Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 57 }

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. —Ephesians 3:16-17

What eternal riches God has offered mankind. What dignity and destiny He has bestowed upon the human race by designing us to live eternally for the praise of His glory. What a privilege to become the passion and pleasure of Christ Jesus. There are dimensions of pleasure and fulfillment that can never be experienced until we say a passionate, abandoned yes to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Yet so few believers have really said that yes to God.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Yes, Lord, yes! Whatever You want to do in my life—yes! However You want to transform my heart—yes! Wherever You want me to show forth Your glory—yes! Dwell in my life through faith and cause me to have an everlasting yes in my spirit to Your will.

It is little wonder that the unbelieving world looks
at a bored, compromising, bickering church and
sneers, "If that's what a Christian is, forget it."


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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Enduring Love

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't have love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. —1 Corinthians 13:1, The Message

Gifts are temporary, but love endures. God takes an entire chapter to tell us, "If you don't love each other, you can forget all the rest of it." If you are not caring for your brother, God couldn't care less about your prophesying.

There is a dying world that doesn't care how well you sing or how eloquent your word of wisdom is. They are dying, seeking New Age gurus, sticking needles in their arms and drowning in a cesspool of pornography, because they need someone to love them!

God desires that you reach out to them with His love. They don't need your judgments, accusations, or criticisms. They need Christ. Only He can set them free from their bondages, diseases, or sin. Love them the way God loves you.

The love of God at work in and through you is more powerful than all the gifts of the Spirit rolled up together.

Jesus, fill me with Your love. How I desire
to love others the way You love me!
Use me as an instrument
of Your love. Amen.


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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

How to Handle Jealousy

For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? ... The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. —1 Corinthians 3:3, 8

There are few people who have not been either the subject or the object of jealousy at some time in their lives. Someone has said that jealousy is the sin nobody talks about; I think it is the sin nobody admits to—at least, readily. We do not like admitting to being jealous because this exposes our insecurity and weakness; the last thing we want another person to know is that we are insecure. Yet the chances are, our jealousy is one malady everybody else can see but us, and although we cannot deny that there are also psychological implications, fundamentally, jealousy is sin.

We may define jealousy as an attitude of envy or resentment toward a more successful rival. Sometimes it results from frustrated attempts to achieve an ambition, and sometimes it results from seeing somebody who has more talent, greater social advantages, more money, better looks, or a better personality than we have. It may also arise when we see another succeeding where we have failed and we allow our resentment to grow into jealousy.

The reason it is easy to detect jealousy in others is they inevitably behave in a way that betrays their feelings. However, being the object of jealousy is also problematic. Most of us know what it is to have somebody jealous of us.

Yet what if another's jealousy of you is real? How do you handle a situation like this? You need to identify the real enemy. Paul identified the real enemy: the devil. So if you are the target of unjust criticism aimed to hurt you by attacking your character or by diminishing your influence, know that Satan is behind it all. However, you should also realize that you are no different, and in similar circumstances the chances are that you would react in the same way.

Only God can deal with jealousy, and only God can forgive it. But the Bible says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins" (1 John 1:9).

Excerpted from A Vision of Jesus (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1999).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Book of Wisdom

Proverbs 8:11-13 Proverbs is called the Book of Wisdom. Solomon wrote Proverbs, and one can find the golden threads of wisdom woven throughout the thirty-one chapters. You have probably heard the expression, "Eat an apple a day and keep the doctor away." Reading a chapter of Proverbs every day will keep the devil away. We were inspired to begin this daily exercise of reading the proverb for the day to our three sons when we saw the great results this brought to a family down the street. This family had three boys and a girl, and the father read the proverb for the day aloud to his children as they gathered for breakfast every morning. All of these children never departed from the ways of the Lord because they learned much wisdom through the proverbs.

Later we challenged our three sons to memorize as many proverbs as possible. We promised them one dollar for every verse they memorized. Later, when we had a Russian exchange student come live with us, we also challenged him in memorize the proverbs. Vladimir became like a son to us and had been with us for seven years. He just about broke us, however, because he memorized so many proverbs.

I believe that God will supply two very special bodyguards to us if we will daily hide the proverbs in our hearts. These two bodyguards are called "Wisdom" and "Prudence." They will protect us from making wrong decisions and thus being ensnared by the enemy. Two of our sons did wander into the world for a season, but I believe it was the proverbs they hid in their hearts that kept them from going too far astray.

Proverbs was especially directed toward young men. If you have sons, I would highly recommend this practice of reading one proverb a day aloud to your family as you gather together. Daughters also can benefit greatly from such a practice. Recently someone gave me a testimony of how memorizing verses from Proverbs had helped her daughter. Her daughter was attending a very difficult school, and she was having problems studying and doing well on tests. Her mother suggested that she read a chapter in Proverbs a day and memorize at least two verses from that chapter. Soon after her daughter began this daily regimen, she noticed marked improvement in her grades. Her mind was being renewed daily, and she was able to study better, learn and retain more knowledge than ever before.

Today would be a great day to start such a regimen. I challenge you before you go to bed tonight to read Proverbs 8 and commit at least two verses to your memory.

READ: Exodus 28:1-43; Matthew 25:31-26:13; Psalm 31:9-18; Proverbs 8:11-13


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Bringing Heaven to Earth

Jesus' mission of revealing the kingdom could be identified with one word: righteousness. We are told, "For the kingdom of God is…righteousness" (Romans 14:17, NKJV). Jesus tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33, NKJV). To put it simply, righteousness means "right in the eyes of God."

Scripture makes it crystal clear: "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10, NKJV). Unless someone is born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, it is impossible to be righteous or acceptable in the eyes of God. However, the Word declares: "Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21, TEV)

Because of what Jesus did for us, we are now acceptable to God in every way. Right standing with Him has nothing to do with our effort but is based on the amazing work of Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart to hear Christians refer to themselves as miserable sinners who have just been forgiven when such a great price was paid for us to not only be forgiven and delivered but also to be re-created in the image of Jesus.

First and foremost, the kingdom within speaks of the divine nature, which empowers us to live holy and fruitful in this present world. This power is most evident in the life of Jesus. He showed how humankind was created to live—not bound to the burning desires of fallen flesh, but motivated by righteousness, propelled by the power of the Holy Spirit in love, joy, and peace—abounding in forgiveness, healing, restoration, and lifting others to the higher life. This is the kingdom; it's not only to live holy but also to bring heaven to our lost and dying world.

Now here is His charge to us: "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (John 20:21, NKJV)

What a statement! We are to bring heaven to earth in the same manner Jesus did. In essence, this is how it should be: To see one of Christ's true followers is to see Jesus, just as seeing Jesus was to see the Father.

What a responsibility—and an opportunity—this is for each of us!

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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