Monday, January 16, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, January 16, 2017

First Reading
Isaiah 44:6-8, 44:21-23
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one. Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you, you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.

Second Reading
Ephesians 4:1-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people." (When it says, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

The Holy Gospel
Mark 3:7-19
Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, "You are the Son of God!" But he sternly ordered them not to make him known. He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Then he went home;

Morning Psalms
Psalm 25 Ad te, Domine, levavi
1   To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you; let me not be humiliated, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
2   Let none who look to you be put to shame; let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.
3   Show me your ways, O LORD, and teach me your paths.
4   Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.
5   Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.
6   Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your love and for the sake of your goodness, O LORD.
7   Gracious and upright is the LORD; therefore he teaches sinners in his way.
8   He guides the humble in doing right and teaches his way to the lowly.
9   All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
10   For your Name's sake, O LORD, forgive my sin, for it is great.
11   Who are they who fear the LORD? he will teach them the way that they should choose.
12   They shall dwell in prosperity, and their offspring shall inherit the land.
13   The LORD is a friend to those who fear him and will show them his covenant.
14   My eyes are ever looking to the LORD, for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
15   Turn to me and have pity on me, for I am left alone and in misery.
16   The sorrows of my heart have increased; bring me out of my troubles.
17   Look upon my adversity and misery and forgive me all my sin.
18   Look upon my enemies, for they are many, and they bear a violent hatred against me.
19   Protect my life and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I have trusted in you.
20   Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for my hope has been in you.
21   Deliver Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 9 Confitebor tibi
1   I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works.
2   I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing to your Name, O Most High.
3   When my enemies are driven back, they will stumble and perish at your presence.
4   For you have maintained my right and my cause; you sit upon your throne judging right.
5   You have rebuked the ungodly and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
6   As for the enemy, they are finished, in perpetual ruin, their cities plowed under, the memory of them perished;
7   But the LORD is enthroned for ever; he has set up this throne for judgment.
8   It is he who rules the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with equity.
9   The LORD will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of trouble.
10   Those who know your Name will put their trust in you, for you never forsake those who seek you, O LORD.
11   Sing praise to the LORD who dwells in Zion; proclaim to the peoples the things he has done.
12   The Avenger of blood will remember them; he will not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13   Have pity on me, O LORD; see the misery I suffer from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gate of death;
14   So that I may tell of all your praises and rejoice in your salvation in the gates of the city of Zion.
15   The ungodly have fallen into the pit they dug, and in the snare they set is their own foot caught.
16   The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are trapped in the works of their own hands.
17   The wicked shall be given over to the grave, and also all the people that forget God.
18   For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
19   Rise up, O LORD, let not the ungodly have the upper hand; let them be judged before you.
20   Put fear upon them, O LORD; let the ungodly know they are but mortal.

Psalm 15 Domine, quis habitabit?
1   LORD, who may dwell in your tabernacle? who may abide upon your holy hill?
2   Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, who speaks the truth from his heart.
3   There is no guile upon his tongue; he does no evil to his friend; he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.
4   In his sight the wicked is rejected, but he honors those who fear the LORD.
5   He has sworn to do no wrong and does not take back his word.
6   He does not give his money in hope of gain, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
7   Whoever does these things shall never be overthrown.

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 - January 16, 2017

Galatians 5:16 (NIV) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Read all of Galatians 5

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "A Literal Paradise"

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:1-2)

The late Isaac Asimov said, "I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing Hell, or fearing Heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of Hell, I think the boredom of Heaven would be even worse."

Trust me. Heaven will not be boring. Some people think of Heaven in a mystical way, with clouds and more clouds and people floating around. Others think of Heaven as a really long church service.

But what is Heaven really like? I'll begin by saying that Heaven is an actual place. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). A place—that is very important for us to remember. Heaven is a real place for real people to do real things. We need to think of it that way.

Heaven is also described as a paradise. When the thief on the cross said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom" (Luke 23:42), Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (verse 43).

The apostle Paul said the same thing. He died and went to Paradise. That is an interesting word, because in the original language, it's actually a word to describe a walled garden like the king of Persia would have had.

Think of a palatial estate with a manicured garden that goes on forever, with every kind of fruit and flower. That is the word Paul used to describe Heaven after God brought him back. Paul was thinking of the best thing he could imagine, saying it was like paradise to him.

That doesn't mean it can't be beautiful on this planet. We see God's glory on display in His creation, even in a fallen state. But Heaven is a paradise.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Un Dia a la Vez - Vive tu vida… ¡y no critiques!

No juzguen, y no se les juzgará [...] Perdonen, y se les perdonará. (Lucas 6:37)

¿Has escuchado ese refrán que dice que «con la medida que midan a otros, se les medirá a ustedes»? Pues no es un dicho, sino una recomendación que encontramos en la Biblia (véase Mateo 7:1).

Si eres de los que te la pasas criticando a tu compañero de trabajo, juzgas todo lo que hace tu pareja, vives lleno de rencor y lo que menos piensas es en perdonar a los que te han ofendido, así sea a tus padres o a tus hijos, déjame decirte que estás muy lejos de agradar y tener complacido a Dios.

En su Palabra, Dios nos enseña exactamente lo contrario. Nos orienta que no debemos juzgar para que nadie nos juzgue a nosotros. Nos instruye que debemos perdonar hasta setenta veces siete… ¿Te imaginas?

¿Por qué no hacemos hoy este ejercicio? Hagamos una pequeña evaluación de cómo está nuestra vida en estas dos esferas: la crítica y la falta de perdón. Aunque no parecen muy importantes en el diario vivir, sí tienen un gran efecto en el ámbito espiritual.

Piensa en que si no cambias esa actitud, todo el mundo juzgará tus acciones. Serás el centro permanente de burla y de chimes. Te expondrás en todo lo que haces. Por otro lado, si no le pides a Dios que te ayude a tomar la decisión de perdonar, el día que falles, el día que te equivoques, no te van a perdonar. Recuerda que todo lo que sembramos eso mismo cosechamos. Si Dios que es Dios no nos critica y nos perdona sin merecerlo, ¿por qué no hacemos hoy ese pacto de cambiar?

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
La Santa Biblia, Nueva Versión Internacional® NVI® Copyright © 1999 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Women of the Bible - Lot's Wife

Her character: She was a prosperous woman who may have been more attached to the good life than was good for her. Though there is no indication she participated in the sin of Sodom, her story implies she had learned to tolerate it and that her heart had become divided as a result.
Her sorrow: That her heart's choice led to judgment rather than mercy, and that she ultimately refused God's attempts to save her.
Key Scriptures: Genesis 18:16-19:29; Luke 17:28-33 

Her Story

Lot's wife had only hours to live, though she never suspected it. She must have gone about her business as usual, tidying the house, cooking and kibitzing with the neighbors, unaware of the tragedy about to overtake her.

Years earlier she had married Abraham's nephew, and the two had amassed a fortune in land and livestock. Eventually, they settled in Sodom, uncomfortably comfortable in a city so wicked that heaven itself dispatched angels to investigate the allegations against it.

Lot, it so happened, was at the city gate at the very moment the angels arrived. Greeting the strangers, he quickly implored them to spend the night in his home, anxious about what might happen to them once night had fallen.

Lot's wife must have welcomed the strangers warmly, too, for hospitality was a sacred trust in the ancient world. Then, just before bedtime, she would have heard the voices. At first a few muffled words and then echoing laughter and finally an ugly clamor as a noose of men tightened around the house. Rough voices shouted for her husband to open the door and surrender his guests to their pleasure.

"No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing!" Lot screamed back. But the crowd was furious for its own way. Then he attempted an appalling bargain. "Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof." But the men of Sodom would not be thwarted and rushed the door to force their way in.

Suddenly, the angels reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, and struck the men at the door blind. Then they turned to Lot, urging him, "Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place."

But Lot's sons-in-law thought he was joking and refused to leave.

At dawn the angels again urged Lot to hurry lest he and his wife and daughters perish with the rest of the city. Still, the family hesitated until the angels finally grabbed their hands and dragged them out, urging, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains, or you will be swept away!"

By the time Lot and his family reached the small city of Zoar, the sun had risen over the land and everything in Sodom was engulfed in burning sulfur. Men, women, children, and livestock were all obliterated. A terrible judgment for terrible sin.

But the judgment was even worse than either Lot or his daughters first realized. Safe at last, they must have turned to each other in relief at their escape and then turned again in shock, realizing one of their number was missing. They would have searched, hoping against hope, until they finally caught sight of the white salt pillar, silhouetted against the sky, a lonely monument in the shape of a woman turning around toward Sodom.

If you have ever seen pictures of ancient Pompeii, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ad 79, where human shapes are preserved to this day by the lava that stopped them dead in their tracks, you might imagine the disaster that overtook Lot's wife.

Why did she turn, despite the angel's clear warning? Was her heart still attached to everything she left behind in the city—a life of comfort, ease, and pleasure? Did she still have family trapped in the city? Or was she fascinated by the tragic spectacle taking place behind her, like a gawking motorist at the scene of a bloody accident? Perhaps all these things combined were a glue that caused her feet to slow, her head to turn, and her body to be overtaken by the punishment God had meant to spare her. By her own choice—her very last choice—she cast her lot with judgment rather than with mercy.

Jesus urged his followers to remember Lot's wife: "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it" (Luke 17:30-33). Sobering words recalling a sobering story. Words meant to lead us away from the compelling illusions of wickedness and safe into the arms of mercy.

Her Promise

Earlier, God had promised Abraham he would spare the city of Sodom if he could find only ten righteous people in it, but not even ten could be found. So God sent his angels to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family (Genesis 18) from the coming destruction. Hesitant to the last minute, the angels had to take Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and lead them out of the city.

Did God know Abraham was thinking of Lot when he begged for the cities to be spared if fifty, forty-five, thirty, twenty, only ten righteous people could be found? Was God's mercy extended to Lot for love of Lot or for love of Abraham? We don't know. But we do know God's mercy was available for Lot and his family. And his mercy is available to you as well, even in the worst of times, the most difficult situations, the hardest of circumstances. He's there, stretching out his hand to lead you to safety.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - NEVER FAILS TO BEAR FRUIT

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream…and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8d

Trees were not plentiful in Israel and most grew by sources of water like an oasis or a stream. Jeremiah’s simile indicates a person with confidence in the Lord is like a deep-rooted tree by the stream that bears fruit faithfully year after year in all kinds of weather.

The most remarkable report I’ve heard from China is about a Christian lady in prison during the “anti-spiritual pollution campaign” in the mid-eighties. She spent her time in prison hand carving scripture verses in miniature lettering with a sharpened end of a toothbrush on the walls and even on the frame of the cot in her cell. Years later she actually met another person who subsequently spent time in the same cell and came to Christ through reading those verses over and over.

One year when visiting Christians in the north of China, I asked the whereabouts of Aunty Mei Bo. This short octogenarian medical doctor, I was told, was away on a missions outreach in spiritually needy Tibet. The next summer she was home and very anxious to hear of our group experience in Tibet—the rooftop of the world—since she was planning another mission trip there soon. She concluded, “Jesus is saying, ‘Hurry up and get the job done so I can come back again!’”

Aunty Mei Bo often stored Bibles from foreign couriers in her home where she lived alone. One day the Public Security Police raided her home and confiscated all the Christian materials they found. Later in the day she found a JESUS video they had missed. So off to the police station she headed with the video.

The young lady at the desk looked askance in her direction. “I want to talk to the Chief of Police!” Mei Bo demanded firmly. “Today his men were at my house and they did not see this,” she said waving the video tape in the air. The receptionist ushered Mei Bo into the police chief’s office. He acted oblivious to her arrival yet grunted a question of intent.

“Sir,” Mei Bo began slowly. “Earlier today your men raided my house and took all the Bibles I had stored there. I understand that they were just doing their job. But after they left, I noticed that they missed this video tape. I need to know from you if this is acceptable material or not. Would you and your staff check it for me?”

“Very well, come back in two weeks,” he muttered dismissing her with a wave of the hand. Mei Bo almost skipped out the door with overflowing joy as she headed toward home. “Thank you Lord! How else could I get the Beijing chief of police with his staff to watch the JESUS video?”

Aunty Mei Bo led many to the Lord all through her long life and spent her time in discipling them. She never failed to bear fruit.

RESPONSE: I want to be a tree that bears fruit without fail, regardless of age and weather conditions.

PRAYER: Lord, may my deep rootedness in You cause me to never fail to produce lasting fruit.

Bypassing Samaria - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Day 7

What does the Bible have to say about prejudice? What messages of love does God have for all the people and cultures He created? What opportunities does a diverse church of today have in a society still troubled by racism?

The two-week Fearfully and Wonderfully Made daily devotional—based on passages from the NKJV Modern Life Study Bible—will guide you through a series of Biblical excerpts focused on confronting ethnic prejudice. You'll walk through both the Old and New Testaments, discovering a tapestry of cultural connections throughout the historical richness of Scripture and learn about God's promises of love to those who face discrimination and prejudice. From the call of Abraham to the Samaritan woman at the well, find out how the God of Israel has shown himself to be the God of all tribes and nations.

Today’s reading is drawn from Luke 9:51-56.

Fueled by their prejudice against the Samaritans (John 4:9), Jews commonly bypassed their land by journeying along the east bank of the Jordan River. But traveling south from Galilee to Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples headed straight through Samaria (Luke 9:52). Jesus deliberately chose the more direct route, as if He welcomed a fight.

Confrontation erupted at the first village. The Samaritans did not want Jesus or His followers there, and the disciples surely did not want to be there. Insulted by the Samaritans’ rejection of Jesus, the disciples offered to call down fire from heaven. They argued that Elijah had done as much.

Centuries of ethnic hatred and bitterness nearly lit the flame of violence. No wonder Jesus emphatically rebuked His followers. He saw that they were blinded by their presumed religious and ethnic superiority. So He reminded them of His mission. He had come not to destroy people but to save them—including the Samaritans.

Christians today may react with condemnation rather than compassion toward people of another ethnicity or ideology. Our differences sometimes arise from legitimate concerns. But if we want to push people out of view or somehow eliminate them from a situation in order to reinforce our ethnic, moral, theological, or spiritual superiority, then we deserve the rebuke that Jesus gave the Twelve: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of” (9:55). As we read in John 3:17, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Girlfriends in God - When You Don’t Feel Saved?

Today’s Truth

“I know whom I believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day,” (2 Timothy 1:12, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Anna grew up in the church. It wasn’t a church that used the word “salvation” or “saved” very often and there was never a decisive moment she could recall “giving her life to Jesus,” as she heard her more evangelical friends recount. There was no “born again” experience that she could recall. But she did love Jesus. She’d loved Him for as long as she could remember. But, she was not sure if she was actually saved.

Beth remembers walking down the red carpeted aisle of her church when she was twelve-years-old. She filled out a membership card, signed up for the next baptism service and attended the catechism class for new believers. She still remembers the feeling when she knew that she was a sinner who needed a Savior, and she wanted to follow Jesus more than anything.

Several years later, Beth packed her bags to go to college and entered the world of liberal teaching, wild sorority parties, and free flowing alcohol. One night, in drunken confusion, Beth gave away her most valuable treasure to a boy she barely knew. In five minutes or less, her virginity vanished. “How have I gotten so far away from God,” she cried. “I thought I was saved, but I guess I’m not.”

Sarah had been attending a neighborhood Bible study for two years. Most of the women there had no idea she wasn’t a Christian. “I put on a happy face, do my homework, and use the right lingo,” she explains. “I am really hungry to know God and I’ve asked Jesus to come in my heart dozens of times, but I just don’t feel saved. Why can’t I get saved?”

Can you see how each one of these women has believed the lie that they have to earn their way to heaven? And then earn the right to keep it? Why? Because they are depending on their feelings rather than the truth.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Having believed, you were saved. Totally accepted. Past tense, finished, complete.

In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul tell us to put on the full armor of God. The very first piece of armor is the “helmet of salvation.” We’ve got to know that we have moved from rejection to acceptance, from guilty to forgiven, from condemned to saved.

If Satan can cause you to doubt your salvation, he will gain a strong foothold into your conquered territory. Once you are saved, he can’t do anything about the reality of your salvation. You are signed, sealed, delivered…you are God’s—signed by God with the blood of Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit for all eternity, and delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ. Amen!

What does Paul mean when he tells the Ephesians to “put on the helmet of salvation?” A helmet is designed to protect a soldier’s head, and the helmet of salvation is designed to protect a Christian soldier’s mind. In order to have victory in the spiritual battle we face every day, we must make sure that the helmet of salvation is seated securely on our minds and strapped snuggly in place.

Once you accept Jesus as your Savior, Satan can’t do anything about your position in Christ. However, he can do much to try and confuse you or cause you to doubt your salvation. Remember, he is the father of lies. It’s what he does. It’s who he is.

There may be days when you don’t feel saved. Well, rain on your feelings. They are not the truth. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

You may not feel that you are saved, but you can know that you are saved. Timothy wrote, “I know whom I believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” Timothy had the chinstrap of the helmet of salvation strapped snuggly in place and he knew he was saved no matter how he felt. That’s what faith is all about–believing God regardless of, or in spite of, our feelings.

So where’s your helmet today? Is it strapped firmly in place?

If you know that you know that you are going to heaven when you leave this earth, leave a comment and say “I know!”

Let’s Pray

Dear LORD, once again, I thank You for saving me. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m any different than I was before I said “yes” to You. But I believe by faith, regardless of how I feel. I stand firm in the knowledge of my salvation, my eternal inheritance, and my identity as a child of God.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

OK, here’s the test. You mess up. Really mess up. The devil says to you…how can you call yourself a Christian? You must not be a Christian after all? What are you going to tell him?

This is an open book test.J Click over to my Facebook page and leave your answer.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion was taken from my book, I’m Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. If you’ve been believing the enemy’s lies that you are not good enough, totally worthless, would be happy if…, etc. and are ready to begin living in victory by believing God’s truth, then this book is for you! It’s time to be set free to see yourself as God sees you: His holy, chosen, forgiven, and dearly loved child. Now that’s a truth worth repeating. And for the married GiG’s check out my latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage with over 250 ways to romance your man.

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LHM Daily Devotion - "Be Strong, Fear Not"

 January 16, 2017

(Isaiah said) "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'"  - Isaiah 35:3-4, ESV

Deliverance -- a life of freedom with one's deliverer. The prophet Isaiah is speaking about God's future deliverance to a people who are about to be run over by a warrior nation, carried off into captivity, and struggle. Isaiah tells them amidst these real fears, fear not. He tells them amidst their obvious weakness to be strong because God has not abandoned them. He will, in fact, still come for them to rescue them, to redeem them, and to set them free. With that in mind, he tells them to trust in God no matter what!

There are times in our lives when the fear is palpable, right? There are times when trust is hard to come by -- trust in ourselves, trust in others and, yes, trust in God. There are the fears of impending bills or illnesses or tragedy. We see violence around us and begin to fear for our safety or even our way of life. Be strong, fear not? That seems a bit like a pipe dream.

So when Isaiah talks about rescue, a way through, he must be talking about  something  or  someone  so amazing that such a thing can actually be true because of it. He does. He says it this way, "Behold, your God" in all things because He's coming He will change everything. His work on your behalf will make all the difference.

In 1989, an earthquake in Armenia needed only four minutes to flatten the nation and kill 30,000 people. Moments after that deadly tremor ceased, a father raced to an elementary school to save his son. When he arrived, he saw the building had been leveled. Looking at the mass of stones and rubble, he remembered a promise he had made to his child. He said this: "Son, no matter what happens I will always be there for you." Driven by his promise, he found the area closest to his son's room and he began to pull back the rocks.

Other parents arrived and began sobbing for their children. "It's too late," they told the man. "You know they are dead. You can't help." Even a police officer encouraged him to give up.

But the father refused. For eight hours, then 16 hours, then 32 hours, then 36 hours, he dug. His hands were raw. His energy gone, but he refused to quit. Finally, after 38 wrenching hours, he pulled back a boulder, and he heard his son's voice. He called his boy's name: "Arman! Arman!"

A voice answered him, "Daddy, it's me!" Then the boy added these priceless words: "I told the other kids not to worry. I told them if you were alive, you'd save me, and when you saved me, they'd be saved too, because you promised that 'No matter what, I'll always be there for you.'"

That little boy strengthened weak hands and he made firm feeble knees. Why? Well, he knew that his father loved him and would find a way to come to him. With that confidence, he encouraged the others because he knew his father would come for them too. Isaiah is comforting us with an even greater truth. Christ has come for all. Christ is alive here and now for you. Christ will bring you home to be with Him forever. He has made a way. He has made a path -- not for you to come to Him but for Him to come for you. Count on it.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, let my strength and fearlessness be rooted in Your promises to be with me, to guide me in Your Word, and to take me home to be with You  no matter what  I face today. Amen!

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

CPTLN Devocional - Un Dios cercano

16 de Enero 2017

Pero tú, Señor, ¡no te alejes! Tú eres mi fuerza, ¡ven pronto en mi ayuda! ¡Rescata de la espada y de esos perros la única vida que tengo! ¡Sálvame de las fauces de esos leones! ¡Líbrame de los cuernos de esos búfalos! Salmo 22:19-21

Nunca he visto de cerca un tiburón de dieciséis pies y medio de largo, y tampoco quiero verlo.

Se me ocurre que Ana tampoco hubiera querido verlo.

Ana estaba haciendo surf en Tasmania, cuando fue atacada por un tiburón que la hundió y la sacudió hasta que, cuando parecía que todo estaba perdido, con la ayuda de su primo Jorge, logró zafarse.

Jorge la subió a su tabla de surf, y con la ayuda de una ola la llevó a la costa, donde fue atendida de sus heridas.

Pensando en lo que había pasado, Jorge dijo: "No soy creyente, pero la ola perfecta que vino en el momento justo, tuvo que haber sido enviada por Dios".

Me gustaría poder decirle a Jorge que quizás es hora de que se vuelva creyente... es más, quizás es hora de que se ponga a pensar en que llegará el momento en que la tabla de surf no le va a servir para escapar de la muerte.

A todos nos llega la muerte. A algunos les llega con un tiburón; a otros con un infarto, o cáncer, o un accidente, o... la lista es interminable.

Dios sabía que la muerte nos espera a todos. Por ello es que envió a su Hijo para que se ofreciera como rescate por nuestra salvación. Al morir en la cruz y resucitar al tercer día, Jesús venció el poder de la muerte, y nos abrió la puerta hacia la vida eterna.

Más aún, sabemos que nuestro Señor está siempre a nuestro lado. Como escribe el Salmista: "Pero tú, Señor, no te alejes; fuerza mía, ven pronto en mi auxilio. Rescátame de la boca de los leones."... o de tiburones... o accidentes... o enfermedades.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor Jesús, te doy gracias porque nunca estás lejos de mí y te bendigo por todas las veces que tu gracia me ha rescatado. Ayúdame a confiar cada vez más en tu constante protección. En tu nombre. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - The Valley of Blessing

Read: 2 Chronicles 20:1,13–22 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 39–40; Matthew 11

If calamity comes . . . [we] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us. 2 Chronicles 20:9

French artist Henri Matisse felt his work in the last years of his life best represented him. During that time he experimented with a new style, creating colorful, large-scale pictures with paper instead of paint. He decorated the walls of his room with these bright images. This was important to him because he had been diagnosed with cancer and was often confined to his bed.

Becoming ill, losing a job, or enduring heartbreak are examples of what some call “being in the valley,” where dread overshadows everything else. The people of Judah experienced this when they heard an invading army was approaching (2 Chron. 20:2–3). Their king prayed, “If calamity comes . . . [we] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us” (v. 9). God responded, “Go out to face [your enemies] tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (v. 17).

When Judah’s army arrived at the battlefield, their enemies had already destroyed each other. God’s people spent three days collecting the abandoned equipment, clothing, and valuables. Before leaving, they assembled to praise God and named the place “The Valley of Berakah,” which means “blessing.”

God walks with us through the lowest points in our lives. He can make it possible to discover blessings in the valleys.

Dear God, help me not to be afraid when I encounter difficulty. Help me to believe that Your goodness and love will follow me.

Looking for hope in the middle of difficult circumstances? Read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear at

God is the master of turning burdens into blessings.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Valles de bendición

Leer: 2 Crónicas 20:1, 13-22 | La Biblia en un año: Mateo 11

Si mal viniere sobre nosotros, […] clamaremos a ti, y tú nos oirás y salvarás (2 Crónicas 20:9).

El artista francés Henri Matisse sentía que su labor de los últimos años de su vida lo representaba mejor. En ese tiempo, ensayó un nuevo estilo, creando pinturas coloridas y de gran tamaño hechas con papel en vez de pintura. Luego, decoró las paredes de su habitación con esas imágenes relucientes. Para él, fue importante porque le habían diagnosticado cáncer y solía estar confinado en su cama.

Enfermarse, perder el empleo o atravesar situaciones angustiosas son ejemplos de lo que algunos denominan «estar en el valle», donde los temores empañan todo lo demás. El pueblo de Judá experimentó algo así cuando supo que se acercaba un ejército (2 Crónicas 20:2-3). Su rey oró: «Si mal viniere sobre nosotros, […] clamaremos a ti, y tú nos oirás y salvarás» (v. 9). Y Dios respondió: «salid mañana contra ellos, porque el Señor estará con vosotros» (v. 17).

Cuando el ejército de Judá llegó al campo de batalla, sus enemigos ya se habían matado entre ellos. El pueblo de Dios pasó tres días recogiendo las armas, la ropa y las cosas de valor abandonadas. Antes de marcharse, se reunieron para alabar a Dios y llamaron aquel lugar el valle de «Beraca», que significa «bendición».

El Señor puede convertir los pozos de nuestra vida en bendiciones.

Señor, ayúdame a confiar en ti en las dificultades.

Dios es experto en convertir las cargas en bendiciones.

© 2017 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Im Tal des Lobes

Lesen: 2. Chronik 20,1.13-22 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Mose 39–40; Matthäus 11

Wenn Unglück [kommt] . . . werden wir . . . zu dir schreien in unserer Not und du wirst hören. 2.Chronik 20,9

Der französische Maler Henri Matisse hielt die Werke aus seinen letzten Jahren für die besten. Er experimentierte mit einem neuen Stil und schuf farbenfrohe, großformatige Bilder aus Papier statt Farbe und hängte sie an die Wände seines Zimmers. Das war für ihn deshalb so wichtig, weil er an Krebs litt und oft im Bett liegen musste.

Krankheit, Jobverlust oder seelische Nöte bezeichnen wir oft als „finsteres Tal“, in dem Angst und ein Gefühl der Bedrohung alles andere überlagern. Das Volk Juda erlebte Ähnliches, als es hörte, dass ein feindliches Heer im Anmarsch war (2.Chron. 20,2-3). Sein König betete: „Wenn Unglück [kommt] . . . werden wir . . . zu dir schreien in unserer Not und du wirst hören und helfen“ (V.9). Und Gott antwortete: „Morgen zieht [den Feinden] entgegen! Der Herr ist mit euch“ (V.17).

Als Judas Heer auf dem Schlachtfeld ankam, hatten die Feinde sich schon gegenseitig niedergemetzelt. Drei Tage brauchte Gottes Volk, um die zurückgelassenen Geräte, Kleider und Wertgegenstände einzusammeln. Ehe sie abzogen, versammelten sie sich, um Gott zu loben und nannten den Ort „Lobetal“.

Gott ist auch an den Tiefpunkten unseres Lebens dabei. Auch in den Tälern können wir Grund zum Loben finden.

Lieber Gott, hilf mir, vor Problemen keine Angst zu haben. Lass mich glauben, dass deine Liebe und Güte mir alle Tage meines Lebens folgen werden.

Gott ist Meister darin, aus Lasten Loblieder zu machen.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Долина благословения

Читать сейчас: 2 Паралипоменон 20:1, 13-22 | Библия за год: Бытие 39-40; Матфея 11

Если придет на нас бедствие... [мы] воззовем к Тебе в тесноте нашей, и Ты услышишь. — 2 Паралипоменон 20:9

Французский художник Анри Матисс наилучшим образом раскрыл свой талант в последние годы жизни. В то время он экспериментировал с новыми стилями, создавая яркие, многоцветные рисунки на бумаге, вместо того чтобы писать на холсте. Этими яркими изображениями он увешал стены в своей комнате. Ему это было нужно, потому что у него был рак, и он проводил много времени в кровати.

Заболеть, потерять работу, пережить утрату – все это примеры того, что некоторые называют «прохождением долины», где страх поглощает все остальное. Народ Иудеи испытал это, когда услышал об огромной армии врагов (2 Пар. 20:2-3). Их царь молился: «Если придет на нас бедствие... то мы станем... и воззовем к Тебе в тесноте нашей, и Ты услышишь и спасешь» (2 Пар. 20:9). Бог ответил: «Завтра выступите навстречу им, и Господь будет с вами» (2 Пар. 20:17).

Когда иудейское войско прибыло на поле боя, враги уже истребили друг друга. Божий народ три дня собирал добычу и оружие. Прежде чем уйти, они собрались, чтобы прославить Бога, и назвали это место «Долина благословения».

Бог идет вместе с нами через трудные долины жизни. Он может и в них послать нам обилие Своих благословений.

Боже, помоги мне не бояться при виде трудностей. Помоги верить, что Твоя благость и любовь будут сопровождать меня.

Бог любит обращать бремена в благословения.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - La vallée de la bénédiction

Lisez : 2 Chroniques 20.1, 13‑22 | La Bible en un an : Genèse 39 – 40 et Matthieu 11

S’il nous survient quelque calamité […] nous crierons à toi du sein de notre détresse, et tu exauceras et tu sauveras ! (2 Chroniques 20.9)

L’artiste français Henri Matisse trouvait que c’est au cours de ses dernières années de vie que son oeuvre le représentait le plus fidèlement. Durant cette période, il a fait des expériences visant l’élaboration d’un nouveau style, créant des images colorées à grande échelle à l’aide de papier au lieu de peinture. Il a décoré les murs de sa chambre de ces images aux couleurs éclatantes, auxquelles il accordait un grand prix du fait qu’on lui avait diagnostiqué un cancer qui l’obligeait souvent à garder le lit.

Tomber malade, perdre un emploi ou vivre une peine de coeur sont des exemples de ce que certains appellent « traverser la vallée », où la tristesse assombrit tout. Le peuple de Juda l’a vécu en entendant dire qu’une armée ennemie approchait (2 CH 20.2,3). Son roi a alors prié : « S’il nous survient quelque calamité […] nous crierons à toi du sein de notre détresse, et tu exauceras et tu sauveras ! » (V. 9.) À cela, Dieu a répondu : « [Demain], sortez à leur rencontre, et l’Éternel sera avec vous ! » (V. 17.)

À son arrivée sur le champ de bataille, l’armée de Juda a constaté que ses ennemis s’étaient entretués. Le peuple de Dieu a alors passé trois jours à récupérer l’équipement, les vêtements et les biens précieux abandonnés sur place. Avant de repartir, les Israélites se sont réunis pour louer Dieu et ont nommé cet endroit « la vallée de Beraca », qui signifie « bénédiction ».

Comme Dieu traverse avec nous les vallées de la vie, il peut nous faire découvrir les bénédictions qu’elles recèlent.

Dieu excelle dans l’art de changer des fardeaux en bénédictions.

© 2017 Ministères NPQ