Monday, November 21, 2016

From Mistake to Masterpiece

Sir Edwin Landseer
Over a hundred years ago, a group of fishermen were relaxing in the dining room of a Scottish seaside inn, trading fish stories. One of the men gestured widely, depicting the size of a fish that got away. His arm struck the serving maid's tea tray, sending the teapot flying into the whitewashed wall, where its contents left an irregular brown splotch.

The innkeeper surveyed the damage and sighed, "The whole wall will have to be repainted."

"Perhaps not," offered a stranger. "Let me work with it."
Having nothing to lose, the proprietor consented. The man pulled pencils, brushes, some jars of linseed oil, and pigment out of an art box. He sketched lines around the stains and dabbed shades and colors throughout the splashes of tea. In time, an image began to emerge: a stag with a great rack of antlers. The man inscribed his signature at the bottom, paid for his meal, and left. His name: Sir Edwin Landseer, famous painter of wildlife.

In his hands, a mistake became a masterpiece. God's hands do the same, over and over. He draws together the disjointed blotches in our life and renders them an expression of his love. We become pictures, "examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us" (Eph. 2:7 NLT).

Receive God's work. Drink deeply from his well of grace.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - STAND FIRM AND STAND TOGETHER

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 1 Corinthians 12:24b-25

As members of the same family we have the responsibility to come to the aid of another member who is suffering. The body of Christ is strong when each part is closely knit together. When one part suffers, all the other members suffer (1 Corinthians 12:20–27).

Members of the persecuted church who have been helped by others around the world have made comments like those of young Salamat Masih in Pakistan. He was charged with writing blasphemies against the Prophet Mohammed—even though he was illiterate. He was on death row until finally exonerated. After receiving cards from all over the world assuring him of prayers, Salamat said: “I never realized that I had so many brothers and sisters around the world.”

A pastor who was attacked and hurt in Indonesia was so traumatized that he and the family left the area and the ministry. Before we judge him, perhaps we should ask if this pastor ever received enough encouragement and help from other churches and believers. Could it be that he felt so alone because there were not enough other people who cared for him?

Another believer from Hindu background in eastern Indonesia was led to the Lord by a doctor who prayed for him regarding his incurable disease and God healed him. He lost no time in joining a local church.

He said, “At that time, a lot of people accepted Jesus in my village, but they were afraid of the threats from their families. When they convert, village officials come to interrogate them. I, myself, have been interrogated many times after my conversion, and warned me not to convert others. But I was not afraid. I chose to keep my faith in Him no matter what happened.” He experienced severe opposition and persecution from everyone he knew but he held fast to his faith. Open Doors then connected him with a group of other believers from Hindu background.

In November 2010, he and his family met a different kind of opposition that tested their faith. Mount Bromo erupted, covering hundreds of hectares of farmlands and plantations with volcanic ash. “Our livestock died, and we could not work on the farm…People around me ask why I can still smile and be happy. I just tell them that although I am poor and I face a lot of difficulties, I have Jesus. He gives me joy in my heart…Being with other believers reminds me that I am not alone. I am encouraged all the more to share the gospel with my people.”

RESPONSE: Today I will remember that I am part of a large body…a family that deeply cares for me.

PRAYER: Pray for isolated believers that God will show them the reality of standing strong together.

Women of the Bible - The Widow with the Two Coins

Her character: Though extremely poor, she is one of the most greathearted people in the Bible. Just after warning his disciples to watch out for the teachers of the law, who devour widows' houses, Jesus caught sight of her in the temple. He may have called attention to her as a case in point.
Her sorrow: To be alone, without a husband to provide for her.
Her joy: To surrender herself to God completely, trusting him to act on her behalf.
Key Scriptures: Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4 

Her Story

With Passover approaching, the temple was packed with worshipers from all over Israel. The previous Sunday, Jesus had created a sensation as he rode down the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem, mounted on a donkey. A large crowd had gathered, carpeting the road with palm branches and shouting: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest."

Some of the Pharisees, scandalized that Jesus was being hailed as Messiah, demanded, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

Stung by his words, the teachers of the law began to plot how they could break the law by murdering him at their first opportunity.

Days later, after warning his disciples to watch out for the teachers of the law who preyed on widows for their money, Jesus sat opposite the temple treasury, in the Court of the Women. The place was crowded with people dropping their offerings in one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles that hung on the walls. But Jesus had eyes for only one of them. He watched as a widow deposited two small copper coins, less than a day's wages.

Quickly, he called to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

No one else would have noticed the woman. But Jesus, with eyes that penetrated both her circumstances and her heart, recognized the astonishing nature of her gift. Her gesture was a sign of complete abandonment to God.

Without faith, she wouldn't have offered her last penny, believing God would care for her better than she could care for herself. But there is yet another, more subtle aspect to Her Story. How easy it would have been for her to conclude that her gift was simply too meager to offer. What need had God for two copper coins anyway? Surely they meant more to her than they would to him. Somehow she must have had the grace to believe in the value of her small offering.

Maybe God, in a manner of speaking, did need what she had to offer. Perhaps her gesture consoled Jesus a short time before his passion and death. She had given everything she had to live on; soon, he would give his life.

The story of the widow and her two copper coins reminds us that God's kingdom works on entirely different principles than the kingdom of this world. In the divine economy, the size of the gift is of no consequence; what matters is the size of the giver's heart.

Her Promise

God's promise of provision is nowhere more evident than in this story of the widow who gave all she had. She had no one else to rely on—only God. That's true of us as well, isn't it? Regardless of our financial situation, whether we are financially well off or constantly skimming the bottom, we have no one else to rely on. Our true security is not in our belongings or our bank accounts, but in God alone. And he has promised to provide.

Girlfriends in God - When Grace Is Complicated

Today’s Truth

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart… (Psalm 24:3-4a, ESV)

Friend to Friend

As of last summer, I became a watering girl. My sunny days often begin with the garden hose in hand. And I love it. The birds sing melodies in all their chirpy cuteness and the plants respond with claps of gratitude. (I seriously think they clap … in their own way. Moving on...)

Early one morning I unwound the hose and watered our small cucumber garden. Then I headed toward a few thirsty plant friends in the back of the lawn along the fence. As I began to water, the flow trickled to a stop.

I looked up and spied the water-stopping nemesis. A kink in the hose.

So frustrating.

There was plenty of water. It just couldn’t flow because the hose had flipped and kinked. I tried to flap it out from where I was across the yard, but this kink was a good bit down the line. It required that I drop everything and address it. Once the kink was fixed, the water flowed smoothly and the rest of my plants got their drinks.

What a picture of faith!

Just like a hose is connected to a water source, our souls are connected to the Living Water. And though as believers we are always connected to Him and always have access to the refreshment and nourishment our souls need, there are times when kinks happen and the flow stops.

My kinks come in all shapes and sizes. I get flipped over by disappointments, unmet expectations, other people, or simply by my attitude, unbelief, fears, behaviors, rebellion, or unhealthy emotions.

How can I work out the kinks of my circumstances and relationships? By turning to the grace that God offers. By asking for His grace instead of depending on my own strength. By going to Him in prayer. By aligning my life and my choices to the teachings of the Bible. By yielding to His Spirit.

The biggest of all kinks, however, is my sin.

Yep. I said the s-word.

Pastor Timothy Keller said it this way; “The sin that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about.”

Ouch. Big kink. Right?

How can I work out the kinks of my sin? By confession. I drop everything and address it.

Here are two opposite sides of the same kink-coin found in Scripture.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10, ESV).

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (James 4:17)

Got a few sin kinks? Sure you do. We all do. Some might stem from blatant rebellion to God’s will, while others might be simply NOT doing something you know you ought to do. Regardless, if you want to have a right relationship with God, you must deal with sin honestly. Nothing can separate you from God’s love, but sin sure can stop the flow of His peace, grace, strength, and joy into your life.

The Anglican theologian Richard Sibbes summed up the good news of Jesus beautifully when he said; “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.”

I. Am. So. Thankful.

Let the grace of God work out your kinks as they happen. When you realize your error, drop everything and address it. The Bible says that the Lord’s kindness leads us to repentance, which, in turn, unleashes the powerful flow of His peace, grace, strength, and joy.

Now, I admit this isn’t always easy. There are times when I want to justify my sin and ignore grace. But if I can recognize my stubbornness, pride, arrogance, laziness, over-indulgence, and so on for what it is and remember that God’s grace restores and heals, then I am empowered to handle my sin swiftly and sincerely.

Let’s Pray

Lord, I am so thankful that your mercy is greater than my sin. Please forgive me for ____________________ . You know my heart and You know my ways. Cover me fresh with grace today so that I can experience Your joy, strength, and peace.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Time to be a woman of courage! Grab your journal and list a few of your known kinks. Pray that the Lord would reveal some of your unknown kinks to you and ask that He would contend with you in those areas. If you are feeling extra courageous, CLICK HERE to visit my blog and POST A PRAYER that asks God to help you with 2-3 of the specific kinks that you are convicted of today. Then, while you are there, pray for a few of the other women who posted. Encourage one another. Be the body. Be the beauty.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s post is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’s latest book, I Want I ALL, which includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back of the book; no extra purchase required. You will love that it’s easy to read yet contains compelling and challenging content. You'll connect with the stories, probably dust off a few heart dreams, think bigger thoughts of God, laugh and smile a lot, search your soul, and even cry a little ... because each page lovingly directs you to the personal grace and truth of JESUS. (Get a FREE Downloadable “I Want It All” COLORING and JOURNAL book that’s the perfect companion to the book when you sign up to receive her blog!)

Un Dia a la Vez - Digamos «NO» al divorcio (primera parte)

El esposo debe amar a su esposa como a su propio cuerpo. El que ama a su esposa se ama a sí mismo. Efesios 5:28

Solo en nosotros está la decisión de decirle «NO» al divorcio. En su Palabra, Dios deja bien clara varias advertencias. Por ejemplo:
  • «No os unáis en yugo desigual con los incrédulos» (2 Corintios 6:14, rv-60). Antes de dar el paso del matrimonio, la pregunta es la siguiente: «¿Por qué te casas con un inconverso?». Si lo consideras, no todos los casos terminan felices, pues muchos no van jamás a la iglesia aunque se casen porque uno no puede cambiar a nadie.
  • «El hombre deja a su padre y a su madre, y se une a su mujer» (Génesis 2:24). Muchos matrimonios llegan al divorcio por los suegros. Si te casas, debes «dejar» la falda de mamá. Claro, hay casos preciosos donde la suegra es de bendición en el hogar.
  • «Y los dos se funden en un solo ser» (Génesis 2:24). Se trata de un solo ser, pues no son parejas de tres ni de cuatro. Es decir, debe ser de una sola mujer y un solo hombre porque ya somos uno en Cristo.
  • «¡Goza con la esposa de tu juventud!» (Proverbios 5:18). Por eso debes disfrutar a tu cónyuge aun en la vejez. No dice que el amor es solo durante la juventud, sino que es para siempre.
  • «Dando honor a la mujer como a vaso más frágil» (1 Pedro 3:7, rv-60). En esto se incluye el respeto, la ternura, la suavidad.
Únete a esta campaña y digamos «NO» al divorcio. No perjudiquemos más la Palabra de Dios y démosle testimonio al mundo.

Verse of the Day - November 21, 2016

1 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV) [ Thanksgiving ] I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—

Read all of 1 Corinthians 1

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, November 21, 2016

Zechariah 10:1-12
Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, who gives showers of rain to you, the vegetation in the field to everyone. For the teraphim utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; the dreamers tell false dreams, and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer for lack of a shepherd. My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his proud war-horse. Out of them shall come the cornerstone, out of them the tent peg, out of them the battle bow, out of them every commander. Together they shall be like warriors in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight, for the Lord is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses. I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,     and they shall be as though I had not rejected them; for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. Then the people of Ephraim shall become like warriors, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and rejoice, their hearts shall exult in the Lord. I will signal for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as numerous as they were before. Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and they shall rear their children and return.  I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria; I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, until there is no room for them. They[d] shall pass through the sea of distress, and the waves of the sea shall be struck down, and all the depths of the Nile dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. I will make them strong in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name, says the Lord.

Galatians 6:1-10
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Luke 18:15-30
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Morning Psalms

Psalms 106:1-18
1  Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
2  Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord, or declare all his praise?
3  Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.
4  Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people; help me when you deliver them;
5  that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory in your heritage.
6  Both we and our ancestors have sinned; we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
7  Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wonderful works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea.
8  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, so that he might make known his mighty power.
9  He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry; he led them through the deep as through a desert.
10  So he saved them from the hand of the foe, and delivered them from the hand of the enemy.
11  The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left.
12  Then they believed his words; they sang his praise.
13  But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.
14  But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert;
15  he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.
16  They were jealous of Moses in the camp, and of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord.
17  The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram.
18  Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Evening Psalms

Psalms 106:19-48
19  They made a calf at Horeb and worshiped a cast image.
20  They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21  They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
22  wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23  Therefore he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
24  Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.
25  They grumbled in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
26  Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27  and would disperse their descendants among the nations, scattering them over the lands.
28  Then they attached themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29  they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds, and a plague broke out among them.
30  Then Phinehas stood up and interceded, and the plague was stopped.
31  And that has been reckoned to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.
32  They angered the Lord at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account;
33  for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke words that were rash.
34  They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them,
35  but they mingled with the nations and learned to do as they did.
36  They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
37  They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
38  they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood.
39  Thus they became unclean by their acts, and prostituted themselves in their doings.
40  Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;
41  he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
42  Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.
43  Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes, and were brought low through their iniquity.
44  Nevertheless he regarded their distress when he heard their cry.
45  For their sake he remembered his covenant, and showed compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
46  He caused them to be pitied by all who held them captive.
47  Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
48  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the Lord!

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

The Daily Meditation for MONDAY, November 21, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Richelle Thompson

Luke 18:16 (NRSV) Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

Every Sunday is a rush for a mother with young children. The pressure to make an early arrival (or at least not a late one) increases when you add the component that we’re a clergy family. It does not look great to arrive after Daddy starts preaching.

So I wasn’t super-patient with my daughter. As preschoolers are prone to, she kept asking questions about our neighbors. Why aren’t they going to church? Are they sleeping? What are they doing? What about God bread? (That’s what she called the eucharist). Finally, frustrated and late, I told her that our neighbors were probably sick this morning.

But, she asked plaintively. How will they get better without God bread?

Indeed. Her view of the eucharist was both childlike and deeply profound. And perhaps that is what Jesus is telling us in this scripture passage. Engaging the world like a child, with simple awe and wonder, can be an opportunity to experience and receive the kingdom of God.

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 - What About You?

Read: Ephesians 4:25–32 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 16–17; James 3

The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21

Emily listened as a group of friends talked about their Thanksgiving traditions with family. “We go around the room and each one tells what he or she is thankful to God for,” Gary said.

Another friend mentioned his family's Thanksgiving meal and prayertime. He recalled time with his dad before he had died: “Even though Dad had dementia, his prayer of thanks to the Lord was clear.” Randy shared, “My family has a special time of singing together on the holiday. My grandma goes on and on and on!” Emily’s sadness and jealousy grew as she thought of her own family, and she complained: “Our traditions are to eat turkey, watch television, and never mention anything about God or giving thanks.”

Right away Emily felt uneasy with her attitude. You are part of that family. What would you like to do differently to change the day? she asked herself. She decided she wanted to privately tell each person she was thankful to the Lord that they were her sister, niece, brother, or great-niece. When the day arrived, she expressed her thankfulness for them one by one, and they all felt loved. It wasn’t easy because it wasn’t normal conversation in her family, but she experienced joy as she shared her love for each of them.

“Let everything you say be good and helpful,” wrote the apostle Paul, “so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Eph. 4:29 nlt). Our words of thanks can remind others of their value to us and to God.

Dear Lord, show me how I can be an encouragement to others with my words.

The human spirit fills with hope at the sound of an encouraging word.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - ¿Qué harás tú?

Leer: Efesios 4:25-32 | La Biblia en un año: Santiago 3

La muerte y la vida están en poder de la lengua… (Proverbios 18:21).

Emilia escuchaba mientras unos amigos hablaban de sus costumbres para la fiesta de Acción de Gracias. Uno explicó: «Uno por uno, decimos por qué estamos agradecidos». Otro mencionó: «Aunque mi padre tenía demencia senil, su oración de gratitud al Señor era clara». Y otro compartió: «Nosotros cantamos juntos, ¡y mi abuela nunca para de cantar!». Emilia sintió celos y tristeza al pensar en su familia, y se quejó: «Nuestra costumbre es comer, mirar televisión y no mencionar a Dios ni dar gracias por nada».

En ese momento, se sintió mal por su actitud y se preguntó: Tú eres parte de esa familia. ¿Qué te gustaría hacer para cambiar ese día? Entonces, decidió decirle a cada uno que daba gracias al Señor porque eran su hermana, sobrina, hermano o sobrina nieta. Llegó el día y así lo hizo, y todos se sintieron amados. Fue difícil porque no era habitual conversar así en familia, pero se sintió muy feliz de decirles que los amaba.

El apóstol Pablo escribió: «No salga de vuestra boca ninguna palabra mala, sino sólo la que sea buena para edificación, según la necesidad del momento, para que imparta gracia a los que escuchan (Efesios 4:29 LBLA). Nuestras palabras de agradecimiento pueden recordarles a otros cuánto valen para nosotros y para Dios.

Señor, muéstrame cómo puedo alentar a otros con mis palabras.

El espíritu humano se llena de esperanza con el sonido de una palabra alentadora.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Was ist mit dir?

Lesen: Epheser 4,25-32 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hesekiel 16–17; Jakobus 3

Die Zunge kann töten oder Leben spenden. Sprüche 18,21

Emily hörte interessiert zu, was ihre Freunde über die Thanksgiving-Traditionen in ihren Familien erzählten. „Wir gehen reihum und jeder erzählt, wofür er oder sie Gott dankbar sind“, sagte Gary.

Ein anderer Freund erzählte vom Festessen und dem gemeinsamen Beten. Er erinnerte sich an die Zeit kurz bevor sein Vater starb: „Obwohl Papa dement war, war sein Dankgebet völlig klar.“ Und Randy meinte: „Wir singen viel. Meine Oma kann überhaupt nicht aufhören!“ Emily dachte an ihre eigene Familie und in ihr wuchsen Traurigkeit und Eifersucht: „Wir essen Truthahn und sehen fern, aber von Gott oder Dank ist keine Rede.“

Doch sofort wurde ihr unbehaglich. Du gehörst auch zu der Familie. Was könntest du tun, damit es anders wird?, fragte sie sich. Und sie nahm sich vor, das nächste Mal jedem einzelnen zu sagen, dass sie Gott dankbar sei, ihn oder sie als Schwester, Nichte, Bruder oder Großnichte zu haben. Das tat sie dann auch und alle freuten sich darüber. Es war nicht einfach, weil solche Unterhaltungen in ihrer Familie nicht üblich waren, aber Emily empfand eine tiefe Befriedigung darüber, dass sie es gewagt hatte.

„Redet, was gut ist“, schreibt der Apostel Paulus, „was erbaut und notwendig ist, damit es Segen bringe denen, die es hören“ (Eph. 4,29). Unser Dank kann anderen zeigen, dass sie für uns und für Gott wertvoll sind.

Lieber Herr, zeig mir, wie ich mit meinen Worten andere ermutigen kann.

Ein ermutigendes Wort schenkt neue Hoffnung.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - А что у вас?

автор: Анн Ситас

Читать сейчас: Ефесянам 4:25-32 | Библия за год: Иезекииль 16-17; Титу 1

Смерть и жизнь – во власти языка. — Притчи 18:21

Эмили слушала, как ее друзья рассказывают о своих семейных традициях на День благодарения. «Мы собираемся вместе и по очереди рассказываем, за что каждый благодарен Богу», – сказал Гари. Еще один друг рассказал о том, что они устраивают молитву за праздничным столом. Он вспомнил своего отца незадолго до смерти: «Папа страдал от слабоумия, но его благодарственная молитва была ясной и искренней». Рэнди сказала: «У нас есть традиция совместного пения на праздник. Больше всех любит петь бабушка: ей всегда мало». У Эмили в душе накапливалась тоска и досада, пока она наконец не пожаловалась: «А у нас вся традиция – съесть индейку и таращиться в телевизор. Никто и не думает вспомнить о Боге или поблагодарить».

Но тут же Эмили почувствовала укор совести за такое отношение. «Ты ведь часть этой семьи. Что бы ты могла сделать, чтобы изменить такое положение дел?» – спросила она себя. Она решила, что попробует лично поговорить с каждым из родственников и сказать о своей благодарности Богу, что у нее есть такая сестра, брат или племянник. Когда настал День благодарения, она обошла их одного за другим с добрыми словами, и у всех посветлело на душе. Конечно, было непросто, потому что никто в этой семье раньше такого не делал, однако оно того стоило.

«Никакое гнилое слово да не исходит из уст ваших, а только доброе для назидания в вере, чтобы оно доставляло благодать слушающим», – писал Павел (Еф. 4:29). Слова благодарности из наших уст напомнят людям о их ценности в Божьих и наших глазах.

Дорогой Господь, покажи мне, как я могу ободрить других своими словами.

От добрых слов дух наполняется надеждой.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Et vous ?

Lisez : Éphésiens 4.25‑32 | La Bible en un an : Ézéchiel 16 – 17 et Jacques 3

La mort et la vie sont au pouvoir de la langue. Proverbes 18.21

Emily écoutait un groupe d’amis parler de leurs traditions familiales relatives à l’Action de grâces. « Chaque personne dans la pièce indique à tour de rôle ce dont elle est reconnaissante envers Dieu », a expliqué Gary. En racontant le repas et la séance de prière d’une Action de grâces type en famille, Randy en a évoqué une passée avec son père avant sa mort : « Même si papa souffrait de démence, sa prière d’action de grâces était lucide », en ajoutant : « Ma famille passe toujours de précieux moments à chanter ensemble, et mamie est insatiable ! » Or, Emily se sentait de plus en plus triste et jalouse en repensant à sa propre famille, si bien qu’elle s’en est plainte : « On a pour tradition de manger de la dinde et de regarder la télévision sans jamais mentionner Dieu ni la moindre gratitude. »

Regrettant déjà son attitude, Emily s’est dit : Tu fais partie de cette famille. Que voudrais‑tu faire pour changer cette journée ? Elle a alors résolu de dire en privé à chacun de ses proches qu’elle était reconnaissante à Dieu de l’avoir pour soeur, nièce, frère ou petite‑nièce. Le jour venu, elle l’a fait, et ils se sont tous sentis aimés. Ce n’était pas facile de contrer ainsi la norme au sein de sa famille, mais elle en a éprouvé une grande joie.

« Qu’il ne sorte de votre bouche aucune parole mauvaise, mais, s’il y a lieu, quelque bonne parole, qui sert à l’édification et communique une grâce à ceux qui l’entendent » (ÉP 4.29). Rappelons-nous donc ainsi la valeur qu’ont les autres pour nous et pour Dieu !

Un mot d’encouragement remplit d’espoir son destinataire.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ