Saturday, August 13, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 13th August

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice."
Psalm 97:1

Causes for disquietude there are none so long as this blessed sentence is true. On earth the Lord's power as readily controls the rage of the wicked as the rage of the sea; his love as easily refreshes the poor with mercy as the earth with showers. Majesty gleams in flashes of fire amid the tempest's horrors, and the glory of the Lord is seen in its grandeur in the fall of empires, and the crash of thrones. In all our conflicts and tribulations, we may behold the hand of the divine King.

"God is God; he sees and hears

All our troubles, all our tears.

Soul, forget not, 'mid thy pains,

God o'er all forever reigns."

In hell, evil spirits own, with misery, his undoubted supremacy. When permitted to roam abroad, it is with a chain at their heel; the bit is in the mouth of behemoth, and the hook in the jaws of leviathan. Death's darts are under the Lord's lock, and the grave's prisons have divine power as their warder. The terrible vengeance of the Judge of all the earth makes fiends cower down and tremble, even as dogs in the kennel fear the hunter's whip.

"Fear not death, nor Satan's thrusts,

God defends who in him trusts;

Soul, remember, in thy pains,

God o'er all forever reigns."

In heaven none doubt the sovereignty of the King Eternal, but all fall on their faces to do him homage. Angels are his courtiers, the redeemed his favourites, and all delight to serve him day and night. May we soon reach the city of the great King!

"For this life's long night of sadness

He will give us peace and gladness.

Soul, remember, in thy pains,

God o'er all forever reigns."

Evening

"The bow shall be seen in the cloud."
Genesis 9:14

The rainbow, the symbol of the covenant with Noah, is typical of our Lord Jesus, who is the Lord's witness to the people. When may we expect to see the token of the covenant? The rainbow is only to be seen painted upon a cloud. When the sinner's conscience is dark with clouds, when he remembers his past sin, and mourneth and lamenteth before God, Jesus Christ is revealed to him as the covenant Rainbow, displaying all the glorious hues of the divine character and betokening peace. To the believer, when his trials and temptations surround him, it is sweet to behold the person of our Lord Jesus Christ--to see him bleeding, living, rising, and pleading for us. God's rainbow is hung over the cloud of our sins, our sorrows, and our woes, to prophesy deliverance. Nor does a cloud alone give a rainbow, there must be the crystal drops to reflect the light of the sun. So, our sorrows must not only threaten, but they must really fall upon us. There had been no Christ for us if the vengeance of God had been merely a threatening cloud: punishment must fall in terrible drops upon the Surety. Until there is a real anguish in the sinner's conscience, there is no Christ for him; until the chastisement which he feels becomes grievous, he cannot see Jesus. But there must also be a sun; for clouds and drops of rain make not rainbows unless the sun shineth. Beloved, our God, who is as the sun to us, always shines, but we do not always see him--clouds hide his face; but no matter what drops may be falling, or what clouds may be threatening, if he does but shine there will be a rainbow at once. It is said that when we see the rainbow the shower is over. Certain it is, that when Christ comes, our troubles remove; when we behold Jesus, our sins vanish, and our doubts and fears subside. When Jesus walks the waters of the sea, how profound the calm!

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Today's reading: Psalm 84-86, Romans 12 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 84-86

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young-
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 12

A Living Sacrifice

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will....

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Mark, Marcus

[Märk,Mär'cus] - a large hammer orpolite. John Mark was a Jew and a son of Mary, who was a leading Christian at Jerusalem.

The Man Who Recovered Himself

Mark was the Roman surname of this young associate of the apostle, while his first name, John, was his Hebrew name. Mark was an apostle but held no official position among the original Twelve. The first time we come across "John, whose surname was Mark," it is in connection with one of the most remarkable prayer meetings ever held. Herod, who had just beheaded James, had Peter under arrest. But the many friends of "The Big Fisherman" gathered in the home of "Mary the mother of John Mark" for prayer, which the Lord wonderfully answered (Acts 12:12).

Mark's mother was a godly, well-to-do widow in Jerusalem and her house was a favorite meeting place for the saints (Acts 12:12; Col. 4:10). Her brother, Barnabas, Mark's uncle, was a wealthy Levite from the island of Cyprus (Acts 13:1-5). In Barnabas, Mark had a staunch and gifted friend and counselor (Acts 11:24). While we are not told how or when Mark became a disciple of Christ, it is evident that he owed his conversion to Peter, since the apostle speaks of him as "Marcus, my son" ( 1 Pet. 5:13). Thereafter he became a close companion of Peter for about twelve years. Doubtless Mark had heard and seen Christ. Tradition identifies Mark as "the certain young man," who followed Christ when all His disciples forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:51).

Mark became an attendant of Paul and Barnabas when they set out on their great mission tour (Acts 13:5 ), and these two godly men must have had a formative influence upon the character of young Mark. However, our next glimpse of him is disappointing. In the early years of his service, Mark was guilty of vacillating (Acts 13:13; 15:38). The ploughman looked back. So full of promise, Mark failed Paul and Barnabas at a crisis and brought about a severance of friends. The fear of what lay ahead in arduous missionary enterprise moved Mark to retrace his steps (Acts 13:13; 15:38).

But Mark won his spurs again and recovered his place in apostolic esteem. The years the locusts had eaten were restored and he became a valued colleague of Paul (Col. 4:10, 11; Philem. 24). A further impressive testimony to Mark's reinstatement is found in Paul's tribute to Mark's usefulness (2 Tim. 4:11). The wound was thoroughly healed. In the eventide of his life, Peter could write affectionately of Mark (1 Pet. 5:13). Tradition says that Mark became a bishop and a martyr and that his body was removed to Venice and buried there. St. Mark's of Venice is dedicated to his fragrant memory. The Lion, the emblem of Mark's Roman Gospel, is emblazoned on the standard of the Venetian Republic.

As the ministry of Mark was peculiarly a Gentile one, he is recognized by his Gentile name. Writing specifically for Romans, who stood for power, Mark manifests Christ's power in service. Accustomed as Mark was to the might of Rome's legions, he exhibits the soldier's rapidity of movement and readiness to repel attack, and gives us in his shortest and simplest gospel, a progressive series of victorious conflicts. Vividness, compactness, direction, circumstantial evidence characterize his gospel.

The main lessons to be learned from the life of Mark are apparent:

I. The blessings of a godly home. The Christian Church owes much to "Mary, the mother of John Mark."

II. Much depends upon the choice of friends. Mark's life was lived in the company of godly men such as Peter, Paul and Barnabas.

III. The possibilities of life. A widow's son became an apostle and a great historian, and his name is upon the lips of men the world over.

IV. The reward for faithful service. We do not read of Mark preaching a single sermon or performing even one miracle. All that is said about him is that he was a helper of others. Such service never fails to receive its reward.

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P31Header
Samantha Reed

August 12, 2011

Unlovable
Samantha Reed, Executive Assistant

"Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away." Song of Solomon 8:7a (NIV 1984)

"I'm unloveable."

How many times has this thought consumed your mind? It swirls powerfully, like muddy rapids. Thrashing heart and mind round and round like a toy boat in a damaging river of doubt, fear and lies.

The "I'm unlovable" thought often tosses us from one painful situation to the next.

Rejection from a parent leads to a heart desperate to fill the void that leads to an unloving abusive relationship. A broken heart is patched up with food that leads to weight gain that makes us feel less than beautiful and unworthy of love.

The bruised parts of our hearts can lead us down dark alleys littered with regrets and sadness.

I don't assume to know the tongue lashings, torturous words or deeds, and taunts you've endured. I don't know what rejections, rudeness, or raw aches have slayed your heart. I don't know what choices you've made-what choices were made for you-that pushed you into the roaring rush of this river that tries to drag you down with lies and pain.

I only know this-you will drown in that river unless you grab hold of this safety rope: You are loveable.

Yes. You. You are loveable.

There is an all loving Creator who is sovereign. This is a big word with bigger meaning: all powerful. He had the choice to concoct you in His mind. He had the option to create you. He had the wherewithal to call you by name. He didn't have to.

He could have said,
Nah, I know how that one turns out.
Depression and doubts are her go-to's instead of Me.
Guys are allowed to violate her body.
Her marriage falls apart.
Her relationship with her parents isn't good.
Her kids can't stand her.
She's frumpy.
She's not worthy of My time or talent.
She's not lovable.

But He didn't. No.

Instead, He said,
I know how that one turns out.
She trusts me despite her teetering emotions and difficult circumstances.
She redeems her past to inspire purity in young girls.
She encourages and invests in other's marriages.
It's My delight to be her Father and call her My daughter.
Her knees hit the ground in fervent prayer for her children.
She's beautiful.
She's worthy of my Son's life and death.
She's so lovable, I call her Mine and nothing she does-nothing that happens to her-can take My love from her.

I don't know why you don't feel you're lovable. Or what lies come trying to convince you that your past, your actions, your shame, your guilt disqualifies you from love.

What I do know is this: you are worthy of love. You are loveable. And you are qualified as a child of God. But don't take my word. Take His...

This is what the LORD says: '[Insert your name] who survives [insert what makes you feel unlovable] will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to [her].' The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build [Insert your name] up again and you will be rebuilt.'" (Jeremiah 31:2-4, NIV 1984)

Dear Lord, I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Thank You for knowing me fully and loving me completely. Please help me know...truly know...I am loveable. Thank You for the freedom You give from the hurt and lies. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Partner with us and Compassion International to share God's love and lift a child out of the "I'm unlovable" river.Click here to sponsor a child!

In her book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope shows us how to live in the promise of God's Love, and find security knowing that HIS LOVE will never fail, even if we do. Click here to find out more.

Visit Samantha's blog for more encouragement and enter to win a copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.

Application Steps:
Write a love letter to the Lord, thanking Him for all the ways He has shown His love to you. Remind yourself of these ways God has shown His love for you when you feel unlovable.

Reflections:
What sin, shame, doubt or fear am I holding onto that cause me to feel unlovable?

Do I need to forgive someone, or myself, for what happened that left me feeling unlovable?

Power Verses:
Micah 7:18, "Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love." (NASB)

© 2011 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

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

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August 12, 2011

Worthless into Precious

Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

"You are precious and honored in my sight..." (Isaiah 43:4a, NIV).

Friend To Friend

Hagar was a young Egyptian servant girl who had some serious challenges. In the Old Testament book of Genesis, chapter 16, we hear of her plight...and of her flight:

"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children but she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.'

Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived (vv. 1-4a, NIV)."

I imagine Hagar probably grew up with low self-esteem. As a servant, she might have felt discarded, insignificant, and unimportant. Not only had she been sold to Abram and Sarai, but she was forced to become his wife as well. I don't know about you, but thinking about that makes my stomach do yucky flip-flops!

What do you think that conversation was like when Sarai commanded Hagar to sleep with her elderly husband? How do you think Hagar felt? I find it disturbing and unfair.

"When [Hagar] knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me."

"Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her (vv. 4b-6).

I can understand from a fleshly perspective why Hagar would choose to despise Sarai. When another person wrongs us, it's difficult to choose a godly, non-sassy response. We must be careful to pray for God's perspective and power so we don't allow weeds of resentment to overtake our hearts and guide our responses.

Hagar was a maidservant, a slave, who was forced to move to a foreign land and to sleep with the husband of her mistress. Though this was a common practice in that culture, there is still great uneasiness in my heart as I read what Hagar had to endure. She was mistreated-the Bible makes that clear-and she had fair reason to run. However, God caught up with her not too far down the road.

"The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert, the spring that is beside the road to Shur, and he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?"

"I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered (vv. 7-8).

When faced with difficult circumstances, Hagar ran away. I might have done the same thing. But when she found herself seemingly alone in the desert, God sought her out and called her by name. The God of the universe knew Hagar's name. Hagar was a slave, nobody in the eyes of society, yet our God spoke lovingly through the angel of the Lord to this hurting mother-to-be and whispered promises of blessing to her weary heart.

"Then the angel of the Lord told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count" (vv. 9-10).

Stunned that the God of the universe cared to comfort her, Hagar responded by giving God a new name-El Roi, "the God Who Sees Me." She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me" (v. 13).

God pursued a broken woman and lifted her eyes to meet His own. He saw her in spite of who she was or thought herself to be, called her by name, and ministered to her heart. My heart burns with awe at the intimate intervention and tenderness that God showed Hagar, a grieving mom-to-be in a very dark hour.

Each one of us strolls through the wilderness of life at times. Our unchanging God knows your name too. He sees you right where you are and knows the burdens of your heart. God sees each one of us just as He saw Hagar, and bids us to see ourselves through His eyes. Why would He? Because of Jesus. Once you place your faith in Christ, God sees you through the blood-stained curtain of His risen Son. Perfect. Forgiven. Precious.

Let's Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing me...even in the times when I feel forgotten and invisible. Your Word says that You know my name and consider me precious. Please speak that to my soul right now. (Pause here to listen...) I love you, Lord. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What can you learn from Hagar's encounter with God in the desert? Where have you come from and where are you going? Take time to journal a response or visit my facebook page (www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic) to tell me about how today's devotion hit your heart.

So many times, we want to run from our problems and sidestep accountability. Is there a difficulty in your life that you're tempted to run away from or ignore?

More From The Girlfriends

Today's devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith's book,Broken Into Beautiful. Broken into Beautiful, features Gwen's testimony, along with Scriptural truths and stories of how God has brought restoration the hearts of many other women who had painful life wounds. God delights to transform lives ... including your own. Experience God's healing and hope in your life today as you read Broken Into Beautiful! To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen's website:http://gwensmith.net/store/ .

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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