Friday, September 23, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 23rd September

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”Romans 15:7 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Let Israel rejoice in him."
Psalm 149:2

Be glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness has its spring in the Lord. Thou hast much cause for gladness in thy God, for thou canst sing with David, "God, my exceeding joy." Be glad that the Lord reigneth, that Jehovah is King! Rejoice that he sits upon the throne, and ruleth all things! Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That he is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That he is mighty, should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That he is everlasting, should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That he is unchanging, should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour. That he is full of grace, that he is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant he has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory--all this should tend to make us glad in him. This gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy. The Christian feels that he may delight himself not only in what God is, but also in all that God has done in the past. The Psalms show us that God's people in olden times were wont to think much of God's actions, and to have a song concerning each of them. So let God's people now rehearse the deeds of the Lord! Let them tell of his mighty acts, and "sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously." Nor let them ever cease to sing, for as new mercies flow to them day by day, so should their gladness in the Lord's loving acts in providence and in grace show itself in continued thanksgiving. Be glad ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God.

Evening

"When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."
Psalm 61:2

Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart; emptied as when a man wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down; submerged and thrown on our beam ends like a vessel mastered by the storm. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this, if the Lord permits the great deep of our depravity to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heart-breaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell hurled to and fro by the surf. Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not without an all-sufficient solace, our God is the harbour of weather-beaten sails, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. Higher than we are is he, his mercy higher than our sins, his love higher than our thoughts. It is pitiful to see men putting their trust in something lower than themselves; but our confidence is fixed upon an exceeding high and glorious Lord. A Rock he is since he changes not, and a high Rock, because the tempests which overwhelm us roll far beneath at his feet; he is not disturbed by them, but rules them at his will. If we get under the shelter of this lofty Rock we may defy the hurricane; all is calm under the lee of that towering cliff. Alas! such is the confusion in which the troubled mind is often cast, that we need piloting to this divine shelter. Hence the prayer of the text. O Lord, our God, by thy Holy Spirit, teach us the way of faith, lead us into thy rest. The wind blows us out to sea, the helm answers not to our puny hand; thou, thou alone canst steer us over the bar between yon sunken rocks, safe into the fair haven. How dependent we are upon thee--we need thee to bring us to thee. To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is thy gift, and thine alone. This night be pleased to deal well with thy servants.

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Today's reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12, Galatians 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12

1 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell,
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2 The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.
3 Even as fools walk along the road,
they lack sense
and show everyone how stupid they are.
4 If a ruler’s anger rises against you,
do not leave your post;
calmness can lay great offenses to rest.

5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
the sort of error that arises from a ruler:
6 Fools are put in many high positions,
while the rich occupy the low ones.
7 I have seen slaves on horseback,
while princes go on foot like slaves....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Galatians 1

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,

To the churches in Galatia:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ....

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Cleopas, Clopas

[Clē'opăs] - the whole glory. One of the two disciples returning to Emmaus after the death of Christ, and to whom He appeared (Luke 24:18). Same as Cleophas.
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September 22, 2011

Exchanging the Old for the New

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Julianna came out of the womb ready to meet every challenge with determination, every celebration with enthusiasm, and every mystery with the passion of discovery. Her fiery red hair was matched only by her fiery personality. She never did anything half-way, but with the throttle full speed ahead. Of the Price's three children, Julianna was the one who frequented the emergency room for stitches due to throwing caution to the wind as she whirled through her childhood.

One day when Julianna was twelve years old, she rushed out her front door on her way to dance class. She slammed the door behind her as she hurried to catch her ride, but the door closed before all of her fingers followed her body across the threshold. Now you have probably have slammed your fingers in a door a time or two, and can remember wincing a bit. But Julianna never does anything half-way. She jerked to a sudden halt, spun around quickly, and saw her appendages trapped in the closed door. When she opened the door to remove her hand, she was horrified to discover that all of it was not there. She had amputated the upper third of her second right finger.

"Help! Somebody help me! I've just cut off my finger!"

Fortunately, the woman picking her up for dance class was a nurse. She rushed to the screaming ballerina. "Julianna, where's your mom?" she asked.

"She's not here," Julianna answered between sobs. "Nobody's here but Daniel."

"Quick," the neighbor instructed, "Let's put some pressure on that nub. Daniel, come help us!" she yelled.

Daniel, Julianna's fifteen-year-old brother, ran down the stairs at the cry for help.

"Julianna's just cut her finger off. You have to find it. We've got to put it in ice and take her to the hospital right away."

A pale-faced Daniel went to the scene of the accident. As he hung his head, he saw the finger lying at his feet. Trying not to lose his breakfast, Daniel picked up his sister's digit in a towel and handed it over to the nurse.

Well the good news is that they got to the hospital in time. The skilled doctor put Humpty-Dumpty back together again and told them to pray that the finger would reattach.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed," he said with a grin as he walked out of the treatment room.

A few days later Julianna unwrapped the bandages, afraid of what she might find underneath. What she saw was not a pretty sight. Instead of a finger, she saw a black mushroom-like thimble sitting atop her nub.

"Doctor, we took the bandage off today. It's black and crusty and looks like a mushroom cap," her mom reported. "It looks dead."

"That's fine," he reassured her. "Don't worry. If nature is working properly, and it sounds like it is, the top will turn black, but underneath, nerves and blood vessels are reattaching. Underneath the thimble, a new finger is forming. She needs the old part in order for the new part to form underneath. In about three weeks, we'll know if the procedure worked. Just keep it wrapped and clean."

A few weeks after the accident, Julianna came to spend the night with us while she was attending a dance camp in my hometown. I had the pleasure of her company and the displeasure of changing her bandage. Her description was accurate.

Four weeks after Julianna had returned home, she wrote me a thank-you note for having her in our home. She ended by saying, "P.S. Guess what? My crusty thimble fell off and I have a new finger!"

Now don't ask me how this happened. It is a mystery to me. But scripture tells of another mystery that is just as amazing. Another grafting process that is just as miraculous. When God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, He told them that their punishment for disobedience would be death. They did eat - and immediately their spirits died- their zoe life was taken away and they were cut off from God. As a result, every person after that time has been born with a dead spirit, including you and me.

But God didn't leave us that way. God demonstrated His love toward us, that while we were still a sinner (cut off, dead, rotten to the core), Christ died for us and made it possible for us to be grafted onto the living root - Himself (Romans 5:8, Romans 11:17 ). At the very moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive a new living spirit (zoe life) to replace our old dead spirit. In the twinkling of an eye - in the time it takes for us to say, "I believe," we become a spiritually new creation. However, God's process of shaping and molding us into the image of Christ, takes a lifetime. That process is how to become spiritually beautiful.

Paul tells us: "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV). Reflecting the Lord's glory! I know of no other beauty treatment that will make a woman truly beautiful.

Let's Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I know I became a new creation in Christ when I became a Christian. But sometimes, I just feel like the same old me. Please help me to become more conformed to the image of Christ today. Take away whatever needs to be taken away to reveal the beauty of You that is in my heart. Help me to be spiritually beautiful today and always.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

How would you describe "spiritual beauty?"

Who do you know that exemplifies what "spiritual beauty" looks and acts like?

What do you think makes that person reflect the beauty of Christ?

I'd love to hear your responses. Let's chat. Go towww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and tell me what you think makes a woman spiritually beautiful!

More from the Girlfriends

Have you ever felt this way: "If I'm a new creation, then why don't I feel like one and why don't I act like one?" If so, then perhaps you'd like to read Sharon's book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful - Seeing Yourself as God Sees You. In this book you'll discover the secrets to spiritual beauty and to becoming a radiant Christian woman. It also comes with a Bible Study guide for those who want to spend extra time at God's spa!

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about

how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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P31Header
T. Suzanne Eller

September 22, 2011

Is God Looking for You?
T. Suzanne Eller

"I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30(NLT)

I loved her dearly. I prayed for her often, but I reasoned with myself as I kept silent. I didn't have all the facts. It wasn't my place. I didn't want her to think that I was judging her.

She was falling into sin while pushing aside the consequences for her and her loved ones. For a long time it was secret, but now it was not. Still I said nothing.

If a car sped through a red light, I would have warned her. But sin recklessly careened through her choices, and I didn't even wave a red flag. Until one day God stopped me in my prayers with today's key verse from Ezekiel 22:30: "I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in th wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one." (NLT)

Are You looking for me, God? I wondered. Is she so heavy on Your heart that You are searching for someone to stand in the gap?

My conversation with her wasn't easy. But, it was bathed in prayer. Cloaked in words of love. And truth, sweet truth between two women.

I let her know that I loved her, and so did Jesus. In fact, He loved her so much that He had placed her on my heart for months. I told her my silence was not proof of my love, but evidence of my fears. I wanted her to know she mattered more than my fear of rejection or misunderstanding.

How many times do we watch a friend, a child, a loved one walk in the opposite direction of God and say nothing? How often do we fail to pray?

When God called Ezekiel to rebuild the wall of righteousness and stand in the gap, it was not an easy job. Ezekiel was called to speak the truth to the Israelites. God didn't promise that they would listen. Or that they would change their ways. Ezekiel was to tell them that God watched them, like a Father watches an errant child. He hated their sin but longed to lead them in a new direction, one marked with intention rather than indulgence.

My friend received my words well, and now it is up to her and God. I have promised to always be truthful with her, and in doing so, encourage, love and pray with her.

Is there someone you love, someone close to you, who has fallen into the trap of sin? Is God asking you to share the truth? Is God looking for you to stand in the gap?

Dear Father, You love this person even more than I do. You have a purpose for her life. Give me the words to say. In truth. But also in love. Help me to stand in the gap today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Suzie's blog for a PDF file on how to speak the truth in love.

The Woman I Am Becoming: Embrace the Chase for Faith, Identity, and Destiny by T. Suzanne Eller

Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby

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:
If you feel God leading you to speak to a loved one:

• Pray. Ask for wisdom.

• Don't accuse, but speak the truth.

• Don't lecture, but encourage.

• Don't argue, but listen.

• Don't fail to remind them of God's love and mercy.

Reflections:
"Geography has little to do with the difference you make. What matters is that you are making the best use of your life by loving the people in it. This is the difference that endures." Dr. Leslie Parrot, You Matter More Than You Think (Zondervan)

Power Verses:
Isaiah 59:16, "He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him." (NLT)

Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take you your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." (NLT)

© 2011 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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The Grace Card

Courageous in Theaters September 30

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they are confident and focused, standing up to the worst the streets have to offer. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.

When tragedy strikes home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children? Protecting the streets is second nature. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

» Learn more at CourageoustheMovie.com
» Watch the Trailer

Todays the Day to be Courageous

Today's the Day to be Courageous!

If Casting Crowns, Third Day, or another one of your favorite bands were coming to town, you'd make seeing them a priority. You'd clear your calendar and get your tickets.

COURAGEOUS is coming to theaters September 30. It's understandable to think, "I'll catch it when I have time." The reality is, however, how a movie does on its opening weekend determines how long it will play in theaters.

Just as you'd do for a concert, make time to seeCOURAGEOUS on the weekend of September 30-October 2. Gather a group of friends, purchase your tickets, mark your calendar, and then start counting the days until you seeCOURAGEOUS!

» Find a Theater
» Buy Your Tickets

Talking About Courageous

Check out what key leaders are saying after seeingCOURAGEOUS:
"Best movie of the year!"
Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback Church

"Be an All Pro Dad: see COURAGEOUS and make a lasting difference in the lives of your children."
Tony Dungy, Super Bowl-winning Coach

"COURAGEOUS is so good. I think God has something far beyond good, solid family entertainment for this film. The guys in your life will love the movie."
Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministries
Talking About Courageous

The Resolution Print

The Resolution™ Print

What would it look like if men across the country stepped up after seeing COURAGEOUS and said, "I Will" ... just like the characters in the film do when they make a formal resolution to be Godly fathers?

DaySpring has created a beautiful version of The Resolution print that is suitable for signing and framing. Let your family and everyone that enters your home know that as for you and your house, you will serve the Lord!

» Learn more

Find Courageous Resources Here
Connect with CourageousFacebookTwitter Youtube
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© 2011 Sherwood Pictures Ministry, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2011 Layout and Design, Provident Films, a unit of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. All Rights Reserved.



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Trouble

Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-19.

Trouble comes in threes, they say. But who's counting?

You've probably noticed that acknowledging and investigating troubles seem to make them multiply. Consider your house, for example. The roof starts leaking. So you climb into the attic to check it out and discover several bad spots, a rotten rafter, mold, mildew-and often the repair bills mount from there.

Obviously, ignoring problems also makes them multiply. Ignoring the leak today leads to the living room ceiling sitting in your lap tomorrow. So you face a dilemma: If your troubles multiply whether you examine or ignore them, what should you do?

King Jehoshaphat found himself face-to-face with trouble. A huge army marched toward Jerusalem, and the scouting reports didn't hold out much hope. The problem on the horizon promised to be enormous by the time it reached the king. "Alarmed," we read, "Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD" (2 Chronicles 20:3). He looked through the trouble. Faced with an overwhelming situation, the king immediately turned to Someone who is never overwhelmed.

As we face trouble in our own lives, our prayer can be like Jehoshaphat's: "Lord, I know you're in charge. So I choose to recognize this trouble as your problem, not just mine. I admit that I can't handle this situation, yet it needs to be resolved. What do you say, Lord?"

Notice how God responded to this prayer of faith. He answered, but he didn't promise to help Judah win the battle. Instead, he said he'd fight for his people. Could the king have anticipated this answer? There are times in our lives as well when God's good answers surprise us. But notice also that the king still had his marching orders: God told him not to be afraid (twice), not to be discouraged (twice), to march out, to take positions and to go out and face the enemy. By the time the people had completed God's instructions, the battle was over.

Again we face a dilemma. We often find ourselves a little too close to our troubles-so close that we end up wallowing in them. Or we find ourselves trying to avoid troubles-giving them the opportunity to pull a surprise attack. But God calls us to trust him, to look through our troubles and toward him.

To Take Away

  • How do you usually respond when faced with trouble?
  • What results have you seen when you've surrendered your troubles to God?
  • What problems are you facing right now that need the Jehoshaphat approach? Pray for God's guidance, intervention and protection in the face of these situations. And watch and listen for his answers.
Recommended Reading: Numbers 20:14-21; 2 Chronicles 20:20-30; Psalm 83:1-18

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Messianic Prophecies and the Integrity of the Gospels

Today's reading: Zechariah 11:4-17

Isn't it possible that the gospel writers fabricated details to make it appear that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic passages of the Old Testament? For example, one passage foreshadows that the Messiah's bones would remain unbroken (see Psalm 34:20), so maybe John invented the story about the Romans breaking the legs of the two thieves being crucified with Jesus and not breaking his legs (see John 19:31-36). Another prophecy talks about Judas' betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-13 and fulfilled in Matthew 26:15; 27:3-7). Could it be that Matthew played fast and loose with the facts and said, yeah, Judas sold out Jesus for that same amount?

Pastor Louis Lapides has spent 30 years studying prophecies found within Scripture. He quickly settles these objections: "In God's wisdom, he created checks and balances both inside and outside the Christian community. When the Gospels were being circulated, there were people living who had been around when all these things happened. Someone would have said to Matthew, 'You know it didn't happen that way. We're trying to communicate a life of righteousness and truth, so don't taint it with a lie.'"

Why would Matthew have fabricated fulfilled prophecies and then have been willing to be put to death for following someone who he secretly knew was really not the Messiah? That wouldn't make any sense. What's more, the Jewish community would have jumped on any opportunity to discredit the Gospels by pointing out falsehoods. "They would have said, 'I was there, and Jesus' bones were broken by the Romans during the crucifixion,'" Lapides says. "And even though the Jewish Talmud refers to Jesus in derogatory ways, it never once makes the claim that the fulfillment of prophecies was falsified. Not one time."


Adapted from interview with Louis Lapides.

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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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