Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Daily Devotional Wednesday 2nd November

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,”Ephesians 1:18 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The church in thy house."
Philemon 2

Is there a Church in this house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted? Let us pause here and let the question go round--Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father's heart leap for joy, and mother's eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved! Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it had been the dearest object of Philemon's desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. His master's prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preach; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon's house. Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in the same earnest entreaty.

If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has here enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance. As a Church let us now draw nigh to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.

Evening

"And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Matthew 24:39

Universal was the doom, neither rich nor poor escaped: the learned and the illiterate, the admired and the abhorred, the religious and the profane, the old and the young, all sank in one common ruin. Some had doubtless ridiculed the patriarch--where now their merry jests? Others had threatened him for his zeal which they counted madness--where now their boastings and hard speeches? The critic who judged the old man's work is drowned in the same sea which covers his sneering companions. Those who spoke patronizingly of the good man's fidelity to his convictions, but shared not in them, have sunk to rise no more, and the workers who for pay helped to build the wondrous ark, are all lost also. The flood swept them all away, and made no single exception. Even so, out of Christ, final destruction is sure to every man of woman born; no rank, possession, or character, shall suffice to save a single soul who has not believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, behold this wide-spread judgment and tremble at it.

How marvellous the general apathy! they were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the awful morning dawned. There was not one wise man upon earth out of the ark. Folly duped the whole race, folly as to self-preservation--the most foolish of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God--the most malignant of fooleries. Strange, my soul, is it not? All men are negligent of their souls till grace gives them reason, then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not till then.

All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark, no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless cony as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, art thou in him?

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Today's reading: Jeremiah 24-26, Titus 2 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 24-26

Two Baskets of Figs

1 After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD. 2One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.

3 Then the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”

4 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 5 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Titus 2

Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel

1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive....

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Gemariah

[Gĕma rī'ah] - jehovah hath fulfilled oraccomplishment of the lord.

  1. A prince, son of Shaphan the scribe and brother of Ahikam (Jer. 36:10-25). This scribe sought in vain to keep King Jehoiakim from burning the roll.
  2. A son of Hilkiah, sent by King Zedekiah as ambassador to Nebuchadnezzar. He also carried a letter from Jeremiah to the captive Jews (Jer. 29:3).
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November 1, 2011

Old Enough to Learn

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth (Psalm 86:11 NIV).

Friend to Friend

The little girl bounced up and down, trying to see over the bank counter as her daddy made a deposit. She was about three feet tall and not quite big enough to get a clear view.

"How old are you?" the teller asked.

The little girl stood up straight and tall and said, "I'm four years old, and next year I'm going to be five, and then I'll be old enough to learn!"

Of course we know she'd been learning her entire life. Being five just meant she could go to school.

Then God reminded me that sometimes His children put off learning about Him until...well, later. When the kids go off the school. When a big project is completed. When retirement rolls around. But the time for learning about God is now. All day God speaks to us through creation, other people, and our circumstances, but the primary way we learn about Him is through the pages of the Bible. He has written us an incredible love letter filled with precious promises, comforting commands, and godly guidelines just waiting to be discovered. The Hebrew word for "Bible" actually means, "The calling out of God." He is calling out to us from the pages of our Bibles. And we're never too young or too old to learn.

Because you're reading this Girlfriends in God devotion, I'm thinking you have decided that now is the time to learn. We're right there with you, locking arms with you in this journey to become a woman who listens to God day by day to discover the abundant life Jesus came to give.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for teaching me. Help me to become a diligent student of Your Word who uncovers treasures on every page of Scripture. Open my eyes to discover Your truths and my heart to apply them.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Read Psalm 119 and mark or highlight everything David had to say about how much he loved God's Word! This is a long passage. David really, really loved God's Word. You might need to break it down into several days.

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 our everyday life.

Seeking God?

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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
Susan Meissner

November 1, 2011

Where the Heart Is
Susan Meissner
She Reads Featured Author

"He has planted eternity in the human heart ..."Ecclesiastes 3:11b (NLT)

A while back, my young adult son took a trip to visit friends in the state where we used to live. He stopped by the house that had been ours for all of his childhood. And, he felt compelled to knock on the front door and introduce himself to the strangers who now own it.

When he said he had grown up in that house, the wife didn't hesitate to open the door wide and invite him in. She knew that in our hearts we often feel toward our houses what we might feel for a trusted ally, a kind friend or maybe even a silent witness to our pain.

My latest character Marielle Bishop understands this. In my new novel A Sound Among the Trees, new bride Marielle takes up residence in an old house with a storied past. She just isn't sure that this place can be a safe haven for her heart.

We are wired to feel a tug toward that one special place we feel safe, wanted and cared for. Our hearts are restless when we're far from home, or our home is taken from us, or when discord disrupts the tranquility of that place.

So what's a girl to do when she doesn't feel at home? We need to remember that Christ is at home in her. So in a sense, we take our eternal home with us wherever we go. Wherever we are, we can feel safe, wanted and cared for by Christ who dwells inside every believer.

When the Israelites were waiting for God to lead them to their new home in the Promised Land, He had them build a tabernacle for His presence to dwell right there where they were, wherever that was on their journey.

We don't use the word "tabernacle" much these days but if you were to look at its Hebrew roots you would see that it comes from the same word as "dwell" and "abide" and "settle down." When God brings His presence right to where we are, He is "tabernacling" with us.

The Lord God Almighty settles down inside us. His Spirit lives in us. Our heart becomes His Holy tabernacle and He is at home in us. Isn't that a thrilling, mind-bending concept?

The Bible tells us God has "set eternity in our hearts" which means He has made us hungry for His heavenly embrace. The affection we have for our earthly houses stems from this smoldering ember of our longing for Him as our eternal home.

There's no place like home. It's why we like everyone to be home for the holidays and home before dark and why we just want to go home when we're having a bad day. Home is where our hearts are at rest. And our hearts can always be at rest in Him.

Whether your earthly home is as near as your next breath or too far away to be seen today, know that God has promised to tabernacle with you! He dwells with you. You are His earthly address. And in Him, you are home.

Dear Lord, help me today to find all my joy in knowing You are my forever dwelling place and that I am at home in You because You are at home in me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Have You Made God Your Dwelling Place?

A house with a turbulent Civil War history becomes home to a new bride and stepmother in a richly absorbing tale of a line of women living in patterns of regret. Visit She Reads to learn more about Susan Meissner and her new novel A Sound Beneath the Trees. Also, enter to win a Civil War era styled quilted table runner, or a southern caramel cake along with the novel.

Application Steps:
Are you feeling "homesick" today? Do you wish you could go back to a simpler time or place? Make a list of ten things you are grateful for that do not change simply because your address changes. Start the list with: 1) God lovingly lives in me.

Visit a nursing home in your area today. Find out if there is a resident there who rarely gets visitors. Ask that resident to tell you about the home where they grew up and before you leave, ask if you can read them Psalm 91.

Reflections:
Regrets keep us focused on the parts of our past that God wants us to move forward from. Are you holding onto an old "dwelling place" where God's peace is not present?

Power Verses:
Ezekiel 37:26-27, "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people." (NIV)

I Corinthians 3:16, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" (NIV)

© 2011 by Susan Meissner. 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

How can we summarize what God means when he tells us he simply is? When Moses asked God what his name was (for there were many alternative names for gods), God's answer was, "I AM WHO I AM." This was not a typical name such as "god of thunder," or "lord of water and earth," but the simplest, most comprehensive, most absolutely fundamental descriptor.

God is. That is the essence of who he is. Before anything else existed-before mountains or horses or angels, before even matter itself existed-God was. He is the one unalterable reality. So we can worship him anytime, anywhere.

He exists not as an impersonal energy in the universe, but as "the living God." "The Father has life in himself" (John 5:26). No one brought God to life. He is the one living being who had no birth, and so he is the Father of all who have been born. Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, and other voices in the Old Testament drew people's attention again and again to "the living God." This is what made him different from the other gods whose statues sat on shelves.

The Old Testament prophets spared no sarcasm in talking about false gods who, because they were not alive, could not be life-giving. Isaiah depicts a man cutting a tree, using some of the wood to warm himself, and "from the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, 'Save me; you are my god'" (Isa. 44:17). Biting sarcasm!

Elsewhere (40:20) he talks about a man who looks for wood that he hopes will not rot before his god is carved. Scandalous! "He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple." (Hard to respect a god that keeps tipping over. Do you bend your head if he's leaning one way or the other? And if he topples over, wouldn't that suggest that you may fall no matter how strong your allegiance to this deity?) Hosea said the people "consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood" (Hosea 4:12 ). Just how many intelligent comments have you heard from a hunk of wood lately? And so in the New Testament the apostle Paul commended one group of believers as those who "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9), because if one thing is true about idols, it is that they are the most lifeless, ridiculous objects on the face of the earth.

Those of us who have no wooden statues on the hearth, however, are no less capable of idolatry. Whenever we make up an idea of God to suit our purposes, we are idolators. The same is true when we put something or someone above God as the determinative influence in our lives.

The only kind of God worth worshipping must be a living God. If he is living and all-powerful, he is completely outside of our control. What other kind of God could exercise authority and control over our enemies?

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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Why does God choose some and reject others?

This week's reading: Psalm 78:67-68

A completely satisfactory answer to this question is elusive because God's choice is mysterious from our perspective. However, we can identify several factors: The transfer of favor from Ephraim to Judah may reveal God's punishing hand as well his grace. After all, the sanctuary at Shiloh in the hill country of Ephraim was full of corruption and incompetence. The sons of the high priest did not treat God's ark with respect but as a mere magic charm. There is little question that the destruction of Shiloh was an act of God's anger (see Ps 78:56-64).

It was Israel's unfaithfulness and misuse of God's blessings that led to the capture of the ark of the covenant by the Philistines (see Ps 78:60-61; 1Sa 4:11). It was the presumption and disobedience of the people themselves that removed the symbol of God's presence and blessing from Shiloh. And it was David, trusting in God, who defeated the Philistines and eventually brought the ark to Jerusalem (see 2Sa 5:17-25;6:17).

Still, the broader question of God's choice remains. The apostle Paul discussed it by examining God's relationship with Jacob and Esau. His conclusion was that humans are limited in what they can understand about an incomprehensible God: "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion" (Ro 9:15).

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Today's reading is from the
NIV Quest Study Bible
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