By Love Transformed

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 53 }

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. —1 Peter 5:8-9

Satan always seeks to twist and pervert the issue to serve his interests. At his appointed time, rebellious, red-hot passion will develop around that issue. At the moment he may be promoting homosexuality, abortion, and sex education, which fosters an ungodly lifestyle, pornography, or other sin issues. But Satan's real, underlying motive goes far beyond that issue. His desire is to capture the passions of the human race, because that is the highest priority on God's agenda.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, make me cautious, watchful, and diligent to recognize and thwart the attempts of Satan and his demons to ensnare Your people. Guard my passions, and set me as a watchman on the walls to keep the enemy away.

Mark it: if an issue is important to man, you'll
find Satan's fingerprints all over it.


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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Labor of Love

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. —1 John 4:7-8

God's response to our work of faith is His release of His life into us—overcoming, world-creating, death-defying love. The Greeks call it agape love, distinguishing it from philos (brotherly) love, storge (family) love, and eros (carnal) love.

Agape, God's love, is unconditional love with no strings attached. The Thessalonians labored in service to the true and living God, and His love was their inspiration (1 Thessalonians 1:3,9). Agape loves even when the one loved does not return love. Agape loves even when the circumstances or situations around us tell us to hate or respond with revenge.

His love is the life within us that drives us to do what we do. We do not witness because of some legalistic jargon written hundreds of years ago. We witness because we are in love with a Savior who died for us and made us alive. We labor because His life is being expressed through us. That love constrains us and becomes the inspiration of our labor also.

Jesus, You alone are the source of my love.
I love not because I must but because You
first loved me. Thank You for loving me
even before I ever knew You. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Put God First

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. —Matthew 10:37

All relationships must ever be subservient to God's greater glory. No matter how close people get to each other, they must be closer to God. The irony is, the closer people are to God, the more they will love each other. The more they put the voice of God prior to their commitment to each other, the more they really respect each other.

I think of some of my close friends. The dynamic that holds us together is that we love God more than we do each other. If I stopped listening to God and turned away from Him, I would expect my friends to warn me—then lovingly rebuke me if I did not come to my senses.

No friendship or relationship is worth its salt if it does not have an inflexible commitment to God's glory first and to one another second. It would break my heart if I had to break with any of my friends—for any reason. But I would do it if I had to because of my greater love for God's honor.

It is a severe test to one's mettle whether God will always be put first—and obeyed. Today's man or woman must get his or her approval from God only. "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44).

It is a way today's servant of Christ must bear the cross. But the more I bear this cross, the more I put God's voice first, and the more I am jealous of God's glory, then the more will I be respected, appreciated, and loved by these friends. That, in fact, is what makes real friendship.

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

The Character of a Meek Person

Psalm 37:1-11 Yesterday the psalm we read shared about God's character. Today Psalm 37 shares about the character of a meek person. Two people in the Bible are spoken of as meek men. The Bible tells us that Moses was the meekest man that ever lived. Of course, Moses was not divine as Jesus is. But we also know that if we want to see the complete character trait of meekness demonstrated, we must look to Jesus. Jesus exhorted us to learn of Him because He is meek and lowly of heart. Can we learn meekness? As we observe the lives of Jesus and Moses in the Bible, we can learn much about meekness. However, the key to learning about meekness is to come to Jesus. Jesus issues the invitation for us to come to Him daily and let the Holy Spirit teach us all about meekness. Meekness will only be formed in our own lives as we submit ourselves to growing in intimacy with the Lord by spending quality time with Him daily. This psalm tells us the benefits of meekness and exactly how meekness is demonstrated in our lives.

Listen to the promise issued to the meek: "The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (Ps. 37:11, KJV). That phrase "abundance of peace" ignites the desire in me to grow in the fruit of the Spirit called "meekness." What are the character traits of a meek person? This psalm lists eight character traits. A meek person frets not, trusts in the Lord, does good, delights in the Lord, commits his way to the Lord, rests in the Lord, waits upon the Lord and ceases from anger and forsakes wrath.

A meek person responds to people instead of acting out against them. We know that Moses did on one occasion come against God and the children of Israel, and it cost him a great blessing—the blessing of living in the Promised Land. Because a meek person trusts in the Lord, he does not fret, but instead rests and waits upon the Lord. This fruit of the Spirit can be cultivated in our lives, but there is a key condition we must fulfill for meekness to grow in our lives. The key to cultivating all nine fruit of the Spirit in our lives is spending time with the Master Gardener—Jesus. We have to take time for the preparation of the soil of our hearts to receive the seed of the Word of God, and then we have to continue to fertilize that seed daily with more of the Word of God. We must allow time in our daily lives to receive the refreshing water of the Holy Spirit. One of the tactics of the enemy in the last days is to wear out the saints, and lately I have observed many worn-out and dry Christians. When we are weary, that is a clear sign that we are not spending enough quality time with the Lord.

READ: Leviticus 6:1-7:27; Mark 3:7-30; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 10:3-4


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

What Is the Fear of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is not being scared of God. How can we have intimacy with someone we are scared of? God's greatest passion is to have close fellowship with us.

The person who fears God has nothing to hide. In fact, he or she is scared to be away from God. King David had a holy fear of God and still ran toward Him and said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you" (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).

To fear God means you give Him the place of glory, honor, reverence, thanksgiving, praise, and preeminence He deserves. He holds this position with us when we esteem Him and His desires over and above our own or others'. You hate what He hates and love what He loves. You passionately seek truth in your "inward parts."

Holy fear is manifested by our unconditional obedience to Him, whether we understand what He is doing or not. When we properly fear God, we know that we can't hide anything from Him. 

We must allow the Word of God to penetrate deep into our heart to judge our thought processes, attitudes, perceptions, intentions and so forth—thus changing the way we behave.

We can't fool God by making a superficial acknowledgment of the importance of pleasing and fearing Him but departing from it when it isn't convenient. It must be a firm and never-changing decision, for upon it hinges whether we are capable of growing into the image of Jesus Christ.

If you don't truly fear God, you will grow distant from Him. For this reason we are told: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). And again: "Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant" (vs. 25:14). The Lord will not reveal Himself to those who lack holy fear. He must take preeminence in a person's life in a deep-rooted heart decision: My life is not my own; it belongs to my Lord, Jesus Christ.

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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