Saturday, May 05, 2012

Daily Devotional Saturday 5th May

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
2 Corinthians 6:16
What a sweet title: "My people!" What a cheering revelation: "Their God!" How much of meaning is couched in those two words, "My people!" Here is speciality. The whole world is God's; the heaven, even the heaven of heavens is the Lord's, and he reigneth among the children of men; but of those whom he hath chosen, whom he hath purchased to himself, he saith what he saith not of others--"My people." In this word there is the idea of proprietorship. In a special manner the "Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." All the nations upon earth are his; the whole world is in his power; yet are his people, his chosen, more especially his possession; for he has done more for them than others; he has bought them with his blood; he has brought them nigh to himself; he has set his great heart upon them; he has loved them with an everlasting love, a love which many waters cannot quench, and which the revolutions of time shall never suffice in the least degree to diminish. Dear friends, can you, by faith, see yourselves in that number? Can you look up to heaven and say, "My Lord and my God: mine by that sweet relationship which entitles me to call thee Father; mine by that hallowed fellowship which I delight to hold with thee when thou art pleased to manifest thyself unto me as thou dost not unto the world?" Canst thou read the Book of Inspiration, and find there the indentures of thy salvation? Canst thou read thy title writ in precious blood? Canst thou, by humble faith, lay hold of Jesus' garments, and say, "My Christ"? If thou canst, then God saith of thee, and of others like thee, "My people;" for, if God be your God, and Christ your Christ, the Lord has a special, peculiar favour to you; you are the object of his choice, accepted in his beloved Son.

Evening

"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he."
Proverbs 16:20
Wisdom is man's true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass's colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves. A man must be prudent in such a world as this, or he will find no good, but be betrayed into unnumbered ills. The pilgrim will sorely wound his feet among the briers of the wood of life if he do not pick his steps with the utmost caution. He who is in a wilderness infested with robber bands must handle matters wisely if he would journey safely. If, trained by the Great Teacher, we follow where he leads, we shall find good, even while in this dark abode; there are celestial fruits to be gathered this side of Eden's bowers, and songs of paradise to be sung amid the groves of earth. But where shall this wisdom be found? Many have dreamed of it, but have not possessed it. Where shall we learn it? Let us listen to the voice of the Lord, for he hath declared the secret; he hath revealed to the sons of men wherein true wisdom lieth, and we have it in the text, "Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." The true way to handle a matter wisely is to trust in the Lord. This is the sure clue to the most intricate labyrinths of life; follow it and find eternal bliss. He who trusts in the Lord has a diploma for wisdom granted by inspiration: happy is he now, and happier shall he be above. Lord, in this sweet eventide walk with me in the garden, and teach me the wisdom of faith.

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 16-18, Luke 22:47-71 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
   Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu son of Hanani concerning Baasha: 2 “I lifted you up from the dust and appointed you ruler over my people Israel, but you followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to arouse my anger by their sins. 3 So I am about to wipe out Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 4 Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and birds will feed on those who die in the country.”
   5 As for the other events of Baasha’s reign, what he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 6 Baasha rested with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah. And Elah his son succeeded him as king.
   7 Moreover, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger by the things he did, becoming like the house of Jeroboam—and also because he destroyed it.
Elah King of Israel
    8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah two years.
   9 Zimri, one of his officials, who had command of half his chariots, plotted against him. Elah was in Tirzah at the time, getting drunk in the home of Arza, the palace administrator at Tirzah. 10 Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah. Then he succeeded him as king.
   11 As soon as he began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha’s whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. 12 So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu— 13because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.
   14 As for the other events of Elah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?
Zimri King of Israel
    15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned in Tirzah seven days. The army was encamped near Gibbethon, a Philistine town. 16 When the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp. 17 Then Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died, 19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.
   20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?
Omri King of Israel
    21 Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri. 22 But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.
   23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.
   25 But Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.
   27 As for the other events of Omri’s reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.
Ahab Becomes King of Israel
    29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.
   34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

1 Kings 17

Elijah Announces a Great Drought
    1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Elijah Fed by Ravens
    2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
   5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
    7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9“Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
   12 “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
   13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’”
   15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
   17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
   19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, “LORD my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the LORD, “LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
   22 The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
   24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

1 Kings 18

Elijah and Obadiah
    1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
   Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
   7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”
   8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”
   9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the LORD since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD? I hid a hundred of the LORD’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”
   15 Elijah said, “As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
Elijah on Mount Carmel
    16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
   18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
   20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
   But the people said nothing.
   22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
   Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
   25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
   Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
   27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
   30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[c] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
   34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
   “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time.35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
   36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
   38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
   39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”
   40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
   41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
   43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
   “There is nothing there,” he said.
   Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
   44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
   So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”
   45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Luke 22

Jesus Arrested
    47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
   49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
   51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
   52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
Peter Disowns Jesus
    54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
   57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
   58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
   “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
   59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
   60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
The Guards Mock Jesus
    63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.
Jesus Before Pilate and Herod
    66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”
   Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
   70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
   He replied, “You say that I am.”
   71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

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Achan, Achar, Achor [Ā'chăn,Ā'chär, Ā'chôr]—troubleThe son of Carmi of the tribe of Judah (Josh. 71 Chron. 2:7).

The Man Who Brought Trouble to a Nation

It did not take Joshua long to discover that his defeat at Ai, after a succession of victories, was due to some transgression of the divine covenant (Josh. 7:8-12). Thus, as the result of an inquiry, Achan was exposed as the transgressor, and confessing his sin in stealing and hiding part of the spoil taken at the destruction of Jericho, was put to death in consequence. In keeping with the custom of those days, Achan was probably stoned with his immediate relatives, and their dead bodies burned—the latter making punishment more terrible in the eyes of the Israelites.
Achan was put to death in “the valley of Achor” meaning “the valley of trouble”—the valley being called atter Achan who had been the troubler of Israel (Josh. 7:2526). Thus in 1 Chronicles 2:7 Achan is spelled as Achar. But “the valley of trouble” became a “door of hope” all of which is spiritually suggestive (Isa. 65:10;Hos. 2:15).
I. Covetousness means defeat. God had forbidden anyone taking to himself the spoils of Jericho, but one man, only one amongst all the hosts of Israel, disobeyed and brought failure upon all. Achan’s sin teaches us the oneness of the people of God. “Israelhath sinned” (Josh. 7:11). The whole cause of Christ can be delayed by the sin, neglect or lack of spirituality of one person (1 Cor. 5:1-712:121426).
II. The whole process of sin. Along with Eve and David in their respective sins, Achan also saw, coveted and took. James expresses the rise, progress and end of sin when he says that man is “drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:1415 ). The inward corruption of Achan’s heart was first drawn forth by enticing objects—desire of gratification was then formed—ultimately determination to attain was fixed.
III. Prayer was rejected for action. When the most unexpected defeat of Ai came about, Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, and earnestly asked for an explanation of the reverse. But God said, “Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? ...Take away the accursed thing” (Josh. 7:10 13). God cannot hear and bless if there is sin in the camp. For often we acknowledge the greatness of our national sins, but fail to drag out our personal sins testifying against us. Once Achan was discovered and judged, Israel went forward to victory.
IV. The richness of divine mercy. When the accursed thing was removed and chastisement exercised, triumph quickly followed trouble. The valley of Achor became a door of hope. The locust-eaten years are restored. Confession and forgiveness open closed lips, quicken dormant energies and liberate power in the service of the Lord.

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P31Header
Rachel Olsen
May 4, 2012
Women: Friend or Foe?
Rachel Olsen
" ... a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9b(MSG)
Years ago I would've told you that I don't much like women. I counted a few as friends, but the rest I dismissed as too much trouble. Never a "tomboy" by any stretch of the imagination, I just found guys easier to deal with. They generally say what they mean, let you know where you stand, and never size you up to determine who has the better haircut.
I didn't want to distrust women, but the majority of females in my life at the time evoked that response. They were catty, competitive and conniving. They gossiped, backstabbed and manipulated. I have to admit that I often responded in kind. Isn't it strange how addictive relational drama can be?
I'm told you can put a frog in a pot of cold water on the stove and gradually turn up the heat, and it will stay in the pot until it reaches a fatal boil without attempting to escape. Evidently the frog doesn't realize how unhealthy the situation is slowly becoming. I can't vouch for the accuracy of that fable - I'd never boil a frog! - but I've been in a few friendships like that. I stayed way too long in the pot before I realized this isn't healthy for me, and I got burned.
So what lead me to flip-flop my position on having girlfriends? First, I decided to become friends with God. This sparked beneficial changes in my mind and spirit. Where I had been cynical and guarded, God's love penetrated and softened my heart. I learned the meaning of Proverbs 18:24"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (NIV 1984). Christ was now my forever friend who could be trusted completely.
I also made changes in my choice of girlfriends. Through the Holy Spirit and lessons on character in the book of Proverbs, I learned to recognize which people and relational patterns were unhealthy for me.
I was ready to be rid of the drama! The Bible teaches, "He who walks with the wise grows wise" (Proverbs 13:20aNIV). I wanted to walk with wise women through life. Many of my current-at-the-time friendships ran their natural course and dissolved. A few transformed along with me.
But there were a few I deliberately phased out because my own character wasn't strong enough yet to remain Christ-like in their company.
Meanwhile, I prayed for quality friendships with women of faith. God heard my prayers. Fun-loving, God-loving, gracious women at my church sought me out and invited me out. And I made the choice to trust and invest in them. I discovered how beneficial it is to surround yourself with women who inspire your walk with God.
Over time, God birthed in me a huge love and great compassion for women. I began seeing them through His eyes and not just the lens of my own hurtful past. I realized that not all women are like those I had known. I also learned to forgive and pray for those who've hurt me. Today I cherish my friendships with the women in my life.
Dear Lord, I want to have good friends, and to be a good friend. Help me to develop godly friendships that honor and draw others to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?
Reflect and Respond:
Study the book of Proverbs and learn the traits of trustworthy character so you can develop them yourself and recognize them in others.
Is there someone you can befriend? Striking up a friendship can be a great way to introduce a gal to Christ.
Do you find yourself entangled in an unhealthy relationship? Are you in emotional hiding after being burned? Take that to God and ask Him to heal and bring restoration to your heart. Ask Him to send godly, wise women into your life. Then muster up the courage to respond and befriend them.
Power Verses:
James 2:23, "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend." (NIV)
Proverbs 22:11, "If you love purity of heart and graciousness of speech, the king will be your friend." (GNT)
© 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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FaithfulThroughtheAgesHeader

William Tyndale: Father of the English Bible

Quote: "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." (William Tyndale)
Remembered as the father of the English Bible, William Tyndale (c. 1494 – 1536) was a scholarly cleric who sacrificed his career and his life for the cause of the Reformation. Cambridge educated, he sought to bring knowledge of the Bible to his fellow Englishmen, most of whom were utterly ignorant of its content. The Catholic Church insisted that only clerics could be trusted with Scripture, but they, according to Tyndale, were not preaching it to their parishioners. "I will cause a boy that driveth the plough [to] know more of the Scriptures than thou dost," he once warned a priest. He was convinced that biblical faith would be dispersed more effectively by laity than by those trained in theology: "In the universities they have ordained that no man shall look on the Scripture until he be nozzled in heathen learning eight or nine years, and armed with false principles with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of the Scripture."
The Wycliffe Bible, translated into English from the Latin Vulgate, was available, but only in scarce hand-copied editions distributed against the law by the Lollards. Tyndale was determined to translate the New Testament from the Greek text and distribute it widely, ideally with the blessing of the church. He would be stymied, however, by Henry's fear of Lutheranism, "the German plague."
When authorities began to harass him, Tyndale in 1524 moved his translation project to Germany. With help from others he completed the New Testament translation in 1525, the first to be printed in English. The first six thousand copies were then smuggled back into England. So threatened were church officials that they confiscated as many copies as they could find and burned them in a public ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral, at the same time turning the hidden copies into priceless treasures. Realizing that he had been outsmarted, the archbishop of Canterbury devised a new plan. He would purchase copies before they were publicly sold and immediately destroy them — a financial windfall for Tyndale, who used the money to fund a corrected revision.
Tyndale published the first five books of the Old Testament in 1530 and planned to follow through with the rest of the Old Testament. In 1529, Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More attacked Tyndale, accusing him of heresy. Besides criticizing his translation for bad word usage, he resorted to name-calling, describing Tyndale as a devil, a fraud, and one "puffed up with pride and envy." Tyndale responded publicly on specific doctrinal issues, including justification by faith.
On orders of Henry VIII, Tyndale became a hunted man. Thomas More, the legal scholar, argued for his burning at the stake. While hiding out in Belgium, Tyndale was turned over to authorities by a fellow Englishman who had feigned friendship. Arrested and incarcerated in a prison near Brussels for more than a year, he penned a plea for mercy from the governor, asking for warmer clothes and, more significantly, "the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study."
Above all else he desired to finish the translation of the book he so loved. That wish did not come true. He was put on trial, found guilty, and strangled, his body burned at the stake. His last words reportedly are: "Lord, open the king of England's eyes."

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

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.

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May 4, 2012
If You Want Joy … Real Joy
Mary Southerland
Today's Truth
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10, NKJV).
Friend to Friend
Jesus lived and died so that we can experience abundant life, a life exuding joy, a life so full that others crave to know the source of that fullness. Jesus did not come so that we can merely survive life. Pagans can survive life. Jesus came to be our joy. 
I came across this quote: "Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within." If that is true, then why are so many women living lives with little or no joy? I'm afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy, allowing him to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams and unrealized goals are some of his favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him to use. 
It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain, we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, joy is buried under a mountain of self.
Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Every trial or loss, every defeat or victory measured against this confidence can be counted as joy. 
The Apostle Paul was a man of great joy. By human terms, he had every right to be angry and even bitter. Persecuted, imprisoned and facing His own death, Paul says, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12-12, NIV).
The expression, "Have a good day" is a common greeting. I heard about one woman who, when told to have a good day, responded, "Thanks, but I have other plans." Sound familiar? We rise to face each day with a perspective of pending doom instead of the certain joy that is ours through Jesus Christ. God created the world in a process of one day at a time. At the end of each day, He examined his work and announced: "It is good!" We, too, can learn to see the good in each day. We can learn to be joyful. How?
  • Check your heart.
"My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God" (Psalm 84:2, NAS).
In this verse, "heart" literally means "body and soul" or "whole being." In other words, what's down in the well comes up in the bucket. Real joy is found in and flows from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God's very presence in our lives is His eternal reminder that Jesus died on a cross, rose from the grave and is coming again. Have you turned your heart and life over to Jesus?
  • Choose to rejoice.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2, NIV).
We cannot avoid pain but we can avoid joy. The pursuit of joy is a matter of choice. Our inward perspective does not have to reflect our outward circumstances. We can choose joy!
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, a baseball cap on his head, ball and bat in hand. He was muttering, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung at it and missed. "Strike one!" He picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, "I'm the greatest hitter ever!" He swung at the ball again. "Strike two!" He paused, examined his bat and ball and threw the ball into the air, missing a third time. He cried out, "Wow! I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"
Yes, the pursuit of joy is a matter of choice and perspective. It is also a matter of obedience. As Christians, one of our spiritual priorities should be joy.
"One ship sails east.
 One ship sails west.
 Regardless of how the winds blow, 
 It is the set of the sail
 And not the gale
 That determines the way we go."
 (Author unknown)
Set your sails for joy, girlfriend! Celebrate! Revel in who God is, in what He has done, is doing and will do in your life when you choose joy.
Let's Pray
Father, I come to You with praise in my heart and on my lips. Forgive me when I doubt You and what You are doing in my life. Please help me to walk by faith – not by sight. Teach me to see my daily life through Your eyes and show me how to walk in Your joy.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
How would you define joy? Would the people who know you best describe you as a woman of joy?
Read Psalm 16:11. "Being with You will fill me with joy." What does this verse say to you about the connection between God's presence and a life of joy?
What is blocking the flow of God's joy in your life? Is it a sin you need to confess? A relationship you need to make right? A step of obedience you need to take? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what action you need to take to experience the joy of the Lord.  
More from the Girlfriends
You were created for joy. I know that life can be painful but God's plan for an abundant life takes that pain into account. Need help? Check out Mary's CD, Laugh More … Live Better. Also available in E-Bible Study and MP3 download.
Don't miss Mary's weekly Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, to learn how to understand and apply God's truth in your daily life. Enroll now and have access to all 2012 lessons. Need a friend? 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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The first resurrection

‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:6
Suggested Further Reading: John 5:19–29
Damnation, the second death, shall have no power on those who rise at the first resurrection. How can damnation fall on any but those who are sinners and are guilty of sin? But the saints are not guilty of sin. They have sinned like others, and they were by nature the children of wrath even as others. Their sin has been lifted from them: it was laid upon the scapegoat’s head of old. He, the eternal substitute, even our Lord Jesus, carried all their guilt and their iniquity into the wilderness of forgetfulness, where it shall never be found against them for ever. They wear the Saviour’s righteousness, even as they have been washed in his blood; and what wrath can lie on the man who is not only guiltless through the blood, but is meritorious through imputed righteousness? O arm of justice, you are nerveless to smite the blood-washed! O flames of hell, how could even so much as the breath of your heat pass upon the man who is safe covered in the Saviour’s wounds? How is it possible for you, O deaths, destructions, horrors, glooms, plagues, and terrors, so much as to flit like a cloud over the serene sky of the spirit which has found peace with God through the blood of Christ? No, brethren, ‘Bold shall I stand in that great day …’ There shall be a second death; but over us it shall have no power. Do you understand the beauty of the picture? As if we might walk through the flames of hell and they should have no power to devour us any more than when the holy children paced with ease over the hot coals of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven times heated furnace.
For meditation: Only God’s saving power can free us from the power of the second death (Jude 25). How terrifying must be the fate of the unbeliever, cut off from God’s saving power (2 Thessalonians 1:9), but still under his condemning power (Luke 12:5).
Sermon no. 391
5 May (1861)

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The Aim of the Sabbath

John Calvin comments, "Nothing could be more unreasonable than to pronounce a man, who imitated God, to be a transgressor of the Sabbath." The Father gives His law for our benefit, and we must never forget this lest we improperly apply it to our lives here and now. Take some time today to read through the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) and think on how each one carries with it a specific benefit for mankind.
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. 

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The Aim of the Sabbath

Matthew 12:9-14 "Of how much more value is man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath" ( v. 12).
We dare not miss the christological significance of our Lord's teaching on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-14). Scripture emphasizes the Sabbath as God's special possession; Israel was given a day of rest in order to imitate our Creator's own cessation of work (Ex. 20:8-11 ). Furthermore, God asserted His right to determine what can and cannot be done on the Sabbath day (Isa. 56:4-5). Jesus equates Himself with God, the owner and ruler of the day of rest, when He claims, as the Son of Man, to be lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8).
Jesus continues to display His authority as lord of the Sabbath when, in a synagogue, He meets a man with a "withered hand." Seeking a chance to show that Jesus is a Sabbath-breaker, the Pharisees ask Him if it is right to heal on the day of rest (vv. 9-10). Should He do a healing "work," Jesus can be charged with violating the Sabbath. The man will still be ill the next day, and Christ could wait until then to heal him so that He may keep Pharisaic tradition.
John Calvin reminds us "to beware lest, by attaching undue importance to ceremonial observances, we allow other things to be neglected, which are of far higher value in the sight of God." The Pharisees have made this error, elevating minutiae above God's intent. As Jesus says in Mark 2:27 : "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." God gave the nation of Israel a day of rest for their benefit - to recover from a week's labor and recall His goodness and grace. These principles are to guide the specifics of Sabbath observance, not vice versa. When rules designed to cover every possible instance of work are exalted above God's gracious intent, the Sabbath is changed from "a delight into a burden," according to the Reformation Study Bible's note on Matthew 12:9-14.
The Pharisees are legal experts and should embrace this principle. Even they know the Father puts an animal's health and safety above the avoidance of anything that smacks of work (v. 11). But the Pharisees are so incensed at Christ's denial of their teaching that they miss the obvious. If God is pleased when animals are rescued on the Sabbath, He certainly approves when men, who are of more value than animals, find healing on His day of rest (vv. 12-14).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

John Calvin comments, "Nothing could be more unreasonable than to pronounce a man, who imitated God, to be a transgressor of the Sabbath." The Father gives His law for our benefit, and we must never forget this lest we improperly apply it to our lives here and now. Take some time today to read through the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) and think on how each one carries with it a specific benefit for mankind.
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. 

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The Sunday School teacher —a steward

“Give an account of thy stewardship.” Luke 16:2
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Chronicles 34:1-3
I see nothing in the Bible that should lead me to believe that the office of the preacher is more honourable than that of the teacher. It seems to me, that every Sunday School teacher has a right to put “Reverend” before his name as much as I have, or if not, if he discharges his trust he certainly is a “Right Honourable”. He teaches his congregation and preaches to his class. I may preach to more, and he to less, but still he is doing the same work, though in a small sphere. I am sure I can sympathise with Mr Carey, when he said of his son Felix, who left the missionary work to become an ambassador, “Felix has drivelled into an ambassador;” meaning to say, that he was once a great person as a missionary, but that he had afterwards accepted a comparatively insignificant office. So I think we may say of the Sabbath-school teacher, if he gives up his work because he cannot attend to it, on account of his enlarged business, he drivels into a rich merchant. If he forsakes his teaching because he finds there is much else to do, he drivels into something less than he was before; with one exception, if he is obliged to give up to attend to his own family, and makes that family his Sabbath school class, there is no drivelling there; he stands in the same position as he did before. I say they who teach, they who seek to pluck souls as brands from the burning, are to be considered as honoured persons, second far to him from whom they received their commission; but still in some sweet sense lifted up to become fellows with him, for he calls them his brethren and his friends.
For meditation: Never look down on children’s work; it is a serious responsibility to teach them the things of God (James 3:1-2). If it is your responsibility, thank God for the privilege and ask him to make you a faithful steward (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Sermon no. 192
5 May (Preached 4 May 1858)

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We've just added a brand-new, 30-day email devotional--One Day at a Time! This devotional's a bit different from the others in our library, however. Read on to find out how.

One Day at a Time: Take the 30-Day Devotional Challenge

Do you read the Bible each day? Do you wish you did?
When we've asked Bible Gateway visitors in the past about their daily Bible reading habits, many of you have told us that you want to spend time each day reading God's Word, but for various reasons you aren't. We all know those reasons well: life is very, very busy. And not every part of the Bible is easy to read and understand.
If you really want to make daily Bible reading a part of your life--and the benefits of doing so are tremendous--then you've got to cultivate it as a habit. Start small, with the goal of making it part of your everyday routine.
We at Bible Gateway want to help you do that. We've put together a 30-day email devotional that will help you spend just a few minutes each day exploring the Bible.
One Day at a Time is a free 30-day devotional that begins on Wednesday, May 9. Each morning, you'll receive a short devotional that contains:
  1. A link to a short Bible reading (usually just a few verses).
  2. A short, one-paragraph reflection on the reading, to help you think through what you've read.
That's it! No gigantic readings or burdensome time commitment. Just a few minutes reading the Bible before you start your day.
Click here to sign up for One Day at a Time. Just check the appropriate box near the top of the page, then scroll down to the bottom of the page to submit your email address and subscribe. Alternatively, you can click on the Manage Subscriptions link at the bottom of this email, check the box for One Day at a Time, and then click Update.
We're confident that by the time you've gone through 30 days of One Day at a Time, daily Bible reading will be a habit. (And at that point, we've got other Bible reading plans and devotionals you might want to try out.)
One Day at a Time is drawn from the NIV Once-a-Day Bible, and we're grateful to Zondervan for partnering with us to craft this special 30-day devotional.
That's the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,

The Bible Gateway team

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He Is- In Charge

When the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan appeared with them. His purpose was to question Job's loyalty to God and ask if he could test Job's faith. However, God proved he is truly in charge by limiting the trials Job would endure.
You may be in the middle of a test of faith and find yourself wondering, "Where's God in this? Who's in control?" Rest assured that he is in charge of the situation. Though it may seem that evil is dictating your current circumstances, every trial comes with God's permission for the purpose of building your faith.
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MERCHANTS AND MOBS

But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. Acts 17:5
The next two groups of external tactics Satan used in the New Testament are merchants and mobs. Merchants or businessmen represent the economic establishment and are often opposed to Christians purely because Christians are a threat to their business.
The two clearest examples of opposition from businessmen in scripture are when Paul visits Philippi and later Ephesus (Acts 16 and 19 ). In Philippi, Paul and Silas ended up in jail because of the actions of the owners of a demon possessed slave girl who was healed. Seeing their source of income disappearing because of her conversion, her owners pressed a false case against Paul, and had him jailed for “disturbing the peace.” But the Scripture makes clear their economic motive, “when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone…” (Acts 16:19).
Then when Paul gets to Ephesus the impact of his preaching is so great it causes the former members of the Artemis cult to hold a bonfire of their trinkets and shrines. A shop steward called Demetrius, on behalf of the silversmiths of the town, figures anything that reduces the appeal of the temple of Artemis is going to be bad for business. He stirs up a riot and Paul has to hurry out of the city.
Mobs play a major role in persecution, often when an elite group cannot induce the government to do their dirty work for them. Mobs are easily manipulated. They can be believers swayed by the heady rhetoric of clerics, or ruffians ready to commit grievous bodily harm for the sake of money and excitement.
Christians in Pakistan and Indonesia face the constant threat of annihilation of their property by mobs. A news agency journalist said, “I am amazed at how quickly a mob can get going in Pakistan. It just takes three phrases from a mullah at Friday prayers, and five minutes later thousands are streaming out into the streets bent on inflicting injury or even killing Christians.”
RESPONSE: Our enemy, Satan, uses every tactic possible to come against those in the kingdom of God.
PRAYER: Pray for Christians in areas noted above that they will be protected from Satan’s arrows.
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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