Sunday, December 11, 2016

Commentary: Are you being persecuted?

There is a pernicious rumor that resurfaces every Advent season and spreads across social media faster than a cold in a kindergarten class.

It’s the rumor that God can be “kept out” of Christmas.

You may have heard it from Kirk Cameron or an anchor at Fox News or an army of culture warriors who have once again worked themselves into a frenzy over the “War on Christmas.” Galvanized by fear, they storm checkout counters to demand that clerks issue them a “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” and cry persecution when inflatable manger scenes are moved from public courthouses to private property. They pine after the good-old-days when Christians could force Jewish kids to sing Christmas carols at school and they demand that every gift purchased, every mall opened late, every credit card maxed out must be done so in Jesus’ name or else Christ will be “kept out” of Christmas. They do it because someone told them that God needs a nod from the Empire to show up, forgetting somehow that the story of Advent is the story of how God showed up as a Jew in the Roman Empire.

In a barn.

As an oppressed minority.

To the applause of a few poor shepherds.

The whole story of Advent is the story of how God can’t be kept out. God is present. God is with us. God shows up—not with a parade but with the whimper of a baby, not among the powerful but among the marginalized, not to the demanding but to the humble. From Advent to Easter, the story of Jesus should teach us that God doesn’t need a mention in our pledge or on our money or over the loudspeaker at the mall to be present, and when we fight like spoiled children to “keep” God in those things, we are fighting for idols. We’re chasing wind.

Religious persecution is real. Suffering is real. But sharing the public square is not persecution and being wished “happy holidays” causes no one to suffer. We would do well this time of year to remember the words of the Apostle Paul from Philippians 2:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FAITH IS NOT A SECRET

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ… Colossians 4:3

Some twenty-five years ago Boutros from a Middle East country became a Christian. Since then he has revealed a big heart for evangelism. Wherever he goes, he is always very open about his Christian faith.

A couple of years ago he was arrested and questioned by the police. They asked him if he had baptized people and he replied, “I told them that I had baptized 1,000 people—the real figure at that time was only 700 but I increased the numbers because I knew I would probably soon reach that number.” Boutros is a secret believer that when guided by God doesn’t make a secret of his faith.

An Open Doors co-worker reported it was a great joy to meet him. After a visit with Boutros he commented, “At his work place he has a cross hanging. Everyone who comes to his place sees the cross. Recently his chief started asking Boutros if he could go and work for another company. Family members who work for the government told Boutros’ brother that certain people wanted Boutros killed. Our co-worker asked him if he was afraid at all. He paused for a second and then nodded and said, ‘A little bit, now.’”

Boutros meets many people who want to know more about his Christian faith. They ask him, because he openly and clearly is a Christian. “I don’t have enough time in the day to talk with them. I have to work hard to make enough money for my living”, he apologizes. “I earn just enough to buy my daily food.” But even though he has to work hard, sometimes he can work and speak at the same time. “Then I have long conversations about the Christian faith.”

Boutros shared a vision he had recently. “I was lying in a pool of water in a beautiful garden and all around me were many people that I’ve known previously who had since left my country and were living in other countries. All of them were praying for me. Through this I felt that God was assuring me that many people around the world were praying for me.”

Our co-worker was impressed and encouraged meeting Boutros. “What a great testimony of how God uses our prayers for the persecuted Christians. The prayers really are a comfort and support to the secret believers,” he concludes.

After some prayer time together, Boutros and the co-worker moved to a safer place where no one would overhear what they were praying about. “It seemed important for him to have some form of physical contact, so we held hands and prayed for just a few moments before he indicated that we should get back. Although admitting that he was a little afraid at that moment, he seemed in a good mood, and very much encouraged by the vision he had of people praying for him. He did add though that he really needed prayer.”

RESPONSE: Today I will not keep my faith a secret but share openly with everyone I contact.

PRAYER: Pray for Boutros and other secret believers who are so bold in sharing their faith and winning many to Jesus.

Un Dia a la Vez - Lo único eterno

Más bien, acumulen para sí tesoros en el cielo, donde ni la polilla ni el óxido carcomen, ni los ladrones se meten a robar. Mateo 6:20

¡Qué consuelo saber que aunque nuestra madre y nuestro padre nos abandonen, Dios nunca nos abandonará! Esta es una hermosa promesa que vemos cumplida en cada uno de los que han experimentado el abandono. En realidad, Dios se encarga de recogerlos en sus brazos y decirles: «Tranquilos, no teman, yo estoy con ustedes».

Las cosas eternas vienen de Dios. Todo lo que vemos en esta tierra, trabajos, bienes y demás, son extras, pues en cuanto partamos de este mundo, «nada» nos podremos llevar.

Por eso sabiamente la Palabra dice: «No acumulen para sí tesoros en la tierra» (Mateo 6:19), pues nuestro corazón se puede dañar a causa del dinero que algún día tendremos que abandonar.

Amigos, Dios nos conoce a cada uno de nosotros a la perfección y puede saber si nuestro corazón está dañado por el dinero o las riquezas. Ahora bien, con esto no quiero decir que no puedes ser próspero y mantener un estilo de vida como mereces por ser hijo del Dueño del oro y de la plata.

No obstante, si tus riquezas valen más, ocupan el primer lugar en tu corazón y han desplazado a Dios, tienes invertido el orden de estos principios.

Hoy es tu oportunidad de rendir esta esfera de tu vida a Dios y Él, que es grande y poderoso, te ayudará..

Verse of the Day - December 11, 2016

Isaiah 7:14 (NIV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Read all of Isaiah 7

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, December 11, 2016 - 3rd Sunday in Advent

First Reading:
From the Old Testament

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:1-10, NRSV)

This is the Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 146:4-9
4   Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! whose hope is in the LORD their God;
5   Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever;
6   Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger.
7   The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
8   The LORD loves the righteous; the LORD cares for the stranger; he sustains the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked.
9   The LORD shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Hallelujah!

Second Reading:
From the Epistles

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (James 5:7-10, NRSV)

This is the Word of 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.

Jesus Is The One! - The Sunday Sermon for SUNDAY, December 11, 2016 - 3rd Sunday in Advent

The Holy Gospel:
According to St Matthew, the 11th Chapter

Glory to You, O Lord

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:2-11, NRSV)

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

"Jesus Is The One!"

He has a decent job. He’s kind to my cat. He enjoys my parents’ company. He even knows the difference between baking powder and baking soda. Is he the one?

She’s intelligent. She makes me laugh. She likes to go camping. She even buys her clothes at Value Village. Is she the one?

Boy am I glad I’m done with that phase of my life - you know, the phase during which you had to figure out who was “the one” to spend the rest of your life with in marriage. It seems to me that cultures that practice arranged marriages have a good thing going. Single people in those cultures don’t have to waste time and money on blind dates. Nor do they have to rehearse awkward pickup lines. They just have to sit back and relax while their parents find them “the one” they are to marry.

John the Baptist too was eagerly looking for “the one.” No, he wasn’t looking for Mrs. Baptist. He was looking for the one “who was to come” - the promised Messiah who would save the world from sin and punish God’s enemies. At one time John had been so certain he had found “the one” that he boldly punched the air with forefinger extended towards a carpenter from Nazareth and boomed: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) But months later John wasn’t so sure anymore that Jesus was “the one.” Hadn’t John’s God-given message about the Messiah been, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire”? (Matthew 3:12) If Jesus was “the one,” where were the fireworks of judgment? Why did the wicked like King Herod continue to prosper while the righteous like John himself languished behind bars? A prophet was supposed to be in a pulpit not a prison!

As we move closer to hearing the Christmas story again this year we too may share the same doubts John the Baptist had. Is Jesus really “the one”? Is he really the Son of God who became man to win our salvation? Does he really care about our lowly circumstances? Today we’ll see that Jesus is indeed “the one.” We’ll be assured of this by looking at his works and listening to his words.

It shouldn’t surprise us that even a strong believer like John the Baptist would have doubts about Jesus. I can’t think of a single character in the Bible (besides Jesus) who never questioned God’s timing or his way of doing things. At one time the prophet Elijah too wondered why God didn’t deal more forcefully with the wicked of his day: King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. So if you have some doubts about Jesus, you’re not alone. But now how should you handle those doubts? John didn’t ask others what they thought about Jesus. Instead he went back to Jesus himself for clarification and strengthening. Likewise don’t look for answers to your doubts about Jesus on Wikipedia. Go to Jesus himself.

Although John was not able to go to Jesus since he had been put in prison for pointing out King Herod’s sins, he did send two of his disciples. When the disciples relayed John’s doubts, Jesus didn’t gravely shake his head and “tut-tut” as if John was a big disappointment. On the contrary. He defended John before the crowd and asked them: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?...[No.] A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: ”‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’…he is the Elijah who was to come” (Matthew 11:7, 9, 10, 14b).

According to Jesus, John was greater than all the Old Testament prophets. While they had announced Jesus’ coming like a ring master announcing the next boxing card, John actually prepared the way for Jesus like a trainer clearing the way for the prize fighter as he makes his way into the ring. If even someone so close to the Messiah could have doubts and not be scolded by him, we should not be shy about taking our doubts to Jesus.

And what was the answer Jesus gave to John’s question? Jesus said: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” (Matthew 11:4-6). Jesus replied in the words of our Old Testament Lesson from Isaiah 35 that foretold the things the Messiah would do when he came. In fact shortly before the events of our text, Jesus had raised to life the widow’s dead son in the town of Nain proving that he indeed was the promised Messiah.

Don’t you wish you could have seen some of those miracles? Would that put all our doubts about Jesus to rest? But if that was the case, wouldn’t Jesus himself have gone to John and performed a few miracles for him while he watched from prison? He didn’t. Instead he simply told John’s disciples to describe what he was doing and told John to match those reports with the Old Testament prophecies. In other words, Jesus dealt with John’s doubts the same way he deals with ours: not by appearing in dazzling glory but by pointing us to his Word! It’s through the Bible that the Holy Spirit works in our hearts to convince us of the truth of Jesus. Get to Bible class, dear friends, and let Jesus answer your doubts about him through his Word.

Of course studying God’s Word doesn’t mean that your life will become any easier. It didn’t become easier for John. He remained in prison and would eventually die there when he was beheaded. From the world’s perspective John’s life didn’t amount to much. He didn’t discover any medicines. He didn’t build any cities. He didn’t make a lot of money. What did he do? He simply pointed people to Jesus. It was his life’s work. The world may not think that’s so special but listen to what Jesus thought of John: “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11a). What made John so great was his close connection with Jesus. That’s what makes you great in spite of appearances. Jesus’ death and resurrection has forgiven all your sins. It has opened the doors of heaven to you where you will enjoy a life that not even the richest billionaire can begin to comprehend.

“But I’m not like John,” you cry. “I don’t dedicate my life to serving Jesus as John did. There is no way that God would think I’m great.” We may not be John the Baptist but we’re still great in God’s eyes. In fact we’re even greater than John was. Listen to what Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11). Me? You? Our Sunday School kids? Greater than John the Baptist? How can that be? While John had the privilege of announcing Jesus to the world, he never got to see Jesus fulfill his mission of dying on the cross and coming back to life again. But we have the full record. That makes us even greater, or more privileged than John the Baptist! Remember that when you’re shopping for the latest gadgets to buy your kids for Christmas to keep up with the other parents. That’s not what makes you great. What makes you great is your faith in Jesus - a faith you are to share with your children.

It’s clear to me that John was pretty bummed that he had ended up in prison especially since Jesus wasn’t doing anything about it. John’s problem of course was that he had his own expectations for Jesus – expectations that didn’t match Scripture. It’s the same for us. When we get disappointed with Jesus it’s because our worldly expectations don’t match what Scripture says about our Savior. But Jesus is “the one.” He is the Messiah who came to save us from our sins. That doesn’t mean he’s going to save you from financial ruin or even from cancer. He may allow you to suffer those things because he wants to draw you closer to him. He even invites the question: “Are you the one?” because he’s eager to answer it through his Word and reassure us that our eternal future is secure with him. So keep looking at his works and keep listening to his Word. Remain convinced that Jesus is “the one.” Amen.

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. Sermon "Jesus Is The One!" by Daniel Habben.

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries - "Spotless Conception"

And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34 ESV)

Read Luke 1:34-35.

Mom and dad made most of the Christmas cookies in our house. Sure, they let us use cookie cutters and sprinkles, but for some reason that's all. I always thought five little boys would have been a really big help measuring out ingredients and mixing them together. Did it really hurt if you put in two cups of salt instead of two cups of sugar? (I couldn't understand why mom threw out that whole batch of dough and sent us out to the living room.)

When it came to Jesus' conception, the angel told Mary the Holy Spirit would do all the work. He will come upon her and use His miraculous power to bring about Jesus' conception.

Just as a cookie recipe requires the correct amount of sugar and salt, God's recipe for our salvation required His Son to be conceived and born of a virgin. Every human born of a human father and mother inherits the stain of sin our human race has carried since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Had Jesus been conceived of Joseph and Mary He would have been contaminated with our same sinful nature and could never have been our Savior.

To save us, God's Son had to share our human nature and flesh, without sharing our sin and guilt. Being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born free of our guilt, Jesus was able to be our perfect Substitute, living the perfect life you and I cannot live. He completed our salvation by suffering and dying in our place on the cross.

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, thank You for Your perfect plan to save us through Your spotless Son Jesus Christ. Give us faith to always trust Him as our one and only Savior. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

© 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries, All rights reserved.

Devociones de Adviento - No esperes a otro

Juan, que estaba en la cárcel...envió a dos de sus discípulos para que le preguntaran: "¿Eres tú aquel que había de venir, o esperaremos a otro?" (Mt 11:2-3)

Saber esperar. Saber a quién esperar. Esperanza... o frustración. ¡Pobre de aquel que no tiene más nada que esperar! ¡Qué negro es el futuro sin ningún tipo de esperanza!

Juan el Bautista había tenido un rol clave en relación con la venida del Mesías: él había sido destinado como profeta y portavoz, para preparar el camino de Cristo. Muchos, al escucharle, confesaron sus pecados y sus corazones volvieron a latir con esperanza. Dios estaba a punto de cumplir sus antiguas promesas. Juan había proclamado "preparen el camino para el Señor".

Pero ahora Juan estaba en la cárcel por predicar la verdad. Los poderes de este mundo siempre resisten la voluntad divina. Juan debía pagar un alto precio por el hecho de ser fiel, y cargar la cruz. Jesús, por su parte, había comenzado su ministerio. Grandes señales anunciaban que él era el que había de venir. Los ciegos veían, los cojos andaban, los leprosos eran limpiados. El Mesías estaba revirtiendo lo que el pecado había destruido. Por su vida, muerte y resurrección, comenzaba una nueva creación.

Pero Juan, humano como nosotros, parecía tener ciertas dudas: ¿Cómo es posible que todavía sufra, si Dios gobierna el mundo? Nuestras preguntas no son muy diferentes: ¿Por qué sufrimos tantas injusticias, si Cristo ya triunfó sobre la muerte, el diablo y el mundo?

Aunque a veces parezca que tenemos que esperar a otro Mesías, no hay otro que esperar aparte de Jesús de Nazaret. Sus fieles seguidores tenemos asegurada la entrada al Edén. Por fe, su victoria en la cruz nos pertenece.

Padre, enséñame a esperar en ti y en tu Hijo Jesucristo. Quiero vivir en la alegría de tu nueva creación. Por Jesús. Amén. 

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Why the wreath?

Ever wondered, "Why the wreath?"

An Advent wreath is a circular wreath usually made of evergreens with four candles, white, deep purple or blue, each corresponding to the four weeks of the Advent season. The circular shape represents the eternal victory over death through Jesus Christ, the evergreens are a sign of the faithfulness of God, and the lighted candles are a reminder of the light of Christ brought into the world. As each week of Advent passes, one more candle is lit on the wreath until all four are lit, signifying the nearness of the Christmas season. 

The Advent wreath has its roots in the pre-Christian practices of northern Europe. People sought the return of the sun in the dark time of the year (at the winter solstice) by lighting candles and fires. As early as the middle Ages, Christians used fire and light to represent Christ’s coming into the world. Using this same symbolism, the Advent wreath developed a few centuries ago in Germany as a sign of the waiting and hopeful expectation of the return in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wreath, a circle, came to represent the eternal victory over death through Jesus Christ. The evergreens were a sign of the faithfulness of God to God’s people, even in death, and the lighted candles were a reminder of the light of Christ brought into the world.

This symbolism can be just as strong for us today. As is the case with all symbols, they speak most loudly to remind us of God’s promises of life when they are drawn directly out of our daily experience and environment. One should consider using only natural materials from God’s creation when making an Advent wreath. Evergreens come in many varieties and may be treated with a flame retardant substance. Branches of holly, laurel, and other green shrubs, which retain their freshness longer than pine, may also be used. The circular shape, a symbol of eternal life, is most important. Using an alternative shape, such as a log, would diminish the meaning of the symbol, which is no longer a circle. There is no one prescribed color for the candles, although several traditions are current. Four natural colored candles are always appropriate and symbolize the Light for which we wait. Four blue candles matches the blue used for the season, a color representing hope. Some assemblies may have the older tradition of using purple candles, keeping purple as the color for both Advent and Lent. The practice of using a pink candle on the third Sunday in Advent is no longer consistent with the current lectionary. This tradition arose when Advent was regarded as a thoroughly penitential season much like Lent. The third Sunday of Advent was called “Gaudete Sunday”, from the Latin meaning “Rejoice!” It had its roots in the text from Philippians 4:4-6, “rejoice in the Lord always…” These readings are still heard in Year C on Advent III.

Our Daily Bread - Serving God with Our Prayers

Read: 1 Kings 18:41–45 | Bible in a Year: Hosea 5–8; Revelation 2

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 nlt

God often chooses to move through our prayers to accomplish His work. We see this when God told the prophet Elijah, “I will send rain on the land,” promising to end a drought in Israel that had lasted three and a half years (James 5:17). Even though God had promised rain, a short time later “Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees”—praying intently for the rain to come (1 Kings 18:42). Then, while he continued to pray, Elijah sent his servant to go and look out over the ocean “seven times,” scanning the horizon for any sign of rain (v. 43).

Elijah understood that God wants us to join in His work through humble, persistent prayer. Regardless of our human limitations, God may choose to move through our praying in amazing ways. That’s why the letter of James tells us that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,” all the while reminding us that “Elijah was as human as we are” (James 5:16–17 nlt).

When we make it our aim to serve God through praying faithfully as Elijah did, we’re taking part in a beautiful privilege—where at any moment we may be given a front-row seat to a miracle!

How can I serve You through my prayers today, Father?

Submit your prayer request or pray for others at

Great expectation on our part honors God.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Servir a Dios con oraciones

Leer: 1 Reyes 18:41-45 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 2

… La oración eficaz del justo puede mucho (Santiago 5:16).

A menudo, Dios decide utilizar nuestras oraciones para llevar a cabo su obra. Esto lo vemos cuando le dijo al profeta Elías: «yo haré llover sobre la faz de la tierra», prometiendo poner fin a una sequía en Israel que había durado tres años y medio (Santiago 5:17). Aunque Dios había prometido que llovería, poco después, «Elías subió a la cumbre del Carmelo, y postrándose en tierra, puso su rostro entre las rodillas» para pedir fervorosamente que lloviera (1 Reyes 18:42). Entonces, mientras oraba, mandó a su siervo «siete veces» para que mirara hacia el mar y observara si había alguna señal de lluvia en el horizonte (v. 43).

Elías entendió que Dios quiere que participemos en su obra mediante la oración humilde y persistente. A pesar de nuestras limitaciones humanas, el Señor tal vez quiera obrar de maneras asombrosas a través de nuestras oraciones. Por eso, Santiago afirma que «la oración eficaz del justo puede mucho» y nos recuerda que «Elías era hombre sujeto a pasiones semejantes a las nuestras» (Santiago 5:16-17).

Cuando nos proponemos servir a Dios orando fielmente como lo hizo Elías, participamos de un privilegio maravilloso… ¡y en cualquier momento, podríamos ver un milagro delante de nuestras narices!

Señor, ¿cómo puedo servirte hoy con mis oraciones?

Las grandes expectativas de nuestra parte honran a Dios.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Gebetsdienst

Lesen: 1.Könige 18,41-45 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hosea 5–8; Offenbarung 2

Das Gebet des Gerechten vermag viel, wenn es ernstlich ist. (Jakobus 5,16)

Gott wählt oft den Weg über unser Gebet, um sein Ziel zu erreichen. Wir sehen das, als er dem Propheten Elia sagt: „Ich will regnen lassen auf die Erde“ (1.Kön. 18,1), und verspricht, die dreieinhalb Jahre dauernde Trockenheit in Israel zu beenden (Jak. 5,17). Doch obwohl Gott den Regen versprochen hatte, ging Elia kurze Zeit später „auf den Gipfel des Karmel und bückte sich zur Erde und hielt sein Haupt zwischen seine Knie“—und betete um Regen (1.Kön. 18,42). Gleichzeitig schickte er seinen Diener „siebenmal“ los, um zum Meer zu schauen und am Horizont nach einem Hinweis auf Regen zu suchen (V.43).

Elia hatte begriffen, dass Gott uns an seinem Wirken beteiligen will—durch demütiges, anhaltendes Gebet. Trotz aller unserer menschlichen Begrenzungen kann Gott unser Beten auf erstaunliche Weise nutzen. Deshalb heißt es im Jakobusbrief: „Das Gebet des Gerechten vermag viel, wenn es ernstlich ist“, aber auch dass „Elia ein schwacher Mensch [war] wie wir“ (Jak. 5,16-17).

Wenn wir Gott durch unser treues Gebet dienen wollen, wie Elia es tat, dann nutzen wir ein wunderbares Vorrecht—und können jederzeit Augenzeugen eines Wunders werden!

Vater, wie kann ich dir heute durch mein Beten dienen?

Wir ehren Gott, wenn wir mit großen Erwartungen zu ihm kommen.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Служение Богу молитвой

Читать сейчас: 3 Царств 18:41-45 | Библия за год: Осия 5-8; Откровение 2

Много может усиленная молитва праведного. — Иакова 5:16

Для исполнения Своих замыслов Бог часто пользуется нашими молитвами. Это прослеживается, например, в повествовании о пророке Илии, когда Бог сказал ему: «Я дам дождь на землю», полагая таким образом конец засухе, длившейся три с половиной года (Иак. 5:17). Но, хотя Бог и пообещал дождь, «Илия взошел на верх Кармила и наклонился к земле, и положил лицо свое между колен своих», молясь о живительной влаге (3 Цар. 18:42). Затем, продолжая молиться, пророк семь раз посылал слугу смотреть на море: нет ли признаков дождя (3 Цар. 18:43).

Илия понимал, что Бог ожидает его участия в Своем труде через смиренную, настойчивую молитву. Независимо от наших человеческих ограничений, Бог может удивительным образом употребить наши молитвы. Поэтому Иаков пишет: «Много может усиленная молитва праведного», напоминая при этом, что «Илия был человеком, подобным нам» (Иак. 5:16-17).

Если мы решим верно служить Богу молитвой, как это делал Илия, то станем участниками великого действия и можем получить место в первом ряду при совершении чуда!

Как я могу послужить Тебе своими молитвами, Отче?

Наши молитвы приносят славу Богу.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Servir Dieu par nos prières

Lisez : 1 Rois 18.41‑45 | La Bible en un an : Osée 5 – 8 et Apocalypse 2

La prière fervente du juste a une grande efficacité. (Jacques 5.16)

Dieu choisit souvent d’agir au moyen de nos prières pour accomplir son oeuvre. Nous le constatons dans l’exhortation à prier « jusqu’à ce qu’il ait reçu les pluies de la première et de l’arrière‑saison » que Dieu a adressée au prophète Élie (JA 5.7). Même si Dieu avait promis la pluie, peu après « Élie monta au sommet du Carmel ; et, se penchant contre terre, il mit son visage entre ses genoux » (1 R 18.42). Puis, tout en continuant de prier, Élie a envoyé son serviteur « sept fois » afin qu’il monte regarder vers la mer pour guetter l’arrivée de la pluie (V. 43).

Élie a bien compris que Dieu désire que nous nous joignions à son oeuvre au moyen de prières empreintes d’humilité et de persévérance. Il se peut effectivement que Dieu choisisse d’accomplir des exploits au moyen de nos prières, et cela, malgré nos limites humaines. Voilà d’ailleurs pourquoi l’épître de Jacques nous dit que « [la] prière fervente du juste a une grande efficacité », tout en nous rappelant qu’Élie était « de la même nature que nous » (JA 5.16,17).

Si nous nous donnons pour mission de servir Dieu en priant avec fidélité, comme l’a fait Élie, nous prenons part à un merveilleux privilège : la possibilité de nous retrouver à tout moment aux premières loges d’un miracle !

Nous honorons Dieu en nourrissant de grandes attentes.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ