Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daily Devotional Wednesday 26th October

“speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever."
2 John 2

Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house--this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as he opens, applies, and seals the Lord's Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapped up in the assurance that the truth will be with us forever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms.

Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

Evening

"She gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech."
Ruth 2:3

Her hap was. Yes, it seemed nothing but an accident, but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone forth with her mother's blessing, under the care of her mother's God, to humble but honourable toil, and the providence of God was guiding her every step. Little did she know that amid the sheaves she would find a husband, that he should make her the joint owner of all those broad acres, and that she a poor foreigner should become one of the progenitors of the great Messiah. God is very good to those who trust in him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us to-morrow, but this sweet fact may cheer us, that no good thing shall be withheld. Chance is banished from the faith of Christians, for they see the hand of God in everything. The trivial events of today or to-morrow may involve consequences of the highest importance. O Lord, deal as graciously with thy servants as thou didst with Ruth.

How blessed would it be, if, in wandering in the field of meditation tonight, our hap should be to light upon the place where our next Kinsman will reveal himself to us! O Spirit of God, guide us to him. We would sooner glean in his field than bear away the whole harvest from any other. O for the footsteps of his flock, which may conduct us to the green pastures where he dwells! This is a weary world when Jesus is away--we could better do without sun and moon than without him--but how divinely fair all things become in the glory of his presence! Our souls know the virtue which dwells in Jesus, and can never be content without him. We will wait in prayer this night until our hap shall be to light on a part of the field belonging to Jesus wherein he will manifest himself to us.

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 6-8, 1 Timothy 5 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 6-8

Jerusalem Under Siege

1 “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet in Tekoa!
Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!
For disaster looms out of the north,
even terrible destruction.
2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,
so beautiful and delicate.
3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her;
they will pitch their tents around her,
each tending his own portion.”

4 “Prepare for battle against her!
Arise, let us attack at noon!
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
and the shadows of evening grow long.
5 So arise, let us attack at night
and destroy her fortresses!”

6 This is what the LORD Almighty says:

“Cut down the trees
and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
it is filled with oppression....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Timothy 5

Widows, Elders and Slaves

1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds....

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Amaziah

[Ămazī'ah] - jehovah has strength.

  1. Son of Joash or Jehoash, king of Judah. Amaziah came to the throne after the assassination of his father. The writer of 2 Kings gives him unqualified praise for his religious acts (2 Kings 14), but in Chronicles he is accused of gross apostasy (2 Chron. 25:14).
  2. The priest at Bethel who opposed the prophet Amos in the matter of idol-worship ( Amos 7:10).
  3. A man of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:34).
  4. A Levite descended from Merari (1 Chron. 6:45).
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October 25, 2011

The Power of One Broken Seed

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17, NLT).

Friend to Friend

I am famous for my "brown thumb." Even though we have moved several times over the years, changing climates, states, neighborhoods and soil conditions, nothing has altered the fact that if I touch any living plant, its chances for survival are slim. My husband has fared no better in his numerous attempts to plant trees and flowers. I fear that the "brown thumb" disease is contagious. There is more. I see undeniable evidence that this gardening malady is hereditary. My son, bless his heart, has tried to rescue wilted flower after crispy plant from his mother's clutches. But there is hope! My daughter, Danna, is not only able to keep living plants alive for an impressive amount of time, she can plant seeds and green things will actually grow! It is absolutely amazing to me!

When Danna was in kindergarten she had a very creative science teacher, Miss Kay, who constantly planned fun activities and projects for the children. Danna loved her and was always talking about what she learned in science class. One day, as I waited for Danna in the carpool line, I spotted her standing by Miss Kay, grinning from ear to ear, jumping up and down as if she simply could not wait for me to get there. I pulled up, Danna hopped into the car, gave a huge sigh of satisfaction and stretched out her tiny hand, proudly displaying the reason for her enthusiasm - a wadded up paper towel.

Now I am normally very good at being excited about the things my kids find important, but for the life of me, I could not fathom why Danna would be so thrilled with a crumpled paper towel. "Honey, what is that?" I asked. She looked up at me with sparkling brown eyes and whispered, "Mom, there are seeds in here. Miss Kay gave them to me and I am going to plant them and they are going to grow. Can you believe it?"

Given my morbid experience with seeds, I declined to answer that question but instead, chose to join my daughter in her excitement - until I saw the seeds. Evidently, Danna had been carrying them around all day because when she carefully unfolded the paper towel, all I could see was a big mess of broken, mismatched, crushed and crumbled seeds. Looking into the eager eyes of my daughter I said, "Honey, if these seeds don't grow for some reason, remember that we can go to the store and buy some new ones." Clutching the seeds tightly to her heart and safely out of my reach, Danna said, "Mama, they have to grow 'cause I prayed and asked God to please make them grow and He said He would!" I began planning a trip to the gardening center.

Danna was silent all the way home but when we pulled into our driveway she jumped out of the car and darted into the house, leaving her doubting mother behind. Moments later Danna reappeared with a small paper cup in her hand. I watched as she scooped up dirt from the front flower bed and marched confidently back into the house. I followed her, moaning my silent complaint, "Father, do you realize that your reputation is on the line here? Why did she have to pick that particular flower bed, the one we filled with decorative rocks because nothing, not even weeds, would grow there?" Once again I tried to reason with Danna. "Honey, why don't we just buy some new seeds?" Ignoring my obvious lack of faith, Danna stuffed the broken seeds down into the cup, marched to the kitchen sink and, placing the cup under the faucet, turned the water on full blast. Just as fast as the seeds and dirt spilled over the edge of the cup into the sink, Danna scooped them up and poked them back in, all the way to the bottom of the cup so they could not escape.

"Miss Kay says that they have to have sunshine to grow." With this announcement, Danna placed her soggy cup of broken, mismatched seeds on the kitchen window sill that looks out over our screened-in porch; a place purposely designed to receive no sunlight at all. By this time, I knew my words were falling on deaf ears and decided to let God handle this one on His own.

Several days later, I was standing at the kitchen sink preparing dinner, when I glanced out on the porch to see my daughter's faith on spectacular display. A small paper cup filled with green sprouts confronted my doubting heart. I could not believe my eyes. Dropping the potatoes in the sink, I literally ran to Danna's room shouting, "Danna! Danna! Your seeds are growing!" I found her calmly playing "Chutes and Ladders" with Danielle, her best friend. "Danna! Did you hear me? Your seeds are growing!" A brief glance and knowing smile from Danna said it all. "That is so neat, Mom. I knew they would." She and Danielle resumed their game, leaving me to gaze in awe and wonder at the faith of my child who dared to believe in a broken dream.

I know that you are desperately clinging to the broken and mismatched remnants of your life, wondering how you can go on. Whispers of the enemy creep into your heart, soul and mind, taunting you with the lie that you are just too dirty and broken for God to love or use. It seems as if nothing and no one can change that reality, so you might as well give up, throwing your life away.

Nothing could be further from the truth, girlfriend. In fact, God is drawn to broken people, choosing the most broken to do His highest work. His light shines best through broken people. Never underestimate the power of one, tiny broken seed. Placed in the right hands, it will surely grow into an expression of His beauty for all to see.

Let's Pray

Father, I come to You, broken and desperate for Your love and grace. Please heal the broken places in my life. I surrender my hurt and pain to You and ask You to transform it all into something beautiful that glorifies You. I choose to trust You - not my feelings or human understanding. I choose to walk by faith and not by sight.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

If you really want God to change your life and teach you how to embrace your pain, you must be willing to make several choices:

  • I choose faith over doubt.
  • I choose to believe God's Word over man's wisdom or logic.
  • I choose to stand firm and trust God when the storms of life come.
  • I choose to count on God's holiness and perfect plan for my life instead of my effort.

More from the Girlfriends

Women are amazing! Every day, we receive e-mails from women who are facing seemingly impossible circumstances, and yet choose to believe and cry out to God. Doesn't sound like enough, does it? In reality, it is everything! No matter where you are, God is with you...and so are we! For more help, check out my book, Escaping the Stress Trap, to discover 9 practical ways to overcome overload. Looking for a Bible Study? Be sure to check out my E-Book Bible Study, Strength for the Storm.

Come as You Are, Mary's NEW Online Bible Study, has just begun. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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
Lisa Whittle

October 25, 2011

Choosing Well
Lisa Whittle, She Seeks

"A wise person chooses the right road..." Ecclesiastes 10:2a (NLT)

There are times when I do not choose well.

I watch things on TV that tarnish my heart. I behave in ways that erode my marriage. I spend money I do not have, say things I do not mean, leave things undone that need to be finished. I react in anger and it misrepresents Jesus.

I have holes: internal voids that limit and define me...and it shows.

If that were the end of my story, I would be in deep trouble. I would break things that couldn't be fixed. I would destroy things that couldn't be restored. I would damage relationships, beyond repair. I would live, unfulfilled and prideful, without my soul feeling settled. Left alone, sometimes my holes have produced such things.

But there is another element to my story, and it brings me great hope. Jesus...with the supernatural ability to fill even my broadest of gaps...draws me into Him, asking me to choose the thing that will make my soul well. It is an important choice to make, for every believer. It is one that results in wholeness.

The decision to choose what will make our soul well is not always easy. Sometimes it will require us to break from something we love that has become a toxic habit. Often it will ask us to give up our will for the will of the Father.

I love today's verse in Ecclesiastes that talks about this choice, "A wise person chooses the right road..." This verse shows us that even when things happen to us without our permission or by the choice of another, we still have a choice in what we will do next.

In my book, {w}hole, I share the story of my family being involved in a scandal that turned our lives upside down when I was in college. In the wake of our turmoil, I did not choose well...acting in ways that ultimately hurt me and others.

But at a certain point I decided I wanted to be different. I wanted to be better and allow God to change my course by committing to truth, even if it hurt. It was a choice I have never regretted, a choice that set me on the "right road" - a road that led to healing and wholeness.

Wholeness-soul wellness-does not come to those who are only halfway committed to it. It is for the person who is tired of living for themselves or as a victim to their experiences...the one who desires to find their true identity...the one with worldly success who still longs for more. Wholeness is available to the person who wants to no longer be defined or limited by anything and is willing to do whatever it takes to change.

Any sacrifice we must choose to make our soul well is always worth the price. Abundance of joy, richness of God's favor, stability of truth and completeness of fulfillment are ours when we decide we are no longer willing to live with holes but instead, desire to be whole.

When we offer our holes to Jesus, we give Him the opportunity to fill them up with Him.

And that, my friend, is always choosing well.

Dear Lord, I want to choose well. Help me not to stand in my own way of wholeness and healing. Where habits need to be broken, I ask that You give me the strength to break from them. Help me not to invest in things that erode my hear; instead, help me press into You and draw from Your deep well of wisdom, peace and love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
{w}hole: An Honest Look at the Holes In Your Life and How to Let God Fill Them by Lisa Whittle

Video Trailer for {w}hole

Behind Those Eyes: What's Really Going on Inside the Souls of Women by Lisa Whittle

Be among the first to read Lisa's new book, {w}hole! Visit Lisa at www.lisawhittle.com and leave a comment to win a free book, plus a personal phone call with Lisa!

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
How have you chosen well in your life (things that have brought you freedom, etc.)? When you have not chosen well, what has been the difference, and what can you learn?

Reflections:
What do I need to do to position myself to make better choices? Is there something I need to break from that prevents me from this choice for wholeness?

Power Verses:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, "May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body - and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He'll do it!" (MSG)

Isaiah 56:4, "For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those...who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me." (NLT)

Isaiah 9:6, "His names will be Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings." (MSG)

© 2011 by Lisa Whittle. All rights reserved.

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

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Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional

GOD’S ATTRIBUTES: HE IS INFINITE

Have you found that the longer you live, the more you realize your own finitude? Perhaps you used to think you could accomplish anything, but you've grown to realize you can do what God has enabled you to do and what your own fragile mind and body will allow you to do. You can't be in two places at once. You can't make everybody happy. You can't get treatment for every disease, and you can't be twenty years old again if you've passed that mark. These are not bad things. They are just that quality that we properly and wisely accept: finitude.

We live in bodies that keep us located in one spot at one time. They break; they disintegrate; they fall to pieces. We only know so much, and the more we learn the more we realize how much we do not know. Our knowledge leaks out of these buckets full of holes we call minds. We can build impressive machines, but we are virtually powerless before a tornado or the surges of the ocean.

In every way that we are finite, God is infinite. God is all-knowing (omniscient). He doesn't grow older, doesn't become mentally limited, doesn't show emotional fragility. His power (omnipotence) exceeds that massive energy that holds all matter together. God is present at all times in all places (omnipresence). "'Am I only a God nearby... and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?' declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 23:23-24 ). When the Hebrews built a spectacular temple in honor of God, wise king Solomon dedicated it by confessing that even that divinely-initiated place would not "locate" God. "The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built" (1 Kings 8:27).

So what does it mean for us that God is present at all times and in all places? It means...

... we don't need to convince God to come and be with us; he is already here;

... we can't hide from God, so we should give up trying;

... even when we are in some dark place, we can call out to God;

... God is at work every place in this troubled world, even though we may not see it;

...in our prayers we don't need to shout, God is not far away;

... being close to God is not limited to Sunday morning;

... our relationship with God is a reality of every moment of our days.

How does that seem to you, today?

Omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. God is God in ways that only could be true of an absolute God. The implications for prayer and our dependence in faith are enormous. Our prayers do not inform God of facts he is ignorant of. Rather, our prayers are an engaging conversation in which we wait to learn something we didn't know before, or to simply receive the comfort of talking to the God who knows our needs before we even ask him (as Jesus put it in the Sermon on the Mount). Because we pray to an all-powerful God, it is not the prayer itself that has power, but God. So we should be careful in talking about the "power of prayer." It is not our vocalizations that accomplish anything, and certainly we should never see prayer as some kind of incantation. The power comes when we open ourselves to the all-powerful God, when we become more fully aware of how God stands in the midst of our circumstances, a giant who cannot be ignored, who is never afraid, and who elicits proper fear in people. Omnipresence means that prayer is as effective when offered in your car as in your church, in garbled words or moaning or crying. Prayer requires no antenna pointed in just the right direction at the right time.

Because God is great, something powerful is already at work the moment we say, "Dear God..." Even if the only thing we can say is "Dear God."

Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Click for more.

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About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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Are people just pawns in God's chess game?

This week's reading: Job 1:13-19

It often seems that people are caught in events beyond their control, manipulated by God or Satan. They may feel forced into situations they would not choose if they were given a chance. While this seems unfair, there is another way-a higher way-to interpret the circumstances of life. We can see them as God-given opportunities to cooperate with his purpose and plans and, by serving him, to fulfill something far more significant than our own schemes ever could. We are more than pawns in a chess game. We can honor Almighty God by the way we live and die.

Still, many unanswered questions remain. Only God knows why dozens of bystanders had to die in this unfolding drama between Satan and God. We struggle with the fact that some who are righteous have short, tragic lives while others who are wicked enjoy wealth and long life. One thing we can affirm, however: What seems unfair in this life will be made right in eternity. Our problems will be resolved and many of our questions answered.

God has permitted Satan certain freedoms. He is called the "prince of this world" (Jn 14:30) and "the ruler of the kingdom of the air" (Eph 2:2). Satan can sometimes use the forces of nature, sickness, plagues and wicked people. Though God dealt a fatal blow to Satan through Jesus' death and resurrection, Satan continues to struggle against God, and will do so until the end (see Ro 16:20).

There are two sides to the suffering of the righteous: the earthly and the heavenly. The apostle Paul understood the tension of living in a corrupt world as one controlled by the Spirit. He placed his trust in God and things eternal-God's justice, mercy and love- not in the temporary things of this world-success, wealth and fame. Paul recognized that our struggle is not against "flesh and blood" (Eph 6:12) and took courage in knowing that our "citizenship is in heaven" (Php 3:20).

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Today's reading is from the
NIV Quest Study Bible
by Zondervan


This unique Bible addresses the common, uncommon, and perplexing questions people ask about Scripture.


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