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Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 350 }

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. —2 Corinthians 5:12-13, KJV

Paul was challenging the mentality of some who were looking on outward things and not properly discerning the heart of a certain matter at hand. What could this matter have been? The next verse tells us. Paul reveals that this controversy centered around two different general states of being that he and other believers were experiencing periodically. This first mode he called being "beside ourselves." The only other time that this Greek word is used in the New Testament is when the people of Nazareth accused Jesus of being mad. We get our English word ecstatic from a Latin word that means "being outside oneself." Paul seems to be referring to what are classically understood as ecstatic spiritual experiences and phenomena. He was exhorting the Corinthian believers to not stumble over this genuine holy activity that didn't appear dignified or even always rational. Instead he challenged them to glory—that is, to rejoice greatly—that such visitations were occurring among them and releasing greater passion in their hearts for God. Visible joy upon believers is possibly the best advertisement for the gospel.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Spirit, reveal Yourself to me through whatever method You choose. Make me willing to be "beside myself" with the joy of Your presence. Release greater power and passion in my heart for Christ, and let others see Your love in my life.

We are to serve the Lord with gladness.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Favor With God

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. —Luke 1:30

The greatest message of the advent of Christ into this planet are the words "fear not." Why? Because you have found favor with God.

The God of all creation came to earth with the specific purpose of revealing Himself to you. If you are born again of God, you are on your way to heaven; you have been made righteous in God's eyes; and favor is part of your covenant right.

The literal translation of the word "favor" is from a Hebrew word meaning "cause for rejoicing, exultation, exuberant joy, and gladness of heart."

The precious blood of Jesus paid the price for your sin and made God's heart glad. He sits on His throne and rejoices, because He knows you will be in eternity with Him. Fear not; you have found favor with God.

Jesus, allow me to walk in Your favor,
being fearless and bold for You.
I long only for Your favor
and grace. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Don't Lie

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. —Exodus 20:16

Why did God give this commandment, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor"?

First, God wants His people to tell the truth when they speak. In ancient times two or three witnesses were required in a court of law. "One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of a crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Deut. 19:15). This was to protect an individual from being maligned by a personal enemy, from a vendetta, or from someone who just wanted to bring another down.

The second reason God gave this command is that He wants to protect us from being falsely accused. He does not like it if anybody lies about you, for it hurts you. And if you feel that way, so does God. This is your comfort when you are lied about. Are you prepared to believe that God cares even more for you than you do? God cares about His children.

If you are a parent, how do you feel if somebody says something about your child that is not true? I myself can handle many things said against me, but when I hear of something said against either of my children, I have to work hard to contain myself.

You should know that God the Father feels that way about His children, too. Perhaps you have nobody who will defend you when people lie about you. But God heard it, and He does not like it. He said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." In other words, He will vindicate you. The word vindicate means "to have one's name cleared." It's what God does best. Anything God does, He does well. But if He has an "area of expertise," it is this.

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

That Sinking Feeling

Psalm 94:1-23 Everyone during their lifetime experiences that sinking feeling. It may be fear that usually hits us with a racing heart and a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs. It may be discouragement. The saying goes that when the devil created the tool of discouragement, he then ceased from his works. We may have that sinking feeling when we are experiencing the loss of a loved one. When we receive the report we have been turned down for an interview, once again that sinking feeling overwhelms us. The psalmist David was quite familiar with the sinking feeling. Flight and fight were his constant companions during his lifetime. In this psalm he reveals how he was able to survive the sinking feeling. He writes, "Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul-.-.-.- They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge" (vv. 17-19, 21-22, KJV).

David knew to whom he could turn when he had that sinking feeling. In an earlier devotion I shared about the vision a friend had about how the Lord walks with us through life. She said the Lord never turns His back on us. He is face to face with us always, and as we walk through life, He is walking only a few steps in front of us with His hands outstretched to catch us if we start to fall. As she shared this vision, I pictured a loving father teaching his year-old child how to walk. Lovingly he stretches his arms out toward the child, and he stoops to eye level with the child. Then he coaxes the child by saying, "Come on, you can do it. Daddy is here to catch you if you begin to fall." Then slowly the father moves backward so the child will move forward to be near him.

When you have that sinking feeling, Jesus is face to face with you with His arms outstretched to catch you when you start to slip down. In Psalm 26:1 David prays, "Vindicate me, O Lord; for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip."

In Psalm 37:31 David speaks of a righteous man: "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."

Today remember the Lord is your help, your defense, and in His mercy He will not let you sink.

READ: Judges 4:1-5:31; Luke 22:35-54; Psalm 94:1-23; Proverbs 14:3-4

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Set Free from Sin

I received Jesus Christ as my Lord in 1979 and it changed my life. Immediately I lost the desire for alcohol, I stopped swearing, and other sinful desires gradually disappeared the more I read, meditated on, and spoke the Word of God over my life.

However, there was one area of sin that didn't go away as easily. I struggled with lust and was addicted to pornography. I had periods of freedom, but after time gravitated back to it. At the end of a four-day fast on May 6, 1985, I was set free from the stronghold of pornography and lust. By His grace, I'm still free today.

However, once I was set free from pornography's grip, I still had to resist the desire to engage. Prior to May 6, I seemingly couldn't resist with any success. After May 6, I could resist, but I had to cooperate with grace to fight off the urge to look at pornography. Its power over me was broken after fasting and intense prayer, but I still had to steadfastly resist the desire.

Over time, as I continued to pray and allow God's Word to saturate my mind, I noticed that my desires had changed. I no longer had to make myself turn away from pornography; rather, I was repulsed by it. God's grace had changed me thoroughly from the inside out. The writer of Hebrews describes this blessedness:

"For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law." (5:13-14, AMP)

I realized that God's Word had brought my senses and mental faculties into alignment with His desires and thoughts. Holiness is to think, talk, and live as He does. The flesh can be trained, but it loves habitual patterns. Just as it can be trained in unrighteousness, it also can be trained in righteousness. We can take dominion over our mind and flesh through the power of grace. Our flesh responds to what it is fed.

His grace is more than enough to set you free from any sin!

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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