Thursday, November 17, 2016

NIV Devotions for Men - The Way God Intended


Song of Songs 8:6–7

Recommended Reading: Genesis 2:18–25; Matthew 19:1–9; Hebrews 13:4

This passage, perhaps as powerfully as any other in the entire Bible, defines and describes for modern readers God’s intentions when he invented and defined the institution of marriage.

Marriage as a concept lies deep within our collective psyche. Preschoolers role-play the family unit as part of their playground fun. Preteen girls dream of the day when they’ll walk down the aisle in a flowing white gown. Matchmaking businesses and Web sites thrive as people look for that elusive one perfect person to know and love for the rest of their lives. The vast majority of adults who live in Western cultures either are, have been or someday intend to be married. Such hopefulness in the face of a consistent 50 percent divorce rate! And yet, despite the well-publicized antics of the Hollywood set, marriage remains one of the key building blocks of family life and society as a whole.

And that’s just what God intended. The language in this passage is powerful as it speaks to the implications of marriage. One scholar has said that this passage “characterizes marital love as the strongest, most unyielding and invincible force in human experience.” Now that’s saying something! Despite the failure of individuals, the bar of God’s expectations for marriage is set sky-high. And note the implications of the last part of verse 7: True, lasting marital love involves deep integrity on the part of both parties. To paraphrase: “Money can’t buy me love.”

The power of marriage lies in the power of a promise, sealed with God’s stamp of approval, that one man makes to one woman. The promise to love another person “until death do you part” is as deep a commitment as one can make in this life. As one pastor put it, “The power to make and keep a promise is one of the strongest in the world, for it brings the promise maker within a millimeter of what it means to be like God, who makes and keeps his promises to his people.”

True, enduring, lifelong commitment is God’s expectation for marriage, and it has been since the Garden of Eden. That’s not to say that God expects us to be perfect as we relate to one another; we are, after all, still living under the effects of sin. But despite our failures, the goal for the respect we are to show toward the institution remains the same, “for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave” (Song of Songs 8:6).

To Take Away
  • Are you married? If you answered yes, how does your marriage stack up to God’s expectations for the institution?
  • If you’ve never been married, what is your perspective on what this passage could mean for your future?
  • If you’re not married now but have been in the past, how can this passage influence your opinions and actions?

Girlfriends in God - Will You Please Give It a Rest?

by Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT).

Friend to Friend

We once had an Australian cattle dog named Dallas. Australian cattle dogs are extremely loyal to a master of their choice. Dallas chose our son Jered to be his master. When Jered came home from school each day, Dallas would greet him at the door and follow him wherever he went. If Jered did homework in his room, Dallas curled under the desk. When Jered ran an errand, Dallas rode shotgun. Dallas instinctively knew that the only place he would find genuine rest was at the feet of his master. The same is true in our lives. But … I am not very good at this rest thing.

Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details!

Instead, God calls me to leave the details up to Him and rest. I don’t want to rest. When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do.

But I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.” I have tried to ignore that whisper more times than I care to admit, but it is only a temporary maneuver on my part.

The Lord is my Shepherd and is well acquainted with the antics of stubborn sheep like me. He will lovingly make me lie down in green pastures and firmly lead me beside quiet waters. Why? He wants to refresh my soul. He wants me to experience the peace that can only be found at His feet.

Rest is not really an option. It is a spiritual discipline that we need to make a spiritual habit in our life.

Many of us have bought into the lie that who we are is based on what we do or don’t do. We fill every waking moment with something or someone in order to prove our worth. After all, we must be worthy if we are doing worthy things, right? Busyness does not always equal productivity. When we admit our need to rest, we are acknowledging the fact that we are imperfect and that our human power is limited.

For years, our family vacationed in the mountains of North Carolina in order to escape the brutal heat of South Florida where we lived. We all had our favorite thing to do while on vacation. Dan loved to read and take long walks in the cool, green forests. The kids loved wading in creeks, looking for gold nuggets. My favorite activity was shopping for antiques. Now let me define antiques and antique stores according to Mary.

The best antique stores were nestled in the mountains on some remote dirt road, and the antiques were what most people would call junk. It’s all a matter of perspective.

One year, I walked into a shop and stopped in my tracks when I saw the yoke hanging on a wall. Matthew 11:28-30 is one of my husband’s favorite passages of Scripture where Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls.” For years, I searched for just the right yoke to give Dan as a special gift. But every yoke I found was either too big or too small and in less than stellar condition. The yoke before me was in perfect condition and was just the right size and price. Upon closer inspection, my excitement faded.

Yokes have two loops of leather or wood attached to a sturdy wooden frame. Two working animals wear the loops around their necks in order to bear whatever load they are given. The loops on this particular yoke were not the same size - one larger than the other. When I pointed out the flaw, the shop owner said, “It’s supposed to be made like that. The stronger animal is placed in the larger loop to help the weaker animal pull the load.”

Boom! I bought that yoke and gave it to Dan, but it is really a gift for me as well - a beautiful reminder that a shared load is a lighter load.

Are you tired and exhausted from trying to live life on your own? Come to Jesus and find rest in Him.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the promise of rest we find in Your presence. It seems like I am always tired and every step is hard. Please forgive me when I turn to You as a last resort instead of running to You first. Today, I turn to You, Lord, for rest.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now it’s Your Turn 
  1. Read Genesis 2:2. How does this verse apply to your life?
  2. Read Job 33:26. Notice every “action” word in this verse. What does God promise when we choose to apply the steps He outlines in this verse?
  3. Identify the areas of unrest in your life. Bring them to God in prayer and seek rest in Him.
More from the Girlfriends

You can't eliminate stress, but you can learn to control stress before it controls you. Mary Southerland transforms the promises of the Twenty-third Psalm into easy-to-implement, practical steps that will hand you the keys to stress management. Escaping the Stress Trap is a story-filled, humorous, and helpful approach to dealing with the pressures of life. The chapter-by-chapter study guide is ideal for both personal and small group studies.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - RELEASE FROM CHAINS

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:26

African Muslim, El Gasim, saw the sign of the cross one day while praying the usual five times a day in the prison where he was incarcerated. He changed positions but the cross wouldn’t go away. This went on for seven days. He had no explanation for it, except that Christ was calling him to give his life to Him. A Christian pastor, also in prison explained that living for Christ would not be without suffering. They prayed together.

Other Muslim inmates saw El Gasim praying one day with another Christian prisoner and reported them to the authorities. When summoned to the superintendent’s office, they openly declared their faith in Christ and received twenty-five lashes each, administered by a Christian warder. The other prisoner denied his new faith but El Gasim confessed Christ and said he would face the consequence, no matter what. This enraged the authorities. He was beaten, shackled in chains weighing over fifty pounds and put on death row to be hanged.

The imprisoned pastor had great compassion for El Gasim, knowing that if God did not intervene, he was surely staring death in the eye. He told him Paul and Silas’ story, reminding him that he wasn’t the first to be beaten and chained for the sake of Christ. The important thing to remember was that Paul and Silas prayed and praised God, when their chains fell off and the prison doors opened. The pastor confirmed that it could still happen today, because the power that worked then, was still at work today. They prayed together, earnestly seeking God’s will.

The pastor retired to his room and continued praying. In the meantime, El Gasim, who then felt encouraged by the sharing, took the first step and to his surprise, the unexpected happened—the chain broke loose and fell from one of his legs. Bystanders, whose attention were drawn by the sound of the falling chain, watched in amazement as he took the second step—the same thing happened. A miracle had happened right before him and his other inmates. El Gasim went to the warder and told him, “Your chains are in the chapel, go and collect them.”

Trembling and confused the warder informed his superiors of this strange occurrence. An emergency meeting was convened. The incident could not be ignored or laughed off as nonsense. There were too many witnesses. They decided that it would be best to let El Gasim go free, because if he stayed he would certainly convert others to Christianity. Sending him to another prison wouldn’t help either, because even there they couldn’t stop Christ from doing miracles.

RESPONSE: Today I affirm my faith in a miracle working God who can release me from my chains.

PRAYER: Pray for persecuted Christian prisoners who need to be released from chains today.

Un Dia a la Vez - Cuando Dios produce los cambios

Escucha, hijo mío; acoge mis palabras, y los años de tu vida aumentarán. Yo te guío por el camino de la sabiduría, te dirijo por sendas de rectitud. Proverbios 4:10

Como hijo de Dios, no te debes preocupar, ni tienes que dudar, ni temer. ¿Por qué? Porque es muy diferente cuando las situaciones de la vida se presentan con el sello de Dios. Es como cuando compras un auto de lujo y sabes que no te dará ni un dolor de cabeza. O cuando compras confiado un aparato electrodoméstico de una marca reconocida porque sabes que tendrás en casa lo que cuesta en calidad y en garantía. Mejor aun, es cuando tu Padre celestial te llama a un cambio.

A cada momento, Dios nos muestra esferas de la vida que están podridas. Sí, eso es, suena feo y horrible, pero es verdad. Nos están contaminando y serían capaces de infectar a las personas que nos rodean.

He visto también que cuando Dios tiene un llamado, prepara nuestros corazones para cambios en la vida. Quizá sea dejar un trabajo secular para servirle al cien por cien en la obra. Esto atemoriza porque queremos sentirnos seguros. Entonces, cuando no vemos nada fijo, podemos dudar. Sin embargo, debes saber que los cambios son necesarios y determinantes para nuestro futuro.

Cuando dejamos todo en las manos de Dios, no hay problema, pues Él no se equivoca. Sabe lo que es mejor para cada uno de sus hijos y ve las cosas de otra manera, pues conoce el futuro. Así que no te resistas cuando sientas un llamado al cambio. Dios tiene el control y no hay nada más maravilloso que servirle a Él que es el mejor jefe.

Verse of the Day - November 17, 2016

Psalm 119:105 (NIV) Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Read all of Psalm 119

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, November 17, 2016

Malachi 2:1-16
And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse on you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence. Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction. Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob anyone who does this-- any to witness or answer, or to bring an offering to the LORD of hosts. And this you do as well: You cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. You ask, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did not one God make her? Both flesh and spirit are his. And what does the one God desire? Godly offspring. So look to yourselves, and do not let anyone be faithless to the wife of his youth. For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel, and covering one's garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.

James 4:13-5:6
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money." Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin. Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

Luke 17:20-37
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you." Then he said to the disciples, "The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, 'Look there!' or 'Look here!' Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them -- it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left." Then they asked him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 105: Part I Confitemini Domino
1   Give thanks to the LORD and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples.
2   Sing to him, sing praises to him, and speak of all his marvelous works.
3   Glory in his holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
4   Search for the LORD and his strength; continually seek his face.
5   Remember the marvels he has done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,
6   O offspring of Abraham his servant, O children of Jacob his chosen.
7   He is the LORD our God; his judgments prevail in all the world.
8   He has always been mindful of his covenant, the promise he made for a thousand generations:
9   The covenant he made with Abraham, the oath that he swore to Issac,
10   Which he established as a statute for Jacob, an everlasting covenant for Israel,
11   Saying, "To you will I give the land of Canaan to be your allotted inheritance."
12   When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in the land,
13   Wandering from nation to nation and from one kingdom to another,
14   He let no one oppress them and rebuked kings for their sake,
15   Saying, "Do not touch my anointed and do my prophets no harm."
16   Then he called for a famine in the land and destroyed the supply of bread.
17   He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18   They bruised his feet in fetters; his neck they put in an iron collar.
19   Until his prediction came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
20   The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free.
21   He set him as a master over his household, as a ruler over all his possessions,
22   To instruct his princes according to his will and to teach his elders wisdom.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 105: Part II Et intravit Israel
23   Israel came into Egypt, and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham.
24   The LORD made his people exceedingly fruitful; he made them stronger than their enemies;
25   Whose heart he turned, so that they hated his people, and dealt unjustly with his servants.
26   He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen.
27   They worked his signs among them, and portents in the land of Ham.
28   He sent darkness, and it grew dark; but the Egyptians rebelled against his words.
29   He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die.
30   Their land was overrun by frogs, in the very chambers of their kings.
31   He spoke, and there came swarms of insects and gnats within all their borders.
32   He gave them hailstones instead of rain, and flames of fire throughout their land.
33   He blasted their vines and their fig trees and shattered every tree in their country.
34   He spoke, and the locust came, and young locusts without number,
35   Which ate up all the green plants in their land and devoured the fruit of their soil.
36   He struck down the firstborn of their land, the firstfruits of all their strength.
37   He led out his people with silver and gold; in all their tribes there was not one that stumbled.
38   Egypt was glad of their going, because they were afraid of them.
39   He spread out a cloud for a covering and a fire to give light in the night season.
40   They asked, and quails appeared, and he satisfied them with bread from heaven.
41   He opened the rock, and water flowed, so the river ran in the dry places.
42   For God remembered his holy word and Abraham his servant.
43   So he led forth his people with gladness, his chosen with shouts of joy.
44   He gave his people the lands of the nations, and they took the fruit of others' toil,
45   That they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Hallelujah!

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 THURSDAY, November 17, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Richelle Thompson

James 4:14 (NRSV) Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Tragedy bookended the week. A high school senior was struck and killed while sledding and reveling in a snow day. A few days later, an elementary school principal pushed students out of the way of a lurching bus, dying a hero’s death.

Hug your loved ones a bit tighter, Facebook posts encouraged. Be thankful, people wrote, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

James knew that life is fleeting. And in the gospel reading for today, Jesus tells us this too. We will not know when the kingdom of God is coming. There is no countdown or time for advance planning. Instead we are to live as if the kingdom of God is truly already among us—loving our neighbors, serving others, praying, worshiping, caring for the earth, and rejoicing in the splendor of creation. When we do these things, when we live in the moment, we build a future for our children—living memories of heaven on earth.

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

Our Daily Bread - A Façade

Read: Matthew 6:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 5–7; Hebrews 12

Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:4 NLT

Kerri tries hard to get people to admire her. She acts happy most of the time so that others will notice and compliment her on her joyful attitude. Some affirm her because they see her helping people in the community. But in a transparent moment Kerri will admit, "I love the Lord, but in some ways I feel like my life is a façade." Her own sense of insecurity is behind much of her effort of trying to look good to others, and she says she’s running out of energy to keep it up.

We can probably all relate in some way because it’s not possible to have perfect motives. We love the Lord and others, but our motives for how we live the Christian life are sometimes mixed with our desire to be valued or praised.

Jesus talked about those who give, pray, and fast in order to be seen (Matt. 6:1–18). He taught in the Sermon on the Mount to “give your gifts in private,” to “pray to your Father in private,” and “when you fast, don't make it obvious” (vv. 4, 6, 16 nlt).

Serving is most often done publicly, but maybe a little anonymous service could help us learn to rest in God’s opinion of us. He who created us in His image values us so much that He gave us His Son and shows us His love each day.

Dear Lord, please forgive me for desiring praise from others more than from You. Please help me as I struggle to keep my motives pure.

Our desire to please God should be our highest motive for obeying God.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Solo una apariencia

Leer: Mateo 6:1-6 | La Biblia en un año: Hebreos 12

… sea tu limosna en secreto; y tu Padre que ve en lo secreto te recompensará en público (Mateo 6:4).

Carina se esfuerza muchísimo para que la gente la admire. Se muestra feliz casi todo el tiempo para que los demás lo noten y la elogien por su actitud. Algunos la felicitan porque la ven ayudar a personas de la comunidad. Sin embargo, cuando se sincera, admite: «Amo al Señor, pero, en cierto modo, siento que mi vida es solo una apariencia». Una sensación de inseguridad se esconde detrás de sus esfuerzos por intentar quedar bien ante los demás, y reconoce que ya no puede seguir así.

Tal vez todos nos identifiquemos en algo, ya que es imposible tener motivaciones perfectas. Amamos al Señor y a los demás, pero lo que nos mueve en la vida cristiana suele mezclarse con el deseo de ser reconocidos o valorados.

Jesús habló de los que dan, oran y ayunan para que los vean (Mateo 6:1-6). En el Sermón del Monte, enseñó: «sea tu limosna en secreto», «cerrada la puerta, ora a tu Padre» y «cuando […] ayunen, no se muestren afligidos (vv. 4, 6, 16 [RVC]).

Aunque el servicio suele hacerse en público, quizá un poco de auxilio anónimo podría ayudarnos a aprender a valorar lo que Dios opina de nosotros. El que nos creó a su imagen nos valora tanto que entregó a su Hijo y nos muestra su amor cada día.

Señor, perdóname por desear el elogio de los demás más que el tuyo. Ayúdame a tener motivaciones puras.

El deseo de agradar a Dios debería ser nuestra mayor motivación para obedecerlo.

Unser Täglich Brot - Nur Fassade

Lesen: Matthäus 6,1-6 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hesekiel 5–7; Hebräer 12

Wenn du aber Almosen gibst, lass deine linke Hand nicht wissen, was die rechte tut . . . und dein Vater wird dir’s vergelten. Matthäus 6,4

Kerri tut alles, damit sie bewundert wird. Meistens ist sie fröhlich, damit andere sie bemerken und ihr für ihre positive Einstellung Komplimente machen. Manche schenken ihr Anerkennung, weil sie sich so für andere einsetzt. Doch in manchen Momenten gibt sie ehrlich zu: „Ich liebe Jesus, aber manchmal habe ich das Gefühl, mein ganzes Leben ist nur Fassade.“ Hinter allem Bemühen, nach außen toll zu wirken, steckt vor allem Unsicherheit, und sie sagt, sie habe bald keine Kraft mehr, das weiter durchzuhalten.

Wir können uns vermutlich alle ein Stück weit darin wiederfinden, denn es ist unmöglich, absolut reine Motive zu haben. Wir lieben Gott und andere, aber die Motivation dafür, wie wir als Christen leben, ist oft durchsetzt von unserem Wunsch, gelobt und geliebt zu werden.

Jesus spricht auch von Menschen, die spenden, beten und fasten, um gesehen zu werden (Matth. 6,1-6). In der Bergpredigt lehrte er, unser Almosen solle „verborgen“ bleiben, wir sollten „im Verborgenen“ beten und man sollte nicht fasten, „um sich vor den Leuten zu zeigen“ (V.4.6.16).

Dienen geschieht meist sehr oft in der Öffentlichkeit, aber ein klein wenig anonymer Dienst könnte uns helfen, mehr darauf zu achten, was Gott von uns denkt. Er, der uns als sein Ebenbild geschaffen hat, hat uns so lieb, dass er seinen einzigen Sohn für uns gab und uns jeden Tag seine Liebe zeigt.

Lieber Herr, vergib mir, wo ich mir öfter von anderen ein Lob wünsche als von dir. Bitte hilf mir, immer wieder meine Motivation zu prüfen.

Der Wunsch, Gott zu gefallen, sollte die größte Motivation für unseren Gehorsam sein.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Фасад

автор: Анн Ситас

Читать сейчас: Матфея 6:1-6 | Библия за год: Иезекииль 5-7; 2 Тимофею 1

Чтобы милостыня твоя была втайне; и Отец твой, видящий тайное, воздаст тебе явно. — Матфея 6:4

Кэрри изо всех сил старается понравиться людям. Она весело улыбается, чтобы окружающие заметили и похвалили ее за оптимизм. Другие хвалят ее, потому что видят, как она помогает соседям. Но в минуты откровенности Кэрри признается: «Я люблю Господа, однако в моей жизни столько показного...» За стараниями выглядеть хорошо перед людьми прячется чувство неуверенности. Она старается сохранить достойную внешность, и от этого сильно устает.

Вероятно, мы все в чем-то похожи на Кэрри, потому что человеку на земле невозможно иметь совершенно чистые мотивы. Мы любим Господа и ближних, но наше стремление жить по-христиански нередко смешивается с желанием славы и признания.

Иисус говорил о тех, кто давал милостыню, молился и постился ради того, чтобы показаться перед людьми (Мф. 6:1-6). В Нагорной проповеди Он учил, что милостыня должна совершаться втайне, что молиться нужно за закрытой дверью, а, постясь, не ходить с мрачным выражением лица (Мф. 6:4, 6, 16).

Служение по большей части совершается на людях, но, возможно, мы можем сделать что-то незаметно от других, чтобы напомнить себе, что главное – похвала от Бога. Он, создавший нас по Своему образу, любит нас настолько, что отдал за нас Своего Сына, и проявляет заботу о нас каждый день.

Господь, прости мне желание получать славу от других, а не от Тебя. Сделай чистыми мои мотивы и побуждения.

Наше желание угодить Богу должно быть главным мотивом послушания Ему.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une façade

Lisez : Matthieu 6.1‑6 | La Bible en un an : Ézéchiel 5 – 7 et Hébreux 12

[Afin] que ton aumône se fasse en secret ; et ton Père, qui voit dans le secret, te le rendra. (Matthieu 6.4)

Kerri s’efforce d’amener les gens à l’admirer. Elle est enjouée la plupart du temps, pour que les autres la remarquent et la complimentent sur son entrain. Certains l’y encouragent, car ils la voient venir en aide à des gens de la collectivité. Par contre, dans un instant de transparence, Kerri avouera ceci : « J’aime le Seigneur, mais j’ai l’impression en quelque sorte que ma vie n’est qu’une façade. » Confrontée au fait que son insécurité sous‑tend une grande partie de ses efforts pour gagner l’estime des gens, elle dit ne plus avoir l’énergie de continuer dans cette voie.

Nous nous identifions probablement tous à elle jusqu’à un certain point, car il est impossible de nourrir constamment des motivations pures. Nous aimons le Seigneur et les autres, mais nos motifs pour vivre selon les préceptes de Christ sont parfois teintés de notre désir d’estime et d’éloges.

Jésus a d’ailleurs parlé de ceux qui donnent, prient et jeûnent pour être vus des hommes (MT 6.1‑6). Dans le sermon sur la montagne, il incite à faire l’aumône sans que la main gauche ne sache ce que fait la droite, à prier le Père dans le lieu secret et à jeûner sans avoir l’air triste (V. 4,6,16).

Servir Dieu se fait la plupart du temps en public, mais il se pourrait qu’un peu de service rendu dans l’anonymat nous aide à apprendre à nous appuyer sur l’opinion que Dieu a de nous. Celui qui nous a créés à son image nous estime à tel point qu’il nous a donné son Fils et qu’il nous témoigne son amour chaque jour.

Le désir de plaire à Dieu devrait nous inciter fortement à lui obéir.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ