Monday, December 12, 2016

Girlfriends in God - Beware of This Invisible Competition!

Today’s Truth

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV)

Friend to Friend

As Christian believers, we are called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live set-apart lives – to be sanctified – we must spend time with Him and allow His Holy Spirit to lead us.

God loves us too much to leave us as we are. He wants much more for us than that! God’s plan is to make us more like Himself… to sanctify us. He is Yahweh M'Kaddst, the Lord our Sanctifier.

Let’s take this street level. I don’t know what your days look like, but mine are pretty full. They start early and end late. Once the sun rises, it seems that coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in my house. An invisible competition brews daily that vies for my time and attention. The competitors are often “good things” that end up to be “time-robbing things” that keep me from God’s best and God’s presence. When I’m kept from God’s presence, I’m also kept from growing in His divine grace: major loss for me.

Have you been there?

Does an invisible competition brew in your home and heart too?

I’m thinking: Yes. We all struggle with this.

So what are some of these “good things” that end up being “time-robbing distractions”? They look different for each of us. We are all like snowflakes and fingerprints: unique. A few good things that come to mind are over-commitment, activity overload, electronics, excessive shopping, volunteering at church or community service. Yep. Went there. Again, none of these things are bad in and of themselves, but they can become a hindrance to sanctification if we allow them to take precedence over our personal growth with Christ.

A big one for me is electronics. Let’s put our computer lives under a spiritual microscope for a moment. I’m an e-girl. I love my MacBook Pro computer, my iPhone, email, instant messaging, and the World Wide Web. Though I’m admittedly fully immersed in the e-life, I’m also cognizant of the fact that the e-world has become a dangerous addiction and spiritual deterrent to many.

I struggle with this personally. These electronic forums host a powerful and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of social media, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging and fun, they also present us with opportunities to sin and to become distracted from set-apart living.

Over the past several years, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, games and texting have replaced many of our face-to-face conversations. For some of us, time with electronics has replaced and/or diminished our devotion time with the Lord. Online activities have become a new source of temptation for us, an opportunity to live a fantasy or a momentary escape from the daily grind.

A friend of mine recently said, “My computer whispers to me.” Yikes! Mine does too. I readily admit, at times I don’t manage my time efficiently because I give in to the lure of e-life by responding to an audio alert indicating “I’ve got mail,” or to a notification that someone has left me a message on a social media site. As a result, I waste time because I have spent it unwisely – therefore, robbing myself of productive time.

We are warned against this in Scripture. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).

Now, hear me clearly on this: I am not saying that electronics or computers are bad. In and of themselves, they aren’t bad. I’m simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to prayerfully consider the amount of time and energy we devote to these things.

How can we be set apart in our e-life? How can we establish healthy e-boundaries that will protect our purity and our time with God? Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our social e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? Rest assured it stings me, too.)

The good news is that we can turn to God for direction in all of this. His Word points us to a vital promise of wisdom that will guide us in holiness. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV). How awesome is that? God loves us so much that He offers us an endless supply of wisdom. We just need to ask – so that we are enabled to walk in His wisdom and to live each day in His holiness.

Are you holy as God is holy? Do you want to thrive in His divine grace?

When we determine to grow in sanctification and allow God to lead us to deeper places of divine grace, those around us will see the hope of Christ in us. Isn’t that where we want to be?

No matter where we find ourselves on the path of sanctification, it is encouraging to remember that God’s not done with us yet. God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Please help me to live a lifeworthy of You. Help me to bear fruit in what I do and make choices that lead to holiness.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read, meditate on and discuss the Message paraphrase of David’s prayer to the Lord found in Psalm 51:10-12. “God, make a fresh start in me. Shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!” (Psalm 51:10-12, MSG)

ACTION POINTS: Spend some time in thought and prayer about this subject.

Ask God to reveal to you any e-habits that are sinful, indulgent, or inappropriate.

Check your on-line notification settings and consider eliminating unnecessary email alerts. Then let’s meet on the wall of my blog to discuss this topic and pray for one another!

More from the Girlfriends

Gwen Smith is a speaker, worship leader, songwriter, and author of the new book, I Want I ALL, which includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back of the book; no extra purchase required. I WANT IT ALL 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 when you sign up to receive her blog!)

Standing Strong Through the Storm - KEEPING FAITH SIMPLE

The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Psalm 25:14

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

On his first visit to America, I took a Chinese Bible teacher to a Christian bookstore. I was not prepared for his reaction. I thought he would be overwhelmed by the variety of Bibles, reading aids, books and multi-media material on show. He was, but not in the way I expected. He stopped in the middle of the store, turned to me and said, “It must be very hard to be a Christian here.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“How are you going to keep your faith simple with all this available?” We walked around the store as he told me what he meant. He picked five books off the shelf. All had similar titles like The Christian’s secret of a happy life. He leafed through them and said, “Each book seems to say there’s a secret to living a happy life in Jesus. But their secrets are all different. They all say there is one secret, but each has a different secret? That’s confusing.”

“Well, that’s just marketing” I explained a little defensively. But he went on. “Does that mean I have to buy all five books to really know Christ? That makes me anxious. What other secrets might I not be aware of? I have to buy more books. And soon, I would have more books than I could read, and I would not be happy, but guilty that I had spent money on all these books that I had no time to read.”

He put the books down on the floor and said quietly, “In China, I prayed for God to bring me books. He did, but only at the rate of about four per year. So I read those books thoroughly. I copied out passages. I made summaries for teachers. I learned whole chunks by heart. These books really formed me. The point I’m trying to make is that if you have too many books, it’s difficult to read one properly. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just hard. And this variety actually makes faith more complicated than it really is.”

He taught me a daily habit he learned in prison. “Every morning when you wake up, don’t get up; just stay in bed and for ten minutes thank God for anything that comes into your mind. It might be the wallpaper, it might be for friends, it might just be for life. Anything. Once you get going you discover that the world is full of grace, God’s grace. With that attitude you are ready to live the day for God because you are overwhelmed at how generous God is to you.”

It’s so simple, and yet isn’t there something in us that finds the simplest activities so hard to keep up? Maybe that is why we pack our lives with an infinite variety of routines and habits. Anything but just continually doing what is simple.

A Vietnamese evangelist said, “We are to stay in the first grade, grateful to Jesus, repentant for our sins, expectant of his coming. Don’t graduate or you’ll leave the basics behind.”

RESPONSE: Today I will live my life simply – back to basics of praising, praying, witnessing, awaiting.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to stay in first grade so that I will never leave behind the basics.

Women of the Bible - Lydia

Her name signifies that she was a woman of Lydia, a region in Asia Minor

Her character: A Gentile adherent of Judaism, she was a successful businesswoman who sold a type of cloth prized for its purple color. As head of her household, she may have been either widowed or single. So strong was her faith that her entire household followed her example and was baptized. She extended hospitality to Paul and his companions, even after their imprisonment.
Her sorrow: To see Paul and Silas beaten and thrown into prison for the sake of the gospel she had embraced.
Her joy: That God's Spirit directed Paul and his companions to Macedonia, enabling her and others at Philippi to hear the gospel for the first time.
Key Scriptures: Acts 16:6-40 

Her Story

The wind rustled the branches overhead until they became a swaying canopy whose shadow danced across the circle of women bowed in prayer. It didn't matter that Philippi had too few Jews to support a synagogue; the river's edge had become their place of worship, a green sanctuary where they gathered each Sabbath to pray.

Lydia listened as a stranger from Tarsus invoked the familiar words of the Shema: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Such prayers were like a gust of wind, fanning her longing. A Gentile who had come to Philippi from Asia Minor, Lydia was a prominent businesswoman who sold fine cloth to those who could afford it. Though not a Jew, she wanted to know this God powerful enough to part the sea yet tender enough to yearn for the love of his people.

Paul did not stop with the traditional Shema; instead, he spoke of a God whose Son, Jesus, had been murdered for love. This Jesus had risen from the grave after suffering the most agonizing death imaginable. He was Messiah, the merciful and holy One who had come to save God's people.

The women sat quietly as Paul told the story. Even the branches overhead had stopped their noisy rustling. But in the stillness Lydia felt a strong wind rushing through her. Tears rolled down her cheeks even though she felt like singing. Afterward, she and her household were baptized in the Gangites River, near Philippi. Lydia insisted that Paul and Silas (and probably Timothy and Luke) accept her hospitality. Her home may have become the very center of the church in Philippi.

Philippi seemed an unlikely place to plant the gospel. It had been named for Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, who had been attracted to the region by gold-bearing mountains to the north of the city. Now a prosperous Roman colony located on the main highway linking the eastern provinces to Rome, its citizens included large numbers of retired Roman soldiers. Despite its size, however, Philippi hadn't even enough Jews to provide the requisite quorum of ten reliable males to form a synagogue—and it had always been Paul's habit to preach first in the synagogue. Even so, Philippi did have its group of praying Jewish and Gentile women.

Interestingly, Paul had not planned to visit Philippi but had been on his way to Asia when he felt constrained by the Holy Spirit to turn aside. Soon afterward, he had a vision in which a man of Macedonia begged him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Days later, he found himself on the riverbank, preaching to the women who had gathered there for prayer.

Shortly after Lydia's conversion, she heard news that her houseguests, Paul and Silas, had been whipped and thrown into prison. Paul's crime had been to drive an evil spirit from a slave girl who had been harassing them. Upset at the loss of profits from her fortune-telling, the girl's owners dragged Paul and Silas before the city magistrates, claiming, "These men are Jews and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."

That night, with their feet in stocks, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God while the other prisoners listened. About midnight an earthquake shook the foundations of the prison so violently that the doors flew open and the chains of the prisoners fell off. As a result, the jailer and his whole household were converted. After he was released, Paul returned to Lydia's home for a short while.

When Lydia said good-bye to the apostle and his companions as they continued on their missionary journey, she may have remembered the words of his accusers: "These men are throwing our city into an uproar." Indeed, God had thrown the entire region into an uproar from which it would never recover.

Lydia has the distinction of being Paul's first convert in Europe and the first member of the church at Philippi, a community that later became a source of great consolation to the apostle when he was imprisoned. Perhaps her prayers, joined with those of the other women gathered at the riverbank, helped prepare the way for the gospel to be planted in Europe.

Her Promise

Lydia's life reveals a God who longs for relationship with his people. Lydia's openness to the truths Paul preached was not her own doing; God saw her hunger for him, and he met her deepest need—her need for him. He is still touching hearts today. The longings you feel for intimacy with him, the emptiness you experience when you've tried everything else and still hunger, the burning need you have for wholeness—these can only be satisfied when you start with the Alpha and end with the Omega, Jesus Christ, your beginning and your end.

Un Dia a la Vez - A todos nos pueden sustituir

Por lo tanto, pregunto: ¿Acaso rechazó Dios a su pueblo? ¡De ninguna manera! Romanos 11:1

El mundo dice que a todos nos pueden sustituir. Para muchos, lo que tú y yo hacemos en nuestro trabajo se valorará hasta el día que estemos vigentes. Sin embargo, cuando no estemos, lo más probable es que la gente nos olvide.

¿Sabes? Eso será teoría para otros, yo no voy con esa línea de pensamiento. Voy por la línea del Señor, que es muy diferente.

Primero que todo, Dios es el que nos bendice cada día. Es el que nos ha dado los dones y talentos, y será el más feliz cuando los utilicemos. Además, si reconocemos que somos hijos del Creador y que le interesa que nos vaya bien, Él será el que abrirá y cerrará las puertas, y nos colocará en lugares de privilegio.

Este concepto de sustitución sucede también en el ámbito de las relaciones. Me refiero a las personas que cambian de pareja como cambiar de zapatos, sin valorar principios y sentimientos. Así que van por el mundo dejando heridas, a veces incurables, en la vida de otros.

La enseñanza de hoy es que no importa quién te deseche, ni quién te abandone, ni quién te sustituya en tu trabajo, pues no eres menos por eso. Piensa que hay un Dios que te ama y tú eres único para ese Creador.

Verse of the Day - December 12, 2016

Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Read all of Galatians 4

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, December 12, 2016

First Reading
from the Old Testament

Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. See, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. Now if people say to you, "Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, for teaching and for instruction?" Surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness. But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. (Isaiah 8:16-9:1, NRSV)

Second Reading
from the Epistles

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you. (2 Peter 1:1-11, NRSV)

The Holy Gospel
according to St Luke, the 22nd Chapter

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, "Pray that you may not come into the time of trial." Then he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done." Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial." While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, "Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?" When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, "Lord, should we strike with the sword?" Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!" (Luke 22:39-53, NRSV)

Morning Psalms

Psalm 41 Beatus qui intelligit
1   Happy are they who consider the poor and needy! the LORD will deliver them in the time of trouble.
2   The LORD preserves them and keeps them alive, so that they may be happy in the land; he does not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
3   The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and ministers to them in their illness.
4   I said, "LORD, be merciful to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you."
5   My enemies are saying wicked things about me: "When will he die, and his name perish?"
6   Even if they come to see me, they speak empty words; their heart collects false rumors; they go outside and spread them.
7   All my enemies whisper together about me and devise evil against me.
8   A deadly thing, they say, has fastened on him; he has taken to his bed and will never get up again.
9   Even my best friend, whom I trusted, who broke bread with me, has lifted up his heel and turned against me.
10   But you, O LORD, be merciful to me and raise me up, and I shall repay them.
11   By this I know you are pleased with me, that my enemy does not triumph over me.
12   In my integrity you hold me fast, and shall set me before your face for ever.
13   Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, from age to age. Amen. Amen.

Psalm 52 Quid gloriaris?
1   You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness against the godly all day long?
2   You plot ruin; your tongue is like a sharpened razor, O worker of deception.
3   You love evil more than good and lying more than speaking the truth.
4   You love all words that hurt, O you deceitful tongue.
5   Oh, that God would demolish you utterly, topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling, and root you out of the land of the living!
6   The righteous shall see and tremble, and they shall laugh at him, saying,
7   This is the one who did not take God for a refuge, but trusted in great wealth and relied upon wickedness.
8   But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9   I will give you thanks for what you have done and declare the goodness of your Name in the presence of the godly.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 44 Deus, auribus
1   We have heard with our ears, O God, our forefathers have told us, the deeds you did in their days, in the days of old.
2   How with your hand you drove the peoples out and planted our forefathers in the land; how you destroyed nations and made your people flourish.
3   For they did not take the land by their sword, nor did their arm win the victory for them; but your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you favored them.
4   You are my King and my God; you command victories for Jacob.
5   Through you we pushed back our adversaries; through your Name we trampled on those who rose up against us.
6   For I do not rely on my bow, and my sword does not give me the victory.
7   Surely, you gave us victory over our adversaries and put those who hate us to shame.
8   Every day we gloried in God, and we will praise your Name for ever.
9   Nevertheless, you have rejected and humbled us and do not go forth with our armies.
10   You have made us fall back before our adversary, and our enemies have plundered us.
11   You have made us like sheep to be eaten and have scattered us among the nations.
12   You are selling your people for a trifle and are making no profit on the sale of them.
13   You have made us the scorn of our neighbors, a mockery and derision to those around us.
14   You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughing-stock among the peoples.
15   My humiliation is daily before me, and shame has covered my face;
16   Because of the taunts of the mockers and blasphemers, because of the enemy and avenger.
17   All this has come upon us; yet we have not forgotten you, nor have we betrayed your covenant.
18   Our heart never turned back, nor did our footsteps stray from your path;
19   Though you thrust us down into a place of misery, and covered us over with deep darkness.
20   If we have forgotten the Name of our God, or stretched out our hands to some strange god,
21   Will not God find it out? for he knows the secrets of the heart.
22   Indeed, for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
23   Awake, O Lord! why are you sleeping? Arise! do not reject us for ever.
24   Why have you hidden your face and forgotten our affliction and oppression?
25   We sink down into the dust; our body cleaves to the ground.
26   Rise up, and help us, and save us, for the sake of your steadfast love.

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.

Lutheran Hour Ministries - "Life's Crazy Path"

Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38, ESV).

Read Luke 1:36-38.

Did you ever open a Christmas present only to find an empty box with a clue in it? Following that clue led you out to the swing set, where another clue sent you to the hall closet. From there you went out to the garage, then up to the bedroom and, finally, down to the basement, where your real present was waiting for you.

The angel concludes his visit assuring Mary nothing is impossible for God, pointing to Mary's own relative Elizabeth as an example. Mary humbly offers herself to God's wonderful plan. But she has no idea the crazy path she will follow, as His plan unfolds in her life. We will trace this path through this Christmas season into the Lenten devotions, coming later this winter.

But no matter what will happen, Mary trusts God, and she is content to follow His path, wherever it may lead. We can learn a lot from her attitude! Sometimes God's will takes us down paths we are not expecting, paths we sometimes do not even wish to go. But God promises to be with us along the road. And we look forward to a great present at the end: eternal life with Him in our glorious and resurrected body, living in a perfectly restored world.

Actually, Mary's Son Jesus did the same thing too. When His Father asked Him to take the path of the cross, Jesus said, "Not My will, but Yours be done" (see Luke 22:42). He went to the cross, took our guilt on Himself, and died in our place so that God could look on us with love, favor and forgiveness.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, sometimes Your perfect plan for our life takes us down paths we would not choose on our own. Give us faith and confidence to trust You as Jesus did. In His Name. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Devociones de Adviento - Un Señor que no defrauda

No pongan su confianza en los poderosos, ni en ningún mortal, porque no pueden salvar. (Sal 146:3, RVC)

La acción de confiar conlleva siempre el riesgo del desencanto. Al pasar por momentos de pruebas, nuestra confianza debería activarse. Es algo así como el airbag en un accidente: debe funcionar en el momento justo. Pero muy a menudo sucede que, cuando más necesitamos de tal o cual persona, menos podemos contar con ella, o no nos animamos a molestarla con nuestro problema.

¿En quién confías? ¿Quién es tu auxilio incondicional? ¿Le confías todo lo que te aflige? Hay temas en los que ningún humano, por más poderoso que sea, podrá ayudarnos. Hay problemas que superan al más valiente, al más capaz, al más inteligente... comenzando por nosotros mismos. ¿Existe un ser digno de tal confianza?

El salmista nos invita a confiar en alguien que tiene un currículum incomparable. Él creó los cielos y la tierra. Siempre ha cumplido su palabra. Está del lado de los oprimidos y los débiles. Levanta a los caídos. Viudas, huérfanos y extranjeros cuentan con él. ¡Los que confían en el Dios de Jacob son dichosos!

¿Podemos confiar en él? Sí. Su interés por nosotros, por nuestra situación, hace que él quiera estar siempre a nuestro lado. Él estuvo dispuesto a hacerse humano naciendo de una virgen, para vivir en carne propia lo que nosotros padecemos, ¡incluso la muerte! Él viene a establecer un reino que nada ni nadie pueden destruir. Él es la cabeza de una nueva creación. Su muerte y resurrección y su amor infinito, lo hacen digno de nuestra confianza.

Él es el Hijo de Dios: Jesucristo, la divinidad en persona. No confiemos en los poderosos del mundo. Donde los humanos fallan, Él salva. Confiemos en Él.

Amado Jesús, hijo de Dios, hijo de María: tus promesas de vida no fallan. Que no falle mi confianza en ti. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - The Money

Read: Matthew 6:24–34 | Bible in a Year: Hosea 9–11; Revelation 3

You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24

Early in my career while doing work that I saw as more of a mission than a job, another company offered me a position that would give a significant increase in pay. Our family could surely have benefited financially from such a move. There was one problem. I hadn’t been looking for another job because I loved my current role, which was growing into a calling.

But the money . . . 

I called my father, then in his seventies, and explained the situation. Though his once-sharp mind had been slowed by strokes and the strain of years, his answer was crisp and clear: “Don’t even think about the money. What would you do?”

In an instant, my mind was made up. The money would have been my only reason for leaving the job I loved! Thanks, Dad.

Jesus devoted a substantial section of His Sermon on the Mount to money and our fondness for it. He taught us to pray not for an accumulation of riches but for “our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). He warned against storing up treasures on earth and pointed to the birds and flowers as evidence that God cares deeply about His creation (vv. 19–31). “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” Jesus said, “and all these things will be given to you as well” (v. 33).

Money matters. But money shouldn’t rule our decision-making process. Tough times and big decisions are opportunities to grow our faith in new ways. Our heavenly Father cares for us.

Never confuse temptation with opportunity.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - El dinero

Leer: Mateo 6:24-34 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 3

… Ustedes no pueden servir a Dios y a las riquezas (Mateo 6:24).

Hace muchos años, mientras tenía un trabajo que consideraba más una misión que una labor, otra compañía me ofreció un puesto que implicaba un importante aumento de salario. El problema era que yo no había estado buscando otro trabajo, porque amaba lo que hacía.

Pero el dinero…

Llamé a mi padre y le expliqué la situación. Aunque su mente anteriormente perspicaz había sido afectada por accidentes cerebro-vasculares y el paso de los años, su respuesta fue escueta y sencilla: «No pienses en el dinero, ¿qué es lo que te gusta hacer?».

Al instante reaccioné. ¡El dinero habría sido la única razón de dejar el trabajo que amaba! Gracias, papá.

Jesús dedicó gran parte de su Sermón del Monte al dinero. No nos enseñó a orar por la acumulación de riquezas, sino por «el pan nuestro de cada día» (Mateo 6:11). Advirtió contra almacenar tesoros en la tierra, y puso las aves y las flores como ejemplo del cuidado de Dios por su creación (vv. 19-31).Y agregó: «buscad primeramente el reino de Dios y su justicia, y todas estas cosas os serán añadidas» (v. 33).

Hay que pensar en el dinero, pero este no debe controlar nuestras decisiones. Las dificultades y los desafíos son oportunidades para que nuestra fe aumente, ya que nuestro Padre se ocupa de nosotros.

Señor, ayúdame a confiar en tu provisión y cuidado constantes.

Nunca hay que confundir tentación con oportunidad.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Das Geld

Lesen: Matthäus 6,24-34 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hosea 9–11; Offenbarung 3

Ihr könnt nicht Gott dienen und dem Mammon. (Matthäus 6,24)

Vor Jahren wurde mir von einer Firma eine ähnliche Stelle angeboten wie die, die ich hatte, jedoch mit einem beträchtlich höheren Lohn. Unsere Familie hätte von dem Wechsel finanziell sehr profitiert. Aber da war ein Problem. Eigentlich suchte ich gar keinen anderen Job, denn ich liebte, was ich tat, und sah darin immer mehr eine Berufung.

Aber das Geld . . .

Ich rief meinen Vater an. Er war damals schon über siebzig und mehrere Schlaganfälle und die Jahre hatten seinen früher so scharfen Verstand etwas beeinträchtigt. Aber seine Antwort war deutlich: „Denk nicht an das Geld. Was willst du wirklich?“

Sofort war alles klar. Das Geld wäre wirklich der einzige Grund gewesen, weshalb ich den geliebten Job verlassen hätte!

Jesus widmete einen großen Teil der Bergpredigt dem Geld und unserer Liebe dazu. Er lehrte uns, nicht für die Anhäufung von Reichtümern zu beten, sondern für das „tägliche Brot“ (Matt. 6,11). Er warnte davor, Schätze auf Erden anzuhäufen und verwies auf die Vögel und Blumen als Beweis dafür, wie Gott für seine Schöpfung sorgt (V.19-31). „Trachtet zuerst nach dem Reich Gottes und nach seiner Gerechtigkeit“, sagte er, „so wird euch das alles zufallen“ (V.33).

Geld ist wichtig. Aber es sollte nicht unsere Entscheidungen bestimmen. Harte Zeiten und schwierige Entscheidungen sind Gelegenheiten, ganz neu im Glauben zu wachsen. Der Vater im Himmel sorgt für uns.

Herr, wir machen uns so schnell Sorgen, wenn uns etwas fehlt. Hilf uns, nicht die Hindernisse zu sehen, sondern deine Liebe zu erkennen und darauf zu achten, was du uns lehren willst. Segne uns, damit wir andere segnen können.
Anfechtungen und Gelegenheiten sollten wir nicht miteinander verwechseln.

Хлеб наш насущный - Деньги

Читать сейчас: Матфея 6:24-34 | Библия за год: Осия 9-11; Откровение 3

Не можете служить Богу и мамоне. — Матфея 6:24

В начале моей карьеры, когда работа была для меня не только работой, но и увлечением, другая компания предложила мне место с более высокой зарплатой. Наша семья определенно выиграла бы в материальном смысле. Была лишь одна проблема. Мне не хотелось переходить на другую работу, потому что я любил свое дело, которое перерастало в призвание.

Но деньги…

Тогда я позвонил своему семидесятилетнему отцу и объяснил ситуацию. Его некогда острый ум затуманился от старости и нескольких инсультов, но в тот раз ответ был четким и ясным: «Даже не думай о деньгах. Чем ты хочешь заниматься?»

Решение пришло в одно мгновение. Деньги были единственной причиной, по которой я мог оставить любимую работу. «Спасибо, папа!»

Иисус отвел значительное место в Нагорной проповеди вопросу денег и привязанности к ним. Он учил нас молиться не о большом богатстве, а о насущном хлебе (Мф. 6:11). Он предостерегал об опасности собирания сокровищ на земле и указывал на птиц и цветы, как доказательство того, что Бог заботится о Своем творении (Мф. 6:19-32). «Ищите же прежде Царства Божьего и правды Его, и это все приложится вам», – говорил Он (Мф. 6:33).

Конечно же, деньги важны. Но они не должны руководить нашими решениями. Трудные времена и важные вопросы – это новые возможности для возрастания в вере. Наш Небесный Отец заботится о нас.

Господь, мы так склонны беспокоиться из-за недостатка земных благ. Помоги нам видеть не трудности, а проявления Твоей любви и новые важные уроки. Благослови нас, чтобы мы могли благословлять других.

Учитесь видеть не трудности, а возможности.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Mammon, le dieu de l’argent

Lisez : Matthieu 6.24‑34 | La Bible en un an : Osée 9 – 11 et Apocalypse 3

Vous ne pouvez servir Dieu et Mammon. (Matthieu 6.24)

Tôt dans ma carrière, que je considérais d’ailleurs davantage comme une mission de vie qu’un emploi, une autre entreprise m’a offert un poste beaucoup mieux rémunéré. Notre famille aurait certainement pu financièrement bénéficier d’un tel changement. Il y avait toutefois un problème. Je ne cherchais pas d’autre emploi parce que j’aimais vraiment mon rôle actuel, qui était en train de se transformer en vocation.

Mais l’argent…

J’ai téléphoné à mon père, qui était alors septuagénaire, pour lui expliquer la situation. Or, bien que des thromboses et le poids des années avaient ralenti son esprit jadis vif, il m’a répondu du tac au tac avec une grande lucidité : « Ne pense même pas à l’argent. Que ferais-tu ? »

Ma décision s’est alors imposée d’elle‑même, car j’aurais quitté l’emploi que j’aimais tant uniquement pour une question financière ! Merci, papa.

Jésus a consacré une grande partie de son sermon sur la montagne à nous enseigner à prier non pour des richesses, mais pour « notre pain quotidien » (MT 6.11). Il nous a mis en garde contre le désir d’amasser des trésors sur la terre en citant en exemple les oiseaux et les fleurs pour nous indiquer que Dieu se préoccupe profondément de sa création (V. 19‑31).

Même si l’argent compte, il ne devrait pas nous dicter notre processus décisionnel. Les grandes épreuves et décisions sont des occasions de grandir dans la foi. Notre Père céleste se préoccupe de nous.

Il ne faut jamais confondre la tentation avec l’opportunité.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ