Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily Devotional Wednesday 16th May

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy."
1 Timothy 6:17
Our Lord Jesus is ever giving, and does not for a solitary instant withdraw his hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed. He is a sun ever-shining; he is manna always falling round the camp; he is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from his smitten side; the rain of his grace is always dropping; the river of his bounty is ever-flowing, and the well-spring of his love is constantly overflowing. As the King can never die, so his grace can never fail. Daily we pluck his fruit, and daily his branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. There are seven feast-days in his weeks, and as many as are the days, so many are the banquets in his years. Who has ever returned from his door unblessed? Who has ever risen from his table unsatisfied, or from his bosom un-emparadised? His mercies are new every morning and fresh every evening. Who can know the number of his benefits, or recount the list of his bounties? Every sand which drops from the glass of time is but the tardy follower of a myriad of mercies. The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of his kindness, and with the yellow gold of his affection. The river of time bears from the mountains of eternity the golden sands of his favour. The countless stars are but as the standard bearers of a more innumerable host of blessings. Who can count the dust of the benefits which he bestows on Jacob, or tell the number of the fourth part of his mercies towards Israel? How shall my soul extol him who daily loadeth us with benefits, and who crowneth us with loving-kindness? O that my praise could be as ceaseless as his bounty! O miserable tongue, how canst thou be silent? Wake up, I pray thee, lest I call thee no more my glory, but my shame. "Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake right early."


"And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye and your cattle, and your beasts."
2 Kings 3:16-17
The armies of the three kings were famishing for want of water: God was about to send it, and in these words the prophet announced the coming blessing. Here was a case of human helplessness: not a drop of water could all the valiant men procure from the skies or find in the wells of earth. Thus often the people of the Lord are at their wits' end; they see the vanity of the creature, and learn experimentally where their help is to be found. Still the people were to make a believing preparation for the divine blessing; they were to dig the trenches in which the precious liquid would be held. The church must by her varied agencies, efforts, and prayers, make herself ready to be blessed; she must make the pools, and the Lord will fill them. This must be done in faith, in the full assurance that the blessing is about to descend. By-and-by there was a singular bestowal of the needed boon. Not as in Elijah's case did the shower pour from the clouds, but in a silent and mysterious manner the pools were filled. The Lord has his own sovereign modes of action: he is not tied to manner and time as we are, but doeth as he pleases among the sons of men. It is ours thankfully to receive from him, and not to dictate to him. We must also notice the remarkable abundance of the supply--there was enough for the need of all. And so it is in the gospel blessing; all the wants of the congregation and of the entire church shall be met by the divine power in answer to prayer; and above all this, victory shall be speedily given to the armies of the Lord.
What am I doing for Jesus? What trenches am I digging? O Lord, make me ready to receive the blessing which thou art so willing to bestow.


Today's reading: 2 Kings 22-23, John 4:31-54 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
The Book of the Law Found
    1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
   3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the LORD. He said: 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5 Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the LORD— 6the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. 7 But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.”
   8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” 10Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
   11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. 12 He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: 13 “Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
   14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
   15 She said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. 20Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”
   So they took her answer back to the king.

2 Kings 23

Josiah Renews the Covenant
    1 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 He went up to the temple of the LORD with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD. 3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD—to follow the LORD and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
   4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. 5 He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. 6 He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. 7 He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the LORD, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.
   8 Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the gateway at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which was on the left of the city gate. 9 Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
   10 He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek. 11 He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melek. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
   12 He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the LORD. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption—the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the people of Ammon. 14 Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.
   15 Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin—even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. 16 Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things.
   17 The king asked, “What is that tombstone I see?”
   The people of the city said, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it.”
   18 “Leave it alone,” he said. “Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” So they spared his bones and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.
   19 Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria and that had aroused the LORD’s anger.20 Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
   21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem.
   24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
   26 Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger. 27 So the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.’”
   28 As for the other events of Josiah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?
   29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Necho faced him and killed him at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s servants brought his body in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.
Jehoahaz King of Judah
    31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.32 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his predecessors had done. 33 Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 34 Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died. 35 Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
    36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah.37 And he did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his predecessors had done.

John 4

   31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
   32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
   33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
   34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
Many Samaritans Believe
    39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
   42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
    43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.
   46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
   48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
   49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
   50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
   The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
   53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
   54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.


Mephibosheth [Mēphĭb'o shĕth]—utterance of baal or destroying shame.
  1. A son of Rizpah, Saul’s concubine and the daughter of Aiah. David gave him up to the Gibeonites (2 Sam. 21:8).
  2. The son of Jonathan, son of Saul. Also called Meribbaal, meanning “a striver against Baal” ( 2 Sam. 4:49:6-13;16:119:24-3021:71 Chron. 8:349:40).

The Man Who Was Lame in Both Feet

Mephibosheth was only five years old when Jonathan, his father, and Saul, his grandfather, both fell in the same battle on Mount Gilboa, and with their death their family fell from the throne. In the terror of that day of defeat and death, the nurse caught up Jonathan’s child and fled with him in her arms. But in her haste she let the little prince fall, and thus Mephibosheth was lame in both feet for the rest of his life.
Preachers can find excellent material in what is said of Mephibosheth—a type of the redeemed sinner.
I. He belonged to the royal line, but was made a cripple by a fall (2 Sam. 4:4).
II. He lived in exile from the king but was remembered because of a covenant (1 Sam. 20:14152 Sam. 9:34).
III. He was called into the king’s presence and exalted because of the merits of another (2 Sam. 9:57 ).
IV. He was given a glorious heritage (2 Sam. 9:9).
V. He lived a life of self-denial during the king’s absence (2 Sam. 19:24).
VI. He was subject to persecution and slander (2 Sam. 16:3;19:27).
VII. He rejoiced at the return of the king and cared little for material things (2 Sam. 19:30).




…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3
The letter to the Hebrews was written to first century Jewish background believers who were being severely persecuted. Some were even considering giving up their faith in Jesus. The unknown author pens what many Bible scholars feel was originally a sermon about the superiority of Jesus over anyone else and everything else.
He slowly builds his case to culminate in the great faith chapter. In this chapter, he also points out that some great men and women of faith lived to see the fruit of their faith while many others—also men and women of faith—died prematurely because of persecution. Now in chapter twelve, the author makes what I think is his critical statement or main point of the letter.
How do we walk by faith? We walk by faith bykeeping our eyes fixed on Jesus ! Not fixed on our problems or difficult environment of opposition. Jesus was the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He endured opposition to the point of crucifixion. So we follow His example and we will also patiently endure because of the joy we know that is yet to come.
In a communist country, a Christian girl named Viorica was beaten harshly in school because she had invited her schoolmates to church. She fainted during the beating, and an ambulance had to take her to hospital. Two days passed before she regained consciousness. When she did, the doctor at her bedside said, “You poor girl, at last you’ve opened your eyes. All this time I’ve been thinking of the cruelty of the director who beat you like this. My heart has been bitter with hatred. I wish I could take revenge on him.”
Viorica smiled. “There is no need to hate him,” she replied. Jesus taught us to love everyone. Just before I opened my eyes, I saw Him and talked to Him. He asked me whether it still hurts. And He told me that in heaven I will receive a very beautiful crown, which is reserved only for those who have suffered for Him. He told me to pray for those who mistreated me, and to love them, because our influence will help them to give their lives to God and so become His children.”
From the mouths of children! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!
RESPONSE: Today I will take my eyes off my surroundings, my problems, my fears and my suffering. I will keep them fixed on Jesus my Lord.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You and in so doing bring glory and honor to You.
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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Samantha Reed
May 15, 2012
When Things are Out of Our Hands
Samantha Reed
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NASB)
Smudges of the rich soil lingered on our arms. Arching our aching backs, we surveyed our work. Although out of sight underground, the seeds planted held great potential. Hours of planning, mixing the just-right soil, and building our raised garden beds were complete. We did what we could. What those vegetable seeds decided to do after that was out of our hands.
There have been other times when God did something that was out of my hands. Circumstances I had no say over, but He spoke life into. Relationships I couldn't control, but He had under His authority.
Javier and I were neighbors in college more than a decade ago. Our roommates dated, so naturally we hung out often. We cooked dinner. Spent lazy afternoons watching movies. Cheered next to each other at football games. When I took guitar lessons, Javier taught me chords. Despite all this time together, I'm sorry to say I rarely brought the Lord up in conversation.
Since graduating, Javier and I have kept in touch sporadically over the last twelve years. When he sent this email a while back, I was amazed.
Sam, I just wanted to thank you for being in my life in college. I came to Christ about four years or so ago and when looking back in my life, I think of people that were examples I wanted to follow.
Even though we hardly talked about God, I knew you were a Christian and really admired that about you. Talk about planting a seed that didn't bear fruit right away. Ten years in the making. I am glad I am able to tell people who helped me find Christ how important they were. ~Javier
Never would I have imagined my quietness would speak so loud. Our key verse teaches if we are faithful to sow into others, God will be faithful to make our seeds bear fruit: a relationship with Him.
Have you been praying for a loved one's salvation? Or seeking God's favor to restore your child, parent, spouse or sibling to Him?
Maybe you've done all you can do. Planted every seed you can think of. Gotten on your knees. Shared verses. Forwarded email devotions. Gifted Bibles and books. Sent worship CDs. Yet no sprout is appearing from the hard ground of their heart.
I wish I had a 5-Step Planting Program to refer you to. Wish I could say you should do what I did with Javier. Invited him to Bible study. Or welcomed him to prayer group. Or learned the latest worship song on the guitar together. Maybe even related my favorite scripture to our school studies.
While these are wonderful, they weren't the seeds I planted in college. Instead, I simply lived out my daily relationship with Jesus. Some days my example was a bit more stellar than others, but for better or worse, seeds were planted. Day-to-day Javier saw me just quietly trusting in the Lord; hoping in His divine interventions; finding joy in His character.
I don't know how much you've prayed, or what seeds you've planted, on behalf of your loved one. I do know this: when we quietly, consistently, faithfully plant seeds, the Lord will honor that. He will bring others around our loved one to water the seeds we've sown. And most importantly, He will make them grow. When the results are out of our hands, we can trust them in His.
Dear Lord, thank You for caring about my loved one's salvation even more than I do. Please use me to plant seeds into their life, bring others to water it, and I ask that You cause it to grow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
A Cup of Cold Water in Jesus' Name by Lorie Newman
Get inspiration delivered each month with a P31 Womanmagazine subscription.
Visit Samantha's blog for neat ways to sow seeds in others and to see how He's using her veggie garden for ministry, too!
Reflect and Respond:
Is there someone you have prayed to come to salvation for years? Re-read Javier's email and take heart. Seeds take time to grow. Keep praying. Our God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13).
Perhaps it's time to follow up with that person if you don't talk to them regularly.
Who in your life doesn't know the Lord? What seed can you plant that could be part of their salvation story?
Power Verse:
Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (NIV)
© 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
May 15, 2012
Taking Every Thought Captive
Part 4
Today's Truth
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).
Friend to Friend
In my past three devotions, we looked at two steps for taking every thought captive.  Today, let's look at step three:Reject the Lie.
Once I had a door-to-door vacuum salesman come to my house. To my detriment, I let him in. Before I could convince him I did not need a new vacuum cleaner, he had his demonstration trash sprinkled all over my foyer floor. Almost two hours later, I finally got him to leave.
What was my first mistake? You know it! My first mistake was to let him cross the threshold of my doorway and enter my house. Once he was in, it was difficult to get him out. It is the same way with our thoughts. Once we entertain a thought, once we allow the "salesman" to scatter his "trash" in our minds, it is hard to dismiss it or push it back out again. The place of easiest victory is at the threshold; don't even let the trash in the door. It has been said, "Every spiritual battle is won or lost at the threshold of the mind."  I think victory is possible once the thought has passed over the threshold, but it sure will save us a lot of heartache and pain if we begin to recognize Satan's lies and reject them from the start.
Let's go back to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and dig a little deeper by discovering the rich meaning of some of the key words in the original Greek language of the New Testament.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

This verse tells us that through Christ, we have the power to demolish strongholds. What is a stronghold? The Greek word for stronghold is echo, meaning, "to hold fast." A derivation of that same word, echuroma means "a stronghold, fortification, fortress." Bible teacher, Beth Moore, describes them as "anything in our lives that we hold on to that ends up holding us." They are formed when thoughts or habit patterns "echo" time and time again in our minds. They are negative thoughts that are burned into our minds through repetition (such as verbal abuse) or a one-time traumatic incident (such as a rape). These thought patterns have the potential to grab hold of a mind and rule a life.  Many strongholds are built brick-by-brick for protection, but inevitably they become prisons. Beth goes on to say, "No matter what the stronghold may be, they all have one thing in common: Satan is fueling the mental tank with deception to keep the stronghold running." 
The word demolish implies a kind of destruction requiring tremendous power – divine power.  One reason many Christians have remained in a yoke of slavery to past sins and lies of the enemy is because they swat at strongholds like they are mosquitoes instead of blasting them with the truth like they are concrete fortresses formed by years of construction.
We cannot destroy demonic strongholds on our own strength even on our best days.  The Holy Spirit can destroy strongholds with His power even on our worst days. The power of the Holy Spirit is the Greek word dunamous, which is where we get the word dynamite. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
The verse goes on to describe another area that needs to be destroyed."We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God."  I don't know about you, but on a few occasions, (OK, on more occasions than I can count) I have argued with God and against the knowledge of God. Guess what? God always wins.
The Greek word for arguments is logismos, meaning "a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection." A calculated thought might be a conclusion that you are a failure, after you have failed at something. That seems logical. It all adds up. Upon reflection, it seems highly probable. However, that's not what the Truth says. It is against the knowledge of God. Regardless of your calculations, God says you are a saint who has been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, a child of God, and a co-heir with Christ. You are not a failure and you need to reject the lie. When the thought comes into your head, simply say, "I reject that thought. It is a lie of the enemy and not the truth of God. I failed in this instance, but I am not a failure."
So far we've looked at three steps to taking every thought captive:
Step One:  Recognize the Enemy's True Identity
Step Two: Recognize Satan's Lies
Step Three:  Reject the Lies
Join me next time as we look at the final step to taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 
Let's Pray
Dear Father, I'll admit that I toy with thoughts that I know are not true. I feel sorry for myself, entertain thoughts of rejection, and sometimes even feel like nobody loves me.  Those are lies. All of them. Right now, I commit to reject the lies of the enemy as soon as the thought comes into my head. Thank you for the truth that sets us free from feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength – and that's the truth.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
I want you to write down five lies that you tend to believe about yourself and leave some space between them. Now, I want you to write down a truth from the Bible for each one that lets you know it is a lie.
Let me get you started.
Lie: I can't do anything right.
Truth: I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Lie: Nobody ever prays for me.
Truth: Jesus said: "I pray for …those you have given me. John 17:9
I'd love to hear your truth to replace a lie. It might be just what one of your GiGs needs to hear. Share the lie and the corresponding truth to replace the lie at
More from the Girlfriends
This series of lessons is taken from Sharon's book, 
Becoming Spiritually Beautiful – Seeing Yourself from God's Perspective.
 However, the lessons had such a great impact, she wrote a follow-up book, I'm Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselvesthat goes into much greater detail on how to overcome the lies of the enemy. If this is an area where you struggle, I'm Not Good Enough is the book for you. You can find both on her website. This resource will help you change that stinkin' thinkin' and see yourself as God sees you!
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
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Turning back in the day of battle

‘The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.’ Psalm 78:9
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 9:51–62
They turned back in the day of battle. They turned back, it seems then, just when they were to be tried. How much there is we do that will not stand trial! How much there is of godliness which is useful for anything excepting that which it is meant for! It is all in vain for me to say, if I have bought a waterproof coat, that it is good for everything except keeping the water out. Why, then it is good for nothing, and so there are some Christians who have got a religion that is good for every day except the day when it has to be tested, and then it is good for nothing. An anchor may be very pretty on shore, and it may be very showy as an ornament when it lies on the ship’s deck or hangs from the side, but what is the good of it if it will not hold when the wind blows and the vessel needs to be held fast? So, alas! there is much of religion and of godliness, so called, that is no good when it comes to the day of trial. The soldier is truly proved to be a soldier when the war-trumpet sounds and the regiment must go up to the cannon’s mouth. Then shall you know, when the bayonets begin to cross, who has the true soldier’s blood in him; but how many turn back when it really comes to the conflict, for then the day of trial is too much for them! They turned back at the only time when they were of any sort of use. A man who has to fight is not of any particular use to his country, that I know of, except when there is fighting to be done. Like a man in any other trade, there is a season when he is wanted. Now, if the Christian soldier never fights, of what good is he at all?
For meditation: Some things tempt us to turn back—affliction, persecution, cares, riches, greed (Mark 4:17,19), pleasures (Luke 8:14), cowardice ( 2 Timothy 1:15), worldliness (2 Timothy 4:10). On the day of battle the Lord Jesus Christ headed straight for the front line on our behalf (Luke 9:51); are you prepared to ‘fight the good fight of faith’ (1 Timothy 6:12) on his behalf?
Sermon no. 696 
16 May (Undated Sermon)



The Heavenly Choir

Hebrews 12:18-24 tells us that worship is more than just the gathering of saints in an earthly sanctuary. When we praise God alongside His people we actually enter heaven itself, bearing witness with the angels to our Lord's holiness and beauty. We should, therefore, never consider worship as something dull and dreary, for we enter into the gates of heaven and join the angels in God's throne room singing praises of His majesty.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 



The Heavenly Choir

Isaiah 6:1-3 "Above him stood the seraphim. ...And one called to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!'" ( vv. 2-3).
As we have seen, Matthew 12 includes several instances of our Lord's encounter with demons and His teaching about these wicked spirits (vv. 2243-45 ). The forces of evil, however, are not the only supernatural agents at work during the ministry of Jesus. Matthew also writes of the role of angels in the life of Christ (for example, 1:18-214:11). In order to examine the nature and activities of these figures, we will now take a short break from Matthew and follow Dr. R.C. Sproul's teaching series Angels and Demons as our guide.
It would be hard to discount the role of angels in the history of redemption. As an indication of their importance, note that the Greek word for angel, angelos, occurs more frequently in the New Testament than hamartia, the term for sin, and agape , one of the words we translate as "love." Although angels are frequently mentioned, we must also admit that there is not as much information about them as there is on other topics like salvation and ethics. Angels are mentioned frequently, but the focus is often more on the messages they bring than the nature of the angels themselves. Nevertheless, we can learn much from the descriptions of angelic activity found in Scripture.
Today's passage illustrates that at least some of the angels are tasked with the continual worship of God in heaven. The seraphim described have six wings: two for flying, two for covering the face, and two for covering the feet ( Isa. 6:1-2). In the Bible, men and women are often blinded when in the presence of the Almighty (Acts 9:1-9), presumably because of the glorious light of His splendor. Thus it would seem that the angels in Isaiah 6 cover their eyes to protect themselves from this light. This underscores just how different the Lord is from His angels. These angels have not sinned and are holy, yet they must shield themselves from God's transcendent and majestic holiness.
These angels worship the Creator, emphasizing His moral perfection and otherness with the threefold repetition: "Holy, holy, holy." (v. 3). In our corporate worship we are privileged to enter heaven and join with these magnificent creatures in praise of God's glory and grace ( Heb. 12:18-24).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Hebrews 12:18-24 tells us that worship is more than just the gathering of saints in an earthly sanctuary. When we praise God alongside His people we actually enter heaven itself, bearing witness with the angels to our Lord's holiness and beauty. We should, therefore, never consider worship as something dull and dreary, for we enter into the gates of heaven and join the angels in God's throne room singing praises of His majesty.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 


Human responsibility

“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” John 15:22
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 24:29-31
The liar, the fornicator, and the drunkard shall have their portion with unbelievers. Hell was made first of all for men who despise Christ, because that is the A1 sin, the cardinal vice, and men are condemned for that. Other iniquities come following after them, but this one goes before them to judgement. Imagine for a moment that time has passed, and that the day of judgement is come. We are all gathered together, both living and dead. The trumpet-blast sounds exceeding loud and long. We are all attentive, expecting something marvellous. The exchange stands still in its business; the shop is deserted by the tradesman; the crowded streets are filled. All men stand still; they feel that the last great business-day is come, and that now they must settle their accounts for ever. A solemn stillness fills the air: no sound is heard. All, all is silent. Presently a great white cloud with solemn state sails through the sky, and then—hark! The twofold clamour of the startled earth. On that cloud there sits one like unto the Son of Man. Every eye looks, and at last there is heard a unanimous shout—“It is he! It is he!” and after that you hear on the one hand, shouts of “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Son of God.” But mixed with that there is a deep bass, composed of the weeping and wailing of the men who have persecuted him, and who have rejected him. Listen! I think I can dissect the sonnet; I think I can hear the words as they come separately, each one of them, tolling like a death knell. What say they? They say, “Rocks hide us, mountains fall upon us, hide us from the face of him that sits upon the throne.”
For meditation: What we are going to say about Christ in eternity will be an amplified version of our attitudes towards him in time. In this life we have the opportunity to change our minds and trust Christ; in eternity we will never be able to change our tune (Matthew 25:3046).
Sermon no. 194
16 May (1858)

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Why fear God?

This week's reading: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Some say that this conclusion only makes sense if the speaker has been transformed or is someone completely new.
Others say that this is simply the final conclusion of the Teacher's hard, unblinking look at life. They say that though this book asks the difficult questions and is often cynical, it also shows sparks of faith. Indeed, this is not the first time we are urged to fear God (see Ecc 8:12-13). Now, however, faith is clearly favored over doubt.
Some think this conclusion was written by a wise man or editor other than the Teacher. They suggest he uses the writings of the Teacher primarily to demonstrate how futile they were. His intent, then, is to teach his son (or disciple: "My son" was a conventional way for a teacher to speak to his student, seeEcc 12:12) the better way-to fear God (see Ecc 12:13-14).
Either way, the doctrine of the Old Testament is summarized in a few short phrases. The reader is urged (1) to have a right relationship with God ("fear God"); (2) to maintain that relationship by following the law ("keep his commandments"); and (3) to anticipate a final and future judgment ("God will bring every deed into judgment").

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