Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Daily Devotional Tuesday 14th February

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
===
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God."
1 John 3:1-2

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us." Consider who we were, and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is powerful in us, and you will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are called "the sons of God." What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness the son expects from his father, and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ. As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honour: "Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." We are content to be unknown with him in his humiliation, for we are to be exalted with him. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." That is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled under foot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live: you must live simply by faith on Christ. With all these things against us, now--in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be--now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." "Ah, but," you say, "see how I am arrayed! my graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory." But read the next: "It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him." The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies; then shall we see him as he is.

Evening

"There is therefore now no condemnation."
Romans 8:1

Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman; thy Saviour's blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a right now to approach thy Father's throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou wast once unable to see thy Father's face: thou canst see it now. Thou couldst not speak with him: but now thou hast access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless? He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now that thou art justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept it for thee. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all his merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour!

"A debtor to mercy alone,

Of covenant mercy I sing;

Nor fear with thy righteousness on,

My person and offerings to bring:

The terrors of law and of God,

With me can have nothing to do;

My Saviour's obedience and blood

Hide all my transgressions from view."

===

Today's reading: Leviticus 14, Matthew 26:51-75 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Cleansing From Defiling Skin Diseases

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest: 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease, 4 the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed. 5 Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. 6 He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. 7 Seven times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the defiling disease, and then pronounce them clean. After that, he is to release the live bird in the open fields.

8 “The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp, but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. 9 On the seventh day they must shave off all their hair; they must shave their head, their beard, their eyebrows and the rest of their hair. They must wash their clothes and bathe themselves with water, and they will be clean.

10 “On the eighth day they must bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb a year old, each without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil. 11 The priest who pronounces them clean shall present both the one to be cleansed and their offerings before the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

12 “Then the priest is to take one of the male lambs and offer it as a guilt offering, along with the log of oil; he shall wave them before the LORD as a wave offering. 13 He is to slaughter the lamb in the sanctuary area where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered. Like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 15 The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand, 16 dip his right forefinger into the oil in his palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of it before the LORD seven times. 17 The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. 18 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed and make atonement for them before the LORD.

19 “Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering 20 and offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for them, and they will be clean.

21 “If, however, they are poor and cannot afford these, they must take one male lamb as a guilt offering to be waved to make atonement for them, together with a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of oil, 22 and two doves or two young pigeons, such as they can afford, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.

23 “On the eighth day they must bring them for their cleansing to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the LORD. 24 The priest is to take the lamb for the guilt offering, together with the log of oil, and wave them before the LORD as a wave offering. 25 He shall slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 26 The priest is to pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand, 27 and with his right forefinger sprinkle some of the oil from his palm seven times before the LORD. 28 Some of the oil in his palm he is to put on the same places he put the blood of the guilt offering—on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 29 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement for them before the LORD. 30 Then he shall sacrifice the doves or the young pigeons, such as the person can afford, 31 one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. In this way the priest will make atonement before the LORD on behalf of the one to be cleansed.”

32 These are the regulations for anyone who has a defiling skin disease and who cannot afford the regular offerings for their cleansing.

Cleansing From Defiling Molds

33 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 34 “When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mold in a house in that land, 35 the owner of the house must go and tell the priest, ‘I have seen something that looks like a defiling mold in my house.’ 36 The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mold, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean. After this the priest is to go in and inspect the house. 37 He is to examine the mold on the walls, and if it has greenish or reddish depressions that appear to be deeper than the surface of the wall, 38 the priest shall go out the doorway of the house and close it up for seven days. 39 On the seventh day the priest shall return to inspect the house. If the mold has spread on the walls, 40 he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town. 41 He must have all the inside walls of the house scraped and the material that is scraped off dumped into an unclean place outside the town. 42 Then they are to take other stones to replace these and take new clay and plaster the house.

43 “If the defiling mold reappears in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house scraped and plastered, 44 the priest is to go and examine it and, if the mold has spread in the house, it is a persistent defiling mold; the house is unclean. 45 It must be torn down—its stones, timbers and all the plaster—and taken out of the town to an unclean place.

46 “Anyone who goes into the house while it is closed up will be unclean till evening. 47 Anyone who sleeps or eats in the house must wash their clothes.

48 “But if the priest comes to examine it and the mold has not spread after the house has been plastered, he shall pronounce the house clean, because the defiling mold is gone. 49 To purify the house he is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. 50 He shall kill one of the birds over fresh water in a clay pot. 51 Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird, dip them into the blood of the dead bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 52 He shall purify the house with the bird’s blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn. 53 Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields outside the town. In this way he will make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.”

54 These are the regulations for any defiling skin disease, for a sore, 55 for defiling molds in fabric or in a house, 56 and for a swelling, a rash or a shiny spot, 57 to determine when something is clean or unclean.

These are the regulations for defiling skin diseases and defiling molds.


Matthew 26

51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus Before the Sanhedrin

57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

Peter Disowns Jesus

69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

===

WOMAN WHO WAS A SINNER

The Woman Who Sinned Yet Loved Much

Luke 7:36-50

All women since Eve, the world’s first sinner, were born in sin and sinners by birth became more or less sinners by practice. But this woman whom Jesus met in the house of Simon has the distinguishable labels, “Which was a sinner,” “She is a sinner,” “Her sins which were many.” Her doom seemed to be sealed in that word “sinner.” The simple but moving record of this disreputable woman that Luke alone gives us, compells us to say that no human imagination invented it. As Mackintosh Mackay says, “The story bears stamped on its very face the impress of Him who spake as never man spake.”

A striking aspect of the episode before us is the willingness of Jesus to fellowship with the sinful or the sole purpose of reaching their hearts with the truth. While He never sought such feasts, as the one to which Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus, He never refused them but deemed them openings for doing His Father’s work. While He never ate with sinners for any personal gratification, He was careful not to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude toward them. Separate from sinners, in respect to their original and practiced sin, He yet was willing to contact them in order to transform their lives. Thus, when invited by Simon to a dinner, Jesus graciously accepted in order to instruct him, as He did. And when a notorious female sinner tried to reach Him at the dinner, He did not refuse her admission to His presence, but graciously received tokens of her penitence and love, and commended her for her faith. If we would rescue the perishing we must be willing to go where they are.

Her Past

The word used for “sinner” in connection with this city woman suggests the special sin of unchastity and that she was known among the people in her community for her sensual and hateful calling—a woman of the streets. Jesus evidently knew that “her sins were many,” implying that her prostitution was habitual, and that her illicit practices were continuous. All in Nain knew her as a woman who had rejected her virtues and her honor. She had sacrificed the white flower of a blameless life for monetary gain. Harold Begbie, in one of his volumes describing miracles of grace experienced in Salvation Army activities, tells of a prostitute who was saved from her life of sin by the gift of a flower from a female Salvationist on a London street. As the biographer puts it—

The flower was white. The idea of this whiteness pervaded her consciousness. She made a contrast of the whiteness of that flower and the spreading darkness of her own soul. She said to herself, “I was once white like this flower.” She looked at the white flower through a mist of pain and said to herself, “I wish I could be pure.” She covered her eyes with her hands, moved her face to the pillow, and wept.

As that white flower unlocked the cabinet of memory and began a spiritual process resulting in the transformation of her character, it was thus with the woman who was a sinner. She saw her degraded life in the white light of divine holiness personified in Jesus, and as she wept her tears brought her triumph over a shameful past. Coming to Simon’s house in all her guilt, afraid and ashamed to mingle with the invited guests, she flung herself at the foot of Him who said that Publicans and harlots would go into His kingdom before the self-righteous Pharisees.

There is no Biblical evidence whatever for identifying this sinful woman with Mary Magdalene or with Mary of Bethany as some commentators have done. While the first Mary is spoken of as having “seven devils,” there is no evidence that she was immoral when under demoniac influence. The conduct of the sinful woman in Simon’s house was totally different from the wild frenzy of a demoniac. As for Mary, sister of Martha, what is said of her devout spirit is strikingly adverse to that of a harlot of the streets. While “the woman which was a sinner” was probably known to the women Jesus healed of their infirmities (Luke 8:1-3), reticence as to her name both on their part and that of Luke was at once natural and considerate. That she was a woman deep-dyed in her particular kind of sin and yet found deliverance from her shameful past, confirms the truth that His blood can make the vilest clean.

Her Penitence

Those tears of hers, evidence of her sorrow for her many sins, cleansed her vision and gave her a sight of Him who came to save sinners. Guilt produced grief. Evidently she knew all about Jesus and followed His movements. It is most likely that she had heard of His compassion for the sorrowing widow of Nain, and had listened to His parable on the prodigal son. As a prodigal daughter of Israel, drawn by the ineffable pity and tenderness of His words and looks, she, like the prodigal son said, “I will arise and go to my Father.” Brought back to God and purity, she found her way to Simon’s house where her gift and her tears revealed how much she owed the Saviour and how greatly she loved Him.

The grateful woman brought with her an alabaster box of ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus, who did not refuse such a token of her love. While it does not say that the aromatic ointment was as costly as that with which Mary anointed Jesus, we can assume that it relatively was as precious. “The lavish and luxurious use of perfumes characterized the unhappy class to which the woman belonged.” Now she brings the store she had saved to seduce men, and with it anoints Him, the purest of men. He accepted the gift and transfigured it into the devotion of a saint, thereby making the instrument of sin a symbol of penitence and she surrendered to the claims of Jesus.

Further, this transformed sinner not only anointed the feet of Jesus with ointment, but also washed them with her tears and wiped them with the flowing locks of her hair. She could not manifest stronger tokens of her sorrow for sin and of her faith in Jesus. She was looking upon the compassionate face of Him who was about to be pierced and mourned for her sin (Zechariah 12:10 ). As Jesus reclined on a couch, the woman, modestly, and without attracting the notice of assembled guests, recognized by her tears and perfume the august character of the One who had raised her from the dunghill. Those sobs and the deed at Jesus' feet revealed the woman as having a sympathetic and fervent character. She was not too hardened in her sin as to be incapable of tears. In this she was so different from the cold, calculated attitude of the unsympathetic Simon who witnessed the woman’s expression of gratitude and devotion. The different emotions of shame, penitence, joy, praise, love, found natural relief in her tears, ointment and kiss.

Her Provoker

What a study of contrasts we have in the attitude of the sinful woman and Simon the Pharisee! How incensed Simon was over the way Jesus allowed such extravagant attention from such a woman of illrepute! Expressing his irritation and disapproval over the Saviour’s countenance of the woman’s gift of tears and perfume, he received his just rebuke for his lack of a sympathetic understanding of the situation. Because of the Pharisee’s cold, austere, love-less manner, the woman knew she could not approach him for he would despise and dismiss her. But with a revelation of the Saviour’s condescension and compassion, she believed He would mercifully receive her and so she cast herself upon His mercy.

We are told that what Simon had witnessed at the feet of Jesus had aroused thoughts of protest and provocation in his heart. He spake within himself about the action of one who professed to be a Prophet receiving homage of such a shameful woman. Was this not inconsistent with His character as the Prophet? He never voiced his irritation over the recognition on the part of Jesus of the woman’s approach, but He who could read the secrets of the heart, answered the unspoken thoughts of the Pharisee ( 1 Corinthians 15:24, 25). Then in masterly manner, without directly reproving Simon for his pharisaical thoughts, told the story of the two debtors which is similar to another parable of His (Matthew 18:25).

What a moving and thrilling climax Luke gives! In a quiet authoritative tone Jesus said, “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee,” and recognizing Him as a Teacher come from God, Simon replied, “Master, say on.” Then came a question “in the form of a kind of ethical proposition sum of the debtors that owed, the one five hundred pence, and the other fifty pence—a question that needs no answer.”

Whatever hope either debtor had lay in the fact that pardon was offered to both as a matter of free gift and bounty, and driving home His point that the creditor had freely and frankly cancelled the sums owed him, Jesus asked Simon the pointed question, “Tell me which of them will love him most?” He answered somewhat indifferently, not fully understanding the drift of Christ’s parable, “I suppose that he to whom he forgave most.” This was the answer needed to rebuke Simon, and so with dramatic swiftness He turned to the half-concealed, worshiping woman, and in a tone vibrating with authority, indignation and condemnation said—

I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears ... Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

The contrasts which Christ used are impressive. Simon gave no oil—the woman anointed His feet with costly ointment. Simon gave nothing for the head of Jesus—the woman lavished her love upon His feet . How Simon reacted to Christ’s message on forgiveness and love we are not told! His cold, unloving, and unforgiving heart must have been smitten as Jesus revealed the depths of love in the woman’s contrite heart, in the words, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

Her Pardon

Turning from Simon to the female sinner who must have been overawed by Christ’s parabolic defense of her tears and gift, He uttered the assuring word, “Thy sins have been forgiven.” Any lingering fear in her penitent heart as to divine acceptance was banished and assurance became hers. The guests at the feast, seeing and hearing all that had taken place, ask the question, “Who is this that forgiveth sins also?” This was an echo of the Scribes who said that Jesus was a blasphemer because He forgave the sins of the man sick of the palsy (Matthew 9:3 ). Who can forgive sins but God only, and in Simon’s house God was present in the person of His Son? Because He was God manifest in flesh He accepted the woman’s sobs and perfume as the pledge of a past forgiveness and the promise of a life to be lived for His glory.

Christ’s final word to the saved sinner was, “Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.” Twice He uttered the joyful tidings that her sins had been pardoned and her soul saved. What He emphasizes in His confirmation of deliverance from her sin was that it was by her faith that she had been saved. When He said to Simon, “Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much,” attention must be given to the single word “for.” The phrase does not mean that Christ forgave because of her overflowing love; that because she was a soft and loving woman Christ forgave her faults so natural to her past life. He did not mean, “Forgive her, she has a kind and tender heart, and was more sinned against than sinning.” It was not her love but her faith that brought about her forgiveness, for a sinful soul can only be saved by grace through faith in Christ. Forgiven on the basis of her penitence and faith, pardon expressed itself in the tokens of her love. “Go in peace” was the last word the transformed harlot heard. It actually means, “Go into peace.” Peace was to be the new home in which she was to live, even the perfect peace Paul wrote about in his letter to the Philippians—

God’s peace [be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding, shall garrison andmount guard over your heart and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7, Amplified Bible).

===

Togarmah [Tōgär'mah]—all bone orstrong. The third son of Gomer, son of Japheth, his brothers being Ashkenaz and Riphath (Gen. 10:3; 1 Chron. 1:6; Ezek. 27:14; 38:6).

Perhaps there is prophetic significance attached to Togarmah and “the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands” (Ezek. 38:6 ). Jewish writers of the past usually wrote of the “Turks” as Togarmah, and the Armenians as “The House of Targon.” It is not difficult, therefore, to identify Togarmah as Armenia or Turkey, the people of which assert their descendancy from Targon, or the Togarmah of Scripture.

The ultimate alliance of Turkey, according to prophecy, is with the Northern Confederacy Ezekiel defines. Dr. Sale-Harrison observes: “It is interesting to note that in Scripture “The King of the North” is called “The Old Assyrian” and apparently arises out of the present “Turkish territory.” In the final alignment of the nations then, Togarmah will be allied with the north.

===
Change a Life, Give a Bible - Muslim Converts Plead for Bibles

Dear Friend,

When a Muslim comes to faith in Jesus Christ, the one thing they plead for is a Bible.

And now we have been offered a $10,000 Challenge Grant to provide these desperately needed Bibles! But we needyour help to meet this challenge!

Sadly, Bibles are scarce in most Islamic countries where it's illegal to be a Christian. Which is why we have set a goal to deliver at least 4,000 Bibles to our suffering brothers and sisters in these countries over the next four months.

And now—if we meet this $10,000 Challenge Grant—we can meet this goal! But we need your help—which is why I'm asking you to give an online gift to Open Doors today.

Through your gift, you'll not only help meet the challenge—but help deliver Bibles to Muslim converts who risk their lives every day to follow Christ. You'll be giving strength, hope, and encouragement to those who so desperately need it!

So thank you for your gift. And thank you for standing with those who are suffering the most for their faith.

Carl A. Moeller Signature

ECFA A higher standard. A higher purpose.

Picture of girlJust $5 will send one desperately needed Bible
to a Muslim convert.

Send a Bible!

"Fifty years of serving and strengthening persecuted Christians worldwide - that is the legacy of Open Doors.

An important part of that legacy has beenOpen Doors' passion for motivating, mobilizing, and educating the
body of Christ in the West to reach out to our suffering brothers and sisters."

- Rick Warren, Author of
The Purpose Driven Life

Open Doors Serving persecuted Christians Worldwide Click here to give Bibles.



===

NIV Devotions for Moms

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:3-7

Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:16

A five-year-old tumbles into the kitchen from his adventures in backyard mud, bringing footprints of scum across a clean floor. The phone rings. The baby cries. The doorbell chimes. The dog barks. A harried mom grabs her temples in response to this torture.

Change scenes. The camera spans a spacious, private bath scene, circling around a tub filled to the brim with luxurious bubbles. A beautiful woman rests in the tub, hair pinned in loose curls, arms extended, massaging shapely legs, eyes closed in an ecstasy of relaxation.

Supposedly, this second scene is a picture of peace. What I want to know is, where are the kids, what is the dog doing and who was at the door?

Contrary to the commercial, peace doesn't come in a package of bubble bath. It's not found in a tub or even behind a closed door. Peace comes when we fix our minds on God and on his stability in our chaotic days. No matter who is tromping a mess across our floors or standing impatiently at our doors, the unchangeable God is in charge of our days. Knowing that for a fact is peace.

NIVSocialicons
===

A Pattern for Prayer

Nehemiah 1:1–11

In 1960s Southern California, the beaches were littered with hippies searching for the meaning of life through free love, psychedelic drugs and communal living. One day, a pastor’s wife went to the beach and was distressed to see the aimless kids and began to weep. Kay Smith determined to do something, so she gathered several of her friends and, as she puts it, “saturated the air with prayer.” She asked her husband, Pastor Chuck Smith, to open his church to this generation. Many people were shocked when the hippies showed up, barefoot and bedraggled, and sat on the floor rather than in the pews. But the Smiths embraced them. Their ministry was a vital part of the “Jesus Movement” that swept the country. It can be said that true revival begins with heartfelt tears but finds its voice in prayer.

Nehemiah, one of the most powerful Jews in Babylon, broke down in tears when he heard of Jerusalem’s miserable condition. He mourned for God’s holy city and scattered people. His compassion compelled him to pray and fast for them. His prayer reflected his heart’s passion and also offers a pattern for our prayers.

First, Nehemiah acknowledged who God is: “the great and awesome God.” When we focus on who God is, it helps to put our own problems into proper perspective.

Next Nehemiah acknowledged who he himself was: God’s servant. When we maintain an attitude of humility toward our heavenly Father, we are reminded of our dependence on God.

Then Nehemiah confessed his own sins and the sins of the Israelites. He didn’t gloss over the transgressions but stated them in honest repentance. Repentance freed him—and can free us—to make the next step in prayer.

Awed, humbled and forgiven—Nehemiah reminded God of his promises to his people. He recounted God’s promises to the children of Israel and interceded for his people, asking God to hear his prayer and favor him.

What situation has brought you to tears? If it is enough to touch your heart, it’s enough to bring you to your knees. Follow Nehemiah’s pattern: Acknowledge who God is and who you are, confess your sins and remind God of his promises. When you do these things, you can come to God knowing that “he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).

Reflection

  1. When was the last time you wept in prayer for someone who needed God’s help?
  2. What word best describes Nehemiah’s heart? Ask God to give you a heart of compassion like Nehemiah’s.
  3. Follow Nehemiah’s pattern and pray for a person or situation causing you to grieve.

Nehemiah 1:4
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Related Readings

Psalm 89:5–8; Isaiah 25:1–9; Matthew 6:9–13

NIVSocialicons
===

GiG Banner 2012 Big

February 13, 2012

Prayer Can Change A Marriage

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20 NIV).

Friend to Friend

I am always stunned when I hear someone say, "Well, I guess the only thing left to do is pray." My goodness, I've even been shocked to hear the words come out of my own mouth. Prayer should never be seen as a last resort but as a first line of defense. No matter what condition your marriage is in today, prayer will make it better. God can make a bad marriage good and a good marriage great. God's answers to prayer healed the sick, fed the hungry, stopped the rain, kept the earth from revolving on its axis for an hour, divided the Red Sea, poured forth water from a rock, opened wombs, confused enemies, opened jail doors, made leprous skin brand new, caused the lame to dance, gave courage to the fearful, and raised the dead. Jesus said, "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you," (Matthew 17:20NIV).

Have you noticed that it's hard to stay mad at someone when you're praying for him or her? Somehow walking into the throne room of God with a pack of anger and resentment strapped on your back doesn't feel very comfortable. I've noticed when I'm angry at my husband, and I begin to pray for him (And I'm not talking "God help him when I get a hold of him" type prayers.) God begins to soften my heart. The Bible says that God is love and it is difficult to be in Love's very presence and remain angry. Oh, you can stay mad, but it takes a lot of effort.

Sometimes it is hard to pray for our husbands when we're mad at them. But God tells us to "pray for our enemies." How much more should we pray for our God-given, lifelong mate!

I know there are many of you who are reading this devotion with anger or resentment in your hearts. You may be wondering, how did my marriage drift so far from where I hoped it would be? How did my marriage get to this state of desperation, mediocrity, frigidity, mutual tolerance, and co-existence? Is it too late for me? Is it too late for us?

Friend, the answer is no – it is not too late. I have good news for you. God's specialty is resurrection. He excels at bringing life from death. In the Old Testament, there was a couple you may have heard of, Abraham and Sarah. When Sarah laughed at the angel who said she would have a child at ninety-years-old, the angel said, "Is anything too hard for God?"

The following year, the joke was on her. She had a baby boy and named him Isaac, which means laughter.

Nothing is too hard for God, my friend. Absolutely nothing. Jesus said, "All things are possible to him (or her) who believes" (Mark 9:23). A baby is born to a dried up womb, fingers and toes materialize on nubs on a leper's hands and feet, sight is given to a man blind from birth, a son is raised right in the middle of his own funeral procession, and the Red Sea is parted and thousands walk across on dry land. Now, tell me, is there anything in your life too hard for a God like this?

Let's Pray (Prayer for the married woman)

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my marriage today. I pray that you will make me into the woman that You intended all along. Help me to see my husband through your eyes today – as a chosen, dearly loved, child of God.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen

Let's Pray (Prayer for the single woman)

Dear Lord, everywhere I look, I see marriages that are in trouble. I pray for my sisters who have lost hope. I pray that You will restore their marriages. Help me to be the type of friend who encourages strong marriages and prays for those in trouble.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Today, I'm giving you a list of Bible verses to pray for your husband from head to toe. This is your assignment for today…for always.

Lord, I pray for my husband, from head to toe:

  • His Head –That he will look to You as Lord of his life. (1 Corinthians 11:13)
  • His Mind - That he will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead him and not the flesh. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • His Eyes –That You will keep his eyes from temptation and that he will turnhis eyes from sin. (Matthew 6:13,Mark 9:47)
  • His Ears - That he will hear Your still small voice instructing him. (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8)
  • His Mouth – That his words will be pleasing to You. (Psalm 19:14)
  • His Neck –That he will humble himself before You and be strong, courageous, and careful to do everything written in Your Word so that he will be prosperous and successful. (James 4:10, Joshua 1:8-9)
  • His Heart-That he will love and trust You with his whole heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Proverbs 3:5)
  • His Arms-That You will be his strength. (Psalm 73:26)
  • His Hands-That he will enjoy the work of his hands and see it as a gift from You. (Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19)
  • His feet – That You will order his steps and that he will walk in Your truth. (Proverbs 4:25, Psalm 26:3)

More From the Girlfriends

There is nothing more important that we can do for our marriages than pray for our husbands. Sharon has these Scripture prayers on a beautiful inexpensive laminated prayer card that fits snuggly in your Bible for quick reference. To order, visit www.sharonjaynes.com. While you're there, make sure and check out her book, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams: Seven Qualities Every Man Longs For.

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

===

Spurgeon-MetropolitanTabernacle-Header-1

Life eternal

‘And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.’ John 10:28

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 49:14–16

‘They shall never perish.’ There is a way of explaining away everything, I suppose, but I really do not know how the opponents of the perseverance of God’s saints will get over this text. They may do with it as they will, but I shall still believe what I find here, that I shall never perish if I am one of Christ’s people. If I perish, then Christ will not have kept his promise; but I know he must abide faithful to his word. ‘He is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.’ Every soul that rests on the atoning sacrifice is safe, and safe for ever; ‘they shall never perish.’

Then comes the third sentence, in which we have a position guaranteed—‘in Christ’s hand.’ It is to be in a place of honour: we are the ring he wears on his finger. It is a place of love: ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.’ It is a place of power: his right hand encloses all his people. It is a place of property: Christ holds his people; ‘all the saints are in thy hand.’ It is a place of discretion: we are yielded up to Christ, and Christ wields a discretionary government over us. It is a place of guidance, a place of protection: as sheep are said to be in the hand of the shepherd, so are we in the hand of Christ. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, to be used by him, as jewels in the hand of the bride to be her ornament, so are we in the hand of Christ.

For meditation: If our trust in him is genuine, the Lord Jesus Christ has promised that we will never thirst (John 4:14), never hunger (John 6:35) and never taste death (John 8:51–52;11:26), in other words that we will never perish. However, there will be no protection for those whose faith is not genuine; on the Day of Judgement he will say to them ‘I never knew you: depart from me,’ despite all that they claim to have done in his name (Matthew 7:21–23). Which kind of ‘never’ applies to you?

Sermon no. 726
13 February (Undated Sermon)

===
LeadershipBible-Header-550

Skills: Justice

READ AMOS 5:24

"In Amos's time, the people of Israel were prosperous. But with that prosperity they lost their spiritual edge. God was furious with them for compromising his principles in order to make a buck. In this passage Amos tells the people to 'straighten out their act' and seek good, not evil [vv. 14-15]. Being familiar with Biblical truths and failing to live by them is extremely dangerous. That's the line Amos's contemporaries had crossed ."*

The leaders who should have administered justice didn't. Instead they "cast righteousness to the ground" (v. 7). But before judgment fell on them, God offered an opportunity for repentance and restoration. He called them to turn back to him (vv. 1-15). In order to please God, the leaders needed to exercise justice and righteousness (v. 24). The imagery in this verse is profound. In contrast to streambeds that are dry much of the year, justice should flow from the nation like a river. Just as plant and animal life flourish where there is water, so human life flourishes where there is justice and righteousness.

What was true of ancient Israel is still true today. People thrive in a setting in which fairness and justice are practiced. How would those closest to you evaluate the way you treat people? Would they say that you're biased or that you pay favorites? Or are you fair and just?

* Judson Poling and Bill Perkins, The Journey, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Justice and Who God Is

In all times, places and cultures, humans have universally recognized the virtue of justice and the treacherous nature of injustice. From a Biblical standpoint, the character of God is the absolute standard for justice, and our awareness of this moral standard is part of our having been created in the image of God. Turn to Isaiah 30:18 to consider the justice of God.

This Week's Verse to Memorize MICAH 6:8

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Justice and Who I Am

What do you want more than anything else? If your honest answer relates to the area of self (e.g., power, wealth, fame), it will be impossible for you to be a person who strives for justice. In its fullest sense, the quest for true justice is a by-product of the pursuit of God over all other things. Turn to Zechariah 7:8-14 to see how true justice is expressed.

Justice and How It Works

No one leads for very long without wrestling this toothy alligator: "But it just isn't fair!" Why did he/she get the promotion-or the transfer-or the bigger office (or the new stapler!)? Micah offered a simple key to leading justly. Read and reflect upon Micah 6:8 . Not a bad statement to jot down on a 3 x 5 card and post in plain sight.

Justice and What I Do

Justice isn't carried out only in a court of law. Leaders need to use their resources in an equitable way. How is that accomplished? In Nehemiah 5:1-19 Nehemiah advised the ancient Israelites how they could go about practicing justice, and John Perkins points out how we can.

===
P31Header
Lynn Cowell

February 13, 2012

Let's Make Time
Lynn Cowell

"...for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed." Ecclesiastes 3:17b (NIV 1984)

I didn't want to...yet I did.

Hungry, cold and dirty, my daughter walked through the door, home from softball practice. She wanted a snack, to talk and a hot shower, in that order. I wanted to keep working. I was on a roll; walking away from my computer was going to stop my progress.

But, I did. Putting my computer aside, I popped her favorite treat in the microwave and sat down to hear about my daughter's day.

That's not so easy for me to do. Like many women, deadlines loom over my mind. Work deadlines, volunteer deadlines, dinner and dirty clothes deadlines all call me to make them my first priority. Sometimes I do, but this day I didn't.

See, the day before, while in the process of makinganother time management decision, I remembered something really important. And that "something" brought tears to my eyes: my daughters will be gone all too soon.

These years they're in school will be mere memories before I know it. I want me listening to them, giving them my full attention, to be a part of these memories.

Ecclesiastes reminds me to keep a check on how my time is spent. "...for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed" (vs. 3:17b). The days of softball stories and tales of German class will not wait. I have to strike a balance in how I use my time, not neglecting people for tasks.

I want to conquer the temptation to let what seems urgent overtake what truly matters to me every day. Most of us have to work, pay bills, answer emails and do chores. But it's so important we also take time for talking, listening and parenting well.

Investing in children, whether they are our own, nieces and nephews, grandsons or granddaughters, neighborhood or church kids, is a privilege. Whether they admit it or not, they want us to hear their stories and learn about their days.

Will you join me today? Let's walk away from the computer. Set aside our phones. Turn off the televisions. And let's make time to talk with and listen to our children. One day, we'll look back and be glad we did.

Dear Lord, today I need to set aside what appears to be so important to give to those around me what they need: affirmation, attention and affection. Pour through me to love on them. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to have Lynn speak on this subject at your next church event. She'd be honored to share about "Mom and Me" time!

Visit Lynn's blog for unique ways to give your child affirmation, attention and affection. She's giving away two signed copies of her book His Revolutionary Love and her CD message Building a Bridge to Your Child's Heart.

His Revolutionary Love by Lynn Cowell is a great resource for teen girls to find the One who will fill the love gap in her heart!

How about spending a night learning about God's crazy love for the two of you together? Just pop in Lynn's DVDHis Revolutionary Love and enjoy!

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:
What takes me away from the ones I love? Cell phone? Computer? Laundry? How can I set healthy boundaries on the time I spend with these things so I can communicate to others they are more important than tasks?

Pray for peace and strength to conquer the temptation to let the urgent overtake what's truly important.

Power Verse:
Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

===

Spurgeon-NewParkStreet-Header-3

Reform

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all.” 2 Chronicles 31:1

Suggested Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:9-12

There are many books that are to be so esteemed by the Christian man, that they must be cut down like the groves of trees, not because they are bad in themselves, but because there false gods are worshipped. Novel-reading is the rage of the present day. I go to a railway bookstall, and I cannot see a book that I can read, I get one, and it is all trash. I search to find something that would be really valuable, but I am told, “It would not sell here.” The fact is, nothing will sell but that which is light, and frothy, and frivolous; so every traveller is compelled to consume such food as that, unless he carry something better with him. Do I, therefore, say, that the Christian man must condemn all reading of fiction and novels? No, I do not, but I do say, that the mass of popular books published under the name of light literature, is to be eschewed and cut down, for the simple reason that the moral of it is not that of piety and goodness; the tendency of the reading is not to bring the Christian towards heaven, but rather to retard and impede him in his good course. I lift up my axe against many a work that I cannot condemn, if I look at it abstractedly in itself, but which must come down, because I recollect how much of my own precious time I wasted in such trivial reading, how many years in which I might have had fellowship with Christ have been cast away, whilst I have been foolishly indulging a vicious taste for the romantic and the frivolous. No, there are many things which are not wrong in themselves, but which nevertheless must be given up by the true Christian, because they have had, and do have association with things positively wrong. Just as these groves must be cut down—not because there can be a sin in trees, but because the trees have been associated with the worship of idols.

For meditation: 1 Corinthians 10:23. “The best book to read is the Bible ... It will help you on your way”.

Sermon no. 238
13 February (1859)


===
TT_Coramdeo_ttlogo

The Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:1-3

Elsewhere, Jesus speaks these same words to the poor (Luke 6:20 ), because those who have nothing are often able to see their need for salvation most clearly. Still, one does not need to lack possessions to see the kingdom of God. John Calvin writes that "he only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit." Rich or poor, if we fail to see our need for salvation, we will fail to enter the kingdom.

For further study:

Psalms 34; 68:20

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 27-Num. 1

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.

===

TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

The Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:1-3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (v. 3).

Throughout history, the church has treasured Matthew's gospel as a primary teaching tool, mainly due to his incorporation of large blocks of Jesus' instruction including the Sermon on the Mount. Today begins our study of this famous sermon.

Some preachers try to separate the Sermon on the Mount from the person who preached it. They then try to apply it to all men - non-believers as much as believers. But it is not a treatise on social ethics. Certainly, the sermon has bearing on our relationship to society, but it cannot be divorced from allegiance to Christ (Matt. 5:11 ). Above all, the sermon describes life in God's kingdom, that place where God's people embrace His rule. It is given to Jesus' disciples (v. 1), making it a guide for life in the believing community - the church. John Calvin alludes to this truth, commenting that the Sermon on the Mount collects "the leading points of the doctrine of Christ" relating "to a devout and holy life."

Jesus does not present the material in this sermon only on this one occasion, for as an itinerant preacher He repeats the same basic content in many different situations. Christ may also take several days to deliver this instruction, since He sometimes teaches a crowd over a long span of time (15:32). In any case, He preaches at least part of the Sermon on the Mount from a seated position (5:1), following the custom of the rabbis in His day.

The sermon opens with the Beatitudes, the first of which tells us "the poor in spirit" are blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (5:3 ). In this context, Jesus is basically saying that only those who do not rely on their own goodness will be granted entrance into God's kingdom. It is not an appeal to deny our worth as human beings, but to recognize our sin and desperate need for salvation. Matthew Henry comments that "to be poor in spirit, is to have humble thoughts of ourselves, of what we are, and have, and do. ...[It is] to shun all confidence in our own righteousness and strength, that we may depend only on the merit of Christ and the spirit and grace of Christ. ...The kingdom of grace is composed of such, the kingdom of glory is prepared for them."

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Elsewhere, Jesus speaks these same words to the poor (Luke 6:20), because those who have nothing are often able to see their need for salvation most clearly. Still, one does not need to lack possessions to see the kingdom of God. John Calvin writes that "he only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit." Rich or poor, if we fail to see our need for salvation, we will fail to enter the kingdom.

For further study:

Psalms 34; 68:20

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 27-Num. 1

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.



Post a Comment