Thursday, January 12, 2012

Daily Devotional Thursday 12th January

“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”Psalm 118:5-6 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"These have no root."
Luke 8:13

My soul, examine thyself this morning by the light of this text. Thou hast received the word with joy; thy feelings have been stirred and a lively impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another; superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively impression of the word is not always a lasting one. In the parable, the seed in one case fell upon ground having a rocky bottom, covered over with a thin layer of earth; when the seed began to take root, its downward growth was hindered by the hard stone and therefore it spent its strength in pushing its green shoot aloft as high as it could, but having no inward moisture derived from root nourishment, it withered away. Is this my case? Have I been making a fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life? Good growth takes place upwards and downwards at the same time. Am I rooted in sincere fidelity and love to Jesus? If my heart remains unsoftened and unfertilized by grace, the good seed may germinate for a season, but it must ultimately wither, for it cannot flourish on a rocky, unbroken, unsanctified heart. Let me dread a godliness as rapid in growth and as wanting in endurance as Jonah's gourd; let me count the cost of being a follower of Jesus, above all let me feel the energy of his Holy Spirit, and then I shall possess an abiding and enduring seed in my soul. If my mind remains as obdurate as it was by nature, the sun of trial will scorch, and my hard heart will help to cast the heat the more terribly upon the ill-covered seed, and my religion will soon die, and my despair will be terrible; therefore, O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and then cast the truth into me, and let me yield thee a bounteous harvest.

Evening

"I have prayed for thee."
Luke 22:32

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer's never- ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, he pleads for us; and when we are not praying, he is advocating our cause, and by his supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter--"Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but"--what? "But go and pray for yourself." That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does he say, "But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved." That were a great blessing. No, it is, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." We little know what we owe to our Saviour's prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank him because he never held his peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon his hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Mark, he does not say, "Satan hath desired to have you." He checks Satan even in his very desire, and nips it in the bud. He does not say, "But I have desired to pray for you." No, but "I have prayed for you: I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made." O Jesus, what a comfort it is that thou hast pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; countermined their mines, and unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.

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Today's reading: Genesis 27-28, Matthew 8:18-34 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”

“Here I am,” he answered.

2 Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. 3 Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”

5 Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: 9 Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it.10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”

13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”

14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.

18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”

“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

“The LORD your God gave me success,” he replied.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”

22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked.

“I am,” he replied.

25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.”

Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”

27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,

“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the LORD has blessed.
28 May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”

30 After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”

32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”

“I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”

33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”

34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”

35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”

38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.

39 His father Isaac answered him,

“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.
40 You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.”

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. 43Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

Genesis 28

1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac;9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”


Matthew 8

The Cost of Following Jesus

18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

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Shechaniah [Shĕcha nī'ah]—jehovah is a neighbour or jehovah hath dwelt.

  1. Head of a family of David’s house, but not in succession to the throne (1 Chron. 3:21,22).
  2. A descendant of a family that returned with Ezra from exile(Ezra 8:3).
  3. Another whose descendants returned from exile (Ezra 8:5).
  4. A son of Jehiel who first confessed the trespass of taking strange, or non-Jewish wives (Ezra 10:2).
  5. Father of Shemaiah who helped to repair the wall ( Neh. 3:29).
  6. Father-in-law of Tobiah, the Ammonite who opposed Nehemiah (Neh. 6:18).
  7. A priest who returned with Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:3).
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January 11, 2012

Are You Asking God the Wrong Question?

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Cease striving and know that I am God, (Psalm 46:10, NASB).

Friend to Friend

Could it be that we have made our relationship with God far too difficult? We strive so hard to draw closer to the heart of God. And all the while, God's outstretched hand is reaching to draw us in. Psalm 46:10 reads, "cease striving and know that I am God" (NASB).

Cease striving.

For over a half of a century, I had been striving, pursuing, and seeking God. And like a cat chasing her tail, I had been going in circles. Circling in the wilderness with the Israelites, if you will. Saved from slavery, for sure. Headed to my own personal Promised Land, hopefully. But somehow stuck in the wilderness wandering, ever circling but not quite reaching Jordan's shore.

And I am not alone. Statistics show that one of the top desires of Christians is to grow closer to God. During a recent poll, sixty-five percent said they were declining or on a plateau in their spiritual growth. On the other hand, Peter wrote: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3 ). We have everything we need to experience the ever growing, continually maturing, abundant life, so why aren't we? Why are most of us languishing on the desert plateaus of mediocrity and complacency? Why are most of us satisfied munching on the predigested truths of teachers rather than pulling up to the banquet table and feasting with God at a table set for two?

"God, what do you really want from me?"

I've pondered that question since the genesis of my relationship with Christ. Perhaps you have too. When you boil down all the water from the diluted soup of questions men and women have simmered in their heart through the centuries, this is the one question left in the pot. And somehow, we feel that if we could answer that one question, we would discover why that glory ache persists and how to satisfy our yearning.

I had asked the question a thousand times, but one frosty January morning, I got quiet enough to listen. And then, in the stillness, He showed me that I and my busy sisters have been asking the wrong question.

Rather than ask God what He wants from us, we need to ask Him what He wants for us.

I meditated on Acts 17:28 throughout the following year after the day God whetted my appetite with the possibilities wrapped up in those eight little words. I came to realize that what He wants for us is to sense His presence, experience His love, and delight in intimate relationship as we live and move and have our being in sacred union with Him. And when we do, He opens our eyes to His glory all around and the ache for something more is soothed.

Let's Pray

God, what do you want for me today? Open my eyes to see and ears to hear. Show me glimpses of Your presence as I live and move and have my being in you. And help me not to miss it!

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Have you ever asked God what He wants from you?

Have you ever asked God what he wants for you?

Now, I want you to do just that. Ask God what He wants for you and then pay attention.

At day's end, tell me what you learned. What did He show you? Let's chat at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends

Do you need a tune-up when it comes to tuning-in to God? Do you want to know how to hear that still small voice? If so, check out Sharon's book, Becoming a Woman who Listens to God and sharpen your spiritual listening skills! And don't forget to check out our new Girlfriends in God devotion book, Trusting God.

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about

how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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The Move to Nazareth

Matthew 2:19-23 "He went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: 'He shall be called a Nazarene'" ( v. 23).

As we finish our study of Matthew 2, note how the evangelist has taught us about God's providence. First, we should see that Herod's hatred of Jesus and slaughter of the young boys in Bethlehem (vv. 16-18) parallel Pharaoh's attempt to kill Moses (Ex. 1:8-2:10). Moses was the mediator of the old covenant, and in ordaining the circumstances of the birth of Christ to be so similar to Moses' birth, our Father has prepared His people to receive Jesus as a new and greater Moses, the mediator of a new and better covenant (Heb. 7:22).

Secondly, the dreams of warning that Joseph and the magi experience ( Matt. 2:12-13, 19-20, 22) show that God has sovereignly overruled man's attempt to destroy His Son. Herod's attempt to kill Jesus has been unsuccessful. In fact, it is Herod who dies (in 4 b.c., dating the Savior's birth therefore between 6 and 4 b.c. ), enabling Joseph and his family to return to Palestine (v. 21).

After learning that Archelaus is ruling in Judea, Joseph takes Jesus and Mary to Nazareth in Galilee (v. 22). This is wise, for Archelaus can be as ruthless as his father Herod and might very well be a threat to Jesus.

Matthew tells us the move to Nazareth fulfills prophecy, and yet verse 23 d oes not quote the Old Testament directly. The use of "prophets" and not "prophet" helps explains why this is so. Jerome, a famous biblical scholar from the early church, said Matthew, "in speaking of the prophets in general...has shown that he has not taken the specific words but rather the sense from the Scriptures" (Commentary on Matthew 1.2.23). The evangelist is giving us a general teaching about the Messiah found throughout the Old Testament.

In Jesus' day, Nazareth is considered a backwater village from which nothing good can come (John 1:46 ). To be from Nazareth brings scorn and ridicule, and many people question Jesus' validity because of His hometown (7:40-44). However, there are many passages in Scripture that tell us the Messiah will be despised and afflicted (Isa. 53:1-3; Dan. 9:26a ). Many would find reason for hating our Savior once they learn He is a Nazarene, and so in settling in Nazareth, Jesus begins to fulfill His work as Messiah.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Understanding how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament means that we have to look at more than just isolated verses and proof-texts. As Matthew 2:23 indicates, the apostles teach that Jesus fulfills the broad themes, ideas, and stories found throughout the Old Testament. If we are to understand the vocation Jesus fulfills, we must be well-versed in the Old Testament. Take time this week to study the Old Testament sacrificial system or the exile.

For further study:

Psalm 69:6-8

The Bible in a year:

Genesis 38-40

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

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At Issue - Selfishness

Joshua 20:1-9

In ancient times people often sought personal revenge for a murder, even if the homicide was unintentional. So God provided a safe haven for those who killed someone accidentally-a city of refuge where the offender would be protected from the avenger until a trial could be held.

How often we need that place of refuge! Intentionally or not, we sin all the time. We harbor angry, murderous thoughts. We lash out with our words. We cut someone else down to build ourselves up. Thank God that he provides a safe haven for us-Jesus, our living city of refuge.

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Remedy: A cure for a universal sickness

Today's reading: Romans 3

Romans 3:22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Throughout his arduous and adventurous life, the apostle Paul has kept one career goal constantly before him: a visit to Rome. In Paul's day, Rome stands alone, the capital of the powerful Roman Empire, which rules over the entire Mediterranean region. A tiny new church in Rome has caused great excitement among other Christians who know that in some ways the future of the church rests on what happens in Rome. If they expect to make an impact on the world, they will have to penetrate this great city.

Paul prays for the Roman church constantly and has made plans to visit there several times. Since none of those plans has yet materialized, Paul writes this letter, a concise summary of the Christian faith.

Who's Sick?

The remedy for human problems, Paul proclaims, is God's amazing grace-a complete cure available to all. Yet people will not seek a cure until they know they are ill. If a doctor were to suddenly appear on a television news program announcing a cure for, say, the Paraguayan flu, who would care? For his discovery to impress us so deeply that we would seek vaccination, he must first prove the terrible danger posed by this unknown virus.

Thus Romans begins with one of the darkest summaries in the Bible. "There is no one righteous, not even one," (Romans 3:10) Paul concludes. The entire world is doomed to spiritual death unless a cure can be found. Out of the mournful sounds, however, comes a clear, bright note of wonderful news (Romans 3:21-31), a compact expression of the core message of the gospel.

Life Question

Whom in your life are you concerned about, that they will understand the message Romans presents?
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The Move to Nazareth

Matthew 2:19-23

Understanding how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament means that we have to look at more than just isolated verses and proof-texts. As Matthew 2:23 indicates, the apostles teach that Jesus fulfills the broad themes, ideas, and stories found throughout the Old Testament. If we are to understand the vocation Jesus fulfills, we must be well-versed in the Old Testament. Take time this week to study the Old Testament sacrificial system or the exile.

For further study:

Psalm 69:6-8

The Bible in a year:

Genesis 38-40

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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Cheer for the faint-hearted

‘But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.’Judges 13:23

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 2:9–11

About five days after I first found Christ, when my joy had been such that I could have danced for very mirth at the thought that Christ was mine, on a sudden I fell into a sad fit of despondency. I will tell you why. When I first believed in Christ, I am not sure that I thought the devil was dead, but certainly I had a kind of notion that he was so mortally wounded he could not disturb me. And then I certainly fancied that the corruption of my nature had received its death blow. I felt persuaded that it would never sprout again. I was going to be perfect—I fully calculated upon it—and lo, I found an intruder I had not reckoned upon, an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. So I went to that same Primitive Methodist chapel where I first received peace with God, through the simple preaching of the Word. The text happened to be ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ ‘There,’ I thought ‘that’s a text for me.’ I had got as far as that—in the middle of that very sentiment—when the minister began by saying, ‘Paul was not a believer when he said this.’ Well now I knew I was a believer, and it seemed to me from the context that Paul must have been a believer too. Now I am sure he was. The man went on to say, that no child of God ever did feel any conflict within. So I took up my hat and left the place.

For meditation: This appears to have been on 11 January 1850. The very same people who have helped us can soon become a hindrance to us (Matthew 16:16–23; James 3:1–2). God is always a help in the Christian’s time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Sermon no. 440
11 January (Preached 26 January 1862)

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The war of truth

“And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.” Exodus 17:9

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

There are many things that should make you valiant for God and for his truth. The first thing I will bring to your remembrance is the fact, that this warfare in which you are engaged is an hereditary warfare; it is not one which you began, but it is one which has been handed to you from the moment when the blood of Abel cried aloud for vengeance. Each martyr that has died has passed the blood-red flag to the next, and he in his turn has passed it on to another. Every confessor who has been nailed to the stake to burn, has lit his candle, and handed it to another, and said, “Take care of that!” And now here is the old “sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Remember what hands have handled the hilt; remember what arms have wielded it; remember how often it has “pierced to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow.” Will you disgrace it? There is the great banner: it has waved in many a breeze; long ere the flag of this our land was made, this flag of Christ was borne aloft. Will you stain it? Will you not hand it to your children, still unsullied, and say, “Go on, go on; we leave you the heritage of war; go on, and conquer. What your fathers did, do you again, still keep up the war, till time shall end.” I love my Bible because it is a Bible baptized with blood; I love it all the better, because it has the blood of Tyndale on it; I love it, because it has on it the blood of John Bradford, and Rowland Taylor, and Hooper; I love it, because it is stained with blood.

For meditation: The Christian faith does not change with the course of time; we are still to contend for the truth (Jude 3). The church today has no right to insult the memory of the martyrs by making friends with unbiblical teaching which they bravely opposed with their lives.

Sermon no. 112
11 January (1857)

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Micca Campbell

January 11, 2012

Learning to Trust Again
Micca Monda Campbell

"Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'" John 11:40 (NIV)

After my husband died, I felt unloved and forgotten by God. I'd trusted Him and believed as His child nothing bad would happen to me. Yet when something tragic did happen, I bought the lie. "I knew it, God. I knew You really didn't love me!" He had promised never to leave or desert me, but there I was, alone. How could God betray me? I wondered.

Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus, were in Jesus' inner circle of friends. As part of the "in" crowd, Mary and Martha felt certain Jesus would come to them when Lazarus got ill. They had seen Jesus heal and minister to complete strangers. Surely, He'd rush to those whom He loved. However, we see in John 11:4-6 that was not the case.

Jesus indeed loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Yet, even after He heard Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days.

Let's pause here for a moment. It can be confusing. If Jesus loved His friends why did He wait to go to their side? These verses appear to validate a fear of rejection."If Jesus ignored His friend Lazarus, then He can ignore me too."

Do you know that hollow, helpless feeling that accompanies the pain of rejection, loss and loneliness? It may be the loss of your home or of a pregnancy, too many weekends spent alone, or perhaps a loved one rejected you. That pain warns that trusting again is too risky.

The truth is, when we experience emotional or physical trauma, and God doesn't respond like we think He should, we have two choices. Either turn to God, trusting Him with the result; or run from God and feed on bitterness. It is possible for us to take the second choice out all together. We can learn to trust again.

Perspective is often limited by circumstances. God knows exactly what He's doing and it's always based on love. As a young widow, when I was overcome with fear, I wasn't really looking for answers. I needed the assurance that God was near, in control, and that He cared about my circumstances and me.

While others may reject us, you and I need not fear rejection from God. In the weeks and months after my husband's death, I began to understand God had not left me, but was in the pit with me. I started to see a deeper truth. Bad things are going to happen to me while on earth.

Sickness, abuse and death are part of life in a fallen world that God will someday restore. Until then, God may allow me to go through these things. It's not to cause me any undue pain, but rather He allows them and then uses them to accomplish spiritual growth. Charles Stanley explains, "Some things are so important to God that they are worth interrupting the happiness and health of His children in order to accomplish them."

This was true with Mary and Martha. Jesus told Martha that she would see the glory of God if she believed. If you and I choose faith over fear, we will see the glory of God turn our pain into life and blessings. Over the years, as I've turned to the Lord and away from my fears, I've seen His glory in the gifts of my new husband and three children.

As Mary and Martha believed, they witnessed the glory of God when He raised their brother from the dead. Their fears vanished and their faith was restored. If you and I want to exchange our fear for faith, we must believe that what Christ has in store for us is worth our present pain.

Dear Lord, even when I don't understand Your actions, help me trust that You have my best at heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell

Visit Micca's blog to hear more of her story and how she learned to trust God again.

Would you like to bring the message of Micca's devotion to the women of your church? Click here to find out more about considering Micca as your next retreat / key note speaker.

Additional Resources by Micca Campbell

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
Jesus told them to remove the stone covering Lazarus' grave. The stone can represent our hurt, anger or pride. In order to see your miracle, you may need to remove the stone that has hardened your heart against trusting Christ.

Reflections:
Can looking at my circumstances from God's perspective lessen my anxieties?

Will I chose to trust God (again) today? Why or why not?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 54:10, "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you." (NIV)

© 2012 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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



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