Friday, July 01, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 1st July

“The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.” Zechariah 14:9 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them."
John 17:22

Behold the superlative liberality of the Lord Jesus, for he hath given us his all. Although a tithe of his possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all thought, yet was he not content until he had given us all that he had. It would have been surprising grace if he had allowed us to eat the crumbs of his bounty beneath the table of his mercy; but he will do nothing by halves, he makes us sit with him and share the feast. Had he given us some small pension from his royal coffers, we should have had cause to love him eternally; but no, he will have his bride as rich as himself, and he will not have a glory or a grace in which she shall not share. He has not been content with less than making us joint-heirs with himself, so that we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all his estate into the coffers of the Church, and hath all things common with his redeemed. There is not one room in his house the key of which he will withhold from his people. He gives them full liberty to take all that he hath to be their own; he loves them to make free with his treasure, and appropriate as much as they can possibly carry. The boundless fulness of his all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes. Christ hath put the flagon of his love and grace to the believer's lip, and bidden him drink on forever; for could he drain it, he is welcome to do so, and as he cannot exhaust it, he is bidden to drink abundantly, for it is all his own. What truer proof of fellowship can heaven or earth afford?

"When I stand before the throne

Dressed in beauty not my own;

When I see thee as thou art,

Love thee with unsinning heart;

Then, Lord, shall I fully know--

Not till then--how much I owe."

Evening

"Ah Lord God, behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee."
Jeremiah 32:17

At the very time when the Chaldeans surrounded Jerusalem, and when the sword, famine and pestilence had desolated the land, Jeremiah was commanded by God to purchase a field, and have the deed of transfer legally sealed and witnessed. This was a strange purchase for a rational man to make. Prudence could not justify it, for it was buying with scarcely a probability that the person purchasing could ever enjoy the possession. But it was enough for Jeremiah that his God had bidden him, for well he knew that God will be justified of all his children. He reasoned thus: "Ah, Lord God! thou canst make this plot of ground of use to me; thou canst rid this land of these oppressors; thou canst make me yet sit under my vine and my fig-tree in the heritage which I have bought; for thou didst make the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for thee." This gave a majesty to the early saints, that they dared to do at God's command things which carnal reason would condemn. Whether it be a Noah who is to build a ship on dry land, an Abraham who is to offer up his only son, or a Moses who is to despise the treasures of Egypt, or a Joshua who is to besiege Jericho seven days, using no weapons but the blasts of rams' horns, they all act upon God's command, contrary to the dictates of carnal reason; and the Lord gives them a rich reward as the result of their obedient faith. Would to God we had in the religion of these modern times a more potent infusion of this heroic faith in God. If we would venture more upon the naked promise of God, we should enter a world of wonders to which as yet we are strangers. Let Jeremiah's place of confidence be ours--nothing is too hard for the God that created the heavens and the earth.

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Tobiah, Tobijah

[Tōbī'ah,Tōbī'jah] - jehovah is good.

  1. A Levite sent by Jehoshaphat to instruct the people of Judah (2 Chron. 17:8).
  2. A founder of a tribal family the descendants of which returned from exile but were unable to trace their genealogy (Ezra 2:60; Neh. 7:62).
  3. An Ammonite who with Sanballat and others ridiculed the efforts of the Jews to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:10; 4:3, 7). This enemy of Nehemiah and of the Jews was silenced by the diligence of the people.
  4. A chief man whose posterity returned from exile (Zech. 6:10, 14). He it was who obtained the gold and silver for Joshua's crown.
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Today's reading: Job 17-19, Acts 10:1-23 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 17-19

1 My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.
2 Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.

3 "Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?
4 You have closed their minds to understanding;
therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 If anyone denounces their friends for reward,
the eyes of their children will fail.

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

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

Cornelius Calls for Peter

1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"

4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.

The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."

7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa....

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June 30, 2011

The Streets of Gold

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15).

Friend To Friend

Greed and stress go hand-in-hand. If we want to eliminate stress, we must choose to put "things" in their proper place, refusing to attach importance to them. In Luke 12:15 , Jesus issues a warning, "Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much one owns" (ICB). I believe that attaching importance to "things" is sin and will always lead to more sin. The monster of greed is fed by fear. We are afraid to give it all to God. We are afraid of not having enough. We are afraid to sacrifice and not having enough resources for the future. How important are your possessions? How do you view the things you possess?

The story is told of the world's stingiest man who went shopping for a friend's gift. Everything was too expensive, except for a $50.00 vase that was on sale for $2.00 because the handle had been broken off. The stingy man bought it and had the salesman ship it so that his friend would think that he had paid the full price of $50.00 for the vase and that it had been broken in shipment. A week later, the penny-pinching man received a thank you note from his friend. "Thank you for the lovely vase," the note read. "It was so nice of you to wrap each piece separately."

One way we can guard against greed and control our wants is to view our possessions as resources loaned to us by God for us to disperse instead of treating them as earned rewards or deserved pleasures. "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others" (I Peter 4:10 NIV). Every spiritual gift, every financial resource and possession has been given to us by God as a way to serve others. Greed steps in the minute we begin to view those gifts and resources as our own while clutching them tightly in our hands and in our hearts. Fear then leads us to worry about losing what is not really ours to begin with and left unchecked, greed can lead to dishonesty. Greed and exaggerated wants can control our lives to the point that we are consumed by a fear that naturally leads to dishonesty and lies.

The reality is that who we are should never be measured in terms of what we have or do not have. Instead, our lives are measured by who and what we are ... and whose we are. The lure of material wealth is undeniably stronger than the human will or self-control and always positions itself between us and God. The result will always be stress. I sometimes think the door that shuts out many from heaven is covered with silver and gold.

I love the story of a wealthy man who prayed, asking for permission to take his earthly wealth with him when he died and went to heaven. An angel appeared to the man and said, "We heard your prayer, but I am sorry. You simply cannot take it with you." The man pleaded so passionately that the angel said, "Let me see what I can do." When the angel returned, he reported, "Good news! God has made an exception for you. You may bring one suitcase with you when it is your time to go." Delighted, the man packed his one suitcase and went on with life. Several years later, he died and appeared at the Pearly Gates where he was met by St. Peter who took one look at the suitcase and said, "I am sorry, sir, but you cannot bring that in with you." The man protested, "But I received special permission." Just then, the angel appeared and said, "Peter, it is true. He has special permission to bring one suitcase in with him." Curious, Peter said, "Do you mind showing me what is in the bag that is so important to you?" With a smile, the man replied, "Not at all" and proceeded to open the suitcase to reveal stacks of gold bricks. Peter's face said it all, "Pavement? You brought pavement with you?"

Stress thrives on greed that urges us on, in a never-ending and futile quest to accumulate "pavement" here that is totally worthless there where the streets are made of gold. Wealth is all a matter of perspective. We need to understand that our Father wants us to have wealth. We just have to be careful that we do not settle for earthly money and possessions instead of eternal treasures.

Let's Pray

Father, thank You for reminding me that what I have is temporary but that who I am is eternal. Give me a heart that loves to give instead of to receive. Help me to make decisions and choices that are generous instead of greedy. I pray that others would see You in the way I give myself away in service and that I would never count on earthly possessions for the peace and contentment only You can give.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

  • Make a list of your ten most prized possessions.
  • If you lost them all, how would your life change in light of eternity?
  • How much peace and contentment would you forfeit?
  • Set aside time today to review your list and surrender each prized possession to God.
  • Give one of those possessions away this week as a secret gift.
  • Pray for an eternal perspective of earthly "things".

More From The Girlfriends

Several years ago, we moved from a large house to a much smaller one in order to pay off some debt. As we packed, I realized that half of what we owned would not fit in the new house. We began giving away furniture, making frequent trips to various charities and the local dumpster. It is amazing how much "junk" can be accumulated over the years. Looking back, with the exception of one or two items, I can't even remember what we got rid of. It really is just "stuff." Do you want to break the hold that material things have in your life? Give them away. You will be amazed to see that you just can't out-give God.

Need peace? Get Mary's NEW E-Book Bible Study How to Find Your Missing Peace.

Need stress relief? Check out Mary's online Bible Study,Stress Management 101 beginning July 18. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons.

Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or throughemail.

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about

how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

June 30, 2011

Don't Despise the Small
Lysa TerKeurst

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." James 3:13 (NIV)

What seems small in your world? That place where your vision is grand but your reality isn't. Your influence? Your opportunity? Your business? Your ability to give? Your ministry?

Look at that small place and tell me what you see.

Now, might I be so bold as to slip a little note into your world to tell you what I see?

I see the strings of a gift that when appreciated will spill forth as wisdom and understanding you can't get any other way. I see the possibility of James 3:13 churning to break free in your life, "deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."

I see the place from which humility is birthed. That glorious rare quality that doesn't take too much credit. That knows real success is laced with upward glances, bent knees and whispered praises to the One. The only One.

He who gives.

And He who withholds. Not out of spite, not out of ignorance, not out of deafness, and certainly not out of comparisons where others are found to be more deserving.

No. He withholds out of protection. With more urgent restraint than we'll ever possess, He presses back the big to protect the workings of the small.

The small we should not despise.

The quiet nurturing taking place, the unfolding, the stir beneath where none can see.

Soon, a fork in the soul's path must be chosen. One way to haughtiness. One way to humility.

If that soul has never tasted small, it will detest the humble pallet. And crave big, only big, until it is so full of big that being big inflates and distorts and eventually bursts. All things haughty will eventually be made microscopic.

But for the soul that has tasted small, humility becomes their richest fare. The taste that fits. The thing most desired to be consumed. All things humble will eventually be made great.

Oh the beautiful gift of small.

The delight of knowing what small really is.

Small isn't a belittling of one's calling nor an indication of one's future.

It's a place. A grand unnoticed place. A place to be protected and remembered. A place that keeps all things big in good and right perspective.

Small isn't what keeps us from that grand vision.

Small is what keeps us for that grand vision.

Dear Lord, help me to embrace the small today. I want to see with Your eyes what You have planned for me today. Give me the ability to understand the beautiful gift of small. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Read part 2 of this devo, "And Don't Be Afraid of the Big," by clicking here. Don't miss your chance to win a free Bible Study Kit as well.

If you enjoy Lysa's devotions, be sure to sign up for notes of encouragement she sends out from her blog by clicking here. They are free and great for passing along to friends.

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:
But for the soul that has tasted small, humility becomes their richest fare. When have you tasted small? Record how it felt in the moment. Then record how you feel about it now. What have you learned? How have you grown?

Reflections:
What seems small in my world? That place where my vision is grand but my reality isn't. My influence? Opportunity? Business? Blog? Ministry? Small isn't a belittling of my calling nor an indication of my future.

Power Verses:
Matthew 19:26, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV)

Psalm 37:11, "But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace." (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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