Friday, August 26, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 26th August

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"His fruit was sweet to my taste."
Song of Solomon 2:3

Faith, in the Scripture, is spoken of under the emblem of all the senses. It is sight: "Look unto me and be ye saved." It is hearing: "Hear, and your soul shall live." Faith is smelling: "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia"; "thy name is as ointment poured forth." Faith is spiritual touch. By this faith the woman came behind and touched the hem of Christ's garment, and by this we handle the things of the good word of life. Faith is equally the spirit's taste. "How sweet are thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my lips." "Except a man eat my flesh," saith Christ, "and drink my blood, there is no life in him."

This "taste" is faith in one of its highest operations. One of the first performances of faith is hearing. We hear the voice of God, not with the outward ear alone, but with the inward ear; we hear it as God's Word, and we believe it to be so; that is the "hearing" of faith. Then our mind looketh upon the truth as it is presented to us; that is to say, we understand it, we perceive its meaning; that is the "seeing" of faith. Next we discover its preciousness; we begin to admire it, and find how fragrant it is; that is faith in its "smell." Then we appropriate the mercies which are prepared for us in Christ; that is faith in its "touch." Hence follow the enjoyments, peace, delight, communion; which are faith in its "taste." Any one of these acts of faith is saving. To hear Christ's voice as the sure voice of God in the soul will save us; but that which gives true enjoyment is the aspect of faith wherein Christ, by holy taste, is received into us, and made, by inward and spiritual apprehension of his sweetness and preciousness, to be the food of our souls. It is then we sit "under his shadow with great delight," and find his fruit sweet to our taste.

Evening

"If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest."
Acts 8:37

These words may answer your scruples, devout reader, concerning the ordinances. Perhaps you say, "I should be afraid to be baptized; it is such a solemn thing to avow myself to be dead with Christ, and buried with him. I should not feel at liberty to come to the Master's table; I should be afraid of eating and drinking damnation unto myself, not discerning the Lord's body." Ah! poor trembler, Jesus has given you liberty, be not afraid. If a stranger came to your house, he would stand at the door, or wait in the hall; he would not dream of intruding unbidden into your parlour--he is not at home: but your child makes himself very free about the house; and so is it with the child of God. A stranger may not intrude where a child may venture. When the Holy Ghost has given you to feel the spirit of adoption, you may come to Christian ordinances without fear. The same rule holds good of the Christian's inward privileges. You think, poor seeker, that you are not allowed to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; if you are permitted to get inside Christ's door, or sit at the bottom of his table, you will be well content. Ah! but you shall not have less privileges than the very greatest. God makes no difference in his love to his children. A child is a child to him; he will not make him a hired servant; but he shall feast upon the fatted calf, and shall have the music and the dancing as much as if he had never gone astray. When Jesus comes into the heart, he issues a general licence to be glad in the Lord. No chains are worn in the court of King Jesus. Our admission into full privileges may be gradual, but it is sure. Perhaps our reader is saying, "I wish I could enjoy the promises, and walk at liberty in my Lord's commands." "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." Loose the chains of thy neck, O captive daughter, for Jesus makes thee free.

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:1-88, 1 Corinthians 7:20-40 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 119:1-88

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart-
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 7:20-40

20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you-although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord's freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

Concerning the Unmarried

25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this....

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Alexander

[Ălĕx ăn'dûr] - defender, helper of men or one who turns away evil.

  1. The son of Simon the Cyrenian who was compelled to carry the cross of Christ (Mark 15:21).
  2. A leading man in Jerusalemwhen Peter and John were tried there (Acts 4:6).
  3. A convert of Paul's who was present at the Ephesian tumult. Perhaps the same as No. 1 ( Acts 19:33).
  4. A convert to Christianity who became an apostate (1 Tim. 1:20). Perhaps the same as No. 6.
  5. Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, who followed his father Philip and who also brought the Jews into contact with Greek literature and life. He is described though not named in Daniel 2:39 and 6:6.
  6. The coppersmith who opposed Paul ( 2 Tim. 4:14 ). This Ephesian Jew was likely the same as the one who corrupted the faith, not from ignorance but deliberately in opposition to his judgment. Dr. Alexander Whyte deals with No. 4 and No. 6 as the same person.
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August 25, 2011

I Need a Friend

Part 1

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her (Ruth 1:16-18, NIV).

Friend To Friend

Friendship is the catalyst for every other love and the foundation of every healthy relationship. In his book, "The Broken Heart", Dr. James J. Lynch shows that lonely people live significantlyshorter lives than the general population. In other words, God created us to need each other. We need friends.

I know what you are thinking. Everyone knows that having close friends is risky business. While attending seminary, one of my professors told me that, as a pastor's wife, I would never be able to have close friends in the church. I didn't believe him then. And I don't believe him now.

I have been a woman in ministry for many years and my best friends have always been with women in the church where I ministered. Have I been burned? Yes. Have I been betrayed and disappointed? Yes. Has it been worth it? Absolutely! It is my prayer that over the next few weeks, we will catch God's plan and purpose for the friendships in our lives. But before launching into this study, there are three friendship facts we must first understand and accept.

Fact 1: Friendships have many different levels. There are friends we see occasionally and then there are soul-mates with whom we share everything. There is a place for both in our lives.

Fact 2: Friendships may change with the seasons of life. We are naturally drawn to women who face the same problems and share the same dreams.

Fact 3: We all need friends. Friendship is part of God's plan for our lives.

Jesus placed great value on relationships. The Bible tells us that He spent much of His time deepening relationships with a few - not the crowds. His teachings are filled with practical suggestions on how to be a friend and how to have healthy relationships. One of the most beautiful portraits of friendship is found in the book of Ruth. It is the story of Naomi, a godly woman, a wife and the mother of two married sons.

Naomi's husband and sons died, leaving three women alone, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Because they had neither food nor money and no certainty of what the future might hold, Naomi chose to return to Bethlehem, her homeland. On the way, Naomi suddenly stopped to tell Ruth and Orpah that they should return to their homes in Moab because there, they would have the chance to marry again. Both Ruth and Orpah protested but Naomi was insistent. Finally, Orpah gave in and returned home, but Ruth would not leave Naomi, her mother-in-law and friend. Noami was amazed at the loyalty Ruth offered and together, they made the trip to Bethlehem. Interestingly, it was there that Ruth met and married Boaz. They had a son named Obed, who later became the grandfather of King David. Ruth, a gentile from Moab, became part of the family line of Jesus. Why? Ruth was a loyal friend. Wouldn't you like to have a friend like that? Wouldn't you like to be a friend like that? The lives of Ruth and Naomi offer nine keys to healthy and vital friendships.

First Key: Time

Ruth says, "Where you go I will go. Where you stay I will stay." Ruth was willing to commit her life and time in friendship. Friendship doesn't just happen. True friendship takes consistent investments of time. Time spent together in friendship creates a memory bank from which we can make withdrawals when tough times come and we need encouragement. Time is a priceless gift and one of the most powerful communicators of love. When we are willing to give 30 minutes of time, we are actually giving 30 minutes of life. Ruth was willing to sacrifice her entire life agenda for the sake of her friendship with Naomi.

We live in a "quick-fix" world that often fails to understand or address the relationship truth that it takes time to build a friendship. It is so easy for women to fill every time slot of every day with activity, leaving little or no room for friends. The waters of daily life are often difficult to navigate. True friends are willing to get in the boat and ride out the storm with us.

We tend to spend time instead of investing it. The depth of the friendship depends upon the investment of time we can make or the investment of time we are willing to make. I have a friend, Michelle Johnson, who is the perfect example of a friend who was willing to invest time in our relationship. Michelle and I first met at a church where she and her husband were small group teachers while Dan was the youth pastor. We were not especially close because our paths rarely crossed. But when Dan was called to be the pastor of a nearby church, Michelle and her family joined us in ministry. Our children were in school together and we were both involved in women's ministry. As our paths crossed more frequently, we became friends. Then, during a two-year battle with clinical depression, we moved into the neighborhood where Michelle and Jay lived. Michelle made a choice. She chose to invest large chunks of time, walking with me through those dark years. As a result, her friendship is beyond measure in my life. Friendships take time.

Let's Pray

Father, I want to thank You for being the ultimate Friend. You have never let me down or turned away from me - even when I have turned away from You. Please help me be the kind of friend You want me to be so that Your love can flow through me in my relationships. Teach me how to invest time wisely so that each friendship is a living illustration of Your love.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

  • What is the greatest hindrance to friendship in your life?
  • What has been the greatest reward of friendship in your life?
  • Are you willing to take the risk of cultivating intimate friendships and of being a true friend? Explain.
  • Make a list of your closest friends and then picture life without them. What would that picture look like?
  • Make a specific plan this week to invest time in the life of a friend.

More From The Girlfriends

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. I Need a Friend is available in Bible Study format.

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

August 25, 2011

God, Forgive Me
Lysa TerKeurst

"...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10 (NIV)

Have you ever seen the social injustices of the world and felt they were too big for you to make a difference? I have felt that way. So instead of doing something-even something small, I did nothing.

Recently, several friends and I spent almost a week living at the Dream Center in Los Angeles. The Dream Center is a converted hospital run by Pastor Matthew Barnett and his church, Angelus Temple. It is a 700 bed facility that is a homeless shelter, a drug rehab, a healing place for those rescued from sex trafficking, an education facility and a ministry hub for over 120 outreach programs to help people in need.

I went as a woman in ministry.

I went to help meet needs.

But I quickly realized I was there as a woman in need.

A woman who needed God's reality to fall fresh and heavy and close and real and too in my face to deny.

Because sometimes I find myself talking about God so much He becomes an identity marker but not an identity changer in my life.

Having God as an identity marker is nothing but a label, a language, and a lifestyle. I'm a Christian. I talk like one. I act like one.

But having God as an identity changer is something so much more. It's lavish abandon to who God is and who He's made me to be. Holding nothing back.

Only lavish abandon to God can do what I saw at the Dream Center.

It's what changed the ex-gang member with eight bullet hole scars into a Jesus loving servant. So gentle.

It's what changed the ex-prostitute into a counselor for girls being rescued from the streets. So pure.

It's what changed the ex-drug addict into a loving father teaching his son how to be a godly leader. So integrity filled.

What in heavens has been holding me back?

Seriously.

What has been stopping me from absolute lavish abandon to God?

I need to know.

I'm desperate to figure it out.

So, I asked Pastor Matthew-a man who lives this lavish abandon, "Aren't you afraid sometimes? You run a facility where you have to raise half-million dollars a month-a MONTH! Do you walk around with the weight of that on you all the time?"

And his answer cracked my heart wide open. "No. When you experience God the way I've been experiencing God for 17 years, you stop being afraid. I've seen too many miracles."

Oh. Tears. The woman who doesn't cry was flooded with a crack in the dam of her soul.

My. God. That. Is. It.

Pastor Matthew lives our key verse from Isaiah 58:10. He spends himself in behalf of the hungry and oppressed. And honest to goodness I've never seen someone so happy, so positive, so on fire for the things of God. Like our verse, his light rises in the darkness.

He sees the miracles therefore he dares to be part of them.

I can't say the same about myself and I'm challenged by this.

I've stopped positioning my life for miracles. In an effort to never make God look bad, I've sought only that which I can carefully measure and predict and manipulate into being.

God, help me.

God, forgive me.

If I truly want to be a woman who lives by faith, I must live a life that requires a little bit of faith.

Fresh faith.

The kind that changes everything.

The kind the Dream Center is built upon.

I want to be part of the miracles happening at the Dream Center. And I'd love to invite you to join me. Dare to dream sweet friend...read more about this simple but profound opportunity below.

Dear Lord, I want fresh faith. The kind of faith that positions my heart to experience you. I don't want to be held back. Even if it's in a small way, I want to be available and willing to help those oppressed. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa's blog to read more about her "Dare to Dream" Gift Card campaign. You will have the opportunity to write a letter of encouragement and enclose a gift card that will be used to help women in the rescue and rehab programs through the Dream Center.

For more information click here.

Lysa's book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God now has a 6 week DVD teaching series that is perfect for women's Bible Study groups. For more informationclick here.

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:
If we truly want to be women who live by faith, we must live a life that requires a little bit of faith. What does that look like for you today? This week? This month?

Reflections:
Having God as an identity marker is nothing but a label, a language, and a lifestyle. I'm a Christian. I talk like one. I act like one. But having God as an identity changer is something so much more. It's lavish abandon to who God is and who He's made me to be. Holding nothing back.

Power Verses:
Isaiah 58:6-8, "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard." (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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The Reality of Revelry

Read 2 Samuel 22:1-7

"Music is an outburst of the soul."

While this expression came from 19th-century English composer Frederick Delius, it could easily describe King David's attitude toward worship.

The people around David probably grew accustomed to his musical outbursts. After all, it was King David-much to the chagrin of Saul's daughter-who "[danced] before the LORD with all his might" (2 Samuel 6:14). Moreover, David wrote many of the psalms. We can imagine the shepherd-king in his bedchamber at night strumming his harp and composing another song to the Lord. Yet David was hardly a soloist in the family of God.

The whole Bible reverberates with the songs of people so enraptured by God's work that their day-to-day lives gave way to melody. Moses and Miriam harmonized praise after God had led his people out of Egypt (see Exodus 15:1-21). Solomon crooned his way through Song of Songs, celebrating the marriage relationship between a husband and wife. Isaiah offered a prophetic song from the coming choir of the new Jerusalem (see Isaiah 26). Mary, when told that she would give birth to the Son of God, lifted a song to the child's Father in heaven (see Luke 1:46-55). Paul and Silas shouted their praise, and God split the walls of their cellblock (see Acts 16:25-26). The Bible is full of the songs of God's people.

What does this Biblical legacy of song say about us? We sing, as Moses, David and Mary sang, because God is worthy of song. When David opened his song (see 2 Samuel 22), the attributes of God came streaming out of the king's mouth so quickly that he barely formed sentences-my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge.

Like David, may we be so overcome by the knowledge of God that our natural response is to burst forth in song. May we sing from a heart-knowledge of God-longing after him with our greatest affections and deepest desires.

To Take Away

  • When in your life have you so keenly sensed God's presence that you could have burst forth into song?
  • How would you describe or rate your heart-knowledge of God?
  • What steps can you take to deepen your delight in the character of God?
Recommended Reading: Exodus 15:1-21; Psalm 18:1-50; Luke 1:46-55; Acts 16:16-40


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What Prophetic Details Exist About Jesus' Crucifixion?

Today's reading: Psalm 69:21

After Jesus rose from the dead, he reminded his disciples how he had told them, "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" (Luke 24:44). Psalm 69:21 specifically foreshadows how Jesus would receive gall and vinegar at his crucifixion. First he was offered wine mixed with gall, which was to help alleviate pain. Jesus rejected the painkiller (see Matthew 27:32-34), choosing instead to drink the full cup of suffering his Father had given him (see John 18:11). Later, just before he died, Jesus cried out in thirst and was given wine vinegar to drink (see John 19:28-30).

Jesus was well aware of the Messianic prophecies, and he fulfilled each one-even one as specific as this one-involving gall and vinegar-buried here in the Psalms.

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Today's reading is from the
The Case for Christ Study Bible
by Zondervan


Investigate the Bible's most compelling claims: the existence of a compassionate God and the promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.


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