Thursday, August 11, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 11th August

“For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Christ, who is our life."
Colossians 3:4

Paul's marvellously rich expression indicates, that Christ is the source of our life. "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." That same voice which brought Lazarus out of the tomb raised us to newness of life. He is now the substance of our spiritual life. It is by his life that we live; he is in us, the hope of glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought. Christ is the sustenance of our life. What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus' flesh and blood? "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." O wayworn pilgrims in this wilderness of sin, you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, except ye find it in him! Christ is the solace of our life. All our true joys come from him; and in times of trouble, his presence is our consolation. There is nothing worth living for but him; and his lovingkindness is better than life! Christ is the object of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port, so hastes the believer towards the haven of his Saviour's bosom. As flies the arrow to its goal, so flies the Christian towards the perfecting of his fellowship with Christ Jesus. As the soldier fights for his captain, and is crowned in his captain's victory, so the believer contends for Christ, and gets his triumph out of the triumphs of his Master. "For him to live is Christ." Christ is the exemplar of our life. Where there is the same life within, there will, there must be, to a great extent, the same developments without; and if we live in near fellowship with the Lord Jesus we shall grow like him. We shall set him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in his footsteps, until he shall become the crown of our life in glory. Oh! how safe, how honoured, how happy is the Christian, since Christ is our life!


"The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins."
Matthew 9:6

Behold one of the great Physician's mightiest arts: he has power to forgive sin! While here he lived below, before the ransom had been paid, before the blood had been literally sprinkled on the mercy-seat, he had power to forgive sin. Hath he not power to do it now that he hath died? What power must dwell in him who to the utmost farthing has faithfully discharged the debts of his people! He has boundless power now that he has finished transgression and made an end of sin. If ye doubt it, see him rising from the dead! behold him in ascending splendour raised to the right hand of God! Hear him pleading before the eternal Father, pointing to his wounds, urging the merit of his sacred passion! What power to forgive is here! "He hath ascended on high, and received gifts for men." "He is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins." The most crimson sins are removed by the crimson of his blood. At this moment, dear reader, whatever thy sinfulness, Christ has power to pardon, power to pardon thee, and millions such as thou art. A word will speak it. He has nothing more to do to win thy pardon; all the atoning work is done. He can, in answer to thy tears, forgive thy sins today, and make thee know it. He can breathe into thy soul at this very moment a peace with God which passeth all understanding, which shall spring from perfect remission of thy manifold iniquities. Dost thou believe that? I trust thou believest it. Mayst thou experience now the power of Jesus to forgive sin! Waste no time in applying to the Physician of souls, but hasten to him with words like these:--

"Jesus! Master! hear my cry;

Save me, heal me with a word;

Fainting at thy feet I lie,

Thou my whisper'd plaint hast heard."


Today's reading: Psalm 79-80, Romans 11:1-18 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 79-80

A psalm of Asaph.

1 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
2 They have left the dead bodies of your servants
as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
3 They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead.
4 We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
of scorn and derision to those around us.... the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 11:1-18

The Remnant of Israel

1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"? 4 And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace....



[Sŏs'thenēs] - of sound strength orsaviour from "i save."

  1. The chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth who suffered at the hands of the Hellenistic Greeks when Gallio dismissed the case against Paul (Acts 18:17 RV).
  2. The believer or "brother" whom Paul unites with himself in addressing the Corinthian Church (1 Cor. 1:1 ). Perhaps both references are to the same man, Sosthenes of Acts 18:17 becoming a Christian after the Gallio outburst.
Renee Swope

August 10, 2011

Beat Up or Built Up?
Renee Swope

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31(NIV)

One morning I woke up feeling beat up by discouragement. My mind was being bullied by thoughts of doubt: I can't do it all! I am not cut out to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, a speaker, a writer and all the other things God has called me to. My thoughts were against me, and my feelings were too.

As I lay in bed feeling completely inadequate, my radio alarm came on. Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by Twila Paris singing to me. With confident assurance, she spoke truth to my soul, telling me this was no time for fear, but a time for faith and determination. She challenged me not to lose my vision or be carried away by my emotions, but to hold on to all that I had hidden in my heart, and all I believed to be true. Then she reminded me of the most important truth of all: God is in control. [1]

As I heard these words, my thoughts aligned with God's truth. It changed my whole perspective. I went from feeling afraid to feeling determined and from feeling out of control to knowing God is in control.

We have the choice either to let doubt beat us up or to let God's truth build us up.

If we have Christ in us, we have full access to God's power and His promises to live with a confident heart. But it won't just happen because it's possible. We have to take action.

When my alarm came on that morning, I was so glad I'd set my radio to that station the night before, so I would wake up hearing encouraging music and truth. Just like I tuned into that station, we need to get intentional about tuning our thoughts into God's thoughts toward us, every day.

In the same way a radio has AM and FM frequencies, so do our thoughts. They are either AM (against me) or FM (for me) thoughts. The truth is, we are often our worst critics and have a lot of AM thoughts.

And if our thoughts are against us, our feelings will be too.

So, the next time you get those feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you are thinking that is making you feel that way. Then compare your thoughts about that situation to God's thoughts, which are reflected in Scripture. Do they match? If not, find a promise in God's Word to replace the lie that has filled your heart with doubt. Here are few to get your started:

• When doubt comes against me, saying I'm weak and all alone, I will focus on the truth that God is for me! I can be strong and courageous because the Lord my God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

• When doubt comes against me, saying I'm not good enough for a certain role or position, I will remember that God is for me! He says I am His masterpiece, created to be new in Christ so that I could do good things He planned long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Lord, Your Word says I am a chosen woman, a royal priest, a holy daughter, a woman belonging to You. Help me remember that You are calling me out of the darkness of my doubts so that I can tell others about the Light I've found in You. Thank You that You are with me to fight for me against my enemies of insecurity and inadequacy. In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
For more AM/FM thoughts visit the FREE resources page on Renee's website. That way, when doubt tries to beat you up, you'll have God's promises to build you up instead!

A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises. If you'd like to find out more or order a copy, click here.

Join over 25,000 women who have gone on Renee's "7-day DOUBT Diet" - it includes a week's worth of FREE devotions from her book, A Confident Heart. To sign up for "7-day DOUBT Diet," click 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. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
When feelings of self-doubt come, write down the AM (against me) thought you are thinking and look for a FM (for me) promise in scripture to replace the lie that has filled your heart with doubt. Click here for a list of more AM/FM thoughts.

What area of my life-as a woman, mom, wife, friend, daughter, housekeeper, professional, leader, etc.-do I currently have the most "against me" thoughts in?

How can I get intentional this week about replacing my AM thoughts with FM-God is for me-thoughts from His Word?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (NIV)

Deuteronomy 20:4, "For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." (NIV)

Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV)

[1] "God Is In Control," © 1993 by Twila Paris. All Rights Reserved. From He Is Exalted: Live Worship CD.

© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


Detour: An unplanned visit and a conversation spawn a new church

Read Acts 16

Acts 16:9: During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."

In his travels, Paul concentrates on the chief trade towns and capital cities of the Roman provinces. From this melting pot of diverse cultures the gospel message can radiate out across the globe. If a young church shows promise, Paul stays on, sometimes as long as three years, to direct its spiritual growth. His letters glow with affection for the friends he develops in this way.

This chapter contains one of the Bible's most famous episodes of divine guidance: Paul's vision of a man of Macedonia. Yet the account actually shows how uncommon such a revelation is. It certainly startles Paul, who abruptly changes his travel plans. Following his normal procedure, Paul arranges this missionary trip strategically, linking together major towns and cities in sequence. But this time he runs into a roadblock and must adjust his itinerary.

A Woman and a Jailer

As a result of this change, one of Paul's favorite churches comes into existence. Philippi is a leading city in the region of Macedonia, the place to which the vision has directed him. A casual conversation with a woman by a river opens the way for Paul (women play a crucial role in many of the early churches). What takes place in Philippi stands almost as a pattern for Paul's never-dull missionary visits: early acceptance, violent opposition and providential deliverance from danger.

When in danger, Paul does not hesitate to use the prestige and status that come with his Roman citizenship. He is escorted from Philippi with proper respect, but he leaves behind two transformed households: one led by a woman cloth merchant and the other by a city jailer. From that unlikely combination grows the lively church at Philippi, to whom Paul later addresses the book of Philippians.

Life Question

How has God used a casual conversation to bring someone or something important into your life?


We're celebrating
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new book, A Confident Heart!

Watch Renee's Book Trailer here

Click here to watch the book trailerPurchase A Confident Heart

A Confident Heart

About the book

Ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Do words you say to yourself, or hear from others, make you question your worth and purpose? Renee Swope understands and that is why she wrote A Confident Heart. Sharing personal stories, powerful Bible teaching and practical life applications, Renee will show you how to rely on the power of God's promises in your everyday roles and relationships — so you can find the security you need and the confidence you long for!

Chapter by chapter, A Confident Heart will help you:

• Break free from people-pleasing and performance-based living
• Exchange “against me” thoughts with scripture-based God is “for me thoughts”
• Live confidently in your God-given purpose, passion, and personality
• Trust the certainty of God's promises in the uncertainty of your circumstances and emotions

Powerful scripture-based prayers are at the end of each chapter, along with Bible study questions and a chart with thirty-one different promises to overcome our most common self-doubts.

Endorsements for A Confident Heart

"I'm so excited about Renee's book. She's walked this journey and gives us the gift of truths she's discovered that will sweep away self-doubt and usher in the godly confidence we've been longing for our whole lives!" — Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times Best-selling Author and President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

"You'll never be the same after you read this book!" — Sheri Rose Shepherd, bestselling author of His Princess and His Princess Bride

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Renee Swope

About Renee

Renee Swope is Proverbs 31 Ministries' radio show co-host, a national speaker and our Executive Director of Radio and Devotions. But her favorite titles are wife and mom to her husband and three children. For more encouragement, free resources, great give-aways and more, visit

Click here to watch the book trailerDownload Chapter 1 A Confident Heart
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August 10, 2011

Changing the Way We Speak

Relying on the Holy Spirit

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29NIV).

Friend To Friend

It was a daunting scene. Over 1,200 miles of Alaskan shoreline covered with black slimy crude oil, more than 1,000 bodies of once bustling sea otters littering the coast, and over 100,000 grounded fowl groping for air. The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1988 dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound and disrupted the ecological balance of nature to kill many of its most beautiful inhabitants...including 150 bald eagles. The once glacier-fed waters teeming with life became an oily death trap.

Just as toxins in nuclear waste facilities, city dumps, and industrial accidents wreak havoc on the environment, so toxic words cause destruction to the hearts and souls of people. Paul wrote, "Let no foul or polluting language [ever] come out of your mouth" (Ephesians 4:29 Amp). Perhaps as you've read the previous five devotions that I have written about the power of the words we speak, you've cringed at words you've spoken and wish you could take them back. Words that have polluted the ones you hold dear. Can we clean up the mess and repair the damage? Absolutely! We can choose to dismantle the verbal weapons and break the patterns of toxic words. And to do so, we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Relying on the Holy Spirit

Tongues...most animals have one. Some snakes have forked tongues. Lizards smell with their tongues. Some fish, such as salmon and trout, have teeth on their tongues. Frogs and toads have tongues that whip out at incredible speeds to catch flies and other insects. Their cousin, the chameleon, has a tongue that is as long as its body. An anteater's tongue can stretch to the height of a two-year-old. A gecko uses its tongue to wipe across its eyes like a windshield, and a giraffe uses its twenty-inch tongue to clean its ears. The tongue of a blue whale is about the size and weight of a full grown African elephant.

Even though a human tongue cannot smell out dinner, reel in the catch of the day, or reach to the tops of trees to pick fruit, it can do something even more amazing. The human tongue can create words. Words are an incredible gift, and as we have seen, they have the potential for good or evil. How do we harness such energy and insure that it is only used for good? Unfortunately, James tells us it is impossible.

"All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by human beings, but no one can tame the tongue," (James 3:7-8 TNIV). That's the bad news. Now, here's the good news. While no human being can tame the tongue...God can. It may be impossible for James, and for you and me, but it is not impossible for God. "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" the angel asked Sarah after announcing that her ninety-year-old body was going to bear a child ( Genesis 18:14).

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who enables us to do all that God has called us to do. He gives us the power to change!

Jesus explained to the disciples: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). After Jesus' ascension into heaven, the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit as Jesus had instructed.

"When the day of Pentecost came, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak on other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:1-4).

Isn't it interesting that the first manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit was words and the first visual manifestation was tongues of fire? The disciples were able to speak in the various languages of the men and women who were visiting Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. The travelers heard the gospel in their own languages! Yes, that was astonishing. But even more amazing was the courage that arose in the cowardly disciples.

Just a short time before Pentecost, Peter had been so afraid that he denied he even knew who Jesus was. A mere servant girl's inquisition had Peter shaking in his sandals and swearing he was no friend of Jesus. After being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stood up, raised his voice, and addressed the crowd with such a mighty sermon that 3,000 men and women accepted Jesus as their Savior and were baptized. That's what the Holy Spirit can do for timid souls who believe. He can transform a cursing tongue into a confessing tongue.

It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to control this little muscle that rests between our teeth. However, change does require our cooperation. We must work in tandem with the Holy Spirit to reign in this feisty force. The Holy Spirit gives us the power, but our responsibility is to put God-given principles into practice.

Let's Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not leave us as orphans, but gave us the power of the Holy Spirit living within us to do all that You have called us to do. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me control the words that I speak and tame my tongue.

In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn

God really loves it when we pray specific prayers. Make a list of ways that you need to change the way you speak. Cursing? Negative? Discouraging? Critical? Complaining? Sarcastic? Crude?

Make a list and pray that God will help you change specific "unwholesome" speech that comes out of your mouth.

To comment on today's devotion,

While there, you can read comments from other Girlfriends in God readers.

More From The Girlfriends

Today's devotion is taken from Sharon's book The Power of a Woman's Words. In this book, you can explore the power you possess, the people you impact, the potential for change, and the profound possibilities. As you harness this mighty force, you will begin to use words to speak life to those around you. Get one for yourself, or gather a group of girlfriends to learn and grow together.

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