Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 217 }

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13

Beloved, I tell you, studying the heart of God is absolutely crucial if we are to have healthy families and careers. The most practical thing you can do to take care of your family or business is to cultivate an overflowing heart. As you regularly behold the happy God in the Word, you will be progressively filled with happiness. You will take care of your family far better than if you were grouchy. Have you noticed that the blessing is much smaller for the people around you when you go about your God-ordained responsibilities with a spirit of depression, heaviness, anger, and bitterness? But if you invest time in understanding the happiness of God's heart for you, your heart is gloriously awakened. You become powerful and effective in your duties in the kingdom of God and in all aspects of life. Don't buy the argument that spending time on this is not realistic or practical. In truth, there is nothing more practical we can do.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Remove any spirits of depression, heaviness, anger, and bitterness from my heart. I do not want them there. I want to experience Your abundant joy and have a heart that is filled with happiness and power.

Grumpy, duty-bound service is better than nothing,
but it is not God's best way.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

A Face of Faith

The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. —Acts 14:9-10

A man, lame from birth, sat in the crowd the day Paul preached the gospel in Lystra. The Bible doesn't tell us what Paul said, but whatever he said produced faith in this man.

Heard, as it is used in this verse, implies the abiding results of a past action—the preaching of the Word. Paul's preaching gave birth to faith, and it began to grow in the man the more he heard Paul expound. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

The seed of the Word of God was planted in this man's spirit. Paul continued to exhort the crowd when suddenly that seed of faith blossomed in his heart.

The man began acting as if he were already healed. Paul was able to see beyond his outward expression and see the condition of his heart. Paul, speaking words of faith, commanded him to stand—and he did, to the glory of God.

Are you living in defeat or confessing and acting in victory? You may not yet have seen your victory, but you know by faith that the victory has already been won at the cross. So live like a victor, not a victim!

Help me live victoriously today,
Lord Jesus. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Called to Brokenness

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. —1 Corinthians 13:2-3

Brokenness refers to the authentic person rather than to an awesome performance. Why is it that Paul says, "I am nothing"? What does he mean? He is showing what he is as a person.

What Paul wants in 1 Corinthians 13 is to show what we are as Christians, as people who have been converted; we are going to heaven, and we are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of the things done in the body. Is God going to ask us to explain how our gift of prophecy functions or whether people thought we were great preachers? No! We will give an account of the things done in the body. So that the gifts, without brokenness, equal zero.

In these verses, Paul is referring to spiritual gain; without love there is no intimacy with God. John said that our fellowship is with the Father, but if we don't have love we won't be having fellowship with the Father; there will be no spiritual gain.

He could also be referring to spiritual progress. The only time we grow spiritually is when what we do is totally hidden from others and only God knows. Then we get the honor that comes only from Him: "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44). Brokenness is when we are content with knowing that He knows. Are you suffering today? God knows. Are you going through a very difficult time? God knows.

What makes the giving of one's life, of one's possessions, of value ... what makes the gifts effective is brokenness, the slain ego.

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

What Makes You Shine?

2 Corinthians 4:1-12 When our middle son was in China as a teacher of English for two years, one of his students asked Ron what made him shine. This student recognized the light of the Lord's countenance upon Ron. Paul tells us in this letter to the Corinthians that Jesus is the light who has shone into the darkness of our hearts. He says, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (vv. 6-7, KJV).

Jesus is the light of the world that lights every man who is born into this world. Jesus calls us the light of the world, and He exhorts us to let our lights shine before men that they might see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven.

A candle shines the brightest in a very dark place. China is a country where much darkness exists. This is why the light of Jesus through Ron's face shone so brightly. We are all lights shining the midst of a very dark world.

I had the privilege of seeing the face of Jesus in a vision as I was waking from a Sunday nap. His face was encircled in light, and the expression on His face was one of exuberant joy, exhaustless love and empowering peace. When I saw His face, I asked the Father why He did not choose to show the face of Jesus to the whole world. I remember praying:

Father, if I could just have a video of Jesus' face and could show it to all my lost friends, they would instantly repent. I know, Father, the love in that face would compel the worst sinner to turn from his ways to follow Jesus.

My request was answered with words that changed my life: "I have not chosen to reveal my Son's face to the world in such a way. Instead I have chosen all those in the body of Christ to reveal the face of Jesus to others through their faces."

Is the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shining through your face today?

READ: Job 34:1-36:33; 2 Corinthians 4:1-12; Psalm 44:1-7; Proverbs 22:10-12

 

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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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