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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 258 }

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. ... All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. —1 Samuel 22:1-2

After the praises and promotion in Gibeah, David's career took a sharp turn. He lost all favor in Saul's court. Saul rose up to kill him and enlisted three thousand men to chase, capture, and murder him. Seldom has there been such a dramatic reversal. David, probably confused and exasperated, at least initially, fled and made his headquarters in the dark, damp wilderness cave of Adullam. There he gathered four hundred men together, and for about seven years they and their families wandered the wilderness. Gibeah had tested him with praise and success. Now Adullam was testing him with hardship. God put David in Adullam for seven long years to firmly root his identity in God. The lessons of this season, though extremely difficult to learn, would prove to be his protection when he became king of Israel. In the same way, God doesn't want us to get our identity even a little bit from our anointing or earthly success but from being loved by God and being a lover of God. Our ministry can fall apart. The people who admired us can leave. The blessing of the Spirit can lift off our labors for a season. We can lose our building, our home, and our financial base, but if we love God and He loves us, we are still successful. This is the sure inheritance the Father has promised us.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I've spent time in Adullam. I have lived on the backside of the desert in my spiritual life. Help me never to forget that even in the wilderness You love me, protect me, and bring me to a mature, intimate relationship with You.

We must remember when we suddenly are shoved
into an Adullam season that God has a
divine pattern for maturing us.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Change Your Mind

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. —Romans 12:2

What must happen for the kingdom of heaven to come? Renew your mind according to the Word of God.

Christians sometimes sing, "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!" Why wait? You are in the kingdom of heaven right now! Rejoice! When you change your mind, you also change your attitudes and your actions. Your responses change. When life gets tough, start rejoicing instead of rebelling. When difficulties arise, start praising instead of protesting.

You are a child of the King. Begin to think like a King's kid. Instead of praying for the rapture when trouble comes, transform woeful thoughts into words of faith: "Things may look bad, but I am in the center of God's perfect will for my life. I am a citizen of heaven, seated in heavenly places together with Christ Jesus. The kingdom has come because the King has come!

Jesus, renew my mind. Change my attitudes
and my actions. Renew and conform me
to Your image that my every word
and actions will proceed
from You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Truly Listening to God

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. —1 Samuel 3:9

What can be more important than correct listening? We only worship God to the degree that we hear Him speak. This is why there are injunctions throughout Scripture about hearing and listening. Jesus would frequently end a parable with the words, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

What we are talking about is the ability to recognize and respond to the Spirit's impulse. I consider this to be the highest level of spirituality that exists.

There are two reasons why God has difficulty in getting us to listen to Him. The first is our inability to absorb or take in His counsel. We all overestimate our capacity to grasp and take in things, not realizing that if God were to tell us all there is to know, our minds would snap. God has to deal with us where we are.

The second reason why God has difficulty in getting us to listen to Him is that there is sin within us as a result of not walking in the light. We say, "Lord, speak to me."

God answers, "I did speak, but you wouldn't take it."

We say, "I didn't want that. Lord, speak to me."

"I am speaking."

"No, Lord, speak to me."

God is trying to reach us, and we hear Him to the degree that we are walking in the light. Is it possible that God is trying to speak to you along a certain line, but you are saying, "I know God wouldn't say that to me"?

When we get to the judgment, the Lord could look at us in much the same way and remind us of certain areas of our life, and we will be speechless. It's very important that we should be transparently honest with ourselves. The final tragic result of disobedience, of course, is that God stops speaking to us.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

How Will They Hear?

Romans 10:13-11:12 Paul continues his discussion about what it takes to be saved. He says, "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). Then Paul shares how it will be impossible for people to call upon the name of the Lord if they have never heard the gospel. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" (vv. 14-15).

Every time my husband reads these verses he begins to weep. So many have not heard, and so many will never hear unless we go and tell or pray and send others to tell. We are exhorted to pray for laborers for the harvest. From the time my boys were toddlers, I prayed God would use them as laborers in this last final harvest. We just visited our youngest son in Budapest, Hungary, where he and his wife are reaching out to both Jews and Gentiles there with the good news. My middle son, with his wife and two babies, teaches and shares in China. Our son in Atlanta is active as a laborer locally as he shares on his job and on his many business trips.

How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news. Your feet do not have to travel across the sea to share the glad tidings. Today the Lord might just have you walk across the street to share with your neighbor. At my age my feet are no longer physically beautiful because I have two hammer-toes and two huge bunions, but God sees them as beautiful if I will not hesitate to share the good news of our Savior with others.

Lord, help me to be alert today for opportunities to share the glad tidings with others. Direct me to those whose hearts are ready to receive.

READ: 2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37; Romans 10:13-11:12; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 20:4-6

 

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Road of Holiness

God has given us the resources we need to live a holy life that pleases Him! There's no need to ever fall short. Consider what 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. Again 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."

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].)

We have no reason to fail when producing fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace—not because of us but because of Him. Grace gives us the power to walk the highway of holiness, which secures for us the promise of finishing the race well.

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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