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Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 273 }

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. —Psalm 119:30-32

David faced many external enemies, but he also triumphed over a much more formidable foe: his own heart. He knew how to commit his spirit into God's hands when confronted by his own weakness. This is one of the hardest things to figure out in the Christian walk, but to be people after God's heart, we must. The glory of the human story is that we can't exhaust God's mercy. Our weakness never disqualifies us if we sincerely repent. David discovered that there is a contingency for human weakness, which comes to us by God's grace. In his times of weakness, he ran toward God instead of away from Him.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like David, I choose Your truth. My heart desires to know only Your Word. I cling to Your promises and trust Your plans. In the times of my greatest weakness, I will run to You and find Your strength and power.

The glory of the human story is that
we can't exhaust God's mercy.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Call on HIm

Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. —Jeremiah 33:3

A prominent theologian stated, "Prayer is doomed," and "I don't see that the church of the twentieth century will have any more need of prayer than it does any other form of magic."

Well, I disagree. The Bible says God hears our prayers, and He will answer them.

I used to just pray for a wife, until I saw some of the candidates that were showing up. When I learned to pray specifically, God brought Joni into my life. Follow these keys to prayer:

•    Decide what you want.

•    Know the will of God.

•    Verbalize your request.

•    Bind doubt and unbelief.

After you have prayed, here is the major key: Give thanks. Rejoice that God has heard and answered your prayer. Because we know He hears us, we have confidence that He has granted our requests.

I thank You, Father, for revealing Your will to me.
I desire to know and trust You with all my heart.
I give You praise for answering my
prayer even before I ask. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

Today's Message

The Effective Approach to Fasting

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? ... Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. —Isaiah 58:6, 8

First, fasting must be secret (Matt. 6:16-18). When we are fasting we must not let the slightest hint of it leak out. Only God needs to know.

The second thing is that fasting must be special. I question if it ought to be done regularly. I don't see fasting as something to be done whether you really need to or not, for example, making a commitment to fast every Friday. I think if it is used that way it will lose its significance.

Third, as we have seen, fasting must have a purpose. We must know what we want to achieve. It's not like taking vitamins in the general hope that they will do us good.

The fourth point is that fasting must be sensible. Some people cannot fast for medical reasons. For example, if you are a diabetic, then that ought to disqualify you. And we must never fast without drinking plenty of liquids. There are various degrees of fasting. You can cut out one meal or two meals, or fast for a whole day or a number of days. However, anyone seeking to fast for more than two or three days should first seek the advice from an experienced Christian minister or counselor.

A fifth thing is that fasting must be spontaneous: that is, voluntary and from the heart. In my opinion, there could be danger in corporate fasting, for some may be acting reluctantly and under pressure.

The next thing I need to say is that fasting must be sacrificial. Isaiah 58 describes people who fasted but who loved it.

Finally, we must be quite clear about our motives, and we must have no mixed motives.

Fasting by itself is no magic answer to our problems. It is only effective when it symbolizes a deep longing for spiritual reality, and it demands a life of holiness and obedience to God. "Then," says God in Isaiah 58:8, "shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily" (KJV).

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

To the Jew First

Romans 1:1-17 Jesus made it clear while He ministered near the Galilee and in Jerusalem that He came to minister first to the house of Israel. This was His first charge by the Father. He carried the message of the kingdom of God to the Jew first. We have the same commission Jesus had, but many of us have forgotten to go to the Jew with the liberating message of the gospel. Paul in this passage reminds us of our commission to the Jew first (v. 16).

Over the years I have seen many Jewish people completed in their faith when they have heard the good news of the kingdom. It seems that Jewish people who come to know Jesus as their Messiah are more zealous than the Gentiles who have known Jesus for years.

When we were in Russia at a festival designed to reach out with the message of the gospel to Jewish people, I heard the testimonies of many completed Jews. They all searched for a relationship with God deeper than they had in their Judaism. In Judaism they knew God as the King of the universe, but now through their belief in Yeshua, they received the spirit of adoption whereby they now could call God "Abba," which means "daddy" in Hebrew.

Jesus came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, which is something everyone who exists on earth desires. The gospel of the kingdom of God is simply the good news that on earth if we accept the King of this kingdom by faith, we can enter into His domain or dominion of peace, joy and right standing with God the Father. I have not met anyone who did not desire to have peace of mind and heart, joy and a feeling of rightness about themselves. I believe that preaching the kingdom of God is the way to reach the Jewish people today. We need to ask them if they want continual peace and joy in their lives, and the response will always be yes. Then we need to share with them that we know about a kingdom they can live in here on earth where they will always experience peace and joy no matter what circumstances they are encountering. This should peak their curiosity, and then we can share about not only the King of the universe, but also the King of this kingdom. Jesus said, "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it" (Luke 16:16).

Some Jewish people are familiar with the Law and the prophets, but now they need to know about the kingdom of God so they can press into it. Are you willing to reach out to God's chosen people with this message?

Lord, forgive me for keeping this good news to myself. I need to share it with Jewish people and with all those You place in my path. Open doors for me to share with Your chosen people. Amen.

READ: 1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17; Romans 1:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 19:4-5


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Live Extraordinarily

Today's Message

What Is the Fear of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is not being scared of God. How can we have intimacy with someone we are scared of? God's greatest passion is to have close fellowship with us.

The person who fears God has nothing to hide. In fact, he or she is scared to be away from God. King David had a holy fear of God and still ran toward Him and said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you" (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).

To fear God means you give Him the place of glory, honor, reverence, thanksgiving, praise, and preeminence He deserves. He holds this position with us when we esteem Him and His desires over and above our own or others'. You hate what He hates and love what He loves. You passionately seek truth in your "inward parts."

Holy fear is manifested by our unconditional obedience to Him, whether we understand what He is doing or not. When we properly fear God, we know that we can't hide anything from Him. 

We must allow the Word of God to penetrate deep into our heart to judge our thought processes, attitudes, perceptions, intentions and so forth—thus changing the way we behave.

We can't fool God by making a superficial acknowledgment of the importance of pleasing and fearing Him but departing from it when it isn't convenient. It must be a firm and never-changing decision, for upon it hinges whether we are capable of growing into the image of Jesus Christ.

If you don't truly fear God, you will grow distant from Him. For this reason we are told: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). And again: "Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant" (vs. 25:14). The Lord will not reveal Himself to those who lack holy fear. He must take preeminence in a person's life in a deep-rooted heart decision: My life is not my own; it belongs to my Lord, Jesus Christ.

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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