Friday, September 16, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 16th September

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"He shall not be afraid of evil tidings."
Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved his faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, "Stand still and see the salvation of God." For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God's high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, "let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Evening

"A people near unto him."
Psalm 148:14

The dispensation of the old covenant was that of distance. When God appeared even to his servant Moses, he said, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet"; and when he manifested himself upon Mount Sinai, to his own chosen and separated people, one of the first commands was, "Thou shalt set bounds about the mount." Both in the sacred worship of the tabernacle and the temple, the thought of distance was always prominent. The mass of the people did not even enter the outer court. Into the inner court none but the priests might dare to intrude; while into the innermost place, or the holy of holies, the high priest entered but once in the year. It was as if the Lord in those early ages would teach man that sin was so utterly loathsome to him, that he must treat men as lepers put without the camp; and when he came nearest to them, he yet made them feel the width of the separation between a holy God and an impure sinner. When the gospel came, we were placed on quite another footing. The word "Go" was exchanged for "Come"; distance was made to give place to nearness, and we who aforetime were afar off, were made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ. Incarnate Deity has no wall of fire about it. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," is the joyful proclamation of God as he appears in human flesh. Not now does he teach the leper his leprosy by setting him at a distance, but by himself suffering the penalty of his defilement. What a state of safety and privilege is this nearness to God through Jesus! Do you know it by experience? If you know it, are you living in the power of it? Marvellous is this nearness, yet it is to be followed by a dispensation of greater nearness still, when it shall be said, "The tabernacle of God is with men, and he doth dwell among them." Hasten it, O Lord.

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Today's reading: Proverbs 22-24, 2 Corinthians 8 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Proverbs 22-24

1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

2 Rich and poor have this in common:
The LORD is the Maker of them all.

3 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

4 Humility is the fear of the LORD;
its wages are riches and honor and life.

5 In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,
but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.

6 Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Corinthians 8

The Collection for the Lord's People

1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord's people. 5And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you-see that you also excel in this grace of giving....

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Obed

[Ō'bed] - worshiper or a servant who worships.

  1. Son of Boaz, by Ruth, and better than ten sons to her, since through Obed she became an ancestress of Jesus Christ (Ruth 4:17-22; 1 Chron. 2:12; Matt. 1:5; Luke 3:32).
  2. Son of Ephlal, descendant of Judah (1 Chron. 2:37, 38).
  3. One of David's valiant men (1 Chron. 11:47).
  4. A son of Shemaiah, a gatekeeper at the Tabernacle in David's time (1 Chron. 26:7).
  5. Father of Azariah, in the time of Athaliah (2 Chron. 23:1).
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September 15, 2011

Priceless Pigs

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you..." (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)

Friend to Friend

An African tribe viewed a film about the life of Jesus, The Jesus Film, in their own heart language. As a follow-up, another ministry, Faith Comes by Hearing, provided the tribe with a contraption called a "recorder." Most of the world can neither read nor write, so the recorder allows the tribal people to be discipled by listening to the New Testament in their own native tongue. It runs off of solar power and will play the New Testament 1,000 times. (For more on these two incredible ministries see www.jesusfilm.org andwww.faithcomesbyhearing.com)

A group of listeners gather round to listen to the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man recorded in Luke chapter 8.

They (Jesus and his disciples) sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places...

Jesus demanded the demons to come out of the man and cast into a herd of nearby pigs. Then the pigs rushed down a steep hillside and into a lake and drowned.

The tribal community was stunned as they listened to this story. They knew the value of one pig, much less an entire herd.

"Why would Jesus do that?" they asked. "Why would He allow their entire source of income to be destroyed?"

Many questions stirred among the group. Then the wise chief spoke. "Perhaps Jesus is showing us that one human soul is worth more than an entire tribe's economy," he said.

I was silenced by his answer. That passage had been quite mysterious to me for many years. But God revealed this powerful truth to one little African chief hearing the story for the very first time. The chief understood just how valuable we are to God.

Let's Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing Your truth to the babes in Christ when so many of the studied miss it. Open my eyes to see and your truth, rather than become satisfied with predigested truth from the many teachers around me. Help me to be as this tiny tribe, and listen in awe as if I were hearing the gospel for the very first time. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

I'm wondering, in light of our economic situation, do the words of the chief stir you as much as they do me?

In light of the chief's words, do you spend more time being concerned with the souls of mankind or money? Which consume most of your prayer time?

Let's chat. Tell me one reason you know that you are valuable to God at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends

I love stories, don't you? I have an entire book of short devotional stories that illustrate Scriptural truths titledExtraordinary Moments with God. Check it out atwww.sharonjaynes.com

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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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Lysa TerKeurst

September 15, 2011

When God Hurts Your Feelings
Lysa TerKeurst

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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." Philippians 4:12-13(NIV 1984)

Has God ever hurt your feelings? I'll be honest, sometimes I'll read those verses from Philippians listed above and think to myself, "This is a tough pill to swallow."

Content in any and every situation?

Really?

Several years ago my daughter was a state champion gymnast. To see her do gymnastics was like looking at God smile. She was beautiful, graceful, and captivating to watch.

One night while practicing for one of the largest tournaments she'd ever compete in, she fell. It was a move she'd done hundreds of times with the greatest of ease. But this time something went terribly wrong and that one mistake ended her gymnastic dreams.

We spent a year going from doctor to doctor only to be told she'd never be able to support the weight of her body on her injured shoulder again.

I'll be honest, this was heart wrenching. Watching a 14 year old girl wrestle with the fact her dreams were stripped from her doesn't exactly lend itself to feelings of contentment. Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, people face much worse situations. But in her world, this was huge.

It was so tempting to wallow in the "why" questions and tell God He'd hurt our feelings.

Why did this happen?

Why didn't You stop this God?

Why weren't my prayers answered?

Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big situation in your life where you just couldn't process why God would allow this to happen? Or maybe even a small annoyance like losing your keys or having a flat tire on a morning you really needed to be somewhere.

It's so tempting to wallow in the why.

Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn't unspiritual. However, if asking why pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question.

If asking why doesn't offer hope, what will?

The what question.

In other words: "Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?"

Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, 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." (NIV)

I like to call this verse "directions on where to park my mind."

And that's exactly what Ashley has had to do with her dashed gymnastics dreams. Instead of wallowing in why did this happen, I've had to help her say:

This is my reality, now what am I going to do with it?

What can I learn from this?

What part of this is for my protection?

What other opportunities could God be providing?

What maturity could God be building into me?

Switching from the why to the what question paves the road to parking our mind in a much better place.

Is it always easy? Nope.

But is it a way to find a perspective beyond situations where we feel God has allowed something in our lives we don't understand and we absolutely don't like? Yes.

I pray this helps you today. You can also download a free resource on how to change your why questions into whatquestions. Just go to my blog, www.LysaTerKeurst.comand click on the button "When God Hurts Your Feelings."

Dear Lord, I want to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love. I know You love me. But sometimes it's just hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Thank You for this new way to look at things. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to visit Lysa's blog to get your free resource mentioned above and to post your prayer request for whatever situation you are facing today. She considers it a great honor to pray for you.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. This book contains chapters that will help you better process tough times when God hurts your feelings.

Also, consider doing this study in a group setting by ordering Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study GirlDVD set - Contains 6 sessions lasting 15-20 minutes each on one DVD for only $24.99 and a free Leader's Guide!

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:
Mentally walk yourself through parking your mind in a better place by remembering an event that happened this week and looking for God's protection, provision and process of maturing you.

Reflections:
Am I afraid to have honest conversations with God about how I really feel about some of my circumstances?

How might it be helpful to really talk to God about things that hurt me?

Why is it helpful to ask what now, instead of wallowing in the why questions?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 55:8-9, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" (NIV 1984)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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Smoking and Bible Reading

If a person who is addicted to nicotine tries to quit smoking on their own their statistical chances of success are 0. If the person who tries to quit smoking uses a tool, say a nicotine patch, the chances of success inches to 5%. If that same person has both a tool and community the chances of success jumps to 40%! That's amazing. You know, I think this formula applies to other areas of our life - including understanding the Bible...

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How Did Jesus Broaden His Ministry Beyond the Jewish Community?

Today's reading: Joel 2:28-32

In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God was given to priests and other specific individuals (see Numbers 11:16-17). But Joel predicted that one day God's Spirit would be given to all believers, regardless of position or status. Jesus fulfilled this prediction. Throughout Jesus' life he appealed to the Jewish community as their prophesied Messiah, but he also rewarded the faith of those who were not members of God's original "chosen people."

Jesus taught that the second most important command is "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31). He used the parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37) to illustrate that fulfilling the intent of the law was more important than following the letter of the law. By using a non-Jew-the Samaritan, who followed the intent of the law better than did the priest or the Levite-Jesus showed that it was possible for Gentiles to know God's law and follow it.

Not only could Gentiles follow God's law, but they would also be rewarded for their faith. Jesus rewarded the Roman centurion (see Matthew 8:5-13), the Canaanite woman whose daughter needed healing (see Matthew 15:21-28) and the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4:1-26). Jesus widened the offer of salvation. His ministry was open to anyone who would receive it with faith, Jew or Gentile (see Luke 19:9-10;Galatians 3:26-29).

The apostles Peter and Paul quoted this prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 (see Acts 2:16-21; Romans 10:12-13), noting that Jesus Christ is the One who fulfilled it.

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Today's reading is from the
The Case for Christ Study Bible
by Zondervan


Investigate the Bible's most compelling claims: the existence of a compassionate God and the promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.


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On Track

Read 1 Chronicles 23:24-32

What if every driver decided to ignore the center yellow lines? Smash-ups would rival apocalyptic visions. Those colored splotches in the roadway keep us on track. They keep us safe.

In our spiritual journey, praise and thanksgiving are like a yellow line, keeping our hearts on track. But it doesn't take much to veer off course, does it? Think about the Levites. They were set apart to offer thanks and praise to God every morning and every night, day in and day out, in a never-ending cycle (see 1 Chronicles 23:30). It was their job. Forced "thank yous." Praise, praise, praise.

Imagine the temptations inherent in this routine. Did easy-to-repeat prayers take the place of petitions motivated by full hearts and genuine gratitude? Did their minds wander as the words bubbled out? "Hear me, O God. Here we go again."

We've all heard of the doctor who's in terrible physical condition or the plumber whose house has leaky pipes. When you do something for a living, as these people do, it's sometimes hard to stay motivated to keep your own life in order. This is what it may have been like for the Levites as well.

Praise and thanks are key ingredients in a healthy relationship with God. We need them as much as we need fresh air. Praise isn't just an outward gesture; it reveals what's inside us-the attitude we have toward God. When we offer meaningful thanks, we acknowledge that God's goodness deserves our recognition and awe. Every gift comes from his hand. Nothing we've done grants us the sun's bright rising or peaceful slumber at night-it all comes from God's good hand.

How do we make our delight in God genuine and true every day? Unlike the Levites, God doesn't demand that we follow certain daily requirements. Maybe that makes the routine more difficult. We are responsible for taking the time to bow before him and offer our praise and thanks.

When we skip this routine, we become like those drivers who disregard the center line-a potential accident waiting to happen. But when we take the time to regularly focus on and praise the God who loves us, he helps us to stay on track.

To Take Away

  • Spiritually, would you describe yourself as "on track" or as "an accident waiting to happen"? Why?
  • Why does God want you to praise him?
  • List several things in your life for which you can praise and thank God. How can you keep your prayers of praise and thanksgiving fresh?
Recommended Reading: Psalm 95:1-11; Matthew 6:5-15; Colossians 4:2-4

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New Men's Devotional BibleToday's reading is from the
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The New Men's Devotional Biblehelps apply God's Word to a new generation of Christian men. It includes a full year of all-new devotions by well-known and not-so-well-known men of God.


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For most players, social games are a pleasant and momentary diversion from the rigors of daily life. Social games can also function as a low-stress, low-cost, and low-maintenance means of interacting with friends and family. Their subject matters may vary greatly, but, by and large, social games have historically provided rather light fare as far as content is concerned, exploring simple themes like farming and cooking or exploiting tired tropes like gangsters and vampires.

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The Noah’s Ark game is designed to be played by all audiences and can be played for free.

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A Confident Heart

How to Stop Doubting Yourself
& Live in the Security of God's Promises

A Confident Heart

Beginning September 18th


About our P31 Online Bible Study

Melissa Taylor

Melissa Taylor

Led by Melissa Taylor, this FREE Online Bible Study includes weekly teaching, chapter discussions, prayer support and on-going conversations about the book on Melissa's blog and Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies Facebook page.

An optional 4-part Conference Call series is available as well, and you don't want to miss it! Each call includes an inspiring message, interviews and Q&As with special guests including: Renee Swope, P31 radio co-host and author of A Confident Heart, Sheri Rose Shepherd, author of His Princess and His Princess Warrior, and more guests to be announced soon!

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Watch Renee's Book Trailer here

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