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By Love Transformed

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 51 }

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. —2 Timothy 1:6-7

The Father will not insult His beloved Son by giving Him a bride that is bored, passive, and compromising. Passionless Christianity is no threat to the devil. It is focused on activities to the neglect of heartfelt affection and obedience to God. True Christianity sparks a flame in the human spirit. It ignites the heart with fervency.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Move me out of complacency and passivity to Your plan and purpose, Father. Wake me up and ignite my heart with fervency for my Savior.

As an inheritance, God the Father has promised
His Son a church filled with people
ablaze with affection.


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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Work of Faith

Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope. —1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, The Message

The faith of the Thessalonians was well known. Paul tells us their success was because they followed the example of the apostles.

They laid down their idols and abandoned the false worship they were taught from childhood. They gave themselves wholly to serving with deep devotion the one, true God. Although they came under great persecution for their faith, Paul exhorted them not to waver because God had given them the ability to overcome.

Our work of faith is not what we do but what God does in us. We must yield ourselves to the work of His Spirit in us. "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his [Christ's] working, which worketh in me mightily" (Colossians 1:29). Christ is working in your mightily today.

Because you have a new identity, you can laugh in the face of the devil, and like the Thessalonians, be a sign and wonder to a hurting world. Christ's mighty works will be manifest in your life all around you to see and to give praise to the glory of God.

Work mightily in me, O Lord. Take my faith, hope,
and love in You and use all that I say
and do for Your glory. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Prepare to Be Misunderstood

Then all the disciples deserted him [Jesus] and fled. —Matthew 26:56

The paramount stigma of being today's man or woman is probably that of being misunderstood. Nothing is more painful than this. We can cope with a lot that people say against us—as long as they are fully in the picture and still disagree. But what hurts is when they aren't in the picture and they form judgments and perceptions that are based on limited information.

I sometimes think that much of Jesus' pain at His crucifixion was a result of His being misunderstood. Nothing made sense. It didn't add up that the same man who raised Lazarus from the dead a few days before was now hanging on a cross. Why didn't Jesus stop the proceedings that led to His crucifixion? Anybody who could control the wind and storm on the Sea of Galilee could surely have intervened before Herod or Pilate.

There were any number of ways in which He could have stopped being crucified. Common sense told everybody this. So why was He being crucified?

The disciples couldn't figure it out—they all forsook Him and fled (Matt. 26:56). Never once did Jesus explain Himself.

It must have been almost unbearable emotional pain for Jesus to see Mary Magdalene sobbing her heart out at the scene of the cross and not be allowed to whisper to her, "It's OK, Mary; all is going according to plan. I'm atoning for the sins of the world by My blood." But there was no hint of this. He had to bear the further stigma of being misunderstood, even by those closest to Him.

Whether others understood or not, He did the right thing—He listened to God.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).



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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Faith Overcomes Fear

Mark 4:26-5:20 When we look at Jesus and the life He lived on earth, we see His mind was filled with faith. Worry and doubt were not part of His life. He was able to sleep through the storm because He trusted in the Father, whom He knew controls the storms of this life. Fear overcame the disciples in the boat because their focus was on the storm instead of their heavenly Father, who sits on and even rides upon the clouds. Faith comes when we learn to glance at the storms (the trials and testing in our lives) and gaze upon Jesus. The moment we encounter a difficulty on this earth we need to look at it briefly and then focus our eyes heavenward. Paul exhorts us to set our affections upon things above.

I learned through a great trial I experienced what to do when my faith was being overwhelmed by fear and doubt. A little boy I hit with my car was lying in a hospital bed battling for his life. He was experiencing a breathing problem, and the doctors were not sure he would survive. When I learned of his condition one morning when I visited the hospital, my heart sank, and I was paralyzed with fear. By the power of God's spirit I was able to compose myself long enough to make a few calls to prayer warriors. I knew who would faithfully intercede for Richey. As Richey continued his battle for life, I continued my battle for faith. I kept hearing, "If Richey died, I could not live."

One of those faithful friends I called came immediately to the hospital to pray for Richey. We first knelt in the intensive care waiting room and prayed with Richey's mother. Then we excused ourselves to go to the chapel. After a season of prayer, my friend had to leave, and I was alone again to face these doubts and fears that attacked my faith. I entered the elevator to return to the waiting room, and no one but the Lord was in the elevator with me. I cried out to the Lord, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." As I pressed the button to go down, I heard the Lord say, "All you need is one finger of faith. Lift that finger heavenward, and the ocean of My love will support you and keep you from sinking."

My mind raced back to when my dad taught me how to float in the swimming pool. His strong hands held me up on the surface of the water, but slowly he withdrew one finger at a time until only one of his fingers was supporting me. Then he withdrew that finger. When I realized his finger was no longer supporting me, I began to sink. Immediately my father placed his strong hands under my back to get me above the surface of the water again. He said, "Relax, I will not let you sink. Look up at the clouds and the blue sky and concentrate on their beauty." As I focused heavenward, once again Dad's hands were withdrawn, but I did not sink this time. I felt all tension leaving my body, and a peace overwhelmed me. I was floating, and I knew if I began to sink again, Dad would quickly catch me. Faith began to fill me and doubt left. When the doors of the elevator opened, I was greeted with the news that Richey's breathing crisis had passed.

READ: Leviticus 9:7-10:20; Mark 4:26-5:20; Psalm 37:29-40; Proverbs 10:6-7

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Deep Longing

Why have so many Christians embraced the idea that following Christ means losing individuality, creativity, ingenuity, and the passion for excellence in all spheres of life? Too many believers are trapped in "the ordinary" when God promised an extraordinary life!

In stark contrast, believers in the early church were often mistaken for "gods." What has happened to our power and influence? Have we neglected our access to God's ability and presence purchased through the cross?

It's time we lay hold of our core faith! Within each person is an innate desire to rise above the norm.

It's no surprise we're captivated by those who do remarkable feats or possess super powers: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, to mention just a few. Did you know that 17 of the top 25 blockbuster films of all time tell of extraordinary feats and superheroes? Strength and bravery capture our imagination and encourage us to believe in a life greater than we've known.

How intriguing that the bulk of the most popular movies of all time are not love stories, murder mysteries, espionage thrillers, war movies, sports flicks, westerns or dramas. No, the top box office draws are films that center on extraordinary characters doing remarkable feats. Why? Because "extraordinary" is how we were created to live. It was God's plan from the beginning.

This extraordinary life is more than a fairytale, it's available through Christ. You see, more than a need to escape or be entertained, there is a God-inspired longing in everyone for the extraordinary! Within every believer is a hero waiting to be unveiled!

"My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" (Ephesians 3:9-10, The Message)

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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