Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 29 }

I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. —Psalm 89:1-2

John, whom Jesus nicknamed the "Son of Thunder" (Mark 3:17) because of his fiery temperament, became one of the most prominent of the apostles. As he walked with Jesus, John's fiery selfish ambition was replaced by fiery passion for Jesus. John's own Gospel makes it clear that he was greatly beloved by the Lord. He was one of the three apostles who were closest to Jesus.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I want to be Your friend. I long to be worthy of being called "a friend of God." Take away my selfish ambitions, and give me a heart dominated by a desire to please You in everything I do.

Think of it. The Living Bible says John was
Christ's closest friend (John 13:23).

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The High Priest

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. —Hebrews 9:12

Once a year the High Priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the Israelites. The High Priest set aside his robe and jeweled ephod when he went before God. He wore only a simple linen garment.

Jesus, the High Priest of the new covenant, laid aside His glory and was utterly forsaken by God (Matthew 27:46). Humbled and alone, He entered the Holy of Holies and applied His blood to the mercy seat.

The death of Jesus on the Cross was the final sacrifice for sin. He has broken forever the powerful hold of Satan over man! (Revelation 1:18). You do not have to submit to the works of your adversary. Your High Priest willingly shed His blood so you could be free (John 10:18).

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Christ in you is greater than the adversary in the world (1 John 4:4). So you can live today in victory, overcoming every attack of the enemy.

Jesus, I am an overcomer in You. I declare that in
Your strength, I will overcome every temptation,
weakness, and bondage. I will walk
in Your victory. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Rejoice in the Lord!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. —Philippians 4:4, 6

Rejoicing is, more often than not, a choice. We all love spontaneous rejoicing. Such comes from answered prayer, the answers to our questions, the manifestation of the miraculous, the success and prosperity we wanted. It takes little faith to rejoice when it is precipitated by happy, external circumstances. But the command to rejoice comes because we don't always feel like rejoicing—and yet Paul said to do it all the time. Not rejoicing because of all that has happened but rather "in all circumstances" (1 Thess. 5:18, emphasis added). The choice we make to rejoice comes because we simply don't feel like rejoicing. We just have to do it.

How do you rejoice when you don't feel like it? The answer is, you find things for which you certainly should be thankful and then discipline yourself to voice that gratitude. I go through my journal every morning, item by item of the previous day, and thank the Lord in detail for everything. I have been doing it for over fifteen years. My wife, Louise, and I frequently do this together. Once, when returning to Key Largo in Florida (where we now live) from the airport, Louise said, "Let's thank the Lord for twenty-five things that took place over the weekend." We had a wonderful weekend in Connecticut. We began taking turns and naming particular things. When we finished, Louise said we had mentioned fifty-three things. I think God liked that.

Showing gratitude is the sort of thing you can make yourself do whether you feel like it or not. There are always things you can thank God for if you look around. In other words, even if you don't feel like it, do it anyway.

Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).



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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

God Said It, I Believe It, I Receive It

Numbers 22:21-23:30 This passage relates the story of Balaam, a prophet who was certainly not perfect, but a prophet who knew God was true to His Word. Balaam said, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num. 23:19, KJV).

God always makes His Word good. He keeps His Word, and He performs His Word. He makes His Word good. When we believe this about God's character, we will be able to trust Him and trust His Word. The only reason why we would hesitate to trust the Lord would be that we believe somehow that He will not do what He has said He will do. If we doubt His trustworthiness, then we will not trust Him.

How can we build our trust in the Lord? The only way this will happen is if we read His Word and see His faithfulness to His own Word to perform it throughout history. When we read God's Word, we will see that His Word always performs that which it is sent out to do. When we know this, we can trust Him.

Father, You have proven over and over again in Your Word that You are trustworthy. You never lie, and all of Your promises are "yes and amen" through Jesus Christ. As I read through the Bible this year, help me to be built up in faith. I never want to doubt Your Word, because Your Word is Truth. Amen.

READ: Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80; Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 11:12-13

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Kingdom Is Within

Jesus made a remarkable statement to His disciples: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Luke 11:2, NKJV). This was a futuristic prayer for the disciples, but not for Jesus. And it's not futuristic for us either because it applies right now. Allow me to explain.

The Pharisees had problems with Jesus since He hadn't come on the scene the way they expected. When He showed up—a Nazarene, a carpenter from a poor family, and a friend of prostitutes and mafia (tax collectors were the mafia of the day)—they didn't buy in to Him as Messiah.

So they confronted Jesus and He answered: "The kingdom of God does not come with observation...For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21, NKJV)

"The kingdom...is within you"? Jesus was speaking of those who would be born again and filled with His Spirit. He had earlier promised to those who loved Him, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32, NKJV).

But when was the kingdom to be given? Jesus' disciples asked Him this nagging question after He was raised from the dead. Put yourself in their shoes. It was finally clear: Jesus, alive and well, was standing before these faithful followers—but where was the kingdom? They were still confused about this even just before His ascension.

They too were still looking for a physical kingdom to manifest itself. While looking for this literal throne on earth, they forgot His words: "The kingdom...is within you." So He corrected their thinking:

"The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be [the establishment of His physical kingdom upon His return]. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power [the kingdom within]." (Acts 1:7-8, TEV)

"Filled with power" from the Holy Spirit to do what? Advance the kingdom! This was not only for them but also for us. Once the Holy Spirit came to dwell within humankind, the kingdom and all its power would be within us! We now possess the power to advance the kingdom in the hearts and lives of others. And we can now do the works Jesus did in advancing the kingdom—and even greater works!

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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