Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 113 }

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. —Ephesians 5:25-27

Just as you or I need a daily physical bath, we also need a daily spiritual bath to remove some of the "grime" and defilement. If the grime is allowed to accumulate, it will lead to spiritual dullness and insensitivity in our spirits. Inner corruption such as anger, slander, impatience, and sensuality grieves the Holy Spirit and makes our spirits insensitive and unable to respond fully to Him. The accumulation of information about the Scriptures and the mental discipline of hours of Bible study will never thoroughly cleanse the inner man in the way that devotional, worshipful meditation upon God's Word will. When our Bible study leads into personal dialogue with Jesus as we meditate upon His cleansing Word, we also experience growth in spiritual hunger, sensitivity, and nearness to Him.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Wash me in Your Word, dear Father. Cleanse me of my dull, insensitive spirit. Take the hidden, inner sins from my life as I meditate on Your Word and will for my life.

When we fix our hearts on the person of Jesus and
dialogue with Him, the Word of God
washes our spirits.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The Spirit of Revelation

Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. —Matthew 16:16-17

Peter heard the speculations of men and pondered them. Some thought Jesus was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the other prophets. But when confronted with, "Who do you say I am?" Peter listened to the voice that spoke above the voices of men. Flesh and blood could not give him the right answer. Only the Spirit of God could reveal the right answer to him.

In the Book of Revelation, John repeated the words Jesus often spoke, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." He was not speaking of physical ears, but spiritual ears tuned in to God's spirit of revelation. The Spirit was not silent, but no one was listening in the Spirit.

Learn to be led by your spirit, or you will follow the dictates of your mind and your flesh. Get in tune with your spirit, strengthening it daily with the Word. Are you listening with spiritual ears?

Jesus, I confess that You are my Master, Savior, Lord,
Friend, Teacher, and my all in all. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Losing His Presence

After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. ... When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. —Luke 2:43, 45

In this story, we are looking at young Jesus while He lived here on earth with His earthly parents. Nevertheless, this illustration from the life of Jesus illustrates the way in which the sovereign Holy Spirit may test our sensitivity to Him by not moving with us when we choose to carry on with our plans.

The occasion was not only the observance of the Feast of Passover, but it was also the Bar Mitzvah of Jesus. Although from birth Jesus was God as though He were not man, and man as though He were not God, Jesus was now being truly authenticated as the God-man—especially by Joseph and Mary, who knew the facts.

But Joseph and Mary missed it. Apparently, the dialogue with Jesus and the teachers in the temple continued for three days—all without the knowledge of Joseph and Mary. Jesus was  doing His Father's business.

What a pity that Joseph and Mary missed it. When the Feast was over, Joseph and Mary returned home. Jesus stayed behind, but "they were unaware of it" (v. 43). In other words, they sincerely thought Jesus was right there with them. Why? They presumed He would adjust to their thinking and plans. After all, it was—as far as they were concerned—time to go home. They did not see a need to adjust to Him. But He chose to stay behind.

Joseph and Mary moved on as if nothing had happened. Unaware that Jesus had stayed behind, they sincerely thought He was with them. If we discover that we have moved ahead of God and have left Him behind, we must go looking for Him. That is what Joseph and Mary had to do.

Once we have lost God's special presence, we can only find Him by initially returning to the place where we lost Him.

Excerpted from The Sensitivity of the Spirit (Charisma House, 2002).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Forgiving Iniquities

Psalm 130:1-8 Where would we be if God marked our iniquities? We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God's plan has always been to redeem us, not condemn us. Redemption is extended to us through Jesus, and the possibility of having our sins, transgressions and iniquities all forgiven is offered to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This psalm says with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption. How sad it is that men refuse such an offer to have their sins washed away so they can receive a fresh start—newness of life. Why would anyone reject such an offer? People refuse to believe in Jesus Christ because they are blinded by Satan. He deceives many and convinces them that they do not need a Savior.

Pride is often the stumbling block to receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Some people actually believe they have no sin, and therefore they do not need a Savior. Before redemption can take place, we must first believe our lives need to be changed. We must admit that our nature is to sin, and we need a second nature—the very nature of Jesus Christ who was sinless.

God promises to redeem all who will believe in His Son Jesus Christ. His invitation to us all is to receive His precious gift to earth given two thousand years ago. Now that Christmas is coming, I have been cleaning out the basement to ready it to receive the Christmas gifts I purchase. Every year when I do this, I discover there are some presents remaining from last year that were never wrapped or given. So I simply wrap them up and give them to someone this Christmas.

Two thousand years ago God wrapped Himself in an earthly suit, and Jesus was born to give us life and life more abundantly. He died and was resurrected to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. Listen as this great gift on the first Christmas is described: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:16-17, KJV).

Have you failed to receive God's gift to you given on the very first Christmas, or have you shelved this gift and refused to open it? The only way we can know God personally is to come to know His Son who was freely given to you. Don't let another Christmas go by without receiving this precious gift, and when you do, be sure to pass this gift on to others.

READ: Amos 4:1-6:14; Revelation 2:18-3:6; Psalm 130:1-8; Proverbs 29:21-22


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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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