By Love Transformed

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 206 }

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. —Psalm 43:3-4

It sounds romantic to us now, but as a shepherd boy watching the flocks, David was the equivalent of a night watchman sitting in a booth and making sure nobody breaks into a storage facility. Anybody who has held a job in security knows there is nothing special about it. It's boring, unglamorous, mundane work. You sit there filing your nails, listening to the radio, counting the crickets chirping outside. You don't even want to admit to your friends that you have a job like that. I can picture David, a young teenager sitting in the fields behind his house, playing his guitar, and biding his time. Nobody cared to hear the songs he composed on his nondescript, homemade harp. But as he wandered those back hills of Bethlehem and looked up at the stars, something caught his attention, and he began to sing, "I don't know You very well, but I love You. I want to know You. What are You like? Who are You? What is my life about?" What did David see? What did God whisper to his heart that became the foundation of who he was to become?

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like David, the little shepherd boy who spent his hours isolated and alone, teach me to spend my life in discovering who You are and what You want my life to be.

What did David find in the long hours of gazing on
God's beauty in the stars and the sunsets?

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

God's Order

And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the first-born. —Genesis 29:26

Everything in the Bible is given to show us God's order and purpose. Jacob tried to cut corners. He wanted to circumvent repentance and holiness in his quest for joy and happiness. Too often we want the reward without the labor, the honor without the fight. We desire gain without pain and victory without sacrifice.

We serve a God of plan and purpose, not one of short-cuts. Laban told Jacob he would have to marry the older sister, Leah, before he could marry Rebecca, the one he truly loved. It is easy to fall in love with happiness and joy, but there is a Leah of holiness our soul must learn to love first. We will never wear the crown if we do not first carry the cross.

Labor as Jacob did, in willing service to our Lord, as we await the wedding supper of the Lamb. When the time for the wedding feast arrives, Jesus will wash away the pain and toil of our labor.

Lord, You desire for certain things to
happen in my life that I know I am
resisting. Teach me to accept
whatever You want from me
so that I may know You and
Your will completely. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Marriage of the Word and the Spirit


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. —Colossians 3:16 Be filled with the Spirit. —Ephesians 5:18

If the Word and the Spirit come together in the church—both in emphasis and in experience—it will be the happiest event in many years. I believe this is God's heart. Yet it is my observation that most of today's church, speaking generally, emphasizes one or the other.

It can be argued that the two are always inseparable—for this is absolutely true. It is by the Spirit that we receive the Word; it is the Word that tells us about the Spirit. They cannot be separated.

But that is not the total picture. Jesus said to His disciples, "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you," yet He later breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 15:3; 20:22). This shows that there was more that they needed, even though they had the Word.

Jesus said to the Father, "I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them" (John 17:8), and yet He later told them to stay in Jerusalem until they had been "clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). Jesus Himself was the Word made flesh, but He too received the Spirit (Luke 3:22; John 1:33ff).

When we say that the Word and the Spirit are inseparable, we need to state what we mean. It is possible that one may have the full and undiluted Word but have the Spirit in less measure. That was the disciples' experience prior to Pentecost.

Those who emphasize the Word are not without the Spirit, and those who emphasize the Spirit are not devoid of the Word. It is the degree to which one emphasizes the Word over the Spirit or the Spirit over the Word in one's own ministry that is the issue. What is wrong with either emphasis? Nothing. Each is exactly right. But neither is complete. It is not one or the other that is needed; it is both.

What is needed, in my opinion, is a remarriage of the Word and the Spirit—the simultaneous combination of both the Word and the Spirit in today's servant of Christ and the church. If the Word and the Spirit come together in your anointing and mine, then, as my dear friend Lyndon Bowring said, "Those who come to see [signs and wonders] will hear [the Word], and those who come to hear will see." That is tomorrow's anointing, my friend, and when it comes, the world will be awakened.

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

Looking Forward to the Fall

Isaiah 22:1-24:23 Summer is my least favorite season, so I always search for reasons I can be thankful for this time. I hate to sweat, and Georgia in the summer is no place someone who hates to sweat.

The other evening, as I was watching the sunset, I began to think of reasons to thank the Lord for the summer. I came up with this list: the sights of lightening flies, sparkling skies on warm summer nights, the tastes of lemonade and ice tea, the warmth of sun bathing by the beach, and the sounds of katydids, July flies, June bugs and crickets in the night. I used to be so thankful for summers, because it meant being home from school, sleeping in late and just plain vegging out. I always looked forward, however, to that first crisp coolness in the air that comes to Georgia about mid-September. I look forward now to the trees being dressed in their coat of many colors and the crunch of leaves under foot as I walk with my husband by the river. As I look forward to the radiant foliage and then later to the snow-covered pines in the winter, I think of this scripture in Isaiah: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isa. 1:18).

Then as I see the leaves fall to the earth and thick clouds gather to usher in winter rains and an occasional snow, this verse comes to mind: "I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to me; for I have redeemed you" (Isa. 44:22).

Fall is always the season when the High Holy Days are celebrated by the Jews, and the days of awe, which are the days of inward reflection, culminate in the Day of Atonement. The sad part of the Jewish faith is that they have no kippur (covering for their sin). Only God can open their hearts to understand the truth that Jesus died to provide the covering for their sin. His shed blood is their covering as well as ours for all sin, but they do not understand this. Today's scripture tell us also that Jesus holds the keys of David: "The key of the house of David I will lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open" (Isa. 22:22).

Only Jesus has the key that will turn the hearts of our Jewish friends to know Him as their personal Messiah and Savior. Jesus holds this key; we do not. Pray that He will open the hearts of your Jewish friends and unveil their eyes to behold Him and know Him as their Messiah.

Lord, I pray You will open the hearts of the many Jews who need to know You. Just as Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers who sought to kill him, please reveal Yourself to Your Jewish brethren. They are Your brothers.

READ: Isaiah 22:1-24:23; Galatians 2:17-3:7; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 23:15-16


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Kingdom of Heaven: Here or Near?

"Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons." (Matthew 10:7-8, NLT)

Jesus directed the disciples with these words after giving them power (grace) to minister (Matthew 10:1, NLT). They were to declare the kingdom. God's will was to be done on earth as it is in heaven. If there was a condition in a person's life that was not congruent with heaven's standard, it was to change. People in heaven are not tormented by demons. People in heaven do not have any diseases. People in heaven are not sick. People in heaven are not hungry. The power the apostles had received was to change what was contrary to heaven on earth!

However, we must note (see Matthew 10:7, NLT) that the disciples were to proclaim the kingdom only as near. Yet once the Day of Pentecost had come, it was no longer near but here! The kingdom is now in the hearts of men and women who are born again and filled with His Spirit, just as the kingdom was in and manifested through Jesus as He walked this earth.

In the gospels, when the apostles went forth to bear fruit, the Holy Spirit was only with them and the kingdom was only near. However, Jesus shows that after the kingdom comes, the Holy Spirit will be in us—within. This is why He instructed all of us just before His ascension to heaven, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21, NKJV). We have the power within to advance the kingdom in the hearts and lives of people exactly as Jesus did; it's all because of His amazing grace!

Once the kingdom is within, we can advance it, no matter if we are a businessperson, stay-at-home mom, doctor, schoolteacher, mechanic, student, or politician—our occupation does not matter. He commissions all of us.

I hope it's becoming clear. Grace is God's empowering presence, which gives us the ability to live godly lives in the present and to do what is required to advance the kingdom. Grace gives us the ability to go beyond our own ability in every area of life to please God—to live extraordinarily. The reason God set it up this way is simple: He gets all the glory, not us.

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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