- Date: February 7, 2014
- Verse: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:11-12)
"The kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12). Would you say that is descriptive of us, this fellowship? What are we seeing around us in the age that we are living in, and what are we experiencing personally? What is the fruit of our lifestyle? One thing we know very clearly is, "...the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power" (1 Corinthians 4:20).
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Devotionals by Date
- Date: February 6, 2004
- Verse: "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."(Galatians 4:6)
We want to catch a glimpse of our Father, how good and reliable He is. God cannot be comprehended, but He can be known. We're able to enter in, draw near to His bosom, and cry, "Abba, Father." Are you at rest in your Father's loving arms? Sadly, none of us can relate to having a perfect father on this earth, although some of us have had better fathers than others. But Father chose to reveal Himself to us in the Person of Jesus and through the revelation of His Word.
- Date: February 5, 2004
- Verse: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."(2 Corinthians 5:17)
If you die to self and surrender to His lordship, then you are a new creation. You know you are a new creature if your life has changed. Not just in outward performance, because you can change your behavior. But how do you view yourself? Do you realize that you deserve hell? What you've received is a gift given by the sovereignty of God; you are a debtor. When you see yourself as a debtor, you can respond by trying to prove that you're not a debtor and by trying to pay your own way.
- Date: February 4, 2004
- Verse: "So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet."(2 Samuel 9:13)
The blood of Jesus paid the great price to access God's presence. So often we take for granted the privilege of approaching a holy God. Not only do we have the legal right to approach Him, but He loved us while we were sinners and died for us (Rom. 5:8). Scripture says that no man seeks God, but God sought us (Rom. 3:11). He drew us by the Holy Spirit, and infused light into our understanding so we could see the great and unspeakable gift of God. As that illumination came, God also placed the gift of faith within our hearts.
- Date: February 3, 2004
- Verse: "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."(Luke 7:47)
The rich young ruler lived according to all the rules, yet he knew in his heart that he wasn't right with God. He said, "What do I lack? What else can I do?" (Matt. 19:20) Jesus said he needed to die to his pride of being a wealthy man, and to empty himself of self. Every one of us will be brought to the end of our self-oriented pursuit. Nothing can be held back. If there's a limit, He's not Lord.
At times we may say, "I don't understand why God does special stuff in some people's lives.
- Date: February 2, 2004
- Verse: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."(Matthew 6:14)
We've been so freely and totally forgiven. The Greek "apheimi" means "to be sent away, to be put aside, dismissed." What a phenomenal ability that our Father has to give us that bold access into His presence by the blood of Jesus, just as if we'd never sinned--justified. But if we don't forgive, we can't be forgiven. Matthew 18 talks about the injustice of that one who had been forgiven such a great debt and then went to make demands upon his brother to pay him all. God has the amazing ability to forget our sins.
- Date: February 1, 2004
- Verse: "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."(Matthew 18:35)
If someone sins against you and asks you to forgive them, don't ever hold the sin against their account, demanding that they pay. The Lord said you'd better be careful, because if you can't forgive, you will not be forgiven. Is it worth having all of your sins brought up again? If you refuse to forgive, every sin God ever forgave you will be put back onto your account in the final judgment. In this parable, the servant went out, took this man by the neck, and said, "Pay me all that you have" (Matt. 18:28). Since he wouldn't, he had him thrown into prison.
- Date: January 31, 2004
- Verse: "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?"(Matthew 18:21)
Love is living in the spirit of forgiveness. Peter came and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Seven times?" (Matt. 18:21) Peter was so proud of himself for coming up with that number seven. Jesus said, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven." You know that freaked Peter out. The natural mind, the natural man, can't receive those things. Peter was looking for a number, and then all of a sudden he saw 490 times in a day.
- Date: January 30, 2004
- Verse: "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."(Colossians 3:13)
Colossians 3:13 tells us to forbear and forgive one another. Forbearance and forgiveness frequently work in conjunction with one another. How ready are you to have a spirit of forgiveness? Forgiveness is the ability to set aside and no longer hold this offense to their account as you relate to others. The Greek "apheimi" means "to send forth or to dismiss". You may say, "The way that guy dresses offends me; the car that guy drives offends me, the movie he watched offends me.
- Date: January 29, 2004
- Verse: "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love."(Ephesians 4:2)
The one thing that hinders the process of bringing forth fruit in the Body, as it's being perfected, compacted together and edified into the fullness of the stature of Christ, is the lack of biblical forbearance. Forbearance is the expression of the love of God, the fruit of the Spirit, in each of our lives. "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbear one another in love" (Eph. 4:2). The word "forbear" means "to endure." The fruit of love in our midst is the quality of endurance.
- Date: January 28, 2004
- Verse: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."(John 13:35)
The greatest opportunity to allow the fruit of the Spirit to manifest in our lives is through the time that we spend relating to one another. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, [when] ye have love one [for] another" (John 13:35).
- Date: January 27, 2004
- Verse: "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."(Ephesians 5:5)
Are we seeking how mature and pure we can be? Or are we seeking how little we can do and still be acceptable? As we walk in the spirit and produce fruit, we're pruned to produce more fruit. If our lives are dominated with good fruit, why detract from so much good by identifying with something other than the Body of Christ?
Paul in Ephesians 5 is not saying that by committing one of these acts-- covetousness, uncleanness, whore-mongering, coarse speaking--we will not inherit the kingdom of God. The issue is not the individual act;
- Date: January 26, 2004
- Verse: "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."(Ephesians 4:1)
"Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called" (Eph. 4:1). Our vocation is to love God and to love our neighbor. Paul says we are to walk worthy of that job, that calling. This vocation is who you are. You're not an electrician, a computer programmer, or a government employee. You're an ambassador of God's love. That's first and foremost. You don't live to yourself; you don't die to yourself. God's love doesn't make us feel all warm, fuzzy and secure. In your vocation you receive God's love in order to readily transfer that love to those in need.
- Date: January 25, 2004
- Verse: "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:24)
The fruit of the Spirit is the proof that God's Spirit is living in us. The fruit of the Spirit cannot manifest without the abiding presence of the Spirit of God. We must abide in the Vine and His words must abide in us. Fruit, as it's being produced, will always be pruned so that we could bring forth more fruit (John 15:2).
Look at your life and ask, "Is this who I am? Is this what's dominating my life?" Just because you accidentally produced one act of the fruit of the Spirit doesn't mean you're walking in the spirit. You are what you are in abundance.
- Date: January 24, 2004
- Verse: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)
Paul is addressing the Spirit-filled life, the Spirit-led life. People often ask, "How can I be free from the flesh?" The answer is to walk in the spirit. That's easy to say, but how do we walk in the spirit? By choice, we crucify self. We choose each moment whom we will serve. Walk in the spirit at all times. Seek the things that are above where Jesus is seated at Father's right hand (Col. 3:1). The reason so many of us are not free from the flesh is because we're still so preoccupied with it.
- Date: January 23, 2004
- Verse: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."(1 John 4:8)
"He that loveth not knoweth not God..." (1 John 4:8). We could say it this way, "He that is selfish knoweth not God." Does that make it a little more personal? He that's too busy to serve the Body knoweth not God. He whose ambition separates him from his wife and children so he cannot properly oversee his house knoweth not God. She that will not humble herself and submit to her head (her husband) knoweth not God. Children who do not obey their parents knoweth not God.
- Date: January 22, 2004
- Verse: "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"(1 John 2:17)
How involved are you in others' lives? Don't say, "Be warmed and filled. I'm praying for you, brother." Do something about it! How willing are you to invest your time and your energy? You get a lot of flack many times when you love people properly, because loves always demands chastisement. Are you willing to love enough to lay down your soul for the friendship? "No greater love has any man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
- Date: January 21, 2004
- Verse: "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him." (1 John 2:10)
He that loves his brother abides in the light. "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). How do we get into the light so that we can see ourselves, see God, and be cleansed by the blood of Jesus? We need to pray, fast and spend time in the Word of God, because that's where God reveals Himself--through His Word. But there is something else that is very important many of us miss. We don't realize how important true agape love is. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him" (1 John 2:10).
- Date: January 20, 2004
- Verse: "Charity...doth not behave itself unseemly..."(1 Corinthians 13:4,5)
Love never behaves itself unseemly (1 Cor. 13:5). Love never acts contrary to the nature of God; it's always orderly. In today's vernacular we would say that love "has class." As brothers and sisters we sometimes don't show a lot of class in the way we respond to one another's weaknesses and needs. When ministering the love of God to others, we should never make them feel less than ourselves. True love, a "class act," never devalues another person. True love manifests in graciousness and kindness. It's never rude or brutish.
- Date: January 19, 2004
- Verse: "...Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Paul was writing to the Corinthians because of their spiritual pride. They were puffed up in their gifts. They were puffed up in their own estimation of their spirituality and their pursuit of God. "Nobody else loves God like I do. Nobody else is as gifted as I am. Look at me--I'm the most spiritual among you. Listen to how much I talk in tongues. Listen to how fluent my oratory is as I bring forth prophetic utterances. Look at my life of faith." It was a continual putting forth of self in the Body of Christ.
- Date: January 18, 2004
- Verse: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." (1 Peter 1:22)
Beloved, when we read 1 Corinthians 13, we find out how ugly we are. We are not lovable--but God loves us! While we were yet sinners, He loved us and died for us! The purchase price of His blood is what has put the value on our lives. Then how dare we treat anybody in a condescending and judgmental manner? How dare we think evil of their actions and their motives?! How can we rejoice in iniquity when someone suffers and we say, "They got what they deserved!"? Love doesn't respond that way. Love doesn't rejoice in iniquity. It doesn't think evil. It doesn't behave itself unseemly.