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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 23 }

He has sent me ... to bestow on them a crown of beauty. ... They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. —Isaiah 61:1, 3

Suppose there was a gardener who had planted and cared for a prize-winning bed of flowers. Which would he hate more: a weed in the common field or a weed in the bed of his prize-winning flowers? Obviously, he would hate the weed in his flower bed more because it chokes the life out of his prize-winning flowers and destroys the glory of his handiwork. In the same way God hates sin infinitely more in the lives of Christians because we are His vineyard, "the plantings of the Lord." The most wonderful thing of all is that He loves us with an everlasting love and reckons us as perfectly righteous because of our faith in Christ and His work on the cross.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I don't want the weeds of sin in my life to choke out Your glorious presence and power. Show me those sins, and remove them from my life. I want only what is pure and holy and righteous from You.

Nothing describes God's abhorrence for sin in
the wicked better than the degree of eternal
punishment He prescribes for it.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Come Past the Veil

And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches-.-.-.-and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. —Exodus 26:33

The Ark of the Covenant was also called the Ark of the Presence, for the presence of God was with it. God instructed Moses to keep the Ark of the Covenant in a room separated from the people.

Those who do not partake of the new covenant do not understand the character of God. They may even believe He is cruel and unyielding, indifferent and unconcerned. But a veil of sin separates them from God.

Under the new covenant, the veil has been torn, and God's presence is fully available to us (Matthew 27:51). The veil of sin has been removed by Christ so that we are liberated from sin and changed from glory to glory. "Since this new covenant give us such confidence, we can be very bold.-.-.-.-But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away" (2 Corinthians 3:12, 16 nlt).

No one who receives the blood of Jesus is shut out. As a born-again child of God, He will never turn you away. Come boldly before Him today, through the precious blood of Jesus, and make your needs known to Him!

Jesus, thank You for removing the veil from my eyes and
empowering me to live in Your grace and presence.
Through Your blood, I boldly approach the Father
and desire to be changed in
His presence. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Purpose of a Thorn in the Flesh

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh. —2 Corinthians 12:7

The purpose of the thorn in the flesh, Paul says, is to keep us from being conceited because of God's unusual blessing. In Paul's case it was because of "surpassing great revelations."

If you say, "I don't have a thorn in the flesh," then I don't suggest you pray, "O, please, Lord, give me one!" I can tell you right now that it is nothing for which you should stand in a line. It is nothing that you pray to get; you will pray to get rid of it. I don't wish it on anybody.

The first qualification for the thorn in the flesh is the fact that the Lord has been extraordinarily good to you. If He has been unusually good to you—you qualify. Is that you? It may not be "visions and revelations from the Lord" (2 Cor. 12:1), but it is nonetheless an equivalent dose of sovereign grace, so wonderful that it is humbling for you to contemplate.

The second prerequisite is that one of your weaknesses happens to be that you tend to take yourself too seriously. If you immediately say, "That's not me," then I doubt that this is true. We are talking here about a thing called "pride." We are talking about a sensitive ego. So if you are sure you don't have a problem where pride is concerned, then there is no problem for you! Congratulations! You will not have a thorn in the flesh. You are exempt, so forget it.

Now I don't want to be unfair, but if you think you don't have a problem with pride, then you show you have no conviction of sin. The more you are convicted of sin, and the more you see of God's glory, then the more you will see how proud you are. At first you say, "I'm not that bad," and later you say, "I'm horrible." God peels the layers away—that is why you need a thorn in the flesh.

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


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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Anointing for Ministry

Luke 4:1-32 So many in this day are seeking the anointing, but few realize that we already have the anointing. We have the same anointing for ministry that Jesus had. Isaiah lists seven aspects of this anointing of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:1-2:

  • The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding
  • The Spirit of Counsel and Might
  • The Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord
  • The Spirit of the Lord

In this passage in Luke Jesus tells how the Spirit of the Lord anointed Him for ministry. He then lists six things this anointing will enable Him to do:

  1. Preach the gospel to the poor
  2. Heal the brokenhearted
  3. Preach deliverance to the captives
  4. Recovering of the sight to the blind
  5. Set at liberty those who are bruised
  6. Preach the acceptable year of the Lord

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is what enabled Jesus to fulfill these six ministries. The Spirit of Counsel and Might enabled Jesus to heal the souls of the people. He was able to counsel those who were brokenhearted, and He also set at liberty all that were bruised in their souls. The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding enabled Him to preach the gospel to the poor in spirit who needed wisdom and understanding, and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord and Knowledge enabled Him to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

We have this same anointing. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you today. To whom will you minister today?

Lord, forgive me for seeking an anointing that I already have. Because Jesus lives in me, I have the same anointing He experienced when He was on earth. Why do I hesitate to move out in this anointing to minister to others? Help me to get rid of all of my fear and self-awareness and allow the Holy Spirit to minister through me today. Amen.

READ: Numbers 30:1-31:54; Luke 4:1-32; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs 11:20-21

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

You Were Expensive!

God's love for us is unconditional and unchanging. This is clearly seen in the words of Jesus' prayer the night before His crucifixion: "Then the world will know that you [God the Father] sent me [Jesus Christ] and will understand that you love them as much as you love me" (John 17:23, NLT).

Did you catch that? God loves you as much as He loves Jesus! That's almost too much to comprehend!

Scripture records that God's love "is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]" (1 Corinthians 13:7-8, AMP). His love for you can never weaken or become obsolete. It is impossible, for His love for you isn't based on your behavior but on His character of faithfulness. God's love for us is so all-encompassing that we simply cannot comprehend its scope.

He sent Jesus to die for us when we were still His enemies (see Romans 5:10). John the apostle writes, "For God so loved the world [you and me] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Why did God give Jesus? The answer is simple: to purchase us back. Our forefather Adam gave up himself and consequently all his offspring (including you and me) to a new lord when he heeded Satan's words in the Garden of Eden. Adam disobeyed God and separated himself and his descendants from their Creator. But since God loved humankind so much, He wasn't willing to assign us the same fate as Satan and his angels.

God needed a creative plan to purchase our freedom. He did this by sending Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus was all man and all God and lived a perfect life (the only man ever to walk the earth without sin). He went to the cross and paid the price for our disobedience to God. He took our judgment so we wouldn't have to.

The price of our soul is so expensive that nothing else could have bought us back besides Jesus Himself. Scripture states, "God bought you with a high price" (1 Corinthians 6:20, NLT). Then again it's recorded that the Father "is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son" (Ephesians 1:7, NLT). No person or thing is more valuable to God than Jesus. Yet God saw our value equal to that of what He prized most.

Now here is the amazing fact: If you and I had been worth one cent less to God than the value of Jesus, He would not have purchased us because God would never make an unprofitable deal. God does not make bad purchases. (Recall the above scripture, "God bought you with a high price.") A bad purchase is when you give something of more value for something of less value. In God's eyes, Jesus' value is the same as yours! Do you see how important you are to God? This is why Jesus prays, "You love them as much as you love me" (John 17:23, NLT).

That's extraordinary love!

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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