Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 11th September

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him."
Mark 3:13

Here was sovereignty. Impatient spirits may fret and fume, because they are not called to the highest places in the ministry; but reader be it thine to rejoice that Jesus calleth whom he wills. If he shall leave me to be a doorkeeper in his house, I will cheerfully bless him for his grace in permitting me to do anything in his service. The call of Christ's servants comes from above. Jesus stands on the mountain, evermore above the world in holiness, earnestness, love and power. Those whom he calls must go up the mountain to him, they must seek to rise to his level by living in constant communion with him. They may not be able to mount to classic honours, or attain scholastic eminence, but they must like Moses go up into the mount of God and have familiar intercourse with the unseen God, or they will never be fitted to proclaim the gospel of peace. Jesus went apart to hold high fellowship with the Father, and we must enter into the same divine companionship if we would bless our fellowmen. No wonder that the apostles were clothed with power when they came down fresh from the mountain where Jesus was. This morning we must endeavour to ascend the mount of communion, that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are set apart. Let us not see the face of man today till we have seen Jesus. Time spent with him is laid out at blessed interest. We too shall cast out devils and work wonders if we go down into the world girded with that divine energy which Christ alone can give. It is of no use going to the Lord's battle till we are armed with heavenly weapons. We must see Jesus, this is essential. At the mercy-seat we will linger till he shall manifest himself unto us as he doth not unto the world, and until we can truthfully say, "We were with him in the Holy Mount."

Evening

"Evening wolves."
Habakkuk 1:8

While preparing the present volume, this particular expression recurred to me so frequently, that in order to be rid of its constant importunity I determined to give a page to it. The evening wolf, infuriated by a day of hunger, was fiercer and more ravenous than he would have been in the morning. May not the furious creature represent our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind, losses in business, and perhaps ungenerous tauntings from our fellow men? How our thoughts howl in our ears, "Where is now thy God?" How voracious and greedy they are, swallowing up all suggestions of comfort, and remaining as hungry as before. Great Shepherd, slay these evening wolves, and bid thy sheep lie down in green pastures, undisturbed by insatiable unbelief. How like are the fiends of hell to evening wolves, for when the flock of Christ are in a cloudy and dark day, and their sun seems going down, they hasten to tear and to devour. They will scarcely attack the Christian in the daylight of faith, but in the gloom of soul conflict they fall upon him. O thou who hast laid down thy life for the sheep, preserve them from the fangs of the wolf.

False teachers who craftily and industriously hunt for the precious life, devouring men by their false-hoods, are as dangerous and detestable as evening wolves. Darkness is their element, deceit is their character, destruction is their end. We are most in danger from them when they wear the sheep's skin. Blessed is he who is kept from them, for thousands are made the prey of grievous wolves that enter within the fold of the church.

What a wonder of grace it is when fierce persecutors are converted, for then the wolf dwells with the lamb, and men of cruel ungovernable dispositions become gentle and teachable. O Lord, convert many such: for such we will pray tonight.

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Today's reading: Proverbs 8-9, 2 Corinthians 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Proverbs 8-9

Wisdom's Call

1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 "To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Corinthians 3

1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life....

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A Land of Milk and Honey

This week's reading: Exodus 3:8

God's promise to Moses on behalf of the people must have sounded larger-than-life: it was "a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Ex 3:8)-a place fairly oozing with the best of creation's bounty. God was indeed planning to bless his people abundantly.

God still provides for his own, both corporately (his church) and individually, although not always in a material sense. David reflects, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread" (Ps 37:25). It might be easy to dismiss David's claim based on the fact that faithful followers of Christ have starved to death in large numbers over the centuries. So, at the very least, we must beware of blithely suggesting that God will always provide a minimal amount of material provision in this life.

Christian financial stewardship leader Howard Dayton reflects on God's promise to provide for our needs:

"But seek first [his kingdom] and his righteousness, and all these things [food and clothing] will be [given] to you" (Mt 6:33). In Genesis 22:14, God is spoken of as "Jehovah-jireh," [the LORD Will Provide]. He takes care of his people, and he does not need a prosperous economy to provide for them. Each day he gave manna to the children of Israel during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Jesus fed 5,000 with only five loaves and two fish.

God is both predictable and unpredictable. He is absolutely predictable in his faithfulness to provide for our needs. What we cannot predict is how the Lord will provide. He uses various and sometimes surprising means of meeting our needs. Regardless of how he chooses to provide for our needs, he is utterly reliable.

Yet in our human condition, we are often plagued by fears that God might not come through for us. Pastor and author Andy Stanley reflects on the impact that this lack of trust has on our stewardship habits:

For many believers, cheerful giving has become fearful giving. We are not opposed to supporting God's kingdom with our resources. And we're really not greedy. But we are concerned. We're concerned that if we don't look after our own needs first, they might not get looked after at all.

Yet the testimony of Scripture, together with the experiences of millions of believers, sends a resounding response to our concerns. Any fear associated with giving to God's kingdom is irrational. It's on a par with a farmer who, out of fear of losing his seed, refuses to plant his fields. As absurd as that may sound, many of us are guilty of hoarding the financial seed that God intends to be sown for the harvest that is to come. And it's all because of fear.

Think About It

  • How do you reconcile God's promise of provision with the reality of the poverty of so many faithful Christians in the world?
  • How do you see your own responsibility to those who are in need?
  • Do you ever doubt God's provision in your own life? Why? What usually changes your mind when you're feeling that way?

Pray About It

Lord, I am blessed by you. Help me to live in a way that shows others my faith in you.


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Today's reading is from the
NIV Stewardship Study Bible
by Zondervan


Discover the remarkable privilege we have as stewards of God's design for life through the study of Scripture.


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