Sunday, November 27, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 27th November

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,”Hebrews 12:28 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."
Ecclesiastes 9:10

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do," refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart findeth to do which we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them; we must practically carry out "whatsoever our hand findeth to do." One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we "find to do" day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but time present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do--"do it with thy might." Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do to-morrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of today. No man ever served God by doing things to-morrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do today. Whatever you do for Christ throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little slurred labour, done as a matter of course now and then; but when you do serve him, do it with heart, and soul, and strength.

But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lieth in the Lord of Hosts. Then let us seek his help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our "hand findeth to do," let us wait upon the Lord for his blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect.

Evening

"They shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel."
Zechariah 4:10

Small things marked the beginning of the work in the hand of Zerubbabel, but none might despise it, for the Lord had raised up one who would persevere until the headstone should be brought forth with shoutings. The plummet was in good hands. Here is the comfort of every believer in the Lord Jesus; let the work of grace be ever so small in its beginnings, the plummet is in good hands, a master builder greater than Solomon has undertaken the raising of the heavenly temple, and he will not fail nor be discouraged till the topmost pinnacle shall be raised. If the plummet were in the hand of any merely human being, we might fear for the building, but the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in Jesus' hand. The works did not proceed irregularly, and without care, for the master's hand carried a good instrument. Had the walls been hurriedly run up without due superintendence, they might have been out of the perpendicular; but the plummet was used by the chosen overseer. Jesus is evermore watching the erection of his spiritual temple, that it may be built securely and well. We are for haste, but Jesus is for judgment. He will use the plummet, and that which is out of line must come down, every stone of it. Hence the failure of many a flattering work, the overthrow of many a glittering profession. It is not for us to judge the Lord's church, since Jesus has a steady hand, and a true eye, and can use the plummet well. Do we not rejoice to see judgment left to him?

The plummet was in active use--it was in the builder's hand; a sure indication that he meant to push on the work to completion. O Lord Jesus, how would we indeed be glad if we could see thee at thy great work. O Zion, the beautiful, thy walls are still in ruins! Rise, thou glorious Builder, and make her desolations to rejoice at thy coming.

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Today's reading: Ezekiel 27-29, 1 Peter 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 27-29

A Lament Over Tyre

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre. 3 Say to Tyre, situated at the gateway to the sea, merchant of peoples on many coasts, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“‘You say, Tyre,
“I am perfect in beauty.”
4 Your domain was on the high seas;
your builders brought your beauty to perfection.
5 They made all your timbers
of juniper from Senir;
they took a cedar from Lebanon
to make a mast for you.
6 Of oaks from Bashan
they made your oars;
of cypress wood from the coasts of Cyprus
they made your deck, adorned with ivory.
7 Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sail
and served as your banner;
your awnings were of blue and purple
from the coasts of Elishah.
8 Men of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen;
your skilled men, Tyre, were aboard as your sailors.
9 Veteran craftsmen of Byblos were on board
as shipwrights to caulk your seams.
All the ships of the sea and their sailors
came alongside to trade for your wares....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Peter 3

1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers....

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Stewarding Our Gratitude

Today's reading: Isaiah 54:1-17

In Isaiah 54 God promises not to hide his face permanently from Israel. As such, it provides an extended statement of God's steadfast love-a beautiful illustration of how God provides for and stewards his people.

What's the appropriate response to so great an overture of undeserved forgiveness? As stewards of God's grace and peace, we owe it to the rest of our world to spread the news and share the bounty.

Christian apologist and novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) writes of a vision of a time and place where goodness, gratitude and peace will reign. As Christians each of us is somewhere along the route; we're poised at varying points along the spectrum of eternity.

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, ... it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one's eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people's eyes can see further than mine.

No matter how far ahead our squinting eyes can see, the stark fact is that we simply aren't there yet; both Lewis's vision and God's share a future element that calls our praise up short every time. Our gratitude here and now takes an effort. It's a stewardship thing. Author Beth Moore reflects:

This morning I called my firstborn and could tell she was having a rough Monday morning. Like many of us working girls, she was trying to get her home in order after a busy weekend and still make it to her desk on time. There's nothing like trying to be Domestic Goddess and Employee of the Week at the same time, is there, Sister? I told her that one of the most powerful mood changers God had ever taught me was to open my mouth and say, "I choose joy. I may not feel it, but God has appropriated it and I choose it." About an hour later, I received the following e-mail from her ...

See if you can relate to this:

"I'm choosing joy ... The Lord has refreshed my spirit and given me a new perspective. What a minute cross I have to bear on any given day. I had to repent of being a spineless clot of grievances. Honestly, I would be an absolute MESS without the Lord! I need Him more and more every day!"

Think About It

  • What would your life look like if you got what you deserved?
  • What keeps you from praising God?
  • How might you better steward your gratitude to God for his good gifts?

Pray About It

God, remind me that your love is steadfast. In a world of constant change, I thank you for your gifts, and I praise you for who you are.

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


Discover the remarkable privilege we have as stewards of God's design for life through the study of Scripture.


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Mercy for the Impetuous

Chris Larson

Peter didn't just blow it, he blew it badly. "Though they all fall away...I will never fall away" (Matt. 26:33 ). Peter's resolution we admire for its confidence and bravery. But it is a statement relying on one's own strength and it is doomed for shipwreck. A few hours go by and we find him alone and weeping (v. 75).

We can relate, can't we? We've made promise after promise to the Lord, resolution after resolution, only to come to the end of ourselves. The sinking feeling churns in our stomach, our earlier words of bold resolve pour like fuel on the fire of guilt and self-condemnation.

Godly sorrow doesn't remove the sting of sin's consequence. Falling short of the glory of God every day in word, thought, and deed is the norm, not the exception (Rom. 3:23). We may be surprised when we blow it, but our sins do not surprise the omniscient, holy God.

So often we want to hide from the Lord when we sin. Yet after Peter's very public failure, he doesn't hide. He waits. Notice what Peter did when he heard it was Jesus on the beach. His exuberance leaps off the pages of the Bible when we read how he throws himself into the water and swims to shore ( John 21:7).

Peter's interaction with Jesus instructs us on biblical restoration. It was Jesus who restored Peter. It was Jesus who knew He would bring Peter back to a place of useful service (Luke 22:31-32 ). In fact, Jesus knew Peter's journey through this dark path would only bring greater fruit as he ministered to those around him. The remarkable trials the first-century church faced required humble, God-dependent leaders who knew their strength rested not within themselves. "God is more willing to pardon than to punish. Mercy does more multiply in Him than sin in us. Mercy is His nature" (Thomas Watson, All Things for Good).

The impetuous disciple resolved to be faithful, but his stumbling has served Christians for millennia who have looked at that event in Peter's life and found the comfort coming from a God of mercy. The Lord overrules our frailty, restores the fallen, and grows His church.

Chris Larson is director of communications at Ligonier Ministries.

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

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What We See in Each Other

1 Samuel 16:1-13

"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to find a new king. When he got there, Samuel saw Eliab, one of Jesse's sons. "Surely, he is the one God has chosen to be the next king," Samuel thought. Evidently, like the previous king, Saul, Eliab was tall and striking. But Eliab was not the one God had in mind.

God warned Samuel not to assess people by their physical appearance. God reminded the old prophet that he doesn't look at the outside; he looks at the inside. So each of Jesse's sons passed before Samuel, but God did not indicate that any of them was the man God had sent him to find. Finally, David, the youngest son, came in from the fields. Then the Lord spoke to Samuel, telling him this was the right one.

When we look at someone's outward appearance, we often fail to see what God sees. This message was clearly illustrated to writer John Fisher when he was speaking at a seminar. "A couple came in late, and I could see that they were in love," Fisher said. "I couldn't help but notice the woman was very attractive, while the guy was a real nerd.

"What could she see in him?" Fisher wondered. From the outside, this couple didn't look like a match. "Then I realized she was blind," Fisher said.

"What did she see in him? She saw everything that was important in a person. She saw love. While another woman might not have gotten past this man's unimpressive exterior, she was blind to that. She only saw his heart. Blessed are the blind, for they can see people as they really are."

Like Samuel, we often make judgments based on what people look like. But God doesn't use looks as his criteria. He evaluates people by what's in their hearts. He sees their character, their faithfulness and their commitment to him.

During courtship, we can be charmed by someone's good looks, attentiveness or flattery. All of that can be fleeting. Over the course of a marriage, the real person breaks through. Perhaps as your marriage ages, your spouse's outward appearance starts to change. Your spouse grays, loses hair or gains a little weight. Perhaps the two of you fall into a rut, and the special treatment that marked your dating period begins to wane. That's when we need to remember what the Lord said to Samuel about focusing on what's in the heart rather than what's physically noticeable.

The success of a marriage comes, not in finding who we think initially is the "perfect" person for us, but in our willingness to adjust to the real person we married.
Jennifer Schuchmann

Let's Talk

  • What characteristics initially attracted us to each other? What qualities do we treasure most today?
  • The blind woman never saw her partner's appearance. Like God, she only saw his heart. Would we rather have people look at our appearance or at our heart? Why?
  • What steps are we taking to improve our faith, our character and our commitment to God?
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NIVCouplesbibleToday's reading is from the
NIV Couple's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan


Designed to help you build your relationship on the one foundation you can count on: God’s Word!


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