Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 205 }

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. —Philippians 3:8-9

Are you surprised at this new approach to holiness? It will change the very face of Christianity. It's nothing like the legalistic straitjackets of yesterday. It's rooted in strong desire, not shame; beauty, not bashing. By understanding that God desires us as His bride, our generation will arise in beauties of holiness yet unknown, with hearts ripe and sweet with passion and love. We will gladly choose Him over everything else that competes for our attention. We will deny our flesh not primarily because of fear but out of the overflow of lovesick hearts, captured by the Man Christ Jesus, beauty incarnate. This intimacy will be motivated most of all by the astonishing revelation that He wants to marry us and have us share His gladness, pleasure, and beauty for time and beyond.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

God, the knowledge of Your desire for me causes me to desire to be holy as You are holy. Your love captures my heart and causes me to long to share Your gladness, pleasure, and beauty forever.

We will count all things lost for the excellence of
knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

A New Place of Worship

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. —Genesis 22:2

God told Abraham to go to a new place to worship Him. Frequently we too must go to a new place in our worship—a place far from the religious traditions of reciting confessions and going through prayer cards. Tradition will smother the presence of God in our times of worship.

God tested Abraham's faith and obedience, and He will test yours. We may hear Him tell us to lay something on the altar that is precious to us. God does not ask for those things because He needs them, but because we need to be set free from their power in our lives. Every sacrifice we ever make will take us into a new place of worship with Him.

Abraham dearly loved Isaac. Did He love him more than the Lord? No, his faith was tested and he obeyed God. Give your children to the Lord. Give your spouse to the Lord. Give your church to the Lord. On the altar of your surrender you will discover a deeper level of worship and intimacy with God.

Lord, I come to worship You in a new place.
Today I place everything and everyone I
have sought to control on the altar.
I desire on this one thing—to
worship and glorify You.
Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Keys for an Awakening

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. —Matthew 22:29, KJV

I believe that revival is coming—an unprecedented kind of outpouring such as was seen in Jonathan Edwards's day, unlike anything our generation has seen. This Awakening will come when the Scriptures and the power of God come together. Another way of putting it is that the Word and the name of God are rejoined—remarried. The two ways God unveiled Himself in the Old Testament were through His Word and His name.

What is the Word? It is what Abraham believed and so was saved. "Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness" (Gen. 15:6). It's the way people are saved still.

What about the name? It was first disclosed to Moses in Exodus 3:6, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."

Like many of us, Moses wanted a rational explanation for what was happening. We all have our questions; however, some things are too deep to be revealed this side of eternity. God said simply, "Stop. Take off your shoes. You are on holy ground." (See Exodus 3:5.) And in that event, an event through which Moses would never again be the same, God unveiled His name—"I am who I am" (v. 14).

Unprecedented phenomena accompanied the unveiling of God's name. There were signs and wonders that defied a natural explanation. It began with the burning bush. It continued with Aaron's rod, which was turned into a serpent. It continued on with the ten plagues of Egypt, culminating with the night of Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground.

How do we summarize the relationship of Word and name? The Word relates to God's integrity: His promise, His grace, His inability to tell a lie. It is the way we are saved. The name relates to His honor, His reputation, His power, and His influence.

In this coming awakening, God will use most those who have sought His face, not His hand, who have searched His Word and stood in awe of it.

Excerpted from The Word and the Spirit (Charisma House, 1998).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

In That Day

Isaiah 12:1-14:32 We are still in the days of awe. I hope you are praying for your Jewish friends during this holy season for them. Pray for that veil to be dropped over their eyes and for the eyes of their understanding to be opened. This passage in Isaiah speaks about a special day that will happen in Israel. That day will be filled with praise because God's chosen people will at last know Jesus as their Messiah. They will know the God of their salvation, and with joy they will draw water from the wells of salvation. They will see all the excellent things God has done, and God will be their strength and song.

The days of awe will no longer be observed because His chosen will know that their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. No longer will they have to ask God for another year of life with the hope that in that year their names would be removed from the Book of the In-Between and placed in the Book of the Righteous.

What a glorious day that will be when Jew and Gentile will worship together in Jerusalem. In that day they will actually speak the things Isaiah wrote: "And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee" (Isa. 12:1-6, KJV).

What a great day that will be for all of Israel. You can have a part in ushering that day in by praying now for Israel and all the Jewish people.

READ: Isaiah 12:1-14:32; 2 Corinthians 13:1-14; Psalm 57:1-11; Proverbs 23:9-11

 

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Enemy's Secret Strategy

A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn't matter who you are or how you serve in life. If you're a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor, it doesn't matter because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role. The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God's will but also His great pleasure.

Hollywood, religious people, and our culture have painted a warped and limited image of God's people. What is the distortion? We have an enemy named Satan, who is called "the ruler of this world," "the prince of the power of the air," and "the god of this world." He influences the world's systems and sways the minds of those who do not belong to God. He has fallen angels and demons to help carry out his grand strategy.

The sad fact is that too often the church has limited Satan's chief strategy to certain behaviors, like trying to get people to drink alcohol or watch sex scenes in movies. He's much more crafty than that and uses a wide variety of snares and diversions. We've missed his primary purpose. Because what he fears most is Christians discovering who God's made them to be—extraordinary people with abilities to carry out remarkable and unusual feats. This should be the image society has of Christians.

In stark contrast to the present reputation of Christians, one of the great struggles the early church encountered was convincing people that they were not superheroes or gods. Cornelius, an officer in the most powerful army in the world, bowed down to worship Peter and his companions. Stunned, Peter immediately replied, "Stand up; I myself am also a man" (Acts 10:26).

In a city named Lystra, the mob "went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, 'The gods have come down! These men are gods!'" Paul sharply corrected them: "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods!" (Acts 14:11, 14, The Message). When Paul was on Malta collecting firewood, a poisonous snake bit him. He shook it off, and the inhabitants anticipated his death. "But when it was obvious he wasn't going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!" (vs. 28:6).

Unbelievers said of the early church, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (vs. 17:6). Christians were held in high esteem by their society. It's recorded that the entire city of Jerusalem's attitude toward the church was that "everyone had high regard for them" (5:13, NLT).

In our generation may we each live in such a way to recover that kind of respect for the church.

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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