Saturday, July 02, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 2nd July

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”Romans 12:3 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"In summer and in winter shall it be."
Zechariah 14:8

The streams of living water which flow from Jerusalem are not dried up by the parching heats of sultry midsummer any more than they were frozen by the cold winds of blustering winter. Rejoice, O my soul, that thou art spared to testify of the faithfulness of the Lord. The seasons change and thou changest, but thy Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of his love are as deep, as broad and as full as ever. The heats of business cares and scorching trials make me need the cooling influences of the river of His grace; I may go at once and drink to the full from the inexhaustible fountain, for in summer and in winter it pours forth its flood. The upper springs are never scanty, and blessed be the name of the Lord, the nether springs cannot fail either. Elijah found Cherith dry up, but Jehovah was still the same God of providence. Job said his brethren were like deceitful brooks, but he found his God an overflowing river of consolation. The Nile is the great confidence of Egypt, but its floods are variable; our Lord is evermore the same. By turning the course of the Euphrates, Cyrus took the city of Babylon, but no power, human or infernal, can divert the current of divine grace. The tracks of ancient rivers have been found all dry and desolate, but the streams which take their rise on the mountains of divine sovereignty and infinite love shall ever be full to the brim. Generations melt away, but the course of grace is unaltered. The river of God may sing with greater truth than the brook in the poem--

"Men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever."

How happy art thou, my soul, to be led beside such still waters! never wander to other streams, lest thou hear the Lord's rebuke, "What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink of the muddy river?"

Evening

"The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day."
Genesis 3:8

My soul, now that the cool of the day has come, retire awhile and hearken to the voice of thy God. He is always ready to speak with thee when thou art prepared to hear. If there be any slowness to commune it is not on his part, but altogether on thine own, for he stands at the door and knocks, and if his people will but open he rejoices to enter. But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord's garden? May I venture to hope that it is well trimmed and watered, and is bringing forth fruit fit for him? If not, he will have much to reprove, but still I pray him to come unto me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in his wings. Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites thee earnestly, and waits for thee eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in thy matchless character! Come, O my Father, who art the Husbandman, and deal with me in thy tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and bedew my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth! O that he would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to him, and every other thought is hushed. I am only asking what he delights to give. I am sure that he will condescend to have fellowship with me, for he has given me his Holy Spirit to abide with me forever. Sweet is the cool twilight, when every star seems like the eye of heaven, and the cool wind is as the breath of celestial love. My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in lovingkindness, for thou hast opened mine ear and I am not rebellious.

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Mattaniah

[Mătta nī'ah] - gift of jehovah.

  1. A brother of Jehoiakim, made king instead of his nephew, Jehoiakim, also called Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17).
  2. A Levite, descendant of Asaph and founder of a tribal family (1 Chron. 9:15; 2 Chron. 20:14; Neh. 11:17, 22; 12:8, 25, 35).
  3. A son of Heman the singer in David's time (1 Chron. 25:4, 16).
  4. A descendant of Asaph who assisted Hezekiah in the cleansing of the Temple (2 Chron. 29:13).
  5. A descendant of Elam who had married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:26).
  6. A son of Zattu who had done the same (Ezra 10:27).
  7. One of the family of Pahath-moab who had done the same (Ezra 10:30).
  8. A son of Bani guilty of the same act (Ezra 10:37).
  9. A Levite whose descendant, Hanan, was one of Nehemiah's treasurers (Neh. 13:13).
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Today's reading: Job 20-21, Acts 10:24-48 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 20-21

Zophar

1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

2 "My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
because I am greatly disturbed.
3 I hear a rebuke that dishonors me,
and my understanding inspires me to reply.

4 "Surely you know how it has been from of old,
ever since mankind was placed on the earth,
5 that the mirth of the wicked is brief,
the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 10:24-48

24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."

27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"

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July 1, 2011

The Devil Made Me Do It

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT).

Friend To Friend

I once lived in a small, rural community where cows were familiar neighbors and lost cows a common occurrence. How do cows get lost? The cow starts nibbling on a patch of green grass. When it finishes, the cow looks ahead to the next patch of green grass and when that patch is eaten, it looks ahead to the next patch of green grass and starts nibbling on that one. The cow then nibbles on a patch of grass right next to a hole in the fence which positions the cow perfectly so it can see the green grass on the other side of the fence. The fence has a hole just big enough for the cow to fit, so on it goes to the next patch of grass. The next thing you know, the cow has nibbled itself into being lost. We often handle temptation the same way.

While Flip Wilson, a talented comedian and variety show host of the 80's, is often credited with the origination of that well known and still popular excuse "The devil made me do it," I think Eve actually beat him to the punch. Temptation really has not changed much since the Garden of Eden days. Like that juicy, red apple, temptation still entices us with delicious sin. We still engage in power struggles with God, we still flirt with the devil and when we get caught, we still try to shift the blame to someone else.

Temptation is not a test from God but rather a trap from Satan that is baited with seductive snares in every size, shape and appeal. Paul reminds us that we are not alone in our temptation. "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience." At first glance, those words are discouraging to me. You see, I need to believe that my temptations are bigger and stronger than the temptations others face because that belief gives me a little "wiggle room" to rationalize away my sin, drawing attention to the exclusivity and enormity of the temptations I face. After all, no one else could possibly understand what it is like to deal with such strong temptations. Paul says, "Get real! Your temptations are no different from the ones everyone else faces - including Jesus."

I can't tell you how much comfort it brings me to know that Jesus understands what it feels like to be tempted in the same way I am tempted. Religious hypocrites taunted Jesus, trying to lure Him into the trap of anger and pride. Jesus understood physical pain as well as the pain of loss. He wept when His friend Lazarus died, and He cried out on the cross when those nails were driven into His hands. Jesus was lonely and felt abandoned when the disciples fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane and was well acquainted with betrayal and ulterior motives. I am certain women threw themselves at Jesus. After all, He was a controversial, powerful and exciting man. Jesus was also very human. That is the point! Jesus came to earth as a frail, weak and flawed vessel just like you and me. Yet, He was able to withstand temptation and in doing so, offers us His proven strength to withstand the same temptations.

Jesus is also well acquainted with the cunning seduction of Satan who first came in the form of a snake and at a time and in such a way that neither Eve nor Adam expected. Part of the work that Adam and Eve had to do was to care for and rule over the animals. The serpent was part of their dominion so he used deception and wore a disguise. He still does.

Life would be so much easier if Satan was obvious but he isn't. He is subtle and clever as he mixes lies with truth. He never shouts - he whispers. His goal is the total destruction of your life and his opening attack is temptation. We have to remember that temptation is not sin. Eve did not sin when she began her conversation with Satan nor did she sin when she questioned God's instructions. Eve sinned when she mentally agreed with the lies of the enemy because that mental choice led to an action of disobedience.

A visitor at a fishing dock asked an old fisherman who was sitting there, "If I were to fall into this water, would I drown?" It was a strange way of asking how deep the water was, but the fisherman had a good answer. "No. Falling into the water doesn't drown anybody. It's staying under it that does." Remember ... temptation is not sin. It is an invitation to sin. Just say "no."

Let's Pray

Father, I come to You asking for the wisdom to recognize temptation when it comes and the strength to resist it. Please forgive me when I give in to temptation and sin. Father, I know You understand every temptation I will face today. I praise You that Satan is a defeated enemy and that through Your strength, I can resist every temptation he brings my way.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Read James 4:7-9. "So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud 'no' to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet 'yes' to God and He'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet" (The Message).

Which one of the following steps do you need to take in order to experience victory over temptation? Pray through this list and place a check in front of the ones you are willing to take in your life.

_____ I now surrender to the will of God.

_____ I will tell the Devil "no" when he tempts me to sin.

_____ I will choose to obey God.

_____ I will refuse to flirt with sin.

_____ I will confess the sin in my life.

_____ I will get serious about resisting temptation and dealing with sin.

More From The Girlfriends

Temptation is a certainty of life, but God has a plan that will enable us to stand firm in His power and through the power of His Word. Learn five ways to face and deal with temptation in Mary's E-Book Bible Study, Winning the War with Temptation. Be sure to check out Mary's weekly Online Bible Study Stress Management 101 that begins July 18! 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
Glynnis Whitwer

July 1, 2011

Trading Fierce Independence
Glynnis Whitwer

"Elisha said, 'Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few.'" 2 Kings 4:3 (NIV 2011)

Problems. I prefer to keep them to myself. Being fiercely independent, my instinct is to slam the cellar door shut at the first sign of high winds. In other words, no one's getting in until the storm is past. I'll let God in, no problem. But you - I keep out.

Over the years, God has challenged me on this independent approach, calling it was it is: pride.

It's not overt arrogance, but by keeping others at a distance, it implies I'm all-sufficient and don't need your help. Plus, the insecure little girl in me worries that if you see weakness in my life, you'll question my competency. As so, I've kept to myself, creating a prideful façade of control.

That didn't work very well, however. Repeatedly, God has called me to a place of greater interdependence with others. He's worked miracles in my life when I've humbly asked for prayer. He's broken down walls of distance when I've allowed people to see the real me. I've seen His hand move at the request of my godly friends.

It's now obvious to me God designed us to work together. We are pieces of the same puzzle, and life makes more sense when we are connected.

There's a story in the Old Testament that shows God's plan for interdependence. It's found in the book of 2 Kings and concerns a widow who had a big problem. She needed resources, but the coin jar was empty. Her husband died, leaving her with no means of support, and a pile of debts she couldn't pay. Creditors demanded restitution. Since there was no money, they planned to take her children as slaves.

Desperate, she sought help from Elisha, a man known to be set apart for God. Elisha asked her to do something unusual: go to all her neighbors and request empty jars ... lots of them. Then, she was to return home, take what little oil she had left and pour it into the jars.

The widow did as Elisha instructed. When she returned home, she started pouring. As each jar filled, her sons brought her another. They filled every borrowed jar with oil. Elisha then told her to sell the oil, pay the creditors and live off the rest. She did.

What I love about this story is that the quantity of the miracle oil was in direct proportion to the number of neighbors she asked for help. If she had asked five neighbors, that's how much oil she would have had. Ten neighbors meant ten jars. And so on. The more people the widow asked for help, the greater God's provision.

There's another part of the story not told by the Bible passage, but I can't help but wonder if it happened. At some point, the widow would have returned the borrowed jars. When she did, I imagine she would have told each neighbor what God had done for her, and how that neighbor played a part in the miracle. What a testimony that must have been!

God could have worked a miracle in any way, but He chose to involve each member of that little neighborhood. I imagine they were never the same after being part of something so amazing.

This story speaks clearly to me. God often plans to meet my needs through others. Yet if I keep my problems to myself, I might hinder His plan to bless my friends and broadcast His faithfulness. I'm learning to deny the lies of a prideful spirit in exchange for a humble plea for help. I'm trading my fierce independence for God's plan of community.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I've kept to myself, believing I have everything necessary to solve my problems. In doing so, I may have missed Your plan for meeting my needs through others. Help me to identify pride and submit it to You. Help me to have a humble and teachable spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
P31 Woman magazine

Visit Glynnis' blog for a discussion on pride, and a give-away of the Bible study she co-authored, "Welcome to Community."

Welcome to Community: Experiencing Life the Way God Intended by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl 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:
Do you have a problem you've been keeping to yourself? Commit to telling one trustworthy friend and ask her to pray about it.

Reflections:
Why is it hard for many women to share their problems with others?

Is there pride that has kept me from experiencing true biblical community?

Power Verses:
Psalm 10:4, "In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." (NIV 2011)

James 5:16, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (NIV 2011)

© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

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Kill the Messenger

Read Exodus 6:1-13

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three of the most dangerous occupations in the United States are those of a logger, an airline pilot and a fisherman.

Of course, a logger deals with the tremendous weight and unpredictable nature of falling trees. A pilot faces the danger of working tens of thousands of feet above the ground. And a commercial fisherman constantly runs the risk of drowning.

In the ancient world the job of messenger might have topped this list. Like most people, ancient rulers hated getting bad news. However, unlike most other people, they had the power to do something about it, and they did-by executing the person who delivered the news! When the Roman emperor Tiberius received an astrological prediction he didn't like, he hurled the messenger off a cliff.

So who can blame Moses for being reluctant to deliver the news to Pharaoh that the Israelites, his slave laborers, were hitting the road? God gave Moses an assignment no one would envy. And like most unenthusiastic recruits, Moses tried to talk his way out of the job. He pointed out that Pharaoh probably wouldn't listen to him. And Moses reminded God that public speaking wasn't his forte.

Moses didn't realize that the success of his mission didn't depend on his skills; it depended on his faithfulness. God could have sent anyone to deliver the message to Pharaoh-even one of Moses' sheep. But God picked Moses instead. And he gave Moses the strength and skills he needed to complete the assignment.

That's important to remember when it comes to the things God calls us to do. Just as it was for Moses, it's easy for us to reason and argue with God. "But God, I don't have the skills to be a leader at church." Or, "God, why don't you send someone else? No one will listen to what I have to say."

Yet what we see as our own weaknesses shouldn't stop us from carrying out our God-given assignments, because with our marching orders come God's strength and assistance. Remember, the success of our mission doesn't depend on our skills. It depends on our faithfulness.

To Take Away

  • What can you do to increase your trust in God's strength?
  • When have you stepped out in faith even though you didn't feel prepared for an assignment from God?
  • Do you feel God leading you to do something for which you feel you're not qualified? Pray about it today and ask for God's empowerment and courage in your life.

Recommended Reading: John 15:1-4; Acts 2:1-47; 1 Corinthians 15:10

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