Saturday, May 19, 2012

Daily Devotional Saturday 19th May

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth."
Ecclesiastes 10:7
Upstarts frequently usurp the highest places, while the truly great pine in obscurity. This is a riddle in providence whose solution will one day gladden the hearts of the upright; but it is so common a fact, that none of us should murmur if it should fall to our own lot. When our Lord was upon earth, although he is the Prince of the kings of the earth, yet he walked the footpath of weariness and service as the Servant of servants: what wonder is it if his followers, who are princes of the blood, should also be looked down upon as inferior and contemptible persons? The world is upside down, and therefore, the first are last and the last first. See how the servile sons of Satan lord it in the earth! What a high horse they ride! How they lift up their horn on high! Haman is in the court, while Mordecai sits in the gate; David wanders on the mountains, while Saul reigns in state; Elijah is complaining in the cave while Jezebel is boasting in the palace; yet who would wish to take the places of the proud rebels? and who, on the other hand, might not envy the despised saints? When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.
Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and he therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.


"And he requested for himself that he might die."
1 Kings 19:4
It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death--should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers." We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though he always does in effect. He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him. Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that he did not take his desponding servant at his word. There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised--if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate--if we ask contrary to his will, or to the decrees of his providence--if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to his glory, we must not expect that we shall receive. Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. As one remarks, "If the Lord does not pay in silver, he will in gold; and if he does not pay in gold, he will in diamonds." If he does not give you precisely what you ask for, he will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.


Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 4-6, John 6:1-21 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 

Other Clans of Judah

The descendants of Judah:
Perez, Hezron, Karmi, Hur and Shobal.
Reaiah son of Shobal was the father of Jahath, and Jahath the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the clans of the Zorathites.
These were the sons of Etam:
Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash. Their sister was named Hazzelelponi. Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah.
These were the descendants of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah and father of Bethlehem.
Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni and Haahashtari. These were the descendants of Naarah.
The sons of Helah:
Zereth, Zohar, Ethnan, and Koz, who was the father of Anub and Hazzobebah and of the clans of Aharhel son of Harum.
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
Kelub, Shuhah’s brother, was the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. Eshton was the father of Beth Rapha, Paseah and Tehinnah the father of Ir Nahash. These were the men of Rekah.
The sons of Kenaz:
Othniel and Seraiah.
The sons of Othniel:
Hathath and Meonothai. Meonothai was the father of Ophrah.
Seraiah was the father of Joab,
the father of Ge Harashim. It was called this because its people were skilled workers.
The sons of Caleb son of Jephunneh:
Iru, Elah and Naam.
The son of Elah:
The sons of Jehallelel:
Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel.
The sons of Ezrah:
Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. One of Mered’s wives gave birth to Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.(His wife from the tribe of Judah gave birth to Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soko, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. ) These were the children of Pharaoh’s daughter Bithiah, whom Mered had married.
The sons of Hodiah’s wife, the sister of Naham:
the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maakathite.
The sons of Shimon:
Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-Hanan and Tilon.
The descendants of Ishi:
Zoheth and Ben-Zoheth.
The sons of Shelah son of Judah:
Er the father of Lekah, Laadah the father of Mareshah and the clans of the linen workers at Beth Ashbea, Jokim, the men of Kozeba, and Joash and Saraph, who ruled in Moab and Jashubi Lehem. (These records are from ancient times.) They were the potters who lived at Netaim and Gederah; they stayed there and worked for the king.
The descendants of Simeon:
Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah and Shaul;
Shallum was Shaul’s son, Mibsam his son and Mishma his son.
The descendants of Mishma:
Hammuel his son, Zakkur his son and Shimei his son.
Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters, but his brothers did not have many children; so their entire clan did not become as numerous as the people of Judah. They lived in Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar Shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth Markaboth, Hazar Susim, Beth Biri and Shaaraim. These were their towns until the reign of David. Their surrounding villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Token and Ashan —five towns— and all the villages around these towns as far as Baalath. These were their settlements. And they kept a genealogical record.
Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah son of Amaziah, Joel, Jehu son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, also Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, and Ziza son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah.
The men listed above by name were leaders of their clans. Their families increased greatly, and they went to the outskirts of Gedor to the east of the valley in search of pasture for their flocks. They found rich, good pasture, and the land was spacious, peaceful and quiet. Some Hamites had lived there formerly.
The men whose names were listed came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. They attacked the Hamites in their dwellings and also the Meunites who were there and completely destroyed them, as is evident to this day. Then they settled in their place, because there was pasture for their flocks. And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.
The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)— the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel:
Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi.
The descendants of Joel:
Shemaiah his son, Gog his son,
Shimei his son, Micah his son,
Reaiah his son, Baal his son,
and Beerah his son, whom Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria took into exile. Beerah was a leader of the Reubenites.
Their relatives by clans, listed according to their genealogical records:
Jeiel the chief, Zechariah, and Bela son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel. They settled in the area from Aroer to Nebo and Baal Meon. To the east they occupied the land up to the edge of the desert that extends to the Euphrates River, because their livestock had increased in Gilead.
During Saul’s reign they waged war against the Hagrites , who were defeated at their hands; they occupied the dwellings of the Hagrites throughout the entire region east of Gilead.
The Gadites lived next to them in Bashan, as far as Salekah:
Joel was the chief, Shapham the second, then Janai and Shaphat, in Bashan.
Their relatives, by families, were:
Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jakan, Zia and Eber—seven in all.
These were the sons of Abihail son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz.
Ahi son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, was head of their family.
The Gadites lived in Gilead, in Bashan and its outlying villages, and on all the pasturelands of Sharon as far as they extended.
All these were entered in the genealogical records during the reigns of Jotham king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel.
The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 men ready for military service —able-bodied men who could handle shield and sword, who could use a bow, and who were trained for battle. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.They seized the livestock of the Hagrites—fifty thousand camels, two hundred fifty thousand sheep and two thousand donkeys. They also took one hundred thousand people captive,and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s. And they occupied the land until the exile.
The people of the half-tribe of Manasseh were numerous; they settled in the land from Bashan to Baal Hermon, that is, to Senir (Mount Hermon).
These were the heads of their families: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel. They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.
The sons of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
The sons of Kohath:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
The children of Amram:
Aaron, Moses and Miriam.
The sons of Aaron:
Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Eleazar was the father of Phinehas,
Phinehas the father of Abishua,
Abishua the father of Bukki,
Bukki the father of Uzzi,
Uzzi the father of Zerahiah,
Zerahiah the father of Meraioth,
Meraioth the father of Amariah,
Amariah the father of Ahitub,
Ahitub the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Ahimaaz,
Ahimaaz the father of Azariah,
Azariah the father of Johanan,
Johanan the father of Azariah (it was he who served as priest in the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem),
Azariah the father of Amariah,
Amariah the father of Ahitub,
Ahitub the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Shallum,
Shallum the father of Hilkiah,
Hilkiah the father of Azariah,
Azariah the father of Seraiah,
and Seraiah the father of Jozadak.
Jozadak was deported when the Lord sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
The sons of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
These are the names of the sons of Gershon:
Libni and Shimei.
The sons of Kohath:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
The sons of Merari:
Mahli and Mushi.
These are the clans of the Levites listed according to their fathers:
Of Gershon:
Libni his son, Jahath his son,
Zimmah his son, Joah his son,
Iddo his son, Zerah his son
and Jeatherai his son.
The descendants of Kohath:
Amminadab his son, Korah his son,
Assir his son, Elkanah his son,
Ebiasaph his son, Assir his son,
Tahath his son, Uriel his son,
Uzziah his son and Shaul his son.
The descendants of Elkanah:
Amasai, Ahimoth,
Elkanah his son, Zophai his son,
Nahath his son, Eliab his son,
Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son
and Samuel his son.
The sons of Samuel:
Joel the firstborn
and Abijah the second son.
The descendants of Merari:
Mahli, Libni his son,
Shimei his son, Uzzah his son,
Shimea his son, Haggiah his son
and Asaiah his son.

The Temple Musicians

These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.
Here are the men who served, together with their sons:
From the Kohathites:
Heman, the musician,
the son of Joel, the son of Samuel,
the son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham,
the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,
the son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah,
the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai,
the son of Elkanah, the son of Joel,
the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah,
the son of Tahath, the son of Assir,
the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,
the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath,
the son of Levi, the son of Israel;
and Heman’s associate Asaph, who served at his right hand:
Asaph son of Berekiah, the son of Shimea,
the son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah,
the son of Malkijah, the son of Ethni,
the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah,
the son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah,
the son of Shimei, the son of Jahath,
the son of Gershon, the son of Levi;
and from their associates, the Merarites, at his left hand:
Ethan son of Kishi, the son of Abdi,
the son of Malluk, the son of Hashabiah,
the son of Amaziah, the son of Hilkiah,
the son of Amzi, the son of Bani,
the son of Shemer, the son of Mahli,
the son of Mushi, the son of Merari,
the son of Levi.
Their fellow Levites were assigned to all the other duties of the tabernacle, the house of God. But Aaron and his descendants were the ones who presented offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense in connection with all that was done in the Most Holy Place, making atonement for Israel, in accordance with all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.
These were the descendants of Aaron:
Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son,
Abishua his son, Bukki his son,
Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,
Meraioth his son, Amariah his son,
Ahitub his son, Zadok his son
and Ahimaaz his son.
These were the locations of their settlements allotted as their territory (they were assigned to the descendants of Aaron who were from the Kohathite clan, because the first lot was for them):
They were given Hebron in Judah with its surrounding pasturelands. But the fields and villages around the city were given to Caleb son of Jephunneh.
So the descendants of Aaron were given Hebron (a city of refuge), and Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasturelands.And from the tribe of Benjamin they were given Gibeon, Geba, Alemeth and Anathoth, together with their pasturelands.
The total number of towns distributed among the Kohathite clans came to thirteen.
The rest of Kohath’s descendants were allotted ten towns from the clans of half the tribe of Manasseh.
The descendants of Gershon, clan by clan, were allotted thirteen towns from the tribes of Issachar, Asher and Naphtali, and from the part of the tribe of Manasseh that is in Bashan.
The descendants of Merari, clan by clan, were allotted twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun.
So the Israelites gave the Levites these towns and their pasturelands. From the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin they allotted the previously named towns.
Some of the Kohathite clans were given as their territory towns from the tribe of Ephraim.
In the hill country of Ephraim they were given Shechem (a city of refuge), and Gezer, Jokmeam, Beth Horon, Aijalon and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands.
And from half the tribe of Manasseh the Israelites gave Aner and Bileam, together with their pasturelands, to the rest of the Kohathite clans.
The Gershonites received the following:
From the clan of the half-tribe of Manasseh
they received Golan in Bashan and also Ashtaroth, together with their pasturelands;
from the tribe of Issachar
they received Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth and Anem, together with their pasturelands;
from the tribe of Asher
they received Mashal, Abdon, Hukok and Rehob, together with their pasturelands;
and from the tribe of Naphtali
they received Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon and Kiriathaim, together with their pasturelands.
The Merarites (the rest of the Levites) received the following:
From the tribe of Zebulun
they received Jokneam, Kartah, Rimmono and Tabor, together with their pasturelands;
from the tribe of Reuben across the Jordan east of Jericho
they received Bezer in the wilderness, Jahzah, Kedemoth and Mephaath, together with their pasturelands;
and from the tribe of Gad
they received Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon and Jazer, together with their pasturelands.

John 6:1-21

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples,“Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake,where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.


Ahaziah [Āhazī'ah]—jehovah holds orpossesses.
  1. A son of Ahab, the Ahaziah of Israel—its eighth king who reigned for only two years. He followed the religious policy of his idolatrous father. He died as the result of a fall from the palace window (1 Kings 22:49,512 Kings 1:21 Chron. 3:11;2 Chron. 20:3537).
  2. A son of Jehoram or Joram, the Ahaziah of Judah who was Judah’s fifth king, and who reigned for only one year. He is also known as Jehoahaz and Azariah. Since his wife was a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, it is not to be wondered at that he was a Baal worshiper (2 Kings 8:24-299:16-29;10:1312:1813:114:132 Chron. 22).



Angels as Messengers

Interest in angels is at an all-time high in our culture, and many people long to have an encounter with them. However, while seeing an angel would be a remarkable event, even the angels themselves are far more concerned that we heed God's messages to us than they are that we see them face to face. We have in Scripture a message from the Lord delivered through the angels (Heb. 2:1-4 ). It is that message we must trust and obey.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
For the weekend:
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. 



Angels as Messengers

Luke 1:5-38 "The angel answered him, 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news'" ( v. 19).
We have noted that angelos is the Greek word normally translated into English as "angel." Basically, angelos means "one who brings a message," and it often refers to human messengers as well as the heavenly host. The biblical authors' use of angelos when recounting angelic appearances indicates that a chief task of these supernatural creatures is to bring a message from on high.
This angelic role is clear in today's passage, which describes Gabriel's visit to Zechariah and Mary to announce the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively ( Luke 1:5-38). Gabriel is a special emissary, privileged to stand in God's presence and carry our Father's word to His servants (v. 19). To receive a visit from an angel is a unique experience, and that explains Zechariah's fear when Gabriel appeared (vv. 5-12). Contrary to what we might think, angels did not appear before the biblical saints on a regular basis; they only showed themselves to God's people when they were needed to announce a specific advance in the Lord's plan of salvation (for example, Gen. 18:1-15). When Gabriel revealed himself to Zechariah, he commanded the priest to name his son "John" and to keep him away from strong drink (Luke 1:13-17 ). Significantly, to dictate what someone will be named is, in biblical categories, to take authority over him. Yet Gabriel did not claim possession of John for himself. He was speaking on behalf of God Almighty. As a mouthpiece for the Creator, Gabriel and the other angels are invested with God's authority because they speak God's commands.
Centuries before Gabriel was sent to Zechariah and Mary, Joshua met another heavenly messenger - "the commander of the army of the Lord" (Josh. 5:13-14a ). Angels are not to be worshiped because they are sent from God and are not God Himself. But in this case, Joshua worships the commander (vv. 14b-15). Though angels are created beings, church tradition has seen in this episode an encounter between Joshua and a pre-incarnate manifestation of the Son of God since Joshua is not rebuked for praising the angel like others are rebuked for angel worship elsewhere (Rev. 22:8-9 ). Many scholars throughout church history have identified the "angel of the Lord" with Jesus Himself.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Interest in angels is at an all-time high in our culture, and many people long to have an encounter with them. However, while seeing an angel would be a remarkable event, even the angels themselves are far more concerned that we heed God's messages to us than they are that we see them face to face. We have in Scripture a message from the Lord delivered through the angels (Heb. 2:1-4 ). It is that message we must trust and obey.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
For the weekend:
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. 


Melissa Taylor
May 18, 2012
Speaking Their Language
Melissa Taylor
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV 1984)
"I'm not joining Facebook and I'm not texting you. Don't text message me either. If you want to tell me something, you'll have to speak to me! You kids don't know how to have conversations anymore."
"But Grandpa, you are missing out on so much in my life."
The grandpa's scowl said it all: "I don't care."
This conversation, which I overheard, haunted me for days. I bet Grandpa did care. He just didn't know how to relate to his granddaughter, and new technology probably scared him. I admit it scared me at first too. I'm not fond of change.
When my children were younger, breakfast time consisted of a meal, devotion, and Bible-reading together. I didn't work outside the home like I do now, so I had more time in the morning.
Now I have to make sure the kids are ready, and I am too! There are six people running around, fighting for two bathrooms, grabbing a quick bite to eat, and racing out the door. I miss the intentional time spent teaching my children what I consider most important: God's Word.
Watching my now-teenaged son text message at lightning speed on his cell phone one evening, I wondered: Would it make a difference if I texted my kids a Bible verse each day? I dismissed the thought, thinking it silly to send a text when they should be reading God's Word for themselves.
Then I thought of Grandpa, his refusal to his granddaughter, and her reply. I didn't want to miss out like he was.
Texting my kids a verse each day may not radically change their lives, but then again it might. I wondered,would Jesus text if He were here today?
While on earth, Jesus used language that His audience understood, depending on where He was and the culture of that area. His purpose and message did not change, but His delivery and presentation sometimes did. Jesus reached people where they were. He walked, rode, sailed, and taught at homes, hillsides, banquets, and dinner tables.
It's been a year now since I've started texting Bible verses to my children. Usually I get a response like "thanks" or no response at all, but sometimes I'll receive a verse back. I send them the same verse so, if the opportunity arises, we can talk about it together.
Texting connects with my children because I'm speaking their language. The message hasn't changed, but for the purpose of effectiveness the delivery has, for me and my kids. And much to my delight, sometimes they forward the verse to a friend or two.
Texting may not be my favorite way to communicate, but if it ministers to my children, I don't want to miss it. It's just one more way I can continue to "train up" my children.
This week, let's be on the lookout for new ways we can share God's Word by speaking our kids language.
Dear Lord, change is hard for me, but if there is a way You'd like for me to change for the sake of another, then I will try. With Your help all things are possible. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?
Visit Melissa's blog and find out how you can receive Melissa's "Top 10 Ways to Connect with Your Children."
Reflect and Respond:
Think of one way you can better connect with someone in your life.
Are you stubborn like Grandpa or willing like Jesus?
Power Verses:
Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (NIV)
Proverbs 31:28-29, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'" (NIV)
© 2012 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105



The church—conservative and aggressive

‘The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.’1 Timothy 3:15
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:9–6:11
I remember a somewhat ludicrous incident which occurred to a church in which there were great quarrellings and bickerings. The minister and the deacons, and the people, were all at arm’s length, and daggers drawn. It was determined at last that the matter should come to a settlement, and it was by mutual consent given up to the judgment of a good Christian farmer, who lived in the neighbourhood. He was to hear the case, and write an answer to be read at the next church meeting. Our friend, the farmer, sat down to write his letter; at the same time he had a letter from a steward or tenant asking advice about his farm, and by a mistake, or rather by a blessed providence as God would have it, he put the wrong letters into the envelopes, so that the letter which was intended for the church went to the steward, and that which was intended for the steward went to the church. At the church meeting, when they were all assembled, this letter was read to the church; it ran thus: ‘Dear friend, mind you see to the hedges well. Keep them up as best you can, and take special care of the old black bull.’ Now that was a most extraordinary letter to write to a church. It had been sent by mistake, but the minister, thinking it was a bona fide piece of advice, said he could not comprehend it. Some brother got up and said it was plain enough; it was meant that they must be very watchful as to whom they should receive into the church. They must keep their hedges up and see there were no gaps. ‘And,’ said he, ‘by ‘the old black bull’ I have no doubt he means that spirit of Satan that would get in and trouble and divide us.’ So understanding it in that sense they made up their difference, repaired their hedges, and were careful of ‘the old black bull.’ Every church must do the same.
For meditation: A church that is badly divided (1 Corinthians 1:10–123:3–46:1,6–811:18–19) is a church that is ignorant of the ways of Satan and badly in need of appropriate instruction about him and his followers ( 1 Corinthians 7:5;10:20–212 Corinthians 2:1111:3–4,14–15).
Sermon no. 393
19 May (1861)


GiG Banner 2012 Big
May 18, 2012
 Stark Contrast
Gwen Smith
Today's Truth
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be" (James 3:9-10 NIV).
Friend To Friend
The summer heat can be unbearable.  North Carolina is by no means a place of cool summers.  To the contrary, we Tar Heel residents expect to have our air conditioning units running almost round the clock. But the heat we've experienced the past few years has been uncommonly sweltering.  At times, it's been so balmy that my sweat drops have had sweat drops! Now, you can call it global warming, or you can call it chance, but I just call it plain old hot!
On one of those crazy-hot summer days, I spent time at our local library.  I sat on the lower level, which is the coolest area in the building.  The vigilante AC unit worked aggressively to protect us book-reading occupants from the external heat wave.  I was on that chilly lower level for the better part of two hours, and gradually turned to a human icicle.  My fingers were completely numb as I signed out a Hardy Boys book for my son and turned to exit the building. 
As I opened the door to leave, a forceful wave of heat swept over me.  In that moment I thought, "Wow!  That sure is a stark contrast!  What a temperature change!"  From one extreme to the other, the heat pendulum had swung.  Hot to cold, and then hot again.  As I considered the contrast, it occurred to me that the temperature of my life might sometimes look the same.  It gave me reason to pray.
Have you ever gotten up early and had a sweet time with the LORD, only to turn into an unreasonable, raging screamer hours later?  Have you ever had an argument with your spouse or children on the way to church, only to cross the threshold of the lobby with blessings and kindness on your tongue?  Have you ever driven in traffic with worship music on the dash and praise on your lips when suddenly, someone cut you off and the praises on your tongue turned to cursing?  If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, welcome to the Sinner's Club.  All humans have an automatic membership that activates at birth and is irrevocable until we accept forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and see His face on the other side of glory.
The Bible calls us to a higher, more consistent temperature of living.  We must be careful not to praise and curse with the same tongue. "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be" (James 3:9-10 NIV).
Are you swinging the pendulum of your responses, or are they swinging you?  We are accountable for our behavior.  We are accountable for the way we respond to circumstances.  Our responses reflect the core of who we are.  They reflect our faith … good or bad. 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17NIV).
As we go through today, let's center the thermometer of our hearts on Christ so we are less likely to respond in stark contrast to His perfect example of love.  Let's live out God's grace and heed the wisdom found in Proverbs 3:3:  "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."
Let's Pray
Lord, please forgive me for the times when my responses are unkind.  Please forgive me for the times when I over-react and under-love.  I need the power of the Holy Spirit to moderate the temperature of my heart and my responses. 
In Jesus' name, 
Now It's Your Turn
Will you live out deeper grace today? If you're ready to start fresh and declare, "By God's grace I am a new creation," then visit my Facebook page at and say, "I am a new creation!"
More From The Girlfriends
Okay – this is hard!  Trust me, as I was stepping on your toes with this message, I was trampling all over mine, too.  Let's go in grace today, and pray that God will be strong in our weakness.  We are continually being transformed into a greater likeness of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit … one day at a time … thank You, Jesus!
Every step of transformation begins with the heart of God. If you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be reworked into a picture of God's beauty, order Gwen's book Broken Into Beautiful. This resource will help you experience the power of hope, healing and restoration!
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“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25
Suggested Further Reading: Acts 8:26-40
There are some passages of scripture which have been more abundantly blessed to the conversion of souls than others. They may be called salvation texts. We may not be able to discover how it is, or why it is, but certainly it is the fact, that some chosen verses have been more used of God to bring men to the cross of Christ than any others in his Word. Certainly they are not more inspired, but I suppose they are more noticeable from their position, from their peculiar phraseology more adapted to catch the eye of the reader, and more suitable to a prevailing spiritual condition. All the stars in the heavens shine very brightly, but only a few attract the eye of the mariner, and direct his course; the reason is this, that those few stars from their peculiar grouping are more readily distinguished, and the eye easily fixes upon them. So I suppose it is with those passages of God’s Word which especially attract attention, and direct the sinner to the cross of Christ. It so happens that this text is one of the chief of them. I have found it, in my experience, to be a most useful one; for out of the hundreds of persons who have come to me to narrate their conversion and experience, I have found a very large proportion who have traced the divine change which has been wrought in their hearts to the hearing of this precious declaration of sovereign mercy read, and the application of it with power to their souls: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
For meditation: The texts often quoted by Spurgeon towards the end of his sermons—Mark 16:161 Timothy 1:15. Has God used a particular text to bring you to himself?
Sermon no. 24
19 May (Preached 20 May 1855)



Richard Baxter: Small-Town Preacher

As a small-town pastor and writer, Richard Baxter (1615 – 1691) is remembered as one of the leading Puritan preachers of the seventeenth century. Born in a village in the English countryside, his early education was primarily under the direction of poorly educated clerics. His break came when he was sent to a school directed by John Owen, whose teaching transformed his theological outlook. At age twenty-three he was ordained, and soon after he was called to serve as an Anglican minister in the village of Kiddermister. Here he crafted sermons that resonated with his congregation of poor loom workers. In fact, church attendance boomed, and additional galleries were added as the numbers grow. Preaching "as a dying man to dying men," he had no patience for lackluster sermons. "How few ministers preach with all their might!" he grumbled.  "There is nothing more unsuitable to such a business than to be slight and dull. What! Speak coldly for God and for men's salvation! Let the people see that you are in earnest. Men will not cast away their dearest pleasures upon a drowsy request." Nor did he neglect home visitation: "We should know every person that belongs to our charge, for how can we 'take heed to the flock of God,' if we do not know them?"
Believing that such visitation was too time-consuming and intrusive, he was initially reluctant to call on families. But after initiating the program he wrote, "I find the difficulties to be nothing to what I imagined, and I experience the benefits and comforts of the work to be such that I would not wish to have neglected it for all the riches in the world. I cannot say that one family hath refused." In the following years he scheduled yearly visits to each of the some eight hundred homes in the parish. With his assistant, he offered catechism to dozens each week, using a standard question-answer format for continued use within the family. Approaching fifty, the bachelor preacher married a woman in her early twenties who heartily joined in the work. When she died nineteen years later, he wrote: "I never knew her equal." She was "better at resolving a case of conscience than most Divines that ever I knew."
Baxter was twice incarcerated for his Nonconformist beliefs, but he refused to be intimidated and remained active in political affairs. Also high on his agenda was ecumenical unity, a stand that placed him virtually alone among Puritans in his desire to join with all those who subscribed to the Apostles' Creed. A prolific writer, he produced massive volumes, including hisChristian Directory (1673) on Christian conduct, which ran some one million words. Most often quoted is his classic volume, The Reformed Pastor, but he was first and foremost an evangelist, as expressed in The Saint's Everlasting Rest, A Call to the Unconverted . Two years before his death at seventy-six, William and Mary introduced the Toleration Act of 1689, protecting him and his fellow Nonconformists from persecution.

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

Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

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




“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24
Riches are dangerous because their seductive power often causes people to reject Christ and His kingdom. The rich young ruler who turned sadly away after being told that he had to part with his riches to inherit salvation prompted Jesus’ statement, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24Mark 10:23Matthew 19:23)
A desire for riches can cause people to do almost anything—even to the extent of selling their souls. The result, Scripture warns, is anguish now and damnation later (1Timothy 6:9-10). An abundance of possessions can easily lead us to forget that God is the Source of all good. The people of Israel were warned of this before they entered the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8:11-17).
The pursuit of wealth often results in wars. James 4:1-2 says this clearly and it is amply confirmed from world history. Instead of fostering more compassion toward the poor, riches often harden the hearts of the wealthy. Rich persons are often unconcerned about the poor at their doorstep. (Luke 16:19-31Isaiah 5:8-10Amos 6:4-7James 5:1-5)
Money is not neutral; it is a power with a life of its own. It is a power that is even demonic in character. When Jesus uses the Aramaic term mammon,translated as money in the NIV, (Matthew 6:24) to refer to wealth, He is giving it a personal and spiritual character as a rival god. Mammon is a power that seeks to dominate us.
Hence, money is an active agent. It is a law unto itself—capable of inspiring devotion. It is tremendously instructive to stand back and observe the frantic scramble of people for money. And this does not occur just among the poor and starving. Even the super rich still seek it furiously. The middle class continue to buy more houses, acquire more cars and purchase more clothes than they need. If money were only a medium of exchange, it would make no sense at all to attach such prestige to it. We value people in relation to their income. We give people status and honor in relation to how much money they have or appear to have.
We can have all the Christian externals and yet be complete materialists in our hearts.
RESPONSE: I choose to serve God, so I will not give money any place of prominence in my life or in my heart.
PRAYER: Lord, I need Your help today to stay focused on You and not on all the “things” around me.
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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Due to scheduling errors, we accidentally sent out Friday's NIV Devotions for Women on Wednesday. We're resending it today in order to keep to our schedule. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.

He Is- Awesome

When Elihu described God as one who comes in golden splendor, he drew Job's attention away from his dismal circumstances and toward the awesome majesty of God. Sometimes we need a change in perspective-to take our eyes off ourselves and put them on our awesome God and his creation.
If you're going through a dark time or you've lost your joy in living, look for God's golden splendor. You can see evidence in the sun, the sky, the intricacy of creation. God's glory is even more awesome than what you are able to see! Experiencing God's creation can change your perspective on the awesome Creator (see Romans 1:20).

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