Friday, September 30, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 30th September

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3:20-21 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague."
Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment--it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare;

You can't come too filthy--come just as you are.


"I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go."
Song of Solomon 3:4

Does Christ receive us when we come to him, notwithstanding all our past sinfulness? Does he never chide us for having tried all other refuges first? And is there none on earth like him? Is he the best of all the good, the fairest of all the fair? Oh, then let us praise him! Daughters of Jerusalem, extol him with timbrel and harp! Down with your idols, up with the Lord Jesus. Now let the standards of pomp and pride be trampled under foot, but let the cross of Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs at, be lifted on high. O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon! Let him be set on high forever, and let my soul sit at his footstool, and kiss his feet, and wash them with my tears. Oh, how precious is Christ! How can it be that I have thought so little of him? How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort when he is so full, so rich, so satisfying. Fellow believer, make a covenant with thine heart that thou wilt never depart from him, and ask thy Lord to ratify it. Bid him set thee as a signet upon his finger, and as a bracelet upon his arm. Ask him to bind thee about him, as the bride decketh herself with ornaments, and as the bridegroom putteth on his jewels. I would live in Christ's heart; in the clefts of that rock my soul would eternally abide. The sparrow hath made a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God; and so too would I make my nest, my home, in thee, and never from thee may the soul of thy turtle dove go forth again, but may I nestle close to thee, O Jesus, my true and only rest.

"When my precious Lord I find,

All my ardent passions glow;

Him with cords of love I bind,

Hold and will not let him go."


Today's reading: Isaiah 7-8, Ephesians 2 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 7-8

The Sign of Immanuel

1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it....” the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 2

Made Alive in Christ

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do....


[Ĭshbō'sheth] - a man of shame. One of Saul's younger sons who was made king over Israel by Abner. He was originally called Eshbaal, "The Lord's man" but his name was changed after Saul's departure (2 Sam. 2:8 with 1 Chron. 8:33; 9:39). Ishbosheth contested the throne of Israel with David for seven years. Ultimately he was deserted by Abner and murdered in his bed by two of his captains.

September 29, 2011

Under the Juniper Tree

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him (Psalm 62:5, ASB).

Friend to Friend

Elijah is a great example of a man in need of rest. One day he was the conquering hero, the next we find him sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity - and begging God to let him die. The poor man was simply exhausted. True, it was an exhaustion produced by victory, but it was still exhaustion.

Elijah called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying idols and idol worshippers. Big stuff! In fact, it is my personal opinion that he should have been celebrating. So why was he so discouraged? It was a woman, Jezebel, who was largely responsible for his discouragement.

Jezebel was the evil and influential wife of Ahab, King of Israel, and widely known as the real power behind her husband's throne. Jezebel did not worship the one true God of Israel. Instead, she was fanatical in her worship of the pagan god, Baal, and tried to impose her beliefs on the people of Israel. One man stood in her way - Elijah. When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel, God answered Elijah's prayer with a stream of fire from heaven. You would think that a miracle like that would have convinced Ahab and Jezebel to believe in God. It didn't. In fact, Jezebel was furious. When she learned what had happened on Mt. Carmel with the fire and idols, she put a contract out on Elijah. Now stop and think about that for a moment.

Elijah had been in the presence of God. God had heard and answered Elijah's prayer, putting on an impressive fiery display for all to see. Idols had fallen. The prophets of Baal had either fled or been destroyed. And Elijah is worried about one angry woman? Elijah was tired and needed to rest - big time. He found that rest while sitting under a Juniper tree, waiting in silence for God to show up. I know. God had showed up in big ways for Elijah, but this time, Elijah needed a personal, one-on-one encounter with his Father. I've been there, haven't you?

I'm not very good at waiting. I don't like to wait on anyone or anything and often view the waiting rooms of life as missed opportunities and unproductive circumstances to be avoided whenever possible. And as far as silence goes, if there is a word to be spoken, I will gladly speak it. In fact, for much of my life, I have tried my best to avoid silence and solitude. However, I am learning that while the seasons of silence and the waiting rooms of life are different in nature and purpose, they are always for my ultimate good.

Silence sometimes falls like a sweet, gentle and refreshing rain. I don't have to do anything, be anything or seek anything. I am just with Him and He is with me. I crawl up into my Father's lap and wrap my arms around Him and find healing and restoration. I fall in love with Him all over again as He reminds me that His love for me is unchanging and unconditional. The Father gently reassures my frightened heart that He is not going anywhere and that I can count on Him to be with me - no matter what!

But there are also times when waiting in silence feels more like a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. The darkness is filled with fear and unanswered questions threaten my peace. I am lonely and don't understand what God is doing. I am tired of being hurt and disappointed and quitting seems like the easiest way out. My energy is gone and no one seems to understand.

It doesn't really matter what compels us to crave time under the Juniper tree. It only matters that we come. Clinical depression brought me to my knees and drove me to seek God as never before. It was there that His truth pierced my heart and changed the course of my life with the promise found inPsalm 40:1-3:

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).

Oh, I had read the book of Psalms many times, but in the silence under my personal Juniper tree, it settled into my soul and really took root. I began to learn how to wait on God. I came to the precious place of desperation and cried out to Him. I made the deliberate choice to trust Him like the helpless child that I am. During those precious moments, we laughed, cried, and talked about the trials that brought me to the pit of darkness. For the first time in my life, I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.

I am learning to embrace the silent times of waiting as gifts from His hand to my life. So time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. How about you?

Let's Pray

Thank You, Lord, for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I must stop and rest and sit at Your feet in quiet solitude. Thank You for the healing I find there. Thank You for the new truth and redefined purpose for my life. Help me apply the truths I find under the Juniper tree and then give me the strength and determination to share Your plan of deliverance with those who need your restoration.

In Jesus' name,


Now It's Your Turn

Do you long for times of silence or avoid them whenever possible? Why? I encourage you to find a few minutes each day this week to spend in silence before God. Establish the habit of a silent retreat when possible. Read the Psalms daily and keep your gaze on God.

More from the Girlfriends

We will never be free from stress this side of heaven - so we had better figure out how to deal with it. That's why I wrote the book Escaping the Stress Trap, a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23. If you read Psalm 23 every day for a month, I promise you will see a difference in your stress level.

Come as You Are is Mary's NEW Online Bible Study that begins September 26! The most common invitation offered by Jesus Christ is simply to "come." He doesn't ask us to fix what is wrong or expect us to clean up our lives. That is His responsibility. Jesus loves us just as we are and when we come to Him with a "yes" in our hearts, He lovingly transforms the broken places into beautiful scars of healing and new life.Enroll before October 1 and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or throughemail.

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

Lysa TerKeurst

September 29, 2011

In the Flow
Lysa TerKeurst

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

This past summer my family and I were at a wonderful place called Camp-of-the-Woods tucked in the Adirondack mountains. It's an amazing get-away for families. Great chapel preaching every morning, no TV, beautiful lake, campfires, fishing, putt putt golf, shuffleboard, and more game playing than you can imagine.

Nature erupts with untarnished beauty and begs to be explored. So, when my exercise loving friends suggested we join them for a moderate family hike, we agreed.

Well, their definition of the word moderate and mine didn't come from the same dictionary. Actually, not from the same planet if I'm being completely honest. Honey, honey, honey...this was no moderate hike.

I pictured a path with a gentle, winding, upward slope.

What we actually hiked was a full on upward scaling of rocks and roots.

Not kidding.

In an altitude where the air seemed so thin the inside of my lungs felt like they were sticking together and refusing my chest full breaths. Lovely.

Up, up, up we went. And when another group passed us on their way down and cheerfully quipped, "You're almost halfway there," I wanted to quit. Halfway? How could we only be halfway!?!

I pushed. I pulled. I strained. I huffed and puffed. And I might have even spent a few minutes pouting.

But eventually, we reached the top. I bent over holding my sides wondering how a girl who runs almost every day of her life could be so stinkin' out of shape! Going up against the pull of gravity was hard. Really, really hard.

But coming down was a completely different experience. We navigated the same rocks and roots without feeling nearly as stressed. I enjoyed the journey. I noticed more of the beautiful surroundings and had enough breath to talk to those with me all the way down.

And about halfway down the trail, it occurred to me how similar this hike was to the Christian walk.

Starting at the top, working with the pull of gravity was so much easier than starting at the bottom and working against it.

Though we navigated the exact same path both directions, going in the flow of gravity made the journey so much better.

Just like when I face an issue in life, operating in the flowof God's power is so much better than working against the flow of God's power.

In other words, seeking to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance I'm facing will position me to work in the flow of God's power. I'll still have to navigate the realities of my situation but I won't be doing it with my strength.

My job is to be obedient to God. Apply His word. Walk according to His ways- not the world's suggestions. Participate in His divine nature rather than wallow in my own bad attitude and insecurities.

Then I won't have to huff and puff and pout while trying to figure everything out. I stay in the flow. God, in His way and timing, works it all out.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).

So, the question of the day... will we work in or out of the flow today? Go with the flow of God's power. This divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. Wow, when I let that sink in, I'm so inspired to handle everything I face today the way God instructs. Every thing!

And if you're thinking of asking me on a hike, I require pictures of the path first. Okay?

Dear Lord, help me to operate in the flow of Your power today and not against it. Your divine power has given me everything I need for a godly life. I pray believing this truth today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Lysa will be speaking in more than 40 cities this year.Click here to see her schedule. She would be honored to meet you.

If you are having a hard time relying on the flow of God's power in your food choices, be sure to check out Lysa's book: Made to Crave.

Also, you'll want to consider doing the 6 week Bible study using this DVD set: Made to Crave DVD by Lysa TerKeurst

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:
Will we work in or out of the flow of God's power today? What are some ways that you can intentionally choose to do things God's way today?

When I face an issue in life, operating in the flow of God's power is so much better than working against the flow of God's power.

Power Verses:
Exodus 15:2, "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him." (NIV 1984)

1 Chronicles 16:11, "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (NIV)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


Why Our Children Don't Come Back

Ever since I entered into pastoral ministry now 22 years ago, there has been an undeniable pattern at work – “When kids leave the nest, they leave the church too.” It is certainly not true of every teenager but it is true of the majority...



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.
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
» 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

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© 2011 Layout and Design, Provident Films, a unit of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. All Rights Reserved.


Searching for Answers

Today's reading: Malachi 3:1

Malachi 3:1 is quoted several times in the New Testament (seeMatthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27) with reference to John the Baptist, the one sent to prepare the way for Christ. So, if the Old Testament prophecies are so obvious and point so unquestionably toward Jesus, why don't more people of the Jewish faith accept him as their Messiah? That's a question Louis Lapides has asked himself many times during the three decades since a Christian challenged him to investigate the Jewish Scriptures. Though he grew up in a Jewish family, Lapides now ministers within the Christian faith. "In my case, I took the time to read them," he says of the prophecies. "Oddly enough, even though the Jewish people are known for having high intellects, in this area there's a lot of ignorance.

"It doesn't help that counter-missionary organizations hold seminars in synagogues to try to disprove the Messianic prophecies. Jewish people hear them and use them as an excuse for not exploring the prophecies personally. They'll say, 'The rabbi told me there's nothing to this.'

"The ostracism a Jewish person faces if he or she becomes a Christian is also a factor," he says. "Some people won't let the Messianic prophecies grab them because they're afraid of the repercussions-potential rejection by their family and the Jewish community. That's not easy to face. Believe me, I know."

Adapted from interview with Louis Lapides.



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.


Fear Not

Read Nehemiah 6:1-19

Has someone deliberately tried to discredit you? Gone out of his way to tear you down? Persuaded others to believe something untrue about you?

Then you can relate to Nehemiah. He must have scratched his head when his enemies tried five times to lure him outside the city, where certain death awaited. They tried rumors, coercion and bald-faced threats, but Nehemiah wasn't fooled. He trusted God and knew that Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem's claims weren't true. These enemies were spreading rumors, trying to frighten Nehemiah and his men into stopping their work on Jerusalem's walls. Instinctively, Nehemiah turned to prayer and asked God to provide strength for finishing the task.

Next, Nehemiah had to be wary when his enemies sent a wolf in sheep's clothing, inviting him to hide out in the temple for his own safety-an act that would have gone against God's laws. Yet even when threatened with death, Nehemiah didn't allow himself to fall into that trap. He had insight into the situation that reinforced his trust in God, rather than believing the bad reports of other men.

Thankfully, you'll probably never experience an assassination attempt. But you might face an enemy who wants to assassinate your character. Like Nehemiah's enemies, people who are bent on opposing you can be very resourceful, even downright nefarious, in getting their way. Should you fight back? Or run away and hide?

Remember that, like Nehemiah, you have a heavenly Father to whom you can always turn. As hard as Nehemiah's enemies tried to attack him, through prayer he found the power to continue his work without fear. You can too. When you trust God for protection, he will fill you with strength to complete the unique tasks he gives you and the courage you need to withstand character assassination attempts.

To Take Away

  • Think about a really tough task, project or relationship that God has given you to deal with. How does Nehemiah's example encourage you?
  • Is there someone in your circle of friends who brings you down or makes you feel afraid? How can you respond to him in a way that honors God?
  • In what areas do you need to trust God to protect and strengthen you?
Recommended Reading: Joshua 1:1-9; Psalm 59:1-17; Philippians 4:4-13


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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