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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 292 }

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. —2 Corinthians 12:7-9

One principle to note is the connection between the abundance of revelation and a higher degree of suffering or testing. According to Paul, his thorn in the flesh was given to keep him from exalting himself in light of the abundance of revelation that he had received (2 Cor. 12:7). The thorn was given because of revelation. On the other hand, it seems that God gives powerful revelation because of the testings that some are about to encounter. Paul received a prophetic vision instructing him to take his missionary efforts into Macedonia rather than Bithynia. That decision resulted in Paul and Silas being arrested, dragged before the magistrate, severely beaten with rods, thrown into the inner prison, and secured in stocks. Though the thorn can come because of revelation, so also revelation can come to prepare us for future testings. How greatly will the saints who are awaiting the physical and visible return of Jesus Christ be encouraged by the undeniable confirmations of His coming!

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, may I recognize the thorns that come into my own life as evidence that You are testing me and preparing me to be ready for Your coming. With the thorn comes powerful revelation of Your plan to come again.

A powerful prophetic revelation with
undeniable confirmations stabilizes
people in a time of severe testing.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Follow the Leader

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. —Matthew 16:24-25

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh and commanded us to follow Him-and to this day no one has ever followed Christ down a road to prostitution, crime, addiction, or suicide.

Fathers, as the most influential leader your son or daughter will ever have, determine to lead them in the path they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Teach your children to live as Jesus lived, in loving service to others, and they will grow to be mature, responsible members of society.

Children will instinctively follow the leader, so if you are following Christ yourself, your children will follow your lead. Your personal example is the greatest teaching tool you possess. Teach them to follow the Leader of the heavenly hosts—the one who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave.

Lord Jesus, make my life an example to my family
and children of Your love and service. May
all those in my family see You
shining through me. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Being Broken

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." —1 Peter 3:13-14

Jacob the manipulator had met his match. Let me introduce Laban. Jacob got what he deserved. Little did Jacob know that God was doing two things at the same time, and He will do it for every believer.

1. He gives you something to live for.

2. He will be in the process of breaking you.

Jacob needed to be broken. We all need to be broken. What does that mean? It means God has to break us of having a hard heart and walking over everybody. Jacob did not realize it then, but for the next twenty years, after falling head over heels in love, he would see what it was like to be on the other end of manipulation, because Laban proved to be one of the most ruthless manipulators the Bible describes.

Do you know when we are broken? It is when we are treated unfairly and learn to keep quiet about it. God wants to bring us to the place where we can take pain and injustice without complaining, because that is what Jesus did. On the cross, He who knew no sin was made sin. Jesus did not deserve to be crucified and could only say, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). He knew what it was like to take injustice, unfairness, and hate.

You see, it's one thing when you suffer because you deserve it—it's quite another thing when it's unfair. Perhaps you are wondering why you have been treated unfairly. It's so that you can accept what is unfair and keep quiet about it. This is the goal, and that is brokenness. If you are in a situation where what you are having to endure is very unfair indeed, then do I have news for you! That means that God has great plans for you, because the greater the injustice, and the quieter you are, the greater the blessing you are going to be to others.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Watching Our Tongues

Psalm 141:1-10 David knew how important the words we speak are. Throughout the Psalms, he prays for God to help him control his tongue. He prays in this psalm, "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips" (v. 3).

What a great prayer to pray daily. We learn in James that no man can control his own tongue, nor can he tame it. Only the Holy Spirit is able to train and tame our tongues. Proverbs tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. James speaks of the tongue as an unruly small member of the body that has great power. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame: it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be (James 3:5-10, KJV).

Since no man can tame the tongue, we must submit this unruly member of our bodies to the Holy Spirit daily. If we have the desire to order our conversations aright all the day long, we must pray as David did: "Lord, set a guard over my tongue." When people speak unkindly about others, I am so tempted to say to them, "Watch out; your heart is showing." We speak what is in our hearts, and sometimes it is horrifying to discover how wicked our hearts can be.

One of the keys to ordering our conversation aright daily is to listen more than we talk. This is why the Lord gave us two ears and only one mouth. First we need to listen intently to the Holy Spirit as He seeks to direct our conversations. Have you ever been about to say something, and suddenly you hear the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit within you say, "Don't say that." If we have prayed for Him to watch our conversations then we need to be listening carefully for His instructions during the day. Second, we need to listen with understanding to the person who is speaking to us. Their words will reveal their heart, and the Holy Spirit can reveal what is in their heart to you. Often people are critical and negative in their conversations because they are hurting or fearful. Pray quietly as you listen to others, and the Holy Spirit will then give you a healing edifying word to speak to that person you are listening to. You have the words of life to share with someone today. Let the Holy Spirit order your conversations today.

READ: 2 Kings 4:18-5:27; Acts 15:1-31; Psalm 141:1-10; Proverbs 17:23


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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Never Fall Short

God has freely given us the tools we need to live a holy life that pleases Him—that's fabulous news! There's no need to fall short. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

"Pursue...holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God." (12:14-15, NKJV)

The main point here is clear: We need the grace of God to walk in true holiness. We might ask, "If, as we've been taught, grace is only about forgiveness, then what does 'fall short' mean in this verse?" The Greek word here is hustereo. Strong's Concordance defines it as "to be inferior, to fall short (be deficient), come behind, be destitute, fail." Thayer's Lexicon goes into more depth by stating that this word's meaning is "to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end."

Holiness is crucial to finishing our race well. Hear the prophet Isaiah's words: "There will be a highway there, called 'The Road of Holiness.' No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the LORD has rescued will travel home by that road. They will reach Jerusalem [heaven] with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief." (35:8–10, TEV)

God says that when we walk in the power of the grace of God, bearing true fruits of holiness, we are invincible because of Him. Isaiah says that no fierce animal, such as a bear or lion, will be able to take us out! (This includes our supreme enemy, Satan, who walks about as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" [1 Peter 5:8].) So, we have no reason to fail when we produce fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace. This ability is not because of us but because of Him. We must abide in the grace of God in order to live holy, fruitful, extraordinary lives! 

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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