Words to Ponder, Jan 12th

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Registered: 04-18-2001
Words to Ponder, Jan 12th
Thu, 01-12-2012 - 12:50pm

I keep marking email devotionals to share here and don't remember to copy and paste that day. Excuse the abundance today, but I suspect that what reaches me on a particular day might be moving in your lives as well. Here they are...

Bless The Interruptions (Our Daily Bread)
The Lord . . . makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever. —Psalm 33:10-11

If your life is anything like mine, it’s pretty well planned out. I have a calendar that reminds me of appointments, meetings, and other “to-do” items. Inevitably, interruptions change my day dramatically; and while they can be frustrating, they also can be productive.

Some of the great advances in God’s plans have come through “interruptions” to the normal routine. Take Mary, for example. An angel interrupted her life with the announcement that she would have a son named Jesus. Since she was a virgin and engaged to be married, this news was undoubtedly shocking and deeply troubling (Luke 1:26-31). And Saul, the Jewish zealot who persecuted early Christians, was on his way to Damascus to arrest more followers of “the Way” when he was blinded by Jesus Himself (Acts 9:1-9). This life-changing interruption had huge implications for the future of Christianity.

The psalmist reminds us that the Lord can make “the plans of the peoples of no effect” (Ps. 33:10). Yet all too often we respond to the interruptions of our well-ordered lives with attitudes like frustration, irritation, fear, and doubt. God’s surprises in our day are full of opportunities. Let’s welcome them as a new “to-do list” from Him.

Lord, if I’m feeling rushed today,
I need Your eyes to help me see
That when an interruption comes,
It is an opportunity. —Sper

Look for God’s purpose in your next interruption.

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Registered: 04-18-2001
Thu, 01-12-2012 - 12:54pm

NIV Devotions for Women

Worship and Wisdom

1 Kings 3:4-15

Dark clouds slip between the guardian mountain peaks and scurry across the empty skies above Death Valley in California. Heat waves tremble over the parched earth as cloud shadows nibble at the eroded badlands and salt pans. Thunder rumbles in the distance. By late afternoon, the rain-gorged sky swings low. Suddenly the heavens burst! Fat raindrops jump like marbles on the hard-packed earth. Gradually the thirsty brown clods drink in water, softening to soak in more. A curtain of silver rain hangs between the churning sky and muddy valley floor. In a few weeks, Death Valley will explode to life in an astonishing feast of wildflowers.

Upon ascending to the throne, young Solomon traveled ten miles northwest to the hills of Gibeon to offer an extravagant sacrifice-a thousand burnt offerings. This was the same place where the sun stood still for Joshua and where twelve of David's strong men defeated twelve of Saul's men (see Joshua 10:1-14; 2 Samuel 2:12-17). In the middle of the night, God burst through to Solomon in a dream. Solomon could have requested anything in all the earth. Through time spent in worship, Solomon realized that wisdom was the greatest of all God's gifts.

Worship is like the rains that prepare the earth for God's blessings. The story of the youthful Solomon preparing to take the throne is a beautiful reminder to us of the importance of worship. The story of God granting him the gift of wisdom opens with a swell of costly and reverent worship. For us, too, worship creates a context for us to encounter God; it sets our souls in motion in an upward spiral by which we pursue God, and he gladly responds.

Worship book-ended the exchange between the Sovereign God and the new sovereign of Israel. Solomon returned from his heavenly encounter and again made an offering to the God of Israel in Jerusalem before the ark of the covenant.

Like a gathering cloud, worship encircles and protects God's people. It softens the soil of our hearts like nourishing rain. When we've been in a dark place and long for colorful beauty to replace the hardness that has settled into our scorched souls, simple acts of worship can prepare the way for God's words of wisdom to permeate our hearts. If your life seems parched, won't you allow God to paint a palette of colorful joy by spending time worshiping your Lord?

  1. Why is worship so important to God?
  2. What kinds of extravagant (or at least consistent) worship characterize your life?
  3. If God offered you anything you wish, what would you ask for? Has it changed having read this passage?

1 Kings 3:5, 15
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you" . . . He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord's covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.

Related Readings

Psalms 29; 100; Proverbs 3:13-24; Isaiah 55:10-12

Surprised By God (Our Daily Bread)
The Lord . . . has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead! —Ruth 2:20

If Naomi had dreamed about returning to her former home prosperous and successful, entering Bethlehem would have been a nightmare. While living in a foreign land, she had lost her husband and two sons and returned with only her daughter-in-law Ruth and a heart full of sorrow. “Do not call me Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter],” she told her former neighbors, “for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20).

But this wasn’t the end of the story. When the discouraged Naomi saw God’s hand in Ruth’s life, she said, “The Lord . . . has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” (2:20). What appeared to be a dead-end had become a doorway for these two women who had lost so much.

The Old Testament book of Ruth is a wonderful story. The brief narrative is infused with an amazing sweetness and grace as “the Lord” is mentioned time after time.

Through Naomi and Ruth, we are reminded that God works in surprising ways to make His love known and to accomplish His purposes—even during difficult times.

God’s surprises continue so we can take heart. He has not stopped showing His kindness to you and me.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest. —Berg

What we see of God’s provisions teaches us to trust Him for what we cannot see of His purposes.