Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 172 }

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. —Acts 13:2-3

While Jesus was still walking the earth, the disciples felt the Lord's love for them, they experienced His embrace, and they sensed His deep desire for them. They were the Lord's for life. When the Bridegroom ascended into heaven, the ache of desire and the remembrance of intimacy stung their hearts with pangs of love's desire. Jesus knew the disciples would long for the opportunity to look into the eyes of Jesus and to feel the warmth of His nearness as in former times when they walked the hills of Galilee. However, God had a new plan to satisfy their longing. By the Holy Spirit, the Lord would release the fulfillment of their hearts' desire. As they would seek His comfort, they would again experience the previous satisfaction they had when He was so near to them. This would come about through the Holy Spirit revealing Christ through the Word. At that point, they would add fasting to the longing in their hearts, and their spirits would become tender in love. This is fasting in the grace of God. Fasting is absolutely essential for developing a deeper experience of devotion for Christ.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, Your Holy Spirit can satisfy the longing of my heart. Teach me to experience a deeper devotion for You through the Bridegroom fast.

The Bridegroom fast tenderizes our spirits, helping
us to receive freely and deeply.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Slippery Faith

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith-.-.-.-and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. —Romans 4:20-21

The word translated "stagger" from the Greek means to "doubt or hesitate." Abraham did not slide back and forth between faith and fear—two mutually exclusive expectations. You cannot have faith and fear in the same heart. One drives out the other. You do not have to rebuke fear or overcome fear. Have faith in God and fear not.

Abraham was fully persuaded. Some Christians are not fully persuaded about anything—that their spouse is the right one, that their church is the right one, or their choice for lunch is the right one.

Stop wading in the shallow flatlands of weak spiritual experience and launch out into the deep. Be fully persuaded that the God you serve is able to perform what He has promised!

Lord, I am persuaded that You are able to save
my lost loved ones. Lord, I am persuaded
that Your plans for me are good and
not evil. Lord, I am persuaded that
You will protect me from all harm.
Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

True Success

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. —1 Corinthians 9:19

To quote my friend Joseph Ton, "Success in the eyes of the world is how many servants you have. Success in the eyes of Jesus is how many people you serve."

God is looking for people who are willing to become servants, and we can expect that, like Jesus, we will be tested in that role to the extreme. Yet it is a great faith-builder, for one who is willing to be subordinate, and all that that means, must rely increasingly on God's faithfulness. So we must ask ourselves how willing are we to go in pursuit of God's standards rather than the world's, which will always be the reverse.

Too often when we first come to God we are under the impression that God owes us something. We think we have bargaining power with God to ask Him questions and make Him answer us. Yet suddenly we begin to realize that we are nothing and that God owes us nothing. He owes us, if anything, a place in hell. It is at this point that we begin to say, "I subordinate myself to you."

Everybody you meet thereafter will be your superior in some sense. And this is why Paul said in Philippians 2, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (v. 4). How humbling it is to accept authority from and be subordinate to one whom you think is less capable or qualified than you! How humiliating!

Yet the beginning of greatness is accepting authority. When the disciples asked for preferment, Jesus did not rebuke them. He just reversed the roles: let the greatest among you be the servant of the rest. This is just what Jesus did in His own life: He "emptied himself" and became a servant.

What we must ask ourselves, therefore, is to what extent will the marks of the bond servant, which characterized Jesus' life, be ours?

Excerpted from Meekness and Majesty (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1992, 2000).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

I Can't Do It, Lord!

1 Thessalonians 5:4-28 Do you know what you are called to do on this earth? We all as believers have common callings such as being witnesses in this earth, lights shining in the midst of darkness, salt to give flavor and preserve the lives of others by introducing them to Christ and discipling them. I believe, however, that each believer has a specific calling from God on his life.

What is a calling? A calling is the point where your passion meets a place of great need. A calling is not a vocation. It is not an office in the church, or even one of the fivefold ministries (teacher, evangelist, preacher, apostle and prophet). A calling is a common thread that gathers the various seasons and events of your life into one beautiful garment tailor-made for you—a garment that displays God's glory in a unique way. Let me share with you how God revealed His calling to my family members and myself. Discovering your own personal calling involves asking, seeking and knocking in prayer and then listening for the answer.

When my boys were very young, I asked the Lord to show me their calling in life. As I sought the Lord in prayer, He shared the following with me: "I have called your oldest son, Russ, to be a bridge between races.I have called your middle son, Ron, to be a bridge between nations.I have called your youngest son, Ray, to be a bridge between families."

I shared this word from the Lord with each of the boys, and all three are fulfilling their God-given call. Later I discovered the Hebrew word for priests is bridge. One morning as I was waking from a deep sleep, I heard a whisper in my ear. I knew it was the Lord, and He was calling me "Jochabed." I heard, "Wake up, Jochabed." I didn't know who Jochabed was, but I knew the Lord was calling me by a new name. I looked Jochabed up in the Bible and found she was the mother of Aaron and Moses—the first priests. God had called me to be a mother of priests (bridges).

My husband discovered his calling while seeking the Lord alone on Stone Mountain. He heard the Lord call him Joseph. We looked up Joseph in Hebrew and found it means "provider." Then as we researched we discovered that three Josephs in the Bible were all providers: Joseph, Israel's son, provided food for his whole family and all of Egypt during a famine; Joseph, the guardian father of Jesus, provided a home and nurturing for Jesus in His childhood; and Joseph of Arimathea provided the tomb for Jesus. My husband's motivational gift is giving.

I discovered my own calling when I asked the Lord which part of the body I was. Was I a foot, eye, hand or what? I heard in my spirit He had called me to be a voice, and then I remembered this was the call of John the Baptist—a voice crying in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." This call has taken many forms in my life—teaching, writing, singing, etc. Ask the Lord today what your call is. As you ask, seek and knock, you will discover your own calling.

READ: Jeremiah 19:1-21:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 25:8-10

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Fullness of Grace

You probably know that by God's grace you're forgiven and saved, but do you know there is so much more that grace gives us?

"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16, NKJV). Here is the point so many miss—with grace we can receive the fullness of God's nature! Grace is a gift that not only saved us but also imparted in us the completeness of Jesus. We are in Christ, He is in us and we have the fullness of His nature.

The fundamental problem is that we have cut ourselves off from the flow of grace. Most believe that God's grace has forgiven us from all sin and saved us from hell—which is true—but many are missing the rest: the new nature we have, the power to walk in holiness and the authority to bring heaven's will to earth to meet the needs of humankind.

My life changed dramatically once I discovered that grace includes not only God's amazing forgiveness and the promise of heaven but also His empowerment. Prior to this I struggled, found many of God's instructions too difficult to fulfill, battled inferiority and a poor self-image and wondered why there was so little eternal fruit in my life. However, once the realization came that I now possessed the fullness of God's nature, my life stabilized, blessings flowed and my impact on others for the kingdom increased.

Many believers think that we are merely struggling sinners who've been forgiven—and someday, in heaven, we'll be like Jesus. This fallacy keeps people in bondage and nullifies God's power in their lives. The Bible tells us we are His children: "Beloved, now we are children of God" (1 John 3:2). If we are now His children, then we now have access to fully operate in the character of Jesus. We have the ability to live as He intended us to live from the beginning—extraordinarily! We can live in His image, His likeness, possessing His ability—all through grace!

Grace not only instructs us but also empowers us to live above our own human potential. We've been born again; we're brand-new people. We are free to live an extraordinary life! You are a son or daughter of God. You possess His nature. You were meant for anything but ordinary!

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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