Friday, January 20, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 20th January

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NIV
===
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"I sought him, but I found him not."
Song of Solomon 3:1

Tell me where you lost the company of Christ, and I will tell you the most likely place to find him. Have you lost Christ in the closet by restraining prayer? Then it is there you must seek and find him. Did you lose Christ by sin? You will find Christ in no other way but by the giving up of the sin, and seeking by the Holy Spirit to mortify the member in which the lust doth dwell. Did you lose Christ by neglecting the Scriptures? You must find Christ in the Scriptures. It is a true proverb, "Look for a thing where you dropped it, it is there." So look for Christ where you lost him, for he has not gone away. But it is hard work to go back for Christ. Bunyan tells us, the pilgrim found the piece of the road back to the Arbour of Ease, where he lost his roll, the hardest he had ever travelled. Twenty miles onward is easier than to go one mile back for the lost evidence.

Take care, then, when you find your Master, to cling close to him. But how is it you have lost him? One would have thought you would never have parted with such a precious friend, whose presence is so sweet, whose words are so comforting, and whose company is so dear to you! How is it that you did not watch him every moment for fear of losing sight of him? Yet, since you have let him go, what a mercy that you are seeking him, even though you mournfully groan, "O that I knew where I might find him!" Go on seeking, for it is dangerous to be without thy Lord. Without Christ you are like a sheep without its shepherd; like a tree without water at its roots; like a sere leaf in the tempest--not bound to the tree of life. With thine whole heart seek him, and he will be found of thee: only give thyself thoroughly up to the search, and verily, thou shalt yet discover him to thy joy and gladness.

Evening

"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures."
Luke 24:45

He whom we viewed last evening as opening Scripture, we here perceive opening the understanding. In the first work he has many fellow-labourers, but in the second he stands alone; many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus differs from all other teachers; they reach the ear, but he instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but he imparts an inward taste for the truth, by which we perceive its savour and spirit. The most unlearned of men become ripe scholars in the school of grace when the Lord Jesus by his Holy Spirit unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to them, and grants the divine anointing by which they are enabled to behold the invisible. Happy are we if we have had our understandings cleared and strengthened by the Master! How many men of profound learning are ignorant of eternal things! They know the killing letter of revelation, but its killing spirit they cannot discern; they have a veil upon their hearts which the eyes of carnal reason cannot penetrate. Such was our case a little time ago; we who now see were once utterly blind; truth was to us as beauty in the dark, a thing unnoticed and neglected. Had it not been for the love of Jesus we should have remained to this moment in utter ignorance, for without his gracious opening of our understanding, we could no more have attained to spiritual knowledge than an infant can climb the Pyramids, or an ostrich fly up to the stars. Jesus' College is the only one in which God's truth can be really learned; other schools may teach us what is to be believed, but Christ's alone can show us how to believe it. Let us sit at the feet of Jesus, and by earnest prayer call in his blessed aid that our dull wits may grow brighter, and our feeble understandings may receive heavenly things.

===

Today's reading: Genesis 46-48, Matthew 13:1-30 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Jacob Goes to Egypt

1 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6 So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. 7 Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.

8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt:

Reuben the firstborn of Jacob.

9 The sons of Reuben:
Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi.

10 The sons of Simeon:
Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.

11 The sons of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

12 The sons of Judah:
Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan).
The sons of Perez:

Hezron and Hamul.

13 The sons of Issachar:
Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.

14 The sons of Zebulun:
Sered, Elon and Jahleel.

15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all.

16 The sons of Gad:
Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.

17 The sons of Asher:
Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah.
Their sister was Serah.
The sons of Beriah:

Heber and Malkiel.

18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah—sixteen in all.

19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.

21 The sons of Benjamin:
Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.

22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob—fourteen in all.

23 The son of Dan:
Hushim.

24 The sons of Naphtali:
Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.

25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven in all.

26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.

30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”

Genesis 47

1 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” 2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.

3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”

“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” 4 They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”

5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”

9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.

11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. 12 Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.

Joseph and the Famine

13 There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”

16 “Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.”17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18 When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we perish before your eyes—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

23 Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.”

25 “You have saved our lives,” they said. “May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.”

26 So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh’s.

27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.

28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. 29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”

“I will do as you say,” he said.

31 “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Genesis 48

Manasseh and Ephraim

1 Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.

3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’

5 “Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. 7 As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

8 When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?”

9 “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father.

Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”

10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.

11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”

12 Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,

“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
—may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”

19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day and said,

“In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing:
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”

So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers. 22And to you I give one more ridge of land than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”


Matthew 13

The Parable of the Sower

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

===

Benjamin [Bĕn'jamĭn]—son of the right hand.

1. The youngest son of Jacob and the only one born in Canaan; founder of a tribal family. His mother, Rachel, who died in giving birth to Benjamin, named him with her last breath Benoni “son of sorrow.” Jacob changed the name to Benjamin (Gen. 35:18, 24).

The Man Beloved of Jehovah

The prophecy of Jacob regarding Benjamin is short and easily verified. Personal courage and martial temperament, a characteristic of the Benjamites throughout history, are before us in Benjamin as a ravening wolf devouring the prey and dividing the spoil. Benjamin was the last, the bravest and the best-beloved tribe of all the tribes of Israel, the center of the affections of the whole family, and the dwelling place of the beloved of the Lord ( Deut. 33:12).

Some Benjamites of the Bible are the second of the Judges, Ehud, Saul, the first of Israel’s kings and Saul of Tarsus, who was “not a whit behind the chiefest of the apostles.” Although “the smallest of the tribes” (1 Sam. 9:21), Benjamin was not to be despised. Christ came from a small village. In the division of the land, as Joshua records it, Jerusalem was assigned to Benjamin ( Josh. 18:28)—a fact referred to by the psalmist, “There is little Benjamin their ruler.” Between the shoulders of Benjamin, the God of Israel caused His name to dwell. In Benjamin He “covered Israel all the day long.”

The tribe of Benjamin, as the seat of God’s love, ought to be the meeting place for all Israel; Jerusalem is so, in a figure. It has open gates for all the tribes of Israel.

2. A son or descendant of Harim who put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:32).

3. A son of Bilhan and a great-grandson of Benjamin (1 Chron. 7:10).

4. One who took part in the repair of the wall (Neh. 3:23).

5. Another who did the same (Neh. 12:34). Also the name of one of the gates of Jerusalem ( Jer. 20:2; 37:13; 38:7; Zech. 14:10).

===

TT_Coramdeo_ttlogo

In the Fullness of Time

Galatians 4:4-5

College students are not the only ones who face attacks on the historicity of Scripture. Hollywood, the Internet, apologists for other religions, and so on bombard us with assaults on Scripture's integrity. The Bible is the most vilified book on the planet, and yet its stories are regularly found to be historically reliable. Take time to find some resources on the historicity of Scripture so that you may be able to answer its critics (1 Peter 3:15-16).

For further study:

Exodus 20:16

The Bible in a year:

Exodus 7-10

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

===

January 19, 2012

The Power of Forgiveness

Part 2

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

The LORD said to me again, 'Go, show your love to a woman loved by someone else, who has been unfaithful to you. In the same way the LORD loves the people of Israel, even though they worship other gods and love to eat the raisin cakes.' So I bought her for six ounces of silver and ten bushels of barley. Then I told her, 'You must wait for me for many days. You must not be a prostitute, and you must not have sexual relations with any other man. I will act the same way toward you.' In the same way Israel will live many days without a king or leader, without sacrifices or holy stone pillars, and without the holy vest or an idol. After this, the people of Israel will return to the LORD their God and follow him and the king from David's family. In the last days, they will turn in fear to the LORD, and he will bless them (Hosea 3:1-5, NCV).

Friend to Friend

True forgiveness always requires sacrifice on our part - a truth that may often seem unfair in human terms. After all, we are the ones who have been hurt. Why should we have to sacrifice anything? Shouldn't the people who hurt us be the ones who have to make the first move and offer the biggest sacrifice? True forgiveness - God's forgiveness - defies human logic and cannot be explained in human terms. Human forgiveness is easier but a shallow substitute and cheap imitation for the amazing power of God's forgiveness.

Hosea was married to a woman who hurt and humiliated him. Scripture does not say Gomer ever repented and asked for Hosea's forgiveness. But that did not stop Hosea from forgiving her. In fact, Hosea sacrificed his pride and his human rights in order to forgive Gomer. Hosea's forgiveness also required a financial sacrifice.

Hosea had to sacrifice materially.

Hosea had to buy back his own wife. Seriously? Gomer was damaged goods and she definitely was not on sale. The price was substantial. Six ounces of silver and ten bushels of barley was the going price of a slave and since prophets are definitely not in the top income bracket, the payment was a great financial sacrifice for Hosea. Gomer's own sin had placed her in bondage. Even so, Hosea was willing to make a financial sacrifice in order to fulfill his commitment in marriage. Love that never gives up is willing to pay a price, to sacrifice so people in bondage can be set free.

Mother Teresa said, "Love, to be real must cost. It must hurt. It must empty us of self!" The words of King David reveal the essence of love and forgiveness. "No, I must pay the full price. I won't give an offering that costs me nothing" (1 Chronicles 21:24, ICB).

Hosea could have played it safe. Nowhere in Scripture does it suggest Gomer wanted his forgiveness, and Hosea had no guarantee she would not do the very same thing again. He took a huge risk in bringing Gomer home. What passes for true love is often little more than a convenient emotional arrangement. Someone is kind to us so we are kind in return. Someone treats us badly, so we don't get mad, we get even. Sound fair? Seem reasonable? Yes, but only in human terms. Love that never fails goes beyond reason and refuses to settle for justice alone but insists on granting mercy.

I love the story of a doctor who told the little boy that he could save his sister's life by giving her some of his blood. "Johnny, are you sure you want to give your blood for Mary?" the doctor asked. The boy hesitated for several moments; his lips trembled as tears filled his eyes. His parents and the doctor assured Johnny that the procedure would not be very painful and would be over with quickly. Finally, he smiled bravely and said, "Sure Doc. I'll give my blood for my sister." As the transfusion took place, the little girl began to respond immediately. Parents, doctors and nurses erupted into cheers and applause. When the ordeal was almost over, Johnny's brave little voice was heard, "Hey, Doc, when do I die?" A stunned silence fell across the room. The doctor and parents suddenly realized what Johnny was thinking. Johnny thought when he gave his blood to his sister, he would die - a very high price he was willing to pay.

Love that never fails is willing to pay a great price and make a great sacrifice. Love that never fails is yours to receive and yours to give.

Let's Pray

Father, I come to You today, asking first for Your forgiveness for the sin in my life. I choose to turn from that sin and obey you. Thank You for your grace and mercy. Give me the strength and power to extend that same mercy and grace to those in my life who have hurt me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What hurt or pain are your holding in your heart and life? Realize it is holding you prisoner and make the choice to let it go today. Forgive the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is a choice that leads to a step of obedience. Forgiveness is not an emotion or feeling. If you make the choice to forgive, God will supply the forgiveness.

Read the whole story of Hosea and Gomer found in the book of Hosea. First put yourself in the place of Gomer. How do you think she reacted to Hosea's decision to forgive her and bring her home? Then put yourself in the place of Hosea. Think about the thoughts and feelings running through Hosea's heart and mind. Record your thoughts and insights in your journal.

What one person do you need to forgive right now? Pray for that person. Ask God to let you see them through His eyes and make the deliberate choice to forgive them.

More from the Girlfriends

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary's website.

Need help with forgiving those who have hurt you? Mary'sE-Bible Study, The Power of Forgiveness offers practical steps you can take to truly forgive.

Need help getting the Word of God into your life? Check out Mary's Weekly Online Bible Study, When I Am Afraid, to learn how to face, deal with and surrender your fears to God.

Are you ready to begin a new faith adventure? Get a copy of our new book, Trusting God.

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

===

How Does the Trinity Support the Divinity of Jesus?

Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

The doctrine of the Trinity is an important cornerstone of Christian belief. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Paul refers to the deep relationship among the three persons of the Trinity: the Spirit, the Lord (Christ) and God (the Father). He illustrates how unity in the church - in terms of spiritual gifts, kinds of service and kinds of working - should reflect the unity of the Trinity. But how does the relationship among the persons of the Trinity provide evidence of Jesus' divine nature?

Although the term Trinity is never used in the Bible, the early church fathers discerned the concept from verses like Matthew 28:19 2 Corinthians 13:14. In fact, the relationship of the Trinity can be traced throughout Scripture. For instance, consider how all were present at Creation: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ... the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters" (Genesis 1:1-2). And Colossians 1:16 says of the Son, "For in him all things were created."

Yet, as Scriptures like Deuteronomy 6:4 reveal, there is only one God. Although each person of the Trinity is distinct, all share the same essence, or nature.

Philosopher Norman Geisler says that another way to think about the Trinity is as one "What" and three "Whos." Says Geisler: "The three Whos (persons) each share the same What (essence). So God is a unity of essence with a plurality of persons. Each person is different, yet they share a common nature."

As difficult as it is to grasp, the concept of the Trinity verifies the divine status of Jesus. Far from being one of many prophets or religious leaders, Jesus is the very essence of God.

NIVSocialicons

ADVERTISEMENT


Today's reading is from the
The Case for Christ Study Bible
by Zondervan


Investigate the Bible's most compelling claims: the existence of a compassionate God and the promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.


===
P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

January 19, 2012

Triggers
Lysa TerKeurst

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV 1984)

I was elated one day when the number on my scale dipped below the plateau weight I'd been stuck at for two weeks. I did a little happy dance and thought, "Finally, I'm making some real progress in this journey. It's going to be such a great day. I'm super motivated. Bring on the raw veggies. Nothing's gonna stop me now!"

Too bad things didn't stay that way. Life, like math, can be unpredictable. I'm no math whiz, but I do remember there being these things called polynomials. Polynomials are algebraic expressions that include real numbers and variables.

That's the way my food issues are-they contain real numbers and variables. I suspect yours do as well. And while we must pay attention to the real numbers by eating less and moving more, we would do well to consider the variables in our lives as well.

Variables are those daily triggers we didn't account for but will detour even the best of intentions. Triggers can be as large as the stab of loneliness from a broken relationship or the memory of a childhood trauma. Triggers can be as small as a discipline "chat" with a teen out past curfew or stumbling across fresh doughnuts in the office break room. They can prompt the thought, "Life will be better if I eat that."

Triggers have nothing to do with physical hunger or the need for legitimate nourishment. They are lies that we've thought so routinely they've become well-worn paths to careless eating. Life is not made better because we overindulge in an unhealthy choice.

The best thing we can do in these triggered moments is to pause. Pause and ask ourselves, "Do I want to eat this right now because I need nourishment or because I'm feeling empty emotionally or spiritually?"

If I need nourishment, I can choose a healthy option. If I'm just feeling empty, I must realize food can fill my stomach but never my soul.

The only way to negate an emotional eating trigger is to match it with truth. The truth is this: "I'm not physically hungry right now, but I need to be filled in another way."

The Bible tells us that we can be rooted in love, not emptiness; that we have power to choose truth; and that as we comprehend the love of Christ, we will be filled to the measure of all the fullness-not of that brownie-but of God (Ephesians 3:17-19). And here's the great thing about truth: it contains no variables! Truth is stable, secure and a surefire way to get me through the unpredictable moments of life.

Take time to pause and use God's truths to challenge your triggers. And, when you're truly physically hungry, that pause will give you the moment you need to choose a healthy snack. Then you will be truly full.

Dear Lord, please help me to battle each of my triggers today with truth. Your truth. Moment by moment. I understand that food can fill my stomach but never my soul. Only You can fill my soul and I am thankful for that. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Don't miss Lysa's NEW Made to Crave Devotional, 60 Days to Craving God, not Food. Expanding on the originalMade to Crave, this book provides 60 new inspirational devotions for your weight-loss journey!

Consider doing Lysa's NEW 6-session Made to Crave Action Plan as a follow up to her New York Timesbestselling Made to Crave book! This DVD series and Participant's Guide is based on extensive research of Dr. Ski Chilton who has identified the five best nutrition choices you can make. Each session is full of powerful teaching from Lysa, practical healthy living tips from Dr. Chilton and personal stories from others whose lives have been changed by Made to Crave!

Visit www.MadetoCrave.org for additional information, as well as fun, FREE and encouraging videos to help you overcome struggles and find lasting peace!

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!

Reflect and Respond:
Food can fill my stomach but never my soul.

This week I'll write down what triggers determine an unhealthy pattern with my eating habits. I'll pause and use God's truths to challenge my triggers. And, when I'm truly physically hungry, that pause will give me the moment I need to choose a healthy snack.

Power Verses:
James 1:3-4, "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (NIV 1984)

John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full." (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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



Looking for more daily inspiration?

Sign up for a Verse of the Day newsletter:
biblegateway.com/newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT

===

Spurgeon-MetropolitanTabernacle-Header-1

Grace exalted—boasting excluded

‘Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.’ Romans 3:27

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 3:1–14

There are two ways by which man might have been for ever blessed. The one was by works: ‘This do and thou shalt live; be obedient and receive the reward.’ The other plan was: ‘Receive grace and blessedness as the free gift of God; stand as a guilty sinner having no merit, and as a rebellious sinner deserving the very reverse of goodness, but stand there and receive all thy good things, simply, wholly, and alone of the free love and sovereign mercy of God.’ Now, the Lord has not chosen the system of works. The word ‘law’, as used twice in the text, is employed, it is believed by many commentators, out of compliment to the Jews, who were so fond of the word, that their antagonism might not be aroused; but it means here, as elsewhere in Scripture, plan, system, method. There were two plans, two systems, two methods, two spirits,—the plan of works and the plan of grace. God has once for all utterly refused the plan of merit and of works, and has chosen to bless men only, and entirely through the plan, or method, or law of faith. This indeed is the bottom of theology, and he who can understand this clearly, it seems to me, can never be very heterodox; orthodoxy must surely follow, and the right teaching of God must be understood when we once for all are able to discriminate with accuracy between that which is of man—works, and that which is of God—faith, and grace received by faith. Now the plan of salvation by works is impossible for us.

For meditation: There are still two basic ideas of salvation—God’s way of sending the Lord Jesus Christ down to earth to lift to heaven all who trust in his death on the cross (John 3:16); and man’s way of trying to climb heavenwards by some other route, even though the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way back to God (John 14:6 ). Which path are you on—the one called ‘God’s way’ or the one called ‘My way’? They lead to different places (Matthew 7:13–14).

Sermon no. 429
19 January (1862)

ADVERTISEMENT

Buy the book this devotional is from!


365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: A unique collection of 365 daily readings from sermons preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from his Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit! Edited by Terence Peter Crosby



===

Spurgeon-NewParkStreet-Header-3

The beatific vision

“We shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Not think about him, and dream about him; but we shall positively “see him as he is.” How different that sight of him will be from that which we have here. For here we see him by reflection. Now, I have told you before, we see Christ “through a glass darkly;” then we shall see him face to face. Good Doctor John Owen, in one of his books, explains this passage, “Here we see through a glass darkly;” and he says that means, “Here we look through a telescope, and we see Christ only darkly through it.” But the good man had forgotten that telescopes were not invented till hundreds of years after Paul wrote; so that Paul could not have intended telescopes. Others have tried to give other meanings to the word. The fact is, glass was never used to see through at that time. They used glass to see by, but not to see through. The only glass they had for seeing was a glass mirror. They had some glass which was no brighter than our black common bottle-glass. “Here we see through a glass darkly.” That means, by means of a mirror. As I have told you, Jesus is represented in the Bible; there is his portrait; we look on the Bible, and we see it. We see him “through a glass darkly.” Just as sometimes, when you are looking in your looking glass, you see somebody going along in the street. You do not see the person; you only see him reflected. Now, we see Christ reflected; but then we shall not see him in the looking-glass; we shall positively see his person. Not the reflected Christ, not Christ in the sanctuary, not the mere Christ shining out of the Bible, not Christ reflected from the sacred pulpit; but “we shall see him as he is.”

For meditation: The sight of Jesus will distress many (Revelation 1:7); are you positively looking forward to seeing him (John 12:21)?

Sermon nos. 61-62
19 January (Preached 20 January 1856)

ADVERTISEMENT

Buy the book this devotional is from!


365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1: A unique collection of 365 daily readings from sermons preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from his New Park Street Pulpit! Edited by Terence Peter Crosby.



===
TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

In the Fullness of Time

Galatians 4:4-5 "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (v. 4).

Our study this month has dealt mainly with the miraculous birth of the Savior in Bethlehem. This Messiah, we have seen, comes in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. In the interest of looking at the biblical prophecies about Jesus more closely, we will take a short break from Matthew and follow Dr. R.C. Sproul's teaching series Coming of the Messiah as our guide.

Across the United States this day, many college students are sitting under professors hostile to the New Testament. Parallels are often drawn between Greek myths of dying and rising gods and the biblical account as proof that the Scriptures are just another work of mythology. Unfortunately, young people are too often unprepared for this onslaught and begin to doubt the Christian faith.

However, as those familiar with ancient literature well know, these similarities are superficial. The Greeks made no real attempt to defend their myths as historical while the Bible grounds itself in real space and time. Luke 2, for example, locates the birth of Jesus during the reign of Caesar Augustus and the governorship of Quirinius, both of whom were real people. The evangelist assumes that we will take his account at face value - that Jesus was a real person who lived in space and time. Scripture is also clear that God became incarnate in the person of Christ Jesus (John 1:14 ). Ancient Greeks abhorred this idea because they believed the physical body to be corrupt, unlike the spiritual realm. Many other such differences between the Bible and pagan thought could be cited.

We must not miss the emphasis Scripture places on history. God's Word is clear that the events it describes actually occurred, and even tells us our faith is in vain if events like the resurrection of Jesus never happened (1 Cor. 15:14 ). Yet, Scripture does not give us every detail concerning what happened between the time of Adam and the apostles; it often omits pedantic figures and details (as was common in those days) in order to relay God's plan of redemption (2 Kings 20:20-21). When time was "full," when all things were perfectly ready, the most significant event of all took place - Jesus was born (Gal. 4:4-5 ). Tomorrow we will begin to study what the Old Testament says about this fullness of time.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

College students are not the only ones who face attacks on the historicity of Scripture. Hollywood, the Internet, apologists for other religions, and so on bombard us with assaults on Scripture's integrity. The Bible is the most vilified book on the planet, and yet its stories are regularly found to be historically reliable. Take time to find some resources on the historicity of Scripture so that you may be able to answer its critics ( 1 Peter 3:15-16).

For further study:

Exodus 20:16

The Bible in a year:

Exodus 7-10

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

===
Win Free Classes for all of 2012 from Liberty University!
Considering going back to school this new year, why not try to win Free Classes for the year at Liberty University Online? Register before February 22nd and be entered for a chance to win. Liberty University Online's flexible and affordable online degree programs mean you can earn your degree where and when you want.



===

Hopeful Fans

This week's reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20

Recommended Reading: Jeremiah 29:4-13; Ezekiel 37:24-28; 1 Peter 3:15

Every team in professional sports has a group of devoted followers you might call hopeful fans. Without them, the team couldn't survive. These aren't rabid fans who constantly vacillate between intense hatred and delight during each game, or fickle fans who cheer enthusiastically during winning streaks but lose interest when the team loses games. These fans remain true no matter what. They're happy when their team wins, certainly, but still wear their colors proudly when they lose. For them, there's always next year.

Israel possessed an unparalleled record of losing seasons. Nations and dynasties flourished and vanished while God's people experienced more losers than winners. The nation's continued existence was in itself a miracle. A casual observer might wonder why God didn't get tired of losing. He could have sold off the team long before. Yet God never gave up his franchise. The people of Israel were his chosen people. He knew they'd eventually win. With God, next year is always a certainty.

This message came to Israel through Zephaniah when storm clouds of devastation and defeat darkened the nation's horizon. While he had earlier joined the chorus of prophets who were predicting Israel's suffering, Zephaniah also added words of hope. The reign of King Josiah included a season of righteousness in Judah, delaying God's judgment. The nation showed all the signs of a "rebuilding team." The people changed their old habits and eliminated evil practices.

Unfortunately, Josiah's reforms didn't last long. Losing ways ran deep within the nation. Yet hope became the refuge of a small group determined to remain faithful. God's hopeful fans stood fast. They realized that "next year" might not happen for a long time, but it would eventually come. God had promised.

The same God who kept his word to Israel keeps his promises to you. You can count on it. So live as a hopeful fan. God's promise describes both his relationship with Israel and the one he longs to have with you: "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

To Take Away

  • What do you think God wants to accomplish in and through your life?
  • Why didn't God give up on Israel? Why doesn't God give up on us?
  • In what ways are you inspired by God's promise to always be with you?

NIVSocialicons

ADVERTISEMENT

New Men's Devotional BibleToday's reading is from the
New Men's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan


The New Men's Devotional Biblehelps apply God's Word to a new generation of Christian men. It includes a full year of all-new devotions by well-known and not-so-well-known men of God.



Post a Comment