Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 27th October

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house."
Haggai 1:9

Churlish souls stint their contributions to the ministry and missionary operations, and call such saving good economy; little do they dream that they are thus impoverishing themselves. Their excuse is that they must care for their own families, and they forget that to neglect the house of God is the sure way to bring ruin upon their own houses. Our God has a method in providence by which he can succeed our endeavours beyond our expectation, or can defeat our plans to our confusion and dismay; by a turn of his hand he can steer our vessel in a profitable channel, or run it aground in poverty and bankruptcy. It is the teaching of Scripture that the Lord enriches the liberal and leaves the miserly to find out that withholding tendeth to poverty. In a very wide sphere of observation, I have noticed that the most generous Christians of my acquaintance have been always the most happy, and almost invariably the most prosperous. I have seen the liberal giver rise to wealth of which he never dreamed; and I have as often seen the mean, ungenerous churl descend to poverty by the very parsimony by which he thought to rise. Men trust good stewards with larger and larger sums, and so it frequently is with the Lord; he gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels. Where wealth is not bestowed the Lord makes the little much by the contentment which the sanctified heart feels in a portion of which the tithe has been dedicated to the Lord. Selfishness looks first at home, but godliness seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, yet in the long run selfishness is loss, and godliness is great gain. It needs faith to act towards our God with an open hand, but surely he deserves it of us; and all that we can do is a very poor acknowledgment of our amazing indebtedness to his goodness.

Evening

"All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again."
Ecclesiastes 1:7

Everything sublunary is on the move, time knows nothing of rest. The solid earth is a rolling ball, and the great sun himself a star obediently fulfilling its course around some greater luminary. Tides move the sea, winds stir the airy ocean, friction wears the rock: change and death rule everywhere. The sea is not a miser's storehouse for a wealth of waters, for as by one force the waters flow into it, by another they are lifted from it. Men are born but to die: everything is hurry, worry, and vexation of spirit. Friend of the unchanging Jesus, what a joy it is to reflect upon thy changeless heritage; thy sea of bliss which will be forever full, since God himself shall pour eternal rivers of pleasure into it. We seek an abiding city beyond the skies, and we shall not be disappointed. The passage before us may well teach us gratitude. Father Ocean is a great receiver, but he is a generous distributor. What the rivers bring him he returns to the earth in the form of clouds and rain. That man is out of joint with the universe who takes all but makes no return. To give to others is but sowing seed for ourselves. He who is so good a steward as to be willing to use his substance for his Lord, shall be entrusted with more. Friend of Jesus, art thou rendering to him according to the benefit received? Much has been given thee, what is thy fruit? Hast thou done all? Canst thou not do more? To be selfish is to be wicked. Suppose the ocean gave up none of its watery treasure, it would bring ruin upon our race. God forbid that any of us should follow the ungenerous and destructive policy of living unto ourselves. Jesus pleased not himself. All fulness dwells in him, but of his fulness have all we received. O for Jesus' spirit, that henceforth we may live not unto ourselves!

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 9-11, 1 Timothy 6 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 9-11

1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
for the slain of my people.
2 Oh, that I had in the desert
a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,
a crowd of unfaithful people.

3 “They make ready their tongue
like a bow, to shoot lies;
it is not by truth
that they triumph in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
they do not acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.
4 “Beware of your friends;
do not trust anyone in your clan.
For every one of them is a deceiver,
and every friend a slanderer.
5 Friend deceives friend,
and no one speaks the truth.
They have taught their tongues to lie;
they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You live in the midst of deception;
in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Timothy 6

1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

False Teachers and the Love of Money

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs....

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Iddo

[Ĭd'dō] - affectionate, festal, favoriteor his power.

  1. Father of Ahinadab, and one of Solomon's purveyors at Mahanaim (1 Kings 4:14).
  2. A descendant of Gershom, son of Levi (1 Chron. 6:21). Called Adaiah, and ancestor of Asaph the seer (1 Chron. 6:41).
  3. A son of Zechariah and a chief in David's time of the half tribe of Manasseh east of Jordan (1 Chron. 27:21).
  4. A seer who denounced the wrath of God against Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and who wrote a book of visions (2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22).
  5. Grandfather of the prophet Zechariah (Ezra 5:1; 6:14; Zech 1:1).
  6. A priest who returned from Babylon (Neh. 12:4, 16).
  7. The chief at Casiphia through whom Ezra obtained help. He was a Nethinim (Ezra 8:17).
  8. A man who put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:43). Jadau is a corruption of Iddo.
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October 26, 2011

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Several years ago I owned a car that continually overheated. The first time I saw the little red needle pointing to the big H on the dashboard, I assumed it meant the car was hot. It was in the middle of August and frankly, I was hot too, so I wasn't terribly alarmed. I decided to mosey on down to the dealership about twelve miles away to have it checked out. Big mistake.

After about a minute or so, steam began billowing from under the hood, the engine began knocking angrily, and the little engine that could, decided it couldn't any longer. It died in the middle of a busy intersection on a Friday afternoon in 5:00 traffic. The car was towed to the dealership where the mechanic delivered the unfortunate news.

"Mrs. Jaynes, you see that needle that is pointing to the 'H'?" the repairman asked. "That means that the engine is runnin' hot. When you see that, you've got to stop right away. Since you kept goin', you burned up your engine. It's a goner. You'll have to get a new one."

"That sounds expensive," I moaned.

"Oh, it'll be about four thousand dollars," he answered, while continuing to poke around under the hood.

Four thousand dollars! And all because I didn't stop the car when it overheated...all because I didn't heed the warning signs. It was a painful and costly lesson.

The mechanic installed a new engine. You can imagine my alarm when I noticed that little red needle pointing to H a few weeks later. This time, I stopped right away. Once again, my car was towed to the dealership. Once again, they made adjustments, gave reassurances, and sent me on my way.

Over the following weeks, my car overheated three times. Each time, it was towed to the shop and the mechanic made adjustments. Finally, I said, "No more." I got rid of the car.

The trouble was, the mechanic never fixed the cause of the problem, but only tinkered with the symptoms. He fixed first one thing and then another, but never got to the root of the problem to find out why the car was overheating in the first place.

How like us. We continue to tinker, fixing one flaw and then another, but never getting to the root of the problem. Many times when reading the Bible, we want the "how to-s" without the "why for-s." In this age of instant messaging, instant food, and microwave cooking, we want a quick fix without understanding the deep truths of Scripture. We say, "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it." "Give me a ten-step program and I'll check off the steps one by one." But in order to experience lasting change - we must begin with ultimate truth.

When we dig deep into Scripture, we discover the root cause of our problems and God's amazing solutions.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I have been tinkering with my problems long enough. My hot button has gone off more times than I care to admit. Would you please show me the root cause of this problem? You are the Heavenly mechanic and my engine is in need of repair. I open my hood (heart) to You and pray that you will help me run like a well-Holy Spirit - oiled machine.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

When is the last time your emotion meter hit H for Hot?

What was the problem?

Now look at your answer. Did you blame it on someone else? If so, you are tinkering, tinkering, tinkering. (I love you, girlfriend.)

Think...pray...now answer the question again. What was the problem?

More from the Girlfriends

Sharon's book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful, takes us back to the root cause of the problems in all of our lives and how God wants to fix it. Most of what we call problems or characters flaws are only symptoms. If you would like to get under the hood with God and take a look at what's broken so He can fix it, then this book is for you! This book also comes with a Bible study guide that is perfect for group or individual study.

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
Renee Swope

October 26, 2011

What's Wrong with Me?
Renee Swope

"And he said, 'Who told you that you were naked?...'"Genesis 3:11a (NIV)

Do you ever ask yourself: What's wrong with me?

One day I noticed how many times I do. When I lose my keys, when I'm mean to my husband, when I don't keep a commitment, when I'm late for a meeting, when I yell at my kids, when I forget to do something important-the list goes on.

It dawned on me that every time I asked, "What's wrong with me?" I was actually telling myself something was wrong with me. Then I would try to figure out my elusive fault so I could change it.

I realized what I needed to change was the way I talked to myself. I didn't want to keep convincing myself something was wrong with me every time I asked, What is wrong with me?

That's not what God wants us doing to ourselves. However, we have an enemy who loves to cast the shadow of self-doubt over us. He tries to get us to focus on all that is wrong with us (real or perceived), instead of anything that is right with us.

Scripture tells us that when Satan lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). The word lie means a falsehood with theintent to deceive. Satan intends to deceive our hearts by getting us to take our eyes off of who we are in Christ and focus on our flaws-then spend our days figuring out how we can hide them.

One of his goals is to get us to believe lies that leave us feeling inadequate and unsure of ourselves. It's just what he did with Eve in the garden. In fact, I wonder if Eve might have thought, What's wrong with me? when she became aware of her inadequacy.

Then the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden...and they hid from the LORD God...But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." (Gen. 3:7-10, NIV 1984)

In verse 11 God responds with a question, asking Adam who told them they were naked. In other words, "Who told you that something is wrong with you?" By asking this, God acknowledged there was someone casting shame on them-and it wasn't Him.

I believe He wanted them to be aware of their enemy who was whispering lies into their hearts, causing them to move away from Him and from each other. God also wants us to be aware that we have an enemy who is constantly trying to convince us that we're inadequate and that something is wrong with us.

Sadly, we often go along with Satan's lies and live like they are true. Rarely do we stop to ask, "Who is saying these things? Who is causing me to doubt myself? Is it me? Is there something from my past that led me to believe this? Or is it the enemy of my soul disguising his voice as my own?"

But we can change that today. First, we need to realize Satan's schemes are the same for us as they were for Eve. Second, we need to determine we are not going to keep falling into his traps. Instead we can refute his lies and accusations with truth. If we have put our trust in Christ as our Savior, we can stand on these promises:

• When we feel defeated, God says, "In all these things [you] are more than [a conqueror] through him who loved [you]..." (Rom. 8:37, NIV)

• When we feel worthless, God says, "You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you." (Isa. 43:4, NIV)

• When we feel inadequate, God says, "'You are my witnesses,' declares the LORD, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.'" (Isa. 43:10, NIV)

Lord, help me recognize the enemy's accusations and my own self-doubts. Please remind me of Your unconditional love and help me turn away from the lies so I can listen to and live in Your Truth! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

This devotion is taken in part from chapter 6, "When Doubt Whispers, 'You're Not Good Enough'" in Renee Swope's book: A Confident Heart. To find out more or order your copy, click here.

Visit Renee's website for a link to download these promises and more to print and carry with you. Also, enter to win a copy of A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries,you support the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost.

Application Steps:
When you have thoughts of doubt or self-criticism, instead of assuming something is wrong with you, turn towards the One who created you and say: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14 (NIV 1984)

Reflections:
When I feel like I've messed up, do I turn to God for His thoughts about me, or do I beat myself up with my own critical words? Would I talk to someone else the way I talk to myself?

Power Verses:
Psalm 138:8, "The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever-do not abandon the works of your hands." (NIV 1984)

© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

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Sermon on the Mount: A model prayer and some perplexing advice

Today's reading: Matthew 6

Matthew 6:33 "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Matthew 6, a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount, contains the Lord's Prayer, perhaps the most famous prayer of all time. This model prayer by Jesus captures well the message of the kingdom: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Jesus seeks to bring the two worlds together, and the Sermon on the Mount explains how.

At first glance, some of Jesus' advice may seem downright foolish: Give to everyone who asks, love your enemies, turn the other cheek, grant interest-free loans, don't worry about clothes or food. Can such idealism ever work in the "real," or visible, world? That is precisely Jesus' point: Break your obsession with safety, security, thriftiness, self-righteousness. Depend instead on the Father, letting God take care of the personal injustices that come your way, trusting God to look after your daily needs. In a nutshell, the message of the kingdom is this: Live for God rather than for yourself.

The message applies to rewards as well. Most of us look to friends and colleagues for our rewards: a slap on the back, a raise, applause, a generous compliment. According to Jesus, far more important rewards will come in God's heavenly kingdom. Therefore, the most significant acts may be carried out in secret, seen and rewarded by no one but God.

Future Savings Account

As Jesus explains it, we are accumulating a kind of savings account, storing up treasures in heaven rather than on Earth-treasures great enough to pay back any amount of suffering in this life (see Matthew 6:19). The Old Testament has dropped a few scant hints about an afterlife, but Jesus speaks plainly about a place where "the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).

In their quest for a kingdom, the Jews of Jesus' day have been looking for signs of God's approval in this life, primarily through prosperity and political power. Beginning with this speech, Jesus changes the focus to the life to come. He discounts success in this visible world. Invest in the future life, he cautions; for rust, a burglar or even an insect can destroy all the accumulated things of this present one.

Life Question

  • Among the people you know, who best puts these principles into practice?

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Today's reading is from the
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At Issue - Obedience

Today's reading: Genesis 6:22

Noah did everything exactly the way God told him. Can the same be said of you? If you're honest ... probably not. But do you want it to be true? Do you love and respect God enough that you genuinely want to obey him 100 percent? Let's assume that you do-but you find it's easier said than done. Don't get discouraged. Remember that God has an endless supply of mercy and forgiveness. Confess your failure to him, and know that he will forgive you and give you the grace to try again ... and again ... and again. Just don't give up!

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True Identity: The Bible for Women
by Zondervan


The Bible that helps you see yourself as God sees you! Find your true identity in Christ through your relationship with him.
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