Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Daily Devotional Tuesday 10th April

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"The place which is called Calvary."
Luke 23:33

The hill of comfort is the hill of Calvary; the house of consolation is built with the wood of the cross; the temple of heavenly blessing is founded upon the riven rock--riven by the spear which pierced his side. No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary's tragedy.

"Is it not strange, the darkest hour

That ever dawned on sinful earth,

Should touch the heart with softer power,

For comfort, than an angel's mirth?

That to the Cross the mourner's eye should turn,

Sooner than where the stars of Bethlehem burn?"

Light springs from the midday-midnight of Golgotha, and every herb of the field blooms sweetly beneath the shadow of the once accursed tree. In that place of thirst, grace hath dug a fountain which ever gusheth with waters pure as crystal, each drop capable of alleviating the woes of mankind. You who have had your seasons of conflict, will confess that it was not at Olivet that you ever found comfort, not on the hill of Sinai, nor on Tabor; but Gethsemane, Gabbatha, and Golgotha have been a means of comfort to you. The bitter herbs of Gethsemane have often taken away the bitters of your life; the scourge of Gabbatha has often scourged away your cares, and the groans of Calvary have put all other groans to flight. Thus Calvary yields us comfort rare and rich. We never should have known Christ's love in all its heights and depths if he had not died; nor could we guess the Father's deep affection if he had not given his Son to die. The common mercies we enjoy all sing of love, just as the sea-shell, when we put it to our ears, whispers of the deep sea whence it came; but if we desire to hear the ocean itself, we must not look at every-day blessings, but at the transactions of the crucifixion. He who would know love, let him retire to Calvary and see the Man of sorrows die.

Evening

"For there stood by me this night the angel of God."
Acts 27:23

Tempest and long darkness, coupled with imminent risk of shipwreck, had brought the crew of the vessel into a sad case; one man alone among them remained perfectly calm, and by his word the rest were reassured. Paul was the only man who had heart enough to say, "Sirs, be of good cheer." There were veteran Roman legionaries on board, and brave old mariners, and yet their poor Jewish prisoner had more spirit than they all. He had a secret Friend who kept his courage up. The Lord Jesus despatched a heavenly messenger to whisper words of consolation in the ear of his faithful servant; therefore he wore a shining countenance, and spake like a man at ease.

If we fear the Lord, we may look for timely interpositions when our case is at its worst. Angels are not kept from us by storms, or hindered by darkness. Seraphs think it no humiliation to visit the poorest of the heavenly family. If angel's visits are few and far between at ordinary times, they shall be frequent in our nights of tempest and tossing. Friends may drop from us when we are under pressure, but our intercourse with the inhabitants of the angelic world shall be more abundant; and in the strength of love-words, brought to us from the throne by the way of Jacob's ladder, we shall be strong to do exploits. Dear reader, is this an hour of distress with you? then ask for peculiar help. Jesus is the angel of the covenant, and if his presence be now earnestly sought, it will not be denied. What that presence brings in heart-cheer those remember who, like Paul, have had the angel of God standing by them in a night of storm, when anchors would no longer hold, and rocks were nigh.

"O angel of my God, be near,

Amid the darkness hush my fear;

Loud roars the wild tempestuous sea,

Thy presence, Lord, shall comfort me."

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 13-14, Luke 10:1-24 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Samuel Rebukes Saul

1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years.

2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4 So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering.10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

Israel Without Weapons

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash. 17 Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual, 18 another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness.

19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.

22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Attacks the Philistines

23 Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.

1 Samuel 14

1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.

4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”

7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

8 Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”

So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”

13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

Israel Routs the Philistines

15 Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.) 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the LORD saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Jonathan Eats Honey

24 Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.

25 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. 28 Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”

29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”

31 That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. 32They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. 33 Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it.”

“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” 34 Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.’”

So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.

36 Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”

“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.

But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”

37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day.

38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. 39 As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.

40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”

“Do what seems best to you,” they replied.

41 Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. 42 Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”

So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”

44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”

45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.

47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. 48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. 50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. 51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.

52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.


Luke 10

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

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Zipporah

The Woman Who Wrongly Opposed Her Husband

Scripture ReferencesExodus 2:21,22; 4:24, 25; 18:1-6

Name Meaning—A Midian name, Zipporah means “a little bird,” “a sparrow.” Wilkinson observes that “the feminine termination ah added to the common word Zippor, which is also the father of Balak, king of Moab.” Such a name like “dove” or “lamb” would originally be a term of endearment, and thus the word passer &--;“a sparrow”—is used by the Roman poets. Passer is also being found as a Roman family name. The root of this word is an Arabic verb, signifying “to chirp.”

Family Connections—Zipporah was one of the seven daughters of Jethro who is also called Reuel and Raguel (Exodus 2:18;4:24 , 25; 18:1-6; Numbers 10:29 ). It was to the home of this shepherd-priest in Midian that Moses came when at forty years of age he fled from Egypt, and meeting the seven girls drawing water Moses assisted them. Arriving home earlier than usual they told how the Egyptian had helped them. Brought up as a son of Pharaoh, Moses must have looked every inch a cultured Egyptian. Invited home, Moses was content to live with Jethro’s family, and married Zipporah, eldest of the seven daughters. Two sons were born of the union, Gershom and Eliezer. Some writers affirm, without adequate support, that the dark-skinned Ethiopian, “the Cushite woman” whom Miriam and Aaron were jealous over, is merely a description of Zipporah, and that therefore Moses was only married once. But the statement “He had married an Ethiopian woman” implies a recent occurrence, and that Zipporah, whom Moses had married 40 years previously, was dead. It is most unlikely that Miriam and Aaron would have waited all those years to murmur against Moses if Zipporah and the Ethiopian had been one and the same woman.

Zipporah, as a woman of Midian, did not share the spiritual values of her notable husband who found himself acting against the sacred tradition of Israel. This may be one reason why he named his second son Eliezer, meaning “The Lord of my father was my help.” To keep the peace, Moses compromised with his unbelieving wife and withheld circumcision, the sign of God’s covenant, from Eliezer. The Lord intervened, and as a sign of divine displeasure, Moses is stricken with a mortal disease. Both Zipporah and Moses became conscience-stricken over the profanation of God’s covenant, and Zipporah yields. Moses is too prostrate to take a knife and circumcize the child, so his wife severed the boy’s foreskin and, throwing it down before Moses said, “Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.”

When Moses was restored to health relations in the home were not congenial, for he went on alone to Egypt, and Zipporah and the two sons went back to her home in Midian. Of this unhappy incident Alexander Whyte says, “There are three most obscure and most mysterious verses in Moses' history that mean, if they mean anything at all to us, just such an explosion of ill-temper as must have left its mark till death on the heart of Moses and Zipporah. The best of wives; his help meet given him of God; the most self-effacing of women; the wife who holds her husband in her heart as the wisest and best of men &--;under sufficient trial and provocation and exasperation, even she will turn and will strike with just one word; just once in her whole married lifetime.”

When Moses became the mighty leader and law-giver of Israel, there was the episode when Jethro, his father-in-law came out to the wilderness to see Moses and brought with him Zipporah and the two sons. The union was devoid of any restraint for Moses graciously received them and neither disowned nor ignored his wife and sons. But after this visit during which Jethro gave his over-burdened son-in-law some very practical advice, nothing more is said of Zipporah. She disappears without comment from the history of the Jewish people in which her husband figured so prominently. “Neither as the wife of her husband nor as the mother of her children did she leave behind her a legacy of spiritual riches.” How different it would have been if only she had fully shared her husband’s unusual meekness and godliness and, like him, left behind footprints in the sands of time!

Zipporah is far from being an inspiring character with which to end our alphabetical coverage of all the named women of the Bible. One could have wished for a nobler and more godly example of female biography as a fitting conclusion to this section of our study. Looking back over the large number of women whose names are recorded in Holy Writ we realize that taken together they represent all aspects of human nature—good, bad and indifferent. For the majority, they lived their lives as they passed through this short scene of trial into eternity, leaving little trace behind them. But as we have seen, others, by their character and history, have left their names engraved in the impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture, with their records serving as either warning signals where they were conspicuous for evil, or as shining examples of high endeavor, where their lives were lived as unto Him who created both male and female for His glory.

Whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast and cherish hope (Romans 15:4, Amplified Bible).

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Naphtali, Nephthalim [Năph'talī, Nĕph'tha lĭm]—obtained by wrestling.The sixth son of Jacob and second by Bilhah, Rachel’s maid. Rachel gave her son his name because she had wrestled in prayer for God’s favor and blessing (Gen. 30:8; 35:25 ). The tribe that descended from Naphtali bears his name (Num. 1:15, 42).

The Man Who Lacked Self-Control

In the last words of Jacob (Gen. 49:21 ), the patriarch speaks of Naphtali as “a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words”—a fluent orator but as erratic as the wild gazelle. Henry Thorne wrote of him,

He is gifted undoubtedly, but he has no self-control. He will scamper through life aimlessly and without a goal. His uncontrolled energy may some day be his ruin. He may possibly leap over a fence, but he may also jump into a ditch. Byron was gifted, but of him it has been said—

He laid his hand upon the ocean’s main,

And played familiar with his hoary locks.

He was a man of brilliant talent and magnificent capacity, but he was also “a hind let loose.” There was a wild extravagance in his career of wrong-doing that marred his influence and spoiled his life.

Nothing but divine grace can restrain those who are erratic. He who rebuked the rude tempest with a word (Job 38:11; Mark 4:39 ) and produced a great calm, can rebuke the turbulent and the reckless in any nature, and cause the energy that is wasted by folly to flow into channels of usefulness. God can make the rebel a priest and a king.

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April 9, 2012
Check the Radar
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver" (Proverbs 25:11).

Friend to Friend
Fruit is one of my favorite foods. When I go grocery shopping, it always takes me longer to get through the fruit section than any other area of the store.I spend what some might consider a ridiculously long time picking out what I hope will be the juiciest apples, the plumpest grapes and sweetest bananas. Experience has taught me to quickly discard any piece of fruit that is bruised, mushy or discolored. I shake cantaloupe and thump watermelons. Ripe strawberries have a unique sweet scent and only the reddest cherries will do. Plums and tomatoes must be firm to the touch, bright in color and wrinkle-free while the more wrinkles the better when it comes to choosing passion fruit.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was carefully making my fruit selections when the thought occurred to me that I spend more time choosing fruit than I spend choosing my words.

Words are power tools that can build and encourage. Words can also destroy and cause confusion. We have all been hurt and even defeated by words spoken in anger or words rising out of a wounded and bitter heart. I have been guilty of speaking damaging words with the ulterior motive of flaunting power or demonstrating control. It is so easy for my mouth to be in motion before my mind is in gear and the result is rarely good or godly.

The words we speak can clarify or complicate a situation. I have watched my husband diffuse an emotional bomb and avoid a potentially explosive situation with a few carefully chosen and quietly spoken words of wisdom. I have also observed him in the art of confrontation – and with Dan, it really is an art. In fact, one person told me that he was halfway home before he realized that Dan had just confronted and corrected him.

Solomon offers great wisdom concerning the use of words, "Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin" (Proverbs 13:3 GWT). If we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us. While it is true that we need to choose our words carefully, it is just as true that the tongue is a spiritual thermometer which reflects the condition of the heart.

I am not a good patient and tend to think that most medical rules apply to everyone else in my life – but not to me. After all, I am a woman and I am a Southerland. According to my husband, it doesn't get much tougher than that. Several years ago, I was slammed with a high fever and blinding headache that sent me to bed for days, something highly unusual for me. I called my doctor. When he heard my symptoms, he told me to come in immediately and even though his waiting room was full, he would make room for me in his already crowded schedule. His urgency was not encouraging.

The minute I walked in his office, the receptionist waved me back to the patient area where a nurse promptly escorted me to an examination room, hurriedly recorded my symptoms, took my temperature, glanced briefly at my throat and quickly left the room. Minutes later, the doctor and a nurse walked in and stood on the opposite side of the room, almost smiling at me. At this point, I realized that whatever I had was evidently highly contagious and probably fatal. I felt so awful that the latter was definitely appealing.

"Mary, I am almost certain you have viral meningitis," the doctor said. Seeing the blank look on my face, he explained, "Your abnormally high fever of 104 and severe headache are classic symptoms of meningitis, but we need to run some tests to verify my suspicions. Oh, and by the way, how long have you had the solid white coating on your tongue?" I was stunned. What coating? Why is the color of my tongue even important in determining my illness? The doctor continued, "The health of the tongue is a very strong indicator of the health of the entire body."

The same is true when it comes to the words we speak. "The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things" (Matthew 12:34-35, NCV). If my words are boastful, my heart is insecure. If my words are filthy, my heart is impure and if my words are critical, my heart is filled with pride and anger. In other words, the problem is not really my mouth, it's my heart. The words I speak reflect the true condition of my heart.

Careless words can cause such grief. Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can convey false perspectives and untruths. However, the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion and light on a very dark path. I believe God gives us spiritual "radar" so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. We just need to check the "radar screen" before we speak.

Let's Pray
Father, I can be so careless with the words I speak. Forgive me. Please help me learn how to control my tongue. Create in me a clean heart, God, so that I can speak words filled with grace and love.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Read Colossians 4:6. "Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone."

How would you describe words that are "gracious?"
How can our words be "effective" in the lives of others?
What do you think Paul means when he says that we can have the "right answer for everyone?"

More from the Girlfriends
The subject of taming the tongue is a hard one. Since communication is a gift from God, He has a plan for the right way to use it. My problem is that I tend to think my plan is better. I know. I can be arrogant … and stubborn. Someone recently sent me this prayer: "Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth." Amen!

Check out Mary's new E-Bible Study, How to Get Past Your Past, and learn how to face and deal with your past.

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The Healing Touch of Christ

Matthew 9:18-26 "Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, 'Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.' And instantly the woman was made well" ( v. 22).

When Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe the same event, the first evangelist usually abbreviates his account. Today's passage, for example, describes the Lord's healing of the hemorrhaging woman and the raising of Jairus' daughter, an episode also found in Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 8:40-56. Matthew 9:18-26 leaves out details found in the second and third gospels, including the synagogue ruler's name (Jairus) and Jesus' order to feed the young girl after He resurrects her. Also, Jairus in Matthew's gospel says that his daughter is already dead when he greets the Savior (9:18), whereas Jairus in Mark 5:22-23 and Luke 8:41-42 says she is dying. These accounts do not contradict one another, Matthew just shortens his narrative to give the urgency of Jairus' words, not every single detail of the story (Mark 5:35; Luke 8:49). Even if Jairus' daughter has not yet died when he first meets Jesus, she is certainly as good as dead, and only Christ can help her.

A woman who has been suffering a discharge of blood for twelve years approaches the Lord on His way to Jairus' home (Matt. 9:20). She is probably afflicted with unending menstruation, which makes her ceremonially unclean and unable to associate with others lest she "pollute" them (Lev. 15:19-30). Effectively, she is an outcast and must avoid crowds. Yet she is desperate for wholeness and believes Jesus can heal her if she touches the fringe of His garment (Matt. 9:21) - tassels sewn on the clothing of Jewish men as a reminder of God's commandments (Num. 15:37-41; Deut. 22:12). No doubt, superstition is mingled with the woman's hope in Jesus, but she is still restored, and Christ reveals that this healing comes through her faith in Him, not the "magic" of His cloak ( Matt. 9:22). Matthew Henry writes that faith is the "grace of all others [that] gives most honor to Christ, and therefore He gives most honor to it."

Arriving at Jairus' house, all hope seems lost, but Jesus, who holds the keys to death and hell (Rev. 1:17-18), knows that His power renders the girl's demise only temporary. Amazingly, this Nazarene overrules death's cruel hand and shows those who would ridicule Him who the fools really are ( Matt. 9:23-26).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

As when He healed the leper (Matt. 8:1-4 ), Jesus again shows His ability to make clean the unclean. These miracles are clear evidence that the old distinctions between the ceremonially clean and unclean pass away in the new covenant, for in Christ, God will cleanse all that brings pollution. There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. If you know Christ, He is even now cleansing you and thereby enables you to approach Him with gladness.

For further study:

1 Kings 17:8-24

The Bible in a year:

1 Samuel 18-19

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

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The Healing Touch of Christ

Matthew 9:18-26

As when He healed the leper (Matt. 8:1-4 ), Jesus again shows His ability to make clean the unclean. These miracles are clear evidence that the old distinctions between the ceremonially clean and unclean pass away in the new covenant, for in Christ, God will cleanse all that brings pollution. There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. If you know Christ, He is even now cleansing you and thereby enables you to approach Him with gladness.

For further study:

1 Kings 17:8-24

The Bible in a year:

1 Samuel 18-19

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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Tracie Miles

April 9, 2012

Getting Through Another One of"Those Days"
Tracie Miles

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

It had been another dramatic day in a house with "maturing" young women. While my teenage daughters sat upstairs dealing with their run-away emotions, I retreated to our front porch to deal with my own.

Both my daughters were going through difficult situations and pending decisions, and neither of them were happy with the motherly advice I'd given them.

I needed peace and quiet, and a place to process my overwhelming thoughts with God. Searching for the right words to pray, I secretly longing for the days when my girls were little and the hardest question was if they could have a snack before dinner.

Sitting there, I noticed something in the flower bed that seemed out of place. Partially tucked in the pine straw, underneath the holly tree, was a piece of the past — two faded plastic Easter eggs.

My thoughts went back years earlier, when my daughters were small, and I wondered if the eggs were from one of my favorite Easter Sundays. I closed my eyes, letting my mind return to what seemed like easier days.

I saw a mental picture of my two blond-headed little girls, playing in the thick grass, wearing pink Easter dresses. Little fingers wrapped tightly around wicker baskets, as they hid colored Easter eggs under the holly bushes. Bushes that were then twelve inches tall, yet now stood at twelve feet. As my mind replayed this sweet scene, I began to cry.

While I was reminiscing about the past and trying to breathe in the present, my daughters walked outside and plopped down beside me on the porch. As we sat on the steps together, Kaitlyn pointed out the eggs under the tree - and my eyes welled up with tears again.

They both looked at me like I was crazy, wondering why mom was crying over some old faded Easter eggs. And all of a sudden we all burst out in laughter, and started talking openly about our feelings and life. By the end of the conversation, we all felt thankful for the bond we have, even on the hardest of days.

Being a mom is an unfathomable blessing, but there are going to be "those days" when we feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. Days when we feel frustrated and emotionally exhausted as we face the never-ending challenge to raise children to honor God's ways, in a society that does not respect His truths at all.

Today's key verse encourages me to persevere on "those days." The definition of perseverance is to adhere to a course of 'action, belief, or purpose, in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.'

As parents, we are called by God to stay the course, adhere to our beliefs, and trust that God has a purpose for all things - even on "those days." We can do that by talking to other Christian parents, participating in a prayer group for our children, and staying grounded in God's Word.

On this particular day when my heart felt heavy, God used two faded Easter eggs as a reminder that despite the daily challenges of being a mom, He is with me and that gives me hope.

Hope gives us strength to persevere, and our perseverance helps us to build our own character, as we invest in the character of our children.

Even when the past seems easier than the present, God calls us as parents to be engaged in every moment and trust that He has a beautiful purpose, espeically on one of "those days."

Dear Lord, thank You for simple reminders of Your love, and for the blessing of making a positive impact in my children's lives. Help me to persevere in Your name, and to be the Godly parent You have called me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Tracie's blog for more encouragement on Christian parenting, and to receive a free downloadable link to Tracie's one hour interview about Godly parenting, with MommyMissions.com. Also sign up to find out more about starting a Christian parent support group in your church or neighborhood!

The Mom I Want To Be by T. Suzie Eller

Always There: Reflections For Moms On God's Presenceby Susan Besze Wallace

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:
List ways that you struggle to trust God in your parenting journey. Ask Him to give you confidence to seek and rely on His wisdom to be a Godly parent.

Have you been standing firm in your convictions, even if your child wants to follow the crowd?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 22:6, "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." (NLT)

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (NIV)

© 2012 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

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The best of masters

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” John 14:27

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

It is the same with the world at this day. Everyone greets us in writing with a “Dear sir,” or a “My dear sir,” and concludes with “Yours very truly,” and “Yours sincerely.” We call all “friends,” and if we meet but casually we express the utmost anxiety with regard to one another’s health, and we carefully enquire after each other’s families; when perhaps we shall no sooner have passed by the person than we shall forget his existence, and certainly shall entertain no anxious thoughts with regard to his welfare, nor any loving remembrance of him. The world gives very largely when it gives compliments. Oh, what blessings would descend upon all our heads, if the blessings uttered could be blessings bestowed. Even when the “Good bye” is given, which translated means, “God be with you”—if that could be but true, and if God could be with us, in answer to that prayer, so little understood, how rich might we be! But alas! the way of the world is, “Be ye warmed and filled;” but it has not that which should warm, nor that which should fill. It is a world of words; high-sounding, empty, all-deceiving words. Now this is not so with Christ. If he says “Peace be with you,” his benediction is most true and full of sweet sincerity. He left his own peace in heaven, that he might give the peace which he enjoyed with his Father, to us in this world of sorrow, for thus he puts it, “My peace I give unto you.” Christ, when he blesses, blesses not in word only, but in deed. The lips of truth cannot promise more than the hands of love will surely give. He gives not in compliment. Furthermore, even when the world’s wishes of peace are sincere, what are they but mere wishes?

For meditation: Greetings and best wishes from the lips of a Christian should be modelled on Christ, not the world. Do you go in for the “polite lie” or are your concerns for others genuine (Philippians 2:20; 3 John 2)?

Sermon no. 247
10 April (1859)

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A promise for us and for our children

‘I will pour water upon him that is thirsty … I will pour my spirit upon thy seed … and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses, One shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob.’Isaiah 44:3–5

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 2:1–21

The thirsty land shall be springs of water. O my brethren, when the Holy Spirit visits a man, what a difference is made in him! I know a preacher, once as dull and dead a man as ever misused a pulpit; under his slumbering ministrations there were few conversions, and the congregation grew thinner and thinner, good men sighed in secret, and the enemy said, ‘Aha! so would we have it.’ The revival came, the Holy Spirit worked gloriously, the preacher felt the divine fire and suddenly woke up to energy and zeal. The man appeared to be transformed; his tongue seemed touched with fire; elaborate and written discourses were laid aside, and he began to talk out of his own glowing heart to the hearts of others. He preached as he had never done before; the place filled; the dry bones were stirred, and quickening began. Those who knew him once so elegant, correct, passionless, dignified, cold, lifeless, and unprofitable, asked in amazement, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’ The Spirit of God is a great wonder-worker. You will notice certain church members; they have never been good for much; we have had their names on the roll, and that is all: suddenly the Spirit of God has come upon them, and they have been honoured among us for their zeal and usefulness. We have seen them here and there and everywhere diligent in the service of God, and foremost in all sorts of Christian labour, though before you could hardly get them to stir an inch. I would then that the quickening Spirit would come down upon me, and upon you, upon every one of us in abundance, to create men valiant for truth and mighty for the Lord. O for some of the ancient valour of apostolic times.

For meditation: This abundant watering is carried out by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer (John 7:37–39; Romans 5:5; Titus 3:5–6). Are you overflowing or not really thirsty enough?

Sermon no. 564
10 April (1864)

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Personal Development: Priorities

LUKE 12:16–21

Every leader lives under the influence of the Law of Limited Resources. Time, in particular, is one of those precious commodities. The time invested in any project is taken away from some other place in life. The energy invested in one job won’t be there for another one. No leader will ever lack for things to 3 occupy his or her time and energy. Because that’s the case, every leader must answer an important question: “Where should I invest my time and energy?” Or to put it differently, “What should be my priorities?”

Jesus told the story of a man whose main priority was himself and his possessions. In telling this story Jesus not only warned against the danger of greed, but also pointed out the futility of priorities that are not in line with God’s will.

The man in the parable had clear priorities. First, he wanted to accumulate wealth. Second, he wanted to use his wealth to secure his own future. Now, any retirement investment consultant will tell you that saving for the future is a good—even necessary—pursuit. But the rich fool, as he is called in this parable, started with the wrong motives and unfortunately failed to achieve either priority. He died before he could either expand his business or enjoy retirement. Jesus applied this parable to anybody whose priorities reveal a heart absorbed with self instead of God.

Ultimately, our purpose for living should be to bring recognition (honor and glory) to God rather than to bring pleasure to ourselves (see 1 Corinthians 10:31). With that purpose in mind we can set our priorities by discovering what will bring the greatest recognition to God. If we do that, unlike the fool in the parable, we’ll be rich in God’s eyes.

What are your top five priorities? Are you struggling with selfish ambition and greed? How has that struggle affected your priorities? How do you need to reshuffle your priorities so you can overcome these two destructive attitudes?

Priorities and Who God Is

As important as success, security and significance are, there is something far more meaningful than these. Philosophers and theologians call it the summum bonum, the “supreme good,” and they tell us that to miss this is to miss everything. Turn to Revelation 1:8 to study the Biblical vision of the summum bonum

This Week's Verse to Memorize JEREMIAH 29:13

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Priorities and Who I Am

“The good can become the enemy of the best.” Effective leaders have the ability to discern not only the difference between the good and the bad, but also the difference between the good and the best. Since we cannot do everything well, we must carefully choose a few things on which we will concentrate. Turn to 1 John 2:15–17 to consider the competing claims of the world and of the Father.

Priorities and How They Work

Life gets confusing and conflicting. We have to decide what matters most or we become victims of the loudest or latest demands. Paul, whose focused life made him a literal world-changer, discovered the key to prioritized life and shared that key in Philippians 3:12–14 .

Priorities and What I Do

How can you choose which task you should devote your time to? Peter F. Drucker gives us some practical guidelines aimed at helping us choose priorities. As we consider his advice we need to be sure to order our priorities according to the words of Jeremiah. Turn to Jeremiah 9:23–24.


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by Kenneth Boa
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The Handbook to Leadership includes: 52-Week Leadership Guide, Topical Leadership Guide, Leadership Character Studies, and Books of the Bible Leadership Guide.
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NIV Devotions for Moms

Facing Resistance to God

Matthew 13:53-58

Additional Scripture Readings: Romans 12:14; 1 Peter 3:15-16

It's tough when the people we love don't respond to the God we love. When we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we want everyone around us to love and follow him just the way we do.

The truth is that with parents or husbands or even adult children, instead of interest and response, we may get the hometown treatment. When the subject is faith, resistance comes on strong. We spread the contents of our Christianity on the kitchen table only to receive rolled eyes, uncomfortable sighs and raised eyebrows from those we thought would be most interested.

Jesus experienced the same reception when he returned to his hometown of Nazareth. The people there reacted with contempt: "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked (Matthew13:54).

"A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home," was Jesus' reply (Matthew 13:57). When we bring the good news of the gospel to our hometowns, we just might get the hometown treatment. But we can be comforted: we aren't alone.

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Remember the Good Ol’ Days?

Ecclesiastes 7:2-14

It's easy to think the past was better than today. Most of us have selective memories. We only remember what we want to remember. We reminisce about our fun-loving college days but forget how we stayed up all night to study, subsisting on Ramen noodles and completely stressing out because no one had asked us to the upcoming party. We remember being single-enjoying the freedom to have ice cream for dinner-but forget how lonely we felt eating by ourselves. We recall our children as darling babies but don't remember how frustrated we were when the "terrible twos" hit.

You could make the case that it's good to forget the bad. However, when we look at the past through rose-colored glasses, we run the risk of being ungrateful for what we have right now. Rather than seeing today's gifts, we yearn for yesterday's fun and games, conveniently glossing over the past's difficulties.

Our days, months and years are made up of both good times and bad. The tapestry of life's events makes up the very essence of who we are. Think about today and the difficulties you are encountering: The laundry is piling up. The roof needs fixing. Your kids aren't listening to you. Now consider some of the memories you're making today: Your baby took his first steps. Your daughter graduated from kindergarten, high school or college. You got that big promotion. You finally started your own business.

Thank God for all your wonderful memories. Take the difficult things to God in prayer. Ask him what he wants you to learn from your present situation. God doesn't waste any of our experiences. He can use the good ol' days, as well as the not-so-great days, to benefit us, if we let him. The key is to remember things as they really were, to be content with things as they really are and to trust God to take care of the future.

Reflection

  1. Name some difficulties you've faced in the past. What good came out of them?
  2. What difficulties are you facing right now? How might God use them for your good or the good of someone else?
  3. Name some of the women you know who have used their difficulties to help others. How have they glorified God?

Ecclesiastes 7:10, 14
Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions . . . When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

Related Readings

Exodus 16:1-8; Isaiah 40:28-31; 43:18-19

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