Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 343 }

It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade. —Mark 4:31-32, NKJV

Throughout the last two millennia, all the powers of hell have been unable to eliminate the gospel or the church. It has only continued to grow. The church in its survival and growth is living out the prophetic word. Its very presence is a continuing witness to prophecies fulfilled. The church is also a prophetic witness in its mission. Just as the apostles were in the early days, the church today is the witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the bride of Christ, all that the church does in order to make herself ready—gathering together, worshiping, celebrating Communion, witnessing, preaching the gospel, casting out demons, healing the sick, being peacemakers—is a prophetic trumpet to the world of the relationship of Christ to His church and of the fact that Christ is coming again. The next time you are sitting in a church service, remember that even though we are almost two thousand years removed from the first-century church, the very fact that you are gathering with others in His name is both a prophetic fulfillment and a prophetic statement to the world.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Jesus, what an incredible privilege it is to gather with Your people and prepare together to become Your bride. May our worship, preaching, witnessing, and works of spiritual service show an unsaved world Your love and draw them into a relationship with You.

The church's primary task has always been
to preserve and proclaim the good news
of His death, resurrection, and His
coming again to judge the world.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Conceive a Miracle

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. —Luke 1:28, 31

The story of Mary and the conception of Jesus reveals powerful keys to receiving God's miracle-working power.

Before you can receive a miracle, you must receive a Word from God. Whether it comes from the Bible, through anointed preaching, or from the Lord speaking in your spirit, you must receive the Word that speaks to your situation.

When God told the prophet Elijah to seek out the widow of Zarephath, He had a plan for her. He intended to provide for her needs and prosper her in a time of drought and famine. When Elijah came to her, she had not yet received that Word from God. The prophet had to put a demand on her faith to bring her into God's provision. She received God's Word through the prophet, and in so doing received her miracle (1 Kings 17).

Receive God's Word for your situation, and allow Him to conceive a miracle in your spiritual womb. Give God permission to birth new creation in your life. You are born of the Spirit, not of flesh. Be born anew in Christ Jesus.

Birth in me, Lord Jesus, Your new creation.
I desire to be born of the Spirit through
faith and truth in You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Knowing God

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol. ... You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. —Exodus 20:3-6

The first three of the Ten Commandments are letting us see just a little bit of what God is like. These commands are deep teaching. In a sense they were spoon-feeding Israel, and yet the words are so profound, so deep. Israel was a redeemed community. As we have seen, the word redeemed means that they had been bought back. God loved the people of Israel. They knew God, but only just.

How well do you know God? How well would you like to know Him? How deeply is it burning in you that you would love to know Him better? If that deep desire is there, it means that there is a special anointing—the power of the Holy Spirit—on you. There could be no greater desire on earth. So you can mark it down; the flesh did not put that desire there. The devil did not put that there. This is one desire, if it is there, that only God could put there. And for giving you that kind of thirst and longing, be thankful for it. Take it with both hands and walk in every little bit of light God gives you. Walking in the light will show that you really mean business—that it is not just a passing yearning.

Whenever you discover something that you hadn't seen before, an awareness of sin or a higher level of obedience, take it. There may be that which offends you, but remember that God often tests us by letting us be offended.

God wants to see how much you want Him. So sometimes, if I may put it this way, He puts His "worst" foot forward; He lets you see the most "unattractive" aspect of His nature, or what He knows you may regard that way, to see whether you will still love Him just as He is.

Excerpted from Grace (Charisma House, 2006).



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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Joseph: The Provider

Luke 23:44-24:12 This passage tells about Joseph of Arimathea, who provided the sepulchre for Jesus' burial place. Luke describes Joseph of Arimathea as a counselor, a good and just man. He also had refused to condemn Jesus. The name Joseph in Hebrew means "provider."

My husband had a precious experience when he went to be alone for a day at Stone Mountain. He felt it was time to seek the Lord about some things and he just wanted to be alone in the presence of the Lord. As he was praying, he heard the Lord say, "I call you Joseph." It was not an audible voice, but Tom heard it with his spiritual ears. When he came home and shared this experience with me, I began to do research on the name Joseph in the Bible and discovered that all the Josephs mentioned were providers.

There are three Josephs mentioned in the Word of God: Joseph, the son of Israel who was sold into slavery, went ahead of his brothers to Egypt and was able to provide food during famine not only for his brothers, but also for all of Egypt. Joseph, the guardian father of Jesus, provided a safe childhood, family and home for Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea provided the burial place for Jesus.

God has a special name for each one of His children. If we miss finding out what this name is on earth, we will know it in heaven. We learn in Revelation that those who overcome will be given a white stone, and on the stone will be written a name (Rev. 2:17). The Lord knows each one of us personally, and it is His joy to give a special name to each of His children. My husband truly is a "Joseph" because his motivational gift is "giving." I joke with people and tell them my motivational gift is spending, so we make a good team. Whatever name Jesus has chosen for you, I am sure it will reveal your special calling here on earth. I know one name He has chosen for each of us, and that is "Precious."

Lord, it is so wonderful to know You love me so much and Your delight is to give me a new name. Names are so important to You, but more important to You are the people who bear those names. I'm so glad to be called by Your name (a Christian and a child of God).

READ: Judges 8:17-9:21; Luke 23:44-24:12; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 14:9-10

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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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