Verse of today

King James Version

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

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But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.

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Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

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Inspiration for Men

The Highly Effective Christian

Luke 19:11–27

Recommended Reading: Exodus 4:10–12; Isaiah 6:8; Ezekiel 2:1–7; 1 Corinthians 12:4–31

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey recommends the following mental exercise: Imagine that you’ve died and that four people representing different aspects of your life speak at your funeral: a relative, a fellow church member, a business colleague and someone else from your community. What would each one honestly say about your life?

While it’s not easy to imagine others testifying to the effectiveness of our lives in the context of a funeral, this exercise does provide some much needed perspective. There’s nothing like the end of a life to get others to consider the course of their days. Take a few minutes to seriously think about what these individuals might say about you to a gathered crowd.

Now take a few moments to imagine what Jesus would say about your Christian life to this point. What does he think about your faith? What does he think about your accomplishments for his kingdom? Would he describe you as someone growing closer to him each day?

Jesus told a story about three servants in order to illustrate that God expects each of us to be faithful with what he has given us. Of course, any number of fears might hinder us from using the gifts God gives us: fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of God’s disapproval, to name a few biggies. Failure to invest represents the most serious potential shortfall of all. Only when we use our faith does it stand a chance of growing. If we don’t exercise it, it becomes stagnant and lifeless. Can you think of anyone whose faith looks like that?

Let’s look ahead ten years and repeat the mental exercise. If you spend the next ten years investing your faith and wholeheartedly using the gifts God gives you to serve him, what would a relative, a fellow church member, a business colleague and someone else from your community be likely to say at your funeral? What would Jesus say?

To Take Away

What gifts and opportunities has God provided that you can use for him? Be honest with yourself. How have you done at living a life of faith in God? What aspects of your life have you been withholding from God? What steps can you take to invest these areas in faithful service to him?

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New Men’s Devotional Bible

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The New Men’s Devotional Bible helps apply God’s Word to a new generation of Christian men. It includes a full year of all-new devotions by well-known and not-so-well-known men of God.

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Bible reading

Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.

4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure, and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

verse for today

King James Version

 

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 

 

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Read all of 1 John 3

 

insight for students

The Last Enemy: Why believe in life after death?
1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Much of 1 Corinthians centers on issues of personal behavior involving rambunctious church members. After tackling each of those problems, Paul turns his attention to a question of doctrine, one that looms before him as the most important issue of all. People are challenging the Christian belief in an afterlife. Death, they say, is the end.

Throughout history, many people have taken such a position. In Jesus’ day, a Jewish sect called Sadducees denied the resurrection from the dead. Doubters persist today, such as Black Muslims, Buddhists, Marxists and most atheists. Some New Age advocates present death as a natural part of the cycle of life. “Why resist it or consider it bad?” they ask.

No Fairy Tale

The Corinthian church soon learns not to voice that opinion around the apostle Paul. To him, life after death is no fairy tale, but rather the fulcrum of his entire faith. If there is no afterlife, he thunders, the Christian message is a lie. If there is no afterlife, he has no reason to continue as a minister, Christ’s death is merely wasted blood, and Christians are the most pitiable of all people.

The Bible presents a gradually developing emphasis on the afterlife. Old Testament Jews had only the vaguest conception of life after death. As Paul points out, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead changed all that, giving the world decisive proof that God has the power and the will to overcome death. First Corinthians 15 weaves together the threads of Christian belief about death. With no hesitation, Paul brands death “the enemy,” the last enemy to be destroyed (see 1 Corinthians 15:26).

This chapter often gets read at funerals, with good reason. As people gather around a casket, they sense, as if by instinct, the unnaturalness and horror of death. To such people, to all of us, this passage offers soaring words of hope. It shows how death is finally conquered and becomes not an end, but a beginning.

Life Questions

How does a belief in the afterlife affect your life now?

Morning and evening

Morning

“Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation.”
Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hill side, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, his cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.” The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly today and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness today, to-morrow he may be distressed–but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If he loved me yesterday, he loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

Evening

“Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”
Micah 5:2

The Lord Jesus had goings forth for his people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was “from everlasting” that he signed the compact with his Father, that he would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of his people; it was “from everlasting” that he gave himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot he might sweat great drops of blood, that he might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus “from everlasting.” Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affection upon them. What! my soul, has he been so long about thy salvation, and will not he accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will he lose me now? What! Has he carried me in his hand, as his precious jewel, and will he now let me slip from between his fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were digged, and will he reject me now? Impossible! I am sure he would not have loved me so long if he had not been a changeless Lover. If he could grow weary of me, he would have been tired of me long before now. If he had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, he would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am his everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to him by his Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.

Encouragement for today

Created for Connection
Renee Swope

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (NIV 1984)

I checked my email as soon as I woke up. Then I made breakfast and checked it again. Had my devotional time and checked it again. Ran some errands and checked it on my phone. When I got home, I checked it once more.

Now, I admit I have a thing about keeping white space in my inbox, but this was about more than managing emails. I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to pause and ask myself,“Why do you keep checking your email?”

I wasn’t sure if it was God or me answering, but my thoughts intertwined with His Spirit whispered: You keep coming back because your heart longs for connection with a friend.

Yet no matter how many times I checked email, it was never enough to satisfy my craving.

Somewhere in the busyness of life I had let many of my friendships reduce to quick connections via email. My schedule had gotten full with kids, school projects, investing time in my marriage, and work.

I knew something had to give, so I asked God to help me find balance.

God had recently led me to cut back on the amount of time I spent talking on the phone, socializing with neighbors and hanging out with friends. Although I hadn’t completely cut out my friendships, our face-to-face connection time had been reduced to a minimum as I obeyed God’s request.

I realized I had not found a good balance, and let the pendulum swing too far. So I checked email repeatedly, trying to fill a God-created need for relationships with a white screen and black alphabet keys.

My heart was craving more.

That day as I sat in front of my screen for the fifth time, Jesus revealed the source of my incessant email checking and reminded me I am created for real-life connections. I need to fill that lonely place in my heart with friends I can share life with — in person.

That day I called one of my best friends. She happened to be available so I turned off my computer and spontaneously met her at a coffee shop.

It was just what I needed: in-person, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye connection and conversation.

I know friendships are not easy to build. They take time and most of us don’t have enough of it. But in this age of technology, it’s important to evaluate and balance connections that are screen-to-screen rather than face-to-face.

We need to pull away from our computers, phones and televisions to intentionally carve out time for friends. Times where we can meet in person to share what’s going on in our lives. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us not to give up meeting together to worship and encourage one another. As we see here and throughout the Bible, “meeting together” is important to God.

Jesus needed face-to-face connections, too. He surrounded Himself with intimate friends — first His Father, then close friends like John, Peter and James, and then the other disciples.

He also had friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus. People He spent time with sharing meals and having conversations about spiritual truths that applied to their lives. Through His example we see how important it is to satisfy our craving for connections by spending face-to-face time with friends.

Although social media is great in moderation, computer “connections” can’t substitute real-life relationships. So, who will you connect with face-to-face this week?

Dear Lord, You created me with a need for friends. Yet, I find myself rushing through my days with little time for heart-to-heart connections. Help me to seek You first as my ultimate Friend, and then reach out to others so I can have and be a close friend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Join Renee Swope and Melissa Taylor of Proverbs 31 Ministries on the Girlfriend Getaway Cruise in October! Be sure to register with our “Proverbs31” group to receive discounts and have access to our “by-invitation-only events” we’re hosting on the cruise for our P31 girlfriends!

Learn how to overcome doubts that keep you from pursuing deeper friendships and discover all you have to offer as a friend in A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.

For more daily encouragement, join Renee’s Facebook community.

Reflect and Respond:
Write down the amount of time you are on email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and text messaging versus the amount of face-to-face time you have with friends. How do the two balance?

Call one or two friends you enjoy being with to encourage them and set up a time to get together.

If you’re not sure who to call, ask God to show you someone you can begin a friendship with. Invite them to join you for lunch or to go for a walk together this week.

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)

John 15:15b, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (NIV)

© 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

girlfriends in God

It’s Not About Me
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens,” (Psalm 148:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Some of my Girlfriends in God are not going to like this devotion. I’m not even sure I do. But I’m going to put it out there anyhow. During the month of February, I write devotions on marriage. It is the month of love, and marriages certainly are in shambles all around the world. It is a month when I celebrate marriage!

Each February, I am flooded with e-mails: some are appreciative for the reminders on how to love their husbands, some are hurting because they are in their own struggling marriage, and some are broken hearted because of shattered dreams. These women are so thankful for the balm of God’s truth in a very tender area of their lives.

But I also receive e-mails from women who are not married, who do not like the attention to marriage at all. They are flat out angry and frustrated because the devotions do not pertain to them. The same type of complaints comes in during the month of May when I write about Motherhood. And girlfriend, some of those e-mails are not pretty.

I’ve seen the same thing in church. “I didn’t like that sermon.” “I didn’t like the singing today.” “I couldn’t relate to that teaching.”And on and on we go. You know what I’ve discovered…It’s not about me. It is all about God. If the pastor is preaching on a topic that is not my struggle, I pray that God will open my eyes to new truths that I’ve never seen. If he is talking about losing a loved one, I pray for those who have lost a loved one recently…even though that not might not be my struggle at that particular time. Is the teaching on raising young children? I have a grown son, so I pray for those who are in the throes of raising the next generation.
One Sunday, I was singing in church. Barely singing, I might add. It was a dry old hymn and I just wasn’t into it. Then I looked at an older women a few seats down and she had tears trickling down her wrinkled face. She was moved to tears by that old hymn and was taken to the throne room of grace. “Oh Father,” I prayed. “Please forgive me. This is not about me. It’s not about what I like or dislike. It is all about You. Truth is truth. Worship is worship. Help my focus be on You and You alone. It’s not about me.
Listen to how David focused on God during worship:
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8

Teach me your ways, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:1112

So let’s commit to remember together…it’s not about me. It’s all about God.
Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, please forgive me when I make worship and Bible study all about me. The purpose of my worship is to give glory to You and You alone, not to make me feel better. The purpose of Bible study is to learn what Your Word has to say about Your character and Your ways and to discover the truths that lead me into the way of righteousness. I praise You! I thank You! I worship You!
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Now It’s Your Turn
Here is a fun exercise. Go back and pick out one of your favorite chapters in the Bible. Now, focus on the verses that you DID NOT underline.

Here is a wonderful Psalm to use for your extended prayer time today. Open your Bible to Psalm 136 and pray that prayer of praise with David. Don’t skip over the repeated refrains…His love endures forever! He repeats it for a reason. David meant it. God wants us to get it!

More from the Girlfriends
I will be beginning a new on-line Bible study from my book A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. If you feel like something is missing in your spiritual life, then this study is for you. Here’s a little good news: the answer is not found in what God wants from you, but what God wants for you. It’s not too late to sign up. I’d love for you to join us. Click here to learn more and sign up. The sign up is on the right hand side of the page.
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

info@girlfriendsingod.com
http://www.girlfriendsingod.com

Just thanks

Psalm 136

King James Version (KJV)

136 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.

23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Verse of today

King James Version

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Read at Bible Gateway Read all of 1 John 4

Public Domain

Check out the:

KJV Holy Bible, Giant Print, Illustrated, Italian Leatherette

by Genesis Bible Publication

Buy it now!

See also these related resources:

Find more KJV Bibles Read the KJV on Bible Gateway

New International Version