Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 18th September

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children” Ephesians 5:1 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Bring him unto me."
Mark 9:19

Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus' word, "Bring him unto me." Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, "Bring him unto me." O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto me." When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician's words, "Bring them unto me." Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning's need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.

Evening

"Encourage him."
Deuteronomy 1:38

God employs his people to encourage one another. He did not say to an angel, "Gabriel, my servant Joshua is about to lead my people into Canaan--go, encourage him." God never works needless miracles; if his purposes can be accomplished by ordinary means, he will not use miraculous agency. Gabriel would not have been half so well fitted for the work as Moses. A brother's sympathy is more precious than an angel's embassy. The angel, swift of wing, had better known the Master's bidding than the people's temper. An angel had never experienced the hardness of the road, nor seen the fiery serpents, nor had he led the stiff-necked multitude in the wilderness as Moses had done. We should be glad that God usually works for man by man. It forms a bond of brotherhood, and being mutually dependent on one another, we are fused more completely into one family. Brethren, take the text as God's message to you. Labour to help others, and especially strive to encourage them. Talk cheerily to the young and anxious enquirer, lovingly try to remove stumblingblocks out of his way. When you find a spark of grace in the heart, kneel down and blow it into a flame. Leave the young believer to discover the roughness of the road by degrees, but tell him of the strength which dwells in God, of the sureness of the promise, and of the charms of communion with Christ. Aim to comfort the sorrowful, and to animate the desponding. Speak a word in season to him that is weary, and encourage those who are fearful to go on their way with gladness. God encourages you by his promises; Christ encourages you as he points to the heaven he has won for you, and the spirit encourages you as he works in you to will and to do of his own will and pleasure. Imitate divine wisdom, and encourage others, according to the word of this evening.

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Today's reading: Proverbs 27-29, 2 Corinthians 10 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Proverbs 27-29

1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.

2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.

3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden,
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?

5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Corinthians 10

Paul’s Defense of His Ministry

1 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete....

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Greetings from Bible Gateway! This week we've got several big new additions to our resource library to announce, including devotionals you can listen to! Here's the latest news:

New Email Devotionals for Moms and Couples

Two new weekly devotional newsletters have joined our library of free email resources: NIV Devotions for Moms and NIV Devotions for Couples!

You can probably guess what their focus is: showing you how to apply Biblical teachings and insight to your family relationships. NIV Devotions for Moms examines the role of Biblical motherhood, encouraging you to understand motherhood within the context of a life lived for Christ--whether you're a new mom struggling to cope with late-night baby feedings or a mother whose kids left the nest long ago. NIV Devotions for Couples likewise looks at what the Bible teaches about healthy relationships between couples.

Both devotionals begin next week, so sign up today!

Audio Devotionals Now Available on Bible Gateway

Many of you are familiar with our collection of audio Bibles--but did you know we've recently added audio devotionals as well?

We know how difficult it is to fit daily devotions into your hectic everyday schedule. These new audio devotionals make it easy to benefit from a worthwhile devotion while you're getting dressed in the morning, packing the kids off to school, or just brushing your teeth before bed. Run times range from five minutes to a half hour, so there's always a devotion to fit your schedule.

It's easy to get started listening to everyday inspiration on Bible Gateway. Read more about our new audio devotionals at the Bible Gateway blog, or visit the Devotionals page and try them out!

Introducing the J.B. Phillips New Testament and ESV Anglicised

The J.B. Phillips New Testament and ESV Anglicised are the two newest Bible translations to join our ever-growing Bible library. The J.B. Phillips NT is a highly readable translation originally intended for use by young people struggling with the Authorized Version. The ESV Anglicised is largely identical to the original English Standard Version, but incorporates British spelling conventions to make it easier on the eyes for our friends in the UK.

You can read more about both translations at our blog.

That's it for this week--but all these new resources should keep you occupied until our next update. Thanks, as always, for using Bible Gateway!

Sincerely,
the Bible Gateway team
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A Land of Milk and Honey

This week's reading: Exodus 7:14-24

The plague of blood is a powerful testimony to the truth of God's ownership and management of all creation. The Nile River is Egypt's greatest natural resource, serving as the source of the land's natural fertility and prosperity throughout history. By changing the waters of Egypt into blood, God demonstrated his control over the source of Egypt's economic vitality.

Pastor James E. Mead reflects that

[the very] air we breathe, the water we drink, the wonder of life itself, the planet we live on, the universe-we brought none of these things into being. They are gifts we enjoy out of the overflow of God's love. The love of God, the gift of Jesus Christ, forgiveness of our sins, the call into Christian community, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, eternal life-none came from us, each is a gift to us from God.

To remember that God owns everything prompts a remarkable shift in our view of stewardship. Usually when we think of stewardship (of giving to charitable causes, if you want), we define it as our giving to God or to the church something that belongs to us. But in the Bible, stewardship is just the reverse-our freely using, enjoying, and giving what already belongs to God.

In the words of Generous Giving's Stewardship Bible Study Notes for this passage:

Just before God gave Moses permission to perform the first plague which turned all the water in Egypt into blood, God reemphasized that the reason he had determined to bring such cataclysmic disaster and violent upheaval upon the land of Egypt was that Pharaoh's "unyielding" heart had caused him to refuse to let God's people go (Ex 7:14).

We should exercise caution in drawing too close a parallel between Pharaoh and ourselves because God hardened Pharaoh's heart (Ex 10:1) while he has promised to give us new hearts of flesh (Eze 36:26). Still, it is important for us to recognize that an unyielding heart always brings disaster. This truth applies whether it is Christians or non-Christians who are being unyielding and withholding what belongs to God.

In the end, God cannot be robbed, "For from him and through him and for him are all things" (Ro 11:36) ... Everything in creation is at God's disposal, so the question is whether we will give willingly, with yielding hearts, or whether we will harden our hearts and have our closed hands forced open by the Almighty God. We will either experience the joy of giving generously or, like Pharaoh, be smashed, having everything taken from us. In light of these ultimate ends, everyone should give what he has decided in his heart to give, "not reluctantly or under compulsion" from others but out of love for God's Son, who became poor so that we might become rich [2Co 9:7].

Think About It

  • God wants you to use and enjoy his creation. How can you do that with a proper attitude?
  • Is there anything in your life that may alert you that some part of your heart is "unyielding"?
  • How does God show us our heart attitudes?

Pray About It

God, reveal to me through your Holy Spirit any attitudes about my possessions that might point to an improper view of what you have entrusted me to manage.


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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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