Thursday, August 04, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 4th August

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"The Lamb is the light thereof."
Revelation 21:23

Quietly contemplate the Lamb as the light of heaven. Light in Scripture is the emblem of joy. The joy of the saints in heaven is comprised in this: Jesus chose us, loved us, bought us, cleansed us, robed us, kept us, glorified us: we are here entirely through the Lord Jesus. Each one of these thoughts shall be to them like a cluster of the grapes of Eshcol. Light is also the cause of beauty. Nought of beauty is left when light is gone. Without light no radiance flashes from the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceedeth from the pearl; and thus all the beauty of the saints above comes from Jesus. As planets, they reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness; they live as beams proceeding from the central orb. If he withdrew, they must die; if his glory were veiled, their glory must expire. Light is also the emblem of knowledge. In heaven our knowledge will be perfect, but the Lord Jesus himself will be the fountain of it. Dark providences, never understood before, will then be clearly seen, and all that puzzles us now will become plain to us in the light of the Lamb. Oh! what unfoldings there will be and what glorifying of the God of love! Light also means manifestation. Light manifests. In this world it doth not yet appear what we shall be. God's people are a hidden people, but when Christ receives his people into heaven, he will touch them with the wand of his own love, and change them into the image of his manifested glory. They were poor and wretched, but what a transformation! They were stained with sin, but one touch of his finger, and they are bright as the sun, and clear as crystal. Oh! what a manifestation! All this proceeds from the exalted Lamb. Whatever there may be of effulgent splendour, Jesus shall be the centre and soul of it all. Oh! to be present and to see him in his own light, the King of kings, and Lord of lords!


"But as he went."
Luke 8:42

Jesus is passing through the throng to the house of Jairus, to raise the ruler's dead daughter; but he is so profuse in goodness that he works another miracle while upon the road. While yet this rod of Aaron bears the blossom of an unaccomplished wonder, it yields the ripe almonds of a perfect work of mercy. It is enough for us, if we have some one purpose, straightway to go and accomplish it; it were imprudent to expend our energies by the way. Hastening to the rescue of a drowning friend, we cannot afford to exhaust our strength upon another in like danger. It is enough for a tree to yield one sort of fruit, and for a man to fulfil his own peculiar calling. But our Master knows no limit of power or boundary of mission. He is so prolific of grace, that like the sun which shines as it rolls onward in its orbit, his path is radiant with lovingkindness. He is a swift arrow of love, which not only reaches its ordained target, but perfumes the air through which it flies. Virtue is evermore going out of Jesus, as sweet odours exhale from flowers; and it always will be emanating from him, as water from a sparkling fountain. What delightful encouragement this truth affords us! If our Lord is so ready to heal the sick and bless the needy, then, my soul, be not thou slow to put thyself in his way, that he may smile on thee. Be not slack in asking, if he be so abundant in bestowing. Give earnest heed to his word now, and at all times, that Jesus may speak through it to thy heart. Where he is to be found there make thy resort, that thou mayst obtain his blessing. When he is present to heal, may he not heal thee? But surely he is present even now, for he always comes to hearts which need him. And dost not thou need him? Ah, he knows how much! Thou Son of David, turn thine eye and look upon the distress which is now before thee, and make thy suppliant whole.


Today's reading: Psalm 63-65, Romans 6 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 63-65

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.... the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 6

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life....



[Jō'el] - jehovah is god or the lord is god.

  1. The first-born son of Samuelthe prophet (1 Sam. 8:2; 1 Chron. 6:33; 15:17). Called Vashni in 1 Chronicles 6:28.
  2. A Simeonite prince (1 Chron. 4:35).
  3. The father of Shemaiah, a Reubenite ( 1 Chron. 5:4, 8).
  4. A chief Gadite (1 Chron. 5:12).
  5. An ancestor of Samuel the prophet (1 Chron. 6:36).
  6. A chief man of Issachar, descendant of Tola (1 Chron. 7:3).
  7. One of David's heroes and a brother of Nathan (1 Chron. 11:38).
  8. A Gershonite in David's time ( 1 Chron. 15:7, 11; 23:8).
  9. Another Gershonite, keeper of the treasures of the Lord's house (1 Chron. 26:22).
  10. A prince of Manasseh in David's reign (1 Chron. 27:20).
  11. A Kohathite who assisted Hezekiah in the cleansing of the Temple (2 Chron. 29:12).
  12. One of Nebo's family who had taken a foreign wife (Ezra 10:43).
  13. A son of Zechri, and overseer of the Benjamites in Jerusalem (Neh. 11:9).
  14. Son of Pethuel, and prophet in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah (Joel 1:1; Acts 2:16).

The Man Who Foresaw Pentecost

Because nothing is known of Joel beyond what the opening verse of his book states, he has been styled "The Anonymous Prophet." Scripture is silent as to his birthplace, parentage and rank. All we know is that he was a son of Pethuel, or Bethuel as the LXX expresses it. But who Pethuel is no one knows. Its meaning, however, is significant, "vision of God," and springs from a word implying "to open the eyes."

Joel was a common name among the Hebrews and is still so among the Orientals. The use of his name as "the son of Pethuel" was necessary to distinguish him from the other Joels we have considered. It would seem as if his home was in Jerusalem or its immediate neighborhood. Thus he speaks repeatedly of Zion (Joel 2:1, 15, 23; 3:16, 17, 21), the children of Zion (Joel 2:23), Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 2:32; 3:1-20), the children of Judah and Jerusalem ( Joel 3:6, 8, 19).

It may be that Joel was a Jew of Jerusalem, and owing to his peculiar mention of priests, a priest-prophet himself (Joel 1:9, 10). His references to the Temple and its worship are frequent (Joel 1:9-16; 2:14, 17; 3:18). It is also likely that he lived and prophesied in the early days of Joash and Jehoida, 870-865b.c., while the victory of Jehoshaphat was fresh in the nation's memory. For this reason he is termed "The Pioneer Prophet."

Dr. A. B. Simpson says,

Amos begins his longer message with a direct quotation from Joel, as a sort of text for his whole book. Isaiah expands the thoughts which Joel uttered into the larger and loftier message of his pen. Peter, on the Day of Pentecost quotes the prophecy of Joel as the very foundation of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, which had occurred and which was to continue through the whole New Testament age. And even the great Apocalypse of John is but a larger unfolding of the promise of the Lord's coming which Joel gave in brief outline.

What is God's call to us through the Prophet Joel?

I. There is the call to repentance ( Joel 2:25-27).

II. There is the promise of refreshment (Joel 2:28, 29).

III. There is the message of deliverance (Joel 3:1).

IV. There is the secret of rest (Joel 3:17-21).


August 3, 2011

Changing the Way We Speak By

Renewing the Mind

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9 TNIV).

Friend To Friend

Have you ever been to a rodeo and watched a lassoing contest? The little calf bursts from the stall and then the cowboy and his steed follow close behind. With his lasso in hand, the cowboy swings the rope in the air and attempts to lasso the little heifer before she escapes out the corral door at the opposite side of the arena. That is a vivid picture of what we must do with the words that attempt to escape the gate, the mouth...we must rein them in.

The Bible teaches us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Once we lasso a thought (take it captive) we can decide which words leave the gate and which words need to be tied up and secured. Studies show that we speak at about 120 to 180 words a minute. Seems like we need to do a bit more lassoing and a lot less running on.

Let's take a look at this little heifer: our words, and how to rein them in. First, a thought bursts forth from the stall called the brain. It runs across the mind headed for the door called the mouth. In a split second, we must determine if that thought is of God or if it is against the knowledge of God. If we determine that the words are not of God, then we lasso the thought with the Word of Truth and it never makes its way out of the gate (the mouth). If it passes the God-test, we allow it to go free.

What is the lasso? It is the Word of God-the Word of Truth. That can seem a bit overwhelming, so let's just pick one verse as our lasso. Philippians 4:8,9 is a great place to start. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" (TNIV).

Before we speak, we can sift the words through a mental sieve. Is what I'm about to say:

  • True
  • Noble
  • Right
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Admirable

If the words don't fit this description, lasso them and don't let them go! If they do pass the test, let them trot out of the gate and bless the world!

The King James translation of 2 Corinthians 10:5 says it this way: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." I like that picture of casting down. See, once the cowboy slips the lasso around the calf's neck, he throws her to the ground and whips that rope around her kicking legs to make sure she's not going anywhere. Likewise, we need to "cast down" those thoughts back to the dirt where they came from and make sure theyaren't going anywhere.

Let's Pray

Dear LORD, sometimes I just can't believe what comes out of my mouth. Help me to think before I speak. If the words that are about to come out of my mouth are not pleasing to You or edifying to others, help me to rein them in and keep them from escaping my lips.

In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn

Make a list of Paul's litmus test for our words found in today's truth. At the end of the day, evaluate the words you spoke to others and see how you did.

Were there some words that you should have kept in the stall?

Where there some words of encouragement that you should have spoken but didn't?

I'm so glad that you are joining me on this journey to improve the words we speak. Don't get discouraged. Changing the way we speak takes prayer and practice, prayer and practice!

If you would like to comment on today's devotion, .

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.

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

Renee Swope

August 3, 2011

Don't Throw Away Your Confidence
Renee Swope

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

One night I was cleaning our kitchen and found this little rubber thingy on our countertop. It wasn't until after I threw it away that I realized it was the power button for our TV remote control. As I dug through the trash to find it, I regretted how quickly I'd thrown it away.

Then, as I reached to pull it out, I sensed God showing me that's how easily I throw away my confidence-without recognizing it.

It's usually very subtle. Sometimes I'll be thinking about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me and whispers to my heart, You can't do that. You're not good enough. Out of the blue, I'll just get that awful, insecure feeling.

Too many times in the past I've gone along with it, tossing my confidence into the trash without even thinking.

For years, I didn't tell anyone about my lack of confidence because I figured if I told them all the reasons I doubted myself, they'd see my flaws and agree with me. Honestly, I was convinced I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

However, I didn't call it doubt. Maybe you don't either. Sometimes I called it worry-worry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.

Other times I'd call it fear-fear that I wouldn't measure up, fear that I'd look stupid, fear that I'd look prideful thinking I could do something special for God. What I've realized over the past several years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt.

Looking back, I see a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.

As a child I thought I wasn't worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park, because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, Ithought I wasn't smart enough. I avoided some great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.

Even as a young bride, I doubted my worth in my husband's eyes. Although he gave me no reason to fear he'd ever leave me, our newlywed memories include a lot of arguments based on my insecurities.

What about you? Do you ever question your worth as a woman? How often do you agree with the whispers of self-doubt and throw away confidence that should be yours as a child of God?

I've learned to ask God to show me when I'm tempted to throw away my confidence and then depend on Him to help me throw away my insecurities instead. Want to join me? Let's hold onto God's promises and depend on His truth for the security we need and the confidence we long for:

• When self-doubt whispers, "I can't do that. I'm going to fail and look foolish." Throw away that lie away and hold onto this truth (even say it out loud): "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"(Hebrews 13:6, NIV 1984)

• When self-doubt whispers, "I'll never change." Throw away that lie away and claim this truth: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."(Philippians 1:6, NASB)

• When self-doubt whispers, "This is too hard for me. I don't have what it takes to..." Throw away that lie away and hold onto this truth: "No, in all these things [I am] more than a [conqueror] through him who loved [me]."(Romans 8:37, NIV)

Lord, I want to become a woman with a confident heart in Christ. Will you help me recognize when I throw away my confidence, and remind me to throw away my insecurities instead? I want to persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt or insecurity tells me I can't do something, I will remember that all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
We're celebrating the release of Renee's new book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

Be sure to visit Renee's new website and enter to win a copy of her book, A Confident Heart as well as a gift card and her message on CD entitled, "Don't Throw Away Your Confidence."

Download Renee's Twenty Promises to Personalize - a list of powerful verses that have blanks inserted so you can personalize them for yourself and for others, too.

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:
Take Renee's Doubt Index Analysis - a free quiz to help you see what makes you throw away your confidence, and how it affects you and your relationships.

"The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior (and beliefs) will begin to reflect your true identity!" Dr. Neil T. Anderson

Power Verses:
Hebrews 10:39, "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." (NIV 1984)

Mark 9:23, "'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who believes.'" (NIV)

© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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


No Fear: Ordinary people can now hold a conversation with God

Read Luke 2

Luke 2:52: And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Nearly every time an angel appears in the Bible, his first words are, "Don't be afraid!" Little wonder. When the supernatural makes contact with planet Earth, the human observers usually end up flat on their faces in fear.

But Luke tells of God appearing in a form that does not frighten. In Jesus, born in a barn and laid in a feeding trough, God uses a mode of approach that causes no fear. What could be less scary than a newborn baby?

Imagine becoming a baby again: giving up language and muscle coordination and the ability to eat solid food and control your bladder. That gives a mere hint of the "emptying" that Jesus chooses to undergo.

Both God and Man

According to the Bible, Jesus is both God and man. As God, he works miracles, forgives sins, conquers death and predicts the future. As he does all these things, Jesus evokes awe in the people around him. But for Jews, accustomed to seeing God in a bright cloud or a pillar of fire, Jesus also causes much confusion. How could a baby in Bethlehem, a carpenter's son, a man from Nazareth, be God? Jesus' skin gets in the way.

All through his life-and even today-Jesus remains a puzzling figure for skeptics. God could have made his identity more smashingly obvious, but he chose not to.

What does God gain by coming in "disguise"? Why does God empty himself and take on human form? The Bible gives many reasons, some densely theological and some quite practical. Luke's story of Jesus as an adolescent in the temple (see Luke 2:41-50) gives one clue. For the first time, ordinary people can hold a conversation, a debate, with God in visible form. Jesus can talk to anyone-his parents, a rabbi, a poor widow-without first having to announce, "Don't be afraid!" In Jesus, God comes close.

Life Question

If Jesus came to visit you in person today, what would you want to talk with him about?



Explore Further

Today's reading is from the
NIV Student Bible
by Zondervan

A proven, common sense approach to studying the Scriptures appeals to high school and college readers (and students of all ages).

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