Friday, October 14, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 14th October

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Godly sorrow worketh repentance."
2 Corinthians 7:10

Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature's thorns never produced a single fig. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally--as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it--shun it in everything--not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.

Evening

"Love is strong as death."
Song of Solomon 8:6

Whose love can this be which is as mighty as the conqueror of monarchs, the destroyer of the human race? Would it not sound like satire if it were applied to my poor, weak, and scarcely living love to Jesus my Lord? I do love him, and perhaps by his grace, I could even die for him, but as for my love in itself, it can scarcely endure a scoffing jest, much less a cruel death. Surely it is my Beloved's love which is here spoken of--the love of Jesus, the matchless lover of souls. His love was indeed stronger than the most terrible death, for it endured the trial of the cross triumphantly. It was a lingering death, but love survived the torment; a shameful death, but love despised the shame; a penal death, but love bore our iniquities; a forsaken, lonely death, from which the eternal Father hid his face, but love endured the curse, and gloried over all. Never such love, never such death. It was a desperate duel, but love bore the palm. What then, my heart? Hast thou no emotions excited within thee at the contemplation of such heavenly affection? Yes, my Lord, I long, I pant to feel thy love flaming like a furnace within me. Come thou thyself and excite the ardour of my spirit.

"For every drop of crimson blood

Thus shed to make me live,

O wherefore, wherefore have not I

A thousand lives to give?"

Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were but flesh and blood, then why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave them all their unflinching constancy--there is the same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even thy love in my heart, this evening.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 41-42, 1 Thessalonians 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 41-42

The Helper of Israel

1 “Be silent before me, you islands!
Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak;
let us meet together at the place of judgment.

2 “Who has stirred up one from the east,
calling him in righteousness to his service?
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
to windblown chaff with his bow.
3 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
4 Who has done this and carried it through,
calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the LORD—with the first of them
and with the last—I am he.”

5 The islands have seen it and fear;
the ends of the earth tremble.
They approach and come forward;
6 they help each other
and say to their companions, “Be strong!”
7 The metalworker encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer
spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
The other nails down the idol so it will not topple....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith

2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

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Balak, Balac

[Bā'lăk,Bā'lăc] - waster, emptying ordestroys. The King of Moab, and son of Zipper who hired Balaam to curse Israel when, toward the end of their wilderness journeyings they were in Balak's territory (Num. 22; 23; 24; Judg. 11:25; Micah 6:5). Like Balaam, Balak also lives to the end of the Bible. Balac is the Greek form of Balak (Rev. 2:14 ). Revealing the superstition of the human mind, Balak had recourse to supernatural help and sought out Balaam, the soothsayer of Pethor - a man of divination with power to bless and curse, the Simon Magus of his day. How deceived Balak was when he thought he could sow the air with curses which would work where his sword could not reach!
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October 13, 2011

When God says No

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6, NASB).

Friend to Friend

Like any good parent, God's answers to our requests are not always "yes." When God says "no," we must accept the fact that our Father knows best.

In my own life, my desire was to have three or four children. I conceived my first child with no problem. Little did I know at the time that Steven would be my only child. For years my husband and I prayed for more children. We traveled down the road of infertility doctors, diagnostic procedures, and timed intimacy which is anything but intimate. As hard as it was for me to accept, God said "no."

Do I understand God's decision completely? No, I do not. But I've come to realize that He doesn't owe me an explanation. God is God. He does what He pleases and I must trust Him. When we can't see His hand, we must trust His heart. I so know this: "One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving," (Psalm 62: 11,12). God is strong - He can do anything. God is loving - He will always do what is in our best interest.

Have you ever considered that God said no to His own Son, Jesus? Just before His arrest, Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me," (Matthew 26:39). And yet, God said "no." Jesus went to the cross. God knew it was the only way. He loves you and me that much.

We can be assured that if God does say "no" to our requests, it is for the same reason - He loves you and me that much.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I am so glad that You have not answered "yes" to every one of my requests. When I think about what my life would be like if You had given me everything I had ever asked for... oh my, I shudder. Thank You for loving me enough to say "no." Thank You for answering each and every prayer with Your infinite wisdom. I trust You.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Make a list of some prayer requests that you are glad God said "No" to.

Are there some prayer requests that God has said "no" to that you don't understand?

Are you willing to trust that God knows best?

I would love to hear how you are thankful for one of God's "no" answers in your life. Let's chat atwww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends

We all have broken dreams. What do you do when life doesn't turn out the way you thought it would? What do you do with broken dreams or unfulfilled longings? Learn how God wants to fulfill your dreams in His own way and in His own timing in Sharon's book, 5 Dreams of Every Woman...and How God Wants to Fulfill Them. It also includes a Bible study guide that is perfect for group or individual study.

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
Wendy Blight

October 13, 2011

A Better Way
Wendy Blight

"I am the way." John 14:6a (NIV)

Are there times when you are hesitant about going to God? Maybe because of unkind words you've spoken. Things you've done. Unforgiveness you've harbored in your heart. Do these things ever make you feel guilty and unworthy to enter into the presence of our holy God?

The Old Testament law forbid Jews from ever being in the presence of God. According to Jewish law, the glory of God resided in the Temple in a room called the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter into that room. God hand-picked this man and appointed him to enter into the Holy of Holies one time a year to make a sin offering for the forgiveness of the people.

Why? Because sin had created a barrier between God and man. So, the High Priest made sacrifices on behalf of the people, since a blood sacrifice was required, to remove the barrier erected by sin. But, the people didn't just sin once a year. They sinned daily, and this system of sacrifice continuously reminded them of their guilt.

Can you imagine living with this constant reminder of your sin?

I can. Not too long ago, I realized I was living this way. Every time I lost my temper, disrespected my husband, held on to unforgiveness, I erected a wall between God and me. I felt shame and guilt because I could never get it right. I would tell God how sorry I was, and then within days, I would do it again!

But I...you...we...do not have to live like the Old Testament Jews.

With Jesus, God made a new way. He sent the Great High Priest; the One Who is the better way. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus' sacrifice does not need to be repeated every week, every month, or even every year. Christ made one sacrifice that once and for all removes any sin that ever was committed or will ever be committed. By shedding His own blood, Jesus forgave our sins and made us pure and holy in the eyes of God.

Jesus says "I am the way." His death on the cross made a way for you and me to be in His presence, to boldly and confidently come before Him with our every need, even when we feel the weight of our sin.

When we sin, we can simply come before God with a sincere heart, ask forgiveness, receive that forgiveness and our sins are gone.

Never again do we need to be filled with shame and guilt. Sweet friend, we have been set free! In Jesus, God gave us a better way!

Dear Jesus, thank You for leaving Your heavenly throne to live among Your people. Thank You for being my Great High Priest. Thank You for making a way for me to receive forgiveness of sin. Give me the courage to set aside my shame and guilt, to come boldly before Your throne and receive that forgiveness, and live confidently in it now and forevermore. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Visit Wendy's blog to sign up for her new online study on the book of Hebrews.

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight

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

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:
Are there times when you fear going to God? Maybe because of unkind words you've spoken. Things you've done. Unforgiveness you've harbored in your heart. Do you ever feel ashamed and guilty, unworthy to enter into the presence of our holy God?

Read Hebrews 4:14-16. Rewrite it using "I" and "me" in place of "we." Read it outloud. What does this mean for you in your life today?

Reflections:
Jesus calls us to "come boldly" to the throne of grace. Will I do that today? Today I'll spend some time with Jesus today. It can be in car pool line, on my lunch break, or anywhere else I can find to be alone. Then whatever it is that is on my heart, whatever it is I'm afraid to bring to Him, I'll bring it to Him today. Sit quietly before Him. Pray. Listen.

Power Verses:
Leviticus 5:13a, "Through this process, the priest will purify those who are guilty of any of these sins, making them right with the LORD, and they will be forgiven." (NLT)

Hebrews 4:14a, 16, "So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus....let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." (NLT)

© 2011 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

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Did Jesus Accidentally Fulfill the Old Testament Prophecies?

Today's reading: Acts 3:11-26

As Peter spoke to the crowd in the temple courts following the healing of a man crippled from birth, he made it clear that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies (see Acts 3:18,24). But could Jesus have merely fulfilled these prophecies by accident? Could it be that he's just one of many throughout history who have coincidentally fit the prophetic fingerprint?

"Not a chance," comes the response of Louis Lapides, a Christian convert from Judaism. "The odds are so astronomical that they rule that out. Someone did the math and estimated that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled is one chance in one hundred million billion. That number is millions of times greater than the total number of people who've ever walked the planet!

"That same person calculated that if you took this number of silver dollars, they would cover the state of Texas to a depth of two feet. If you marked one silver dollar among them and then had a blindfolded person wander the whole state and bend down to pick up one coin, what would be the odds he'd choose the one that had been marked? The same odds that anybody in history could have fulfilled just eight of the prophecies."

Scientist Peter Stoner estimated that the probability of fulfilling 48 prophecies was one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Our minds can't comprehend a number that big.

"The odds alone say it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies," Lapides concludes. "Yet Jesus-and only Jesus throughout all of history-managed to do it."

Adapted from interview with Louis Lapides.

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Today's reading is from the
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Asa: Not by Strength

This week's reading: 1 Kings 15:9–24; 2 Chronicles 14—16

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. (2 Chronicles 14:2)

It is an honor to interview a good king when there have been so many bad ones.

“Good” is a relative term among men and kings. The Lord is good. Even the best of men are weak and foolish.

What one thing have you learned during your long reign?

I have learned this: “It is not by strength that one prevails.” I might have learned it much sooner, because Hannah, the mother of Samuel, spoke these words long ago. But it is only now, near the end of my days, that I begin to see Hannah’s wisdom. Even so, I have not learned it completely.

Will you give us an example of what you mean?

You have heard of my fortified cities and my army of half a million men. Then Zerah the Cushite came against me with an army twice that size. My only prayer was that the Lord would help the powerless against the mighty. My army prevailed, but not by its own might.

Why do you say you have not learned this completely?

Four years ago the king of Israel meant to invade our land. Instead of relying on the Lord, I sent silver and gold to Ben-Hadad in Damascus, who attacked Israel from the rear. Thus we fought off the invasion, but at the same time we were plunged into further war.

You spoke of relying on God rather than on personal strength. But what about the endless wars in your people’s history?

Not endless. Our prophets could tell you more about this than I can. For now, our people must survive. In days to come, however, a king will rise from David’s royal house. He will—well, I cannot tell you what he will do, exactly. But his kingdom will bring peace and justice. Then these hideous wars will end.

What one thing do you most want to tell our readers?

Rely upon the Lord. I have not always done so, and I am the worse for it.

Forgive me for not walking with you through the garden to the gate. You see the problem I have with my feet. Even as an old man I remain foolish. I have sought physicians, but I have sought the Lord too late!

To Take Away

  • In what areas of your life are you tempted to rely on your own strength?
  • How would you respond to someone who asked you, “What does it mean to rely on the strength of the Lord?”
  • What practical steps can you take to become more dependent on the Lord’s strength?
Read Asa's story: the detail is found in 1 Kings 15:9–24; and 2 Chronicles 14—16. Also Read Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2:1–10.
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Why Our Children Don’t Come Back

Many people see the Bible as a bunch of ancient stories with people with funny names that have weird customs that have very little to do with our lives today. What does Abemelich have to do with paying bills? How does the Nazerite vow help me find a mate or even a date? What does eating or not eating meat sacrificed to idols have to do with my out of control schedule and demands on my life?...

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