Friday, May 27, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 27th May

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” - John 3:17
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee."
Psalm 55:22

Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into his place to do for him that which he has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy he will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if he were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to his plain precept, this unbelief in his Word, this presumption in intruding upon his province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God's hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the "broken cistern" instead of to the "fountain;" a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God's lovingkindness, and thus our love to him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from him; but if through simple faith in his promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon him, and are "careful for nothing" because he undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to him, and strengthen us against much temptation. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."

Evening

"Continue in the faith."
Acts 14:22

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said, "Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me." So, under God, dear brother in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, "Excelsior." He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continueth till war's trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. "It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare." Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavour to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper, "Curse God, and die." Or he will attack your steadfastness: "What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do." Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: "Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: fall in with the times." Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armour, and cry mightily unto God, that by his Spirit you may endure to the end.

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Jacob

[Jā'cob] - he that supplanteth orfolloweth after.

1. The second son of Isaac and Rebekah, and a twin brother of Esau. Jacob appeared a short time after Esau and is therefore called the younger brother. Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob and Esau were born.

The Man of Two Natures

Jacob is an outstanding illustration of the presence and conflict of the two natures within a believer. Similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Robert Louis Stevenson's story, Jacob is good and bad; he rises and falls, yet in spite of his failures was a chosen instrument.

Jacob's character then, is full of interest and difficulty because of its weakness and strength. His is not a life to be described by a single word as, for example, the faith of Abraham or thepurity of Joseph. Jacob seemed to have a many-sided life. He was a man of guile, yet a man of prayer . Inconsistencies are everywhere. His life began with a prophetic revelation of God to his mother, but Jacob's early years were a singular mixture of good and bad - the bad being very bad.

I. Jacob was the victim of his mother's partiality. "Rebekah loved Jacob" (Gen. 25:28). This fault must be kept in mind as we judge his character.

II. Jacob was selfish. When his brother came in from the fields faint with hunger, Jacob would not give him food without bargaining over it.

III. Jacob was naturally crafty and deceitful. He violated his conscience when he allowed his mother to draw him away from the path of honor and integrity. He practiced deception upon his blind father with the covering of kid skins. Then he told a deliberate lie in order to obtain a spiritual blessing. He further sinned upon most sacred ground, when he blasphemously used the name of the Lord to further his evil plans.

The thoroughness with which he carried out his mother's plan is one of the worst features in the life of this misguided son. "Had it been me," says Martin Luther, "I would have dropped the dish." It would have been better for Jacob had he dropped that dish of venison. But his proficiency in evil doing is to be despised.

In the life of this sharp trader who mended his ways, for there were two remarkable spiritual experiences in his life - at Bethel and Peniel - the preacher might find the following points suggestive: Jacob cheated (Gen. 25:29-34); deceived ( Gen. 27:1-29); was compelled to flee (Gen 27:43; 28:1-5); was brought on to a higher level (Gen 28:10-22); had a romance spoiled, and was paid back in his own coin of deception (Gen. 29:15-30); was affectionate (Gen. 29:18); was industrious (Gen. 31:40 ); was prayerful ( Gen. 32:9-12, 24-30); received a divine call to the promised land (Gen. 31); was disciplined by God through affliction (Gen. 37:28; 42:36); was a man of faith (Heb. 11:21); was blessed with sons who became the foundation of a nation. The Hebrew nation is spoken of as "the sons of Jacob" and "the children of Israel" (Gen. 48; 49; Num. 24:19).

2. The father of Joseph, the husband of Mary (Matt. 1:15, 16).

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Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 28-29, John 9:24-41 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Chronicles 28-29

David's Plans for the Temple

1 David summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem: the officers over the tribes, the commanders of the divisions in the service of the king, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the warriors and all the brave fighting men....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: John 9:24-41

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God by telling the truth," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."

25 He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

26 Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"

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P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

May 26, 2011

Don't Eat Your Way Out of the Pit
Lysa TerKeurst

"Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Daniel 6:10b (NIV)

Have you ever been in a pit? Yesterday I was. And you know what pits make me feel besides frustrated and down? Hungry.

Usually my pit comes when circumstances roll into my life that I can't control.

Circumstances that affect me, but that are beyond my control, make me want to find comfort in things I can control. And eating sure does feel like an easy to get comfort.

But, in these situations, what feels comforting going in my mouth often doesn't settle well with my heart.

Overindulging in junk food makes me feel guilty. And once guilty joins me in my pit, it only compounds my issues. So, if we can't eat our way out of a pit with junk food, what can we do?

If I'm truly hungry, I grab a healthy option. Then, I intentionally look for something for which to be thankful and get my mouth busy praising God.

Even though I may not feel like praising God in the midst of my pit, something starts to shift in my heart and in my attitude when I see blessings in the midst of burdens. Each thing for which I verbalize my thankfulness is like a stepping stone out of the pit.

And this isn't just my idea. It's biblical. Look what happened when Daniel took this approach to the pit he found himself in.

In Daniel 6:10, Daniel had just learned that if anyone was caught praying to anyone else besides King Darius, they would be thrown into the Lion's Den. That's a serious pit! But Daniel's reaction is amazing.

He went home, threw his windows open, and prayed anyway. I'm not thinking he did this because he felt good. I'm imagining he felt like anyone would feel in overwhelming circumstances. But he rose above his feelings to make a choice.

And do you know what he chose to pray?

"God, save me!"

"God, it's not fair!"

"God, this is too much!"

"God, smite my enemies and wipe them out!"

"God, You know I can't handle this without extreme doses of chocolate!"

No. None of the above.

What Daniel prayed is a powerful lesson for me.

Daniel prayed, Thank You God. "Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." (Daniel 6:10b, NIV)

Since Daniel's response is so opposite of the way most of us would react, it makes me stop and ponder. Our initial responses are usually a by-product of the rituals we've established in our life. Daniel had made it his habit to be thankful.

Therefore, who God is and what God provides was front and center in Daniel's heart - even in the midst of heartbreak.

I am so challenged and inspired by this. Where do I run when life presses in on me? Who or what am I really dependent on? Do I have a habit of inviting guilt to join me in my pit? What might happen if I stopped grabbing for comfort and instead embraced the perspective change of thanksgiving?

Yes, life will be full of pits. But, that doesn't mean I have to be a pit dweller or a pit eater.

Dear Lord, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit. But we don't have to stay there and we don't have to try and eat our way out. Thank You for providing Your timeless Word to point to the way, the truth and the life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
If this devotion resonated with you, don't miss Lysa's new book, Made to Crave. Also, you'll want to consider doing the 6 week Bible study using this DVD set: Made to Crave DVD by Lysa TerKeurst.

And the accompanying workbook: Made to Crave Participant's Guide.

Visit Lysa's special new website at www.MadetoCrave.orgfor additional information on this project, as well as fun freebies and encouraging videos to help you overcome struggles to find lasting peace.

Come see the downloadable Freebies on Lysa's website! Encouraging articles for lots of situations to print and share with a friend! www.LysaTerKeurst.com

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:
What might happen if we stopped grabbing for comfort and instead embraced the perspective change of thanksgiving? Ponder this thought today and decide how you can live each day differently with a heart of thanksgiving.

Reflections:
Where do I run when life presses in on me? Who or what am I really dependent on? Do I have a habit of inviting guilt to join me in my pit?

Power Verses:
Hebrews 12:28, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (NIV)

Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (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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