Devotionals

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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 327 }

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. —Psalm 22:1-2

God's silence or inactivity at a time when we desperately want God to act or speak serves to reveal the spiritual maturity of both the people and the prophet. Each believer must go through the struggle of learning to walk with God when He is silent. It's an inescapable part of spiritual growth, and a prophetic minister must understand God's strategy of silence. As one who supposedly speaks for God, a prophetic minister must understand that God does not always speak, even in the most desperate of situations. If he cannot grasp this, he will inevitably manufacture words for people when God's specific purpose is for him to say nothing. Regardless of his well-intentioned efforts to make God look good, he becomes a stumbling block for those whom he seeks to help.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me to understand the silence when I cannot hear Your voice. May I never manufacture words to speak for You. I would rather say nothing than to become a stumbling block to others.

Each believer must go through the struggle of
learning to walk with God when He is silent.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Servanthood

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. —John 12:26

The kingdom of God is built on servanthood. Isaiah gave his voice to prophesy the Savior's coming. One angel descended from the heavens to tell a young virgin she would bear the Savior of the world and another offered his voice to proclaim the Savior's birth. Mary offered her womb, while Joseph gave his fiancee. The donkey lent his back and the cattle gave their warmth. The earth volunteered the straw on which our Savior lay, while the moon gave its light. A star pointed the direction for the wise men bringing gifts. All these things were done in labor inspired by love because God gave His Son.

But it was the Son who gave all. He gave His life. He said, "No man takes it from me. I can lay it down, and I can take it up again." He could have called ten thousand angels to His aid, but He willingly died for you and me. Servanthood is giving of your time, energy, and talent, expecting nothing in return. This is the kingdom of God.

Read Philippians 2. How does your life reflect the servant attitude of Jesus Christ? In what ways does pride hinder ministry and servanthood in your life?

Lord Jesus, shape my perspective on all of life
so that I may see others as those whom I serve
instead of expecting them to serve me. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Be Prepared to Affirm God

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. —Ephesians 1:9

Are you seeking God? How hard are you trying? Are you requiring that He meets your expectation? You say, "If God turned up, believe me, I would recognize Him." That is exactly the point I want to make: when we feel we know God so well, we are in danger of becoming too familiar with Him. The way we must love the glory of the Lord is not that we affirm Him because we see that which makes us feel comfortable, but that we know He is God and can manifest Himself in unusual ways.

Sometimes God puts us in a place where we can't give the reason we affirm Him. He continues to work in this way, so there are times when we have to take a stand, where we know the truth, but we are not allowed to explain ourselves. Are you prepared to be committed to Jesus Christ to the extent that you just affirm Him, even though you know you are not allowed to explain yourself except to say, "Jesus is my Savior; I am unashamed of Him"?

When we see God working in an unexpected way, we may fail to recognize Him. Sometimes theologians describe the "otherness" of God. He is different. He may turn up in a strange way. God may come with silence or by hiding His face and seeming not to answer. Sometimes the way in which He turns up seems silly. But God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.

Our reaction is, "How can God do this to me—if that's really God?" Then explain this: Jesus, dying on a cross, how can that be God? Why does God seem so detached from the way with which we are comfortable? The answer is lest we feel too familiar with Him and become presumptuous. The proof we love God is that we recognize He may appear in a way that feels strange, and we are prepared to affirm Him no matter how much it hurts and no matter how strange it seems.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Seasoned Speech

Proverbs 15:22-23 I pray almost every morning, "Lord, put me in the right place at the right time." As I read this proverb, I now want to add to that prayer, "Lord, help me to speak the right thing at the right time." There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent.

Often the enemy gives us critical, judgmental thoughts about our mates and other people. Satan would love nothing better than for us to speak those thoughts out loud. Over my forty years of married life I have learned the voice of the enemy. When he gives me negative thoughts about my husband or about anyone, I always say, "Satan, if you think I'm going to give voice to your thoughts, you have got another think coming." I often share with people that if I had spoken all the thoughts the enemy planted in my mind to say to my mate, I would not be married today.

You have heard the expression, "You need to speak your mind." If we spoke our minds all the time, we would probably have a miserable life with no friends. Before I speak, I give what I want to say the "Think Test." The "Think Test" is found in Philippians 4:8, where Paul lists the things we are to think about:

Whatever things are true

Whatever things are honest

Whatever things are just

Whatever things are pure

Whatever things are lovely

Whatever things are of a good report

Whatever things are praiseworthy

Whatever things are virtuous

Before I speak I ask myself if what I am about to speak true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, praiseworthy and virtuous. If the words I am about to speak do not pass the "Think Test," then I do not say those words. You have heard the expression, "You need to count to ten before you speak." There are eight things listed in the "Think Test," and we can add two more—whatever things will edify and whatever things are gracious. Now we have our ten things to think about as we count to ten before we speak. You will find if you do this faithfully, you will be a person of few words, but the words you speak will have an impact on people that could change their lives. After all, we do have the words of life. Why should we waste our time speaking the words of death that Satan wants us to speak?

Lord, help my speech today to be seasoned with the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, praiseworthy, virtuous, edifying and gracious.

READ: 1 Samuel 26:1-28:25; John 11:1-53; Psalm 117:1-2; Proverbs 15:22-23

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Finishing Well

When we produce fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace, we have no reason to fall back into a life of sin and bondage. They are free, empowered and whole. However, this promise does not apply to believers who do not walk in true holiness. Hear what Peter says about this:

"But those who fail to develop these virtues of [holiness] are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away." (2 Peter 1:9-10, NLT)

We will never stumble or fall away. We are an invincible people, not because of our own ability, but because of the ability grace provides. So, in essence, grace gives us the power to walk the highway of holiness, which secures for us the promise of finishing the race well. It keeps us from becoming shipwrecked in our faith and falling short.

Peter covers the opposite side as well. Those who do not walk in the power of grace fail to develop the virtues of holiness. The result is blindness and forgetting that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. This blindness makes it very difficult, almost impossible, to stay on the narrow road of holiness. Quite easily they will venture back to a lifestyle captive to sin (and most often still believing they are covered and protected by God's grace).

Paul penned to Christians: "Don't you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die" (Romans 6:16, CEV). When we willfully and repetitively follow sin's desire, we become entangled in it and are once again its slave.

God has indeed given us His grace. We've been given the nature of Jesus Christ and have been freed from the dominion of sin! Why would anyone who has been made free want to venture back into sin's captivity and flirt with death?

So, my friend, don't fight for your right to habitually live in sin and still make it to heaven. That is the wrong way of viewing life. Rather, realize God has given you an amazing gift—freedom! You don't have to sin any longer; what you couldn't free yourself from before, you now can live free from through the power of His amazing grace!

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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