Saturday, May 28, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 28th May

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” - Acts 20:24
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet."
2 Samuel 9:13

Mephibosheth was no great ornament to a royal table, yet he had a continual place at David's board, because the king could see in his face the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may cry unto the King of Glory, "What is thy servant, that thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am?" but still the Lord indulges us with most familiar intercourse with himself, because he sees in our countenances the remembrance of his dearly-beloved Jesus. The Lord's people are dear for another's sake. Such is the love which the Father bears to his only begotten, that for his sake he raises his lowly brethren from poverty and banishment, to courtly companionship, noble rank, and royal provision. Their deformity shall not rob them of their privileges. Lameness is no bar to sonship; the cripple is as much the heir as if he could run like Asahel. Our right does not limp, though our might may. A king's table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel feast we learn to glory in infirmities, because the power of Christ resteth upon us. Yet grievous disability may mar the persons of the best-loved saints. Here is one feasted by David, and yet so lame in both his feet that he could not go up with the king when he fled from the city, and was therefore maligned and injured by his servant Ziba. Saints whose faith is weak, and whose knowledge is slender, are great losers; they are exposed to many enemies, and cannot follow the king whithersoever he goeth. This disease frequently arises from falls. Bad nursing in their spiritual infancy often causes converts to fall into a despondency from which they never recover, and sin in other cases brings broken bones. Lord, help the lame to leap like an hart, and satisfy all thy people with the bread of thy table!

Evening

"What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?"
2 Samuel 9:8

If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David's kindness, what shall we be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known to what to compare themselves, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. "I am," says holy Rutherford, "a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw." In another place he writes, "Except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had." The meanest objects in nature appear to the humbled mind to have a preference above itself, because they have never contracted sin: a dog may be greedy, fierce, or filthy, but it has no conscience to violate, no Holy Spirit to resist. A dog may be a worthless animal, and yet by a little kindness it is soon won to love its master, and is faithful unto death; but we forget the goodness of the Lord, and follow not at his call. The term "dead dog" is the most expressive of all terms of contempt, but it is none too strong to express the self- abhorrence of instructed believers. They do not affect mock modesty, they mean what they say, they have weighed themselves in the balances of the sanctuary, and found out the vanity of their nature. At best, we are but clay, animated dust, mere walking hillocks; but viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed. Let it be published in heaven as a wonder, that the Lord Jesus should set his heart's love upon such as we are. Dust and ashes though we be, we must and will "magnify the exceeding greatness of his grace." Could not his heart find rest in heaven? Must he needs come to these tents of Kedar for a spouse, and choose a bride upon whom the sun had looked? O heavens and earth, break forth into a song, and give all glory to our sweet Lord Jesus.

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Rabshakeh

[Răb'shakeh] - head of the cupbearers. The title of the Assyrian military official under King Sennacherib, who accompanied Rabsaris on the journey to Hezekiah to demand Jerusalem's surrender (2 Kings 18:17-37; 19:4-8; Isa. 36:2-22; 37:4-8).

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Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 1-3, John 10:1-23 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Chronicles 1-3

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

1 Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.

2 Then Solomon spoke to all Israel-to the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, to the judges and to all the leaders in Israel, the heads of families-- 3 and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God's tent of meeting was there, which Moses the LORD's servant had made in the wilderness....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: John 10:1-23

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

1 "Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them....

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P31Header
Amy Carroll

May 27, 2011

Lonely
Amy Carroll

"Turn to me and show me your favor, I am lonely and hurting." Psalm 25:16 (NIRV)

Lonely. It's not a word I thought I'd ever use to describe myself, but that's just where I was.

For many years after a hard move, I felt alone.

I had always had close friends, and the absence of intimate friendship left me feeling sore-hearted. I longed to have someone who could meet me for coffee spontaneously or help me expend some of my many daily words on the phone. I craved a woman who "got me" and would both listen and share.

Over time, I learned a lot about re-establishing friendships, and most days I feel connected and content. Recently, though, I read an editorial published in USA Today that included information from a fascinating but sad study. This study published by the American Sociological Review cited statistics that showed half of Americans only have two close friends. Even more heartbreaking is that one out of four Americans say that they don't have any close friends.

Not a single one. That's a lot of lonely souls and hurting hearts.

So, how can we be part of solving this epidemic problem?

If you're lonely...
Here's the advice that I gave myself over and over during my lonely days, because I believed they were true. When you don't have a friend, BE the friend to others that you would like to have.

There were things I told myself over and over during my hard time. "Amy," I'd say...

• "Would you love a friend who takes time to show that she cares by picking up the phone and asking about your day? Then pick up the phone and ask about someone's day."

• "Would you love a friend who keeps confidences and is trustworthy? Then be trustworthy."

• "Would you love a friend who asks you to go shopping (or to the movies, or for a walk...) at the spur of the moment? Then ask someone to go along when you go do those things."

It's easier to stay isolated sometimes than to reach out, especially if you've been hurt or disappointed many times. I know too well. But I want to encourage you to reach out, show love and care about others.

God taught me so many things during my loneliness. I learned to be more dependent on Him. I learned to appreciate the friendship of my family more. I took a hard look at some things that weren't so wonderful about myself and really worked to change those things.

During lonely times of life, be intentional about connecting to God and others. There's so much to be learned in these times.

If you're not lonely...
Remember today that many people are lonely. Remember one in four women would say she doesn't have a single close friend. Think about it in terms of your neighborhood. If there are 40 women who live near you, 10 of them believe that they don't have a friend in the world. Could God be calling you to be that friend?

Look for ways to open your circle of friends to new people. Watch for that new woman at church sitting by herself, the woman at work who eats lunch alone, or the neighbor who never seems to be invited. Reach out to someone new today, and be part of one less life feeling lonely today.

Dear Lord, You are the friend who is closer than a brother. In this time of loneliness and seeming friendlessness, show me how precious friendship with You can be. Please teach me everything that I need to learn in this phase of life. Would you also prepare a friend for me and prepare me to be a trusted, valued friend? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Amy's blog for more thoughts on friendship.

The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis

A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

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:
If you are lonely, take a step to be around people with whom you have things in common. Sign up for a class, join a book club or attend a women's small group at your church.

If you have a close circle of friends, plan a Silver and Gold get together. (Remember the old Girl Scout song? "Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold!")

Reflections:
Is God truly my best friend? Have I let Him be enough for me? What could He teach me about friendship with Him through loneliness?

When is the last time I included someone new into my circle of friends?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes." (NIRV)

Ecclesiastes 4:10, "Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn't have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!" (NIRV)

© 2011 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

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