Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Girlfriends in God - The Wonder of You

Today’s Truth

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).

Friend to Friend

As a high school junior, I decided it was time to take Homemaking 101. I can still see Mrs. Johnson’s face as she naively gazed at her new students. Bless her unsuspecting heart! She had no idea the challenge I brought to that class or to her career as a teacher. For weeks, I muddled through each lesson with a respectable, but less than stellar performance, until we hit the section on sewing. It would prove to be her undoing where I was concerned.

Being the veteran teacher that she was, Mrs. Johnson took a deep breath and doggedly plunged ahead in determination, vowing she could teach anyone to sew – even me. I decided to make a blouse, and chose what I thought was a simple McCall’s pattern. Mrs. Johnson was thrilled with my selection, competent that even I could make a blouse requiring approximately seven straight seams.

The pattern looked so simple and even pretty in the package. Then I opened it, gingerly unfolding and carefully arranging each delicate pattern piece, staring at the foreign documents before me. They were simply beyond human comprehension. I concluded that the pattern was actually a sinister trap of some accomplished but sadistic seamstress, and quickly stuffed the flimsy entrapments back into their package. After all, I was creative. I didn’t need a pattern. I knew exactly what I wanted to make. How hard could it be? Ignorance really can be bliss.

When I presented the completed blouse to Mrs. Johnson for a grade, her eyes widened as she stared in silence at my first and last attempt at sewing. “Interesting,” she muttered, obviously in shock. I made a “C” in her class, a sympathy grade if there ever was one.

And the blouse? I buried it in my back yard – literally.

Since that day, I always make sure I have at least one friend who can sew and the name of two seamstresses on hand at all times. However, in all my years of ministry, I can truthfully say that my inability to sew has never hindered God’s work in my life.

Some have even dared to suggest that since I have a daughter, I should not only sew, but that I should teach her to sew as well. Danna is a very bright and talented young woman, but sewing is not on her radar. So I buried that proposal like I buried that dreadful blouse I made.

Another line of thinking proposes that because I am a pastor's wife, I should drag out my silver (if I had any) and host dinners and teas for the women of the church. Please know that those of you who actually enjoy these tortuous events have my undying admiration and respect. Seriously!

In our first full-time church, I actually invited the entire church to our home for a Christmas open house. Since there were several hundred church members at the time, I concluded it would take three nights to accommodate them all. Looking back, my only defense is a complete loss of sanity.

My family eventually grew to hate the month before the first open house. They had good reason. I put them all to work, cleaning and scrubbing every square inch of the house. I bought and hoarded food, and threatened to hurt anyone who even thought about infiltrating my "stash." I even managed to destroy Thanksgiving weekend by insisting that we decorate the house, inside and out, for Christmas - not in anticipation of celebrating Christ's birth, but in preparation for the "open houses" to be held the following weekend.

For three years, I tried to be the consummate hostess until my husband put a stop to the madness by asking one simple question, "Honey, why are you doing these open houses?” The answer that popped into my mind and out of my mouth was absurd. "Because that's what pastor's wives do!" I feebly responded. "Where does it say that, honey?" he asked. Dan went on to set me free. "We have done our last open house. Please don't ever do anything else because you think it fits the man-made profile of a pastor's wife. Do what God has gifted and called you to do - period - and never apologize to anyone for doing it." I do not have the gift of hospitality, but in every church we have ever served, there have been women who do and delight in using that gift for Him.

What do you love to do? What energizes you? What is your heart passion? What gifts and abilities do others see in you? What did God create you to do? Ask Him to make His plan for your life clear. Trust Him with all your heart. Submit your will to His, and choose now to walk through the doors He opens.

Let’s Pray

Father, I praise You because I am made in Your image. Please help me live my life on the basis of that truth and not on the lies of the world. Teach me how to see myself through Your eyes.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Here is your assignment for the week. Read Psalm 139 at least one time every day. In your journal, write each verse in your own words. At the end of the week, set aside time to celebrate who you are in Christ. Have a praise party – just you and God – or invite a few girlfriends to join you in celebrating how special you are to Him.

More from the Girlfriends

What does it mean to trust God? What would your life look like if you were walking by faith and trusting God with your whole heart? The 10-Day Trust Adventure addresses decisions you make and how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and really trust God.

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

Standing Strong Through the Storm - LOVE MYSTERY

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 1 Corinthians 4:1

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

However we splice it, the Christian life involves living with mystery. Many times the will of God is utterly incomprehensible to us. This is as it should be, since God’s ways are so much higher than ours, but it doesn’t make it any easier to live with. Living with mystery is hard.

Mystery should make us silent, humble, careful. We should not rush to explain what cannot be explained. But I remember on a visit to China meeting a famous house church leader. We were talking about revival. Revival is a mystery. Why does God bring it to some countries and not to others? We don’t know. This leader said he knew: “Oh, there is no mystery to revival. Revival is brought about by persecution. You pray for persecution, and you will get revival later on.”

But this is quite untrue, and one has to make allowances for persecuted Christians, for though they may know the history of their own churches well, they are often unaware of the history of the church worldwide. It is obvious that God has brought many revivals about without persecution. The Great Awakenings of 18th century America and Britain for example were brought about largely as a result of the preaching of Whitefield and Wesley. It is also obvious that there are places where persecution has not brought revival. One thinks of the whole of North Africa and the Middle East, which provided so many of our early church leaders like Tertullian and Augustine. Now there are only the sandy ruins of churches, and Islam.

Mysteries also should make us honest. We have to admit “we don’t know” to God. But all too often we beg for answers we simply could not handle. But if I look at the experiences rather than the explanations of the persecuted, I see that at the heart of mystery is not frustration, but joy and grace.

The same Chinese leader—so confident he knew the formula to revival—also shared a prison experience: “I had lost my church, my freedom, and I was starting to lose my health, and I cried to God, Why are you letting me go through this?” He received no formal answer, but said, “I felt a light within me that chased away the darkness, and I received the companionship of Christ. I cannot explain it any more than that, though God knows I have tried. It never comes out right. But the mystery of God’s will was the means I rested on the bosom of Christ.”

Mysteries appear dark, like black holes on the outside, but as we enter them, we are in for a wonderful discovery. At their center is not darkness, but light. This light is the light of Christ. Don’t be afraid of a mystery. It is dark on the outside, but full of light on the inside.

RESPONSE: Today I will not fear mystery but love it by entering to find the light of Christ.

PRAYER: Lord, keep me silent, humble, careful and honest as I explore the mystery of Your grace.

Un Dia a la Vez - ¿Crees en el Hijo de Dios?

Si alguien reconoce que Jesús es el Hijo de Dios, Dios permanece en él, y él en Dios. 1 Juan 4:15

Hace ya varios años me hicieron esta pregunta: «¿Crees en el Hijo de Dios?». A lo que respondí: «Sí, en Dios sí». Entonces me insistieron: «¿En el Hijo de Dios?». En realidad, no entendía por qué me repetía la pregunta, pues para mí era lo mismo.

En efecto, Dios y Jesús son una sola persona, pero la pregunta iba más allá, era más profunda. Aunque son uno solo, Jesús representa un papel demasiado importante en nuestra vida, sobretodo para nuestra salvación.

Ahora yo te pregunto: «¿Crees en el Hijo de Dios?». Si tu respuesta es positiva, sabrás que solo llegamos al Padre por medio de su Hijo. Además, cuando lo confiesas y lo recibes en tu corazón, tienes vida eterna.

No obstante, si tu respuesta es negativa, no te sientas mal. Al igual que tú, muchos lo desconocen. Por eso Jesús vino a este mundo y lo crucificaron injustamente para que con su sangre derramada en esa cruz limpiara nuestros pecados. Por eso también se le conoce como el Cordero que quita el pecado del mundo.

Te invito a que des este paso hoy que será definitivo en tu vida. Repite en voz alta:

«Señor Jesús, he entendido que solo por medio de ti puedo llegar al Padre. Por eso te recibo en mi corazón como mi único y verdadero Salvador. Perdona mis pecados y escribe mi nombre en el libro de la vida. Amén y amén».

Verse of the Day - December 14, 2016

Luke 1:26-28 (NIV) [ The Birth of Jesus Foretold ] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Read all of Luke 1

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Commentary: Millennials Are OVER Church


Millennials, those people aged from their late teens to their mid thirties, are “the least likely to be religious“. Furthermore, a United Kingdom poll is probably typical in finding ‘41% thought religion was “the cause of evil” in the world more often than good.’

A recent blog post by Sam Eaton gave 12 Reasons Millennials Are OVER Church.

Hard hitting, for me, was the Millennials’ weariness with mission and vision statements, the endless groups, the ineffectiveness of preaching, and the lack of actually doing stuff for the last, the lost, and the least.

Jesus has given us a mission statement and a vision statement. We don’t need to have more endless meetings and processes to create yet another (particular) community mission statement. We need to get out and DO it!

We don’t need yet another meeting, yet another program, yet another study group. Time is precious – and we have inherited a pre-TV, pre-digital way of being church where church was our social experience and our source of news. Well the social-media generation won’t play that game.
Preaching just doesn’t reach our generation like our parents and grandparents… We have millions of podcasts and Youtube videos of pastors the world over at our fingertips. For that reason, the currency of good preaching is at its lowest value in history. Millennials crave relationship, to have someone walking beside them through the muck. … We’re looking for mentors who are authentically invested in our lives and our future. If we don’t have real people who actually care about us, why not just listen to a sermon from the couch (with the ecstasy of donuts and sweatpants)? (point 7)
Jesus’ mission would have us be the hands, feet, eyes, and mouth of caring for the lost, the last, the least – oh, and caring for the environment, the planet. Are we actually doing that? Or are people outside the church often actually doing this better? (point 3)

[Those who use the Daily Eucharistic Readings will have read yesterday (or for some that’s still today) Matt 21:28-32 about those who say they will do God’s will and don’t, and those who say they are not interested in doing God’s will and yet actually go and do what God wants.]

This is where I part company with the introduction to Sam Eaton’s post (clearly this introduction is written by somebody else):
Only 4 percent of the Millennial Generation are Bible-Based Believers. This means that 96 percent of Millennials likely don’t live out the teachings of the Bible, value the morals of Christianity…
Let’s leave the discussion about “Bible-Based Believers” (what are “nonBible-Based Believers”?) – but I’m going to strongly disagree that 96% of Millenials “don’t live out the teachings of the Bible”. In my experience, they often live out these teachings at least as well if not better than church-goers (the blog post editor’s “Bible-Based Believers”). And, to suggest that 96% of Millenials “don’t value the morals of Christianity” is prejudicial arrogance, just the sort of prejudices and arrogance that (rightly?) keeps Millenials from coming to church.

Two last points:

There is no mention of worship style. OK – preaching is mentioned, and it’s clear that preaching is overrated. But other than that, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Millenials seek authentic worship – not just a show (and the hollow show-likeness can happen in every part of the Christian spectrum).

There was also no mention of a church’s online presence. Again, I’m going to stick my neck out – I think that is just taken for granted. Online is where Millenials live. They grew up with computers in their homes. “Millennials use social networking sites, such as Facebook, to create a different sense of belonging, make acquaintances, and to remain connected with friends.”

What do you think?

The Daily Readings for WEDNESDAY, December 14, 2016

First Reading
from the Old Testament

The Lord sent a word against Jacob, and it fell on Israel; and all the people knew it-- Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria-- but in pride and arrogance of heart they said: "The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place." So the LORD raised adversaries against them, and stirred up their enemies, the Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west, and they devoured Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still. The people did not turn to him who struck them, or seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day-- elders and dignitaries are the head, and prophets who teach lies are the tail; for those who led this people led them astray, and those who were led by them were left in confusion. That is why the Lord did not have pity on their young people, or compassion on their orphans and widows; for everyone was godless and an evildoer, and every mouth spoke folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 9:8-17, NRSV)

Second Reading
from the Epistles

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them-- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment -- especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority. Bold and willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones, (2 Peter 2:1-10, NRSV)

The Holy Gospel
according to St Mark, the 1st Chapter

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:1-8, NRSV)

Morning Psalms

Psalm 119: Zayin Memor esto verbi tui
49   Remember your word to your servant, because you have given me hope.
50   This is my comfort in my trouble, that your promise gives me life.
51   The proud have derided me cruelly, but I have not turned from your law.
52   When I remember your judgments of old, O LORD, I take great comfort.
53   I am filled with a burning rage, because of the wicked who forsake your law.
54   Your statutes have been like songs to me wherever I have lived as a stranger.
55   I remember your Name in the night, O LORD, and dwell upon your law.
56   This is how it has been with me, because I have kept your commandments.

Psalm 119: Heth Portio mea, Domine
57   You only are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to keep your words.
58   I entreat you with all my heart, be merciful to me according to your promise.
59   I have considered my ways and turned my feet toward your decrees.
60   I hasten and do not tarry to keep your commandments.
61   Though the cords of the wicked entangle me, I do not forget your law.
62   At midnight I will rise to give you thanks, because of your righteous judgments.
63   I am a companion of all who fear you and of those who keep your commandments.
64   The earth, O LORD, is full of your love; instruct me in your statutes.

Psalm 119: Teth Bonitatem fecisti
65   O LORD, you have dealt graciously with your servant, according to your word.
66   Teach me discernment and knowledge, for I have believed in your commandments.
67   Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
68   You are good and you bring forth good; instruct me in your statutes.
69   The proud have smeared me with lies, but I will keep your commandments with my whole heart.
70   Their heart is gross and fat, but my delight is in your law.
71   It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
72   The law of your mouth is dearer to me than thousands in gold and silver.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 49 Audite haec, omnes
1   Hear this, all you peoples; hearken, all you who dwell in the world, you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.
2   My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and my heart shall meditate on understanding.
3   I will incline my ear to a proverb and set forth my riddle upon the harp.
4   Why should I be afraid in evil days, when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,
5   The wickedness of those who put their trust in their goods, and boast of their great riches?
6   We can never ransom ourselves, or deliver to God the price of our life;
7   For the ransom of our life is so great, that we should never have enough to pay it,
8   In order to live for ever and ever, and never see the grave.
9   For we see that the wise die also; like the dull and stupid they perish and leave their wealth to those who come after them.
10   Their graves shall be their homes for ever, their dwelling places from generation to generation, though they call the lands after their own names.
11   Even though honored, they cannot live for ever; they are like the beasts that perish.
12   Such is the way of those who foolishly trust in themselves, and the end of those who delight in their own words.
13   Like a flock of sheep they are destined to die; Death is their shepherd; they go down straightway to the grave.
14   Their form shall waste away, and the land of the dead shall be their home.
15   But God will ransom my life; he will snatch me from the grasp of death.
16   Do not be envious when some become rich, or when the grandeur of their house increases;
17   For they will carry nothing away at their death, nor will their grandeur follow them.
18   Though they thought highly of themselves while they lived, and were praised for their success,
19   They shall join the company of their forebears, who will never see the light again.
20   Those who are honored, but have no understanding, are like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 53 Dixit insipiens
1   The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." All are corrupt and commit abominable acts; there is none who does any good.
2   God looks down from heaven upon us all, to see if there is any who is wise, if there is one who seeks after God.
3   Every one has proved faithless; all alike have turned bad; there is none who does good; no, not one.
4   Have they no knowledge, those evildoers who eat up my people like bread and do not call upon God?
5   See how greatly they tremble, such trembling as never was; for God has scattered the bones of the enemy; they are put to shame, because God has rejected them.
6   Oh, that Israel's deliverance would come out of Zion! when God restores the fortunes of his people Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad.

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 - "Magnify the Lord"

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46-47, ESV)

Read Luke 1:46-55.

One year in early December our old black-and-white console television conked out on us. Mom covered it with a white cloth and set up the manger scene on top. On Christmas morning my parents lifted the white cloth from the front of the set and suddenly we had a brand new color television. Seeing all the programs in color for the first time was amazing.

Mary had an experience something like that. First, the angel's message, and now Elizabeth's greeting. In response, she bursts out in praise, "My soul magnifies the Lord!"

What a curious thing to say. She obviously doesn't mean her soul or spirit has made God greater than He already is. She means her mental image of God has grown significantly. Previously, she thought God would have sent His angel to the high priest's daughter in Jerusalem or to a girl from a powerful, influential and wealthy family. She surely didn't think God would send an angel to a girl like her with no fame, wealth or influence.

But God had noticed her -- a young, unknown girl from an insignificant, little town that is never mentioned throughout the entire Old Testament. God chose her to be the mother of His Son.

When we recognize our unworthiness, our sin, our failings, then God is ready to magnify Himself in our eyes too. That's the secret of Christmas: the Christ Child came to our world to take away our sin and the punishment we deserve for it. Today He comes to your house to live with you, give meaning to your life, guard your ways, and even lead you through death to life everlasting.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I am amazed You would concern Yourself with someone like me. Thank You for sending Your Son to save me and promising me eternal life for His sake. In Jesus' 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 - La hora del gozo

 Isaías 12:2-6

Y con gran gozo sacarán ustedes agua de las fuentes de la salvación. (Is 12:3, RVC)

¿Qué cosas nos producen gozo en esta vida? ¿Con cuánta frecuencia lo experimentamos? ¿Dónde lo buscamos? El verdadero gozo es un don del Espíritu Santo, junto con la paz, la paciencia, la fe y otros regalos. Correr detrás del placer, el confort o el consumo, no necesariamente nos conducirá al gozo. A veces esa búsqueda, casi desesperada, nos dejará secos, vacíos o frustrados.

El verdadero gozo es una experiencia vibrante en nuestro espíritu. No tiene que ver con lo que nosotros hacemos por ser más o menos felices; es el resultado de lo que Dios nos hace experimentar por gracia, por ser un Dios bueno y misericordioso.

Y es por eso que el gozo puede brillar incluso en medio de las sombras del dolor, el sufrimiento y la muerte. Es una convicción que nos eleva, asociada con el perdón, la salvación, la seguridad de que lo terrible de nuestra vida no tiene la palabra final. Es como el caminante perdido en el bosque que de repente vislumbra el sendero de salida, o el sediento en el desierto que de pronto descubre el oasis.

No hay mayor gozo que la experiencia de la salvación. Es la certeza que brota de la palabra divina de que Dios ya no nos acusa, sino que nos consuela... de que ya no es nuestro enemigo, sino nuestro salvador. Cuando nuestra vida parece ser un laberinto sin salida, podemos elevar nuestra mirada y confiar en Aquel que se manifiesta como nuestro salvador en el pesebre y en la cruz. El profeta nos invita diciendo: ¡Vean a Dios, mi Salvador! Jesús es la fuente inagotable de esa salvación. Aferrémonos a Él con fe, para experimentar el favor divino.

Dios de misericordia: renueva en mí el gozo de tu salvación. Alimenta mi débil fe. Por Jesús, mi Salvador. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - Living in the Light

Read: 1 John 2:3–11 | Bible in a Year: Joel 1–3; Revelation 5

The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8

It was a dark morning. Low, steel-colored clouds filled the sky, and the atmosphere was so dim that I needed to turn on the lights in order to read a book. I had just settled in when the room suddenly filled with light. I looked up and saw that the wind was pushing the clouds to the east, clearing the sky and revealing the sun.

As I went to the window to get a better look at the drama, a thought came to mind: “The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). The apostle John wrote these words to believers as a message of encouragement. He went on to say, “Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble” (v. 10). By contrast, he equated hating people with roaming around in darkness. Hatred is disorienting; it takes away our sense of moral direction.

Loving people is not always easy. Yet I was reminded as I looked out the window that frustration, forgiveness, and faithfulness are all part of maintaining a deep connection with the love and light of God. When we choose love instead of hate, we are showing our relationship with Him and reflecting His radiance to the world around us. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

Dear God, help me to experience Your love more fully so that I can share it with others. I want to live in the light of Your grace and mercy.

Choosing to love people well shows the world what God is like.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Vivir en la luz

Leer: 1 Juan 2:3-11 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 5

… las tinieblas van pasando, y la luz verdadera ya alumbra (1 Juan 2:8).

Era una mañana oscura. El cielo estaba cubierto de nubes bajas y grises, y la atmósfera estaba tan sombría que tuve que encender las luces para leer. Acababa de sentarme, cuando, de repente, la habitación se iluminó. Levanté la mirada y vi que el viento estaba llevando las nubes, y el cielo se había limpiado y aparecido el sol.

Mientras iba hacia la ventana para contemplar la escena, me vino a la mente un pensamiento: «las tinieblas van pasando, y la luz verdadera ya alumbra» (1 Juan 2:8). El apóstol Juan escribió estas palabras a los creyentes para transmitirles ánimo. Y agregó: «El que ama a su hermano, permanece en la luz, y en él no hay tropiezo» (v. 10). Por contraposición, equiparó el odiar a las personas con deambular en la oscuridad. El odio desorienta; nos quita el sentido de rumbo moral.

No siempre es fácil amar a las personas. Sin embargo, mientras miraba por la ventana, recordé que, tanto la frustración como el perdón y la fidelidad, forman parte del proceso de mantenerse en comunión plena con el amor y la luz de Dios. Cuando decidimos amar en vez de odiar, demostramos nuestra relación con el Señor y reflejamos su fulgor ante quienes nos rodean. «Dios es luz, y no hay ningunas tinieblas en él» (1 Juan 1:5).

Señor, ayúdame a reflejar tu luz de gracia y misericordia.

Decidir amar a las personas muestra al mundo cómo es Dios.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Im Licht leben

 Lesen: 1.Johannes 2,3-11 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Joel 1–3; Offenbarung 5

Die Finsternis vergeht und das wahre Licht scheint jetzt. (1.Johannes 2,8)

Es war ein trüber Morgen. Tiefe, stahlgraue Wolken bedeckten den Himmel und es war so finster, dass ich das Licht anmachen musste, um etwas lesen zu können. Ich hatte es mir gerade bequem gemacht, als das Zimmer plötzlich von Licht erfüllt wurde. Ich sah auf und entdeckte, dass der Wind die Wolken nach Osten trieb, so dass auf einmal die Sonne zu sehen war.

Ich trat ans Fenster, um das Spektakel genauer zu betrachten. Dabei kam mir das Wort in den Sinn: „Die Finsternis vergeht und das wahre Licht scheint jetzt“ (1.Joh. 2,8). Der Apostel Johannes schrieb es zur Ermutigung an Gläubige und führte aus: „Wer seinen Bruder liebt, der bleibt im Licht, und durch ihn kommt niemand zu Fall“ (V.10). Im Gegensatz dazu, erklärte er, tappen Menschen, die hassen, in der Finsternis umher. Hass verwirrt und raubt uns auch moralisch gesehen den Orientierungssinn.

Menschen zu lieben ist nicht immer einfach. Aber, als ich zum Fenster hinaussah, ging es mir durch den Kopf, dass Enttäuschung, Vergebung und Treue dazugehören, wenn wir im Licht Gottes und in seiner Liebe Beziehungen pflegen wollen. Wenn wir Liebe statt Hass wählen, spiegeln wir für unsere Umgebung etwas von unserer Beziehung zu ihm wider. „Gott ist Licht, und in ihm ist keine Finsternis“ (1.Joh. 1,5).

Lieber Gott, hilf mir, deine Liebe immer tiefer zu erleben, damit ich sie an andere weitergeben kann. Ich möchte im Licht deiner Gnade und Barmherzigkeit leben.

Wenn wir bereit sind, andere zu lieben, zeigen wir der Welt, wie Gott ist

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Жизнь во свете

Читать сейчас: 1 Иоанна 2:3-11 | Библия за год: Иоиль 1-3; Откровение 5

...Тьма проходит, и истинный свет уже светит. — 1 Иоанна 2:8

Утро было сумрачным. Низкие серые тучи укутали небо. Картину довершал туман, так что мне пришлось включить свет, чтобы почитать книгу. Только я уселась, как вдруг комната озарилась светом. Я подняла глаза и увидела, что ветер разогнал тучи на востоке, небо прояснилось и выглянуло солнце.

Идя к окну полюбоваться этой картиной, я вспомнила слова: «Тьма проходит, и истинный свет уже светит» (1 Ин. 2:8). Апостол Иоанн написал их верующим с целью ободрения. Дальше он говорит: «Кто любит брата своего, тот пребывает во свете и нет в нем соблазна» (1 Ин. 2:10). В противоположность этому он сравнивает тех, кто ненавидит, с блуждающими во тьме. Ненависть ослепляет, лишает нас здравого смысла и нравственных ориентиров.

Любить бывает непросто. Однако, глядя в окно, я напомнила себе, что прощение и верность развивают крепкую связь с Божьим светом. Выбирая любовь и отказываясь от ненависти, мы отражаем Его свет. «Бог есть свет, и нет в Нем никакой тьмы» (1 Ин. 1:5).

Боже, помоги мне более полно испытывать Твою любовь, чтобы распространять ее на других. Я хочу жить во свете Твоей благодати и милости.

Решение любить людей показывает миру Божий характер.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Vivre dans la lumière

Lisez : 1 Jean 2.3‑11 | La Bible en un an : Joël 1 – 3 et Apocalypse 5

[Les] ténèbres se dissipent et la lumière véritable paraît déjà. (1 Jean 2.8)

Par une sombre matinée, des nuages bas et couleur acier remplissaient le ciel et tout était si diffus que j’ai dû allumer pour lire un livre. Or, je venais de m’installer lorsque la pièce s’est soudain remplie de lumière. Levant les yeux, j’ai vu que le vent chassait les nuages vers l’est, dégageant le ciel et laissant apparaître le soleil.

Tandis que je me rendais à la fenêtre pour mieux voir la scène, une pensée m’est venue à l’esprit : « [Les] ténèbres se dissipent et la lumière véritable paraît déjà » (1 JN 2.8). L’apôtre Jean l’a écrit aux croyants pour les encourager. Puis il a ajouté : « Celui qui aime son frère demeure dans la lumière, et aucune occasion de chute n’est en lui » (V. 10). Pour les mettre en contraste, il a fait l’équation entre le fait de haïr des gens et celui de rôder dans les ténèbres. La haine est déconcertante ; elle nous prive de notre compas moral.

Il n’est pas toujours facile d’aimer. Je me suis souvenu, en regardant par la fenêtre, que la contrariété, le pardon et la fidélité font cependant tous partie du maintien d’un lien profond avec l’amour et la lumière de Dieu. Lorsque nous choisissons l’amour au lieu de la haine, nous démontrons notre relation avec Dieu, qui irradie sur notre entourage. « [C’est] que Dieu est lumière, et qu’il n’y a point en lui de ténèbres » (1 JN 1.5).

L’amour vrai d’autrui montre au monde à quoi ressemble Dieu.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ