Friday, June 24, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 24th June

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31NIV

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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Ephraim is a cake not turned."
Hosea 7:8

A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.

A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.

If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of thy grace, I must be consumed forever amid everlasting burnings.

Evening

"Waiting for the adoption."
Romans 8:23

Even in this world saints are God's children, but men cannot discover them to be so, except by certain moral characteristics. The adoption is not manifested, the children are not yet openly declared. Among the Romans a man might adopt a child, and keep it private for a long time: but there was a second adoption in public; when the child was brought before the constituted authorities its former garments were taken off, and the father who took it to be his child gave it raiment suitable to its new condition of life. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be." We are not yet arrayed in the apparel which befits the royal family of heaven; we are wearing in this flesh and blood just what we wore as the sons of Adam; but we know that "when he shall appear" who is the "first-born among many brethren," we shall be like him, we shall see him as he is. Cannot you imagine that a child taken from the lowest ranks of society, and adopted by a Roman senator, would say to himself, "I long for the day when I shall be publicly adopted. Then I shall leave off these plebeian garments, and be robed as becomes my senatorial rank"? Happy in what he has received, for that very reason he groans to get the fulness of what is promised him. So it is with us today. We are waiting till we shall put on our proper garments, and shall be manifested as the children of God. We are young nobles, and have not yet worn our coronets. We are young brides, and the marriage day is not yet come, and by the love our Spouse bears us, we are led to long and sigh for the bridal morning. Our very happiness makes us groan after more; our joy, like a swollen spring, longs to well up like an Iceland geyser, leaping to the skies, and it heaves and groans within our spirit for want of space and room by which to manifest itself to men.

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Othniel

[ÅŽth'nĭel] - powerful one or lion of god. A son of Kenaz, younger brother of Caleb, who, after the death of Joshua, judged Israel for forty years. He is the first to be mentioned among the "Judges" (Josh. 15:17; Judg. 1:13; 3:9, 11: 1 Chron. 4:13). The Othniel mentioned in 1 Chronicles 27:15 is probably the same person.

Little is recorded of this saviour who came from the tribe of Judah. He followed the Lord with all his heart, and, Spirit-empowered, he fought for Israel and prevailed.

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Today's reading: Esther 9-10, Acts 7:1-21 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Esther 9-10

1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king's administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 7:1-21

Stephen's Speech to the Sanhedrin

1 Then the high priest asked Stephen, "Are these charges true?"

2 To this he replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you.'

4 "So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: 'For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,' God said, 'and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.' 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs...."

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Lysa TerKeurst

June 23, 2011

Because I am Loved
Lysa TerKeurst

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5: 6-7 (NIV)

My friend, Kathrine Lee, once challenged me with this question: Are you doing this because you are loved or so that you'll be loved?

Her question is a great one.

Doing something "so that we'll be loved" is a trap many of us can get caught in. When I do something because I'm trying to get someone else to notice me, appreciate me, say something to build me up, or respect me more, my motives get skewed.

I become very "me" focused. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and the other person. And I can get stinkin' angry when I don't feel more noticed, appreciated, or respected.

I can get all twisted up and take my frustration out on myself and that person in an unfair way. I typically sabotage my own efforts and bend to discouragement and defeat.

But, doing something because I am loved is incredibly freeing.

I don't view the relationship from the vantage point of what I stand to gain. Instead, I look at what I have the opportunity to give. I am "God focused" and love directed. I keep my expectations in check. And I am able to lavish the grace I know I so desperately need. I live free from regret with clarity of heart, mind, and soul.

So, how do I know if I'm doing things because I'm loved or so that I will be loved? See how easy or hard it is to apply this Scripture:

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5: 6-10 NIV)

Because I am loved, I can humble myself.
When I'm trying to be loved, I must build myself up to look better.

Because I am loved, I can cast all my anxiety on Him.
When I'm trying to be loved, I cast all my anxiety on my performance.

Because I am loved, I can resist Satan and stand firm in my faith.
When I'm trying to be loved, I listen to Satan and stand uncertain trying to rely on my feelings.

Because I am loved, I know God will use this to make me stronger - and I want that.
When I'm trying to be loved, I don't want to be made stronger - I want life to be easier.

Indeed, I want to pursue life, relationships, and the goals I set from a healthy and free vantage point - because I am loved.

Dear Lord, I don't want my motives to get skewed today. Help me to not be so 'me' focused. I want to live each day knowing that I am loved. Living because I am loved is freeing. I long to stop trying so hard. I know You love me, Lord and that You are making me stronger. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Tired of people pleasing? Read this article on Lysa's blogtoday. She's also giving away several helpful resources as well.

If this devotion resonated with you, don't miss Lysa's book: Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl.

Also, you'll want to consider doing the 6 week Bible study using this DVD set.

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:
Isn't it interesting how much easier it is to apply scripture when we're doing it because we're loved? As you read your Bible this week filter each word, teaching, and story through this perspective. Record the difference between reading God's truths because you are loved vs. trying to be loved.

Reflections:
Doing something "so that we'll be loved" is a trap many of us can get caught in...but, doing something because I am loved is incredibly freeing.

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 13:4, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." (NIV)

John 8:12b, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk I darkness, but will have the light of life." (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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June 23, 2011

Time to Surrender

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind' (Matthew 22:37, NIV).

Friend To Friend

From the moment of birth, we are taught that successful people never give up. Yet, I have discovered the paradoxical secret that true success can only be found in complete surrender.

Dr. Billy Graham tells the story of a little child who was playing with a very valuable vase. The child put his hand into the vase but could not pull it out. His father tried to free the little boy's hand, but couldn't. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, "Son, let's try one more time. Open your hand and hold your fingers out really straight and then pull." The look of alarm on the boy's face surprised the dad until the little boy explained, "Oh no, Father. I can't hold my fingers like that. If I did, I would drop my penny."

Many of us are like that little boy - holding onto something that is keeping us from letting go and letting God have His way in our lives. It doesn't really matter what that something is. If it is keeping us from surrendering to God, it is our captor and we are its hostage.

Jesus longs for us to come to Him in total surrender. Not because He wants to win or prove His power, but because He longs to set us free. Matthew 22:37 goes straight to the heart of surrender and abandonment when it says, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'" Let's take a closer look at the meaning of this verse:

"Heart" means "thought and emotion."

"Soul" means "life or whole person."

"Mind" means "understanding."

In other words, to truly experience God, we must lay down everything. Every thought and emotion, every dream and plan, every bit of human knowledge or understanding, our past, present and future - everything - just like the woman in Luke did.

Luke tells us that a certain woman came to Jesus bringing "an alabaster jar of perfume." In Jesus' day, alabaster jars were very common and of little value. It was the substance hidden inside that was so precious. The perfume was the woman's most priceless possession. It was very expensive but very necessary in her line of work as a prostitute, working the streets, selling her body in order to live. The money given to her by the men she slept with paid for the perfume she brought to Jesus. She could have put a small amount on His feet and it would have been a great financial sacrifice. But she brought it all and she gave it all. She came to God with a "yes" in her heart and a "whatever" in her soul, totally abandoning herself and all that she had to Him. "Abandon" literally means "without restraint or hindrance, a total relinquishment." This woman came to Jesus, walking through her shame, straining against every hindrance and relinquishing her old way of life. She came, ignoring the ugly whispers and judgmental stares of those who knew her so well.

Why? I believe she was simply worn out. The emptiness and sin were eating away at her soul. She was tired of being used, unloved and unwanted. She came ready to give up everything and in a desperation that is always winsome to God. He met every need of her heart and changed the course of her life.

Today, dear friend, He is calling you to that same kind of abandonment. Are you ready to exchange your life for a life far beyond your greatest hopes and dreams? Are you desperate for Him? The Father is patiently and tenderly calling you to His arms. Come and rest in Him.

Let's Pray

God, I am so tired of trying to live without You. I come today, desperately longing for You and seeking Your presence. Right now, I surrender completely to You, giving everything I know about myself to everything I know about You. Thank You for meeting me at my point of need.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

  • List the things in your life that keep you from fully surrendering to God.
  • Confess them and choose against each one.
  • Destroy that list as a sacrifice of complete abandonment to God.
  • Choose to walk in the freedom He brings.

More From The Girlfriends

I know that plans are rampant in your life. But the only plan that really matters is the one God has for you. Don't settle for anything less.

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