Saturday, October 01, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 1st October

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,” Philippians 1:9-10 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Sing forth the honour of his name, make his praise glorious."
Psalm 66:2

It is not left to our own option whether we shall praise God or not. Praise is God's most righteous due, and every Christian, as the recipient of his grace, is bound to praise God from day to day. It is true we have no authoritative rubric for daily praise; we have no commandment prescribing certain hours of song and thanksgiving: but the law written upon the heart teaches us that it is right to praise God; and the unwritten mandate comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on the tables of stone, or handed to us from the top of thundering Sinai. Yes, it is the Christian's duty to praise God. It is not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute obligation of his life. Think not ye who are always mourning, that ye are guiltless in this respect, or imagine that ye can discharge your duty to your God without songs of praise. You are bound by the bonds of his love to bless his name so long as you live, and his praise should continually be in your mouth, for you are blessed, in order that you may bless him; "this people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise"; and if you do not praise God, you are not bringing forth the fruit which he, as the Divine Husbandman, has a right to expect at your hands. Let not your harp then hang upon the willows, but take it down, and strive, with a grateful heart, to bring forth its loudest music. Arise and chant his praise. With every morning's dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and let every setting sun be followed with your song. Girdle the earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere of melody, and God himself will hearken from heaven and accept your music.

"E'en so I love thee, and will love,

And in thy praise will sing,

Because thou art my loving God,

And my redeeming King."


"A living dog is better than a dead lion."
Ecclesiastes 9:4

Life is a precious thing, and in its humblest form it is superior to death. This truth is eminently certain in spiritual things. It is better to be the least in the kingdom of heaven than the greatest out of it. The lowest degree of grace is superior to the noblest development of unregenerate nature. Where the Holy Ghost implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal. The thief on the cross excels Caesar on his throne; Lazarus among the dogs is better than Cicero among the senators; and the most unlettered Christian is in the sight of God superior to Plato. Life is the badge of nobility in the realm of spiritual things, and men without it are only coarser or finer specimens of the same lifeless material, needing to be quickened, for they are dead in trespasses and sins.

A living, loving, gospel sermon, however unlearned in matter and uncouth in style, is better than the finest discourse devoid of unction and power. A living dog keeps better watch than a dead lion, and is of more service to his master; and so the poorest spiritual preacher is infinitely to be preferred to the exquisite orator who has no wisdom but that of words, no energy but that of sound. The like holds good of our prayers and other religious exercises; if we are quickened in them by the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, though we may think them to be worthless things; while our grand performances in which our hearts were absent, like dead lions, are mere carrion in the sight of the living God. O for living groans, living sighs, living despondencies, rather than lifeless songs and dead calms. Better anything than death. The snarlings of the dog of hell will at least keep us awake, but dead faith and dead profession, what greater curses can a man have? Quicken us, quicken us, O Lord!


Today's reading: Isaiah 9-10, Ephesians 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 9-10

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.... the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 3

God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus....



[Ămarī'ah] - jehovah hath said orpromised.

  1. A son of Meraioth, a priest descended from Phinehas (1 Chron. 6:7, 52).
  2. The son of Azariah, a high priest in Solomon's time (1 Chron. 6:11).
  3. A descendant of Kohath, son of Levi (1 Chron. 23:19; 24:23).
  4. Chief priest of Jehoshaphat's time ( 2 Chron. 19:11).
  5. A Levite appointed by Hezekiah to distribute tithes and offerings (2 Chron. 31:15).
  6. A man of the family of Bani who married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:42).
  7. A priest who signed the covenant (Neh. 10:3; 12:2, 13).
  8. A descendant of Judah by Perez (Neh. 11:4).
  9. An ancestor of Zephaniah the prophet in Josiah's time (Zeph. 1:1).
Lynn Cowell

September 30, 2011

Why Am I in Such a Hurry?
Lynn Cowell

"This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold-from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses." Numbers 8:4 (NIV)

During the thirty-minute drive downtown, I felt nothing but irritation. Who has time for driving school? Yes, I had received two tickets in the past three years, but I was going to change. Slowing down was on my agenda!

As soon as I found a seat, my computer-like brain turned on, allowing me to multi-task while sitting in the tiny classroom. Three "mental windows" were running: my to-do list for the day; my to-do list for the upcoming holiday; and my to-do list for a home project.

Honestly, that class could not end fast enough. Finally, when I was free to leave, I rushed out of the building. Looking down at my watch, I realized I had one hour to run to the carpet store, pick out the right color and get to the bus stop before my kids did. The store was almost 30 minutes away, but I knew I could do it.

I found the perfect color carpet and was on my way home in no time. Threw the car into reverse and...BOOM! Looking in my rearview mirror, I discovered my bumper curved around a 15-foot cement store sign. All I could do was lay my head on my steering wheel and cry, "Lord, this can't be the way You want my days to go!"

I was exhausted from the mental and physical pace I'd set for myself. I knew God had a better plan. Around that same time I was reading in Numbers 8:4, and was amazed at how God took time to attend to the details of a simple lampstand. The Bible tells us it was created out of gold with blossoms at the top. God wasn't just concerned about the function of the lampstand but also its beauty.

I knew then that if God cared about these types of details, He cared about the details of my life, too. I also realized I needed to slow down enough to seek His plans for my days, instead of cramming them with everything on my own hurried agenda.

I decided that each morning I would start praying through my schedule. Sometimes He'd show me I had too much I was trying to accomplish in too little time. Other days He'd show me I needed to say "no" to some things so I could enjoy what He had called me to say "yes" to, instead of just flying through it.

Perhaps you too are caught in the frenzy of trying to get everything done. Do you ever lay awake at night wondering if you'll finish the tasks on your list? I want to encourage you to try something that has helped me. Tomorrow, before your feet hit the ground, tell the Lord: "This is Your day, not mine. Whatever You want me to do, I will do. Whatever You don't want me to do, I won't."

Throughout the day, as your desire to get more done in less time moves in, and stress tries to take over, repeat your prayer. Soon you'll discover that handing the details of your day over to God will lead you out of chaos and into His plans for peace and purpose in your life!

By no means is my life perfect now, but most of my days are surrendered to the Lord's plans rather than the busyness of my own. And, I'm learning more and more how to live according to God's beautiful timing and pattern for my life each day.

Dear Lord, every day there seems to be so much that has to get done and so little time. I know that living life stressed and frustrated is not what You created me for. Please help me each day to only do what You want me to do and not try to do more. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You by Lynn Cowell - Purchase this phenomenal bundle of book, CD & DVD today!

I Used to Be So Organized: Help for Reclaiming Order and Peace by Glynnis Whitwer

Visit Lynn's blog where she discusses ways to slow down so we might enjoy those around, especially our children. And, she is giving away a copy of Glynnis's new book, I Used to Be So Organized

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:
One a sheet of paper, create three columns. Label the first: Things No One Else Can Do. Label the second: Things I Do, but Could Delegate; and the third: Things I Choose to Do. Carefully place the things that fill your life in the appropriate column. Over the next week, use this as your prayer list, asking the Lord which of these things He wants to stay on the list, which He wants delegated and which He wants completely removed.

This is Your day Jesus, not mine. Whatever You want me to do, I will do. Whatever You don't, I won't.

Power Verses:
Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NIV)

© 2011 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


Editor's Note: There was a problem with the link to Mary's NewCome As You Are Bible Study in yesterday's devotional. We apologize. The following link should be correct: Come As You Are.

September 30, 2011

Making My Heart Sit Down

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12, NLT).

Friend to Friend

Every minute of every day is either wasted or invested. Since the Bible contains over 400 verses about time, we can safely assume that time management is important to God. In fact, it is a spiritual discipline that helps determine the rate of growth and maturity of our faith. We not only need to view time as an eternal investment, but as an immediate one as well. One of the most valuable investments we can make is to spend time in solitude.

I once read an African proverb, "Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down." Solitude is deliberately and diligently setting aside time to "sit down" at the feet of Jesus. It is in those still, quiet moments of solitude at His feet that we can more clearly hear God speak and gain strength and wisdom for the journey ahead. In order to practice solitude, we must learn how to budget time.

It's been said that women must balance their time more carefully than men because women don't have wives. The fact is that we are all responsible for how we spend the time God has given us. Time is a precious gift. Every morning we are credited with 86,400 seconds. No balance is carried into the next day and every night erases what we fail to use. If we use it in the wrong way, that time is lost forever and cannot be reclaimed. Time that is not purposely and wisely budgeted will inevitably gravitate to our weaknesses and be stolen by others or wasted on the unimportant. We must budget time, just as Jesus did.

Luke 2:52 "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (NIV).

At the age of 12, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with His parents for the annual Passover Celebration. When His parents began the long trip home, they did not miss their son at first, and when they did, assumed He was traveling with friends. Jesus was found in the temple - teaching. My first reaction would probably have been pride in the fact that religious scholars and teachers were actually listening to my young son. I would most likely have encouraged Jesus to continue, basking in the looming recognition and acclaim. Instead, Jesus returned home where, for 18 to 20 years, He simply grew and matured. Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. Luke 3 records the beginning of Jesus' ministry - the single most powerful ministry and life ever lived. In other words, Jesus Christ budgeted His time wisely, resulting in a balanced life of fulfilled purpose. We can live the same kind of life if our priorities are right.

Set priorities: Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us "there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven" (NLT). We either set our life priorities or allow circumstances and other people to set them. We are often guilty of allowing human standards and expectations to determine priorities for our lives when what we need to do is set our priorities and then plan the days of our lives around them.

Schedule priorities: There is a right time and a right way to carry out right priorities. Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 warns, "For a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight" (NASB). We must schedule time for solitude. We must set aside portions of each day to spend with God.

Stick to priorities: The apostle Paul teaches us to "make the most of every opportunity" (Ephesians 5:16 NIV). Every challenge will either wreck our priorities or affirm them. Right priorities stand firm in the face of changing circumstances because God empowers them and honors obedience.

One day, we will all stand before the Father and give an account of how we have invested our time. Today, examine your time management habits in light of eternity. Initiate schedule changes that honor God and give Him first place in your life. Make a new commitment to invest your time wisely.

Let's Pray

Father, I recognize my need for time alone with You. I lay down my schedule, my agenda and anything else in my life that would keep me from that time. Please forgive me for the way I often squander away the minutes, hours and days of my life. Give me the power to invest time wisely and the wisdom to live a balanced life that pleases and honors You.

In Jesus' name,


Now It's Your Turn

  1. Choose to practice solitude in your daily life.
  2. Select a place to spend time in solitude.
  3. Lay down your agenda.
  4. Focus on Him and listen for His voice.
  5. Memorize Psalm 37:7 (NIV) "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him."
  6. Ask yourself these questions and use the answers to shape a plan for regular solitude:
    • Why am I afraid of silence?
    • What is the greatest obstacle to solitude in my life?
    • What steps do I have to take in order to remove those obstacles?
    • What do I hope to gain from time spent in solitude?

More from the Girlfriends

Learning to rest and be still before God is so important to our spiritual growth, strength and maturity. It won't just happen. We have to carve out time to spend alone with God in solitude. Time spent in solitude allows our heart to be still before God, filter through all of the voices in life, and seek out God's voice above the rest. I encourage you to read Psalm 23 every day this month and find time each week for solitude. Escaping the Stress Trap (available in book, CD or MP3 download) can be a helpful tool as you learn to make your heart sit down.

Come as You Are is Mary's NEW Online Bible Study that begins September 26! The most common invitation offered by Jesus Christ is simply to "come." He doesn't ask us to fix what is wrong or expect us to clean up our lives. That is His responsibility. Jesus loves us just as we are and when we come to Him with a "yes" in our hearts, He lovingly transforms the broken places into beautiful scars of healing that give birth to new life. Enroll before October 1 and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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


Felix Manz: Execution in Icy Waters

A student of Zwingli and a good friend of Grebel, Felix Manz (1498 – 1527) was cofounder of the first congregation of Anabaptist Swiss Brethren. The son of a Catholic cleric, Manz, like Grebel, had a well-rounded sixteenth-century humanist liberal arts education that included Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Like Grebel, he was imprisoned for preaching his new-found faith and for challenging the Zurich city council on the matter of believers' baptism.

In March of 1526, only months before Grebel's death of the plague, the Zurich city council had enacted a law making believers' baptism (rebaptism) a capital offence punishable by drowning. Manz would become the first Anabaptist martyred for this offence. Insisting that he was not seeking to prevent Reformers from baptizing infants, he argued that his only motive was "to bring together those who were willing to accept Christ, obey the Word, and follow in His footsteps, to unite with these by baptism, and to leave the rest in their present conviction." But Zwingli and the city council were determined to make Manz's death a deterrent. Just two days before his drowning, Zwingli wrote to a fellow Reformer: "The Anabaptist, who should already have been sent to the devil, disturbs the peace of the pious people. But I believe, the axe will settle it."

But Manz would not be axed to death. Rather, officials execute him by his own baptismal prescription — immersion of an adult believer. His death is ridiculed as the third baptism: infant, believers, and drowning — "He who dips shall be dipped!" The story is chilling. Bullinger describes the scene: On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in January of 1527, "Manz was taken out of the Wellenberg prison and led to the fish market there by the Limmat [River]. There his death sentence was read. He was taken to the butcher shop, and then forced into a boat, in which the executioner and a pastor were standing." A crowd of onlookers, including his mother and brother, had accompanied him. Offered an opportunity to recant, he publicly proclaims his faith, encouraged by his family and other supporters. He is then rowed some distance from shore, where he is pushed into the icy water, declaring his faith in Christ until the water engulfs him. Among the writings that he leaves behind is a hymn, the first lines offering his own testimony:

With gladness will I now sing;

My heart delights in God,

Who showed me such forbearance

That I from death was saved

Which never hath an end.

I praise Thee, Christ in heaven

Who all my sorrow changed.

In the weeks and months that follow, six more Anabaptists suffer a similar fate.

If you enjoyed the above article, please take a minute to read about the book that it was adapted from:


Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

by Ruth A. Tucker
Buy the book!
The story of Christianity centers on people whose lives have been transformed by the resurrected Lord. Tucker puts this front and center in a lively overview peppered with sidebars; historical "what if?" questions; sections on everyday life; drawings and illustrations; bibliographies for further reading.

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