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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 91 }

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. —Psalm 147:10-11

Perhaps you have grown so accustomed to the constant, condemning barrage from the enemy, from your own accusing thoughts or the criticism of others, you hardly know what it is like to live without a sense of sin, failure, and rejection clouding your heart. You may have come to view yourself as failing, utterly unlovely and worthless, but that is not the way your beloved Lord sees you. As you look to Jesus and set your soul to follow Him at any cost, one loving glance seizes His heart and carries it away. "You have ravished My heart with one look from your eyes!" He exclaims. "I am overwhelmed by your devotion. You are so lovely, such a source of joy and delight to My heart!"

{ PRAYER STARTER }

There are times, dear God, when I feel like such a spiritual failure. But when I place my eyes back on You instead of on myself, I am filled afresh with the wonder of Your love, which enables me to rise above my weakness and become all You desire me to become.

God calls us forth in ways we would never dream,
yet we accuse ourselves so terribly.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Limitless Living

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice. —Romans 12:1

When you are born again, you are not the person you used to be. You do not think the way you used to think or go where you used to go. No longer are you in the kingdom of this world. You have been promoted to a higher place. People like to talk about a new world order, but the best of all worlds is the one God established in His Word! When you move into His divine realm, you are no longer bound by the world's restrictions.

However, living in His kingdom is not a one-way street. Proverbs 3:5 says we are to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20).

Is your life partially given, or, like Paul's, fully surrendered to God? Do you say "yes" or "no" to your King? Limitless living requires limitless giving!

Jesus, help me to live in Your realm without limits
so that I may experience Your limitless grace
and giving to and through me. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Even the Weakest Can Still Build for Eternity

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . —Matthew 6:20

Even the weakest Christian can build a lasting superstructure. You may say, "Well now, look here, I am not able to do this or that, and I just feel I must be the weakest Christian that ever lived." It is worth remembering the Old Testament character Barak.

Barak was the equivalent of an Israeli general in the days of Judges. Deborah, a judge in Israel during that period, was told by the Lord that the time had come to defeat the enemy. So she turned to Barak and said, "Take ten thousand of your men and meet on Mount Nebo, and the Lord is going to deliver the enemy into your hand."

Barak said, "No, I just do not think I want to do that. I'm not ready." But then he said, "Deborah, if you'll go with me, I'll go."

She said, "Well, now, just a minute; if I go, you are not going to get any glory; it will go to a woman."

He said, "It's all right."

Now why did Barak do that? He did that because he wanted to see Israel win, but he was afraid they would not win by himself, and he asked for Deborah to go with him. And a woman, Jael, in fact, got the glory, and we have the song of Deborah in Judges 5:24; it is not about Barak. He felt like he was a nobody; nevertheless, in Hebrews 11, when the writer comes down the Old Testament, whom does he choose to mention as having faith? Barak. And I find that so encouraging—that the weakest Christian can do it. The reason Barak was given that glory was that he did not want the glory then.

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

Being Led by the Holy Spirit

Genesis 24:52-26:16 This Genesis passage gives a beautiful picture of how the Holy Spirit seeks us, chooses us to be the bride of Christ and leads us. The servant who sought a bride for Isaac is a type of the Holy Spirit. The servant was given the assignment to find a bride for Isaac. He found Rebekah, but before he could take Rebekah to Isaac he had to have her permission. When the servant knew Rebekah was the chosen one for Isaac, he wasted no time. He presented gifts of gold, jewels and raiment to Rebekah. Then he asked Rebekah's parents for her to go with him to marry Isaac. Rebekah's parents were hesitant and asked if Rebekah could remain with them at least ten days. The servant shared how the Lord had prospered him in his way, and now he was ready to take Rebekah home with him to meet Isaac. The parents then said they would ask Rebekah. Rebekah's reply was immediate and positive. "And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go" (Gen. 24:58, KJV).

The Holy Spirit seeks and chooses us. His first act toward us is to give us gifts. Remember the account in Acts when the 120 gathered together, and they received the gift of speaking in tongues and the sevenfold anointing (the spirit of wisdom and understanding, might and counsel, the fear of the Lord and knowledge and the spirit of the Lord). Those gathered together on that great day when the church (the bride of Christ) was birthed received gifts and were empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses in this world. They could have chosen to remain within closed doors and use and exercise these gifts among themselves. The whole purpose of this empowering, however, was to equip those early disciples for ministry and to be witnesses. They not only received the gifts, buy they also were willing to go into all the world to share the gospel and to make disciples of many. Notice in this story Rebekah's immediate and quick response of "yes" to the invitation of the servant, even though her parents wished she could stay with them for a period of time. She also took all of her damsels and servants with her.

What would have happened if Rebekah had decided to wait the ten days her parents desired? She still would have been Isaac's bride, but she, by her own choice, would have delayed the marriage. We have been chosen to be the bride of Christ. We have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit. Now the Father asks us this question, "Will you go with this servant (the Holy Spirit)? Will you let the Holy Spirit lead you?" We have a choice. We can delay that wedding day by refusing to be led by the Holy Spirit, or we can hasten the day of that wedding by our obedient readiness to be led by the Holy Spirit. Could it be that the Lord has not come for His bride yet because there are those who are not following the commission found in Matthew 28:19-20. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you-.-.-.-" (KJV).

READ: Genesis 24:52-26:16; Matthew 8:18-34; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 3:7-8

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

Equipped For So Much More

One of the main reasons I avoided Christianity for years was its portrayal. I, like many others, saw people of God as Bible-thumping critics who were quick to judge the flaws of others. Or I thought they were passive, backward and ignorant. The idea that Christians were pioneers who lived and thought outside the box, behaving in extraordinary ways, never crossed my mind.

I viewed Christianity as lifeless. Becoming a believer would mean losing my individuality and foregoing creativity, excellence, passion and the ability to succeed in the marketplace, sports, politics, education and other arenas of life. I didn't know it then, but my views were the opposite of how God created us to live because He is the One who breathed into us the desire for the extraordinary.

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth." God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!" (Genesis 1:26–28, The Message)

We were made to reflect God's nature. He spoke both to men and women, saying, "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!" Adam, the first man, named every species of animal on the earth. God brought the animals to Adam and gave him the responsibility of naming them. There are over one million species of animals on earth. Not only did Adam have the creativity to name them all, but he also had the capacity to remember each one. That was an extraordinary man doing a remarkable feat!

You may ask, "But since Adam fell, weren't those abilities lost due to his disobedience?" No, Jesus flipped the mess Adam created for humankind. Paul wrote, "Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!" (Romans 5:18, MSG).

The word life doesn't merely describe the way we'll live in heaven; it also means the "here and now." Jesus not only recovered what Adam lost, but He also provided so much more—the potential of an extraordinary life!

The truth is, God not only desires you to live extraordinarily but also has equipped you to do so.

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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