Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 232 }

Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin." In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. —Luke 15:8-10

In Luke 15, Jesus addressed angry Pharisees who were miffed at Him for eating with and fellowshiping with sinners. In reply, Jesus said His Father rejoiced and the angels that did His bidding were glad; therefore, we ought to be glad. Over and over in this chapter Jesus revealed the joyous atmosphere around the throne. In verse 10, He said, "I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (NKJV). He was speaking of the repenting sinner who is still very immature. If the sinner repents at 3:00 p.m., the angels are singing and rejoicing by 3:01 p.m. That sinner is still profoundly immature in his faith, but the angels are abundantly glad. His repentance is absolutely sincere though his maturity is nonexistent. The yes in his spirit is imperfect, but it is eternally significant.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Give me Your understanding in regards to the immaturity and insincerity I see in others—and in myself at times. Let me look at others through Your eyes and see the potential for spiritual maturity and genuine love.

Love is sincere and genuine many years
before it becomes mature and strong.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Faith Comes by Hearing

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. —Romans 10:17

You have faith in what you can see, touch and understand. You did not stand in front of your chair and debate whether or not it would hold you before you sat down. Why? You trusted the chair. You had prior experience with the chair and knew the chair had always held you. Your knowledge surpassed your fear that the chair would fail. You had faith.

Faith in God comes through the study of His Word, learning who He is, how He behaves and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. As the Holy Spirit leads you into truth, you learn that God loves you and is ready to do anything for you. That knowledge produces understanding, understanding produces trust, and trust produces the faith to believe for your miracle.

Seek Him in His Word. Learn about Him. Let the Holy Spirit show you the Father's heart. Faith is simply knowing God. Faith says, "I can trust Him to be who He says He is. I can trust Him to do what He says He will do."

Hearing goes beyond listening and understanding. The faith that comes by hearing is a hearing that obeys God. Do you have ears to hear and a heart to obey?

Lord, tune my ears to hear all that You
say. Give me a new heart to obey all
that I hear from You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Perfection of Love

But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. —1 Corinthians 13:10

Paul is not talking about the perfection of a Christian, but about the love that enables the Christian not to fear. John wrote: "There is no fear in love. But perfect loves drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The man who fears is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18).

If this glimpse of love we are given now is only in measure, how can it be called perfect? I answer: if you were to go to the ocean and dip a glass into the water, you would then have a glass of water that is taken from the ocean, and what is in it is the pure ocean. In quantity, it is nothing compared to the vastness of the ocean, but everything that is true of the ocean is there. And so, the perfection that Paul and John are talking about is a taste of the pure love of God. It doesn't make us perfect, but it enables us to experience, that is, taste, perfect love.

When the pure love of God emerges in the heart, our world is turned upside down. There will be no grudging, no envy, no lust, no need to be seen or to be recognized. It is more wonderful than fulfilled ambition, more wonderful than the adulation of thousands. The pure love of God just wants the Father's glory.

But what happens when our experience of this love fades? When it fades, envy returns, fear returns, panic returns, the need to prove ourselves returns. So we may ask, what's the use of having it if it is going to fade? The answer: it is to let us know what to pray for, this most excellent way. Choose the route of perfect love, and do not be surprised if the charismata emerge stronger than ever!

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Cleansing the Chambers

Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 Have you ever been in a home where the garbage has not been emptied for days, the dishes are stacked a mile high, and bed sheets have not been changed for months? When my son was on drugs and living with two other boys in a rental house, I went to visit him. No one answered the door, but the door was opened, so I thought maybe Ray was sleeping. I opened the door, and what faced me was unbelievable. It was just like the home I described above. When I discovered no one was home, I set about to straighten things out as best as I could. After two hours of work and a spray of room deodorizer, the house was in much better order.

We may never neglect our own home this way, but we can neglect our own temple. Our bodies are the home of the Holy Spirit, and often we need to cleanse the chambers of this home. The garbage of unconfessed sin and the wrong attitudes that keep us from serving God with our whole heart can cause quite a stench in the our personal temples. Confusion can clutter the chambers of our mind, and doubt and unbelief can soon gain a foothold.

In our reading today we see where Nehemiah had to cleanse the chambers where Tobiah lived. Tobiah had taken the things that belonged to the priests and had hidden them in his chambers. Tobiah was an enemy of Israel and Nehemiah. He had scorned Nehemiah as he set about to rebuild the walls of the city. Eliashib prepared a chamber in the house of the Lord for this enemy of Israel to live. When Nehemiah found out about this, he said, "And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense" (Neh. 13:8-9, KJV).

Tobiah, an enemy of God, had been enjoying all the things that belonged to the priests. We too have an enemy who loves to rob us of the things of God that belong to us as priests. Jesus calls Satan a thief and a liar who is out to destroy us. If we allow Satan to house himself in one of the chambers of our temple (our mind, soul or body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit), we will begin to stink with sin. Make no mistake. Satan wants to take over not just one chamber in your holy temple, but he wants to take over your entire body and use it for his dirty work. If we fail to cleanse the chambers of our home where the Holy Spirit lives, then before you know it, the dirt and filth of Satan will spread into more chambers. We will find ourselves far away from the sweet aroma of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are holy vessels that contain the Holy Spirit. I am challenged by this reading, and I hope you are challenged also to do a house cleaning daily through confession and repentance of sins.

READ: Nehemiah 12:27-13:31; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 21:17-18


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Pleasing a Perfect God

When it comes to pleasing God, the big question is, "Can we do it?" Do we have what it takes to make Him smile? Can we who live in an imperfect world, bring a perfect God delight? Can we actually please Someone who is flawless?

The apostle Peter writes, "We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power" (2 Peter 1:3, CEV).

There's our answer—we have everything it takes to live a life that pleases our heavenly Father. Settle this in your heart and don't ever let this knowledge slip away. His Word is true and unchangeable. Never accept the lie that you don't have what it takes to please God. The fact is you do!

Many believers look at certain Christians, especially great leaders, and think they could never measure up or be as delightful in the eyes of God as the apostle John, the apostle Paul, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Mother Teresa, or anyone else they admire. The truth is that no one has any more ability to please God than you! You have the ability to please God, but it is up to you to utilize the power and live it out.

God expects us to be faithful with what He's given us. Scripture specifically states that we are entrusted with gifts "to each in proportion to his own personal ability" (Matthew 25:15, AMP).

We must always pay attention to what has been given us by God. A person's ability to write, teach, preach, sing, compose music, design, manage, organize, lead, interact well with people and so forth is a gift given by God. If I keep that in mind, it guards me from the deadly traps of pride or envy—pride in thinking I'm better than others, envy in coveting what another person has.

You were perfectly created by God to function in the Kingdom with your gifts and abilities to fulfill your specific assignment. You determine how to steward what you have been given—with it, you can bring great pleasure to your heavenly Father.

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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