Sunday, October 16, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 16th October

““How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” 2 Samuel 7:22 NIV
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Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening

Morning

"But who may abide the day of his coming?"
Malachi 3:2

His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for him, showed the fallacy of their professions by rejecting him when he came. His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process. But what will his second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." When in his humiliation he did but say to the soldiers, "I am he," they fell backward; what will be the terror of his enemies when he shall more fully reveal himself as the "I am?" His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendour of that day in which as the living Saviour, he shall summon the quick and dead before him? O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and kiss the Son lest he be angry! Though a lamb, he is yet the lion of the tribe of Judah, rending the prey in pieces; and though he breaks not the bruised reed, yet will he break his enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. None of his foes shall bear up before the tempest of his wrath, or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of his indignation; but his beloved blood washed people look for his appearing with joy, and hope to abide it without fear: to them he sits as a refiner even now, and when he has tried them they shall come forth as gold. Let us search ourselves this morning and make our calling and election sure, so that the coming of the Lord may cause no dark forebodings in our mind. O for grace to cast away all hypocrisy, and to be found of him sincere and without rebuke in the day of his appearing.

Evening

"But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck."
Exodus 34:20

Every firstborn creature must be the Lord's, but since the ass was unclean, it could not be presented in sacrifice. What then? Should it be allowed to go free from the universal law? By no means. God admits of no exceptions. The ass is his due, but he will not accept it; he will not abate the claim, but yet he cannot be pleased with the victim. No way of escape remained but redemption--the creature must be saved by the substitution of a lamb in its place; or if not redeemed, it must die. My soul, here is a lesson for thee. That unclean animal is thyself; thou art justly the property of the Lord who made thee and preserves thee, but thou art so sinful that God will not, cannot, accept thee; and it has come to this, the Lamb of God must stand in thy stead, or thou must die eternally. Let all the world know of thy gratitude to that spotless Lamb who has already bled for thee, and so redeemed thee from the fatal curse of the law. Must it not sometimes have been a question with the Israelite which should die, the ass or the lamb? Would not the good man pause to estimate and compare? Assuredly there was no comparison between the value of the soul of man and the life of the Lord Jesus, and yet the Lamb dies, and man the ass is spared. My soul, admire the boundless love of God to thee and others of the human race. Worms are bought with the blood of the Son of the Highest! Dust and ashes redeemed with a price far above silver and gold! What a doom had been mine had not plenteous redemption been found! The breaking of the neck of the ass was but a momentary penalty, but who shall measure the wrath to come to which no limit can be imagined? Inestimably dear is the glorious Lamb who has redeemed us from such a doom.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 45-46, 1 Thessalonians 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 45-46

1 “This is what the LORD says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:
2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
3 I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Thessalonians 3

1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith....

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Delayed Gratification

This week's reading: Habakkuk 3:1-19

In Habakkuk 2:2-3, God asks his prophet to record a vision of a future day-a day when the Lord will respond to injustice.Habakkuk 2:4 spells out that we are to live until that day "by his faithfulness," not by sight. Habakkuk 3:3-15 reveals the content of the vision.

Habakkuk is deeply changed; his response in 3:16-19 clearly illustrates what it means to live by faith in God's promise. After a moment's recuperation from the cosmic events that he has just witnessed, the prophet declares, "I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us" (Hab 3:16). Habakkuk is willing to live amid socioeconomic upheaval, without physical or financial safety or security. Why? Because he knows a day is coming when things will be changed.

The following anonymous email has circulated on the Internet:

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.

Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, "I love you and I wish you enough."

The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom."

They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?"

"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is-the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

"When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?"

She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations" ... "When we said, 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them."

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger ...

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye."

Think About It

  • How does Habakkuk's response to the vision from God encourage you to respond in a similar way to tough times?
  • We await a final day when all wrongs will be righted and all tears wiped away. In the meantime, what constitutes "enough" for you?
  • Does your "enough" change with your circumstances?

Pray About It

Lord, you are mighty and have the future in your hand. No matter what I face today, I will live by faith in you.


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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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New Email Devotional for Women

We've added a new devotional to our collection of email newsletters: NIV Devotions for Women! Sign up for free, and each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you'll receive a devotional aimed at bringing you closer to God as you go through your busy week at home, in the workplace, and in your community. NIV Devotions for Women begins on Monday, October 17.

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New Audio Bible: Holman Christian Standard Bible NT

The newest addition to our library of audio Bibles is theHolman Christian Standard Bible New Testament, read by Dale McConachie!

Employing an innovative translation technique titled "Optimal Equivalence," the Holman Christian Standard Bible aims for both "literary precision" and "emotive clarity"-which allows translators to preserve not only the meaning of the text, but the original words themselves.

If you'd like to know more about the history and nature of this translation, you can read more about it on the blog. If you'd rather jump in and listen, then go try out the audio Holman Christian Standard Bible NT.

Is God a Moral Monster? (And Other Tough Questions)

At the Bible Gateway blog, we've been tackling some thorny theological questions. Questions like:
  • Is God a moral monster? Is the God of the Old Testament a bloodthirsty tyrant? Apologists Lee Strobel and Paul Copan don't mince words as they grapple with one of the most challenging charges levied against Christianity and the Bible.
  • What does the Bible say about capital punishment? Can the Bible be said to be "for" or "against" the death penalty? A look at capital punishment in the Bible, and what we can learn from it.
That's it for this week. Thanks, as always, for using Bible Gateway!

Sincerely,
the Bible Gateway team
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COUPLESenewsheader-Bibles-Sep2011

Waiting for a Sign

Numbers 9:15-23

Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.
Numbers 9:17

So often, married life feels like little more than a series of decisions: Should we buy that house? Is it the right time to start a family? Do we need to save more money for the future? So often, we look to God for some kind of clear answer telling us just what to do.

Early in our marriage, my husband began looking for a job closer to our home. He happened upon a job opening at a social service agency just a few blocks from our apartment. Not only was the job close, but it was the kind of work he was passionate about at the kind of organization he'd wanted to work for. The company was even willing to let him work flexible hours so he could be home with our baby part of the day.

My husband sailed through his interview and was offered the job right away. Before he said yes, we talked briefly about the wisdom of taking the job. As we reviewed the circumstances it seemed that God had dropped this opportunity in his lap. We didn't need to discuss the issue for long. We felt God's leading very clearly.

While wandering through the wilderness, the people of Israel knew when to move and when to stay put because God gave them a sign: if the cloud that covered the tabernacle stayed put, they were to do likewise; when the cloud moved, they were to move. In our situation, we felt that the "cloud" had moved, and that my husband should take the job.

But we don't always get a clear sign from God. There have been many, many times when we have prayed, sought the advice of friends and family, and waited for God to point us in the right direction, only to get . . . nothing. For example, when I was trying to decide whether I should quit my job, I agonized for months with no sense of what God wanted me to do. Where was our sign?

The truth is, God doesn't always move the clouds to show us which way to go. Instead, God asks us to be faithful, to make choices with our lives that honor him. He asks us to get our priorities in order, to turn away from worldly standards of success and achievement and to bend our will to that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And as we follow his example, walking in his ways, we begin to think more like him. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 : "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."

We will make our share of mistakes in life decisions. At times, we will undoubtedly go when we should stay and stay when we should go. But the promise that God gives us is that no matter where we go-to a new state, to a new job, to a new stage of family life-our God goes with us.
Carla Barnhill

Let's Talk

  • What choices have we made as a couple? Has there been a time when we've had to step out in faith without a clear sense of what the right choice was? How was God present with us in that uncertain situation?
  • What kind of decision makers are we? What are some ways we can show each other support and respect when we have a difficult decision to make?
  • What people do we trust to help us think through difficult decisions? If we can't think of anyone, maybe we should develop deeper relationships with a few other couples from church.
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NIVCouplesbibleToday's reading is from the
NIV Couple's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan


Designed to help you build your relationship on the one foundation you can count on: God’s Word!


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