Around the Word in 365 Days

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 269 }

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. —Psalm 34:1-3

Committing our spirits into God's hands is an act of aggressive spiritual warfare, not passive indifference. David did it to bring God into his conflicts. He wasn't kicking back and saying, "Whatever happens, happens; I really don't care, Lord." No, he was using a spiritual tactic to bring God into the situation of his personal injustice. He engaged in this kind of spiritual warfare from his youth to the end of his life. When he entrusted a specific situation to God, there was a reaction and a release in the spirit realm. God moved on David's behalf. David became a model of how God settles the score when we war according to His way. One key characteristic in David's life was the way he processed pain, mistreatment, disappointment, and injustice, a process recorded so richly in the Book of Psalms. He learned to war in the spirit by giving up his right to revenge. Other men and women of God such as Daniel, Joseph, and the patriarchs of old operated in this principle as well.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Help me to recognize that committing my spirit to You is spiritual warfare. Teach me to be an aggressive spiritual warrior, entrusting You with every moment of my life. You are the defender of my faith, and I place my hope and trust in You alone.

The Lord beckons us to enter His heart
and leave the agenda of justice to Him.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Pet Skunks

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. —Matthew 6:24

What sin are you tolerating in yourself that you would never tolerate in someone else? What is that pet sin you hold so close? Your "pet" is nothing more than a skunk-.-.-.-and a stench in the nostrils of God.

That pet sin of yours tells God that you have only given Jesus a vote of approval in your mind, that you have never chosen to make Him Lord of your life. The only thing God looks for in us is our desire to conform our will to His.

When we lose a pet that has been with us for years, there is a void in our lives. We grew accustomed to having it with us wherever we went.

Do not become comfortable with sin. Refuse to give place to what is unholy and despicable to God in your life. Search your heart today. Make a decision to let go of that pet resentment or habit, and let God replace the void with the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, remove every stench in
my life. I repent of all my pet sins
and ask for Your forgiveness and
cleansing in Jesus' name, Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

God Is on Your Side

If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us ... they would have swallowed us alive. ... Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. —Psalm 124:2-3, 6

Do you know what it is like to have somebody physically attack you? The trauma is one that, humanly speaking, you don't overcome easily. Or perhaps you have been verbally attacked. You know the awful feeling when somebody points a finger of blame at you.

The Lord's people in this psalm were the objects of anger. It is very frightening to be near someone who is angry. Perhaps you live in constant fear of a co-worker's temper or the angry outbursts of a loved one. You know how it feels to live in a situation from which you wish you could be delivered.

The truth is, your real enemy is the devil. The devil's work is to cloud your mind. He can come as an angel of light; that means that he will work through someone who has the appearance of being very righteous, a person of integrity, a person who is believable. Or he may come as a roaring lion.

But we learn from verse 6 that God can step into the situation: "Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth."

Maybe you're saying, "I don't think God is on my side." Remember this: God is on the side of anybody who will openly identify with His Son, Jesus Christ. God has promised that everything that happens in the lives of believers will work together for their good.

You will know what it is like for the Lord to rescue you. Maybe you don't see God in it at the time, but that is the only real explanation. God mercifully stepped in.

Excerpted from Higher Ground (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1995).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Judging Righteously

Romans 2:1-23 There are only a few things we are permitted to judge according to the Scriptures. We are permitted to judge ourselves, to judge or know others by their fruits and to judge the times. We are warned by Paul and Jesus of the danger of judging others. The reason it is so dangerous to judge another is because if we misjudge or accuse another, we open ourselves up to the very same things we are judging in another person. We can judge a person's actions, but we cannot judge their motivations. Only God can know the hearts of men. Sometimes the Lord may give us discernment about what is in another person's heart, but this knowledge is not to cause us to judge, but instead to cause us to pray for that person.

We have a righteous Judge who judges all things. He judges us and gives to every man according to his deeds. That righteous judge is Jesus. If we are saved, our salvation will not be judged, but our works on earth will be judged, and we will be rewarded accordingly. As the Lord judges our works, He also sees the motivations in our hearts when we did those works. Sometimes we fall into the trap of doing good deeds for others because it is expected of us or because we want the praise of men. Our works on earth that will last forever are those works we do in love and obedience to God's will and the leading of His Spirit.

Several years ago I was visiting regularly a troubled girl in a mental institution. It seemed my visits were availing nothing, and I was burdened down with the obligation to visit this girl. My pastor had asked me to do this, so I did. One day a prayer warrior asked me, "Linda, did the Lord ask you to visit this girl?" I thought for a moment, and then I realized He never led me to do this, but instead I was visiting this girl out of obligation, not obedience to the Lord. I learned a great lesson that day. People can ask us to do many things, and we can do many good deeds, not out of love and obedience to the Lord, but out of obligation to men.

There are works created from the foundation of the earth that we are to walk in. I believe when we die the works that will last forever and not be burned will be those that are written already in our book of life. We also need to be careful to obey God not out of duty, but out of love for Him. When I think about how I need to get my own act together and be busy about the Father's will, I will not have time to sit in judgment of others. I daily pray that the Lord will cleanse my heart of every wrong motivation and cause my actions in obedience to Him and in reaching out to others always to be rooted in love. Jesus came to do the will of the Father, and every action He displayed on earth was rooted in His love for the Father. I want to be like Jesus in His desire always to please the Father rather than men.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have done works simply out of obligation to others. Purify my heart and cause me to always be motivated by love, not duty.

READ: 1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17; Romans 2:1-23; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 19:8-9

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Enemy's Secret Strategy

A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn't matter who you are or how you serve in life. If you're a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor, it doesn't matter because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role. The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God's will but also His great pleasure.

Hollywood, religious people, and our culture have painted a warped and limited image of God's people. What is the distortion? We have an enemy named Satan, who is called "the ruler of this world," "the prince of the power of the air," and "the god of this world." He influences the world's systems and sways the minds of those who do not belong to God. He has fallen angels and demons to help carry out his grand strategy.

The sad fact is that too often the church has limited Satan's chief strategy to certain behaviors, like trying to get people to drink alcohol or watch sex scenes in movies. He's much more crafty than that and uses a wide variety of snares and diversions. We've missed his primary purpose. Because what he fears most is Christians discovering who God's made them to be—extraordinary people with abilities to carry out remarkable and unusual feats. This should be the image society has of Christians.

In stark contrast to the present reputation of Christians, one of the great struggles the early church encountered was convincing people that they were not superheroes or gods. Cornelius, an officer in the most powerful army in the world, bowed down to worship Peter and his companions. Stunned, Peter immediately replied, "Stand up; I myself am also a man" (Acts 10:26).

In a city named Lystra, the mob "went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, 'The gods have come down! These men are gods!'" Paul sharply corrected them: "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods!" (Acts 14:11, 14, The Message). When Paul was on Malta collecting firewood, a poisonous snake bit him. He shook it off, and the inhabitants anticipated his death. "But when it was obvious he wasn't going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!" (vs. 28:6).

Unbelievers said of the early church, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (vs. 17:6). Christians were held in high esteem by their society. It's recorded that the entire city of Jerusalem's attitude toward the church was that "everyone had high regard for them" (5:13, NLT).

In our generation may we each live in such a way to recover that kind of respect for the church.

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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