Friday, July 29, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 29th July

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:14 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before thee."
Psalm 73:22

Remember this is the confession of the man after God's own heart; and in telling us his inner life, he writes, "So foolish was I, and ignorant." The word "foolish," here, means more than it signifies in ordinary language. David, in a former verse of the Psalm, writes, "I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked," which shows that the folly he intended had sin in it. He puts himself down as being thus "foolish," and adds a word which is to give intensity to it; "so foolish was I." How foolish he could not tell. It was a sinful folly, a folly which was not to be excused by frailty, but to be condemned because of its perverseness and wilful ignorance, for he had been envious of the present prosperity of the ungodly, forgetful of the dreadful end awaiting all such. And are we better than David that we should call ourselves wise! Do we profess that we have attained perfection, or to have been so chastened that the rod has taken all our wilfulness out of us? Ah, this were pride indeed! If David was foolish, how foolish should we be in our own esteem if we could but see ourselves! Look back, believer: think of your doubting God when he has been so faithful to you--think of your foolish outcry of "Not so, my Father," when he crossed his hands in affliction to give you the larger blessing; think of the many times when you have read his providences in the dark, misinterpreted his dispensations, and groaned out, "All these things are against me," when they are all working together for your good! Think how often you have chosen sin because of its pleasure, when indeed, that pleasure was a root of bitterness to you! Surely if we know our own heart we must plead guilty to the indictment of a sinful folly; and conscious of this "foolishness," we must make David's consequent resolve our own--"Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel."

Evening

"Who went about doing good."
Acts 10:38

Few words, but yet an exquisite miniature of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are not many touches, but they are the strokes of a master's pencil. Of the Saviour and only of the Saviour is it true in the fullest, broadest, and most unqualified sense. "He went about doing good." From this description it is evident that he did good personally. The evangelists constantly tell us that he touched the leper with his own finger, that he anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where he was asked to speak the word only at a distance, he did not usually comply, but went himself to the sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves. Give alms with your own hand; a kind look, or word, will enhance the value of the gift. Speak to a friend about his soul; your loving appeal will have more influence than a whole library of tracts. Our Lord's mode of doing good sets forth his incessant activity! He did not only the good which came close to hand, but he "went about" on his errands of mercy. Throughout the whole land of Judea there was scarcely a village or a hamlet which was not gladdened by the sight of him. How this reproves the creeping, loitering manner, in which many professors serve the Lord. Let us gird up the loins of our mind, and be not weary in well doing. Does not the text imply that Jesus Christ went out of his way to do good? "He went about doing good." He was never deterred by danger or difficulty. He sought out the objects of his gracious intentions. So must we. If old plans will not answer, we must try new ones, for fresh experiments sometimes achieve more than regular methods. Christ's perseverance, and the unity of his purpose, are also hinted at, and the practical application of the subject may be summed up in the words, "He hath left us an example that we should follow in his steps."

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Today's reading: Psalm 46-48, Acts 28 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 46-48

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 28

Paul Ashore on Malta

1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god....

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Gad

[Găd] - good fortune, a troop or a seer.

1. The seventh son of Jacob, first-born of Zilpah, Leah's maid, and full brother of Asher. A tribe also sprang from Gad (Gen. 30:11; 35:26; 46:16; 49:19; Exod. 1:4; 1 Chron. 5:11; 12:14).

The Man of Enlargement

No name in all the twelve tribes of Israel is so much played upon in Jacob's blessing as the name of Gad, meaning "a troop." Invaders and robbers might try to plunder Gad but victory would be his with resultant enlargement. Jacob predicted for the tribe of Gad a time of sore conflict, yet of final conquest. "He shall overcome at last." God enabled Gad to discomfit and defeat his foes (1 Chron. 5:18-22).

The men of Gad had faces like "the faces of lions," and when David needed help, the Gadites of lion-like character befriended the fugitive king. "They put to flight all them of the valleys, both of the east and of the west." These Gadite helpers of David "executed the justice of the Lord, and His judgments with Israel." Jephthah the Gileadite, of the tribe of Gad, judged Israel six years after delivering the nation from Ammonite oppression.

How fortunate Gad was to have God to enlarge him! "The place where we dwell... is too strait for us." Such an energetic, aggressive tribe could not remain static, so their inheritance was extended beyond its original limits until it covered the whole of Gilead. How loathe we are to possess our spiritual possessions! May ours be the enlargements of heart David prayed for (Ps. 119:32)! May ours also be the constant victorious Christian experience!

2. The prophet who joined David when in "the hold," and through whose advice he left it for the forest of Hareth ( 1 Sam. 22:5; 2 Sam. 24:11-19; 1 Chron. 21:9-19; 2 Chron. 29:25). Gad, "the king's seer," announced God's judgment upon David for numbering the people. "The arm of flesh will fail us, we dare not trust our own." Gad the prophet advised the erection of the altar, and is also before us as an associate of the prophet Nathan.

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What God Has Joined Together

Read Deuteronomy 24:1-5

Most of us would agree that divorce is not a laughing matter. But that doesn't stop people from joking about it, like one comedian who said, "My ex-wife is a great housekeeper--when we got divorced, she kept the house." Legal terms like "no fault" and "uncontested" fuel the idea that divorce is an easy, acceptable alternative to marriage. Instead of treating divorce seriously, people begin to view it as just another option to be considered in the context of modern relationships.

Some people even look to the Bible to justify divorce. They search Scripture to find "loopholes" in God's rules for marriage. But we're missing the point when we hunt for God's permission to divorce.

For a deeper understanding of God's true perspective on marriage, we need to look at the provisions he extends to newlyweds in Deuteronomy 24:5. God excuses the recently married man from many responsibilities--including military service--for a full year so that he can give his full attention to his wife.

Think about that. God's gift to newlyweds was a whole year to work on building a solid foundation in their marriage. One year for the husband to learn to meet his wife's needs. One year to hone their communication skills. One year to prepare for life's journey together.

God clearly supports the institution of marriage. Throughout Scripture he offers invaluable help to husbands and wives who commit themselves to each other for life.

If you're married, think about this: What if you'd been given a year after your wedding to focus only on your wife? How would your relationship be different today? It's not too late to find out. Maybe you don't have an entire year, but you can start with a day at a time. Clear your schedule so that you can give your wife your undivided attention. If you have commitments that take you away from home on the evenings and weekends, consider dropping one or two of them to focus on your relationship. Listen to her concerns. Commit yourself to meeting her needs. Look for ways to bring her happiness. With God's help, you can turn your marriage into a love story for the ages.

To Take Away

  • What would you say to a friend who is contemplating divorce?
  • What's the biggest challenge in your marriage right now?
  • What specific steps can you take this week in order to deepen your relationship with your wife?
Recommended Reading: Ephesians 5:22-33; Hebrews 13:4


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July 28, 2011

In His Eyes

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:14-15, NIV).

Friend To Friend

It was my first day of teaching second grade. While standing at the classroom door, greeting parents and children, I felt a tug on my skirt. I looked down into the beautiful blue eyes of Sammy, one of my new students. His mother, who was standing beside Sammy, looked at me and said, "I guess you've heard about Sammy. Good luck!" As she walked away, Sammy said, "She's right. I'm dumb and mean and can't read or write."

Lisa was a tall, blonde and beautiful young woman with zero self-confidence. Lisa was the family joke because she was always dropping things or falling on the stairs. "Klutz" became her nickname at home and quickly caught on in the youth group and church where her father was the pastor.

A young wife and mother sobbed out her confession that she had just ended an affair, "He made me feel important and special." A talented singer and pianist, she vowed to never again sing or play because she was damaged goods.

I often hear and see the same prison described by women living in the grip of failure and defeat for one reason or another. I want to share some good news with you. God can set you free to be all He created you to be. A healthy self-image is not rooted in pride and it does not exalt self above others. InRomans 12:3 , Paul clearly says, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Be realistic in your opinion of yourself. Success comes when we learn to accept God's evaluation instead of our own, when we give Him permission to make us what He created to be and when we begin to understand who we are in His eyes. How? Let's look at six steps we can take to understand who we are in the eyes of God.

Step one: Check the label.

I love a good sale, don't you? In fact, I am tempted to think that a 75% off tag may very well be a sign from God. However, I have learned that you can save money in the long run if you check the label. Let me explain. We needed a new sofa. It had to be a certain color and style and cost a certain amount. I headed for the nearest furniture outlet, where I narrowed my selection down to two sofas. Both were on sale and both would work in our home. I saw the salesman coming. Before he could say a word, I asked, "Which one of these sofas would you tell your wife to buy?" The man immediately pointed to one of the sofas and said, "Definitely that one." When I asked why he had chosen that particular sofa, he replied, "Check the label. The one I chose was made by a company known for its quality work. The other sofa is a cheap imitation."

We can judge a product's potential and value by looking at the one who created it. You are valuable simply because you were created by the hand of God. His design of you and His plan for your life is second to none. To cower or crawl in inferiority is to say to God, "You made a mistake when you made me." God doesn't make mistakes, girlfriend. He never has to say "Oops!" You were created in His likeness. You are valuable to God. God knows your name and loves you. You are His masterpiece and have been validated by God Himself.

Step two: Embrace the plan.

While painting in the city park, an artist spotted a beggar sitting across the path from where he was working. Thinking of God's handiwork in every human being, the artist painted the man as he imagined he could be and then called the beggar to see the painting. "Is that me?' the beggar asked. "That is the way I see you," replied the artist. The beggar stared at the painting. With tears in his eyes he said, "If that's the man you see in me, then that's the man I will be!" God created you in response to a unique plan He has for your life. As you read the Bible and obey His truth, that plan will unfold.

Tomorrow, we will look at four more steps we can take to understand who we are in Christ as we learn to recognize our value in His eyes. Don't miss it!

Let's Pray

Father, thank You for life and the special plan You have for me. Honestly, it is hard for me to understand and really believe that I am special to You. To think that You know me and love me just as I am really rocks my world, but I do want to see myself through Your eyes - no more and no less. Please help me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Read the verses of Scripture and answer the questions listed below.

Ephesians 2:10. How does this verse of Scripture emphasize the fact that you and I were created in response to God's plan, not as an afterthought or as an accident?

Psalm 8:3-5. How do these verses line up with the way you see yourself right now? What one immediate change do you need to make in order to see yourself the way God sees you?

Jeremiah 29:11. Are you living a life plan that gives you hope and a future? Is it the right plan?

More From The Girlfriends

I have struggled with my identity and value for a big part of my life. Fear of failure once kept me from dreaming new dreams. No more! My dreams seem to get bigger with every year of life that passes and I really believe it is because my new perspective of who I am is more accurate than it has ever been. I am a daughter of the King. I belong to God and He loves me. No one can take my place in the Father's heart and I am indispensable to no one but Him. That is my prayer for you, girlfriend, that you will know and live out the truth that in God's eyes, you are special.

Need more help? Get Mary's MP3 download: In His Eyes. Be sure to check out Mary's 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.

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
Lysa TerKeurst

July 28, 2011

This is What I Wish
Lysa TerKeurst

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."Luke 12:34 (NIV)

For my daughters, for your daughters. For my sons, for your sons.

This is what I wish.

You are young with eyes that spark and speak of innocence. Don't trade. Don't trade the pure peace that greets you each morning for a taste of something meant for later. Later, when a person handpicked by God will want nothing more than to protect you. They won't wantfrom you. They will want for you.

For you.

This is what I wish.

When I was young with eyes that sparked and spoke of innocence, I found myself lured by the pull of a want. A want that welled up from deep within the heart of a girl desperate. For love. For kind words. For that feeling of being wanted, noticed, and told she's pretty.

I tucked my peace in my pocket feeling so certain it would stay even if I stuck my toes in the current of my want.

I waded out into forbidden waters. Ankle deep the rush felt thrilling. Knee deep I felt old enough, strong enough and a bit annoyed that people I respected didn't trust me. I knew what I was doing. This didn't feel dangerous so I reasoned it wasn't dangerous.

But it was.

I was wrong.

This is what I wish.

That I had listened.

Listened to voices of truth to turn back, run back, get myself out of the current. Resist the pull. Refuse the lie that feelings are to be followed. Feelings are to be brought up on the solid ground of truth. Truth that doesn't shift. Truth that doesn't betray.

But I kept walking out further and further. Deeper and deeper. And into a current so strong I didn't realize how far I'd gone. Until it was too late. Waves of regret, anxiety, and fear swept over me. The one that told me I was pretty was gone.

And so was something else. I shoved my hand into my pocket now empty. I'd been so sure peace would stay. I was wrong. It had slipped away.

Oh if only I'd known even at that point to turn, run back to the truth, get back to solid ground. I would have seen peace had washed up there. When peace slips it always finds its way back to stand hand in hand with truth. Just like I eventually did. But to have never walked away and dipped my toes where they shouldn't have gone would have prevented years of heartbreak and ocean of tears.

Make that choice now. No matter where you are.

This is what I wish.

Dear Lord, help me to run to the truth and get back to solid ground. I desperately want each of my daily choices to lead back to You. Only You. Here and now. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
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 you struggle with having self-control with your food choices, don't miss Lysa's new book: Made to Crave.

Also, you'll want to consider doing the 6 week Bible study using this DVD set: Made to Crave DVD by Lysa TerKeurst

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:
What do you wish for young people today? What is that one thing you wish you could tell them? Now what can you do this week to reach out to someone who needs to know? Who will that be?

Reflections:
Feelings are to be brought up on the solid ground of truth. Truth that doesn't shift. Truth that doesn't betray.

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)

Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (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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