Sunday, October 02, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 2nd October

““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."
Song of Solomon 7:13

The spouse desires to give to Jesus all that she produces. Our heart has "all manner of pleasant fruits," both "old and new," and they are laid up for our Beloved. At this rich autumnal season of fruit, let us survey our stores. We have new fruits. We desire to feel new life, new joy, new gratitude; we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours; our heart blossoms with new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts. But we have some old fruits too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Jesus delights in it. There is our first faith: that simple faith by which, having nothing, we became possessors of all things. There is our joy when first we knew the Lord: let us revive it. We have our old remembrances of the promises. How faithful has God been! In sickness, how softly did he make our bed! In deep waters, how placidly did he buoy us up! In the flaming furnace, how graciously did he deliver us. Old fruits, indeed! We have many of them, for his mercies have been more than the hairs of our head. Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which he has given us, by which we have wept our way to the cross, and learned the merit of his blood. We have fruits, this morning, both new and old; but here is the point--they are all laid up for Jesus. Truly, those are the best and most acceptable services in which Jesus is the solitary aim of the soul, and his glory, without any admixture whatever, the end of all our efforts. Let our many fruits be laid up only for our Beloved; let us display them when he is with us, and not hold them up before the gaze of men. Jesus, we will turn the key in our garden door, and none shall enter to rob thee of one good fruit from the soil which thou hast watered with thy bloody sweat. Our all shall be thine, thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved!

Evening

"He will give grace and glory."
Psalm 84:11

Bounteous is Jehovah in his nature; to give is his delight. His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to his elect because he wills it, to his redeemed because of his covenant, to the called because of his promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it. He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal. Grace in all its forms he freely renders to his people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace, he generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and he always will do so, whatever may occur. Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, "The Lord will give grace."

The little conjunction "and" in this verse is a diamond rivet binding the present with the future: grace and glory always go together. God has married them, and none can divorce them. The Lord will never deny a soul glory to whom he has freely given to live upon his grace; indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in its Sabbath dress, grace in full bloom, grace like autumn fruit, mellow and perfected. How soon we may have glory none can tell! It may be before this month of October has run out we shall see the Holy City; but be the interval longer or shorter, we shall be glorified ere long. Glory, the glory of heaven, the glory of eternity, the glory of Jesus, the glory of the Father, the Lord will surely give to his chosen. Oh, rare promise of a faithful God!

Two golden links of one celestial chain:

Who owneth grace shall surely glory gain.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 11-13, Ephesians 4 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 11-13

The Branch From Jesse

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 4

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ....

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COUPLESenewsheader-Bibles-Sep2011

Making Peace With Each Other

Exodus 4:24–26

But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said.
Exodus 4:25

Zipporah performed hasty surgery on her son when she realized God was about to kill her husband, Moses. While it isn’t stated, evidently God was about to destroy Moses because he had failed to circumcise his son. Zipporah took the situation into her own hands, completing the act of obedience Moses had neglected to do.

But there seems to be an air of resentment in her abrupt actions. Perhaps she was angry at her husband for shirking his fatherly duties. Or maybe Zipporah resented having to perform a spiritual rite she herself didn’t believe in.

Whatever the details of a disagreement, resulting feelings can drive a wedge between spouses. Resentment can lead to barbed words, sarcastic comments and actions that undercut one another. For example, children came early in our marriage. I used to get so angry when Dan would nudge me to get out of bed in the middle of the night because the baby was crying. Both Dan and I desperately needed sleep, but I resented the assumption that it was my responsibility to get up with the baby. Lack of sleep, combined with my expectation that Dan share in the 3:00 a.m. feedings, fueled resentment in me. In a huff, I would perform my motherly duties, seething silently as Dan snored and I rocked a cranky baby. It didn’t take too many sleepless nights like that before we had built walls of anger between us.

When you notice resentment creeping in or a disagreement escalating in your relationship, admit your anger and call an immediate cease-fire. Take some advice from marriage counselor Scott M. Stanley (Marriage Partnership , Fall 1995). Agree on a specific time when you can talk. Then sit down together and use a small object, such as a pen, to indicate who has the floor. The person holding the pen is the speaker. When the pen changes hands, the roles change. The speaker’s job is to get his or her point across. The listener’s job is to absorb information and give feedback by paraphrasing what the other has just said.

While this approach feels somewhat artificial, it greatly enhances communication by slowing things down and emphasizing listening and working together. It helps you, asJames 1:19 says, to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” It’s a great tool for aiding interaction and understanding. And it helps to insure that resentments don’t fester or turn into full-blown arguments.

When you sense resentment growing within you, ask yourself what expectations you have of your spouse, particularly in a situation that’s brewing trouble between you. Very often, resentment grows from unmet expectations. Zipporah expected something from Moses. I expected something of Dan. Recognizing what your expectations are is the first step toward resolving resentment.
Marian V. Liautaud

Let’s Talk

  • Is there some area of our marriage in which we feel that one of us has unmet expectations? Let’s talk about some of those expectations.
  • When one of us gets angry, do our arguments quickly get out of hand? How can we put a stop to that pattern?
  • Let’s try a pen-passing conversation on a nonthreatening topic. How does that approach differ from the way we usually try to resolve a problem? In what ways could this approach help?
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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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Giving in Proportion to Our Ability-and Beyond

This week's reading: Ezra 2:68-69

Both the Old and New Testaments promote the principle of giving in proportion to our ability. Here we see a positive example of this standard in the action of the returning exiles (compare this to the account of the Israelites giving more than was needed for temple construction in Ex 25:1-7; 36:2-7).

The apostle Paul may have been alluding to this passage when he commanded Christians to give in proportion to their incomes (see 1Co 16:2), as well as when he commended the Macedonians Christians, who "gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded ... for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord's people" (2Co 8:3-4). Paul holds out the example of the Macedonians as committed, loving Christians, centered not on their own needs, desires and rights, but on those of others.

This principle of proportional giving makes sense, we agree, but working it out in our daily lives is not quite so simple. Why? Because our chosen lifestyle affects our ability to practice generosity.

In a reading adapted from author Randy Alcorn, editors John Ortberg, Laurie Pederson and Judson Poling attempt to identify the essential qualities of a Biblical lifestyle with regard to spending habits. Alcorn begins by contrasting two opposite but equally incorrect beliefs about money: materialism and asceticism. Alcorn notes:

During World War II, when fuel was precious, billboards routinely asked motorists, "Is this trip necessary?" Every resource used for individual convenience was one less resource for the country's central concern, winning the war.

As Christians, we are also engaged in a great battle that requires great resources. We too must realize that spending resources on our own private concerns leaves less resources for our kingdom's central concern. We should ask, "Is this thing necessary?" Does this thing really contribute to my purpose in being here on this earth? Is this thing an asset to me as a soldier of Christ ...

In the words of Peter H. Davids, "A biblical lifestyle will necessarily recognize itself as being in opposition to the prevailing values and lifestyle of its culture. It is informed by a different view of reality." This view of reality is not a harsh or austere view. It need not lead to bare-bones living, or to condemnation of those Christians who have greater opportunity or feel greater liberty to possess more than I do. Rather, it is a view toward the riches of the eternal kingdom.

Those who hold such a view are sincerely grateful for the refreshing pleasures and helpful possessions of this life. But regardless of what material things surround it, this view of reality remains focused on what is truly the greatest pleasure and possession of life, both here and hereafter-the pleasure of possessing Christ.

Think About It

  • In what ways do you give according to your ability?
  • How does your lifestyle affect your ability to give?
  • How does your view of reality affect your lifestyle choices?

Pray About It

Lord, I want to live in a way that reflects a Biblical view of reality. Help me to do that.


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Today's reading is from the
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Discover the remarkable privilege we have as stewards of God's design for life through the study of Scripture.


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