Friday, December 16, 2016

Standing Strong Through the Storm - WHAT’S YOUR STRUGGLE?

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. Psalm 73:4

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

I’m often questioned about the main difference between a persecuted Christian and a western Christian. My answer has not changed in twenty years. In the persecuted church, Christians realize they are in trouble, and go to God about it. In the western Church, Christians forget they are in a fight, and even if they do remember, never manage to find the time to go to God about it.

Persecuted Christians know they are in a fight. Every day they struggle. Not being conscious of a daily struggle may be sure sign that one is losing the battle of life. The ancient Psalmist looked at the rich elite of Israel and said, “they have no struggles.” They should have struggles if they wish to please God. But so many Christians in the world today seem surprised at the language of struggle today.

What struggles do the persecuted awaken us to? There is, first of all, the struggle we are always in. Everyone that visits persecuted communities comes away with a renewed appreciation of the spiritual battle we are always engaged in.

Secondly, there is the struggle we must awaken to. A persecuted Christian in Palestine said, “When you become a real Christian, you get reawakened to the fact that ‘the whole world lies in the hands of the evil one,’ and this reflects in your own culture.” She added, “What your culture worships, you have to struggle against.” In her case, it was a worship of extremist terrorists, who risked everything to kill Israelis. In standing out against that, she struggled to communicate to her neighbors who thought she was being “unpatriotic.”

We have to face up the same question. What is our culture worshipping? Is it, as Francis Schaeffer once said, “the god of personal peace and affluence,” where we don’t mind what goes on in the world so long as our space and prosperity is not affected?

Finally, there is the struggle we must create. Brother Andrew tells the story of meeting Pastor Haik of Iran, who said to him in 1993, “Andrew, when they kill me, it will be for speaking, not for being silent.” Haik was killed in 1994. If he had stayed silent about the treatment of his Christian friend, Mehdi Dibaj, Haik would be alive. But he chose to enter, even create, the conflict. The fact is we can avoid struggle if we want. Each of us has to make a choice to speak up, defy the powers-that-be, and bring a struggle into being. Otherwise Satan wins.

Persecuted Christians are always in a fight. They struggle all the time, against their own sins, against idolatries in their own societies, and against the orchestration of the evil one who is out to take our worship away from God. Yet these struggles should mark our own lives and churches as surely as the devil does not live exclusively in China or Columbia. This world is the place of struggle. What’s your struggle? The persecuted force us to ask. Everyone ought to have one!

RESPONSE: Today I will affirm and engage in the struggles I face in standing strong against the enemy.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the struggles the persecuted awaken in me. Help me not avoid them.

Men of the Bible - Stephen

His name means: "Crown"

His work: After Pentecost, Stephen was one of seven leaders chosen to be the first "deacons" to serve the needy.
His character: He is a model of readiness and untold courage in the face of his adversaries.
His sorrow: In addition to the rocks that came hurling down on him, Stephen must have been struck by the utter lostness of those who should have known better—the religious leaders of his day.
His triumph: The privilege of representing, serving, and dying for his Master.
Key Scriptures: Acts 6-7

A Look at the Man

There are only a few men in Scripture of whom you might say to your son, "When you grow up, be exactly like him." Stephen is such a man, a tender and gracious leader with a brilliant mind, a crisp tongue, and a humble yet disarmingly confident air about him.

For the Jewish leaders of his day, Stephen was not a good man to have on the other side.

Because of Peter's triumphant Pentecost sermon and the spread of the gospel throughout the region, people were converted from many different cultures. Many converts in need came to other believers for food and daily provisions. Generosity prevailed. Primarily accustomed to native Israelites coming to Jesus, the disciples were challenged with the right way to handle Jews from other nations who embraced the faith. Some of the Greek-speaking believers were overlooked.

"What we need are committed men who can help these people," a group of believers said to one another one evening. "Is there anyone here who speaks Greek?"

Seven men stepped forward—Stephen and six others. The leaders were familiar with Stephen. A man known for his faith, his oratory skills, and his Spirit-filled power, Stephen's ministry was widespread. He had even performed miracles in Jesus' name. This was one very gifted man.

But there was no glamour in the assignment for which Stephen was volunteering. He would be responsible for distributing food and supplies to Greek-speaking widows and caring for the disabled. Here was a man who was well versed in history and the law and could command audiences with his words. Now he would quietly be taking care of the needs of people who were incapable of taking care of themselves.

To the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, Stephen was a monumental threat. He was winning the minds and hearts of the people, and many were being converted. So they collared a few men who were willing to take oaths and lie about Stephen.

"What do you have to say for yourself?" they demanded of him after the false charges had been presented before the Sanhedrin.

It would have been completely understandable if Stephen had taken the opportunity to defend himself. Point by point he could have summarily disassembled the charges against him and the reprobates who had perjured themselves. But he didn't.

Instead, Stephen took the whole council on a walk through history. He identified their heroes—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon. Stephen acknowledged how God's faithfulness had sustained and prospered these patriarchs. He reminded them of how each of these men had been obedient in spite of terrible odds. This was not the speech they expected, and they were drawn to Stephen's message.

The Sanhedrin leaned forward in their seats, waiting for Stephen to identify them as members of the grand sequence of great Jewish leaders. But it wasn't to be. Imagine their horror when Stephen announced that they, like others of God's adversaries, had deliberately tried to thwart his providence—that they were the enemy.

Stephen must have known that he had pronounced his own death sentence—that the cost of his courage, of telling the truth before this powerful assembly, would be the loss of his life. Still, Stephen willingly paid the price. He didn't know that his sacrifice would plant a seed in the heart of a man who heard his stirring address and stood there, watching and approving of his brutal assassination—Saul of Tarsus—who later became the transformed Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

As selflessly as he waited on the needy, Stephen gave everything he had in service to the risen Lord. As a result, God took his obedience, multiplied it, and eventually the church of all nations was born.

Reflect On: Luke 23:44–49
Praise God: For his grace.
Offer Thanks: For the words of Stephen as he died, innocent, at the hands of bloodthirsty men. Thank God for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and his unfailing love for us, the guilty ones whose sins sent him to the cross.
Confess: Any eagerness to receive applause for your obedience rather than to be completely satisfied with God’s approval for your service—public or private.
Ask God: To give you the discipline to be prepared for whatever special commission he has for you—to have your mind and your heart properly prepared.

Girlfriends in God - Who Is Blessed?

Today’s Truth

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God (2 Corinthians 9:11, NLT).

Friend to Friend

He sorted through the mail, pressed the latest bill onto the table, and looked at me with compassion in his eyes. He knew full well that our medical debt stirred up huge amounts of anxiety within me.

“We’ll get through this.” He assured.

I wasn’t so sure.

What happened to us? How did we get here? And how would we ever get through it?

The truth is, we had encountered one crisis after another through no fault of our own. And, the truth was, we had become inconsistent stewards and hit-and-miss tithers. All because of fear. But when is fear ever a good motivator for a Christian?

We decided that we needed to live like God’s promises were true, or we need to quit calling ourselves believers. If we can trust Jesus with our eternity, surely we can trust Him with our finances, right?

We got down on our knees together, bowed our heads, and asked God’s forgiveness for allowing our fears to get in the way of our obedience. Then we resolved right then and there never to hold back the tithe. I thought to myself, God must being smiling big right now. Obedience feels good.

But He wasn’t finished with us yet. He whispered to both our hearts, I also want you to keep an eye open for those around you. No matter what season of life you find yourself, there’ll always be someone within your reach that you can help. You always posses more than you know and I intend to meet some of the world’s needs through you.

That moment changed everything for us. We got up from that place and determined to ever be on the lookout for those who need what God has given to us.

I host a daily talk show on Faith Radio called Live the Promise. Andy Crouch joined me on the show awhile back and he talked about the importance of stewarding the power that God has entrusted to us. Some use their power in a corrupt way. They leverage their position to benefit themselves even though others may pay a price.

But Jesus did the exact opposite. He leveraged His power and it cost Him everything, that we might gain eternity and then some. What love!

Once Andy established that we all have power and influence in varying degrees, he posed a question that I’ll not soon forget. He said we must dare to ask ourselves: Who flourishes because I have power?

Who flourishes because God has been good to me?

It’s easy to commit the sin of comparison and come up lacking compared to those who seem to have it all. But truly, we’re more blessed than we know, and more influential than we can fathom.

God delegates to each of us a measure of influence and power. One day we’ll give an account for how we’ve stewarded our time, treasures, and talents. And since that’s true, we must consider this weighty question today: Who is blessed because I’ve been blessed?

May we live generously and wholeheartedly because we serve a God in heaven who has been so very good to us.

Let’s Pray

Precious Lord, You have been good to me. Thank you for the countless blessings I enjoy. Help me, Lord, to live a generous, grateful life. Forgive me for the countless times I’ve committed the sin of comparison. I am rich beyond measure and blessed beyond comprehension; all because of You. Give me a vision for what You want to accomplish through me, who You want to bless through me, and where You want me to go, because You have been good to me. Here I am, Lord, send me, use me, and change me.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Who flourishes because I have power?

In what ways is God calling me to grow in generosity?

More from the Girlfriends

In her book, Your Powerful Prayers: Reaching the Heart of God with a Bold and Humble Faith, Susie Larson will help you learn how to boldly come before the throne of God with confidence and power. Visit Susie’s website for more information about her ministry and resources.

Un Dia a la Vez - Ética profesional

Mantengan entre los incrédulos una conducta tan ejemplar que, aunque los acusen de hacer el mal, ellos observen las buenas obras de ustedes. 1 Pedro 2:12

Desde la creación, el Señor nos dio el trabajo. Sin embargo, las cosas cambiaron después de la caída de Adán y Eva en el jardín del Edén. También cambiaron los planes que tenía Dios para nosotros y vinieron las consecuencias.

Desde entonces, Dios le ordenó a Adán que se ganaría el pan con el sudor de su frente. Y por eso el trabajo es tan importante para el hombre. Es como el ADN que Dios estableció en el hombre. De ahí que cada vez que un hombre tenga problemas económicos e inestabilidad financiera, se sienta morir, le afecte en su hombría y hasta caiga en depresión.

No obstante, si Dios estableció el trabajo, es para que fuera de bendición para ti y tu familia. Así que lo menos que podemos hacer es trabajar con excelencia y ética profesional.

No me refiero solo a ser honestos en la empresa, el taller, la fábrica, la escuela, el canal de televisión, la emisora o la revista donde se trabaje, también me refiero a tu trabajo dentro de la iglesia.

Hay personas dentro de las iglesias y ministerios que no trabajan con ética. Toman el servicio a Dios como algo que no merece la integridad y el profesionalismo, como si Él no los estuviera observando y algún día no les fuera a pedir cuentas.

Verse of the Day - December 16, 2016

Luke 1:46-47, 49 (NIV) [ Mary’s Song ] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

Read all of Luke 1

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, December 16, 2016

First Reading
from the Old Testament

Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger-- the club in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. For he says: "Are not my commanders all kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols whose images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols what I have done to Samaria and her images?" When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I have removed the boundaries of peoples, and have plundered their treasures; like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones. My hand has found, like a nest, the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing, or opened its mouth, or chirped." Shall the ax vaunt itself over the one who wields it, or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it? As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up, or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood! Therefore the Sovereign, the LORD of hosts, will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. The glory of his forest and his fruitful land the LORD will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when an invalid wastes away. The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down. (Isaiah 10:5-19, NRSV)

Second Reading
from the Epistles

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved. For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "The dog turns back to its own vomit," and, "The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud." (2 Peter 2:17-22, NRSV)

The Holy Gospel
according to St Matthew, the 11th Chapter

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen! (Matthew 11:2-15, NRSV)

Morning Psalms

Psalm 40 Expectans, expectavi
1   I waited patiently upon the LORD; he stooped to me and heard my cry.
2   He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
3   He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the LORD.
4   Happy are they who trust in the LORD! they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.
5   Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God! how great your wonders and your plans for us! there is none who can be compared with you.
6   Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! but they are more than I can count.
7   In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure (you have given me ears to hear you);
8   Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required, and so I said, "Behold, I come.
9   In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: 'I love to do your will, O my God; your law is deep in my heart.'"
10   I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips; and that, O LORD, you know.
11   Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.
12   You are the LORD; do not withhold your compassion from me; let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever,
13   For innumerable troubles have crowded upon me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more in number than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
14   Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me.
15   Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed who seek after my life to destroy it; let them draw back and be disgraced who take pleasure in my misfortune.
16   Let those who say "Aha!" and gloat over me be confounded, because they are ashamed.
17   Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad; let those who love your salvation continually say, "Great is the LORD!"
18   Though I am poor and afflicted, the Lord will have regard for me.
19   You are my helper and my deliverer; do not tarry, O my God.

Psalm 54 Deus, in nomine
1   Save me, O God, by your Name; in your might, defend my cause.
2   Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3   For the arrogant have risen up against me, and the ruthless have sought my life, those who have no regard for God.
4   Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who sustains my life.
5   Render evil to those who spy on me; in your faithfulness, destroy them.
6   I will offer you a freewill sacrifice and praise your Name, O LORD, for it is good.
7   For you have rescued me from every trouble, and my eye has seen the ruin of my foes.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 51 Miserere mei, Deus
1   Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
2   Wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.
3   For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4   Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.
5   And so you are justified when you speak and upright in your judgment.
6   Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, a sinner from my mother's womb.
7   For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
8   Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.
9   Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice.
10   Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
11   Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
12   Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy Spirit from me.
13   Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
14   I shall teach your ways to the wicked, and sinners shall return to you.
15   Deliver me from death, O God, and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness, O God of my salvation.
16   Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
17   Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.
18   The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
19   Be favorable and gracious to Zion, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
20   Then you will be pleased with the appointed sacrifices, with burnt-offerings and oblations; then shall they offer young bullocks upon your altar.

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.

LHM Daily Devotion - "Family Gatherings"

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home (Luke 1:56, ESV)

When we first gather with family at Christmas, it's a wonderful feeling. But after a few days together, we begin to notice those things that got on our nerves as kids and how they still get on our nerves today. We can manage a couple of days all right, but three months would be out of the question.

But three months was perfect for Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah. They probably would have stayed together longer if they could. The women talked about God's plans for their sons, while Zechariah listened in. These were great days. It is a truly wonderful experience to spend time together with people who share your interests and your fascination with the great things God is doing.

Of course, just as our Christmas gatherings must eventually come to an end, the time finally came for Mary to return home as well.

Our Christmas gatherings can be powerful glimpses of the great joy those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will enjoy in heaven. We will get along perfectly, because God will remove the sin that turns us against each other. Until that day, we can enjoy more harmonious gatherings, because Jesus has already begun His work in us, taking away our sins and God's wrath and making us new creatures in His image.

That process will finally be completed when Jesus Christ returns to earth on Judgment Day. Then He will make us perfect. We will live together in joy and peace in God's presence forever, sharing even greater delights than Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah enjoyed during those three wonderful months together.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for gathering us as Your family in Jesus Christ Your Son. Purify our hearts that we may enjoy our time together this Christmas -- looking to the eternal pleasure of being together in Your presence. 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 - Arrepentimiento sincero

 Lucas 3:7-14

Produzcan frutos dignos de arrepentimiento y no comiencen a decirse: "Tenemos a Abraham por padre". (Lc 3: 8a, RVC)

Ser considerados "raza de víboras" no es precisamente un elogio. Sin embargo, ese es el duro apelativo que debe usar Juan el Bautista contra aquellos que se acercan buscando ser bautizados. El profeta sabe bien que no están sinceramente arrepentidos, sino que su actitud es apenas un simulacro. Esa gente cree que no tienen nada que cambiar, que no deben renunciar ni a su orgullo ni a su justicia. Es más, se escudan diciendo: "tenemos a Abraham por padre".

Pero el arrepentimiento que Juan predica es algo totalmente distinto de un mero gesto exterior. Demanda un cambio de la mente y del corazón, un cambio que se evidencia en frutos de amor y de justicia. No es un traje de bondadosos que nos colocamos para negociar una mejor condición ante Dios o el prójimo. Es dolor por el pecado, un cambio desde la raíz. Es muerte a una forma de ser y fe en el cambio que Dios opera en nosotros. El arrepentimiento sincero no es un parche exterior; es obra de un Dios justo y misericordioso en nuestro ser.

La venida del Mesías demanda ese cambio en nosotros. Celebrar una navidad auténtica implica tal arrepentimiento. La venida de Jesús nos abre la puerta a una auténtica reconciliación con Dios. El Dios justo, que pone al descubierto nuestra maldad y pecado, es el mismo que por causa de Jesús nos perdona, nos renueva y nos permite producir auténticos frutos de arrepentimiento. Son más que simples parches externos. Son obras frescas, espontáneas, que ya no pretenden sobornar a Dios, sino que brotan de un corazón restaurado por la gracia divina.

Padre santo: que no busque ocultar mis pecados detrás de máscaras de justicia. Quiero morir al pecado y renacer a una nueva vida. Por Jesús. Amén

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Nacione

Our Daily Bread - Another Side of Comfort

Read: Jeremiah 7:1–11 | Bible in a Year: Amos 4–6; Revelation 7

Hear the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 7:2

The theme for our adult camp was “Comfort My People.” Speaker after speaker spoke words of assurance. But the last speaker drastically changed the tone. He chose Jeremiah 7:1–11 and the topic “Wake Up from Slumber.” Without mincing words and yet with love, he challenged us to wake up and turn away from our sins.

“Don’t hide behind the grace of God and continue to live in secret sin,” he exhorted, like the prophet Jeremiah. “We boast, ‘I am a Christian; God loves me; I fear no evil,’ yet we do all kinds of evil.”

We knew he cared about us, yet we shifted uncomfortably in our seats and listened to our own Jeremiah declare, “God is loving, but He is also a consuming fire! (see Heb. 12:29). He will never condone sin!”

Jeremiah of old quizzed the people, “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury . . . follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things?” (7:9–10).

This speaker’s brand of “Comfort My People” was another side of God’s comfort. Like a bitter herb that heals malaria, his words were spiritually curative. When we hear hard words, instead of walking away, may we respond to their healing effect.

Heavenly Father, You love us too much to let us continue defying Your instructions. Your correction is never to harm us but only to heal us. You are the God of all comfort.

God’s discipline is designed to make us like His Son.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Otro aspecto del consuelo

Leer: Jeremías 7:1-11 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 7

… Oíd palabra del Señor… (Jeremías 7:2).

El lema de nuestro campamento para adultos era «Consuela a mi pueblo». Un orador tras otro comunicaban palabras de ánimo, pero el último cambió de tono drásticamente. Tomó Jeremías 7:1-11, y su tema fue «Despierten del sueño». Sin rodeos, pero con amor, nos desafió a despertarnos y alejarnos de nuestros pecados: «No se escondan detrás de la gracia de Dios ni sigan viviendo en secreto. Nos jactamos, diciendo: “Soy cristiano; Dios me ama”, pero practicamos toda clase de pecados».

Sabíamos que tenía razón, pero nos retorcíamos en los asientos mientras lo escuchamos decir: «Dios es amor, ¡pero también es fuego consumidor! (Ver Hebreos 12:29). ¡Nunca será indulgente con el pecado!».

El profeta de la antigüedad preguntó: «Hurtando, matando, adulterando, jurando en falso […] y andando tras dioses extraños que no conocisteis, ¿vendréis y os pondréis delante de mí en esta casa sobre la cual es invocado mi nombre, y diréis: Librados somos; para seguir haciendo todas estas abominaciones?» (Jeremías 7:9-10).

Esta era la otra cara del lema del campamento sobre el consuelo divino. Como una hierba amarga que cura la malaria, sus palabras fueron espiritualmente sanadoras. Si escuchamos palabras duras, no debemos huir, sino responder a su efecto curativo.

Señor, ayúdame a no desafiar tus instrucciones.

El propósito de la disciplina del Padre celestial es que nos asemejemos más a su Hijo.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Seltsamer Trost

Lesen: Jeremia 7,1-11 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Amos 4–6; Offenbarung 7

Hört des Herrn Wort. (Jeremia 7,2)

Das Thema unserer Freizeit lautete: „Tröstet mein Volk.“ Die Referate machten uns Mut. Doch auf einmal änderte sich der Ton. Der letzte Referent wählte den Text Jeremia 7,1-11 und als Thema: „Wacht auf vom Schlaf.“ Liebevoll, aber unverblümt rief er uns dazu auf, aufzuwachen und von der Sünde abzuwenden.

„Versteckt euch nicht hinter der Gnade Gottes, um heimlich weiter in der Sünde zu leben“, mahnte er wie der Prophet Jeremia. „Wir rühmen uns: ‚Ich bin Christ, Jesus liebt mich, ich fürchte kein Übel‘ und doch tun wir alle möglichen üblen Sachen.“

Wir wussten, er meinte es gut. Trotzdem rutschten wir unruhig hin und her, als er erklärte: „Gott ist Liebe, aber ist auch ein verzehrendes Feuer! (Hebr. 12,29). Er wird die Sünde nie gutheißen!“

Jeremia hielte damals dem Volk vor: „Ihr seid Diebe, Mörder, Ehebrecher und Meineidige . . . und lauft fremden Göttern nach, die ihr nicht kennt. Und dann kommt ihr und tretet vor mich in diesem Hause, das nach meinem Namen genannt ist, und sprecht: Wir sind geborgen,—und tut weiter solche Gräuel“ (7,9-10).

Das „Tröstet mein Volk“ von unserem Redner zeigte eine andere Seite von Gottes Trost. Wie ein bitteres Kraut, das Malaria heilt, waren seine Worte eine geistliche Arznei. Wir wollen es lernen, vor harten Worte nicht davonzulaufen, sondern uns ihrer heilsamen Wirkung zu stellen.

Himmlischer Vater, du liebst uns viel zu sehr, als dass du es zulassen könntest, dass wir uns deinen Weisungen ständig widersetzen. Deine Zurechtweisung will uns nie schaden, sondern immer nur helfen. Du bist der Gott allen Trostes.

Gottes Zurechtweisung dient dazu, uns seinem Sohn ähnlicher werden zu lassen.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Обратная сторона утешения

Читать сейчас: Иеремия 7:1-11 | Библия за год: Амос 4-6; Откровение 7

Cлушайте слово Господа. — Иеремия 7:2

Лагерь для взрослых проходил под темой: «Утешайте народ Мой». Один за другим проповедники делились со слушателями словами утешения. Но последний вдруг изменил тему. Он избрал текст из Книги пророка Иеремии 7:1-11 и тему «Пробудитесь от спячки». Не смягчая выражений, и при этом с любовью, он призвал нас проснуться и возненавидеть грех.

«Не прячьтесь за Божьей благодатью, живя в тайном грехе! – призывал он, подобно пророку Иеремии. – Мы хвалимся: “Я христианин, Бог любит меня, не убоюсь зла”, и при этом сами совершаем разного рода зло!» Мы знали, что он переживает за нас, однако заерзали на своих местах. А наш «Иеремия» продолжал: «Бог любящ, но Он также огонь поедающий! (см. Евр. 12:29). Он не будет мириться с грехом!»

Настоящий Иеремия высмеивал лицемеров: «Вы крадете, убиваете, и прелюбодействуете, и клянетесь во лжи... ходите вслед иных богов, которых вы не знаете, и потом приходите и становитесь пред лицом Моим в доме этом, над которым наречено имя Мое, и говорите: “Мы спасены”, чтобы впредь делать все эти мерзости?» (Иер. 7:9-10).

Эта последняя проповедь тоже была своего рода Божьим утешением. Как горькая трава излечивает малярию, так и его слова были целительными. Слыша суровые, но правдивые слова, не будем отворачиваться, а примем их благотворное действие.

Небесный Отец, Ты любишь нас слишком сильно, чтобы попустительствовать нашим грехам. Твое исправление не бывает во вред, а напротив, исцеляет. Ты – Бог всякого утешения.

Бог воспитывает нас, чтобы уподобить Своему Сыну.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - L’envers de la consolation

Lisez : Jérémie 7.1‑11 | La Bible en un an : Amos 4 – 6 et Apocalypse 7

Écoutez la parole de l’Éternel. (Jérémie 7.2)

Le thème de notre camp pour adultes : « Console mon peuple ». À tour de rôle, les conférenciers ont prononcé des paroles d’assurance. Le dernier a toutefois changé de ton du tout au tout. S’inspirant de Jérémie 7.1‑11, il a choisi le sujet : « Sortez du sommeil ! » Sans mâcher ses mots, mais avec amour, il nous a mis au défi de nous réveiller et de tourner le dos au péché.

Comme le prophète Jérémie, il nous a exhortés ainsi : « Ne vous cachez pas derrière la grâce divine pour continuer de vivre en secret dans le péché. Nous nous targuons en disant : « Je suis chrétien ; Dieu m’aime ; je ne crains aucun mal. » Pourtant, nous nous livrons à toutes sortes de péchés. »

Sachant qu’il voulait notre bien, nous avons surmonté notre malaise pour écouter notre Jérémie : « [Notre] Dieu est amour, certes, mais il est aussi un feu dévorant » (voir HÉ 12.29) ! Il ne tolérera jamais le péché ! »

Jérémie a questionné le peuple : « Quoi ! dérober, tuer, commettre des adultères, jurer faussement […] aller après d’autres dieux que vous ne connaissez pas ! Puis vous venez vous présenter devant moi, dans cette maison sur laquelle mon nom est invoqué, et vous dites : Nous sommes délivrés ! Et c’est afin de commettre toutes ces abominations » (7.9,10).

Ce conférencier voyait l’envers de la consolation divine. Comme une herbe amère qui guérit le paludisme, ses paroles étaient curatives. Lorsque nous recevons des paroles dures, au lieu de nous en aller, puissions‑nous accueillir leur effet curatif.

La discipline de Dieu vise à nous rendre semblables à son Fils.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ