Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 95 }

Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue; and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. —Song of Solomon 4:11, NKJV

What are the milk, honey, and fragrant garments the beloved mentions? Just as milk and honey help nurture bodies, the lips dripping with milk and honey are the bride's edifying, life-giving words that nurture the faith of the young instead of accusing, slandering, criticizing, and finding fault. Her fragrant garments are her righteous deeds of service. Our intent to lay our lives down for the Lord, crucifying our own self-centeredness, ascends like a pleasing perfume to the Lord.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, let my lips bring Your life and salvation to those I meet. May my acts of spiritual service bring others to You. I lay my life at Your feet and pray that it will be a pleasing perfume to Your heart.

When the intention of our hearts is to be a servant,
our service exudes a beautiful fragrance
in the presence of God (2 Cor. 2:15-16).

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Here Am I

We must shut ourselves off from the world and give Him our full attention.

And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. —Exodus 3:4

When Moses came alone to the mountain of God and encountered a bush that burned but was not consumed, he did not leave to research burning bushes nor did he try to locate someone to question who had experienced the same phenomenon. He did not ask other people what they thought God wanted to tell him. Moses turned his focus toward the bush.

Because Moses had his eyes fixed on God and his ears open to God's voice, God called out to him. God is continually calling us to turn aside and listen to His voice. He is never silent, but we cannot hear Him over the television, the tape player, or our own voices.

We must shut ourselves off from the world and give Him our full attention. James 4:8 says, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." Take time for God. Seek Him in His Word. Like Moses, fix your eyes on God, open your ears to His voice and say, "Here am I."

Jesus, I long to say to You, "Here am I."
Visit me with Your presence. Rapture my soul
with joy. Be my most intimate friend. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Run for the Prize

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. —1 Corinthians 9:25

In the Olympics an athlete was subject to disqualification if he did not go through ten months of strict training. It is interesting that in those ten months the athlete had to do away with lawful pleasures. The Greek word that is used here is agnoidzo; it means "to agonize." It means self-control in all things, and so the implication is that if the athlete has to have self-control for ten months prior to the games, so this Christian race is to be run throughout a lifetime of self-control. This refers, of course, not merely to the body, but to the whole man—body, mind, spirit.

The prize won at the Olympics was a wreath, sometimes made of pine, and strangely enough, sometimes made of celery! That's right! Can you imagine wearing a wreath of pieces of celery? Perhaps if it is fresh and you give me some salt with it I could enjoy it.

The wreath was already beginning to wither when they put it on the winner's head. So when Paul says they do it to get a crown that will not last, that sounds like an understatement. But what it looked like was not the point. The winner had no thought of the composition of the crown. As with modern athletes, victory meant fame; it was for prestige and sometimes fortune, so that the crown was simply a symbol of victory.

Paul says that crown was nothing in the light of the believer's prize. Who knows what it will look like? Who knows whether it is a symbolic gold crown or if it is literal? Who knows? But just to hear the words of Jesus, "Well done!" will give to that person a self-consciousness that will last forever.

Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Walk, Stand, Sit

Psalm 1:1-6 The psalmist reverses the natural way we learn to walk. A baby first learns to sit up and then gradually pulls himself up to the standing position. Finally, when he feels steady on his feet, he ventures to take the first step. God has not called us to a natural way of walking. He has called us to a supernatural walk. We walk in His ways, we stand in His righteousness, and we sit in His presence.

WE WALK IN HIS WAYS. First comes the desire in our lives to walk in His ways. We know the way we are going is not fruitful and that there must be a better way. Then we discover the way. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." We recognize our own inability to walk in joy and peace, and we come to Jesus in our desperation. We discover that in our own strength we cannot take another step in this life. A divine exchange happens when we ask Jesus to forgive us for the way we have walked before (our own natural thinking and rationalization) and we confess our desire to walk as Jesus walked. Every unrighteous act, word or thought in our lives at that moment is cleansed. As far as the east is from the west, so far does God wipe away all of our transgressions, iniquities and sin. Our unrighteousness is exchanged for His righteousness. We are now able to stand in His righteousness, and we enter into His kingdom. His kingdom is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

WE STAND IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. The desire to walk in His ways grows stronger and stronger as we receive more and more of the Lord's strength into our lives. In all the areas of our weakness, He is able to come into our lives and be our strength. As we look to Jesus for our daily strength and His Word for our daily food, we are able to stand in His righteousness. We become steadfast in Him, and faithfulness and longsuffering begin to develop in our lives. The joy of the Lord becomes our daily strength, and we realize we are steady on our feet. We have the faith to begin to walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit, rather than having our natural or carnal minds control our way of walking in this life.

WE SIT IN HIS PRESENCE. The more we walk in His ways, the more the desire comes into our lives to sit in His presence. We realize that without Him we are helpless and can do nothing of eternal consequence in our lives. Our souls cry out to be more like Jesus. We know in order for this transformation to take place, we must spend more quiet time with Him. In His presence are fullness of joy and pleasures forever more. When we begin to walk in the Spirit, we enter His classroom of life; we have to still ourselves to learn of Him. The invitation is extended to us to find rest for our souls if we daily come to Jesus and let the Great Teacher, His Holy Spirit, instruct us in meekness and lowliness of heart. The more we daily still ourselves and stay our minds upon Jesus and His Word, the more we become like Him.

READ: Genesis 1:1-2:25; Matthew 1:1-2:12; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 1:1-6

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Set Free from Sin

I received Jesus Christ as my Lord in 1979 and it changed my life. Immediately I lost the desire for alcohol, I stopped swearing, and other sinful desires gradually disappeared the more I read, meditated on, and spoke the Word of God over my life.

However, there was one area of sin that didn't go away as easily. I struggled with lust and was addicted to pornography. I had periods of freedom, but after time gravitated back to it. At the end of a four-day fast on May 6, 1985, I was set free from the stronghold of pornography and lust. By His grace, I'm still free today.

However, once I was set free from pornography's grip, I still had to resist the desire to engage. Prior to May 6, I seemingly couldn't resist with any success. After May 6, I could resist, but I had to cooperate with grace to fight off the urge to look at pornography. Its power over me was broken after fasting and intense prayer, but I still had to steadfastly resist the desire.

Over time, as I continued to pray and allow God's Word to saturate my mind, I noticed that my desires had changed. I no longer had to make myself turn away from pornography; rather, I was repulsed by it. God's grace had changed me thoroughly from the inside out. The writer of Hebrews describes this blessedness:

"For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law." (5:13-14, AMP)

I realized that God's Word had brought my senses and mental faculties into alignment with His desires and thoughts. Holiness is to think, talk, and live as He does. The flesh can be trained, but it loves habitual patterns. Just as it can be trained in unrighteousness, it also can be trained in righteousness. We can take dominion over our mind and flesh through the power of grace. Our flesh responds to what it is fed.

His grace is more than enough to set you free from any sin!

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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