Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 22 }

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. —Isaiah 51:6

If only more believers understood that God is immutable—He never changes. God never suspends one attribute to exercise another. For example, He never diminishes in His holiness when He exercises His love and tender mercy. None of God's qualities ever diminish in even the slightest degree. In fact, when one immutable aspect of the nature of God is seemingly in conflict with another of His immutable attributes, it is at that place you will see glimpses of His greatness.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

God, how wonderful it is to know that You never change. When everything around me—and in me—is full of change and confusion, Your love constantly surrounds me and keeps me secure.

What God has always been,
He will ever be.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The Price of Access

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. —Matthew 27:51

To symbolize the equality of privilege and responsibility in the covenant, sacrificial animals were split from top to bottom. Each half stood for one partner in the covenant. No one was represented by the head, and no one was represented by the tail.

Our covenant with God is a contract between equals only because Jesus Christ took our place and accomplished what we could not do for ourselves. In mercy, God did not give us what we had earned. Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. In grace, God gave us what we could never earn. The gift of God's Son gave us eternal life.

At the moment Jesus died, the curtain in the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. This symbolized that Jesus had now paid the price for man to have access to the throne room of God (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Jesus died to give you access to God. Come boldly before your Father today and receive His grace (Hebrews 4:16).

Lord Jesus, I receive Your mercy and Your grace.
I can never earn salvation, but I trust You
by faith to receive all You have
for me. I love You, Lord. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

True Forgiveness

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. —Genesis 50:20

"How can I know whether I have truly forgiven someone?" Joseph provides a heart-searching frame of reference by showing us how he was able to totally forgive his brothers.

Joseph had much to be bitter about. First, his brothers had treated him with cruelty and disdain. True, he had made them jealous and had not been a very nice guy—he had even been a tattletale. (See Genesis 37:2.) But selling him to the Ishmaelites was a wicked and evil act.

Second, Joseph had been falsely accused. Instead of sleeping with Potiphar's wife, he had resisted the temptation. We all like to think that God will bless us when we are faithful and obedient to His Word, but the thanks Joseph got was imprisonment.

Third, God allowed all of these things to take place.

Joseph had much to be bitter about, then, and many "offenders" to forgive: his brothers who sold him into slavery, Potiphar's wife who lied, and God who let it all happen.

The truth is, Joseph needed to be delivered from bitterness and self-pity. Joseph was full of self-pity. He says so: "I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon" (Gen. 40:15). At that point in time, Joseph had not yet forgiven his brothers, Potiphar's wife, or God.

Joseph had not forgotten his dreams. He knew that one day his brothers would bow down before him. And eventually they did. But when it finally happened, Joseph was a changed man. There was no bitterness. There were no grudges. None. Something had happened to him during those final two years in prison. Instead, when the time came, he lovingly welcomed them and forgave them with tears. It was the moment he dreamed of. But instead of punishing them, which he had the power to do, he wept. Filled with love, he demonstrated total forgiveness.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Lord Is My Defense

Psalm 59:1-17 When we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, for an evangelical music festival designed to reach Jewish people, one of the musicians sang a song that I'll never forget. The phrase "He is my defense" was repeated over and over again in the song. That phrase still resounds in my spiritual ears. God truly is our defense, and David knew this even though his enemies surrounded him and used their tongues as swords against him. He knew that God was his strong defense. David said, "God shall let me see my desire upon my enemies."

David also knew the secret of dressing himself in the garment of praise continually. After reviewing what he wanted God to do to defeat his enemies, he said, "But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble-.-.-.-for God is my defense" (Ps. 59:16-17). When we sing aloud to the Lord, demons are put to confusion, and all of our enemies have to flee. Praise is the devil's death knell. When we praise the Lord, we place an invisible shield around us, and we can say with David, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (Ps. 23:5).

My twin sister one time had a vivid picture of just how the Lord's table looks as it is prepared in the midst of our enemies. She saw a table beautifully set with gold and silver, and laden with different kinds of fruits. The Lord Himself was at the head of this huge table. Above Him and all the people gathered was a shield that resembled a glass enclosure. The shield was in reality just a shelter of light. It was God's glory shield over all those present at His table. Just past this shield was total darkness. The people gathered, however, could see through the darkness, and they saw that although Satan with all of his demonic spirits was trying to penetrate this shield—they could not. Those dining were singing beautiful songs of praise as they partook of their wonderful feast.

God is our defense. He is our rock, our high tower and our hiding place. The clothing worn by the guests at this wonderful feast were garments of light that glistened brighter as the guests began to praise the Lord. These were the garments of praise mentioned in Isaiah 61:3—the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The Bible tells us that God dwells in the midst of our praises. Something supernatural happens when we praise the Lord. As we praise Him, we are dressed in these special glory garments. We cannot see it, but Satan sees it, and he hates it because he knows he is unable to get to us. One morning as I was singing an old hymn, "Oh worship the King all glorious above," the phrase "pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise" stood out to me. At that moment I heard the Lord speak this to my spirit: "Yes, I do dwell in the midst of the praises of My people. As they praise Me, I too am dressed with the glory garments of praise. My glory intensifies as My saints on earth praise Me."

READ: Numbers 24:1-25:18; Luke 2:1-35; Psalm 59:1-17; Proverbs 11:14

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Bringing Heaven to Earth

Jesus' mission of revealing the kingdom could be identified with one word: righteousness. We are told, "For the kingdom of God is…righteousness" (Romans 14:17, NKJV). Jesus tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33, NKJV). To put it simply, righteousness means "right in the eyes of God."

Scripture makes it crystal clear: "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10, NKJV). Unless someone is born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, it is impossible to be righteous or acceptable in the eyes of God. However, the Word declares: "Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21, TEV)

Because of what Jesus did for us, we are now acceptable to God in every way. Right standing with Him has nothing to do with our effort but is based on the amazing work of Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart to hear Christians refer to themselves as miserable sinners who have just been forgiven when such a great price was paid for us to not only be forgiven and delivered but also to be re-created in the image of Jesus.

First and foremost, the kingdom within speaks of the divine nature, which empowers us to live holy and fruitful in this present world. This power is most evident in the life of Jesus. He showed how humankind was created to live—not bound to the burning desires of fallen flesh, but motivated by righteousness, propelled by the power of the Holy Spirit in love, joy, and peace—abounding in forgiveness, healing, restoration, and lifting others to the higher life. This is the kingdom; it's not only to live holy but also to bring heaven to our lost and dying world.

Now here is His charge to us: "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (John 20:21, NKJV)

What a statement! We are to bring heaven to earth in the same manner Jesus did. In essence, this is how it should be: To see one of Christ's true followers is to see Jesus, just as seeing Jesus was to see the Father.

What a responsibility—and an opportunity—this is for each of us!

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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