Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Daily Devotional Wednesday 29th June

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Looking unto Jesus."
Hebrews 12:2

It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument--it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.

"My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus' blood and righteousness:

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus' name."

Evening

"But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."
Exodus 7:12

This incident is an instructive emblem of the sure victory of the divine handiwork over all opposition. Whenever a divine principle is cast into the heart, though the devil may fashion a counterfeit, and produce swarms of opponents, as sure as ever God is in the work, it will swallow up all its foes. If God's grace takes possession of a man, the world's magicians may throw down all their rods; and every rod may be as cunning and poisonous as a serpent, but Aaron's rod will swallow up their rods. The sweet attractions of the cross will woo and win the man's heart, and he who lived only for this deceitful earth will now have an eye for the upper spheres, and a wing to mount into celestial heights. When grace has won the day the worldling seeks the world to come. The same fact is to be observed in the life of the believer. What multitudes of foes has our faith had to meet! Our old sins--the devil threw them down before us, and they turned to serpents. What hosts of them! Ah, but the cross of Jesus destroys them all. Faith in Christ makes short work of all our sins. Then the devil has launched forth another host of serpents in the form of worldly trials, temptations, unbelief; but faith in Jesus is more than a match for them, and overcomes them all. The same absorbing principle shines in the faithful service of God! With an enthusiastic love for Jesus difficulties are surmounted, sacrifices become pleasures, sufferings are honours. But if religion is thus a consuming passion in the heart, then it follows that there are many persons who profess religion but have it not; for what they have will not bear this test. Examine yourself, my reader, on this point. Aaron's rod proved its heaven-given power. Is your religion doing so? If Christ be anything he must be everything. O rest not till love and faith in Jesus be the master passions of your soul!

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Joab

[Jō'ăb] - jehovah is a good father.

  1. A descendant of Caleb the son of Hur, a Judahite (1 Chron. 2:54).
  2. Son of Seraiah, grandson of Kenaz, associated with valley craftsmen (1 Chron. 4:13, 14).
  3. An Israelite whose posterity went up from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:6; Neh. 7:11).
  4. One whose descendants went up from Babylon with Ezra ( Ezra 8:9.)
  5. The son of David's half-sister, Zeruiah. This nephew of David became the most overbearing captain in his uncle's army (1 Sam. 26:6; 2 Sam. 2; 13).

The Man Who Was Overambitious

Joab was the first person to be thought of in Joab's mind. His apparent devotion to David had one objective, namely that he himself should have first place. He loved self. He murdered those who stood in the way of pre-eminence as the leader of Israel's hosts (2 Sam. 3:27 ). Alexander Whyte says, "Had it not been for David, Joab would have climbed up into the throne of Israel. . . Even the king himself was afraid of his commander-in-chief. The sovereign took his orders meekly from his subject." In his own well-read and picturesque way, Dean Stanley describes Joab aptly as the Marlborough of the empire of Israel.

W. O. E. Osterley gives us the following summary of Joab's life and labors:

I. He was a skilled general, proven by the number of victories he gained (2 Sam. 2:12-32; 10; 11:1; 12:26-29; 20:4-22; 1 Chron. 11:6-9).

II. He was loyal to the house of David as his whole life of devoted service illustrates (2 Sam. 12:26; 14:1; 18:20; 19:5-7).

III. He was guilty of vindictiveness and ruthless cruelty. The treacherous and bloodthirsty acts of which Joab was guilty constitute a dark blot upon his character (2 Sam. 3:22-27; 18:14; 20:9, 10; 1 Kings 11:16).

The tragedy is that in spite of all his abundant energy, boldness, ability, shrewdness and common sense, he never manifested any real faith in God. The nearest he came to such a faith is to be found in 2 Samuel 10:12, where his trust was more in "Providence" than a personal resting in the God of Israel. Full of self-confidence, ambition and selfishness, Joab never got far away from his own interests.

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Today's reading: Job 11-13, Acts 9:1-21 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 11-13

Zophar

1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

2 "Are all these words to go unanswered?
Is this talker to be vindicated?
3 Will your idle talk reduce others to silence?
Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
4 You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless
and I am pure in your sight.'
5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you
6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.
Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 9:1-21

Saul's Conversion

1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

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June 28, 2011

Is the Bible Important to You?

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT).

Friend To Friend

If we really want to know God, if we really want to understand who and whose we are, the Bible must have the highest place in our lives. We don't have to be a Bible scholar or have a firm grip on the Hebrew and Greek languages to know and apply God's promises. As we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will give us understanding and teach us how to apply God's truth in our lives.

A disciple is a follower, a learner and a student. If we want to follow God and be a learner of Him and a student of His ways, then we have to understand the importance of the Bible, love the Word and spend time in it. I thought I was doing a fair job of plugging the truth of God's Word into my life until I was reading through the Old Testament and rammed right into Psalm 119. Within this passage, I discovered a test for us as believers that will help determine the importance we really place on God's Word in daily life. Take this test with me to see if God's Word has the place in your life that it should have.

  • Is God's Word more important than food?

Psalm 119:103 "Your promises are sweet to me, sweeter than honey in my mouth" (NCV). Here the Bible is described as honey and at other places in Scripture as milk or bread. The Bible is our spiritual food. God's Word sustains and strengthens us just as food sustains and strengthens our physical body. We always find a way to eat, even if we must resort to eating fast food. Do we have the same depth of commitment to our spiritual growth and health as we do to satisfying the hunger pains of our human body?

  • Is God's Word more important than money?

Psalm 119:72 "Your teachings are worth more to me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver" (NCV). Spiritual wealth is more important than human wealth. Do we really live as if that statement is true? I have a friend who is totally committed to God and to serving Him whole-heartedly. My friend is a garbage collector - a happy garbage collector. I once asked him why he was so happy in his work. "Mary, I collect garbage to pay the bills. My real passion in life is to share Jesus Christ and to serve Him with joy." Do we really live to know and share God's truths?

  • Is God's Word more important than sleep?

Psalm 119:147-148 "I wake up early in the morning and cry out. I hope in your word. I stay awake all night so I can think about your promises" (NCV). I know. Now God is getting personal. When we start talking about giving up sleep to read and study the Word of God, we are talking radical obedience. Exactly! If we want to experience God's power in our lives, we have to saturate our lives with His Word.

How did you do? I will tell you honestly that I failed this test. I have walked with God for many years and I still do not have the hunger and thirst for God's Word that I should have. If we listen carefully, I believe we can hear God say, "If you want to get to know me - really know me - if you want to be intimate with Me, then you have to know my Book." The level of stress in my life is directly correlated to the amount of time I spend or don't spend reading and applying the Word of God.

Jeremiah 2:32 "Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number" (NCV).

Jeremiah did not write these words to the unbeliever but to those of us who call ourselves "disciples" of Jesus Christ. I can hear the sorrow in His words, can't you? They vividly portray the broken heart of a Father whose children have ignored Him and abandoned His words. I know what it does to me as a parent when my children do not listen to me or when they choose a path that is in direct opposition to one I would have chosen for them. I can only imagine what it does to His heart when we go for days and even weeks or months without even picking up the Bible except as an accessory for others to see when attending church.

We live in Kansas City where Westar Power Company makes a tremendous amount of electricity available to us. With that power, we can light our homes, stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We can enjoy electrically powered appliances that turn, spin, wash, dry and clean. What difference electricity makes in our lives ... when we flip the switch. Unless we use and appropriate the power of available electricity, it is worthless to us. The same is true of the Bible. To experience the power of God's Word, we must make it important in our lives.

Let's Pray

Father, I pray that You would give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word. I want to please You with my life through obedience to your truths. I choose to spend time with You each day this week, studying the Bible. Will You please honor my commitment and empower me to keep it? When I fail, Lord, I choose now to forgive myself as You forgive me - and begin again.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Set aside one hour this week to re-evaluate your plan for reading and studying the Bible.

Set new goals for daily Bible study. Make the goals realistic for your current lifestyle. Next week, add 15 minutes to your study time each day.

Pray and ask the Father to empower this new commitment.

Remember to record new truths and insights in a journal. At the end of the week, go back over your journal entries to see what changes God has made in your life. Praise Him for the power of His Word, and when you fail, do not allow the enemy to discourage you or persuade you to give up. Simply begin again.

More From The Girlfriends

The truth is - we find a way to do the things in life that are important to us. Our soul can only be nourished and fed by the Word of the Living God. How important is God's Word in your life?

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
T. Suzanne Eller

June 28, 2011

Memory Stones
T. Suzanne Eller

"Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day." Joshua 4:9 (NIV)

I discovered an old journal in a box in my garage. As I thumbed through its pages, I found prayers I had written as a young mom. There were prayers that my children would grow up to love the Lord. Prayers when I needed guidance. Prayers written years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer and my children were in elementary school.

When I penned those words, I had no idea what the answers would look like, only that my strength was replenished when I turned to God in prayer.

When Joshua led the nation of Israel across the Jordan River, it was harvest time and the Jordan was at flood stage. As the priests stepped to the water's edge, suddenly the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away and the water flowing downstream was completely cut off. Miraculously the priests stood firm on dry ground while all of Israel passed.

God commanded that each tribe take one stone from the middle of the Jordan and take it with them. They placed the stones in a pile and later, when their children asked, "What do these stones mean?" they were told about the day God supernaturally stopped the flow of the Jordan River.

As I read the journals, I could clearly see my own memory stones. God had held me and my family close during those times. He had answered a young mom's prayers in His timing. It may not have been clear then, but now I could recount how God cared for us.

Comfort. Provision. Even miracles. The prayers were a glimpse of our history and God's hand over our family.

What memory stones will you share with your children? It might be a story of God's love shared at bedtime. Or comfort to a teen as you recount a moment when God stepped in for you in the midst of your own struggles and obstacles. Perhaps it is a memory shared with an adult child who is struggling and wonders if God cares.

Memory stones can be powerful stepping stones, leading your child straight into the arms of a Heavenly Father as you recall God's faithfulness together.

Dear Lord, sometimes I pray, but then I fail to rejoice in the answer, having moved on to the next need or next prayer. Today I thank You for every memory stone. You are a powerful and loving God. I am grateful for Your provision over me and my family, In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Suzie's blog to discover how to create a prayer journal and start collecting memory stones of your own.

The Mom I want to be: Rising above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future by T. Suzanne Eller

Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life by Sarah Young

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!

Application Steps:
• Write down one story of God's faithfulness.

• Thank God for it in your personal time. Ask for insight on the right opportunity to share it with your child.

• When you share it, don't make it a lesson, simply a praise.

Reflections:
People create scrapbooks so they can treasure memories. What would a scrapbook of my life as a believer look like? What a legacy that would be in the hands of future generations!

Power Verses:
Joshua 4:5b-6, "Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?'"

Joshua 4:7a, "Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord."

© 2011 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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