Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 29th December

““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."
Galatians 2:20

When the Lord in mercy passed by and saw us in our blood, he first of all said, "Live;" and this he did first, because life is one of the absolutely essential things in spiritual matters, and until it be bestowed we are incapable of partaking in the things of the kingdom. Now the life which grace confers upon the saints at the moment of their quickening is none other than the life of Christ, which, like the sap from the stem, runs into us, the branches, and establishes a living connection between our souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace which perceives this union, having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck which joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.

"Oh Faith! thou bond of union with the Lord,

Is not this office thine? and thy fit name,

In the economy of gospel types,

And symbols apposite--the Church's neck;

Identifying her in will and work

With him ascended?"

Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. She knows his excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce her to repose her trust elsewhere; and Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace, that he never ceases to strengthen and sustain her by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of his eternal arms. Here, then, is established a living, sensible, and delightful union which casts forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and joy, whereof both the bride and bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can evidently perceive this oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then is the heart as near heaven as it can be on earth, and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.

Evening

"I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword."
Matthew 10:34

The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up his cross, know ye not what your Master said? "I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, he brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth's sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master's steps, for he has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.

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Today's reading: Zechariah 5-8, Revelation 19 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Zechariah 5-8

The Flying Scroll

1 I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.

2 He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.”

3 And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. 4 The LORD Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’”

The Woman in a Basket

5 Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”

6 I asked, “What is it?”

He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land....”

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 19

Threefold Hallelujah Over Babylon’s Fall

1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3 And again they shouted:

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever....”

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

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Elimelech [Ĕlĭm'elĕch]—god is king.The husband of Naomi and father of Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah (Ruth 1:2, 3; 2:1, 3;4:3-9; 1 Sam. 17:12).

The Man Whose Ways Contradicted His Name

It is one thing to have a good name, but a different matter altogether to have a life corresponding to that name. Elimelech’s name implies that God is King, an expressive name given him by godly parents when the nation followed the Lord. But Elimelech belied the name he bore, for had he truly believed that God was King, he would have stayed in Bethlehem in spite of the prevailing famine.

But one might argue that it was a wise thing to do to leave a famine-stricken land for another land where there was plenty of food for his family. Surely that was a journey any father would undertake to save his dear ones from starvation. But Elimelech was a Jew and as such had the promise, “In the days of famine ye shall be satisfied.” Had he firmly believed in the sovereignty of God, Elimelech would have remained in Bethlehem, knowing that need can never throttle God. Had he not declared that bread and water for His own would be sure? Alas, however, Elimelech did not live up to his wonderful name! In going down to Moab, he stepped out of the will of God, who had forbidden His people to have any association with the Moabites. In Moab, Elimelech and his two sons found graves. Yet such a wrong move was overruled by God, for as the result of it, Ruth the Moabitess returned to Bethlehem with Naomi, who was to become the ancestress of our blessed Lord.

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Samantha Reed

December 28, 2011

Remember
Samantha Reed

"Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)

I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. You see, I've been waiting a long, long time. For a walk down "the" aisle. For a cradle and arms full of soft cooing. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.

The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for a husband, children and prayers answered. Its then, when I can't see how He's going to bring these things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.

Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.

When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten,remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.

When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then Godremembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and heremembered... and was concerned about them.

When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in,remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, andremembers your sins no more.

When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'

When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.

When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Rememberthe wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...

Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.

When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail. Please help me remember this today and always. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Have you met this God who is always faithful?

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

Share God's faithfulness to those in need by supporting a child through Compassion International.

Application Steps:
Remember times God has been faithful to you. Recount those out loud today.

Focus on the everyday miracles that remind us of God's faithfulness like waking up and breathing.

Reflections:
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. ~Thomas Chisolm

Power Verses:
Psalm 143:5, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." (NIV)

Jeremiah 31:34b, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (ESV)

*All verses NIV

© 2011 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

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

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December 28, 2011

Following God's Lead
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
The LORD says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you (Psalm 32:8NLT).

Friend to Friend
Several years ago, my husband and I decided to take a few ballroom dance classes. I wanted to be the next Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. So we signed up for a six week class. The first thing we learned was the Fox Trot, which is like making little boxes with your feet. I put my right hand on Steve's left shoulder and my left hand into his right and we began to march in little boxes. Slow, slow, quick, quick.

The teacher explained that Steve was the leader and I needed to learn how to follow his cues. But I had trouble with this. After all, I was the better dancer and felt that if he would just let me lead, then the classes would go a lot quicker. But that's not how it works. Steve was the leader, and I had to learn how to follow. For the first few weeks, the teacher kept saying, "Sharon, you're leading again."

Here's the thing. Steve was the leader and I needed to learn how to trust him. Did you catch that? It was really about trusting him. And that's the same way it is with God. When we learn how to trust Him, our walk through life becomes a beautiful dance. God, as the leader, has the hard part. We just have to learn to follow His lead, to trust Him. Then we get to dip and spin and make the fancy moves. He actually makes us look good.J

Steve and I are still no Fred and Ginger, but I have learned how to follow his lead on the dance floor. And when it comes to my dance with God, I'm learning how to follow His lead as well. And let me tell you, He knows all the right moves.

I want you to think about that today. When you give up control and learn how to trust God, He turns your walk through life into a beautiful dance that's He's choreographed just for you.

Let's Pray
Jesus, today I'm trusting You! I'm giving up control and following Your lead. Help me to follow Your cues...Your gentle nudges throughout the day. Thank You for extending Your hand and inviting me onto the dance floor of life! I think I hear the heavenly host playing our song!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
In your own life, would you say that you tend to take the lead and ask God to join you, or does God have the lead and you join Him? That's a tough question. We know what the answer should be, but what is the reality of your life?

What does relinquishing control look like? How do you relinquish control and yield to God's leading in your life?

I'd love to hear your ideas? Let's share atwww.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends

It's finally here! Sharon, Gwen and Mary's new 12-week devotion book, Trusting God, is now available. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, free on-line video intros, and an index of trust-building Scriptures...this book is a resource you'll refer to time-and-time again.

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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Matthew's Gospel

Matthew 5:17

Take the time to look over Matthew in preparation for our study. Find one passage that you have not spent much time examining. Meditate on that text today and ask the Lord to help you focus on His message. Commit yourself again to lead the life of discipleship to which our Savior has called you, a life that you can live by grace through the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Thank Him for His transforming work in your life.

For further study:

Leviticus 26:44-45

The Bible in a year:

Genesis 1-2

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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Matthew's Gospel

Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (v. 17).

Patience is a virtue, it is said, probably because waiting is so difficult. Young children find themselves having to endure an almost unbearably long stretch of school days before the freedom of summer. Engaged couples spend what seems like ages waiting for their wedding day even though the ceremony may be only a few months away.

After the fall of man (Gen. 3:1-13), God turned us over to the consequences of our sin. Strenuous labor, pain in childbirth, broken relationships, and finally death would be our lot ( vv. 16-19). Yet our gracious Lord spoke good news as well. His curse would not last forever, one day the seed of the woman, a people holy unto the Lord, would crush the serpent and his seed (vv. 14-15). Thus began our long wait for Satan's defeat.

Our Father did not start over from scratch to keep this promise but chose some out of fallen humanity to be His own. Abraham and his seed would be the family through which God would bless the world ( 12:1-3). For centuries Abraham's offspring waited for the great blessing they would share with the world. Yet though there were times when the patriarch's seed blessed the earth (47:13-26; Jonah 1-4), most of the nation of Israel failed to be salt and light to the world; thus, the Lord kicked them out of the Promised Land ( Deut. 28:58-68; 2 Kings 17:7-23; 25).

But God also promised an even greater blessing would come if His exiled people repented (Deut. 30:1-10 ). The covenant community would go back to their land and a holy son of David would rule the world when they turned to Yahweh (Isa. 35;Zech. 12:7-9). Israel did return to Palestine (2 Chron. 36:22-23), but national repentance did not follow (Mal. 2:10-17 ; 3:13-15), and the Jews lived as a shadow of their former selves, under the heel of one empire after another.

However, the faithful remnant in Israel continued to trust God for His blessing. Four hundred years or so after the voice of prophecy fell silent in Israel, the Father sent Jesus His Son to fulfill His promises (Matt. 5:17). The Gospel of Matthew explains how God has kept His promise of salvation in Christ.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Take the time to look over Matthew in preparation for our study. Find one passage that you have not spent much time examining. Meditate on that text today and ask the Lord to help you focus on His message. Commit yourself again to lead the life of discipleship to which our Savior has called you, a life that you can live by grace through the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Thank Him for His transforming work in your life.

For further study:

Leviticus 26:44-45

The Bible in a year:

Genesis 1-2

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

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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Spirit Life: Enlivened human beings and the drama of the cosmos

Today's reading: Romans 8

Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

The Holy Spirit is the theme of chapter 8, and in it Paul gives a panoramic survey of how the Spirit can make a difference in a person's life.

In the first place, Paul sets to rest the nagging problem of sin he has just raised so forcefully. "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," he announces (Romans 8:1). Through his life and death, Jesus Christ has taken care of the sin problem for all time. (In Romans 4:6, Paul borrows a word from banking to explain the process. God "credits" Jesus' own perfection to our accounts, so that we are judged not by our behavior, but by his.)

Once again Paul reminds us of the best news of all: Jesus Christ did not stay dead. Paul marvels that the very same power that raised Christ from the dead can also enliven us. A life-giver, the Spirit can break the gloomy, deathlike pattern described in Romans 7.

Worth the Struggle

To be sure, the Spirit does not remove all problems. The very titles the Bible applies to the Spirit-Intercessor, Helper, Advocate, Comforter-imply that there will be problems. But "the God within" can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Paul never minimizes suffering; after all, his own life has included beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks, assassination attempts and chronic illness. But he insists with absolute conviction that future rewards will outweigh all present sufferings. Just as Olympic athletes endure years of practice, discipline and pain to achieve the goal of winning a gold medal, so, too, the Christian's life on Earth may involve many difficulties (Romans 8:22-23). But the glorious end result will make all the difficulties seem worthwhile.

The way Paul tells it, what happens in believers is the central drama of history: "The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed" (Romans 8:19). Somehow spiritual victories within us will help bring about the liberation and healing of a fallen creation. The apostle can hardly contain himself as he ponders these truths.

Romans 8 ends with a ringing declaration that nothing-absolutely, positively nothing-can ever separate us from God's love. For Paul, this truth is a fact worth shouting about.

Life Question

According to this passage, how can the Holy Spirit make a difference in your daily life?
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Today's reading is from the
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At Issue - Parenting

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 3:11-14

With all the ugly stories of child abuse that we hear, disciplining children has become a touchy subject. Yet we've all met people who grew up without discipline-and that neglect is another form of abuse. When Eli refused to discipline his children, God actually stepped in. God approves of discipline and expects us to lovingly discipline our children. Discipline provides a sense of structure for children, allowing them to feel safe. And giving children consequences for their actions while they're young spares them from greater consequences as adults.

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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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I Used To Be So Organized

Living Clutter-Free Challenge

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Based on her book, "I Used to Be So Organized," Glynnis Whitwer is hosting a 15-day Living Clutter-Free Challenge Beginning January 9th, each Monday through Friday for three weeks, she will offer tips on how to clear out the extra stuff in our lives. If you'd like to lighten the clutter in your thoughts, schedule and home, sign up on Glynnis' blog today.

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Made to Crave Online Study

with Melissa Taylor & Lysa TerKeurst – starts Jan 15th

Are you tired of feeling overweight physically but underweight spiritually? A new year brings new challenges. Often those challenges center around resolutions to get healthy that we make and then too quickly break. Sometimes we just need a kick start to get headed in the right direction. Join Melissa Taylor, along with Lysa Terkeurst, and a community of women online for a FREE six-week study of the New York Times Best-seller, Made to Crave.

This six-week online study will include Bible study, chapter discussions, prayer support and on-going conversations about on Melissa's blog andMelissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies Facebook page, with special guest appearances by Lysa TerKeurst.


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A Confident Heart Online Study

with Renee Swope – starts Jan 9th

Ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Renee Swope understands. And that's why she's leading an online community of women through her life-changing book, A Confident Heart. Chapter by chapter she'll show us how to stop doubting ourselves as we learn to live in the security of God's love and promises. She'll also help us discover and live confidently in our God-given purpose, passion, and personalities; break free from people-pleasing and performance-based living; and trust the certainty of God's truth over the uncertainty of our circumstances and emotions.

This ten-week online group will include Bible study, engaging chapter discussions, free video teaching messages and on-going encouragement viaRenee's blog/website and Renee's Confident Heart Facebook page.






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