By Love Transformed

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 178 }

After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: "I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do." —Acts 13:20-22

King David has been a puzzle, a mystery, a holy conundrum for thousands of years. His life perplexes, maddens, and humbles students of the Bible. To many, it doesn't make sense that this man who was so prone to personal weakness was able to "get away with" so much and still have God treat him with special favor. He was many things: a shepherd, a psalmist, a king, a liar, a murderer, and an adulterer. But most important of all, he was the only person in the entire span of the Bible to be called a man after God's own heart. Can you think of four more stunning words in all of creation? A man—lowly and often full of doubts and sin, like all of us—and yet God singled him out and called him a man after His own heart. What an awesome, almost unfathomable compliment! But in saying those words, God threw open the door to every person on the planet to be, like David, a man or woman after God's own heart.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like David, there are many who wonder how You could possibly love me as You do. I too am full of doubts and sin, yet you allow me to become a man or woman after God's own heart.

We all have the same opportunity to embody in our
own personality and in our own way the kind of
heart that reflects the very heart, emotions, and
personality of God.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Dig a Ditch

And he said, thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. —2 Kings 3:16-17

The armies were dying of thirst when they received the prophet's words. God instructed them, through His prophet, to do something first in the natural: Dig a ditch! It's too late to dig a ditch after the rains come. Get prepared. Stay ready. Be armed. When God says to act, don't delay. Do exactly what He commands.

The man with the withered arm wasn't healed until he stretched forth his arm. Farmers don't expect a harvest until they sow seed. God will not send your increase until you have prepared to receive it. What will you do today to prepare to receive what God has for you?

God has something He wants to give you—so prepare for increase. If you want to make room for Him in your life, you have to dig a ditch.

Jesus, I want to receive all you have
for me. I am digging a ditch, preparing
a place for all You have for me. I am
ready, Lord. Send Your rain. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Put Away Childish Things

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. —1 Corinthians 13:11

We expect children to behave in certain ways—to talk, think, and reason like children. We all recognize the sound of a child. For example, we don't expect a teenager to talk and act like a small child. Similarly, we can listen to people who claim to have been Christians for years and yet talk like a baby Christian. Immature speech in people who have been Christians for many years is to their shame, and Paul is challenging the believers over this.

Childhood is marked by a particular way of talking and also a particular way of thinking: "I thought as a child," said Paul. A child is the most selfish person that ever was. As far as he is concerned, the whole world revolves around him. He thinks only of himself and wants immediate gratification. He wants to be loved, but it never crosses his mind to be loving. And some of us, who have been Christians for quite some time, have never moved beyond just wanting to be loved, pampered, and encouraged. When will we take the responsibility and begin to grow up? If we are still waiting for others to show if they care about us, we need to start caring instead.

A third characteristic of children is shallowness. A child is easily influenced, is gullible, and has no discernment. This is why Paul says we should no longer be infants who are tossed about by every wind of doctrine.

So immaturity in Christians is just like the painless pursuit of childhood, characterized by baby talk, selfishness, and shallowness.

Rather, let us demonstrate the love of God through mature speech, selflessness, and discernment. As Christians, let us love one another and put away childish things.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Will We Go Through the Tribulation?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 The question "Will we go through the tribulation?" has been discussed in many books and by many teachers. People do not like the thought of going through any tribulation. In fact, when tribulation comes, they want an easy out. One of the promises of God we do not like to claim is, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jesus said this, and we will all suffer some tribulation in this life. There will be a day, however, when there will be tribulation as never before on this earth. This is a seven-year period at the end of this age when there will be horrific trials. All of us would like to escape this period of time, but the more I study Scripture, the only promise I can hold on to to comfort me about the last days on earth is, "We are not appointed to wrath." If one studies Revelation, he will discover that the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation will be a time on earth when all kinds of plagues are poured out on the earth. This is the time of God's wrath, and these various trials are called the bowls of wrath. I am convinced the church will not be on earth during this last three and one-half years because we are not appointed to God's wrath. The statement is made in Revelation that at this time no one left on earth will repent.

Personally I hold to the mid-trib theory, but I believe God wants us to not be absolutely sure. I heard someone say they believed in the pan-trib—it will all pan out in the end. God's main concern is that we be ready whenever He chooses to come again. The Bible tells us that not even Jesus knows the time. Only the Father knows, and when it is time for Jesus' return to earth, the Father will tell Him. If Jesus does not know, then I find it very presumptuous of me to try to figure it out and to be convinced that I have discovered exactly the time of our departure from this earth when Jesus comes to receive His own. We can, however, know the season, and all I can say is the season is very near.

Whether you are a mid-trib, post-trib or pre-trib really does not matter. Your opinion holds no effect on God and His plans. However, this passage in Thessalonians does tell us what matters to God. "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle" (v. 15).

This exhortation causes me to bow my knee and pray. You may want to join me.

Lord, help me to stand fast in these last days. I do not want to be one of those who fall away. I trust You as the author and finisher of my faith, and I believe the good work You have begun will be finished.

READ: Jeremiah 23:21-25:38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Psalm 84:1-12; Proverbs 25:15

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

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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