Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Daily Devotional Tuesday 31st May

“In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” - Psalm 56:4
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines."
Song of Solomon 2:15

A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with his people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour's presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father's face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without his company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides his face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of "the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." Jesus invites you to go with him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with him to the hunting.

Evening

"That henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:6

Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice's den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler--be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you "serve sin" you have "Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame." Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.

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Caesar

[Cae'zar] - one cut out. The surname always used in the New Testament for all Roman emperors. To Caesar the Jews paid tribute and it was also to him that those Jews who were Roman citizens (for example, Paul,Acts 25:10-21), had the right of appeal.
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Deborah

The Woman Who Spent Her Life as a Nursemaid

Scripture References-Genesis 24:59; 35:8

Name Meaning -Deborah means a "bee," and is emblematic of industry, patience, sagacity and usefulness-a beautifully appropriate name for a maidservant or nursemaid. Deborah's conduct throughout her long life fulfilled the expectation, or hope, expressed by her name. As a bee symbolizes constant activity, industrious diligence and care, the God of grace enabled Deborah to live her life as a devoted, quiet and faithful nurse.

Family Connections-We know nothing of Deborah's background. She was probably born in servitude, yet her parentage was commendable enough to warrant the domestic office of great trust in the patriarchal household of Nahor.

As Rebekah's nurse she accompanied her mistress to her new home after her marriage to Isaac. When Jacob and Esau were born into the home we can imagine how lovingly Deborah would care for them. Then when Jacob married, and his family increased rapidly, it is probable that Rebekah and Isaac gave Deborah to nurse them. When Rebekah had no further use for her nurse, she did not dismiss her. Deborah remained in the family and was held in great reverence. She became an indispensable treasure in that ancient patriarchal circle. When she died at an advanced age-almost 100 years according to some writers-she was lamented for as one of the family, and great honor was paid to her at her death. Her name and the place of her burial are immortalized in the words, "Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak tree whose name Jacob called Allon-bachuth (which means, Oak of Weeping )." The entire family was touched by her passing, and all who had been the recipients of Deborah's faithful devotion wept for her as for one of their own. Through her faith to God, she had transformed the bonds of servitude into those of love, and earned the devotion and gratitude of those whom she had so long and loyally served. Deborah brought the glory of God into the most commonplace duties of Jacob's home. No wonder all eyes were wet with tears as they buried her aged, bent body under that oak tree. Famous men, like Earl Shaftesbury and Robert L. Stevenson, have testified to the debt they owe to devoted nurses who were so kind and devoted to them in their earlier years, and who greatly influenced their lives, even more so than their own parents.

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Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 10-12, John 11:30-57 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Chronicles 10-12

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 "Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you...."

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: John 11:30-57

30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died...."

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P31Header
Glynnis Whitwer

May 30, 2011

Facing the "What Ifs" with Courage
Glynnis Whitwer

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 (NIV)

Once a year I sit in the same waiting room. They've valiantly attempted to make it lighthearted and cheerful. But it's hard to do when every woman there knows life could change based on the results of her testing.

Despite the smile on my face as I check in, questions swirl. What if they see something worrisome? What if they call me back for more tests? What if this year it's notnormal? What if?

I'm no stranger to the call-backs. And each time it happens they tell me the same thing: You are lumpy, bumpy and your kids say you are grumpy. Or something like that. But what if that doesn't happen this year? Now that breast cancer is in my family history, the "what ifs" loom larger.

Thankfully this isn't my first rodeo - I've dealt with fear in the past. In fact, at times I've been consumed with worry, unable to eat or sleep. A health scare a few years ago sent me into a tailspin of anxiety. Fear tried to debilitate me and it almost won. I had to admit that I couldn't manage the fear on my own. My human attempts at overcoming fear were weak; I couldn't think or reason myself out of the fear.

Fear isn't always logical. If it were, I could spout statistics and they would bring me peace as I wait for answers. Or, I could gain comfort from assurances spoken by well-meaning friends that "nothing will happen."

But deep in my heart, I know there's no promise I'll be free from trouble in this life. In fact, I'm usually either getting out of trouble, currently in trouble, or about to meet trouble around the next corner.

Thankfully, Jesus was waiting all that time for me to relinquish my feeble and ineffective attempts at finding peace. As I gave up my grasping attempts at control, He stepped in to the space between my heart and the lies, and wedged His truth there.

I was trying to find my own path to peace, when it was His I needed all the time.

Jesus made this promise in today's key verse: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27). This is the same peace the Bible describes as passing all understanding. (Phil. 4:7)

I've learned that peace and courage manifested in my own strength will NOT stand testing. My peace is determined on circumstances. It's determined by my ability to control the situation. With my peace, there's always that little voice saying, but what if?

Jesus' peace, however, silences that doubting voice. That voice knows the response it will get. I'll be her peace,Jesus replies for me.

I'm now better armed to face the "what ifs" of life. Instead of focusing on what I don't know, I focus on what I do know. Above all, I know Jesus' peace will be with me. The storms may come, the waters will rise, but I can have peace. This is a promise from One who has never lied.

I may not know the future, but I'm clinging to the One who does; the One who is prepared to face what may come. I'm confident Jesus will not abandon me, He still works miracles, and will make sure that I'm cared for. That's what I know.

I still have worries and concerns that pop up; it would be false to imply otherwise. Yet, they don't dominate me. When I feel them starting to crowd their way in, I stop and pray: Jesus, I need Your peace. Mine's not working again.

Dear Lord, even You said there would be trouble in this world. You see the trouble I'm facing and You see how fear is threatening to overwhelm. Even in the midst of my storm, I know You have the power to bring me peace. I ask right now for Your peace to flood my heart. Only with Your peace can I face the future with confidence. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Glynnis' blog where she shares a way to pray that freed her from paralyzing fear.

Rest Assured (CD) by Renee Swope

Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman's Guide to Peace in Every Situation by Grace Fox

You are My Hiding Place, Lord: Finding Peace in God's Presence by Emilie Barnes

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:
Make a list of the benefits of having Jesus' peace in your heart. If you need to experience that peace, stop and ask Jesus for it now.

Reflections:
How is the world's peace different from the peace Jesus offers?

In the face of "unknowns," what are some things I know for sure about God?

Power Verses:
John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)

Romans 8:6, "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." (NIV)

Ephesians 6:14-15, "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (NIV)

© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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