Saturday, June 25, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 25th June

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV
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Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening

Morning

"A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
Luke 11:27-28

It is fondly imagined by some that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord, because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into his very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition, but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know she did well to lay up in her heart; but she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ's disciples. All that she knew we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it: "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant." Remember the Master's words--"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." So blessedly does this Divine Revealer of secrets tell us his heart, that he keepeth back nothing which is profitable to us; his own assurance is, "If it were not so, I would have told you." Doth he not this day manifest himself unto us as he doth not unto the world? It is even so; and therefore we will not ignorantly cry out, "Blessed is the womb that bare thee," but we will intelligently bless God that, having heard the Word and kept it, we have first of all as true a communion with the Saviour as the Virgin had, and in the second place as true an acquaintance with the secrets of his heart as she can be supposed to have obtained. Happy soul to be thus privileged!

Evening

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said ... Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods."
Daniel 3:16-18

The narrative of the manly courage and marvellous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death. Let young Christians especially learn from their example, both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of uprightness in business, never to sacrifice their consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal. Be not guided by the will-o'-the-wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine authority. Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight. Do God the honour to trust him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle. See whether he will be your debtor! See if he doth not even in this life prove his word that "Godliness, with contentment, is great gain," and that they who "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them." Should it happen that, in the providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall find that if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly prosperity, he will discharge his promise in the gold of spiritual joy. Remember that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he possesseth. To wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offence, to have the favour and smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win. "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith." An ounce of heart's-ease is worth a ton of gold.

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Ahitub

[Ăhī'tub] - brother of benevolence orfather of goodness.

  1. A son of Phinehas and grandson of Eli (1 Sam. 14:3; 22:9, 11, 12, 20).
  2. A son of Amariah and father of Zadok the priest (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 6:11, 12). Perhaps the same as No. 1.
  3. A priest and ruler of the House of God in Nehemiah's time (1 Chron. 9:11; Neh. 11:11).
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Today's reading: Job 1-2, Acts 7:22-43 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 1-2

Prologue

1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

4 His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 7:22-43

22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

23 "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?'

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P31Header
Marybeth Whalen

June 24, 2011

But Will It Make Me Happy?
Marybeth Whalen

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV)

When my son Brad was about three years old, he went through a little phase of playing on my emotions when he wanted something. If I told him "no," he would reply, "But mommy, that will make me happy." Then he would give me his most adorable smile and bat his eyes at me for effect.

Boy did he know how to work me over! Some of the requests were for things like a lollipop before dinner or staying up several hours past bedtime. And while I knew those things might make him happy for a moment, they definitely weren't the best choice for him. As his mom, I knew that sticking to my "no" was the wise choice - no matter how many manipulation tactics he tried.

And yet, how many times do I act just like this before God?

I kneel before Him and present Him with a laundry list of things I think would make my life better. In reality, I don't have any better idea about what is best for me than my child does. My view of happiness is very temporary and circumstance based.

While I think I know what will make me happy, I am learning that, in truth, I have absolutely no idea. And this is where trusting God and submitting to His will is always the better choice.

How many times in your life have you wanted something so badly - yet when you got whatever it was, you realized, "Nope, this didn't do it for me either." That house you wanted to move into so badly, that person you wanted to date, that achievement you thought would bring success, that child you longed to have - they all brought you momentary happiness, but they didn't fulfill you as you had hoped or bring you the significance you longed for.

I am learning slowly that whenever I find myself begging God for something, with some whining thrown in for good measure, I have to step back and ask myself the question: But will it make me happy? I know that whatever "it" is, it doesn't have the power to bring me lasting happiness - that deep indwelling joy that only God can bring.

I may have a flash of happiness, only to lose it mere moments later. I am learning slowly to push aside these momentary longings and seek God instead. To tell Him, "Here's what I think I want. But I trust You to do what's best for me."

I have learned that a book with my name on the cover, an outfit hanging in my closet that looks great on me, an accolade for my child, a trip to the spa, or an address in the right neighborhood will not make me happy, as much as I think it might. I can't look for happiness in the things of this earth, or I will certainly live in a state of disappointment.

Instead I can spend my time seeking God, and allowing Him to bring along unexpected blessings - little bouquets of happiness along the way.

That doesn't mean I don't still look longingly at a new iPod or a sleek new laptop and think fleetingly, "Oooooh, now that would make me happy." But I am learning to pull back and refocus my perspective when I have those thoughts.

Will it make me happy? Maybe for a moment. But in the long run, only God can bring me the joy I seek. I am learning that, minute by minute, day by day.

Dear Lord, please help my perspective to be Your perspective. Help my focus to stay where it needs to be - fixed intently on You and not on the things of this world I think will make me happy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen. A novel for every woman who has looked at another woman's life and said, "I want what she has." She Makes It Look Easyreminds us of the danger of pedestals and the beauty of authentic friendship.

Marybeth's new novel, She Makes It Look Easy, is theShe Reads selected book for June. Please click here to stop by to learn more about this novel, and to leave a comment for Marybeth.

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:
Write down in your journal anything God has brought to mind that you are looking to for happiness. How can you take your eyes off these things of this world and refocus on God and His Son, Jesus Christ? Write down personal action steps you need to take and begin taking these steps today.

Reflections:
Am I being honest with myself about what truly makes me happy? Am I looking to the wrong things to make me happy? What part of this devotion is speaking to me today?

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 5:19, "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift from God." (NIV)

Isaiah 33:6, "He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure." (NIV)

Proverbs 10:2, "Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death." (NIV)

© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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

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June 24, 2011

When Love Trumps Anger

Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" James 1:19-20 (NIV).

Friend To Friend

"I'm a terrible mom!"

Do you ever say these words? I do. I did that day. The day I was working in my office, minding my own business, when my oldest son threw a paper airplane at the back of my head. Not one to normally welcome an air attack, I gave him the stern "mom voice," and asked him to stop messing around. I told him to give me some private time so I could get some work done. He agreed, and turned to leave. Surprisingly, he then jumped around and threw it at me again! Well, let me tell you, my grace-o-meter was reading pretty low at this point! I barked like an angry dog. "What in the world do you think you are doing? I just told you that I needed to be left alone so I can get some work done! Stop it!"

"But Mom, there's a message on the plane," he tenderly replied. "Read it."


As I unfolded the airplane made of orange construction paper, I saw this message written in pink marker: "Mom, I Love You." His affectionate declaration was followed by a few X's and O's. You know: hug, hug, kiss, kiss. Pure precious.

"Nice!" I said to myself. "Loser-mom strikes again." I had scolded my son and reacted out of frustration with an unkind tone. All the while, my son was trying to communicate love to me.

I felt horrible. Time seemed to stand still as I started to beat myself up.

Shame began to fill my heart, but as it did the Spirit of God within me gently nudged - reminding me that condemnation is not from Him ... that His conviction was purposed to spur me on toward choosing a godly response. So I chose love - God's love alive in me. As I chose God's better way, the grace way, His love trumped my anger. It's weightier. Praise God!

I called my son back into my office, and apologized for my behavior. I welcomed this tall, lanky teen to sit on my lap and told him that - while I'm not particularly fond of airplane attacks, especially while I'm working, I am fond of love attacks. We held each other and had a very sweet moment.

As Preston and I hugged, God reminded me of this principle: When we allow His love to trump our anger, we are able to experience restoration in relationships.

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires"(James 1:19-20 NIV).

The Bible tells us that we are to be slow to anger. It is a lesson that I am still learning. Now, that doesn't mean we should never be angry. Jesus exhibited righteous anger in the Jerusalem temple when he drove out the merchants that were buying and selling there. Righteous anger is permissible. Weshould be angry about sin and injustice. But when we respond to others in anger, it becomes our sin.

Got any relationships that are in need of restoration? Is there any anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness in your heart that might be gaining a stronghold in your life and keeping you from God's best? The benefits of allowing the love of God to trump the anger in your heart are tremendous, but the application can be very challenging. We can't overcome our natural, sinful tendencies to react, and overreact, in anger alone. We need God's help. His strength will meet us at our need when we call on Him. The Holy Spirit will help us to respond in God's strength, not our own.

Call on His strength today.

Let's Pray

Holy Father, Thank you for leading me in Your way of grace today. I need Your help! I confess my anger/bitterness/unforgiveness right now with _______________. Please forgive me. Please bring restoration to the relationships that have been affected by my anger. Help me recognize when I over-react or when I respond in anger that is ungodly. Give me the strength to respond in love - to be slow to speak and quick to listen - so that You can be glorified through my behavior.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Do you need to trade anger for love? In what relationships? How?

Spend a few moments in confession and ask God to bring a fresh awareness to your soul each time you react in anger.

Are you in a Bible study? Knowing God's Word is essential to growing in faith. Join a local Bible study today, or begin reading a book of the Bible on your own. Try reading the book of James this week. It's only five chapters.

More From The Girlfriends

Friend - I'm a very passionate person. When my kids were little, I over-reacted far too often. And although God has been working in my heart for years on this issue, I humbly confess that anger still comes much too easy to me. If you struggle with this, you are not alone. Need prayer? Let's meet on my Facebook page - www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic to PRAY for one another today.

NEED HEALING for some heart wounds? Got a friend going through a difficult time? Gwen's book, Broken Into Beautiful,takes the reader by the hand and shows her how God delights to transform lives. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for asigned copy, go to Gwen's website: www.GwenSmith.net.

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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"I'm Starving"

Read Genesis 25:27-34

This is a story that really connects with men. We can understand how Esau felt after he came in from a long day in the fields. He had been hunting, and he was tired, hot and famished. Hunger consumed him, so much so that his appetite, and his desire for immediate gratification, overruled his self-control. He had no thought for the future. He saw it, smelled it and wanted that stew--now.

We've all been there, literally and figuratively. Just before mealtime you're raiding the cupboard or the fridge. "Where's something to tide me over? Got to have something! So what if I ruin my appetite?" You want it now.

And food is just the beginning: New electronic "toys" beckon. Our vehicle's odometer turns over a certain number of miles, and we start thinking about a newer vehicle. The latest vacation spot beckons. So to get what we want, now, we unadvisedly bust the budget.

We see an alluring woman and lust sparks our desire. We take a step closer. Our appetite overrules self-control. But there's always a price to pay.

There's no doubt about it, while we're in this body we're consumed with a gnawing sense that we have this hole in our lives that needs to be filled. We long to fill that hole with any number of material things and experiences, both good and bad. But no matter how much money we make or what kinds of pursuits we chase after, that hunger for more still eats away at us.

Instead of going to God's Word for direction when tough temptations loom, or instead of using the brains he gave us, we go with our gut. Or worse, we fly on autopilot, not giving a second thought to the consequences of our actions.

Like Esau giving up his birthright for some bread and stew, we sometimes exchange true joy for a temporary thrill, a blessed future for immediate fulfillment. We carelessly toss aside our imperishable spiritual birthright for a consumable--and fleeting--fantasy.

The rewards of obedience to God's will are flushed away every day by such hasty choices. We give up our financial security or our own sexual purity for a rush that lasts only seconds. The regret, however, can last for years.

So before giving in, stop and pray. Give it some time. Then take another look at the price tag on that spiritual birthright God offers. It's marked "priceless."

To Take Away

  • What "hungers" control you or draw you away from God?
  • Do you think "living for the moment" can kill the soul? Why?
  • What are some ways you can resist temptation and hold on more tightly to your birthright?

Recommended Reading: Mark 9:43-48; Romans 8:5-16; Hebrews 12:14-29

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