Sunday, October 30, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 30th October

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, etc."
Matthew 6:9

This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, "Our Father." There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, "I will arise, and go unto my Father." This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father "in heaven," and ascends to devout adoration, "Hallowed be thy name." The child lisping, "Abba, Father," grows into the cherub crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy." There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of filial love and reverent adoration--"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God--"Give us this day our daily bread." Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:" and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, "Lead us not into temptation." The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. "Forgive us our debts," that is justification; "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms. As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, "Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen." We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of his dominion there shall be no end. Thus from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul. Lord, teach us thus to pray.

Evening

"But their eyes were holden that they should not know him."
Luke 24:16

The disciples ought to have known Jesus, they had heard his voice so often, and gazed upon that marred face so frequently, that it is wonderful they did not discover him. Yet is it not so with you also? You have not seen Jesus lately. You have been to his table, and you have not met him there. You are in a dark trouble this evening, and though he plainly says, "It is I, be not afraid," yet you cannot discern him. Alas! our eyes are holden. We know his voice; we have looked into his face; we have leaned our head upon his bosom, and yet, though Christ is very near us, we are saying "O that I knew where I might find him!" We should know Jesus, for we have the Scriptures to reflect his image, and yet how possible it is for us to open that precious book and have no glimpse of the Wellbeloved! Dear child of God, are you in that state? Jesus feedeth among the lilies of the word, and you walk among those lilies, and yet you behold him not. He is accustomed to walk through the glades of Scripture, and to commune with his people, as the Father did with Adam in the cool of the day, and yet you are in the garden of Scripture, but cannot see him, though he is always there. And why do we not see him? It must be ascribed in our case, as in the disciples', to unbelief. They evidently did not expect to see Jesus, and therefore they did not know him. To a great extent in spiritual things we get what we expect of the Lord. Faith alone can bring us to see Jesus. Make it your prayer, "Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may see my Saviour present with me." It is a blessed thing to want to see him; but oh! it is better far to gaze upon him. To those who seek him he is kind; but to those who find him, beyond expression is he dear!

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 18-19, 2 Timothy 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 18-19

At the Potter’s House

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Timothy 3

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone....

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Giving Is Worship

Today's reading: Hebrews 7:1–22

The writer of Hebrews shows us that the priesthood of Jesus Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood. One important way that this superiority is demonstrated is through the tithe that Abraham paid to Melchizedek after his victory over the Canaanite kings (see Ge 14:18–20). In a similar way, the writer of Hebrews identifies offerings as an important way of attributing honor and worship (or anything else for that matter) to God. The same holds true for us today. We are called to worship God persuasively with our possessions.

Theologian Mark Allan Powell talks about giving as worship.

"Many people seem to think that the reason we have an offering during the Sunday morning service is because the church needs to pay its bills and also wants to do good things with the money that is collected. Your church does need to pay its bills, and it probably does do good things with the money you put in the offering plate … but that is not why we have an offering during the Sunday morning service.

"The offering is an act of worship, an instance in which we are invited to give up something that we value—our money—as a sacrifice to God. In many ways, it is the high point of the liturgy. We come to church to worship God and at no other point in the service are we provided with so pure an opportunity for worship as this …

"We are invited to put money in the offering plate on Sunday morning not because the church needs our money but because we want and need to give it. We have a spiritual need to worship God, and through our offerings we are able to express our love and devotion for God in a way that is simple and sincere. The motivation of the giver is what counts most, not the size of the gift or the degree of benefit to the recipient (seeMk 12:42–44). The good news of stewardship is that church offerings are not fund-raising rituals but acts of worship in which we are invited to express our heartfelt devotion to the God who is so good to us."

And author Randy Alcorn discusses the corporate nature of giving as worship.

"By giving, we enter into and participate in the grace of Christ. We worship. By giving in concert with our brothers and sisters in Christ’s body, we jointly worship him, moved by each others’ example and mutual participation. In the building of the tabernacle, building of the temple, and repair of the temple, it was the corporate involvement of the community of saints in which the spirit of God moved so dramatically to produce extravagant giving. The same was true with the New Testament saints of Jerusalem in the early chapters of Acts and those in Macedonia spoken of in 2 Corinthians 8."

Think About It

  • How is Jesus even greater than Melchizedek and the Levitical priesthood?
  • Do you approach giving to God as something you want and need to do?
  • In what ways does giving together with other believers enhance corporate worship?

Pray About It

God, thank you for your good gifts to me, for giving me everything I need. I pray that I will worship you fully by giving back to you with a joyful and loving heart.


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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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COUPLESenewsheader-Bibles-Sep2011

Digging Out of a Little Sin

Joshua 7:1-26

"Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions."
Joshua 7:11

I'm tempted to cry, "Not fair!" upon reading the story of Achan. First, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal for him to have taken some treasure as reward for victory in battle. And second, all of the Israelites were held responsible for the sin of one man who had stolen and hidden plunder after the battle of Jericho against God's direct command. Because of the "small" sin of one man, God punished all of Israel by withdrawing his blessing and allowing the people to be humiliated and defeated at the battle of Ai.

I remember when my young children would complain that a punishment was too harsh for their "teeny" disobedience. I'd bring up Adam and Eve's teeny bite of the forbidden fruit. I'd ask them how many bites of the fruit it would have taken to become a punishable act. They got it-that it's not the size of the disobedience but the meaning behind it that's the problem. Like Achan, Adam and Eve disrespected God by their disobedience.

Likewise, in marriage, individual actions reflect one's commitment to the marriage covenant. When I'm tempted to do something selfish, I ask myself two questions: (1) "How would I feel if Grey did this?" and (2) "How would I feel if our children found out?" I'm stopped in my tracks every time. So, something like an "innocent" email exchange with an old flame is now revealed to my own heart for what it is: betrayal.

Sin in marriage is not an individual issue. It affects the marriage relationship, the wider family and also the entire community. Who would deny that infidelity and divorce have wreaked havoc upon millions of children and ripped the fabric of our society? In the same way, Achan's selfish act ripped the fabric of Israel's relationship with God.

Achan's other sin was the cover-up; he deceitfully hid the plunder he had stolen. But eventually the truth was revealed, just as it is in twenty-first-century families. A woman writes in her journal about her intimate relationship with another man. She thinks no one will ever know. But one day her husband does the unthinkable; he decides to clean all the books on the bookshelf and discovers the diary behind the dusty volumes. Or a husband thinks he can cover his gambling losses by taking greater risks that promise bigger payoffs. But when the bank statement arrives with a negative balance-and his wife gets the mail-the whole family suffers the painful consequences of financial loss.

Achan's lesson still holds true: Everyone loses in the sin game.
Mary Ann Jeffreys

Let's Talk

  • What steps will we take to stay honest with each other about money, friends, and recreational activities? In what areas have we been less than fully honest?
  • What effect might "hidden" sins have on our marriage if we continue doing them for several months or even years?
  • What "no big deal" sins are we willing to overlook in our relationship? If we continue doing them, what or who might then bring them to light?
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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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