Devotionals

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 176 }

And this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. —Luke 2:37, NKJV

Anna—what an interesting woman! She served the Lord (ministered to the Lord) with fasting and prayer night and day. The word ministered is often exchanged with the word serve. What an unusual idea for a woman to minister to the Lord in prayer and fasting. Anna was probably about seventeen or eighteen years old when she was married, and after seven years she was widowed. So beginning in her early twenties she began ministering to the Lord night and day. At eighty-four years old, sixty years later, Anna was still faithful in this! She was constantly in prayer in the temple. What a woman! This calling is not reserved only for Catholic monks. The Protestant church must call the Annas forth, find a place for them, honor them, and find ways of releasing them into their calling.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I may not be remembered for sixty years of faithful intercession, but I pray that I will be remembered as a faithful intercessor—no matter how many years I have left to live for You.

Beloved, in this very hour the Lord is wooing the
Annas of the end-time church, and He personally
is setting them into their place.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Secure Your Victory

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. —Hosea 4:6

When you give in to temptation, it is because you have not secured your victory for one of two reasons:

1. You are receiving His Word but choosing not to walk in it. When you know what the Bible says about your situation and walk in the light of that knowledge, you will not fall into temptation. You will see the snares of the devil and avoid them.

2. You are yielding to temptation because you are uninformed of God's instructions.

We are required to walk in the revelation of the Word, whether we have received it or not. Just because you don't know the law doesn't mean you won't get arrested for disobeying it. People get into all kinds of sin, die of cancer, and live in poverty. Why? Because they are ignorant of the power available to them.

Secure your victory by finding out what God has to say about your situation and then determine to do what He says to do about it.

Lord, teach me Your Word and Your
ways. I will read, study, meditate upon,
and apply Your Word this day in all
that I say and do. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

True Success

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. —1 Corinthians 9:19

To quote my friend Joseph Ton, "Success in the eyes of the world is how many servants you have. Success in the eyes of Jesus is how many people you serve."

God is looking for people who are willing to become servants, and we can expect that, like Jesus, we will be tested in that role to the extreme. Yet it is a great faith-builder, for one who is willing to be subordinate, and all that that means, must rely increasingly on God's faithfulness. So we must ask ourselves how willing are we to go in pursuit of God's standards rather than the world's, which will always be the reverse.

Too often when we first come to God we are under the impression that God owes us something. We think we have bargaining power with God to ask Him questions and make Him answer us. Yet suddenly we begin to realize that we are nothing and that God owes us nothing. He owes us, if anything, a place in hell. It is at this point that we begin to say, "I subordinate myself to you."

Everybody you meet thereafter will be your superior in some sense. And this is why Paul said in Philippians 2, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (v. 4). How humbling it is to accept authority from and be subordinate to one whom you think is less capable or qualified than you! How humiliating!

Yet the beginning of greatness is accepting authority. When the disciples asked for preferment, Jesus did not rebuke them. He just reversed the roles: let the greatest among you be the servant of the rest. This is just what Jesus did in His own life: He "emptied himself" and became a servant.

What we must ask ourselves, therefore, is to what extent will the marks of the bond servant, which characterized Jesus' life, be ours?

Excerpted from Meekness and Majesty (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1992, 2000).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

I Can't Do It, Lord!

1 Thessalonians 5:4-28 Do you know what you are called to do on this earth? We all as believers have common callings such as being witnesses in this earth, lights shining in the midst of darkness, salt to give flavor and preserve the lives of others by introducing them to Christ and discipling them. I believe, however, that each believer has a specific calling from God on his life.

What is a calling? A calling is the point where your passion meets a place of great need. A calling is not a vocation. It is not an office in the church, or even one of the fivefold ministries (teacher, evangelist, preacher, apostle and prophet). A calling is a common thread that gathers the various seasons and events of your life into one beautiful garment tailor-made for you—a garment that displays God's glory in a unique way. Let me share with you how God revealed His calling to my family members and myself. Discovering your own personal calling involves asking, seeking and knocking in prayer and then listening for the answer.

When my boys were very young, I asked the Lord to show me their calling in life. As I sought the Lord in prayer, He shared the following with me: "I have called your oldest son, Russ, to be a bridge between races.I have called your middle son, Ron, to be a bridge between nations.I have called your youngest son, Ray, to be a bridge between families."

I shared this word from the Lord with each of the boys, and all three are fulfilling their God-given call. Later I discovered the Hebrew word for priests is bridge. One morning as I was waking from a deep sleep, I heard a whisper in my ear. I knew it was the Lord, and He was calling me "Jochabed." I heard, "Wake up, Jochabed." I didn't know who Jochabed was, but I knew the Lord was calling me by a new name. I looked Jochabed up in the Bible and found she was the mother of Aaron and Moses—the first priests. God had called me to be a mother of priests (bridges).

My husband discovered his calling while seeking the Lord alone on Stone Mountain. He heard the Lord call him Joseph. We looked up Joseph in Hebrew and found it means "provider." Then as we researched we discovered that three Josephs in the Bible were all providers: Joseph, Israel's son, provided food for his whole family and all of Egypt during a famine; Joseph, the guardian father of Jesus, provided a home and nurturing for Jesus in His childhood; and Joseph of Arimathea provided the tomb for Jesus. My husband's motivational gift is giving.

I discovered my own calling when I asked the Lord which part of the body I was. Was I a foot, eye, hand or what? I heard in my spirit He had called me to be a voice, and then I remembered this was the call of John the Baptist—a voice crying in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." This call has taken many forms in my life—teaching, writing, singing, etc. Ask the Lord today what your call is. As you ask, seek and knock, you will discover your own calling.

READ: Jeremiah 19:1-21:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 25:8-10

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Kingdom of Heaven: Here or Near?

"Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons." (Matthew 10:7-8, NLT)

Jesus directed the disciples with these words after giving them power (grace) to minister (Matthew 10:1, NLT). They were to declare the kingdom. God's will was to be done on earth as it is in heaven. If there was a condition in a person's life that was not congruent with heaven's standard, it was to change. People in heaven are not tormented by demons. People in heaven do not have any diseases. People in heaven are not sick. People in heaven are not hungry. The power the apostles had received was to change what was contrary to heaven on earth!

However, we must note (see Matthew 10:7, NLT) that the disciples were to proclaim the kingdom only as near. Yet once the Day of Pentecost had come, it was no longer near but here! The kingdom is now in the hearts of men and women who are born again and filled with His Spirit, just as the kingdom was in and manifested through Jesus as He walked this earth.

In the gospels, when the apostles went forth to bear fruit, the Holy Spirit was only with them and the kingdom was only near. However, Jesus shows that after the kingdom comes, the Holy Spirit will be in us—within. This is why He instructed all of us just before His ascension to heaven, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21, NKJV). We have the power within to advance the kingdom in the hearts and lives of people exactly as Jesus did; it's all because of His amazing grace!

Once the kingdom is within, we can advance it, no matter if we are a businessperson, stay-at-home mom, doctor, schoolteacher, mechanic, student, or politician—our occupation does not matter. He commissions all of us.

I hope it's becoming clear. Grace is God's empowering presence, which gives us the ability to live godly lives in the present and to do what is required to advance the kingdom. Grace gives us the ability to go beyond our own ability in every area of life to please God—to live extraordinarily. The reason God set it up this way is simple: He gets all the glory, not us.

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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