Saturday, September 03, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 3rd September

“The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:64 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her."
Mark 1:30

Very interesting is this little peep into the house of the Apostolic Fisherman. We see at once that household joys and cares are no hindrance to the full exercise of ministry, nay, that since they furnish an opportunity for personally witnessing the Lord's gracious work upon one's own flesh and blood, they may even instruct the teacher better than any other earthly discipline. Papists and other sectaries may decry marriage, but true Christianity and household life agree well together. Peter's house was probably a poor fisherman's hut, but the Lord of Glory entered it, lodged in it, and wrought a miracle in it. Should our little book be read this morning in some very humble cottage, let this fact encourage the inmates to seek the company of King Jesus. God is oftener in little huts than in rich palaces. Jesus is looking round your room now, and is waiting to be gracious to you. Into Simon's house sickness had entered, fever in a deadly form had prostrated his mother-in-law, and as soon as Jesus came they told him of the sad affliction, and he hastened to the patient's bed. Have you any sickness in the house this morning? You will find Jesus by far the best physician, go to him at once and tell him all about the matter. Immediately lay the case before him. It concerns one of his people, and therefore will not be trivial to him. Observe, that at once the Saviour restored the sick woman; none can heal as he does. We may not make sure that the Lord will at once remove all disease from those we love, but we may know that believing prayer for the sick is far more likely to be followed by restoration than anything else in the world; and where this avails not, we must meekly bow to his will by whom life and death are determined. The tender heart of Jesus waits to hear our griefs, let us pour them into his patient ear.

Evening

"Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."
John 4:48

A craving after marvels was a symptom of the sickly state of men's minds in our Lord's day; they refused solid nourishment, and pined after mere wonder. The gospel which they so greatly needed they would not have; the miracles which Jesus did not always choose to give they eagerly demanded. Many nowadays must see signs and wonders, or they will not believe. Some have said in their heart, "I must feel deep horror of soul, or I never will believe in Jesus." But what if you never should feel it, as probably you never may? Will you go to hell out of spite against God, because he will not treat you like another? One has said to himself, "If I had a dream, or if I could feel a sudden shock of I know not what, then I would believe." Thus you undeserving mortals dream that my Lord is to be dictated to by you! You are beggars at his gate, asking for mercy, and you must needs draw up rules and regulations as to how he shall give that mercy. Think you that he will submit to this? My Master is of a generous spirit, but he has a right royal heart, he spurns all dictation, and maintains his sovereignty of action. Why, dear reader, if such be your case, do you crave for signs and wonders? Is not the gospel its own sign and wonder? Is not this a miracle of miracles, that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish"? Surely that precious word, "Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely" and that solemn promise, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out," are better than signs and wonders! A truthful Saviour ought to be believed. He is truth itself. Why will you ask proof of the veracity of One who cannot lie? The devils themselves declared him to be the Son of God; will you mistrust him?

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Today's reading: Psalm 137-139, 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 137-139

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Matthias

[Măt'thī'as] - gift of god. A disciple chosen by lot to succeed Judas Iscariot as an apostle. He had been a follower of Jesus from the beginning of His ministry and was a witness of His resurrection (Acts 1:23, 26). Tradition says Matthias was one of the seventy (Luke 10:1).

David Smith feels that the choice of Matthias was not of God. The disciples prayed for guidance but instead of trusting for divine direction, had recourse to the superstitious practice of casting lots. The election of Matthias was set aside, Paul becoming the true successor to the vacant office. We have no record of him after his election. Tradition says that he went to Ethiopia and labored there where ultimately he was martyred.

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P31Header
Tracie Miles

September 2, 2011

Faith over Feelings
Tracie Miles

"...for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5b (NIV)

I spent months working on it, with big expectations and high hopes. In the blink of an eye it was crushed. This reality tore into my heart like a jagged knife, ripping my dream into tiny little shreds. Disappointment was so great it was difficult to process my feelings. I had worked tirelessly on this project and now I felt disappointment and rejection.

Disappointment soon turned to irritation which morphed into resentment. I didn't FEEL it was fair.

Why didn't God answer my prayers? Why had He placed a dream in my heart only to allow it to crumble? Why had He let this happen? Why me?

I knew I needed to have a good attitude and not give up, but I did not FEEL like doing that at all!

Questions pummeled my brain. What is the use? Why try again? If God didn't answer my prayer after all this time, why bother keep trying?

I allowed my FEELings to overtake my FAITH.

All I could think about was how this disappointment made me feel, instead of what God may be doing that my faith could not see. I felt things weren't fair, without remembering God's ways are best. I felt a longing for immediate results, instead of trusting God's timing is perfect.

My feelings had gotten in the way of my faith, so I turned to Psalm 25 (NIV) for perspective. The following verses washed over my spirit.

Verse 1, "In you, LORD my God, I put my trust."

I felt discouraged, unworthy, hopeless, rejected. So I poured my feelings and my soul out to God. And He listened.

Verse 2, "I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me."

God reminded me to trust Him, not a desire or a dream. Not the world's view. Not my abilities. Not my timeframe. Not my ideas. Trust Him alone. I prayed about my enemies-intangible feelings such as self doubt, insecurity, frustration, and discouragement.

Verse 3, "No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause."

Regardless of whether or not my desires become a reality, I will not be put to shame, because God is my God. If His plans coincide with my dreams, I know He will keep His eternal promises.

Verses 4-5a, "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me,"

These words stopped me in my tracks. I began to think more rationally. Why did I beat my head against a wall? Why was I consumed with anxiety and frustration? Was I allowing God to direct my paths? God gently reminded me He is the teacher, I am the student.

Verse 5b, "...for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

If I put my hope in my own desires and abilities, I set myself up for failure. My only hope for joy and fulfillment comes from Christ alone. Hope is found in Him, not people, a career, your husband or children, church, financial success, a carefree life, or dreams that come true.

Disappointments will happen. With God, however, we can turn those disappointments into God's appointments to trust Him. The first step is to exercise faith over feelings.

Dear Lord, You know the hurt in my heart and the sting of disappointments I have experienced. Please help me trust You, instead of being consumed by feelings. Empower me with a faith that is stronger than my emotions. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Compassion International helps turn children's disappointments into God's appointments to trust Him. You can too! Sponsor a child today.

Reinventing Your Rainbow by Tracie Miles

Visit Tracie's blog for more encouragement in trusting God.

What to do in the W.A.I.T: Finding Contentment in God's Pauses and Plans (CD) by Wendy Pope

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:
Consider the disappointments you have experienced recently. Ask God to help your faith be more powerful than your feelings.

Unpack Psalm 25:1-5 verse by verse and apply it to your situation, with open ears to hear God's voice.

Reflections:
Am I allowing my feelings to guide my actions, or relying on my faith to help me move forward?

Have I asked God how He can use my disappointments to strengthen my faith in Him?

Have I sought God's direction in my situation?

Power Verses:
Psalm 78:7, "That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments..." (KJV)

© 2011 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

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September 2, 2011

God Confidence

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5NIV).

Friend to Friend

Paul said that he "put no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3). In other words, he didn't think that he was good enough because of any particular talent or ability that he had on his own. But his confidence came from his understanding of who he was as a child of God. Someone once said, "A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package." But a man, or woman, wrapped up in God is an amazing sight to behold.

I believe we can change our inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy into unshakable confidence by understanding who we are, what we have, and where we are as a child of God. I am not advocating confidence in self, but confidence in God - confidence in who you are because of what Jesus has done for you and what the Holy Spirit can do through you. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, 6 TNIV). Connected to the vine you can do everything God calls you to do (Philippians 4:13).

Paul knew what he could accomplish on his own...nothing. Oh, he could be busy. We all can do that. But bearing "fruit that will remain" is another story. This paraphrase shows how he viewed his own personal weaknesses:

I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

'My grace is enough; it's all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.'

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now that I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message)

Paul had great confidence. The prefix, "con" means "with" and the root "fid" means faith." So a confident person is one who walks in faith. We walk in faith that we are holy, chosen, redeemed, dearly loved children of God who are empowered by the Holy Spirit, equipped by our Maker, and enveloped by Jesus Christ. Now that's real God-confidence.

Let's Pray

Dear God, I know that I can do nothing of any true lasting value apart from You. However, when I abide in Christ and He works through me, I can accomplish anything You have called me to do. Help me to understand the power that is within me and to have unshakable confidence in Christ today.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Take a look at what you have been trying to accomplish in your own life. Are you working in your own strength, or are you depending on Jesus working through you?

What do you think Jesus meant when He said, "Apart from me you can do nothing?"

I'd love to hear your thoughts about that! Log ontowww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and let's chat.

More from the Girlfriends

Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's book, I'm Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. If you need a confidence booster, then this book is for you! Begin seeing yourself as God sees you and discover the amazing potential you have to live the victorious Christian 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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LeadershipBible-Header

Benedict of Nursia: Father of Western Monasticism

art_05_05_benedict-250

Verse: John 12:35

Quote: "To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright armor of obedience." (The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue)

Born into a prosperous family in northern Italy, Benedict (480 - 550) grew up with his twin sister, Scholastica, who later founded a sister order of Benedictines. As a young man, Benedict traveled to Rome seeking education and spiritual development, but all he found was worldliness. Disgusted with the increasing wealth of the church, he soon left town, seeking solitude. Setting out for a remote mountainous region, he told no one but a family servant who insisted on joining him and caring for his needs. So the young man, not yet twenty, trudged north with an old woman. Along the way, the old woman broke a clay jar and then spread the word that Benedict miraculously restored it.

Not wanting to gain fame as a miracle worker, he left the garrulous servant behind and set out alone to live a life of solitude. On his way he met Romanus, a monk in a small monastery who agreed to show him the way of a hermit. The monk supplied him with a warm hooded robe and helped him find a cave overhanging a cliff. Each day for the next three years Romanus brought a portion of his own meal and lowered it by basket from above. Benedict was left entirely alone to his solitary thoughts.

Later, as Benedict ventured out of his cave, shepherds spotted him. News of the hermit sighting quickly spread, and pilgrims made their way to the cave offering food and seeking counsel. Among those who climb the cliffs were a band of monks begging Benedict to become their abbot. He agreed, only to realize that his strict asceticism did not agree with their careless ways. In fact, so repugnant was his discipline that they poison his wine. But as he made the sign of the cross over his glass, it miraculously broke. Forgiving them, he asked: "Why have you plotted this wicked thing against me? Did I not tell you beforehand that my ways would not accord with yours? Go and find an abbot to your taste." With those words he left and returned to his cave.

Hearing of this fiasco - and miracle - more pilgrims arrived, many wishing to follow him in strict discipline. For Benedict this was an answered prayer. He realized that solitude is not the way of discipleship. In the succeeding years he established monastic houses of twelve monks each.

But troubles were never far away. His success caused animosities with a local priest who, according to Gregory, sent him a gift of poisoned bread and induced lewd women to tempt his monks. Convinced that he must move on, Benedict abandoned his twelve monastic houses and traveled with a small group of disciples to an even more remote area that lay in ruins from the devastation of the marauding Goths, its inhabitants having reverted to paganism. Soon Benedict and his disciples were preaching the wrath of God and tearing down the pagan altars. Again pilgrims arrived, pleading to join the brotherhood and the movement rapidly expands.

In the years that follow, the one-time cave-dweller amassed large tracts of land, villas, and churches, as wealthy benefactors donated their property. His popularity and reputation as a holy man of miracles swelled. Travelers came from great distances just to be in his presence.

More significant than money and land and increasing numbers of disciples was Benedict's Rule. Having previously borrowed guidelines from other monastic leaders, he determined to write a rule that mirrored his own principles. The Rule, which is still used today, requires that followers relinquish their wills in submission to authority - that being "the strong armor of obedience, to fight under our Lord Christ." But overall, the rule is judicious in its way of monastic living. The first sentence of the document promises that "we shall ordain nothing severe and nothing burdensome."

The monk's daily life is a combination of solitude and community living. Times of prayer and liturgy are balanced with manual labor, study, and communal activities. The Rule of Benedict has continued to serve as the primary monastic guide for some five hundred years.


If you enjoyed the above article, please take a minute to read about the book that it was adapted from:

ParadeofFaith-Bookcover

Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

by Ruth A. Tucker
Buy the book!
The story of Christianity centers on people whose lives have been transformed by the resurrected Lord. Tucker puts this front and center in a lively overview peppered with sidebars; historical "what if?" questions; sections on everyday life; drawings and illustrations; bibliographies for further reading.


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