Thursday, December 15, 2016

Standing Strong Through the Storm - TURNING FEAR INTO FAITH

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home. Philemon 1:1-2

The five functions of the church (evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship and worship), as they were practiced in the New Testament, were frequently carried out in private homes. But the early church was not limited just to homes. They also used the temple, synagogues, lecture halls, open forums, riverbanks, ships and other places.

However, it is encouraging to realize that all the functions can be performed in a small house. In many restricted countries, this is the only available place. The New Testament specifically refers to five “house churches,” and there were probably many more (Romans 16:3-5, 23; 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).

Believers from Muslim Background (MBB’s) take great risks when attempting to meet together. They do so secretly in small groups of no more than ten or fifteen to avoid suspicion from locals. They change their meeting place each time they gather in order to cover their tracks. While some are fortunate to participate with their families, many come with fear because their Muslim relatives do not even know about their new faith.

Such was the situation of the twelve MBB’s who quietly came one morning into a mountainside property in Central Java for a believers’ gathering. It was special, because a baptism ceremony would take place the next day. The MBB’s were excited and scared at the same time, more so for the four MBB’s who came to be baptized. They are nervous as their families and neighbours still think of them as Muslims.

The gathering started at night. Beginning with worship songs, the room fills with warmth, slowly stripping away fear in the hearts and minds of the believers. After the singing, the MBB’s and their children, sit on the carpeted floor. In their hands they hold the Injil and prepare for teaching. It may be a long while before they hear God’s Word again—that is, if they get the chance to. If their faith in Christ is ever discovered, the prospect of attending the next gathering grows dim.

One MBB shares that since his conversion he experienced peace, especially when sleeping at night. No longer did he wake up the next morning with much anxiety in his heart. Fights at home ceased, and his wife noted a change in him. “My husband never shouts at me anymore. Our house is full of love now. I cannot stop thanking Jesus for changing my family. He is Almighty; He is good!” she said as she broke into tears of joy.

On the second day of the gathering, the MBB’s stand at the side of a laundry pool as they witness the baptism of four more MBB’s. They see tension vanishing from their faces as each comes out of water. The church can function in many forms and still be the church.

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful for the many ways I can gather with Christians to be the church!

PRAYER: Pray for believers—especially MBB’s—living in fear that can limit expression of faith.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

Girlfriends in God - From the Cradle to the Cross

Today’s Truth

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:19, NIV)

Friend to Friend

The story of Christmas is familiar. Many of us can recite verses and sing choruses that recap the holy day without so much as a second thought. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt – so I wonder.

I wonder and I search my heart.

When I sit and search long enough to listen to God’s still small voice, I grapple with the familiar and I groan for the fresh… and I wonder. Have I shopped, cleaned, and baked away the season without bending a knee to worship the Savior? Have I decorated my home, but failed to focus my heart?

The story of Christmas is the ultimate story of life, of hope, of freedom. The beautiful and mysterious intersection of humanity’s depravity and Divinity’s provision. A complex invasion of darkness by light. By love. By a love that breathes life and brings beauty.


In the beginning, Love breathed life into the made-from-dust lungs of Adam. Life-giving love. The perfect and complete love of a holy, triune, eternal God who spoke words and created new galaxies – new wonders – new worshipers. All was made so that He might be glorified.

We His image bearers, however, are different from all other creation in that we are made to know Him. Personally. To know Love. True, pure, eminent love.

Then, stains of rebellion brought separation.

Rebellion of God’s plan – of His spoken word, of His will. Human wants and desires rose to rule – our own wills were done instead of God’s: in the Garden… in my life… in yours.

And though rebellion demands death, (Romans 6:23) God’s love pursues with life-giving power. This Love that descended from heaven to earth, came to speak life to death through the incarnate Grace that was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a humble manger.

From the cradle to the cross, Jesus came on a love mission.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10


Jesus came upon the no-vacancy scene in Bethlehem to annihilate death – so that we, who are hopeless without Him, could experience love, forgiveness and freedom. Full life. Abundant life. Beauty-from-ashes life.

Childhood gave way to manhood, and at the age of thirty, Jesus Christ made his love mission known. While in a synagogue in Galilee, he unrolled an ancient scroll and found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:14-21

The story of Christmas is the story of Jesus. The story of captives being set free, of the blind gaining sight, and of our stains of rebellion being washed white in his blood.

The story of Christmas is the story of life.

Today, as we move and meander in the mundane, I pray that you would join me in being gripped by a fresh and compelling awe for this perfect Love that breathes life and brings beauty to our brokenness.

Let’s Pray

Holy LORD, incarnate Grace, You are beyond amazing! My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for Your love. Help me to live in responsive awareness of Your grace.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Let’s pause for a shared moment of worship. Click here to visit my blog or my Facebook page and allow the songs that I’ve posted today lead you in further adoration and praise!

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! There are endless opportunities for us to worry, wander, and wonder. But that's not God's best for us. Though we remain broken and impacted by an imperfect world, you and I can get through anything in the power and hope of Jesus. CLICK HERE to get a FREE Ebook: 7 Day I WANT IT ALL Devotional and Bible Study, and join Gwen Smith as she shares Biblical truth, honest struggles, and practical help.

NIV Devotions for Men - Where Is Home?

Jeremiah 29:1–14

Recommended Reading: Deuteronomy 30:3–6; Isaiah 11:11–16; Jeremiah 24:5–7; Philippians 1:21–26

Dignitaries lined the street when the funeral procession passed. Thousands waited just to catch a glimpse of the coffin. In fact, the people of the United States and all parts of the world loved and revered the deceased man so much that his remains were disinterred in Tripoli and brought to the United States for a magnificent funeral.

His name was John Howard Payne. You probably haven’t heard of him. But this well-loved poet was best known for composing one simple verse:

“Mid pleasures and palaces,
Though oft I may roam;
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.”

The prophet Jeremiah knew about feelings of home. He wrote to the elders exiled in Babylon to remind them. Although they found themselves in a strange land, they were still God’s people, and God still had plans for them. Until the appropriate time, however, God spoke through Jeremiah and reminded the elders to make a home where they were: “’Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters’” (Jeremiah 9:5–6). He even instructed them to pray for the cities and lands in which they found themselves, for if the cities prospered so would they.

This directive might have seemed odd to the people in exile. Shouldn’t they start a resistance movement? Some sort of an underground, covert military unit designed to get them out of that situation as soon as possible?

In a certain sense, we’re in the same situation as those exiles in Babylon. Those of us who know and follow God realize that this world is not our final destination. There is a life after this one—a life more real and closer at hand than most people could even begin to comprehend. Yet instead of asking us to rush through life to get to the end, the Bible encourages us to live here, in “exile,” to the fullest, for the glory of the God who put us here. As much as we might excitedly anticipate being in God’s presence someday, we have an opportunity—or more precisely, an obligation—to live fully in the here and now.

If you feel like an exile living in a place you really don’t want to be, take a look at a bigger perspective. God is present with you now, where you are. And he has a plan for you to fulfill until you reach your final heavenly home.

To Take Away
  • Why do you think God places us on earth to await our home in heaven?
  • When you envision the bigger perspective for your life, what plans do you think God has in store for you?
  • What impact does setting your heart and hope on heaven have on the way you live today? In what way does your life show that your hope is in heaven?

Un Dia a la Vez - Consejos prácticos para el diario vivir

Lámpara es a mis pies tu palabra, y lumbrera a mi camino. Salmo 119:105, RV-60

Hay un refrán popular que expresa: «El que no oye consejos no llega a viejo». Y es muy que cierto.

No sé si te ha pasado, pero a mí sí. A veces nuestros padres nos aconsejan y nos dicen cosas que saben que son buenas, pero no les hacemos caso. Hoy, después de tantos golpes en la vida, te puedo decir que debemos escuchar los consejos de nuestros padres, pues tienen la experiencia y la sabiduría de la vida. Además, desean lo mejor para nosotros.

He aquí algunos consejos útiles que a mí me han dado buenos resultados:
  • Coloca a Dios en primer lugar.
  • Deja el pasado atrás.
  • Ten en alto tu autoestima.
  • Valórate.
  • No menosprecies lo que tienes.
  • Sé fiel, honesto y sincero.
  • No envidies los triunfos de los demás.
  • Trabaja con excelencia.
  • Sé humilde.
  • Sé obediente a los mandamientos del Señor.
Si quieres ser feliz de verdad, pon en práctica lo que te aconseja la Palabra de Dios.

Verse of the Day - December 15, 2016

Luke 1:30-33 (NIV) But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Read all of Luke 1

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, December 15, 2016

First Reading
from the Old Testament

For wickedness burned like a fire, consuming briers and thorns; it kindled the thickets of the forest, and they swirled upward in a column of smoke. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land was burned, and the people became like fuel for the fire; no one spared another. They gorged on the right, but still were hungry, and they devoured on the left, but were not satisfied; they devoured the flesh of their own kindred; Manasseh devoured Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they were against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still. Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth, so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain? For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 9:18-10:4, NRSV)

Second Reading
from the Epistles

-- 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, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring against them a slanderous judgment from the Lord. These people, however, are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed. They slander what they do not understand, and when those creatures are destroyed, they also will be destroyed, suffering the penalty for doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! They have left the straight road and have gone astray, following the road of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of doing wrong, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness. (2 Peter 2:10-16, NRSV)

The Holy Gospel
according to St Matthew, the 3rd Chapter

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'" Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:1-12, NRSV)

Morning Psalms

Psalm 50 Deus deorum
1   The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2   Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory.
3   Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm.
4   He calls the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.
5   Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice.
6   Let the heavens declare the rightness of his cause; for God himself is judge.
7   Hear, O my people, and I will speak: "O Israel, I will bear witness against you; for I am God, your God.
8   I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; your offerings are always before me.
9   I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, nor he-goats out of your pens;
10   For all the beasts of the forest are mine, the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11   I know every bird in the sky, and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
12   If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that is in it.
13   Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and make good your vows to the Most High.
15   Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor me."
16   But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my statutes, and take my covenant upon your lips;
17   Since you refuse discipline, and toss my words behind your back?
18   When you see a thief, you make him your friend, and you cast in your lot with adulterers.
19   You have loosed your lips for evil, and harnessed your tongue to a lie.
20   You are always speaking evil of your brother and slandering your own mother's son.
21   These things you have done, and I kept still, and you thought that I am like you."
22   I have made my accusation; I have put my case in order before your eyes.
23   Consider this well, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
24   Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God."

Evening Psalms

Psalm 59 Eripe me de inimicis
1   Rescue me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.
2   Rescue me from evildoers and save me from those who thirst for my blood.
3   See how they lie in wait for my life, how the mighty gather together against me; not for any offense or fault of mine, O LORD.
4   Not because of any guilt of mine they run and prepare themselves for battle.
5   Rouse yourself, come to my side, and see; for you, LORD God of hosts, are Israel's God.
6   Awake, and punish all the ungodly; show no mercy to those who are faithless and evil.
7   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
8   Behold, they boast with their mouths, and taunts are on their lips; "For who, they say, will hear us?"
9   But you, O LORD, you laugh at them; you laugh all the ungodly to scorn.
10   My eyes are fixed on you, O my Strength; for you, O God, are my stronghold.
11   My merciful God comes to meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
12   Slay them, O God, lest my people forget; send them reeling by your might and put them down, O Lord our shield.
13   For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, for the cursing and lies that they utter, let them be caught in their pride.
14   Make an end of them in your wrath; make an end of them, and they shall be no more.
15   Let everyone know that God rules in Jacob, and to the ends of the earth.
16   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
17   They forage for food, and if they are not filled, they howl.
18   For my part, I will sing of your strength; I will celebrate your love in the morning;
19   For you have become my stronghold, a refuge in the day of my trouble.
20   To you, O my Strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God.

Psalm 60 Deus, repulisti nos
1   O God, you have cast us off and broken us; you have been angry; oh, take us back to you again.
2   You have shaken the earth and split it open; repair the cracks in it, for it totters.
3   You have made your people know hardship; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
4   You have set up a banner for those who fear you, to be a refuge from the power of the bow.
5   Save us by your right hand and answer us, that those who are dear to you may be delivered.
6   God spoke from his holy place and said: "I will exult and parcel out Shechem; I will divide the valley of Succoth.
7   Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet and Judah my scepter.
8   Moab is my wash-basin, on Edom I throw down my sandal to claim it, and over Philistia will I shout in triumph."
9   Who will lead me into the strong city? who will bring me to Edom?
10   Have you not cast us off, O God? you no longer go out, O God, with our armies.
11   Grant us your help against the enemy, for vain is the help of man.
12   With God we will do valiant deeds, and he shall tread our enemies under foot.

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.

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries - "Bringing Down and Raising Up"

(And Mary said) "He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate" (Luke 1:52, ESV).

Read Luke 1:51-55.

I used to snoop around the house to find the presents from mom and dad. Their solution was to wrap up the presents a few weeks early, then put them under the tree -- without any name tags on them. We examined those packages with magnifying glasses but found no clue as to which present belonged to which of us five boys. My solution was daring and brilliant: I found the biggest package under the tree and claimed it as my own. Whenever we posed for pictures I stood by my beautiful, huge present. Of course, on Christmas morning it always ended up belonging to one of my brothers.

A few days back we discussed the stigma the Jewish culture put upon childless couples like Zechariah and Elizabeth. That proud and arrogant attitude plagued the entire Jewish culture. It was commonly thought that God showed His favor to certain people by giving them wealth, power and prominence. And He showed His displeasure to others through poverty, disease and a low social standing.

Mary's experience shattered that foolish presumption. God passed by all the virgin daughters of the rich, powerful, prominent families in Jerusalem, and instead He chose an unknown girl from an obscure city in the despised north. Jesus would say it best, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12).

None of us can stand before our pure and holy God in our own righteousness. Our only hope is through the humble Christ Child, born in a lowly manger, nailed to a despised cross, raised to glory on the third day, and seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You humble the proud and raise up the lowly. Turn me from my arrogant, sinful pride that I may cling to Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior, my pride and joy. 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 - Sí al gozo, no a la angustia

Filipenses 4:4-7

Regocíjense en el Señor siempre. Y otra vez les digo, ¡regocíjense! (Fil 4:4, RVC)

Una mujer lleva sentada largas horas, junto con muchas otras madres, esperando que le permitan reconocer el cadáver de su hija fallecida en el incendio de una discoteca. Cuando se le pregunta por su caso, ella comenta que es el segundo hijo que ha perdido de forma trágica. Se le ofrece orar por ella. La mujer asiente y responde: "Siento una paz que no sé de dónde viene". Era una mujer creyente y se notaba en su mirada que algo la distinguía del resto, algo que brotaba de su espíritu.

¿De dónde viene esa clase de paz? ¿Cuál es la fuente de semejante gozo? El apóstol habla de una paz que "sobrepasa todo entendimiento". Él nos exhorta a regocijarnos siempre. ¿Cómo es posible? La clave de ese gozo y esa paz están en la expresión en el Señor. Son el fruto de una relación muy especial. No se derivan de sensaciones de los sentidos, ni de las terminales nerviosas del cuerpo. Son una realidad que Dios crea, algo inexplicable que se da cuando confiamos en el Señor, cuando tenemos la certeza de su perdón y de su compañía, y cuando estamos en comunión con Él.

El ángel en Belén traerá "noticias de gran gozo". Recibamos esa noticia con fe. El Señor está cerca, nos dice el apóstol. Navidad nos recuerda que está tan cerca, que llega a ser nuestro Emanuel, que viene del cielo para estar a nuestro lado. Que está con los que creen, aquí y ahora, en su palabra. Que va a regresar en gloria para llevarnos consigo para siempre, junto al Padre. Regocijémonos en el Señor. Siempre.

Oh Dios, dame la paz y el gozo del pesebre y de la cruz. Guarda mi corazón y mi mente en Cristo Jesús. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - One Short Sleep

Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 | Bible in a Year: Amos 1–3; Revelation 6

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

Henry Durbanville, a Scottish pastor from another era, told the story of an elderly woman in his parish who lived in a remote part of Scotland. She longed to see the city of Edinburgh, but she was afraid to take the journey because of the long, dark tunnel through which the train had to pass to get there.

One day, however, circumstances compelled her to go to Edinburgh, and as the train sped toward the city, her agitation increased. But before the train reached the tunnel, the woman, worn out with worry, fell fast asleep. When she awoke she had already arrived in the city!

It’s possible that some of us will not experience death. If we’re alive when Jesus returns, we will “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:13–18). But many of us will pass into heaven through death and for some that thought causes great anxiety. We worry that the process of dying will be too difficult to bear.

With the assurance of Jesus as our Savior we can rest in the confidence that when we close our eyes on earth and pass through death, we will open our eyes in God’s presence. “One short sleep past we wake eternally,” John Donne said.

I love the life You’ve given to me, Lord, yet I wonder what it will be like to see You personally. Help me to trust You with the future. I look forward to that day when I meet You.

To see Jesus will be heaven’s greatest joy.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Un «sueñito»

Leer: 1 Tes. 4:13-18 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 6

… más quisiéramos estar ausentes del cuerpo, y presentes al Señor (2 Corintios 5:8).

Henry Durbanville, un pastor escocés de otra época, relata la historia de una anciana de su congregación, que vivía en una parte remota de Escocia. Ella anhelaba conocer Edimburgo, pero tenía miedo de viajar hasta allí porque el tren que iba a esa ciudad pasaba por un túnel largo y oscuro.

No obstante, un día, ciertas circunstancias la obligaron a ir a la capital escocesa. A medida que el tren se acercaba rápidamente a la ciudad, más nerviosa se ponía. Pero, antes de llegar al túnel y agotada por la preocupación, la mujer se quedó dormida. Cuando despertó, ¡ya había llegado a Edimburgo!

Es posible que algunos no experimenten la muerte. Si estamos vivos cuando Jesús vuelva, los que creemos en Él nos reuniremos con el «Señor en el aire» (1 Tesalonicenses 4:13-18). No obstante, muchos llegarán al cielo cuando mueran, y a algunos, esto les genera gran ansiedad. Nos preocupa que el proceso previo a la muerte sea demasiado difícil de soportar.

Si tenemos la seguridad de que Jesús es nuestro Salvador, podemos descansar confiados en que, cuando cerremos nuestros ojos en este mundo y experimentemos la muerte, los abriremos en la presencia de Dios. «Tras un breve sueño, despertamos a la eternidad», dijo John Donne.

Señor, pongo mi futuro en tus manos. Anhelo verte cara a cara.

Ver a Jesús será el mayor gozo del cielo.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Nach kurzem Schlaf

Lesen: 1.Thessalonicher 4,13-18 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Amos 1–3; Offenbarung 6

Aber wir rechnen fest damit und würden am liebsten diesen Leib verlassen, um endlich zu Hause beim Herrn zu sein. 2.Korinther 5,8 (HFA)

Henry Durbanville, ein schottischer Pastor aus einem früheren Jahrhundert, erzählt die Geschichte von einer älteren Frau in seiner Gemeinde, die in einer recht entlegenen Gegend wohnte. Sie hätte gern einmal die Stadt Edinburgh gesehen, aber sie hatte Angst vor der Reise, weil die Fahrt mit der Eisenbahn durch einen langen, finsteren Tunnel führte.

Eines Tages war sie jedoch gezwungen, nach Edinburgh zu fahren. Je näher der Zug der Stadt kam, desto aufgeregter wurde sie. Doch noch ehe der Tunnel erreicht war, hatten Angst und Unruhe sie so müde gemacht, dass sie einschlief. Als sie aufwachte, war sie bereits am Ziel!

Es kann sein, dass einige von uns den Tod nicht erleben. Wenn wir noch am Leben sind, wenn Jesus wiederkommt, werden wir „entrückt werden auf den Wolken in die Luft“ (1.Thess. 4,13-18). Viele werden aber auch durch den Tod in den Himmel gelangen und manchen bereitet das große Angst. Wir fürchten nicht den Tod selbst, sondern den Prozess des Sterbens.

Doch wenn Jesus unser Erlöser ist, können wir getrost die Augen schließen und durch den Tod gehen, weil wir gewiss sind, wenn wir sie wieder öffnen, werden wir bei Gott am Ziel sein. „Nach kurzem Schlaf erwachen wir in der Ewigkeit“, wie John Donne schrieb.

Ich liebe das Leben, Herr, das du mir gegeben hast. Und doch frage ich mich, wie es sein wird, dich zu sehen. Hilf mir, dir auch meine Zukunft anzuvertrauen. Ich freue mich auf den Tag, an dem ich dich sehen werde.

Jesus sehen wird die größte Freude des Himmels sein.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Короткий сон

Читать сейчас: 1 Фессалоникийцам 4:13-18 | Библия за год: Амос 1-3; Откровение 6

Мы благодушествуем и желаем лучше выйти из тела и водвориться у Господа. — 2 Коринфянам 5:8

Ныне покойный шотландский пастор рассказывал историю о пожилой женщине из его прихода, жившей в шотландской глуши. Ей хотелось увидеть город Эдинбург, но поехать туда она боялась, потому что поезд должен был проходить через длинный, темный туннель.

Тем не менее однажды обстоятельства вынудили ее отправиться в Эдинбург. Чем дальше уходил поезд, тем ей становилось тревожней. Но, прежде чем состав достиг туннеля, женщина, устав от переживаний, задремала. А когда проснулась, за окном уже был город!

Есть вероятность, что некоторые из нас не встретятся со смертью. Если мы будем живы, когда Иисус вернется, то нас ожидает встреча с Ним на облаках (1 Фес. 4:13-18). Но многие из нас войдут в небо через смерть, и этот факт вызывает у некоторых беспокойство. Мы боимся, что процесс умирания будет слишком болезненным.

Веря, что Иисус Христос – наш Спаситель, мы можем успокоиться в уверенности, что, когда закроем глаза на земле и пройдем через смерть, то вновь откроем их в Божьем присутствии. «Один короткий сон – и мы проснемся в вечности», – сказал Джон Донн.

Я люблю жизнь, которую Ты дал мне, Господь, но жду того времени, когда увижу Тебя воочию. Помоги мне доверить Тебе свое будущее.

Главная радость небес – видеть Иисуса Христа.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Le temps d’une courte sieste

Lisez : 1 Thessaloniciens 4.13‑18 | La Bible en un an : Amos 1 – 3 et Apocalypse 6

[Nous] sommes pleins de confiance, et nous aimons mieux quitter ce corps et demeurer auprès du Seigneur. (2 Corinthiens 5.8)

Henry Durbanville, un pasteur écossais d’une autre région, raconte l’histoire d’une aînée de sa paroisse qui vivait dans un lieu éloigné de l’Écosse. Elle désirait ardemment voir la ville d’Édimbourg, mais elle redoutait de faire le trajet, car le train qui l’y conduirait devait emprunter un long tunnel sombre.

Or, un jour, une certaine situation l’a contrainte à se rendre à Édimbourg, et tandis que le train filait à vive allure vers la ville, son agitation croissait. Avant que le train n’atteigne le tunnel, cette dame, que l’inquiétude avait épuisée, a sombré dans un profond sommeil. À son réveil, elle était déjà arrivée dans la ville.

Il est possible que certains d’entre nous ne meurent pas. Si nous sommes vivants à l’arrivée de Jésus, « nous serons […] enlevés […] à la rencontre du Seigneur dans les airs » (1 TH .13‑18). Reste que parmi les nombreuses personnes qui accéderont au ciel par la mort, certaines redoutent énormément cette dernière. Elles craignent que le processus de la mort soit trop difficile à supporter.

Grâce à l’assurance de Jésus notre Sauveur, nous pouvons avoir la certitude réconfortante qu’au moment de fermer les yeux ici‑bas et de passer à travers la mort, nous les rouvrirons en présence de Dieu. « Le temps d’une courte sieste, et nous nous réveillerons dans l’éternité », nous dit John Donne.

Voir Jésus constituera la plus grande des joies célestes.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ