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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 236 }

Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see [the King] ... on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart. —Song of Solomon 3:11, NKJV

What Jesus accomplished on the cross is exceedingly powerful. But why He did what He did is just as stunning. What motivation beat in His heart as He endured the cross? What burned in His emotions? What was the divine logic behind the event? Simply put, He longed to be united with His bride. He burned with desire for human beings. Any bridegroom who plans a wedding knows the feeling. The Bible even gives us a glimpse into the gladness of Jesus's heart on His wedding day in the Song of Solomon. This natural love song depicting the beauty of married love is an excellent picture of the spiritual love between Jesus and His church. The cross was motivated by a God who had great gladness about His wedding day. The cross became a reality because, from before the beginning of time, He desired to marry us.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Jesus, it amazes me that while You hung in agony on the cross of shame to redeem me for Your own, You were anticipating that great coming day when You will return from heaven and claim Your bride for eternity. How I love You for Your inexplicable love for me.

The plan of redemption flows from a God who
eagerly anticipates the intimacy He will have
with His people for eternity.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Live in the Spirit

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. —1 Corinthians 2:12

Most Christians do not know much about the realm of the Spirit. It is as if they are separated from the Promised Land by the Jordan River. Once in a while, when no giants are around, they may rush across the water and take some fruit from the trees and then run back. This is a long way from dwelling in the land!

Perhaps they hear a rousing sermon by a strong evangelist. For a brief time their spirits are stirred up, and they reach out and take hold of their healing, their strength, their joy, their peace, or their deliverance. But when the stirring fades, they go back to walking in the natural.

We were not meant to rush in and out of the spiritual realm; we are meant to live there. Why wonder where our spiritual blessings are? They are dangling over our heads in the spiritual realm. We must enter in and take hold of what is ours.

We live and move and have our being in Christ Jesus. We never have to depart from His presence because His Spirit both indwells us and surrounds us when two or more gather in His Name (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus, indwell and surround me. Keep me
ever close to Thee. Show me all of Thy
will and Thy way—this day and
every day. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Loneliness Has a Purpose

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. —Luke 5:16

Billy Graham said that London is one of the loneliest cities in the world. He also pointed out (and I didn't know this) that next to divorced people, university students are the loneliest people in the world. Paul said that loneliness may be a person's thorn in the flesh. As for Paul's actual thorn in the flesh, as we have seen, there is endless speculation. We do not know what Paul's thorn in the flesh was, but it is possible that it was loneliness. He said in 2 Timothy 4:16, "No one came to my support, but everyone deserted me." He said in 1 Corinthians 9:5, "Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?" You can read between the lines. Whether Paul was single, married, or a widower, he said he had the right to have a wife.

He was no doubt lonely, and all you have to do to confirm this is to look at his description in 2 Corinthians 11:25-30. Whether or not this was Paul's actual thorn in the flesh, we don't know.

This may be your thorn in the flesh, ordained by God at least for the moment. The devil will use it to torment you, but remember this: there is a purpose in everything that happens, and God Himself takes the responsibility for it.

Everything is for a purpose, and if I am describing your own thorn in the flesh—loneliness—then God has allowed it. The devil will exploit it, but the loneliness has a greater purpose.

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Righteous Tongue

Psalm 35:17-28 Many years ago I did a study on the tongue of the righteous and the tongue of the wicked. This study revealed to me the power of the tongue and led me to write a book called The Tongue—a Mighty Weapon. Whenever I give talks to others, I like to speak about the power of our words and what God created our tongues to do. There is a psalm that says, "He that orders his conversation aright glorifies the Lord." (See Psalm 50:23.) Our tongues were made to glorify the Lord, to praise Him, to worship Him, to encourage and edify others, and to share the gospel with them.

Satan, however, wants to use our tongues to wound and hurt others and ourselves. In Mexico when I was teaching young children, I asked them this question, "How many of you would like to totally disarm the devil today?" They all eagerly raised their hands. Then I instructed them to stick out their tongues. "Now pull your tongue out," I shared, and of course they laughed because no one could pull their tongue out. Then I said, "If we could pull our tongues out we would disarm the devil." Another proverb says, "He that keeps his lips is wise and he keeps his soul from trouble." (See Proverbs 21:23.)

In this psalm David says, "And my tongue shall speak of Your righteous­ness and of Your praise all the day long" (v. 28).

If we made our goal daily to speak of His righteousness and to give the Lord praise, our tongues would not be available to the devil to do his dirty work for him. Today let your tongue glorify and extol the Lord in praise as you share with others all of His wonders and works.

Lord, help me to order my conversation aright today so that I glorify You always with my tongue.

READ: Esther 1:1-3:15; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 21:19-20

 

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

A Life You Were Created For

??Have you often thought, "There must be more"? You’re not alone. I believe a fresh revelation of truth will unlock the God-potential within you. You probably know that by God’s grace you’re forgiven and saved, but do you know that His grace empowers you here and now in this life?

"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16, NKJV). Here's the point so many miss: With grace we can receive the fullness of God's nature! Grace is the gift that not only saved us but also imparts to us the completeness of Jesus. We are in Christ, He is in us, and we have the fullness of His nature. Without this insight, we cut ourselves off from the flow of grace. Most believe God's grace has forgiven their sin and saved them from hell, but there is so much more! We have been given a new nature, and we are empowered to walk as Jesus (see 1 John 2:6) with authority to bring heaven's will to earth.

My life changed dramatically once I discovered that grace not only includes God's amazing forgiveness and promise of heaven, but also His empowerment in this life. Before this, I struggled trying to be good in my own strength. I found many of God's instructions too difficult to fulfill, I battled inferiority and poor self-image as I wondered why there was so little eternal fruit in my life. However, once the realization came that I possessed the fullness of God's nature, my life stabilized, blessings flowed and my impact for the kingdom greatly increased.

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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