Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 29th September

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV
===
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men."
Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when he is spoken of as stooping from his throne, and coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the woes of mankind. We love him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until he had made a personal visitation of them. We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord who inclines his ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but love him when we know that he numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways? Specially is this great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how attentive he is, not merely to the temporal interests of his creatures, but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator, yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept by thee, think not that God doth not behold; for, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." Thy sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; thy whisper can incline his ear unto thee; thy prayer can stay his hand; thy faith can move his arm. Think not that God sits on high taking no account of thee. Remember that however poor and needy thou art, yet the Lord thinketh upon thee. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him.

Oh! then repeat the truth that never tires;

No God is like the God my soul desires;

He at whose voice heaven trembles, even he,

Great as he is, knows how to stoop to me.

Evening

"Go again seven times."
1 Kings 18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah's courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but "Go again." We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel's brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

===

Today's reading: Isaiah 5-6, Ephesians 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 5-6

The Song of the Vineyard

1 I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside.
2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.

3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?
5 Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
6 I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

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

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

===

Hilkiah

[Hĭlkī'ah] - portion of jehovah orjehovah is protection.

  1. The father of Eliakim who was over Hezekiah's household (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37; Isa. 22:20; 36:3, 22).
  2. High priest in king Josiah's reign (2 Kings 22:4-14; 23:4, 24).
  3. A descendant of Merari, son of Levi (1 Chron. 6:45).
  4. A son of Hosah , descendant of Merari, and a gatekeeper at the Tabernacle (1 Chron. 26:11).
  5. A priest who stood with Ezra as he read the law to the people (Neh. 8:4; 11:11; 12:7, 21).
  6. A priest of Anathoth and father of the prophet Jeremiah and contemporary of Gemariah (Jer. 1:1).
===
P31Header
Wendy Blight

September 28, 2011

Sanctifying Discipline
Wendy Blight

"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening - it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

Discipline hurts. When on the receiving end of it, we hate it. We whine. We groan. We complain. Our sin nature rises up to defend, rebel and justify.

The author of Hebrews recognized this and says so in our key verse today: "No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening - it's painful."

Yes, it is. Don't you love how God validates our feelings? Discipline hurts!

But when we examine the second half of this verse, God also makes a promise. He promises that afterwards there will be "a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." God promises to bring forth fruit from discipline. This fruit is the outward effect of His divine discipline. Each time God disciplines us, He moves us closer and closer to holiness.

Oh, how it hurts, though. Recently, I watched and listened as my husband spoke what I believed to be harsh words to my son about his behavior. I did not feel my son's childish behavior warranted my husband's reaction. I made my opinion known right then and there...in front of my son. Looking back, I can see that I disrespected my husband. But, of course, I did not see it that way at the time. In my mind, I was protecting my son's heart, believing I knew the right way, a better way, to say what my husband said.

Later that night, my husband addressed this with me privately. It felt like he was correcting me. I reacted as expected...defending and justifying my words.

God being God had already arranged for me to have coffee the next day with a dear friend who is about ten years ahead of me in parenting. I casually asked how her youngest son was doing. It opened the door to a conversation that led to how a woman needs to respect her husband and trust him with the discipline of a son. She stressed the importance of wives not only respecting their husbands, but also trusting them and praying for them...for wisdom and strength as they father their children, especially sons.

Wow!! She knew nothing of my circumstances when she began sharing her wisdom. Tears fell from my eyes as I heard God speaking to me through her.

God softened my heart. Why? To be honest, it was probably because the words did not come from my husband.

I realized in that moment that I needed to change my heart. I learned through her words that my husband's admonishment about what I had done was God's discipline and sanctifying work. With this new perspective, I find myself more willing now to accept discipline and to work with God instead of against Him.

As we closed our time together, my friend prayed the most beautiful prayer that moved my heart to repentance. I could not wait for my husband to get home that night and share what God taught me.

God's promise does not end there. Hebrews 12:12-13says:

"Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed." (NIV)

Friend, God uses discipline to heal. Our God wants the very best for us. He loves us. He delights in us. He has a plan for us. It is only when we willingly allow God to sanctify our hearts and remove sin...whatever it may be (pride, bitterness, fear, mistrust, shame, guilt, anger)...that God can truly use us and accomplish His plans in and through us.

Heavenly Father, give me a heart of glad surrender, one that willingly receives Your discipline. Father, whatever it takes, make me more like You. Bring forth a harvest of righteousness and peace in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
All Things Wise and Wonderful: Applying God's Wisdom in Everyday Life (E-Book) by Wendy Blight

Visit Wendy's blog to sign up for her latest on-line Bible Study on the book of Hebrews. It's going to be deep and rich...don't miss out.

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and accompanyingWorkbook by Deborah Smith Pegues

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:
Read 1 Peter 5:5-6 and James 4:6. Who does God oppose in these verses? Who does God favor? What is His promise?

Reflections:
In what ways has God brought the strong hand of sanctifying discipline into my life?

How has God worked in and through that discipline?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 5:5b, "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility...because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (NIV 1984)

James 4:6b, "...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (NIV 1984)

Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (NIV 1984)

Isaiah 66:2b, "...This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." (NIV 1984)

© 2011 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

===

September 28, 2011

I am a Citizen of Heaven

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control; will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20 NIV).

Friend to Friend

One spring, we had a ten-year-old boy from Russia stay with us and go to school with my son. His mastery of the English language was very limited and we depended on hand signals and facial expressions to get by. On one occasion, I was trying to get him to write his parents a letter. I pulled out the stationary, handed him a pen, pointed to a picture of his parents, and said, "Why don't we write your parents a letter?" He had no idea what I was talking about.

For twenty minutes, I drew pictures and tried to get him to understand me. Finally, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at me and said, "What do?"

I just hugged him and put the pen and paper away.

Sometimes, I feel just like our little Russian guest. I don't understand the cruelty I read in the papers and hear on the news. I am confused at the angry attitudes of drivers with road rage. I don't understand how an adult could harm a child. In confusion, I look to my heavenly Father and say, "What do?"

But then God reminds me that I will never feel at home here on earth, because I am an alien, a foreigner. My true citizenship is in heaven and I'm just a foreign exchange student here for a short while. I am not home yet.

The Bible tells us that we are citizens of heaven. Our lives may be grand here on earth, but there will always be a longing that goes unmet while our feet are on this ground. That is because we were made for heaven! There will come a day when we will be completely at home, at rest, and at peace. Until then, just remember, we are aliens and strangers in this world where we temporarily live.

Let's Pray

Dear God, I long for heaven. I love my life here on earth and I am so thankful for every day. But I know that my life is but a breath. Thank You that my true citizenship is in heaven with You!

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Have you ever had a day when everything was going great, and yet there was an unidentifiable longing in your heart? What do you think that longing was?

1 Peter 2:11 says that we are aliens and strangers in this world we temporarily live in. What do you think the Bible means when it calls us aliens in this world?

How is an alien in a foreign country very similar to our time here on earth?

What makes you long for heaven? Let's share atwww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends

If you would like to learn more about your true identity, who you are in Christ, you'll want to read Sharon's book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You! Let's stop believing the lies of the enemy who says we are less than what God created us to be. You are chosen, holy, dearly loved, saved, forgiven, completely acceptable, totally loved, and that only the beginning!

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

===

Inflammatory Word: Jesus' listeners fail to hear

Today's reading: Matthew 5

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

One emotionally charged word, kingdom, makes images dance in the minds of Jesus' audience: bright banners, glittering armies, the gold and ivory of Solomon's day, the nation of Israel restored to glory. Yet Jesus often uses this word that quickens the Jewish pulse, starting with his very first message, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near" (Matthew 4:17).

Winds of change are blowing through Israel as Jesus speaks. Guerrilla fighters called Zealots hang on the edges of the crowds, awaiting the signal. Armed and well organized, they are spoiling for a fight against oppressive Rome. The signal for revolt, however, never comes. To their dismay, it gradually becomes clear that Jesus is not talking about a political or military kingdom.

The expectations raised by Jesus' statements lead to confusion and, ultimately, to angry rejection. Initial excitement over Jesus' miracles sours into disappointment when he fails to restore the long-awaited kingdom. As it turns out, the word kingdom means one thing to the crowd and quite another to Jesus.

Two Kinds of History

Jesus indicates that two kinds of history are going on simultaneously. We live in a visible world of families and people and cities and nations-"the kingdom of this world." But Jesus calls for people to commit their lives to an invisible kingdom, the "kingdom of heaven," a kingdom more important and more valuable than anything in the visible world. It is like the finest pearl in the world, he says-worth selling everything you have to invest in it.

Success in the kingdom of heaven involves a complete reversal of values, as seen in this major address, the Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," Jesus says, and also those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and the persecuted-"for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Status in this world does not guarantee status in the kingdom of heaven.

Life Question

  • Are you focused on achieving success in the kingdom of this world or in the kingdom of heaven?

NIVSocialicons

ADVERTISEMENT

Today's reading is from the
NIV Student Bible
by Zondervan


A proven, common sense approach to studying the Scriptures appeals to high school and college readers (and students of all ages).


===
===
Post a Comment