Saturday, June 18, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 18th June

“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:4-5 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Help, Lord."
Psalm 12:1

The prayer itself is remarkable, for it is short, but seasonable, sententious, and suggestive. David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication--when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help; but at the same time he intended honestly to exert himself for the cause of truth, for the word "help" is inapplicable where we ourselves do nothing. There is much of directness, clearness of perception, and distinctness of utterance in this petition of two words; much more, indeed, than in the long rambling outpourings of certain professors. The Psalmist runs straight-forward to his God, with a well-considered prayer; he knows what he is seeking, and where to seek it. Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner.

The occasions for the use of this prayer are frequent. In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them. Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of "Help, Lord," to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher. Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need. Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication; in fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. "Help, Lord," will suit us living and dying, suffering or labouring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to him.

The answer to the prayer is certain, if it be sincerely offered through Jesus. The Lord's character assures us that he will not leave his people; his relationship as Father and Husband guarantee us his aid; his gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing; and his sure promise stands, "Fear not, I will help thee."

Evening

"Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it."
Numbers 21:17

Famous was the well of Beer in the wilderness, because it was the subject of a promise: "That is the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water." The people needed water, and it was promised by their gracious God. We need fresh supplies of heavenly grace, and in the covenant the Lord has pledged himself to give all we require. The well next became the cause of a song. Before the water gushed forth, cheerful faith prompted the people to sing; and as they saw the crystal fount bubbling up, the music grew yet more joyous. In like manner, we who believe the promise of God should rejoice in the prospect of divine revivals in our souls, and as we experience them our holy joy should overflow. Are we thirsting? Let us not murmur, but sing. Spiritual thirst is bitter to bear, but we need not bear it--the promise indicates a well; let us be of good heart, and look for it. Moreover, the well was the centre of prayer. "Spring up, O well." What God has engaged to give, we must enquire after, or we manifest that we have neither desire nor faith. This evening let us ask that the Scripture we have read, and our devotional exercises, may not be an empty formality, but a channel of grace to our souls. O that God the Holy Spirit would work in us with all his mighty power, filling us with all the fulness of God. Lastly, the well was the object of effort. "The nobles of the people digged it with their staves." The Lord would have us active in obtaining grace. Our staves are ill adapted for digging in the sand, but we must use them to the utmost of our ability. Prayer must not be neglected; the assembling of ourselves together must not be forsaken; ordinances must not be slighted. The Lord will give us his peace most plenteously, but not in a way of idleness. Let us, then, bestir ourselves to seek him in whom are all our fresh springs.

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Jehonathan

[Jēhŏn'a than] jehovah hath given. In the R. V. the English form of this name is given twice as Jonathan.

  1. Son of Uzziah and an official appointed by David to have charge over royal treasures (1 Chron. 27:25).
  2. A Levite sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the people (2 Chron. 17:8).
  3. A priest and head of his father's house of Shemaiah in the days of the high priest Joiakim ( Neh. 12:18). Called Jonathan in Nehemiah 12:35.
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Today's reading: Nehemiah 8-9, Acts 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Nehemiah 8-9

1 ...all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.

2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 3

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer-at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them....

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June 17, 2011

Friends That Sharpen

Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]" (Proverbs 27:17, AMP).

Friend To Friend

Whether it's over a steaming mug of dark roasted coffee, a frilly lunch served at the local sushi restaurant, or a power walk in the wee hours of the morning, my accountability partner and I meet regularly to speak into each other's lives. We trust each other. We challenge one another. I'm a better woman because she's my friend - because she speaks with honesty and courage - because she is for me - because she turns my heart toward God and His ways.

As much as I love girlfriend time - and I truly do love girlfriend time - there's a depth to this particular friendship that flows to the core of who I am. I often feel uncommonly exposed during our conversations. Vulnerable, yet safe. She gets in my grill about my priorities, marriage, mothering, ministry, and faith matters ... and I welcome it. I need it.

We all need friends. We need people in our lives that will love us where we are and help us get to a place of higher living. We need friends that will hold us accountable to God's standards - friends that sharpen us.

The Bible makes a compelling point about this type of friendship. "Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]." (Proverbs 27:17, AMP)

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible says of this principle: "We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better."

Take time to consider your friendships today. Do you have any friends who sharpen you and challenge your "worthy purpose"? Who make you wiser and better? Is there anyone in your life who asks you tough questions, shares godly truths, and confronts you when you need confronted? If so, thank God for her. Purpose to connect with her regularly, grant her permission to continue to speak into your life, and ask that she give you permission to do the same.

Are you that friend to anyone? Do you long to have deeper friendships? If you find yourself in a wide pool of shallow friendships, I'd encourage you to pray about it. Pray that God would bring meaningful friendships to your life and that He would teach you what it looks like to be a good friend.

Sharon, Mary and I delight to come along side of you each day as your Girlfriends In God - to spur you on and encourage you towards Christ, but we could never replace the real-life friendships God intends for you to have. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV)

When we have a friend that sharpens and we become a friend that sharpens, our lives are enriched. Think about what our churches, our neighborhoods, our marriages, our work places, and our lives would look like if we all had this type of friend in our lives. Helen Keller said it beautifully: "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."

Let's Pray

Dear God, Thank You for friendships. You know the people in my life and the needs of my heart. Please help me to grow as a woman in my ability to pour into the lives of my friends. Help my heart be open to godly, constructive feedback that a friend might speak to me, and give me the capacity to love my friends as You love them.

In Jesus' Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What friends came to your mind as you read this today? Consider forwarding this email to them.

Send a card, an email, a letter, or a text to a friend today ... just to bless her.

1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Are there any friends in your life that are toxic? If so, prayerfully consider how that relationship affects you, your family, and your faith. If a friend encourages you to make bad choices and to live contrary to God's Word, then it's probably time to reconsider the friendship.

More From The Girlfriends

Need help finding a trustworthy accountability friend? Pray about it first, then connect with the women's ministry director or family pastor at your church and ask if they could introduce you to some women who would be well suited and available for such a friendship.

GOT FACEBOOK? Gwen loves her Facebook friends! J Stop by Gwen's page at www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic. While you're there, leave a message on her wall - listen to a few songs - share the page with your FB friends! (She interacts with and prays for her page friends regularly!)

Every beautiful act of friendship begins with the heart. Has your heart been hurt by a friend? If you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God's beauty, order Gwen's book Broken Into Beautiful. This resource will help you experience the power of hope, healing, and restoration!

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
Lynn Cowell

June 17, 2011

Mean Girls
Lynn Cowell

"You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless." Song of Solomon 4:7b (MSG)

The words on Facebook glared back at her. "You are so ugly! You are fat, annoying and I hate you!"

Lindsay just sat there, staring at the screen, baffled."What did I say? What did I do?"

Maybe this has happened to one of your children, or in some way they've faced this same type of painful rejection. Maybe you have felt it yourself. I recently spotted a t-shirt at the mall that read "You're no one until someone talks about you." What a sad state of affairs.

Growing up in a world where "Mean Girls" and "Gossip Girl" are movie and TV titles, it comes as no surprise that "mean" defines many females today. How can we guard our hearts against this? As a mom, what can we do when our children's hearts are crushed by meanness?

Feeling unaccepted is nothing new. In Song of Solomon 1:5a, we are introduced to a young girl who felt this way: "Don't look down on me because I am dark..." (MSG). She felt rejected. Those feelings are so opposite of what we and our children want to feel. We long to be accepted.

Matthew Henry concludes about this passage in Song of Solomon that we, as represented by the young girl, are "often base and contemptible in the esteem of others, but excellent in the sight of God." [1]

We can counteract the poison of meanness by remembering who we are in God's eyes. I am excellent in the sight of God and so are you. Song of Solomon 1:5breveals the tanned girl's acceptance of this truth; she knows full well that her Lord finds her lovely. When I know that I am accepted by the Lord, it puts me exactly where I need to be to slough off insults and to help my child do the same.

When my daughter was in sixth grade, she was 5'10". One day as she got off the school bus, I noticed she was holding back a flood of tears. Once again she had been made fun of for her height.

On that day, her youth pastor wasn't there. Her teacher, counselor and small group leaders weren't there either. But her mom was. I began telling her how her Father saw her. Sharing truths like these:

• "My beloved is mine, and I am His..." (Song of Solomon 2:16a, NKJV).

• "You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless" (Song of Solomon 4:7b, MSG).

• "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord" (Psalm 45:11, NIV).

I poured these truths and others into my daughter that day and continue to remind her of them still. I put themeverywhere so that together we can read them over and over again. When we feel rejected, these words remind us that we are, in fact, accepted! I pray they will be a sweet reminder for you, and perhaps your daughter, today.

Dear Lord, help me to be purposeful in putting Your truth about who I am into my heart and mind so that am not swayed by the opinions of others. And when the time is right, I can pour Your truth into the hearts and minds of my children and friends. When my child feels rejected, help me remind them that in You they are accepted. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Do you have a young woman in your life that you want to know this truth? His Revolutionary Love by Lynn Cowell empowers young women to discover God's love in a way that builds confidence, enabling them to make wise choices.

His Revolutionary Love DVD and CD

Stop by Lynn's blog today where you can find out more about the online study she is currently doing for mom's and daughter's this summer. Also, enter to win a signed copy of His Revolutionary Love, along with herRevolutionary Love DVD that she's giving away.

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:
Create a list of verses such as the ones above and below to have on hand to review or to share with your child when they are hurting. To read Lynn's favorite list click here!

Choose one verse per week and memorize it with your child. You can speak it to them as they are eating their breakfast in the morning, when they come home from school, and before they go to bed.

If you have your own set of "mean girl" stories, share them with your children so they can know you understand and have been there too. When we're vulnerable with our children, we create an atmosphere where they feel comfortable to open up.

Reflections:
Do I have a strong understanding of how Jesus sees me? How can I pursue learning more about His heart toward me?

Are there young girls or young moms in my life who need me to come along beside them and help them see the truth in this devotion?

Power Verses:
Zechariah 2:8, "For this is what the Lord Almighty says, '...for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye...'" (NIV)

Nahum 1:7, "The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him." (NLT)

[1]http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/

© 2011 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

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