By Love Transformed

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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 265 }

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. —Psalm 84:5-7

Zion is a prophetic picture of Jesus being made King over all the earth just as David was king over all Israel. It would be a shame to miss this beautiful portrait of what's coming. The Father has promised His Son an inheritance, a bride who will be His eternal partner. She will love Him in this age and the age to come. She will find her fulfillment in Him just as David found fulfillment of his earthly purpose in Zion. I want to assure you that there's a divine pattern in your life. In the pain and the maze of things, it seems as if there isn't a plan and you are wandering aimlessly from cave to cave, pursued by armies much stronger than you, and surrounded by losers. Yet God has a strategic plan and is bringing you to a specific purpose. Each one of us will, God willing, stand before Him one day in Zion. When we submit to His divine leadership in every season of our lives, we will ascend out of the wilderness entirely dependent on Him. He alone will be the reward of our hearts through every season of life.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I rest in the knowledge that You have a perfectly designed pattern of destiny for my life. Help me to understand that You are in each season of my life, are directing each step I take, and will never leave me or forsake me.

God has a prophetic pilgrimage for every one of us.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The Wagons Are Coming

And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. —Genesis 45:27

Jacob's love for Joseph aroused his ten older sons to jealousy, prompting them to sell Joseph into slavery and then to cover their deed with a lie. In the years that followed, Joseph rose from slavery to power in Egypt, while famine fell upon his family (Genesis 41:56-57).

As his sons journeyed to buy food in Egypt, Jacob looked around and saw his expectations for his sons and his land reduced to dry dust. But Jacob had God's Word. Day after day he reminded himself, "In blessing, I will bless thee and in multiplying, I will multiply thee" (Genesis 22:17).

One day he heard a sound—the wagons were coming! But they weren't creaking and rattling like when they left. No! They were heavy and full of provision and promise! Hold on, don't despair! The wagons are coming, overflowing with the goodness of God.

God's provision is worth waiting for. Don't settle for good. Wait for His best. His provisions last while worldly stuff rusts and corrodes. Don't settle for rusty iron when He has silver and gold for you.

Lord, I desire Your best. Nothing else will do.
So I will wait for Your treasures and will
stop trying to make things
happen my way. Amen

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

God Comes in a New Way

When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. —1 Kings 19:13

If someone were to say to you today, "The Lord is going to appear in your life between now and sunset," you would probably say, "Well, if He really is going to appear, I'm sure I'll recognize Him."

Elijah was to see a manifestation of the glory of God unlike anything he had ever seen before (1 Kings 19:9-18). It comes at a time in his life when he is depressed, tired, and on the run from his enemies. As he shelters in a cave in hiding, God tells Elijah to watch and see what He will do: "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by" (v. 11).

First, a great and powerful wind tears the mountain apart and shatters the rocks around him. This has to be the Lord! He has appeared in this way before. But we're told that "the Lord was not in the wind." After the wind there is an earthquake. Ah, this must be it! But no—"the Lord was not in the earthquake." After the earthquake comes a fire. Elijah is sure this is the way it should be, because God had previously manifested Himself through fire. But "the Lord was not in the fire." After the fire there is "a gentle whisper," what the King James Version calls "a still small voice."

I daresay that God wants to appear in my life and in yours. The difficulty is that we tell Him how He can do it. Some of us who have seen God work think, I'll know Him when He comes because I've seen Him before. The truth is, God may come again and ignore all the traditional ways. He has worked through earthquakes. He has worked through wind. He has worked through fire. But this time He may come in a different manner. Will we recognize Him if He does?

Excerpted from When God Shows Up (Renew Books, 1998).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

Investing in the Kingdom of God

Proverbs 19:17 Two of the treasures we can take to heaven when we die are people we have witnessed to and the Word of God we have hidden in our hearts. There is another way we can invest in God's kingdom here on earth and at the same time add to our heavenly bank account. Today's reading reveals this way. It says, "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord; and He will pay back what he is given."

The thought that we can lend to God seems odd since God owns everything. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. What need does He have for us to lend to Him? Most banks are happy to loan money to people. They know they will be paid back more than the amount of the loan because they add interest to the payments. Wouldn't you love to find a bank that was willing for you to lend to it, and in return this bank would pay you back the amount you loaned and even more than you loaned? God is the corporate president of such a bank.

When we lend to God, we do not charge interest, but He pays us back abundantly with interest. We give directly to God when we offer sacrifices of worship, praise, our bodies for His use daily, our time and finances. We loan to God when we give to the poor. What we give to the poor, it is a loan to God because we become the instrument to bless someone who can never pay us back. Our loan is not to the person, because he cannot pay us back. But our loan is to God, and He pays us back. The treasure God receives when we lend to Him by giving to the poor is pure delight and joy when He sees how this poor person has been blessed by our generosity. Nothing makes God happier than to see the poor being fed and clothed by those who care in the body of Christ.

God was delighted on the day we gave pair of shoes to an Indian pastor who for his forty years on earth had gone barefoot. The moment this pastor put these shoes on, he ran and jumped and praised the Lord. I believe God was running and jumping right along with Him. God was rejoicing over that scene with singing and dancing. Today you may have an opportunity to lend to God by giving to the poor. The rewards of such a loan are beyond expression.

Lord, help me to lend to You by giving to the poor. I realize some people are poor spiritually because they have never known Your love. No one has invested the time it takes to share with them the gospel. Don't allow me to miss out on any opportunities You may present to me today to lend to You by giving to those who are physically poor or spiritually poor. Amen.

READ: 1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34; Romans 4:14-5:2; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 19:17


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Love and Pleasure

We can't do one thing to make God love us any more than He already loves us, and we can't do anything to make Him love us any less. However, we are responsible for how pleased God is with us.

If you have children, it might be easier to understand. Your love for them is inexhaustible but they determine by their actions, attitudes and behavior how pleased you are with them, right?

Lisa and I have put challenges before our four sons with the promise of nice rewards for their labor. It delights us when they rise to the occasion and we're thrilled to reward them. But when they don't fulfill the tasks, we can't reward their work. We want to, but when you reward children when they don't deserve or earn it, you take away incentive—and incentive is a good thing.

God's pleasure in us is no different—it is based on our choices in life. This is why Paul writes, "We make it our aim to be well pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9, NIV). We should be passionate in our pursuit to be fully pleasing to Him. Nothing else should take preeminence over this purpose. If we live with this supreme goal as our life standard, then two things will occur: abounding joy and complete fulfillment.

Our primary motive for pleasing God is driven by our love for Him. We adore Him because He first loved us and filled our hearts with His love! As a true child of God, your greatest satisfaction comes when you know God is pleased with me. If we walk in this knowledge, nothing can overpower that joy.

The second benefit of pursuing this supreme goal is that we'll be rewarded greatly. Earning a great reward is the exact reason Paul exhorts us to please God, and he elaborates on this in the next verse. "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:9–10).

We are advised to please God because someday He will judge us. You may ask, "But I thought Jesus had saved me from that?" Yes, He is your Savior, but one day you'll stand before Him as Judge. Many are unaware that on some future day every believer will stand individually before Christ's judgment seat and rewards will be given based on what was done in our short time on earth. Today's English Version states, "We will each receive what we deserve" (vs. 10).

Our sins will not be judged, for the blood of Jesus eradicated the eternal punishment ascribed to sin. Rather, we will be rewarded, or suffer loss, for our labor as believers in Jesus Christ.

And it's not just a reward God desires us to possess, but a full reward! "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully" (2 John 1:8, NIV).

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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