Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daily Devotional Saturday 11th February

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"I know how to abound."
Philippians 4:12

There are many who know "how to be abased" who have not learned "how to abound." When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian far oftener disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the refining pot of prosperity. Oh, what leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God! Yet this is not a matter of necessity, for the apostle tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much he knew how to use it. Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, and so floated safely. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand, yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, "In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry." It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once, but while the flesh was yet in their mouth, the wrath of God came upon them. Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy their own hearts' lust. Fulness of bread has often made fulness of blood, and that has brought on wantonness of spirit. When we have much of God's providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God's grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry--so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you "how to be full."

"Let not the gifts thy love bestows

Estrange our hearts from thee."


"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee."
Isaiah 44:22

Attentively observe the instructive similitude: our sins are like a cloud. As clouds are of many shapes and shades, so are our transgressions. As clouds obscure the light of the sun, and darken the landscape beneath, so do our sins hide from us the light of Jehovah's face, and cause us to sit in the shadow of death. They are earth-born things, and rise from the miry places of our nature; and when so collected that their measure is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Alas! that, unlike clouds, our sins yield us no genial showers, but rather threaten to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. O ye black clouds of sin, how can it be fair weather with our souls while ye remain?

Let our joyful eye dwell upon the notable act of divine mercy--"blotting out." God himself appears upon the scene, and in divine benignity, instead of manifesting his anger, reveals his grace: he at once and forever effectually removes the mischief, not by blowing away the cloud, but by blotting it out from existence once for all. Against the justified man no sin remains, the great transaction of the cross has eternally removed his transgressions from him. On Calvary's summit the great deed, by which the sin of all the chosen was forever put away, was completely and effectually performed.

Practically let us obey the gracious command, "return unto me." Why should pardoned sinners live at a distance from their God? If we have been forgiven all our sins, let no legal fear withhold us from the boldest access to our Lord. Let backslidings be bemoaned, but let us not persevere in them. To the greatest possible nearness of communion with the Lord, let us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, strive mightily to return. O Lord, this night restore us!


Today's reading: Leviticus 8-10, Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
The Ordination of Aaron and His Sons

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams and the basket containing bread made without yeast,3 and gather the entire assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” 4 Moses did as the LORD commanded him, and the assembly gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

5 Moses said to the assembly, “This is what the LORD has commanded to be done.” 6 Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. 7 He put the tunic on Aaron, tied the sash around him, clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him. He also fastened the ephod with a decorative waistband, which he tied around him. 8 He placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. 9 Then he placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem, on the front of it, as the LORD commanded Moses.

10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them. 12 He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him. 13 Then he brought Aaron’s sons forward, put tunics on them, tied sashes around them and fastened caps on them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

14 He then presented the bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 15 Moses slaughtered the bull and took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on all the horns of the altar to purify the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. So he consecrated it to make atonement for it. 16 Moses also took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and both kidneys and their fat, and burned it on the altar. 17 But the bull with its hide and its flesh and its intestines he burned up outside the camp, as the LORD commanded Moses.

18 He then presented the ram for the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 19 Then Moses slaughtered the ram and splashed the blood against the sides of the altar. 20 He cut the ram into pieces and burned the head, the pieces and the fat. 21 He washed the internal organs and the legs with water and burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.

22 He then presented the other ram, the ram for the ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head.23 Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 Moses also brought Aaron’s sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Then he splashed blood against the sides of the altar. 25 After that, he took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, both kidneys and their fat and the right thigh. 26 And from the basket of bread made without yeast, which was before the LORD, he took one thick loaf, one thick loaf with olive oil mixed in, and one thin loaf, and he put these on the fat portions and on the right thigh. 27 He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and they waved them before the LORD as a wave offering. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering as an ordination offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD. 29 Moses also took the breast, which was his share of the ordination ram, and waved it before the LORD as a wave offering, as the LORD commanded Moses.

30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments.

31 Moses then said to Aaron and his sons, “Cook the meat at the entrance to the tent of meeting and eat it there with the bread from the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded: ‘Aaron and his sons are to eat it.’ 32 Then burn up the rest of the meat and the bread. 33 Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for your ordination will last seven days. 34 What has been done today was commanded by the LORD to make atonement for you. 35 You must stay at the entrance to the tent of meeting day and night for seven days and do what the LORD requires, so you will not die; for that is what I have been commanded.”

36 So Aaron and his sons did everything the LORD commanded through Moses.

Leviticus 9

The Priests Begin Their Ministry

1 On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. 2 He said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the LORD. 3 Then say to the Israelites: ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, a calf and a lamb—both a year old and without defect—for a burnt offering,4 and an ox and a ram for a fellowship offering to sacrifice before the LORD, together with a grain offering mixed with olive oil. For today the LORD will appear to you.’”

5 They took the things Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting, and the entire assembly came near and stood before the LORD. 6 Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.”

7 Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people; sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, as the LORD has commanded.”

8 So Aaron came to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. 9 His sons brought the blood to him, and he dipped his finger into the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. 10 On the altar he burned the fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, as the LORD commanded Moses; 11 the flesh and the hide he burned up outside the camp.

12 Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar.13 They handed him the burnt offering piece by piece, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14 He washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on top of the burnt offering on the altar.

15 Aaron then brought the offering that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering as he did with the first one.

16 He brought the burnt offering and offered it in the prescribed way. 17 He also brought the grain offering, took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering.

18 He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. 19 But the fat portions of the ox and the ram—the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver— 20 these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. 21 Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the LORD as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.

22 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down.

23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.

Leviticus 10

The Death of Nadab and Abihu

1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:

“‘Among those who approach me
I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.’”

Aaron remained silent.

4 Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary.” 5 So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.

6 Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire. 7 Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting or you will die, because the LORD’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did as Moses said.

8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses.”

12 Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering left over from the food offerings prepared without yeast and presented to the LORD and eat it beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 Eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the food offerings presented to the LORD; for so I have been commanded. 14 But you and your sons and your daughters may eat the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. Eat them in a ceremonially clean place; they have been given to you and your children as your share of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. 15 The thigh that was presented and the breast that was waved must be brought with the fat portions of the food offerings, to be waved before the LORD as a wave offering. This will be the perpetual share for you and your children, as the LORD has commanded.”

16 When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17“Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the LORD. 18Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”

19 Aaron replied to Moses, “Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the LORD have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?” 20 When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.

Matthew 25

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


Eli [Ē'lī]—jehovah is high or my god.The high priest and judge of Israel of the family of Ithamar (1 Sam. 1-4;14:3).

The Man Who Lacked Parental Authority

There are few Bible men in whose character we cannot find some great and glaring fault. There is usually a dead fly in the ointment, a rent in the garment, a spot on the whitest sheet. Eli was a good man whose life was pure. He loved and delighted in God’s service, but was faulty in one point. He failed to exercise the proper authority of a parent over his children.

Eli belonged to the tribe of Levi, and for years acted as a judge and as High Priest in Israel. He lived at Shiloh in a dwelling adjoining the Temple for the greater portion of his life. We know little about him until he was well advanced in age. The first mention of him is when Hannah came to pour out her heart.

Eli’s fault which brought sorrow upon his declining years was the conduct of his own two sons, Phinehas and Hophni, who, although lacking their father’s character and qualities, were yet put into the priest’s office. Their conduct disgraced their high calling and shocked the people so much that they “abhorred the offering of the Lord.” While Eli warned them of their shameful ways, he did not rebuke them with the severity their evil deeds merited. He should have exercised the stern authority of a father and rebuked them as a judge. Instead Eli only mildly reasoned with his sons saying: “Why do ye such things?” But the sons disregarded such a weak and useless protest for their hearts were cold and callous and so they no longer heeded their father’s feelings.

Although Eli had no power to change the hearts of his sons, he could have prevented their ministry before the Lord, but he “restrained them not.” He wanted to be kind to them but it was a false and mistaken kindness. A seasonable correction would have saved them from ruin. Eli had no need to be harsh and severe, only firm and decided in the matter of obedience. Eli was twice warned that judgment would overtake him and his sons, but such warning was lost upon him. He dearly loved his sons and could not take action against them.

What a pitiable spectacle Eli presents! An old man of ninety, almost blind, waited to hear the result of the grim battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. How he trembled for his nation, his sons and also for the Ark of God which would be dishonored if it fell into enemy hands! Then the messenger came with news of the slaughter of his sinful sons and of the taking of the Ark. As Eli heard mention of the latter he fell off his seat by the side of a gate and died of a broken neck, yes, and of a broken heart! As is often the case, children bring down their father’s gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.



How to Be a Good Steward

Malachi 3:8-12

Dr. R.C. Sproul notes that we are free today to give to a variety of Christian causes because in the new covenant there is no longer just one storehouse as under the old covenant. The lion's share of the tithe should go to one's local church, he says, but we may also contribute to Christian schools and seminaries, parachurch ministries, and mission organizations as part of our giving. Are you giving to the Lord's work according to His demands?

For further study:

Leviticus 27:32

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 21-23

For the weekend:

Leviticus 24-26

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.



How to Be a Good Steward

Malachi 3:8-12 "Bring the full tithes.... And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing ( v. 10).

Stewardship, the wise use of our resources to glorify God, is the final means of grace that we will discuss in our study of five basic practices of Christian piety. The way we allocate our time, effort, and money speaks volumes about our heart's priorities, giving us a clear window into our own spiritual maturity.

Our Creator instituted the principle of stewardship in creation when He gave humanity the task of exercising dominion over the earth He created ( Gen. 1:27-28). Ever since then, all people have been tasked with managing their natural resources for the purpose of advancing God's kingdom. This is a principle that is easy to forget because we like to think of our paychecks, properties, investments, energy, and time as our own. Yet "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" (Ps. 24:1 ), and everything to which we attach our name and regard as our "own" belongs ultimately to the Almighty. Our possessions are just temporarily "on loan," as it were, from God.

Wise stewardship is vital to living coram Deo, before the face of God in a manner pleasing to God. Every dollar we spend in one place is a dollar we cannot spend somewhere else, and if our priorities with our time, money, and talents are not the same as the Lord's, we are guilty of sin. We can waste our resources like the prodigal son did (Luke 15:11-13 ), or we can put them to good use in the church.

In today's passage, God chastises His people for robbing Him and failing to bring their tithes to the storehouse (Mal. 3:8). Unfortunately, this problem continues in the covenant community even today. Routine surveys tell us that more than ninety percent of professing evangelicals fail to tithe. Our priorities rarely conform to the Lord's. Worship and education are among God's chief concerns for His people (Lev. 10:3;Deut. 6:6-7), but pastors and teachers consistently rank as the lowest paid professionals in the United States.

Christ's coming did not abrogate the command to bring our tithes into the storehouse, though we often live contrariwise. Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matt. 6:21), and our checkbooks are one of the best objective guides to the deepest desires of our hearts.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Dr. R.C. Sproul notes that we are free today to give to a variety of Christian causes because in the new covenant there is no longer just one storehouse as under the old covenant. The lion's share of the tithe should go to one's local church, he says, but we may also contribute to Christian schools and seminaries, parachurch ministries, and mission organizations as part of our giving. Are you giving to the Lord's work according to His demands?

For further study:

Leviticus 27:32

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 21-23

For the weekend:

Leviticus 24-26

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.



The Tabernacle—without the camp

“And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.” Exodus 33:7

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 13:9-16

This going out of the camp will involve much inconvenience. Some try to get over the inconvenience in the way Joshua did, they think they will come out of the camp altogether and live in the tabernacle, and then there will be no difficulty. You know there are many pious minds, a little over-heated with imagination, who think, that if they have never mixed with the world they could be holy. No doubt they would like to have a building erected, in which they could live, and pray, and sing all day, and never go to business, nor have anything at all to do with buying and selling. Thus they think by going without the camp they should become the people of God. In this however, they mistake the aim and object of the Christian religion—“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” That were an easy, lazy subterfuge, for getting rid of the hard task of having to fight for Christ. To go out of the battle in order that you may win the victory, is a strange method indeed of seeking to become “more than conquerors!” No, no, we must be prepared, like Moses, to go into the camp and to come out of it; always to come out of it when we seek fellowship with God, but still to be in it; to be mixed up with it, to be in the midst of it doing the common acts of man, and yet never being tainted by its infection, and never having the spirit troubled by that sin and evil which is so rampant there. I counsel you, not that you should come out of the world, but that being in it, you should be so distinctly not of it, that all men may see that you worship the Father outside the camp of their common association and their carnal worship.

For meditation: As in everything the Lord Jesus Christ is our perfect example—not of the world, but most certainly in it (John 17:14-18), separate from sinners ( Hebrews 7:26) and yet able to be called the friend of sinners (Luke 7:34 and 15:2).

Sermon no. 359
10 February (1861)



The dawn of revival, or prayer speedily answered

‘At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved.’ Daniel 9:23

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 18:1–8

To multiply expressions such as ‘O Lord! O Lord! O Lord!’ may not always be right. There may be much sin in such repetitions, amounting to taking God’s name in vain. But it is not so with Daniel. His repetitions are forced from the depths of his soul, ‘O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do.’ These are the volcanic eruptions of a soul on fire, heaving terribly. It is just the man’s soul wanting relief. Jesus himself, when he prayed most vehemently, prayed three times, using the same words. Variety of expression sometimes shows that the mind is not altogether absorbed in the object, but is still able to consider the mode of its utterance; but when the heart becomes entirely swallowed up in the desire it cannot stay to polish and fashion its words, it seizes upon any expressions nearest to hand, and with these it continues its entreaties. So long as God understands it, the troubled mind has no anxiety about its modes of speech. Daniel here, with what the old divines would have called multiplied ingeminations [repetitions], groans himself upward till he gains the summit of his desires. To what shall I liken the pleadings of the man greatly beloved? It seems to me as though he thundered and lightened at the gate of heaven. He stood there before God and said to him, ‘O thou Most High, thou hast brought me to this river Ulai [seeDaniel 8:2,16] as thou didst Jacob to the Jabbok, and with thee all night I mean to stay and wrestle till the break of day. I cannot, will not let thee go except thou bless me.’ No prayer is at all likely to bring down an immediate answer if it be not a fervent prayer. ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much;’ but if it be not fervent we cannot expect to find it effectual or prevalent. We must get rid of the icicles that hang about our lips.

For meditation : Repetition in prayer is not wrong in itself. What we must avoid is vain repetition (Matthew 6:7). Contrast the wild and vain repetition of the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:26–29) with the meaningful and heartfelt repetition of Elijah’s brief prayer which God answered (1 Kings 18:36–39).

Sermon no. 734
10 February (1867)


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February 10, 2012

Red Hot Romance: Take T.I.M.E. for Love

Pam Farrel

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions.

We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends.

From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend," Pam Farrel.

Today's Truth

My love calls to me: Arise, my darling. Come away, my beautiful one (Song of Solomon 2:10, HCSV).

Friend to Friend

We live in a relationally time starved world with many of us feeling pressed to find quality moments for our spouse, children, friends and family. Today's verse is from Song of Solomon, and it brings up one of the questions we asked when researching our book Red Hot Monogamy. Just how much time does it take to stay in love for a life time? In our life, and from those we have advised over our 32 years together, we have concluded the minimum time commitment to maintain the connectedness for a healthy strong marriage can be summarized with the word T.I.M.E.

Ten – twenty minutes to talk together alone everyday. It is amazing how just making time to talk about things more important than who is going to pick up the milk will reconnect and rekindle your hearts. This is the reason that we place couple communication questions in all of the books we author. Many of the most happily married couples we know, those with a spark in their eyes even after 30, 40, 50 years together, have found the magic in the small things: a cup of coffee and conversation in the morning or a walk around the block in the evening.

Invest in a weekly date night (or date breakfast or lunch) together for at least 4 hours. We believe in the weekly date time so much that we actually schedule two of these a week because sometimes life interrupts the best laid plans so having twice as much time as we actually feel we need each week for a date ensures that even on the busiest weeks we get at least the minimum. (And this same principle can also help you achieve the time you want with your children or a friend).

A weekly date doesn't have to cost much either. In Red Hot Monogamy we give over 200 red hot romantic ideas and many of them you can pull off for pennies. Here are a few:

If you hear "your song" on the radio, simply call his/her cell phone and hold your phone up to the speaker and let the song do the romancing.

Create a photo postcard of the two of you and on the backside, write a thank you for that special memory and an invitation out to another romantic activity (or send it via email).

Recreate your first date. If you can still fit into it, wear the same clothes. If not, at least go to the same places.

Check a book out of the library or buy a book of love poems. Sit in front of the fire place in each other's arms and take turns reading poems to each other. Or write one yourself and read aloud.

Create a series of thank you notes. Send one a day for as many days as you can think of things to thank your mate for. (Or send a daily text message sharing your appreciation).

Each of you should take a blank set of sticky notes (each can choose your own color) and write short affirmations. Place them on the mirror, the rear view mirror in the car; on his golf clubs, in her briefcase, inside his shoe, etc . . . try to find the most outrageous spot to place the love note. (This is fun to do with children too.)

Use everyday items to send a unique set of messages, for example, use the title of a candy bar with a note that says, "You are a "Big Hunk" or a note on a box of cereal reading, "You are my "Life."

Have dinner someplace different in your home: in front of the fire place, on the rooftop, on the patio or balcony out back, in the attic, under the tree in the back yard, etc.

Use inexpensive dime store Valentines to create a trail of clues that lead to a romantic destination. You can also make this into a fun car rally by taping the Valentines around town, around the mall or leave taped to your friend's front doors.

Make a monthly day away policy. At least once a month spend 6 - 10 uninterrupted hours together. This can be anything you both enjoy. Try a new sport or hobby to create some common bonds.

Escape! Try to get away from it all for a 24- 48 hours twice a year—or at minimum once a year for your anniversary! We recommend twice a year with one being a marriage conference to learn new tools and skills, and the other just for rest, relaxation and romance!

Let's Pray

Lord, help me MAKE TIME for my most vital relationships so those I love sense YOUR love.

In Jesus' name,


Now It's Your Turn

Plan to succeed! Which letter in T.I.M.E. do you need more of? If you are married, get out your calendar and mark off time for your relationship before other things fill your days. If you are single, make a list of your most vital friendships and mark off blocks of time to enjoy fellowship.

More from the Girlfriends

Time is a gift to your marriage, your children, and your friendships. (If you want to check out how God view's time, see Ephesians 5:15-16) Today plan a time to pull away from the hectic pace of life and enjoying the simple pleasure of a good conversation. Enjoy your T.I.M.E.!

Bill and Pam Farrel are international speakers, authors of over 35 books including best selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. Free relationship articles (like Recession Romance: Free or Nearly Free Dates) and other books and resources like Red Hot Monogamy and Pam's newest 52 Ways to Wow Your Husbandcan be found . You can connect to Pam by a "Like" to Pam and Bill on Facebook or follow Pam on Twitter.

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Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106


Amy Carroll

February 10, 2012

Retreat with Jesus
Amy Carroll

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV 1984)

When a new neighbor moved in next door, Caroline rallied the troops in her neighborhood to prepare a warm greeting. She and her friend planned a feast to take over to welcome the newcomer to their community. Caroline called her neighbor and was surprised when her hospitality was met with suspicion.

"Why did you say you wanted to bring me dinner?" she questioned. Caroline explained that it was a tradition in their area and that they'd like to deliver dinner to welcome her personally. The neighbor responded, "I tell you what. I'll give you a call when I'm hungry." Click.

Caroline reflected on how many times we treat God the same way that her new neighbor treated her. Each day God lays out a feast and invites every believer to come eat our fill. I had to ask myself an important question: How many days do I rush by God's table and throw an "I'll come when I'm hungry!" back over my shoulder?

I think I'm full, but God knows that I'm simply ignoring my hunger. I need to sit down daily to eat and be filled from God's table. Luke 1:53 says, "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty" (NIV 1984).

I long to have a heart to approach Him daily just as I am-poor and hungry. He invites me to come to Him so that I can leave rich and full. What a glorious exchange! What a divine pleasure!

Daily time enjoying God is essential, but sometimes God gives us an invitation to a private, extended feast. I am envious of one of my pastors. He takes a week each year for a spiritual retreat to a monastery. He goes where it's quiet and simple and spends a week with Jesus.

Maybe someday when my children are older and I'm caught up on laundry I'll be able to do that, but recently God led me to do something equally wonderful on a smaller scale. I took a spiritual retreat during the school day in a room at my church.

As I walked up the stairs to the empty room, I felt nervous. I had spent hours in prayer with others, but I had never spent this long alone with God. Would I have enough to say to Him? Would He speak to me in the silence? Would the minutes drag by? Would I walk out unchanged or disappointed?

At the end of the day, my questions were answered. God met me there. We filled our time together with prayer, Bible reading and worship. God spoke words of direction to me in the silence. I came in knowing that I was hungry, and He was faithful to fill me.

Having mini-retreats with Jesus is something that I plan to do now at least twice a year. In the midst of a full life, it's necessary to intentionally set extended time aside to seek His face and worship Him. I'll still look forward to a week in an abbey, but in the meantime I'll bask in a school day retreat as I renew my relationship with God and feast on His goodness!

Dear Lord, help me know You are good. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Visit Amy's blog

Intimacy with God: Your Daily Guide to Prayer by Tara Furman

Reflect and Respond:
Have I ignored my spiritual hunger and run by God's feast?

Today I'll pray for a desire for extended time with Him and mark a day on my calendar for a retreat with Jesus.

Power Verses:
Mark 6:31, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" (NIV 1984)

Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled." (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


Thomas Becket: Murder in the Cathedral

Peter Abelard (1079 – 1142) was a freethinker by twelfth-century standards, not bound by the wisdom of archbishops or saints. He challenged philosophers and theologians, including Anselm and his theory of the atonement. Christ's death, he insisted, revealed his infinite love more than anything else. Abelard's views on the atonement are as controversial today as they were in his day.

An archbishop of Canterbury and the most popular saint of the High Middle Ages, Thomas Becket (1118 - 1170) is the reason for which People make pilgrimages to Canterbury - "the holy blisful martir for to seke." Without this saint, who from the tomb heals all varieties of diseases, the wonderfully earthy poetry of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales would not have been written. Thomas Becket, murdered in the cathedral, is loved and hated as both saint and traitor.

Through family wealth, good connections and street smarts, Becket easily climbs the ladder of success. He begins his career as an aide to the archbishop of Canterbury. Later appointed archdeacon of Canterbury and eventually Lord Chancellor in service of King Henry II, he helps to maximize royal power over church office and land. But his tenure is not without tension. Taxing church property is unpopular among clerics whose incomes are diminished. As the king's right-hand man, Becket is perceived as the archenemy of the church.

In 1162, to secure absolute authority over the church, Henry appoints Becket archbishop of Canterbury, a brilliant strategic stroke, he imagines. Becket is ordained a priest on Saturday and an archbishop on Sunday. However, unlike previous advancements, the promotion has a dramatic effect on Becket. Henry is no longer his superior - only God is. Suddenly, he becomes a servant leader. In championing the church rather than the state, he takes a page from desert asceticism. He sets aside his ornate clerical wardrobe, dons a hair shirt and rags, and takes on the diet of a beggar. He daily washes the feet of lepers, and to atone for his sins he lashes his back until his flesh is raw.

The king is not impressed. But there is more at stake than an archbishop flaunting his asceticism. Devoted to God and the church, Becket now opposes the king in matters of church property taxes and challenges church authority in general. He refuses to accede to the Constitutions of Clarendon that favor royal power. The tensions escalate to the point that Becket fears for his life. Though he flees to France in 1164, still his motives and activities are questioned by friend and foe alike. He is at odds with his own bishops, whom King Henry II manages to ingratiate, and his dealings with both papal and state authorities are tangled.

He attempts to convince the pope to excommunicate Henry and to place an interdict on England - suspending all worship services and sacraments. Under this threat, Henry seems to back down, promising Becket safe passage to England and restoration of his post as head of the English church.

On December 1, 1170, Becket, having spent some six years in exile, returns to a Palm-Sunday style entry: people line the roads, throwing their cloaks before him and hailing him. But Becket's enemies among clerics and court officials are numerous - and for good reason. He adamantly refuses to back down on his demand for independent power for the church. And more than that, he excommunicates all those who sided with the king. Henry is enraged. From his sickbed he moans a message, which his closest aides understood as, Who will rid me of that troublesome priest?

Before dawn on his fatal last day, Becket arises, officiates at the Mass, and confesses his sins. There is a sense of foreboding as he warns those close to him to flee. In the late, cold afternoon of December 29, 1170, four knights enter the cathedral during the vesper service and attack Becket as he is proceeding to the high altar. It is a grisly scene. According to an eyewitness, "The crown of his head was separated from the head in such a way that the blood, white with brain, and the brain no less red from the blood, dyed the floor of the cathedral."

Within minutes Becket has become the greatest martyr the English church had ever known. Nearly four hundred years after his death, during the reign of Henry VIII, Becket is charged with treason. His tomb is plundered and pilgrimages and festivals are outlawed. But not even Henry VIII could erase the devotion in the people's hearts. Even today he is revered as a martyred saint by both Catholics and Anglicans.

If you enjoyed the above article, please take a minute to read about the book that it was adapted from:


Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

by Ruth A. Tucker
Buy the book!
The story of Christianity centers on people whose lives have been transformed by the resurrected Lord. Tucker puts this front and center in a lively overview peppered with sidebars; historical "what if?" questions; sections on everyday life; drawings and illustrations; bibliographies for further reading.

He Is The Power Source

2 Samuel 5:9-10

David's power didn't come from the sturdy walls of his fortress city or the strong arms of his mighty men. His strength didn't spring from the natural realm but from a supernatural reality: He became more and more powerful because the Lord God Almighty was with him. God was David's power source (see 1 Samuel 16:11-13).

Maybe you've sought power through positions, possessions or people. But you can be fired from a job, forfeit your property and lose the favor of people. Those sources of power are temporary, insecure and disloyal. God is the only sure power source.



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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