Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Daily Devotional Tuesday 9th August

“For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"They weave the spider's web."
Isaiah 59:5

See the spider's web, and behold in it a most suggestive picture of the hypocrite's religion. It is meant to catch his prey: the spider fattens himself on flies, and the Pharisee has his reward. Foolish persons are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more judicious cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose guileful declaration of faith was so soon exploded by the stern rebuke of Peter. Custom, reputation, praise, advancement, and other flies, are the small game which hypocrites take in their nets. A spider's web is a marvel of skill: look at it and admire the cunning hunter's wiles. Is not a deceiver's religion equally wonderful? How does he make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth? How can he make his tinsel answer so well the purpose of gold? A spider's web comes all from the creature's own bowels. The bee gathers her wax from flowers, the spider sucks no flowers, and yet she spins out her material to any length. Even so hypocrites find their trust and hope within themselves; their anchor was forged on their own anvil, and their cable twisted by their own hands. They lay their own foundation, and hew out the pillars of their own house, disdaining to be debtors to the sovereign grace of God. But a spider's web is very frail. It is curiously wrought, but not enduringly manufactured. It is no match for the servant's broom, or the traveller's staff. The hypocrite needs no battery of Armstrongs to blow his hope to pieces, a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the besom of destruction begins its purifying work. Which reminds us of one more thought, viz., that such cobwebs are not to be endured in the Lord's house: he will see to it that they and those who spin them shall be destroyed forever. O my soul, be thou resting on something better than a spider's web. Be the Lord Jesus thine eternal hiding-place.


"All things are possible to him that believeth."
Mark 9:23

Many professed Christians are always doubting and fearing, and they forlornly think that this is the necessary state of believers. This is a mistake, for "all things are possible to him that believeth"; and it is possible for us to mount into a state in which a doubt or a fear shall be but as a bird of passage flitting across the soul, but never lingering there. When you read of the high and sweet communions enjoyed by favoured saints, you sigh and murmur in the chamber of your heart, "Alas! these are not for me." O climber, if thou hast but faith, thou shalt yet stand upon the sunny pinnacle of the temple, for "all things are possible to him that believeth." You hear of exploits which holy men have done for Jesus; what they have enjoyed of him; how much they have been like him; how they have been able to endure great persecutions for his sake; and you say, "Ah! as for me, I am but a worm; I can never attain to this." But there is nothing which one saint was, that you may not be. There is no elevation of grace, no attainment of spirituality, no clearness of assurance, no post of duty, which is not open to you if you have but the power to believe. Lay aside your sackcloth and ashes, and rise to the dignity of your true position; you are little in Israel because you will be so, not because there is any necessity for it. It is not meet that thou shouldst grovel in the dust, O child of a King. Ascend! The golden throne of assurance is waiting for you! The crown of communion with Jesus is ready to bedeck your brow. Wrap yourself in scarlet and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day; for if thou believest, thou mayst eat the fat of kidneys of wheat; thy land shall flow with milk and honey, and thy soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. Gather golden sheaves of grace, for they await thee in the fields of faith. "All things are possible to him that believeth."


Today's reading: Psalm 74-76, Romans 9:16-33 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 74-76

A maskil of Asaph.

1 O God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember the nation you purchased long ago,
the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed-
Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes
to cut through a thicket of trees.
6 They smashed all the carved paneling
with their axes and hatchets.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their hearts, "We will crush them completely!"
They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 9:16-33

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?" 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?



The Woman Who Was Called Mad

Scripture Reference - Acts 12:1-19

Name Meaning - Foreign born, this domestic servant of Mary the mother of Mark had a Greek name meaning "rose." Wilkinson remarks that as "Barnabas, Mary's brother, was of the country of Cyprus, it is a very reasonable supposition that the family had been resident there, and brought thence this maiden, who, like so many of her nation born in foreign parts, had received a Greek name." Although she carried one of the most beautiful names she was called by another not so pleasant. The saints in Mary's home called her Manias meaning, "a mad woman."

In the human episode in which Rhoda is the prominent character, nothing is said of pedigree. As a slave-maid she did not merit any genealogy. As a servant, she had no hours. The fact that it was long past midnight when Peter reached Mary's house, and that Rhoda the portress answered the door, indicates that she was willing to serve long and late. Mary, her mistress, also found in Rhoda a spiritual help. Doubtless she, too, was on her knees with the others praying for Peter, and hearing his knock went to the door. Perhaps we can break up the narrative in this threefold way. Peter knocked - Rhoda was shocked - The saints mocked.

Peter Knocked

The background of the record which Rhoda shares can be briefly cited. Mary of Jerusalem, a rich widow and mother of Mark the evangelist, owned a large and conspicuous house in the city which she placed at the service of the Lord. During the days of terrible persecution the saints in Jerusalem gathered regularly in her lovely home not only for the reading and exposition of the Word, but also to pray for afflicted saints. On the night in question the saints concentrated on the deliverance of a precious life, namely, Peter their leader. Herod's sword of persecution had fallen heavily upon the church in Jerusalem. James the Greater had already drunk the cup of martyrdom prophesied for him by his Lord, and the gathered intercessors had learned that Peter, imprisoned by Herod, was the next to be led forth to die. If their shepherd was smitten what could the sheep do. Such a crisis brought Peter's fellow believers to their knees in night-long intercession.

As the church in the house earnestly petitioned the Lord, their prayers were heard. In the prison the Lord, by means of an angel, miraculously freed Peter. Peter sped past guards and through opened doors, and came to the closed door of a house where he knew the saints were gathered together praying. Peter knocked at the door, but because of Rhoda's excitement, she failed to open the door. Peter continued knocking until the door was opened, not by angelic hands, as at the prison he had left, but by unbelieving human hands. Such a delay might have been dangerous, if the guards, discovering their prisoner had escaped, had tracked him down and found him standing at the closed gate of Mary's ancient house.

Rhoda Was Shocked

Peter not only knocked but also spoke, for we read that she knew his voice - the dear voice she had listened to so often expounding the sacred truths of the Word. But she was so stunned and overwhelmed at the answer to those midnight prayers standing there, that she failed to draw the bolts and admit Peter. "She opened not the gate for gladness." Such gladness would have been changed to sadness had Herod's soldiers appeared at that moment and taken Peter back to prison. We can understand Rhoda not opening the gate as soon as she heard the knock. "Never open a door in the dark until you know who is behind it." In those days when the saints were not sure who would be the next to join the noble army of martyrs, great caution was necessary. That knock might have been the summons of cruel Herod, making a fresh inroad on the little flock. But when Rhoda asked, "Who is knocking?" and received the muffled reply, "It is Peter, open quickly," she should have opened the gate before opening her mouth to others in the house about Peter standing outside. Knowing that for certain it was Peter, it was her duty as the maid to open the door. But stunned by the glad tidings she was momentarily thoughtless.

There are some characteristics of this maidservant who only has this one notice in Scripture, which are attractive. First, unbounded joy was hers. Luke, the beloved physician, who wrote the Acts, analyzes Rhoda's state of consciousness when the good news of answered prayer on Peter's behalf overpowered her presence of mind. She forgot herself - and her duty - and ran in to tell the intercessors to pray no more for Peter was at the gate. We can imagine how excitedly she shouted, "Peter is free! Peter is knocking at the door!" A spontaneous child of nature, she manifested her exuberance. Had hers been a calmer, less passionate nature, she would have opened the door when she knew it was Peter, and then gone in to tell the praying band that Peter was safe and free.

Further, when her good, glad information was scorned by the saints whose prayers for Peter had been interrupted by Rhoda's joyous outburst, "she constantly affirmed that it was even so." Her young heart believed in God and in the power of prayer, and knowing definitely that prayer had been answered, she would not suffer the praying band in the house of her mistress to browbeat her into silence. Although only the maid, she was not to be subdued by the sarcastic criticism of the large congregation present. She knew it was Peter, and nothing could move her from that belief. Rhoda wore the red rose of courage so beautifully as she persisted against opposition to constantly affirm the truth.

The Saints Mocked

How revealing was the reaction of those gathered together to Rhoda's excited announcement. First of all, they told the glad maid that she was mad . They accused her of insanity! But Rhoda was in good company because it had been said of the Saviour whom she had come to know and love, "He is beside Himself." Then, when Paul's eye kindled with the glory of his message, just as the face of Rhoda glowed as she told of answered prayer, Festus said of the Apostle, "Thou art beside thyself, much learning doth make thee mad." The prophet speaks about the spiritual man being mad (Hosea 9:7 ). Have we ever been thought mad for Christ, or fools for His sake? We are in the best of company if others sneer at us as we declare and live the message of God's power through Christ. But being told she had lost her senses did not deter Rhoda from the repetition of what she knew to be true.

Departing from their accusation, the band said, "It is his angel." Failing to move Rhoda from her persistent testimony, the saints treated her message as coming from the dead. It was a common Jewish belief that every true Israelite had a guardian angel especially assigned to him, who, when he appeared in human form, assumed the likeness of the man whom he protected. The continued knocking of Peter, however, stifled that interpretation of Rhoda's testimony because guardian angels are not prevented from carrying out their mission by closed doors. So, feeling that there was something insistently human about that constant knocking "they opened the door, saw Peter, and were astonished."

Astonished! How this description of their feelings revealed their unbelief! They had been praying for hours for Peter, yet when Peter stood at the door they did not believe it. Lack of faith was mingled with their intercessions, and so they were surprised at the miracle God had performed in Peter's escape from prison. Our Lord instructed His disciples to pray believingly. "When ye ask, believe that ye receive." Spurgeon once said, "If the Lord wants to surprise His people, He has only at once to give them an answer. No sooner do they receive an answer than they say, 'Who would have thought it?'" Mary of Jerusalem came to value her godly maid, Rhoda, more than ever because of the great assistance she had rendered that memorable day. And once in the house, Peter must have commended her for her persistence.


Enoch, Henoch

[Ē'nŏch,Hē'nŏch] - teacher, initiated, dedicated.

  1. The eldest son of Cain, who had a city called after him (Gen. 4:17, 18; 1 Chron. 1:3).
  2. A son of Jared, a descendant of Seth and father of Methuselah (Gen. 5:18-23; Luke 3:37; Heb. 11:5; Jude 14).

The Man Who Was Missed

In some six verses the Bible sets forth the brief biography of this Old Testament saint - but what a biography! We know nothing of the rank or profession of Enoch. Two things of great interest characterize him, namely, his holy life on earth and his glorious exit from earth.

Enoch walked with God. Twice over we are reminded of this evident fact. The wicked are "without God." Enoch was at peace with God. Although born a child of wrath, he became a child of grace. He must have been at peace with God; two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3).

Enoch enjoyed close communion with God . What a real union of hearts the repeated phrase, "walked with God" implies! What sweet hours of holy and happy intercourse God and Enoch must have had as they communed with each other. There was never a cloud between their fellowship. God was a pleasure to Enoch, and Enoch pleased God.

Enoch was separated from the world. This seventh man from Adam did not walk in the way of the sinners of his corrupt age. His character and conduct were a distinct rebuke to the godless around. Jude tells us that Enoch functioned as a prophet, declaring God's just judgment upon the unrighteousness of his time.

Enoch's life was one of progress . Walking with God implies a steady progress in his course. He did not walk for awhile and then stand still. Each day found him nearer the divine goal. In unbroken companionship with his Friend, he found himself more weaned from the world and more ripe for heaven. He did not attempt to walk alone to heaven. He walked with God, and as he took each step his eyes were fixed on his heavenly Companion.

Enoch had an unusually glorious end . He is the only one of the line of whom it is not said that "he died." He was not - God took him. "He was not" suggests that his friends sought for him. He was a missing person they could not trace. "God took him," which means he was translated that he should not taste death. Among the millions upon millions of men who have lived, only two out of the vast number never died - Enoch and Elijah! Andrew Bonar has the sweet suggestion that God and Enoch were in the habit of taking a long walk together every day and that one day God said to his companion, "Why go home? Come all the way with Me." Thus at 365 years of age - a year for every day of our year - God took His servant directly to heaven.


August 8, 2011

Changing the Way We Speak By

Examining the Heart

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Jesus said, "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean...But things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean'" (Matthew 15:11,18 NIV).

Friend To Friend

While it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to change the words we speak, the desire to change begins in the heart. The Bible says:

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit...For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will condemned" (Matthew 12:33-37).

The word heart that is used in this passage is the Greek wordkardia. It is not referring to the blood pumping muscle in the chest cavity, but to our thoughts, motives, feelings, our will, and our character. The kardia is the seat of our emotions and represents the inner person. The words that escape our lips reveal the condition of the inner man.

Remember the children's song:

I'm a little teapot short and stout,

Here is my handle, here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up hear me shout,

Just tip me over and pour me out.

Well I don't know about you, but when I get all steamed up, what comes out of my mouth isn't always a cup of tea! It is in those unguarded moments of frustration, anger, or pain that our mouths tend to spew out what is really inside. Jesus said, "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean...But things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean'" (Matthew 15:11,18 ). Jesus continually pointed out the condition of the Pharisees' hearts. They clung to outward religious practices. But God desired their hearts, which were hardened and cold.

The book of Proverbs has much to say about how the condition of our heart affects what we say.

  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
  • The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. (Proverbs 10:8)
  • A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but theheart of fools blurts out folly. Proverbs 12:23)
  • An anxious heart weights a man down, but a kind wordcheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
  • The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. (Proverbs 15:14)
  • The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but themouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28 TNIV)
  • A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good newsgives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)
  • The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant wordspromote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21)
  • The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:23 TNIV)
  • One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (Proverbs 22:11 TNIV)
  • Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lipswith an evil heart. (Proverbs 26:23)
  • Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in theirhearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. (Proverbs 26:24, 25 TNIV)
  • As the water reflects a face, so one's life reflects theheart. (Often that reflection is through spoken words) (Proverbs 27:18 TNIV)

So, how's your heart? The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.

Let's Pray

Dear LORD, Examine my heart today and reveal to me any areas of my life that I need to change. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and restore a right spirit within me.

In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn

Turn to Psalm 51 and make that your prayer today.

To comment on today's devotion, visitwww.sharonjaynes.com/blog .

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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Matthews, NC 28106


Wendy Pope

August 8, 2011

The Prayer that Changed My Life
Wendy Pope

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

Twenty-two thousand women sat on the edge of their seats as the teacher standing center stage asked, "Do you want to have an insatiable love for Jesus?" Her words hung in the air. Then she answered, "Pray to. If you want an insatiable love for Jesus, then pray to."

Scrambling to find my pen and struggling to spell the word insatiable, I wrote these simple yet powerful words in my conference notebook. The words stung my heart. As they fell from her lips, I knew this was a love for Jesus I did not have.

What I did have was church membership, a lot of church service, and some love. While Jesus was my Savior, something was missing.

I realized I had asked Jesus to be my Savior but not allowed Him to be my Lord. I loved Him for what He did but not for who He was. At age 34, I wanted to cry out this "pray to" prayer. But I wondered, "What must God think of me?"

Service to Him had been my life. Dedication to my church was paramount. But love? How could I not really love Jesus? Certainly He would be disinclined to hear such an elementary prayer from a grown woman who'd been a Christian much of her life.

My thoughts were misguided. It was a prayer God wanted to answer immeasurably more than I could think or imagine. He wanted me to have an insatiable love for Him!

The speaker's challenge that day became a lifestyle of prayer for me. Over time the emptiness in my heart was filled with a love for Jesus I had never known. My heart not only praised Him for what He had done in my life, but now loved Him for who He was: my Lord.

My obedience and service started to flow from a heart of love instead of duty. Lies that once shaped my life and negative feelings about myself where shattered by the honesty and power of His Word. The security of knowing Him as Lord gave me what I had been looking for my whole life. I found freedom in knowing who I am and courage to live like it's true.

The promise and power of today's key verse proved faithful in my life, changing me forever. Today, I want to challenge and invite you the same. Do you want to love Jesus with an insatiable love?

If you want to, then pray to.

Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to help you love Him. He will give you immeasurably more than you can imagine. Over time the emptiness in your heart will be filled with a love for Jesus you have never known. Your heart will praise Him for what He has done and for who He is-your Lord. If you want to, pray to.

Dear Lord, I want to love You with an insatiable love. Answer my prayer immeasurably more than I can think of or imagine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

The prayer that changed Wendy's life gave her an insatiable love for Jesus and opened doors for her to surrender her life in ministry. God has uniquely gifted Wendy to teach a daily online Bible Study on her blog. Visit today and sign up to receive her daily posts atWalking with Women through the Word.

Wendy wrote about the changes God made in her life as she prayed the "pray to" prayer in her book, Out of the Mouths of Babes. Read it today to see what God can do when you "pray to."

Living Free in Christ: Experiencing Life as it was Meant to Be (CD) by Wendy Pope

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:
Commit to "pray to." Pray the "pray to" prayer until you begin to experience Him every day. Journal the changes God is makes in you life.

What is the Lord teaching me through today's devotion?

How will I respond to this "pray to" challenge?

Power Verses:
Psalm 54:2, "Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth." (NIV 1984)

Psalm 69:13, "But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation." (NIV)

Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (NIV)

© 2011 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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


Leadership Principle: Long-range Planning

Read Genesis 3:15.

Looking ahead into the future, that great unknown, is an integral characteristic of effective leadership. Although as a leader you may not possess a crystal ball to foretell what the futurewill bring, you can and should be planning for what it may bring.

God demonstrated his ability to foresee the future in Genesis 3:15. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God looked far into the years ahead and declared what would come to pass. God warned that there would beenmity or hostility between the serpent (Satan) and the future offspring of Eve (Christ). Satan would strike his heel,referring to the painful death of Christ on the cross. But that was not the end of the story. Christ would crush the head of the serpent. While Satan would appear to have won when Jesus died on the cross, Satan would be the ultimate loser in this great spiritual battle.

God looked far into the future and saw his glorious victory over all the forces of evil, those mighty forces that were unleashed as a result of one little bite of a piece of forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Back then God unveiled a plan that would unfold thousands of years later on a cross outside of Jerusalem. As the ultimate leader, he made certain that the direction of the history of the human race was headed toward our salvation.

Take some time to discover the direction in which you and those you lead are headed. Where do you see yourself and your team in five years? In ten years?

Long-range Planning and Who God Is

Without question, God is the ultimate long-range planner. His purposes encompass the whole range from eternity to eternity and extend to every part of his dominion. From a short-range perspective, things may appear to be out of control, but God is ordering all things in such a way that they will reach a glorious consummation. Turn to Isaiah 37:26 to consider the long-range plans ordained by God.

This Week's Verse to Memorize

Proverbs 4:25-27: Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Long-range Planning and Who I Am

Spontaneity is valuable and sometimes necessary, but the consequences would be disastrous if most of our life's direction were left to serendipity and happenstance. Planning and evaluating performance with long-term goals and objectives in mind requires discipline, but this discipline inevitably leads to greater freedom. Turn to Proverbs 6:6-8 for a word on the value of long-range planning and discipline.

Long-range Planning and How It Works

Leadership suggests movement. Where are we heading? is a question which every responsible follower must ask and every responsible leader must answer. How, when no one can know the future with a high degree of certainty, can anyone have the courage to summon others toFollow me? Isaiah 30:1-5 illustrates one critical variable in the process.

Long-range Planning and What I Do

Planning is crucial. But sometimes leaders need to respond to and take advantage of changes in the environment. Paul did this, and Karl Albrecht gives us some insight into how we can too. Turn to Romans 15:22-29 for today's reading.


Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God

by Kenneth Boa
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All the features of The Leadership Bible created by Kenneth Boa, Sid Buzzell, and Bill Perkins have been combined in this attractive and compact black leather volume. Handbook to Leadership has four parts: 52-Week Leadership Guide, Topical Leadership Guide, Leadership Character Studies, and Books of the Bible Leadership Guide.

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