Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 93 }

How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices! Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue; and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. —Song of Solomon 4:10-12, NKJV

This verse reveals a very important spiritual principle that has application for you and me as believers. The knowledge of God's affection prepares us to experience His fullness and to remain strong and faithful to Him in times of persecution and testing. Jesus declares that our love for Him is better than wine—it is better than all the kingdoms of the world, better than all the glorious works of His hands. The beloved finds wonderful delight in his beautiful bride in three ways—her perfume, the sweetness of her lips, the fragrance of her garments.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

I know there will be times of persecution and testing in my life, dear Lord, but Your love keeps me strong. No matter what comes into my life, I will follow You with all my heart all the days of my life.

Truly, the heart of Jesus is utterly ravished
by the resolute heart, the loving abandonment
of His church for Him.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

In Spirit and in Truth

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. —John 4:24

At the well, the Samaritan woman recognized that Jesus was a prophet, and she launched into the ongoing dispute between the Jews and Samaritans regarding the proper place to worship God. Jesus offered her a fresh way to see God, the "who" of worship instead of the "how" or "where."

As God is a Spirit, so are you. You may think you have a spirit, but you are a spirit. Jesus said we must worship God in spirit. If you try to worship God in your flesh, you will be distracted by where you are, how you feel, and what is happening around you.

While still chained in darkness, a prisoner in the dungeons of Rome, Paul rejoiced in being seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Paul was not hallucinating! He took hold of the revelation that he was a spirit, and in the spirit he dwelt in the presence of God. If you live in the flesh you will miss it, because revelation is not received in your flesh. Take hold of this reality and learn to live, see, and hear in the spirit.

Holy Spirit, put Your new and fresh revelation in my
heart. I take hold of You and know that I have taken
hold of Truth and reality. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Right or Wrong, Leave It to God

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. —Philippians 2:13, NAS

Years ago I talked to a minister who came to me at a place where I was preaching in the northern part of England. He said, "I'm in the worst bondage. I think I've married the wrong woman."

I asked, "How long have you been married?"

He replied, "Twenty-five years!"

"Well," I said, "what if you have married the wrong one? What are you going to do?"

He did not know. But he was all torn up about it.

Looking back, many of us have doubts about this or that, wondering whether we did do the right thing. The apostle Paul would say, "But it doesn't matter. What is in the past is in the past. You don't have to decide."

I think one of the most interesting discussions is whether or not Paul was right to go to Jerusalem in Acts 21. We read that different people warned him, and even Agabus prophesied in the Spirit and said, "You shouldn't go to Jerusalem!" But Paul still went.

You may say that Paul would not make a mistake, but Luke says they spoke "in the Spirit" and said he should not go. So it looks to me like Paul disobeyed. Now I do not think Paul gave it that much thought; he just said, "I'm going to go." Looking back on it, however, he could say in Philippians 1:12, "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." So he was not concerned whether he had been right or wrong. He was concerned that the gospel kept going, and that is what he was happy about.

Many of us are not concerned whether the gospel goes on but rather, "Was I right?" and "What about me?" Paul said it does not matter. Because who knows? The outcome is unknown. One does not have to know whether one is totally right or totally wrong. Leave it to God to order all your ways!


Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Overcoming the World

Matthew 3:7-4:11 We describe people as worldly when they are consumed with their own lusts. First John 2:16 tells us what these three lusts are: the lust of the eyes (greedy longings in our minds), the lust of the flesh (seeking sensual pleasure in obsessive, indulgent ways) and the pride of life (trusting in our own selves and our resources more than we trust in God). This verse says that these lusts are not of the Father, but they are of the world. Jesus, however, through His victory over temptation and through His death, burial and resurrection from the dead, has overcome the world. In this story of the temptation of Jesus we see Satan tempting Jesus as he tempted Eve in the areas of the three beautiful desires—to enjoy God, to glorify God and to worship God. Satan thought he would also succeed in seducing Jesus. He forgot one very important fact: Jesus was the Word of God made flesh. The Word is the offensive sword of the Spirit against Satan, and Jesus wielded this sword effectively against the enemy. We can do the same.

TO ENJOY GOD AND HIS CREATION. In Matthew 4:1-4, Jesus had been fasting for forty days, and He was extremely hungry. Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stone into bread. At the thought of bread, Jesus remembered how bread tasted, and as He did, His salivary glands were alerted. He remembered how bread smelled, looked and felt. Even the sound of bread being chewed in His mouth came to Him. Jesus, however, did not give in to the cravings of His five senses. Satan was seeking to gain control over the emotional area of the soul of Jesus, but Jesus spoke aloud, "It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Satan was stabbed by the sword, but he did not give up the battle for the soul of Jesus.

TO GLORIFY GOD. In Matthew 4:5-7, Satan recognized the power of God's Word after the first temptation. He used the Word, but misquoted it to Jesus in an attempt to gain control of Jesus' will. Satan tempted Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple to prove that the angels would bear Him up. Satan quoted from Psalm 91:11-12, but he left off the phrase "to keep thee in all thy ways." Angels will come to our assistance if we are walking in God's ways, not our own. Jesus was God in the flesh, and if He fell for this temptation, Jesus would be walking in Satan's way, not God's way, because God the Father had a plan for God the Son—to die on the cross and to be resurrected. Jesus knew this, and He said, "It is written, you shall not tempt the Lord your God." Another stab wound was delivered to Satan.

TO WORSHIP GOD. In Matthew 4:8, Satan attempted to gain control of the mind area of Jesus' soul by showing Jesus the kingdoms of this world. He offered them to Jesus if He would bow down and worship him. Jesus said simply, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve." The devil then left him for a season.

READ: Genesis 5:1-7:24; Matthew 3:7-4:11; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 1:10-19

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Kingdom Is Within

Jesus made a remarkable statement to His disciples: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Luke 11:2, NKJV). This was a futuristic prayer for the disciples, but not for Jesus. And it's not futuristic for us either because it applies right now. Allow me to explain.

The Pharisees had problems with Jesus since He hadn't come on the scene the way they expected. When He showed up—a Nazarene, a carpenter from a poor family, and a friend of prostitutes and mafia (tax collectors were the mafia of the day)—they didn't buy in to Him as Messiah.

So they confronted Jesus and He answered: "The kingdom of God does not come with observation...For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21, NKJV)

"The kingdom...is within you"? Jesus was speaking of those who would be born again and filled with His Spirit. He had earlier promised to those who loved Him, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32, NKJV).

But when was the kingdom to be given? Jesus' disciples asked Him this nagging question after He was raised from the dead. Put yourself in their shoes. It was finally clear: Jesus, alive and well, was standing before these faithful followers—but where was the kingdom? They were still confused about this even just before His ascension.

They too were still looking for a physical kingdom to manifest itself. While looking for this literal throne on earth, they forgot His words: "The kingdom...is within you." So He corrected their thinking:

"The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be [the establishment of His physical kingdom upon His return]. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power [the kingdom within]." (Acts 1:7-8, TEV)

"Filled with power" from the Holy Spirit to do what? Advance the kingdom! This was not only for them but also for us. Once the Holy Spirit came to dwell within humankind, the kingdom and all its power would be within us! We now possess the power to advance the kingdom in the hearts and lives of others. And we can now do the works Jesus did in advancing the kingdom—and even greater works!

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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