Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Daily Devotional Tuesday 28th June

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Only ye shall not go very far away."
Exodus 8:28

This is a crafty word from the lip of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor bondaged Israelites must needs go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies. After the same fashion, the world loves not the non-conformity of nonconformity, or the dissidence of dissent; it would have us be more charitable and not carry matters with too severe a hand. Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even condemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of "moderation." According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. "Yes," says the world, "be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What's the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?" Multitudes of professors yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us. We must leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls his sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, "Come ye out from among them, be ye separate."

Evening

"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called."
1 Corinthians 7:20

Some persons have the foolish notion that the only way in which they can live for God is by becoming ministers, missionaries, or Bible women. Alas! how many would be shut out from any opportunity of magnifying the Most High if this were the case. Beloved, it is not office, it is earnestness; it is not position, it is grace which will enable us to glorify God. God is most surely glorified in that cobbler's stall, where the godly worker, as he plies the awl, sings of the Saviour's love, aye, glorified far more than in many a prebendal stall where official religiousness performs its scanty duties. The name of Jesus is glorified by the poor unlearned carter as he drives his horse, and blesses his God, or speaks to his fellow labourer by the roadside, as much as by the popular divine who, throughout the country, like Boanerges, is thundering out the gospel. God is glorified by our serving him in our proper vocations. Take care, dear reader, that you do not forsake the path of duty by leaving your occupation, and take care you do not dishonour your profession while in it. Think little of yourselves, but do not think too little of your callings. Every lawful trade may be sanctified by the gospel to noblest ends. Turn to the Bible, and you will find the most menial forms of labour connected either with most daring deeds of faith, or with persons whose lives have been illustrious for holiness. Therefore be not discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that he calls you to something else. Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are. Fill your present sphere to his praise, and if he needs you in another he will show it you. This evening lay aside vexatious ambition, and embrace peaceful content.

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Athaliah

The Woman Who Was a Notorious Murderess

Scripture References - 2 Kings 8:26; 11; 2 Chronicles 22; 23:13-21; 24:7

Name Meaning - Taken away of the Lord, or Jehovah has afflicted. Athaliah is also the name of two males ( 1 Chronicles 8:26, 27; Ezra 8:7).

Family Connections - She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and so was half Israelite and half Phoenician, and she personified all the evil of her ill-famed parents and transferred the poison of idolatry into Jerusalem's veins. She was the granddaughter of Omri, 6th king of Israel, "who waded through slaughter to a throne he never inherited." Athaliah married Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat. After many years of strife between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel political relations were more friendly, and as a mother of political expediency on the part of Jehoshaphat - which remains a blot upon his otherwise good memory - he gave his eldest son, Jehoram, in marriage to Athaliah whose brothers, loyal to the worship of Jehovah were murdered by Jehoram. Of this union Ahaziah was born who, with such a revolting figure as a mother, licentious and the personification of despicable arrogance, never had a chance to develop finer qualities of character. With such a mother as his wicked counselor what else could he do but walk in the ways of godless Ahab (2 Chronicles 22:3).

After reigning for eight years Jehoram died, unmourned, of a predicted incurable disease. While he reigned, he was dominated by Athaliah who had the stronger character of the two, and who, having inherited from her evil mother strength of will and fanatical devtion to the worship of Baal, made Judah idolatrous. Ahaziah only reigned for a year. Wounded in battle by Jehu, he fled to Megiddo, where he died, and his wicked mother (2 Chronicles 24:7 ) became envious of the throne. But the sons of Ahaziah stood in her way, and with fanatical ambition she seized the opportunity and massacred all the legal heirs - so she thought. This wholesale, merciless, cruel-hearted murderess sought to exterminate the last vestiges of the House of David through which the promised Messiah was to come. Behind her dastardly crime to destroy "The Seed Royal" we can detect the evil machinations of the devil - a murderer from the beginning - to annihilate the promised seed of the woman predestined to bruise the satanic head. A bad woman bent on destruction is doubly dangerous.

After putting to death her young grandsons, Athaliah reigned for six years, and was the only woman to reign as queen of Judah. The daughter of a king, wife of a king, mother of a king, she is now queen. While her husband reigned she was the powerbehind the throne - now she is the power on the throne, and proof of her energy, forcefulness and ability are seen in the length of her reign. A despotic ruler, her every gesture had to be obeyed. During her reign part of the Temple of Jehovah was pulled down and the material used in the building of a temple of Baal. But the God who over-rules in the destinies of men and nations, intervened to redeem His promise of a Saviour from the tribe of Judah.

Unknown to Athaliah as she set out to massacre all her grandsons, the youngest was hid from the orgy of destruction. The sister of Ahaziah, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the high priest hid Joash until he was seven years old ( 2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11). Jehoiada had plotted to put Joash (Jehoash) on the throne and waited for the opportune moment to declare the remaining son of Ahaziah the lawful king of Judah. Athaliah came into the Temple as the coronation of Joash took place, and rending her robe, cried: "Treason!" To save the Temple from being defiled with her evil blood she was slain just outside the door where the avenging guards waited to end her infamous life. Thus, as Edith Deen expresses it,

The horses trampled over her body where she lay dead at the gates. In her miserable end Athaliah bore a singular resemblance to her mother Jezebel, who was abandoned to the dogs. Athaliah was left in a horse-path, to be trampled upon. Like her mother she died a queen, but without a hand to help her or an eye to pity her.

Among the lessons one can gather from the record of the murderess is that we reap what we sow. To Athaliah life was cheap, and thus those who thwarted her purpose must be destroyed. But taking the sword, she perished by it. She breathed out murder, and was in turn murdered. A further lesson we learn from her stained history is that no one can thwart God's purposes of grace. Having promised a sinful world a Saviour, none could make such a promise null and void. Persecution and martyrdom have never been able to destroy the loyal worship of the true God. Idolatry and infidelity cannot possibly annihilate the imperishable Word of God. As we leave the shameful story of Athaliah we find ourselves in full agreement with the summary of her bloody career as given by Dr. Robert G. Lee -

Her very name is an execration. She put the whole nation under the shadow of a great horror. She trampled on all faith. She violated all obligation. She lived with the shrieks of those she butchered in her ears. She lived with her hands red with the blood of princes and princesses. She died, frantic with rage, with the accusation of Treason on her lips. She died in the barnyard under the battleaxes of an aroused people.

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Tychicus

[Tĭch'ĭcŭs] - fortunate or fortuitous. A Christian in Asia Minor, who traveled in advance of Paul as well as with him at times (Acts 20:4). Paul sent him to Ephesus where he delivered, and likely read, the circular letter, the Epistle to the Ephesians, to the Church there (Eph. 6:21). Then he went to Colosse and did the same with Colossians (Col. 4:7 ). He also had a mission to fulfill in Crete (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). Paul speaks of him in affectionate terms - "A brother beloved and faithful minister in the Lord," and able to "comfort your hearts."
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Today's reading: Job 8-10, Acts 8:26-40 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 8-10

Bildad

1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

2 "How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.
3 Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
5 But if you will seek God earnestly
and plead with the Almighty,
6 if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your prosperous state.
7 Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be.

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 8:26-40

Philip and the Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road-the desert road-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means "queen of the Ethiopians"). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it...."

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June 27, 2011

Stepping Up and Stepping Out

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV).

Friend To Friend

God always has important kingdom work for us to do. Paul tells us: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). We were not meant to be mere stagehands or decorative props, but leading ladies working together alongside our brothers and sisters to impact the world for Christ.

Every little girl needs to grow up knowing that she is valued, that she is made in the image of God. Every little girl needs to grow expectantly waiting for her God-given potential to be released. The women in the New Testament gave us a taste - a glimpse.

Mary Magdalene is just one example. She did not lobby for a position of leadership. She did not argue for women's rights. She was content with the lowest place on Jesus' ministry team, doing whatever needed doing and giving financial support out of her own means. But Jesus had a different calling for Mary Magdalene - one she certainly did not choose or aspire to. He called her center stage and gave her a leading role to announce the most important news in human history. She was an apostle to the apostles, commissioned by Jesus himself.

In the Gospels, we see Jesus pause in the middle of his busy day for the bleeding woman, stop his teaching to lift the chin of the bent and bowed, walk miles to deliver one small child, and wait patiently in the hot noon sun for the broken Samaritan to arrive. What kind of God does that? A God who loves his daughters.

And how did the women respond to Jesus calling them center stage?

Mary of Nazareth stepped up to accept her calling.

Mary Magdalene signed up to join Jesus' ministry team.

The woman with the chronic bleeding spoke up to tell of her miraculous healing.

The woman caught in adultery cleaned up to start anew.

The empty woman at the well filled up to evangelize an entire town.

The Syrophoenician mother was shored up for bold believing.

Mary of Bethany showed up in the classroom.

The woman with the alabaster jar opened up her heart to worship.

Martha was steamed up in the kitchen, but then moved up to the head of the class.

The woman with the crippled back walked up to receive her healing.

The widow gave it all up as an example of sacrificial giving.

These leading ladies' stories show us that in God's family, girls are important too. They are strong women of faith who were bolstered by Jesus to come out of the shadows and take their place among the world changers of their day.

After Jesus' ascension, both men and women waited in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit descended with a gusty wind and tongues of fire, Peter stood and explained to curious onlookers what was taking place.

"This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel," he began.

In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Sprit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

Your young men will see visions,

You old men will dream dreams.

Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

Peter explained to the people what Jesus had been showing them all along. God's grace, love, and power are extended to all people regardless of rank or race, gender or generation: sons and daughters, young and old, men and women. Paul would later pen: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

If God calls you center stage to accomplish His purpose for this generation, I pray that you will accept the role of a lifetime. And who knows, perhaps you are reading this devotion and being challenged to fulfill God's purposes in your lifetime, "for such a time as this."

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I'm ready to do whatever You tell me to do. Thank You for my New Testament sisters who were brave enough to step out of the shadows during a time when women were rarely seen or heard. Thank You for Jesus who called them forward and sent them out. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

In today's devotion, I mentioned several women of the New Testament. Pick two of them. Use a concordance and look up where their stories appear in the gospels. Read their stories and ponder their bravery.

Is there something God has been nudging you to do, but you've been putting it off? Let's pray for one another. Log ontowww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and let your sisters know how they can pray for you to heed God's call.

More From The Girlfriends

Do you ever read the end of a book first? Well today, I've given you a glimpse of the conclusion to What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance Through the Women Jesus Encountered. But my heart's desire is that you sit with the woman at the well, stand by the woman reaching for Jesus' robe, and kneel with the woman anointing His feet. This book promises to have their stories come to life. It impact how you see Jesus, and you'll fall in-love with Him all over again.

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 27, 2011

Where Did the Time Go?
Lynn Cowell

"May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace." Psalm 144:12 (NLT)

I remember like it was yesterday...the dark-haired little princess dancing on top of the coffee table, star-studded sunglasses gracing her face, singing as though she was a rock star.

Where did the time go? Now, she's a beautiful young lady in the making, grinning at me from the dressing room. Her smile still says, Look at me, Mommy, don't I look pretty?

And she does, in so many ways. Her beauty is more than just physical. I see a tender heart, and it makes me long for her to learn who she is in God's eyes. There is nothing more that I want than for her to become who the Lord made her to be.

Vicki Courtney says, "Girls who are 'sugar and spice and everything nice' are made, not born." This is so true.

Today's key verse says the same thing a bit differently. It reminds me that pillars are not found in nature. Pillars are not born. Pillars are formed. Carefully, an artesian chisels away at the stone little by little, creating a masterpiece.

You can be the artesian in the life of your daughter, with the Master Artesian as your teacher. You can be the one the Lord has appointed to take the rough piece of stone and carve it into the graceful pillar, fit for a palace.

But it will take time, prayer, grace and patience.

Our girls are under so much pressure to be this and do that; striving to please the ever-changing culture. Caught between their daytime world of school and their evening world of family, the push and pull can often bring confusion.

What our girls long for is to be known. To feel like they matter. To believe someone sees them as valuable and significant. Maybe that is why God created mothers - to be the conduit for the power of His truth to our children.

It is our place to teach our daughters exactly how He sees them. We can be the voice that says, "...out of all creation, [you] became his prized possession." James 1:18 (NLT) When looking in the mirror picking themselves apart, may they be reminded of God's promises and prayers we have spoken over them.

Dear Lord, this task seems too big for me. Raising a daughter that knows and trusts You is contrary to our culture. I want my daughter to find her fulfillment in You. Show me opportunities today where I can lovingly speak Truth into her life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you have a young woman in your life who needs to know God's perspective of her? 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 are a great resources to share with your daughter, small group or Sunday school.

Stop by Lynn's blog today where she is sharing specific ways that you can be used by God to be an artesian your girl's life. She is also giving away a copy of her DVD Revolutionary Love.

Application Steps:
Learn who you are in Christ. Study scriptures that teach these truths. Lynn shares some of her favorites here.

Ask the Lord to show you a young woman whose life you can make a difference in. Consider giving her a copy of His Revolutionary Love. Invite her to lunch and share your story of finding Jesus' love.

Plan a "Revolutionary Love" conference at your church or community group. Or start a Radical Revolution group for teen girls. Lynn offers a free leadership guide on her website as well as one-on-one advice as you get started!

Reflections:
How would my life be different if I'd known, and believed, the unconditional love of God as a teen?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 43:1-4, "...Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end - Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you." (The Message)

© 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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