Friday, May 18, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 18th May

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him."
Colossians 2:9-10
All the attributes of Christ, as God and man, are at our disposal. All the fulness of the Godhead, whatever that marvellous term may comprehend, is ours to make us complete. He cannot endow us with the attributes of Deity; but he has done all that can be done, for he has made even his divine power and Godhead subservient to our salvation. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and infallibility, are all combined for our defence. Arise, believer, and behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of his divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation! How vast his grace, how firm his faithfulness, how unswerving his immutability, how infinite his power, how limitless his knowledge! All these are by the Lord Jesus made the pillars of the temple of salvation; and all, without diminution of their infinity, are covenanted to us as our perpetual inheritance. The fathomless love of the Saviour's heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us. The whole of Christ, in his adorable character as the Son of God, is by himself made over to us most richly to enjoy. His wisdom is our direction, his knowledge our instruction, his power our protection, his justice our surety, his love our comfort, his mercy our solace, and his immutability our trust. He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. "All, all, all are yours," saith he, "be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord." Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of his love or power, we are but asking for that which he has already faithfully promised.

Evening

"Afterward."
Hebrews 12:11
How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. No calm more deep than that which succeeds a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. After killing the lion we eat the honey; after climbing the Hill Difficulty, we sit down in the arbour to rest; after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them "afterwards." It is peace, sweet, deep peace, which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls. See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are "afterward" good things, harsh ploughings yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied; if, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy "afterwards" in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world's days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how will he extol him before the eternal throne! If evil be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then? Oh, blessed "afterward!" Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross for the crown which cometh afterwards? But herein is work for patience, for the rest is not for today, nor the triumph for the present, but "afterward." Wait, O soul, and let patience have her perfect work.

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Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 1-3, John 5:25-47 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 

To Noah’s Sons

Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.
The sons of Noah:
Shem, Ham and Japheth.

The Japhethites

The sons of Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
The sons of Gomer:
Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
The sons of Javan:
Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.

The Hamites

The sons of Ham:
Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.
The sons of Cush:
Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah and Sabteka.
The sons of Raamah:
Sheba and Dedan.
10 Cush was the father of
Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on earth.
11 Egypt was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 12 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
13 Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 14 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 15 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 16 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.

The Semites

17 The sons of Shem:
Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
The sons of Aram:
Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.
18 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
and Shelah the father of Eber.
19 Two sons were born to Eber:
One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
20 Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah,
25 Eber, Peleg, Reu,
26 Serug, Nahor, Terah
27 and Abram (that is, Abraham).
28 The sons of Abraham:
Isaac and Ishmael.

Descendants of Hagar

29 These were their descendants:
Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,30 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, 31 Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael.

Descendants of Keturah

32 The sons born to Keturah, Abraham’s concubine:
Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
The sons of Jokshan:
Sheba and Dedan.
33 The sons of Midian:
Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah.
All these were descendants of Keturah.

Descendants of Sarah

34 Abraham was the father of Isaac.
The sons of Isaac:
Esau and Israel.
35 The sons of Esau:
Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam and Korah.
36 The sons of Eliphaz:
Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz;
by Timna: Amalek.
37 The sons of Reuel:
Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah.

The People of Seir in Edom

38 The sons of Seir:
Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan.
39 The sons of Lotan:
Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister.
40 The sons of Shobal:
Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
The sons of Zibeon:
Aiah and Anah.
41 The son of Anah:
Dishon.
The sons of Dishon:
Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
42 The sons of Ezer:
Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.
The sons of Dishan:
Uz and Aran.

The Rulers of Edom

43 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned:
Bela son of Beor, whose city was named Dinhabah.
44  When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king.
45 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.
46 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith.
47 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king.
48 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king.
49 When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king.
50 When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab. 51 Hadad also died.
The chiefs of Edom were:
Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 52 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 53 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 54 Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom.
These were the sons of Israel:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.

To Hezron’s Sons

The sons of Judah:
Er, Onan and Shelah. These three were born to him by a Canaanite woman, the daughter of Shua. Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar bore Perez and Zerah to Judah. He had five sons in all.
The sons of Perez:
Hezron and Hamul.
The sons of Zerah:
Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Kalkol and Darda—five in all.
The son of Karmi:
Achar, who brought trouble on Israel by violating the ban on taking devoted things.
The son of Ethan:
Azariah.
The sons born to Hezron were:
Jerahmeel, Ram and Caleb.

From Ram Son of Hezron

10 Ram was the father of
Amminadab , and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, the leader of the people of Judah. 11 Nahshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, 12 Boaz the father of Obed and Obed the father of Jesse.
13 Jesse was the father of
Eliab his firstborn; the second son was Abinadab, the third Shimea, 14 the fourth Nethanel, the fifth Raddai, 15 the sixth Ozem and the seventh David. 16 Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah’s three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel.17 Abigail was the mother of Amasa, whose father was Jether the Ishmaelite.

Caleb Son of Hezron

18 Caleb son of Hezron had children by his wife Azubah (and by Jerioth). These were her sons: Jesher, Shobab and Ardon.19 When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20 Hur was the father of Uri, and Uri the father of Bezalel.
21 Later, Hezron, when he was sixty years old, married the daughter of Makir the father of Gilead. He made love to her, and she bore him Segub. 22 Segub was the father of Jair, who controlled twenty-three towns in Gilead. 23  (But Geshur and Aram captured Havvoth Jair, as well as Kenath with its surrounding settlements—sixty towns.) All these were descendants of Makir the father of Gilead.
24 After Hezron died in Caleb Ephrathah, Abijah the wife of Hezron bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa.

Jerahmeel Son of Hezron

25  The sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron:
Ram his firstborn, Bunah, Oren, Ozem and Ahijah.26 Jerahmeel had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam.
27 The sons of Ram the firstborn of Jerahmeel:
Maaz, Jamin and Eker.
28 The sons of Onam:
Shammai and Jada.
The sons of Shammai:
Nadab and Abishur.
29 Abishur’s wife was named Abihail, who bore him Ahban and Molid.
30 The sons of Nadab:
Seled and Appaim. Seled died without children.
31 The son of Appaim:
Ishi, who was the father of Sheshan.
Sheshan was the father of Ahlai.
32 The sons of Jada, Shammai’s brother:
Jether and Jonathan. Jether died without children.
33 The sons of Jonathan:
Peleth and Zaza.
These were the descendants of Jerahmeel.
34 Sheshan had no sons—only daughters.
He had an Egyptian servant named Jarha. 35 Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his servant Jarha, and she bore him Attai.
36 Attai was the father of Nathan,
Nathan the father of Zabad,
37 Zabad the father of Ephlal,
Ephlal the father of Obed,
38 Obed the father of Jehu,
Jehu the father of Azariah,
39 Azariah the father of Helez,
Helez the father of Eleasah,
40 Eleasah the father of Sismai,
Sismai the father of Shallum,
41 Shallum the father of Jekamiah,
and Jekamiah the father of Elishama.

The Clans of Caleb

42 The sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel:
Mesha his firstborn, who was the father of Ziph, and his son Mareshah, who was the father of Hebron.
43 The sons of Hebron:
Korah, Tappuah, Rekem and Shema. 44 Shema was the father of Raham, and Raham the father of Jorkeam. Rekem was the father of Shammai. 45  The son of Shammai was Maon , and Maon was the father of Beth Zur.
46 Caleb’s concubine Ephah was the mother of Haran, Moza and Gazez. Haran was the father of Gazez.
47 The sons of Jahdai:
Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah and Shaaph.
48 Caleb’s concubine Maakah was the mother of Sheber and Tirhanah. 49 She also gave birth to Shaaph the father of Madmannah and to Sheva the father of Makbenah and Gibea. Caleb’s daughter was Aksah. 50 These were the descendants of Caleb.
The sons of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah:
Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim, 51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, and Hareph the father of Beth Gader.
52 The descendants of Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim were:
Haroeh, half the Manahathites, 53  and the clans of Kiriath Jearim: the Ithrites, Puthites, Shumathites and Mishraites. From these descended the Zorathites and Eshtaolites.
54 The descendants of Salma:
Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth Beth Joab, half the Manahathites, the Zorites, 55  and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the Rekabites.

The Sons of David

These were the sons of David born to him in Hebron:
The firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
the second, Daniel the son of Abigail of Carmel;
the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;
the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
and the sixth, Ithream, by his wife Eglah.
These six were born to David in Hebron, where he reigned seven years and six months.
David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years, and these were the children born to him there:
Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel. There were also Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet—nine in all. All these were the sons of David, besides his sons by his concubines. And Tamar was their sister.

The Kings of Judah

10 Solomon’s son was Rehoboam,
Abijah his son,
Asa his son,
Jehoshaphat his son,
11 Jehoram his son,
Ahaziah his son,
Joash his son,
12 Amaziah his son,
Azariah his son,
Jotham his son,
13 Ahaz his son,
Hezekiah his son,
Manasseh his son,
14 Amon his son,
Josiah his son.
15 The sons of Josiah:
Johanan the firstborn,
Jehoiakim the second son,
Zedekiah the third,
Shallum the fourth.
16 The successors of Jehoiakim:
Jehoiachin his son,
and Zedekiah.

The Royal Line After the Exile

17 The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive:
Shealtiel his son, 18 Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah.
19 The sons of Pedaiah:
Zerubbabel and Shimei.
The sons of Zerubbabel:
Meshullam and Hananiah.
Shelomith was their sister.
20 There were also five others:
Hashubah, Ohel, Berekiah, Hasadiah and Jushab-Hesed.
21 The descendants of Hananiah:
Pelatiah and Jeshaiah, and the sons of Rephaiah, of Arnan, of Obadiah and of Shekaniah.
22 The descendants of Shekaniah:
Shemaiah and his sons:
Hattush, Igal, Bariah, Neariah and Shaphat—six in all.
23 The sons of Neariah:
Elioenai, Hizkiah and Azrikam—three in all.
24 The sons of Elioenai:
Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah and Anani—seven in all.

John 5:25-47

25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27  And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32  There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth.34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35  John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing —testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
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Ham [Hăm]—hot or dark, colored, swarthyThe youngest son of Noah and father of Canaan and founder of many peoples (Gen. 5:326:107:139:18,22Ps. 78:51).

The Man Whose Sin Brought a Curse

In consequence of the improper conduct of Ham when Noah was drunk, the heart of his father was set against him. Without doubt, Ham’s act was the manifestation of an impure heart. Perhaps he had always been a filthy dreamer.
Because every imagination of our heart is defiled (Gen. 8:21), we are all the sons of Ham in this respect. There is none clean, no not one ( Rom. 3:1012).
The indignation of Noah found expression in the thrice repeated curse (Gen. 9:25-27 ). How tragic it is that the wickedness of Ham appears to have influenced the whole of his descendants whose history is one of folly and crime. The sin of one man polluted many peoples. Ham sinned, and a curse came upon Canaan. The Hamites were condemned to be hewers of wood and drawers of water.
The Hebrew word for Ham means “hot” and is surely prophetic of the climates that have created the blackness of the skin of the Negro, and the dark complexions of other peoples from the same stock. Egypt is called “the land of Ham” (Ps. 105:23) and the Egyptian word for “Ham” is Kem , meaning black and warm. From Ham we have the Egyptians, Africans, Babylonians, Philistines and Canaanites.

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Earthly Enforcers

Daniel 12:1 "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people" (v. 1a).
Central to the biblical description of God is the doctrine of divine providence. Scripture is clear that the Lord did not make the world and then leave it alone to run its course. Rather, He continues to uphold and sustain His creation (Heb. 1:1-4). God's continuing involvement with creation is according to His design as He works out "all things according to the counsel of his will" (Eph. 1:11).
What is often forgotten when considering divine providence is that the angels are some of the many secondary agents through which the primary agent - God Himself - works out His plan. Angels themselves are not divine; they are creatures who, along with everything else the Almighty has made (Rev. 4:11), have an origin in space and time.
That the Lord uses angels to govern His creation is clear from many places in Scripture. We are familiar with the involvement of angels in certain miraculous events, such as the resurrection of Jesus, when an angel rolled the stone away from the opening of the tomb (Matt. 28:1-10). Yet the Bible seems to teach that angels are involved in everyday events as well, such as the rise and fall of human governments. This is a point made by the twentieth-century Swiss scholar Oscar Cullmann. In a series of essays, Professor Cullmann analyzed passages like Daniel 12:1 and noted that certain angels are apparently linked to certain societies and nations. The influence of the supernatural can be either heavenly or demonic, as illustrated in the conflict between Michael, the one with charge over God's people, and the prince of Persia (chap. 10). Still, both angels and demons apparently hold great sway and influence over the course of human events, which does not surprise the Father, of course, as He is the Creator.
Scripture also reveals a difference in rank among the angels.Jude 9 refers to the archangel Michael who has a leadership role in the angelic host (archangel means "head angel" or "ruling angel"). Gabriel may also function in this role, though the Bible never calls him an archangel. In any case, this order and rank is not surprising. After all, the angels were created by the God of order.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Knowing that the Lord has an army in heaven who wages war against His enemies is very encouraging. Since we are His people, we know that God's angels are fighting on our behalf and advancing the good plans our Creator has for each of His children. Who knows how many times we each have been rescued from trouble because of the intervention of the Lord's army? The close calls we experience may just be evidence of God's angels at work.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
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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May 17, 2012
Trusting God with My Family
Mary Southerland
Today's Truth
Proverbs 14:1 (NCV) "A wise woman strengthens her family, but a foolish woman destroys hers by what she does."
Friend to Friend
Family means different things to different people. What is a family? Well, I can tell you that a family is no longer simple. Family is complex and has changed to include many different relationships. But the bottom line is that family is a group of persons with whom you are doing life. Family is where we learn about God then live out the very nature and character of God in relationships.  Family is important to God. He created it before He created the church and, as with each of His creations, He made a plan for it to succeed. At the heart of that plan is love. To trust God with our family demands that we first love and trust God in our own lives then allow that love to spill over into our family.
What a crazy day it had been! It was a day probably like many of yours. I was a young mom with two small children. My husband was the youth pastor at a large church in town. I taught a weekly Bible study for senior high girls and directed a youth choir that practiced one night a week and sang for the early worship service every Sunday. We hosted a youth Bible study in our home every Monday night … and, well, you get the idea. My schedule was almost to the point of ridiculous, and I was exhausted most of the time. But this particular day had been crazier than most. Both kids had a cold and were grumpy. The house was a mess, the laundry was piled high, and I had a meeting at church that night. I was counting the minutes until my husband came walking through the front door. I needed rescuing. The phone rang. "Honey, I won't be able to make it home before church visitation tonight," Dan said. He sounded so tired that I could not muster up one ounce of anger. Instead, I shifted into overdrive. I snatched both kids off of the backyard swing, plopped them in the bathtub for a quick rinse and impatiently shoved little arms and legs into clean clothes while spooning food into little mouths before firmly depositing both kids in their car seats. Off we went to church for the third night in a row.
At a stop sign, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw two miserably silent children, tears streaming down their sad little faces. I heard His voice, "Mary, what are you doing and who are you doing it for?" My heart broke. I suddenly realized that I was running the race of life for the wrong audience. Turning the car around, I headed home.
"Hey guys! Would you like to go home, put on your pajamas, make some cookies and watch a movie with me?" Cheers and clapping erupted from the back seat as tears gave way to smiling faces, and laughter and giggles filled the car and my heart. It has been over twenty years and I still remember that precious night of ministry.
Women are so busy. As believers, we delight in finding creative ways to touch hearts and are often passionate about introducing those hearts to God's love, forgiveness and transforming power – and rightly so. However, I wonder how many of us miss the hungry hearts that greet us each morning across the breakfast table or wait for us to come home each night. Do we overlook a child's silent longing for the kind of love that is spelled "t-i-m-e?" Do we miss the opportunity to encourage a weary husband who has, once again, returned home without a job? When was the last time you gave your parents a hug and thanked them for everything they have done for you over the years? Do your grandparents know how valuable their legacy of love and wisdom is to you? We make the erroneous assumption that the people in our lives know how we feel about them. Do they? And even if they do know, wouldn't it be great to tell them again?  
It is so easy to lose focus and scramble priorities. We get so busy doing good things and miss one of the highest things God created us to do – family. Our public life is only as valid as our private life. Family is the perfect framing for God's highest work, the litmus test for authentic service and our greatest opportunity to meet needs in His name.
When our daughter, Danna, was a little girl, one of her favorite activities was to color a page in what she called her "special" coloring book. The book had several "special" pages, one in particular being a dull, gray picture of a butterfly. Frankly, I couldn't understand her excitement. When I asked why she liked that picture so much, Danna grinned and said, "Watch, Mommy!" She rubbed her little hands together to create warmth; then laid them on the butterfly drawing. The touch of her hand caused the special inks in the printing to react, and the dull gray was transformed into a vivid rainbow of color.
Everyone is hungry for the warm touch of someone who cares – a kind word, an act of compassion, a hug of encouragement. I believe God created the family to be the first place where that hunger is best satisfied. Yet, I am amazed that we can stand in silence, watching homes, marriages and families disintegrate before our very eyes. Silence is agreement. It is time for us, as women of God, to boldly stand against anyone and anything that undermines our marriage or threatens the solidarity of our family. It is time for us to trust God for and with our families.
Let's Pray
Father, I want to please You by the way I love my family. Today, I choose to see each family member through your eyes of love and mercy. I will wage peace in my family. I will be quick to forgive and slow to condemn. I will encourage my family members with my words, my prayers, my love and my time. I want my home to be a safe place filled with kindness and compassion, a place that illustrates Your presence and power. Today, I choose to trust my family to God. 
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
Read the following verses of Scripture. Make a list of the action words in each verse. After completing the list, come up with steps you can take to illustrate the character of God in your family relationships.
  • Proverbs 31:26-28 (NCV) "She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind. She watches over her family and never wastes her time. Her children speak well of her. Her husband also praises her."
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 (NCV) "Whoever does not care for his own relatives, especially his own family members, has turned against the faith and is worse than someone who does not believe in God."
  • Galatians 6:10 (NIV) "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
  • Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) "God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ."
More from the Girlfriends
For more information on learning how to trust God with your family, check out Mary's video download, How to Love Your Family. Need help learning how to live a life of power and purpose? Check out Mary's weekly online Bible Study,How to Dress for Success and learn how to live a life of victory. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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

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Lysa TerKeurst
May 17, 2012
Grace Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Good
Lysa TerKeurst
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."Colossians 4:6 (NIV)
I like this verse. I really do. It interrupts me. It redirects me.
But most of all it challenges me.
And the part that challenges me the most is the "full of grace" part. My conversations should be full of grace. In other words, the bulk of my words should be made up of grace towards the person with whom I'm conversing.
I don't know if you've ever tried this, but it's hard.
The other day I knew I was going to have a challenging day with one of my daughters. It was just one of those days where right from the start, I could tell she was going to push when I wanted to pull. She was going to go when I wanted to pause. She was going to take when I wasn't in the mood to give.
I just knew there was going to be a situation.
So, thinking on this verse, I said to myself, "full of grace Lysa. Absolutely full. Not partial. Not half way. But all the way grace."
With each response, I measured out lavish grace. Not that I didn't correct her, I did. But I did so in calm tones.
I looked for ways to lovingly reassure her. I held her hand. I let her see my pleasure in her through the expressions on my face. And I kept quiet when my nerves were begging me to do otherwise.
I did really well ... for a couple of hours.
And then I lost it. Completely.
I was so discouraged.
But as I think back on it now, that part of it is grace too. I demonstrated the reason I can give grace is because I so desperately need it. I asked for forgiveness and decided to resist my own funk begging me to sit and wallow in my messy humanity.
I dusted myself off, and whispered, "God help me. Please, please help me."
And I took one more step towards the grace I so desperately want to demonstrate.
I don't know who puts "grace" to the test in your life. But how might things be different if just for today you decided to resist the funk and give grace a try with them one more time?
Remember, grace doesn't have to be perfect to be good.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your amazing grace. I hope I show it with every conversation I have today. But when I blow it, thanks for giving me an extra measure of grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
If you need a giggle or your heart needs a little motherhood encouragement today, click here to pop over to Lysa's blog to read "A Note from the Principal."
Might you need a friend to share with you her hilarious motherhood stories and lessons learned from being an imperfect mom? In her book, Am I Messing Up My Kids?Lysa TerKeurst does just that. This is the perfect encouragement for the moms you know.
Sign up to receive Lysa's insightful, motivating and oftentimes, very humorous, blog posts by clicking here.
Reflect and Respond:
Who puts "grace" to the test in your life? How might things be different if just for today you decided to resist the funk and give grace a try with them one more time?
Next time you need grace, ask for forgiveness, dust yourself off and whisper, "God help me. Please, please help me."
Power Verses:
Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV)
Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (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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Earthly Enforcers

Knowing that the Lord has an army in heaven who wages war against His enemies is very encouraging. Since we are His people, we know that God's angels are fighting on our behalf and advancing the good plans our Creator has for each of His children. Who knows how many times we each have been rescued from trouble because of the intervention of the Lord's army? The close calls we experience may just be evidence of God's angels at work.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
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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An exhortation

‘But David tarried still at Jerusalem.’ 2 Samuel 11:1
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Timothy 5:9–15
Let us watch unto prayer, and be diligent in our Master’s business, ‘fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.’ My dear friends, we do not exhort you to serve Christ, to be saved by it. Davidwas saved. I only speak to you who are saved, and I beg and beseech of you to take notice of David’s fall, and of the sloth that was at the beginning of it, as a warning to yourselves. Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle. Notice the invention used by country people to catch wasps. They will put a little sweet liquor into a long and narrow-necked phial. The do-nothing wasp comes by, smells the sweet liquor, plunges in, and is drowned. But the bee comes by, and if she does stop for a moment to smell, yet she enters not, because she has honey of her own to make; she is too busy in the work of the commonwealth to indulge herself with the tempting sweets. Master Greenham, a Puritan divine, was once waited upon by a woman who was greatly tempted. Upon making enquiries into her way of life, he found she had little to do, and Greenham said, ‘That is the secret of your being so much tempted. Sister, if you are very busy, Satan may tempt you, but he will not easily prevail, and he will soon give up the attempt.’ Idle Christians are not so much tempted of the devil as they are tempting the devil to tempt them. Idleness sets the door of the heart ajar, and asks Satan to come in; but if we are occupied from morning till night, if Satan shall get in, he must break through the door. Under sovereign grace, and next to faith, there is no better shield against temptation than being ‘Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.’
For meditation: ‘Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do’ (Isaac Watts). The more we are occupied with the Lord’s business, the less time we will have for Satan’s business. When busy for the Lord, Nehemiah was tempted to meet his enemies in the plain Ono. His reply? A plain ‘O, no’ (Nehemiah 6:2–4)! Could you do the same?
Sermon no. 450
18 May (1862)

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God alone the salvation of His people

“He only is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 62:2
Suggested Further Reading: Mark 9:1-8
If God alone is our rock, and we know it, are we not bound to put all our trust in God, to give all our love to God, to set all our hope upon God, to spend all our life for God, and to devote our whole being to God? If God be all I have, sure, all I have shall be God’s. If God alone is my hope, sure, I will put all my hope upon God; if the love of God is alone that which saves, sure, he shall have my love alone. Come, let me talk to thee, Christian, for a little while, I want to warn thee not to have two Gods, two Christs, two friends, two husbands, two great Fathers; not to have two fountains, two rivers, two suns, or two heavens, but to have only one. I want to bid thee now, as God hath put all salvation in himself, to bring all thyself unto God. Come, let me talk to thee! In the first place, Christian, never join anything with Christ. Wouldest thou stitch thy old rags into the new garment he giveth? Wouldest thou put new wine into old bottles? Wouldst thou put Christ and self together? Thou mightest as well yoke an elephant and an ant; they could never plough together. What! Wouldest thou put an archangel in the same harness with a worm, and hope that they would drag thee through the sky! How inconsistent! How foolish! What! Thyself and Christ? Sure, Christ would smile; nay, Christ would weep, to think of such a thing! Christ and man together? Christ and Co? No, it never shall be; he will have nothing of the sort; he must be all. Note how inconsistent it would be to put anything else with him.
For meditation: What candidates for an equal share of the devotion due only to the Triune God do you face? Give them the same answer as Jesus gave Satan (Matthew 4:10).
Sermon no. 80
18 May (1856)

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How Accurate Were the Scribes Who Copied Scripture?

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 4:4
Generations of scribes, working for the most part in anonymity, have faithfully rendered the Bible as the best preserved work of the ancient world. Although each pen stroke was the result of a scribe's action, there are in fact very few places where a scribe appears to have intentionally altered the "received" text. Such changes in the Hebrew Bible are identified by the scribal tradition as tiqqune sopherim ("emendations of the scribes"). Various rabbinic lists enumerate specific emendations, ranging in total from seven to eighteen.
Most of these early scribal emendations were introduced based on religious motives in an effort to preserve the sanctity and dignity of the Biblical text. For example, Genesis 18:22 reports that "the men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD." According to some lists, this verse reflects a deliberate scribal change at the end of a verse that originally read "while the LORD was still standing before Abraham." This change sought to avoid depicting God as a servant awaiting Abraham's instruction. Another example occurs in Zechariah 2:8, which warns that whoever struck Israel touched "the apple of [God's] eye." Scribal lists inform the reader that the original text has a first person suffix, providing the reading "the apple of my eye." This change sought to avoid the impression that God himself was speaking anthropomorphically, as though he had a physical eye.
Some changes in the Biblical text, including euphemistic expressions (intended, e.g., to express something less starkly), are not explicitly marked. One such example occurs with respect to the proper names that contain the element "Baal." The noun Baal, which originally meant simply "Lord," came later to signify almost exclusively the proper name of the Canaanite god. Later readers were apt to be offended by the appearance of this name in the Scripture, especially when associated with an Israelite. Thus, names that included "Baal" were sometimes changed in order to refrain from speaking even indirectly of false gods. For example, in 1 Chronicles 8:34 9:40the son of Jonathan is identified as Merib-Baal, whereas in 2 Samuel 4:4 he is called Mephibosheth. Similarly, a son of Saul is called Esh-Baal in 1 Chronicles 8:33 9:39 but Ish-Bosheth in2 Samuel 2:8. In both cases the name Baal has been substituted with bosheth, the Hebrew noun for "shame." The change does not appear to reflect a negative judgment on the individual in question, but rather was a way of condemning the name of Baal.
The cumulative evidence of the Hebrew Bible shows that such emendations were not carried out systematically. It is also important to emphasize that most early scribal emendations are explicitly identified as such by marginal notations that preserve the text of the original reading. Viewed in this light, such changes provide insight into the religious sensibilities of various readers of the Bible rather than reflecting an attempt to alter the actual wording of the sacred text.

Adapted from the Archaeological Study Bible.
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Several issues of Standing Strong Through the Storm earlier this week contained a duplicate devotional message. We apologize for the error. Please follow these links to read the devotionals from this week:

Sunday: The Example of Mothers
Monday: Women Who Fear God
Tuesday: Singing Praises
Wednesday: Syncretism

MATERIALISM

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.1Timothy 6:10
Satan subtly promotes the attitude that says money, property, possessions, physical comforts, as well as worldly fame and honor are the most important things in life. While God created all things and is the source of all we have, He does not condone our allowing things and money to usurp His first place in our lives. The prosperity that He so freely gives us, and wants us to have, is indeed a blessing until it takes the place of God.
Materialism is thus the attitude that says money, property, possessions, physical comforts, as well as worldly fame and honor, are the most important things in life. Not to say, “There is no God,” but to say, “I don’t have any need for God!”
For Christians, materialism is much like the frog in a pan of water that is slowly being heated. He boils to death because he does not realize the danger quickly enough to jump out of the pot before it is too late.
A church leader from the country of Romania, which was once a communist-dominated land and is now free, commented, “In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of external persecution pass it, while 95% of those who face the test of prosperity fail it!”
Satan is ecstatic when he succeeds in luring us into this trap. This is the dark side to money and possessions that many Christians are either unaware of, or unwilling to face. As a result, the spiritual vitality of many has been sapped and the church as a whole has been weakened spiritually. Like fire, money is a good servant but a destructive master.
If the church is to survive this challenge, there is an urgent need to be aware of the true nature of materialism. Unfortunately, it has become such a vital part of our culture that Christians are often unaware of its control.
By the standard of the people around Jesus, many of today’s so called poor are very rich as well as almost all those in free societies. In Jesus’ day, a rich person was one who had more food than needed for the day and who had more than one set of clothing.
Are you a rich person? Go to www.globalrichlist.com
RESPONSE: Today I will not be a frog in the boiling water. I will be alert to Satan’s attack on the materialism front.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord for all the material blessings I have received from You. Help me to use them for Your glory and Your kingdom.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

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Living in the Present

When you were a kid, did you ever wish you could see into the future? Most kids wonder what will happen to them as the years pass by and they grow older. Where will they go to school? Will they go to college? What about a career? Will they get married and have a family?
This kind of thinking doesn't end when a person reaches adulthood. Singles wonder whether there's a spouse for them out there somewhere. Parents dream about what their kids will grow up to be. College freshmen wonder about their eventual career path; older workers prepare for-or worry about-their retirement years.
Human nature compels us to look ahead with wonder. Dreams of the future make the drudgery of work today worthwhile. Anticipation of future events gets us up in the morning and forces us to plan for tomorrow. It's what separates a man from his best friend, his dog.
The Israelites in today's story were no different from us today. Faced with an uncertain future and an immediate need for food and water, they started grumbling. While they'd labored hard during their years of slavery, at least in Egypt they'd always had plenty of food and water. Now here they were, out in the desert, and they and their kids were hungry and thirsty. Put yourself in their place, and try to look at the situation from their perspective. Chances are you'd have had a few pointed questions for Moses as well.
God heard them, and responded by promising to provide for them. Those of us who attended Sunday school know the story well-each morning, flakes of bread appeared on the ground; in the evening, quail covered the camp. But they couldn't hoard what they gathered, and they couldn't store it. Moses instructed the Israelites to gather only what they needed for the day-no more, no less. Tough to do when you're thinking about what the kids will eat for breakfast!
Why was limiting what they gathered important to God? Because the Israelites needed to understand what we all need to learn-that we can sustain a relationship with God only in the present.
Our past is nothing more than the story of how we got to where we are, and dwelling on it causes us to become stagnant and unsatisfied. We can't find God by worrying or dreaming about the future, either, because that just makes us want to control whatever lies ahead.
Yes, we have concerns and hopes and dreams for the future. But this story tells us that we can live out our relationship with God only in the here and now. God longs for us to trust him every hour and every minute of today.

To Take Away

  • What worries about the future do you need to place in God's hands?
  • What hinders you from developing your relationship with God today?
  • Consider the fact that the present, while fleeting, is the testing ground for your faithfulness to God and his plan for your life. Then pray for the wisdom to make the right decisions and place your plans and concerns for the future in God's good hands.

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