Friday, July 08, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 8th July

“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Brethren, pray for us."
1 Thessalonians 5:25

This one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader's memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ's army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God. Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you

"Brethren, pray for us."

Evening

"When I passed by thee, I said unto thee, Live."
Ezekiel 16:6

Saved one, consider gratefully this mandate of mercy. Note that this fiat of God is majestic. In our text, we perceive a sinner with nothing in him but sin, expecting nothing but wrath; but the eternal Lord passes by in his glory; he looks, he pauses, and he pronounces the solitary but royal word, "Live." There speaks a God. Who but he could venture thus to deal with life and dispense it with a single syllable? Again, this fiat is manifold. When he saith "Live," it includes many things. Here is judicial life. The sinner is ready to be condemned, but the mighty One saith, "Live," and he rises pardoned and absolved. It is spiritual life. We knew not Jesus--our eyes could not see Christ, our ears could not hear his voice--Jehovah said "Live," and we were quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. Moreover, it includes glory-life, which is the perfection of spiritual life. "I said unto thee, Live:" and that word rolls on through all the years of time till death comes, and in the midst of the shadows of death, the Lord's voice is still heard, "Live!" In the morning of the resurrection it is that self-same voice which is echoed by the arch-angel, "Live," and as holy spirits rise to heaven to be blest forever in the glory of their God, it is in the power of this same word, "Live." Note again, that it is an irresistible mandate. Saul of Tarsus is on the road to Damascus to arrest the saints of the living God. A voice is heard from heaven and a light is seen above the brightness of the sun, and Saul is crying out, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" This mandate is a mandate of free grace. When sinners are saved, it is only and solely because God will do it to magnify his free, unpurchased, unsought grace. Christians, see your position, debtors to grace; show your gratitude by earnest, Christlike lives, and as God has bidden you live, see to it that you live in earnest.

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Andrew

[─én'drew] - manliness. Brother of Simon Peter, and one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 4:18; 10:2).

The Man Who was the First Missionary

Because he brought his own brother to the newly found Messiah, Andrew earned the distinction of being the first missionary of the cause of Christ (John 1:41 ). Andrew belonged to Bethsaida of Galilee - was a disciple of John the Baptist - attached himself to Christ with whom he enjoyed a special friendship (Mark 13:3; John 1:35-37). He was ever prompt to help (John 6:8, 9; 12:21, 22). After Christ's ascension, Andrew preached in Jerusalem. Tradition has it that he was crucified because of his rebuke of Aegeas for obstinate adherence to idolatry. He was nailed to a cross in the form of an X, hence the name St. Andrew's Cross. Lessons to be learned from Andrew are:

I. It is only in true discipleship that rest can be found.

II. If we cannot perform more conspicuous service we can yet serve the Lord. Although Peter was the spiritual father of the Pentecost converts, Andrew was their spiritual grandfather.

III. We must discover our own gift and the gift in others and guide such into right channels of service.

IV. If we are Christ's ours will be the passion to lead others to Him.

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Today's reading: Job 34-35, Acts 15:1-21 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 34-35

1 Then Elihu said:

2 "Hear my words, you wise men;
listen to me, you men of learning.
3 For the ear tests words
as the tongue tastes food.
4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
let us learn together what is good.

5 "Job says, 'I am innocent,
but God denies me justice.
6 Although I am right,
I am considered a liar;
although I am guiltless,
his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.'
7 Is there anyone like Job,
who drinks scorn like water?
8 He keeps company with evildoers;
he associates with the wicked.
9 For he says, 'There is no profit
in trying to please God.'

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 15:1-21

The Council at Jerusalem

1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them....

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July 7, 2011

You Really Don't Have to Worry

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks (Philippians 4:6, GW).

Friend To Friend

The Comanche Indians tortured and killed their enemies by staking them to the ground. They then took a wet leather strap and placed it around the neck of their enemy. As the leather strap slowly dried in the blazing desert sun, it would gradually cut off the air supply until their enemy finally choked to death. Worry does the same thing. "Worry" literally means "to be pulled in different directions." The old English root from which we get our word "worry" means "to strangle." Worry literally strangles our peace and weakens our faith.

Worry is a control issue.

Worry is wasted energy.

Worry is consuming and unhealthy.

Worry is a joy thief.

Worry is the interest that we pay today on tomorrow's problems.

Worry is practicing atheism.

Worry makes everything seem bigger than it really is.

When we choose to trust God, we are choosing against worry. In Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah voices a powerful prayer of faith that should be our prayer as well. "You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you." It is simple. God rewards our trust with His peace.

I saw a bumper sticker that read "Worry is the darkroom in which negatives are developed." How true! I can only imagine what it does to the heart of God to see His children caught in the trap of negative attitudes when His plan is a peaceful mind-set. We will never live in freedom and power until we consistently choose against worry and deliberately choose to trust God alone.

It is possible not to worry. It must be. God never asks us to do anything that He doesn't empower us to do. The problem is that we like to play God in our lives. Playing God is the root of worry. When we take life into our own hands, worry will always be the result. The apostle Paul certainly had plenty of reasons to worry. He was in jail, facing a trial and an almost certain execution. Paul's health was failing rapidly and the churches he had spent his whole life building were struggling to survive. Yet, Paul refused to worry and lived a life marked by peace. We can, too.

Paul gives us the formula for eliminating worry and establishing peace when he writes "in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks." In this verse, "prayers" are thoughts spoken to God while "requests" are specific needs presented to God. In other words, if it is big enough to concern us, it is big enough to concern God. Then why do we get serious about prayer only as a last resort instead of making prayer our first response? We have forgotten that aside from God's power, we are helpless and lost. Peace comes while we are on our knees before Him in prayerful dependence. Paul reminds us that we are to pray about everything. Prayer should be a habit instead of a last-ditch effort.

Notice that Paul says if we want to experience peace, we must give thanks while we are praying, the perfect picture of praying in faith. To pray in faith is to believe that God not only cananswer or will answer prayer, but that He is answering even as we pray.

The story is told of a small town in west Texas that was experiencing a severe drought. One Sunday morning, a pastor in that town announced there would be a prayer meeting that night and encouraged every member to meet at the church to pray for rain. The pastor challenged them to come in faith, believing that God would hear and answer their prayer. That night, the church was filled with every leader of the church and community. The preacher stood, looked out over the crowd and said "Only one of you has come in faith." He then pointed to a little girl seated in the front row. She was holding an umbrella. Faith eliminates worry and feeds peace.

Let's Pray

Father, I come to You today with a sense of helplessness. I am desperate for You, Lord. I need Your strength and power to sustain me because everything seems to be falling apart. I want to be a woman of faith and stand strong when trouble bombards my life but I cannot do it alone. I am afraid and seem to worry about everything. Today, I turn to You and celebrate the truth that You will turn to me and be my refuge.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Look back over your life. When did God take something bad and bring good out of it? Describe that experience. Remember the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and what He did in your past ... He can do today and tomorrow. He is faithful - even when we are faithless.

Read and memorize Psalm 59:16. Choose to sing a new song of praise - no matter what happens today. Record this verse on an index card and keep it with you. When fear and doubt come, meet them with this powerful promise from God.

More From The Girlfriends

Need help dealing with worry? Get Mary's E-Book Bible Study,Getting a Grip on Fear, for practical ways to deal with fear and worry in your life. And be sure to check out Mary's new weekly Online Bible Study beginning July 18: 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 7, 2011

Self-Control
Lysa TerKeurst

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

Have you ever been in a discussion with a loved one and suddenly your blood pressure skyrockets, your nerves fray, and the worst version of you begs to come out?

Not that this ehhhhhver happens to me of course.

Ahem.

Of course it happens to me. I live with other humans. But what I'm trying to better understand is this whole concept of self-control. So many times in the Bible we are told to display self-control: Proverbs 25:28, Galatians 5:23, 1Peter 4:7, and many others.

But it's hard to display self-control when it feels like someone else does things out of our control and yanks our emotions into a bad place. So, here's one little tidbit I'm learning. When someone else's actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I have a choice. I do. It may feel like I don't have a choice. It may feel like I have to react according to my feelings, but I don't. I have a choice.

My choice is whether or not to give them the power to control my emotions.

When I react by yelling or flying off the handle or making a snappy comment back, I basically transfer my power to that other person. When I'm void of power, I'm void of self-control. So, it seems to me if I'm going to remain self-controlled, I have to keep my power.

Now, when I say "my power," I don't mean something I conjure up myself. I am referring to God's power working in me. When I react according to God's Word, I feel that power. When I react contrary to God's Word, I feel powerless.

Isaiah 55:10-11 is such a good reminder of how we can tap into God's power no matter what situation we are facing:

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. (emphasis mine)

Did you catch that? The answer to keeping God's power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting His Word get inside me. His Word seeping into my mind and my heart will accomplish things - good things - powerful things - things that help me display self-control.

So, here's my new tactic. When I'm facing a situation where someone is getting on the last good nerve I have, I'm going to start quoting God's Word in the present tense. Take 1 Peter 5:6-8 for example. Here's how I plan to use these verses if one of my sweet children starts acting NOT SO SWEET:

In this moment I'm choosing to be self-controlled and alert. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. But, I realize I have an enemy and that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of control right now. But, I am God's girl. That's right. I am. So, I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me right now. And when I do this, God will lift me and my frayed nerves up from this situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you right now. So, give me just a few minutes and then we'll calmly talk about this.

Girl, that's some power right there.

And that will make you shine with so much self-control your kids, friends, spouse and co-workers won't know what to do with you.

That statement was just taken from one little set of verses found in 1 Peter. Can you imagine what might happen if we wrote out powerful responses using God's Word on 3x5 cards and pulled them out every time we found ourselves in a situation?

I love being God's girl. Don't you?

Dear Lord, I am reminded after reading this devotion that I am Your child. You made me. You know me. And therefore, You designed my heart, mind and soul to receive and respond to the power in your Word. When I lack my own power to be self-controlled help me to turn to Your truth for good, calm responses. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
If you struggle with anger, click here to learn how to be a RESPONDER rather than a REACTOR.

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:
When you're facing a situation where someone is getting on the last good nerve you have, start quoting God's Word in the present tense. Write out powerful responses using verses on 3x5 cards and keep them with you so you can refer to them as needed.

Reflections:
The answer to keeping God's power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting His Word get inside me.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 4:7, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:8, "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." (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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A Glorious Preview

Read Exodus 34:29-35

The lights in the theater dim and a deep, mysterious voice booms ominously through the speakers. On the screen, a sequence of scenes quickly establishes the setting, introduces the main characters and teases about the plot. Of course, you're watching a preview for Hollywood's next blockbuster flick.

However, since the film's producers want you to plop down the bucks to watch the entire movie, they give you only a sketchy outline to pique your interest. So the preview suggests a lot more than it shows.

If a theatrical preview exists in the Bible, the episode about Moses' radiant face provides a great teaser. We catch a glimpse of God's glory, but the preview suggests a lot more than it actually shows. Instead of a detailed description, we only read that God's glory made Moses' face shine. Still, the effect was so powerful that it triggered fear in the Israelites, so much so that Moses had to cover his face.

God provided another preview of his glory in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ and the new covenant he established. The apostle Paul connects these two previews: "Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?" (2 Corinthians 3:7-8).

Amazingly, the full picture of God's glory still lies ahead. Even more incredibly, we're not just audience members watching a preview. God gives us a starring role! "We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Are you ready for your close-up?

To Take Away

  • Do you long for God's glory more than anything else? In what ways does your life show this to be true?
  • What qualities and actions in Jesus' life revealed God's glory? How can you obtain a greater thirst for a "close-up" of God's glory?
  • Pray that God will show you smaller evidences of his glory in your everyday life.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 17:1-8; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; Revelation 21:22-22:6

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