or their deliverance. But when the stirring fades, they go back to walking in the natural.

We were not meant to rush in and out of the spiritual realm; we are meant to live there. Why wonder where our spiritual blessings are? They are dangling over our heads in the spiritual realm. We must enter in and take hold of what is ours.

We live and move and have our being in Christ Jesus. We never have to depart from His presence because His Spirit both indwells us and surrounds us when two or more gather in His Name (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus, indwell and surround me. Keep me
ever close to Thee. Show me all of Thy
will and Thy way—this day and
every day. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Loneliness Has a Purpose

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. —Luke 5:16

Billy Graham said that London is one of the loneliest cities in the world. He also pointed out (and I didn't know this) that next to divorced people, university students are the loneliest people in the world. Paul said that loneliness may be a person's thorn in the flesh. As for Paul's actual thorn in the flesh, as we have seen, there is endless speculation. We do not know what Paul's thorn in the flesh was, but it is possible that it was loneliness. He said in 2 Timothy 4:16, "No one came to my support, but everyone deserted me." He said in 1 Corinthians 9:5, "Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?" You can read between the lines. Whether Paul was single, married, or a widower, he said he had the right to have a wife.

He was no doubt lonely, and all you have to do to confirm this is to look at his description in 2 Corinthians 11:25-30. Whether or not this was Paul's actual thorn in the flesh, we don't know.

This may be your thorn in the flesh, ordained by God at least for the moment. The devil will use it to torment you, but remember this: there is a purpose in everything that happens, and God Himself takes the responsibility for it.

Everything is for a purpose, and if I am describing your own thorn in the flesh—loneliness—then God has allowed it. The devil will exploit it, but the loneliness has a greater purpose.

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

What Would Jesus Do?

1 Corinthians 10:15-11:2 Many today are wearing a bracelet with the initials W.W.J.D? This stands for, "What would Jesus do?" My older sister was impressed with a family who counseled their children to ask "What would Jesus do?" when they were wrestling with whether to do something or not. The answer to the question "What would Jesus do?" is always the same. The answer is, "Jesus would always do what would bring glory to His heavenly Father."

In this passage Paul gives the right answer also to this question. He says simply, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).

The above statement is a great measuring rod we can use to determine if we should do something or not. We need to ask ourselves the question, "Is what I am about to say or do going to glorify my heavenly Father?" If it will not glorify Him, then we should not say or do it.

Sin is simply falling short of the glory of God. We will not fall short of the glory of God if we are constantly seeking to glorify Him. A prayer I try to pray every morning is the one below. You might want to join me in praying it this morning.

Father, help me today to say and do only those things that will bring glory to You. I offer the members of my body—my mind to think Your thoughts, my tongue to extol You and to speak edifying things to others, my hands to do Your works and my feet to walk in Your ways and Your will today.

READ: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26; 1 Corinthians 10:15-11:2; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 24:14-16


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Spectacular Plan for Your Life

Extraordinary. Just hearing this amazing word arouses the desire to surpass the norm, to break away from the status quo. Its definition is “beyond what is usual, exceptional, exceeding the common measure.” One-word synonyms include: remarkable, amazing, marvelous and unimaginable. To better understand the full meaning of this inspiring word, consider its antonyms: common, normal and usual.

Ponder this a moment: The opposite of extraordinary is normal! If we're honest, I think we all want our lives to mean more or be more than what we've known and seen. Unless it's suppressed, there is an innate desire in each of us to rise above commonness. We yearn for the extraordinary.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT).

These words paint a picture of an unimaginable and extraordinary existence, one far beyond what any mere mortal has known or experienced. You may have heard these words before and related them only to heaven’s glory. But in actuality, they were penned for the here and now! For the writer, the apostle Paul, continues, "But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit" (vs. 10).

Paul, who lived during the church's inception, was divinely moved to bring into the open what had been previously hidden to our eyes, ears and imagination. He also wrote the following to describe the mandate of his life:

"My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" (Ephesians 3:9–10, The Message)

There's One Person above all others who desires an extraordinary life for you. He is a Father who delights, like any good father, in the achievements and happiness of His children. His name is God! And nothing will please Him more than seeing you reach your highest potential.

God’s extraordinary plan is revealed when we live extraordinarily. Together let’s give the angels something to talk about!

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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