Saturday, July 30, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 30th July

“I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.” Psalm 119:93 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Nevertheless I am continually with thee."
Psalm 73:23

"Nevertheless,"--As if, notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance which David had just been confessing to God, not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God's presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate, and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature, yet, by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings "nevertheless I am continually with thee." Believer, you are forced to enter into Asaph's confession and acknowledgment, endeavour in like spirit to say "nevertheless, since I belong to Christ I am continually with God!" By this is meant continually upon his mind, he is always thinking of me for my good. Continually before his eye;--the eye of the Lord never sleepeth, but is perpetually watching over my welfare. Continually in his hand, so that none shall be able to pluck me thence. Continually on his heart, worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart forever. Thou always thinkest of me, O God. The bowels of thy love continually yearn towards me. Thou art always making providence work for my good. Thou hast set me as a signet upon thine arm; thy love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it; neither can the floods drown it. Surprising grace! Thou seest me in Christ, and though in myself abhorred, thou beholdest me as wearing Christ's garments, and washed in his blood, and thus I stand accepted in thy presence. I am thus continually in thy favour--"continually with thee." Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul; vexed with the tempest within--look at the calm without. "Nevertheless"--O say it in thy heart, and take the peace it gives. "Nevertheless I am continually with thee."

Evening

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me."
John 6:37

This declaration involves the doctrine of election: there are some whom the Father gave to Christ. It involves the doctrine of effectual calling: these who are given must and shall come; however stoutly they may set themselves against it, yet they shall be brought out of darkness into God's marvellous light. It teaches us the indispensable necessity of faith; for even those who are given to Christ are not saved except they come to Jesus. Even they must come, for there is no other way to heaven but by the door, Christ Jesus. All that the Father gives to our Redeemer must come to him, therefore none can come to heaven except they come to Christ.

Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words "shall come." He does not say they have power to come, nor they may come if they will, but they "shall come." The Lord Jesus doth by his messengers, his word, and his Spirit, sweetly and graciously compel men to come in that they may eat of his marriage supper; and this he does, not by any violation of the free agency of man, but by the power of his grace. I may exercise power over another man's will, and yet that other man's will may be perfectly free, because the constraint is exercised in a manner accordant with the laws of the human mind. Jehovah Jesus knows how, by irresistible arguments addressed to the understanding, by mighty reasons appealing to the affections, and by the mysterious influence of his Holy Spirit operating upon all the powers and passions of the soul, so to subdue the whole man, that whereas he was once rebellious, he yields cheerfully to his government, subdued by sovereign love. But how shall those be known whom God hath chosen? By this result: that they do willingly and joyfully accept Christ, and come to him with simple and unfeigned faith, resting upon him as all their salvation and all their desire. Reader, have you thus come to Jesus?

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Today's reading: Psalm 49-50, Romans 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 49-50

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle:

5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me--
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 1

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-- 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ....

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Esau

[Ē'sôu] - hairy. The eldest son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob by Rebekah. His name is associated with his appearance at birth (Gen. 25:25).

The Man Who Bartered His Birthright

This cunning hunter and man of the field (Gen. 25:27 ) supplies us with one of the tragic biographies among the men of the Bible. He is prominent in God's portrait gallery as the man rejected of God because he had sold his birthright. Let us briefly sketch what Scripture records of "Esau, who is Edom." Had he retained his birthright we might have read "Esau, who is Israel." The wrong act, however, left a black mark upon his future history.

He was a profane person. What a terrible epitome! It is like a label fastened to Esau as he disappears from Bible history (Heb. 12:16 ). The work "profane" does not mean that he delighted in profanity, but that he was a man of the earth who lived for worldly things and nothing else. With many good qualities, Esau was of the earth, earthy.

He sold his birthright . As the elder son of his father, even although he came from the womb only a half-hour before his twin brother, Jacob, he was entitled by law and custom to receive twice as much as a younger son's portion, and to be regarded in due time as the head of the family. But we all know the story of how, for a mess of pottage, he bartered away his spiritual and temporal rights. The record says that Esau sold his birthright because he "despised" it. How easily some men part with the rich blessings they are heirs to!

His was a fruitless repentance . Esau lifted up his voice and cried, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" But his repentant prayer was directed, not to God, but to Isaac. In the whole of Genesis Esau does not mention the name of God. Had Esau's repentance been Godward, what a different story we would have had! Esau only repented of his bargain, not ofhis sin. Such a bargain turned out to be a bad one, and he was sorry for it. Further, all Esau sought was restitution, not pardon. He had lost one blessing, and sought another.

Under grace the penitent sinner who has wasted his substance has a Saviour to turn to, and repenting of his sin, finds mercy. Esau, even with his tears, found no mercy. God was not in his thoughts, and he had therefore to abide by the consequences of what he had brought upon himself. Yet he learned his lesson, for Esau called his firstborn Eliphaz, "strength of God," and his second son Reuel, "joy of God."

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July 29, 2011

In His Eyes

Part 2

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

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. Success comes when we learn to accept God's evaluation instead of our own and when we give Him permission to make us what He created to be. Yesterday, we examined the first two steps we can take to understand who we are in His eyes. Today, we will look at four more steps.

Step three: Be yourself.

We should always be looking for something new to learn, an area where we can grow and changes that need to be made. Sit down with your mate or close friend and ask for a realistic evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. Constantly search for gifts and abilities on which you can work. Don't be afraid of change. It is a sign of life and growth. Change what needs to be changed, accept what you cannot change and quit whining about it! Don't waste another minute trying to be someone you were never created to be. Stop questioning God's design for your life. When an old man from the mountains of North Carolina was asked how he created such extraordinary wooden carvings of dogs, he replied, "Well, I just take my knife and a piece of wood and carve away everything that doesn't look like a dog." Learning to see your self through the eyes of God is like "carving away" everything that is not part of the original design - God's plan - and then learning how to accept what remains.

Step four: Guard your mind.

We are bombarded on all sides by the media, family and friends, co-workers and even enemies who have a certain identity they want to assign to us. We have a choice. No one makes us feel inferior without our permission. We will become what we allow our heart and mind to dwell on. An old adage says it well: "You can't keep a bird from flying over your head but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair." It is impossible to avoid destructive thinking entirely. We will be tempted. We will have negative thoughts and temptations, but we do not have to allow them to dwell in our minds. God has given us a "garbage disposal" for the mind.

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

We once lived in Miami, Florida, a place where ships come from all over world. However, before a ship is allowed to dock, an inspection team goes aboard with one assignment. Find every bit of contamination on board that ship. If contamination of any kind is found, the ship must be quarantined until it is cleaned up and inspected again. The ship is then allowed to dock. We need to control our thought life in the same way.

Step five: Control your tongue.

Our words either build up or tear down. Scripture tells us not to curse others because they are made in the image of God. So are we. As a mom, I constantly warned our children about the danger of critical words. I wanted them to learn how to encourage others with their words as well as have a healthy picture of who they are. One day, while standing in front my bathroom mirror, I began berating myself for something I had done. I didn't see our son who was quietly standing in our bedroom door where he could hear every word I said. "Mom, who are you talking to?" he asked. I sheepishly replied, "I was talking to myself." He thought for a moment and then offered a convicting observation, "Boy, if I talked like that, I'd be in big trouble!" I was immediately reminded of the words in Psalm 141:3: "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips."

Words are like seeds. What we plant will grow. If we sow destructive, critical words, we will reap a life that is negative and critical, but if we sow words of truth, we will reap a life of peace and purpose, knowing who we are in His eyes.

Step six: Be Patient

Weeds spring up overnight but it takes years for a mighty oak to grow. Today, you can take the first step toward gaining a new perspective of who you are in Christ. Our Father says it this way in Philippians 1:6, "And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns."

Let's Pray

Lord, I want to know You more and learn to see myself as You see me. Please help me recognize and guard against anything or anyone who would chip away at Your truth working in my life. I believe You love me and cherish me as Your daughter. Help me to walk in that value and worth and then lead others to do the same. I praise You for validating my very existence as part of Your heart's plan. I love You, Father.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Here is your assignment for the week. Read Psalm 139 at least one time every day. In your journal, write each verse in your own words. At the end of the week, set aside time to celebrate who you are in Christ. Have a praise party - just you and God - or invite a few girlfriends to join you in celebrating how special you are to Him.

More From The Girlfriends

I pray that these devotions have helped you catch a new glimpse of just how precious you are to God. If you were never wanted or planned by human heart and mind, rest assured that you were wanted and planned by God Himself. He is with you and for you, girlfriend. He believes in you and has a plan that will prosper you and give you hope. Turn to Him. Trust Him. You are special in His eyes.

Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary's E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study.

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

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Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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P31Header
Glynnis Whitwer

July 29, 2011

Are You Ready for a Do-Over?
Glynnis Whitwer

"Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.'" Jonah 3:1-2 (NIV)

Do-overs don't come along often. When they do, I've learned you need to be ready. One second it's a normal Sunday night, the next second God hands you a do-over on a silver platter.

That weekend my youngest son Robbie and my husband went to Rocky Point, Mexico, on a short mission trip. A team of nurses set up a weekend medical clinic, and my guys spent the day assisting the team, and playing games with the waiting children.

They had a great time and arrived home for dinner with the family on Sunday. Robbie helped me clean the kitchen afterwards, while we talked about the trip. My husband had already told me Robbie loved it, and bragged on how hard he worked. But at that moment it was just me and Robbie in the kitchen.

Robbie had his back to me, washing a counter. In a voice that sounded somewhat shaking and unsure, I heard him say, "I think I found my calling."

My response that Sunday night was VERY different than it would have been seven years ago. Seven years ago, if Robbie had made that same comment, shamefully, I would not have been very supportive.

ALL I would have thought about is how far away that might take the boy I desperately love. I would have thrown in a few "motherly" cautions and warnings. I might have expressed my concern not so much in words, but in held back affirmations. I've done it before.

Seven years ago, when his oldest brother wanted to go to Honduras at age 13, that's how I responded. He'd already gone to Mexico on a mission trip and it deeply shook his little suburban-self up. He wanted to pursue mission work and was excited about the idea of Honduras. I never said no, but in subtle ways, I influenced my loving son by what I said and didn't say. Josh eventually dropped the subject.

I'm ashamed. I've repented with many tears. I've regretted how I allowed my fears to hold back my son from obeying God's calling. I've lived with the "what ifs" for years. What if I had encouraged Josh to explore this potential calling? What would it have done in Josh's heart?

Sunday night, Robbie got a very different response. This time, I had to restrain my enthusiasm so he didn't feel embarrassed by my emotional response. A second chance had just been placed in my lap, and I wasn't about to mess it up.

"That's awesome!" I said. Then I stopped cleaning and turned to face him. "Have you thought about another trip you'd like to take? The church sponsors lots of trips, you know." (I could feel myself getting excited, and tried to rein myself in.)

"I'd like to go back to Mexico."

"What about Uganda or Honduras?" I suggested. (I was having trouble reining myself in.)

"I think I'd like to try Mexico again before taking a bigger trip." (Okay, so he's still got a bit of me in him.)

"Robbie," I said, making sure he saw the confidence and pride in my eyes. "We will do whatever it takes to allow you to go on any mission trip you want."

"Thanks Mom."

And in my heart I heard a whisper, Thanks Glynnis.

I smiled as I turned back to the dishes and bowed my head. No, thank You Lord, for a second chance.

Dear Lord, that You for forgiving me for the times I've allowed my fears to hold my loved ones back from obeying Your call. I want to be a woman who trusts You completely with the lives of my family. Help me to walk in faithful abandon, believing fully that You know what You are doing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Glynnis' blog for more on how to teach your child to overcome fear (and help yourself overcome fear in the process).

When Your Child Is Hurting by Glynnis Whitwer

Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman's Guide to Peace in Every Situation by Grace Fox

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:
Think of one thing you or a family member would like to do, but fear has held you back. Take some time to identify the root of the fear, and ask God to help you overcome it.

Reflections:
Do my fears affect anyone besides me? Family, friends, others? Describe.

List some of the attributes of God that tell of how powerful God is in the face of fears. (unchanging, all-knowing, etc.)

Power Verses:
Revelation 12:11, "They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (NIV)

Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (NIV)

© 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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