Around the Word in 365 Days

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 85 }

On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him but did not find him. I must arise now and go about the city; in the streets and in the squares I must seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him but did not find him. The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, and I said, "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" —Song of Solomon 3:1-3, NAS

Sometimes the Lord gets our attention in discipling us by gently withdrawing His presence for a season. That is the way He caused the maiden to repent for refusing Him. When the Lord corrects His sincere, yet immature, disciples, He is not angry with us. He still loves and enjoys us in our immaturity; however, He loves us too much to let us stay there. Although we do not always understand it, He is bringing us forth to maturity. He knows what awaits us—the glory of being His bride and the spiritual treasures that come with being mature coheirs of the glorious Son of God.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

In the seasons of the night, dear God, when Your presence seems far removed from my life, teach me to look forward to the morning when the light of Your love bursts into view and brings me into a new level of relationship with You.

Our fear and weakness do not anger the Lord.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Take the Limits Off

Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. —Ephesians 4:23-24

Everything in God's kingdom is in opposition to the ways of the world. To live, we must first die to ourselves, our desires, and our flesh. To receive, we must first give. To bring us out, God brings us in—out of the shadows and into His marvelous light.

We think we can only make this much, save this much, and invest this much at this percentage rate. But our efforts only limit God. Life is not prescribed by our limits but by His limitlessness. But God promises a better rate of return. When our seed is sown in good ground we can expect a yield of some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred (Mark 4:20).

Once you begin operating in God's kingdom, the rules change; there are no limits to His abundance. Which kingdom are you living in? Are you submitted to the laws of the world? Commit to the guidance and care of your heavenly Father, and take the limits off!

Father, I desire to live in Your limitless love,
power, and grace. Forgive me for establishing limits
where You have none. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Trials Have a Purpose

These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. —1 Peter 1:7

Everybody is either in a trial now or between trials. You have either just had one, you are going to have one, or you are having one. But why call it a "fiery" trial as Peter does? This is because by its light the fire reveals precisely what we are spiritually.

It is apparent, of course, that this only appeals to those who have a desire to be godly.

For example, our endurance can be tested during a trial by how we respond to it. If we begin complaining and murmuring, we will acknowledge later that we did not stand up to the trial very well for we did not display a godly nature. Thus trials will test our ability to manifest all the fruit of the Spirit. They test our work whether we have been walking in the light, and they expose how spiritual we really are, which is the sum of all that has gone on before.

What makes a trial a trial is that God, as it were, leaves us, and we feel deserted and betrayed. We say, "God, I don't believe this; why would You do this to me? Why desert me at a moment when I needed You the most?" Is that not the way you have felt? That's why it is called a "fiery" trial; God leaves you to test you, to see what is there. And so, this is the thing about the trial by fire: it exposes how spiritual we really are—which is the sum total of all our Christian living so far. We are forced to see ourselves, and we can find out how Christlike we truly are.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Lord Shall Be Your Confidence

Proverbs 3:21-26 So often in life we are found in situations where we feel a lack of confidence. It may be the first day on a new job, the big interview for a job or simply a test we're taking in school. It is at these times we rely on this verse in Proverbs 3:26: "For the Lord shall be your confidence."

When we place our confidence in the Lord rather than ourselves, we are saying to ourselves, "I can't, but He can." Where we are weak, He is strong. I have found that it is in my weakest moment that the Lord is able to be my strength. Often when I place confidence in myself or my own abilities, I fall on my face and blow it. My focus is on my own ability instead of His ability. One of the definitions of responsibility is responding to His ability within us. We are totally dependent upon God. In fact, the whole world is totally dependent upon God. However, many do not realize this. They do not realize that the whole world holds together by God's Word, and they could not take another breath without God giving it to them.

Pride will always cause a fall in our lives. Paul wrote, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). The moment we begin to stand in any situation in our own strength, we are standing in pride. Humility is recognizing our inability and applauding His ability through us. It is seeing ourselves as God sees us. He sees us as worthy of the death of His Son and created in His image. These facts, however, should not instill pride in us, but rather a deep sense of awe of God's greatness and gratefulness to Him for choosing us. The treasure of His glory is in our earthen vessels so that He can show His excellency through us.

One of the most liberating scriptures in the Bible is Jesus' words, "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). When we recognize our total dependence upon God and that it is God who works within us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, we are set free from our struggle to get everything just right in this life. Perfectionism is a prison in which many find themselves locked, and the only key to freedom is Jesus Christ, the perfect One. You've heard many say, "Well, nobody is perfect." There is Somebody who is perfect, and He wants to perfect everything in our lives. We may blow it when we trust in ourselves more than we trust in God in certain situations, but the good news is that Jesus Christ is not only perfect, but He is the perfect redeemer. He is able to take our mess-ups and redeem them if we will turn to Him and ask Him to forgive our pride and arrogance and release what we have messed up to Him.

The apostle Paul had a great battle with pride because he was so skilled in so many areas. He speaks of this in his letters to the churches often when he makes the statement, "I could glory, but I will not." Then he tells us he has learned to glory in his infirmities. He was saying he was thankful for all of his weak areas because he had to rely on Jesus' strength.

Today is a day of great opportunity for the Lord to show Himself strong on our behalf. The only thing that would hinder this is our pride.

READ: Genesis 35:1-36:43; Matthew 12:1-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 3:21-26


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Delight of God

You and I have what it takes to bring delight to our heavenly Father! Take a look at what the scripture says about this...

"Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us" (2 Peter 1:3, The Message).

"We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power" (2 Peter 1:3, CEV).

I know the next question: "What is the power that has been given to us, enabling us to please God?" The answer is grace. Much has been communicated about grace in recent times, yet it still isn't fully understood. Grace is, without a doubt, one of the most important truths a New Testament believer should grasp because it's the very foundation of our salvation and life in Christ.

We must always remind ourselves that it is by grace we are saved, and by grace we continue to receive the benefits of salvation. You see, grace goes beyond forgiveness. Grace is also God's empowerment. This is how we can live like Christ.

"Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 John 2:6, NIV).

Notice the apostle doesn't say should but must. We must walk as Jesus did! This is not a suggestion or goal; it's what God expects. The good news is that God never gives a command in the New Testament without supplying the power to keep it. So we can conduct ourselves as Jesus through the power of grace. It's this aspect of grace that many overlook, largely because it's not taught with the same emphasis. For this reason, believers struggle in their Christian walk and don't live an extraordinary life.

Strong's Greek dictionary brings to light the power of grace by defining it as "the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life." Notice the words "reflection in the life." It's obvious that there is more to the meaning of grace than being heaven-bound.

Grace is not just God's favor but also His empowering presence that gives us the ability to do what thrills Him. Grace gives us the ability to exceed our own ability. It gives us the ability to live extraordinarily!

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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