Around the Word in 365 Days

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 115 }

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:11-13

The soul aggressively engaged in pursuing intimacy with Jesus is positioned to overcome temptation. On the other hand, the passive soul that wanders from fantasy to fantasy while living in a spiritual vacuum that lacks affection for God is much more vulnerable to fall to temptations that happen to come along. In our pursuit of intimacy with Jesus, we realize that feelings will come and go, sometimes swinging from the highs of holy passion to the lows of spiritual barrenness. We will have seasons of fervent longing and love for Jesus, times when we pray with great feeling and inspiration. But we will also experience seasons when we pray without any feeling of God's presence. Yet, as we persist, we will begin to realize that even in the dry, barren seasons our hearts are still growing in mature love toward Jesus.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Your love protects my heart from yielding to temptation, dear God. Even in the dry, barren seasons of my life, my heart wants only to mature in You and to be all that You want me to be.

Our focus is on Jesus, not upon feelings that
come and go.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

On Eagle's Wings

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. —Deuteronomy 32:11-12

God compares His relationship with Israel with the eagle who observes the feathers of its young to determine when they are ready to fly—and then deliberately pushes them out of the nest.

Often we do not know when we are ready to step out in faith, but God does. When we need to step out in faith, He will thrust us out of the nests of comfort and ease we have constructed for ourselves. As in the manner of a young eagle soaring for the first time, we can also soar because we know it is His timing and He is right there with us as we go forth.

As the eagle leads her young from the nest, she flies under them, guiding their journey. And if they become weary, she carries them home on her wings. When we cannot go on any longer, He carries us to our destination. You can always count on His strength that will never let you fall.

Lord, teach me to fly. Push me out of every nest that I
construct to keep myself from risking faith
and trusting You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Choice to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! —Philippians 4:4

What separates Christians from non-Christians is not whether bad things happen to them but whether we can make the choice to rejoice in all circumstances.

In Philippians 4:4 we are given a command to rejoice: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" It is a command because joy isn't always spontaneous. Sometimes it comes unexpectedly, but it is wrong to wait only for the spontaneous joy. Many years ago I used to sing, "Every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart I will pray." The problem with that old spiritual is that, speaking personally, if I waited until I felt the Spirit moving in my heart, I fear I would not pray all that much. Paul said to "be instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2, KJV). "In season" is when the Spirit is consciously at work; "out of season" is when we feel nothing.

We are to rejoice always. Why? Because circumstances change. If we are found rejoicing at all times, we are showing gratitude. If we make a commitment to gratitude, it means we must be prepared for the unexpected trial and dignify that trial when it comes. Dignifying the trial means:

* Refusing to complain

* Accepting that the trial is from God

* Letting God end the trial His way

Every trial has a built-in time scale. It will end! God will see to that. God knows how much we can bear. If we will truly believe that, we can keep our commitment to be grateful—and show it by the choice to rejoice no matter what the circumstances.

Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

How to Wait for Your Vision

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 The Bible tells us that without a vision the people will perish. It is so important to have a vision or several visions throughout our lifetime. God calls us to be visionaries. He created the imagination to be used for His glory. Satan, however, ever since the Fall seeks to use our imaginations for his dirty work. Satan has the power to plant images in our minds that will tempt us to sin. We see this clearly when so many today are involved in pornography. When we set our eyes on anything that is not holy, good, pure, virtuous and lovely, those images we receive will be played over and over again in our minds. The spiritual battlefield is our minds and we must use the mighty weapons of God (His Word, the blood of Jesus, prayer and the name of Jesus) to pull down those vain imaginations that Satan would use to destroy us. God desires our minds to be stayed upon Him, and when they are, we will have perfect peace. The visions and images God wants us to have are of Him and His plans for our lives.

Just recently as someone was counseling my son, he was asked the question: "What is your dream?" This is a good question to ask ourselves, because often we will find the calling God has on our lives when we answer this question. Perhaps God has given you a vision. You may have a recurring dream or a thought that brings images to your mind of God's plans for you. Maybe He gave this vision to you many years ago, and it has not yet been fulfilled. What do you do while you are waiting on the fulfillment of the vision of visions God has given you? This passage in Habakkuk gives us the answer to this question.

I was in a meeting with Marilyn Hickey when she singled me out of the crowd and gave this verse from Habakkuk to me: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14) She said, "There is an area in your life you have been praying for years about, but your vision of completeness in this area has not yet been fulfilled. Know and rest assured that this area of your life shall be filled with the glory of God." I instantly knew the area she was speaking about, and I thought this fulfillment would happen the next day. The truth is, I had to wait nearly twenty years for this vision to be fulfilled. What did I do while I waited for this vision to be accomplished? I learned what to do in this passage in Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk writes that although we do not see the tree blossoming or the fruit on the vine and the fields are yielding nothing, we still rejoice in the Lord. We wait with confident expectation of what has been promised. We declare the Lord is our strength, and He makes our feet like hind's feet to walk on the high places. Deer jump using the strength of their feet, and they can leap great distances in the air because of the springing ability of their feet. Rejoicing in the Lord continually even though we do not see our vision fulfilled right away will keep the spring in our steps as we wait for the vision to be fulfilled. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.

READ: Habakkuk 1:1-3:19; Revelation 9:1-21; Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 30:10

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Free from Sin

??"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14, NKJV).

Why shouldn't sin have dominion over us? Because we no longer possess a sin nature, but we have entered God’s empowerment, possessing the nature of Jesus Himself. We are free from the power of sin!

The Message says, "Sin can't tell you how to live." God's Word, the truth, declares here that gossip, slander and lying no longer have dominion over you. Adultery, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, pornography or any other impurity no longer dominates you. Hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, prejudice and envy no longer control you. Uncontrolled anger, rage and outbursts of wrath have lost their authority in your life. Stealing, substance abuse and alcohol addiction are no longer a master over you. Disobedience to authority, stubbornness and insubordination have lost their dominion over you. And the list continues.

You don't have to yield to such sins anymore because you are now under the empowerment of grace! Look at it this way: You were once imprisoned by your own nature to some of these things and unable to live a godly life. Jesus came and threw open the prison door. He took the keys to sin's powerful domination, and you can now walk out of the prison. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are free and a child of God!

Before we were in Christ, we were slaves to sin and had no power over it. Now we do. We can choose to either submit to sin or we can walk in grace free from sin. Christians have power over sin because they possess Jesus' nature. God did not set you free from sin so that you could continue to sin and be forgiven—without reaping its consequences. God set you free from sin so that you could indeed be free and walk in true holiness as Jesus did. The true believer's goal is not to sin. However, if we sin, forgiveness is still found in His provision of grace.

Grace empowers us to be pleasing to God, to live an extraordinary life! However, if we choose not to walk in our new nature and continually yield to sin, then we give up our freedom and again are captive. New Testament repentance is about truth and represents a complete change of mind or heart. It is when we are deeply sorry we've hurt the heart of God and are now committed to obeying His desire in this area. It takes both confession and repentance to free a believer from sin's grip.

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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