Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Daily Devotional Wednesday 4th July

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34 NIV
===

Today's reading: Job 25-27, Acts 12 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
Bildad
    1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
   2 “Dominion and awe belong to God; 
   he establishes order in the heights of heaven. 
3 Can his forces be numbered? 
   On whom does his light not rise? 
4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God? 
   How can one born of woman be pure? 
5 If even the moon is not bright 
   and the stars are not pure in his eyes, 
how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot— 
   a human being, who is only a worm!”

Job 26

Job
    1 Then Job replied:
   2 “How you have helped the powerless! 
   How you have saved the arm that is feeble! 
3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! 
   And what great insight you have displayed! 
4 Who has helped you utter these words? 
   And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
   5 “The dead are in deep anguish, 
   those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 
6 The realm of the dead is naked before God; 
   Destruction lies uncovered. 
7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; 
   he suspends the earth over nothing. 
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds, 
   yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 
9 He covers the face of the full moon, 
   spreading his clouds over it. 
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters 
   for a boundary between light and darkness. 
11 The pillars of the heavens quake, 
   aghast at his rebuke. 
12 By his power he churned up the sea; 
   by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 
13 By his breath the skies became fair; 
   his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; 
   how faint the whisper we hear of him! 
   Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Job 27

Job’s Final Word to His Friends
    1 And Job continued his discourse:
   2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, 
   the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 
3 as long as I have life within me, 
   the breath of God in my nostrils, 
4 my lips will not say anything wicked, 
   and my tongue will not utter lies. 
5 I will never admit you are in the right; 
   till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 
6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; 
   my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
   7 “May my enemy be like the wicked, 
   my adversary like the unjust! 
8 For what hope have the godless when they are cut off, 
   when God takes away their life? 
9 Does God listen to their cry 
   when distress comes upon them? 
10 Will they find delight in the Almighty? 
   Will they call on God at all times?
   11 “I will teach you about the power of God; 
   the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. 
12 You have all seen this yourselves. 
   Why then this meaningless talk?
   13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, 
   the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty: 
14 However many his children, their fate is the sword; 
   his offspring will never have enough to eat. 
15 The plague will bury those who survive him, 
   and their widows will not weep for them. 
16 Though he heaps up silver like dust 
   and clothes like piles of clay, 
17 what he lays up the righteous will wear, 
   and the innocent will divide his silver. 
18 The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon, 
   like a hut made by a watchman. 
19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; 
   when he opens his eyes, all is gone. 
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood; 
   a tempest snatches him away in the night. 
21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone; 
   it sweeps him out of his place. 
22 It hurls itself against him without mercy 
   as he flees headlong from its power. 
23 It claps its hands in derision 
   and hisses him out of his place.”

Acts 12

Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison
    1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
   5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
   6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
   8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
   11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
   12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
   15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
   16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
   18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.
Herod’s Death
    Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.
   21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
   24 But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.
Barnabas and Saul Sent Off
    25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.

===

Mattaniah [Mătta nī'ah]—gift of jehovah.
  1. A brother of Jehoiakim, made king instead of his nephew, Jehoiakim, also called Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17).
  2. A Levite, descendant of Asaph and founder of a tribal family ( 1 Chron. 9:152 Chron. 20:14;Neh. 11:172212:82535).
  3. A son of Heman the singer in David’s time (1 Chron. 25:416).
  4. A descendant of Asaph who assisted Hezekiah in the cleansing of the Temple (2 Chron. 29:13).
  5. A descendant of Elam who had married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:26).
  6. A son of Zattu who had done the same (Ezra 10:27).
  7. One of the family of Pahath-moab who had done the same ( Ezra 10:30).
  8. A son of Bani guilty of the same act (Ezra 10:37).
  9. A Levite whose descendant, Hanan, was one of Nehemiah’s treasurers (Neh. 13:13).

===

Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional

CERTAIN OF WHAT YOU CANNOT SEE

Here is one definition of faith: "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith is not a catalog of things we know because we accumulate knowledge of them through our eyes or ears or touch, but it is the knowledge of things that can slip past the eyes, that are sometimes mere whispers in the ear or a brush along the shoulder. When the disciple Thomas went down on his knees upon seeing Jesus raised from the dead, voicing the absolute statement of trust, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus replied, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe" (John 20:29). So, on the one hand, there is the evidence of things that " we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched," as the disciple John put it regarding his experience with Jesus. Then there is faith that reaches across a distance and stands on truth. "Blessed" are those who believe in the God who is beyond our eyes, but whose works flood our vision everyday.
When my daughter was a baby and my wife would put her in my arms and leave the room, the baby's head would shift, eyes would scan back and forth, brow would wrinkle, and then-most certainly-came that cry of distress. A cry that cut to the quick. I knew that she was thinking, "Mom has disappeared. She is gone. She has ceased to exist. And I will never ever see her again." A baby does not have the cognitive ability to know that someone continues to exist even when the physical evidence is withdrawn. Babies cannot be "certain of what we do not see."
But give the kid a couple of years and he or she will understand that the doorway to the next room is not a monster's mouth swallowing up the next person to pass that way. He or she will even come to understand that Mom or Dad can be in Cincinnati or Los Angeles or London, and still exist; more importantly, that they still exist in relationship. Not being visible is not the same as not being. And sometimes your relationship with someone is even stronger when there is some distance.
ADVERTISEMENT

Resources

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.

===

Read the shocking true story of a pastor imprisoned and tortured for his Christian faith. Request your complimentary copy of this international bestseller, Tortured for Christ.




===


SSTS_Devotional_header

PRAY THAT GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.Acts 4:29
In Acts chapter four, Peter and John have been released from prison after many threats from the authorities. They return to the church and report. The church goes to prayer. But the remarkable thing is that they do not pray for protection but for boldness. We know God was pleased with their request because after their prayer the place in which they were meeting was shaken. Filled with God’s Spirit they spoke the word of God boldly.
Four hundred Christian young people attended a three-day prayer conference in the mountains of northern Iraq in the summer of 2011. Six busses full of Christians came from violence-ravaged Baghdad. For the Christians from the south of Iraq, where persecution, kidnapping and bombs are a daily reality, the conference was like refreshing water. For three days they didn’t have to worry and enjoyed being together with hundreds of other young believers in freedom. Christians from Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Basra and other cities came to the Open Doors sponsored meetings.
Behind the podium hung a huge banner with the theme of the conference. A s waters cover the sea, the glory of God will cover the earth.
“That is the dream of God for Iraq and this world,” said one the worship leaders, “and that should be our dream.” Referring to the difficulties in the country he continued, “Tell in the middle of trouble about your hope, about God’s dream. Know that in the middle of the heat, fruit ripens. God is preparing us for the harvest.”
Many times during the conference, speakers referred to the persecution in the country and in other parts of the Middle East. Some of the churches lost many members during the last few years in Iraq. Due to the violence, Christians fled from the south of Iraq to the north, the Kurdish region or even to other countries. “Know that the church in Jerusalem was small too, but it changed the world,” the speaker encourages the young believers.
One of the pastors said, “With this Arab Spring we’re living in a very special time. We believe this is an historic conference. In the coming months big things are going to happen in this region. Focus on God; focus on His kingdom and God will do the rest.”
Another speaker shared an experience from Egypt. “December 2010 and the beginning of January 2011 we had 40 days of fasting and prayer for Egypt in our church in Cairo. God said to us that what He was going to do would be awesome.” Everyone knows what happened after that in Egypt.
“That was God’s interference in history!” He expressed the way many Egyptian Christians saw the events of January 2011. “Ask for the impossible and it will happen,” he said. “Pray for His desire. Look what happened in Acts when the church had a hard time. They did not ask for their own protection, they asked to glorify God’s name.”
RESPONSE: Today I will pray that my circumstances and challenges will ultimately glorify God’s name.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord for boldness You give Your church in the midst of threats and violence.
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

===


40-Day Journey with Bonhoeffer Header

Day 33

Every act of self-discipline by a Christian is also a service to the community. Conversely, there is no sin in thought, word, or deed, no matter how personal or secret, that does not harm the whole community. When the cause of an illness gets into one's body, whether or not anyone knows where it comes from, or in what member it has lodged, the body is made ill. This is the appropriate metaphor for the Christian community. Every member serves the whole body, contributing either to its health or to its ruin, for we are members of one body not only when we want to be, but in our whole existence. This is not a theory, but a spiritual reality that is often experienced in the Christian community with shocking clarity, sometimes destructively and sometimes beneficially.

Biblical Wisdom

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. Romans 12:4-5

Questions to Ponder

  • What do you think Bonhoeffer means by an "act of self-discipline"?
  • How can an individual's sins "harm the whole community"?
  • What are the implications of Bonhoeffer's assertion that, "we are members of one body not only when we want to be, but in our whole existence"?

Psalm Fragment

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Journal Reflections

  • Reflect on your experience in your community of faith. Does it feel like a living body of which you are a member? Explain.
  • How might you better serve "the whole body"?

Prayer for Today

Holy God, thank you that you have made me a member of the Body of Christ; help me keep healthy that I may not harm the whole body.
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.
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


===

Why pray if prayer is not getting through to God?

Here it seems that the Lord does not hear or answer the heartfelt cries of his people. It appears as if no prayer is getting through because nothing is changing. Jerusalem and the temple lie in ruins with no immediate hope of reconstruction, demonstrating the pain of the exile.
Jeremiah keeps pressing the people to confront their sin, but they are too dismayed at the terror God has brought upon them. Until they confront the sin that caused their nation to disintegrate, all prayer will be futile.
Sin blocks the effectiveness of prayer. An effective prayer comes from, one having a pure heart and mind (see Ps 51:10). Only then can one have clear communication with God, both in speaking and listening to him. God will listen to Israel’s needs and speak to her only when she repents. When we cast off the weight of sin (see Heb 10:19–2212:1–2) we can know that God hears us and responds to our prayers.
NIVSocialicons

===

This message contains graphics. If you do not see the graphics, click here to view.
Spurgeon-NewParkStreet-Header-3

The sympathy of the two worlds

“There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:10
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 1:5-23
Our text tells us that the angels of God rejoice over repenting sinners. How is that? They are always as happy as they can be; how can they be any happier? The text does not say that they are any happier; but perhaps that they show their happiness more. A man may have a Sabbath every day, as he ought to if he is a Christian; and yet on the first day of the week he will let his Sabbatarianism come out plainly; for then the world shall see that he rests. “A merry heart hath a continual feast;” but then even the merry heart has some special days on which it feasts well. To the glorified, every day is a Sabbath, but of some it can be said, “and that Sabbath was an high day.” There are days when the angels sing more loudly than usual; they are always harping God’s praise, but sometimes the gathering hosts who have been flitting far through the universe, come home to their centre; and round the throne of God, standing in close ranks, marshalled not for battle but for music, on certain set and appointed days they chant the praises of the Son of God, “who loved us and gave himself for us.” And do you ask me when those days occur? I tell you, the birthday of every Christian is a sonnet day in heaven. There are Christmas days in paradise, where Christ’s high mass is kept, and Christ is glorified not because he was born in a manger, but because he is born in a broken heart. There are days—good days in heaven; days of poetry, red letter days, of overflowing adoration. And these are days when the shepherd brings home the lost sheep upon his shoulder, when the church has swept her house and found the lost piece of money.
For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ keeps his angels informed about us (Luke 12:8,9). Have they received good news about you?
Sermon no. 203
4 July (1858)

===

P31Header

Van Walton
July 3, 2012
Re-routed
Van Walton
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths... I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 (NIV)
A newly posted sign announced I couldn't make my normal, convenient left turn out of my neighborhood. Lined up on the road, snaking around the bend, was a neat row of orange and white barrels. Road construction had interrupted and re-routed my usual routine.
Faced with this disruption that would surely put a delay in my schedule for the next few weeks, I felt so agitated I hit my steering wheel. I'd have to design a new way, out of my way, to reach my destination and I wasn't happy about it.
Nearly a month later, when construction was completed enough to allow some through traffic, I turned left and surveyed the sights. I couldn't believe what I saw. No more lovely forest. Gone were the inviting trails into the woods. Decades-old wooden fences and bridges had disappeared.
The place looked like it had been ravaged by a storm.
Soon after, my life was more seriously interrupted when someone I deeply love experienced a horrible trauma. A disturbing phone call forced me to drop everything. The bad news exploded like a bomb - my heart and mind quaked with emotion.
Because my loved one's life was re-routed due to their circumstances, so was mine. Spiritual frustration filled my soul in the following months. I can't remember how many times I hit hard places. The results of this trauma carried me away from the direction I had wanted to go. I screamed angrily at God.
"How long will You take me out of my way?" I questioned.
I longed for the times before this re-routing. Yet, slowly I began to see how this detour of my own plans was really a spiritual reconstruction, just like the roadwork outside my neighborhood.
You see, once all the orange and white barrels were gone, I appreciated the full results. Smooth asphalt spread out before me. Two lanes of traffic moved steadily. The "earthquake zone" had been transformed into a park-like setting. A tree-lined sidewalk encouraged pedestrians to walk toward the ballpark and the neighborhood church. Admiring the new landscape, I reminded myself that even though I'd been inconvenienced, it was worthwhile.
Our key verse comforts me that God is there guiding us through the unfamiliar, making a way, calling to us: "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths ... I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 (NIV)
My plans continue to zigzag through various unplanned circumstances. And I realize God allows me to experience these orange and white-barreled roads to illustrate a truth. He is at work up ahead rearranging the landscape of my life.
I may not be able to see what the new landscape will look like, but I believe He will guide me, make the road smooth, and be with me. With His help, I put my hand in His, traveling the paths He lays out for me, even though they may not be the familiar roads I'd prefer.
Dear Lord, You know how difficult life is right now. My interrupted life and the rough roads feel like they'll break me. Give me the capacity to trust You and graciously travel the paths You lay out before me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
Reflect and Respond:
How has my life been interrupted recently? How would God have me respond to this most recent disturbance?
Memorize one of the power verses below. Pray it out loud when disruptions threaten to interrupt your life.
Power Verses:
Psalm 25:4, "Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow." (NLT)
Psalm 37:34, "Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land." (NLT)
© 2012 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

===


TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

The Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-8 "He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light" ( v. 2).
The Holy Spirit enabled Peter to confess Jesus as the Messiah, but this is not the only revelation the apostle received while he and the other disciples traveled with Christ in and around Caesarea Philippi. As today's passage indicates, Peter, along with James and John, was privileged to witness our Lord's transfigured glory only days after Peter's great confession (Matt. 16:13- 17:8).
As background to the transfiguration, we must consider the many theophanies recorded in sacred Scripture. Our English term theophany finds its roots in the Greek word for "God" (theos) and the Greek verb "to appear" (phainein); thus, we can see that theophany basically means "an appearance of God." Theophanies were visible manifestations of the Creator and were usually granted to central figures in the Almighty's redemptive plan. We can think, for example, of God's appearance to Abraham as a "smoking fire pot" and "flaming torch" (Gen. 15 ), as well as Moses' vision of Yahweh in the burning bush (Ex. 3). The transfiguration, we will see, stands in this tradition, but Jesus the Christ exceeds all previous theophanies, expressing as He does the fullest revelation of who God is.
We learn many lessons from the transfiguration. It confirms Jesus' appointment as a special messenger of God: like Moses and Elijah who received revelation from the Almighty on Mount Sinai, also called Mount Horeb (Ex. 19-241 Kings 19), Jesus also meets with God on a mountain. Yet Jesus is greater than these because the Father's declarations about Him make Him the object of revelation (Matt. 17:5), not merely its recipient. Also, Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, respectively. Their appearance with Christ confirms His fulfillment of the old covenant revelation found in the Old Testament.
Most importantly, the transfiguration depicts Jesus' divine identity unambiguously. Moses reflected the divine glory after meeting with God, but this reflection could be hidden (Ex. 34:29-35). Our Savior's inherent splendor, however, cannot be veiled (Matt. 17:2). Matthew Henry comments, "The shining face of Moses was so weak, that it could easily be concealed by a thin veil; but such was the glory of Christ's body, that his clothes were enlightened by it."

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

In placing the transfiguration of Christ in between two predictions of suffering and death (Matt. 16:21-2817:9-13 ), God provides assurance that trouble will not always be the lot of His Son and His people. When adversity tempts us to despair of all hope, let us remember Jesus, whose shining visage anticipated the glory of His resurrection, in which we will one day share when His righteous ones shine like the sun (13:43).
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. 

===


TT_Coramdeo_ttlogo

The Transfiguration

In placing the transfiguration of Christ in between two predictions of suffering and death (Matt. 16:21-2817:9-13 ), God provides assurance that trouble will not always be the lot of His Son and His people. When adversity tempts us to despair of all hope, let us remember Jesus, whose shining visage anticipated the glory of His resurrection, in which we will one day share when His righteous ones shine like the sun (13:43).
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. 

===


GiG-Banner-450
Editor's Note: Yesterday's Girlfriend's in God devotional wasn't sent due to an error on Bible Gateway's part. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you'd like to read the devotional from yesterday you can find it on the Girlfriends in God website .
July 3, 2012
The Guestbook
Sharon Jaynes
Today's Truth
"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody,"
 (2 Corinthians 3:2 NIV).
Friend to Friend 
Just before leaving our rented condominium after a week of sun, sand, and surf, at Hilton Head Island, SC, we found a treasure tucked under some old magazines on the coffee table. It was a 6 X 8 inch white guest book, signed by previous vacationers who had also shared a relaxing week away from home.
Feeling somewhat like a "peeping Tom" craning to peer into someone's window, we cracked open the book and stole a glimpse into the personalities of our fellow travelers.  With each entry, we visualized what the guests looked like, decided if we would like to invite them over for dinner, and surmised whether they had an enjoyable vacation together.
Have a look for yourself and decide with whom you would like to share a cup of coffee or would like to have as your neighbor:
  • "Thank you very much for the use of your condo. We thoroughly enjoyed our first, but not last visit to S.C."
  • "Had a great time. Enjoyed your villa very much! However, you need to have the springs in the couch repaired. Very uncomfortable to sit on. Thank you."
  • "We have decided that this is where we'd love to live. It's a golfer's dream. Your courses are beautiful. The girls loved the beach, parasailing, bike rides, horseback riding, shopping! I love my tan. We will be back to visit! If you are ever in Arkansas, come to Stuttgart. We are 50 miles east of Little Rock. Stuttgart hosts the World Championship Duck Calling Contest every year during Thanksgiving weekend. We are known as the "Rice and Duck Capital of the World." Riceland Rice comes from our little town and the ducks feed off of the rice fields during the winter after harvest.  It is some of the best duck hunting anywhere. Thank you for the use of your condo.  We've had a great week here." 
  • "We really enjoyed your villa, but we won't be staying here again. We just booked another villa at Colonnade for next year a couple of doors down for almost $300 less." 
  • "Hello.  My name is Amanda and I got here yesterday. So far we are having a good time. I'm eleven-years-old and I came here with my mother, grandmother, and my Aunt Loretta. She got here at the same time we did, but she is leaving tomorrow. We came all the way from Lake Wylie, S. C. I love it here and might be back next year.
  • "It has been a fabulous time. This villa is bigger than our home!  My niece is sure she saw a whale at the Old Oyster Factory, but we are sure she saw a buoy. Greg and Dad played golf together and we all played mini-golf. We went bike riding and "gator chasing." The ocean is breathtaking. I've never seen it before, so I'm still in awe!
"When we first came, the keys wouldn't fit, you forgot to give us a pass, and we almost ran over a biker. Get better service! Two grandmas were with us! Sixth time here - never happened before." 
The Bible tells us that we are simply visitors here on earth (1 Chronicles 29:15).  The words we speak are also our entries in the Guestbook of Life.
 
What entries am I writing with my attitudes, actions and words for the world to see?  Will they think that I was a crabby old lady who wanted better service? Will they think I savored each day here with my wonderful family? Will they think that I would have preferred another life just a few doors down? Or will they think that I so enjoyed my time here that I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone who was passing through?

Do you want to know what we wrote in the Guestbook before we left?
"Thank you for the use of your beach home. July fourth is a time to celebrate our great country with its many freedoms. Our hope for all who follow us here is that you will know the freedom which comes from knowing the Truth that sets us all free (John 8:32)."  Steve, Sharon and Steven Jaynes
Matthews, NC
Let's Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word tells me that I am a letter being read by everyone. I pray that I won't be junk mail today. I pray that I won't be like a bill making people feel like they owe me. I pray that I will be a love letter, a thank you note, and an invitation to celebrate life. 
 In Jesus' Name, 
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
What are you leaving in the guestbook of life for all to read?
What would you like to be leaving in the guestbook of life for all to read?
Go ahead, write it down?
Now, live this day as if you were a walking, talking letter from God to everyone you come in contact with!
Here's your chance to start today. Click over to my blog page and leave a comment about one thing you enjoyed about yesterday or this day.
More from the Girlfriends 
We are walking, talking letters to the world, telling them and showing them about what Jesus is like. Yikes! The Bible calls us Ambassadors. If you need to improve the quality of your letter, you might want to read The Power of a Woman's Words to learn about the people we impact, the power we possess, and the potential to change. Just click on the link or go to www.sharonjaynes.com .
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


Spurgeon-MetropolitanTabernacle-Header-1

The great privation: or, the great salvation

‘O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.’ Isaiah 48:18
Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 47:1–5
A river increases in breadth, and its waters augment their volume. You can leap across the Thames, say at Cricklade, or Kemble; it is so tiny a little brook, you may almost take it up in a cup. There is a narrow plank across which laughing village girls go tripping over; but who thinks of laying down a plank across the Thames at Southend, or at Grays? Who would imagine that at Gravesend it might be crossed by the tripping girls, or by the skipping lambs? No, the river has grown—how deep! At the mouth of it, I suppose, comparable to the sea—how broad! It is a sort of ocean in miniature. There go the ships, and that leviathan might play therein. Not behemoth himself, I think, would have the presumption to suppose that he could sniff up this Jordan at a draught, for it has grown too great for him. Such is the Christian’s peace. Pure and perfect though it is at the first, little temptations seem to mar it; oftentimes the troubles of this life threaten to choke it. Not that they ever do. True, it seems little at the point of its rise. Be not deceived. Wait. When the Christian is ten years older, and has meandered a few more miles along the tortuous course of a gracious experience, his peace will be like a broad river. Wait twenty or thirty years, till he has traversed these rich lowlands of fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, and conformity to his death, then his peace will be like a deep river, for he shall know ‘the peace of God which passeth all understanding;’ and he will have cast all his care upon God, who cares for him. Thus that peace will go on increasing till it melts into the infinite peace of the beatific vision.
For meditation: Rivers in Scripture are often pictures of God’s blessings to his people—bringing to them fruitfulness (Psalm 1:3), pleasure (Psalm 36:8), gladness ( Psalm 46:4) and peace (Isaiah 66:12). Think on these things.
Sermon no. 610
4 July (Undated Sermon)



Post a Comment