Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 175 }

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. —Luke 2:36-37

Anna and Mary of Bethany were two full-time watchmen set upon the Jerusalem wall. Anna speaks of the spiritual warfare, intercession, and fasting. These are people whose main focus is to open the windows of blessing and tear down the spiritual walls of resistance. They are full-blast intercessors and spiritual warriors who are committed to fasting. The Marys of Bethany will enjoy great grace for prayer and worship and will change the atmosphere of the cities and churches that they are a part of by being extravagant lovesick worshipers. God has placed them in the midst of the people as a tender fragrance of the beauty of the Lord.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Make me a watchman on the wall of Your glory like Anna and Mary of Bethany. I want to give myself to intercession so that I might influence the atmosphere of my city and church to a higher level in You.

Even if the Annas and Marys never speak to anyone,
their very presence creates a type of grace that
preserves the church.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Settle It

For which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. —2 Timothy 1:12

God is going to be God, whether the answer to your prayer ever manifests or not. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego looked death in the eye and said, "Our God is more than able to deliver us, but even if he doesn't we will still serve Him" (cf. Daniel 3:16-18).

Settle it in your mind and in your spirit once and for all that you are committed to God and His ordinances. Determine that, come what may, you are going to serve Him in loving obedience.

We all know what to do when God is speaking to us. It is when He is silent that those who have not settled it begin to falter in their walk. You will stumble over every rock of adversity the devil tosses in your path, unless you can shout like Timothy with the conviction of knowing in whom you believe.

Ambivalence leads to double-mindedness. God cannot use a double-minded man (James 1:7-8). Settle in your mind that you will have single-minded devotion to Christ. Settle it before the storm comes.

Jesus, I have settled the Lordship issue
in my life. You are Lord. You are Master.
You are my King. You alone will I obey.
Amen.

 

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Perfect Parenting

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. —Hebrews 12:10

No parent is perfect; that is what is so ironic about this title. Perhaps you think back to your own childhood and how your parents raised you. You may want to go to your mother or your father and say, "You really made a mess of bringing me up!" Yet that's the way parents are. They do as they think best, punish when they lose their tempers, and scold their children in front of other people.

But only God is the perfect Father. God disciplines us for our good, and He doesn't make mistakes. Many of you have had an imperfect parent. Some of you can't call God Father because your only frame of reference for a father is that the man who fathered you wasn't very nice. Let me tell you something: if we have to have a perfect father in order to address God as Father—then no one would be able to do it. We are not supposed to look to our natural parents for the perfect frame of reference of what a father is supposed to be like. Look to Jesus. He is your frame of reference.

Let me say this: you and I need to remember God has a plan for our children as well as for us. The time comes when we have to release them. Maybe, after they are too old to discipline, we still want to point the finger and straighten them out. But perhaps you who have children need to join me in releasing them to God. He is the perfect Parent.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Spiritual Nursing

1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8 I was at a time in my life when I felt I needed to get more education and go to work. My sons were facing college later, and I wanted to do my part in paying for their education. One morning as I was having my quiet time, I read 1 Thessalonians 2:7: "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children."

That's it, I thought to myself as soon as I read this passage. God wants me to be a nurse. The next week I found myself down at my old college. I prayed for favor with the admissions to count all my former credits. They informed me I could finish a nursing course in two years, and in fact, this was the last two-year R.N. course they would offer at this school. In the future you would have to go for four years to receive your R.N. I was delighted. This had to be God because it was the seventh day of the seventh month in 1977. I bounced out of the admissions and came home to report to the children that their mother was going to be a full-time college student.

Two quarters into nursing I realized I might have missed God. I attended a course called "Introduction to Nursing," and the professor only talked about when she retired how great it would be when she could do her needlepoint and garden. I thought to myself, I can do this now. Nursing must not be all it is cracked up to be if she is looking so forward to retirement. When I hit Chemistry 101, I knew I could not go on, so I left college and returned to cook my boys' dinner that evening. I had not been able to do that for six months. The boys and my husband asked, "What happened? Did you flunk out?" "No," I replied. "I copped out before I flunked out."

The following week I asked the Lord, "What on earth was all that about? After all, I thought You were telling me to be a nurse." The answer I received was so comforting. I heard the following with my spiritual ears: "I do want you to be a nurse, but not in the physical. You are called to be a spiritual nurse—to bind up the brokenhearted and to set at liberty those who are bruised."

The mistake I made is one many of us make in the course of our lives. I had interpreted a spiritual instruction with my natural mind, and I moved in haste on my own understanding rather than inquiring more of the Lord. That day in prayer I also was instructed not to worry about financing the boy's education. Instead I was just to pray for my husband to prosper in his job, and he did.

Today the Lord is giving you instructions. Will you listen with spiritual ears?

READ: Jeremiah 12:1-14:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8; Psalm 79:1-13; Proverbs 24:30-34

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Enemy's Secret Strategy

A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn't matter who you are or how you serve in life. If you're a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor, it doesn't matter because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role. The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God's will but also His great pleasure.

Hollywood, religious people, and our culture have painted a warped and limited image of God's people. What is the distortion? We have an enemy named Satan, who is called "the ruler of this world," "the prince of the power of the air," and "the god of this world." He influences the world's systems and sways the minds of those who do not belong to God. He has fallen angels and demons to help carry out his grand strategy.

The sad fact is that too often the church has limited Satan's chief strategy to certain behaviors, like trying to get people to drink alcohol or watch sex scenes in movies. He's much more crafty than that and uses a wide variety of snares and diversions. We've missed his primary purpose. Because what he fears most is Christians discovering who God's made them to be—extraordinary people with abilities to carry out remarkable and unusual feats. This should be the image society has of Christians.

In stark contrast to the present reputation of Christians, one of the great struggles the early church encountered was convincing people that they were not superheroes or gods. Cornelius, an officer in the most powerful army in the world, bowed down to worship Peter and his companions. Stunned, Peter immediately replied, "Stand up; I myself am also a man" (Acts 10:26).

In a city named Lystra, the mob "went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, 'The gods have come down! These men are gods!'" Paul sharply corrected them: "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods!" (Acts 14:11, 14, The Message). When Paul was on Malta collecting firewood, a poisonous snake bit him. He shook it off, and the inhabitants anticipated his death. "But when it was obvious he wasn't going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!" (vs. 28:6).

Unbelievers said of the early church, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (vs. 17:6). Christians were held in high esteem by their society. It's recorded that the entire city of Jerusalem's attitude toward the church was that "everyone had high regard for them" (5:13, NLT).

In our generation may we each live in such a way to recover that kind of respect for the church.

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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