Thursday, October 06, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 6th October

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”Isaiah 55:6 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"He arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights."
1 Kings 19:8

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, not for wantonness or boasting. When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on the coals, and the cruse of water placed at his head, as he lay under the juniper tree, he was no gentleman to be gratified with dainty fare that he might stretch himself at his ease; far otherwise, he was commissioned to go forty days and forty nights in the strength of it, journeying towards Horeb, the mount of God. When the Master invited the disciples to "Come and dine" with him, after the feast was concluded he said to Peter, "Feed my sheep"; further adding, "Follow me." Even thus it is with us; we eat the bread of heaven, that we may expend our strength in the Master's service. We come to the passover, and eat of the paschal lamb with loins girt, and staff in hand, so as to start off at once when we have satisfied our hunger. Some Christians are for living on Christ, but are not so anxious to live for Christ. Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place where saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and they serve him day and night in his temple. They eat of heavenly food and render perfect service. Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ labour for him. Some of us have yet to learn much concerning the design of our Lord in giving us his grace. We are not to retain the precious grains of truth as the Egyptian mummy held the wheat for ages, without giving it an opportunity to grow: we must sow it and water it. Why does the Lord send down the rain upon the thirsty earth, and give the genial sunshine? Is it not that these may all help the fruits of the earth to yield food for man? Even so the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls that we may afterwards use our renewed strength in the promotion of his glory.

Evening

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."
Mark 16:16

Mr. MacDonald asked the inhabitants of the island of St. Kilda how a man must be saved. An old man replied, "We shall be saved if we repent, and forsake our sins, and turn to God." "Yes," said a middle-aged female, "and with a true heart too." "Aye," rejoined a third, "and with prayer"; and, added a fourth, "It must be the prayer of the heart." "And we must be diligent too," said a fifth, "in keeping the commandments." Thus, each having contributed his mite, feeling that a very decent creed had been made up, they all looked and listened for the preacher's approbation, but they had aroused his deepest pity. The carnal mind always maps out for itself a way in which self can work and become great, but the Lord's way is quite the reverse. Believing and being baptized are no matters of merit to be gloried in--they are so simple that boasting is excluded, and free grace bears the palm. It may be that the reader is unsaved--what is the reason? Do you think the way of salvation as laid down in the text to be dubious? How can that be when God has pledged his own word for its certainty? Do you think it too easy? Why, then, do you not attend to it? Its ease leaves those without excuse who neglect it. To believe is simply to trust, to depend, to rely upon Christ Jesus. To be baptized is to submit to the ordinance which our Lord fulfilled at Jordan, to which the converted ones submitted at Pentecost, to which the jailer yielded obedience the very night of his conversion. The outward sign saves not, but it sets forth to us our death, burial, and resurrection with Jesus, and, like the Lord's Supper, is not to be neglected. Reader, do you believe in Jesus? Then, dear friend, dismiss your fears, you shall be saved. Are you still an unbeliever, then remember there is but one door, and if you will not enter by it you will perish in your sins.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 23-25, Philippians 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 23-25

A Prophecy Against Tyre

1 A prophecy against Tyre:

Wail, you ships of Tarshish!
For Tyre is destroyed
and left without house or harbor.
From the land of Cyprus
word has come to them.

2 Be silent, you people of the island
and you merchants of Sidon,
whom the seafarers have enriched.
3 On the great waters
came the grain of the Shihor;
the harvest of the Nile was the revenue of Tyre,
and she became the marketplace of the nations.

4 Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea,
for the sea has spoken:
“I have neither been in labor nor given birth;
I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.”
5 When word comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Philippians 1

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God....

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Festus

[Fĕs'tus] - joyful, festal, prosperous.Porcius Festus was a Roman governor of Judea in the reign of Nero (Acts 24:27; 25; 26:24, 32).

The Man Who Called Paul Mad

Felix, seeking to court the favor of the Jews, left Paul in prison, thinking that the Jews would compensate him for such a favor. This act was an investment in iniquity. But the Jewish complaints against Felix led to his recall by Nero, so Paul passed into the hands of Festus, Felix'successor. Festus, not knowing much about Jewish matters, brought the question of Paul's imprisonment before Agrippa who was conversant with many aspects of the Jewish religion. It perplexed Festus to know that Paul, a Jew with the utmost reverence for the Law and the worship of the Temple, was yet hated by his compatriots.

Agrippa agreed to hear Paul for himself, so we come to the apostle's masterly defense before the king and Bernice. With a wonderful vividness Paul gave a retrospective analysis of his former life and then a sketch of his present sacrificial witness to Christ as the risen, glorified Son of God. Such was the impact of Paul's remarkable appeal that Festus, the Roman governor, forgot the usual dignity of his office and burst out into a loud laugh of scorn saying: "Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad."

With characteristic calmness and with a firm control of his natural impulses so that no unguarded utterance might escape his lips, Paul answered Festus in all courtesy: "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness." In his incomparable Bible Characters, Alexander Whyte says that a single word will sometimes immortalize a man. "What will you give me?" was all Judas said. So with one word Festus is as well known to us as if a whole chapter had been written about him. He said Paul was mad.

But the uncontrolled and unbecoming outburst of Festus did not stagger Paul. Did they not say of his Master, for whom he had suffered much "He is beside Himself"? The apostle counted it a privilege to share his Master's madness. Later on, he wrote about being a fool for His sake. He knew that no man is a true Christian who is not the world's fool (1 Cor. 3:18; 4:10; 2 Cor. 11:23). All around us are those who have never been borne along by the enthusiasm of God, who deem the spiritual man to be mad (Hos. 9:7).

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P31Header
Carol Davis

October 5, 2011

Damaged Goods
Carol Davis
She Speaks Graduate

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17(NIV, 1984)

I walked down the aisle of the discount grocery looking for a bargain that I couldn't live without. It's always hit and miss in this store...and I had missed...again.

But, I passed by a bin that caught my eye. "Damaged Goods." It was filled with dented cans and missing labels...no real rhyme or reason, just random items that were not shelf worthy. And suddenly, I knew just how they felt.

Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks bruise us, dent us and remove the label that defines who we are. We feel as if we have been tossed into a bin, no longer worthy of a place on the shelf. Some people substantiate the lie that we are second class failures and all hope is gone.

So, I leaned over and intentionally chose a dented can with no label from the bin. I got it home and placed it on the can opener with anxious anticipation. The whirr of the can opener finally penetrated the metal lid to reveal....peaches!!! I let out a school girl squeal! I love peaches!! What a treat to open this can and be greeted by one of my favorite fruits. The can was damaged but the contents were still good...and sweet.

God must have smiled...because at that moment the sunshine beamed in my kitchen window. I knew in my heart there was a lesson.

I have been damaged. We all have to some degree. I am not living the life that I dreamed about when I was a kid. However, the damage that I have suffered has made the contents of my heart so much sweeter, so much more compassionate, so much more in pursuit of Jesus. I have been looked down upon and judged by many who have seen my label missing and slapped on their own.

I've wanted to say, "Don't judge too quickly. My damage has not defined me...but, it is refining me." I may sometimes be at the bottom of the life's bin, but Jesus paid as high a price for those of us at the bottom as He did for those that are proudly displayed on the top shelf.

Look around. Is there someone in your life, your family or your church that you consider "damaged goods"? Don't miss an opportunity to reach out to them, to love them. You just might find a friendship that is good...and sweet.

Dear Lord, my life hasn't turned out exactly turned out like I thought it would. But, I know that You can still use me. Please forgive me for labeling others and judging them by their outside circumstances instead of the work that You are doing in their heart. Help me realize that we all have dents but that's what keeps us desperate for a Savior. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises by Renee Swope

Connect with Carol on her blog where she's sharing more encouragement and giving away a copy of Renee Swope's new book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

Application Steps:
Write down all the life circumstances that have 'dented' your heart. Ask God to use your dents and scratches for your good and His glory.

Have you been judged unfairly? How did that make you feel?

Reflections:
Is there someone I am judging unfairly? By their circumstance? Or life situation?

What can I do to reach out to that person today?

Power Verses:
Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)

Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..." (NIV, 1984)

© 2011 by Carol Davis. All rights reserved.

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

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October 5, 2011

Follow Me

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. 'Follow me,' Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him (Luke 5:27-28, NIV).

Friend to Friends

I was at a funeral for the father of a friend of mine. Amazingly three of the deceased's nephews were preachers and each wanted a turn at eulogizing Uncle Bob. There was a Baptist, a Pentecostal, and Methodist. It was a long service. One of the preacher's stories about ole Uncle Bob really tickled me. I've changed the names, but let's let nephew John tell the story…..

"When I was a young boy of 17, I was working in the family business, and didn't yet have my driver's license. Uncle Bob came over one day, took me by the arm, and said, 'Boy, it's time to go and get your driver's license.

"But Uncle Bob," I argued, "I haven't practiced enough. I'm not good enough yet."

"Don't you worry about that, son," he said. "I'll teach you what you need to know on the way."

So off they went to the Department of Motor Vehicles. One young man with nervous clammy hands. One older man with a determined knowing grin. John parked the car, not between the lines, but right smack dab in the middle of two spaces with the line running under the middle of the car. He very nervously walked into the building, fumbled through the driving test, and miraculously came out with a certificate and a license.

"I always wondered how in the world I passed that test," the now older man mused. "But years later I found out. Uncle Bob knew the Patrolman who administered the test."

Wow! I sat there on the edge of my seat! That was the gospel! Jesus takes us by the hand and tells us its time to get started moving on with Him. "Follow me," He calls. Sometimes we tell Him, "I'm not ready. I need more practice. I'm not good enough yet."

But Jesus says, "Don't you worry about that. Follow Me and I'll teach you what to do along the way."

Have you been putting off doing something that God has called you to do because you feel like you're not ready? If so, don't put it off any longer. Jesus says, "Follow me." He'll take care of the rest.

Have you been putting off accepting Jesus as your personal Savior because you feel you're not ready? If so, Jesus says, "Follow me." What are you waiting for?

Let's Pray

Dear God, sometimes I am hesitant to do what You are calling me to do because I don't feel that I'm ready. But I know that I am ready the moment You call me and that You will supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory. I am so thankful that we never have to get ready to be saved! You tell us to come as we are. "Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me." Hallelujah! "Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come."

In Jesus' Name,

Amen

Now It's Your Turn

Is there something that God is calling you to do but you have put it off because you feel you're not ready?

Do you think that God would call us to a task and leave us to fend for ourselves?

If you have not accepted Jesus as Your Savior, what's stopping you? If He has called, then you ARE ready. Don't worry about being good enough. None of us ever could be. But He will teach you what you need to know along the way.

If you have never prayed to receive Jesus, I have a short video that will walk you through the steps. Simply click onwww.jesusforwomen.com. If you pray the prayer to accept Christ, I'd love to hear about! Please email me atSharon@sharonjaynes.com.

More from the Girlfriends

Would you like to know more about becoming a Christian and committing your life to Christ? If so, click on this link and read more about knowing God on the Girlfriends in God website,www.girlfriendsinGod.com.

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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Perfect Storm: One last obstacle before reaching Rome

Today's reading: Acts 27

Acts 27:22 "But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed."

This chapter gives an eyewitness account of an ocean storm, the once-in-a-decade kind of storm that survivors never forget. Dense clouds blot out the sun and stars for many days and nights; the entire shipload of 276 passengers and crew goes without food for two weeks, and no one knows whether the passengers will survive to see another day. No one, that is, except the apostle Paul.

Prisoner in Charge

Luke vividly depicts the onboard frenzy: sailors lashing ropes around their groaning ship, the crew heaving precious food supplies and even the ship's tackle overboard, Roman soldiers with drawn swords halting the sailors' save-our-own-necks escape attempts and preparing to slash their prisoners' throats. In the midst of all this hysteria stands the apostle Paul, calmly foretelling what will happen next. God has promised him he will visit Rome, a vision has confirmed it and Paul never doubts it, even when the boat breaks in pieces around him.

Once more Paul reveals himself as a man of unassailable courage. The Roman centurion surely recognizes it: He grants Paul extraordinary privileges and protection. By the end of the storm, everyone on the ship is following the advice of the unflappable prisoner from Tarsus.

Life Question

  • How do you normally react in a crisis?

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