Friday, September 09, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 9th September

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"From me is thy fruit found."
Hosea 14:8

Our fruit is found from our God as to union. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit. Every bunch of grapes has been first in the root, it has passed through the stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth in us. O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst be a barren bough indeed.

Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon may whisper to the tree and say, "From me is thy fruit found." The fruit owes much to the root--that is essential to fruitfulness--but it owes very much also to external influences. How much we owe to God's grace-providence! in which he provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength, or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness or virtue.

Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener's sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which the Lord gives to thee. "My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Since our God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to him all the glory of our salvation.

Evening

"The exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead."
Ephesians 1:19-20

In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth nothing short of a divine power. What shall we say of those who think that conversion is wrought by the free will of man, and is due to his own betterness of disposition? When we shall see the dead rise from the grave by their own power, then may we expect to see ungodly sinners of their own free will turning to Christ. It is not the word preached, nor the word read in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Ghost. This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds: even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life. No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth, can stay the hand of God's grace when it intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, "Thou shalt," man shall not say, "I will not." Observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honour upon God and wrought dismay in the hosts of evil. So there is great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner. It was everlasting power. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." So we, being raised from the dead, go not back to our dead works nor to our old corruptions, but we live unto God. "Because he lives we live also." "For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God." "Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Lastly, in the text mark the union of the new life to Jesus. The same power which raised the Head works life in the members. What a blessing to be quickened together with Christ!

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Today's reading: Proverbs 3-5, 2 Corinthians 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Proverbs 3-5

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Corinthians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise to the God of All Comfort

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort....

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Jedaiah

[Jēdā'iah] - jehovah is praise orjehovah knoweth.

  1. A descendant of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:37).
  2. A man of Harumaph who repaired the part of the wall near his own house (Neh. 3:10).
  3. A descendant of Aaron whose family came up from Jerusalem (1 Chron. 9:10; 24:7; Ezra 2:36; Neh. 7:39).
  4. A chief of the priests who returned with Zerubbabel (Neh. 11:10; 12:6, 19; Zech. 6:10, 14).
  5. Another priest with the same history (Neh. 12:7, 21).
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September 8, 2011

I'm Believing God!

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, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV).

Friend to Friend

In Ephesians 1:13 we read: "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him, with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit." We believed - past tense - and were saved, sealed, delivered...we're His! It was completed in the past, once and for all time.

Now let's read a little further down in Ephesians 1:18. "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, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." We received salvation when we believed (past tense). We have great power when we believe (present tense).

The Greek word for believe that is used in Ephesians 1:18 is a present active participle. That means it is a continuous action verb. Bible teacher Beth Moore explains: "In other words, the promise given in verses 19-20 is not applied to those 'having believed' as in verse 13 where they had believed to become Christians. Rather, it is applied to those who are presently, actively, and yes, continually believing God."

Maybe you believed in Jesus and experienced salvation. But do you believe the Word of God by faith and understand that you have the same power working in your life that raised Jesus from the dead? It is available to you...if you believe.

A sapling planted in the ground does not become more of a tree as it grows, it just becomes stronger and more mature. Writer Neil Anderson compares our spiritual growth to a tree: "The growth stage cannot alter the organism; it can only ensure that the organism reaches its greatest potential." As a tree's roots grow deeper it produces a greater display of leaves, more shade and beauty for others to enjoy, and stronger branches for tire swings and bird's nests, but it's still a tree. The moment you come to Christ, you are saved...you are a saint by calling with a whole new identity. There is nothing you can do to make your identity more true than at the very moment you accept Christ as your Savior, but there is much you can do to have more power in your life as you mature.

It begins by believing the truth. It is a step of faith. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). It is "acting like God tells the truth."

Are you ready to start practicing present tense believing today? Are you ready to experience God's power in your life! If you answered yes, then buckle up. God's power is about to be demonstrated in your life in a mighty way!

Let's Pray

Dear LORD, Thank You for giving me the gift of faith. Forgive me when I doubt You. Today, I am choosing to believe. Even if circumstances seem bleak, I know that You are who you say You are and You will do what You say You will do.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What are you believing God for today?

Visit www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and share what you are believing God for today!

More from the Girlfriends

Need a "faith lift" today? Want to learn more about how to practice present tense believing? Then you'll want to read Sharon's book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful - Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes. This is the message that changed her life!

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
Amy Carroll

September 8, 2011

Just Because
Amy Carroll

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

"How are you doing?" she asked. "I heard about the death of your grandmother and have been thinking about you." My eyes widened in surprise and pleasure as I recognized my friend Melanie's voice on the phone. She's a friend I dearly love, but we live long-distance and don't stay in close touch.

I told her about my sadness, but also my joy over the fullness of my grandmother's life, and we continued to catch up on old friends, kids and church. I started to wonder when we'd get to the reason for her call. Finally, there was a pause, and she explained that she needed to go back to her work day in a minute.

I was stunned. That was it?

There was no other agenda or hidden need. Melanie had just carved out the time in her day to call and check on me.

Melanie is a young widow whose precious husband died suddenly. She is dealing with raising children alone, running a business they used to manage as a couple and all the other curve-balls life inevitably throws her way. Yet she made time in her day just to check in with me. I told her how grateful I was that she had been so intentional and kind.

That is when Melanie explained that after her husband's death, worship time at church was the time when the flood-gates of grief opened. She would often stand and cry throughout the service, pouring out her heart to God and receiving comfort from Him. And there was one woman who often sat by Melanie and silently held her hand.

One woman.

In silence.

Offering the ministry of presence.

A profound gift.

Melanie continued, describing the impact this gesture made on her. "I've learned how much sharing time means. If I can only run by and take a cake to someone who is hurting, I do it. All of life's busyness can be overwhelming, but I make time for people now. People are the most important thing."

I thought of how my friend reflects Jesus-of how Jesus made people more important than His to-do list. There were so many He stopped for. Countless faces in the crowds who made Him pause, just because.

The woman at the well.

Zacchaeus.

The woman with the issue of blood.

His disciples.

Mary at His feet.

The list could go on and on.

As I write, I think about the day's to-do list. A long list. There are lines and lines of things to do that aren't checked off yet, calling for my attention and time. They're all important, but how do I process my list through today's key verse? How do I become more like Jesus, numbering my days aright so that I might gain a heart of wisdom?

I think I'll start a fresh to-do list and take a lesson from Melanie. I'll leave room at the top of my list-room for names instead of tasks. My new first line on my checklist: "Be more like Jesus. Make people the most important thing today."

Dear Lord, I need Your help to plan my day with Your priorities. You know how task-driven I can become. Will You teach me to put people first? Sensitize my spirit to listen to Yours and to pause for people like You would. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

A Life that Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

Welcome to Community: Experiencing Life the Way God Intended by Brian T Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

Visit Amy's blog for a list of creative ways to reach out in love to those around you.

Application Steps:
Pray and ask God to reveal "just because" pauses that He's created for you as you go through your day.

Be ready to stop and make time to reach out. As you go on your way, pray that God will show Himself through your act of kindness.

Reflections:
When has someone reached out to me when I was hurting with no other agenda than to care for me? How did God reveal Himself to me in that act?

Have I ever reached out to someone when they were hurting with no other agenda than to care for them?

Power Verses:
I John 4:19, 21, "We love because he first loved us...And he has given us this command; Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (NIV)

John 15:12-13, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (NIV)

© 2011 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

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How Can Jesus Be Called "King"?

Today's reading: Ezekiel 37:15-28

God promised in Ezekiel 37:24 that the chosen descendant of David, the Messiah, would be king over the newly reunited northern and southern kingdoms. Why do Christians relate this prophecy to Jesus, despite the fact that he never held this earthly title of authority?

Jesus never aspired to be an earthly king. In fact, when a throng of Jews wanted to make Jesus such a king by force, he withdrew to a mountain by himself to avoid them (see John 6:15). Jesus clearly said, "My kingdom is not of this world ... my kingdom is from another place" (John 18:36). It is in this heavenly kingdom-a place where every believer will one day reside, a place where God's laws will finally be perfectly enforced-that Jesus reigns. Jesus knew that after his life on Earth, he would return to heaven to sit at God's right hand, where he would reign eternally as the unchallenged King (seeMatthew 26:64; Acts 2:32-35). One day all will acknowledge his supremacy, all will submit to his authority, all will acknowledge him as Lord (see Philippians 2:9-11). Indeed, he already rules and reigns as a royal king over countless millions of people from every nation under the sun who have given him their total allegiance and loyalty.

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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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Inward Remembrance, Outward Adoration

Read 2 Kings 17:7-29

Many years ago a number of skylarks imported from England began to breed and dot the American landscape. One day, a man who studied birds sat listening with solemn interest to the song of the immigrant birds. Nearby, an Irish laborer-hearing the song of the bird he'd heard in his mother country-stopped, took off his hat and turned his face skyward. A look of awe and joy washed across his face. His inward remembrance and love of country produced an outward response.

Although the Israelites expressed an outward worship, they didn't possess an inward love of God. Sure, an observer might believe that they worshiped God inwardly. But in truth, their hearts secretly served other gods. "In their secret chambers of idolatry and imagery," said Clarence Macartney, "they bowed down before the grinning images of Baal."

Today, as we express our adoration and worship of God, we can either be like the student of birds or like the Irishman who responded emotionally to their song. The observer simply admires what takes place, but experiences no feelings of love and devotion. However, the true worshiper-upon hearing songs about God and words of his heavenly home-feels his heart beat faster, thinking of a glorious hope for the future. And all of us long to feel this beat, because it makes our hearts come alive.

Anyone can go through the outward motions. But we can't worship by just playing a role. We have to make it the aim of our heart. When we offer our heart to God in love and adoration, he, in return, washes awe and joy across our soul.

To Take Away

  • How does "going through the motions" of worship make you feel?
  • In what ways do you sincerely worship God?
  • How does your worship of God affect your daily living?
Recommended Reading: Psalm 42:1-2; 84:1-12; Hebrews 12:28

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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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