Saturday, November 05, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 5th November

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"For my strength is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God's work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God's warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, "I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory," defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckoneth on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for "it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their gay banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve him in his own way, and in his strength, or he will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth he casteth away; he will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that thou hast before he will put his own into thee; he will first clean out thy granaries before he will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his battles but the strength which he himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

"When I am weak then am I strong,

Grace is my shield and Christ my song."

Evening

"In thy light shall we see light."
Psalm 36:9

No lips can tell the love of Christ to the heart till Jesus himself shall speak within. Descriptions all fall flat and tame unless the Holy Ghost fills them with life and power; till our Immanuel reveals himself within, the soul sees him not. If you would see the sun, would you gather together the common means of illumination, and seek in that way to behold the orb of day? No, the wise man knoweth that the sun must reveal itself, and only by its own blaze can that mighty lamp be seen. It is so with Christ. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona:" said he to Peter, "for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee." Purify flesh and blood by any educational process you may select, elevate mental faculties to the highest degree of intellectual power, yet none of these can reveal Christ. The Spirit of God must come with power, and overshadow the man with his wings, and then in that mystic holy of holies the Lord Jesus must display himself to the sanctified eye, as he doth not unto the purblind sons of men. Christ must be his own mirror. The great mass of this blear-eyed world can see nothing of the ineffable glories of Immanuel. He stands before them without form or comeliness, a root out of a dry ground, rejected by the vain and despised by the proud. Only where the Spirit has touched the eye with eye-salve, quickened the heart with divine life, and educated the soul to a heavenly taste, only there is he understood. "To you that believe he is precious;" to you he is the chief corner-stone, the Rock of your salvation, your all in all; but to others he is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence." Happy are those to whom our Lord manifests himself, for his promise to such is that he will make his abode with them. O Jesus, our Lord, our heart is open, come in, and go out no more forever. Show thyself to us now! Favour us with a glimpse of thine all-conquering charms.

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 32-33, Hebrews 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 32-33

Jeremiah Buys a Field

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah.

3 Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the Babylonians but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. 5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the LORD. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’”

6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me: 7Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’

8 “Then, just as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself....’

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Hebrews 1

God’s Final Word: His Son

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The Son Superior to Angels

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”?

Or again,

“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

7 In speaking of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels spirits,
and his servants flames of fire....”

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Sacar

[Sā'cär] - hired or merchandise.

  1. Father of Ahiham, one of David's heroes (1 Chron. 11:35). Called Sharar in 2 Samuel 23:33.
  2. A son of Obed-edom, a Tabernacle gatekeeper in David's time (1 Chron. 26:4).
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November 4, 2011

Turning On the Lights

Lori Fairchild

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend," Lori Fairchild.

Today's Truth

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12, NIV).

Friend to Friend

My friend's 5-year-old daughter, Lexi, likes to have the lights on. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of the day; she wants the lights to be on. She goes around the house and turns on every light switch, even the outside lights.

Her mom told me she once came home and found not only every light in the house turned on, but every closet door in the house open as well. Lexi was apparently shining light into all the dark corners of the house.

Now, this might just be an amusing quirk of childhood, except for one thing. Three years ago, Lexi was adopted from a Russian orphanage. I don't know how much you know about Russian orphanages, but they're not well-funded institutions. There are lots of kids and not a lot of anything else. In her young life, Lexi was most likely hungry, lonely and scared. When my friends adopted her, she had never been outside the grounds of the orphanage.

I don't know how much Lexi remembers about the orphanage, but I think her soul was left with a permanent yearning for light - both physical light and spiritual light. That orphanage in Russia may have had lights, but it was an emotionally dark place. Whether Lexi knows it or not, it left her with a need for light in her life.

Yet, Lexi isn't really that different than the rest of us. We all yearn for light. We may not have spent our early years in a literal "dark place" like a Russian orphanage, but we have all walked in darkness. Yet our souls yearn for light.

Sometimes the world can be a dark, lonely and scary place. At times it may seem like we're walking down a dark tunnel that seems to have no end.

Yet, that's not what God has in mind for us. We don't have to walk in darkness. He sent His Son to die for us so we could walk in light. Jesus told us "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12, NIV).

Have you ever noticed when you turn on a light in a dark room, the darkness disappears? Even a small candle brings light into darkness. Darkness can never overwhelm the light. It must flee when light appears.

When Jesus enters the picture, evil and darkness must flee. With His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated death. He defeated Satan. And He defeated the darkness.

Just as a candle lights a room, so Jesus lights our lives. And the great thing about Jesus' light is that it's unlimited. Unlike the candle that will eventually burn out, Jesus' light is eternal.

He wants to lead us with His light, but Jesus also wants us to share that light with others - to bring light into the darkness of their lives.

Jesus said "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV).

If you and a friend were trapped in a dark cave and you found a source of light, would you hide it from your friend, letting her sit in darkness while you took in the light? No. You would share it so you could both find the way out.

Jesus is that light - the one that leads the way out of despair to hope. We do our friends a disservice when we choose to hide the light of Jesus from them. He wants us to shine His light into all the dark corners of our worlds.

We never know when our friends are seeking a light that we can provide. Don't let the fear of rejection or embarrassment keep you from letting your light shine to your friends. You can never go wrong by letting the light shine and forcing darkness to flee.

Let's Pray

Lord, let me be a light in the darkness. Help me to shine Your light into all the dark corners in my world. Don't let me be ashamed of Your light and try to hide it. Let my friends and family see Your light in me and yearn to bask in its glow.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Jesus' light cannot be overcome with darkness. Every time you flip a light switch today, remind yourself that darkness must flee in the presence of light - and there is no greater light than Jesus. Memorize this verse. Say it whenever you turn on a light.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5, NIV)

More From the Girlfriends

Want to make spiritual truths come alive for your kids but feel pressed for time? Check out Lori's Everyday Truth blog andFacebook page to garner some quick, practical ways to share God's truth with your kids even as you live a busy life.

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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T. Suzanne Eller

November 4, 2011

Letter of Love
T. Suzanne Eller

"And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6 (NLT)

I have only scraps now. Words penned on paper when I was a teen. I was a new Christian, trying to live my faith in a house of chaos. My mom was broken. My dad hid behind a newspaper, calling out words like "you belong in a loony bin" to my mother, spiraling her deeper into an abyss of rage and hopelessness.

I lived in parallel worlds. First, my very fractured home. And second, a world where people loved Jesus, and their lives reflected His love.

Church was more than a building to me. It was a sanctuary; a shelter from the roller coaster existence at home. I spent hours at the altar, weeping-not out of grief, or self-pity-but because I had discovered the most amazing truth: God is love.

Two years after my encounter with Christ, I found a letter on my pillow.

Dear Suzie, I've watched you and I know what you have is real. It's a treasure, and I hope you hang on to it....

I sat on the edge of the bed and read through the rest of the letter, amazed. It was penned by my dad. A man who did not know how to express his feelings very well. A man who had faced his own demons growing up, and who believed that love was putting food on the table and going to work every morning at 7 a.m.

Looking back now through the mirror of time, I see two adults who struggled. My mom with pain. My dad with the inability to know how to help. But that letter was a ray of light. I keep it, now in tattered pieces, because it came at a time I needed it.

Though I prayed often for my family, my home was the same old mess day after day. Thoughts of running away flooded me. Instead, I ran after Jesus, all the while longing for my parents to discover what I had found.

My father never said a word about the letter left on my pillow. But he was baptized the next year. He and my mother started attending church. It was a long, hard road, yet over time my mother was healed emotionally. Her smile came back and it was beautiful.

In the 30 years that have passed, I've been reading another letter from a father-my Heavenly Father.

The Bible has become an ongoing communication between me and Jesus. I don't know how many times I've sat with the Bible in my hands, and felt an encouraging word or a corrective nudge. A command to overcome or a promise that I'd never have to do it alone. It's not specifically written to me, but the Holy Spirit marks it with my name as He reveals truth.

Just when I need it. Just when I've been praying for direction. Just when I've felt that my faith was running on empty.

Yet, there are times I have allowed that meaningful Letter to sit idle. I've pushed it to the side, knowing I'd "get to it" later. And yet one day I realized the Bible is just as affirming as those tattered pieces from my earthly father.

In fact, the words are very much the same. I find in Scripture that Jesus knows what I've been feeling, and He reminds me that He sees me. He affirms that I have discovered real treasure, and encourages me to hang on to it, especially in the hard times.

Maybe it's been a long time since you opened your Letter of Love. I pray that today you'll pick it back up, hold it in your hands, and read it for the first time all over again.

Dear Father, You know my pressures. You know my shortcomings. Thank You that You know what I need. Give me a hunger to communicate with You. Thank You for Your letter of love to me. I ask that Your Holy Spirit take Your word and mark my life with it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Women's Devotional Bible (NIV)

Visit Suzie's blog where she will give away a copy ofMaking It Real and share tips on how to make Bible study more personal.

Making It Real: Whose Faith is it Anyway? by T. Suzanne Eller

Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

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:
It's not about checking off "read your Bible" from your to-do list for the day. It's taking time to communicate with Jesus.

1. Make an appointment, as you would with a friend.

2. Don't worry about a set number of verses or chapters. It's better to study three verses and grow through them, than to read five chapters just because it's on your to-do list.

3. Read with a pen in hand. Underline verses that speak to you.

4. Keep a journal close by. Write your thoughts and questions as you read.

Reflections:
"The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs to me; it has hands, it lays hold of me." ~ Martin Luther

Power Verses:
Revelation 1:8, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega-the beginning and the end,' says the Lord God. 'I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come-the Almighty One.'" (NLT)

Revelation 3:20, "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends." (NLT)

© 2011 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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LeadershipBible-Header

Anthony of Egypt: First of the Desert Monks

anthony

Verse: Matthew 19:21

Quote: "The mind of the soul is strong when the pleasures of the body are weak." (Anthony's motto)

"If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor." These are the words that stopped the rich kid dead in his tracks. His parents had died, and now all their wealth belongs to him. The much-heralded city of Alexandria offers infinite opportunities for luxurious living. His whole life is ahead of him. He can travel in comfort and see the wonders of the world if he so desires. But he hears the call of God in that very pointed gospel passage. His only travel will be to the desert. His journey of the soul begins by giving his wealth to the poor and leaving his childhood home. His goal is to become a true lover of God - to give himself entirely to Christ, ever vigilant in resisting the devil. His motto: "The mind of the soul is strong when the pleasures of the body are weak." He nourishes himself on bread and water, fasting altogether every other day and denying himself sleep, preferring to pray through the night.

Anthony (251 - 356), whose life story is told by Athanasius, lives among the tombs, where he is assaulted by wild animals and demons. This is God's way of training him to fight and win spiritual battles like an athlete prevailing in the arena. After a time he leaves the tombs, seeking an even more secluded area, where he remains for twenty years, becoming a celebrity - a superstar among desert saints. Disciples seek him out, and their encounters with him inspire generations of ascetics.

In one instance when a would-be follower tells him that he has given all his wealth away but for a small amount for necessities, the response is vintage Anthony: "If you want to be a monk, go into the village, buy some meat, cover your naked body with it and come here like that." When the man returns, his body is bloody and torn by wild dogs and vultures. The moral of the story: "Those who renounce the world but want to keep something for themselves are torn in this way by the demons who make war on them."

Anthony's activities intersect with the lives of other well-known figures of the era. During the brutal persecution under Emperor Diocletian in 303, he travels to Rome to minister to the suffering. He is also enmeshed in the theological controversies of the day. Athanasius persuades him to come to Alexandria from his desert hideaway to speak out against Arius, whose views are catching fire. Though he is no theologian, Anthony epitomizes sainthood. His life of self-denial is the support Athanasius most desires. Saint Augustine will later be put to shame by reading Athanasius's story of Anthony.

After his trip to Alexandria, Anthony returns to the desert with two companions who care for him in his final years. Despite all the privations he endures he lives to age one hundred and five, according to Athanasius, having secured the promise that his body will be buried in an unmarked grave. His concerns are not for dogs or vultures. He does not want his bones and remnants of clothing fought over and revered as relics. For him spirituality is self-denial and sacrifice, not saint-worship.


If you enjoyed the above article, please take a minute to read about the book that it was adapted from:

ParadeofFaith-Bookcover

Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

by Ruth A. Tucker
Buy the book!
The story of Christianity centers on people whose lives have been transformed by the resurrected Lord. Tucker puts this front and center in a lively overview peppered with sidebars; historical "what if?" questions; sections on everyday life; drawings and illustrations; bibliographies for further reading.



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At Issue - Conflict

Today's reading: Genesis 35:11

God Almighty redirected Jacob to a new home, the promised land. Jacob reacted by encouraging all in his household to purify themselves and destroy their pagan gods (see Genesis 35:2). Jacob had to change some things, but consider what he received in return-a royal heritage for his children and a place in the line of Christ.

God Almighty wants you to enter the "promised land," but that may feel like a risk to you. Step out in faith when he asks you to bury your other gods-those things that rival his rightful place in your heart. He has the power to give you better things in exchange.

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