Friday, October 28, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 28th October

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"It is a faithful saying."
2 Timothy 2:11

Paul has four of these "faithful sayings." The first occurs in 1 Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The next is in 1 Timothy 4:6, "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation." The third is in 2 Timothy 2:12, "It is a faithful saying--If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him"; and the fourth is in Titus 3:3, "This is a faithful saying, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." We may trace a connection between these faithful sayings. The first one lays the foundation of our eternal salvation in the free grace of God, as shown to us in the mission of the great Redeemer. The next affirms the double blessedness which we obtain through this salvation--the blessings of the upper and nether springs--of time and of eternity. The third shows one of the duties to which the chosen people are called; we are ordained to suffer for Christ with the promise that "if we suffer, we shall also reign with him." The last sets forth the active form of Christian service, bidding us diligently to maintain good works. Thus we have the root of salvation in free grace; next, the privileges of that salvation in the life which now is, and in that which is to come; and we have also the two great branches of suffering with Christ and serving with Christ, loaded with the fruits of the Spirit. Treasure up these faithful sayings. Let them be the guides of our life, our comfort, and our instruction. The apostle of the Gentiles proved them to be faithful, they are faithful still, not one word shall fall to the ground; they are worthy of all acceptation, let us accept them now, and prove their faithfulness. Let these four faithful sayings be written on the four corners of my house.

Evening

"We are all as an unclean thing."
Isaiah 64:6

The believer is a new creature, he belongs to a holy generation and a peculiar people--the Spirit of God is in him, and in all respects he is far removed from the natural man; but for all that the Christian is a sinner still. He is so from the imperfection of his nature, and will continue so to the end of his earthly life. The black fingers of sin leave smuts upon our fairest robes. Sin mars our repentance, ere the great Potter has finished it, upon the wheel. Selfishness defiles our tears, and unbelief tampers with our faith. The best thing we ever did apart from the merit of Jesus only swelled the number of our sins; for when we have been most pure in our own sight, yet, like the heavens, we are not pure in God's sight; and as he charged his angels with folly, much more must he charge us with it, even in our most angelic frames of mind. The song which thrills to heaven, and seeks to emulate seraphic strains, hath human discords in it. The prayer which moves the arm of God is still a bruised and battered prayer, and only moves that arm because the sinless One, the great Mediator, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication. The most golden faith or the purest degree of sanctification to which a Christian ever attained on earth, has still so much alloy in it as to be only worthy of the flames, in itself considered. Every night we look in the glass we see a sinner, and had need confess, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Oh, how precious the blood of Christ to such hearts as ours! How priceless a gift is his perfect righteousness! And how bright the hope of perfect holiness hereafter! Even now, though sin dwells in us, its power is broken. It has no dominion; it is a broken-backed snake; we are in bitter conflict with it, but it is with a vanquished foe that we have to deal. Yet a little while and we shall enter victoriously into the city where nothing defileth.

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 12-14, 2 Timothy 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 12-14

Jeremiah's Complaint

1 You are always righteous, LORD,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
2 You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.
3 Yet you know me, LORD;
you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
4 How long will the land lie parched
and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
"He will not see what happens to us."

God's Answer

5 "If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
6 Your relatives, members of your own family-
even they have betrayed you;
they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
though they speak well of you....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Timothy 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thanksgiving

3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God....

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Naphtali, Nephthalim

[Năph'talī, Nĕph'tha lĭm] - obtained by wrestling. The sixth son of Jacob and second by Bilhah, Rachel's maid. Rachel gave her son his name because she had wrestled in prayer for God's favor and blessing (Gen. 30:8; 35:25). The tribe that descended from Naphtali bears his name (Num. 1:15, 42).

The Man Who Lacked Self-Control

In the last words of Jacob ( Gen. 49:21), the patriarch speaks of Naphtali as "a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words" - a fluent orator but as erratic as the wild gazelle. Henry Thorne wrote of him,

He is gifted undoubtedly, but he has no self-control. He will scamper through life aimlessly and without a goal. His uncontrolled energy may some day be his ruin. He may possibly leap over a fence, but he may also jump into a ditch. Byron was gifted, but of him it has been said -

He laid his hand upon the ocean's main,

And played familiar with his hoary locks.

He was a man of brilliant talent and magnificent capacity, but he was also "a hind let loose." There was a wild extravagance in his career of wrong-doing that marred his influence and spoiled his life.

Nothing but divine grace can restrain those who are erratic. He who rebuked the rude tempest with a word (Job 38:11; Mark 4:39) and produced a great calm, can rebuke the turbulent and the reckless in any nature, and cause the energy that is wasted by folly to flow into channels of usefulness. God can make the rebel a priest and a king.

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October 27, 2011

Never Lost

Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands... (Isaiah 49:16a)

Friend to Friend

A few years ago our family got a bouncy little puppy named Roman. One of the first things we did when Roman became a Smith was head to the pet store for doggie supplies. In addition to purchasing chew toys, a collar, and food, we ordered Roman a nameplate to go on his collar in case he ever gets lost. The cashier sold us two tokens for the tag, and sent us to the other side of the store to the engraving machine.

The kids and I approached the engraving machine with giddy hearts. After we slid the two metal tokens into the coin slot, we looked at our ID options and settled on the blue bone for Roman's collar. Then the engraving machine prompted us to enter Roman's puppy information. Once we were satisfied that all the information was accurate, I gave the command for the computer to begin the engraving.

The machine engraved just one letter at a time. With each stroke of the machine's needle, Roman's name began to appear, along with our address and phone number. When the engraving was finished, we immediately put the tag onto Roman's collar. The blue bone boasts that Roman belongs to the Smith family.

For us, in this world, we have to put our names on things so we don't lose them. We put our names on our luggage, on our pet collars, on our backpacks, and in our Bibles. I even have a "page" button on my cordless phone so it can beep when I lose the phone in my house. I've also been known to lose my keys, my driver's license, my cell phone and my purse. (Scary!) Thankfully, God doesn't have the same problem with losing things. He doesn't need to put His name on anything. What's His is His forever.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, take comfort in the fact that you can never be lost and that you are never out of God's sight. There might be times when you feel invisible - times when you feel lost - times when you stubbornly choose your ways over His - or times when you feel alone, but the Bible tells us that your name is engraved on the palms of God's hands, and that nothing can separate you from God's love or snatch you from His hand. Nothing.

"I'm absolutely convinced that nothing-nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us." Romans 8:38-39, MSG

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." John 10:27-29, ESV

"All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me]."John 6:37, AMP

God knows your name. He knows where you live. He's got your number. You're never lost. Praise Him!

Let's Pray

Heavenly Father, Thank you for engraving my name on the palms of your hands. Please help me to remember the way home when I get lost, distracted or confused. "Because Your love is better than life, and my lips will glorify you!" (Psalm 63:3, NIV)
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Read Romans chapter 8 today.

How does it make you feel to know that nothing can separate you from God's love? Let's talk about it on my Facebook wall:www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic.

How committed is your love for Him? Do your daily choices line up with His standard? Take a moment to ask God to search your heart and reveal how your ways could line up better with His standard.

More from the Girlfriends

As a mother, I know what it is to love a child, but as much as I can love my kids - the love I have is stained with imperfections. God loves perfectly...no matter what. Be sure to relish that thought today - and spend a few moments to direct the attention of your heart to His in worship!

GOT BEAUTY? God delights to transform lives...including your own. In her book, Broken Into Beautiful, Gwen Smith invites you to experience how the unconditional love of Jesus can change your life and then stand back and watch the wonder of grace at work. He is willing to eternally forgive and forget and to transform your life into something beautiful. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen's website: www.gwensmith.net.

NEED SOME SOUL REST? Check out Gwen's new CD,Uncluttered. Now available on iTunes! The songs ofUncluttered are purposed to sweep you away from life-noise and to focus your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ.

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
Lysa TerKeurst

October 27, 2011

You Don't Like Me
Lysa TerKeurst

"Do not be anxious about anything..." Philippians 4:6(ESV)

"You are not liked."

"Who are you to think you could do that?"

"Why did you say that? Everyone thinks you're annoying."

"Your kids just illustrated every inadequacy you have as a mom."

"You are invisible."

Have you ever been taunted by these thoughts? I have. Why do we let such destructive words fall hard on our souls? Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And in the absence of truth, lies reign.

The other day I was discussing something with my husband and I said, "I know you think I'm being annoying and overly protective about this but..."

He stopped me and said, "How do you know that's what I'm thinking? Please don't hold me liable for saying things that are really only thoughts in your mind."

Wow. He's so right. He hadn't said those things. I was assuming he was thinking them and operating as if those toxic thoughts were reality.

I think we girls do this way too often. People aren't thinking about us and assessing us nearly as much as we think they are.

As Christian women we should hold our thoughts to a higher standard. How dare these run away thoughts be allowed to simply parade about as if they are true and manipulate us into feeling insecure, inadequate, and misunderstood! Oh how much trouble we invite into our lives based on assumptions. We are instructed:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ( Philippians 4:6-9 NIV 1984)

This is probably a verse you've read before. But, have you thought of applying it to your every thought...especially the toxic ones?

We are to think on, ponder and park our minds on constructive thoughts-not destructive thoughts. Thoughts that build up not tear down. Thoughts that breathe life not drain the life from us. Thoughts that lead to goodness not anxiety.

So, here are three questions we'd do well to ask ourselves when thoughts are dragging us down.

1. Did someone actually say this or am I assuming they are thinking it?

If they actually said it, deal with it then. If I'm assuming it, that's unfair to them and unnecessarily damaging to me. Instead of staying anxious, I need to seek truth by seeking God and asking Him for peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

2. Have I been actively engaging with truth lately?

The more we read God's truths and let truth fill our mind, the less time we'll spend contemplating untruths.

Thinking run-away, worrisome thoughts invites anxiety. Thinking thoughts of truth wraps my mind in peace and helps me rise above my circumstances.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3. Are certain situations or friendships feeding my insecurities?

If so, maybe I need to take a break from these for a season.

I need to seek friendships that are characterized by truth, honor, and love.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Good gracious I know this is tough stuff. I know these issues can be more complicated than three simple questions. But it's a good place to start holding our thoughts accountable.

After all, how a woman thinks is often how she lives.

I think we need to read that one again, don't you? How a woman thinks is often how she lives. May we think upon and live out truth-and only truth today.

Dear Lord, reveal to me untruths throughout my day that can so easily distract and discourage me. Help me see You and Your truth in all I do. You have taught that only Your truth will set me free. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Give your friends an amazing gift today. It's free. It's life changing. It will strengthen her heart and make your friendship feel safe. To read more about this gift, visitLysa's blog today by clicking here.

Lysa will be speaking in more than 40 cities this year.Click here to see her schedule. She would be honored to meet you.

If you enjoy Lysa's devotions, be sure to sign up for notes of encouragement she sends out from her blog by clicking here. They are free and great for passing along to friends.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, your purchase supports many areas of ministry we provide at no cost. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us!

Application Steps:
We've got to hold our thoughts to a higher standard. Oh how much trouble we invite into our lives based on assumptions. Look up powerful verses on truth in the Bible. Seek wisdom and peace in the words of truth Jesus spoke.

Reflections:
The more I read God's truths and let truth fill my mind, the less time I'll spend contemplating untruths.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 4:15, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (NIV 1984)

John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV 1984)

© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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Visit Girlfriend's In GodVisit GwenSmith.netVisit Gwen on Facebook
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Thanks for doing life with me!
Blessings and Grace,
Gwen Smith

gwen

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105:4

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Is There Evidence That Psalm 22 Foretells the Crucifixion of the Messiah?

Today's reading: Psalm 22:1-31

The phrases of Psalm 22 have long been thought to be prophetic of Jesus' crucifixion. Even Jesus' recitation of verse 1 while on the cross (see Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) would have reminded people standing nearby of this psalm. They would have recalled phrases such as "they pierce my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22:16), "people stare and gloat over me" (Psalm 22:17), and "they ... cast lots for my garment" (Psalm 22:18).

Some people have tried to cast doubt on the Messianic nature of this psalm and the gospel accounts by attacking the crucifixion story. For instance, an article in the Harvard Theological Review concluded many years ago that there was "astonishing little evidence that the feet of a crucified person were ever pierced by nails." Instead, the article said, the victim's hands and feet were tied to the cross by ropes.

But archaeology has now established that the use of nails was historical, although there may have been times that ropes were indeed used. In 1968 archaeologists in Jerusalem found the remains of about three dozen Jews who had died during the uprising against Rome around A.D. 70. One victim, whose name was apparently Yohanan, had been crucified. And sure enough, they found a seven-inch nail still driven into his feet, with small pieces of olive wood from the cross still attached. This was excellent archaeological confirmation of a key detail in the Gospels' description of the crucifixion.

A few critics have charged that the word "pierce" in Psalm 22:16 is an incorrect translation that Christians later imposed to make it look like the verse foreshadows the crucifixion. The proper rendering of the Hebrew, they claim, should be, "Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet."

Dr. Michael Brown, whose doctorate is in Near Eastern languages and literatures, disputes that claim. "The oldest Jewish translation-the Septuagint-translates it as 'they pierced,' " he said. "The oldest Hebrew copy of the Psalms we possess, dating back to the century before Jesus, uses the Hebrew word ka'aru, which comes from the root meaning 'to bore through'-not ka'ari, which means 'like a lion.'

"But let's assume the correct translation is, 'Like a lion at my hands and feet.' What is the lion doing with the victim's hands and feet-licking them? The renowned Jewish commentator Rashi says it means 'as though they are crushed in a lion's mouth.' So the imagery is clear: The metaphorical lions are tearing and ripping at the sufferer's hands and feet. This mauling and biting graphically portrays great physical agony. It's entirely consistent with what occurs in a crucifixion. So either translation could be said to foreshadow the suffering of the Messiah.

"The bottom line is there's no Christian tampering with the text, just honest efforts to accurately translate the Hebrew, where only one character determines the difference between ka'aru, or 'pierced,' and ka'ari, or 'like a lion.'"


Adapted from interview with Dr. Alexander Metherell and Dr. Michael L. Brown.

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Today's reading is from the
The Case for Christ Study Bible
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Investigate the Bible's most compelling claims: the existence of a compassionate God and the promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.


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TV Dinner or Pot Pie?

This week's reading: Psalm 96:1-13

When was the last time you ate a frozen TV dinner? If you're old enough, you may remember those early meals that were sold in an aluminum tray and marketed by the Swanson® company in the mid-1950s. If you've had one lately, you're probably well aware that this idea has been adapted for the microwave. Separate compartments house different components of the entrée, and after a few minutes these "nuked" delicacies are ready to savor-from corn to chicken to a brownie for dessert. Delicious! Or so some folks say.

The frozen dinner is an appropriate image for guys-and not just because it keeps us from having to cook. Men often try to compartmentalize their lives-much like a frozen dinner. As most men are wired to think in a linear fashion, this kind of separation usually works nicely: The job goes in one compartment of the tray. Put the family in another. Friends and extended family in another. And sometimes God is relegated to the dessert compartment-the smallest one in the tray that gets attention only for an hour or so on Sunday.

But another idea surfaced around the same time as the TV dinner, one that we could look at as a new representation for our lives as men. The "pot pie" is a more realistic image for life. Inside the flaky crust is a (typically scalding) combination of food groups-it's nearly impossible to separate the different parts of the pie from each other.

Consider the point to this culinary conversation: Life doesn't fit into neat compartments. The psalmist illustrates this in his writing when he charges the sum of God's creation to praise God. The earth, sea, land, stars, trees, forests, fields-everything! All of creation rejoices because of God's deeds, his splendor and majesty, his strength and glory.

Now, let's flip that around. Consider your life-every aspect of it. Does it all belong to God? Does it all praise God?

Chances are you're going to say no. That's okay, because today is a new day! Maybe you struggle to believe that God cares about your finances, the challenges you face at work or your struggles with sin. But he does! Life works best when you stop making God an add-on to your days-something to consider once a week before moving on. He longs to be brought into the discussion, to permeate every aspect of your life. Like sauce in a pot pie, once you allow him to cover every aspect of your life you'll discover a richer and more satisfying daily experience.

To Take Away

  • In what areas of life are you experiencing specific problems right now?
  • Are you struggling with any areas that you're hiding from God right now? Why?
  • What would it look like for God to help you with these issues? Take the time to talk to God and ask him for his help.
Recommended Reading: 2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 37:5; Jeremiah 2:12-13; Matthew 22:37-40

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The Story is helping people everywhere experience Scripture like never before. Carefully selected verses from the Bible are organized chronologically. From Genesis to Revelation, you will come to understand God's story and your story intersect with it.

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