Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 237 }

Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." —Luke 10:21

Imagine, if you can, what it was like when Jesus entered a village of Israel during His earthly ministry. I see the kids making a beeline to Him, invited by His smile and His eyes alive with pleasure. They adored the carpenter from Nazareth, the new preacher in town. You can't fool kids. If you are mean, they avoid you, even if you try to act nice. Jesus wanted those kids around Him. They bypassed the sacred boundary lines and ran straight into His embrace. What I would give to see the Son of God overflowing with happiness and delight like that! How great is His joy when immature people receive revelation.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, I can only imagine the wonderful joy and anticipation little children felt as they watched You come into their midst. They crowded around you and welcomed Your smile and gentle caress. Lord, I am also Your little child, and I long to bring a smile to Your face and feel Your gentle touch.

Jesus loves to shock His babes with how good
He will be to them!

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

No Man

For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. —John 5:4-5

Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be made whole, and he answered, "Sir, I have no man." He was so caught up with thinking he needed someone to help him, he could not see that his miracle was standing right in front of him!

When you have no man to help you—nowhere to turn but God—you are a prime target for a miracle! No man can do for you what Jesus can do for you.

When you quit depending on your job, the preacher, your family, or the next healing line, you are positioned for your breakthrough. Family may let you down, the preacher may disappoint you, and your friends may forsake you, but Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Rely on Him alone, and He will meet you at the very point of your deepest need.

Even your closest friends or family can let you down. But don't be discouraged. You can always trust in your best friend—Jesus.

Jesus, no man can do for me what You can do.
I know that You are my best friend. I will trust
You in everything because You
are my best friend. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

God as an Enemy

Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. —James 4:4

I have never had an enemy in the non-Christian world. Yet that fact doesn't cheer me up. All my enemies have been Christians. Sadly, Christians are not exempt from jealousy and ambition. I sometimes wonder how many theological controversies—past and present—are, in reality, theological issues. The untold story in so many famous accounts is that there was often a spirit of rivalry that was masked as being a theological issue. The truth will come out in the courtroom of God.

I know that God has enemies. His enemy is the devil; the enemy of Jesus Christ is Satan. The enemy of the Holy Spirit is the devil, the enemy of the truth is the devil, the enemy of the church is the devil, and God's enemies are those who are against the truth.

God may choose to get our attention and increase our anointing by the rival spirit of an enemy. Now a rivalry can be a friendly rivalry, but sometimes it can lead to hostility. A rival is a person who competes with you. And yet a friendly rivalry can be healthy: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov. 27:17). Every rival in our lives may be seen as a thorn in the flesh to get us to pray harder.

There can be a strategic rivalry. Saul became jealous of David, and David became the enemy of Saul for the rest of his life. David's hero became his enemy, but it was God's way of refining David's anointing—the best thing that could have happened to him. God uses an enemy to refine us. That is why it is strategic.

Be sure that you are in Christ. Be sure that you are covered by the blood of Jesus. Be sure that all your sins are under His blood, because you surely don't want God as an enemy. Be sure then, that you know that your sins are forgiven and that you are walking in the light (1 John 1:7).

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Pavilion of God

Psalm 31:19-24 Nothing can wound more than the accusations of others, especially if a friend accuses you. David had this experience. What causes a critical, judgmental spirit? The root cause is pride. When we are hurt by others, it is a sign that we have pride in our hearts. When we hurt and wound others with our words, we are also guilty of pride.

The best definition I ever heard of humility is "seeing others as Christ sees them and also seeing yourself as Christ sees you." Think about it. If we walked in such humility, we would not see the negative in others because we would see them as Christ sees them. Jesus values each person the same. We all were considered worthy of His great sacrifice on the cross. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God gave His Son for the whole world, but the whole world sadly will not receive or believe in such a great sacrifice. If we saw ourselves as Christ sees us, we would not be easily hurt because we also would see ourselves as someone who has value and worth. No matter what others think of us, we are assured of the fact that there is One who loved us enough to die for us. This thought will be a pavilion to shield us when others come against us with accusations.

David learned how to overcome when others accused him. He knew there was a safe pavilion he could run to that protected him from the strife of tongues. That safe place was the presence of the Lord where he was comforted and restored. David says, "You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues" (v. 20).

Who is the "them" referred to in such a great promise? The "them" is all those who fear the Lord and put their trust in Him rather than in men. When I read this passage, I picture myself in a beautiful white pavilion or gazebo set in a field of wild flowers beside a peaceful lake. Inside that pavilion are soft, white satin pillows that protect my ears from hearing the accuser of the brethren (Satan). All sounds of strife cease, and I can only hear the voice of the Lord. Here I recognize who my true enemy is—not people, but the principalities and powers that operate through people. Here my perspective is restored and I can do warfare against the enemy instead of justifying myself to others when I am accused. Here I find peace and rest for my soul, and here the accuser is silenced and I can respond in love to my accusers. Here I can love the Lord and am empowered to transmit that love to others.

Lord, help me to run to this pavilion whenever others accuse me.

READ: Nehemiah 1:1-3:14; 1 Corinthians 7:1-19; Psalm 31:19-24; Proverbs 21:4


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

You Were Expensive!

God's love for us is unconditional and unchanging. This is clearly seen in the words of Jesus' prayer the night before His crucifixion: "Then the world will know that you [God the Father] sent me [Jesus Christ] and will understand that you love them as much as you love me" (John 17:23, NLT).

Did you catch that? God loves you as much as He loves Jesus! That's almost too much to comprehend!

Scripture records that God's love "is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]" (1 Corinthians 13:7-8, AMP). His love for you can never weaken or become obsolete. It is impossible, for His love for you isn't based on your behavior but on His character of faithfulness. God's love for us is so all-encompassing that we simply cannot comprehend its scope.

He sent Jesus to die for us when we were still His enemies (see Romans 5:10). John the apostle writes, "For God so loved the world [you and me] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Why did God give Jesus? The answer is simple: to purchase us back. Our forefather Adam gave up himself and consequently all his offspring (including you and me) to a new lord when he heeded Satan's words in the Garden of Eden. Adam disobeyed God and separated himself and his descendants from their Creator. But since God loved humankind so much, He wasn't willing to assign us the same fate as Satan and his angels.

God needed a creative plan to purchase our freedom. He did this by sending Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus was all man and all God and lived a perfect life (the only man ever to walk the earth without sin). He went to the cross and paid the price for our disobedience to God. He took our judgment so we wouldn't have to.

The price of our soul is so expensive that nothing else could have bought us back besides Jesus Himself. Scripture states, "God bought you with a high price" (1 Corinthians 6:20, NLT). Then again it's recorded that the Father "is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son" (Ephesians 1:7, NLT). No person or thing is more valuable to God than Jesus. Yet God saw our value equal to that of what He prized most.

Now here is the amazing fact: If you and I had been worth one cent less to God than the value of Jesus, He would not have purchased us because God would never make an unprofitable deal. God does not make bad purchases. (Recall the above scripture, "God bought you with a high price.") A bad purchase is when you give something of more value for something of less value. In God's eyes, Jesus' value is the same as yours! Do you see how important you are to God? This is why Jesus prays, "You love them as much as you love me" (John 17:23, NLT).

That's extraordinary love!

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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