Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Games People Play

Night Light for Couples, the couples' devotional from Focus on the Family ministry founder Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley, brings spouses together each evening, helping them stay connected with each other and their Lord.

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Have you ever been to a party and watched someone play “Assassinate the Spouse?” The objective is simple: A contestant attempts to punish his mate by ridiculing her in front of their friends. If he wants to be especially vicious, he lets the guests know he thinks she is dumb and ugly. It’s a brutal game with no winners. The contest ends when his wife is totally divested of self‐respect and dignity; he gets bonus points if he can reduce her to tears.

Sound cruel? It is, even when it’s carried out under the guise of joking or teasing. It’s never enjoyable to watch someone take out anger against his (or her) mate in this way. In contrast, what a pleasure it is to spend time with couples who continually build each other up in front of others. When a husband tells his guests about his wife’s incredible cooking, patience with the kids, or promotion at work—or the wife boasts about her husband’s talent on the job or his ability to speak in public or fix broken pipes—you’ll see the other spouse smile a bit more brightly and stand a little taller. We’re always most sensitive to the comments of our mate in the presence of our peers.

The next time you’re out with friends, remember to look for opportunities to honor your mate. Leave the game playing to others.

Just between us…
  • Have I embarrassed or hurt you in public? If so, can we talk about it?
  • How do you feel when I praise you in front of our friends?
  • In what ways could we build each other up in public?
Father, we want to show each other love, honor, and consideration always— but especially in front of others. Forgive us for our failures. Give us grace to learn and change, we pray. Amen.
  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Daily Devotional by John Piper - Not Nearly Hedonistic Enough

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19–20)
The message that needs to be shouted from the houses of high finance is this: Secular man, you are not nearly hedonistic enough!

Quit being satisfied with the little 5 percent yields of pleasure that get eaten up by the moths of inflation and the rust of death. Invest in the blue-chip, high-yield, divinely insured security of heaven.

Devoting a life to material comforts and thrills is like throwing money down a rat hole. But investing a life in the labor of love yields dividends of joy unsurpassed and unending:

“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. [And thus] provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail.” (Luke 12:33)

This message is very good news: Come to Christ, in whose presence are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. Join us in the labor of Christian Hedonism. For the Lord has spoken: It is more blessed to love than to live in luxury!

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SINGING IN THE SPIRIT

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

Once I spent a week in the company of a famous female Chinese evangelist. Many characteristics that made her stand out; her courage, her long hours on her knees, her carefully cultivated simplicity of faith. But at the time, these were not the features that stuck with me and ended up transforming my faith. What actually impressed me about her was the same thing that impressed me about everyone else around her too. They were always singing. Singing hymns!

Three features of the singing were striking. First, the hymns themselves were not in the least profound. In terms of content, they lacked theological depth and poetic phrasing. Wesley or Newton would not have been proud of these offerings.

Second, they couldn’t sing very well. Chinese are not renowned for their harmonic skills in any case. They warbled, croaked, and droned and screeched...all with a complete disregard for the tune.

Third, they sang primarily to themselves. Oh sure, they sang in groups and to each other, but the most of their singing was done by themselves, to themselves. But all this did not matter. The songs worked.

Traveling around with these persecuted believers made me realize I had forgotten how much Christians sing praises. For me, the only time I sang was in church or an occasional chorus at a home group. I had never really sung hymns to myself, or seen singing to another as a ministry. I didn’t have a terribly good singing voice, and felt like I should leave it to those who were good at it. But after hearing everyone in the persecuted church of China singing virtually all the time, and seeing the difference it made to them spiritually, I wondered, Why do I not sing by myself, to my own spirit, or see singing as a ministry of encouragement?

So when I came back, I picked my seven favorite hymns. Ones like, “We rest on thee, Our Shield and Our Defender,” and, “Breathe on Me Breath of God.” I learned them, and during my quiet times, I sang to my spirit. And I found it to be true. A song lifts the spirit like nothing else. And as I read the Bible, I saw how central singing was to the practice of faith. The Israelites sing all the time in the temple; prisoners Paul and Silas sing in the cell; the early house churches sing to each other, and the scriptures climax in the great throne visions of John in Revelation, and what is going on in that most hallowed place but the singing of a “new song”.

Thank you persecuted church, for restoring a lost but key component of my quiet time.

RESPONSE: Today I will sing to the Lord in my spirit and gain encouragement for service to Him.

PRAYER: Lord, I ask You to help me be one who is always singing Your praises with my spirit.

His Princess Every Day - I Will Help You Find Your Way

Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

My Bride,

There will be times that you will feel I am far from you, that is not true, my love. Your feelings will deceive you but I never will. I am the truth that will forever help you find your way back to me. So whenever you feel lost, just look up and I will be the one to light your way when you are lost. When your world seems dark, I will be your compass and your comfort. I will carry you over the finish line of your faith when you’re too weary to run. You will never be lost as long as you keep your eyes on me. Even when you don’t have the strength to go on, I will become your strength.

Your Prince and Way

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! - Psalm 139:5-6 (NLT)

Prayer to my Prince

Thank my from the depth of my soul for continually proving how strong your passion is for me. Yes Lord, there are many days I feel lost and very far from you. I know in my heart you never move from me, but somehow, no matter how hard I try to stay close to you, I seem to fall away from your love and truth. I am so in awe that you continue to run after me no matter what I do or say. I am so grateful that you never, ever give up on me.

Your Princess who is ready to be found

O Lord, you have examined my heart
And know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. - Psalm 139:1-2 (NLT)

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit HisPrincess.com for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Chocolate For Your Soul with Sheri Rose Shepherd - It's Time to Stop

by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn't even smell of smoke! — Daniel 3:27

God protected and displayed His power while Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago were in the fire. When they were pulled out of the fiery furnace the bible says that they did not even smell like smoke. Only God can be glorified in a fire.

Many of us feel like we are in fires that are burning up everything we live for and everything we love.

In this three-part series, I want to teach you what you can do when the flames seem to be consuming you.

Be sure and watch the video teaching that goes with this devotion.

When we were young we were taught by a fireman that if we were on fire, we were to stop, drop and roll. In the first part of this three-part series, I want to talk about what needs to stop when there's a fire in our lives that seems to be out of control.

STOP... Fueling your fears and instead feed your spirit with truth!

When we speak about how bad the fire is instead of how big God is, it causes us and everyone around us to become afraid. Think about how many catastrophes you may have suffered in your own mind and lived out when most of them never actually happened.

STOP... What is not working.

It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. If we find ourselves constantly burning ourselves up or burning ourselves out with what we are doing, then we need to stop and ask God what is not of Him and what is not fruitful and what is not working according to His perfect will.

STOP... And think about how the flames are affecting those around you.

Never do what ONLY benefits YOU! Do what is a blessing to others and brings glory to God! In other words, when you're willing to give up your WANTS for God's WILL just so you can be a blessing to others, God will bless you and give you a far greater life than you could ever give yourself.

God's Letter to You

I believe if The Lord was going to write you a personal letter about battles this life brings it may read like this....

My Beloved Warrior,

Hopelessness is just an illusion, my beloved. I am your hope and your future is in My hands. Just as I parted the Red Sea of hopelessness for Moses and My chosen people, I will part your sea and you will walk in the promises I have for your life. Don’t allow the illusion of the enemy to become reality. Fires will never burn you out; raging waters will not drown your dreams. I am bigger than any challenge you are facing. Now, My Princess Warrior, fight the temptation to give up and allow Me to walk you into a life filled with indescribable hope for your future!

Your King and hope!

Treasure of Truth

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." — Jeremiah 29:11

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por nuestra defensa

Yo le digo al Señor: «Tú eres mi refugio, mi fortaleza, el Dios en quien confío». (Salmo 91:2)

Señor, ¡qué cosas tan hermosas nos has dejado en tu Palabra! Cuando leo el Salmo 91, comprendo, mi Dios, que si soy obediente a tu Palabra, mi vida estará siempre bajo tus alas. Con tus cuidados y protección. Que no debo temer a nada ni nadie porque eres mi Defensor.

En tu Palabra prometiste no abandonarme y estar conmigo en todo momento.

Ayúdame, Señor, a darte todo mi amor y a confiar plenamente en tu poder.

Dios mío, no temeré y descansaré en ti.

Por más noticias preocupantes que se escuchen afuera, yo creeré en ti.

Amén y amén.

Girlfriends in God - Don’t Scratch That Itch

Today’s Truth

When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed (James 1:13-14, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I woke up that morning with a spider bite the size of a quarter. It may as well have been the size of North Carolina for as much as it itched! I was half-tempted to scrape my arm off because the nasty bite was just begging to be scratched, but I’ve learned a thing or two in my forty-plus years, and this one thing I know for sure: it’s best to NOT scratch this type of itch.

It’d be like opening a bag of chips with the naive intention of eating only one. Yeah, right!

 I knew that if I started scratching my bug bite, it would be nearly impossible to stop. I would regret having ever started.

Super-itchy bug bites are a lot like temptations. Temptations are itchy! They call to us with urgent voices that scream, “Scratch me! Scratch me!” Yet, in all reality, a little scratch will not satisfy temptation’s itch at all… it will just make matters worse. When we scratch the itch of temptation, the itch doesn’t diminish. To the contrary, it increases.

The Bible teaches us that when we resist temptation, our faith is mobilized and our character is strengthened. Joseph is a great example of this. (For the full account, pause here and read Genesis 39.)

Joseph was a man of integrity who did right in the eyes of the Lord. Even so, he faced some serious temptations. His boss’s wife, Mrs. Potiphar, seduced him. Yowsa! You see, Mrs. Potiphar wanted her husband’s right-hand man to sleep with her, and she pursued him with aggression. Her temptation was a hand-delivered invitation for Joseph to sin that had itchy written all over it.

But he flat-out refused. Joseph’s heart was determined to honor God.

“My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her (Genesis 39:9-10).

Temptation chased Joseph relentlessly. Day after day.

Oh, how he must have longed for the itching to stop! To give in would be sinful and was simply not an option. So on the day that Potiphar’s wife caught him by the cloak and begged again for Joseph to sleep with her, Joseph ran out of the house. He ran from that tempting situation as fast as his legs would carry him! (And he lost a lot because of his noble choice, clothes being just the beginning.)

The big takeaway? God was honored in Joseph’s response. He ran from temptation and we would be wise to do the same. What do you need to run from today? Have you determined in your heart to honor God in everything?

Temptation comes in all shapes and sizes. It might be calling your name from your pantry – or from your computer – or in a sale ad – or from a bottle – or from another cubicle in your office.

What temptations do you face today? Name them and run the other way!

Don’t scratch that itch!

Determine in your heart that you will choose the path that brings honor to God, and call on Him for strength.

Dealing with temptation isn’t easy. When that nasty spider bit my arm, I struggled not to scratch the bite. I had to redirect my thinking to persevere through the temptation. When we come face to face with temptations, God’s strength is always available to us. (And let’s not be stubborn! We need God’s strength because our best efforts will fail us.)

So call on the Lord to help you resist temptation today. When you do, you position yourself in His peace and protection, your faith is mobilized, and your character is strengthened. Win. Win. Win.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I need You so much. I constantly find myself being tempted. Please strengthen me to run the other way and give me the wisdom to run to Your arms. I want to be a woman of godly character. Help me be that woman!
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

I wish my temptations were always as simple as the itch of a pesky little bug bite! But, of course, they aren’t. Each of us will encounter some real whoppers in our lives. James chapter one tells us that when we persevere through trials and temptations, one rewards is maturity. That really encourages me! I hope it encourages you as well.

If you had to sum up your biggest temptation in one word, what would it be? Tell me about it on my blog or my Facebook page, and let’s pray together as a community.

More from the Girlfriends

Gwen Smith is a speaker, worship leader, songwriter, and author of the new book, I Want I ALL, who wants to help you think big thoughts about God – and inspire you toward His grace and truth. Her website is filled with videos, posts, songs and resources that will be a deep well of encouragement to you. Click here to visit her site. (Get a FREE downloadable “I Want It All” COLORING and JOURNAL e-book when you sign up to receive her blog!)

Connect with Gwen on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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Click here to find out more about
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Girlfriends in God
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Our Daily Bread - Connecting the Dots

Read: Luke 24:13–32 | Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 4–6; 2 Corinthians 12

By Mart DeHaan

Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:27

In the 1880s French artist Georges Seurat introduced an art form known as pointillism. As the name suggests, Seurat used small dots of color, rather than brush strokes of blended pigments, to create an artistic image. Up close, his work looks like groupings of individual dots. Yet as the observer steps back, the human eye blends the dots into brightly colored portraits or landscapes.

The big picture of the Bible is similar. Up close, its complexity can leave us with the impression of dots on a canvas. As we read it, we might feel like Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus. They couldn’t understand the tragic “dotlike” events of the Passover weekend. They had hoped that Jesus “was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21), but they had just witnessed His death.

Suddenly a man they did not recognize was walking alongside them. After showing an interest in their conversation, He helped them connect the dots of the suffering and death of their long-awaited Messiah. Later, while eating a meal with them, Jesus let them recognize Him—and then He left as mysteriously as He came.

Was it the scarred dots of the nail wounds in His hands that caught their attention? We don’t know. What we do know is that when we connect the dots of Scripture and Jesus’s suffering (vv. 27, 44), we see a God who loves us more than we can imagine.

Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

The Daily Readings for September 20, 2016

Esther 5:1-14
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, opposite the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne inside the palace opposite the entrance to the palace. As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor and he held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The king said to her, "What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom." Then Esther said, "If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet that I have prepared for the king." Then the king said, "Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther desires." So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. While they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, "What is your petition? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled." Then Esther said, "This is my petition and request: If I have won the king's favor, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and then I will do as the king has said." Haman went out that day happy and in good spirits. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai; nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the ministers of the king. Haman added, "Even Queen Esther let no one but myself come with the king to the banquet that she prepared. Tomorrow also I am invited by her, together with the king. Yet all this does me no good so long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate." Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits." This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Acts 18:12-28
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, "This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law." Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters." And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things. After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow. When they reached Ephesus, he left them there, but first he himself went into the synagogue and had a discussion with the Jews. When they asked him to stay longer, he declined; but on taking leave of them, he said, "I will return to you, if God wills." Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

Luke 3:15-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 78: Part I Attendite, popule
1   Hear my teaching, O my people; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2   I will open my mouth in a parable; I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
3   That which we have heard and known, and what our forefathers have told us, we will not hide from their children.
4   We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, and the wonderful works he has done.
5   He gave his decrees to Jacob and established a law for Israel, which he commanded them to teach their children;
6   That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn; that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
7   So that they might put their trust in God, and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments;
8   And not be like their forefathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9   The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, turned back in the day of battle;
10   They did not keep the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
11   They forgot what he had done, and the wonders he had shown them.
12   He worked marvels in the sight of their forefathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13   He split open the sea and let them pass through; he made the waters stand up like walls.
14   He led them with a cloud by day, and all the night through with a glow of fire.
15   He split the hard rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as from the great deep.
16   He brought streams out of the cliff, and the waters gushed out like rivers.
17   But they went on sinning against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
18   They tested God in their hearts, demanding food for their craving.
19   They railed against God and said, "Can God set a table in the wilderness?
20   True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; but is he able to give bread or to provide meat for his people?"
21   When the LORD heard this, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob, and his anger mounted against Israel;
22   For they had no faith in God, nor did they put their trust in his saving power.
23   So he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven.
24   He rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them grain from heaven.
25   So mortals ate the bread of angels; he provided for them food enough.
26   He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and led out the south wind by his might.
27   He rained down flesh upon them like dust and wingéd birds like the sand of the sea.
28   He let it fall in the midst of their camp and round about their dwellings.
29   So they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.
30   But they did not stop their craving, though the food was still in their mouths.
31   So God's anger mounted against them; he slew their strongest men and laid low the youth of Israel.
32   In spite of all this, they went on sinning and had no faith in his wonderful works.
33   So he brought their days to an end like a breath and their years in sudden terror.
34   Whenever he slew them, they would seek him, and repent, and diligently search for God.
35   They would remember that God was their rock, and the Most High God their redeemer.
36   But they flattered him with their mouths and lied to him with their tongues.
37   Their heart was not steadfast toward him, and they were not faithful to his covenant.
38   But he was so merciful that he forgave their sins and did not destroy them; many times he held back his anger and did not permit his wrath to be roused.
39   For he remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that goes forth and does not return.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 78: Part II Quoties exacerbaverunt
40   How often the people disobeyed him in the wilderness and offended him in the desert!
41   Again and again they tempted God and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42   They did not remember his power in the day when he ransomed them from the enemy;
43   How he wrought his signs in Egypt and his omens in the field of Zoan.
44   He turned their rivers into blood, so that they could not drink of their streams.
45   He sent swarms of flies among them, which ate them up, and frogs, which destroyed them.
46   He gave their crops to the caterpillar, the fruit of their toil to the locust.
47   He killed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost.
48   He delivered their cattle to hailstones and their livestock to hot thunderbolts.
49   He poured out upon them his blazing anger: fury, indignation, and distress, a troop of destroying angels.
50   He gave full rein to his anger; he did not spare their souls from death; but delivered their lives to the plague.
51   He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the flower of manhood in the dwellings of Ham.
52   He led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53   He led them to safety, and they were not afraid; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54   He brought them to his holy land, the mountain his right hand had won.
55   He drove out the Canaanites before them and apportioned an inheritance to them by lot; he made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56   But they tested the Most High God, and defied him, and did not keep his commandments.
57   They turned away and were disloyal like their fathers; they were undependable like a warped bow.
58   They grieved him with their hill-altars they provoked his displeasure with their idols.
59   When God heard this, he was angry and utterly rejected Israel.
60   He forsook the shrine at Shiloh, the tabernacle where he had lived among his people.
61   He delivered the ark into captivity, his glory into the adversary's hand.
62   He gave his people to the sword and was angered against his inheritance.
63   The fire consumed their young men; there were no wedding songs for their maidens.
64   Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
65   Then the LORD woke as though from sleep, like a warrior refreshed with wine.
66   He struck his enemies on the backside and put them to perpetual shame.
67   He rejected the tent of Joseph and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68   He chose instead the tribe of Judah and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69   He built his sanctuary like the heights of heaven, like the earth which he founded for ever.
70   He chose David his servant, and took him away from the sheepfolds.
71   He brought him from following the ewes, to be a shepherd over Jacob his people and over Israel his inheritance.
72   So he shepherded them with a faithful and true heart and guided them with the skillfulness of his hands.

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.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for September 20, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Jonathan Melton

Psalm 78:4 (NRSV) We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, and the wonderful works he has done.

 My parents had one rule about Halloween costumes: They had to come from the Bible. I don’t think my parents were prudes—God knows there are plenty of terrifying images found in the Bible. My parents were attempting to ground our imaginations in scriptural realities and deep truths. They wanted us to understand that the stories of the people of God were just the same as our own.

The Book of Common Prayer expresses a similar attempt to ground our hearts in the goodness and wideness of God’s mercy. In many collects, we ask God for all sorts of things, with the proviso that what we ask for comes out of reflection on what God has done before in scripture. “O God, who did this, do that…” So, when I tell my own children the glorious deeds of the Lord, I am teaching them how to pray.

When you sing the songs of the saints of God in your own life, how do you remember their lives and God’s goodness? How do you tell their stories to the world, grounding your own version of the gospel in scriptural realities and in the deep soil of your heart?

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Verse of the Day - September 20, 2016

Joel 2:23 (NIV) Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.

Read all of Joel 2

Unser Täglich Brot - Die Punkte verbinden

Lesen: Lukas 24,13-32 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Prediger 4–6; 2.Korinther 12

Von Mart DeHaan

Und er fing an bei Mose und allen Propheten und legte ihnen aus, was in der ganzen Schrift von ihm gesagt war. Lukas 24,27

In den 1880er Jahren führte Georges Seurat, ein französischer Maler, eine neue Maltechnik ein, die als Pointillismus bekannt wurde. Wie der Name andeutet, arbeitete Seurat mit kleinen Farbtupfern statt mit Pinselstrichen. Aus der Nähe sieht man auf der Leinwand nur einzelne Punkte. Doch tritt man ein paar Schritte zurück, verschmelzen die Punkte vor den Augen zu einem Gesamtbild.

Mit der Bibel ist es ähnlich. Von nahem betrachtet erscheint sie uns so verwirrend wie Punkte auf einer Leinwand und beim Lesen kommen wir uns vielleicht vor wie Kleopas und sein Freund auf dem Weg nach Emmaus. Sie konnten das tragische, ‚punktuelle‘ Geschehen des Passawochenendes nicht begreifen. Sie hatten gehofft, Jesus wäre der, „der Israel erlösen werde“ (Luk. 24,21), aber nun hatten sie ihn sterben sehen.

Plötzlich ging neben ihnen ein fremder Mann. Nachdem er ihnen eine Weile zugehört hatte, half er ihnen, die Punkte zwischen Leiden und Tod des lang erwarteten Messias miteinander zu verbinden. Später beim Essen gab Jesus sich ihnen zu erkennen—und verschwand dann so rätselhaft, wie er gekommen war.

Waren es die Punkte der Wunden in seinen Händen, die ihre Aufmerksamkeit erregten? Wir wissen es nicht. Aber das Eine wissen wir: Wenn wir die Punkte der Bibel über Jesu Leiden verbinden (V.27.44), dann sehen wir einen Gott, der uns mehr liebt, als wir uns vorstellen können.

Vater, manchmal verlieren wir uns in den Einzelheiten deines Buchs. Bitte hilf uns, das größere Bild zu sehen, zu erkennen, wie sehr wir deinen Sohn brauchen und wie weit er gegangen ist, um uns deine Liebe zu zeigen.

Jesus ließ sein Leben, um uns seine Liebe zu beweisen.

Хлеб наш насущный - Соединение точек

Читать сейчас: Луки 24:13-32 | Библия за год: Екклесиаст 4-6; 1 Коринфянам 11:1-16

автор: Мартин де Гаан

И, начав от Моисея, из всех пророков изъяснял им сказанное о Нем во всем Писании. Луки 24:27

В 1880-х французский художник Жорж Сёра представил новый жанр – пуантилизм. Сёра наносил на холст крошечные точки краски. Вблизи его работы казались бессмысленным набором точек, но стоило отойти на несколько шагов, как глаз смешивал точки в ярко раскрашенный портрет или пейзаж.

Панорама Библии представляет собой нечто подобное. Вблизи ее сложность может произвести впечатление набора точек на холсте. Читая Писание, мы можем чувствовать себя как Клеопа и его друг на дороге в Эммаус. Они не могли понять смысла трагических «точечных» событий пасхальной недели. Они надеялись, что Иисус «есть Тот, Который должен избавить Израиля» (Лк. 24:21), а Он совершенно неожиданно был казнен.

По дороге к ним присоединился Человек, Которого они не узнали. Проявив интерес к их беседе, Он помог им соединить точки страдания и смерти их долгожданного Мессии. Позже во время вечери Иисус открылся им, а затем исчез так же таинственно, как и появился.

Бросились ли им в глаза «точечные» раны от гвоздей? Мы не знаем. Зато знаем, что, если соединить точки Писания и страдания Спасителя (Лк. 24:27, 44), нам откроется образ Бога, возлюбившего нас больше, чем можно представить.

Отче, порой мы теряемся в подробностях Твоей Книги. Помоги нам видеть полную картину того, как нам нужен Твой Сын и как много Он сделал, чтобы явить Твою любовь.

Иисус Христос отдал жизнь, чтобы мы узнали Его любовь.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Relier les points entre eux

Lisez : Luc 24.13‑32 | La Bible en un an : Écclésiaste 4 – 6 et 2 Corinthiens 12

par Mart DeHaan

Et, commençant par Moïse et par tous les prophètes, il leur expliqua dans toutes les Écritures ce qui le concernait. (Luc 24.27)

Dans les années 1880, le Français Georges Seurat a inventé une forme artistique : « le pointillisme ». Par de petits points de couleur, plutôt que des coups de pinceau aux pigments mélangés, Seurat créait une image artistique. De près, ses oeuvres ressemblent à des regroupements de points individuels. Pourtant, si l’observateur s’en éloigne, ses yeux en viendront à amalgamer les points en un portrait ou un paysage aux couleurs éclatantes.

Vue de près, l’image d’ensemble complexe de la Bible peut donner l’impression de ne voir que des points sur une toile. En la lisant, on peut s’identifier à Clopas et à ses amis sur le chemin d’Emmaüs, qui ne voyaient pas la « ligne pointillée » reliant entre eux les événements tragiques de la semaine pascale. Ils avaient espéré que « ce serait lui [Jésus] qui délivrerait Israël » (LU 24.21), alors qu’ils venaient tout juste d’assister à sa mort.

Soudain, un homme leur semblant inconnu s’est joint à leur marche. S’étant intéressé à leur conversation, il les a aidés à relier entre eux les points de la souffrance et de la mort de leur Messie tant attendu. Plus tard, tandis qu’il mangeait avec eux, Jésus leur a permis de le reconnaître, avant de disparaître aussi mystérieusement qu’il était venu.

Étaient‑ce les points de ses cicatrices aux mains qui ont retenu leur attention ? Nul ne saurait le dire. Ce que nous savons toutefois : si nous relions les points scripturaires aux souffrances de Jésus (V. 27,44), un Dieu qui nous aime plus que tout nous apparaît.

Jésus a donné sa vie afin de nous manifestertout son amour pour nous.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ