Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Daily Devotional Tuesday 4th October

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”1 Peter 1:3 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Hebrews 1:14

Angels are the unseen attendants of the saints of God; they bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone. Loyalty to their Lord leads them to take a deep interest in the children of his love; they rejoice over the return of the prodigal to his father's house below, and they welcome the advent of the believer to the King's palace above. In olden times the sons of God were favoured with their visible appearance, and at this day, although unseen by us, heaven is still opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of man, that they may visit the heirs of salvation. Seraphim still fly with live coals from off the altar to touch the lips of men greatly beloved. If our eyes could be opened, we should see horses of fire and chariots of fire about the servants of the Lord; for we have come to an innumerable company of angels, who are all watchers and protectors of the seed-royal. Spenser's line is no poetic fiction, where he sings--

"How oft do they with golden pinions cleave

The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant

Against foul fiends to aid us militant!"

To what dignity are the chosen elevated when the brilliant courtiers of heaven become their willing servitors! Into what communion are we raised since we have intercourse with spotless celestials! How well are we defended since all the twenty- thousand chariots of God are armed for our deliverance! To whom do we owe all this? Let the Lord Jesus Christ be forever endeared to us, for through him we are made to sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers. He it is whose camp is round about them that fear him; he is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon. All hail, Jesus! thou Angel of Jehovah's presence, to thee this family offers its morning vows.

Evening

"He himself hath suffered being tempted."
Hebrews 2:18

It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart--Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy. Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet--Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation. Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour's love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 17-19, Ephesians 5:17-33 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 17-19

A Prophecy Against Damascus

1 A prophecy against Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted
and left to flocks, which will lie down,
with no one to make them afraid.
3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
like the glory of the Israelites,” declares the LORD Almighty.

4 “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
the fat of his body will waste away.
5 It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
gathering the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet some gleanings will remain,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
four or five on the fruitful boughs,” declares the LORD, the God of Israel....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 5:17-33

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ....

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WIDOW WITH TWO MITES

The Woman Who Gave Her All

Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4

Of all the nameless women in female biography, this most sacrificial widow is one whose name and background we would dearly love to know about. As we read the gospels her devotion always touches our hearts, and we are grateful that Jesus noticed her sacrifice and has preserved her story in the safekeeping of His praise and Word.

The Occasion

During Paschal Week women from all over poured into their court in the Temple with their offerings for its manifold services. Along the walls of the court there were receptacles into which the people dropped their gifts. Many who were rich cast in much and probably took no pains to conceal what they gave. The Scribes who devoured widows' houses, getting all they could, doubtless paraded their giving, but here was a widow intent on a far nobler purpose, namely, to give all she could. The Scribes were rich, but selfish - the widow, poor, but sacrificial (Mark 10:24; James 2:5). Among the crowds this poor anonymous widow was unnoticed by those around her as she dropped into one of the chests her two tiny copper coins. Making her offering, she passed along unaware that any one but herself knew the measure of her gift and what it cost. When we speak about "the widow's mite" we have in mind a small offering, but to this nameless widow her mite represented allshe had. If the rich had given proportionately that Holy Week, what a tremendous offering the Temple would have had. Among all the money gathered that day none had the stain of blood on it apart from those two mites. With true Israelite devotion she gave all she had earned, and then went on her way to earn a little more to care for her frugal needs, and for those of any children she might have had.

The Omniscience

As an Israelite the widow would have a knowledge of Hagar of old and of how she called Jehovah by the distinguished and comforting name, "Thou God seest me" ( Genesis 16:13). She surrendered her all that day feeling that God's eyes alone would know of her offering. Little did she know that the One sitting near the treasury was God manifest in flesh, and that because of His omniscience He knew all about her and also the amount of her sacrificial gift. Whether Jesus may have learned of this godly widow on one of His previous visits to Jerusalem, we do not know. The narrative seems to suggest His divine insight into the lives and characters of people as in the cases of Nathanael ( John 1:47, 48) and of the woman of Samaria (John 4:18).

Because of her penury, the widow would come and go unobserved in the presence of the crowd for she had none of the ostentation of the Pharisees in dress and disposal of gifts. But an All-Seeing eye saw her and knew all about her secret and took an exact inventory of the comparatively small gift she had dropped into the treasury box. The Bible does not tell us whether Jesus spoke to her and thanked her for her offering. It is probable that she was not conscious of what omniscient eyes had seen, and how her minute offering among so many gifts that day had gladdened the sorrowful soul of Him who was on His way to give His all at Calvary and also provided Him with a text for an everlasting lesson on what sacrificial giving really is.

Her Offering

What a rebuke Jesus delivered to the rich Scribes and Pharisees who cast large gifts into the treasury-boxes! But what they gave was insignificant, proportionally, alongside what the widow gave, and her slender gift brought forth from the greatest Giver of all a message that lifted the poor to their rightful fraternity of service with the godly rich in the kingdom of God: "Of a truth ... this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: [With this sentence Jesus must have waved His hand in the direction of those who loved the praise of men and not of God.] For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."

Over against the show of easy service, Jesus placed the piety of self-denial. The widow's two mites represented her two hands that had earned the mites, and which would earn more for another sacred fraction for the God she worshiped. Paul commended the churches of Macedonia because their deep poverty had abounded unto the riches of their liberality (2 Corinthians 8:1, 2). As it is "by him actions are weighed" ( 1 Samuel 2:3), in His balances the loving act of the poor widow outweighed the munificence of the rich Pharisees. It is not whatwe give but how we give that counts with Him who gave Himself for a lost world. The widow gave all she had at the time, and surrendered it gladly. May we ever remember that our giving must be inspired by what we owe Him who redeemed us at such cost, and also placed over against what is left after we give! How apropos are the words of Solomon as we think of the poor, unnoticed widow whom Jesus rewarded with everlasting remembrance: "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3).

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Korah, Kore, Core

[Kō'rah,Kō'rē, Cō'rē] - baldness or icy.

  1. A son of Esau by Aholibamah, and founder of a tribe (Gen. 36:5, 18).
  2. A son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:16).
  3. A son of Hebron, son of Mareshah, son of Caleb (1 Chron. 2:43).
  4. A grandson of Kohath , son of Levi - ancestor of sanctuary musicians (1 Chron. 6:22).
  5. The son of Izhar, the grandson of Levi, who with Dathan and Abiram conspired against Moses and Aaron (Exod. 6:21, 24; Num. 16). Jude 11 gives Core for Korah.

Korah, along with his two companions, resisted the civil authority of Moses. For refusing to appear before him as commanded, Korah, Dathan and Abiram along with their households and houses were swallowed up by the earth ( Num. 16). Then there came the further revolt of Korah against Moses and Aaron, in the interests of the people at large as against the tribe of Levi. The rebels were consumed by fire from the Lord (Num. 17). There followed the opposition of Korah and 250 Levites against the monopoly of the priesthood claimed by Aaron. The "gainsaying," meaning against the Word, was Korah's denial of the authority of Moses as God's chosen spokesman, and intrusion into the priest's office (Jude 11).

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October 3, 2011

Satan's Tempting Tactics

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Adam and Eve had a wonderfully fulfilling life. They lived in God's presence. He walked and talked with them in the cool of the evening, and He met all of their needs.

"I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food," (Genesis 1:29-30).

God placed only one restriction on the pair. "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die," (Genesis 2:16-17).

In Genesis chapter three, we see where our ancestors made a grave decision that affected every person born thereafter. Satan came to Eve in the form of a serpent and tempted her with the one restriction placed on her by God. How did he do it?

  1. He questioned God. "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
  2. He denied God. "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.
  3. He caused her to doubt God's justice. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Satan is the great deceiver who takes what worked in the Garden and continues to use the same tactics today. He is not very creative, but he is highly effective. It is very important to understand his tactics in order to recognize and defeat them. Paul said he was not ignorant of the devil's schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11 NASB), and we shouldn't be either. Satan tempts us to question God. Has God really said you must stay married to a man who doesn't meet your needs? He tempts us to deny God. God wouldn't count it as a sin for you to seek happiness elsewhere. He tempts us to doubt God's justice.What kind of God is He who would deny you the right to find happiness in the arms of a different man who appreciates you?These are lies, my friend. And just as God warned Eve, they are deadly.

The basis for Eve's temptation and for ours as well, is the lie that God is somehow holding out on us. Think about it. Can you think of any temptation that does not have its root in that lie? Eve had it all! And yet, Satan came to her and whispered, "God is holding out on you. There's more to be had than your perfect world. You can be like God. You can be in control."

Girlfriend, do not be deceived. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He still tells lies today. He still deceives those who will listen in the same way he deceived Eve. So recognize the lies when you hear them, and stand on the truth of God's Word to watch him flee.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for giving me everything I need for a life of godliness and the truth (1 Peter 1:3). Help me to be keenly aware of Satan's lies and recognize them for what they are. When I have a tempting thought, I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict me, help me replace the lie with truth, and give me the power to walk the other way. I want to be like David who said, "I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you," (Psalm 119:11).

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

I asked a question earlier, but let's think about it again.

Can you think of any temptation that is not based on the lie that God is holding out on you?

How did Jesus fight Satan's temptations when he was in the desert? (Matthew 4)

What did Satan do after Jesus answered him with Scripture?

What will Satan do when we fight him with Scripture? (James 4:7)

More from the Girlfriends

Satan has a whole bunch of lies to try to make us girls feel inferior, insecure, and inadequate. If you would like to learn how to fight the enemy by recognizing the lies, rejecting the lies, and replacing the lies with truth, then you'll want to read Sharon's book, I'm Not Good Enough...and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. It also comes with a Bible study guide perfect for groups 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
Alison Strobel

October 3, 2011

The Trust Factor
Alison Strobel
She Reads Featured Author

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6(NIV)

Yesterday I went into a job interview-junior high substitute teacher; how brave am I? When I walked out of it, I had a whole new calling.

Thing is, I don't want a new calling. I like the ones I've been living with-wife, mom, novelist, children's author. I didn't think God had anything else up His sleeve, and I was okay with that. I'm not a big fan of change.

The man interviewing me told me he has a gift of discernment. Then he did something I've never seen or experienced: he spoke a word over me.

This kind of thing didn't happen in the church in which I was raised. To me, a gift of discernment meant having a reliable sense about whether or not someone's teaching was biblical, or if someone was telling the truth. It didn't mean God could give someone else a glimpse into His plans for me. Yet what this man told me fit, like the one missing puzzle piece, into the changes I've been going through lately on both a personal and a professional level. As he spoke, I knew that what he was saying was truly from the Lord.

But I didn't leave his office glowing with excitement. In fact, I wasn't excited at all about what he told me, despite the fact that it spoke directly to my heart. It would require that I open my hands and release things I've been holding too tightly. And I'll be honest, part of me really doesn't want to.

I like my life just as it is. Remember, God, how I'm not a fan of change-even when it means seeing another dream realized?

The bottom line is this: I struggle with trusting God.

In my novel Composing Amelia, Amelia struggles with the same thing. She'd rather stay with what is familiar than trust God to give her a calling she'll love but can't envision right now.

I don't want to be like Amelia. I don't want to be short-sighted, dubious of God's desire or ability to bless me, or resistant to the future He has for me. But my lack of trust, fear of the unknown, and reluctance to give up my comfortable life are threatening to hold me back from obeying Him. And that's definitely not good.

So I have a choice to make. Will I believe that God's plans are better than my own? Will I risk stepping out of my comfort zone? Do I believe the growing pains I'll face will be worth the blessings that will come? Do I trust God to really take care of me? Or am I going to cower beneath my desk with my fingers in my ears and pretend like yesterday's meeting never happened?

What about you? What changes is God nudging you towards that have you digging in your heels and tightening your grip on whatever you know you need to release? Do you believe the rewards are worth the pain? Or that God's perfect plan is worth leaving your complacency and comfort behind?

Do you trust Him? Or are you hiding and hoping He passes you by?

The unknown is scary. But ultimately-for me anyway-it's scarier to think of what I might miss if I don't let go. And so I say a prayer, open my hands, and peer beyond the edge of what I know, into the vast expanse of the future where a giant question mark dominates the landscape. Do you see it, too?

Today let's choose to trust God and not require that we like or even understand what He is calling us to do. Let's submit to Him, believing that the path He calls us to take will always be worth the change, worth the risk, worth the effort, simply because He has chosen it for us.

Dear Lord, I praise You for Your love and for Your desire to see me grow. I thank You for the promise in Scripture that You are always with us, every step of the way, regardless of whether or not we see or feel You there. Forgive my uncertainty and doubts about the future, and give me the strength to take the next step You are directing me to take. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know God?

Stop by She Reads to learn more about Alison and her novel Composing Amelia. When Amelia's and Marcus's dreams pull them in different directions, will their love for each other keep their relationship alive? Or will the distance-and their emotional baggage-threaten to destroy both their marriage and Amelia's sanity?

Enter to win a music-themed gift basket inspired by the novel, Composing Amelia.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, your purchase supports the hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
Take time this week to memorize one of the power verses below, and spend some time journaling or praying about a situation in your life to which you can apply it.

Reflections:
Where is God calling me to step out of my comfort zone? What is holding me back?

What would help me take that first step? Some accountability? Marking a day on my calendar on which to start? Determine what will help, and commit to it this week.

Power Verses:
Psalm 9:9-10, "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)

Psalm 56:3-4, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid." (NIV)

© 2011 by Alison Strobel. All rights reserved.

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

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LeadershipBible-Header-550

Relationships: Healthy Alliances

Read 1 Samuel 22:1-5

A story is told about a boy who valiantly, but unsuccessfully, attempted to move a heavy log to clear a pathway to his favorite hideout. His dad stood quietly nearby, watching his son straining against the load. Finally he said, "Son, why aren't you using all of your strength?"

Confused and a little angry, the boy responded, "Dad, I'm using every last little bit of strength I have!"

"No, son, you're not," his dad quietly responded. "You haven't asked me to help."

Effective leaders use all of their strength by recognizing, developing and utilizing the people around them. They know how to develop healthy alliances both with those on their own team and those on other teams.

While fleeing from Saul, David certainly demonstrated that ability. Two miles from the city of Gath is a labyrinth of hills and valleys, honeycombed with caves. One cave stood near the ancient city of Adullam, and David found refuge in it. While he was in hiding with his family, David attracted to himself others who were also experiencing hardship. In fact, four hundred men eventually allied themselves with David. In addition to those alliances, David connected with the king of Moab, who provided shelter for his parents. Finally, the prophet Gad of feared the fugitive direction from God.

David possessed the foresight to know that he couldn't go it alone. He worked to build others' trust in his leadership ability, and he evidently proved himself. David's forces were loyal to him, and together they realized success against the enemies of Israel (see 23:1-6).

Effective leaders possess the unique ability to build alliances with people who can help to advance their causes. What alliances do you now have that are mutually beneficial? What do you do to foster them and to encourage their growth? Can you think of any alliances professional or personal that are having a negative impact on you or on others?

Think again about the short story at the beginning of this meditation. Are there people who are standing quietly by, watching you strain away with your tasks? Part of your task as leader is to form healthy alliances and to encourage others to step forward and help you. By doing so you'll accomplish two goals: lightening your own load and helping to develop leadership qualities in others.

Healthy Alliances and Who God Is

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure. As the perfect and eternal community of being, God is the ultimate embodiment of a healthy alliance. The perfect love that flows between the Father and the Son is manifested as a third eternal Person, the Holy Spirit. The amazing truth is that God wants us to enter into the depths of this unity. Turn to John 17:13-26 to read Jesus' high priestly prayer on behalf of his disciples and all believers.

Healthy Alliances and Who I Am

People were created for community. Even hermits frequently live in colonies! But alliances with others can be either healthy or toxic, and it is essential that we take this into account when we engage in personal and business partnerships. Turn to 1 Samuel 30:26-30 and its accompanying study note for an illustration of David's wisdom in forming healthy alliances.

This Week's Verse to Memorize Proverbs 11:14

For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but victory is won through many advisers.

Healthy Alliances and How They Work

We all need allies on whom we can rely and whom we can trust in the tough times. David, as we have seen, illustrates how healthy alliances work.2 Samuel 16:15 17:23 provides an extended story of David's strength and weakness in the craft of forming healthy alliances.

Healthy Alliances and What I Do

Perhaps no other American leader is as admired as Abraham Lincoln. And one of this great leader's greatest assets was his ability to build healthy alliances even with difficult people. In his excellent book, Lincoln on Leadership, Donald T. Phillips points out how Lincoln built such strong alliances. Turn to the note on Proverbs 13:20 for today's reading.


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NIV Devotions for Moms

F-I-G-H-T!

This weeks's reading: Genesis 37:12-35

F-I-G-H-T! That's the battle cry of kids in so many families today. Before we reach the car door, brother and sister are close to blows over who gets to sit in the front. "He pinched me!" "She pulled my hair!" And so it goes.

Siblings have often been rivals. Even back in Bible times. Think about Cain and Abel and Joseph and his eleven brothers. As in these very serious situations, some sibling squabbles can have disastrous results.

Is there a way to mitigate the negative aspects of sibling fights? When carefully monitored by parents, can they actually foster growth? Experts list three benefits to in-house fighting:

1. Interpersonal empathy. Fights offer children the opportunity to learn sensitivity to the feelings of others.

2. Emotional processing. Fights give children a chance to express and process emotions.

3. Resolution skills. Fights give children experience in establishing nonviolent solutions like compromise and cooperation.

While God can and does bring good out of even the worst of situations, we can help our children grow well by teaching them how to "fight" well.

Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 141:3-4; Proverbs 30:33


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Today's reading is from the
Mom's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan


Mom, you don't have to go it alone! The Mom's Devotional Bible is a trusted source of wisdom to help you along the path of mothering.


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