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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 204 }

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. —Jeremiah 31:3

Beloved, we will have divine satisfaction forever, discovering more of His beauty through endless ages. And we can begin now! Indeed, we must begin now, for the sake of what God would have us be. He wants us to be always caught up in fascination and to become confident in love before Him; then and only then does He reveal more of His sublime beauty to us. Take one step into this realm, and you find it's impossible to exhaust His store of surprises; they unfold as you perceive more of His heart and as He reveals Himself to you in progressively greater measure. It's like a walk through an endless garden of flowers, each kind more resplendent and inventive than the one before, each path leading to waterfalls and vistas ever more breathtaking to behold. All beauty on Earth is merely a reflection of Him; even the most beautiful thing you can think of will one day be swallowed up by the beauty of His heart like the beam of a flashlight in the intensity of a thousand suns.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, what awesome wonder awaits Your children in eternity. I cannot wait for You to take me by the hand and walk me through Your heaven. Your beauty will radiate forever, and I long to begin eternity with You.

The heart of God is a wonderland, a universe of
beauty like no place mankind could dream up.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Temptation Is Knocking

And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. —2 Samuel 11:2

We are never out of reach of the tentacles of temptation. You can be in a crowd of thousands or alone in your thoughts, and temptation will sit down beside you.

Was the seed of temptation already in David's heart, or was he only seeking a place of solitude when temptation overtook him? Instead of fleeing the roof when he saw Bathsheba, he fed temptation by inquiring about her. The result of allowing temptation to stay in your heart will be as devastating to you as it was to him.

Guard your heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). Do not feed your spirit with the chaff of this world, but keep it strong through reading and meditating on the Word of God and communing with your heavenly Father.

What are the strongest temptations in your life? How are you avoiding or resisting them? How do you need God's help in resisting temptation?

Jesus, I desire to resist every temptation
that comes my way. Grant me discernment
and wisdom in recognizing and avoiding
temptation. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

Ingratitude Brings Spiritual Blindness

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. —2 Peter 1:9

The failure of the nation of Israel to be grateful is the underlying explanation for their missing the promised Messiah when He came. You could never have convinced the ancient scholars in Israel that Messiah—a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15)—could turn up and not be recognized by them. The problem with both the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus' day was that they were arrogantly confident each would be the first to know it when that promised anointed One came.

But when He came—right under their noses—they missed Him entirely. They thought their judgment against Jesus was due to their brilliant minds, but that wasn't it. It was because they were blinded by the God to whom they had not given thanks.

Sadly, Israel had a long history of being ungrateful. And that ingratitude ultimately resulted in their being struck blind. Saul of Tarsus, a remarkable exception, said so:

God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day. —Romans 11:8

The judgment of blindness upon Israel can be traced to their failure to be thankful.

If it is said that the people in ancient Israel dutifully maintained the sacrificial system, it has to be said also that they missed the point. In much the same way people can go to church in a self-righteous and dutiful manner and suppose they are worshiping God.

The final consequence of Israel's failure to remember was that they missed the greatest promise ever given. The penalty for ingratitude is incalculable. This is true for an individual, the church, and any nation.

Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

What True Wisdom Is

Proverbs 23:12 We leave our study of Isaiah and prophetic scriptures about the Messiah and look briefly into Proverbs. This proverb gives the secret to effective Bible study: Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge.

The Bible is the manual for life, and it gives the instructions for living a blessed, meaningful life, a life that glorifies God. If you are like me, I often read instructions, and then I try to short-cut the instructions. I get myself into a real mess when I do this. There is no short-cut to effective Bible reading. First, we must listen carefully to what the passage says, and then we need to do what it says. Faith without works is dead. The words of life are in the Scriptures, but it is up to us to ignite that seed of life so that it blossoms into a mature tree of righteousness. We are the plantings of the Lord. Unless we allow the water of the Holy Spirit to satiate our souls daily as we read God's Word, we will miss out on the transforming and renewing of our minds by the Word of God, and our hearts will not be changed. We must also listen to the Lord and come to know Him intimately.

We live in an age where knowledge has increased dramatically. God has been gracious to my husband and me. He has given us the opportunity to be mother and father-like ones to four very brilliant young people—Christina, our Chinese daughter; Vladimir, our Russian son; Misha, who lives in our apartment (at the age of nineteen Misha was a full professor in a college, and now at age 23 she has two masters degrees); and Daniel, who is living temporarily with us while he awaits entering Emory University as a junior. He entered college at fifteen and has already worked two years on Wall Street. Vladimir graduated with highest honors from Georgia Tech, and now is working with Price Waterhouse. We were sitting at the table with Misha and Daniel the other night, and my husband and I were overwhelmed with the knowledge of these two brilliant young people. All my husband and I could add to the conversation was to nod our heads and say "Wow!" We were impressed with the fact that knowledge has increased in these last days and most people know a lot more than we do. This keeps us humble. I kidded with our house guests and said, "Now I know the plan of the Lord. It is to send as many brilliant people as possible into this home to help us get our own act together. We need all the mental assistance we can get at this age."

This proverb exhorts us to apply our ears to the words of knowledge. There are a lot of intellectual fools who know many facts, but they have not come into the knowledge of the one fact that will affect them eternally. That fact is that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. We know a professor who has so much knowledge, but in God's sight he is a fool because he does not believe God exists. The Bible says that it is a fool who does not believe in God. When we read the Bible we must understand that we are not just gaining more knowledge about God. The goal is to know Him intimately, not just know about Him. I trust you have experienced this.

READ: Isaiah 51:1-18:7; Galatians 1:1-24; Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 23:12

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Reputation Is Not About You

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8, NKJV)

Many people in the world today are fighting fiercely to climb the ladder of success. A great deal of their energy is focused and spent on building a reputation in the eyes of others in order to "make it big." In the process of their pursuit, they quickly become addicted to the approval of others.

Jesus did just the opposite—He made Himself of no reputation (see Philippians 2:7). In other words, He stripped Himself of all His kingly rights and humbled Himself to become human. The Creator literally took the form of His creation. Instead of living His entire life to build a name for Himself, He endeavored to build a name for His Father. He said, "I am not in search of honor for Myself. [I do not seek and am not aiming for My own glory.] There is One Who [looks after that; He] seeks [My glory], and He is the Judge" (John 8:50 AMP).

Having a good reputation is important; however, the motive—or driving force—behind your cause should be weighed. Are you tempted to make a name for yourself for success, or are you a person of good reputation because you long to represent your King well on earth?

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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