Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Daily Devotional Wednesday 10th August

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it."
Revelation 21:23

Yonder in the better world, the inhabitants are independent of all creature comforts. They have no need of raiment; their white robes never wear out, neither shall they ever be defiled. They need no medicine to heal diseases, "for the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." They need no sleep to recruit their frames--they rest not day nor night, but unweariedly praise him in his temple. They need no social relationship to minister comfort, and whatever happiness they may derive from association with their fellows is not essential to their bliss, for their Lord's society is enough for their largest desires. They need no teachers there; they doubtless commune with one another concerning the things of God, but they do not require this by way of instruction; they shall all be taught of the Lord. Ours are the alms at the king's gate, but they feast at the table itself. Here we lean upon the friendly arm, but there they lean upon their Beloved and upon him alone. Here we must have the help of our companions, but there they find all they want in Christ Jesus. Here we look to the meat which perisheth, and to the raiment which decays before the moth, but there they find everything in God. We use the bucket to fetch us water from the well, but there they drink from the fountain head, and put their lips down to the living water. Here the angels bring us blessings, but we shall want no messengers from heaven then. They shall need no Gabriels there to bring their love-notes from God, for there they shall see him face to face. Oh! what a blessed time shall that be when we shall have mounted above every second cause and shall rest upon the bare arm of God! What a glorious hour when God, and not his creatures; the Lord, and not his works, shall be our daily joy! Our souls shall then have attained the perfection of bliss.

Evening

"He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils."
Mark 16:9

Mary of Magdala was the victim of a fearful evil. She was possessed by not one devil only, but seven. These dreadful inmates caused much pain and pollution to the poor frame in which they had found a lodging. Hers was a hopeless, horrible case. She could not help herself, neither could any human succour avail. But Jesus passed that way, and unsought, and probably even resisted by the poor demoniac, he uttered the word of power, and Mary of Magdala became a trophy of the healing power of Jesus. All the seven demons left her, left her never to return, forcibly ejected by the Lord of all. What a blessed deliverance! What a happy change! From delirium to delight, from despair to peace, from hell to heaven! Straightway she became a constant follower of Jesus, catching his every word, following his devious steps, sharing his toilsome life; and withal she became his generous helper, first among that band of healed and grateful women who ministered unto him of their substance. When Jesus was lifted up in crucifixion, Mary remained the sharer of his shame: we find her first beholding from afar, and then drawing near to the foot of the cross. She could not die on the cross with Jesus, but she stood as near it as she could, and when his blessed body was taken down, she watched to see how and where it was laid. She was the faithful and watchful believer, last at the sepulchre where Jesus slept, first at the grave whence he arose. Her holy fidelity made her a favoured beholder of her beloved Rabboni, who deigned to call her by her name, and to make her his messenger of good news to the trembling disciples and Peter. Thus grace found her a maniac and made her a minister, cast out devils and gave her to behold angels, delivered her from Satan, and united her forever to the Lord Jesus. May I also be such a miracle of grace!

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Today's reading: Psalm 77-78, Romans 10 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 77-78

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.

1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.

3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 10

1 Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: "The person who does these things will live by them." 6But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

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Terah, Tarah, Thara

[Tē'rah,Tā'ra, Thā'ră] - wild goat orturning, wandering. A son of Nahorand father of Abraham and ancestor of Christ (Gen. 11:24-32; Josh. 24:2; 1 Chron. 1:26; Luke 3:34). SeeNumbers 33:27, 28.

The Man Who Died Half Way

Along with his three sons, Abraham, Nahor and Haran, Terah migrated from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, where he died. The reference to him serving other gods led some of the Jewish Fathers to think of Terah as a maker of idols (Josh. 24:2). Why did Terah die at Haran? Was it not his intention to go to Canaan (Gen. 11:31, 32)?

It was God's purpose to separate Abraham from his kindred (Gen. 12:1 ), but Terah and Lot left with him, an exodus, perhaps, Abraham could not prevent. Lot, although he reached Canaan, was a constant grief to his uncle. The death of Terah seems to suggest that complete separation unto God often means the severance of some of earth's dearest ties. Terah is also a type of many who step out for Christ but whose hopes of discipleship die half way. Beginning in the Spirit they end in the flesh. Halfway converts never make wholehearted saints. Are you at Haran, or is yours the joy of living in Canaan?

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August 9, 2011

Sandpaper People on Wheels

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44, TNIV).

Friend To Friend

I am certainly not proud of the fact that I tend to have little or no patience with road hogs and seem to find ample opportunities for expressing my less-than-favorable opinion of the way they drive. I am working on my attitude and learning some lessons along the way.

We once lived in a small but rapidly growing town just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Because the town has outgrown its winding country roads, traffic from the city into our community was a daily nightmare. At one particular spot, a double lane narrows to a single lane. The change is clearly marked by several strategically placed signs and most people - the nice velvet people - pull into the single left lane long before the road narrows, knowing the right lane will soon merge with the left lane.

The sandpaper people, on the other hand, spot the merging lane signs and consider them an open invitation to speed ahead, worming their way into the long line of waiting cars. I consider it my personal responsibility to educate these road hogs in "The Ins and Outs of Traffic Courtesy According to Mary," by refusing to let them barge in front of me and secure a spot in "my" line. I never make eye contact with these sandpaper drivers, thus denying their existence while inching along as close as possible to the car in front of me, determined to hold my ground.

One day, however, I met my match. I saw him coming but stood firm in my resolve to enforce my "don't let 'em in no matter what" rule. When he tried to pull in front of me, I ignored him. He honked. I feigned deafness. Finally, in one last-ditch effort to merge before his lane ended, the man rolled down his window and yelled, "Look!" I couldn't help myself. He was holding up a napkin that read "Pleeeeeeeease!" I burst out laughing and motioned for him to pull in front of me. He applauded and danced a seated jig in celebration of his hard-earned place in line.

Life is like that - sandpaper people trying to capture our attention, ignoring the signs, breaking the relationship rules while barging into our lives. It takes a sense of humor to navigate the tumultuous waters of difficult relationships without capsizing. The secret of joy-filled relationships is to count on God's strength instead of our own. Joy comes from a continual reliance upon Him to hammer down the mountains in our difficult relationships, making the path straight and pointing us in the right direction.

In Philippians 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul says, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." This passage can also be applied to having healthy relationships and could easily read, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every relationship by depending upon the power of God's love at work. I can love anyone through Him who gives me strength." As we learn to laugh more and cultivate our God-given sense of humor, patience and the ability to deal with the difficult relationships in life will flourish.

Let's Pray

Father, I want to thank You for loving me even when I am so unlovable. Please teach me how to deal with difficult people in a way that pleases and honors You. I want others to see Your unconditional love at work in my relationships. Help me choose to forgive those who have hurt me and look for ways to find joy in the midst of it all.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

  • Write down the name of a sandpaper person in your life and list five reasons you consider that person to be abrasive.
  • Pray for that sandpaper person.
  • Thank God for bringing that abrasive person into your life. What do you believe God wants to accomplish through this difficult relationship? Are you willing to trust Him enough to praise Him for that person?

More From The Girlfriends

Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary's E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. Need help loving your sandpaper people? Check out Mary's book, Sandpaper People. (Also available onCD and MP3 download)

Be sure to check out Mary's weekly Online Bible Study: Stress Management 101. Enroll now and still have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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

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info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional

THE INVISIBLE YOU

If someone were to ask you, “Who are you, really?” a complete answer would have to include something about the invisible you, the part within and apart from the body. One of the truest things you can say about human beings is that there is so much more than meets the eye.

Yet we play to the eye.

Think of someone you know who, by most people’s standards, is extraordinarily handsome or beautiful, a picture of health, possessing a vivacity that turns people’s heads-but someone empty on the inside.

At 36 years old, Marilyn Monroe, one of the best-known female icons of the 20th century, who was sought for the best movie roles and the most popular magazine covers, took an overdose of pills to end her life. By becoming larger than life, almost revered as a goddess, she lost her inner self, and she put the icon in the grave.

The outward self can profoundly contradict the inward self.

The belief that we as human beings are nothing more than chemical factories changing oxygen and food into energy day by day until the factory breaks down and we die, is extraordinarily hard to maintain. It is not for lack of trying.

Many philosophies and religions limit themselves to the certainties of what we can touch and measure–things such as fingers and eyeballs and the amazing network of nerve fibers in the body. Proponents of this idea say, listen to common sense; what you can see is all there is. It’s all there ever will be. The sum total of a man or a woman is what can be placed on a scale or in a coffin. And yet, like a great hot air balloon that refuses to do anything but ascend, this idea that we are more than our bodies, that there is soul, that we’re not done when we’re dead, keeps rising in most people’s convictions.

We are body and soul, which throughout our lives are inseparable. One person, with two major aspects: the external (visible, fleshy, sensory), and the internal (thoughtful, moral, volitional). Your spiritual reactions come from the experiences you have with what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. A husband loves his wife well when he does it with devoted thoughtfulness, emotional understanding, and physical touch. God’s greatest command is that we love him with heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Our visible and invisible selves are like the relationship between house and home. “House” especially notes the physical thing, whereas “home,” though not separate from the house, points to the greater spiritual reality, a living thing. You repair a house, but you live at home.

Now there is that unique moment when the spiritual self is separated from the bodily self–when the last breath is exhaled and, like Jesus, we can pray, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” It is that time when our “earthly tent” is destroyed, when we go from being “at home in the body” to being “away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:1,9 ). How will we ever comprehend this as long as we are creatures of the earth? None of the stories of spirits haunting houses and ships or even having friendly exchanges are truthful or helpful. What the Gospels teach is that Jesus told the thief on the cross “today you will be with me in Paradise,” and Paul said that he knew that if he had to be “away from the body,” he would be “at home with the Lord.”

Next time: what does the Bible mean by body, soul, spirit, mind, etc.?

Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Complimentary DVDavailable now.

Resources

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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P31Header
Marybeth Whalen

August 9, 2011

It Just Takes One
Marybeth Whalen

"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" Romans 5:15 (NIV)

"I just wanted to tell you," she said. "It just takes one." She knew we had our house up for sale and wanted to offer me a word of encouragement. She had also recently been through having her house on the market and knew what I was facing.

As she grabbed my hands in her own, she looked at me earnestly and said. "It just takes one person to come along and love your house and want to buy it. Hang onto that when you get overwhelmed. God will send that one."

I have thought about what she said to me, and how this Truth applies in many aspects of my life. God will send that one. The one person who can best encourage me. The one person who will provide the answers I am seeking. The one nugget of Truth my soul is craving. The one bit of hope when everything seems desperate around me.

What is that "one" thing you are waiting for God to send you right now? Maybe it is that one test result you are waiting for. Maybe it is that one check you need desperately to show up in the mail so you can make it to payday. Maybe it is that one affirmation you need to hear, but rarely do.

Do you believe that God will send that one? Do you walk in that belief, even when circumstances around you say otherwise? Do you focus on what is happening, or God's promises?

God's most wonderful promise came through the One who could be tempted yet sinless, Lion yet lamb, human yet God. God's plan for redemption came through His one and only Son.

It just took one-one sacrifice, one resurrection, one hope for eternity. Humanity cried out for restoration and God responded by sending that One.

"It just takes one," the woman told me. And that is true, even in this broken, fallen world. So many times that "one" seems far away, so insurmountable, that we despair of ever seeing it come to pass.

Make today the day that you live believing in that one thing happening-whether it is a sold sign in your yard or healing in a relationship; turn to the Creator of all things with whatever is on your heart. Spend today reflecting on that one sacrifice He made on your behalf, because of His unfailing love for you. Trust Him to do what is best for you-whatever His answer may be-and live in expectation of the abundant life He has promised.

Dear Lord, help me to trust in You to send the answers I need. Help me to take my eyes off my circumstances and focus solely on You. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your precious Son so that I could have salvation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen.

For more encouragement from Marybeth and to view all of her resources click here.

Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life, by Sarah Young

Application Steps:
In your journal, write a letter to God telling Him about that one thing your heart is crying out for. Offer the letter up to Him with a prayer of sacrifice and humble surrender. Reaffirm your trust in Him.

Reflections:
What is God teaching you through your time of waiting? How can you best use this time? In what ways is it making you stronger spiritually and in your relationship with Him?

Power Verses:
Acts 15:11, "No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (NIV)

Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." (NIV)

Romans 5:10, "For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (NIV)

© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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

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