Friday, March 16, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 16th March

“then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”” Acts 4:10,12NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"I am a stranger with thee."
Psalm 39:12

Yes, O Lord, with thee, but not to thee. All my natural alienation from thee, thy grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with thyself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. Thou art a stranger in thine own world. Man forgets thee, dishonours thee, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows thee not. When thy dear Son came unto his own, his own received him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Never was foreigner so speckled a bird among the denizens of any land as thy beloved Son among his mother's brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords which once bound my soul to earth, and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these Babylonians among whom I dwell an outlandish tongue, my manners are singular, and my actions are strange. A Tartar would be more at home in Cheapside than I could ever be in the haunts of sinners. But here is the sweetness of my lot: I am a stranger with thee. Thou art my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed society! My heart burns within me by the way when thou dost speak to me, and though I be a sojourner, I am far more blest than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who dwell in their ceiled houses.

"To me remains nor place, nor time:

My country is in every clime;

I can be calm and free from care

On any shore, since God is there.

While place we seek, or place we shun,

The soul finds happiness in none:

But with a God to guide our way,

'Tis equal joy to go or stay."

Evening

"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins."
Psalm 19:13

Such was the prayer of the "man after God's own heart." Did holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, "Keep me back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin." Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May the grace of God put the bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it rush not into mischief. What might not the best of us do if it were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in providence and in grace! The psalmist's prayer is directed against the worst form of sin--that which is done with deliberation and wilfulness. Even the holiest need to be "kept back" from the vilest transgressions. It is a solemn thing to find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome sins. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do. The whitest robes, unless their purity be preserved by divine grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots. Experienced Christian, boast not in your experience; you will trip yet if you look away from him who is able to keep you from falling. Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, "We shall never sin," but rather cry, "Lead us not into temptation." There is enough tinder in the heart of the best of men to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing uncleanness? Hazael said, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?" and we are very apt to use the same self-righteous question. May infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence.

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Today's reading: Deuteronomy 25-27, Mark 14:27-53 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

1 When people have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty. 2 If the guilty person deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make them lie down and have them flogged in his presence with the number of lashes the crime deserves, 3 but the judge must not impose more than forty lashes. If the guilty party is flogged more than that, your fellow Israelite will be degraded in your eyes.

4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. 6 The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

7 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” 8Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” 9 his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” 10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 16 For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.

17 Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. 18 When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. 19 When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

Deuteronomy 26

Firstfruits and Tithes

1 When you have entered the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3 and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the LORD your God. 5 Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7 Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our ancestors, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8 So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10 and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, LORD, have given me.” Place the basket before the LORD your God and bow down before him. 11 Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.

12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. 14 I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15 Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Follow the LORD’s Commands

16 The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.

Deuteronomy 27

The Altar on Mount Ebal

1 Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today. 2 When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the LORD your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. 3 Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. 5 Build there an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. 6 Build the altar of the LORD your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God. 7 Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the LORD your God. 8 And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.”

Curses From Mount Ebal

9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God. 10 Obey the LORD your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today.”

11 On the same day Moses commanded the people:

12 When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13 And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.

14 The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:

15 “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the LORD, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

16 “Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

17 “Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

18 “Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

19 “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

20 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

21 “Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

22 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

23 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

24 “Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbor secretly.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

25 “Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

26 “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”


Mark 14

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

Gethsemane

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Jesus Arrested

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Jesus Before the Sanhedrin

53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together.

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Hophni [Hŏph'nī]—strong. A son of Eli, the high priest and judge who proved unworthy of his sacred offices (1 Sam. 1:3; 2:34; 4:4 , 11, 17). Hophni is always associated with his brother Phinehas. The two were partners in evil practices and brought a twice-pronounced curse upon their heads (1 Sam. 2:34; 3). Both were slain at the battle of Aphek, and this coupled with the loss of the Ark, caused the death of Eli. Both sons disgraced their priestly office in a twofold way:

I. In claiming and appropriating more than their due of the sacrifices (1 Sam. 2:13-17).

II. In their immoral actions in the Tabernacle ( 2:22; Amos 2:7,8).

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Christ about his Father’s business

“Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 4:32-5: 10

You never find Christ doing a thing which you may not imitate. You would scarcely think it necessary that he should be baptised; but lo, he goes to Jordan’s stream and dives beneath the wave, that he may be buried in baptism unto death, and may rise again—though he needed not to rise—into newness of life. You see him healing the sick to teach us benevolence; rebuking hypocrisy to teach us boldness; enduring temptation to teach us hardness, wherewith, as good soldiers of Christ, we ought to war a good warfare. You see him forgiving his enemies to teach us the grace of meekness and of forbearance; you behold him giving up his very life to teach us how we should surrender ourselves to God, and give up ourselves for the good of others. Put Christ at the wedding; you may imitate him. Yes, sirs, and you might imitate him, if you could, in turning water into wine, without a sin. Put Christ at a funeral; you may imitate him—“Jesus wept.” Put him on the mountain top; he shall be there in prayer alone, and you may imitate him. Put him in the crowd; he shall speak so, that if you could speak like him you should speak well. Put him with enemies; he shall so confound them, that he shall be a model for you to copy. Put him with friends, and he shall be a “friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” worthy of your imitation. Exalt him, cry hosanna, and you shall see him riding upon a “colt, the foal of an ass,” meek and lowly. Despise and spit upon him; you shall see him bearing disgrace and contempt with the same evenness of spirit which characterised him when he was exalted in the eye of the world. Everywhere you may imitate Christ.

For meditation: The imitation of Christ is an impossible way to obtain salvation, but it is an excellent way of follow-up after conversion (John 13:15; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Peter 2:21).

Sermon no. 122
15 March (1857)

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Ebenezer!

‘Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’ 1 Samuel 7:12

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 103:1–22

We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose he wrought all his mighty acts in days of old, and showed himself strong for those in the early time, but does not perform wonders or lay bare his arm for the saints that are now upon the earth. Let us review, I say, our own diaries. Surely in these modern pages we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had nodeliverances ? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you not been saved in six troubles? Yea, in seven has not Jehovah helped you? Have you had nomanifestations? The God that spoke to Abraham at Mamre, has he never spoken to you? The angel that wrestled with Jacob at Peniel, has he never wrestled with you? He that stood in the fiery furnace with the three holy children, has he never trodden the coals at your side? O beloved, he has manifested himself unto us as he does not unto the world. Forget not these manifestations; fail not to rejoice in them. Have you had nochoice favours ? The God that gave Solomon the desire of his heart, has he never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty, has he never satisfied you with fatness? Have you never been made to lie in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely, beloved, the goodness of God of old has been repeated unto us. The manifestations of his grace to those gone to glory has been renewed to us, and delivering mercies as experienced by them are not unknown even to us.

For meditation : Spurgeon chose this text as an appropriate motto with which to praise God on the occasion of the preaching of sermon number 500 in his weekly New Park Street Pulpit and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit series. What is your reaction to the benefits which God has showered upon you? Check it against Psalm 116:12–14.

Sermon no. 500
15 March (1863)

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False Prophets and Their Fruits

Matthew 7:15-20

Though we are all responsible to evaluate our teachers by the fruit of their teaching and lives, it does not necessarily follow that this evaluation is solely an individual responsibility. In fact, we need other Christians who are grounded in the faith to help us do this. The study of church history, our church's confessions, and membership in a good, local church is necessary to help us weed out the good teachers from the bad. Are you involved in such things?

For further study:

1 Kings 22:1-40

The Bible in a year:

Joshua 5-6

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

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

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March 15, 2012
Are You Living Below the Bar?
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
"So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons" (2 Samuel 9:11 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Who is the world is Mephibosheth, and what possessed his momma to give him such a name? Well, I can't answer the second question, but I can shed some light on the first. Mephibosheth was a man who was living way below his potential. He was the grandson of King Saul and the son of Prince Jonathan, but he lived like a pauper. When he was a little boy, his nurse dropped him while fleeing from their enemies. As a result, he was crippled in both feet (2 Samuel 9).

When David took over as King of Israel, he wanted to know if there was anyone in Jonathan's household to whom he could show kindness. Jonathan had been David's best friend, and he loved him as a brother. A servant told David about the crippled Mephibosheth, and he was summoned immediately. Mephibosheth lived in a place called Lo-Debar (meaning a pasture-less land).

My own (very unofficial) translation of Lo-Debar is "below the bar." Mephibosheth was living below the bar. He was the grandchild of a king, but he was living in a pasture less land like a pauper. When he came before King David he said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"

David didn't even answer him. He simply turned to his servant and commanded that all the land that had been Saul's be given back to his grandson and that Mephibosheth should eat at the king's table everyday.

Perhaps you are walking around like a crippled because of something that has happened to you as a child. Perhaps you feel like a "dead dog." And yet, God is looking for ways to bless you, to restore what has been taken away, and invite you to feast at His table everyday. Mephiboseth was a grandchild of King Saul and potential heir to the throne. However, he saw himself as nothing more than a "dead dog," unworthy to receive even the smallest crumb of kindness from David. David's desire was to restore to Mephibosheth all the land that would have been his inheritance and invite him to feast at his table daily. Mephibosheth didn't see himself as he really was. In reality, he was royalty. "A dead dog?" I think not!

Do you see yourself as you really are? You are a chosen, dearly loved, child of God. You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing, delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ! You, girlfriend, are a child of the King!

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, so many times I walk around with an emotional limp like a wounded animal. But the truth is, I am a child of the King and I should act like one! Thank you for inviting me to feast at Your banquet table every morning by feeding my soul from Your Word and drinking in the Holy Spirit's power. Today, I will not limp about, but run, jump, and even dance with the joy!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Now It's Your Turn
Be honest. Do you act more like the pitiful Mephibosheth or a powerful princess?

What mind adjustment do you need to make to start acting like a child of the King?

You have been invited to feast at His table and do so every time you open the pages of your Bible. Have you accepted His invitation?

If you are willing to start walking like a child of the King today, simply visit my Facebook page,www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and agree with me with the words…I, (put your name), am a child of the King.

More from the Girlfriends
Unfortunately, many of us limp around like poor old Mephib. We live way below the bar of what God intended. If you would like to learn more about who you are as a child of God and start living the life God intended all along, my bookBecoming Spiritually Beautiful will help get you there. It's time to start seeing yourself as God sees you…and acting like you are who God says you are!

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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Lysa TerKeurst

March 15, 2012

I Don't Want to Raise a Good Child
Lysa TerKeurst

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV 1984)

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year. And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the "normal" box. A lot out of the box actually.

She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in online college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn't surprise me really. Hope has always liked charting her own course. This thrills me now. But it didn't thrill me so much in the early years of raising this strong-spirited child.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world's worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their notes.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really, nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she'd done that day. But rather because of how she was everyday. So determined. So independent. So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.

But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. "God help me to raise Hope to be who You want her to be." Emphasis on, "God HELP ME!"

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I sensed He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God's goal wasn't for me to raise a good rule-following child. God's goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

Today's key verse reminds us we are training children so that when they are old they will not turn away from Biblical principles, but rather implement them in their life-long pursuit of God. Remember, the things that might aggravate you about your child today, might be the very things when matured that make them great for God's kingdom tomorrow.

I've certainly seen this in raising Hope.

I don't know what mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with three simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

1. Don't take too much credit for their good.
2. Don't take too much credit for their bad.
3. Don't try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, "Amen!"

Dear Lord, I know You desire for me to raise a God-following adult. Please give me Your wisdom as I seek to become the parent You called to this high honor. Redirect my perspectives and equip me for this task today. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Related Resources:
If you have a strong spirited daughter, don't miss Lysa's new book Made to Crave for Young Women. Expanding on the original message of Made to Crave, this book will equip you to have three of the most crucial conversations you need to have with her around physical, emotional, and material desires. The perfect resource to read along with your daughter to navigate the three pitfalls with which Satan tries to lure girl's hearts away from God.

To order your copy of Made to Crave for Young Women,click here.

To read the first chapter of this book for free, click here.

Lysa is speaking in over 40 cities this year and she'd love to meet you! To check for a city near you, click here.

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:
The things that might aggravate you about your child today, might be the very things when matured that make them great for God's kingdom tomorrow.

Power Verse:
Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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Editor's Note: There was an error in this morning's tabletalk email. We apologize for the inconvenience. Below you'll find the Table Talk devotional for today.

False Prophets and Their Fruits

Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits" (vv. 15-16a).

Following His call for us to pursue the narrow way that leads to salvation (Matt. 7:13-14), Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets in today's passage (vv. 15-20 ). Just as there are two ways, one of salvation and another of damnation, so too are there only two kinds of teachers: true ones and false ones. Being able to distinguish these teachers from one another is vital if we want to promote our spiritual well-being. Otherwise, false prophets will lead us to destruction.

Recognizing prophetic impostors is not always easy, but Jesus says the fruit of their teaching helps us evaluate our instructors (vv. 15-16a ). Some buckthorn bushes in Palestine produce black berries that look like grapes from a distance, and certain thistles have flowers that appear to be figs. However, a close inspection of both these fruits reveals them for what they really are - things unfit for consumption. Likewise, we must examine the fruits our teachers produce in order to determine the nature of the source from which they come (vv. 16b-18).

Since the church's foundation has been laid ( Eph. 2:19-21), no one today exercises the gift of prophecy as the prophets and apostles of old did. Yet the prophetic responsibility to explain God's Word to the people remains, and teachers are obligated, like the prophets, to preach true doctrine (Deut. 13:1-5; Titus 2:1 ). Therefore, teachers who exhort us to live out Jesus' rules for kingdom life bear good fruit. Sound teachers call us to repent (Matt. 5:3), live as salt and light (vv. 13-16), recognize our inability to keep God's law under our own power (v. 20), and follow Christ wholeheartedly ( 6:19-24). True teachers never knowingly reject Scripture's clear teaching (Gal. 1:8-9; 2 John 9). John Calvin comments, "All doctrines must be brought to the Word of God as the standard, and that, in judging of false prophets, the rule of faith holds the chief place."

Good fruit also includes purity of character and life. This does not mean moral perfection, but general conformity to Christ. Those whom the Father calls to shepherd His flock must not live in debauchery (2 Peter 2). They must not preach and practice envy or divide over minor matters (1 Tim. 6:2b-5). By their holy conduct, they are to set a good example for God's chosen people ( 4:12).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Though we are all responsible to evaluate our teachers by the fruit of their teaching and lives, it does not necessarily follow that this evaluation is solely an individual responsibility. In fact, we need other Christians who are grounded in the faith to help us do this. The study of church history, our church's confessions, and membership in a good, local church is necessary to help us weed out the good teachers from the bad. Are you involved in such things?

For further study:

1 Kings 22:1-40

The Bible in a year:

Joshua 5-6

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

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Risky Business

This week's reading: Acts 16:16-34

Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:21-26; 2 Corinthians 4:7-18; 1 Peter 4:12-19

After working together for nearly a year, John and Dave became good friends. Dave supervised John at work, but the two men shared a mutual interest in water sports. They even spent a few weekends wakeboarding together at a nearby lake.

One afternoon at the end of the workday, Dave asked John if he wanted to grab some dinner. While they were eating, Dave commented to John, "You know, you just seem different from the other people I supervise. What is it?" With that opening, John shared his faith in Jesus. Dave nodded his head politely but didn't enter the discussion.

The next morning, the way Dave treated John suddenly changed. The joking stopped, as did their daily discussions about water sports. After he later lost a job promotion that required a positive reference from Dave, John finally confronted his former wakeboarding partner. "What happened at dinner last month?" he asked. "All of a sudden I feel like you're treating me like a leper."

"Look," Dave replied, "I don't appreciate people trying to 'convert' me. And I have no tolerance for any religion that claims to be the only way to God." With that, the conversation ended. Within six months, John was laid off.

Let's face it: Our faith sometimes causes us problems. It's always been that way. When Paul and Silas delivered a slave girl from spiritual oppression, their actions resulted in a citywide uproar. Authorities accused them of advocating unlawful practices counterproductive to Roman society. The magistrate ordered them beaten and thrown into jail.

While we might not risk imprisonment or beating, when we follow Jesus we do risk accusations of proselytizing or of being too spiritually narrow. Our stand for faith might even result in ridicule, rejection and discrimination.

Paul and Silas responded by allowing themselves to suffer on behalf of Jesus. In the midst of their suffering, they even invited their jailer into a relationship with Jesus.

While we might not suffer to the extent Paul and Silas did, we can still choose to make spiritually correct choices, as they did. We can follow in their footsteps-standing for our faith and even inviting our enemies into a relationship with Jesus.

To Take Away

  • Have you taken a risky stand for your faith? When? What was the outcome?
  • Read Romans 5:1-5. What do you think suffering for your faith teaches you?
  • How can you be better prepared to suffer for Jesus?

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Could Jesus Have Healed People by the Power of Suggestion?

Today's reading: Mark 1:29-34

Doctors note that sometimes people can have a psychologically induced illness, and if they get a new purpose or direction for living, they show relief from the symptoms-they don't need the illness anymore. For some others, the "placebo effect" can have visible results. That is, if you think you're going to get better, you often do get better. And when people came to Jesus, they believed he could heal them, so he did. But the fact remains: Regardless of how he did it, Jesus did heal them.

Of course, even if you hold to this explanation for some cases, that doesn't explain all of Jesus' healings. Often a psychosomatic healing takes time; Jesus' healings were instantaneous. Many times people who are healed psychologically have their symptoms return a few days later, but we don't see any evidence of this in the gospel accounts. And Jesus healed conditions like blindness and leprosy, for which a psychosomatic explanation isn't very likely. In addition to these, he brought people back from the dead-and death is not a psychologically induced state! Finally, you have all of his nature miracles-the calming of the sea, turning water into wine. They defy naturalistic answers.


Adapted from interview with Dr. Gary Collins.

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Day 23

Remember King David and King Solomon? All the great kings of ancient Israel had been warriors, builders and diplomats. Little wonder that most people, if they believed at all in a coming Messiah, imagined the new king would be the greatest warrior, builder and deliverer of all. How odd, then, that Jesus seemed indifferent to regime change. His message was “Open your hearts to God.” He did not gather a cache of weapons or train a commando platoon for toppling Roman rule. This unexpected focus, coupled with Jesus’ insistence on genuine personal repentance, offended many in Jerusalem’s religious establishment. Some educated Pharisees considered him a teacher of dangerous and misleading philosophy. In the midst of growing Jewish opposition and common-folk popularity, Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the greatest of the Jewish holidays, the Festival of Tabernacles. He used the festival as a backdrop for revealing his authority, identity and mission.

Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”

Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.

Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

What was Jesus' primary mission during his life?

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Today's Lent reading: Luke 4-6 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Luke 5

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Luke 6

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

He looked around at them all, and then said to the man,“Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

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