Thursday, October 13, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Your Father’s Arms

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.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father… encourage your hearts and strengthen you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17

A talented young athlete, the son of a star baseball player, was struggling in the minor leagues and expected to be released any day. During one game, he came to bat having already struck out once and quickly rang up two more strikes. Then the catcher trotted away for a conference with the pitcher. The umpire, standing behind the plate, spoke to the young man. “You hold the bat just the way your dad held it,” he said. “I can see his genes in you. You have your father’s arms.” On the next pitch, the young man knocked the ball out of the park. His play improved remarkably, and soon he was called up to the major leagues. When asked what changed his game, the young man gave credit to the umpire’s words. “After that,” he explained, “whenever I swung the bat, I just imagined that I was using Dad’s arms instead of my own.”

In your ministry of encouragement in your marriage, remember to use your Father’s arms. Maybe you recall the biblical example of Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement.” The Bible says he was “full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24), and his gift was invaluable in helping the apostle Paul lead others to Christ during their missionary journeys.

Do you sometimes feel inadequate to help others? God Himself is ready to encourage you—and to bless you with His strength to encourage those you love.

Just between us…
  • What’s your favorite form of encouragement?
  • In what ways do I encourage you without words?
  • How can we best tap into God’s resources to encourage each other?
Almighty God, thank You for Your gifts of encouragement and comfort to us. Help us to draw on Your strength as we encourage one another. Amen.
  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Illustration by Barbara Johnson from We Brake for Joy! by Patsy Clairmont, Barbara Johnson, Marilyn Meberg, Luci Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, and Thelma Wells (Women of Faith, Inc., 1998). Reprinted in Stories for a Man’s Heart, comp. Al and Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1999).

The Daily Readings for October 13, 2016

Jonah 3:1-4:11
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, "Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you." So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish." When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it. But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD and said, "O LORD! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live." And the LORD said, "Is it right for you to be angry?" Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city. The LORD God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, "It is better for me to die than to live." But God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?" And he said, "Yes, angry enough to die." Then the LORD said, "You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?"

Acts 27:27-44
When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift. Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads." After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.) After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea. In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

Luke 9:18-27
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They answered, "John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "The Messiah of God." He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, "The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Then he said to them all, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 18 Part I Diligam te, Domine.
1   I love you, O LORD my strength, O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.
2   My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge; you are worthy of praise.
3   I will call upon the LORD, and so shall I be saved from my enemies.
4   The breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.
5   The cords of hell entangled me, and the snares of death were set for me.
6   I called upon the LORD in my distress and cried out to my God for help.
7   He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling; my cry of anguish came to his ears.
8   The earth reeled and rocked; the roots of the mountains shook; they reeled because of his anger.
9   Smoke rose from his nostrils and a consuming fire out of his mouth; hot burning coals blazed forth from him.
10   He parted the heavens and came down with a storm cloud under his feet.
11   He mounted on cherubim and flew; he swooped on the wings of the wind.
12   He wrapped darkness about him; he made dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.
13   From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds, burst hailstones and coals of fire.
14   The LORD thundered out of heaven; the Most High uttered his voice.
15   He loosed his arrows and scattered them; he hurled thunderbolts and routed them.
16   The beds of the seas were uncovered, and the foundations of the world laid bare, at your battle cry, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
17   He reached down from on high and grasped me; he drew me out of great waters.
18   He delivered me from my strong enemies and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
19   They confronted me in the day of my disaster; but the LORD was my support.
20   He brought me out into an open place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 18:Part II Et retribuet mihi
21   The LORD rewarded me because of my righteous dealing; because my hands were clean he rewarded me;
22   For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not offended against my God;
23   For all his judgments are before my eyes, and his decrees I have not put away from me;
24   For I have been blameless with him and have kept myself from iniquity;
25   Therefore the LORD rewarded me according to my righteous dealing, because of the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
26   With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God; with the forthright you show yourself forthright.
27   With the pure you show yourself pure, but with the crooked you are wily.
28   You will save a lowly people, but you will humble the haughty eyes.
29   You, O LORD, are my lamp; my God, you make my darkness bright.
30   With you I will break down an enclosure; with the help of my God I will scale any wall.
31   As for God, his ways are perfect; the words of the LORD are tried in the fire; he is a shield to all who trust in him.
32   For who is God, but the LORD? who is the Rock, except our God?
33   It is God who girds me about with strength and makes my way secure.
34   He makes me sure-footed like a deer and lets me stand firm on the heights.
35   He trains my hands for battle and my arms for bending even a bow of bronze.
36   You have given me your shield of victory; your right hand also sustains me; your loving care makes me great.
37   You lengthen my stride beneath me, and my ankles do not give way.
38   I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I will not turn back till I have destroyed them.
39   I strike them down, and they cannot rise; they fall defeated at my feet.
40   You have girded me with strength for the battle; you have cast down my adversaries beneath me; you have put my enemies to flight.
41   I destroy those who hate me; they cry out, but there is none to help them; they cry to the LORD, but he does not answer.
42   I beat them small like dust before the wind; I trample them like mud in the streets.
43   You deliver me from the strife of the peoples; you put me at the head of the nations.
44   A people I have not known shall serve me; no sooner shall they hear than they shall obey me; strangers will cringe before me.
45   The foreign peoples will lose heart; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds.
46   The LORD lives! Blessed is my Rock! Exalted is the God of my salvation!
47   He is the God who gave me victory and cast down the peoples beneath me.
48   You rescued me from the fury of my enemies; you exalted me above those who rose against me; you saved me from my deadly foe.
49   Therefore will I extol you among the nations, O LORD, and sing praises to your Name.
50   He multiplies the victories of his king; he shows loving-kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants for ever.

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 Daily Meditation for October 13, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Scott B. Hayashi

Jonah 4:11 (NRSV) [The LORD said], “And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

Jonah is fed up with being vomited up on the beach and being asked too many questions by too many important people—all while walking across a city full of sin and shame. God is refusing to do any smiting today, and Jonah is not interested in any of this mercy business. Like a little kid having a meltdown, Jonah is unspooling into a heap of whiny, self-righteous indignation.

God meets Jonah right where he is, reminding him that there are things beyond his ability to create or destroy in Nineveh. God is not ready to give up on Nineveh, or Jonah, or us. Ever.

God gives us what we need—and sometimes takes what we have when we need to be reminded of the source of all things. All of us (Jonah too) are reminded that even on our worst days, God finds ways to love us and to open our eyes to a world that needs us to share that love every single day.

Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study.

Girlfriends in God - What Happens When Love Leads

Today’s Truth

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19-20 NIV)

Friend To Friend

“I’m a terrible mom!” Do you ever say these words?

I do.

And I did that day… the day several years ago when I was working in my office, minding my own business, when out of now where my son threw a paper airplane at the back of my head… on purpose.

Not one to normally welcome an air attack, I gritted my teeth, gave him the stern “mom voice,” and asked him to stop messing around. I told him I needed some private time so I could get some work done.

He agreed, and turned to leave.

Then he jumped around and threw it at me again!

Let me tell you, my grace-o-meter was reading pretty low at this point. I barked like an angry dog. “What in the world do you think you are doing? I just told you that I needed to be left alone so I can get some work done! Stop it, Preston!”

“But mom, there’s a message on the plane,” he tenderly replied. “Read it.”

As I unfolded the orange, construction paper airplane, I saw this message written in pink marker: “Mom, I Love You.” A few X’s and O’s followed his affectionate plane declaration. You know: hug, hug, kiss, kiss.

Pure precious.

Nice! I said to myself. Loser-mom strikes again.

I had scolded my son and reacted out of frustration with a harsh tone. All the while, my son was trying to tell me that he loves me.

I felt horrible.

Time stood still as a self-condemning internal dialog began.

Shame began to fill my heart, but as it did the Spirit of God within me gently nudged – reminding me that condemnation is not from Him. His conviction, however, spurred me on toward choosing a more godly response.

I whispered a quick prayer. And as I moved in the way of grace the Lord changed the tone of my heart. God’s love trumped my anger.

I called Preston back into my office and apologized for my behavior. I invited my tall, lanky pre-teen to sit on my lap and stared a new conversation in a calmer tone. Honey, while I’m not particularly fond of airplane attacks, especially while I’m working, I AM fond of love attacks.

We shared a sweet moment. And as we reconciled, this truth rose in my heart: when we allow God’s love to trump our anger, we position ourselves to experience restoration in relationships.

The Bible tells us that we are to be slow to anger.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”(James 1:19-20)

It’s a lesson that I am still learning.

Now, that doesn’t mean we should never be angry. Jesus exhibited righteous anger in the Jerusalem temple when he drove out the merchants that were buying and selling there. Righteous anger is biblically permissible. We should be angry about sin and injustice. But when we respond to others in anger, it becomes our sin.
Got any relationships that are in need of restoration?

Is there any anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness in your heart that might be gaining a stronghold in your life and keeping you from God’s best? Are you quick to listen or quick to speak?

The benefits of allowing the love of God to trump any anger in my heart is tremendous, but the application sure can be challenging. I can’t overcome my natural, sinful tendencies to react, and overreact, in anger alone. I need God’s help. You do too. His grace will meet us at our need when we call on Him and the Holy Spirit will help us to respond in God’s perfect love, not our own.

Join me in asking God for His love to lead us today.

Let’s Pray

Holy Father, You are perfect in love… and I am not. I confess my anger / bitterness / unforgiveness right now when it comes to _______________ (fill in the blank). Please forgive me and bring restoration to the relationships that have been affected by my anger. Help me recognize when I over-react or when I respond in anger that is ungodly. Give me the grace to respond in love, to be slow to speak, and quick to listen.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

READ Ephesians 4:26-31. Make a list of what the Bible says we should and should not do. Then use that list to guide you in prayer.

Do you need to trade anger for love? Spend a few moments in prayer.

More From the Girlfriends

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Standing Strong Through the Storm - I AM VALUABLE

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

She hadn’t laughed for nearly two years, ever since her father’s tragic death in August, 2009. Even though she still liked sports and talking with her friends, Ruth’s eyes didn’t shine anymore, like other teenagers. And she never returned their laughter. Never again, Ruth thought, would she feel the joy she once had, before her father was killed. A fourteen-year-old girl at the time, she still believed two years later that she was to blame for the murder of her father, a well-known church leader in eastern Colombia.

The day the guerrillas shot him, he was waiting for her in an isolated place. Her parents had given Ruth permission to go play soccer. But she was late coming back, so her father had gone looking for her. Bitterness started to fill her heart, as she became angry with herself, convinced she had caused her father’s death. At her fifteenth birthday party, she couldn’t stop her tears from falling. “I don’t want to live anymore!” she sobbed. Suicidal thoughts became part of her daily life, as she kept fighting with her sisters and wrestling with an unhappiness about everything that made her life unbearable.

Her widowed mother, who was receiving regular emotional and material support through Open Doors’ program for martyrs’ families, admitted that although all four of her children were struggling with problems over their father’s death, Ruth’s condition was the worst.

But God turned things around for Ruth in July, when she was one of thirty widows’ children invited to an “orphan encounter” camp sponsored by Open Doors for children and teenagers from six different regions of Colombia. For three days, God used counselors to confront Ruth with the reality of her pain and start her on the path of healing.

At one point, she was asked to write down on some papers all the things that she wanted to fill her heart. “I want to fill my heart with forgiveness for myself, and for those who killed my father,” Ruth wrote. Then she went on to tell the others what she had written, something that she had not had the courage to talk about publicly before. Together the children and teens sometimes smiled over what they’d shared, along with tears as they released their need to cry out their pain. As they faced the words of Scripture taught to them and prayed together, the walls that Ruth had built up in her heart started to fall down.

Overjoyed, Ruth said, “It is so hard to find people who really take care of me. I thought there weren’t any! But now I realize that there are some, and even that I’m valuable for those who I don’t even know! I would like to be a good Christian and serve the Lord with all my heart.”

RESPONSE: Today I will recognize that I am also valuable to God who loves me.

PRAYER: Pray for the many children in the persecuted church who need emotional healing.

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por fidelidad

Amen al Señor, todos sus fieles; él protege a los dignos de confianza. Salmo 31:23

¡Oh, Dios mío, qué claro eres en tu Palabra! Sin embargo, ¡qué necios somos! Por eso caemos con facilidad en las redes de Satanás que nos presenta todo llamativo y agradable. Entonces, a la larga viene el final tan amargo por nuestras equivocaciones.

Señor, tú creaste el matrimonio y estableciste como mandamiento la fidelidad, a fin de que seamos felices y bendecidos.

Ayúdanos, Padre, a tener nuestra mirada puesta en ti y a huir de la tentación.

Danos tanto el querer como el hacer, y pon en cada uno de nosotros un nuevo amor por nuestros cónyuges.

Perdóname, mi Dios, y restaura mi vida. Dame la oportunidad de reconocer mi falta y recuperar mi matrimonio.

También te pido que me guardes de la amarga experiencia de la infidelidad y de todo peligro. No me dejes caer en tentación y líbrame del mal, de modo que sea capaz de cumplir el pacto de fidelidad que hice en el altar.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Verse of the Day - October 13, 2016

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Read all of Jeremiah 29

Our Daily Bread - All Welcome!

Read: Luke 5:27–32 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 41–42; 1 Thessalonians 1

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  Luke 5:32

The much-prayed-for film night at the church youth club had finally arrived. Posters had been displayed all around the village and pizzas were warming in the oven. Steve, the youth pastor, hoped that the film—about gang members in New York who were brought face-to-face with the claims of Jesus by a young pastor—would bring new recruits to the club.

But he hadn’t realized that a key football match was being shown on television that evening, so attendance was much smaller than he had hoped for. Sighing inwardly, he was about to dim the lights and begin the film when five leather-clad members of the local motorbike club came in. Steve went pale.

The leader of the group, who was known as TDog, nodded in Steve’s direction. “It’s free and for everyone, right?” he said. Steve opened his mouth to say, “Youth club members only” when TDog bent down and picked up a bracelet with the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) stamped on it. “This yours, mate?” he asked. Steve nodded, hot with embarrassment, and waited while the new guests found a seat.

Have you ever been in Steve’s situation? You long to share the good news about Jesus, but you have a mental list of the “right” people who would be acceptable? Jesus was often criticized by the religious authorities for the company He kept. But He welcomed those everyone else avoided, because He knew they needed Him most (Luke 5:31–32).

Lord, please help me to see people through Your eyes of love and to welcome all those You bring into my life.

A heart that is open to Christ will be open to those He loves.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Unser Täglich Brot - Alle willkommen!

Lesen: Lukas 5,27-32 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Jesaja 41–42; 1.Thessalonicher 1

Ich bin gekommen, die Sünder zur Buße zu rufen und nicht die Gerechten. (Lukas 5,32)

Der Kinoabend, für den so viel gebetet worden war, war endlich gekommen. Im ganzen Dorf hatte man Plakate aufgehängt und im Ofen wartete die Pizza. Mit dem Film—über eine Gang, die von einem Jugendpastor mit den Aussagen Jesu konfrontiert wurde—wollte man auch neue Teilnehmer für die Jugendgruppe interessieren.

Aber man hatte nicht bedacht, dass am selben Abend ein entscheidendes Fußballspiel übertragen wurde, und so kamen viel weniger Jugendliche, als erhofft. Leise seufzend wollte der Jugendleiter gerade die Lichter löschen und den Film starten, als fünf Mitglieder des örtlichen Motorradclubs auftauchten. Steve wurde blass.

Der Anführer, bekannt als TDog, nickte ihm zu: „Das ist hier doch kostenlos und für alle, oder?“ Steve wollte gerade erwidern: „Nein, nur für Mitglieder“, als TDog sich bückte und ein Armband mit dem Aufdruck WWJD (What Would Jesus Do—Was würde Jesus tun?) aufhob. „Gehört das dir, Kumpel?“ Steve nickte mit hochrotem Kopf und wartete, bis die neuen Gäste Platz genommen hatten.

Warst du schon mal in einer ähnlichen Situation? Du möchtest anderen von Jesus erzählen, hast aber im Kopf eine Liste der „richtigen“ Leute? Jesus wurde von den religiösen Führern seiner Zeit oft für die Gesellschaft kritisiert, in der er sich herumtrieb. Aber er hieß auch die willkommen, denen alle anderen aus dem Weg gingen, weil er wusste, dass gerade sie ihn am meisten brauchten (Luk. 5,31-32).

Herr, bitte hilf mir, die Menschen mit den Augen deiner Liebe zu sehen und alle willkommen zu heißen, die du in mein Leben führst.

Ein Herz, das offen ist für Jesus, ist auch offen für die, die er liebt.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

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Читать сейчас: Луки 5:27-32 | Библия за год: Исаия 41-42; Галатам 1

«Я пришел призвать не праведников, а грешников к покаянию». — Луки 5:32

Долгожданный вечер кино в церковном молодежном клубе наступил. Об этом много молились. По всей деревне расклеили афиши, купили пиццу и теперь разогревали ее в микроволновках. Стив, молодежный пастор, надеялся, что фильм о том, как члены бандитских группировок Нью-Йорка обратились ко Христу, привлечет в клуб новых участников.

Но он не учел, что в тот вечер по телевизору шел важный футбольный матч. Поэтому людей пришло меньше, чем он надеялся. Внутренне вздыхая, он уже собирался погасить свет и начать показ, как вдруг в зал вошли пятеро местных байкеров в кожаных куртках. Стив побледнел.

Главарь по кличке Волк кивнул в направлении Стива. «Тут, кажется, бесплатно?» – спросил он. Стив открыл было рот, чтобы сказать: «Только для членов клуба», однако Волк, нагнувшись, поднял браслетик с надписью: «Что бы сделал Иисус?» «Твое, чувак?» – спросил он. Вспотевший Стив растерянно кивнул. Новые гости расселись по креслам.

Вам приходилось оказываться в положении Стива? Вы хотели благовествовать, но где-то внутри имели список «правильных» людей, которые достойны стать христианами? Иисуса часто осуждали за то, что Он общался с грешниками. Но Он принимал тех, кого все отвергали, потому что знал: им-то Он как раз и нужен (Лк. 5:31-32).

Господи, помоги мне смотреть на людей Твоими глазами и с любовью принимать всех, кого Ты направишь мне навстречу.

Сердце, открытое для Христа, будет открыто и для тех, кого Он любит.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Tous sont les bienvenus !

Lisez : Luc 5.27‑32 | La Bible en un an : Ésaïe 41 – 42 et 1 Thessaloniciens 1

Je ne suis pas venu appeler à la repentance des justes, mais des pécheurs. (Luc 5.32)

La soirée cinéma tant attendue du club des jeunes de l’église était enfin arrivée. On avait mis des affiches dans tout le village et des pizzas chauffaient au four. Steve, le pasteur de la jeunesse, espérait que le film – portant sur les membres d’un gang de New York qu’un pasteur de jeunesse avait amenés à considérer sérieusement les déclarations de Jésus – allait inciter de nouvelles recrues à grossir les rangs du club.

Il ignorait toutefois qu’un match de football important allait passer à la télévision ce soir‑là, alors beaucoup moins de gens se sont présentés qu’il ne l’avait espéré. Soupirant en son for intérieur, il était sur le point de tamiser les lumières et de lancer la projection lorsque cinq membres d’un club de motards en blouson de cuir sont entrés. Sur le coup, Steve a pâli.

Le chef du gang, surnommé TDog, l’a interpellé: « C’est gratuit, et pour tout le monde, hein ? » Steve s’apprêtait à lui répondre : « Réservé aux membres du club » quand TDog a ramassé un bracelet portant les lettres WWJD (What Would Jesus Do ; Que ferait Jésus) pour lui demander : « C’est à toi, mon gars ? » Rouge de honte, Steve le lui a confirmé d’un signe de la tête et a attendu que les nouveaux venus trouvent où s’asseoir.

Avez‑vous déjà vécu une telle situation ? Vous désirez ardemment annoncer la bonne nouvelle de Jésus, mais avec en tête une liste de « bonnes » personnes ? Les chefs religieux ont souvent reproché à Jésus ses fréquentations, car il accueillait les parias.

Le coeur ouvert à Christ le sera également à ceux que Dieu aime.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ