Friday, July 22, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 22nd July

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:30 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee."
Isaiah 37:22

Reassured by the Word of the Lord, the poor trembling citizens of Zion grew bold, and shook their heads at Sennacherib's boastful threats. Strong faith enables the servants of God to look with calm contempt upon their most haughty foes. We know that our enemies are attempting impossibilities. They seek to destroy the eternal life, which cannot die while Jesus lives; to overthrow the citadel, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. They kick against the pricks to their own wounding, and rush upon the bosses of Jehovah's buckler to their own hurt.

We know their weakness. What are they but men? And what is man but a worm? They roar and swell like waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame. When the Lord ariseth, they shall fly as chaff before the wind, and be consumed as crackling thorns. Their utter powerlessness to do damage to the cause of God and his truth, may make the weakest soldiers in Zion's ranks laugh them to scorn.

Above all, we know that the Most High is with us, and when he dresses himself in arms, where are his enemies? If he cometh forth from his place, the potsherds of the earth will not long contend with their Maker. His rod of iron shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel, and their very remembrance shall perish from the earth. Away, then, all fears, the kingdom is safe in the King's hands. Let us shout for joy, for the Lord reigneth, and his foes shall be as straw for the dunghill.

"As true as God's own word is true;

Nor earth, nor hell, with all their crew,

Against us shall prevail.

A jest, and by-word, are they grown;

God is with us, we are his own,

Our victory cannot fail."

Evening

"Why go I mourning?"
Psalm 42:9

Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be nothing left but long leagues of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow, and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not. Dost thou not know that thy God loves thee in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God's love is as true to thee now as it was in thy brightest moments. No father chastens always: thy Lord hates the rod as much as thou dost; he only cares to use it for that reason which should make thee willing to receive it, namely, that it works thy lasting good. Thou shalt yet climb Jacob's ladder with the angels, and behold him who sits at the top of it--thy covenant God. Thou shalt yet, amidst the splendours of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led thee through them, and wrought thy lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Make the wilderness to blossom like the rose! Cause the desert to ring with thine exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then "forever with the Lord," thy bliss shall never wane.

"Faint not nor fear, his arms are near,

He changeth not, and thou art dear;

Only believe and thou shalt see,

That Christ is all in all to thee."

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Today's reading: Psalm 29-30, Acts 23:1-15 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 29-30

A psalm of David.

1 Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 23:1-15

1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day." 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!"

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, "How dare you insult God's high priest!"

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Hur

[Hûr] - noble or splendor.

  1. The man who, with Aaron, held up the hands of Moses, so that by the continual uplifting of the sacred staff Israel might prevail over Amalek. Jewish tradition has it that Hur was the husband of Miriam and the grandfather of Bezaleel (Exod. 17:10, 12; 24:14).
  2. A son of Caleb the son of Hezron (Exod. 31:2; 35:30; 1 Chron. 2:19, 20; 2 Chron. 1:5).
  3. The fourth of the five kings of Midian slain with Balaam (Num. 31:8; Josh. 13:21).
  4. The father of one of Solomon's purveyors in Mount Ephraim (1 Kings 4:8).
  5. The father of Caleb and eldest son of Ephratah (1 Chron. 2:50; 4:4).
  6. A son of Judah (1 Chron. 4:1).
  7. The father of Rephaiah, who was ruler of half of Jerusalem and who assisted in the repair of the walls (Neh. 3:9).
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July 21, 2011

Serving Sandpaper People

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10, NIV).

Friend To Friend

We live in a problem-filled world. However, you will be thrilled to know I have discovered the biggest problem of all - people. In my opinion, if there were fewer people, there would be fewer problems. Every day, we face the daunting challenge of getting along with people. Some make it easy, and some don't. Some are kind and encouraging, and replenishing, while others drive us to the brink of insanity and beyond.

One Sunday morning, a Sunday school teacher, in the process of teaching the Ten Commandments to her third-grade class, asked the question, "Last week we learned the commandment to honor your father and mother. Can anyone tell me if there is one that refers to brothers and sisters?" A little girl's hand immediately shot up. When the teacher called on her to give an answer, the anxious youngster quickly responded, "Yes, there is a commandment just about brothers. The one that says, 'Thou shalt not kill!'"

Let's be honest - some people are simply more difficult to get along with than others. They "rub" us the wrong way. I call them "sandpaper people." We try to change them, run from them, ignore them, and even take a stab at fixing them. But what would happen if we made the choice to serve them?

I know. The last thing I usually want to do is serve someone who is hard to get along with. In fact, shouldn't these "sandpaper people" be serving me in order to make up for all of the grief they have caused? Sounds right, doesn't it? God has a different plan - a higher plan that produces supernatural results. It is called service.

In his letter to the church in Rome the Apostle Paul defined true service when he said that we are to "be devoted to one another in brotherly love" and "honor one another" (Romans 12:10, NIV). In this verse, "devotion" indicates commitment and duty and carries the idea of a constant faithfulness that deliberately chooses repeatedly to serve. To "honor" someone means to "prefer" him or her or regard them as more important than ourselves. Honestly, most sandpaper people are used to people preferring that they disappear.

Sandpaper people are hard to serve and hard to help because they rarely, if ever, think of themselves as someone in need. The needs of others are not high on their priority list but control and power are. To manipulate is to succeed. Sandpaper people honestly believe that the world does or should revolve around them. It doesn't seem to matter if the audience is applauding or jeering. Either way, they win. Why would God ask us to serve the very people who drive us crazy - the people who are so hard to love and seem to constantly wreak emotional havoc in our lives?

Choosing to serve a difficult person demands that we lay down our pride and our rights and deliberately choose to identify and meet a need in that person's life. We then become a conduit through which His love can flow to reach and transform that hard-to-love person. When we dare to serve a sandpaper person, it rocks their world. They are accustomed to scratching and clawing their way to a false and shallow acceptance. Sandpaper people find it almost impossible to believe that anyone would ever be willing to serve them in any way. That kind of chosen love is foreign to them but it certainly grabs their attention. I wonder what our world would look like if we made the choice to love and serve the sandpaper people in our lives.

Let's Pray

Father, when I let pride take up residence in my heart, I can be so blind to the needs of others, especially those who are more difficult to love. I am so thankful that You did not feel that way toward me, one of the most difficult people of all to love. I praise You for the grace and love You have given me. Help me to be an instrument of that love and grace in the lives of those around me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Take a few minutes to think about the people in your life - family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

List two people who are easy to love and serve.

Name one way you can serve these people in the name of Jesus.

Determine how and when you can serve them. Be specific.

List two people who are difficult to love and serve.

Name one way you can serve these people in the name of Jesus.

Determine how and when you can serve them. Be specific.

Compare the two experiences.

From which one did you learn the most?

Which one forced you to rely upon God's power the most?

What one truth did you gain through these two experiences?

More From The Girlfriends

If I am not careful, I automatically gravitate to those who are easy to love and easy to serve. I have to remind myself that Jesus Christ came for broken people like me. I am not always easy to love and am prone to reject service because "I can do it myself." Sound familiar? Today, choose to love and serve those difficult people in your path. When someone loves and wants to serve you, accept that love and service in Jesus' name, as a gift from God's hand. Be blessed.

Need more help? Get Mary's book, Sandpaper People to discover 12 steps you can take to deal with the difficult people in your life. (Also available in CD and MP3 download)

Be sure to check out Mary's weekly Online Bible Study Stress Management 101 that just began. It is not too late to join. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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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Lysa TerKeurst

July 21, 2011

Why I Want to be More Leaky
Lysa TerKeurst

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater." Isaiah 55:10 (NIV)

On my back deck I have two identical flower pots. They were planted at the same time. They contain the same variety of flowers and the same soil. They both get the same amount of water, shade, and sun. They are similar in every way but they look vastly different.

One is thriving.

The other is not.

One is full of flowers cascading down its sides. It is lush, full of blooms, and an absolute delight to look at.

The other has a few flowers among the greenish brownish leaves. It is sparse with a few gangly sprigs - not exactly a gardener's delight.

So, I asked my husband the other night why he thought the two containers were turning out so differently. "Simple," he said, "one's got holes so excess water can leak out and the other doesn't."

Interesting.

The one that has the ability to leak out excess water is the one that's thriving.

The one keeping all the water in its container is the one that's not such a beautiful display.

This morning I was reading Isaiah 55:10-13 and it made me think of my flower pot situation.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.

Water is supposed to be poured out, create growth, and leak out so it can evaporate, having accomplished what it was created to do.

It was never supposed to be poured out, sit stagnate, hoarded by the container thus stunting the growth of life within.

So like God's Word.

God's Word should be poured out into our lives, creating growth, and leak out through the way we live our lives. People should notice we've spent time in God's Word. They should see our joy and peace.

We should be a little less prickly like the thorn bush and briers. We should be a little more fragrant and lovely like the juniper and myrtle.

We should leak God's Word.

Which got me thinking about how I respond to criticism and harsh emails. And I am challenged.

It's not enough for me to just respond properly when I am criticized. I should use those criticisms to remind me how much the world is desperate for encouragement.

I should be a little more leaky with positive emails or notes or thank yous to the businesses and ministries and staff members of my church who bless me week after week after week.

I'm not one to criticize. But I also shouldn't be one to stay neutral and stagnant either.

In order to be the grand display of God I should be, I need to be, more holy...or holey as this case may be.

Be a little leaky this week sweet friends. The one that leaks is the one that thrives.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the time I've been stagnate. I want Your Word to leak out of me so others see peace and joy. Use me today Lord as I seek to respond to others in a way that always pleases You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
If you enjoy Lysa's devotions, be sure to sign up for notes of encouragement she sends out from her blog by clicking here. They are free and great for passing along to friends.

Come see the downloadable Freebies on Lysa's website! Encouraging articles for lots of situations to print and share with a friend! www.LysaTerKeurst.com

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

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:
Where can you be a little more leaky this week? Are your daily responses pleasing to God? Or are there areas in your heart that may have grown complacent or despondent?

Reflections:
The one that has the ability to leak out excess water is the one that's thriving. The one keeping all the water in its container is the one that's not such a beautiful display.

Which am I right now?

Power Verses:
Psalm 42:1, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." (NIV)

Psalm 63:1, "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." (NIV)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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Jethro: The Practical Priest

Read Exodus 2:11-4:18

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God. (Exodus 18:5)

Moses married a daughter of yours?

Yes. One day my seven daughters told me some men had forced them away from the well. We have such trouble over water rights in Midian! But an Egyptian man stood up for them. I knew right away that he was the man for one of my daughters.

You were a priest. But to the same God that Moses knew?

To God as best I knew him. How can anyone know more about God than what God reveals of himself? But Moses returned one day with the flocks, saying that Yahweh had made himself known as the one true God, in a burning bush! From that day on, it was no longer a matter of "God as we best know him." It was a matter of serving either the God who makes himself known or serving the gods of our own conceiving.

Has there been a high point in your walk with God?

Moses brought the people to the same place where God had spoken to him. When I came to this mountain to visit, Moses told me all that the Lord had done. Then I knew that the Lord is greater than all other gods. Even though I am not myself an Israelite, I offered sacrifices to God here at this mountain. I knew we were in the presence of the God who wants all men to know him.

Cite an example of something Moses learned from you.

When I first arrived, the people came to Moses from morning to evening with their disputes, small and great, and he judged every case. It was more than any one man could handle, deciding all day about rights and vows and insults! I told him he must first teach the people the laws of God and then appoint men, truthful and just, to make judicial decisions. They would bring to Moses only the most difficult cases that they themselves were unable to decide. Moses saw that my advice was good. So in my own small way I taught Moses a better way to accomplish his goals.

Will you go now with Moses and his people?

No. It is back to Midian for me. To my flocks and daughters and the life I know. But I'll be accompanied by the God I know and will pray only that in his perfect wisdom he will show us more and more of his beauty.

To Take Away

  • Are you growing in your understanding of who God is? Are you growing in your love for him? In what ways does your life show this to be true?
  • What can you do to gain a deeper understanding of who God is?
  • Why should you pursue a deeper understanding of God? Why does God want you to do so?


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