Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, December 22

First Reading
Isaiah 29:13-24
The Lord said: Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote; so I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing. The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden. Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the LORD, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?" You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay? Shall the thing made say of its maker, "He did not make me" or the thing formed say of the one who formed it, "He has no understanding"? Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest? On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant shall be no more, and the scoffer shall cease to be; all those alert to do evil shall be cut off-- those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit, who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate, and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right. Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:22-22:5
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day-- and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

The Holy Gospel
Luke 1:39-56
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 80 Qui regis Israel
1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2   In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up your strength and come to help us.
3   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4   O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6   You have made us the derision of our neighbors, and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8   You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you cast out the nations and planted it.
9   You prepared the ground for it; it took root and filled the land.
10   The mountains were covered by its shadow and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11   You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea and its branches to the River.
12   Why have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13   The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14   Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted.
15   They burn it with fire like rubbish; at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
16   Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
17   And so will we never turn away from you; give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18   Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 146 Lauda, anima mea
1   Hallelujah! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
2   Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, for there is no help in them.
3   When they breathe their last, they return to earth, and in that day their thoughts perish.
4   Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! whose hope is in the LORD their God;
5   Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever;
6   Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger.
7   The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
8   The LORD loves the righteous; the LORD cares for the stranger; he sustains the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked.
9   The LORD shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Hallelujah!

Psalm 147 Laudate Dominum
1   Hallelujah! How good it is to sing praises to our God! how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!
2   The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
4   He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names.
5   Great is our LORD and mighty in power; there is no limit to his wisdom.
6   The LORD lifts up the lowly, but casts the wicked to the ground.
7   Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the harp.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth;
9   He makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve mankind.
10   He provides food for flocks and herds and for the young ravens when they cry.
11   He is not impressed by the might of a horse; he has no pleasure in the strength of a man;
12   But the LORD has pleasure in those who fear him, in those who await his gracious favor.
13   Worship the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion;
14   For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.
15   He has established peace on your borders; he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
16   He sends out his command to the earth, and his word runs very swiftly.
17   He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
18   He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; who can stand against his cold?
19   He sends forth his word and melts them; he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.
20   He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and his judgments to Israel.
21   He has not done so to any other nation; to them he has not revealed his judgments. Hallelujah!

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.

Verse of the Day - December 22, 2016

Luke 2:8-11 (NIV) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Read all of Luke 2

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "What Christmas Is About"

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7, NIV)

As we look at our world today, we realize that part of the promise of Isaiah 9:6–7 has not yet been fulfilled. The Son has been given. The Child has been born. But He has not yet taken the government upon His shoulders. We do not yet have peace with judgment and justice. But the good news is that there will come a day when Christ will return. He will establish His kingdom on this earth. And it will be the righteous rule of God Himself.

Before Jesus could take the government upon His shoulder, He had to take the cross upon His shoulder. Before He could wear the crown of glory as King of Kings, He had to wear the shameful crown of thorns and give His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The first time, a star marked His arrival. But the next time He comes, the heavens will roll back like a scroll, all of the stars will fall from the sky, and He Himself will light it.

Christ came to this earth. God came near to you so you can come near to Him—to give your life purpose and meaning, to forgive you of your sins, and to give you the hope of heaven beyond the grave. Christmas is not about tinsel or shopping or presents. Christmas is not about the gifts under the tree. Rather, Christmas is about the gift that was given on the tree when Christ died there for our sins and gave us the gift of eternal life.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE BEAUTIFUL BRIDE OF CHRIST

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:2-4

Iraq is probably the last place in the world you’d expect to find an illustration of the beautiful bride of Christ. Yet on top of a beautiful plateau in the mountains of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) a group of Arab Christians organized a prayer conference. More than five hundred Christians from all over Iraq, from all kind of churches including twenty local church leaders, came to pray for unity and peace in the country. “Oh God, unite our country again, bring peace to the Christians and strengthen your people,” was the common prayer on everybody’s lips. “This was a unique and wonderful experience for the Iraqi church,” shares Joyce who was one of the participants.

Teachers and pastors gave lectures on humility and engaged the group in seeking the Lord Jesus Christ at first. “There was prayer for the country and prayer for the different pastors. And one of the highlights was the fact that local Iraqi pastors washed each other feet and that is a miracle in a country where there is so much division,” Joyce adds. And she continues, “We prayed for God to give hope and life for individual Christians again; we prayed for individual prayer requests which were written down on paper.”

Another pastor taught the group to love their country and to have a passion for the country. Joyce says, “Two young leaders from Baghdad were very much touched by this, since both of them had been victims of violence and kidnapping in Baghdad, because of their faith. They had problems in loving their country and the people in it.”

One pastor shared, “Every six months we lose twenty per cent of our believers to the free world, and our main problem is also that so many Christian leaders are leaving. You just finish training young leaders and they leave. It is a pity and we are losing so many potential leaders.”

Another Iraqi Christian shared with tears the experience of his kidnapping in Kirkuk. “God was with me and I felt that people around the world were praying for me, although I was amazed about that. God was with me and he brought me out.”

In conclusion a pastor said, “Like Christ, the church in Iraq feels afflicted, not comforted and lashed by stones. And yet does the son of the king ever feel powerless? I do not think so; the presence of the comforter is in our midst in Iraq, so be brave and continue. The Holy Spirit in us is not just a power; He is God himself, who is with us. To God the church in Iraq is beautiful also; so let us love her and work alongside her to make her more so.”

RESPONSE: I will never lose faith that Jesus is developing His beautiful bride around the entire world.

PRAYER: Pray that Iraqi Christians will continue to perceive themselves as Jesus’ beautiful bride.

Un Dia a la Vez - El mejor ejemplo

Les he puesto el ejemplo, para que hagan lo mismo que yo he hecho con ustedes. Juan 13:15

Tú y yo tenemos el llamado a ser ejemplo. ¿Has pensado alguna vez que por nuestra mala actitud hemos espantando literalmente gente que podría estar en los caminos de Dios?

¡Qué tremendo es que aun amando a Dios nos dejemos llevar por ese carácter explosivo que en un momento de ira dice y hace cualquier cosa menos buscar de Jesús!

¿Qué te parece si hoy traemos a nuestra memoria a cuantas personas hemos ofendido, maltratado o juzgado y por esas razones no quieren saber nada de ti ni de Dios? Sería de mucha bendición para tu vida que buscaras esas personas y les pidieras perdón.

No es bíblico ni sano llevarnos mal con otras personas. Eso daña nuestra vida espiritual y no permite que se desaten las bendiciones que nos envía Dios.

Cada día, dispongamos nuestro corazón de manera que refleje el carácter de Cristo y llevemos cautivo todo pensamiento a la obediencia del Padre.

NIV Devotions for Men - From Mourning to Morning

Lamentations 3:19–33

Recommended Reading: Psalm 30:1–12; Luke 24:1–8; Romans 8:18–39

People around the world watched in horror as the video from the attacks of September 11, 2001, played again and again on cable and network news channels. But to those of us who lived in the United States, and particularly in New York City, the reality of these terrorist acts shook us to the core. Never before had a terrorist strike hit so close to home or disrupted so many American lives.

Now imagine a more widespread terrorist attack that painfully and more permanently alters your daily life. This attack destroys federal, state and local government buildings in your community. Somehow, the terrorists seriously damage local utilities, phone lines, cell phone networks and banking services. They murder many government and church leaders. Still worse, the attackers raze your home, rob you of all your possessions and kill your family members. You have no one left.

Welcome to Jerusalem in 586 BC, following the invasion by the Babylonian army.

Of course, we hope we never experience devastation this severe. However, all of us have tasted disappointment, loss, abandonment or the death of a loved one. And during those times we often feel that we’ve lost everything. Where do we turn when we can no longer feel in control of our surroundings? When we can’t fix our problems? When hope seems lost?

Through the prophet Jeremiah God reassured Judah of his great love. God’s care for us is greater than any of our current circumstances. He knows our pain and hears our cries. And his mercy and compassion are never far behind. If Jeremiah could attest to this fact even after the violent struggles of his life, then each of us can too.

Because of God’s great love we always have hope! We endure difficult struggles not because of our own determination and resolve but because of God’s great love. His love can overcome our darkest fear, greatest loss and deepest sorrow. And for every long, dark night of the soul, a new morning ascends on the horizon, bringing a new day. These words aren’t empty. They’re life-giving promises from God that all of us need during our darkest moments.

This sinful and disappointing world can’t guarantee health, wealth and success. But we do have the promise of God’s power and love. When we feel hopeless, we can submit to God’s will, wait quietly for his deliverance and rest in the promise that his love will carry us through.

To Take Away
  • Think back to a time when you felt hopeless. From God’s perspective, were you really in a hopeless situation? Why or why not?
  • What would you do differently if you were to face a similar situation again?
  • What are some practical ways you can remember God’s promises during difficult times in life?

Girlfriends in God - What Jesus Wants for

Today’s Truth

“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1b-2 niv).

Friend to Friend

An African boy listened carefully as his missionary teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day.

“The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said.

When Christmas day came, the boy brought to the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty.

“Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked as she gently fingered the gift.

The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless.

“Why…why, it’s gorgeous…wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get a gift for me.”

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.”

I just love that story. During the holiday season, I watch as people scurry about swiping those plastic cards through the credit card machines faster than a speeding bullet. And yet, God has already shown us that the most precious gifts cannot be bought or sold.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 niv emphasis added).

The magi also knew about the joy of giving. While they gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child, they also gave another gift…a long walk. We don’t know how far the magi traveled, but we do know that it was a distance that took months, perhaps years. Their long walk was part of the gift.

I wonder how far we are willing to go to worship Jesus…to bring our gifts to Him. I wonder how far out of the way we would go to praise Him…to honor Him. Do we give to Him only when it is convenient or easy? Or do we give what He wants most—our very lives?

I think the little African boy had the right idea. The real gift wasn’t the shell; it was the sacrifice he had to make to give it.

Today, let’s consider what gift we will give the Christ-child this year.

Let’s Pray

Dear God, thank You for the gift You gave us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that I will keep gift-giving in perspective this holiday season and give gifts from the heart rather than the pocketbook. Help me to see that a “long walk,” or a portion of myself, is the greatest gift of all.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now it’s your turn

Describe a time when someone’s sacrificial gift meant a lot to you.

Describe the feeling you had when you gave a portion of yourself, such as your time, to someone.

Try to imagine the teacher who received the shell. What thoughts do you think came to her mind when she looked at it year after year? Do you think it was the shell itself, or the heart of the boy who gave it to her, that meant so much?

Now, imagine how God looks at our gifts we give to Him? Do you think He reflects on the gifts themselves or the heart of the child who gives it?

More from the Girlfriends:

Macintosh HD:Users:sharonjaynes:Documents:Book Covers:Praying for Your Husband Cover Final copy.jpgIt is easy to get caught up in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity and lose focus on what’s important. If you would like ways to keep Jesus the focus of your holiday season, you’ll love my book, Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas: Ideas from A-Z. It’s packed with helpful ideas and inspiration. And what better to give your hubby than the gift of prayer. Check out my book Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe: A Daily Guide to Scripture-Based Prayer.

LHM Daily Devotion - "Our Family Photo Album"

And the child grew and became strong in spirit (Luke 1:80a, ESV).

It's fun to look through our family photo albums. Christmas after Christmas each of us grows taller. Before too long girlfriends start showing up, and then wives, and children of our own. Now the father of a teenager myself, it's fun to sit down and watch videos of past Christmases and see my son growing into a young man-strong in body, mind and spirit.

Luke concludes the account of John's birth with an interesting footnote and a reminder: John "grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel." Since Zechariah and Elizabeth were both advanced in years before John was conceived, it is quite possible neither of them lived long enough to see him grow to adulthood. When John was grown he lived in the wilderness, awaiting the moment the Spirit of God would stir him to begin his work, preparing the people of Israel for their Savior.

John wasn't born to remain a little baby and neither was Jesus. As Christmas Day draws near we take a moment to look back into the photo album of our human family. When we do we see our Brother Jesus on the day of His birth. But Jesus didn't stay that little Baby in the manger; He grew to be a remarkable man whose story will unfold more clearly and completely in the accounts of His adult life. This we will see in the upcoming Lenten devotions, especially His death and resurrection that set us free.

In the meantime, as our Christmas devotions continue, we rejoin Mary and remember the birth of her special Baby Jesus.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Open my mind to watch Jesus grow from that tiny Baby to be my powerful Savior and Lord. 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 - Un Santo Ser: Hijo de Dios

 Lucas 1:26-38

El Espíritu Santo vendrá sobre ti, y el poder del Altísimo te cubrirá con su sombra. Por eso el Santo Ser que nacerá será llamado Hijo de Dios. (Lc 1:35b, RVC)

No hay palabras para explicar el tremendo privilegio que habría de tener María, la madre de nuestro Salvador. Una joven virgen pueblerina, comprometida para casarse, un buen día es visitada por un mensajero del cielo. Podemos imaginarnos lo que pasó por su mente y su corazón durante ese encuentro. ¡Cuántas preguntas! ¡Qué sorpresa!

Una historia preciosa que venía germinando por siglos, de pronto iba a brotar con esplendor. María habría de engendrar al ser más extraordinario que ha pisado esta tierra: al mismísimo Hijo de Dios, la encarnación de la segunda persona de la Santa Trinidad. Un gran hombre, pero al mismo tiempo Hijo del Altísimo. Cielo y tierra, Dios y hombre, desde ahora estarán fundidos en ese ser que unirá para siempre al Creador con la criatura. Dios decide hacerse humano, y ese encuentro se producirá en el vientre de esa joven escogida. ¡Cuánta emoción!

Dios tomará su carne y su sangre del cuerpo de una mujer a la que Él mismo había preparado desde la eternidad. María es la nueva Eva, la mujer a través de la cual nace la simiente para aplastar la cabeza a Satanás. Para quienes hemos sido esclavizados por el pecado, para aquellos que sufrimos por estar lejos del Creador, este relato nos muestra cuán en serio toma Dios nuestra situación. ¡Cuánta esperanza!

Que la humildad y la fe de María nos tracen la senda en este tiempo de Adviento. Confiemos, alegrémonos y celebremos aquello que Dios nos regala.

Jesús, hijo de María: Cuánto amor me has demostrado al dejar tu gloria eterna para hacerte uno de nosotros. Que mi corazón confíe y se regocije por este regalo. Ven a mi corazón, Señor. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - The Best Gift Ever

Read: 1 Peter 3:8–16 | Bible in a Year: Micah 6–7; Revelation 13

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

At a winter retreat in northern New England, one of the men asked the question, “What was your favorite Christmas gift ever?”

One athletic man seemed eager to answer. “That’s easy,” he said, glancing at his friend next to him. “A few years back, I finished college thinking I was a sure bet to play professional football. When it didn’t happen, I was angry. Bitterness ate at me, and I shared that bitterness with anyone who tried to help me.”

“On the second Christmas—and second season without football—I went to a Christmas play at this guy’s church,” he said, gesturing toward his friend. “Not because I wanted Jesus, but just to see my niece in her Christmas pageant. It’s hard to describe what happened because it sounds silly, but right in the middle of that kids’ play, I felt like I needed to be with those shepherds and angels meeting Jesus. When that crowd finished singing ‘Silent Night,’ I just sat there weeping.

“I got my best Christmas present ever that very night,” he said, again pointing to his friend, “when this guy sent his family home without him so he could tell me how to meet Jesus.”

It was then that his friend piped up: “And that, guys, was my best Christmas present ever.”

This Christmas, may the joyful simplicity of the story of Jesus’s birth be the story we tell to others.

The best Christmas gift is Jesus bringing peace and forgiveness to others.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - El mejor regalo de todos

Leer: 1 Pedro 3:8-16 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 13

… estad siempre preparados para presentar defensa […] ante todo el que os demande razón de la esperanza que hay en vosotros (1 Pedro 3:15).

En un retiro espiritual de invierno, un hombre preguntó: «¿Cuál fue el mejor regalo de Navidad que recibiste?».

»El año siguiente, en Navidad, fui a ver una obra en la iglesia de un amigo. No porque quisiera conocer a Jesús, sino para ver a mi sobrina que actuaba. Es difícil describir lo que sucedió porque suena tonto, pero, en medio de la obra, sentí que necesitaba estar entre esos pastores y ángeles que recibían a Jesús. Después de escuchar cantar Noche de paz, me quedé sentado llorando.

»Esa noche, recibí mi mejor regalo de Navidad, cuando un amigo, que está aquí a mi lado ahora, se quedó para decirme cómo aceptar a Jesús como mi Salvador».

En ese momento, su amigo exclamó: «Y ese también fue mi mejor regalo de Navidad en la vida».

Esta Navidad, no dejemos de contarles a otros la historia gozosa y sencilla del nacimiento de Jesús.

Padre, que podamos ver a quienes necesitan al Salvador y les hablemos de Él. Que recordemos que la razón de esta celebración es oír y contar la historia de tu Hijo.

El mejor regalo de Navidad es Jesús, y la paz y el perdón que ofrece a todos.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Das schönste Geschenk

Lesen: 1.Petrus 3,8-16 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Micha 6–7; Offenbarung 13

Seid allezeit bereit zur Verantwortung vor jedermann, der von euch Rechenschaft fordert über die Hoffnung, die in euch ist. (1.Petrus 3,15)

Bei einer Männerwinterfreizeit fragte einmal einer der Teilnehmer: „Was war euer schönstes Weihnachtsgeschenk?“

Ein sportlich aussehender Mann meldete sich sofort. „Das ist ganz einfach“, sagte er und sah zu seinem Freund, der neben ihm saß. „Vor ein paar Jahren dachte ich, ich hätte eine große Zukunft im Fußball. Als es nicht klappte, war ich wütend und verbittert und ließ das jeden wissen, der versuchte, mir zu helfen.“

„Am zweiten Weihnachtsfest—und in der zweiten Saison ohne Fußball—ging ich zum Krippenspiel in der Gemeinde von dem da“, erzählte er und zeigte auf seinen Freund. „Nicht, weil ich mich für Jesus interessierte, sondern weil meine Nichte mitspielte. Was dann geschah, ist schwer zu beschreiben, denn es klingt so banal. Aber mitten während dem Spiel spürte ich, dass ich bei den Hirten und Engeln sein und Jesus begegnen sollte. Als die Leute mit dem ‚Stille Nacht‘-Singen aufhörten, saß ich nur noch da und weinte. Mein schönstes Weihnachtsgeschenk habe ich an dem Abend bekommen“, sagte er und zeigte wieder auf seinen Freund, „als dieser Mann seine Familie nach Hause gehen ließ und mir erklärte, wie ich zu Jesus kommen kann.“

An diesem Punkt schaltete sich sein Freund ein: „Und wisst ihr was? Das war auch mein schönstes Weihnachtsgeschenk.“

Lasst auch uns diese Weihnachten einfach die Geschichte von der Geburt Jesu erzählen.

Vater, schenke uns Augen, die sehen, wer einen Erlöser braucht, und den Mut, ihnen von dir zu erzählen. Hilf uns, daran zu denken, dass es in dieser Weihnachtszeit darum geht, die Geschichte von deinem Sohn zu hören und zu erzählen.

Das beste Weihnachtsgeschenk ist Jesus und der Friede und die Vergebung, die er schenkt.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Лучший подарок

Читать сейчас: 1 Петра 3:8-16 | Библия за год: Михей 6-7; Откровение 13

Будьте всегда готовы всякому, требующему у вас отчета в вашем уповании, дать ответ. — 1 Петра 3:15

Во время зимнего отдыха на севере Новой Англии один из участников задал вопрос: «Каким был ваш лучший рождественский подарок?»

Один мужчина атлетического телосложения поднял руку. «Это просто, – ответил он, поглядывая на своего сидящего рядом друга. – Несколько лет назад я закончил колледж, думая, что сделаю карьеру в профессиональном футболе. Но не получилось, и я озлобился. Злость разъедала меня, и я выливал ее на любого, кто хотел помочь.

На Рождество, это был второй год без футбола, я пошел на рождественскую постановку в церкви этого парня, – продолжал он, кивая на своего друга. – Не потому, что интересовался Библией, а потому что в постановке участвовала моя племянница. Трудно описать, как это случилось. Прозвучит по-детски, но прямо в середине представления я почувствовал, что хочу быть с теми пастухами, которые пришли к Иисусу. Когда все запели «Тихая ночь», я сидел и плакал.

И вот каким был мой лучший подарок на Рождество, – закончил рассказчик, снова указывая на соседа. – Этот парень отправил свою семью домой, а сам остался со мной и рассказал, как встретиться со Христом». Тут, наконец, подал голос и друг: «Это, ребята, был и мой лучший рождественский подарок».

Пусть радостная простота повествования о рождении Иисуса Христа вдохновит нас на свидетельство о Нем.

Отче, открой нам глаза, чтобы видеть тех, кто нуждается в Спасителе, и смелость, чтобы рассказать о Нем. Помоги нам помнить, что главное в Рождестве – весть о Твоем Сыне.

Лучший рождественский подарок – Иисус, дарующий мир и прощение.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Le meilleur cadeau de tous

Lisez : 1 Pierre 3.8‑16 | La Bible en un an : Michée 6 – 7 et Apocalypse 13

[Soyez] toujours prêts à vous défendre, avec douceur et respect, devant quiconque vous demande raison de l’espérance qui est en vous. (1 Pierre 3.15)

Lors d’une retraite d’hiver en Nouvelle‑Angleterre, un des hommes a demandé : « Quel a été votre plus beau cadeau de Noël entre tous ? »

Un athlète semblait impatient de répondre. « C’est facile », a‑t‑il dit, en regardant son ami assis à côté de lui. « Il y a quelques années, j’ai terminé mes études collégiales certain de jouer au football professionnel, mais j’ai été fâché de ne pas voir mes espoirs se réaliser. L’amertume me rongeait l’intérieur, et j’en éclaboussais quiconque cherchait à me venir en aide. »

« La deuxième saison sans jouer au football, j’ai assisté à une pièce de Noël à l’église de ce gars‑là », dit‑il, en faisant un geste vers son ami. « C’était pas parce que je voulais Jésus, mais juste pour voir ma nièce dans son spectacle. C’est difficile de décrire ce qui s’est passé ensuite, parce que ça semble insensé, mais au beau milieu de cette pièce de jeunes, j’ai éprouvé le besoin de me retrouver parmi les bergers et les anges qui rencontraient Jésus. Lorsque la foule a eu terminé de chanter « Sainte nuit », je suis resté là à pleurer. Et ce soir‑là, j’ai reçu mon meilleur cadeau de Noël d’entre tous quand ce gars‑là a laissé sa famille rentrer à la maison sans lui pour me conduire à la rencontre de Jésus. »

Son ami s’est alors écrié : « Et c’est ça, les gars, qui a été mon meilleur cadeau de Noël d’entre tous ! »

Puissions‑nous, ce Noël, choisir de raconter l’histoire de la naissance de Jésus avec simplicité et joie.

Le meilleur cadeau de Noël :
Jésus nous apportant paix et pardon
© 2016 Ministères NPQ