Day 40: So Great A Love

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Mark 12:30 NIV

How much does God love you?

In London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral is a life-sized marble statue of Christ writhing in anguish on the cross. The statue is inscribed, “This is how God loved the world!”

How much do you love God?

When we love God in response to His love for us, everything changes. What and how you give back to Him are only partial expressions of your love. You also love Him in your service, in your worship, in your dedication, in your obedience, in your relationships — in everything. If your love for Him is not evident in everything you do, then you are not totally surrendered. Your white flag isn’t completely raised!

We are told, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV). When we grasp the dimension of His love, we are so overwhelmed that everything we are and everything we have becomes His.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 NIV

In the presence of such great love, we can’t help being touched and overwhelmed. Truly, the love of Christ constrains us to give Him our very best and to be our very best.

Perhaps Max Lucado, the famous author of our time, stated it best: “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.”

Our Father is never content with leftovers, for throughout Scripture, we find the Father asking for the first and the best, for total surrender in response to His love. He demands no less today!

Day 39: A Mighty Work To Do For Jesus

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

After Jesus’ resurrection, while talking with His disciples, He gave them (and every believer!) a job to do — He sent them forth to follow His example. 

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.””

John 20:21 NIV

We have a mighty work to do. We are in a battle for souls. Battles with the enemy require a powerful, fresh anointing every day. That anointing is always given for service and for spiritual warfare to be used for God’s glory. 

John Wesley declared, “If I had three hundred believers who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I would set the world on fire.”

God continues to look for those men, women and young people in our day, people who will set the world on fire. Will you surrender to Him, rise up to rekindle the flame, and help change the world?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

Jesus has anointed you to go and spread the message of His love and His saving, healing and delivering power. As with every believer, it is your responsibility to share what God has done in your life with the lost and the hurting. 

We must make it our life’s calling to reach people and build lives, following His example in prayer, word, and deed. We have a great and mighty work to do!

Day 38: Thirsting For His Presence

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”

Psalm 42:1 NIV

Are you thirsty today for His presence? Do you need a touch from Heaven? Do you want to walk in a greater anointing upon your life?

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (John 7:37b NIV). He is the Source. It is up to you to come to Him, admitting in surrender that He alone can fill your life with all the fullness of God.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

Psalm 63:1-5 NIV

As your fellowship with God increases, He will draw you into a deeper, closer, and greater walk with Him, anointing you with a power that will help you live a life of joy, freedom, liberty, deliverance, and glory that only God Almighty can give!

Walking in our Lord’s presence is a daily process. We must come to Christ Jesus each day to be filled again. Life’s trials and situations will cause you to leak out the power with which you have been filled. 

Daily fellowship with the Lord is the key to abundant living. Jesus Himself promised, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” (John 10:10 AMP). And as you move into God’s abundance, there is a river to go to where you will never thirst again. In His presence, you will find all you will ever need. In Christ Jesus, you are fully accepted, fully redeemed, and fully forgiven.

When you are thirsty, spend time in God’s presence. Get alone with Him wherever you are. He is the only one who can fill you and satisfy your soul.

Day 37: Your Victorious Vision For The Future

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14 NIV

Imagine all the times the apostle Paul was asked, “What are the most thrilling things that have happened since that day you met Jesus on the road to Damascus?”

Yes, there were historic times that he experienced, but he was emphatic that the most exciting season was right then and in the future. The apostle Paul certainly didn’t focus on his past:

He dealt with yesterday by “forgetting what is behind.”

He turned toward tomorrow by “straining toward what is ahead.”

He applied himself today by pressing “toward the goal.”

What about you? Has your life become a history book, or is it a living journal with pages waiting to record the amazing details of today and tomorrow?

There are many who, instead of building a strong foundation for their lives, choose to live in a world of fantasy.

Through spending time in God’s Word and in His presence, you can discover His extraordinary vision for your future. Organize your life around it, and remove the distractions the enemy seeks to place in your way.

An extraordinary, victorious vision begins as you surrender daily to Him, praying, studying His Word and listening to the Designer of all your dreams, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Day 36: Enlarge Your Territory

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”

1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV

As you increasingly wave a white flag in surrender to God’s will for your life, what do you sense that God envisions for you in the future? 

There is a powerful account in the Old Testament about man who was born in sorrow. Scripture says that his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain” (1 Chronicles 4:9 NIV).

As the boy grew, he learned that just because he was born in misery didn’t mean he must live that way forever. Jabez asked the Lord to give him a new vision — a vision to widen his borders. It was a straightforward prayer from a man who seemed to feel both comfortable and confident in God’s presence.

What happened? The Bible says God granted what Jabez requested.

What about you? What does God envision for you? What borders does God want to widen for you?

The apostle Paul, immediately after writing “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NIV), then wrote these powerful words: “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you” (verse 15).

Before the foundations of the world, God saw you today. He saw the needs that surround you and He created you as an important part of the solution to today’s challenges. You were designed on purpose for a purpose. When you discover that purpose and become empowered by God to fulfill it, your life will never be the same!

Today, set your sights as high as the heavens, then allow God to reveal His vision for your life as you spend time in His precious presence!

Day 35: Our Challenge

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 2:5 NIV

We are called to a life of miracles, and the greatest miracle of all is salvation. The greatest calling, as a result, is our commission as “living stones.” — “Living stones”—what does that phrase mean?

Throughout the centuries since Jesus Christ gave the Great Commission, every believer has received a divine mandate from Heaven to share the Gospel: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV). That calling was demonstrated in the lives of the disciples who were transformed into bold, dynamic witnesses for Christ. The world was changed forever.

The late J. Hudson Taylor, a dynamic English missionary to China during the 1800s, said, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” His life as a “living stone” was a powerful example. At his death in 1905 the China Inland Mission he led included 205 mission stations with more than 800 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians.

Today God has called believers to lives of holy dissatisfaction with a lost and dying world. “Living stones” are called to reach our generation in a powerful, dynamic way, winning multitudes of souls. We have been given the divine directive and privilege of taking the message of God’s saving and healing power to the ends of the earth. We must never become content and complacent with the victories of yesterday, for the future is filled with new and incredible opportunities to proclaim the Gospel to millions! The greatest days are ahead! There are millions of souls waiting to hear the Gospel, and we must not be distracted or delayed from doing what God has called us to do together: the mission of reaching people and building lives.

Best of all, we have the greatest reward waiting, for on that great day we who are “living stones” have the blessed hope of standing before the Chief Cornerstone to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21 KJV).

What a wonderful reward for reaching people and building lives!

Day 34: God's Intervention In Your Family

“I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”

Isaiah 49:25b NIV

God has promised that He will fight for you and your family. He will save your children! The principle of salvation for your household is clearly given throughout the Bible:

God established the family from the beginning, as expressed in Genesis 1:27-28: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number...’” (NIV).

Genesis 7:1 declares, “The Lord then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation’” (NIV) Noah’s entire family was saved from the flood. 

That principle comes through loudly in the Exodus 12 account of the first Passover: “Each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” (verse 3 NIV). It was not a lamb for each person. The shed blood was to cover every person in the household.

In Joshua 24:15, we read: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (NIV).

Acts 16:14-15 shares the story of Lydia, a new believer in Jesus: “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message... she and the members of her household were baptized” (NIV).

Recorded later in that same chapter, not only did the Philippian jailer become a new believer, but he also witnessed the miracle of his household’s salvation.

Because of the principles given throughout Scripture, you have the spiritual right to claim every member of your family for Christ. Ultimately, each is responsible to God for the decision to accept or reject His simple plan of salvation, but we can intercede that God will draw all our loved ones to Himself.

Day 33: On The Road To Damascus

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.””

Acts 9:1-6 NIV

Saul of Tarsus had a clear-cut agenda. He had received authority from the high priest (likely Caiaphas) to represent the Sanhedrin in persecuting Christians throughout the region. That was his purpose in traveling to Damascus. Then God intervened!

God changed everything in an instant. Note that Saul, soon to be called Paul, did not debate theological dogma or even the significance of what happened. He simply asked: “Who are you, Lord?” The answer, “I am Jesus,” was enough to impact the world for all eternity. Saul did not know this, of course. He was told to wait for more instructions. He did not know that he was making a transition from leadership in Jewish society to being used to turn the world upside down with the Gospel. He did not know that he would be used by the Holy Spirit to pen more than half of the New Testament. All he knew was that he was giving up all that he had previously attained, and he did so without argument.

From that point even until now, Paul’s true love for the Christ he once persecuted continues to be a shining example for all believers today!

Everything changed on the road to Damascus. He went from being the persecutor to becoming a chosen vessel of God’s intervention to the world. The Lord told Ananias to minister to the blinded Saul, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15 NIV).

Though we may not be headed to Damascus today, wherever we go, we have plans and agendas that crowd our lives. We are called to a greater pathway, for Daniel 11:32 declares, “…The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (NKJV).

Day 32: Five Loaves And Two Fish

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.”

Mark 6:41-44 NIV

Two different times, as recorded in the New Testament, Jesus took a small amount of food, multiplied it miraculously and fed a huge multitude. In the instance recorded in Mark 6 (as well as in Matthew 14, Luke 9 and John 6 — the only miracle other than the resurrection of Christ afforded such an honor to be mentioned in all four Gospels), these facts are known: Jesus taught a multitude of 5,000 men, plus women and children. It was in a remote area, a desert place near Bethsaida, and when it got late, the disciples suggested that the people should be dismissed to go buy something to eat. Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat” (verse 37).

Several points stand out that should help us see ourselves more clearly today:

We tend to procrastinate (verse 35), pass the buck (verse 36) and worry (verse 37) when we truly, desperately need a miracle. There is a better way!

• Preparation for a miracle requires an honest accounting of the current situation (verse 38). The people were hungry. It was late. With perhaps 15,000 or more people on hand (counting women and children), the situation could have quickly become desperate. God always starts with what we have and where we are.

• As with the lad who volunteered his five loaves and two fish, we must willingly give God what we have (verse 38).

• We can expect God to work miracles (verse 42). That is what He does! He desires to pour out miracles and multiplication upon His children.

Saint Augustine said, “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.” Get honest with God about your need. Don’t become satisfied and complacent with the way things are today. Prepare for miracles. Expect God’s intervention. Then get ready for a new dimension of life!

Day 31: Elisha's Double-Portion Anointing

“Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours — otherwise, it will not.”

2 Kings 2:9-10 NIV

From the moment sometime around the year 856 BC when Elijah saw Elisha plowing the field with a massive team of oxen, all 120 feet or so of beasts pulling the plow, something happened that would affect generations to come. The anointing on Elijah was so powerful that Elisha immediately slaughtered his oxen on the spot, held a massive barbeque for those around him, and then followed the prophet and became his servant (1 Kings 19:19-21), similar to the way Joshua assisted Moses.

We hear little more about Elisha during the remainder of Elijah’s years of ministry, until the time when it became apparent the Lord was going to take Elijah in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2).

After Elisha’s double-portion request, Elijah tested his servant’s commitment by asking him three times to remain while he went to Bethel (2 Kings 2:2), Jericho (verse 4), and then over the Jordan (verse 6). Elisha refused to leave his master. Why? He did not want to be separated from the promised anointing. As when he was called from the field of oxen, Elisha knew there was no anointing without action and obedience. He kept moving, close to the prophet, and suddenly a chariot of fire appeared and Elijah went up to Heaven in a whirlwind (verse 11).

As Elijah’s mantle fell, Elisha rushed to grab it and he caught the promised anointing: “Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it.... When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, ‘The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha…’” (2 Kings 2:13-15 NIV).

God arranges times when we are near the anointing, but if we hesitate or hold back, His touch will pass us by. Elisha refused to accept anything less than the double-portion anointing. A lot of people want to receive great things from God. Few, however, are willing to pay the price. Today, we must activate our faith and get ready to receive what God has in store for us. May the cry of every believer’s heart be, “Lord, I hunger for a double portion. Let your mantle fall on me!”