Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 17th November

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Psalm 119:18 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The Lord is my portion, saith my soul."
Lamentations 3:24

It is not "The Lord is partly my portion," nor "The Lord is in my portion"; but he himself makes up the sum total of my soul's inheritance. Within the circumference of that circle lies all that we possess or desire. The Lord is my portion. Not his grace merely, nor his love, nor his covenant, but Jehovah himself. He has chosen us for his portion, and we have chosen him for ours. It is true that the Lord must first choose our inheritance for us, or else we shall never choose it for ourselves; but if we are really called according to the purpose of electing love, we can sing--

"Lov'd of my God for him again

With love intense I burn;

Chosen of him ere time began,

I choose him in return."

The Lord is our all-sufficient portion. God fills himself; and if God is all-sufficient in himself, he must be all- sufficient for us. It is not easy to satisfy man's desires. When he dreams that he is satisfied, anon he wakes to the perception that there is somewhat yet beyond, and straightway the horse-leech in his heart cries, "Give, give." But all that we can wish for is to be found in our divine portion, so that we ask, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." Well may we "delight ourselves in the Lord" who makes us to drink of the river of his pleasures. Our faith stretches her wings and mounts like an eagle into the heaven of divine love as to her proper dwelling-place. "The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly heritage." Let us rejoice in the Lord always; let us show to the world that we are a happy and a blessed people, and thus induce them to exclaim, "We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

Evening

"Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty."
Isaiah 33:17

The more you know about Christ the less will you be satisfied with superficial views of him; and the more deeply you study his transactions in the eternal covenant, his engagements on your behalf as the eternal Surety, and the fulness of his grace which shines in all his offices, the more truly will you see the King in his beauty. Be much in such outlooks. Long more and more to see Jesus. Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, through which we behold the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye, and enables us to see Jesus after a better sort than we could have seen him if we had lived in the days of his flesh. Would that our conversation were more in heaven, and that we were more taken up with the person, the work, the beauty of our incarnate Lord. More meditation, and the beauty of the King would flash upon us with more resplendence. Beloved, it is very probable that we shall have such a sight of our glorious King as we never had before, when we come to die. Many saints in dying have looked up from amidst the stormy waters, and have seen Jesus walking on the waves of the sea, and heard him say, "It is I, be not afraid." Ah, yes! when the tenement begins to shake, and the clay falls away, we see Christ through the rifts, and between the rafters the sunlight of heaven comes streaming in. But if we want to see face to face the "King in his beauty" we must go to heaven for the sight, or the King must come here in person. O that he would come on the wings of the wind! He is our Husband, and we are widowed by his absence; he is our Brother dear and fair, and we are lonely without him. Thick veils and clouds hang between our souls and their true life: when shall the day break and the shadows flee away? Oh, long-expected day, begin!

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Today's reading: Ezekiel 3-4, Hebrews 11:20-40 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 3-4

1 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people....”

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Hebrews 11:20-40

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel....

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Demas

[Dē'mas] - popular or ruler of people.A companion of Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (Col. 4:14; Philem. 24).

The Man Who Forsook His Friend

This seems to be an indication that this native of Thessalonica was not fully trusted even when he was near to Paul (Phil. 2:20). Scripture has this against him, that he forsook Paul for this present world ( 2 Tim. 4:10). It is amazing how a student of Comparative Anatomy can build up a whole unknown structure from one or two known bones. In the same way we can sketch the character of Demas from the few references to him in the Bible's portrait gallery.

Before he met Paul we can picture him as an agreeable young man with no particular vice. The material of his character had no rent in it. It was only shoddy throughout. Under the strong influence of Paul's personality, Demas was like a piece of soft iron, temporarily magnetized by the presence of a magnet. Becoming a disciple, he was carried away by the enthusiasm of sacrifice. He wanted to live with Paul and die with him, and have a throne and a halo among the martyred saints.

But when Demas came up to the great capital of the then known world in company with the Lord's prisoners, Paul and Epaphras, it was a different story. He was not a prisoner, and gradually the contrast between the cell and the outer world became intolerable to him. He saw the magnificent halls of the Caesars, the gorgeous homes of the rich and the glitter of a world of music, venal loves, jest and wine. Such a gay world cast its glamor over Demas, and he yielded to its charms. The prison where his friends were languishing seemed wretched alongside the music-haunted, scented, dazzling halls of Rome. Thus Paul had to write one of the most heartbreaking lines in his letters:

"Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." This man of wavering impulse who surrendered the passion of sacrifice and sank in the swirling waters of the world, is a true reflection of the thought that where our love is, there we finally are.

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November 16, 2011

A Courageous Beauty Queen

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God ... (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Katie was born in Wichita, Kansas, a petite blond-headed pride and joy to the Signaigo family. In the following years, two more baby girls were born, and the Signaigo quiver was full. Katie grew up enjoying all the frills and thrills of childhood. She loved school and church activities, swimming and running, and most of all, she loved her friends.

Katie was only nine years old when she noticed a lump by her left ankle that wouldn't go away. The soreness would come and go, but the lump remained. For more than a year she and her mom were in and out of doctors' offices trying to figure out what this mysterious lump was all about. Two years later, eleven-year-old Katie was diagnosed with cancer, and her leg was removed just below the knee. She felt as though her life was over.

"No one will ever love me or want to marry me!" young Katie cried to her mom. "My life will never be the same. What am I going to do? People will laugh at me and make fun of me. I'll never be able to walk or run again. I'm going to have to live the rest of my life in a wheelchair!"

"Oh, precious," her mother spoke in assuring tones. "You will get married one day. You are a beautiful girl. You will run and swim and do all the things you've always loved doing. You are not going to be in a wheelchair, but have a prosthetic leg that will allow you to do all the things you did before. No, your life will not be the same, but it will be great. You'll see. We'll get through this together."

As a precaution, Katie went through chemotherapy for one year. Besides losing her leg, Katie also lost all of her beautiful blond hair. "When is this ever going to end?" she cried.

Eventually, Katie's hair grew back, she learned to walk with a prosthesis, and life returned to a new kind of normal. However, no one-absolutely no one but her immediate family-saw Katie's leg. She kept her prosthesis hidden from the world.

But then God began nudging Katie to return to the hospital where she had her surgery to talk to other children facing similar ordeals. She put her fears aside and visited the cancer ward and showed her leg to a girl named Amanda.

"Here, go ahead and touch it," Katie said. "It's okay." And Katie saw something flicker in Amada's eyes. It was hope.

Since that time Katie and her mom have made many visits to the hospital, telling children and their parents about what to expect and sharing hope. Together they are taking their scars, both physical and emotional, and investing in others.

Katie graduated from high school and attended the University of Central Arkansas. While there, she watched an Oprah program that featured Aimee Mullins, a double amputee who had become an athlete and a model. This amputee even showed various prostheses she used for different occasions.

So Katie decided it was time to stop hiding her leg from the world, and she did it in a big way. She entered the Miss University of Central Arkansas pageant! She participated in the talent, evening gown, and interview competitions. But Katie won the hearts of the crowd when she proudly walked down the catwalk in the bathing suit competition. There have been many tearful moments as pageant sponsors have placed the crowns on a winner's head, but I dare say there was never a more precious moment than when Katie Signaigo was crowned Miss UCA.

"We are all cracked pots in some way or other," Katie told a group of ladies at a women's gathering. "We all have our unique flaws. Don't be afraid of your flaws. Look for the positive things in life. Don't let yourself dwell in the bad things. This has been the greatest blessing in my life."

Like with Katie, often God uses our biggest struggles as a springboard for ministry. Listen closely. Is God calling you to use what you've gone through to encourage others with the hope and healing of Jesus Christ?

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, sometimes I get stuck when life doesn't turn out the way I thought it would. Help me to be a woman who refuses to say, "Why me?" but rejoices in saying "What now?" Show me how to turn my pain into purpose and my miseries into ministry.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
What does 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 tell you about how God wants you use what you have gone through to help other people. Are you willing to do that? I hope so!

Today, pray that God will show you what He wants you to do with what you've learned in difficult times. If you feel God calling you to minister to others, but aren't sure how to begin,Your Scars are Beautiful to God will walk you through the steps to begin.

I'd love to hear how God has taken a painful situation in your life and turned it into a ministry to help others. Let's share atwww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends
Do you find yourself longing to hear God's voice - not as a once-in-a-lifetime experience but on a daily basis? If so, Sharon's new 15-Minute Devotional book, Listening to God Day-by-Day,will help you do just that. It is an expanded version of the smaller book, Extraordinary Moments with God. In it you will find 100 devotions to help you become a woman who detects God's still small voice in all of life. This is a warm, fun, tender look at recognizing some of the wonderful and unexpected ways God reaches out to us in the middle of busy days..

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
Marybeth Whalen

November 16, 2011

The Little Things
Marybeth Whalen

"My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly." Psalm 38:5 (NIV)

It was just a little thing. A small stone or piece of shell I'd stepped on at some point during my walk on the beach. I figured I didn't need to worry about it. Eventually it would work its way out. So I ignored it and went on with life.

But weeks later my plan wasn't working. The little thing hadn't gone away. It had only worked its way deeper into my foot. I was having more and more trouble walking. And my little thing had become harder to ignore.

At my husband's insistence, I finally visited the doctor, who told me that something that could've been handled easily at the beginning had now turned into a much bigger problem. What could've been as simple as removing a splinter now involved cutting into my foot.

I thought of the little things in my life I've ignored, letting them work their way deeper instead of plucking them out while they were still easy to get to. Resentment, anger, jealousy, gossip, unforgiveness and unkind thoughts can be plucked out the moment we realize they're there. But leave them untended and they go deeper.

What could be a matter of prayer and accountability becomes a full blown life issue that controls us and causes pain-not just for us, but for others as well. Ignore the little things and they become big problems; plucking becomes carving. Like our verse today, our sinful folly causes wounds that fester instead of heal.

I didn't take the time to go to the doctor. I didn't want to mess with the inconvenience or the pain of having my little thing dealt with. I thought I could handle it on my own. But I couldn't. I needed a physician to do what I could not. It is the same for those little things in my thought life as well. I need the Great Physician to remove what I can't reach - and do it before it becomes so deep that it's part of who I am.

When I'm struggling with little things, I've learned to ask God to help me see what is going on through His Word and prayer. Then I listen to the Holy Spirit's convictions and seek honesty from friends and family.

As a friend of mine says, "The truth might hurt, but the truth also heals." We must be intentional about being honest with ourselves and do whatever it takes to identify and remove the potentially damaging little things in our hearts and in our thought lives.

Dear Lord, please show me those little things in my life I am ignoring - whether it's a behavior like gossip or a thought like envy. I try to convince myself that there's such a thing as a "little sin" but I know deep down that little things can become big problems if left unchecked. Convict me through Your Holy Spirit and let me respond as You would want. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Marybeth's blog where she discusses faith, family, fiction or food each day.

Living Financially Free: Hard Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Money and Your Marriage by Marybeth and Curt Whalen

She Makes it Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen

A Recipe for Christmas Joy (E-Book) by Marybeth Whalen

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:
Write down some little things you've ignored in the past or know you're ignoring right now. Find some verses that speak to those particular issues and meditate on those verses as you seek God's healing.

Reflections:
Why do I tend to ignore little things? How can a little inconvenience or discomfort now save me from bigger hurt later?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 57:14, "And it will be said: Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people." (NIV)

Isaiah 62:10, "Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations." (NIV)

© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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

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Lyrics for the Living God

Today's reading: Psalm 33

The psalms were meant to be sung-and shouted

Psalm 33:3: Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

William Booth, believing the 19th-century English church had become too refined to reach the cities' poor, took the gospel into the streets. He organized his workers into a "salvation army," complete with uniforms and military rank.

With hecklers and drunks abounding, the "army" didn't always find preaching easy or safe. A local builder, Charles William Fry, offered himself and his three sons as bodyguards. As it happened all four played brass instruments, which they carried along to accompany singing.

Booth's rowdier supporters were soon dragging along concertinas, bells, hunting horns, banjos, tambourines and drums to praise the Lord. Said one leader, "It sounds as if a brass band's gone out of its mind."

Salvation Army recruits did not stick to traditional hymns but invented their own words for rousing popular tunes. "Here's to Good Old Whiskey" became "Storm the Forts of Darkness." Booth had his doubts about this trend until one night, hearing a beautiful rendition of "Bless His Name, He Sets Me Free," he asked about the tune. "Why, Mr. Booth, that's 'Champagne Charlie Is My Name,' " the embarrassed singer replied.

"That settles it," Booth said. "Why should the devil have all the best tunes?" Soon 400 bands were crashing about England, playing hit tunes with Christian words.

The Best Music Available

David and his people would have liked that spirit. Many of the psalms were meant to be sung, and sung joyfully. Modern church formality seems far removed from their frequent command: "Sing for joy! Shout aloud!" Their instruments included cymbals, tambourines, trumpets, rams' horns, harps and lyres. Sometimes dancing erupted. The world, in the psalmist's imagination, can't contain the delight God inspires. A new song must be sung. "Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music" (Psalms 98:4).

First Chronicles 15:16 and 23:5 report that David appointed 4,000 professional musicians to provide their services to the temple. They offered the best music available, and the congregation joined in. Nobody knows exactly what it sounded like, but scholars doubt it was all soft and soothing. Musicians improvised. Most of the instruments used suggest rousing, rhythmic sound.

Every generation of Christians renews the discovery of this "new song," sometimes through the music of its forebears, sometimes in a form that shocks the solemn elders. The Salvation Army did, as did the Jesus Movement in the 60s and Christian rock music in our own day. David would not have been surprised. He jolted his own wife with his spontaneous dancing (see 1 Chronicles 15:29). When people know God, they approach life with a jubilant song on their lips.

Life Question

When you sing to God, what kinds of emotions do you hope to feel? What kind of music contributes to that?
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Today's reading is from the
NIV Student Bible
by Zondervan


A proven, common sense approach to studying the Scriptures appeals to high school and college readers (and students of all ages).


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At Issue - Purpose

Today's reading: Exodus 3:7-12

When we really want to do something, we come up with a million reasons why we should. We become the world's greatest saleswoman, convincing God why our plans are so rational. But when we don't want to do something God's asked us to do, we reverse the process. We criticize. We nitpick. We search for the irrational or the impossible in God's plan. Our own weaknesses loom large in our vision. When Moses heard God's plan, he immediately started the excuses. And God immediately shut him down. God doesn't want your excuses-he wants your open heart.

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True Identity: The Bible for Women
by Zondervan


The Bible that helps you see yourself as God sees you! Find your true identity in Christ through your relationship with him.
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