Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daily Devotional Wednesday 19th October

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Thy paths drop fatness."
Psalm 65:11

Many are "the paths of the Lord" which "drop fatness," but an especial one is the path of prayer. No believer, who is much in the closet, will have need to cry, "My leanness, my leanness; woe unto me." Starving souls live at a distance from the mercy- seat, and become like the parched fields in times of drought. Prevalence with God in wrestling prayer is sure to make the believer strong--if not happy. The nearest place to the gate of heaven is the throne of the heavenly grace. Much alone, and you will have much assurance; little alone with Jesus, your religion will be shallow, polluted with many doubts and fears, and not sparkling with the joy of the Lord. Since the soul-enriching path of prayer is open to the very weakest saint; since no high attainments are required; since you are not bidden to come because you are an advanced saint, but freely invited if you be a saint at all; see to it, dear reader, that you are often in the way of private devotion. Be much on your knees, for so Elijah drew the rain upon famished Israel's fields.

There is another especial path dropping with fatness to those who walk therein, it is the secret walk of communion. Oh! the delights of fellowship with Jesus! Earth hath no words which can set forth the holy calm of a soul leaning on Jesus' bosom. Few Christians understand it, they live in the lowlands and seldom climb to the top of Nebo: they live in the outer court, they enter not the holy place, they take not up the privilege of priesthood. At a distance they see the sacrifice, but they sit not down with the priest to eat thereof, and to enjoy the fat of the burnt offering. But, reader, sit thou ever under the shadow of Jesus; come up to that palm tree, and take hold of the branches thereof; let thy beloved be unto thee as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, and thou shalt be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. O Jesus, visit us with thy salvation!

Evening

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice."
1 Samuel 15:22

Saul had been commanded to slay utterly all the Amalekites and their cattle. Instead of doing so, he preserved the king, and suffered his people to take the best of the oxen and of the sheep. When called to account for this, he declared that he did it with a view of offering sacrifice to God; but Samuel met him at once with the assurance that sacrifices were no excuse for an act of direct rebellion. The sentence before us is worthy to be printed in letters of gold, and to be hung up before the eyes of the present idolatrous generation, who are very fond of the fineries of will-worship, but utterly neglect the laws of God. Be it ever in your remembrance, that to keep strictly in the path of your Saviour's command is better than any outward form of religion; and to hearken to his precept with an attentive ear is better than to bring the fat of rams, or any other precious thing to lay upon his altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ's commands to his disciples, I pray you be disobedient no longer. All the pretensions you make of attachment to your Master, and all the devout actions which you may perform, are no recompense for disobedience. "To obey," even in the slightest and smallest thing, "is better than sacrifice," however pompous. Talk not of Gregorian chants, sumptuous robes, incense, and banners; the first thing which God requires of his child is obedience; and though you should give your body to be burned, and all your goods to feed the poor, yet if you do not hearken to the Lord's precepts, all your formalities shall profit you nothing. It is a blessed thing to be teachable as a little child, but it is a much more blessed thing when one has been taught the lesson, to carry it out to the letter. How many adorn their temples and decorate their priests, but refuse to obey the word of the Lord! My soul, come not thou into their secret.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 53-55, 2 Thessalonians 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 53-55

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

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

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you....

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Hosea, Oshea, Osee, Hoshea

[Hōzē'ă, Ō shē'ă, Hō shē'ă] - jehovah is help or salvation.

1. The son of Beeri and first of the so-called Minor Prophets (Hosea 1:1).

The Man with a Sorrowful Heart

Little is known of Hosea's history beyond what we find in his writings. He has been called the first prophet of Grace and Israel's earliest evangelist. He was a native of the Northern Kingdom, the iniquities and idolatries of which weighed heavily on his heart. He bore the same name as that of the last king of Israel (2 Kings 15:30). In Jewish tradition, he is identified with Beerah of Reuben (1 Chron. 5:6). Christian tradition, however, relates him to the Hosea of the tribe of Isaachar.

The home tragedy overtaking him earned him the title of "The Prophet of a Sorrowful Heart." Through the wrongs he suffered he came to realize the sins committed by Israel against God, and the long history of unfaithfulness to Him. The accounts of Hosea's marriage, the birth of his children and his wife's unfaithfulness and restoration make sad reading. Hosea was called to express God's message and to manifest His character.

Gomer, his wife, was immoral; hence the word of the Lord came to him amid much personal anguish; his home life was destroyed. Society was corrupt and God's law spurned, and Hosea came to see in his own suffering a reflection of what the sorrow of God must be, when Israel proved utterly unfaithful.

Three children were born to Hosea and Gomer:

I. Jezreel, recalling the deed of blood (2 Kings 10), and by it a knell was rung in the ears of Jeroboam. The name of this child was an omen of coming judgment.

II. Lo-ruhamah, meaning, "one who never knew a father's love." This expressive name pointed to a time when, no more pitied by Jehovah, Israel would be given over to her enemies.

III. Lo-ammi, signifying "one not belonging to me." Israel had turned from a father's love and deserved not to belong to God. Thus this third child's name prophesied the driving out of the children of Israel from their land to exile.

Gomer, the erring wife, is received back (Hos. 3:1, 2 ), the price of her redemption being paid by Hosea. So the prophet was not only God's messenger of grace - he reflected God's character and foreshadowed ultimate redemption through the Messiah and Israel's reestablishment as a nation.

The four lessons we learn from the broken heart and the Book of Hosea have been fully expounded by Dr. Stuart Holden:

Anguish quickens apprehension.

Iniquity inspires moral indignation.

Suffering begets sympathy.

The divine character sanctifies human conduct.

2. Joshua's earlier name - changed by Moses (Num. 13:8, 16).Deuteronomy 32:44 gives Hoshea.

3. The son of Azaziah and prince of Ephraim in David's reign (1 Chron. 27:20).

4. A son of Elah, the last king of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 15:30).

5. A chief under Nehemiah who with others signed the covenant (Neh. 10:23).

Hosea is called Osee in the New Testament copy from the LXX.

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October 18, 2011

Avoiding Burnout

Part 1

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed (Mark 1:35, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I sat on the edge of my seat as I watched my son's first track meet. The crowd was abuzz as moms and dads chatted, waiting for their teens to dash, sprint, or endure the eight laps of the thirty-two hundred meter race. But when the boys lined up for the hurdles event, the visiting stopped and the crowd watched with rapt attention. Why? In the hurdles event, the stakes were higher. It became less about who would win, and more about who would gracefully leap and clear the metal roadblocks or tip and topple over the barriers.

Hurdles - they are not simply found on the asphalt of track and field but also in the great race called life. As women, we struggle finding balance with our many roles and responsibilities. Our flame of enthusiasm begins to diminish when we are doing more than God intended or when we are doing what God intended, but on our own strength rather than His.

In the Bible we see many who experienced times of burnout. After Jonah's miraculous delivery from the big fish and prophetic announcement to the people on Nineveh, he sank into a depression and wanted to die (Jonah 4:3). After Elijah called down fire from heaven that miraculously burned up the sacrifices of Baal, the fire in his own life went dim (1 Kings 18-19). Elijah prayed, "I have had enough, LORD. Take my life," (1 Kings 19:4). Both of these men wanted to quit.

How do we avoid those same feelings of burnout? The first step is to realize that it can happen and does happen to the best of us.

What was God's response to Elijah? Let's take a look at 1 Kings Chapter 19.

  • He allowed Elijah to sleep. (19:5) - rest
  • He sent an angel to provide food for him to eat. (19:5) - refreshment
  • He allowed Elijah to sleep again. (19:6) - more rest
  • He sent an angel to provide food for him to eat again. (19:7) - more refreshment
  • He caused Elijah to ponder what he was doing. "What are you doing here?" (19:9) - reflection
  • He spoke to Elijah personally. (19:11) - response
  • He caused Elijah to ponder what he was doing, again. "What are you doing here?" (19:13) - reflection
  • He told Elijah what to do next. (19:15) - redirection
  • He showed Elijah who He had appointed to help him. (19:16) - reinforcement

Rest

Refreshment

Rest

Refreshment

Reflection

Response

Reflection

Redirection

Reinforcement

Girlfriend, exhaustion is epidemic among us gals. I tell you what... let's talk more about this tomorrow. For today, just rest in knowing that God has a plan for your life and that He loves you dearly!

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I'll admit, I'm tired today. I need the refreshment that only You can give. Send the Holy Spirit to reinforce my spirit today! I am expecting His energizing force! Help me to reflect on You and Your goodness all day long.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Go back up to the R's and note what each one of those ideas would look like to you. Be realistic. I know Hawaii would be a great idea for refreshment, but that probably won't happen in my life today.J

For example: Rest - stop all activities at 8:00 p.m. rather than 10:00 p.m. and soak in a long hot bath.

More from the Girlfriends

This devotion was taken from Sharon's book, Building an Effective Women's Ministry. To learn more about having a balanced life, see A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life, co-authored by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst. Balance isn't easy. That's why it took two of us to write it. J

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
Tracie Miles

October 18, 2011

Tired of Waiting on God
Tracie Miles

"Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them." Genesis 25:26b (NIV)

Do you ever get tired of waiting on God to answer your prayers? Recently, I began to feel a sense of frustration with the wait, and also a little bit tired.

Tired of saying the same old prayer day after day, month after month, year after year. Tired of telling God about the same old problems still going on. Tired of hearing myself pray about the same old problems, leading me to wonder if God was as tired of hearing my prayer requests as I was of praying them.

So I bowed my head and admitted to God that I was simply tired of the wait.

In a heavy state of emotional tiredness, I turned to the crisp, white pages of my Bible. I was hoping God would illuminate a few verses that would jump out of the book and straight into my heart.

I began reading about when Isaac's wife Rebekah gave birth to twin sons. One particular sentence caught my eye and I read it again and again. My heart leapt as I realized God was using this one little sentence to speak hope into my spirit. He used His spiritual highlighter just as I had wanted.

Genesis 25:26 tells us that Isaac was sixty years old when his twins were born; a simple Bible fact, yet profoundly meaningful to me on this specific day. You see, Isaac had been patient for the Lord to provide the perfect wife; he was forty years old when he married Rebekah. If you do the math you realize Isaac waited twenty years for Rebekah to bear him children! He could have chosen a concubine to bear him a son. But he was a man of great patience who waited on God. Eventually his patient faith was rewarded.

Isaac never gave up hope that his Lord could make the impossible, possible. He had learned that his Lord would provide. So he continued to pray the same desperate prayer for a son, day after day, month after month, year after year. In fact, we learn in Genesis 25:21 that "Isaac pleaded with the Lord" (NLT), meaning he earnestly and strongly prayed about his problem. He did not half-heartedly ask God for a son, he pleaded! He begged. He poured his heart out.

I can envision Isaac passionately pleading to God throughout those twenty years, with out-stretched arms and a tear-stained face pressed against the hot, dirty soil, begging God to answer his prayer.

Isaac was surely tired of the wait, but he never stopped praying or believing that his dreams could come true. And in God's perfect timing, they did.

If you are tired of the wait, you may be pleading to God just like Isaac. It may take twenty years for God to answer our prayers, or it may only take twenty minutes. But today, let us find comfort in remembering Isaac's patient faith and take hope in believing that God is not tired of hearing our prayers. Instead, He is simply waiting for the perfect time to answer.

Dear Lord, please help me have patience and faith while I wait to hear from You. Help me live in excited anticipation for the day when I will see how You answer my prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Tracie's blog for more encouragement about faith in the waiting

Reinventing Your Rainbow by Tracie Miles

What to Do in the W.A.I.T: Finding Contentment in God's Pauses and Plans (CD) by Wendy Pope

Application Steps:
Consider prayers that have not been answered, but which you have not prayed about lately. Ask God to give you a renewed hope about those desires and faithfully wait on His timing.

Reflections:
Have I stopped praying about something because I've grown tired of waiting on God?

Power Verses:
Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (NIV)

Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV)

© 2011 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

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Why would God make someone do wrong?

This week's reading: 2 Samuel 24:1

It's not that God caused David to do wrong. David was capable of choosing right or wrong. God permitted David to pursue his sinful choices and reap the consequences of his actions. To incite in this case may have meant that God orchestrated the events that led to David's decision.

To make the question even more confusing, the writer of 1 Chronicles (21:1) says it was not God but Satan that incited David to do wrong. The apparent conflict between the two passages may mean that God sometimes permits Satan to do things that subsequently are viewed as having come from God.

The writer of 2 Samuel reports that God was ultimately behind David's action, highlighting God's sovereignty. The writer of 1 Chronicles recognizes Satan as the more immediate temptation behind David's decision. Both views are correct.

In the end, God used David's sinful desires to bring judgment for sin upon the nation of Israel. But good also came from these sad events: Because of what happened here, the site was acquired where the temple eventually would be built.

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Today's reading is from the
NIV Quest Study Bible
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