Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 327 }

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. —Psalm 22:1-2

God's silence or inactivity at a time when we desperately want God to act or speak serves to reveal the spiritual maturity of both the people and the prophet. Each believer must go through the struggle of learning to walk with God when He is silent. It's an inescapable part of spiritual growth, and a prophetic minister must understand God's strategy of silence. As one who supposedly speaks for God, a prophetic minister must understand that God does not always speak, even in the most desperate of situations. If he cannot grasp this, he will inevitably manufacture words for people when God's specific purpose is for him to say nothing. Regardless of his well-intentioned efforts to make God look good, he becomes a stumbling block for those whom he seeks to help.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me to understand the silence when I cannot hear Your voice. May I never manufacture words to speak for You. I would rather say nothing than to become a stumbling block to others.

Each believer must go through the struggle of
learning to walk with God when He is silent.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Servanthood

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. —John 12:26

The kingdom of God is built on servanthood. Isaiah gave his voice to prophesy the Savior's coming. One angel descended from the heavens to tell a young virgin she would bear the Savior of the world and another offered his voice to proclaim the Savior's birth. Mary offered her womb, while Joseph gave his fiancee. The donkey lent his back and the cattle gave their warmth. The earth volunteered the straw on which our Savior lay, while the moon gave its light. A star pointed the direction for the wise men bringing gifts. All these things were done in labor inspired by love because God gave His Son.

But it was the Son who gave all. He gave His life. He said, "No man takes it from me. I can lay it down, and I can take it up again." He could have called ten thousand angels to His aid, but He willingly died for you and me. Servanthood is giving of your time, energy, and talent, expecting nothing in return. This is the kingdom of God.

Read Philippians 2. How does your life reflect the servant attitude of Jesus Christ? In what ways does pride hinder ministry and servanthood in your life?

Lord Jesus, shape my perspective on all of life
so that I may see others as those whom I serve
instead of expecting them to serve me. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

How Does God Punish Sin?

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. —Romans 1:26

You thought that you were outwitting God. You thought that here He is trying to reach you, while you just say, "I'll show Him. I'll just enjoy living in sin."

What Paul is saying here is that God has already begun to punish you. It is a judgment of God that you remain in sin. When you think that you're getting away with it, that's the worst thing of all that can happen. The worst sign of God's judgment is that you're able to sin and get away with it.

Nor does God give us a bold sign, telling us, "Here's what I am going to do." He just gives up. He doesn't push us; He doesn't hammer us. In effect, Paul is saying this: Is it sin that you want? Sin you will get. That's the first way God punishes sin.

The second way is by exposure at the final judgment. Say you decide to live in sin; you're thinking, at first, that something's going to happen as a kind of warning from God, like thunder and lightening, but when it doesn't come you think, I don't feel a thing; I'm able to go on and do this. When a person does what is not right, he may say, "I don't feel any different; I feel fine." But how does God punish—by exposure at the final judgment. God "will give to each person according to what he has done" (Rom. 2:6).

A third way is that God's Son, Jesus, took our punishment on the cross. Eternally speaking, there are two ways whereby God punishes sin: the fires of hell and the blood of Jesus. He who knew no sin was made sin.

Let this be what lingers in your mind. It's not a question of whether your sin will be punished; it is the question of how. May God grant you to see why the Bible talks about "fleeing from the wrath to come." (See Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7.)

Excerpted from The God of the Bible (Authentic Media, 2002).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

God Looks at the Heart

1 Samuel 15:1-16:23 Prejudice is simply prejudging a person before we even get to know that person. We often make up our minds that we are not going to like a person simply because of his outward appearance. God warned Samuel when he went to anoint a new king of Israel not to look at the outer appearance of the man. He instructed Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse. As each of Jesse's sons passed by, Samuel knew the Lord had not chosen any of those seven sons. He asked Jesse if all the sons were present, and Jesse told him that the youngest was tending the sheep. His name was David. When David appeared on the scene, he was very good looking and had a beautiful countenance. God, however, did not choose David because of his outward appearance. He chose him because He knew David's heart. David had a heart after God.

Psalm 113 tells us that God humbles Himself to see the hearts of men. It is an awesome thought that God sees and knows what is in my heart. What is so amazing is that when He looks into my heart and sees the potential for sin that is there, He still loves me. I had a vision once of the face of Jesus, and as I looked into the eyes of Jesus, I was overwhelmed with His compassion for me. First His eyes were like fiery laser beams that penetrated my whole being, and then His eyes were like dove's eyes—tender and full of compassion. Yes, He knows my heart, even the dark parts of it, but He still loves me. When He sees the dark parts of my heart, He longs to shine the light of His love into those dark areas and grace my heart with His love. He wants me to confess my sins to Him so He can forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Jesus also warns us not to look on the outer appearance of people. He tells us that the scribes and Pharisees looked good on the outside, but on the inside they were rotting and decaying. He calls them whitewashed sepulchers full of dead men's bones. God is not interested in the outer physical appearance. He is interested in the inner person of our souls. However, in the Law no priest could come into God's presence that had a deformity of any kind. He was to be faultless in appearance. Thank God we now have Jesus, our High Priest, who is perfect inside and out. We now stand in His righteousness before the Father, not our own.

When David was anointed to be king of Israel, God knew even though David might sin, he would always repent and turn his heart to the Lord. A perfect heart in God's sight is one that desires to go God's way every day. David wrote this: "I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart" (Ps. 101:2).

Let this be your prayer today.

READ: 1 Samuel 15:1-16:23; John 8:1-20; Psalm 110:1-7; Proverbs 15:8-10



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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

A Sexual Nightmare

We are straying far from God's heart because we are so influenced by our society. In so many ways, the church has become a subculture rather than what we are called to be—a counterculture.

The gospel of forgiveness and inheriting heaven is preached but not the complete gospel of also being set free from the dominion of sin. As a result, many are easily conformed to this world, where it's common for a man and woman to live together, have sex outside of marriage or with the same gender, and divorce and remarry for reasons other than unfaithfulness. And these practices are becoming more common among Christians because the church has not proclaimed what Jesus has freed us from.

It pleases God when we live holy, especially in our sexuality. This is the area that usually goes haywire outwardly if there is a deeper problem inwardly. If you were able to look into the heart of a professing Christian who is enslaved to fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography or any other sexual impurity, you would most likely find a deeper issue. It could be pride, rebellion, lust for power, bitterness, envy or some other iniquity, but no matter what's there, the root is always a lack of true fear of the Lord.

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more. For you remember what we taught you in the name of the Lord Jesus. God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, NLT)

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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