Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 25th August

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The breaker is come up before them."
Micah 2:13

Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things remain not as they would have been had he never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up now thou faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ travelled the road, but he has slain thine enemies. Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross. Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. God has taken away in the person of Christ all the power that anything can have to hurt us. Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are conquered beforehand. What shall you do but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count.

"Proclaim aloud the Saviour's fame,

Who bears the Breaker's wond'rous name;

Sweet name; and it becomes him well,

Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell."

Evening

"If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution."
Exodus 22:6

But what restitution can he make who casts abroad the fire-brands of error, or the coals of lasciviousness, and sets men's souls on a blaze with the fire of hell? The guilt is beyond estimate, and the result is irretrievable. If such an offender be forgiven, what grief it will cause him in the retrospect, since he cannot undo the mischief which he has done! An ill example may kindle a flame which years of amended character cannot quench. To burn the food of man is bad enough, but how much worse to destroy the soul! It may be useful to us to reflect how far we may have been guilty in the past, and to enquire whether, even in the present, there may not be evil in us which has a tendency to bring damage to the souls of our relatives, friends, or neighbours.

The fire of strife is a terrible evil when it breaks out in a Christian church. Where converts were multiplied, and God was glorified, jealousy and envy do the devil's work most effectually. Where the golden grain was being housed, to reward the toil of the great Boaz, the fire of enmity comes in and leaves little else but smoke and a heap of blackness. Woe unto those by whom offences come. May they never come through us, for although we cannot make restitution, we shall certainly be the chief sufferers if we are the chief offenders. Those who feed the fire deserve just censure, but he who first kindles it is most to blame. Discord usually takes first hold upon the thorns; it is nurtured among the hypocrites and base professors in the church, and away it goes among the righteous, blown by the winds of hell, and no one knows where it may end. O thou Lord and giver of peace, make us peacemakers, and never let us aid and abet the men of strife, or even unintentionally cause the least division among thy people.

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Today's reading: Psalm 116-118, 1 Corinthians 7:1-19 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 116-118

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
"LORD, save me!"

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-19

Concerning Married Life

1 Now for the matters you wrote about: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that....

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Aaron

[Aâr'on] - a mountain of strength orenlightened. The son of Amran and of Jochebed his wife, and of the family of Kohath, who was the second son of Levi, who was the third son of Jacob. Miriam was Aaron's elder sister and Moses was his junior brother by some three years. Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Naashon, and by her had four sons - Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar (Exod. 6:16-23).

The Man Who Was an Excellent Speaker

It is somewhat fitting that Aaron should not only begin the list of men under the letter A - one of the longest lists of all - but also of all the men listed alphabetically in the Bible.

The first glimpse we have of this great Bible saint is that of an eloquent speaker, and because of this fact he was chosen by God to be the prophet and spokesman of his brother Moses in his encounters with Pharaoh. The fame of his oratory was known in heaven, and recognized by God. A great orator has been defined as a good man well-skilled in speaking, and of such capacities was Aaron. When Moses protested against appearing before Pharaoh, pleading that he was not eloquent, but slow of speech and of a slow tongue (Exod. 3:10; 4:11, 12) did he refer to a defect of speech he suffered from? "Not eloquent" means, not a man of words and "slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" means heavy of speech and heavy of tongue.

There are those authorities who suggest that Moses had a stammer or lisp, a physical impediment of speech necessitating a spokesman of Aaron's ability. It would seem as if God's promise that He would be with his mouth and was able to help him overcome any disability as a speaker, bears out the thought of an actual defect of speech. This we do know, Aaron must have spoken with great power when he addressed Pharaoh on the signs and plagues of Exodus four through eleven.

Aaron plays an important part in the inauguration and development of priestly functions, all of which are prescribed in Leviticus. Among the mature males of Israel there were three classes:

From the tribes of Israel came the warriors.

From the tribe of Levi came the workers.

From the family of Aaron came the worshipers.

Aaron became the first high priest of Israel, and in Aaron and his sons we have a fitting type of Christ and His Church. The ministry of Aaron in connection with the Tabernacle with all of its services is referred to by the writer of the Hebrews as a figure of the true ministry of the High Priest who is Jesus.

Yet in spite of his high and holy calling. Aaron suffered from the murmurings of the people (Exod. 16:2; Num. 14:2). He was persuaded by the people to make a golden calf and was reproved by Moses for his action (Exod. 32 ). Aaron's penitence, however, was complete, and his service faithful. Perhaps Aaron could be placed at the head of all Old Testament penitents, for his own sins as well as for the sins of others. While Aaron was Jesus Christ in type and by imputation, he yet remains Aaron all the time, Aaron of the molten image and of many untold transgressions besides. With Moses, Aaron was excluded from the Promised Land (Num. 20:12). He died at the age of 123 years on Mount Hor, in the land of Edom, and was buried there (Num. 20).

A profitable meditation on "The Priestly Calling" could be developed along the line of the following suggestions.

I. Aaron was a type of Christ, the Great High Priest.
A. Both were chosen of God. Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
B. Both had to be clean, seeing they bore the vessels of the Lord. Aaron was a sinner and needed cleansing - Christ was sinless.
C. Both are clothed - Aaron with his coat, robe and ephod; Christ robed in garments of glory and beauty.
D. Both are crowned - Aaron with his mitre, or holy crown, Christ with His many diadems.
E. Both are consecrated or set apart - Aaron was blood sprinkled and had his hands filled for the Lord (Lev. 8:24-27); Christ is sanctified forever (John 17:16, 17).
F. Both feed on the bread of consecration (cf. Lev. 22:21, 22with John 4:32).
G. Both are blameless. No man with a blemish could come nigh to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled.

II. Aaron's sons were types of the Christian. What a precious truth the priesthood of all true believers is.
A. They had names closely associated. "Aaron and his sons" appears ten times. Aaron's sons were called in him. We were chosen in Christ from the eternal past. Priests because sons, is true in both cases.
B. They had the same calling. Aaron and his sons were priests. Christ and ourselves are priests unto God.
C. They had the same anointing. Aaron and his sons were accepted by the same blood and anointed with the same oil. Christ entered the veil by His own blood, and we enter by the same blood. Head and members alike are anointed with the same blessed Spirit.
D. They had their hands filled with the same offering, ate the same food, were under the same authority. How these aspects are likewise applicable to Christ and His own!

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The Suffering Servant: Who is this mysterious figure?

Today's reading: Isaiah 52

Isaiah 52:13 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

Isaiah's four songs about a "suffering servant" are among the richest and most closely studied passages in the Old Testament (see Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12). This chapter illustrates why the servant songs sparked fierce debates among the rabbis seeking to understand them. The first part stirs anticipation for a glorious time when God will restore the holy city and people will shout to Jerusalem, "Your God reigns!" It looks as if Israel will gain revenge on its enemies at last.

But the author goes on to explain how God will redeem Jerusalem by introducing the mysterious figure of the suffering servant, whose appearance is "disfigured beyond that of any human being" (Isaiah 52:14). Who is this suffering servant? And how will such a weakened person achieve a great victory, even bringing light to all nations?

Jewish scholars puzzled over these passages for centuries. Many considered them the most significant part of the entire Hebrew Scriptures, yet they could not agree on exactly what the prophet meant.

A Nation or a Person?

Sometimes the verses speak of the servant as the nation of Israel as a whole: "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor" (Isaiah 49:3). In other places, the servant seems to refer to a specific individual, a great leader who suffers terribly.

Isaiah presents the servant as the deliverer of all humankind. Yet it portrays him as more of a tragic figure than a hero: "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7).

An Answer From the New Testament

The idea of the suffering servant did not really catch on among the Jewish nation. They longed for a victorious Messiah, not a suffering one. The image of the suffering servant went underground, as it were, lying dormant for centuries.

In a very dramatic scene early in his ministry, Jesus quoted from one of the servant passages in Isaiah: "Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing' " (Luke 4:20-21).

At last, a link snapped into place for some, but not for all, of Jesus' listeners. The Messiah had come at last-not as a conquering general, but as a carpenter's son from Nazareth.

Life Questions

  • If you had been a Jew in Jesus' day, would you have been disappointed in the Messiah?
  • Why did Jesus choose to come as a suffering servant rather than as, perhaps, a triumphant army general?

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August 24, 2011

A Place to Belong

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12, NIV).

Friend To Friend

Advertisers are well aware of the need human beings have to belong. They are banking on it. How many times have my eyes filled with tears over a television commercial? A credit card commercial shows a grown daughter taking her elderly mother back to Italy to discover her roots..."The cost? Priceless." (I cry.) A horse-drawn carriage glides through the snow on its way to a cozy cottage nestled in the trees with smoke swirling in the sky..."Home for the holidays." (I cry). A young man dressed in a military uniform drops his duffle bag on his unknowing parent's den floor in the wee hours of the morning and starts the coffee maker. His mother, smelling the aroma, hurries down the stairs and clutches her heart as tears stream down her cheeks at the sight of her soldier home from war. (I cry.)

The tears that form in my eyes prove that the advertisers have tapped into my need to belong. They would have us believe that if we buy their particular product, we will have that warm fuzzy feeling of euphoria or ecstatic joy.

But we know the truth. True joy will not be found on the grocery store shelf, the cars sales lot, or the department store window. It cannot be bought with the swipe of a credit card or cold hard cash. People want to feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves and that there is more to this life than accumulating wealth and accomplishments.

God tells us that when we come to Christ, we become part of His family.

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God' children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:16, 17).

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1).

We have lots of brothers and sisters. Not only that, we have girlfriends in God who love each other, care for each other, and sometimes correct each other. I'm so glad that God has given us a place to belong. Aren't you?

Let's Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for bringing me into Your family. I am so thankful that I belong to You. Today, help me to find comfort in the fact that no matter who rejects me or excludes me, You will always love me and accept me just the way I am.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen

Now It's Your Turn

Have you ever teared-up at a TV commercial? If so, which one?

What about the commercial touched your heart?

Have you ever teared-up over a Bible passage? If so, which one?

John 17:20-26 is one passage that always touches my heart. Just to think that Jesus was praying for me on the day before He went to the cross makes my heart swell. Read those words and remember that Jesus is praying for you, even today.

More From The Girlfriends

Because God is your Father, He has dreams for His little girl...you. To learn more about the incredible dreams that God has for you, see Dreams of a Woman: God's Plans for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes. And hold on to your hats...He's got great plans for your life!

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
Amy Carroll

August 24, 2011

Rebuilt
Amy Carroll

"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (NIV)

"Are you sure you're ready to have a tiger by the tail?" mom asked with a big grin. That was her first response when my then-boyfriend Barry asked my parents if he could marry me.

It still makes me laugh, because I was certainly a strange mix of rule-following, first-child with a wide streak of sassiness and fierce independence. I'm still not sure Barry had any idea what he was getting into when he said, "I do."

That was over twenty years ago, so when Barry asked an unexpected question during our family vacation, it opened my eyes to some of God's difficult work in my life. Barry and I sat on the deck overlooking the ocean talking in low voices about the topics that concern many of us-finances, parenting, plans for the future. Suddenly, he asked his startling question.

"If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?"

My mind went blank except for the thought, Whew! This is a really loaded question. At first I didn't want to answer (why ruin a great evening?), but I finally answered, braced myself and re-asked the question, "What would you change about me?"

I had a pretty good list going in my mind of what I thought he'd say-I wish you weren't so critical. I wish you wouldn't talk so much. I wish you would cook dinner more often.

What he actually said surprised me. "I want you to get your confidence back. When I married you, your favorite phrase was, 'I'll do it myself!' I've watched you lose your confidence over the years, and I want you to have it back," he replied.

A move, a couple of friendships with bad endings and struggling to find a place in my new home town had knocked the stuffing right out of me. I had fought and lost against my own tendency toward comparison, perfectionism and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Little by little, I became convinced that I couldn't and that I wasn't. My confidence had been shaken and finally crumbled.

But sometimes things have to be torn down before they can be rebuilt.

Was it God's plan that I would move, fail in some friendships and beat myself up trying to be somebody else? No! He did, however, use this bad place to bring me to a better place. God began rebuilding confidence in me a few years ago, and He capped it off when I got home from Proverbs 31 Ministries' She Speaks conference that year.

There He spoke to me over and over again about trusting my life to His control. The scripture in my Sunday school class the following Sunday was our key verse today, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6: "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (NIV)

For years I walked in my own strength of "I can do it," but God brought me to His strength and the knowledge that "He can do it in me."

He has brought me out of my own power, which is so limited and flawed, to being dependent on the infilling power of His Spirit. Confidence in myself has very limited power, whereas confidence in Him brings limitless possibilities.

I know that I'll still have days of struggle with confidence, but my rebuilt and renewed sense of confidence is now firmly in Christ. It's a beautiful place to be.

Dear Lord, I have depended on myself so many times and fallen short. My confidence has been shaken. Rebuild me by helping me to put my full confidence in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

Visit Amy's blog for more encouragement on how to trade in wavering self-confidence with lasting God-confidence, and enter to win a copy of Renee Swope's new book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

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:
Journal a prayer thanking God for His limitless power and capabilities. Ask God to fill you with His power while giving up your own.

Reflections:
Am I truly dependent on God, or do I rely primarily on myself?

Where is my focus when I am struggling with confidence?

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build...." (NIV)

Philippians 3:3, "For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh..." (NIV)

© 2011 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

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Prostitute. Murderer. Redeemed
Campus Crusade for Christ International

Dear friend,

Ulya was a prostitute convicted of murder. She was locked away in a prison in the former Soviet Union, sentenced to 9 years. In that hopeless, dark place, Ulya met Jesus.

Watch her amazing story today.

My name is Mike Duggins with Campus Crusade for Christ. We've been working tirelessly to help fulfill the Great Commission since 1951, sharing the message of the gospel on university campuses and around the world.

The video I'm sharing with you highlights the great faith and persistence of one Campus Crusade missionary. Because of one missionary, the prison where Ulya was sent to rot had a vibrant ministry. Women rejected by society were finding eternal hope!

Watch Ulya's story

This incredible video tells Ulya's story. Please take a moment to watch today.

Grateful for you,

Mike Duggins
Director of Ministry Development

Campus Crusade for Christ International®
100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, FL 32832 | 1-888-CRUSADE | www.ccci.org

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