Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, December 29, 2016 - Fifth Day of Christmas

First Reading
Isaiah 12:1-6
You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Second Reading
Revelation 1:1-8
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

The Holy Gospel
John 7:37-52
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, 'Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, "This is really the prophet." Others said, "This is the Messiah." But some asked, "Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?" So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not arrest him?" The police answered, "Never has anyone spoken like this!" Then the Pharisees replied, "Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law-- they are accursed." Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, "Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?" They replied, "Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 18 Part I Diligam te, Domine.
1   I love you, O LORD my strength, O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.
2   My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge; you are worthy of praise.
3   I will call upon the LORD, and so shall I be saved from my enemies.
4   The breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.
5   The cords of hell entangled me, and the snares of death were set for me.
6   I called upon the LORD in my distress and cried out to my God for help.
7   He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling; my cry of anguish came to his ears.
8   The earth reeled and rocked; the roots of the mountains shook; they reeled because of his anger.
9   Smoke rose from his nostrils and a consuming fire out of his mouth; hot burning coals blazed forth from him.
10   He parted the heavens and came down with a storm cloud under his feet.
11   He mounted on cherubim and flew; he swooped on the wings of the wind.
12   He wrapped darkness about him; he made dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.
13   From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds, burst hailstones and coals of fire.
14   The LORD thundered out of heaven; the Most High uttered his voice.
15   He loosed his arrows and scattered them; he hurled thunderbolts and routed them.
16   The beds of the seas were uncovered, and the foundations of the world laid bare, at your battle cry, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
17   He reached down from on high and grasped me; he drew me out of great waters.
18   He delivered me from my strong enemies and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
19   They confronted me in the day of my disaster; but the LORD was my support.
20   He brought me out into an open place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 18:Part II Et retribuet mihi
21   The LORD rewarded me because of my righteous dealing; because my hands were clean he rewarded me;
22   For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not offended against my God;
23   For all his judgments are before my eyes, and his decrees I have not put away from me;
24   For I have been blameless with him and have kept myself from iniquity;
25   Therefore the LORD rewarded me according to my righteous dealing, because of the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
26   With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God; with the forthright you show yourself forthright.
27   With the pure you show yourself pure, but with the crooked you are wily.
28   You will save a lowly people, but you will humble the haughty eyes.
29   You, O LORD, are my lamp; my God, you make my darkness bright.
30   With you I will break down an enclosure; with the help of my God I will scale any wall.
31   As for God, his ways are perfect; the words of the LORD are tried in the fire; he is a shield to all who trust in him.
32   For who is God, but the LORD? who is the Rock, except our God?
33   It is God who girds me about with strength and makes my way secure.
34   He makes me sure-footed like a deer and lets me stand firm on the heights.
35   He trains my hands for battle and my arms for bending even a bow of bronze.
36   You have given me your shield of victory; your right hand also sustains me; your loving care makes me great.
37   You lengthen my stride beneath me, and my ankles do not give way.
38   I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I will not turn back till I have destroyed them.
39   I strike them down, and they cannot rise; they fall defeated at my feet.
40   You have girded me with strength for the battle; you have cast down my adversaries beneath me; you have put my enemies to flight.
41   I destroy those who hate me; they cry out, but there is none to help them; they cry to the LORD, but he does not answer.
42   I beat them small like dust before the wind; I trample them like mud in the streets.
43   You deliver me from the strife of the peoples; you put me at the head of the nations.
44   A people I have not known shall serve me; no sooner shall they hear than they shall obey me; strangers will cringe before me.
45   The foreign peoples will lose heart; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds.
46   The LORD lives! Blessed is my Rock! Exalted is the God of my salvation!
47   He is the God who gave me victory and cast down the peoples beneath me.
48   You rescued me from the fury of my enemies; you exalted me above those who rose against me; you saved me from my deadly foe.
49   Therefore will I extol you among the nations, O LORD, and sing praises to your Name.
50   He multiplies the victories of his king; he shows loving-kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants for ever.

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 29, 2016

John 14:1-3 (NIV) [ Jesus Comforts His Disciples ] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Read all of John 14

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "Within Limits"

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:8–9)

When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, a sign is effectively hung around your neck that says, "Under new management." You now belong to Jesus Christ, and He does not operate on a timeshare program. Isn't that nice to know? He doesn't say, "Okay, now I have Kenny for six months, and the devil can have him for the next six months." That is not what happens. When we put our faith in Christ, He comes in and is the sole resident in our hearts and lives.

Although a Christian cannot be demon-possessed, the devil can affect a Christian outwardly. For instance, demons can tempt and oppress a Christian. The apostle Paul wrote, "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure" (2 Corinthians 12:7, NKJV). The word "buffet" means to hit in the face. So Paul was essentially saying, "Yes, I have come under some demon attack. But here is the good news: God will never give you more than you can handle."

The Bible tells us in James 2:19, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." Of course, just because you believe something is true doesn't mean you have committed yourself to it. Obviously, demons are in rebellion against God.

Paul's oppression was allowed by God and orchestrated by Satan. So God may allow the devil to tempt you or harass you in some way. But remember, He won't give you more than you can take. The only thing that will stop the devil is the power of Jesus Christ. He is our only protection. He is the one we need.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Un Dia a la Vez - Ningún ritual te acerca a Dios

No adores a otros dioses, porque el Señor es muy celoso. Su nombre es Dios celoso. Éxodo 34:14

Faltan dos días para fin de año y es triste ver cómo hasta algunos cristianos tienen muchísimas creencias que más que honrar a Dios lo entristecen… ¡y yo diría que lo enfurecen!

Por tradición, y durante años, la cultura te lleva a que hagas cosas que te imaginas que influirán para que tu nuevo año sea lleno de dinero, éxitos, viajes y no sé qué otras cosas más. Desde usar ropa interior de color amarillo, hasta salir con una maleta y darle no sé cuántas vueltas a la cuadra. ¿Te estás identificando?

Quiero que sepas que nada de esto determinará tu vida ni el éxito. Dios es el dueño de tu vida y es el único que conoce el futuro. Incluso, sabe lo que tú y yo viviremos en los próximos años. Además, solo Él puede cambiar nuestro destino.

Así que todo lo que hagas, como la lectura de las cartas y de las manos, las visitas a los brujos y psíquicos, los baños con aguas para la suerte, las comidas o magias, TODO es pecado. Esto lo dice la Palabra de Dios y lo aclara bien en varios pasajes. Por eso ahora te invito a que investigues sobre lo que Dios piensa de los brujos y hechiceros.

En realidad, solo la oración tiene poder y nada que hagas fuera de la voluntad de Dios tendrá su bendición.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - GIVEN WHAT TO SAY

But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19-20

It was early in the morning the day after Christmas. It was cold. Mehdi Forootan sat in the back seat of an undercover police car in front of his house in Tehran, Iran. An officer pointed a camcorder at him. “Do you know why you were arrested?” the officer asked him. “No,” Forootan replied.

The officer turned off the camera and looked Forootan in the eyes. “I can beat you until blood is coming out of your mouth and every part of you. The next time I turn on the camera, you tell me why we are taking you,” the officer said and turned the camera back on.

Forootan spoke of his faith in Christ, and he spent the next 105 days in Iran’s harshest prison. On Dec. 26, 2010, authorities had arrested Forootan in a wave of persecution against Iran’s underground church. More than three months later, he was one of a few who had not been released.

During one interrogation, an officer turned on a camcorder and pointed it toward him, demanding that Forootan tell him about his “crime.” Forootan began to tell him how he had struggled with substance abuse as a teenager, “and how when I was in university I found Jesus and He saved me, and I have been free ever since. But he became angry and turned off the camera. He said, ‘I asked you to tell about your crime, not evangelize us.’”

After months of trying to get him to write statements confessing a crime, authorities inexplicably released him. Forootan said his first month out of prison was one of the worst of his life. He couldn’t speak to anyone of his prison experience for fear that authorities were watching and would re-arrest him. His parents had given the deed of their house to authorities as bail.

He and his fiancée decided it was best for him to leave Iran and go to Turkey as a refugee. For Forootan, this meant an illegal escape through the mountains, because authorities had confiscated his passport.

“I came out of Iran with 70 Afghanis,” Forootan said. “I went to the mountains and walked in the mountains for eight hours, and after eight hours I came to Turkey…That was really hard, because I really love Iran, and I’m really sad about this land. Maybe I can’t see my country again.”

Many who follow Jesus in other lands make great sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. Despite harsh treatment—even prison with interrogations—they still love their home country. But during those interrogations, the Holy Spirit gives the right words to be spoken.

RESPONSE: Today I will rest in the Lord realizing that when pressures come, He is with me and His Spirit will give me the right words to speak.

PRAYER: Pray for those who like Forootan above are forced to leave the home land they love because of their witness to the gospel of Christ.

Girlfriends in God - Shattered Matters

by Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Friend to Friend

I’ve been through hard times. I’ve asked the question why on many occasions. I’ve begrudgingly said goodbye to family and friends in order to say hello to strangers and scary new places. I know the matter of being shattered.

There was a season when Brad and I lived in four different homes, in four different states, within four years. It was a very difficult time of my life. From Ohio to Pennsylvania to New York to North Carolina, we made our way across the East Coast with three little ducklings in tow. Back then, the uncertainty of tomorrow caused me a great deal of stress. A certain muscle in my back is twitching just thinking about it.

The chaos began back in 2000…

We lived in a snuggly little town just outside Akron, Ohio and God had just nudged me into public music ministry. I sensed Him asking me to join Him on a new faith adventure, and I said, “Yes!”

So, after much praying and planning, I sifted through a list of songs I had written, connected with a producer, flew to Nashville, and recorded my first CD. Did I mention that I also had two very active little boys who were under the age of three, and that I was pregnant with our third child? (Go ahead, laugh at me. The timing didn’t make sense to me either.)

At the same time, Brad was doing well with his company and would soon be promoted. It was also a time of rapid and rich spiritual growth for Brad. He became the leader of our adult Sunday school class at church and led admirably. I was so proud of him.

We loved our church, were plugged into ministries, and got along famously with our neighbors. We were comfortable, content, and settled. Life was good.

But it seems to me that God doesn’t necessarily always want us to be comfortable and content. (I say that tongue in cheek, of course.) Our comfort turned to chaos quickly when, just weeks before Kennedy was born, Brad accepted a job promotion that would uproot us from Akron, and transplant us in the suburbs outside Philadelphia.

Saying goodbye to our community was torture. We had blossomed into young adults in Ohio. We exchanged our sacred marriage vows there. Gave birth to our babies there. We grew in faith as a family there.

With each farewell, the weight of sadness grew heavier. When moving day arrived and all the boxes had been loaded, we hugged our neighbors one last time then drove away. As our home faded from sight, I realized that a part of my heart would always live in Ohio.

Once we got to our new house, I cried buckets of tears out of frustration, exhaustion, and sadness. Tension and stress became my new closest friends. The moment I said yes to God, so much of what had been comfortable and familiar was stripped away from my life. Of course, the timing wasn't coincidental. God allowed what was comfortable to be removed. He then led me to a place where I would have to trust Him and lean on Him in ways I never had before.

Broken became my middle name.

When we moved the only thing I could do was hunker down, spread out my motherly wings, and care for the babes in my nest. I changed diapers, chased toddlers, and cherished naptimes for almost a year. Friendships blossomed between me and other young moms, and the ladies’ Bible study at church became a vital link to both God and other women. As I studied Scripture, the Lord began to birth new songs in my heart, and although I wasn’t serving in music ministry right then, I processed my faith and life by writing songs.

Fourteen months after our transition, when the chaos had finally turned to calm, Brad hesitantly announced that it was time to move again. He would take over a territory in Syracuse, New York. Were we the punch line in someone else’s joke? We always said we wanted to live in a sunny, warm place. Now we were heading further north. Yuck. We prayed fervently about the move and felt God leading us in that direction, but I wondered if God’s compass was broken. As we packed boxes once again, questions danced around in my mind.

Had I heard Him wrong?

Why would God call me to a task and then herd me across the country like a nomad’s cow?

Starting over in New York had a strangely familiar feel. The first few months were busy and lonely. I spent much time meeting neighbors, figuring out the aisles at the new grocery stores, and finding out the best routes to take to Wal-Mart, to the post office, and to the pediatrician’s office. Finding a new church was a whole ‘nother challenge. But, in time, the matters of being shattered eventually lessened as we assimilated into the community and a wonderful church family.

The Syracuse summers were lush, but the winters were long. Though snow fell often, to the tune of 150 inches a year, God’s grace fell even more. He blessed me with deep friendships, intense Bible studies, and godly leadership from the pastors at our church. Brad and I immersed ourselves into the community, even though we anticipated that our time in New York would be brief.

Then, seventeen short months after we unpacked in Syracuse, Brad accepted a new, can’t-pass-it-up business opportunity, and we moved to sunny Charlotte, North Carolina.

What an exhausting journey. With each move I experienced both bitter and sweet moments, but the aftertaste of the bitter moments seemed to linger a little longer than the sweet ones.

It was a difficult four years.

I’ve heard it said, “If the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t climb it.” There’s a lot of truth to that. Through the mountain of pain I scaled in each move, God brought me closer to Him and taught me important lessons that I surely wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Lessons about trusting God with my friendships, with goodbyes, with loneliness, with my family, with anger, stress, and faith. Through it all, I’ve come to know this for sure: in all things—even the hard things—God is sovereign and can be trusted.

I know from personal experience that in the painful, tear-filled days, God is still good and can still be trusted. He is faithful. I’ve witnessed His strength in my weakness. I’ve felt His comfort in times of loss. And though we aren’t always kept from experiencing shattered matters, we never have to endure them alone.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
(Psalm 18:16)
Let’s Pray

Dear Lord,
Thank you for always being by my side and for giving me your strength and grace when I am simply weak and broken. Please help me look to you in every shattered matter.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 34, then write out your favorite verses and commit them to memory.

CONNECT: Is there someone you know who needs to read this message? Forward this devotion. Post it on your social media sites. Share the hope of healing. Then let’s meet on my blog to PRAY for one another today.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’s book, Broken Into Beautiful, which features Gwen’s testimony, along with Scriptural truths and stories of how God has brought restoration the hearts of many other women who had painful life wounds. Explore God’s purpose and hope for your life today as you read Broken Into Beautiful. To order the book, go to Amazon, your favorite Christian bookstore, or for a signed copy, order from Gwen’s web store.

NIV Devotions for Men - Unnatural Response

Ezekiel 24:15–27

Recommended Reading: Job 1:1–22; Psalm 22:1–5; 1 Peter 1:3–7

When President Ronald Reagan passed away in June of 2004, the news media spent an entire week documenting his surviving family’s grief. Cable and broadcast news programs covered the memorial services, ceremonies and funeral. But one of the biggest news stories of the week had already been reported thousands of times and in thousands of ways over the years—that of Reagan’s loving relationship with his wife, Nancy.

Now imagine that his death had gone completely unnoticed—a mere footnote in the obituary section of the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. What if Nancy Reagan had gone on with her daily activities as though nothing had changed and the media had stayed away? That would have been an unnatural and inappropriate response to the passing of this world-changing individual. The nation of Israel reacted with questions and protest when Ezekiel’s wife died. God instructed the prophet not to mourn—no lamenting, weeping or shedding of tears. Naturally, the people noticed Ezekiel’s lack of public grief. They asked him why he didn’t mourn openly over the loss of someone he had obviously loved so deeply. Just the response God wanted! Ezekiel explained how his situation foreshadowed theirs. Because the Israelites had forsaken God, they would live in exile. Worse, the temple—their symbol of national pride—would be destroyed. Naturally, the nation would want to grieve. But how would the people, as exiles, be able to mourn?

What a tough assignment for Ezekiel—to function as a human object lesson at the time of the loss of his wife, “the delight of [his] eyes” (Ezekiel 24:16). The message to the people was that the pride and joy of their culture, the temple in Jerusalem, was going to be desolated. Those who thought that God would never allow his holy home to be destroyed were sorely mistaken and were about to discover how wrong they were.

Consider for yourself how this passage might speak to your life. In what areas do you feel God’s blessing will be protected? Perhaps you felt led to a certain job or ministry that you feel certain will be around for the foreseeable future. Maybe you’re placing your confidence in the fact that the pastor of your church will be in his position long enough to see your kids get married. Perhaps you’re relying on some possession in your life to remain solid, stable and valuable for years to come. Or maybe your retirement package is your source of security.

The old adage “change is the only constant” is just as true today as it ever was. Are you placing your confidence in something other than the grace and care of God? Plans change and people change; economies flourish and falter, but God is the only true constant.

To Take Away
  • Would you generally describe your life right now as good or bad? Considering your answer, how close do you feel to God?
  • What lessons do you recall from previous difficult times that remind you to stay close to God?
  • How can you ensure that you’ll stay close to God no matter what happens in your life?

LHM Daily Devotion - "Angel Armies"

December 29, 2016

Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host ... (Luke 2:13a, ESV)

Read Luke 2:13-14

One of my favorite Christmas presents was my army men. Those little, green guys could go anywhere. One of the best places was in my younger brother's toy parking garage (remember that big box I claimed as mine?). The soldiers with flame throwers and bazookas were pretty easy to hit. But no matter how you threw the Lincoln Log bombs, you could never pick off the sniper hiding in the elevator. Having control of that army was amazing.

The shepherds saw an army that first Christmas too. After the angel made his magnificent announcement, a multitude of the heavenly host suddenly appeared. Luke described it as an angel army. The eternal Son of God, now lying as a Baby in Bethlehem's manger, had created each and every one of them. He was their Lord, commanding them like a brilliant general.

Throughout the Old Testament He sent this angel army to shield and protect His people from their enemies. Now they have come to sing the praises of their Holy Commander. They call on all the inhabitants of heaven to give glory to God for keeping His promises and revealing His grace by sending His Son as a Man.

Jesus' coming to earth fills heaven with glory and pours out peace upon the earth. That peace is offered to each and every man, woman and child. Jesus won that peace with God through His perfect life and His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Sadly, many will reject this greatest Christmas gift, and the peace and protection He came to bring.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your angel armies who protect us but, more importantly, thank You for winning our peace through Your life, death and resurrection. Grant me faith to never take Your salvation for granted. Amen.

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

Devociones de Adviento - ¡Promesa cumplida!

Jueves 29 de Diciembre

Lucas 1:67-79

Lleno del Espíritu Santo, Zacarías, su padre, profetizó: "Bendito sea el Señor, Dios de Israel, porque ha venido a redimir a su pueblo". (Lc 1: 67-68, RVC)

Dios cumple, siempre cumple. Tarde o temprano, Él cumple. A su debido tiempo, su palabra se hace realidad. Cuando nos parece que se ha olvidado, Él transforma en hechos lo que una vez salió de su boca.

Así fue cuando envió a su Mesías. Lo prometido en Edén sería realidad en Belén. Y no sólo eso: Dios prepararía a un precursor, un mensajero, para allanar el camino de su Mesías. Y ese precursor habría de brotar de un par de ancianos que, en términos de nuestra lógica, ya no aplicaban para semejante privilegio.

La lengua de Zacarías, que había estado atada por meses, ahora se desata en alabanzas. El Espíritu Santo arde en él y ese hombre que tiempo atrás no podía discernir los planes de Dios, ahora ve el cuadro completo. Asombroso. Dios escribe recto sobre líneas torcidas. Su historia sublime de salvación se redacta sobre los renglones curvos de nuestra pobre historia. Bendito sea el Señor, Dios de Israel.

Oigamos la predicación de este Juan, llamado profeta del Altísimo. Él señalará al que viene, el Señor. Él dará a conocer la salvación y el perdón de nuestros pecados. A los arrepentidos, perdón. A los perdidos, salvación. A los que andan en sombras de muerte, vida eterna. Ese niño que viene en camino, ése a quien Juan señalará, es el motivo de nuestro gozo, de nuestra esperanza, de nuestra celebración. La navidad va quedando atrás, pero él estará a nuestro lado para emprender el viaje hacia un nuevo año. Dios cumple sus promesas. La más importante de todas: él es nuestro Emanuel. Dios con nosotros. Hoy, mañana, y siempre.

Te damos gracias y alabanzas, oh Dios, por el cumplimiento de tus santas promesas. Gracias por Juan el Bautista, mensajero del Altísimo. Por Jesús, Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - Signet Ring

Read: Haggai 2:15–23 | Bible in a Year: Zechariah 9–12; Revelation 20

“I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,” declares the Lord. Haggai 2:23

When I first made the acquaintance of a new friend from abroad, I noticed his posh English accent and that he wore a ring on his little finger. Later I learned that this wasn’t just jewelry; it revealed his family’s history through the family crest engraved on it.

It was a bit like a signet ring—perhaps like the one in Haggai. In this short Old Testament book, the prophet Haggai calls for the people of God to restart the rebuilding of the temple. They had been exiled and had now returned to their homeland and begun rebuilding, but enemy opposition to their project had stalled them. Haggai’s message includes God’s promise to Zerubbabel, Judah’s leader, that he had been chosen and set apart as their leader, like a signet ring.

In ancient times, a signet ring was used as a means of identification. Instead of signing their name, people would press their ring into hot wax or soft clay to make their mark. As God’s children, we too make a mark on the world as we spread the gospel, share His grace through loving our neighbors, and work to end oppression.

Each of us has our own unique stamp that reveals how we’re created in God’s image and expresses our particular mix of gifts, passions, and wisdom. It’s our call and privilege to act as this signet ring in God’s world.

Father God, may I know my true identity as Your heir this day. (See Luke 15.)

We are God’s heirs and ambassadors, sharing His love in the world.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Anillo de sello

Leer: Hageo 2:15-23 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 20

… te pondré como anillo de sellar; porque yo te escogí, dice el Señor de los ejércitos (Hageo 2:23).

L a primera persona que conocí más de cerca en el extranjero tenía un elegante acento inglés y un anillo en su dedo meñique. Al tiempo, me enteré de que el anillo no era una simple joya, sino que tenía grabado el escudo de su familia.

Se parecía un poco a un anillo de sello; tal vez, como el que se menciona en Hageo. En este breve libro del Antiguo Testamento, el profeta llama al pueblo de Dios a reanudar la reconstrucción del templo. Tras el exilio, habían regresado a su tierra natal para comenzar el trabajo, pero los enemigos del proyecto los habían detenido. Su mensaje incluye la promesa de Dios a Zorobabel, el líder, quien había sido escogido y apartado para la obra, como un anillo de sello (Hageo 2:23).

En la antigüedad, esos anillos se usaban para identificarse. En vez de firmar, se presionaba un anillo en cera caliente o arcilla blanda para imprimir una marca. Como hijos de Dios, nosotros también imprimimos una marca en el mundo al difundir el evangelio, hablarles de la gracia del Señor a nuestros vecinos y trabajar para poner fin a la opresión.

Todos tenemos una señal única que revela que fuimos creados a imagen de Dios y que expresa nuestra mezcla particular de talentos, pasión y sabiduría. Como un anillo de sello, produzcamos un impacto en el mundo.

Señor, ayúdame hoy a identificarme como tu hijo.

Somos herederos y embajadores de Dios, y anunciamos su amor a todo el mundo.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Siegelring

Lesen: Haggai 2,15-23 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Sacharja 9–12; Offenbarung 20

Zur selben Zeit, spricht der Herr Zebaoth, will ich dich . . . wie einen Siegelring halten, denn ich habe dich erwählt. (Haggai 2,23)

Schon bei der ersten Begegnung fiel mir auf, dass mein neuer Bekannter ein sehr gediegenes Englisch sprach und am kleinen Finger einen Ring trug. Später erfuhr ich, dass es sich nicht einfach um ein Schmuckstück handelte, sondern um ein Stück Familiengeschichte. Der Ring trug das Wappen seiner Familie.

Es war ein Siegelring—vielleicht wie der bei Haggai. Haggai rief Gottes Volk auf, mit dem Wiederaufbau des Tempels weiterzumachen. Es war im Exil gewesen, jetzt aber in die Heimat zurückgekehrt und hatte mit dem Wiederaufbau begonnen. Dann hatte der Widerstand der Feinde die Arbeiten zum Stillstand gebracht. Haggai verkündet Serubbabel, dem Führer des Volkes, dass Gott ihn auserwählt und als Leiter ausgesondert hat—wie einen Siegelring.

Ein Siegelring war früher so etwas wie ein Ausweis. Anstatt mit dem Namen zu unterschreiben, drückte man den Ring in heißes Wachs oder Gips. Als Gottes Kinder sollen auch wir in der Welt ein Zeichen hinterlassen, indem wir das Evangelium verkünden, unseren Nächsten lieben und den Bedrückten helfen und so seine Gnade bekannt machen.

Jeder von uns hat seinen eigenen Abdruck, der zeigt, dass wir als Ebenbild Gottes eine ganz besondere Mischung an Gaben, Vorlieben und Weisheit erhalten haben. Es ist unsere Aufgabe und unser Vorrecht, in dieser Welt als Siegelring Gottes zu wirken.

Lieber Vater, mach mir heute ganz neu bewusst, dass ich dein Kind und Erbe bin. (siehe Lukas 15)

Wir sind Gottes Erben und Botschafter und bringen der Welt seine Liebe.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Перстень с печаткой

Читать сейчас: Аггей 2:15-23 | Библия за год: Захария 9-12; Откровение 20

«Я возьму тебя... и буду держать тебя как печать, ибо Я избрал тебя», – говорит Господь. — Аггей 2:23

Познакомившись с новым другом из-за рубежа, я обратила внимание на его превосходный английский акцент и перстень, который он носил на мизинце. Позже я узнала, что это было не просто украшение. Перстень свидетельствовал о знатности рода, а вместо камня на нем была печатка с семейным гербом.

Вероятно, о подобном перстне ведет речь Аггей. В этой небольшой ветхозаветной книге пророк призывает Божий народ возобновить строительство храма. Долгое время они были в изгнании и теперь, вернувшись на родину и начав строительство, столкнулись с противостоянием врагов. Весть Аггея включает в себя Божье обетование Зоровавелю, иудейскому князю. Господь возвещал, что Он избрал Зоровавеля и будет держать его как печать.

В древние времена печати ставились перстнями. Вместо того чтобы подписываться, как это делаем мы, люди прикладывали печатку к нагретому воску или мягкой глине. Мы, Божьи дети, также оставляем свой отпечаток в мире, распространяя Евангелие, любя ближних и противостоя злу.

Каждый из нас представляет собой неповторимое сочетание Божьего образа и различных дарований, стремлений и знаний. Наше призвание – быть Божьей печатью в сотворенном Им мире.

Отец и Бог, даруй мне осознать свою истинную сущность, как Твоего наследника.

Мы – Божьи наследники и посланники, возвещающие миру Его любовь.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Comme un sceau

Lisez : Aggée 2.15‑23 | La Bible en un an : Zacharie 9 – 12 et Apocalypse 20

[Je] te garderai comme un sceau ; car je t’ai choisi, dit l’Éternel des armées. (Aggée 2:23)

Lorsque je me suis fait un nouvel ami à l’étranger, j’ai remarqué son bel accent anglais et la bague qu’il portait à son auriculaire. Or, j’ai appris plus tard qu’il ne s’agissait pas d’un simple bijou ; cette bague révélait l’histoire de sa famille par le monogramme familial y étant gravé.

C’était un peu comme un sceau, peut‑être comme celui d’Aggée. Dans ce court livre vétérotestamentaire, le prophète Aggée appelle le peuple de Dieu à reprendre la reconstruction du Temple. Maintenant rentrés d’exil, les Israélites commençaient à le rebâtir, mais leurs ennemis qui s’opposaient à ce projet les retardaient. Le message d’Aggée inclut la promesse que Dieu a faite à Zorobabel, gouverneur de Juda, lui confirmant qu’il avait été choisi et mis à part à titre de chef du peuple, comme un sceau.

Dans l’Antiquité, on utilisait un sceau comme moyen d’identification. Au lieu de signer leur nom, les gens trempaient leur bague dans de la cire chaude ou de l’argile molle pour faire leur marque. En tant qu’enfants de Dieu, nous faisons nous aussi notre marque sur le monde en propageant l’Évangile, en répandant sa grâce par l’amour de notre prochain et en travaillant à mettre fin à l’oppression.

Chacun de nous porte son propre sceau unique qui révèle que nous avons tous été créés à l’image de Dieu selon l’unicité de nos dons, de nos passions et de notre sagesse. Nous avons donc la tâche et le privilège d’agir comme ce sceau dans le monde de Dieu.

Héritiers et ambassadeurs de Dieu, nous partageons son amour.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ