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Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 327 }

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. —Psalm 22:1-2

God's silence or inactivity at a time when we desperately want God to act or speak serves to reveal the spiritual maturity of both the people and the prophet. Each believer must go through the struggle of learning to walk with God when He is silent. It's an inescapable part of spiritual growth, and a prophetic minister must understand God's strategy of silence. As one who supposedly speaks for God, a prophetic minister must understand that God does not always speak, even in the most desperate of situations. If he cannot grasp this, he will inevitably manufacture words for people when God's specific purpose is for him to say nothing. Regardless of his well-intentioned efforts to make God look good, he becomes a stumbling block for those whom he seeks to help.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me to understand the silence when I cannot hear Your voice. May I never manufacture words to speak for You. I would rather say nothing than to become a stumbling block to others.

Each believer must go through the struggle of
learning to walk with God when He is silent.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Servanthood

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. —John 12:26

The kingdom of God is built on servanthood. Isaiah gave his voice to prophesy the Savior's coming. One angel descended from the heavens to tell a young virgin she would bear the Savior of the world and another offered his voice to proclaim the Savior's birth. Mary offered her womb, while Joseph gave his fiancee. The donkey lent his back and the cattle gave their warmth. The earth volunteered the straw on which our Savior lay, while the moon gave its light. A star pointed the direction for the wise men bringing gifts. All these things were done in labor inspired by love because God gave His Son.

But it was the Son who gave all. He gave His life. He said, "No man takes it from me. I can lay it down, and I can take it up again." He could have called ten thousand angels to His aid, but He willingly died for you and me. Servanthood is giving of your time, energy, and talent, expecting nothing in return. This is the kingdom of God.

Read Philippians 2. How does your life reflect the servant attitude of Jesus Christ? In what ways does pride hinder ministry and servanthood in your life?

Lord Jesus, shape my perspective on all of life
so that I may see others as those whom I serve
instead of expecting them to serve me. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Presence of Mind of the Spirit

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. —Ezekiel 18:31

Something happens when we grieve the Holy Spirit: not the loss of salvation, but presence of mind. I like to call it the presence of the mind of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is depicted in the New Testament as a dove (Matt. 3:16; John 1:32). The dove is a very shy bird and extremely sensitive. When the Spirit is grieved He backs away, as it were, like a dove that quietly and unobtrusively flies away. The result of this is that we are not able to flow in the Spirit as long as the Spirit is grieved and the Dove is not around.

Bitterness and unforgiveness are the main ways in which we grieve the Spirit. We know this is true because the very next thing Paul says (after commanding us not to grieve the Spirit) is, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph. 4:31-32). Bitterness is not the only way we grieve the Spirit, and Paul continues to show what else grieves the Spirit: sexual immorality, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking (Eph. 5:3-4). But bitterness is the chief way we grieve the Spirit, and that is why He puts it at the top of the list of things we can do to grieve the Spirit.

This means that all of us are accountable to God to forgive and to make sure the Holy Spirit is ungrieved in our hearts and lives. And when the Holy Spirit in us is ungrieved—like the dove coming down and remaining (see John 1:32-33)—we will show the fruit of the Spirit, be able to witness for Jesus with power, and flow in the Spirit.

Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Idol Worship

Psalm 115:1-18 When we spent three weeks in India in 1980, we agreed with our pastor and his wife that we would not visit any of the Hindu temples. We did not want to expose ourselves to the spirits that dwelled in these temples. We knew that even though man had made the idols in these temples, demonic spirits were all around them.

While we were in Madras, a man came up to us and asked us if we wanted to see a museum that had bronzes that dated back to the eleventh century. We agreed to follow him, and later wished we had not. As we entered the museum we felt the heaviness of demonic spirits and soon realized that all the bronzes were idols the Hindus worshiped. Some were so grotesque in appearance we wondered how anyone could worship such an image. Our pastor quickly made a beeline for the door and said, "We've seen your gods, but personally I prefer Jehovah God."

Today's reading in Psalm 115 tells us all about idols. Idols have mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell; hands, but they cannot handle; feet, but they cannot walk. This psalm goes on to say, "Those that make them are like to them; so is everyone who trusts in them" (v. 8).

I found myself thanking God that I was not an idol worshiper. Then I realized that idols are just images in people's minds. God created us with a divine imagination to worship Him and Him only. However, we often crowd Him out with the other images in our minds. A good definition of an idol is anything you think about more than you think about God. With this definition, we have to be honest with ourselves and realize we do have idols in our lives. As the psalm says, we can become just like those idols—paralyzed in our effectiveness to share the gospel with others by speaking His word. When we have idols in our lives, we are unable to see others as God sees them; we are unable to hear others with understanding ears; we are unable to smell the sweet aroma of His presence; we are unable to touch others with His embrace; and we are unable to walk in His ways.

Whatever I put before God, no matter how good it may be, can become an idol in my life. God desires our first fruits, and He wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. The highest form of worship is to do His will. We are hindered in doing His will if we allow other people and things to be first in our lives. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). Just prior to this admonition Jesus tells us to take no thought about what we are going to wear or eat, or even about what tomorrow will bring. When we concern ourselves with these things and allow our minds to be absorbed in thinking about such things, we become ineffective in His kingdom.

READ: 1 Samuel 22:1-23:29; John 10:1-21; Psalm 115:1-18; Proverbs 15:18-19

 


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

A Life You Were Created For

??Have you often thought, "There must be more"? You’re not alone. I believe a fresh revelation of truth will unlock the God-potential within you. You probably know that by God’s grace you’re forgiven and saved, but do you know that His grace empowers you here and now in this life?

"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16, NKJV). Here's the point so many miss: With grace we can receive the fullness of God's nature! Grace is the gift that not only saved us but also imparts to us the completeness of Jesus. We are in Christ, He is in us, and we have the fullness of His nature. Without this insight, we cut ourselves off from the flow of grace. Most believe God's grace has forgiven their sin and saved them from hell, but there is so much more! We have been given a new nature, and we are empowered to walk as Jesus (see 1 John 2:6) with authority to bring heaven's will to earth.

My life changed dramatically once I discovered that grace not only includes God's amazing forgiveness and promise of heaven, but also His empowerment in this life. Before this, I struggled trying to be good in my own strength. I found many of God's instructions too difficult to fulfill, I battled inferiority and poor self-image as I wondered why there was so little eternal fruit in my life. However, once the realization came that I possessed the fullness of God's nature, my life stabilized, blessings flowed and my impact for the kingdom greatly increased.

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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