Friday, May 20, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 20th May

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” -James 3:17-18
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth."
Ecclesiastes 10:7

Upstarts frequently usurp the highest places, while the truly great pine in obscurity. This is a riddle in providence whose solution will one day gladden the hearts of the upright; but it is so common a fact, that none of us should murmur if it should fall to our own lot. When our Lord was upon earth, although he is the Prince of the kings of the earth, yet he walked the footpath of weariness and service as the Servant of servants: what wonder is it if his followers, who are princes of the blood, should also be looked down upon as inferior and contemptible persons? The world is upside down, and therefore, the first are last and the last first. See how the servile sons of Satan lord it in the earth! What a high horse they ride! How they lift up their horn on high! Haman is in the court, while Mordecai sits in the gate; David wanders on the mountains, while Saul reigns in state; Elijah is complaining in the cave while Jezebel is boasting in the palace; yet who would wish to take the places of the proud rebels? and who, on the other hand, might not envy the despised saints? When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.

Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and he therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.

Evening

"And he requested for himself that he might die."
1 Kings 19:4

It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death--should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers." We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though he always does in effect. He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him. Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that he did not take his desponding servant at his word. There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised--if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate--if we ask contrary to his will, or to the decrees of his providence--if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to his glory, we must not expect that we shall receive. Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. As one remarks, "If the Lord does not pay in silver, he will in gold; and if he does not pay in gold, he will in diamonds." If he does not give you precisely what you ask for, he will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.

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Onesiphorus

[ÅŽne sĭph'o rŭs] - bringing advantage. A believer in Ephesuswho befriended Paul (2 Tim. 1:16; 4:19).

The Man Who Was Kind to His Friend

From the description Paul gives us of Onesiphorus, he must have been a lovely character. In his revealing essay of this rare character, Alexander Whyte speaks of him as "an elder in the Church of Ephesus, and a better elder there never was."

Much controversy has raged around Paul's cameo of Onesiphorus. Was he adorning the brow of a living man with a garland? Or was he placing a wreath upon the tomb of a saint? Some see in Paul's reference to "the house of Onesiphorus" a proof for the lawfulness of prayers for the dead. But Paul's language does not constitute a prayer, but only a wish or exclamation. The dead are beyond the influence of our intercessions.

There are several traits of the admirable life of Onesiphorus we can profitably meditate upon:

I. He was repeatedly kind. "He oft refreshed me." In the overwhelming heat of his trials, Paul found himself revived when this dear saint came his way. What a blessed ministry it is to refresh the needy children of God!

II. He associated himself with Paul's suffering. "He was not ashamed of my chain." Some of the apostle's friends did not like to own any connection with a chained man. But not so Onesiphorus. He had a big soul and brought consolation to the manacled prisoner. Many of God's best servants are harassed with chains of sorrow and of affliction. Let us not shrink from helping them.

III. He made it his business to find Paul. "He sought me out." Matthew Henry says, "A good man will seek opportunities of doing good, and will not shun that offer." Is there someone you should hunt up and cheer?

IV. He and his house were blessed for kindness shown. "The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus." Paul was not able to reward his friend for all his gracious solicitation, but the Lord could, and would. In ministering to Paul, Onesiphorous had ministered to the Lord, and of the Lord would be blessed.

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Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 7-9, John 6:22-44 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Chronicles 7-9

Issachar

1 The sons of Issachar:

Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron--four in all.

2 The sons of Tola:
Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Samuel--heads of their families. During the reign of David, the descendants of Tola listed as fighting men in their genealogy numbered 22,600.

3 The son of Uzzi:
Izrahiah.

The sons of Izrahiah:
Michael, Obadiah, Joel and Ishiah. All five of them were chiefs. 4 According to their family genealogy, they had 36,000 men ready for battle, for they had many wives and children.

5 The relatives who were fighting men belonging to all the clans of Issachar, as listed in their genealogy, were 87,000 in all....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: John 6:22-44

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus....

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P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

May 19, 2011

Women Judging Women
Lysa TerKeurst

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble..."1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

How differently might our lives be if we women didn't have to fear the harsh criticisms of other women? Might we be willing to step out a little bolder for Jesus? Might we be willing to be a little more vulnerable? Might we live our lives a little less guarded?

Oh sweet sisters, women judging other women must absolutely break God's heart. The crazy thing is when we judge others, we elevate ourselves past the ability to recognize our own propensity to sin in the very area we are criticizing. Show me a woman who is leveling a judgment against another person, and I will show you a woman who is wrapped in sin herself.

If it's not the very same sin she's criticizing, it will be a sin just as dangerous - pride.

It is a subtle shift that Satan invites us into. Voicing criticisms against others will coat the eyes of our soul with smut so thick, we become blinded to our own sin. Pride and self-righteousness will detour us from God's best path and lead us on a treacherous journey of denial. We'll deny our own sinfulness. We'll deny our own need for grace.

Those who can't see their own desperate need for grace, refuse to freely give grace to others.

Now, if you're like me, you may be tempted to start making a mental list of those who you have felt judged by and you started praying a few sentences back: "Please let so and so read today's devotion. Oh I hope she sees herself in this and gets a whammy of conviction."

But, let's stop making that mental list and receive this message personally. Even if we aren't naturally critical people, this is an area we can all grow in.

I recently read a wonderful quote outlining a beautiful plan when we feel tempted to judge someone else. Francis Frangipane in his book Holiness, Truth, and the Presence of God says, "Anyone can pass judgment - but can they lay down their lives in love, intercession and faith for the one judged? Can they target an area of need and rather than criticizing, fast and pray, asking God to supply the very virtue they feel lacking? And then persevere in that love - motivated prayer until that fallen area blooms in godliness? Such is the life Christ commands we follow!" (pg.11)

I know just posting this devotion will not suddenly make the world tip on it's axis and shake all of us women into breaking the cycle of criticisms and judgment. However, maybe, it will be a start. If it causes even one of us to fall in front of Jesus in repentance and allow Him to wipe clean our spiritual eyes - it will be a great start. Now, let me be that one.

Dear Lord, may I first fall in repentance into Your loving arms of grace. Thank You for the harsh ways I have been judged lately for it has made me so aware of how hurtful this can be. Forgive me. I am a woman who desperately needs grace - therefore, I should be a woman who freely offers grace. When I am tempted to be critical of someone else, help me hold my thoughts and my tongue. Instead of voicing those things, help me bring them to You in honest, sincere and heartfelt prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa's blog by clicking here if you've ever been blindsided by a harsh comment. She'll be sharing 3 crucial things to remember before responding.

If this devotion resonated with you, don't miss Lysa's new 6 week DVD teaching set, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. For more information, click here.

The accompanying Yes to God Bible Study workbook can be found by clicking here.

Lysa will be speaking in more than 40 cities this year.Click here to see her schedule. She would be honored to meet you.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
The next time I feel critical of someone else, I want an action plan so that I can respond biblically. Don't you? Why not write out today's scripture verses on an index card and carry them in your purse. Below the Scriptures write, "Instead of criticizing, I will commit this person to prayer. I will stand in the gap for them with love and persevere in my prayers. I commit to keep my mouth closed but my heart wide open."

Reflections:
How did it feel the last time I was judged by someone?

Why not resurrect that stinging feeling each time we are tempted to be harshly critical of someone else? The hurt we felt can be put to good use if it prevents us from falling into the trap of judging others.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 5:5b-6, "...All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (NIV)

Luke 6:37, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (NIV)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


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