Around the Word in 365 Days

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 203 }

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. —Psalm 16:11

This fascination with the God of beauty is easily the greatest source of pleasure in heaven and the earth. Above all things that give the human heart pleasure, one is paramount: God revealing Himself to us personally and individually. David was saying, in a way, "When I discover more of Your beauty, my spirit is completely exhilarated!" He experienced the highest pleasure known to the human heart. This was the single greatest attribute of his life. He drank from the well of God's endlessly unfolding beauty. King David gave insight into his heart's obsession when he testified, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord" (Ps. 27:4). This must also become our obsession if we are to be people after God's own heart, fulfilling our destiny in this generation.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, with the psalmist, I ask only for the privilege of dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Let me gaze upon Your beauty as eons of time flow endlessly before us.

David lived with a fascinated heart that
continually discovered new dimensions
of God's magnificence.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Temptation Is Knocking

And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. —2 Samuel 11:2

We are never out of reach of the tentacles of temptation. You can be in a crowd of thousands or alone in your thoughts, and temptation will sit down beside you.

Was the seed of temptation already in David's heart, or was he only seeking a place of solitude when temptation overtook him? Instead of fleeing the roof when he saw Bathsheba, he fed temptation by inquiring about her. The result of allowing temptation to stay in your heart will be as devastating to you as it was to him.

Guard your heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). Do not feed your spirit with the chaff of this world, but keep it strong through reading and meditating on the Word of God and communing with your heavenly Father.

What are the strongest temptations in your life? How are you avoiding or resisting them? How do you need God's help in resisting temptation?

Jesus, I desire to resist every temptation
that comes my way. Grant me discernment
and wisdom in recognizing and avoiding
temptation. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Thank God for Unanswered Prayer

You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives... —James 4:2-3

I have lived long enough, as far as I can tell, to thank God for every unanswered prayer. That is, prayers prayed in the distant past. To be honest, I have offered prayers more recently that have gone unanswered (so far), which makes no sense to me at all. But I predict that, in the end, I will have no complaints. God is not only sovereign, but He is also loving and gracious. No good thing does He withhold from those who sincerely try to do His will in everything (Ps. 84:11).

Unanswered prayer is still an enigma—that is, puzzling in the light of Jesus' words, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:14). God does not answer prayers that are not in His will. After all, John said, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).

I can only conclude that asking in Jesus' name must in some direct sense relate to God's will. The enigma of unanswered prayer lies in the apparent incongruity between what seems good to us at the time and what God knows is good for us.

Sometimes our prayers, which seem so right, flow from a faulty theology. When we are in love with our theological assumptions—and can't imagine they could be wrong—we tend to presume God surely agrees with us! The disciples asked the resurrected Christ, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). It had not crossed their minds that Jesus never once planned to do anything of the kind.

Although unanswered prayer is a mystery, there is also an explanation. It is only a matter of time before we will be given an explanation. But it comes down to this: God has a better idea than that which we asked for.

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

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Rejoicing in Trials

Psalm 63:1-11 We talked earlier about giving thanks for trials because ultimately they work for our good; also, proven character is developed in us. This thought does not appeal to our natural mind, especially when we are in the midst of a heavy-duty trial. David sometimes buckled under his trials, but even at those times he spoke to his soul and told his soul to hope in God. Focus is the main issue in trials, and as we see in our psalm reading today, David had his focus exactly where it should be. We all can learn how to focus on the Lord in troubled times. Thank God for a psalmist like David who writes beautiful, but also very practical psalms.

In this psalm David first declares His need for the Lord. He is going through a dry time and feels like there is no water (v. 1). He thirsts to see God's power and glory in the sanctuary (v. 2). Then David turns his focus from his need onto God and begins to praise Him. He shares the fact that God's loving-kindness supercedes every trial and is better than life itself. David's lips begin to praise the Lord (v. 3). He continues steadfastly focusing on the Lord by blessing the Lord and lifting up his hands to the Lord.

Then David makes a faith statement in the midst of a dry time in his life. He says, "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips." The feeling of joy is normally absent when we are in a desert place, but David makes a decision with his will to praise the Lord with joyful lips (v. 5). He also remembers the Lord and meditates in the night watches (v. 6). Often when we are going through a trial, it is hard to sleep, but we can use these waking hours to meditate upon the Lord. David remembers how God has helped him in the past (v. 7). We can always gain proper focus in a trial when we remember how God hid us in the shadow of His wings in the other trials (v. 7).

David makes a determination of his will not to give up because he knows God is upholding him with His right hand (v. 8). He then declares the defeat of his enemies. Sometimes it is good in the midst of a trial to declare aloud the ultimate defeat of the enemy. This is spiritual warfare. Remember, God is allowing Satan to come against you for only one reason. He believes in you and knows if you depend upon Him in the trial, you will be victorious.

David ends his psalm with this beautiful statement: "The king shall rejoice in God." I have a little saying that helps me focus on Jesus in trying times: God will always turn the gory into glory if I trust in Him and keep my mind stayed upon Him.

READ: Isaiah 30:12-33:12; Galatians 5:1-12; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs 23:22

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Unlimited Access to God

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

God has a plan for your life! And that plan is good—not average, mediocre, or boring. It was established in the mind of God before you were ever born, before the creation of the earth itself. This truth is made incredibly clear in Psalm 139. Look at what David writes:

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (vs 1-4, 15-16 NIV)

God is amazing! He knows every thought before you think it, every word before you speak it. He knows when you lie down and when you get up, and He is totally aware of every day of your life before it takes place. With a heavenly Father like this, why go anywhere else for wisdom and direction for your life?

How can you tap into the infinite wisdom of the One who created the heavens and the earth? Through a close, ongoing relationship with Him. He loves you with an everlasting love and wants to be a part of every area of your life. As you read His Word and spend time with Him in prayer, He will reveal to you His general will and His specific will for your life.

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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