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Loving God

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

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

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

How to Face the Unexpected

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. —1 John 5:4

Fear of what the future holds in store begins in childhood: we discover that our parents and friends may disappoint us or even reject us; we learn that illness or accidents may happen suddenly and that people we love die; we learn that we do not always succeed and begin to fear failure.

Yet wondering what the future holds in store does not end with our childhood. As adults, we know that life is filled with uncertainty and that even within the short span of twenty-four hours something can happen that will change our lives forever. Furthermore, none of us know when death will call us to stand before our Maker and account for the way we have lived.

I think we can define maturity as "learning to face the unexpected." Now if ever a person had to face the unexpected, it was John. So we will find it instructive to see how he faced his uncertain and uncompromising future on the island of Patmos.

How was he able to cope? John knew that faith was important. "Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). This gives you an idea of how John felt and how much he trusted in the Lord.

When you become a Christian, you may face the future without fear. John could face the unexpected because he was "in the Spirit." You may ask, "When will the Spirit of the Lord come on me?" The answer is simple: the Holy Spirit has already come, because Jesus said, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). He has come in God's Word with the best news you will ever hear: God has taken on your case and invites you to receive Jesus as your Savior.

Excerpted from A Vision of Jesus (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1999).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Water Works

Proverbs 17:14-15 We talked yesterday about the holy rain that descends when we praise the Lord. Today's proverb talks about strife and compares it to the letting out of water. We have a dam close by us, and on certain days the dam is opened to let out the water into the river. Before this happens, an alarm sounds to warn all those on the river to go to shore to avoid the rushing current that is about to be released. If anyone ignores that warning alarm and does not reach shore, he runs the risk of having his boat capsized by the raging currents, and he could drown.

When we get into strife, it is like the letting out of water. First the current of anger is at a low level, but if we continue in strife, the anger level raises to such a raging current that we run the risk of capsizing ourselves and the ones we are coming against in strife. The advice in this proverb is to leave off contention. Do you know that the source of all contention is pride? We want to prove our point, so we argue until we supposedly win. There are, however, no winners when strife continues. Another source of strife is jealousy that left uncontrolled can lead to murder. The first murder was rooted in jealousy. Cain killed Abel because he felt God favored Abel over himself. He was jealous. James tells us that where there is envy, there is also strife that leads to confusion and every evil work (James 3:16).

If you don't want a flood of evil work in your life, then leave off contention. Avoid strife at any cost.

Lord, forgive me for when I have allowed strife to take control of my life. I have hurt others with my words, and I am so sorry. Help me with the power of Your Holy Spirit to avoid strife in the future. Thank You, Lord.

READ: 1 Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12:1-23; Psalm 136:1-26; Proverbs 17:14-15

 


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Deep Longing

Why have so many Christians embraced the idea that following Christ means losing individuality, creativity, ingenuity, and the passion for excellence in all spheres of life? Too many believers are trapped in "the ordinary" when God promised an extraordinary life!

In stark contrast, believers in the early church were often mistaken for "gods." What has happened to our power and influence? Have we neglected our access to God's ability and presence purchased through the cross?

It's time we lay hold of our core faith! Within each person is an innate desire to rise above the norm.

It's no surprise we're captivated by those who do remarkable feats or possess super powers: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, to mention just a few. Did you know that 17 of the top 25 blockbuster films of all time tell of extraordinary feats and superheroes? Strength and bravery capture our imagination and encourage us to believe in a life greater than we've known.

How intriguing that the bulk of the most popular movies of all time are not love stories, murder mysteries, espionage thrillers, war movies, sports flicks, westerns or dramas. No, the top box office draws are films that center on extraordinary characters doing remarkable feats. Why? Because "extraordinary" is how we were created to live. It was God's plan from the beginning.

This extraordinary life is more than a fairytale, it's available through Christ. You see, more than a need to escape or be entertained, there is a God-inspired longing in everyone for the extraordinary! Within every believer is a hero waiting to be unveiled!

"My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" (Ephesians 3:9-10, The Message)

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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