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

Fasting

But thou, when thou fastest ... fast ... unto thy Father which is in secret ... —Matthew 6:17-18, KJV

Many of us may not find the subject of fasting pleasant because it comes down to the disciplined impulse of the Spirit, but its rewards may well exceed our greatest expectations.

Fasting is going without food to achieve a particular end. It is a means to an end. There are nonreligious reasons for fasting: we may fast for health reasons, for example, or people may fast as a protest to get the attention of the authorities and of world opinion. But I do not want to deal with that kind of public demonstration, and neither do I necessarily recommend it.

The Bible gives numerous accounts of fasting for spiritual reasons. It is often a sign of grief and mourning—even of desperation—as in the Book of Esther (chapter 4).

Fasting is not something one does flippantly, with joy or gladness. Yet the New Testament assumption is that the disciples of Jesus should, and in fact do, fast. Jesus said, "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance" (Matt. 6:16, KJV).

Moses fasted for forty days. Jesus fasted for forty days. And it was not unusual for David to fast. In Psalm 35:13 he says, "But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting" (KJV).

The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:27, "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often ... " (KJV).

When we read that people like Moses or David, Paul, or our Lord Jesus Christ were given to fasting, we may see an answer to the question of why there is such a dearth of spiritual greatness at the present time. And if fasting is something new to us, we must ask ourselves whether God is leading us to engage in this particular spiritual enterprise.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Cycle of Unbelief

Romans 1:18-32 This passage in Romans gives the cycle of unbelief. Unbelief is the root of all sin, and we see the progressive degradation of sin that befalls a person who does not believe in Jesus. The first step in unbelief is the denial that God exists. People often ask me if God is merciful, how could He send anyone to hell who has never heard the gospel? My response is always that even nature reveals there is a God; no one will go to hell unless they choose to. Originally hell was reserved for the devil and his angels, but because of the Fall there will be people in hell now who have chosen not to believe. Paul concludes that such people are without excuse because the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen. Paul then shares the cycle of unbelief and how it always leads to eternal death instead of eternal life. People who remain in unbelief do the following:

1. They do not glorify God.

2. They are ungrateful.

3. They become vain in their imaginations.

4. They enter into idolatry.

5. They dishonor their bodies between themselves.

6. They enter into unnatural affections—homosexuality and lesbianism.

7. They develop a reprobate mind.

8. They enter into all kinds of unrighteous acts such as fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whispering, backbiting, hatred of God, pride, boasting, disobedience to parents, breaking covenants.

9. They become unmerciful, implacable and spiteful.

We believers can make our own list based on the opposite of this list. The believer in Jesus Christ glorifies God. He is grateful, pulls down vain imaginations, does not enter into idolatry, honors his body and the bodies of others, and does not enter into unnatural affections. He has the mind of Christ and is full of righteousness, which manifests as faithfulness, sexual purity, kindness, unselfishness, speaking the truth in love and refraining from gossip, backbiting and maligning others. He imparts life to others, humbles himself and is obedient to parents. He is merciful, cooperative, loving, faithful and full of understanding. He keeps covenant with God and his fellowman.

Which list appeals to you? One can see clearly that the life of a believer is pleasant, filled with grace, love and blessings and light. The life of an unbeliever is filled with wickedness, curses and darkness. This should challenge us all to share the good news with others that they can be translated from this kingdom of darkness rooted in unbelief to the kingdom of light rooted in the belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

READ: 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36; Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 19:6-7

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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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