Saturday, July 09, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 9th July

“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.” Psalm 138:2 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Tell me I pray thee wherein thy great strength lieth."
Judges 16:6

Where lies the secret strength of faith? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is--an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, "My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain his Word will be fulfilled." Then faith thinketh, "Who gave this promise?" It considereth not so much its greatness, as, "Who is the author of it?" She remembers that it is God who cannot lie--God omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore concludeth that the promise must be fulfilled; and forward she advances in this firm conviction. She remembereth,why the promise was given,--namely, for God's glory, and she feels perfectly sure that God's glory is safe, that he will never stain his own escutcheon, nor mar the lustre of his own crown; and therefore the promise must and will stand. Then faith also considereth the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the Father's intention to fulfil his word. "He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Moreover faith looks back upon the past, for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her courage. She remembers that God never has failed her; nay, that he never did once fail any of his children. She recollecteth times of great peril, when deliverance came; hours of awful need, when as her day her strength was found, and she cries, "No, I never will be led to think that he can change and leave his servant now. Hitherto the Lord hath helped me, and he will help me still." Thus faith views each promise in its connection with the promise-giver, and, because she does so, can with assurance say, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!"

Evening

"Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day."
Psalm 25:5

When the believer has begun with trembling feet to walk in the way of the Lord, he asks to be still led onward like a little child upheld by its parent's helping hand, and he craves to be further instructed in the alphabet of truth. Experimental teaching is the burden of this prayer. David knew much, but he felt his ignorance, and desired to be still in the Lord's school: four times over in two verses he applies for a scholarship in the college of grace. It were well for many professors if instead of following their own devices, and cutting out new paths of thought for themselves, they would enquire for the good old ways of God's own truth, and beseech the Holy Ghost to give them sanctified understandings and teachable spirits. "For thou art the God of my salvation." The Three-One Jehovah is the Author and Perfecter of salvation to his people. Reader, is he the God of your salvation? Do you find in the Father's election, in the Son's atonement, and in the Spirit's quickening, all the grounds of your eternal hopes? If so, you may use this as an argument for obtaining further blessings; if the Lord has ordained to save you, surely he will not refuse to instruct you in his ways. It is a happy thing when we can address the Lord with the confidence which David here manifests, it gives us great power in prayer, and comfort in trial. "On thee do I wait all the day." Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously he once waited for us.

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Today's reading: Job 36-37, Acts 15:22-41 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Job 36-37

1 Elihu continued:

2 "Bear with me a little longer and I will show you
that there is more to be said in God's behalf.
3 I get my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
4 Be assured that my words are not false;
one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

5 "God is mighty, but despises no one;
he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
6 He does not keep the wicked alive
but gives the afflicted their rights.
7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous;
he enthrones them with kings
and exalts them forever....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Acts 15:22-41

The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul-- 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ....

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Jeremiah, Jeremy, Jeremias

[Jĕre mī'ah] - jehovah is high orexalted of god.

  1. An inhabitant of Libnah whose daughter, Hamutal, was the wife of Josiah and mother of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31; 24:18; Jer. 52:1).
  2. A Manassehite and head of a family (1 Chron. 5:24).
  3. A Benjamite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:4)
  4. A Gadite who also joined David (1 Chron. 12:10).
  5. Another Gadite who did the same (1 Chron. 12:13).
  6. Son of Hilkiah, the prophet from Anathoth in the days of Josiah and who was of the line of Abiathar (2 Chron. 35:25; 36:12, 21, 22; Jer. 1:1).

The Man of Inconsolable Grief

This man who was born a priest but became a prophet by the divine call of God comes before us as one of the grandest men of Old Testament history. He was called to the prophetic office through a vision (Jer. 1:1, 4-16) and labored for some forty years. The book Jeremiah wrote gives us more details of his life, methods and work, as an Old Testament prophet, than of any other prophet. He is referred to as a son of Hilkiah, not only to distinguish him from others of the same name, but to prove that he was of priestly origin. He came from the priestly town of Anathoth, a name meaning, "answered prayers."

His call antedated his birth ( Jer. 1:5), and he was consecrated to God before his birth. He was distinguished by his humility and native modesty. He felt he was a child and not mature enough to function as a prophet. With Browning he could say:

I was not born

Informed and fearless from the first, but shrank

From aught which marked me out apart from men:

I would have lived their life, and died their death

Lost in their ranks, eluding destiny.

But Jeremiah could not elude destiny. So we have:

I. His equipment for a God-appointed task (Jer. 1:7-9).

II. His sufferings. What sorrow and anguish were his (Lam. 1:12; 3:1). He was not permitted to marry (Jer. 16:2). Solitude was at once his penalty and greatness. Then we have his sad antagonisms (Jer. 1:18; 15:16, 17, 20; 20:1-18).

III. His persecutions. These came to him from many quarters (Jer. 11:18-20; 12:6; 20:6; 26; 37; 38:13-28; 43:6). Bitter, however, were his denunciations of his foes (Jer. 11:20; 15:18; 17:18; 18:21-23).

IV. His death. Tradition has it that he was stoned to death in Egypt by the Jews, and that when Alexander entered Egypt he rescued his bones from obscurity and buried them in Alexandria. See Hebrews 11:37.

Jeremiah's ministry was an intensely sad one and his song is in the minor key. His was a divine melancholy that made his head "waters" and his eyes a fountain of tears. The truths he had to proclaim were unwelcome and brought him enemies, but he carried out his task without fear or favor. In these days of national apostasy and international strife, the preacher could not do better than live near the Book of Jeremiah, which has, as its dominant note, true religion in heart and life, in church and nation.

7. A priest who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah (Neh. 10:2; 12:1, 12, 34).

8. A descendant of Jonadab , son of Rechab (Jer. 35:3).

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July 8, 2011

Giving and Gaining
Gwen Smith


Today's Truth

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

Friend To Friend
I pretty much consider myself to have a black thumb. I like plants and genuinely try to keep plants healthy and thriving in my home, but fail at it a lot more than I succeed. Seriously. Black thumb. So when my girlfriend brought me a baby aloe plant, my heart was torn between girlfriend-gratitude and feelings of sorrow for the innocent little aloe.

A few weeks after she gave me the plant gift, my friend told me a story. She confessed that she struggles to share things. It's just hard for her. She had two aloe plants for a long time but one day she felt a heart-nudge to give one of them to me. (Bless her heart! She obviously knows nothing of my black thumb!) Though she admittedly isn't naturally inclined to give her things away, she said that she decided in her heart that she would give me the small aloe baby.

For weeks she had meant to act on that heart-nudge and give me the aloe plant, but just never got around to it. She kept forgetting. She'd think about bringing me the aloe plant when she wasn't home or remember late at night when it was too late to run it by my house. In the back of her mind she thought that one of her plants would surely have an aloe baby offspring ... reasoning that she could just give me that one instead of one of her two plants.

Finally, she remembered. She brought me the cute little healing plant and gave it to me with a smile. Yay! We threw down a happy plant-dance that morning as we shared both a cup of coffee and our hearts in friendship.

So as we sat at my kitchen table again, coffee mugs in hands, she finished her story by excitedly saying, "The most amazing thing happened this week, Gwen! When I walked past the aloe plant that I'd kept for myself, I noticed that a baby aloe plant had sprung up in the pot! It was almost like a little present from God reminding me that I can't out-give Him. That when I trust Him and obey His nudges, He will bless me right back."

I nodded and smiled. She's so right. In the Bible God clearly calls us to be generous, and He promises to bless us when we are. God's Word has a lot to say about the tandem between generous giving and blessings.

"Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice" (Psalm 112:5, NIV, emphasis mine).

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25, NIV, emphasis mine).

"A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor" (Proverbs 22:9, NIV, emphasis mine).

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV).

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV).

God clearly calls His children to generous living ... no matter what we have, who we are, or where we live. Even the poorest among us are called to live generously. And let's not confuse the matter: it's not about our bank accounts - it's about our hearts. We are to be generous, willing to share, and rich in good deeds for the glory of God. The Scriptural promise we can stand on is that blessings will follow our generosity. When we give freely in obedience to Christ and live open-handed with all that we've been entrusted with, we reap beautiful life benefits.

Where does this promise and prompting find you today? Have you been nudged lately to be generous? Do you struggle to share things, both tangible and intangible? Is God calling you to serve Him somewhere with your time, treasures, or talents? Maybe the thing you need to give is forgiveness to someone or to yourself - or encouragement - or kindness. Got a family member, neighbor, or friend in need? Do something!

Generous living will look different to each of us, but we are all called to give as we live. I was blessed when my friend gave me that baby aloe plant. She was blessed too. God made sure of it. He always does. Friend, consider this truth and ask the Lord to move you missionally and to direct your giving. Today and every day live to give for the glory of God. Good will come of it. He promises ... and that's a promise you can take to the bank!

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, You are perfectly generous. I am blessed by the abundance of Your grace, mercy, love and truth. Help me to live generously and to give open-handedly just as you have with me.

In Jesus' Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What came to your mind as you read this devotion?

What are you going to do about it?

More From The Girlfriends
If this devotion resonated with you and if you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be reworked into a picture of God's beauty, don't miss Gwen's book Broken Into Beautiful. Every step of transformation begins with the heart of God. Broken into Beautiful will take you there.

LOVE MUSIC? Check out Gwen's new CD, Uncluttered. The songs of Uncluttered are purposed to sweep you away from life-noise and to focus your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ.

GOT FACEBOOK? Visit Gwen's FACEBOOK PAGE. Thousands of GiGs "meet" there daily to connect and spur one another on in faith. Stop by!

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
Micca Campbell

July 8, 2011

It's Not What You Think
Micca Monda Campbell

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD.'" Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)

When the phone rang in the middle of the night, I couldn't help but wonder if one of my greatest fears had become a reality. It was the police. They were calling to tell us my 21-year-old son had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving home from a friend's house.

Mitch was only four months old when his biological father died. Since then, I've have had two fears; that my son's life would be greatly affected by the loss of his father and that he would die young, too.

When Mitch was four, one of those fears was relieved. God brought Pat into our lives, filling the role of both father and husband.

Like any good father, Pat is a wonderful man who supports his family in the good times and bad. This night things were bad. When Pat arrived at the scene, he found our son's demolished car hugging the mangled 50 foot guardrail that had kept him from crossing the highway into oncoming traffic.

Mitch, however, didn't suffer a single scratch, bruise, or broken bone - not one. His dad was stunned, but the police officer was astonished even more. In fact, the officer had this to say to our son.

"If I were you, I wouldn't go home and go to bed. I'd go to the nearest church and thank God for saving your life because He obviously has a purpose for it." It was as if God was speaking directly through the officer. Pat drove Mitch home in silence. The police officer had said it all. What more could he add?

Sunday afternoon, we drove to the junkyard to retrieve Mitch's personal belongings from the car. The first thing I noticed about the damaged vehicle was the date, 9-9, painted in large orange numbers across the windshield of the mangled car.

That's when it hit me. Mitch's accident occurred on the anniversary of his biological father's death. Stranger still, they were exactly the same age. As my eyes fixed on the date, I realized it was a message from God - an undeniable clear sign from above. Mitch was in the hands of God.

That truth pierced my mind and Satan's lie was broken. I was no longer afraid of losing my son to death.

God has a different plan for Mitch than he had for his dad. I always knew that truth intellectually but, that day in the junkyard, it became a reality. How could I doubt God anymore when my son walked away from a near death experience on the anniversary of his father's death? I couldn't.

Regardless of my doubts and fears, God has a plan. Usually it doesn't look like mine. This experience reminded me that my thoughts are not the same as God's thoughts. He sees the bigger picture. He knows His plans. It also taught me to fall on my knees and relinquish all my fears to God while trusting in His good and perfect will for my children.

You see, the only power and control you and I have over any fearful thought is to place it in the hands of God. Doing so keeps us from being taunted day and night by "what if?" Instead, we can rest in the assurance that God's thoughts, ways and plans are more marvelous than anything we can imagine ourselves.

Dear Lord, help me to see my circumstances through your eyes and not mine. Teach me that your ways are good and marvelous and they can be trusted. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than All Your Fears by Micca Campbell

Visit Micca's blog for more encouragement

Cultivating a Heart of Contentment (CD) by Micca Campbell

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Application Steps:
Trade your thoughts for God's thoughts. Say something like, "God, here is what I think will happen. Yet, I know Your ways and Your thoughts are bigger because You see the bigger picture. So I chose to trade my understanding for Yours."

Reflections:
Do I anxiously worry about something out of my control?

Do I find myself taunted by "what ifs?"

God's thoughts and plans toward me are good. How does this calm my fear and increase my faith?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." (NIV)

Proverbs 3:6, "...in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)

© 2011 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

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