Monday, November 28, 2016

Women of the Bible - Mary Magdalene

Her name means: "Bitterness"

Her character: Though mistakenly characterized as a prostitute in many popular writings, the Bible says only that Mary was possessed by seven demons. She probably suffered a serious mental or physical illness from which Jesus delivered her. She is a beautiful example of a woman whose life was poured out in response to God's extravagant grace.
Her sorrow: To watch Jesus' agony at Calvary.
Her joy: To have been the first witness to Jesus' resurrection.
Key Scriptures: Matthew 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1-19; Luke 8:2; 24:10; John 19:25; 20:1-18 

Her Story

She made her way through the shadows to the garden tomb, grateful for the darkness that shrouded her tears. How, she wondered, could the world go on as though nothing at all had happened? How could the mountains keep from crashing down, the sky resist falling? Had everyone but her lost their minds? Had no one noticed that the world had collapsed two days ago?

For the past three years she had followed the rabbi across Galilee and Judea, providing for him out of her own small purse. She had loved his hearty laughter and the smile that flashed across his face whenever he saw her. Wherever they went, she felt privileged to tell her story, grateful to be among his growing band of followers.

She had grown up in Magdala, a prosperous town on the west bank of the Sea of Galilee. But she had not prospered. How could a woman thrive when she was filled with demons who controlled her mind? Though she had begged for mercy, no mercy had been given. Instead, her delusions locked her in a nightmare world, isolating her even from small pleasures and simple kindnesses.

But then Jesus had come. Like no rabbi she had ever encountered, he seemed neither afraid nor repulsed by her illness. "Mary," he had called to her, as though he had known her all her life. Despite the heat, she shivered as he drew near, her stomach suddenly queasy. Though she backed away, she could feel a great light advancing toward her, forcing the darkness away. Suddenly her familiar companions were themselves begging mercy, but no mercy was given. 

Mary Magdalene, a woman possessed by seven demons, was restored to her right mind, her bondage a thing of the past. Eyes that had once been holes swallowing the light now shone like pools reflecting the sun.

Since then, everyone in Magdala had marveled at the change in her. How could Mary not love such a man? How could she not want to do everything for him? She thought she was living in heaven—to be close to Jesus; to witness healing after healing; to be stirred, surprised, and refreshed by his teaching. This, indeed, was joy to a woman unaccustomed to joy.

But Jesus had his share of enemies, she knew. Religious leaders in Jerusalem had been stung by his truth-telling, offended by his galling lack of diplomacy. Still, every trap they laid for him had failed … until now.

How suddenly they had struck, even though Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims for Passover. The temple guard had arrested him at night and then turned him over to Roman authorities, who mocked and whipped him nearly to death. The rabbi from Galilee, who had promised the poor in spirit they would surely inherit the kingdom of heaven, was now in chains. His hunger and thirst for righteousness had left him not full, but empty and broken. Unblessed, he had become a curse, his body hanging naked on a Roman cross.

Mary had done her best to fight off the shadows that crowded near again as she waited through the awful hours of his agony, unable to look at the spectacle before her, yet unable to turn away. Whatever his suffering, she needed to be near him.

When it was over, she had watched Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea unfasten his body from the cross. Gently they had wrapped him in myrrh and aloe, enough for a king's burial. Finally, as the stone rolled across the tomb, sealing it shut, she had turned away.

After the Sabbath was over, on the next day, Mary purchased yet more spices. Before the sun came up on Sunday, she approached the tomb. How on earth, she wondered, could she roll away the massive stone? But, to her surprise, the mouth of tomb lay wide open. Strips of linen were lying on the floor and the burial cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head was folded up by itself. What had they done with his body? she wondered. To be cheated of this last chance of touching him and caring for him was more than she could bear.

She stood outside the tomb weeping. Then, bending over, she looked inside. Two creatures in white sat on the stony shelf where the body had been laid. "Woman, why are you crying?" they asked.

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." Then she turned and saw a man studying her.

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"

Mistaking him for the gardener, she pleaded, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

"Mary," he said.

Startled, she cried out, "Rabboni" (meaning Teacher).

By now the sun had risen. With it fled the darkness that had pursued her ever since she had heard the news of his arrest. Jesus, the one who had raised her from a living death, had himself risen from the dead.

Mary fell to the ground in awe, remembering the words of the prophet Isaiah: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." The garden that had so recently been a place of shadows and gloom now seemed green and bright, as though paradise itself had broken through.

The risen Jesus had appeared, not to rulers and kings, nor even first of all to his male disciples, but to a woman whose love had held her at the cross and led her to the grave. Mary Magdalene, a person who had been afflicted by demons, whose testimony would not have held up in court because she was a woman, was the first witness of the resurrection. Once again, God had revealed himself to the lowly, and it would only be the humble whose hearing was sharp enough to perceive the message of his love.

Her Promise

Jesus not only knew Mary's name, he knew everything about her. He remembered the day he had cast the demons out of her. He remembered her many practical kindnesses. He saw how she suffered with him as she watched him die on the cross.

Just as Jesus knew the intimate details of Mary's life, he knows about you. When you are tempted to lose hope, when life seems too empty to go on, when grief overwhelms you—Jesus cares. When those you love have let you down, when you think you can't go on for another minute, when your problems crush you—Jesus cares. He calls your name, just as he called Mary's. And you, too, can go on like the women who went from the tomb, perhaps still a bit afraid yet "filled with joy" (Matthew 28:8).

Standing Strong Through the Storm - RESPONDING WITH PRAISE

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The overflow of singing praises amid great difficulties has tremendous spiritual power. Paul and Silas set the biblical pattern in the prison in Philippi (Acts 16).

Helen Berhane spent almost three years in the shipping container prisons of Eritrea. In her book Song of the Nightingale, she shares about the first time she and other women were put in an old metal shipping container that was very hot and filled with fleas and lice:

Everyone was very despondent, and many of the women were angry. They asked me what we should do and I knew they were expecting me to say that we should shout or bang the container, to let our captors know that we were not going to tolerate this treatment. But I remembered… [reading] about how Christians, like nightingales, could not be prevented from singing even in captivity, and I suggested that we sing: “We should praise God in spite of the fleas, in spite of the lice, in spite of the heat. We should thank God despite our circumstances.” So I began to sing with them, and pray, and share the Word of God from memory.[1] 

Pastor Ung Sophal sat in a filthy Cambodian prison badly beaten. His hands and feet were chained for five months. “Only my mouth was unchained,” he said.

“...So I sang to God in prison all the time. Another prisoner heard me singing through a small hole in the wall, so I taught him the song—a bit at a time. He passed it on and soon eight of us were singing.”

Archbishop Dominic Tang spent twenty-two years in prison in China for his faith. He reports:

“Besides my prayer and meditation, every day I sang some hymns in a soft voice: ‘Jesus I live for you; Jesus I die for you; Jesus I belong to you. Whether alive or dead I am for Jesus!’ This hymn was taught to me by a Protestant prisoner who lived in my cell.”[2] 

RESPONSE: Today I will respond to all the challenges of life I face with praise and thankfulness.

PRAYER: Pray that all Christian prisoners around the world will also respond to their circumstances as those documented above.

1. Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale, ( Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), pp. 36-37.
2. Tony Lambert, The Resurrection of the Chinese Church (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1991), p 179.

Girlfriends in God - The Problem With Trusting Broken Cisterns

Today’s Truth

‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love…’ (Joel 2:12-13)

Friend to Friend

Jeremiah was just a youngster when he came to know God and began to work for Him as a prophet. He endured year after year of hard times, frustrating people, and complicated disappointments. His message was one that called the people of Jerusalem - God’s chosen people - to turn away from the idols that they had been worshiping and back toward the one, true God.

Let me say it straight: God was miffed at the nation of Israel and He sent Jeremiah to let them know. He had every reason to be angry! He had given the children of Abraham a sacred covenant, a promised future, delivery from oppression, and His tabernacled presence, yet they turned their backs on Him. Continually. They doubted His exclusivity and they set their attentions and affections on things other than God. They worshiped idols made of wood and stone. Powerless and worthless. In Jeremiah 2:13, God said of his people: “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Pastor Greg Laurie describes it this way: “A cistern is a large well or pool carved in a rock. A broken cistern has sprung a leak and can’t hold water. God is saying, “If you go out there to the world and drink from that well, it is not going to satisfy you.”

It sets my mind to wonder.

Why would anyone place her trust in the unstable, un-powerful, unfulfilling things of earth when she can place her trust in a stable, powerful, satisfying God? Seems like such a no-brainer – yet, don’t you and I do that all the time?

Sure we do.

We dig our own cisterns, broken cisterns, and expect them to satisfy our thirst and bring us contentment. We drink from the broken cisterns of materialism, position, wealth, popularity, stuff, relationships, rules and religion. We have faulty expectations that our kids, spouses and friends are meant to satisfy our heart-needs. The ultimate broken cistern, however, is our pursuit of purpose in life via things of this earth.

We were created to pursue God.

 We were created to know God – to be satisfied in Him and Him alone.

To worship Him and Him alone.

Oh, you and I are such a thirsty gaggle of girlfriends, aren’t we? Even as believers, we deal with emptiness and bow to idols other than God. We place our faith in the economy, in our financial situations, in our health, in our employment status, politics, marital status, and our relationships. When they fail or fumble we fall apart … and no wonder! They are all broken cisterns and were never meant to be our source of hope or satisfaction!

Friend, we need to turn away from our broken cisterns and turn toward the springs of living water. From stagnant waters to the Living Water. The Bible tells us that confession is the path to the spring of living water. When we eliminate the things that clutter our faith – the broken things we trust in – and place our faith in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, God’s heart swells with mercy, compassion and grace toward us. He forgives and strengthens us.

Who or what are you trusting in today?

Where is you soul drinking from: broken cisterns or springs of living water?

When Jeremiah was preparing to take God’s message of repentance to Jerusalem, God spoke confidence and promise to his shaking heart. Let these words speak confidence to your heart today, friend. God’s promise to Jeremiah is valid to you and me when we turn away from the broken cisterns of this world and place our trust in Him. “I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:19b).

Jesus Christ is the Living Water our souls are parched for (John 4:13-14). “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”(John 7:37-38).

This was such an important invitation Jesus said it in a LOUD VOICE. Did you catch that? Do you hear it in your heart right now?

Say with the psalmist: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2a).

Go to Him today. Confess. Believe. Drink. Be satisfied.

Let’s Pray

Lord, I’m so thirsty for You! Please forgive me for the times that I have drunk from broken cisterns instead of from Your springs of Living Water! Thank You for Your compassionate grace and ever-flowing love. In a world that is constantly changing, I choose right now to place my trust in You as my unchanging God.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Today we talked about placing our trust in things other than God. Broken cisterns. We all struggle with this to some degree. How has this affected you in the past?

How does it affect you in the present?

In the words of the great philosopher Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” Spend time in prayer about this. Ask God to reveal the broken cisterns you’ve been trying to drink from. Repent of this and commit to a deeper trust-level today. 

More from the Girlfriends

SPECIAL OFFER: If today’s message is where you are and you need more practical help, we have a resource called Trusting God. For a limited time, Gwen is offering a 30% OFF discount on the Trusting God book from her site when you use the coupon code: TRUST30. Click here to get yours now.

This GiG devotion is adapted from Trusting God by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, and Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc.

Un Dia a la Vez - ¿Compromiso o costumbre?

Todas las sendas del Señor son amor y verdad para quienes cumplen los preceptos de su pacto. Salmo 25:10

Si queremos tener éxito en las cosas que realizamos, ya sea en el ámbito espiritual o en el laboral, no debemos hacer nada por costumbre. ¡Qué bueno es poder tener un compromiso y saber que lo que hacemos es como para Dios y no para los hombres!

La mediocridad en las cosas que realizamos dejará una mala impresión de nuestra persona. Además, si es para los negocios de Dios, ¿te figuras la imagen que dejamos cuando hacemos las cosas por costumbre? De inmediato se va a notar nuestra falta de compromiso y de interés. En realidad, Dios busca gente comprometida para bendecir.

Las cosas hechas por costumbre también te pueden llegar a cansar y te pueden llevar a abandonar lo que te ha dado Dios. Tengamos presente que las oportunidades que nos ofrecen las debemos valorar al máximo y disfrutarlas mientras las tengamos.

Pidámosle a Dios que nos guíe a fin de ser personas comprometidas y de una sola palabra. Esto lo debemos aplicar hasta en nuestra relación de pareja. No permitamos que nuestros matrimonios caigan en la rutina. Me parece crudo y frío estar con alguien por estar acostumbrados a esa persona, cuando sé que ese no es el propósito original de Dios.

Si este fuera tu caso, busca ayuda profesional y pídele a Dios que te dé los recursos para reconquistar y amar a tu cónyuge, y para hacer nuevos compromisos de fidelidad, confianza y amor.

Verse of the Day - November 28, 2016

1 Chronicles 16:8 (NIV) Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Read all of 1 Chronicles 16

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, November 28, 2016

Isaiah 1:10-20
Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation-- I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-- Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Luke 20:1-8
One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, "Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?" He answered them, "I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" They discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'Of human origin,' all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet." So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 1 Beatus vir qui non abiit
1   Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2   Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and they meditate on his law day and night.
3   They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.
4   It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5   Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6   For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Psalm 2 Quare fremuerunt gentes?
1   Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2   Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3   Let us break their yoke, they say; let us cast off their bonds from us.
4   He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; the Lord has them in derision.
5   Then he speaks to them in his wrath, and his rage fills them with terror.
6   I myself have set my king . upon my holy hill of Zion
7   Let me announce the decree of the LORD: he said to me, "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
8   Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9   You shall crush them with an iron rod and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10   And now, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11   Submit to the LORD with fear, and with trembling bow before him;
12   Lest he be angry and you perish; for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13   Happy are they all who take refuge in him!

Psalm 3 Domine, quid multiplicati
1   LORD, how many adversaries I have! how many there are who rise up against me!
2   How many there are who say of me, "There is no help for him in his God."
3   But you, O LORD, are a shield about me; you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
4   I call aloud upon the LORD, and he answers me from his holy hill;
5   I lie down and go to sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6   I do not fear the multitudes of people who set themselves against me all around.
7   Rise up, O LORD; set me free, O my God; surely, you will strike all my enemies across the face, you will break the teeth of the wicked.
8   Deliverance belongs to the LORD. Your blessing be upon your people!

Evening Psalms

Psalm 4 Cum invocarem
1   Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; you set me free when I am hard-pressed; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2   You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?
3   Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful; when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me.
4   Tremble, then, and do not sin; speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.
5   Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the LORD.
6   Many are saying, "Oh, that we might see better times!" Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O LORD.
7   You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
8   I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 7 Domine, Deus meus
1   O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me;
2   Lest like a lion they tear me in pieces and snatch me away with none to deliver me.
3   O LORD my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands,
4   If I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered him who without cause is my enemy;
5   Then let my enemy pursue and overtake me, trample my life into the ground, and lay my honor in the dust.
6   Stand up, O LORD, in your wrath; rise up against the fury of my enemies.
7   Awake, O my God, decree justice; let the assembly of the peoples gather round you.
8   Be seated on your lofty throne, O Most High; O LORD, judge the nations.
9   Give judgment for me according to my righteousness, O LORD, and according to my innocence, O Most High.
10   Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.
11   God is my shield and defense; he is the savior of the true in heart.
12   God is a righteous judge; God sits in judgment every day.
13   If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he will bend his bow and make it ready.
14   He has prepared his weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire.
15   Look at those who are in labor with wickedness, who conceive evil, and give birth to a lie.
16   They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made.
17   Their malice turns back upon their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp.
18   I will bear witness that the LORD is righteous; I will praise the Name of the LORD Most High.

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 28, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Richelle Thompson

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (NRSV) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

Hammer Man, my dad called. And I stepped right up, offering the hammer from my little hands to his, large and calloused. A handy man, my dad often called us into the garage to help him with his latest project. Having such an important job made me feel valued and loved. It took years before I realized that he didn’t need someone to hand him a hammer. He wanted to spend time together to talk and listen, to teach the importance of hard work, to be an example and role model.

That’s what Saint Paul entreats of the people of Thessalonica. In this letter, probably the first of Paul’s many, the words are designed to comfort and encourage. Be an example, he writes. Keep up your steady and faithful work as we await the coming again of Christ. Let your actions be a living example of a life of faith. Twelve centuries later, a similar message is attributed to Saint Francis: “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” In another eight hundred years, a loving father expresses the gospel this way: Hammer Man.

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 - Beautiful

Read: Luke 7:36–50 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 33–34; 1 Peter 5

She has done a beautiful thing to me. Mark 14:6

Picture two teenage girls. The first girl is strong and healthy. The other girl has never known the freedom of getting around on her own. From her wheelchair she faces not only the emotional challenges common to life, but also a stream of physical pains and struggles.

But both girls are smiling cheerfully as they enjoy each other’s company. Two beautiful teenagers—each seeing in the other the treasure of friendship.

Jesus devoted much of His time and attention to people like the girl in the wheelchair. People with lifelong disabilities or physical deformities as well as those who were looked down on by others for various reasons. In fact, Jesus let one of “those people” anoint Him with oil, to the disdain of the religious leaders (Luke 7:39). On another occasion, when a woman demonstrated her love with a similar act, Jesus told her critics, “Leave her alone . . . . She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).

God values everyone equally; there are no distinctions in His eyes. In reality, we are all in desperate need of Christ’s love and forgiveness. His love compelled Him to die on the cross for us.

May we see each person as Jesus did: made in God’s image and worthy of His love. Let’s treat everyone we meet with Christlike equality and learn to see beauty as He does.

Dear Lord, help me to see people as You see them—not important because of what they can do or how they look, but because they are made in God’s image and You loved them enough to die for them.

Everyone we meet bears the image of God.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Sin distinción

Leer: Lucas 7:36-50 | La Biblia en un año: 1 Pedro 5

… Ella ha hecho una obra hermosa conmigo (Marcos 14:6 NVI).

Imagina a dos adolescentes. Una es fuerte y saludable. La otra nunca conoció la libertad de moverse sola. Desde su silla de ruedas, no solo enfrenta los desafíos emocionales comunes de la vida, sino también una serie de dolores y dificultades físicas.

No obstante, ambas sonríen alegremente mientras disfrutan de la mutua compañía. Dos adolescentes hermosas; cada una viendo en la otra el tesoro de la amistad.

Jesús dedicó gran parte de su tiempo a personas como la muchacha de la silla de ruedas; personas con discapacidades o deformidades físicas de por vida, o que eran despreciadas por los demás por diversas razones. En realidad, Jesús permitió que una de esas personas lo ungiera con aceite, desairando a los líderes religiosos (Lucas 7:39). En otra demostración similar de amor, Jesús dijo a quienes lo criticaban: «Déjenla en paz […]. Ella ha hecho una obra hermosa conmigo» (Marcos 14:6 NVI).

Dios valora a todos por igual; no hay distinción ante sus ojos. Ciertamente, todos necesitamos desesperadamente el amor y el perdón del Señor. Su amor lo impulsó a morir en la cruz por nosotros.

Veamos a cada persona como lo hacía Jesús: creada a la imagen de Dios, digna de su amor y hermosa. 

Señor, ayúdame a ver a las personas como tú las ves: suficientemente importantes como para haber muerto por ellas.
Todas las personas con quienes nos encontramos llevan la imagen de Dios.

Unser Täglich Brot - Einfach gut

Lesen: Lukas 7,36-50 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hesekiel 33–34; 1.Petrus 5

Sie hat ein gutes Werk an mir getan. Markus 14,6

Da sind zwei junge Mädchen. Das eine ist gesund und kräftig. Das andere hat nie die Freiheit gekannt, auf eigenen Füßen zu stehen. Vom Rollstuhl aus muss sie nicht nur mit den normalen Gefühlen und Herausforderungen des Lebens fertig werden, sondern auch mit körperlichen Problemen und Kämpfen.

Aber beide Mädchen strahlen und freuen sich an der Gesellschaft der anderen. Zwei hübsche Teenager—jede sieht in der Freundin einen wahren Schatz.

Jesus hat viel von seiner Zeit und Aufmerksamkeit Menschen wie dem Mädchen im Rollstuhl gewidmet, Menschen, auf die andere aus den unterschiedlichsten Gründen herabsahen. Ja, er ließ es sogar zu, dass „eine von denen“ ihn, zum großen Missfallen der frommen Führer, mit Öl salbte (Luk. 7,39). Ein anderes Mal, als eine Frau ihre Liebe auf ähnliche Weise zum Ausdruck brachte, wies er die Kritiker zurecht: „Lasst sie in Frieden! . . . Sie hat ein gutes Werk an mir getan“ (Mark. 14,6).

Vor Gott sind alle gleich. In seinen Augen gibt es keine Unterschiede. In Wirklichkeit haben wir alle Jesu Liebe und Vergebung nötig. Seine Liebe bewegte ihn dazu, am Kreuz für uns zu sterben.

Versuchen wir doch jeden Menschen so zu sehen, wie Jesus es tat: geschaffen als Gottes Ebenbild und aller seiner Liebe wert. Darum wollen wir jeden, dem wir begegnen, gleich achten und das Gute in ihm sehen, wie Jesus es tat.

Lieber Herr, hilf mir, die Menschen so zu sehen, wie du sie siehst—nicht deshalb wichtig, weil sie etwas Bestimmtes tun oder wie sie aussehen, sondern weil sie als dein Ebenbild erschaffen wurden und du sie so liebst, dass du für sie gestorben bist.

Jeder Mensch, dem wir begegnen, ist als Gottes Ebenbild geschaffen.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Красота

Читать сейчас: Луки 7:36-50 | Библия за год: Иезекииль 33-34; Евреям 4

«Она доброе дело сделала для Меня». — Марка 14:6

Представьте двух девушек. Одна сильна и здорова. Другая никогда не ходила на своих ногах. Из инвалидной коляски она видит не только эмоциональные сложности, знакомые многим инвалидам, но и поток боли и различных трудностей.

Но обе девушки весело смеются, радуясь обществу друг друга. Две прекрасные молодые души, видящие друг в друге что-то очень дорогое и важное.

Иисус уделял много времени и внимания людям, подобным девушке в коляске, – больным и немощным, а также тем, кого по разным причинам отвергло общество. Он даже позволил одной падшей женщине помазать Себя, чем привел в изумление фарисея (Лк. 7:39). В другой раз, когда женщина подобным образом выразила свою признательность, Иисус сказал ученикам, начавшим предъявлять претензии: «Оставьте ее; что ее смущаете? Она доброе дело сделала для Меня» (Мк. 14:6).

Бог одинаково ценит каждого. В Его глазах инвалидность или другие физические различия между людьми ничего не значат. Мы все одинаково нуждаемся в Христовой любви и прощении. Его любовь возвела Его на крест за всех нас.

Будем смотреть друг на друга, как смотрел Иисус: как на созданных по образу Божьему и возлюбленных Им. Будем равно относиться ко всем, учась видеть ту красоту, которую видел Он.

Господь, помоги мне видеть людей так, как видишь их Ты, не думая о том, как они выглядят или что могут, но как на тех, кого Ты сотворил по Своему образу, и за кого умер Христос.

Каждый, кого мы встречаем, носит образ Божий.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une bonne action

Lisez : Luc 7.36‑50 | La Bible en un an : Ézéchiel 33 – 34 et 1 Pierre 5

Elle a fait une bonne action à mon égard. Marc 14.6

Imaginez deux adolescentes. L’une est forte et en bonne santé. L’autre n’a jamais eu la liberté de se déplacer d’elle‑même. Clouée à un fauteuil roulant, elle doit non seulement affronter les défis propres à la vie en général, mais encore subir douleur sur douleur, épreuve sur épreuve.

Reste que les deux jeunes filles jouissent de la compagnie l’une de l’autre avec le sourire et dans les rires. Deux adolescentes au bon coeur qui voient l’une chez l’autre le trésor de l’amitié. Or, Jésus a consacré une grande partie de son temps et de son attention à des gens comme la jeune fille en fauteuil roulant. Des gens ayant autant de handicaps et de difformités que des gens que l’on méprisait pour diverses raisons. En fait, Jésus a même permis à l’une de « ces personnes » de l’oindre de parfum, au grand désarroi des chefs religieux (LU 7.39). À une autre occasion, lorsqu’une femme lui a manifesté son amour par un geste similaire, Jésus a déclaré à ses détracteurs : « Laissez‑la. […] Elle a fait une bonne action à mon égard » (MC 14.6).

Dieu accorde la même valeur à tous, sans faire de distinction. En réalité, à ses yeux, nous avons tous désespérément besoin de l’amour et du pardon de Christ. Cet amour l’a d’ailleurs poussé à mourir sur la croix pour nous.

Percevons chacun comme Jésus le voit : créé à l’image de Dieu et digne de son amour. Traitons tous ceux que nous croisons sur un pied d’égalité avec Christ, voyant en eux la même beauté que lui.

Tous ceux dont nous croisons le chemin sont créés à l’image de Dieu.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ