Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 86 }

My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. —Hebrews 12:5-8

The Lord pries our fingers loose from the things to which we cling so tenaciously. Firmly, but tenderly, He woos us away from anything that would hold us back from that which is His best for our lives. He could say to us, "If you only knew the glory that you will inherit, you would never refuse Me. Have I ever led you into a place where I could not meet you and provide for you? I will never take anything from you that will not be restored tenfold. My disciplines are good. They seem sorrowful for the moment, but afterward they yield the fruit of righteousness."

{ PRAYER STARTER }

I feel Your gentle tug on my fingers, Lord, prying them loose from those things You know must be dismissed out of my life. I release them to You, Lord. May they never hinder me from growing more like You each day I live.

When the Lord's presence departs from us
in our place of compromise, we must arise
in obedience and faith and seek Him.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Take the Limits Off

Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. —Ephesians 4:23-24

Everything in God's kingdom is in opposition to the ways of the world. To live, we must first die to ourselves, our desires, and our flesh. To receive, we must first give. To bring us out, God brings us in—out of the shadows and into His marvelous light.

We think we can only make this much, save this much, and invest this much at this percentage rate. But our efforts only limit God. Life is not prescribed by our limits but by His limitlessness. But God promises a better rate of return. When our seed is sown in good ground we can expect a yield of some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred (Mark 4:20).

Once you begin operating in God's kingdom, the rules change; there are no limits to His abundance. Which kingdom are you living in? Are you submitted to the laws of the world? Commit to the guidance and care of your heavenly Father, and take the limits off!

Father, I desire to live in Your limitless love,
power, and grace. Forgive me for establishing limits
where You have none. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Ultimate Joy

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." —John 4:34-35

Jesus drew His strength from His obedience; it was His sustenance. That is what excited Him, just being obedient.

Similarly, what makes a Christian a consistently committed person is that he gets his joy in doing what he knows pleases the Father. When he is obedient, that is his joy.

When we are obedient, too often it is because we say, "Well, later on I'll get something out of this." But what happens when this is our motivation is that we give up when the going is rough; we give up if things do not work out. We want some evidence that this obedience counts for something. We must come to the place where we get our joy from obedience. Joy is the unlooked-for reward that Jesus certainly knew was the outcome of His humility.

Although we know that Jesus is God, He allowed Himself to be considered as other than God: He allowed Himself to have another identity in peoples' eyes.

We will sometimes use the expression projecting an image. Everyone has an image. Sometimes it is an image we want; sometimes it is one we dislike. What image did Jesus project? There was one identity, and it was one that if they said it, He considered it a compliment. Do you know what it was? It was the identification as a prophet. In truth, Jesus is said to be prophet, priest, and king.

Jesus embraced the role of a prophet, and this is the image He conveyed. It is interesting that the one undoubted characteristic of a prophet is that vindication always comes later, after death, when they get to heaven.

This is the problem. Jesus was a prophet, and to be a prophet means no vindication until you are dead, and then, when you are safely out of the way, the next generation will praise you. My fellow Christians, we are called today to become prophets. Expect no recognition; do not even expect a decent burial. But great will your reward be in heaven!

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

Listening to the Heart

Matthew 9:1-17 Jesus' response to the scribes who accused Him in their hearts of blasphemy was, "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house" (Matt. 9:4-6, KJV).

Our hearts speak louder to Jesus than our words. The scribes never said audibly, "You are a blasphemer," but they said it within themselves, and Jesus heard their thoughts. The Bible says, "As he [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7).

God knows the thoughts of your heart. Does this scare you? This would only scare you if you are holding on to evil thoughts in your heart. All through our lives our enemy, Satan, will bombard our minds with temptations, but we have the power to reject these thoughts. Satan will give us mental images also that will stir lusts in our hearts, but we have the choice to pull the shade down within us and say, "No, I will not look at that."

When these thoughts are allowed to remain in our minds for a length of time, they can become longings. The lust of the eye is greedy longings in our minds like fantasies and vain imaginations. Looking at pornographic material can cause greedy longings in our minds. Even if we never see such material with our natural eyes, Satan has the power to give such images to our minds.

God destroyed the whole earth except for one family of eight because of the wicked imaginations in the hearts of men. Are these wicked imaginations in our heart today? Satan will send these imaginations, but the moment the image comes, we have to shine the light of Jesus upon that dark image. How do we do this? We say aloud, "I will worship the Lord my God, and Him only will I serve." This is the sword of the Spirit to wield as a mighty weapon to dispel the wicked images Satan sends you. All worship is based upon imaginations.

Which God will you worship today—false gods or the one true God? Jesus is the divine expressed image of the invisible God. We need to keep His face ever before us, and then our imaginations will be touched with His purity. If the eyes of our minds (our imaginations) are single upon Jesus, then our whole bodies will be filled with light.

Father, give me holy imaginations today. Cleanse my mind and give me Your thoughts.

READ: Genesis 26:17-27:46; Matthew 9:1-17; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 3:9-10

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Rule in Life

?Many believe they are merely struggling sinners who've been forgiven—and someday, in heaven, they will 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, NKJV). If we are now His children, 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! You are a son or daughter of God. You possess His nature. You were meant for anything but ordinary!??

Grace not only instructs us, but it also empowers us to live above our human potential. We're born again, brand-new people, free to live an extraordinary life! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead abides in us. This is why the enemy has strived to reduce grace down to merely a ticket into heaven. If you find out who you are, you will rise up and be a great threat to his work. You'll be extraordinary and change your world!

"All who receive God's abundant grace and are freely put right with Him will rule in life through Christ" (Romans 5:17, TEV). This scripture shows we are to rise above the norm. We are influencers and leaders. If you're a teacher, you can come up with the most innovative ways of communicating knowledge and wisdom. If you're a designer, your creative ideas can be cutting-edge. As a businessperson, you can have inventive ideas and keen marketing strategies that are ahead of the curve. You'll know when to buy and when to sell. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you can be the most imaginative mom in your neighborhood. As rulers in life, we will meet others' needs by the exceedingly great power that's in us.

Those who find this grace-empowered life are not driven by personal gain or greed. They live to bring light, love, truth and resource to those they influence. In reaching beyond themselves, they touch hurting humankind and naturally flourish.

Extraordinary living has been God's plan for you from the beginning—nothing less. But, you must truly believe this to begin enjoying a godly life, advancing in all areas of society. You were designed with the potential to be the most creative, innovative and wisest on earth! You were created to heal the sick and free the captives! A revelation of who you are and what you are called to do awaits you... ask, seek, knock—and believe!

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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