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Loving God

Today's Message

{ DAY 36 }

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. —John 17:20-23

These verses reveal that the answer to Christ's prayer lies not just in heaven. It will come to pass on this side of eternity so the unsaved can witness it. The beginnings of its fulfillment lie in this age. Jesus's prayer for such a church to love Him as the Father loves Him will undoubtedly be answered. It was directed by the Father, energized by the Holy Spirit, and prayed in accordance with the Father's will. Jesus never prayed amiss.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, I despise the lukewarmness and lethargy in my spiritual life. Fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit so that my life is energized to be a lighthouse to draw others to You.

Jesus prayed that the world would behold
a powerful and passionate church.

 


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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Unconditional Love

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love therefore, with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. —Jeremiah 31:3

Religion is man seeking God. Christianity isn't about religion, but about relationship. Desiring a covenant relationship with us, God seeks us out. He loves us unselfishly and unconditionally. Being in covenant relationship with Him doesn't do anything for God. He does not need us, nor can we do anything for Him. Rather, God pursues us out of agape—unconditional love. In fact, He is driven to give to us.

I love my wife, Joni, with unconditional love. That means I love her whether or not she acts loving toward me. It also means that I love her whether or not I feel like it. I am in covenant relationship with her through marriage. I have promised to love her "for better or worse." And I am a driven husband. I am driven to give: to give her love, material necessities, and every luxury I can lavish upon her. The covenant I have with Joni imparts my every blessing to her.

In a much greater way, God is driven to give to us. His very nature of love compels Him to be a giver.

"God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" (1 John 4:8b-10).

Father, I love You with my whole heart, soul, mind,
and strength. I praise You for manifesting Your
love in Christ Jesus. Fill me with
love for others. Amen.


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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The High Price of Complaining

And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. —1 Corinthians 10:10

What I want you to consider is whether you have a complaint, and, if so, is it valid? God knows whether it is valid. Do you feel that it has been unfair that you have had to live all these years with that particular man? Or do you think that God has not been fair to you because you never married, and you have complained? Do you have a valid complaint? It may be. God knows whether it is.

But let me ask you this: In your complaining do you roll up your sleeves, or do you let God handle it? The one thing that can be said about the judgment that must never be underestimated is that it will be the day when God is going to clear His name, and the justice will be carried out totally and in an undoubted way. God knows what people have said. God knows the infidel shakes his fist and says, "If there's a God, why does He let this happen?" God can wait.

But that will be a day when He will be involved. Judgment will be carried out by an all-wise and all-righteous God who has a perfect memory of everything that ever happened. His Day can be your day, but if you make today your day and do not wait for His Day, then that comes under a different category, what the Bible calls "grumbling."

We will be judged not only on what we have done then, but also on what we have said. Indignation may have led us to complain, but we must always ask ourselves: Do we speak with tongues of gold or tongues of straw?

Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).


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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

A Heart After God

Psalm 51:1-19 David is described as a man after God's own heart. He was not perfect by any means, but there was something in him that attracted God. It was his heart. David had a contrite and humble heart. The Bible tells us that God will not despise a contrite heart. David had just committed adultery when he wrote this psalm, and this psalm instructs us how to confess our sins. First John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (KJV). We have another scripture in James 5:16: "Confess your faults [shortcomings and sins] one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (KJV).

Since the Protestant Reformation, there has almost been a neglect of the power of confession. The Catholic Church requires that confession be made to a priest for one's sins. Just because we consider ourselves mature Christians does not negate our need for a daily time of confession. Remember the form of prayer suggested previously called ACTS. Our private and group prayer times would be much more effective if we followed this little outline:

A dore the Lord; spend time in telling the Lord how much you love Him.

C onfess your sins; ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything you need to confess.

T hank the Lord and enter into praise.

S upplicate and make your requests known unto God with thanksgiving.

David knew the power of confession, and he gives us an outline that includes the major ingredients of confession in Psalm 51:

1. Have mercy on me—appeal to God's mercy (v. 1)

2. Blot out my transgressions—acknowledge the loving kindness of the Lord (v. 1)

3. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity—iniquity is "the want to or desire to sin" (v. 2)

4. Cleanse me from my sin—we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus (v. 2)

5. I acknowledge my transgression—transgression is how we have hurt others (v. 3)

6. Against You only have I sinned—when we sin we grieve God (v. 4)

7. Behold, You desire truth—we need to be honest with God concerning our sin (v. 6)

8. Make me to know wisdom—wisdom is what keeps us from sinning (v. 6)

9. Purge me with hyssop—hyssop was used to apply the blood to the door post (v. 7)

10. Make me to hear joy and gladness—restore the joy of my salvation (v. 8)

11. Create within me a clean heart and renew a right spirit—restore my spirit (v. 10)

12. Open my lips to praise You and tell of Your wonders—restore my witness (v. 15)

We see in this psalm that the sacrifice God is pleased with is a broken, contrite heart. Such a heart always attracts God, and He always is willing to cleanse and restore us if we will only confess our sins to Him. Spend a little time in confession this morning.

READ: Numbers 10:1-11:23; Mark 14:1-21; Psalm 51:1-19; Proverbs 10:31-32

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Love and Pleasure

We can't do one thing to make God love us any more than He already loves us, and we can't do anything to make Him love us any less. However, we are responsible for how pleased God is with us.

If you have children, it might be easier to understand. Your love for them is inexhaustible but they determine by their actions, attitudes and behavior how pleased you are with them, right?

Lisa and I have put challenges before our four sons with the promise of nice rewards for their labor. It delights us when they rise to the occasion and we're thrilled to reward them. But when they don't fulfill the tasks, we can't reward their work. We want to, but when you reward children when they don't deserve or earn it, you take away incentive—and incentive is a good thing.

God's pleasure in us is no different—it is based on our choices in life. This is why Paul writes, "We make it our aim to be well pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9, NIV). We should be passionate in our pursuit to be fully pleasing to Him. Nothing else should take preeminence over this purpose. If we live with this supreme goal as our life standard, then two things will occur: abounding joy and complete fulfillment.

Our primary motive for pleasing God is driven by our love for Him. We adore Him because He first loved us and filled our hearts with His love! As a true child of God, your greatest satisfaction comes when you know God is pleased with me. If we walk in this knowledge, nothing can overpower that joy.

The second benefit of pursuing this supreme goal is that we'll be rewarded greatly. Earning a great reward is the exact reason Paul exhorts us to please God, and he elaborates on this in the next verse. "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:9–10).

We are advised to please God because someday He will judge us. You may ask, "But I thought Jesus had saved me from that?" Yes, He is your Savior, but one day you'll stand before Him as Judge. Many are unaware that on some future day every believer will stand individually before Christ's judgment seat and rewards will be given based on what was done in our short time on earth. Today's English Version states, "We will each receive what we deserve" (vs. 10).

Our sins will not be judged, for the blood of Jesus eradicated the eternal punishment ascribed to sin. Rather, we will be rewarded, or suffer loss, for our labor as believers in Jesus Christ.

And it's not just a reward God desires us to possess, but a full reward! "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully" (2 John 1:8, NIV).

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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