Friday, July 15, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 15th July

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:10 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it."
Exodus 20:25

God's altar was to be built of unhewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it. Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange the doctrines of the cross into a system more artificial and more congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving the gospel carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all. All alterations and amendments of the Lord's own Word are defilements and pollutions. The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God; preparations for Christ are dreamed of, humblings and repentings are trusted in, good works are cried up, natural ability is much vaunted, and by all means the attempt is made to lift up human tools upon the divine altar. It were well if sinners would remember that so far from perfecting the Saviour's work, their carnal confidences only pollute and dishonour it. The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement, and not a single mark of man's chisel or hammer will be endured. There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in His dying moments declared to be finished, or to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; and accept the Lord Jesus to be the altar of thine atonement, and rest in him alone.

Many professors may take warning from this morning's text as to the doctrines which they believe. There is among Christians far too much inclination to square and reconcile the truths of revelation; this is a form of irreverence and unbelief, let us strive against it, and receive truth as we find it; rejoicing that the doctrines of the Word are unhewn stones, and so are all the more fit to build an altar for the Lord.


"As it began to dawn, came Magdalene, to see the sepulchre."
Matthew 28:1

Let us learn from Mary Magdalene how to obtain fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Notice how she sought. She sought the Saviour very early in the morning. If thou canst wait for Christ, and be patient in the hope of having fellowship with him at some distant season, thou wilt never have fellowship at all; for the heart that is fitted for communion is a hungering and a thirsting heart. She sought him also with very great boldness. Other disciples fled from the sepulchre, for they trembled and were amazed; but Mary, it is said, "stood" at the sepulchre. If you would have Christ with you, seek him boldly. Let nothing hold you back. Defy the world. Press on where others flee. She sought Christ faithfully--she stood at the sepulchre. Some find it hard to stand by a living Saviour, but she stood by a dead one. Let us seek Christ after this mode, cleaving to the very least thing that has to do with him, remaining faithful though all others should forsake him. Note further, she sought Jesus earnestly--she stood "weeping". Those tear-droppings were as spells that led the Saviour captive, and made him come forth and show himself to her. If you desire Jesus' presence, weep after it! If you cannot be happy unless he come and say to you, "Thou art my beloved," you will soon hear his voice. Lastly, she sought the Saviour only. What cared she for angels, she turned herself back from them; her search was only for her Lord. If Christ be your one and only love, if your heart has cast out all rivals, you will not long lack the comfort of his presence. Mary Magdalene sought thus because she loved much. Let us arouse ourselves to the same intensity of affection; let our heart, like Mary's, be full of Christ, and our love, like hers, will be satisfied with nothing short of himself. O Lord, reveal thyself to us this evening!


Today's reading: Psalm 10-12, Acts 19:1-20 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 10-12

1 Why, LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, "Nothing will ever shake me."
He swears, "No one will ever do me harm." the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 19:1-20

Paul in Ephesus

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"

They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."

3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"

"John's baptism," they replied....


Noah, Noe

[Nō'ah] - rest.

1. The son of Lamech of the posterity of Seth - the tenth from Adam. He died at the age of 950 years (Gen. 5:29, 30, 32; 6:8). The LXX version says that the name is a play on the statement, "This same shall give us rest."

The Man Who Built the Ark

Nothing is known of the early life of Noah, who first appeared on the scene when he was five hundred years old. Evidently his father, Lamech, was a religious man and gave his son a fitting name, meaning rest . This much we do know about Noah, he lived in a time when men were universally corrupt, so much so that God said He would destroy the human race (Gen. 6:1-7).

In the midst of an age of moral darkness, Noah was perfect in his generation. He walked with God and had a life radiant with righteousness. Intimate with God, he learned of His purpose to destroy mankind (Heb. 11:7), and was given the strange and almost impossible task of building a vessel large enough to shelter his family and a pair of all the birds and the beasts of that time.

Noah set about the tremendous work of the Ark's construction. Daily he had to endure the ridicule of the godless. At last the waters of judgment covered the earth, but all within the Ark were safe and saved. What a striking illustration the Ark affords of Christ, who preserves us from the flood of divine judgment. Here is an outline for the pastor to extend:

I. Noah walked with God in spite of surrounding iniquity (Gen. 6:8-12). There were saints in Caesar's household.

II. Noah was obedient when appointed to a difficult task (Gen. 6:14-21; 7:5).

III. Noah was remembered by God and delivered from death (Gen. 8:1). Romans 8:1 tells where we rest.

IV. Noah, by faith, worked out his salvation (Heb. 11:7). SeePhilippians 2:12.

V. Noah warned his neighbors of impending judgment. (2 Peter 2:5). See Ezekiel 33:1-20.

VI. Noah built the first recorded altar ( Gen. 8:20). See Hebrews 13:10.

VII. Noah was honored by God with an everlasting covenant (Gen. 9:12-17). See Hebrews 9:15.

2. Also the name of a daughter of Zelophehad, the grandson of Gilead (Num. 26:33).


Note: Thanks to everyone who notified us of the typos in this morning's Girlfriends in God devotional. We've fixed the errors below. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

July 14, 2011

In His Steps

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Be careful what you do, and always do what is right (Proverbs 4:26, NCV).

Friend To Friend

When Dan and I first married, I knew almost nothing about football. In fact, I would often ask, "Honey, who has the ball now?" He was so patient, answering every question without bursting into laughter. Dan's favorite team was the Dallas Cowboys and his favorite player was Emmett Smith, their star running back at the time.

During one particular game, Emmitt was playing on grass instead of the artificial turf he preferred. The grass was wet and Emmett was not playing his best game, falling down two plays out of three. Frustrated with his performance, Emmett took himself out of the game to change cleats. It didn't help. In fact, it took three cleat changes before he found the ones that gave him the best footing. He then went on to play a phenomenal game and lead his team to victory.

Obedience puts us on solid ground. God is not asking us for a season of obedience but for a lifestyle of obedience. Will Rogers once said, "Live your life in such a way, that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." InProverbs 3:6-7 (NCV) Solomon wrote, "Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success. Don't depend on your own wisdom. Respect the LORD and refuse to do wrong." Obedience is remembering and choosing God in everything we do, choosing to walk in His steps and following the path He has set for us.

We are to live like citizens of a future world, guarding each step to make sure it matches the step of God. Not out of fear but out of love. Not because man observes and keeps score, but because God watches and we want to please Him. "Obey God because you are his children. Don't slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn't know any better then." (Peter 1:14, NLT). We cannot come to Christ and continue to respond to the world in the same way. Our behavior will change along with our perspective, our standards, our motives - everything. As Paul says, we become "a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). This holy discipline sounds like an impossible and overwhelming command. It is - outside the power of God.

As I mentioned earlier, our son played football for many years. Different coaches tried to get Jered to play different positions, but they always ended up playing him as a fullback. College recruiters said he was a "throwback" explaining that Jered was built like a true fullback; he ran like a true fullback and thought like a true fullback. Consequently, he rarely fumbled the ball, explaining his success in a way I remember to this day: "Most players who carry the ball either make the mistake of trying to create their own route or end up following the wrong guy. I have blockers assigned to me on every play. Their job is to make a path for me. The minute I get the ball, I put my head down, look for my blockers, watch their feet and follow them - right across the goal line."

God has already been where He wants us to go. All we have to do is look for Him, watch His steps and follow them - right across the finish line. Discipline your steps, making sure that they match His.

Let's Pray

Father, I want to obey You. Forgive me when I let fear keep me from walking in Your steps or when I listen for the voice of others above Yours. Give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word so that I can grow up in You and become a mature believer that honors You with her life. Give me the strength and power to step out in faith.

In Jesus' name,


Now It's Your Turn

Read Psalm 86:11. "Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name" (NIV).

The psalmist prays for an "undivided heart." Examine your own heart. Is it divided? What does that mean to you and how does it impact your walk with God?

Read Romans 10:17. "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ" (NIV).

How does the Word of God impact the strength of your faith?

More From The Girlfriends

Mary's MP3 download, Stepping Out in Faith, will help you discover a new confidence in God and the power of obedience to Him. And be sure to check out Mary's new weekly Online Bible Study Stress Management 101. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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Lysa TerKeurst

July 14, 2011

Just a Little Sin?
Lysa TerKeurst

"Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him." Genesis 37:17b-18(NIV)

Today, there will be a moment. No one will snap a picture of it. It probably won't make it into the journals of those who journal. Or linger in the thoughts we carry with us to sleep tonight.

It will come.

It will go.

It will slip by seemingly unnoticed. But its affects won't slip. They'll stay. And if fostered, grow to epic proportions.

This moment where something creeps into our heart and pulls our focus from right to wrong. It will be just a hint of distortion. The smallest amount. But a slight and seemingly insignificant amount of skewed thought will take root.

And grow.

Beyond what you can even imagine.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is where Moses goes to Pharaoh and sings that song, "Oh Pharaoh, Pharaoh, woah ohhh, gotta let my people go. Huawh! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

Totally a loose translation, but you know what I'm talking about.

But here's an astounding chain of events to trace and consider. Why was the nation of Israel in captivity? Why was the entire nation of Israelites - all God's people - all twelve tribes - enslaved in Egypt?

As I trace this story backwards I find it's because of one seemingly insignificant moment.

The course of history was changed because a few family members got a little cranky and a little jealous of their brother Joseph. Envy and anger slipped in. Just a hint. But just enough.

It doesn't take much.

Joseph was thrown in a pit and eventually sold as a slave.

Years went by.

Years of heartbreak and confusion passed.

Eventually, Joseph landed in a position of great power in Egypt and had authority to provide food for his family. So, all 11 of his brothers and their families moved to Egypt. Joseph and his 11 brothers make up what became the 12 tribes of Israel. As these tribes multiplied they became the nation of Israel.

What the brothers meant for evil, God used for good. He saved the Israelites from the famine. But there were still lasting effects of the brothers' choices that came out years later.

After Joseph died, "Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 'Look,' he said to his people, 'the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.' So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. (Exodus 1:8-11)

So, the entire nation of Israel suffered oppression and slavery. Why?

Because a few brothers on an ordinary day got a little jealous and allowed anger and envy to slip in.

And the moment it slipped in, the course of history changed.

In a moment.

May we never assume our moments don't matter. The decisions we make every second of every day matter.

There are no little moments or little sins.

There is a domino affect to it all.

So, I fall hard upon soft grace. I thank God for this realization. I ask Him to make my soul even more sensitive, more aware, more in tune to my constant need for forgiveness.

Though I am weak, I walk in the strength of utter dependence.

And I refuse to beat myself up for mistakes made yesterday. Today is a new day. A new chance to set things going in a different direction.

Joseph's brothers had years to try and rescue Joseph - find out where he was - help him - set their past mistakes right.

Years. They had years. But they never did set about to turn things around.

Oh sweet sister don't let today slip by.

Moments matter.

Watch for a moment today where you are given the choice to let anger, envy or something else negative slip in. Recognize it. Refute it. And replace it with God's spirit of love.

Dear Lord, You made me. You know me. I need Your help where I am weak. Make me aware of any place where I'm off course today. Give me the desire to do what pleases You. I want to do your will. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to read about the cure for jealousy on Lysa's blog.

Lysa will be speaking in more than 40 cities this year.Click here to see her schedule. She would be honored to meet you.

If today's devotion touched your heart, consider reading Chapter 8, "But I Want What She Has" in Lysa's book,Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl.

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:
When you are facing a situation where jealousy is involved, take a step back and examine your heart. Ask God to show you what His desire is for you and use His power to help you overcome this debilitating emotion. Submit to God's control and let Him work through you.

I refuse to beat myself up for mistakes made yesterday. Today is a new day. A new chance to set things going in a different direction.

Power Verses:
James 3:16, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." (NIV) Proverbs 27:4, "Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (NIV)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


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