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Loving God

Loving God

Today's Message

{ Day 230 }

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. —1 Corinthians 4:5

Paul described this aspect of God: the glad-hearted Judge. Paul was addressing the Corinthians, the most carnal church we know of in the first century. Only the Laodiceans in the next generation rivaled them in carnality. Paul exhorted the Corinthians, "Do not judge anything before the time when the Lord comes." In other words, "Don't make final evaluations toward people or even yourselves." He distrusted his inability to accurately judge even his own heart. Then he dropped a bomb by telling the Corinthians that God will someday reveal the things hidden in darkness and in the secret counsels of their hearts. You can almost hear the gasp: "Oh no! We're in for some big-time punishment." Yet they had not heard Paul's full message. In the next sentence he zigged when they thought he was going to zag.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

How amazing that when I stand before You in judgment You will reveal the hidden things of my heart. It's amazing because Your Word tells me that You will rejoice over me with gladness, not punish me in anger.

When God judges us, he doesn't fume with
frustration and anger.

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Daily Breakthroughs

Daily Breakthroughs

Today's Message

Active Faith

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. —Matthew 21:22

The devil cannot hinder those who believe they receive when they pray.

A woman in our church was abandoned by her husband. She prayed for his return, and she believed she received when she prayed. There was no evidence to support her belief as one year turned into two and then three.

One day she said to me, "Pastor, my family thinks I am crazy, because I am still waiting. But I believed I received when I prayed, and there is nothing I can do now except thank God that I shall have it."

That faithful woman believed for twelve long years. One day she called and said, "My husband came to my house and said he had an experience with God. He asked if I could forgive him and let him back into the family."

How long are you willing to wait on God—a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime? Are you willing to wait for as long as it takes?

I had the joy of renewing their marriage vows, and they are still happily married today. Why? She believed she received when she prayed.

Lord, I will wait on Your will, in Your
way, and in Your timing. I know that
by trusting in You, I will receive
Your best. Amen.

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By Love Transformed

By Love Transformed

Today's Message

When God Tells Us Why

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. —1 Corinthians 13:12

Not only will we be changed and able to look on the glorified Lord face-to-face, but something wonderful will also happen—God will tell us why. God wants to tell us why, far more than we even want to know. But the patience of God is extraordinary. He can wait. He wants us to know the answers to our questions, but He can wait.

Perhaps this appeals only to the person who is agonized with questions, who really longs for God to explain something. Perhaps the question is: Why is there a devil? Why didn't God just destroy the devil a long time ago? Why is there injustice? Why is there evil? But Paul says, "One day I shall know." F. F. Bruce has commented that the Greek word here, epignosis, should be translated as "understand." Some day God will make things plain.

Sometimes our questions are not on such a grand scale but are more personal: Did I make the right decision? Lord, have I been living out of Your will? Did I fail You? Paul is saying we see the Lord's glory only in a reflection, so we can't see things perfectly. The mirror that enables us to see ourselves has its limits: when we look at ourselves in a mirror, we do so with a little bit of bias.

God's Word is the spiritual mirror by which we see our hearts, but even here our self-understanding is limited; we will always be prone to self-righteousness and, therefore, be unable to see ourselves as we really are. Sometimes I will say, "Lord, show me." But if I saw my wickedness directly, I wouldn't be able to take it. If I saw the Lord's glory directly I would die. No one can see God and live.

And so God graciously reveals things to us a bit at a time, like peeling the layers off an onion. With each new bit of understanding we might ask why we had to wait so long to get it right.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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Around the Word in 365 Days

Around the Word in 365 Days

Today's Message

The Blessings of the Righteous

Psalm 37:12-28 We have talked a lot about the blessings that come to those who have been made righteous through Jesus Christ and who abide daily in Him and His Word. I did a study once on the multitude of blessings that actually overtake those who fear the Lord and who walk uprightly with Him. Of course, the blessings to the righteous do not guarantee they will not experience troubles. In fact, the Word of God says we will be persecuted for righteousness' sake, and yet even with this will come a blessing. The Word also says many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord Himself delivers them out of them all. We have to remember that the end of every trial in a righteous person's life will develop something better in our lives than before. Our readings for the rest of this month in Job certainly prove this to be true.

The afflictions a righteous person suffers will develop character traits that are Christlike in him. The only way the fruit of patience can develop in our lives is through experiencing trials and temptations. You have heard people probably exhort you not to pray for patience because only tribulation works patience in our lives. Even though we will experience many troubles in our lives, we have a sure promise that if we walk uprightly, God will deliver us either in or out of these troubles.

David lists some of the blessings of righteous people in this psalm.

1. The righteous person has provision.

2. The righteous person is upheld by the Lord.

3. The righteous person has an eternal inheritance.

4. The righteous man is never put to shame.

5. The righteous person will be satisfied by the Lord even in hard times.

6. The righteous person obtains mercy because he is merciful.

7. The righteous person inherits the earth.

8. The righteous person has direction because his steps are ordered by the Lord.

9. The righteous person is never forsaken.

10. The righteous person will never be utterly cast down.

11. The righteous person will have direction because the Lord will order his steps.

12. The righteous person is preserved forever.

You have heard of the many twelve step programs offered today. There is only one step you need to take to receive all twelve of these blessings. That step is to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

READ: Job 1:1-3:26; 1 Corinthians 14:1-17; Psalm 37:12-28; Proverbs 21:25-26

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Live Extraordinary

Live Extraordinary

Today's Message

Set Free from Sin

I received Jesus Christ as my Lord in 1979 and it changed my life. Immediately I lost the desire for alcohol, I stopped swearing, and other sinful desires gradually disappeared the more I read, meditated on, and spoke the Word of God over my life.

However, there was one area of sin that didn't go away as easily. I struggled with lust and was addicted to pornography. I had periods of freedom, but after time gravitated back to it. At the end of a four-day fast on May 6, 1985, I was set free from the stronghold of pornography and lust. By His grace, I'm still free today.

However, once I was set free from pornography's grip, I still had to resist the desire to engage. Prior to May 6, I seemingly couldn't resist with any success. After May 6, I could resist, but I had to cooperate with grace to fight off the urge to look at pornography. Its power over me was broken after fasting and intense prayer, but I still had to steadfastly resist the desire.

Over time, as I continued to pray and allow God's Word to saturate my mind, I noticed that my desires had changed. I no longer had to make myself turn away from pornography; rather, I was repulsed by it. God's grace had changed me thoroughly from the inside out. The writer of Hebrews describes this blessedness:

"For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law." (5:13-14, AMP)

I realized that God's Word had brought my senses and mental faculties into alignment with His desires and thoughts. Holiness is to think, talk, and live as He does. The flesh can be trained, but it loves habitual patterns. Just as it can be trained in unrighteousness, it also can be trained in righteousness. We can take dominion over our mind and flesh through the power of grace. Our flesh responds to what it is fed.

His grace is more than enough to set you free from any sin!

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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