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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 330 }

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:5-6, NKJV

Because of our preconceived notions, we sometimes draw wrong conclusions from God's silence or His presumable lack of intervention on our behalf. We often conclude that God's love for us has waned or that we are unworthy of His attention or perhaps that we are being punished for something. But that was certainly not the case with Lazarus. The Scriptures say several times that Jesus loved Lazarus along with his two sisters, Mary and Martha, but His delay in coming to help Lazarus in his greatest need was precisely calculated. We know that Jesus's seeming lack of response had nothing to do with lack of love, but had everything to do with fulfilling the redemptive purpose of God. The ensuing miracle was a prophetic sign to many of His own resurrection. But for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary it was something more—a lesson to trust God always, even when they must walk in darkness beyond the edge of their understanding.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like Martha I often cry out, "Why didn't You come when I called?" Teach me the lesson of placing my ultimate trust in You even when I cannot understand Your plan and purpose.

We often conclude that God's love for us has waned
or that we are unworthy of His attention or
perhaps that we are being
punished for something.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

The Remnant Church

I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. —Joel 2:28

The church of Jesus Christ has withstood the deadening blows of the God-haters throughout the ages. In every generation scoffers have denied the existence of God or invented their own religions to accommodate their sin. In our own generation we are seeing the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3.

But God promised He would preserve a remnant church of the faithful, and in the last days this remnant church would rise up in Holy Ghost power. His Bride, the church, is taking possession of the land and is becoming glorious without spot or blemish. It's time for the church to take her position as the bride of Christ.

The church is beginning to come out from the world and be separate. A Bible-believing remnant is leaving behind the compromising, sin-infested church of man to take up the standard of Jesus Christ. Together we will call out to God and march forward to bring His glorious gospel to the ends of the earth.

Thank You, Jesus, that I can be part of Your
glorious bride. Purify and cleanse us.
Keep me pure and holy through the
cleansing of Your blood and the
washing of Your Spirit. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

How to Handle Guilt

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness. ... To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood ... —Revelation 1:5

Have you ever driven down the highway and heard the wail of a siren behind and seen that flashing blue light in the rearview mirror? What a relief when the patrol car overtook you and sped away! It was not you the police were after.

It is almost impossible not to feel guilty about some things. Moreover, sometimes guilt can motivate us to do strange things when it comes to our relationships with others. For example, we may feel guilty because we dislike a person, and to compensate we try to be extra friendly.

But true guilt can be experienced beyond doubt through regeneration. We may try to make unconverted people feel true guilt, but we never quite succeed in making them aware they have sinned against God: it is the Holy Spirit who does that. When the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, they see they have offended God, and they come to the place where David was when he prayed, "Against you, you only, have I sinned" (Ps. 51:4). Only a regenerate person can talk like that.

How, then, should we handle true guilt? I believe we have three options:

1. The "fatal" solution

Some people repress their guilt. God created us in His own image, and we ignore our conscience at our peril.

2. The temporary solution

I can change my life, and then I will have no reason to feel guilty. It's so easy to make a promise, but you will break it eventually. This solution will only work for a time.

3. The biblical solution

The Bible offers a permanent solution to the problem of guilt. We need to look at Revelation 1:5 for the answer. All our guilt was placed on Jesus when He took our place on the cross. And when we accept what He did for us and turn in repentance to Him, God looks at us, and His verdict is, "Not guilty!"

Excerpted from A Vision of Jesus (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1999).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

A Joyful Mother

Psalm 113:1-114:8 It was Monday morning, May 17, 1999, when I received a call from the nursing home where mother resided for four years after her severe stroke. I was told she had passed away early that morning. It was my joy to visit mother at least four times a week and spend time with her.

She was eighty-nine when she died and was healthy except for a heart problem that required open heart surgery. She opted not to have this at her age, and the result was a massive stroke that paralyzed her whole right side. She did have her speech, however, and the words she shared with everyone were always so uplifting. My mother was the epitome of a joyful mother.

That morning the physician's assistant shared with me how special Mother was. She said Mother was always so cheerful, and all the aides loved going in her room because she was the bright spot on the fourth floor. I shared with her that I never remember my mother ever saying anything negative about anyone or ever complaining about anything. The physician's assistant replied, "Oh, I wished my daughters could say the same thing of me." I told all my friends to visit my mother if they were having a low day. She had a way of making you feel as if you were the most special thing in the entire world. Every time I visited her, she told me I was beautiful and precious! She told everyone this.

The morning she died I asked the Lord to give me some scriptures I could share when we had her memorial service. I heard Him gently speak to my spirit, "Look at Psalm 113." In this passage I found the perfect description of my mother. Verse 9 tells us, "He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord."

It was not until later that morning when I was reading the portion of my daily Bible reading that I discovered Psalm 113 was the Psalm portion for May 17. As I read about the joyful mother the second time that morning, my mind flashed back to my childhood when I heard my mother singing and whistling in the kitchen. Sometimes she would go to visit neighbors in the evening, and I would wait to hear her whistle in the driveway upon her return before I could drift off to sleep. Today she is whistling and singing in heaven with my dad and others who have gone before her. I ended my devotional time this morning by singing the words to that great gospel song "What a Day That Will Be." This is truly the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it, and I will be a joyful mother.

Lord, help me to pass Your joy to others today.

READ: 1 Samuel 20:1-21:15; John 9:1-41; Psalm 113:1-114:8; Proverbs 15:15-17

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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

The Plan

??"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT).

These words paint a picture of an extraordinary existence. You might hear these words and relate them only to heaven's glory, but in actuality they were penned for the here and now!

The apostle Paul continues, "But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit" (verse 10, NLT). Paul was divinely moved to bring into the open what had been previously hidden to our eyes, ears and imagination.

God has a unique plan for your life, and He longs for you to connect with Him in intimacy to discover it. God planned an extraordinary life for you. He is a Father who delights in His children. And nothing will please Him more than seeing you reach your highest.

How can you tap into the infinite wisdom of the One who created the heavens and the earth? Through a close, ongoing relationship with Him. He loves you with an everlasting love and wants to be a part of every area of your life. As you read His Word and spend time with Him in prayer, He will reveal to you His will for your life.

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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