Friday, September 02, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 2nd September

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."
Psalm 73:24

The Psalmist felt his need of divine guidance. He had just been discovering the foolishness of his own heart, and lest he should be constantly led astray by it, he resolved that God's counsel should henceforth guide him. A sense of our own folly is a great step towards being wise, when it leads us to rely on the wisdom of the Lord. The blind man leans on his friend's arm and reaches home in safety, and so would we give ourselves up implicitly to divine guidance, nothing doubting; assured that though we cannot see, it is always safe to trust the all-seeing God. "Thou shalt," is a blessed expression of confidence. He was sure that the Lord would not decline the condescending task. There is a word for thee, O believer; rest thou in it. Be assured that thy God will be thy counsellor and friend; he shall guide thee; he will direct all thy ways. In his written Word thou hast this assurance in part fulfilled, for holy Scripture is his counsel to thee. Happy are we to have God's Word always to guide us! What were the mariner without his compass? And what were the Christian without the Bible? This is the unerring chart, the map in which every shoal is described, and all the channels from the quicksands of destruction to the haven of salvation mapped and marked by one who knows all the way. Blessed be thou, O God, that we may trust thee to guide us now, and guide us even to the end! After this guidance through life, the Psalmist anticipates a divine reception at last--"and afterward receive me to glory." What a thought for thee, believer! God himself will receive thee to glory--thee! Wandering, erring, straying, yet he will bring thee safe at last to glory! This is thy portion; live on it this day, and if perplexities should surround thee, go in the strength of this text straight to the throne.


"Trust in him at all times."
Psalm 62:8

Faith is as much the rule of temporal as of spiritual life; we ought to have faith in God for our earthly affairs as well as for our heavenly business. It is only as we learn to trust in God for the supply of all our daily need that we shall live above the world. We are not to be idle, that would show we did not trust in God, who worketh hitherto, but in the devil, who is the father of idleness. We are not to be imprudent or rash; that were to trust chance, and not the living God, who is a God of economy and order. Acting in all prudence and uprightness, we are to rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times.

Let me commend to you a life of trust in God in temporal things. Trusting in God, you will not be compelled to mourn because you have used sinful means to grow rich. Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Trusting God, you will not be guilty of self-contradiction. He who trusts in craft, sails this way today, and that way the next, like a vessel tossed about by the fickle wind; but he that trusteth in the Lord is like a vessel propelled by steam, she cuts through the waves, defies the wind, and makes one bright silvery straightforward track to her destined haven. Be you a man with living principles within; never bow to the varying customs of worldly wisdom. Walk in your path of integrity with steadfast steps, and show that you are invincibly strong in the strength which confidence in God alone can confer. Thus you will be delivered from anxious care, you will not be troubled with evil tidings, your heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord. How pleasant to float along the stream of providence! There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for he careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.


Today's reading: Psalm 135-136, 1 Corinthians 12 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 125-136

1 Praise the LORD.

Praise the name of the LORD;
praise him, you servants of the LORD,
2 you who minister in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God.

3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own,
Israel to be his treasured possession.

5 I know that the LORD is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
6 The LORD does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses. the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 12

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work....


[ÅŽg] - long-necked or bread baked in ashes. The giant king of Bashan. This man of huge stature, the last of the Rephaim, was slain at Edrei. The only big things of any note about this massive man, whose conquests lingered long in the imagination of the people (Ps. 135:11; 136:20), were his big body and his big bed (Num. 21:33; 32:33; Deut. 3:1-13).

The Upper and Lower Story

If you are a pastor or a Christian leader let me ask you a question - "how would you like to follow Max Lucado as senior pastor?" For twenty years Max, yes that #1 best selling inspirational writer, had been the beloved senior pastor of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. But it doesn't stop there. Reader's digest named him America's Pastor? That takes the phrase, 'that is a hard act to follow' to a whole new level...



The Story available now.

The Story is helping people everywhere experience Scripture like never before. Carefully selected verses from the Bible are organized chronologically. From Genesis to Revelation, you will come to understand God's story and your story intersect with it.

September 1, 2011

I Need a Friend

Part 3

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.' When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her (Ruth 1:16-18, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Friendship is the catalyst for every other love and the foundation of every healthy relationship. God created us to need each other. We need friends and we need to be a friend. Over the next few weeks, we will uncover nine keys to healthy friendships.

Key one: Time

Key two: Risk

Key three: Transparency

Key four: Touch

Women are such emotional critters. I can almost see Naomi and Ruth hugging each other or holding hands as their friendship was forged through love, sorrow, pain and loss. The earthly ministry of Jesus constantly demonstrated the power of love poured out through His touch. The touch of Jesus brought healing to the sick, sight to the blind and life to the dead. In Matthew, He stretched out his hand and touched the leper (Matthew 8:3). Mark tells us that Jesus took the children in His arms (Mark 10:16 ). I am always amazed that even though Jesus could have healed the blind and sick with just a word, a breath, a glance or even a thought, He often chose to touch the broken ones in order to make them whole. Physical touch is a powerful communicator of love.

A group of medical students, training in the children's ward of a large metropolitan hospital, learned the power of touch in an unusual way. Day after day, the eager students made their rounds together, all of them visiting the same children, performing the same routine medical procedures. However, it soon became obvious to all that one particular medical student was especially loved by the children. Whenever he walked into the ward, the face of each child lit up. The medical students did not understand why the kids seemed to love this particular student more. Curious, they decided to follow their co-worker, hoping to learn his secret. They did. Every night, when he made his last rounds, this beloved young student kissed each child good-night and tucked them into bed. In Ephesians 2:14, Paul talks about "breaking down the walls that divide us." Many times, the best way to break down emotional walls is to reach out, in God's love, and offer the healing touch of a pat on a weary back, a quick hug for a lonely heart, or an encouraging hand on a burdened and bent shoulder.

Sidebar: Let me also be honest and open at this point. Rarely a week goes by that my husband and I don't hear of a marriage, family and ministry destroyed because of an affair. That affair began with one inappropriate thought that led to one inappropriate touch. Make no mistake, friend. The enemy wants to destroy you, your family, your home and your life. You can be certain he will attempt to do so - any way that he possibly can. When he does manage to derail a man or woman, he dances on the ashes of the fallen ones and the Father weeps. This is where correction comes in. Along with the command to demonstrate the love of God in friendships, comes the responsibility of loving accountability and correction.

Key five: Correction

Naomi told Ruth to return to her home land, but Ruth refused to go. Instead, she confronted and corrected her mother-in-law. A brave woman! The results were dramatic. "When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her." Godly friendships have the element of correction. Correction brings authenticity and health to every relationship in life - especially friendships. A true friend puts your good above the risk of anger or rejection. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Proverbs 27:6 ). The "wound" is the correction or confrontation for the good of a friend.

Silence is agreement and just as dangerous as holding a friend's hand as he or she walks toward the edge of a steep, deadly cliff. When a warning bell goes off in your mind, when you have a question in your spirit about any part of a friend's life, you are called to confront that friend in love. Failure to do so may very well result in their destruction.

When I married into the Southerland family, I didn't know tent camping was part of the deal. I might have reconsidered (just kidding). I decided I could learn to camp and maybe even enjoy it. My first trip to Lake Greason in the foothills of the Ozarks was quite an experience. It did not take me long to learn the routine. Every day, Dan's mom would prepare a huge breakfast. The kids did dishes and cleaned up while mom changed into her swim suit, donned her sun glasses, grabbed a towel and headed for the lake. On the shore, she grabbed an inner tube, positioned her towel in just the right spot, turned around and sat down in the tube. Then she would float blissfully for hours. There was a slight problem with this plan. Lake Greason had a current that carried mom down the lake, around the bend and into the path of ski boats. Several times a day, someone would have to swim after her, pulling her back to the safety of the shore, where she would profusely thank them and go right back to floating. Finally, one of the kids came up with a great idea - a rope! We grabbed a ski rope, tied one end to mom's inner tube and the other end to a wooden stake driven securely into the ground. She could then float until the rope ran out and someone "reeled her in".

Confrontation "reels in" that friend who is flirting with sin and headed straight into the hellish plans of Satan himself. I know confrontation is difficult at best. However, the reality is that anyone who actually enjoys confrontation and correction is probably doing it for the wrong reason and with an ungodly heart attitude, because the eternal, bottom line of God's heart is to restore the broken. A loving touch and Godly correction are powerful friendship keys.

Let's Pray

Father, I confess that I often fail when it comes to being a true friend. Help me to be more aware of the opportunity to reach out and make a friend. Teach me how to nurture that friendship through healthy confrontation and a loving touch. May the friendships in my life honor and please You.

In Jesus' name,


Now It's Your Turn

  • I encourage you to scrutinize your friendships under the light of Godly love and correction.
  • How do they measure up?
  • Are you quick to be a vessel through which God can pour out His love through an encouraging touch?
  • Have you been silent, refusing to correct a friend because it was the easiest thing to do?
  • I have been guilty of taking the easy way out when it comes to friendship. I want to be a better friend. Join me in a new commitment to friendship - God's way.

More from the Girlfriends

Don't miss the Dollar Days Sale going on in Mary's online store! 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. I Need a Friend is also available in Bible Study format.

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

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Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

Lysa TerKeurst

September 1, 2011

When My Mean Girl Wants to Come Out
Lysa TerKeurst

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:11 (NIV)

Do you ever have days where someone tries to rip the joy right out of your life?

I do.

And it's really hard. It's a battle. The good girl part of my brain says, "Be nice. Honor Jesus with your actions. Your response is your responsibility. Self control, Lysa, self control."

But the mean girl part of my brain says, "How dare they act that way! I'll show you!"

One part of me says fold your hands in prayer.

But another part of me says throw your hands in the air and pitch a good old fashioned hissy fit.


I have them. Maybe most of us girls do. Especially that one special week a month.

But God.

I love how those two words interrupt me. Redirect me. Remind me. Comfort me. Battle the mean girl in me. And cause me to pause.

Pause. Just for a minute, pause. And it's in that pause where we give the Holy Spirit room to interrupt the mean girl response just dying to come out and bloody the situation.

The Holy Spirit says, "Lysa stop and think. It might feel good in the minute to scream, retaliate, pitch a fit and flood the situation with scary emotions. But it won't feel good in the long run. It will feel awful in the long run. You'll feel the sting of regret. Come on Lysa... be rare. Be a girl who looks ahead and determines to do what's best in the long run."

Yes, it stinks that this other person is determined to steal our joy.

It really does.

But in reality, my joy can only be stolen if I let it be stolen.

In John 15:10-12 Jesus says, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

Several things struck me as I read this verse. Each interaction I have with others I'm faced with the choice to either remain in God's love or retreat from God's love. I can't control how this other person is acting towards me. But I can control how I act and react. If I chose to remain in God's love and react to this other person kindly, it affects my joy. Jesus interjects His joy right into the heart of a kind person. If I make the choice to be kind, instead of my joy being depleted, it will be completed.

So back off mean girl part of my brain. The Jesus girl in me is taking over. And holding on to every ounce of joy that's rightfully mine. Circumstances can steal stuff from me. But not my joy.

Dear Lord, this sounds so good in this moment. But it will not be easy when I have an interaction today with "that person"... the one who makes my mean girl want to come out. Will You help me remember these truths? Will You help me remember this person can not steal my joy? And help me remember if I react kindly my joy can be completed rather than depleted. And that's what I want. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to visit Lysa's blog for a list of three practical things we can do to keep our mean girl from coming out today.

Lysa is speaking in over 40 cities this year and she'd love to meet you! To check for a city near you, click here.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. This book contains three chapters all about what to do when our mean girl wants to come out. Learn how to conquer your anger, envy, and stress today!

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl DVD and Participant's Guide - Contains six sessions lasting 15-20 minutes each on one DVD and a Participant's Guide for only $24.99! Perfect for your Bible study group or as a neighborhood Book Club.

Application Steps:
If you know you will be interacting with someone who has a habit of trying to steal your joy, plan how you can remain calm and kind. Also, plan how you can limit the time you spend interacting with them.

Keep these three thoughts in your mind:

This person can only steal my joy if I let them.

I can't control this person, but I can control how I act and react.

If I make the choice to be kind, instead of my joy beingdepleted, it will be completed.

For a list of three practical things we can do to keep our mean girl from coming out today, click here.

What situations in my life might get better if I apply what I'm learning in this devotional today? Do I want frustration or joy to be my reality today? What would it be like to live with Jesus' complete joy in my heart?

Power Verses:
John 15:10, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love." (NIV)

John 15:11, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (NIV)

John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (NIV)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

Greetings from Bible Gateway! We've got lots of news today, so let's dive right in.

Faithful Through the Ages: Meet the Great People of Church History

God has always used interesting and unlikely people to carry out His will on earth. Preachers, artists, kings, and outcasts; rich and poor; famous and obscure--God has called servants from every walk of life to spread the Gospel and preserve the church. Faithful Through the Ages, our new weekly email newsletter, will introduce you to the influential Christians who have served God in the two thousands years since the time of the early church.

You can read more at our blog, or sign up to start receivingFaithful Through the Ages when it starts tomorrow!

How People Share and Read the Bible Online

Did you know that when people share Bible verses on Facebook, they share single verses nearly 3/4 of the time and full chapters almost 1/10 of the time? We took a close look at the numbers, and have posted stats and charts on how people share and read the Bible online. We found interesting differences in behavior between sharing and reading the Bible.

See the results of our Bible usage research on our blog! Do these findings reflect the way that you share and read Scripture on Bible Gateway, Facebook, and Twitter?

Lexham English Bible Now Available on Bible Gateway

We're pleased to announce a new addition to our library of Bibles: the Lexham English Bible (LEB) New Testament!

The LEB is a comparatively literal translation that is especially useful for students, pastors, and anyone who wants to do regular comparisons between the English and original text. You can read more about what distinguishes the LEB from other modern English Bibles, or you can start reading it now! Because the LEB was produced with comparison reading in mind, we recommend seeing how it reads alongside the Greek New Testament text.

Bible References in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Speeches

This week marked the 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. King's groundbreaking work as a civil rights pioneer is what stands out most strongly in history, but he was also a pastor and preacher--and his sermons and speeches were full of Scripture references. In honor of the occasion, here's a look at Bible passages that formed the basis for several of King's most famous speeches:
That's all for now. Thanks, as always, for your continued support of Bible Gateway!

the Bible Gateway team

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What Physical Torture Would the Messiah Endure?

Today's reading: Isaiah 50:4-9

Even before Jesus was crucified, he underwent a merciless beating and public mocking that were meant not only to inflict maximum pain but also to humiliate him. Isaiah prophesies this torture and abuse that the Messiah would have to endure.

Isaiah 50:6 foretells that the Savior would offer his back to those who beat him, which prophesies the vicious flogging that Jesus endured. In ancient Roman times, flogging was often administered before crucifixion and was done with a whip made of strips of leather embedded with lead balls and shards of bone to inflict gaping wounds that caused the victim unbelievable agony. The church historian Eusebius described a later Roman flogging by saying, "[The victim's] veins were laid bare, and the inner muscles and sinews, and even the bowels, were exposed." The New Testament confirms that Jesus received the prophesied flogging (see Matthew 27:26; John 19:1).

Isaiah also predicts that the Messiah would endure mocking and spitting. Jesus experienced the cruel taunts of the temple guards (see Luke 22:63-65), of the Roman guards (seeMatthew 27:27-31), of the onlookers, of the religious leaders and even of the robbers crucified with him (see Matthew 27:39-44).

Despite his innocence, Jesus did not fight the intense physical and verbal abuse heaped upon him. Instead, he accepted the pain, fulfilling the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah and proving, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54).



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.


Samuel: The King-Maker

Read 1 Samuel

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

Samuel glanced at the seven men standing in the shade. They were impressive specimens. Any of Jesse's sons could have been God's choice. He was suddenly glad he didn't have to choose. God had just warned him about the danger of judging from appearance. He smiled sadly, remembering how impressed he had been at first by Saul's good looks.

Samuel looked around, puzzled. He'd run out of sons, and God hadn't chosen any of them. What was God's plan in this situation? Turning to Jesse, he inquired, "Are these it? No more sons?"

The old man slowly counted his sons, one by one. He appeared confused for a moment, then said, "Oh, there is one other. Didn't even think of him. My youngest, David, is out in the fields with the sheep." The rest of the sons didn't understand why they had been summoned, but they grumbled over having to wait for the runt to show up. His place was at the bottom of the pecking order. Shepherding was a smelly, outdoors-in-all-weather, protecting-stupid-sheep chore. Each of them had done it only until the next brother was old enough. As the youngest, it was David's permanent role. It didn't bother them to assign him the task; it did bother them that he enjoyed it so much.

Soon David came running in, exuding the pungent scents of field and flock. The brothers looked on with shock as Samuel removed an oil horn from his robe and poured the contents on their little brother's head. They couldn't imagine a higher honor-or a more obvious waste. But even they had to admit that as the oil dripped from David's hair and chin, a certain wild delight and spirit seemed to fill him. Samuel smiled, David laughed, and a chill went up his siblings' spines.

As Samuel walked to Ramah, he remembered another little boy, left in the charge of a priest named Eli. He considered how upbringing shapes a man and how God uses even hardships and pain to prepare his servants. He wondered about David's future. He remembered God's unusual call in his own life, the unexpected voice in the night that Eli had identified for him as the Lord's. The old priest had told him to answer, "Speak, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10). Samuel chuckled softly and began to pray, "Lord, I'm still trying to listen. I never thought back then that you would make me a king-maker. So what's next?"

To Take Away

  • In what ways do you think God speaks to you?
  • What have you learned about the dangers of judging people by outward appearances?
  • How would you describe your attitude about God giving you directions?



New Men's Devotional BibleToday's reading is from the
New Men's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan

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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