Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 148 }

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." —Luke 10:38-42, NKJV

Of course, it's absolutely essential for us to embrace Christ's mandate to reach out to people and to touch the nations. But this heart of service must be secondary, not primary. The reversal of these priorities was Martha's problem. When Mary and Martha were in their little conflict, Martha was not wrong because she wanted to be a servant. However, her priorities were upside down because her natural self, her natural abilities and interests, compelled her to be a worker before she was a lover. In fact, her work distracted her from being a lover (v. 40). When I see a worker I say to myself, "Well, he's halfway there." But I also understand that such an individual will be a much more effective worker if he or she first becomes a lover.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, so often in my spiritual service to You I respond like Martha, focusing on the work of the ministry. Help me never to forget that I am first to be a "lover," then to be a "worker."

Many individuals are so focused on enriching
their earthly circumstances and pursuing personal
comforts that they never get serious about
becoming a worker, let alone a lover.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Fresh Fire

Take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and-.-.-.-put them beside the altar. —Leviticus 6:10

God is saying, "Take yesterday's ashes off the altar and get them out of my presence." He is saying, "Lay yesterday's spiritual experience aside." For too many, their first experience with the baptism in the Holy Ghost is their last. If we have not had a fresh experience with God today, we are late. If we did not receive a renewed filling today, we are lagging behind.

Not only are God's mercies renewed daily, but He wants to refresh our spirits so that we remain overflowing with Holy Ghost power and anointing. God has new frontiers for us to conquer. Yesterday's flame is growing dimmer. Get ignited in the Spirit!

To dwell in the presence of God requires fresh fire every day! Humble yourself before Him and say, "I am not ready to go forth until I have first been prepared by You. Touch me today."

Let the fire of the Holy Ghost daily purify and prepare you, and give you fresh passion for Him.

Lord, I long for Your fresh fire every moment
of my life. Renew, cleanse, purify, refresh,
and restore Your servant. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

There Is No Fear in Love

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. —1 John 4:18

Fear can cause us to do silly things. Our insecurity is what causes us to want people to stand in awe of us. We become pretentious; we try to keep other people from knowing who we really are and what we are really like. Sometimes I think the most attractive thing about Jesus as a man was His unpretentiousness. Jesus did not try to create an "aura of mystique"; even common people could relate to Him.

In terms of prestige and power, Joseph had ascended as high as one could get. Had he so desired, he could have kept his brothers at a distance. But, no. That is not what Joseph did. He wanted them to feel no fear in his presence. He wanted to be loved rather than admired.

What Joseph wanted his brothers to feel is what Jesus wants us to feel about Himself and the Father. "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," said Jesus (John 14:9). If you had an abusive or absentee father, you may understandably have trouble relating to God as a Father. But there is no law that says we have to have perfect fathers before we can rightly relate to our heavenly Father. The perfect image for us to follow can be found in Jesus Christ—and it is also what Joseph was trying to convey to his brothers. Joseph did not require them to feel a trace of fear or show further how sorry they were before he forgave them; instead, he wanted them to love him and feel his love for them in return.

This is the kind of relationship that Jesus desires with us. He wants us to put us at ease in His presence.

When we have totally forgiven our offenders, we will not want them to be afraid either.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Law Written on Hearts

Hebrews 8:1-13 Earlier this month we saw God's promise to turn the hearts of stone of His chosen people into hearts of flesh. Israel was disobedient to God, and Jesus was rejected by His own. Yet, God has not rejected Israel. He promises to make a new covenant with them when He will write the law of God on their hearts and put the laws in their minds. Yesterday we shared the only sin we cannot remit for others is rejection of Jesus Christ. Even though many of our Jewish brothers and sisters have rejected Jesus Christ, we can still pray for God to give them the gift of faith to believe and also godly sorrow so they will repent.

Once we have received Christ, we have the challenge of walking in obedience to Him daily. Make no mistake, none of us can obey without the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Yes, people can obey the laws of God outwardly by not committing adultery, but Jesus made it quite clear that if a man lusts for a woman in his heart, he has committed adultery. He also said murder is committed if a man is angry against his brother. The law of God is only written on our hearts when we are born again. God's promise to write His law on the hearts of His chosen people tells us that there will be a day when many Jews are born again.

Jesus did not come to destroy the Law or abolish it. He came to fulfill the Law, and because He did fulfill the Law we now can have the law of God written on our hearts. When we receive Christ, God promises to no longer remember our sins and iniquities because we are now a covenant people. The old has passed away, and all things become new. One of the greatest new things that comes to pass when we are born again is that we now have a willing heart that seeks to please God and obey Him in both word and deed.

It was such a relief when I gave up trying to obey God in my own strength. When I realized it was God who worked within me both to will and to do of His good pleasure, I asked Him for grace (supernatural power and ability) to obey and please Him daily. The two laws God wants us to obey daily are first to love Him with all of our hearts, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. These laws are not grievous. On the contrary they give us great joy when we obey them.

We recently attended a meeting where a man who has fifteen children is fighting to get the Ten Commandments back into our public buildings and schools. When he was burdened with the fact the schools were not able to post the Ten Commandments, the Lord spoke to his heart and asked him if his own children could quote the Ten Commandments. When he tested them, none of his children passed the test. He had to ask the Lord's forgiveness for his own neglect in teaching the law to his children. We need to know the Ten Commandments, but more than that, we need to do them.

Thank You, Father, for sending the Obedient One, Jesus, to fulfill the Law so I can be empowered to keep Your law.

READ: Ezekiel 16:43-17:24; Hebrews 8:1-13; Psalm 106:13-31; Proverbs 27:7-9

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

What Is the Fear of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is not being scared of God. How can we have intimacy with someone we are scared of? God's greatest passion is to have close fellowship with us.

The person who fears God has nothing to hide. In fact, he or she is scared to be away from God. King David had a holy fear of God and still ran toward Him and said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you" (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).

To fear God means you give Him the place of glory, honor, reverence, thanksgiving, praise, and preeminence He deserves. He holds this position with us when we esteem Him and His desires over and above our own or others'. You hate what He hates and love what He loves. You passionately seek truth in your "inward parts."

Holy fear is manifested by our unconditional obedience to Him, whether we understand what He is doing or not. When we properly fear God, we know that we can't hide anything from Him. 

We must allow the Word of God to penetrate deep into our heart to judge our thought processes, attitudes, perceptions, intentions and so forth—thus changing the way we behave.

We can't fool God by making a superficial acknowledgment of the importance of pleasing and fearing Him but departing from it when it isn't convenient. It must be a firm and never-changing decision, for upon it hinges whether we are capable of growing into the image of Jesus Christ.

If you don't truly fear God, you will grow distant from Him. For this reason we are told: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). And again: "Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant" (vs. 25:14). The Lord will not reveal Himself to those who lack holy fear. He must take preeminence in a person's life in a deep-rooted heart decision: My life is not my own; it belongs to my Lord, Jesus Christ.

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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