Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daily Devotional Tuesday 26th June

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:24 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Art thou become like unto us?"
Isaiah 14:10
What must be the apostate professor's doom when his naked soul appears before God? How will he bear that voice, "Depart, ye cursed; thou hast rejected me, and I reject thee; thou hast played the harlot, and departed from me: I also have banished thee forever from my presence, and will not have mercy upon thee." What will be this wretch's shame at the last great day when, before assembled multitudes, the apostate shall be unmasked? See the profane, and sinners who never professed religion, lifting themselves up from their beds of fire to point at him. "There he is," says one, "will he preach the gospel in hell?" "There he is," says another, "he rebuked me for cursing, and was a hypocrite himself!" "Aha!" says another, "here comes a psalm-singing Methodist--one who was always at his meeting; he is the man who boasted of his being sure of everlasting life; and here he is!" No greater eagerness will ever be seen among Satanic tormentors, than in that day when devils drag the hypocrite's soul down to perdition. Bunyan pictures this with massive but awful grandeur of poetry when he speaks of the back-way to hell. Seven devils bound the wretch with nine cords, and dragged him from the road to heaven, in which he had professed to walk, and thrust him through the back-door into hell. Mind that back-way to hell, professors! "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." Look well to your state; see whether you be in Christ or not. It is the easiest thing in the world to give a lenient verdict when oneself is to be tried; but O, be just and true here. Be just to all, but be rigorous to yourself. Remember if it be not a rock on which you build, when the house shall fall, great will be the fall of it. O may the Lord give you sincerity, constancy, and firmness; and in no day, however evil, may you be led to turn aside.


"Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
2 Peter 1:4
Vanish forever all thought of indulging the flesh if you would live in the power of your risen Lord. It were ill that a man who is alive in Christ should dwell in the corruption of sin. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" said the angel to Magdalene. Should the living dwell in the sepulchre? Should divine life be immured in the charnel house of fleshly lust? How can we partake of the cup of the Lord and yet drink the cup of Belial? Surely, believer, from open lusts and sins you are delivered: have you also escaped from the more secret and delusive lime-twigs of the Satanic fowler? Have you come forth from the lust of pride? Have you escaped from slothfulness? Have you clean escaped from carnal security? Are you seeking day by day to live above worldliness, the pride of life, and the ensnaring vice of avarice? Remember, it is for this that you have been enriched with the treasures of God. If you be indeed the chosen of God, and beloved by him, do not suffer all the lavish treasure of grace to be wasted upon you. Follow after holiness; it is the Christian's crown and glory. An unholy church! it is useless to the world, and of no esteem among men. It is an abomination, hell's laughter, heaven's abhorrence. The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy church. O Christian, the vows of God are upon you. You are God's priest: act as such. You are God's king: reign over your lusts. You are God's chosen: do not associate with Belial. Heaven is your portion: live like a heavenly spirit, so shall you prove that you have true faith in Jesus, for there cannot be faith in the heart unless there be holiness in the life.
"Lord, I desire to live as one
Who bears a blood-bought name,
As one who fears but grieving thee,
And knows no other shame."


Today's reading: Job 3-4, Acts 7:44-60 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
Job Speaks
    After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:
   3 “May the day of my birth perish, 
   and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ 
4 That day—may it turn to darkness; 
   may God above not care about it; 
   may no light shine on it. 
5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; 
   may a cloud settle over it; 
   may blackness overwhelm it. 
That night—may thick darkness seize it; 
   may it not be included among the days of the year 
   nor be entered in any of the months. 
7 May that night be barren; 
   may no shout of joy be heard in it. 
8 May those who curse days curse that day, 
   those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. 
9 May its morning stars become dark; 
   may it wait for daylight in vain 
   and not see the first rays of dawn, 
10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me 
   to hide trouble from my eyes.
   11 “Why did I not perish at birth, 
   and die as I came from the womb? 
12 Why were there knees to receive me 
   and breasts that I might be nursed? 
13 For now I would be lying down in peace; 
   I would be asleep and at rest 
14 with kings and rulers of the earth, 
   who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, 
15 with princes who had gold, 
   who filled their houses with silver. 
16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, 
   like an infant who never saw the light of day? 
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil, 
   and there the weary are at rest. 
18 Captives also enjoy their ease; 
   they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. 
19 The small and the great are there, 
   and the slaves are freed from their owners.
   20 “Why is light given to those in misery, 
   and life to the bitter of soul, 
21 to those who long for death that does not come, 
   who search for it more than for hidden treasure, 
22 who are filled with gladness 
   and rejoice when they reach the grave? 
23 Why is life given to a man 
   whose way is hidden, 
   whom God has hedged in? 
24 For sighing has become my daily food; 
   my groans pour out like water. 
25 What I feared has come upon me; 
   what I dreaded has happened to me. 
26 I have no peace, no quietness; 
   I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Job 4

    1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
   2 “If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? 
   But who can keep from speaking? 
3 Think how you have instructed many, 
   how you have strengthened feeble hands. 
4 Your words have supported those who stumbled; 
   you have strengthened faltering knees. 
5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; 
   it strikes you, and you are dismayed. 
6 Should not your piety be your confidence 
   and your blameless ways your hope?
   7 “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? 
   Where were the upright ever destroyed? 
8 As I have observed, those who plow evil 
   and those who sow trouble reap it. 
9 At the breath of God they perish; 
   at the blast of his anger they are no more. 
10 The lions may roar and growl, 
   yet the teeth of the great lions are broken. 
11 The lion perishes for lack of prey, 
   and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
   12 “A word was secretly brought to me, 
   my ears caught a whisper of it. 
13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night, 
   when deep sleep falls on people, 
14 fear and trembling seized me 
   and made all my bones shake. 
15 A spirit glided past my face, 
   and the hair on my body stood on end. 
16 It stopped, 
   but I could not tell what it was. 
A form stood before my eyes, 
   and I heard a hushed voice: 
17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? 
   Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? 
18 If God places no trust in his servants, 
   if he charges his angels with error, 
19 how much more those who live in houses of clay, 
   whose foundations are in the dust, 
   who are crushed more readily than a moth! 
20 Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces; 
   unnoticed, they perish forever. 
21 Are not the cords of their tent pulled up, 
   so that they die without wisdom?’

Acts 7

   44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
   48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
   49 “‘Heaven is my throne, 
   and the earth is my footstool. 
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. 
   Or where will my resting place be? 
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’
   51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
The Stoning of Stephen
    54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
   57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
   59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.



The Woman Who Was a Notorious Murderess

Name Meaning—Taken away of the Lord, or Jehovah has afflicted. Athaliah is also the name of two males ( 1 Chronicles 8:2627Ezra 8:7).
Family Connections —She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and so was half Israelite and half Phoenician, and she personified all the evil of her ill-famed parents and transferred the poison of idolatry into Jerusalem’s veins. She was the granddaughter of Omri, 6th king of Israel, “who waded through slaughter to a throne he never inherited.” Athaliah married Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat. After many years of strife between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel political relations were more friendly, and as a mother of political expediency on the part of Jehoshaphat—which remains a blot upon his otherwise good memory—he gave his eldest son, Jehoram, in marriage to Athaliah whose brothers, loyal to the worship of Jehovah were murdered by Jehoram. Of this union Ahaziah was born who, with such a revolting figure as a mother, licentious and the personification of despicable arrogance, never had a chance to develop finer qualities of character. With such a mother as his wicked counselor what else could he do but walk in the ways of godless Ahab (2 Chronicles 22:3).
After reigning for eight years Jehoram died, unmourned, of a predicted incurable disease. While he reigned, he was dominated by Athaliah who had the stronger character of the two, and who, having inherited from her evil mother strength of will and fanatical devtion to the worship of Baal, made Judah idolatrous. Ahaziah only reigned for a year. Wounded in battle by Jehu, he fled to Megiddo, where he died, and his wicked mother (2 Chronicles 24:7 ) became envious of the throne. But the sons of Ahaziah stood in her way, and with fanatical ambition she seized the opportunity and massacred all the legal heirs—so she thought. This wholesale, merciless, cruel-hearted murderess sought to exterminate the last vestiges of the House of David through which the promised Messiah was to come. Behind her dastardly crime to destroy “The Seed Royal” we can detect the evil machinations of the devil—a murderer from the beginning—to annihilate the promised seed of the woman predestined to bruise the satanic head. A bad woman bent on destruction is doubly dangerous.
After putting to death her young grandsons, Athaliah reigned for six years, and was the only woman to reign as queen of Judah. The daughter of a king, wife of a king, mother of a king, she is now queen. While her husband reigned she was the powerbehind the throne—now she is the power on the throne, and proof of her energy, forcefulness and ability are seen in the length of her reign. A despotic ruler, her every gesture had to be obeyed. During her reign part of the Temple of Jehovah was pulled down and the material used in the building of a temple of Baal. But the God who over-rules in the destinies of men and nations, intervened to redeem His promise of a Saviour from the tribe of Judah.
Unknown to Athaliah as she set out to massacre all her grandsons, the youngest was hid from the orgy of destruction. The sister of Ahaziah, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the high priest hid Joash until he was seven years old ( 2 Kings 11:22 Chronicles 22:11 ). Jehoiada had plotted to put Joash (Jehoash) on the throne and waited for the opportune moment to declare the remaining son of Ahaziah the lawful king of Judah. Athaliah came into the Temple as the coronation of Joash took place, and rending her robe, cried: “Treason!” To save the Temple from being defiled with her evil blood she was slain just outside the door where the avenging guards waited to end her infamous life. Thus, as Edith Deen expresses it,
The horses trampled over her body where she lay dead at the gates. In her miserable end Athaliah bore a singular resemblance to her mother Jezebel, who was abandoned to the dogs. Athaliah was left in a horse-path, to be trampled upon. Like her mother she died a queen, but without a hand to help her or an eye to pity her.
Among the lessons one can gather from the record of the murderess is that we reap what we sow. To Athaliah life was cheap, and thus those who thwarted her purpose must be destroyed. But taking the sword, she perished by it. She breathed out murder, and was in turn murdered. A further lesson we learn from her stained history is that no one can thwart God’s purposes of grace. Having promised a sinful world a Saviour, none could make such a promise null and void. Persecution and martyrdom have never been able to destroy the loyal worship of the true God. Idolatry and infidelity cannot possibly annihilate the imperishable Word of God. As we leave the shameful story of Athaliah we find ourselves in full agreement with the summary of her bloody career as given by Dr. Robert G. Lee—
Her very name is an execration. She put the whole nation under the shadow of a great horror. She trampled on all faith. She violated all obligation. She lived with the shrieks of those she butchered in her ears. She lived with her hands red with the blood of princes and princesses. She died, frantic with rage, with the accusation of Treason on her lips. She died in the barnyard under the battleaxes of an aroused people.


Othniel [Ŏth'nĭel]—powerful one orlion of godA son of Kenaz, younger brother of Caleb, who, after the death of Joshua, judged Israel for forty years. He is the first to be mentioned among the “Judges” (Josh. 15:17Judg. 1:13;3:9111 Chron. 4:13). The Othniel mentioned in 1 Chronicles 27:15 is probably the same person.
Little is recorded of this saviour who came from the tribe of Judah. He followed the Lord with all his heart, and, Spirit-empowered, he fought for Israel and prevailed.


NIV Devotions for Moms

So Why Do We Suffer?

Additional Scripture Readings: Romans 8:28–29; 1 Peter 4:12–13
What purpose does an all-powerful, loving God have in allowing suffering among the very people he created in his image and then died for? Tough question, isn’t it?
Noted theologian A.H. Strong wrote, “God can do all that he wills, but he will not do all that he can.” That helps some.
Two implications of this truth help us cope with the incomprehensible suffering all around us.
First, God’s power is always conformed to his purpose. Our God endures for a time the sinful condition of our world so that eventually he can accomplish his higher purpose of redeeming the human race.
Second, God clothes his power in love. It is in the form of a man—born in a cattle shed, walking the shores of Galilee, mocked and spit upon and killed on a cross—that God extends his power. His power never stands naked. It is always clothed with love.
God can do all that he will, but he won’t do all that he can—because his power is conformed to his purpose and clothed in his love.



God's Better Way

Things weren't going Luci's way at work. She worked longer and harder than ever without recognition and with no promotion in sight.
Even though she didn't like change, she started looking for another job. The one most intriguing to her seemed like a long shot-way out of her league. However, just as she was getting ready to accept another offer, the long shot came in. She was the company's top pick.
It was a perfect match. Luci couldn't have dreamed of a better job. Looking back, she realized she would never have sought the job if things at her old company hadn't become difficult. She wouldn't have chosen to have things turn sour so she would want to leave. At the time, the thought of moving to a new job seemed impossible. And scary.
But God wanted her to experience more. He wanted the best for her. And she would never have found his best if she hadn't experienced trouble at work. God allowed the problems and ultimately used them for her good, even though at the time it had been a mystery to her. She did not "know the thoughts of the LORD" (Micah 4:12). Many times, neither do we.
Micah spoke of a future time when Jerusalem would experience peace . . . a time when war would end. At the time, it seemed like a crazy message. Things were more than uncomfortable; they were downright horrible. The armies of Babylon had destroyed the temple, killed people and tortured many more. Yet Micah said peace was coming. It didn't seem possible.
Sometimes, the things God promises for our future don't seem at all likely in light of what we're experiencing today. From our limited perspective, we don't see the big picture, only a tiny thumbnail print. Like Luci, we may be experiencing something difficult or uncomfortable that will result in something better. It's important to remember that sometimes our troubles are only a momentary detour leading us to God's best for us.


  1. How has God used a difficult situation in your past for your good?
  2. Is there a situation in your life right now that you can look at from a fresh perspective?
  3. How can you share your experiences with someone else who needs encouragement today?
Micah 4:12
But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.

Related Readings





The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b
For fifteen years from 1981 to 1995, in one Chinese city there were many cases of murder, armed robbery, rape, gangs of thieves, local village local tyrants were rampant and small children were being kidnapped, taxis were being robbed and taxi drivers being killed. People’s hearts were nervous. Traffic related disputes were increasing and society was not in a peaceful state. There were less than 3000 believers in the city.
At this time, the Holy Spirit moved Sister Zhou to the city. This Christian sister helped the church there for over one month. She received a burden while praying that the church should set up a prayer watch. So, the first prayer watch group was established. When it started, there were only 6 people. On Sundays these six people would all watch and pray simultaneously.
After almost six months of this kind of prayer, the national police cleaned up and eliminated the triad gangs and local village tyrants and brought about a change for a better environment in the city.
At the time when children were being kidnapped, old Sister Chang began to fast and pray. Every day she would pray saying, “O Father God, save and rescue these children. Send an old granny to look after them!” After a year’s time, the problem of children being kidnapped was transformed.
One problem would be solved and then another problem would come up for prayer. The rate of deaths in that city due to traffic accidents was an average of one to two people per day. Many more than that were injured daily. They then decided to make the city’s traffic safety to be a special prayer topic. They prayed and relied on God to solve the traffic problems.
From 1995 until now, small groups of prayer watches have expanded from one to three core groups. Each person prays at a designated time and the time for prayer rotates to another person in the group. It has now expanded into a large prayer network. Now the city is peaceful and safe. The work of the gospel is stable and steadily expanding. There are more than 30,000 Christians in the city attending meetings.
The people’s attitudes and appearance all seem like they are renewed. Although there are many laid-off workers, they seem to be able to find enough work to still be able to feed their families. This truly is the effect of prayer. It is the work done by our Father for the city.
RESPONSE: Today I will recommit myself to believe in the power of prayer and practice that belief.
PRAYER: Pray for the problems in your city or community. Ask God for like-minded partners.
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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40-Day Journey with Bonhoeffer Header

Day 25

Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone. They know that God's Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them guilty, even when they feel nothing of their own guilt, and that God's Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them free and righteous even when they feel nothing of their own righteousness...
Because they daily hunger and thirst for righteousness, they long for the redeeming Word again and again. It can only come from the outside. In themselves they are destitute and dead. Help must come from the outside; and it has come and comes daily and anew in the Word of Jesus Christ, bringing us redemption, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. But God put this Word into the mouth of human beings so that it may be passed on to others. When people are deeply affected by the Word, they tell it to other people. God has willed that we should seek and find God's living Word in the testimony of other Christians, in the mouths of human beings. Therefore, Christians need other Christians who speak God's Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened.

Biblical Wisdom

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Questions to Ponder

  • Where do disciples go to satisfy their daily hunger and thirst for righteousness?
  • If Christians find their salvation, deliverance, and justification not in them­selves but in Jesus Christ, how should they use their resulting freedom?
  • If God has put God's word into the "mouth of human beings," who is responsible to speak the word? Only pastors or church workers? Why?

Psalm Fragment

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
   and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
   and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
   and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. Psalm 145:5-7

Journal Reflections

  • Write about specific Christians who have spoken a word from God to you when you needed it.
  • Write about people to whom you have spoken God's word.


Think of someone you would like to be a spiritual friend with and ask God to help you build a mutually supportive spiritual relationship with him or her.

Prayer for Today

O Holy Spirit, send the people I need to bring me the word of God, and send the people I need to speak the word of God to.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.
Missed the first couple devotionals in this series, or want to re-read an earlier devotional? You can find a complete online archive of Bonhoeffer devotionals at BibleGateway.com. The first devotional can be found here.

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!


June 25, 2012
Silent Longings
Sharon Jaynes
Today's Truth
"She (Hagar) gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me,' for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me'" (Genesis 16:13 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Everyone wants to be noticed, to be cared for, to be loved. How my heart breaks with David's words, "No one cares for my soul" (Psalm 142:4 ). He is crying out during one of the darkest times in his life and felt all alone in his struggle to survive. We might expect to hear those words from the crowded city streets as men and women scurry about in their power suits off to make the next deal. We wouldn't be surprised to hear those words from a vagrant huddled under a bridge with all his worldly possessions stuffed in a plastic grocery bag.  But would we expect it from the person sitting beside us in the church pew, the co-worker in the next cubicle, or the mother of three next door?
While flying from the East Coast to the West Coast, I watched an in flight movie, a cleaned up version of What Women Want staringMel Gibson. Mr. Marshal (Mel Gibson) worked at an advertising firm with a host of busy men and women bustling about in their own little self-absorbed worlds. In a strange twist of events, Mr. Marshal is "electrically altered" when he slips in the bathroom and falls into the bathtub, along with a hair dryer. When he regains consciousness after his shocking experience, he has the ability to read women's minds and hear their thoughts. With his new perceptive powers, he lands a huge Nike advertising account and wins the heart of the leading lady...of course. But there is one poignant sideline of the movie that grabbed my heart.
In the movie, one young nondescript woman in his office had thoughts that stopped Marshal in his tracks. What if I just jumped out the window? Would anyone noticeI could be gone for days and no one would notice...until the files started piling up. Then they'd say, 'Where's the geek with the glasses who carries the files?'
No one did notice the errand girl who refused to make eye contact with her fellow employees, except Marshal, who could hear her thoughts.
One day, the young woman (who we learn is named Erin), doesn't show up for work.
"Where's Erin?" Marshal asked as he notices a pile of files sitting on her desk.
"I don't know," someone replies. "She didn't show up for work today."
Fearing the worst, Marshal locates Erin's address and dashes out to stop her from ending her life.
Bursting into her apartment Marshal sees a suicide letter lying on the table and his heart sinks. A startled Erin walks into the room.
"Mr. Marshal, what are you doing here?"
"I'm glad I got here before you hurt yourself?" he replied.
"What makes you think I was going to hurt myself?"
"I just sensed it," he answered.
"Really? You sensed it? That's not good."
Then Marshal brilliantly changes course. "The real reason I'm here is to offer you a job. You know we got the Nike account and we were wondering who would be a real spitfire to work on this project..." Marshal offers Erin a job and rescues her from the despair of feeling unwanted, unloved, and unimportant.
I'm not suggesting that you watch the movie. After all, it was a cleaned up airline version. However, I am suggesting that you ponder the situation. I believe that men and women walk past us every day, just like Erin in this movie, who feel that they have no significant purpose in this world. Like Erin, I know that there are many who feel that their sudden disappearance would cause little fanfare or concern. It might be the woman who passes you in the hall at work, the rebellious looking teen who shuffles by you at the mall, or the businessman dashing to his next appointment. It takes so little to let someone know that they are significant. We have the ability to give someone hope by offering a simple word of acknowledgement.
Dr. David Jeremiah wrote, "We are shaped by those who love us or refuse to love us, and by those whom we love or refuse to love." It is an amazing opportunity given to each of us as we walk through our day to shape and mold those around us with a simple word of encouragement, acknowledgement, or appreciation. The world is crying out for love - a positive word, a tender touch, a morsel of praise. Sometimes a simple "hello" can be a boost to someone starving to be noticed. Many people are so lonely that any token of attention is like a drop of rain on dry parched ground. 
Jesus met a woman who felt very insignificant – bone weary and bone dry. As he talked to her by a well, He said, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:1314 NIV). Yes, Jesus is the living water that people need. Isn't it amazing that He allows us to hold the cup - to offer the only drink that will satisfy.
Let's Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that You always see me and notice what I'm going through. You know every hair on my head! Help me to never lose sight of the fact that I am very significant in Your eyes. You loved me so much that You gave Your Son, Jesus, so that I might have eternal life with You. I praise Your Holy Name.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Let's go back up to today's truth. Hagar was a woman who felt ignored and all alone. But then God showed up.  Go back and read her amazing story in Genesis 16.
What do You learn about God from this story?
Hagar was not one of God's chosen people, and yet, He cared for her. The Hebrew name that she gave God was El Roi, the God who Sees. Remember today that God sees you!
How does knowing that God sees you make you feel? Share your answer at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.
More from the Girlfriends
Words-one of the most powerful forces in the universe. If you would like to learn more about how to use your words to speak life into those around you, see my book, The Power of a Woman's Words. While you're there, watch the video or download a free sample chapter. You can change the course of someone's day. You can change the course of someone's life!
Seeking God?  
Click here to find out more about 
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Girlfriends in God
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Matthews, NC 28106



A home mission sermon

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” Ecclesiastes 9:10
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 22:24-27
George Washington, the commander-in-chief, was going around among his soldiers. They were hard at work, lifting a heavy piece of timber at some fortification. There stood the corporal of the regiment calling out to his men, “Heave there, heave ahoy!” and giving them all kinds of directions. As large as possible the good corporal was. So Washington, alighting from his horse, said to him, “What is the good of your calling out to those men, why don’t you help them yourself and do part of the work.” The corporal drew himself up and said, “Perhaps you are not aware to whom you are speaking, sir; I am a corporal.” “I beg your pardon,” said Washington; “you are a corporal are you; I am sorry I should have insulted you.” So he took off his own coat and waistcoat and set to work to help the men build the fortification. When he had done he said, “Mr Corporal, I am sorry I insulted you, but when you have any more fortifications to get up, and your men won’t help you, send for George Washington, the commander-in-chief, and I will come and help them.” The corporal slunk away perfectly ashamed of himself. And so Christ Jesus might say to us, “Oh, you don’t like teaching the poor; it is beneath your dignity; then let your commander-in-chief do it; he can teach the poor, he can wash the feet of the saints, he can visit the sick and afflicted—he came down from heaven to do this, and he will set you the example.” Surely we should each be ashamed of ourselves, and declare from this time forward whatever it is, be it great or little, if it comes to our hand, and if God will but give us help and give us grace, we will do it with all our might.
For meditation: Our Master knew how to be humble (Philippians 2:6-9); he also knows how to deal with people who are proud or humble (1 Peter 5:5-6).
Sermon no. 259
26 June (1859)



Ministry to the Gentiles

Matthew 15:29-39 "The crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel" ( v. 31).
Because Jesus' feeding of the four thousand (Matt. 15:32-39) is so similar to His feeding of the five thousand (14:13-21 ), many liberal commentators say that Matthew has confused and repeated two different accounts of the same event. Even worse, they might suggest that the second, if not both, of these stories are made up altogether. Such theories call the research and writing abilities of the first evangelist into question, and even make him an author of lies.
However, the evidence compels us to take these stories at face value ­- descriptions of two different, miraculous feedings. The five thousand were clearly Jews because the group followed Jesus from Nazareth and other surrounding towns (Matt. 13:53-14:21). On the other hand, the four thousand were probably Gentiles. Just prior to feeding them, Jesus healed many of the four thousand who then "glorified the God of Israel" (15:29-31). Jews could speak of the Lord this way, but it is more likely that Gentiles would say such things as the Jewish crowds in Matthew do not use this title elsewhere. More importantly, Mark locates the events of today's passage in the Decapolis ( 7:31-8:10), a region of ten predominantly Gentile cities east of the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus' ministry in this area reveals that the kingdom is for Jew and Gentile alike. His miracles here figure predominantly in the prediction of the Messiah's reign in Isaiah 35. Christ's work here shows that His blessing is for the nations, which may explain why His Jewish disciples had trouble conceiving that Jesus would feed unclean Gentiles ( Matt. 15:33). Even Peter struggled to believe that the nations could become full citizens of God's kingdom (Gal. 2:1-10).
Or, the disciples may have simply forgotten Jesus' mighty feeding of the five thousand. Such forgetfulness is not limited only to the Twelve. John Calvin comments, "There is not a day on which a similar indifference does not steal upon us; and we ought to be the more careful not to allow our minds to be drawn away from the contemplation of divine benefits, that the experience of the past may lead us to expect for the future the same assistance which God has already on one or more occasions bestowed upon us."

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Matthew Henry writes: "Forgetting former experiences leaves us under present doubts." We are quick to forget all that God has done for us in the past and grow impatient when He does not act in the manner that we desire in the present. We sometimes then doubt His love for us even though He has shown Himself good and true in our past. If you are having trouble trusting the Lord this day, remember an occasion in the past in which He provided for you.
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. 



Ministry to the Gentiles

Matthew Henry writes: "Forgetting former experiences leaves us under present doubts." We are quick to forget all that God has done for us in the past and grow impatient when He does not act in the manner that we desire in the present. We sometimes then doubt His love for us even though He has shown Himself good and true in our past. If you are having trouble trusting the Lord this day, remember an occasion in the past in which He provided for you.
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. 



Person: Humility

The main goal for godly leaders-and Christians in general-is to reflect the life of Christ in their own lives. And the character trait that best enables us to do that is humility. After exhorting the Philippians to lay aside their personal interests and focus on the needs of others, Paul tells us how to follow the example of Christ (vv. 5-11). From this beautiful passage we learn three things about our Lord that model for us the essence of true humility.
First, Jesus didn't selfishly cling to the outer expression of his divinity. Instead, he took the form of a servant. A humble leader doesn't flaunt his or her position or power. Instead, he or she identifies with the weakest member of the team. Second, Jesus demonstrated humility through obedience to God the Father. A humble leader doesn't impose his or her will on God, but submits to God's commands. Third, Jesus waited for his Father to lift him up. A humble leader doesn't grab for power or position. He or she patiently waits for God to increase his or her influence.
Jesus didn't come as a king, but as a helpless infant (Luke 2). Although he was perfectly God and perfectly human at the same time (John 1:14), he lived his life as a humble laborer. After he began his ministry, he demonstrated humble service to others in the miracles he performed, as well as in his instruction to his disciples. When the time came for him to die, he submitted to his Father's divine will (Mark 14:36). And now, seated in power at the right hand of God, he intercedes on our behalf (Acts 5:29-32). As the perfect model for godly leadership, Jesus set the perfect example of humility. Ask God to help you follow Jesus' example as you seek to demonstrate the kind of humility that will cause others to see Jesus in you.
Humility and Who God Is
Humility has fallen on hard times. Contrary to popular opinion, humility is not a matter of weakness or passivity; from a Biblical point of view, it is disciplined strength and other-centered power. In his earthly life, Christ himself was the perfect exemplar of true humility. Turn to Matthew 11:28-30 for a glimpse at what humility really means.
Humility and Who I Am
"My humility cries out for recognition!" "I'm humble and proud of it!" The problem with the virtue of humility is that as soon as we think we have attained it, we have lost it. How do we avoid this dilemma? Turn to Numbers 12:3 for insight into this crucial Biblical virtue.
Humility and How It Works
How can one who is fabulously successful maintain humility? Solomon, arguably one of the most successful men of all time, tells us how. Read Proverbs 25:27 and reflect on Solomon's homily on humility.
Humility and What I Do
Moses gives us an excellent picture of how difficult the battle with pride really is. The ancient Israelites struggled continually with their pride. Their example, and an insightful story by Thomas Merton, will help us realize the importance of cultivating humility. Turn to Deuteronomy 8:1-20 for today's reading.

Passage to memorize this week:
JAMES 3:13-16 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.


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by Kenneth Boa 
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The Handbook to Leadership includes: 52-Week Leadership Guide with topical, character and book of the bible studies.



Let us go forth

‘Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.’ Hebrews 13:13
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:14–18
The Christian is to be separate from the world as to his company. He must buy, and sell, and trade like other men in the world, but yet he is not to find his intimate friends in it. He is not to go out of society and shut himself up in a monastery; he is to be in the world but not of it; and his choice company is not to be among the loose, the immoral, the profane, no, not even among the merely moral—his choice company is to be the saints of God. He is to select for his associates those who shall be his companions in the world to come. As idle boys were accustomed to mock at foreigners in the streets, so do worldlings jeer at Christians; therefore the believer flies away to his own company when he wants good fellowship. The Christian must come out of the world as to his company. I know this rule will break many a fond connection; but ‘be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ I know it will snap ties which are almost as dear as life, but it must be done. We must not be overruled even by our own brother when the things of God and conscience are concerned. You must follow Christ, whatever may be the enmity you may excite, remembering that unless you love Christ better than husband, or father, or mother, yes, and your own life also, you cannot be his disciple. If these be hard terms, turn your backs, and perish in your sins! Count the cost; and if you cannot bear such a cost as this, do not undertake to be a follower of Christ.
For meditation: Godly King Jehoshaphat of Judah seemed incapable of learning this lesson. Note the contrast with wicked King Ahab of Israel (2 Chronicles 17:3–61 Kings 16:30–33), his compromise with him (2 Chronicles 18:1–3), the chastisement it caused ( 2 Chronicles 19:1–3) and the correction this brought (2 Chronicles 20:1–4). But the continuation of the account is salutary—Jehoshaphat fell for the same trick again (2 Chronicles 20:35–37) and again (2 Kings 3:6–7 )! ‘I am as thou art’ is a false and foolish attitude for a Christian to adopt towards a non-Christian.
Sermon no. 577
26 June (1864)


T. Suzanne Eller
June 25, 2012
Saying Thank You
T. Suzanne Eller
"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
My girls once accused me of being the worst when it came to accepting a compliment.
"Mom, you look pretty today."
"Thanks, babe," I'd say, "You're kind to say that when my hair is kind of crazy."
Or I'd give that look. You know, the "You're just saying that" look.
Some might say that it was self-effacing. Maybe even humble. But it wasn't either of those things. It was a bad habit, one that was sending a not-so-great message to my two beautiful daughters.
I bounced back their sincere compliments with a negative. I sent a message that I just didn't measure up to their words.
One day I heard my daughter do the same thing and it stopped me in my tracks. She was beautiful. Intelligent. Insightful. How could she turn a compliment into a negative?
Oh, yeah. She had heard me do it.
From that day on I made a conscious effort to change my words. As I did, I began to listen to conversations among friends, women who were strong and beautiful. The conversations went something like this:
"Love those shoes."
"Oh, these? Bought them on sale. Cheap as dirt."
"You did a great job on that lesson!"
"I was so nervous. Couldn't you tell?"
"You look nice."
"Do you see this blemish? Right on my nose!"
Like a game of verbal ping-pong we often negate the good, bringing it down a notch . . . or two or three.
Saying thank you is a form of gratitude. Sure, it's acknowledging a compliment, but it's also accepting the thoughtful words of the person who gave it.
But can we take this deeper?
Recent stats say that our girls' self-worth takes a nosedive after the age of 9. It would be easy to point out other factors, but what about us? What do our daughters and the young women we influence hear us saying?
When someone offers a sincere compliment, what is your response?
When someone acknowledges a trait they value in you, do you remark on the things you wish you could change about yourself?
When someone tells you you're talented, do you point them to your imperfections?
It's been many years since my daughters' words made me stop and think. They are grown and they are beautiful, but what I love about them best is the women they have become. I tell them often.
You are beautiful.
I see God in you.
I love the way you love others.
And they simply say, "Thank you."
The next time someone gives you a compliment, whether it's as simple as, "Mom, those were great pancakes." Or as sweet as, "Hey hon, you look pretty today." Or as kind as, "Thanks, that was thoughtful." Receive it.
You might want to point out the messy kitchen, or your bed head, or your not-so-gracious attitude, but someone sees something they like in you and that's a gift.
Let's say it together.
Thank you.
Dear Lord, today I offer up a grateful heart for those who stop long enough to say something kind. Let me offer a gracious response in reply. Help my words lift up those around me, rather than point to the negative. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Visit Suzie's blog for tips from Erin Webb of Beautiful You, Inc. on how you can encourage your daughter to embrace a scriptural view of her worth.
His Revolutionary Love by Lynn Cowell is a fantastic resource to share with your tween/teen girls!
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:
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you? ~William Arthur Ward, author of Fountains of Faith
We often collect things that are of interest or value to put on a shelf. Today collect the kind words, little and large, that are spoken to you. Write them down in a journal. You can come back to them on the days you need a little encouragement. Thank God for the people who say them, and ask for the grace to receive them.
Power Verses:
Proverbs 25:11, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." (ESV)
Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." (ESV)
© 2012 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

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