Friday, June 17, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 17th June

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;” Psalm 103:13NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish."
John 10:28

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust his love, his truth, his faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to him. How can we ever grieve him by doubting his upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God's precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could he be true who has said, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee." What were the value of that promise--"The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Where were the truth of Christ's words--"I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, his honour, his power, his grace, his covenant, his oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in him, should nevertheless be cast away? Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt his Word wherein he has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.

"The gospel bears my spirit up:

A faithful and unchanging God

Lays the foundation for my hope,

In oaths, and promises, and blood."

Evening

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 27:1

"The Lord is my light and my salvation." Here is personal interest, "my light," "my salvation;" the soul is assured of it, and therefore declares it boldly. Into the soul at the new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there is not enough light to reveal our own darkness and to make us long for the Lord Jesus, there is no evidence of salvation. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light: he is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us. Note, it is not said merely that the Lord gives light, but that he is light; nor that he gives salvation, but that he is salvation; he, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God, has all covenant blessings in his possession. This being made sure as a fact, the argument drawn from it is put in the form of a question, "Whom shall I fear?" A question which is its own answer. The powers of darkness are not to be feared, for the Lord, our light, destroys them; and the damnation of hell is not to be dreaded by us, for the Lord is our salvation. This is a very different challenge from that of boastful Goliath, for it rests, not upon the conceited vigour of an arm of flesh, but upon the real power of the omnipotent I AM. "The Lord is the strength of my life." Here is a third glowing epithet, to show that the writer's hope was fastened with a threefold cord which could not be broken. We may well accumulate terms of praise where the Lord lavishes deeds of grace. Our life derives all its strength from God; and if he deigns to make us strong, we cannot be weakened by all the machinations of the adversary. "Of whom shall I be afraid?" The bold question looks into the future as well as the present. "If God be for us," who can be against us, either now or in time to come?

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John

[Jŏhn] - jehovah hath been gracious.

John, the son of Zebedee and Salome, the fisherman who became the beloved disciple, The Apostle of Love.

The Man Whom Jesus Loved

This younger brother of James has the rare distinction of being known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." The original of his name means, "whom Jehovah loves" and John's experience corresponded to his name. From the many references to this honored disciple we can gather these facts:

He was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee.

His godly parents were probably cousins of Christ, and John was their youngest son.

His mother followed Christ, ministered unto Him, was at the Cross and among those who went to anoint the body of Christ with sweet spices.

His father was a fisherman owning his own vessel and prosperous enough to hire servants.

John himself was also a successful fisherman.

He was called to discipleship while plying his nets.

He was the youngest of the disciples, the Benjamin among the Twelve.

He was one of the select triumvirate, Christ's inner cabinet of three, Peter and James being the other two.

He was surnamed by Christ as a son of "Boanerges" because of his prophetic zeal and resolution to witness for Christ.

He was treated by Christ with greater familiarity than the others enjoyed.

He sat next to Christ at the Last Supper.

He was intrusted with the care of the mother of Jesus.

He died when he was almost one hundred years of age.

He wrote the gospel and three epistles bearing his name, and also the Book of Revelation. How true are Wesley's words of John the Beloved:

A Caesar's title less my envy moves

Than to be styled the man whom Jesus loves;

What charms, what beauties in his face did shine

Reflected ever from the face divine.

From manifold references in the four gospels, the Acts and Revelation, the preacher can develop these traits in John's character: his natural energy (Mark 3:17); his intolerance (Mark 9:38); his vindictiveness (Luke 9:54); his ambition (Mark 10:35-37); his eagerness to learn (John 13:23; I John 2:9); his sympathy ( John 19:26); his love (1 John 4:7-21).

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Today's reading: Nehemiah 4-7, Acts 2:22-47 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Nehemiah 4-7

Opposition to the Rebuilding

1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble-burned as they are?"

3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building-even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!"

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 2:22-47

22 "Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him:

"'I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

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June 16, 2011

The Angels Are With You

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name' (Psalm 91:11-14, NIV).

Friend To Friend

When we come to Jesus Christ in a personal relationship, He takes full responsibility for us, which means He takes care of us. One of the ways God cares for us is through the ministry of His angels as they help us and protect us.

2 Kings 6:16-17 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. 'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, 'O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.' Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."

There was an ongoing conflict between Israel and the empire of the king, Ben-Hadad. Elisha constantly revealed the secret plans of this Syrian King to the king of Israel. When the King of Syria found out, he sent an army to capture Elisha. While Elisha was getting dressed that morning, his servant came running to him in fear. He told Elisha that they were surrounded by the King's army and that the soldiers were carrying powerful weapons of war. Elisha was not disturbed by this news. In fact, he told the servant not to be afraid because "our army is bigger and better than their army." The servant was confused because he could not see any army ready to fight for Elisha. Elisha then prayed and asked God to open the eyes of this servant and allow him to see God's protective angels. "Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."

God's angels protect His children from potential enemies.

Psalm 91:11-14 "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.'"

In this passage, "command" means "to order or assign," "guard" means "to observe and care for" and "acknowledges" means "to know intimately." In other words, when we know God and have a personal relationship with Him, He assigns angels to watch over us and to help carry out His plan for our lives.

Hebrews 1:14 "But angels are only servants. They are spirits sent from God to care for those who will receive salvation."

Angels are motivated by their great love for God and are committed to seeing that the will of God is carried out. Most Christians can recall some incident in which their lives have been miraculously saved from disaster. Perhaps a car missed them by inches. An airplane flight was planned, but some reason, was not taken only to later discover that the plane had crashed. They did not see angels but their presence could easily explain why tragedy was avoided.

John G. Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides islands. One night, hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters, shouting threats that they would burn the Paton's home and then kill them. Paton and his wife prayed all night long. At dawn, they were amazed to see the natives turn and leave. A year later, the chief of that very tribe became a Christian. Paton asked him what had kept him and his men from burning down their house and killing them that night. The chief asked, "Who were all of those men with you?" Paton assured the chief that there had been no one there except him and his wife. The chief shook his head and insisted that they had seen hundreds of men standing guard, big men in shining garments with drawn swords.

Scripture is filled with accounts that describe how many of God's servants were delivered from danger. It also tells how many servants of God were not delivered by angels.

Hebrews 11:35-39 "Others were tortured; some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated."

These men had faith, courage and were obedient. Time after time, they must have cried out to God for angels to come - but none came. Why? Hebrews 11:40 tells us that God had a better plan. "To live by faith is better than deliverance by angels." These saints were not physically delivered but they still lived by faith and died by faith enduring pain and suffering, counting on the grace of God to sustain them. Because of their great faith, these "medal of honor" Christians received a greater reward in heaven.

Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

These saints knew that if God said "no" to their request for deliverance, there was a reason. It was part of His plan. If you are like me, there are times when, for the life of me, I cannot understand God's plan and furthermore, even if I understand it, it is just plain hard to accept. Jesus understands. When Jesus faced the cross, He asked God to deliver Him but God said, "No."

Matthew 26:39 "He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."

Angels do exist and they do touch our life. Look around. Listen carefully. Walk by faith. The angels are with you.

Let's Pray

Father, I want to thank You for Your angels and the role they play in my life. I praise You for all of the times that tragedy was avoided because one of Your angels touched my life. Help me to walk in faith and obedience to Your perfect plan - no matter how hard it may be at times. I want to be a woman of faith, a woman who walks with Your angels.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Scripture tells us how angels protected and delivered many of the servants of God. Read the following Bible passages and fill in the blanks. Then celebrate God's work in the lives of these saints and in your own life.

  • Peter was delivered from ________________ by an angel. (Acts 12:5-11)
  • Paul received a message of ____________ from an angel. (Acts 27:23-25)
  • An angel saved the life of Abraham's ____________. (Genesis 22:15)
  • An angel saved _________________ in the lion's den. (Daniel 6:22)
  • An angel appeared to Moses in the ____________ _________. (Acts 7:30)
  • An angel rolled the ___________________ away from Jesus' tomb. (Matthew 28:2)

More From The Girlfriends

We would love to pray for you. Just email your prayer requests to our Prayer Warrior Team Director, Ginger Meador atgjmeador@comcast.net.

Don't miss Mary's NEW weekly Online Bible Study Under the Influence...of Love. Learn five powerful steps you can take to forgive and love your enemies. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary onFacebook or through email.

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Girlfriends in God

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info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

June 16, 2011

Before We Respond
Lysa TerKeurst

"For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men." 1 Peter 2:15 (NIV)

Sweet friend, let's chat. About "those" emails. "Those" comments. "Those" words from another that make our heart beat, our throat tighten, and our smile fall.

Yes, "those."

Harsh comments seem so unnecessary to me. I honestly can't find any sort of justification in Scripture to hurl insults and ugliness at another person. But, these are a reality in my world. A small reality, thank heavens, but a reality none the less. Sadly, I bet you can relate.

And I'll be honest; I'm just as prone as the next person tofeel like putting an ugly worded person in their place. Hurt when I've been hurt. Invent a slap button for my computer. Not so nice, huh?

That's why I don't react out of my feelings. This will only cause the conflict to escalate rather than dissipate.

I wait to respond until the hurt can be processed with more than my feelings. For me, hurtful things are first processed through the emotional part of my brain before the logical part of my brain. Honestly, I need both emotion and logic to be involved in my response, so I wait. And I need some Scripture to get involved before responding.

In 1 Peter chapter 2 we find a treasure trove of verses that relate to this issue.

So, here are three things I keep in mind before I reply:

Is a reply even necessary?
"For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men." (1 Peter 2:15)

Sometimes the delete button is a lovely feature. Not every email needs a reply. Not every critic should be given an answer. Especially if someone's comments are sent to us anonymously. Don't let their comments derail you. Instead let it be a reminder of how more effectively your time could be spent doing something good. Invest in that good and let your actions reveal your heart.

A reaction and a reply are vastly different.
"When they hurled their insults at him (Jesus), he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23)

It's hard to resist retaliation. It can feel quite justifiable to hurt the one who hurt us. But just because it feels right doesn't mean it is right.

We can turn our initial harsh reaction into a gentle response by pausing. Take some time to let our emotions cool off. Seek to see things from the other person's perspective. Realize there is probably a lot more hurt going on in their heart than what we'll ever know - and chances are it has very little to do with us. Wrap our response in kindness and truth. Leave the judging up to God. God knows. God sees. God honors those who honor Him.

Humility is a beautiful diffuser.
"For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25).

Sometimes a harsh comment from another is a reason to step back and honestly assess if some of what's being criticized is our fault. Ask for forgiveness. Seek to bring truth to light in a gentle and loving way. And offer grace. Giving grace doesn't make them right. It simply and humbly acknowledges we both need it, so I chose to freely give it.

Oh sweet friend...I hope you don't need this advice today. But, if and when you do, I pray it helps.

Dear Lord, show me how to seek You like never before. Please help me to see this hurt as an opportunity today. And opportunity to seek grace, model love, and expand past my initial flesh reactions. I want to make right choices that honor You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa's blog by clicking here for three great tips on writing email responses that help diffuse hurtful situations.

Looking for a summer Bible study to do individually or with some friends? 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, and she'd love to meet you! To check for a city near you, click here.

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:
We need both emotion and logic to be involved in our responses. And we also need Scripture to refer to ponder, and pray through. Write a verse from this devotion that most resonated with your heart and post it next to your computer.

Reflections:
Giving grace doesn't make the other person right. It simply and humbly acknowledges we both need it, so I chose to freely give it. How will this thought help my with my responses going forward? Remember, God knows, God sees, God honors those who honor Him.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 2:22, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." (NIV)

Psalm 133:1, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" (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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It's been two weeks since the new Bible Gateway launched, and we've been thrilled by the response from our faithful visitors! But our focus on the new site doesn't mean we've slowed down in adding new content to Bible Gateway. In fact, today we have two exciting additions to our library: a new email devotional and an updated Bible version.

NIV Devotional for Men

If you've looked at our library of email devotionals recently, you may have noticed a gap: while there are two devotionals aimed at women (Girlfriends in God and Encouragement for Today), there's nothing specifically for men. Well, we certainly don't want to neglect the guys, so just in time for Father's Day, we've added a brand new weekly devotional: NIV Devotions for Men.

The heart of each week's NIV Devotions for Men email is a short devotional accompanied by Bible passages to read and questions to get you thinking. These readings are all drawn from the New Men's Devotional Bible.

NIV Devotions for Men will help you apply God's Word to your life in a fresh way. And of course, while it's written with men in mind, anyone will benefit from the Bible readings and devotional insights. The first devotional goes out tomorrow, so sign up now!

The Common English Bible is here!

The complete Common English Bible (CEB) is now available on Bible Gateway! The CEB Old Testament, Apocrypha, and an updated New Testament text have just been added to our library, so you can now access this accurate and easy-to-read translation on Bible Gateway.

The CEB's defining feature is its readability: it uses clear, fresh, and plain-English words, including modern idioms and contractions, to render even the most complex sections of the Bible (like genealogies and measurements). The result is a Bible that's accessible to all English readers without sacrificing accuracy.

You can learn more about the CEB or jump right in and start reading now!

That's all the news for now. Have a blessed week and a joyful Father's Day!

Sincerely,
the Bible Gateway team


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