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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 198 }

But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. —Isaiah 35:9-10

God is the God of gladness, a happy God of infinite joy. In the billions of years that we will relate to Him, His anger will only be for a brief moment, and the other 99.9999999 percent of our experience and relationship with Him will be based on the gladness of His heart toward us. He is a God of happy holiness, without any contradiction between those words. His holiness flows from abundant joy that cannot be imagined. This does not deny His anger with rebellion. He is fierce to remove what hinders the love between you and Him. But in the life of a sincere believer, there is an important distinction between rebellion and immaturity. They are entirely different things. God hates rebellion, but He sees immaturity as something other than outright sin. He is smart enough to separate the individual from the sin. He can enjoy us and still disapprove of things we do or believe, like a parent who disciplines and enjoys a child from one moment to the next.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I want to experience the happy, abundant joy that will permeate eternity. Reveal Your exuberant Father heart to me, Your child. Raise me up to share Your eternal joy.

The God of affection—this is the foundational
truth that you experience in your intimacy
with Jesus.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Pursuit Is Proof

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. —Psalm 42:1

I told a friend of mine one time that I would love to play the piano like he did. He replied, "No you wouldn't. If you really wanted to play the piano you would be taking lessons and practicing every chance you could. Are you doing those things?"

Well, no, I wasn't. If I really wanted to play the piano I would have been taking some action and making some plans instead of just talking about it. When you really want something, you pursue it with your whole heart.

You say that you want the things of God, you want to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and you want to have an anointing on your life—but are you pursuing Him? Are you climbing the mountain of God and, like Jacob, refusing to let go until He blesses you? When was the last time you spent time in prayer and in the Word?

Pursue Him with all your might. The proof of your desire is in your pursuit. The pursuit of God will lead to holiness, purity, passion, zeal, and power in your life.

God, I pursue You this day with all my
being. I give You my heart, mind, soul,
and strength in love. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Universal and Unrivaled Glory

All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. —Psalm 72:11

Having lived this life of humility and obedience, Jesus' glory is restored and enhanced in heaven. Yet God gave Him more: He gave Him universal glory, that every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. There is coming a day in which all will be in perfect agreement, when everybody will be united.

At present we have places and people united in name only—the United Nations, the United States of America. But there is a day coming when every congressman ... every United States senator ... every Muslim ... every Jew ... every atheist ... every journalist ... every television commentator ... is going to be in perfect agreement: every tongue will confess the same thing.

They are going to have to get down on their knees, all of them, because Philippians 2:10 says, "Every knee should bow." All men and women will be on their knees; every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is not a question of if we are going to do it; it is a question of when. But if we sacrifice our opinions for the opinion we will all have then, it brings Christ glory now.

There is coming a day when every angel will make way for the King; every human being will make way for Him, as will every demon. Then we will join the everlasting song and crown Him Lord of all. The same God who once said, "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another" (Isa. 42:8), now says, "You bow to My Son and confess that He is Lord to My glory."

God calls you today to bow to Jesus and worship Him and, in so doing, give God the glory. In that day it will not be the preservation of your name or mine, but Jesus will have all the glory.

Excerpted from Meekness and Majesty (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1992, 2000).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The One Thing We Can Count On

Isaiah 39:1-41:16 So many in this life are looking for something to hang their hats on—a solid something, an unmovable something, something that they can count on that will never change and will always be. This passage in Isaiah tells us that the Word of God shall stand forever. The Word of God spans time and eternity and gives us something that is established and unshakable to hold on to through this life. Everything we see now on this earth will one day be ashes. Isaiah tells us, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isa. 40:8).

My husband loves to give me flowers for no reason at all. It is his way of saying "I love and appreciate you." The moment I receive flowers, I cut their stems while they are in water, and I add a packet of preservative to the water so the flowers will last a little longer. Soon, however, the vibrant colors begin to fade; the leaves begin to shrivel, and if left too long, they begin to rot. Nothing smells worse than water that contains rotting flowers. God has given us a bouquet of flowers, however, with infinite variety that will never fade or decay. This bouquet is the Word of God that lasts forever. Flowers are given to people to congratulate them, to celebrate a special occasion, to applaud them, or just to say "I love you." I will always remember the lovely flower arrangements sent to us when my mother passed away. These gifts of flowers were expressions of the love people had for my mother.

In Russia we noticed that all during the performance of the singers at this musical festival we attended, people walked down the aisle and placed flowers on the stage. This was their way of applauding the individuals who were performing. God is daily placing a bouquet of flowers especially for us on the stage of our life because He applauds us. He wants our lives to have the smell of freshness that newly cut flowers have, and He wants our lives to always be brilliant with the light of His glory. This bouquet is the Word of God, and we cannot smell the freshness of it each day if we fail to pick His Word up and read it. We have to remember also that it is not the Word itself that has power. It is God, His Holy Spirit and the living Word Jesus (the Holy Trinity) that give the written Word the power to renew and transform our lives.

God is pleased with us, and He loves and adores us. Today He has placed a bouquet on the stage of our lives. Pick it up, and when you do, if you listen carefully, you may hear God's applause and the applause of the angels. During the Russian musical festival, I never saw a performer leave their flowers on the stage. They always picked them up and took them with them as they left the stage. When we leave the stage of this life, we also can take God's bouquet (His Word) with us into eternity. Have you smelled His fresh bouquet to you today? Have you read the card He placed on it? The card says, "To You with Love."

READ: Isaiah 39:1-41:16; Ephesians 1:1-23; Psalm 66:1-20; Proverbs 23:26-28


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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

The Road of Holiness

God has given us the resources we need to live a holy life that pleases Him! There's no need to ever fall short. Consider what the writer of Hebrews tells us: Pursue…holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God. (12:14–15, NKJV)

The main point here is clear: We need the grace of God to walk in true holiness. Again we might ask, "If, as we've been taught, grace is only about forgiveness, then what does 'fall short' mean in this verse?" The Greek word here is hustereo. Strong's Concordance defines it as "to be inferior, to fall short (be deficient), come behind, be destitute, fail." Thayer's Lexicon goes into more depth by stating that this word's meaning is "to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end."

Hear the prophet Isaiah's words: There will be a highway there, called "The Road of Holiness." No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the LORD has rescued will travel home by that road. They will reach Jerusalem [heaven] with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief. (35:8-10, TEV)

God says that when we walk in the power of the grace of God, bearing true fruits of holiness, we are invincible because of Him. Isaiah says that no fierce animal, such as a bear or lion, will be able to take us out! (This includes our supreme enemy, Satan, who walks about as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" [1 Peter 5:8].)

We have no reason to fail when producing fruits of holiness through the power of God's grace—not because of us but because of Him. Grace gives us the power to walk the highway of holiness, which secures for us the promise of finishing the race well.

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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