Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 278 }

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise—in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? —Psalm 56:8-11

I imagine David sitting somewhere by himself, crying, "O God, I hate disobeying You. I love You—You know that—but I'm so afraid. I know I'm disobeying the prophetic word. I know that I am telling lies and deceiving people. But I am so afraid right now." We have all been there, crying tears of repentance. Maybe one of David's men walked up to him and said, "Get up and quit crying, you hypocrite! God doesn't want to hear your blubbering. If you really loved God, you would stop sinning and go back to Israel like He commanded. Obey God or shut up." Yet in this moment, the Lord whispered in David's ear, "I have captured every one of your tears and put them in My bottle in heaven." David knew his tears were not despised by God; they were precious. Though the men around him likely thought he was a hypocrite, God saw genuine love in David's heart. David believed that God was for him while he was in Ziklag, and this was the secret to his recovery.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like David, I hate my disobedient spirit. I long to be Your obedient child. How precious to me is the thought of You scooping up my tears and placing them in a bottle. You care so much for me. Revive my cold heart and help me to burn with love for You.

We need to put our cold hearts before that same
fire of revelation that warmed David's heart.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

My Helper

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. —Hebrews 13:6

As Paul wrote to the Hebrews, "Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:1-2).

We should always be ready to do the Lord's work without fear of what man will say or do. The prophets of old suffered more persecution and torture than we can ever imagine today; yet the spirit of fear still holds us back from speaking out for the Lord.

The anointing of God is sent to meet needs. If you never step out in love, you will never experience the help of His anointing. But for His grace, we could be the ones in need. Since God has blessed us with His help, we should be bold in service for Him. We should help those we can help and pray for those we can't.

Step out boldly for Christ, so that in the day of judgment He may step out boldly for you.

Jesus, empower me to step out in faith today.
I am willing to take risks in order to serve
You. Thank You Lord for removing fear
and unbelief from my life. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Experimental Faith

For by it the elders obtained a good report. —Hebrews 11:2, KJV

The vast possibilities of faith described in Hebrews 11, then, are derived from experimental faith. Why call it "experimental"? Because it is a word that not only implies our experience but also invites being tested at the empirical level. The marvel of faith is that it derives its strength from believing God without the evidence of things "seen" but produces works that are clearly visible to anybody who cares to observe.

The question of order is at stake in Hebrews 11:2. If we fail to see the nature of faith, as it is indicated in this profound verse, all that follows in Hebrews 11 will mean much less to us. The writer simply says that by faith these people "obtained witness" (v. 4, KJV). It is to be seen that faith produced the witness, not vice versa. The things that they did, then, are not what produced faith; what they did came as a result of their faith. Thus by believing and not seeing, a great many things happened. But their doing these things did not earn them salvation. They were not trying to earn salvation—the opposite is true—it is because they were already assured of God's integrity and faithfulness that they accomplished what they did.

Yet, it was experimental faith, not saving faith, that produced the commendation. Saving faith is intangible; experimental faith is tangible. Hebrews 11 contains one graphic demonstration after another of what one can do experimentally if one already feels accepted by God. God motivates men by accepting them. Our wills are not set free to explore unlimited possibilities through faith until our hearts are first persuaded that God loves us. In short, saving faith must come before experimental faith.

So by saying that faith obtains a good report, our writer shows that what is at first saving faith should become an experimental faith. For the things that experimental faith demonstrates are not accomplished with a view to proving to ourselves that we are saved; we should already know that and be beyond the need for that assurance. Nevertheless, a good report gives proof that saving faith is there.

Excerpted from Believing God (MorningStar Publications & Ministries, 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Power of Praise

Acts 16:16-40 Picture Paul and Silas in stocks in prison. They should have been so discouraged and depressed, but this was not their state at all. They had been beaten, and I am sure the stocks were irritating their fresh wounds, yet they made a quality decision. They decided to praise the Lord anyhow. They began to sing praises to God. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the foundations of the whole prison were shaken, causing the doors of their cell to fling open. The guard of the prison awakened and was in great fear. This guard was about to kill himself because he knew he would be killed if Paul and Silas escaped. Paul cried out, "Do not harm yourself, for we are here." Then this prisoner fell at their feet and asked, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your house will be saved." The guard took them to his house, where Paul and Silas explained to the whole household about the Lord. The guard washed their wounds and then everyone in his household was baptized.

What a story, and it all began with the decision Paul and Silas made to praise the Lord in spite of their circumstances. I heard someone say that they believed the earthquake occurred because God was tapping His toes in rhythm with their praises.

Perhaps we are not in stocks as Paul and Silas were, but there are days that we feel we are bound by oppression and tied up with doubt and unbelief. Sometimes life can be overwhelming, but we can overwhelm whatever circumstance we are experiencing if we will make the decision to praise God anyhow. No matter what we are experiencing in this life, we can praise the Lord for His goodness, mercy, longsuffering, delivering power and on and on. As we get our focus off the circumstances and onto our mighty God, suddenly we too experience an earthquake. The chains that were binding us begin to fall off, the prison door swings open and we are free. We should not, however, take our freedom for granted. We are set free for a purpose, and that purpose is to set others free. Remember the guard took Paul and Silas to his home where his whole family heard the gospel and was saved.

Has God set you free from oppression and depression through praise? The garment of praise always lifts the spirit of heaviness. Then tell somebody. The same liberating power you experienced is available to all those who are oppressed. The joy of salvation awaits all those you will tell of God's liberating power. Tell someone today how Jesus set you free.

Lord, I have experienced the liberating power of praise many times in my life. Help me to be faithful to testify about these times to others. They too can be set free, but they need someone to tell them how. May I be that person who shares the power of praise with them.

READ: 2 Kings 8:1-9:15; Acts 16:16-40; Psalm 143:1-12; Proverbs 17:26


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Plan

??"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT).

These words paint a picture of an extraordinary existence. You might hear these words and relate them only to heaven's glory, but in actuality they were penned for the here and now!

The apostle Paul continues, "But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit" (verse 10, NLT). Paul was divinely moved to bring into the open what had been previously hidden to our eyes, ears and imagination.

God has a unique plan for your life, and He longs for you to connect with Him in intimacy to discover it. God planned an extraordinary life for you. He is a Father who delights in His children. And nothing will please Him more than seeing you reach your highest.

How can you tap into the infinite wisdom of the One who created the heavens and the earth? Through a close, ongoing relationship with Him. He loves you with an everlasting love and wants to be a part of every area of your life. As you read His Word and spend time with Him in prayer, He will reveal to you His will for your life.

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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