Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 215 }

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. —Romans 12:1-2

In the early days of my Christian life, my friends and I read Romans 12:2 in the negative sense. We thought it meant, "You will be transformed mostly by staying away from sinful movies," and we had a whole list of bad things to stay away from so that we would end up transformed. But there is much more to this principle than clamping down on ourselves and staying away from bad things. Your mind is not renewed primarily by staying away from bad things but by filling your mind with the truth about God. You don't need better sin-avoidance techniques but a new vision of what God's heart looks like. Flowing from that vision will be a new vision of what you look like to God. When I fill my mind with what God's emotions look like, I experience new dimensions of grace to stay away from the "bad things."

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Give me a vision of Your heart, O God, and the things of this world that used to defeat me and cause me to sin will no longer have any appeal to me. Flood over my heart and mind with Your presence.

You don't need better sin-avoidance techniques
but a new vision of what God's heart looks like.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Anointed Aprons

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. —Acts 19:11-12

God used Paul in an extraordinary demonstration of His supernatural power. The tangible anointing was carried from the apostle to the oppressed through anointed aprons and handkerchiefs.

These handkerchiefs were strips of linen, used to tie around your head while you worked. The aprons were also similar to the ordinary ones we use today. But they all were turned into miracle cloths when the anointing touched them.

Because of the widespread use of witchcraft in that day, Luke wanted the readers of his letter to know that the source of Paul's miracles was God and God alone. He distinguished what was happening through Paul by calling these special miracles.

God has already planned your miracle. Remember the source and give Him praise.

Jesus, I thank You for every miracle You
have done, are doing, and will do in my
life. You are the source of all power and
authority for miracles in my life, and
I give You all the glory. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Called to Brokenness

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. —1 Corinthians 13:2-3

Brokenness refers to the authentic person rather than to an awesome performance. Why is it that Paul says, "I am nothing"? What does he mean? He is showing what he is as a person.

What Paul wants in 1 Corinthians 13 is to show what we are as Christians, as people who have been converted; we are going to heaven, and we are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of the things done in the body. Is God going to ask us to explain how our gift of prophecy functions or whether people thought we were great preachers? No! We will give an account of the things done in the body. So that the gifts, without brokenness, equal zero.

In these verses, Paul is referring to spiritual gain; without love there is no intimacy with God. John said that our fellowship is with the Father, but if we don't have love we won't be having fellowship with the Father; there will be no spiritual gain.

He could also be referring to spiritual progress. The only time we grow spiritually is when what we do is totally hidden from others and only God knows. Then we get the honor that comes only from Him: "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44). Brokenness is when we are content with knowing that He knows. Are you suffering today? God knows. Are you going through a very difficult time? God knows.

What makes the giving of one's life, of one's possessions, of value ... what makes the gifts effective is brokenness, the slain ego.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

What Makes You Shine?

2 Corinthians 4:1-12 When our middle son was in China as a teacher of English for two years, one of his students asked Ron what made him shine. This student recognized the light of the Lord's countenance upon Ron. Paul tells us in this letter to the Corinthians that Jesus is the light who has shone into the darkness of our hearts. He says, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (vv. 6-7, KJV).

Jesus is the light of the world that lights every man who is born into this world. Jesus calls us the light of the world, and He exhorts us to let our lights shine before men that they might see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven.

A candle shines the brightest in a very dark place. China is a country where much darkness exists. This is why the light of Jesus through Ron's face shone so brightly. We are all lights shining the midst of a very dark world.

I had the privilege of seeing the face of Jesus in a vision as I was waking from a Sunday nap. His face was encircled in light, and the expression on His face was one of exuberant joy, exhaustless love and empowering peace. When I saw His face, I asked the Father why He did not choose to show the face of Jesus to the whole world. I remember praying:

Father, if I could just have a video of Jesus' face and could show it to all my lost friends, they would instantly repent. I know, Father, the love in that face would compel the worst sinner to turn from his ways to follow Jesus.

My request was answered with words that changed my life: "I have not chosen to reveal my Son's face to the world in such a way. Instead I have chosen all those in the body of Christ to reveal the face of Jesus to others through their faces."

Is the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shining through your face today?

READ: Job 34:1-36:33; 2 Corinthians 4:1-12; Psalm 44:1-7; Proverbs 22:10-12

 

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Language of Faith

True faith originates in our core being. We are not saved by mental awareness, warm emotions, or even intellectual assent. Rather, it's "with the heart one believes unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10, NKJV). Faith deeply believes God will do what He says. Faith produces words of agreement and actions of obedience. The corresponding words and actions are simply evidence that our heart has laid hold of what God has spoken.

Faith has a language. Paul writes, "The righteousness of faith speaks in this way" (Romans 10:6, NKJV). True faith speaks a certain way.

Jesus says, "Have faith in God. For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says." (Mark 11:22-23, NKJV)

Notice that Jesus emphasizes that true faith in God will speak in agreement with what it believes; this is the language of faith. In fact, the word says is repeated three times in this one verse, and the word believes is mentioned only once by Jesus. He puts great emphasis on the language of faith.

Genuine faith speaks in accordance with what it believes, for Jesus says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34, NKJV). We don't prove we have faith by speaking what we know is correct. Rather, we spontaneously speak what we already believe. As the psalmist writes, "I believed, therefore I spoke" (116:10, NKJV). Belief comes first; the evidence of speech follows. Paul affirmed, "We also speak because we believe."

Under pressure, or when we are not consciously thinking, what comes out of our mouths is what we actually believe. This is evidence of our faith or the lack thereof.

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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