Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, December 31, 2016 - Seventh Day of Christmas

First Reading
Isaiah 26:1-9
On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; he sets up victory like walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, so that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace-- in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for in the LORD GOD you have an everlasting rock. For he has brought low the inhabitants of the height; the lofty city he lays low. He lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy. The way of the righteous is level; O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul's desire. My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

The Holy Gospel
John 8:12-19
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." Then the Pharisees said to him, "You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid." Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf." Then they said to him, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 46 Deus noster refugium
1   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2   Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
3   Though its waters rage and foam, and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
4   The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
5   There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
6   God is in the midst of her; she shall not be overthrown; God shall help her at the break of day.
7   The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
8   The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
9   Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, what awesome things he has done on earth.
10   It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.
11   Be still, then, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.
12   The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Psalm 48 Magnus Dominus
1   Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised; in the city of our God is his holy hill.
2   Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion, the very center of the world and the city of the great King.
3   God is in her citadels; he is known to be her sure refuge.
4   Behold, the kings of the earth assembled and marched forward together.
5   They looked and were astounded; they retreated and fled in terror.
6   Trembling seized them there; they writhed like a woman in childbirth, like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
7   As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God; God has established her for ever.
8   We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of your temple.
9   Your praise, like your Name, O God, reaches to the world's end; your right hand is full of justice.
10   Let Mount Zion be glad and the cities of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments.
11   Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her; count the number of her towers.
12   Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds; that you may tell those who come after.
13   This God is our God for ever and ever; he shall be our guide for evermore.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 90 Domine, refugium
1   Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.
2   Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God.
3   You turn us back to the dust and say, "Go back, O child of earth."
4   For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.
5   You sweep us away like a dream; we fade away suddenly like the grass.
6   In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.
7   For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
8   Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9   When you are angry, all our days are gone; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10   The span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty; yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
11   Who regards the power of your wrath? who rightly fears your indignation?
12   So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
13   Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? be gracious to your servants.
14   Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15   Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us and the years in which we suffered adversity.
16   Show your servants your works and your splendor to their children.
17   May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Verse of the Day - December 31, 2016

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV) This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Read all of Isaiah 43

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "Reading Your Own Obituary"

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16)

If you were to read your own obituary today, what do you think people would remember you for?

I read about a man who died and told the truth in his obituary. He confessed, "As it turns out, I am the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest."

He also admitted to kicking rocks into the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park, and to being "banned for life" from Disneyland and Sea World following youthful hijinks.

His wife of 33 years confirmed the events he confessed were true. She added, "He wanted to set a new standard on how obituaries should be written." I appreciate the honesty, but hopefully you and I will be remembered for more than that.

You don't determine the date of your birth or the date of your death, but you determine what you do between those dates.

The great evangelist D.L. Moody was asked the question, "If you knew the Lord were returning tonight, how would you spend the rest of your day?" Moody replied, "I wouldn't do anything different than I do every day."

Is that how you live?

We ought to live each year as if it were our last. We are here to redeem the time, not waste it. It has been said that, "men talk of killing time while time quietly kills them."

Though I am not a big fan of making New Year's resolutions, I do think the new year is a great time to "recalibrate." We need to live our lives with an eternal perspective, because—all things considered—life here on earth comes and goes very quickly. The Bible describes it as a "vapor of smoke" and "a story already told." Then comes the afterlife.

How will you keep an eternal perspective?

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por un nuevo comienzo

Nuestra boca se llenó de risas; nuestra lengua, de canciones jubilosas [...] Sí, el Señor ha hecho grandes cosas por nosotros, y eso nos llena de alegría. Salmo 126:2-3

Señor Jesús, solo pueden salir de mis labios palabras de agradecimiento por todo lo poderoso que has sido con nosotros en este año. En cada momento de mi vida estuviste a mi lado escuchando mi necesidad. Fuiste mi socorro en tiempos de angustia.

Gracias porque me ayudaste a que muchas de mis peticiones se hicieran realidad. Te agradezco también que me llenaras de valentía cuando pensaba que no sería capaz de salir adelante.

Te amo con todo con mi corazón y, a partir de hoy, entrego en tus manos mi vida, mi salud, mi economía, mi familia, mi trabajo y todos los anhelos profundos de mi corazón que ya tú conoces.

Guárdame, mi Dios, y acompáñame en mi entrar y en mi salir.

En el nombre de Jesús te lo pido, amén y amén.

NIV Devotions for Couples - When You Have to Say No

Esther 1:1–22

“This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.” Esther 1:18

King Xerxes, the military leader of the Medes and Persians, tried to fulfill his father’s failed plan to conquer Greece. Darius had been defeated at Marathon in 490 B.C. and had died soon after. Xerxes amassed one of the largest armies ever and marched back toward Greece. His army managed to get around the Spartan forces at Thermopylae but went down outside Athens when the Persian fleet was sunk in the bay of Salamis.

Esther 1 records what may have been Xerxes’ planning meeting for the military campaigns of 482–479 B.C. During this lengthy meeting (lasting 180 days), the men feasted and drank extensively. At one point, Xerxes commanded his wife, Vashti, to appear before the assembled men. We are not told why Vashti refused, but given the circumstances and the rate at which we can assume the men were consuming alcohol, perhaps Vashti was afraid they would ask her to act immodestly—or worse.

Xerxes reacted like a spoiled child. He was furious that his order had not been obeyed. His advisers encouraged the king’s stupidity. They proposed deposing Vashti as queen and banishing her from the presence of the king. Then they planned the first Miss Universe pageant to replace Vashti with someone more beautiful and (hopefully) more compliant.

Enter Mordecai and Esther, two Jews who were still living in Persia. Although Mordecai may have also had a Hebrew name, his Babylonian name may betray the comfort his family had with Babylonian life; it is derived from Marduk, the god Nebuchadnezzar followed and to whom he dedicated Babylon, his capital.

Ultimately, Esther was chosen to be the new queen, placing her in a position to intervene at a time when her people were threatened. Esther and Mordecai were able to save the Jews, but the dire threat made to exterminate them as a people during that time made its mark. Perhaps it was an impetus for Ezra and Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem to help the Jews there rebuild the city’s walls and reclaim their spiritual foundations.

Within this story, Vashti often goes unrecognized as a heroine. Yet perhaps that should be acknowledged, particularly within the context of marriage. For while Vashti had been obedient to her husband in all things, there came a point when her moral fiber pulled taut and would not allow her to cross a line that required her to do something she knew was wrong.

In our marriages we need mutual submission and respect, as the apostle Paul wrote (see Ephesians 5:21–33). But we also need personal courage to say no to one another when decency is twisted or when obedience to little things would deny obedience to God’s greater ways.

Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk
  • What iffy spots of moral behavior have caused disagreement in our marriage?
  • Has one of us ever asked the other to do something morally questionable? How do we balance mutual submission to each other with saying no to behavior that compromises our integrity?
  • How can we keep our relationship unified so that we avoid situations that cause conflict when our morals differ?

Standing Strong Through the Storm - DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENTS

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. Deuteronomy 30:11

It is possible! The persecuted church by example prove to us that it is indeed possible to lose suffer endure everything...yet maintain a joyful spirit and heart of love for the Lord.

So often our major shortcoming is simply to doubt that we could go through those experiences and come out of them as refined and triumphant as we have witnessed others in these devotionals. Jesus never promised that our life would be easy—just fulfilling. He never promised that things would be fair—only that He would be just.

Though we might think that life is too hard for these brothers and sisters about whom we’ve been reading, we have been given perhaps an even tougher spiritual assignment. Yet the principles in dealing with it remain the same.

Ruth Graham shared a convicting story about a Christian who had just arrived in a free country from years of persecution. He was appalled at the seeming casual commitment to Jesus and materialistic contamination of these Christians. And he said so. Sometime later he returned to visit the friend to whom he had spoken so bluntly when he first arrived:

He asked if his friend remembered what he had said, the bitterness of his criticism. The friend remembered. The man stood silent for a few moments, reflecting. The friend tensed for a second attack.

“I have come to apologize both for what I said and the way in which I said it,” he said simply. “I was merely afraid. I did not know how dangerous freedom could be. It has been a year now. And I am worse than those I criticized.”

Then he added a significant statement: “It is more difficult to live the Christian life under freedom than under repression.”

Iranian Christian leader Luke Yagnazar lives in the United States. He concludes, “It is more difficult to be a Christian in the USA than in Iran. There you are either a Christian or not!”

Pastor Samuel Lamb in southern China says, “We have physical persecution but you have materialism. Your lot is harder because we know what we are spiritually fighting. Many times you don’t.”

Another Chinese church leader adds, “Once you are chasing after money there is no time and energy for church affairs...And the government knows that materialism will destroy the church faster than persecution can...I tell my co-workers in China that the biggest enemy we’re facing is no longer communism, it’s materialism.”

We must remember it’s a spiritual battle we fight in and we fight with spiritual weapons only.

RESPONSE: Today I resolve to begin the New Year ahead accepting the more difficult assignment and putting God and His kingdom ahead of all others and all else.

PRAYER: Lord, help me accept the more difficult assignment putting You and Your kingdom first.

LHM Daily Devotion - "A Common Name with a New Meaning"

December 31, 2016

And at the end of eight days ... He was called Jesus ... (Luke 2:21, ESV)

New Year's Eve was exciting when I was a kid. We say goodbye to the old and ring in the new. With each New Year came all kinds of exciting opportunities, hopes and dreams.

Jesus has now reached the age of eight days and something new is about to happen. Every Israelite boy who reached the age of eight days was required to be circumcised and receive his name. As we saw earlier in the naming of Zechariah and Elizabeth's son John, names were important to the people of Israel.

Mary and Joseph have already been told the Name that God has given for His Son. So in obedience they gave Mary's Child the Name of Jesus. It was a common name at the time. It means "The Lord is salvation" or "The Lord saves." In the Old Testament the names Joshua and Hosea are variants of the name Jesus. Every other Israelite boy carrying this name in effect reminded people to turn their attention to God, who is their salvation.

In the case of Mary's Son it was completely different, however. In His case the Name pointed to Himself as Lord -- the One who is now present to save His people from their sins. Many years from now His enemies will hurl His Name back at Him in mockery, as He hangs on the cross: "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He trusts in God, let God deliver Him now, if He desires Him. For He said, 'I am the Son of God'". (Matthew 27:42-43)

But there on the cross Jesus was fulfilling His Name -- the Lord saving His people from death and hell by suffering for their sins.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You truly are the Lord who saves His people. Receive our thanks for being the Savior Your name said You would be. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Devociones de Adviento - Nuestros ojos vieron su salvación

Sábado 31 de Diciembre

Lucas 2:25-32

Señor, ahora despides a este siervo tuyo, y lo despides en paz, de acuerdo a tu palabra. Mis ojos han visto tu salvación, que has preparado a la vista de todos los pueblos. (Lc 2:29-31, RVC)

Un anciano venerable camina hacia el templo. Muchas otras veces ha hecho ese trayecto: disfruta de estar en la presencia del Señor en ese lugar. Muchos en Jerusalén lo saben. Saben que es un hombre venerable, justo y piadoso, como un lazarillo celestial; el Espíritu Santo es quien lo guía en su caminar. Mientras camina, piensa en la promesa de los profetas y teme que le llegue la muerte sin verla concretada. ¿Cuándo enviaría Dios a su Ungido?

Pero esta vez el Señor le tiene reservada una sorpresa. El Señor mismo estará cara a cara con Simeón, en persona. El Señor del templo-¡el Señor del mundo! -lo mirará a través de sus ojos de bebé, para aprobar su fidelidad. El Mesías está ahí, visible, palpable: el niño Dios traído en brazos por sus padres, para celebrar el rito de la ley. Y Simeón tomará a ese niño en sus brazos y pronunciará una alabanza que sigue sonando a través de los siglos.

¿Qué nos queda para ver cuando ya hemos visto el amor de Dios en persona? ¿Qué nos queda para ver luego de haber sabido de su encarnación manifestada en un pesebre? ¿Qué nos queda para ver luego de haber visto su cuerpo colgado de una cruz, sufriendo y muriendo por nuestros pecados? ¿Qué nos queda para ver, oír y degustar, luego de haber recibido su bautismo, su palabra de perdón y el sacramento de su cuerpo y su sangre? Vayamos a su templo. Recibamos sus dones. Unamos nuestro canto a Simeón.

Dios de amor: no permitas que muera sin ver tu salvación. Me arrepiento de los pecados de este año que termina, confiando en tu perdón. Guíame a tu casa. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - Now Is the Day

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:18–6:2 | Bible in a Year: Malachi 1–4; Revelation 22

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

Our preschool-age granddaughter Maggie and her kindergarten-age sister Katie hauled several blankets to the backyard, where they proceeded to build a blanket tent in which to play. They had been outside a while when their mom heard Maggie call for her.

“Mom, come here quick!” Maggie yelled. “I want to ask Jesus into my heart, and I need your help!” Apparently at that moment her need for Jesus became clear to her, and she was ready to put her faith in Him.

Maggie’s urgent call for help in trusting Jesus brings to mind Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6 about salvation. He was discussing the reality that Jesus Christ’s coming—including His death and resurrection—instituted an era he called “the time of God’s favor.” We live in that time, and salvation is available to all right now. He said, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (v. 2). For all who have not yet trusted Jesus for forgiveness, the time to do so is now. It is urgent.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit has alerted you to your need to put your trust in Jesus. Like Maggie, don’t put it off. Run to Jesus. Now is the day!

Heavenly Father, I now understand my need to have my sins forgiven. I also realize that only Jesus—because of His sacrifice on the cross—can forgive my sin. I put my faith and trust in Jesus today. Please forgive me and become the Lord of my life.

There’s no better day than today to enter into God’s family.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Hoy es el día

Leer: 2 Corintios 5:18–6:2 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 22

… He aquí ahora el tiempo aceptable; he aquí ahora el día de salvación (2 Corintios 6:2).

Nuestra nieta Maggie, de edad preescolar, y su hermana Katie, que va al jardín de infantes, llevaron varias mantas al patio trasero, donde construyeron una tienda para jugar. Ya habían estado allí durante un rato, cuando la madre escucho que Maggie la llamaba.

«¡Mamá, ven rápido! —gritó Maggie—. ¡Quiero que Jesús entre en mi corazón y necesito ayuda!». Aparentemente, en ese momento, sintió claramente que necesitaba a Jesús y estaba lista para poner su fe en Él.

El llamado urgente de Maggie pidiendo ayuda para confiar en Jesús me recuerda las palabras de Pablo en 2 Corintios sobre la salvación. El apóstol estaba exponiendo la realidad de que la venida de Cristo —incluso su muerte y resurrección— había instituido una era llamada «el momento propicio de Dios» (nvi). Actualmente, vivimos en dicho momento, y la salvación está a disposición de todos ahora mismo. Pablo afirmó: «He aquí ahora el tiempo aceptable; he aquí ahora el día de salvación» (v. 2). Para todos los que todavía no han confiado en Jesús para ser perdonados, el momento de hacerlo es ahora. Es urgente.

Quizá el Espíritu Santo esté alertándote sobre tu necesidad de poner tu fe en Jesús. No lo pospongas; haz como Maggie. Corre hacia Jesús. ¡Hoy es el día!

Señor Jesús, pongo mi fe en ti. Perdona mis pecados. Sálvame hoy.

Hoy es el mejor día para entrar en la familia de Dios.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Jetzt ist der Tag

Lesen: 2.Korinther 5,18–6,2 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Maleachi 1–3; Offenbarung 22

Siehe, jetzt ist die Zeit der Gnade, siehe, jetzt ist der Tag des Herrn. (2.Korinther 6,2)

Maggie, unsere Enkelin im Vorschulalter, und ihre kleinere Schwester Katie schleppten ein paar Decken in den Garten und fingen an, damit ein Zelt zu bauen, in dem sie spielen wollten. Sie waren schon eine Weile draußen, als ihre Mama plötzlich nach ihr rufen hörte.

„Mama, komm her! Schnell! Ich will Jesus bitten, dass er in mein Herz kommt. Du musst mir dabei helfen!“ Das Bewusstsein, dass sie Jesus brauchte, war ihr anscheinend gerade jetzt ganz deutlich geworden, und nun wollte sie sich ihm anvertrauen.

Maggies dringender Hilferuf erinnert mich an das, was Paulus in 2.Korinther 6 über die Erlösung sagt. Er sprach davon, dass mit dem Kommen von Jesus Christus—sowie mit seinem Tod und seiner Auferstehung—eine neue Zeit angebrochen ist, die er als „Zeit der Gnade“ bezeichnete. Wir leben noch immer in dieser Zeit und die Erlösung ist auch jetzt für alle da. Paulus sagt: „Siehe, jetzt ist die Zeit der Gnade, siehe, jetzt ist der Tag des Herrn“ (V.2). Für alle, die Jesus noch nicht um Vergebung gebeten haben, ist jetzt der Moment gekommen. Es eilt.

Vielleicht hat der Heilige Geist dir bewusstgemacht, dass auch du jetzt dein Vertrauen auf Jesus setzen solltest. Wie Maggie schieb es nicht auf. Lauf zu Jesus. Jetzt ist der Tag!

Himmlischer Vater, ich begreife jetzt, dass ich Vergebung für meine Sünden brauche. Ich erkenne auch, dass nur Jesus meine Sünde vergeben kann—weil er am Kreuz dafür gestorben ist. Ich will heute mein Leben Jesus anvertrauen. Bitte vergib mir und sei du der Herr in meinem Leben.

Es gibt keinen besseren Tag als heute, um sich Gottes Familie anzuschließen.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Сегодня

Читать сейчас: 2 Коринфянам 5:18–6:2 | Библия за год: Малахия 1-4; Откровение 22

Вот теперь время благоприятное, вот теперь день спасения. — 2 Коринфянам 6:2

Наша семилетняя внучка Мэгги играла со своей младшей сестрой в саду. Они натаскали туда одеял, из которых строили палатку. Прошло довольно много времени. Вдруг их мама услышала, что Мэгги зовет ее.

«Мама, иди скорей сюда! – звала девочка. – Я хочу впустить Иисуса в свое сердце. Помоги!» Видимо, в ту минуту она, пусть по-детски, но ярко осознала свою нужду в Спасителе и не хотела откладывать это важное дело на потом.

Это напомнило мне слова Павла о спасении во Втором послании к коринфянам. Мы живем во время, когда спасение в Иисусе Христе доступно всем и каждому. Апостол пишет: «Вот теперь время благоприятное, вот теперь день спасения» (2 Кор. 6:2). Для всех, кто еще не обратился к Господу за прощением, самое благоприятное время – сегодня.

Возможно, Святой Дух побуждает вас обратиться к Иисусу Христу. Подобно Мэгги, не откладывайте на потом. Поспешите к Спасителю. Сегодня – день спасения!

Небесный Отец, я сознаю свою нужду в прощении грехов. Я также понимаю, что только Иисус, благодаря Своей жертве на кресте, может спасти меня. Я возлагаю свою надежду на Него. Прости меня и стань Господом моей жизни.

Для входа в Божью семью нет лучшего дня, чем сегодня.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Voici maintenant le jour

Voici maintenant le temps favorable, voici maintenant le jour du salut. (2 Corinthiens 6.2)

Notre petite‑fille Maggie, d’âge préscolaire, et sa soeur Katie, qui est en maternelle, ont emporté plusieurs couvertures dans le jardin, où elles se sont confectionné une tente pour y jouer. Il y avait un certain temps qu’elles s’y trouvaient lorsque leur mère a entendu Maggie l’appeler.

« Maman, viens vite ! cria Maggie. Je veux demander à Jésus de venir dans mon coeur, et j’ai besoin de ton aide ! » De toute évidence, son besoin de Jésus lui est apparu clairement à ce moment‑là, et elle était prête à mettre sa foi en lui.

L’appel urgent à l’aide de Maggie pour mettre sa foi en Jésus rappelle les paroles de Paul dans 2 Corinthiens 6 au sujet du salut. Il parlait de la réalité selon laquelle la venue de Jésus‑Christ – incluant sa mort et sa résurrection – avait instauré l’ère qu’il appelait « le temps favorable ». Or, nous vivons à cette ère, et le salut nous est offert à tous. Paul a dit : « Voici maintenant le temps favorable, voici maintenant le jour du salut » (V. 2). À tous ceux qui n’ont pas encore mis leur foi en Jésus pour le pardon de leurs péchés, sachez que l’heure en est venue. C’est urgent.

Il se peut que le Saint‑Esprit vous ait alerté de la nécessité de mettre votre foi en Jésus. Comme Maggie, ne remettez pas la chose à plus tard. Courez vers Jésus. Voici maintenant le jour !

Il n’y a pas mieux qu’aujourd’hui pour entrer dans la famille de Dieu.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, December 30, 2016 - Sixth Day of Christmas

First Reading
Isaiah 25:1-9
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled. On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Second Reading
Revelation 1:9-20
I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, "Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The Holy Gospel
John 7:53-8:11
Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 20 Exaudiat te Dominus
1   May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble, the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;
2   Send you help from his holy place and strengthen you out of Zion;
3   Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice;
4   Grant you your heart's desire and prosper all your plans.
5   We will shout for joy at your victory and triumph in the Name of our God; may the LORD grant all your requests.
6   Now I know that the LORD gives victory to his anointed; he will answer him out of his holy heaven, with the victorious strength of his right hand.
7   Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call upon the Name of the LORD our God.
8   They collapse and fall down, but we will arise and stand upright.
9   O LORD, give victory to the king and answer us when we call.

Psalm 21 Domine, in virtute tua
1   The king rejoices in your strength, O LORD; how greatly he exults in your victory!
2   You have given him his heart's desire; you have not denied him the request of his lips.
3   For you meet him with blessings of prosperity, and set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
4   He asked you for life, and you gave it to him: length of days, for ever and ever.
5   His honor is great, because of your victory; splendor and majesty have you bestowed upon him.
6   For you will give him everlasting felicity and will make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7   For the king puts his trust in the LORD; because of the loving-kindness of the Most High, he will not fall.
8   Your hand will lay hold upon all your enemies; your right hand will seize all those who hate you.
9   You will make them like a fiery furnace at the time of your appearing, O LORD;
10   You will swallow them up in your wrath, and fire shall consume them.
11   You will destroy their offspring from the land and their descendants from among the peoples of the earth.
12   Though they intend evil against you and devise wicked schemes, yet they shall not prevail.
13   For you will put them to flight and aim your arrows at them.
14   Be exalted, O LORD, in your might; we will sing and praise your power.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 23 Dominus regit me
1   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2   He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3   He revives my soul and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
4   Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5   You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6   Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 27 Dominus illuminatio
1   The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
2   When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who stumbled and fell.
3   Though an army should encamp against me, yet my heart shall not be afraid;
4   And though war should rise up against me, yet will I put my trust in him.
5   One thing have I asked of the LORD; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life;
6   To behold the fair beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
7   For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock.
8   Even now he lifts up my head above my enemies round about me.
9   Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with sounds of great gladness; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
10   Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.
11   You speak in my heart and say, "Seek my face." Your face, LORD, will I seek.
12   Hide not your face from me, nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
13   You have been my helper; cast me not away; do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
14   Though my father and my mother forsake me, the LORD will sustain me.
15   Show me your way, O LORD; lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
16   Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and also those who speak malice.
17   What if I had not believed that I should see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
18   O tarry and await the LORD'S pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the LORD.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "Bad for Business?"

Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. (Matthew 8:34, NIV)

You would think that after the miracle of casting out demons from two men who had violently oppressed them, the people in the area would have said, "Jesus, You are the man! We love what You did! Now we can go back to the cemetery and pay our respects to our loved ones and put flowers on their graves. We wouldn't even go near there before. These guys were scary. Thank You, Lord, for coming to our community." But that is not what happened. Instead, they wanted Him to go away. Why? It was because Jesus was bad for business.

Jesus had cast the demons out of the men and into a herd of pigs that went over a cliff. I don't know if those who kept the herd were Jewish, because if they were, this was not a kosher thing to be doing. They had been making money off the pigs, and there was no more bringing home the bacon for them. It was the end of that story. So they thought, We don't like this. This is bad for our economy. Go away.

For some people, Jesus is bad for their business. It is typically the kind of business that preys on human suffering—even contributes to it. And if you have discovered that Jesus is bad for your business, then you need to get another job.

In the region of the Gadarenes, the people realized that Jesus wasn't good for what they did, and therefore, they wanted Him to go away. Matthew's Gospel tells us, "Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region." (Matthew 8:34). So guess what Jesus did? He left.

Jesus won't force His way into anyone's life, including yours. Have you invited Him in?

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Verse of the Day - December 30, 2016

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Read all of John 16

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Un Dia a la Vez - Hagamos todo lo bueno

Dios es el que me ciñe de fuerza, y quien despeja mi camino; Quien hace mis pies como de ciervas, y me hace estar firme sobre mis alturas.
2 Samuel 22:33, RV-60

Todo lo negativo que pudo ocurrir este año no debe marcar tu nuevo año.

Hace algún tiempo, como lo dije al comienzo de este devocional, hacía por estos días una agenda de peticiones y se las presentaba a Dios con una oración el 31 de diciembre a la medianoche. Era como colocar un montón de sueños y anhelos en la presencia de Dios y confiar que Él me los cumpliría uno a uno.

Sin embargo, hay cosas que ya Dios tiene programadas para cada uno de nosotros y, tarde o temprano, se cumplirán. Así que no te encierres solo en tus deseos, sino deja varios puntos en blanco para que Él mismo sea el que los llene. Déjate sorprender por Dios. ¡No te vas a arrepentir!

Entra a un nuevo año con tu mente y corazón en sintonía con el Señor. Ah, y otra cosa, recuerda que Él siempre desea lo mejor para ti.

Girlfriends in God - Understanding God’s Grace

Today’s Truth

For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will rein in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17, NKJV).

Friend to Friend

I was born to be a rule-follower. It’s in my nature. I never acted out in public as a child. It has always bothered me when people talk while the teacher (or preacher) is talking. I have memories of telling my classmates to stop running in the halls in elementary school because they weren’t supposed to. Yes, that’s me. The rule following, teacher’s pet-kind-of-gal. Right now you are probably thinking I’m trying to make myself sound like a saint. But the truth is that being this way made it very challenging for me to understand God’s grace for a very long time. As Children of God, we are called to live in freedom, and I was allowing rule following to keep me in bondage.

That is until I went to high school. I was attending the youth group at my church and I kept hearing the word “grace.” “Grace this”…”grace that”… and then I realized that I had no idea what grace meant. I understood the definition of grace, and I understood what the Bible had to say about grace. But I didn’t have a revelation of it in my own life. So I decided to approach God and ask Him to give me a revelation of what Grace really is; And He did.

I want to paint you the picture God painted for me. I want you to visualize it right where you are physically and spiritually.

I was standing on a dirt field. Everything was brown and the field went far beyond where my eyes could see. Jesus was standing next to me.

Then, I noticed a shovel on the ground next to me. I picked it up and looked at Jesus. He kindly looked at me and said, “Don’t do that.” I turned away and began to dig.

After a few moments of digging I looked at Jesus. Once again, He kindly said, “Don’t do that.” I looked back down and continued to dig. Sweat was dripping down my forehead, and dirt was what now appeared to be my clothes.

Before I knew it, I had dug myself into a hole so deep, I couldn’t get out. I looked around and found myself surrounded by walls of dirt. I stood at the pit of it all. Understanding now why Jesus had told me not to do this, I was ashamed to look up and see if He was even still there. I had no choice. I couldn’t get out. I had literally dug myself into this mess, and I had no way out.

I slowly looked up, to find Jesus standing there. I expected to see a look of disappointment, or even anger. I expected him to say, “See what you did? I told you not to do this, and you didn’t listen to me! Now look at the mess you are in!”

Instead, He reached down into the hole, He lifted me up and out of it, and He began to dust the dirt off my clothes until I was clean again. He hugged me with the most loving and comforting embrace, with no sign of bitterness, disappointment, or anger.

THAT is grace. God’s complete love and forgiveness in our life, especially when we don’t deserve it.

That is how God explained it to me when I asked. Every time I share this so intimate and personal encounter I can’t help but cry, and usually find those I share it with crying too. I have experienced sharing it with non-believers and having the presence of God fill the room and their hearts. Why? Because we serve a God of love and grace, and that is the message this world so desperately needs.

It is so important for us to understand God’s grace. Whether you are naturally a rule-follower or naturally a rebel, Scripture says that we are all in need of God’s grace.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23, NKJV)

I love this scripture. I love that it says “being justified freely by His grace.” I was reading it this morning as I drank my Jasmine Green tea and the word “freely” stood out to me because it isn’t needed in order to complete the sentence. It can so easily read, “being justified by His grace.” Instead that word is there because we serve a God who “freely” wants us to be justified.

That is the freedom we are called to live in. As natural rule-followers or rebels, we live our lives righteously and then allow grace to come in when we don’t. We repent and thank God for His grace when we miss it knowing we have been covered by His grace. That is the grace I sought to understand. It was the grace I needed to understand. And when I did, I was able to live freely from the bondage of falling short, knowing He has redeemed me, and God wants you to know more than anything that He loves you and that He has redeemed you.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I come before Your throne and I thank You for your grace. I thank You for the power of grace in our lives and for a revelation of it. I ask that You fill the hearts of every woman reading this right now with Your love. That you would give her an understanding and revelation of how you see her Father, washed white as snow. You alone had the power to redeem us, and You did out of Your love for us. We are so grateful for You our love and grace.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Today, I want you to reflect on things you haven’t forgiven yourself for. What areas of your life do you feel like you fall short in? Do you feel like you lack as a woman, a wife, a spouse, a Christian? I want you to uncover those areas and bring them before God. Allow His grace to take those areas of your life and call them redeemed.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help learning to trust God? Do you want to experience His grace and love in a fresh new way? The Girlfriends in God book, Trusting God, is filled with devotions written by Sharon, Gwen and Mary that will help you step out in faith and trust God. Check it out!

Standing Strong Through the Storm - STAND STRONG THROUGH ALL STORMS

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither… Psalm 1:1-3

Concluding Thoughts:

1. Ours is the Kingdom. No matter what setbacks we see or experience, in the end the Kingdom will revert to our Lord and we will reign with Him.

2. Ours is the victory through dying and living again – victory through being able to drink the cup of evil and injustice poured out and not being consumed by it.

3. Ours is the responsibility of caring for our suffering brethren, especially converts and those in countries more restrictive and repressive than ours.

4. Ours is the responsibility of reaching those who still sit in darkness.

5. Ours are the lives that should manifest purity and Christlikeness.

6. Ours are the hearts that should be willing to pay the price to bring peace and understanding among men and between men and God. Hearts willing to be proactive. Hearts willing to stand at the end of the day and having done all; stand.

7. Ours is the challenge to stand strong through all the storms we face and come through the fire refined and purified to walk the way of the cross before a dying world.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept the challenge to stand strong through all the storms I may face!

PRAYER: Pray for Christians living in severe persecution areas that refined and purified, they may experience all of the victory which is available through Christ.

LHM Daily Devotion - "The Great Search"

December 30, 2016

(The shepherds said) "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us". (Luke 2:15b, ESV)

Read Luke 2:15-20

This is about the time we started running dangerously low on Christmas cookies. I always hated getting to the bottom of the "animal cookies." I'm not sure why we called them that, since we used all kinds of different shapes: trees, bells, etc. But I would definitely leave all the others behind in my search for that one last animal cookie.

The shepherds had the same feeling about the Christ Child. After the angel army returns to heaven, the shepherds immediately talk it over and decide to leave their flocks behind in search of the Christ Child.

They go to Bethlehem and search until they find Him wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger -- just as the angel had said. How incredible was it to look down into the face of the mighty Son of God? The shepherds share the angel's words with Mary and Joseph and every person they meet. All who hear their words are amazed, but Mary stores up their words and ponders them deep inside.

What the shepherds did in one night, we spend our lifetimes doing. We learn of our Savior in the Bible. We then spend the rest of our lives looking forward to the moment when we will gaze upon His glorious face -- just like they did. Because of His life, death and resurrection, we will be able to remain in His wonderful presence forever.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the shepherds left their flocks behind to find you. Give me that same excitement that I may leave everything to walk with You through life until I meet You face to face. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL.

Devociones de Adviento - ¡Qué manera de hablar!

Viernes 30 de Diciembre

Hebreos 1:1-9

Dios... en estos días finales nos ha hablado por medio del Hijo, a quien constituyó heredero de todo, y mediante el cual hizo el universo. (Heb 1:1a-2, RVC)

Hay maneras y maneras de hablar. Algunos hablan mucho y dicen poco. Otros hablan poco, pero dicen mucho. La relación de Dios con su mundo es una relación de comunicación, no exenta de ruidos. De un lado, hay seres humanos reacios, incluso sordos, hacia su palabra. Del otro lado está Dios, quien desde el mismo Edén se acerca y pregunta una y otra vez: "¿dónde estás?"

Dios usó todas las estrategias posibles para hablarnos. Él habló muchas veces y de distintas maneras. Generación tras generación envió profetas para advertir, llamar al arrepentimiento e invitar a los humanos a volverse a Él. Israel había sido objeto especial del amor y del cuidado divino. A través de Israel, Dios quería llegar al mundo para que todos conozcamos su voluntad y su corazón lleno de amor y gracia.

Comunicar es poner en común, hacer que dos sean como uno. La navidad refleja una manera extraordinaria de comunicación divina. En la navidad, Dios nos habla directamente a través de su Hijo, el heredero, por medio del cual había creado el mismo universo. Jesucristo es quien refleja el carácter y la esencia del Padre, es un representante de Dios que es divino y humano a la vez; un puente de carne y hueso, de boca y corazón, tendido entre el cielo y la tierra. ¡Qué manera de hablar!

No seamos sordos a lo que Dios nos está diciendo por medio de su Mesías, una vez más. Oigamos, miremos y recibamos lo que nos dice. Unidos a Jesús participaremos, por gracia, de lo mismo que Jesús es y será: ser hijos y herederos de Dios, destinados a la gloria eterna junto a Él.

Eterno Dios y Padre: gracias por acercarte a nosotros por medio Jesús. Abre nuestros oídos, mente y corazón para recibirle. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - Time Alone With God

Read: Matthew 14:13–23 | Bible in a Year: Zechariah 13–14; Revelation 21

[Jesus] went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23

It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms.

The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy. According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was headed to a solitary place when a crowd of people followed Him. Noticing their needs, Jesus miraculously healed and fed them. After that, however, He “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (v. 23).

Jesus repeatedly helped multitudes of people, yet He didn’t allow Himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer. How is it with you? Will you take time alone with God to experience His strength and fulfillment?

Where are you finding greater fulfillment—in meeting the demands of life or in cultivating your relationship with your Creator?

When we draw near to God our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed!

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries