Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Daily Devotional Wednesday 30th May

“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” Psalm 103:17-18 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines."
Song of Solomon 2:15
A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with his people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour's presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father's face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without his company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides his face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of "the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." Jesus invites you to go with him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with him to the hunting.

Evening

"That henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:6
Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice's den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler--be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you "serve sin" you have "Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame." Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.

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Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 7-9, John 11:1-29 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
The Dedication of the Temple
    1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,
   “He is good; 
   his love endures forever.”
   4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 5 And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God. 6 The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the LORD’s musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the LORD and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, “His love endures forever.” Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing.
   7 Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the LORD, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions.
   8 So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more. 10On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the LORD had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.
The LORD Appears to Solomon
    11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace,12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said:
   “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
   13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 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. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
   17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’
   19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

2 Chronicles 8

Solomon’s Other Activities
    1 At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built the temple of the LORD and his own palace, 2 Solomon rebuilt the villages that Hiram had given him, and settled Israelites in them. 3 Solomon then went to Hamath Zobah and captured it. 4He also built up Tadmor in the desert and all the store cities he had built in Hamath. 5 He rebuilt Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon as fortified cities, with walls and with gates and bars, as well as Baalath and all his store cities, and all the cities for his chariots and for his horses—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.
   7 There were still people left from the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these people were not Israelites). 8 Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these people remaining in the land—whom the Israelites had not destroyed—to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day. 9 But Solomon did not make slaves of the Israelites for his work; they were his fighting men, commanders of his captains, and commanders of his chariots and charioteers. 10 They were also King Solomon’s chief officials—two hundred and fifty officials supervising the men.
   11 Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, “My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.”
   12 On the altar of the LORD that he had built in front of the portico, Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings to the LORD, 13according to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for the Sabbaths, the New Moons and the three annual festivals—the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. 14 In keeping with the ordinance of his father David, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their duties, and the Levites to lead the praise and to assist the priests according to each day’s requirement. He also appointed the gatekeepers by divisions for the various gates, because this was what David the man of God had ordered. 15They did not deviate from the king’s commands to the priests or to the Levites in any matter, including that of the treasuries.
   16 All Solomon’s work was carried out, from the day the foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid until its completion. So the temple of the LORD was finished.
   17 Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and Elath on the coast of Edom. 18 And Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own men, sailors who knew the sea. These, with Solomon’s men, sailed to Ophir and brought back four hundred and fifty talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.

2 Chronicles 9

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
    1 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. 2 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, 4 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.
   5 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 6 But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. 7 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 8 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the LORD your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”
   9 Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
   10 (The servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon brought gold from Ophir; they also brought algumwood and precious stones. 11 The king used the algumwood to make steps for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nothing like them had ever been seen in Judah.)
   12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
Solomon’s Splendor
    13 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, 14 not including the revenues brought in by merchants and traders. Also all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the territories brought gold and silver to Solomon.
   15 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield. 16 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three hundred shekels of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
   17 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps, and a footstool of gold was attached to it. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 19Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.20 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s day. 21 The king had a fleet of trading ships manned by Hiram’s servants. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
   22 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 24 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
   25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from all other countries.
Solomon’s Death
    29 As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat? 30Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

John 11

The Death of Lazarus
    1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
   4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
   8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
   9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
   11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
   12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
   14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
   16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
    17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
    21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
   23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
   24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
   25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
   27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
   28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.

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Rabshakeh [Răb’shakeh]—head of the cupbearersThe title of the Assyrian military official under King Sennacherib, who accompanied Rabsaris on the journey to Hezekiah to demand Jerusalem’s surrender (2 Kings 18:17-3719:4-8Isa. 36:2-2237:4-8).
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Wendy Pope
May 29, 2012
Silencing Our Soul
Wendy Pope
"But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2a(NIV 1984)
I'm a talker; always have been. When report cards were sent home, my parents never expected anything better than a C beside the word "conduct." One of my elementary teachers politely called me "very social," while most were more blunt. "Wendy talks too much. She could learn more if she would talk less."
Unfortunately, old habits die hard. I brought this trait of talking too much into my quiet time with God, filling the silence with words ... lots and lots of words. I wonder if sometimes the Father looks to the Son and says, "I can't get a word in edge-wise with this girl! She could learn more if she would talk less."
To be honest, silence wasn't easy for this girl who likes to gab. I wanted to tell God what I thought would be good solutions to my problems. To-do lists ran through my head, instead of peace and quiet. Dusty shelves and piles of toys distracted my attention.
It felt unnatural not to be talking, so I resisted it.
I shared my uneasiness with God but knew silence and stillness were things I needed to practice. During these times I heard God's gentle encouragement, "Shhh. Be still. It's okay to be silent. You don't have to say a word."
Gradually I felt something I couldn't name until I read our key verse: rest.
My spirit felt renewed and at peace. In silence and stillness God united His heart with mine, allowing me to experience the rest I needed.
As we fill the reservoir of our soul with true refreshment from God we learn to relax in the rhythms of His grace. We experience real peace and rest that only come from the silence and stillness of being with Him. We carry this refreshment with us as we face the challenges of our day.
Do you have the gift of gab like me? Do you find it challenging to sit quietly with God? Ask Him to help you practice and enjoy silence and stillness. Your soul will find refreshing peace. God's rest is exactly what our restless soul needs.
Dear Lord, my soul is having a hard time being still. I lay down my resistance to silence, and commit to five minutes of silence with You for the next month. I praise You in advance for what You are going to say to me in the silence. I thank You for the rest only You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?
Would you like to bring the message of this devotion to the women of your church? Click here to find out more about considering Wendy as your next retreat / keynote speaker.
Visit Wendy's blog today. She will share about the freedom she has learned to enjoy by learning to silence her soul.
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!
Reflect and Respond:
What keeps you from silencing your soul during quiet time with God?
For five days spend five minutes in silence with God. Open the time of silence by repeating today's keep verse. Keep a reflection journal of your time with Him.
Power Verses:
Matthew 11:28-30, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (MSG)
Ecclesiastes 3:7b, "...a time to be silent and a time to speak." (NIV)
© 2012 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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You Must Be Born Again

John 3:1-3 "Jesus answered him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God'" (v. 3).
Many of the passages that we will study this month are occupied with the condition of the heart and the planting of the Gospel in ready soil (Matt. 13:18-3036-4315:1-20 ). The Bible, of course, has much to say on this subject, emphasizing our need to have our hearts renewed or, as we commonly say in theology, regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Dr. R.C. Sproul will help us understand the topic of regeneration more comprehensively as we follow his teaching series Born Againduring the next week.
Language that points to the concept of regeneration has been common in American culture since 1976 when Jimmy Carter, who claimed to be a "born-again Christian," was elected president of the United States. The term regeneration comes from two Greek words that can be literally translated as "born again," but most people probably do not think of regeneration immediately when they hear this phrase. Indeed, there is much confusion over what it means to be "born again" because many who claim to be Christians think and live just like pagans. It does not help the situation either when we see various denominations defining regeneration differently from one another.
We will address some of these realities over the next few days, but at this point note that every Christian denomination has a doctrine of regeneration. This is because Jesus Himself declares that we all need to be "born again." One of the most important passages on this topic is Jesus' famous encounter with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. Christ does not pull any punches here, telling Nicodemus that "unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (v. 3 ). Regeneration, being reborn spiritually and receiving a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone (Ezek. 11:19-20), is absolutely necessary to see the Father.
For many of the Pharisees this was a strange concept. Many of them believed they were entitled to the kingdom because they were physical descendants of Abraham. Yet no one is born a child of the kingdom, and one's family ties matter not if the Holy Spirit has not changed the heart (John 8:31-59 ). There is no way around it, we are not children of God if we are not born again.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Many people are sitting in our pews today unaware that they must be born again. It is possible to grow up in the church and never put your faith in Jesus personally even if you have been baptized and confirmed. Have you been born again? Has your heart been changed so that you love the things of God? These are questions we all should be asking ourselves, especially if we have been in the church all our lives, lest we take the state of our souls for granted.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 

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The church’s love to her loving Lord

‘Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?’Song of Solomon 1:7
Suggested Further Reading: Mark 9:2–9
When Tigranes and his wife were both taken prisoners by Cyrus, turning to Tigranes, he said, ‘What will you give for the liberation of your wife?’ The king answered, ‘I love my wife so that I would cheerfully give up my life if she might be delivered from servitude;’ whereupon Cyrus said that if there was such love as that between them, they might both go free. So when they were away and many were talking about the beauty and generosity of Cyrus, and especially about the beauty of his person, Tigranes, turning to his wife, asked her what she thought of Cyrus, and she answered that she saw nothing anywhere but in the face of the man who had said that he would die if she might only be released from servitude. ‘The beauty of that man,’ she said, ‘makes me forget all others.’ And verily we would say the same of Jesus. We would not decry the angels, nor think ill of the saints, but the beauties of that man who gave his life for us are so great that they have eclipsed all others, and our soul only wishes to see him and not another; for, as the stars hide their heads in the presence of the sun, so may you all be gone, delights and excellencies, when Christ Jesus, the chief delight, the chief excellency, makes his appearance. Seeing him, you must love him. It was said of Henry VIII, that if all portraits of tyrants, and murderers, and thieves were out of existence, they might all be painted from the one face of Henry VIII; and turning that round another way, we will say, that if all the excellencies, beauties, and perfections of the human race were blotted out, they might all be painted again from the face of the Lord Jesus.
For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ really did give up his life to deliver his bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25), from the dominion of darkness and sin (Colossians 1:13–14 ). Do you express appropriate wonder, love and gratitude (Galatians 2:20;1 Peter 1:8)?
Sermon no. 636
30 May (Undated Sermon)


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A present religion

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” 1 John 3:2
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8
We need not talk of walking righteously, and soberly, in the world to come—
“There all is pure, and all is clear, There all is joy and love.”
There will be no duty to discharge between the tradesmen and the customers, between the debtor and the creditor, between the father and the child, between the husband and the wife, in heaven, for all these relationships will have passed away. Religion must be intended for this life; the duties of it cannot be practised, unless they are practised here. But besides these, there are other duties devolving upon the Christian. Though it is every man’s duty to be honest and sober, the Christian has another code of law. It is the Christian’s duty to love his enemies, to be at peace with all men, to forgive as he hopes to be forgiven; it is his duty not to resist evil, when smitten on the one cheek to turn the other also; it is his duty to give to him that asketh of him, and from him that would borrow of him not to turn away—he is to be a liberal soul, devising liberal things. It is the Christian’s duty to visit his Master’s children when they are sick, so that it may be said to him at last, “I was sick, and naked, and in prison, and ye visited me, and ministered to my necessities.” Now, if religion be not a thing for this world, I ask you how it is possible to perform its duties at all? There are no poor in heaven whom we can comfort and visit; there are no enemies in heaven whom we can graciously forgive; and there are not injuries inflicted, or wrongs endured, which we can bear with patience. Religion must have been intended in the very first place for this world, it must have been meant that now we should be the sons of God.
For meditation: Faith in Christ is the qualification for a place in heaven; work for Christ is the qualification for rewards in heaven in addition to a place in heaven (Matthew 10:40-42).
Sermon no. 196
30 May (1858)

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GiG Banner 2012 Big
May 29, 2012
It's Not About Me
Sharon Jaynes
Today's Truth
"Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens" Psalm 148:13
Friend to Friend
Some of my Girlfriends in God are not going to like this devotion. I'm not even sure I do. But I'm going to put it out there anyhow. During the month of February, I write devotions on marriage. It is the month of love, and marriages certainly are in shambles all around the world. Each February, I am flooded with e-mails:  some are appreciative for the reminders on how to love their husbands; some are filled with hurt because they are in their own struggling marriage, and some are broken-hearted because of shattered dreams. These women are so thankful for the balm of God's truth in a very tender area of their lives. But I also receive e-mails from women who are not married, who do not like the attention to marriage at all. They are flat out angry and frustrated because the devotions do not pertain to them. "Don't you know that all of your readers are not married!"
"Oh honey child," as my grandmother would say.
I've seen the same attitude in church. "I didn't like that sermon." "I didn't like the singing today." "I couldn't relate to that teaching." And on and on we go. You know what I've discovered…It's not about me. It is all about God. If the pastor is preaching on a topic that is not my struggle, I pray that God will open my eyes to new truths that I've never seen. If he is talking about losing a loved one, I pray for those who have lost a loved one recently…even though that not might be my struggle at that particular time. Is the teaching on raising young children? I have a grown son, so I pray for those who are raising the next generation. 
One Sunday, I was singing in church. Barely singing, I might add. It was a dry old hymn and I just wasn't into it. Then I looked at an older woman a few seats down and she had tears trickling down her wrinkled cheeks. She was moved to tears by that old hymn and was taken to the throne room of grace. 
"Oh Father," I prayed.  "Please forgive me. This is not about me. It's not about what I like or don't like. It is all about You. Truth is truth. Worship is worship. Help my focus be on You and You alone.  It's not about me.
Here's a truth I want you to underline, memorize and ponderize (I know that is not a real word, but it should be.) Say it out loud: As long as I think the world is all about me, the angrier  and tired-er I will be. The more I realize it is all about God, the happier and freer I will be. (I know tireder is not a word either. I'm just feeling feisty todayJ ).
Listen to how David focused on God during worship:
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
 Psalm 62:5-8
So let's commit to remember together…it's not about me.  It's all about God.
Let's Pray
Dear Lord, please forgive me when I make everything all about me. It's all about You! I praise You! I thank You! I worship You!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
Here is a fun exercise. Go back and pick out one of your favorite chapters in the Bible. Now, focus on the verses that you DID NOT underline.
Here is a wonderful Psalm to use for your extended prayer time today. Open your Bible to Psalm 136 and pray that prayer of praise with David. Don't skip over the repeated refrains…His love endures forever! He repeats it for a reason. David meant it. God wants you to get it!
More from the Girlfriends
Did you know that God went to great lengths to set women free! When Jesus came to earth, women were hidden in the shadows of society and treated as property rather than people. But Jesus came to change all that! I invite you to take a look at a video about my book, What God Really Thinks about Women, and discover some news truths you may not have ever considered before! And while you're on my webpage, stop by the homepage and leave a comment!
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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You Must Be Born Again

Many people are sitting in our pews today unaware that they must be born again. It is possible to grow up in the church and never put your faith in Jesus personally even if you have been baptized and confirmed. Have you been born again? Has your heart been changed so that you love the things of God? These are questions we all should be asking ourselves, especially if we have been in the church all our lives, lest we take the state of our souls for granted.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 

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Should we fear falling?

Is falling away from the faith a danger for Christians? Throughout this letter we are warned to be careful, that falling away is a dangerous possibility (see, for example, Heb 10:26-27,36). The words fall away suggest a runner dropping out of a race, veering off the track and giving up. The Hebrews would have understood this as a picture of abandoning their faith.
Can people "drop out" to the point where there is no longer any hope for their salvation? Some think so and point out that only God knows when a person's persistent disobedience will bring such judgment. This book's primary example-the Israelites in the desert-shows that judgment came only after God had tolerated many rebellions. The writer's concern for his readers suggests that they were dangerously close to crossing the line where it would be impossible to start over.
Others read these warnings differently, though. They insist that Christians are eternally secure and cannot fall from grace, so these words are intended for those who have merely tasted God's grace but have not truly believed.
However it's interpreted, those who fall away are not those who merely stumble in the race. Christians may have moments of weakness or temporary lapses in their faith; they may stumble and then, by God's grace, return again to the Lord. But those who fall away are those who remain unrepentant and persist in their rebellion against God- like those who crucified Jesus.
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COMPROMISED BY DECEIT

…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15
One of the touristic highlights of visiting China is to walk on the Great Wall. Six thousand kilometers of wall with ten thousand strategically placed towers stretch across the north of China, reportedly the only man-made object observable from space. Construction of various sections began back in 770 B.C. when rival feudal kingdoms built walls around their territories to keep out invading nomadic tribes from the north. These were eventually joined into one wall. The wall averages eight to ten meters in height and five meters wide.
When you walk on the wall, two history lessons make the visit somewhat somber. First, the wall was built at great cost. Prisoners of war, convicts, soldiers, civilians and farmers provided the labor. Some estimates say “millions died for this cause”. Their bodies were buried in the very foundations of the wall or used to make up its thickness. You walk on top of a cemetery.
The second lesson is that the wall was reportedly breached by Mongol soldiers disguised as peasants pretending to be gathering firewood and leaving behind pieces of fruit when they left the area. The guards decided to go out and retrieve the tempting fruit. This was repeated over time. Eventually the guards were compromised and overpowered and the Mongol army streamed through that tower thereby breaching the Great Wall. So after all the effort to build such an amazing structure for protection, it was rendered useless through simple deceit.
One of Satan’s favorite tactics against believers is deceit. Here’s an example from China. Brother Chen arrived one spring day in 1996 at a small rural Chinese house church group. Some said he was “sent straight from God.” He said so too. He said he had known Wang Ming Dao and he spoke with a loud booming voice. His large eyes held their attention closely, and his whole body shook with vigor at the points he was making. The believers were just so impressed with the way he talked. He quoted lots of Scripture and wove it into a thrilling story.
After a few months, he began to talk about heaven being a city of gold, and that to enter that city they would have to demonstrate that they had given Jesus their gold in their lifetime. Brother Chen said, “Jesus needs your gold to build your mansion in heaven and the more gold you give him now, the bigger your mansion will be.”
Because they were poor, the idea of having a golden mansion in the afterlife was very tempting. They handed over all they owned: family heirlooms, money, some expensive textiles from a distant ancestor. One in the group even gave his motorcycle.
After all the “gold” had been collected, Brother Chen said he had to go and “open the gate of Heaven for them.” He left, on the donated motorcycle. He took most of their savings and he hasn’t been back.
RESPONSE: Be aware today of Satan’s subtle tactics of deceit and intimidation.
PRAYER: Pray for new house church believers in China who are easily deceived by false prophets.
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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