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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 295 }

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. —1 Corinthians 12:11, NKJV

The word used in the New Testament for spiritual gifts is charisma or, literally, "gifts of grace." In other words, these gifts are given freely and are not earned. It was Simon the sorcerer who misunderstood the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, thinking they could be purchased (Acts 8:18-24). What a terrible thing, we think. No doubt Simon had a wrong equation, and Peter severely rebuked him because of the wickedness in his heart that would allow him even to consider buying the power of God. But there's not much difference between earning gifts and buying them. Money is only a function of effort and labor. Contrary to some commonly held equations, the gifts and power of God are distributed at the will of the Holy Spirit. They are not given as a token or a badge of God's approval of a person's level of spiritual maturity. Neither are they earned by our consecration. They are grace gifts.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, teach me that spiritual gifts are gifts freely given because of Your great grace. I cannot earn these gifts, and nothing I can offer to You will purchase them. You bestow these gifts freely as the gift of grace.

Spiritual gifts are given freely and are not earned.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Keys to the Kingdom

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. —Matthew 16:19

If you have keys to your home, you have authority in your home. If you give the keys to someone else, you also give them authority. Would you give the keys to your home to someone you didn't trust? Jesus gives the keys to His kingdom to those who acknowledge Him as Lord of the kingdom and submit to His Lordship within the kingdom.

You can't just casually wander into Jesus' kingdom, either. You may enlist in an army. You might join an organization. You are hired as an employee. But as a child of God—a citizen of His Kingdom, you must be born (John 3). As a matter of fact, He compared it to the process of birth! It is not something to be taken lightly, and it requires earnest commitment (Philippians 3:14).

But praise to God, once we are born again as citizens of His kingdom, we have power over all oppression operating outside His kingdom. We have protection from everything the powers of darkness would try to array against us!

By Your Spirit, Lord, birth me into Your Kingdom.
I long to be Your child and a loyal, eternal
citizen of the Kingdom of heaven. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

God Loves Justice

For I, the Lord, love justice. —Isaiah 61:8

The God of the Bible loves justice, and if you are being treated unfairly, God knows it. It is only a matter of time, and He is going to compensate. That's a promise. Let me tell you something about Jesus, God the Son: Jesus is full of compassion. Jesus sees your tears. He knows you're hurt.

Did the Lord notice how Leah was feeling? The Bible says, "When the Lord saw Leah was not loved, he opened her womb" (Gen. 29:31). What was Leah's compensation? Rachel, whom Jacob loved, was barren. Leah, the unloved woman, came through where it ultimately mattered. Nothing could stop Jacob being the father of many sons because God had foreordained it. Therefore, God's word was at stake (Gen. 22:17). You could call it His sense of humor, you could call it His sense of justice, but when God saw that Leah was not loved, He opened her womb. Rachel, the one who was loved, was contributing nothing to this oath that God swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Leah gave birth to Judah, the one through whom the Messiah, God's Son, came. Her crown was that she graced the church with glory as no other wife of Jacob could have done. Leah's desire was to have a husband who loved her, but her crown was what she did for the future of Israel. Jacob never appreciated Leah, but God did. And so do we.

Are you an unloved woman? God knows that. He's going to do things for you, and if you start counting your blessings, He's going to make it up to you—it's only a matter of time.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

What Concerns You?

Psalm 138:1-8 Everyone alive has concerns, and it amazes me that God knows about each concern we have. More than that, He is able to perfect those things that are a concern to us. David writes, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me: You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: Your mercy, O Lord endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands" (vv. 7-8).

These words are so comforting I am tempted to write them in bold print and put them on my refrigerator. The moment we have a concern about anything, we need to give it to the Lord. Peter exhorts us to cast our cares upon Jesus because He cares for us. He is the author and finisher of our faith, so He knows exactly how to see us through hard times. The promise is God will revive us in the midst of trouble, and not only that, but He will also cause us to triumph over every spiritual adversary.

Is there a concern in your life today that seems overwhelming? Give it to the Lord and He will perfect it. If you try to handle it yourself without prayer, God will not be able to do all for you He desires to do. Give Him complete liberty to perfect your concern today, and cease from your own works. God is able and wants to help.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have worried and fretted over those things that are a concern to me. Your Word says to cast every care upon You because You care for me. You are more concerned about the situation I am in than I am. You have a plan, and I know You will hold my hand through these difficult times. You know the beginning from the end, so I know You are better at figuring things out than I am. I cry out for wisdom today, and I cast every care upon You. You are sufficient to meet all of my needs and to perfect all of my cares.

READ: 1 Kings 22:1-53; Acts 13:16-41; Psalm 138:1-8; Proverbs 17:17-18

 

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Cleansing Process

There is a huge difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is salvation from eternal death, whereas sanctification is the process of holiness.

We were justified the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. At that moment, our old self died and we became a brand-new created being, inwardly possessing the nature of Jesus. We were immediately justified in the eyes of God and all unrighteousness was eradicated from our spirit. We had nothing to do with this. We didn't earn it, nor did our "goodness" deserve it. It was freely given by God's grace.

However, the moment we were born again, the work of sanctification (holiness) began. This was when what was done on the inside of us, in our spirit, started working its way to the outside, into our behavior. Paul says it like this: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12, NKJV). What we must not forget is that sanctification (holiness) is also a gift of God's grace. But this time we have a part in the process and need to work in conjunction with it.

Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NKJV)

God's gift of grace supplies us with the power to cleanse ourselves! We cleanse ourselves from all filthiness inwardly and outwardly, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. So even though grace is a free gift, we have to cooperate with its empowerment to produce the fruit of holiness in our lives. Grace not only justified us but also now empowers us to serve God acceptably with holy fear.

Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28, NKJV)

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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