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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 115 }

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:11-13

The soul aggressively engaged in pursuing intimacy with Jesus is positioned to overcome temptation. On the other hand, the passive soul that wanders from fantasy to fantasy while living in a spiritual vacuum that lacks affection for God is much more vulnerable to fall to temptations that happen to come along. In our pursuit of intimacy with Jesus, we realize that feelings will come and go, sometimes swinging from the highs of holy passion to the lows of spiritual barrenness. We will have seasons of fervent longing and love for Jesus, times when we pray with great feeling and inspiration. But we will also experience seasons when we pray without any feeling of God's presence. Yet, as we persist, we will begin to realize that even in the dry, barren seasons our hearts are still growing in mature love toward Jesus.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Your love protects my heart from yielding to temptation, dear God. Even in the dry, barren seasons of my life, my heart wants only to mature in You and to be all that You want me to be.

Our focus is on Jesus, not upon feelings that
come and go.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Journey to the Jordan

And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; and they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. —Joshua 3:2-3

Joshua stood on the banks of the Jordan and told the Israelites to get ready—in three days, they would cross the Jordan and invade Jericho.

This was a giant step of faith, but Joshua prepared them for what God had in store. When it came time to move, the Ark of the Covenant went before them. As the feet of the priests touched the waters, the waters were cut off, and they crossed safely.

Notice that after the preparation came the stepping forth. Israel had to move through the waters and into the land. Though God had given them the land, they still had to possess it. When God moved, they moved. When He stopped, they stopped. Each step of the way, they had to listen to God.

We miss the moving of God when we do not prepare ourselves and watch for what God is doing. When God gets ready to move, He takes those who are willing and have prepared themselves as holy, pure vessels. Will you be ready when God moves?

Lord, I do not want to move until You move.
I do not want to go forth into battle unprepared. Equip me to possess
the land and to hear Your voice clearly. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Choice to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! —Philippians 4:4

What separates Christians from non-Christians is not whether bad things happen to them but whether we can make the choice to rejoice in all circumstances.

In Philippians 4:4 we are given a command to rejoice: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" It is a command because joy isn't always spontaneous. Sometimes it comes unexpectedly, but it is wrong to wait only for the spontaneous joy. Many years ago I used to sing, "Every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart I will pray." The problem with that old spiritual is that, speaking personally, if I waited until I felt the Spirit moving in my heart, I fear I would not pray all that much. Paul said to "be instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2, KJV). "In season" is when the Spirit is consciously at work; "out of season" is when we feel nothing.

We are to rejoice always. Why? Because circumstances change. If we are found rejoicing at all times, we are showing gratitude. If we make a commitment to gratitude, it means we must be prepared for the unexpected trial and dignify that trial when it comes. Dignifying the trial means:

* Refusing to complain

* Accepting that the trial is from God

* Letting God end the trial His way

Every trial has a built-in time scale. It will end! God will see to that. God knows how much we can bear. If we will truly believe that, we can keep our commitment to be grateful—and show it by the choice to rejoice no matter what the circumstances.

Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

How to Wait for Your Vision

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 The Bible tells us that without a vision the people will perish. It is so important to have a vision or several visions throughout our lifetime. God calls us to be visionaries. He created the imagination to be used for His glory. Satan, however, ever since the Fall seeks to use our imaginations for his dirty work. Satan has the power to plant images in our minds that will tempt us to sin. We see this clearly when so many today are involved in pornography. When we set our eyes on anything that is not holy, good, pure, virtuous and lovely, those images we receive will be played over and over again in our minds. The spiritual battlefield is our minds and we must use the mighty weapons of God (His Word, the blood of Jesus, prayer and the name of Jesus) to pull down those vain imaginations that Satan would use to destroy us. God desires our minds to be stayed upon Him, and when they are, we will have perfect peace. The visions and images God wants us to have are of Him and His plans for our lives.

Just recently as someone was counseling my son, he was asked the question: "What is your dream?" This is a good question to ask ourselves, because often we will find the calling God has on our lives when we answer this question. Perhaps God has given you a vision. You may have a recurring dream or a thought that brings images to your mind of God's plans for you. Maybe He gave this vision to you many years ago, and it has not yet been fulfilled. What do you do while you are waiting on the fulfillment of the vision of visions God has given you? This passage in Habakkuk gives us the answer to this question.

I was in a meeting with Marilyn Hickey when she singled me out of the crowd and gave this verse from Habakkuk to me: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14) She said, "There is an area in your life you have been praying for years about, but your vision of completeness in this area has not yet been fulfilled. Know and rest assured that this area of your life shall be filled with the glory of God." I instantly knew the area she was speaking about, and I thought this fulfillment would happen the next day. The truth is, I had to wait nearly twenty years for this vision to be fulfilled. What did I do while I waited for this vision to be accomplished? I learned what to do in this passage in Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk writes that although we do not see the tree blossoming or the fruit on the vine and the fields are yielding nothing, we still rejoice in the Lord. We wait with confident expectation of what has been promised. We declare the Lord is our strength, and He makes our feet like hind's feet to walk on the high places. Deer jump using the strength of their feet, and they can leap great distances in the air because of the springing ability of their feet. Rejoicing in the Lord continually even though we do not see our vision fulfilled right away will keep the spring in our steps as we wait for the vision to be fulfilled. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.

READ: Habakkuk 1:1-3:19; Revelation 9:1-21; Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 30:10

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Greater Works

To be holy is to live like Jesus, to walk as He did on this earth, bearing the same fruit. Jesus made this clear: "You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures." (John 15:16, TEV)

What enduring fruit is Jesus referring to? He revealed the answer to this during His Last Supper: "The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works..." (John 14:12, NLT)

Greater works? He specifically states, "Anyone who believes..." I would have found these words difficult to believe if anyone other than Jesus had said them. However, this remarkable statement is straight from His lips, and His Word is infallible! We have been brought into His family, made one with Him, and given His nature and Spirit. Therefore, we are not only to do the miraculous works He did but to surpass them! How is this possible? Through His grace.

Grace gives us the power to go beyond our natural ability. It brings us into the extraordinary realm. Hear Paul's words: "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8, NKJV)

In this scripture, Paul was specifically discussing finances and giving, but the principle applies to all areas of life. There are several key words we need to highlight. First, Paul says, "...all grace abound toward you"—not a little bit of grace but all. Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 1:3). This is why the Holy Spirit through Paul states, "No one, then, should boast about what human beings can do. Actually everything belongs to you...and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God" (1 Corinthians 3:21, 23, TEV).

Paul continues by saying you will always—not just in some incidents, but always—have all sufficiency (total and complete) to abound in every good work. Jesus declares that each of us will accomplish greater works. So, abounding, empowering grace gives us complete and total sufficiency to meet every need we may encounter, no matter what it is! There is nothing that cannot be accomplished in regard to bringing heaven's provision to earth, for grace has fully provided it all.

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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