Sunday, June 03, 2012

Daily Devotional Sunday 3rd June

“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:28 NIV
===
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"These were potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work."
1 Chronicles 4:23
Potters were the very highest grade of workers, but "the king" needed potters, and therefore they were in royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay. We, too, may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord's work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for "the king"; and therefore we will abide in our calling, hoping that, "although we have lien among the pots, yet shall we be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." The text tells us of those who dwelt among plants and hedges, having rough, rustic, hedging and ditching work to do. They may have desired to live in the city, amid its life, society, and refinement, but they kept their appointed places, for they also were doing the king's work. The place of our habitation is fixed, and we are not to remove from it out of whim and caprice, but seek to serve the Lord in it, by being a blessing to those among whom we reside. These potters and gardeners had royal company, for they dwelt "with the king" and although among hedges and plants, they dwelt with the king there. No lawful place, or gracious occupation, however mean, can debar us from communion with our divine Lord. In visiting hovels, swarming lodging-houses, workhouses, or jails, we may go with the king. In all works of faith we may count upon Jesus' fellowship. It is when we are in his work that we may reckon upon his smile. Ye unknown workers who are occupied for your Lord amid the dirt and wretchedness of the lowest of the low, be of good cheer, for jewels have been found upon dunghills ere now, earthen pots have been filled with heavenly treasure, and ill weeds have been transformed into precious flowers. Dwell ye with the King for his work, and when he writes his chronicles your name shall be recorded.

Evening

"He humbled himself."
Philippians 2:8
Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of him. See the Master taking a towel and washing his disciples' feet! Follower of Christ, wilt thou not humble thyself? See him as the Servant of servants, and surely thou canst not be proud! Is not this sentence the compendium of his biography, "He humbled himself"? Was he not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honour and then another, till, naked, he was fastened to the cross, and there did he not empty out his inmost self, pouring out his life-blood, giving up for all of us, till they laid him penniless in a borrowed grave? How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud? Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed; see the thorn-crown; mark his scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills; see hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and his whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in his outward frame; hear the thrilling shriek, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know him. You were so lost that nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God's only begotten. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you, bow yourself in lowliness at his feet. A sense of Christ's amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary, then our position will no longer be that of the pompous man of pride, but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross. Let us sit there and learn our lesson, and then rise and carry it into practice.

===

Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 17-18, John 13:1-20 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
Jehoshaphat King of Judah
    1 Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king and strengthened himself against Israel. 2 He stationed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and put garrisons in Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
   3 The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals 4 but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. 5 The LORD established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. 6 His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.
   7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah. 8 With them were certain Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah—and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.
   10 The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some Philistines brought Jehoshaphat gifts and silver as tribute, and the Arabs brought him flocks: seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred goats.
   12 Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful; he built forts and store cities in Judah 13 and had large supplies in the towns of Judah. He also kept experienced fighting men in Jerusalem. 14 Their enrollment by families was as follows:
   From Judah, commanders of units of 1,000: 
   Adnah the commander, with 300,000 fighting men; 
   15 next, Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000; 
   16 next, Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered himself for the service of the LORD, with 200,000.
   17 From Benjamin: 
   Eliada, a valiant soldier, with 200,000 men armed with bows and shields; 
   18 next, Jehozabad, with 180,000 men armed for battle.
   19 These were the men who served the king, besides those he stationed in the fortified cities throughout Judah.

2 Chronicles 18

Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
    1 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. 2 Some years later he went down to see Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?”
   Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” 4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.”
   5 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”
   “Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.”
   6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?”
   7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
   “The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.
   8 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”
   9 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 10 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the LORD says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”
   11 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”
   12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”
   13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what my God says.”
   14 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”
   “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.”
   15 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?”
   16 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”
   17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
   18 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. 19 And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
   “One suggested this, and another that. 20 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’
   “‘By what means?’ the LORD asked.
   21 “‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.
   “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’
   22 “So now the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.”
   23 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.
   24 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”
   25 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, 26 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’”
   27 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”
Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead
    28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
   30 Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 31 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him. God drew them away from him, 32 for when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they stopped pursuing him.
   33 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 34 All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died.

John 13

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
    1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
   2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
   6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
   7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
   8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
   Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
   “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
   10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
   12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
    18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’
   19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
===


TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

Sovereign Regeneration

Acts 9:1-19 "Falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' And he said, 'Who are you, Lord?'" ( vv. 4-5a).
We made the point a few days ago that every Christian tradition has formulated some doctrine of regeneration. Despite the differing formulations of this doctrine, however, there are ultimately only two different views of the role of man and the role of God in regeneration: monergism or synergism.
A synergistic view of regeneration says man and God cooperate in bringing new life to a person. The Lord acts upon the heart of the unbeliever, imploring him to change. However, though God calls to the heart, regeneration cannot occur unless the unbeliever, who has the ability to say, "yes," or "no," embraces the divine call. There are several problems with this view. First, synergism sees the human will working with the divine will to achieve salvation. Yet we all come into the world spiritually dead and, being dead, cannot take hold of God's grace unless first moved by His grace (Ps. 51:5 Eph. 2:4-5). Synergism also reverses the order of regeneration and faith. Synergists argue that we first come to faith, and then we are born again. But if being born again is necessary to see the kingdom (John 3:3), regeneration must precede faith. After all, you cannot trust the Lord if you cannot see the truth of His kingdom.
Monergism, on the other hand, says that God's Spirit is the sole agent in regeneration. God moves sovereignly upon the souls of those He has chosen, enabling them to have faith. He takes the spiritually dead and makes them alive. We are actually born again - regenerated - before we have faith. We are not born again because we trust Jesus; we trust Jesus because we are born again.
God's sovereignty in regeneration is seen clearly in the account of Paul's conversion found in today's passage. Saul of Tarsus was completely unwilling to follow Jesus the Messiah before God took the initiative. He was so hard-hearted, in fact, that he did all he could to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. But when Jesus appeared to Him, Saul could not resist. Christ, by His Spirit, gave Paul the eyes to see the kingdom and to become one of its greatest ambassadors (Acts 9:1-19 ). Had Jesus not overpowered Saul's natural inclination against Him, there never would have been an apostle Paul.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Some of us have had dramatic conversion experiences that we remember vividly. Others cannot remember a time when they did not trust in Jesus. Whatever our story, the same God who raised Jesus to life and knocked Saul of Tarsus to the ground also overpowered our natural bent against Him. The fact that you believe is evidence of the Lord's mighty working in your life. He loved us enough to seek us out when we were running from Him.
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. 

===


COUPLESenewsheader-Bibles-Sep2011

Measuring Our Success

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Luke 9:25
Now and again I see mortality clinging to my steps like a lengthening shadow, and I am caught wondering why I am still here. A question chiseled in stone over the grave of a child recycles in my brain: “If I am so quickly done for, what on earth was I begun for?”
Life feeds that cynicism. Since people around us often cannot see our soul inside the material stuff with which we surround it, we are often beguiled into amassing possessions and accomplishments to proclaim our worth.
Yet all of those things can be stripped away from us in a matter of seconds. Recently I cried with a 30-something fellow who appeared to be a glowing testimony of success. He grew up in a close-knit family, has an athletic body and a movie-star face, married a beautiful and intelligent woman, lives in a luxurious home, and is buying a business that could become a multibillion-dollar corporation before he retires.
But now all the good looks and money mean nothing. A foolish action has fractured his marriage and torn him from his children. “Two weeks ago I thought I had it all. Now I don’t know if I have anything,” the man said. “I would trade everything to have my wife and children back.”
His sad words made me think about Jesus’ comment to his disciples. Jesus had set his sights on his future suffering in Jerusalem, and he was trying to prepare his friends for that reality. Jesus knew he would encounter denial, devastation and death. Rather than excusing his disciples from such painful experiences, Jesus warned them that they too would face some tough times. Indeed, it was a requirement of following him: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
God meant for us to enjoy the marvelous beauty and material resources of our world. But Jesus wanted to make clear that we can’t truly delight in possessions if they consume us while we are consuming them.
When Jesus made his pilgrimage to the cross, his disciples accompanied him to Jerusalem. True, they would all have their moments of quivering fright that sent them scrambling into hiding, yet they joined him as best they could. And eventually they all suffered great loss as they took up their crosses and followed him.
The greatest thing about courtship and marriage is that we don’t have to go through life alone. We share our journey with another. We reaffirm the faith and values we have spoken about in the easy times so that when we have to slog through the swamp of despair or navigate the hard places of loss, we can encourage each other to put our feet in appropriate places and keep our eyes trained on our Savior, Jesus Christ. Together we can follow him.
Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk

  • What are our 20-year goals? In what ways could those goals nurture or destroy our relationship? How would Jesus nudge us to change or clarify our plans?
  • What is our net worth? How do we measure it? What questions can we ask to help us think through the true value of our possessions?
  • What have we accumulated as a couple that we will pass on to our children? How might those things be a blessing? A hardship?
NIVSocialicons

===


Spurgeon-MetropolitanTabernacle-Header-1

Expiation

‘Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.’ Isaiah 53:10
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 15:11–24
The great arms of the eternal Father are ready to save you as you are, because the great work of Christ has effected all that is wanted before God for the acceptance of the vilest sinner. How is it that the Father can embrace the prodigal? He is fresh from the swine-trough: look at him; look at his rags; how foul they are! We would not touch them with a pair of tongs! Take him to the fire and burn the filth! Take him to the bath and wash him! That lip is not fit to kiss; those filthy lips cannot be permitted to touch that holy cheek of the glorious Father. But it is not so. While he was yet a great way off, his father saw him—rags, and poverty, and sin, and filth, and all—and he did not wait till he was clean, but ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him, just as he was. How could he do that? Why, the parable does not tell us; for it did not run on with the subject to introduce the atonement; but this explains it: when God accepts a sinner, he is in fact only accepting Christ. He looks into the sinner’s eyes, and he sees his own dear Son’s image there, and he takes him in. As we have heard of a good woman, who, whenever a poor sailor came to her door, whoever he might be, would always make him welcome, because she said, ‘I think I see my own dear son who has been these many years away, and I have never heard of him; but whenever I see a sailor, I think of him, and treat the stranger kindly for my son’s sake.’ So, my God, when he sees a sinner long for pardon and desirous of being accepted, thinks he sees his Son in him, and accepts him for his Son’s sake.
For meditation: It is possible to be accepted by God in his beloved Son (Ephesians 1:6), but the acceptable time to be accepted is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). After death comes judgment ( Hebrews 9:27), not a further opportunity to be washed from our sins.
Sermon no. 561
3 June (Undated Sermon)

===


Spurgeon-NewParkStreet-Header-3

High doctrine

“And all things are of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 3:7-13
There are some men who seem to think that God does his work bit by bit: altering and making additions as he goes on. They cannot believe that God had a plan; they believe that the most ordinary architect on earth has prefigured to himself some idea of what he means to build, though it were but a mud cottage, but the Most High God, who created the heavens and the earth, when he says, “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” has no plan but what is left to the caprice of manhood; he is to have no decrees, no purposes, no determinations, but men are to do as they will, and so virtually man is to usurp the place of God, and God is to become the dependant of man. Nay, my brethren, in all the work of salvation, God is the sole and supreme designer. He planned the time when, and the manner how, each of his people should be brought to himself; he did not leave the number of his saved ones to chance, or to what was worse than chance—to the depraved will of man; he did not leave the choice of persons to mere accident, but on the stones of the eternal breastplate of the great High Priest he engraved the names of those he chose. He did not leave so much as one tent-pin, one single line or yard of canvas to be afterwards arranged; the whole of the tabernacle was given by pattern in the holy mount. In the building of the temple of grace, every stone was squared and chiselled in the eternal decree, its place ordained and settled, nor shall that stone be dug from its quarry till the hour ordained, nor shall it be placed in any other position than that which God, after the counsel of his own will has ordained.
For meditation: Man has no idea what he is doing himself, but he is very good at questioning what God does (Luke 23:34-39).
Sermon no. 318
3 June (1860)

===

40-Day Journey with Bonhoeffer Header

Day 2

There are three things for which the Christian needs a regular time alone during the day: meditation on the Scripture, prayer,and intercession...
In our meditation we read the text given to us on the strength of the promise that it has something quite personal to say to us for this day and for our standing as Christians․it is not only God's Word for the community of faith, but also God's Word for me personally.... We are reading the Word of God as God's Word for us. Therefore, we do not ask what this text has to say to other people. For those of us who are preachers that means we will not ask how we would preach or teach on this text, but what it has to say to us personally.

Biblical Wisdom

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Questions to Ponder

  • Why are meditation on scripture, prayer, and intercession so important to the life of faith?
  • What obstacles might stand in the way of taking time alone daily for meditation on scripture, prayer, and intercession? How might they be overcome?
  • How might "reading the Word of God as God's Word for us," rather than as God's word for someone else, lead to spiritual transformation?

Psalm Fragment

How sweet are your words to my taste,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
   therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
   and a light to my path. Psalm 119:103-105

Journal Reflections

  • In your journal reflect on your present experiences of prayer and meditation. Are they satisfying to you? Do you give enough time to these activities?
  • How could you find more time in your daily life for meditation, prayer, and intercession?
  • Write about something you've learned from meditating on scripture recently. How has it changed the way you are in your relationships or at work?

Intercessions

Pray for encouragement and wisdom for you, your family, and spiritual friends (name them) in reading God's Word. Pray for discernment in understanding and praying for the needs of others.

Prayer for Today

Lord, draw me to your living Word and let it be for me food for the journey.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.
ADVERTISEMENT

db-book-image40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Buy a copy here!

One of the most widely admired theologians of the 20th century, Bonhoeffer was a profound yet clear thinker. Klug selects significant passages from his works, pairs them with appropriate Scripture, sets up a journal-writing exercise, and concludes with prayer.

More Titles from Bonhoeffer!
Interested in learning more from and about Dietrich Bonhoeffer? The Bible Gateway store has a special page filled with his books and devotionals as well as biographies and videos about him!
db_small


===


Everything Is Mine!

God's ownership goes hand in hand with his victory: "In triumph I will parcel out Shechem ... Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine; ... Moab is my washbasin ... over Philistia I shout in triumph" (Ps 108:7-9). Wicked and disobedient people may prosper in the present life, but the psalms remind us over and over again of the truth: All the wealth of the world one day will be returned to its rightful Owner. "For from him and through him and for him are all things" (Ro 11:36).
Christian financial stewardship leaders Larry Burkett (1939-2003) and Ron Blue relate an anonymous tale. Despite its lighthearted tone, it is difficult not to squirm at its truth:
Mr. and Mrs. Thing are a very pleasant and successful couple.
At least, that's the verdict of most people who tend to measure success with a "thingometer."
When the "thingometer" is put to work in the life of Mr. and Mrs. Thing, the result is startling.
There is Mr. Thing sitting down on a luxurious and very expensive thing, almost hidden by a large number of other things.
Things to sit on, things to sit at, things to cook on, things to eat from, all shiny and new.
Things, things, things.
Things to clean with and things to wash with and things to clean and things to wash.
And things to amuse and things to give pleasure and things to watch and things to play.
Things for the long, hot summer and things for the short, cold winter.
Things for the big thing in which they live and things for the garden and things for the deck and things for the kitchen and things for the bedroom.
And things on four wheels and things on two wheels and things to put on top of the four wheels and things to pull behind the four wheels and things to add to the interior of the thing on four wheels.
Things, things, things.
And there in the middle are Mr. and Mrs. Thing, smiling and pleased as punch with things, thinking of more things to add to things.
Secure in their castle of things ...
Well, I just want you to know that your things can't last.
They're going to pass. There's going to be an end to them ...
And someday, when you die, they only put one thing in the box.
You.

Think About It

  • What does it mean to you that God owns even the nations?
  • In what ways do you resonate with the story told by Burkett and Blue?
  • It's likely the story reminds you of a truth that you already know. So why is it so difficult to prioritize life properly?

Pray About It

Lord of all, I praise you for your might and power. And I pray that I will be a good steward of all the things that you have given to me in this life.
NIVSocialicons

===


SSTS_Devotional_header

OPEN DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY

But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9
The Apostle Paul was always focused on opportunity. Yet he was a realist who knew the opposition he faced from the enemy of our souls. He expresses here an interest in visiting the Corinthian Church for a significant period of time. But it would not be until after Pentecost because of great open doors for effective work in spite of much opposition. In doing kingdom work we should always expect opposition but that should not blind us to the great opportunities.
A young pastor in the southern Philippines who attended a Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminar, shares his personal experiences with this principle:
“The SSTS taught me a lot of things. First, it taught me to stand firm in the Lord during tough times. Second, it taught me to establish my relationship with God and not to focus on difficulties. Third, it taught me to lead my whole family to serve and obey God even though hardship and persecution come. And also it taught me to continue on with the ministry, even if others abandon us.
“My wife and I were newlyweds and fresh graduates of a Bible school when God called us to start a work among the Muslims. We were afraid of them and did not know how to minister to them. Open Doors gave us books on how to love the Muslims. In one community we started literacy classes among the children.
“But the more we grew in our desire to obey God, the more our faith was tested. In 2004, I was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer. But my sickness did not stop the Lord in accomplishing His purpose for our lives. In 2008, He led us to permanently settle in a place where most Christians dared not go. As we obeyed God, we experienced His great power—that same year, my doctor told me that I was cancer free!
“The Lord also paved the way for us to reach one Muslim tribe through an adult literacy project. We built relationships with our students and eventually shared the gospel with them. We seized every opportunity to help them with their needs, more so with their relationship with Jesus Christ.
“I would say that the biggest test of our faith was not when I got sick, but when our sending church abandoned us and cut our support. I felt alone, but God sustained me and my family.
“The Lord is continuously opening more opportunities for us to minister to our Muslim brothers. Right now, with Open Doors’ help, we are holding literacy classes among the three Muslim tribes in our area. We are also distributing the JESUS film when there is any opportunity to do so.”
RESPONSE: Today I will not allow opposition to blind me to the opportunities of service God provides.
PRAYER: Lord, give me strength to walk through open doors of effective work in the face ofopposes.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

BGiOS-300x250-2
twitter-sstts facebook_small_email
Join us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter for
real-time persecution updates


Post a Comment