May 2019
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Decide What’s Best, Not Just What’s Good by Rick Warren
“'I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV).

Some things are not necessarily wrong; they’re just not necessary. Most choices you make in life are not really a matter between good and bad. They’re more a matter of what’s best for you.

The Bible talks about this in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive” (NIV).

Some things are morally neutral. To make a good decision, you need to go to a higher standard and ask, “Will I become a better person because of what I’m about to do?” That’s called the improvement test.

I remember many years ago when Kay was nursing our baby, who always got hungry about noon, so she would sit down to feed the baby and turn on the TV. What’s on TV at midday? Soap operas. So she started watching a soap opera as she fed the baby. Evidently, soap operas run into each other. One leads right into the next one. Pretty soon she was watching two shows, and then three. That’s a long time for a baby to keep getting fed!

After a while she said she realized she wasn’t doing this for the babies anymore. She was actually rearranging her schedule to make sure she could see those shows. She’d start thinking, “I’ll do ironing right now” or “I’ll clean up the kitchen,” and she’d make sure she was near the TV.

Suddenly she got connected to the lives of fictional characters. She became intimately interested in the lives of people who didn’t even exist! Then one day it hit her like a ton of bricks: “I am wasting my life! This does not make me a better woman or mother or wife. It has no redeeming value. I could be caring about people who do exist.”

Are you more interested in fictional people on TV than you are in Paul and Peter and the disciples and what God wants to do in your life? Do you invest your time in the shallow lives of people who fill celebrity magazines? Are you glued to ESPN from the moment you get home on Friday until Monday morning?

Are these things evil? No. Are they bad? No. But the question is not, “Is there anything wrong with it?” The question is, “Will it make me more like Jesus?”

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What are some activities or habits that are not bad but aren’t God’s best for you?
What can you replace those things with that will help you grow as a Christ-follower?
Is your idea of what’s best the same as what helps you become more like Jesus?

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See His Goodness by Joel Osteen
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13, NIV

TODAY'S WORD:

David was going through a tough time when he made the declaration in today’s verse. Things weren’t going his way. But he said in effect, “I’m not worried. I’m not upset. I am confident I will see God’s goodness.” In other words, “This situation I’m in may be rough, but that’s not going to steal my vision. That’s not going to cause me to give up on my dreams. I am confident that I will see God’s favor in a new way.” That’s what our attitude needs to be today because what you focus on is what you will see. No matter what the medical report says, no matter what your finances look like, no matter how bad that relationship may seem, be confident that you will see His goodness! He is the all-powerful, omniscient, Creator of the universe, and He holds you in the palms of His hands. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Take hold of this truth by faith and focus on His goodness today. Allow His peace to settle in your heart and mind as you move forward in His blessing all the days of your life!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Father in heaven, thank You for Your goodness in my life. I choose to focus on You today no matter what my circumstances may look like. Give me Your peace as I keep my mind stayed on You in Jesus’ name. Amen.




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Acknowledge God by Joyce Meyer
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

— Proverbs 3:6

It is so easy to start making a plan instead of waiting on God to give us His plan. Sometimes we are so entrenched in our own plans that we don’t even sense the leading of the Holy Spirit.

But the proverb says to acknowledge God in all our ways, and that means to care about what He thinks and submit our plans to Him for approval.

Having a plan is not a bad thing, but we can simply say to God each day, “Lord, I have a plan for today, but I acknowledge You in it. And if You don’t approve of any part of it, then I am willing to change and do what You want.”

If you truly care about what God desires, He will direct you in the way you should go if any changes need to be made to your plans.

Prayer Starter: Father, I lift my plans up to You for this day. Please lead me by Your Spirit and direct me in the way I should go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.




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What Is the Unpardonable Sin? by Dr. Charles Stanley
Matthew 12:22-32

Today’s passage is a frightening one. The thought that a sin could be so bad that it is unforgivable sometimes leads people to fear that they may have committed it. That’s why it is important to understand the context of this statement, which Jesus made to the Pharisees.

Although they had seen compelling evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, the Pharisees refused to believe in Him. What’s more, they even attributed to Satan the miracles Christ performed by the power of the God’s Spirit. This blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was unforgivable because despite the clearest possible revelation of God, they still weren’t willing to accept Jesus as the Messiah. Their unrepentance prevented them from receiving salvation.

Since people living today do not have the undeniable physical presence of Jesus Christ in the world, the Pharisees’ unforgivable sin doesn’t apply to us. However, it is possible for people to end up in an unpardonable state. This happens when a person repeatedly rejects the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin and the clear revelation of Jesus Christ as the Savior. With each rejection, the heart becomes harder—eventually the calcification prevents it from sensing any impression God’s Spirit tries to make.

If you are worried that you may have committed the unpardonable sin, then I can assure you that you haven’t, because you are still feeling the conviction of the Spirit. God doesn’t withhold salvation from a repentant sinner who comes to Him for forgiveness through faith in His Son. The only thing that makes sin unforgivable is a hard, unrepentant heart.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 8-10



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Commissioned by Christ Jesus by John Hagee
Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know

We have been commissioned by Christ Jesus. He has entrusted the keys of the kingdom to us. He has given us the permission and the power to loose in heaven the things that we desire here on earth that are in agreement with His will for us.

How do we unlock those blessings though? We can struggle with the practical application of that spiritual truth. We all desire the good things of God to spill over out of our personal relationship with Him into our families, our homes, and our businesses. It is easy to bask in His presence in the church sanctuary, but is it reasonable to expect Him to fill up those other places too?  Yes!

Businesspeople, do you wish for a happier workforce, more productivity, a stronger bottom line? Invite Jesus to be your Chief Executive Officer. Put Him first in all of your work; follow Him in the same way you would like for others to follow you. Colossians 3:17 admonishes us to do everything as if we were devoting our work to Him – not to a supervisor. Invite Him into the boardroom – He promised to be with you always.

Ask Him to guide you to make business decisions that honor Him. When you interact with employees, speak peace and positivity. Speak the promise of God over your workplace. Expect the providential turnaround. New opportunities, deals, mergers, acquisitions, trades – God gives it back when you surrender it to Him.

Many of us long for families of faith. Get on your knees and fight for your unsaved loved ones. Take the keys and unlock the promises of God in their lives. Claim the promises of God that your children are the inheritance of the Lord, that they are blessed and highly favored. Pray that your spouse begins to walk in the divine destiny God has decreed, that they do not belong to this culture, but they are set aside for the purposes of the Father. In prayer, use the keys to unlock the promises of the Almighty for their futures.

Know this, child of God! The keys of the kingdom are in your hands. Information without application leads to frustration. All of the access and authority, the permission and the power, belong to you. In the mighty name of Jesus, unlock and loose, bind and lock!

Blessing:

Heavenly Father, help me to realize this amazing potential in my life. Teach me to apply the principles of binding and loosing in the power of Your might. Help me to gain kingdom ground through spiritual warfare. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading:

Old Testament

2 Samuel 7:1-8:18

New Testament

John 14:15-31

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 119:36-52

Proverbs 15:33






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Let It Go! by Joseph Prince
Exodus 15:26

…I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

After crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel came to a place called Marah. The waters there were bitter. That is why the place was called Marah, which means “bitter.” The Israelites could not drink any of the water, so the Lord made the bitter waters sweet (see Exodus 15:23–25). Then, He brought up the subject of the diseases of Egypt and, for the first time, revealed Himself to His people as “the Lord who heals you.”

Why did the Lord suddenly mention the diseases of the world (Egypt represents the world in the Bible) at a place called “bitter”? What do diseases have to do with bitter waters? I believe that it is because He wants His people to know that a major cause of diseases in their bodies is harboring bitterness and resentment!

Some years ago, a lady shared with me about her sister who had died of cancer at a young age. She said, “Pastor Prince, a number of years before she passed on, she went through a very bitter divorce. She was very bitter toward her ex-husband.” Then, she asked me, “Is there a relationship between her bitterness and the cancer?”

I have studied the subject of healing for many years. I have read many books. I have listened to many sermons and I have sat under many healing ministries. And they all say the same thing: If you have unforgiveness in your heart long enough, that unforgiveness can sometimes translate into a disease in your body.

So if you have been bitter about something or someone, it is time to let it go! Your health, joy and life are more important. If you are already sick and you know that bitterness has something to do with it, let it go! See Jesus as your healer. He is standing at your place of bitterness today and He is saying to you, “My child, I can make your bitter waters sweet. I am the Lord who heals you.”

My friend, let it all go and let Jesus heal not just your diseases, but your broken heart too!

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Unlimited God is a Powerful Song from Gospel Artiste Olumide Iyun. The words will bless and encourage you.


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 Change Church is a vibrant ministry that impacts people of all ages, socioeconomic classes, and ethnic backgrounds.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

He is married to Shameka Daniels and they are the proud parents of two sons Dharius Seth and Gabriel Micah Daniels.  Visit Dr. Dharius on the web at www.dhariusdaniels.com.



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Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for their promised child. Joshua and Caleb waited forty years to enter the promised land. So why does God allow delays to your blessings? Get the answer in this must-hear message by Joseph Prince and be encouraged to know that delays don't spell the death of your dreams.

See how waiting time is not wasted time as the Lord preserves you and imparts to you what you would otherwise not have. Be recharged with renewed hope and a fresh consciousness of His love for you as you continue to look to Him for the manifestation of His promise!


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Sometimes when all systems are “go,” God says “wait.” Delays can feel agonizing, but God has a bird’s-eye view and His timing is perfect. Thankfully, patience can be learned.

In this practical message, Dr. Stanley talks about receiving God’s best in every situation. Find out the six things you need in order to hold on for His blessing.


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Be Spiritually Minded by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Romans 8:6-7).

When we talk about being spiritually minded, the context here is being spiritually minded towards God; setting your mind and affection on Him and things pertaining to His Kingdom.

Some have asked, “How do I set my mind on the Lord and on spiritual things?” It’s by setting your attention on the Word! The Word shows you what spiritual things are and delivers them to you. That’s because God’s Word is Light (John 1:1-5), and light defines and reveals (Ephesians 5:13). Your spiritual eyes need God’s light—His Word—to show you what spiritual things from Him are, so you can “mind” those things; set your focus on them.

Romans 8:5 declares, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” You’re after the Spirit if your affection, the things that excite you, and what you focus your attention on, are things pertaining to Christ, His Gospel, and the eternal life that He brought to us.

Some Christians don’t show or give sufficient interest, time, attention, and effort to studying God’s Word and other spiritually edifying endeavours as praying, attending church services regularly, etc. They’d rather set their minds and attention on worldly things. But the Spirit sounds a strong warning to such folks. We read it as part of our opening scripture; it says, “For to be carnally minded is death…” (Romans 8:6). But if you want to live the life of righteousness, with the peace of prosperity, you have to be spiritually minded.

The fact that you study this devotional to learn God’s Word, to learn about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God, is being spiritually minded towards God. Continue in it.

 PRAYER
Dear Father, thank you for awakening in me the consciousness of my spirituality through the Word. My attention is set on things above—not on earthly, carnal, mundane, or transient things. I walk in victory, power and the dominion of the Spirit, because I’m spiritually minded, with my unalloyed attention on the true light of the Word, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

FURTHER STUDY:
 Colossians 3:2-4; 1 Corinthians 15:48-49

1 YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN:
 John 12:1-19 & 2 Kings 16-17

2 YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN:
 Mark 12:35-44 & Numbers 28

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Open Heavens: A Serving Leader by Pastor E.A Adeboye
Saturday May 25th 2019
Memorise: If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:14

Read: John 13:12-17 (KJV)
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Bible in one year: 
Leviticus 4-5,
Jeremiah 42:7-22,

Hymnal: 
Sing hymn 5

Message:
Some people don’t know the difference between being a serving-leader and a servant-leader. A great example of a serving leader is our Lord Jesus Christ.

He served till the end of His earthly ministry and continues to serve even at the right hand of power in heaven (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25). However, He is not a servant; He actually acknowledged His status as Lord and Master in John 13:13. It is unfortunate therefore that many followers want to make servants out of their God-ordained leaders. Leaders are meant to server but not to be subjected to servitude! This is what I personally describe as the “abuse of a leader”. Some people use their leaders to their own selfish advantage, and when such a leader dies, they jump over to another leader who they will also use to death! King Saul is a good example of a servant-leader. When he was confronted with his disobedience to God, he said in 1st Samuel 15:24:

“I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.”

The people he was supposed to guide were actually the ones controlling him, and by his own admission, he feared them.

When a serving-leader becomes a servant-leader, people begin to wonder, “Who is leading who?” God is not the author of confusion; this is why He always appoints a leader who He relates with and through whom He passes instructions to His people. Our Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear that there is a difference between a servant and a friend (John 15:15). A servant is limited, whereas a friend has a deeper relationship. This distinction is the reason why leaders appointed by God cannot be servants. Followers should be sincere enough not to try to make servants of their God-ordained leaders. Such leadership will not do them any good, and they may not be spared when these servant-leaders, whom they have badly influenced, receive their judgment from God. Some mischief makers who like to manipulate their leaders to do their bidding would always advocate for servant-leadership, because they don’t really want leaders; they would rather have a stooge who they can use for their own selfish interest.

This arrangement is common in the political sphere, and cannot serve the interest of the people. If you are in such situation, remember you will give account of your service to God and not to a godfather. May God grant us leaders who will serve His interest in our churches and nations in Jesus’ Name.

Prayer Point
Father, make me a serving-leader and not a servant of individual interests. Also, give us serving-leaders and not servant-leaders who would lead us astray through the fear of men.

Open Heavens Daily Devotional Lessons was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical Churches in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer's Ministries.


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Awake to Righteousness by Kenneth Copeland
Awake to righteousness, and sin not....

1 Corinthians 15:34

When your alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning, don’t just wake up to another day. Do what the Word says to do and “awake to righteousness”! Reawaken yourself to the glorious fact that you’ve been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and given right-standing with Almighty God.

Why? Because tomorrow—and every other day of your life on this earth—Satan is going to try to convince you that you don’t have any right to the things of God. He’s going to try to bring you into bondage again to sin in order to control your life. But he won’t be able to do it if you’ll reawaken yourself every day to who you really are in Jesus.

Here’s a prayerful confession to help that revelation come alive in you:

“Father, I confess anew Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior today. Lord, You are the head of my life. I completely yield myself to You. My will is now Your will. My plans are now Your plans.

“As a new creation in Christ Jesus, I accept the gift of righteousness and all that gift includes: health, prosperity, peace, joy and life abundant. I put aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets me. I now look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

“According to Your Word, I can now reign in this life as a king. The power of sin and death in my life has been overcome. No longer am I ruled by the forces of evil but by the God above all gods. I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.

“I determine today to walk conscious of my right-standing with You, Lord, and with every step to draw closer and closer to You. Thank You for the gift of righteousness. Because of that gift, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

“In Jesus’ Name. Amen!”

Scripture Reading:
Colossians 2:9-15

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His Indwelling Presence by Billy Graham
. . . to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
—Ephesians 3:19

To appreciate art, one must either be born with an artistic sense or develop it by training. Only a relatively few people have an innate sense of color, form, and harmony. To such, a love for art comes naturally. Without an artistic appreciation in one’s soul, visiting an art gallery can be a boring affair. Likewise, to appreciate good music one must have music “in him” or develop it. Without a sense of music appreciation, it is possible to sleep through a symphony concert or a performance of the Metropolitan Opera. So it is with the things of God.

Talk about God can become dreary and lackluster if God isn’t in you. Church can become a drab thing and the Bible an irksome Book if the Holy Spirit does not illuminate your soul with His indwelling presence. The wonderful thing about it all is that God has planned life so that if our hearts are dead to spiritual things, something can be done about it.

Let this article help you grow closer to God.

Prayer for the day
Lord God Almighty, may I daily reach out to You and be filled with the love of Christ.

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Spread My Fire by Deborah Waldron Fry
In the Spirit, I saw a horse and rider. The horse was of blue fire, the hottest of all flames. 

The rider was a Spirit filled believer with lightning bolts in his hand. And I heard," Acceleration" and "Spread My Fire"

"Beloved, Are you ready for the ride of your life? My Fire and the Blood have purged you and made you whole. You have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. It is the last of the last days. It is the time of acceleration. This last Move shall be supernatural in every way. I am baptizing you with Fire. I am sending you out on a mission. I am giving you a new horse to ride. She burns with the hottest of flames, the very Flame of the Lord.

What took a long time to accomplish at one time shall become easier and quicker. The live coals of heaven are a firebolt in your hand, to demolish every stronghold of the enemy. Your God is a consuming Fire. You and I are One. My Fire is upon you and in you. You shall ride in the Spirit and scatter My Lightnings over your families, your cities, your countries. Everywhere I send you, My Fire shall burn in people's hearts. They shall know of My great Love for them. You shall kindle the Fire that I have started; The very Flame of Yahweh that burns in you. My Love is fierce and will not be quenched. Its flashes are flashes of Fire, the very Flame of the Lord. Let's go, Beloved, give your horse free rein!"

Free rein: unhampered freedom of movement
...Isaiah 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal (firebolt) in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
…Ezekiel 1:13In the midst of the living creatures was the appearance of glowing coals of fire, or of torches. Fire moved back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. 14The creatures were darting back and forth as quickly as flashes of lightning.

...Ezekiel 10:2 And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, "Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city." And he entered in my sight.

...Luke 12:49 "I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"
...Song of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.

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What Happens When You Do What You Know Is Wrong? by Rick Warren
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9 NIV).

The Bible says in Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (NIV). You will be found out! So when making decisions, you need the integrity test.

The test of integrity is that your public life and your private life match—what’s in your heart and what’s in your life are the same thing. You ask yourself, “Would I want everyone to know about this decision that I’m making?” The truth is, when it comes to integrity, even if you can fool everyone else, you can’t fool yourself. And if you violate your own conscience, you have to pay for that.

Sometimes we know we’re about to do the wrong thing. We know we shouldn’t do it, but this thought comes to our mind: “I know I’m doing the wrong thing, but I’m going to go ahead and do it because I know God is a forgiving God.”

Do you think you can do something that God says is wrong and not have consequences in your life? That’s the very reason he doesn’t want you to make that decision—because he loves you, not because he wants to keep you from having fun. God knows there are consequences to every decision. He knows every bad decision leaves scars in your life. And he wants better for you.

Does this mean that God does not forgive us for the wrong things we do? Of course he forgives us. He’s a forgiving and gracious God. But that forgiveness does not free us from the pain and the consequences that come from bad decisions. You can be forgiven and still have regrets. You can be forgiven and still face pain. You can be forgiven and still have a broken relationship.

Romans 14:14 says, “If someone believes it is wrong, then he shouldn’t do it because for him it is wrong” (TLB). This verse simply says that when in doubt, don’t. It’s a violation of the integrity test. Whatever is not from faith in our lives is sin.

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

How is your integrity affected when you know the right thing to do but don’t do it?
Why is the comparison game so dangerous when it comes to integrity? How does Romans 14:14 apply?


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Somebody's Rooting For You by Joel Osteen
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1, NIV

TODAY'S WORD:

I grew up playing sports, and I’ve experienced the difference it makes to have somebody in the stands cheering for you. When you know they’re watching you, you hear them calling your name, you see their hands up in the air, it does something on the inside. It causes you to jump a little higher and run a little faster. You’ve got a greater determination because you know somebody is rooting for you.

Today, you have a great multitude in heaven cheering you on! They’re saying, “You can do it! You’re a winner! You are well able, strong and equipped. No weapon formed against you will prosper!”

No matter what difficulty you may be facing, you always have the home-field advantage. You are always surrounded by the voice of victory. Let that sink down deep into your heart today. Let it build confidence in you and give you the strength you need to keep moving forward into the abundant, victorious life He has prepared for you!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Heavenly Father, today I am releasing every negative thing that has happened to me. I’m forgiving every person who has hurt me. I’m forgiving myself for mistakes I’ve made and releasing every disappointment so that I can live in Your peace and victory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.




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Back on Track by Joyce Meyer
For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].

— Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)

We are God's own handiwork. He created us with His own hands. We got messed up, so we had to be recreated in Christ Jesus. We had to be born again so that we could go ahead and do those good works that God had preplanned and predestined for us before Satan tried to ruin us.

Just because you and I have had trouble in our lives or just because we have made mistakes does not mean that God's plan has been changed. It is still there. All we have to do is get back on track.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for the incredible plan You have for my life...and for Your grace and mercy that allows me to get back on track when things don’t go as planned. Father, I choose to put the past behind me. Help me to move forward in confidence, knowing You have great things ahead for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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The Christ-Centered Life by Dr. Charles Stanley
2 Corinthians 5:14-15

If someone asked if your life is centered on Christ, how would you respond? Oftentimes a Christ-centered life is equated with going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. However, did you know that even if you do every one of these things, it’s still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ?

This is because our motives may be self-centered. Religious activities can be done for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our love for Jesus. We could be seeking to relieve feelings of guilt or to make ourselves feel better or look more righteous. Perhaps we read the Bible to quickly find a verse that affirms us. Or prayer might be our attempt to get God to do what we want.

The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted,” and to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22; Eph. 4:24).

A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

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The Kingdom by John Hagee
Matthew 16:25-26
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Now that we have moved beyond the curious to become the convinced and have committed our lives to Christ, He has commissioned us. He has given us the keys to the kingdom.

Let’s be honest though. We always approach commitment with caution. One of our first concerns is what it will cost us. What might I have to give up that I might not want to give up? How will that look? How will it feel? Will it be worth it?

Jesus gives us a new perspective in today’s verse: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” This is quite a paradox, but Jesus pushes the point even further: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Words like “deny,” “lose,” “sacrifice,” and “follow me,” understandably make us nervous. Jesus encouraged us, though, to stop focusing on what we have to lose and to, instead, think about all we have to gain.

Like the young boy who gave Jesus his lunch to feed the five thousand, he did not obsess about what he might lose. He willingly surrendered his all. And when he gave it to Jesus, it was out of his hands. Jesus took it, blessed it, and used it to meet not just his needs, but the needs of many. And then He gave the boy twelve basketfuls of leftovers. That was quite a return on his investment!

Hold nothing back from Jesus. He came to give us abundant life. He will not withhold any good thing from us. When we give our lives and all we value to Him, He will pour out blessings that we cannot contain. In Christ, we can love and live and give like we have nothing to lose...because we don’t.

Blessing:

Heavenly Father, help me to live with hands and heart wide open. Let me take up my cross to follow You, to suffer any sacrifice for the joy of knowing You. I lose my life to find it in You. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading:

Old Testament

2 Samuel 4:1-6:23

New Testament

John 13:31-14:14

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 119:17-35

Proverbs 15:31-32



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Become Strong-Willed by Jerry Savelle
Romans 5:17 says, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord, then you are the righteousness of God. Because of this, you have a right to reign in life. For many Christians, life is reigning over them because they have not had their minds renewed to God’s Word. When adversity comes, they don’t have the will to win, simply because they don’t know that they have a right to win.

Christians who know their rights in Christ are strong willed people. They are as Paul described in his writings: “having done all to stand (they) stand therefore.” Some Christians still have a tendency to think that they are unworthy and no good. They desperately need to hear the truth about becoming established in righteousness.

Some Christians still think that God wants them to be sick and diseased. They, too, need to have their minds renewed to God’s Word. When symptoms come, they do not have the will to resist them because they think that God is the one who sent them. God is the Healer! People who don’t know the Word are people without restraint when pressure comes.

You should know that sickness and disease are not from God. You should know that they are of Satan. You should become so established in the Word that nobody can convince you that God is the one who puts sickness and disease on you.

Just as you need to become established in God’s will for your health, you need to be established in how to overcome the trials and temptations that Satan will bring against you. As a Christian, you need to face up to the fact that you are still in the world, even though you are not of the world. Therefore, because Satan is in the world, he has the ability to contact you from time to time.

You do not have to be defeated or destroyed by those contacts. By acting on the Word, you can come through every problem unshaken.

If the Bible says that you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you and that you are more than a conqueror, then I ask you, what can Satan possibly do to defeat you?

Absolutely nothing!

Author: Jerry Savelle



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Double For Your Trouble! by Joseph Prince
Zechariah 9:12

Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.

I am sure that you have heard the expression, “When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade!” Well, I want you to know that when the devil throws lemons at you, God Himself will make lemonade for you! After all, the Bible says that God works all things together for your good (see Romans 8:28).

And He does it with style—He restores double for your trouble! Beloved, if you have lost a husband or wife through divorce, or a precious child through death, God can restore double to you, so that you end up having more than before, if not in quantity, then in quality!

Consider Job in the Old Testament. When he lost everything, his wife told him to curse God and die. He refused and, instead, responded to God in faith, and “the Lord gave to Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

When David lost the child he had with Bathsheba, he stopped pleading and started worshiping God because he trusted in the mercies of God. Later, God blessed David and Bathsheba with another son named Solomon, who became the wisest and richest king the world has ever known.

Today, God promises to restore double for your trouble—“Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” If He declared it, He will do it! So you cannot but have hope that things will be even better than before. That is why in the same verse, He calls you “prisoners of hope.” My friend, hope in the biblical sense means a confident expectation of good things happening in your life. You are a prisoner of that! You can’t help but wake up feeling hopeful. You can’t help but expect good things to happen to you!

So when trouble comes from the devil, don’t give up and say, “It is hopeless!” Don’t worry or get angry. Worship God like David did and see that trouble as an opportunity for God to bless you with more than what you originally had. And because God has declared it, be confident that you will get double for your trouble!

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Hearing God With Your Heart | Kenneth Copeland
Hearing God With Your Heart | Kenneth Copeland
Hearing God With Your Heart | Kenneth Copeland




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Arinola O. Yinka

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