Sunday, November 06, 2011

Daily Devotional Sunday 6th November

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.” Romans 13:6 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper."
Isaiah 54:17

This day is notable in English history for two great deliverances wrought by God for us. On this day the plot of the Papists to destroy our Houses of Parliament was discovered, 1605.

"While for our princes they prepare

In caverns deep a burning snare,

He shot from heaven a piercing ray,

And the dark treachery brought to day."

And secondly--today is the anniversary of the landing of King William III, at Torbay, by which the hope of Popish ascendancy was quashed, and religious liberty was secured, 1688.

This day ought to be celebrated, not by the saturnalia of striplings, but by the songs of saints. Our Puritan forefathers most devoutly made it a special time of thanksgiving. There is extant a record of the annual sermons preached by Matthew Henry on this day. Our Protestant feeling, and our love of liberty, should make us regard its anniversary with holy gratitude. Let our hearts and lips exclaim, "We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us the wondrous things which thou didst in their day, and in the old time before them." Thou hast made this nation the home of the gospel; and when the foe has risen against her, thou hast shielded her. Help us to offer repeated songs for repeated deliverances. Grant us more and more a hatred of Antichrist, and hasten on the day of her entire extinction. Till then and ever, we believe the promise, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." Should it not be laid upon the heart of every lover of the gospel of Jesus on this day to plead for the overturning of false doctrines and the extension of divine truth? Would it not be well to search our own hearts, and turn out any of the Popish lumber of self-righteousness which may lie concealed therein?

Evening

"Be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
Psalm 100:4

Our Lord would have all his people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning his blessed person. Jesus is not content that his brethren should think meanly of him; it is his pleasure that his espoused ones should be delighted with his beauty. We are not to regard him as a bare necessary, like to bread and water, but as a luxurious delicacy, as a rare and ravishing delight. To this end he has revealed himself as the "pearl of great price" in its peerless beauty, as the "bundle of myrrh" in its refreshing fragrance, as the "rose of Sharon" in its lasting perfume, as the "lily" in its spotless purity.

As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard. Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, his unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of him, as they count it their highest honour to veil their faces at his feet. Consider what the blood-washed think of him, as day without night they sing his well deserved praises. High thoughts of Christ will enable us to act consistently with our relations towards him. The more loftily we see Christ enthroned, and the more lowly we are when bowing before the foot of the throne, the more truly shall we be prepared to act our part towards him. Our Lord Jesus desires us to think well of him, that we may submit cheerfully to his authority. High thoughts of him increase our love. Love and esteem go together. Therefore, believer, think much of your Master's excellencies. Study him in his primeval glory, before he took upon himself your nature! Think of the mighty love which drew him from his throne to die upon the cross! Admire him as he conquers all the powers of hell! See him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before him as the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, for only thus will your love to him be what it should.

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 34-36, Hebrews 2 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 34-36

Warning to Zedekiah

1 While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.

4 “‘Yet hear the LORD’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the LORD says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; 5 you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas, master!” I myself make this promise, declares the LORD.’”

6 Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, 7 while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities left in Judah....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Hebrews 2

Warning to Pay Attention

1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Jesus Made Fully Human

5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet....”

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COUPLESenewsheader-Bibles-Sep2011

Waiting for a Sign

Numbers 9:15-23

Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.
Numbers 9:17

So often, married life feels like little more than a series of decisions: Should we buy that house? Is it the right time to start a family? Do we need to save more money for the future? So often, we look to God for some kind of clear answer telling us just what to do.

Early in our marriage, my husband began looking for a job closer to our home. He happened upon a job opening at a social service agency just a few blocks from our apartment. Not only was the job close, but it was the kind of work he was passionate about at the kind of organization he'd wanted to work for. The company was even willing to let him work flexible hours so he could be home with our baby part of the day.

My husband sailed through his interview and was offered the job right away. Before he said yes, we talked briefly about the wisdom of taking the job. As we reviewed the circumstances it seemed that God had dropped this opportunity in his lap. We didn't need to discuss the issue for long. We felt God's leading very clearly.

While wandering through the wilderness, the people of Israel knew when to move and when to stay put because God gave them a sign: if the cloud that covered the tabernacle stayed put, they were to do likewise; when the cloud moved, they were to move. In our situation, we felt that the "cloud" had moved, and that my husband should take the job.

But we don't always get a clear sign from God. There have been many, many times when we have prayed, sought the advice of friends and family, and waited for God to point us in the right direction, only to get . . . nothing. For example, when I was trying to decide whether I should quit my job, I agonized for months with no sense of what God wanted me to do. Where was our sign?

The truth is, God doesn't always move the clouds to show us which way to go. Instead, God asks us to be faithful, to make choices with our lives that honor him. He asks us to get our priorities in order, to turn away from worldly standards of success and achievement and to bend our will to that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And as we follow his example, walking in his ways, we begin to think more like him. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 : "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."

We will make our share of mistakes in life decisions. At times, we will undoubtedly go when we should stay and stay when we should go. But the promise that God gives us is that no matter where we go-to a new state, to a new job, to a new stage of family life-our God goes with us.
Carla Barnhill

Let's Talk

  • What choices have we made as a couple? Has there been a time when we've had to step out in faith without a clear sense of what the right choice was? How was God present with us in that uncertain situation?
  • What kind of decision makers are we? What are some ways we can show each other support and respect when we have a difficult decision to make?
  • What people do we trust to help us think through difficult decisions? If we can't think of anyone, maybe we should develop deeper relationships with a few other couples from church.
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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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Once for All-the Template for Christian Stewardship

Today's reading: Hebrews 8:1-10:18

The author of Hebrews explains that the sacrifice Jesus made by offering himself "once for all" (Heb 10:10) was superior to the animal sacrifices and grain offerings that the Levitical priests made in the past. Under the old covenant the Levites offered sacrifices "day after day" (Heb 7:27) on behalf of the people. These gifts had to be offered again and again because they served a symbolic function. They were a "shadow" of what was to come in Christ's great gift (see Heb 8:5). Because the old covenant prefigured the new covenant that would be established permanently by Christ's blood, the gifts and offerings that were made under the law were ineffectual and ultimately unacceptable as payments for sin. Or, as the author of Hebrews puts it, they were not able to "clear the conscience of the worshiper" (Heb 9:9).

The shift from the old to the new covenant brings with it an enormous shift in the way that we are to think about giving. This is because under the old covenant, worshipers gave gifts in anticipation of Christ's sacrifice that would be made "once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin" (Heb 9:26), whereas today Christians give in response to and even "through" Christ's sacrifice that has already been made (seeHeb 13:15; cf. 1Jn 3:16-18). Interestingly, one thing has not changed. Under the old covenant, God gave specific instructions that regulated the way sacrifices were made and to whom they were to be given. In the new covenant, God has given his people instructions about how to give in response to Christ's sacrifice. Hebrews 13:16 tells us that we do this by doing good and sharing with others, "for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) weighs in on the kind of sacrifice we are to make.

Let this, therefore, be our rule for generosity and beneficence: We are the stewards of everything God has conferred on us by which we are able to help our neighbor, and are required to render account of our stewardship. Moreover, the only right stewardship is that which is tested by the rule of love ...

And lest perhaps we should not realize that this is the rule for the proper management of all gifts we have received from God, he also in early times applied it to the least gifts of his generosity. For he commanded that the firstfruits be brought to him ... Yet you wish to strive in vain to enrich the Lord by sharing your possessions; since, then, your generosity cannot extend to him, you must, as the prophet says, practice it toward the saints on earth ... And alms are compared to holy sacrifices so as to correspond now to those requirements of the law (Heb 13:16).

Think About It

  • Imagine what life would have been like under the Law. How would you have felt about bringing animals to be sacrificed at the temple?
  • What is your response to Jesus' once-for-all sacrifice?
  • What sacrifices are required of you in response to Jesus' gift?

Pray About It

God, thank you for the sacrificial gift of your Son, Jesus. I praise you and thank you for your great gifts.

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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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