Friday, January 20, 2017

Bible Verses Emphasized by Past US Presidents on Inauguration Day

US Presidents raise their right hand and customarily place their left hand on a Bible when they recite the oath that inaugurates them into the office. Out of 67 inaugurations to date, 37 had Bibles opened to specific verses on Inauguration Day. According to the records of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, following is a list of the Bible verses past Presidents have chosen for the special day (quoted from the King James Version of the Bible). 

George Washington in 1789: Genesis 49:13
“Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.” (The Bible was opened randomly for the occasion.)

Abraham Lincoln in 1865: Matthew 7:1, 18:7, and Revelation 16:7
Matthew 7:1— “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
Matthew 18:7— “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
Revelation 16:7— “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”

Andrew Johnson in 1865: Proverbs 20 and 21
Proverb 20— “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise…”
Proverb 21— “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will…”

Ulysses S. Grant in 1873: Isaiah 11:1-3
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots…”

Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877: Psalm 118:11-13
“They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them…“

James A. Garfield in 1881: Proverbs 21:1
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Chester A. Arthur in 1881: Psalm 31:1-2
“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness…”

Grover Cleveland in 1885: Psalm 112:4-10
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious and full of compassion, and righteous…”

Benjamin Harrison in 1889: Psalm 121:1-6
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help…”

Grover Cleveland in 1893: Psalm 91:12-16
“They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone…”

William McKinley in 1897: 2 Chronicles 1:10
“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge thy people, that is so great?”

William McKinley in 1901: Proverbs 16:20-21
“He that handleth a matter wiseley shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.”

Theodore Roosevelt in 1905: James 1:22-23
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…”

William H. Taft in 1909: 1 Kings 3:9-11
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?…”

Woodrow Wilson in 1913: Psalm 119:43-46
“And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments…”

Woodrow Wilson in 1917: Psalm 46
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…”

Warren G. Harding in 1921: Micah 6:8
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Calvin Coolidge in 1923: John 1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…”

Herbert C. Hoover in 1929: Proverbs 29:18
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, 1937, 1941, and 1945: 1 Corinthians 13
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing…”

Harry S. Truman in 1949: Matthew 5 and Exodus 20
Matthew 5— “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him…”
Exodus 20— “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me…”

Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953: Psalm 33:12 and 2 Chronicles 7:14
Psalm 33:12— “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”
2 Chronicles 7:14— “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957: Psalm 33:12
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

Richard Nixon in 1969: Isaiah 2:4
“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Richard Nixon in 1973: Isaiah 2:2-4
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord‘s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it…”

Gerald Ford in 1974: Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding…”

Jimmy Carter in 1977: Micah 6:8
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Ronald Reagan in 1981 and 1985: 2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

George H.W. Bush in 1989: Matthew 5
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him…”

Bill Clinton in 1993: Galatians 6:8
“For that he soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but that he soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

Bill Clinton in 1997: Isaiah 58:12
“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many great generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

George W. Bush in 2005: Isaiah 40:31
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, January 20, 2017

First Reading
Isaiah 45:18-25
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the LORD, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, "Seek me in chaos." I the LORD speak the truth, I declare what is right. Assemble yourselves and come together, draw near, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge-- those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is no one besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: "To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; all who were incensed against him shall come to him and be ashamed. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory.

Second Reading
Ephesians 6:1-9
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"-- this is the first commandment with a promise: "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free. And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.

The Holy Gospel
Mark 4:35-41
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

Morning Psalms
Psalm 31 In te, Domine, speravi
1   In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2   Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.
3   Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
4   Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, for you are my tower of strength.
5   Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O LORD, O God of truth.
6   I hate those who cling to worthless idols, and I put my trust in the LORD.
7   I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy; for you have seen my affliction; you know my distress.
8   You have not shut me up in the power of the enemy; you have set my feet in an open place.
9   Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly.
10   For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.
11   I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbors, a dismay to those of my acquaintance; when they see me in the street they avoid me.
12   I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot.
13   For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around; they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.
14   But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD. I have said, "You are my God.
15   My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
16   Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me."
17   LORD, let me not be ashamed for having called upon you; rather, let the wicked be put to shame; let them be silent in the grave.
18   Let the lying lips be silenced which speak against the righteous, haughtily, disdainfully, and with contempt.
19   How great is your goodness, O LORD! which you have laid up for those who fear you; which you have done in the sight of all for those who put their trust in you.
20   You hide them in the covert of your presence from those who slander them; you keep them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21   Blessed be the LORD! for he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city.
22   Yet I said in my alarm, "I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes." Nevertheless, you heard the sound of my entreaty when I cried out to you.
23   Love the LORD, all you who worship him; the LORD protects the faithful, but repays to the full those who act haughtily.
24   Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 35 Judica, Domine
1   Fight those who fight me, O LORD; attack those who are attacking me.
2   Take up shield and armor and rise up to help me.
3   Draw the sword and bar the way against those who pursue me; say to my soul, "I am your salvation."
4   Let those who seek after my life be shamed and humbled; let those who plot my ruin fall back and be dismayed.
5   Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the LORD drive them away.
6   Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them.
7   For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause; without a cause they have dug a pit to take me alive.
8   Let ruin come upon them unawares; let them be caught in the net they hid; let them fall into the pit they dug.
9   Then I will be joyful in the LORD; I will glory in his victory.
10   My very bones will say, "LORD, who is like you? You deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them."
11   Malicious witnesses rise up against me; they charge me with matters I know nothing about.
12   They pay me evil in exchange for good; my soul is full of despair.
13   But when they were sick I dressed in sack-cloth and humbled myself by fasting.
14   I prayed with my whole heart, as one would for a friend or a brother; I behaved like one who mourns for his mother, bowed down and grieving.
15   But when I stumbled, they were glad and gathered together; they gathered against me; strangers whom I did not know tore me to pieces and would not stop.
16   They put me to the test and mocked me; they gnashed at me with their teeth.
17   O Lord, how long will you look on? rescue me from the roaring beasts, and my life from the young lions.
18   I will give you thanks in the great congregation; I will praise you in the mighty throng.
19   Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me, nor let those who hate me without a cause wink at each other.
20   For they do not plan for peace, but invent deceitful schemes against the quiet in the land.
21   They opened their mouths at me and said, "Aha! we saw it with our own eyes."
22   You saw it, O LORD; do not be silent; O Lord, be not far from me.
23   Awake, arise, to my cause! to my defense, my God and my Lord!
24   Give me justice, O LORD my God, according to your righteousness; do not let them triumph over me.
25   Do not let them say in their hearts, "Aha! just what we want!" Do not let them say, "We have swallowed him up."
26   Let all who rejoice at my ruin be ashamed and disgraced; let those who boast against me be clothed with dismay and shame.
27   Let those who favor my cause sing out with joy and be glad; let them say always, "Great is the LORD, who desires the prosperity of his servant."
28   And my tongue shall be talking of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.

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 20, 2017

James 1:2-3 (NIV) [ Trials and Temptations ] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Read all of James 1

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "Eternity in Our Hearts"

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

I read a story about a little dog named Mugsy, who was crossing the street one day and was tragically hit by a truck. His heartbroken owners buried him in the pet cemetery. They were sad they would never see their precious little pooch again.

But much to their surprise three days later, Mugsy was scratching at the back door. They could hardly believe their eyes. They opened the door and Mugsy came in, covered with dirt but breathing. They had buried him alive, but the industrious little pooch clawed his way out and found his way home.

Then I read another story about a cat named Clem. He left home one day, and his owners thought that was the end of him. But eight years later, Clem showed up, walked inside the house, and jumped into his favorite chair. They thought it couldn't possibly be Clem. But when they pulled out old pictures of Clem for comparison, there was no question. Clem had returned home.

God has built a homing instinct into the animal kingdom, but He also has put this inside every human being as well. It's a sense there is something more to life. You see, mankind has been created uniquely in the image of God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that He put eternity in our hearts.

Because of this, we never will be fully satisfied in this life. No matter what we achieve, no matter how many of our goals we reach, there always will be something missing.

When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, not only will you have a life that is worth living, not only will you find the meaning of life, but you also will have the hope of life beyond the grave. That is life during life—and life after death.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2016 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.

Un Dia a la Vez - Honra a tus padres

Honra a tu padre y a tu madre [...] para que te vaya bien y disfrutes de una larga vida en la tierra. Efesios 6:2-3

Si quieres alargar tu vida, debes honrar a tus padres. Honrar es respetar. Es fascinante saber que es un mandamiento establecido por Dios y es el primero que tiene una promesa a su lado. En nuestras palabras es bien sencillo: Si respetamos, o sea, honramos a papá y mamá, Dios nos garantiza que tendremos una larga vida. Y es tan profunda esta enseñanza que, desde que la conocí, hago lo mejor de mi parte para darles a mis padres todo mi respeto, amor y atención, aunque no viven conmigo en Estados Unidos.

¿Cuándo fue la última vez que atendiste a tu padre? ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que tuviste un detalle con tu madre? Sé que a menudo el rencor y el resentimiento acompañan el corazón de los hijos, pues en muchos casos esos padres fueron abusadores y fuertes con ellos. Nunca les dieron amor. Es más, nunca les dijeron que los amaban y, en la actualidad, esos corazones están endurecidos por la falta de perdón.

Hoy es el día de honrar a papá y mamá, sin importar lo que sucediera en el pasado. Tu obligación es vivir un principio, y si necesitas perdonarlos hoy, hazlo. Llámalos, escríbeles una carta para decirles lo importante que son para ti, y esto tendrá un hermoso fruto. Te sentirás libre y entonces podrás ser obediente al mandato de Dios. Y si alguno partió con el Señor, exprésalo mediante una oración.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón.Nueva Versión Internacional (NVI) La Santa Biblia, Nueva Versión Internacional® NVI® Copyright © 1986, 1999, 2015 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

A New Name for A New Way - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Day 10

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 Acts 11:26 and John 15:18-25.

As Jesus’ followers grew into a movement, they began to be called “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22). The name probably began as a reference to Christ’s statement, “I am the way” (John 14:6). Most members of the Way had Jewish roots. When Antioch saw an infusion from other ethnic groups, however, no one knew what to call the multicultural body. Old ethnic designations—Jews, Greeks, Romans, Gentiles—no longer fit. The Antiochians seized on the one factor that united the diverse community—Christ. Actually, the term Christian, or Christ-follower, began as a sarcastic put-down (Acts 11:26). But the name stuck and became a badge of honor.

Sadly, the term Christian has in recent times again become treated as an insult in popular culture. Some blame the liberal mindset of modern society for looking down on Christians as uptight, naive fanatics with outdated ideas that are irrelevant to modern life. And that mindset is probably partly to blame. But it would be naive to assume that Christians are not also at least partly responsible for damaging their own public image. The early Christians also lived in a liberal age, yet by the second century A.D. they had earned a reputation for being relatable, relevant, and “worthy of admiration.”

Jesus Himself warns us that since we are not of the world, the world will hate us just as it hated Him (John 15:18–25). However, this does not give us permission to hate the world back—Jesus certainly doesn’t (3:16). What we are supposed to do, however, is win people over to Christ. How might we live in such a way as to get the world’s attention for all the right reasons? How might we, through our everyday actions, reflect the glory of the kingdom of God?

This devotional is drawn from the Modern Life Study Bible. Used by permission

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

The letter to the Hebrews was written to first century Jewish background believers who were being severely persecuted. Some were even considering giving up their faith in Jesus. The unknown author pens what many Bible scholars feel was originally a sermon about the superiority of Jesus over anyone else and everything else.

He slowly builds his case to culminate in the great faith chapter. In this chapter, he also points out that some great men and women of faith lived to see the fruit of their faith while many others—also men and women of faith—died prematurely because of persecution. Now in chapter twelve, the author makes what I think is his critical statement or main point of the letter.

How do we walk by faith? We walk by faith by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus! Not fixed on our problems or difficult environment of opposition. Jesus was the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He endured opposition to the point of crucifixion. So we follow His example and we will also patiently endure because of the joy we know that is yet to come.

In a communist country, a Christian girl named Viorica was beaten harshly in school because she had invited her schoolmates to church. She fainted during the beating, and an ambulance had to take her to hospital. Two days passed before she regained consciousness. When she did, the doctor at her bedside said, “You poor girl, at last you’ve opened your eyes. All this time I’ve been thinking of the cruelty of the director who beat you like this. My heart has been bitter with hatred. I wish I could take revenge on him.”

Viorica smiled. “There is no need to hate him,” she replied. Jesus taught us to love everyone. Just before I opened my eyes, I saw Him and talked to Him. He asked me whether it still hurts. And He told me that in heaven I will receive a very beautiful crown, which is reserved only for those who have suffered for Him. He told me to pray for those who mistreated me, and to love them, because our influence will help them to give their lives to God and so become His children.”

From the mouths of children! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!

RESPONSE: Today I will take my eyes off my surroundings, my problems, my fears and my suffering. I will keep them fixed on Jesus my Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You and in so doing bring glory and honor to You.

Men of the Bible - Abraham

His name means: "Father of a Multitude"

His work: A tender of livestock.
His character: Abraham was a man of faith who followed God even in the most challenging of circumstances.
His sorrow: At times Abraham compromised God's instructions.
His triumph: Abraham obeyed God, and God blessed him with a son in his old age.
Key Scriptures: Genesis 12-23

A Look at the Man

The life of Abraham is a study in faithfulness, obedience, and sometimes blind trust. It's also the story of a God who keeps his covenant promises.

Abram (later named Abraham) and his wife Sarai (later named Sarah) lived in Haran where Abraham was a prosperous livestock owner. By all accounts, he was comfortable. But an order from the living God changed all that.

"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." God did not mince his words. He didn't even ask Abraham to consider moving. He told him to go. And to make it even more of a challenge, God didn't specify Abraham's destination. He only said, "Go." And then God made Abraham a promise. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you."

It's hard to imagine how shocking this news was to Abraham. And when Sarah heard Abraham's report of what God had said, she must have been overwhelmed. "Leave our home? Go on a journey to nowhere? Have children even though we are barren?"

But Sarah trusted Abraham, just as Abraham trusted God. They said good-bye to their families and, along with their nephew, Lot, their possessions, and a caravan of servants, they set out southwest toward Canaan, the area where Abraham's descendants would call "home" to this day.

Time and again, throughout his life, God tested Abraham's resolve to obey him. And, time and again, God reconfirmed his promise to Abraham—a land, a nation, and a blessing.

Abraham is the most revered of the patriarchs. His name and God's promise of a nation were even recalled as Mary accepted her call to be the mother of Jesus. "God has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever even as he promised."

But Abraham's place in history is not only well established because of the millions who count themselves as his offspring. Nor is Abraham honored because he was a perfect man. He wasn't.

Abraham is the most significant patriarch because of God's call and covenant with him and Abraham's remarkable courage to be obedient.

Reflect On: Genesis 12:10-20
Praise God: For not hiding his plans but revealing his intentions through the promises he has made.
Offer Thanks: For the way you have benefited from this one man’s obedience.
Confess: Your failure at times to believe God’s promises.
Ask God: To enable you to make faith visible through your obedience.

Girlfriends in God - Proposing

Today’s Truth

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them' (John 7:37-38, NLT).

Friend to Friend

Getting along is so hard. One of the things that makes it so difficult is our tendency to project our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs onto to others. Our default is to think:
  • What annoys me also annoys everyone else.
  • What doesn't bother me shouldn't bother anyone else.
  • If I need time to process things, so does everyone else.
  • If I don't need time to process, then you shouldn't either.
  • When I know the right way, I should keep pushing until everyone acknowledges that my way is right.
You get the idea.

How can we step outside our own way of feeling and thinking and see other's points of view? Yet in the midst of trying to understand others, how do we still be true to how God has wired us and also hold fast to our beliefs? These are questions at the heart of living love when we disagree. One thing that has struck me lately is an observation someone made at a conference I attended a few weeks ago. The speaker said,

"Jesus proposed truth, but He didn't impose it."

He pointed out that Jesus didn't force Himself or His gospel on people. He offered it like crazy, but He didn't impose it. He said anyone who was thirsty could come to Him and drink and receive streams of living water. Jesus didn't tie people up in strait jackets and pour His water down their throats. He didn't impose His love, His truth, or His life. Instead He offered it. He proposed a new way to live in total dependence on God. He proposed humility, freedom, and forgiveness for whoever would believe in Him and follow Him.

As His followers, we can learn from His way. We live love by proposing our beliefs, our way of thinking, and our feelings. However, we shouldn't impose them on others. Instead, we listen with understanding. We explain our perspectives, but we don't get angry when others see things from a different point of view.

Just last night I wanted to make a point and get my husband to agree with my opinion. I went too far. I wanted him in a straightjacket so I could pour my truth water down his throat. It was over the littlest thing like what noises are annoying to most people. Don't laugh, I bet some of your fights are silly too. Right?

Let's learn to propose like Jesus. To offer a thirsty world the best water - whether it is those in our own family, our community, or even strangers on social media. When others prefer not to drink our water, we don't have to keep pushing our way. Instead we continue to freely offer and live love... especially when we don't see eye to eye!

I hope you'll remember today that Jesus is proposing to you! He invites you to drink His satisfying water as you walk through the ups and downs of life today. Say YES!

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, we want to follow You. We long to know you and emulate You in our understanding of truth but also in how we communicate our beliefs. You are the Truth. We long to drink Your living water and offer it to a thirsty world. Show us how to do it Your way.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Think right now of that person who drives you a little bit crazy. Maybe you disagree on many topics or they just simply annoy you because you are so different. Consider how you might offer them Jesus’s living water today in a proposing rather than imposing way. Say a kind word, bless them with an anonymous gift, or take the time to really listen to what they have to say.

More from the Girlfriends

Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of Mom's Choice Award-winning Total Family Makeover as well as three women’s Bible studies including First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiah. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids. Sign up on her website today to be entered into a contest to win a free copy of her latest Bible study First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree at

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LHM Daily Devotion - "Jettison the Junk"

 January 20, 2017

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  - Hebrews 12:1

In 1874 Jules Verne published a novel called The Mysterious Island.

For those of you who haven't read it, the book is sort of a cross between  Robinson Crusoe  and  Gilligan's Island. In the book, Verne tells of five Union soldiers who manage to escape a Civil War prison camp by using a hot-air balloon.

According to the storyline, a great storm catches the balloon and carries it over the sea and across countless miles. Horror comes upon the men when they realize their torn balloon will be forced down in the midst of the ocean. If they are to survive, they must lighten the load. The first choices are easy: the bags of ballast are emptied.

That buys some time, but not much.

Very soon the balloon finds itself in danger again. More choices: the men throw over all unnecessary provisions: guns, extra clothing, almost everything goes. It's a losing battle. Each choice buys them time, but only for a while. Eventually, the men agree to jettison their food, then their gold and, finally, with the men clinging to the netting of the balloon, even the gondola in which they had been riding.

The men live. It would have been a very short novel if they hadn't.

But what I want you to understand here is that these men figured out what was important and what was not. Things that once seemed to be indispensable necessities were reduced to being nothing more than excess baggage. Although he didn't know it, Verne was putting into fiction the Scripture verse which says, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles."

In other words, let's keep God first.

This is why this devotion asks, how are you doing in keeping God first?

By that I don't mean almost first, or close to first, or most of the time first. I mean first -- 100 percent of the time. Probably not too good, I'd guess. Not so long ago when a national magazine took a poll of the things we couldn't live without, 63 percent of the people said they needed a car; 54 percent said light bulbs were important; 42 percent wanted to keep their telephone; 22 percent couldn't give up their TV.

You will note that God isn't in that list, and although He isn't a  thing, He should be at the top of every list put together by everybody.

But He's not.

The world, the devil, our own sinful natures -- do all they can to push God to the background and something else to the front. What something else? Goodness, I don't know. I do know every time God says, "I want to be first," you can be absolutely sure that something is going to pop up to move God -- ever so gently, ever so slowly, ever so unnoticeably -- to the side.

This is wrong, The Lord who gave His Son to be sacrificed in our stead is worthy of being held in the highest admiration, respect, reverence, honor and worship. In short, God deserves to be first -- always and forever.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me for those times when I have demoted You. Grant that I may always see Your love and appreciate the Savior's sacrifice as being more important than anything else. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

CPTLN Devocional - Rejuvenecido como el águila

20 de Enero 2017

¡Bendice, alma mía, al Señor! ¡Bendiga todo mi ser su santo nombre! ¡Bendice, alma mía, al Señor, y no olvides ninguna de sus bendiciones! El Señor perdona todas tus maldades, y sana todas tus dolencias. El Señor te rescata de la muerte, y te colma de favores y de su misericordia. El Señor te sacia con los mejores alimentos para que renueves tus fuerzas, como el águila. (Salmo 103.1-5)

¿Cuántas veces nos hemos sentido tristes y abandonados? ¿Cuántas veces hemos pensado que nuestra vida carece de valor? ¿Cuántas veces no encontramos motivos para dar gracias a Dios? ¿Cuántas veces nuestra vida se ha convertido en un discurso de lamentos y quejas?

En esas circunstancias, cuando nos sentimos acongojados por el peso de nuestros pecados y de pensamientos negativos, necesitamos mirar hacia arriba y recogernos durante un tiempo, para comenzar un proceso de renovación. Para poder continuar volando en un vuelo de victoria, tenemos que desprendernos de recuerdos, costumbres, viejos hábitos... que nos causan dolor.

Quizás algo parecido le haya sucedido al compositor del Salmo 103. Es una tendencia muy humana olvidar lo bueno que Dios ha hecho en nosotros, pues el orgullo que llevamos en nuestro corazón nos hace ingratos y olvidadizos. Por este motivo es que el salmista involucra todos sus pensamientos, sus recuerdos, su mente, sus emociones, toda su persona en esta ofrenda de adoración, y puede percibir que en realidad su vida está llena de motivos para dar gracias y alabanzas a Dios, y se estimula a sí mismo para hacerlo, diciendo: "Bendice alma mía al Señor... y no olvides ninguno de sus beneficios".

¡Cuántos beneficios recibimos cada día de parte de Dios! Aquí se nos mencionan algunos: el perdón de todos nuestros errores, la salud, la vida y los bienes materiales. Todos los beneficios que recibimos de Dios nos rejuvenecen, dándonos una vitalidad diariamente renovada. ¡Cuántas otras cosas podríamos agregar a esta lista!

Aun en medio de las dificultades y las muchas carencias que podamos tener, Dios en su gran amor quiere que día a día renovemos nuestras fuerzas en Él.

ORACIÓN: Señor, te elevamos nuestra oración de acción de gracias y te pedimos que renueves nuestras fuerzas y nos bendigas. No permitas que pasemos por alto las bendiciones que día a día nos das. Amén

Biografía del autor: Guillermo Herigert, es pastor de la Iglesia Luterana en Uruguay. Colabora como voluntario para las oficinas de Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. En los Centros Ministeriales de CPTLN se atienden a las necesidades de las personas compartiendo las Buenas Nuevas de salvación en Jesucristo con hombres y mujeres en más de 50 países y seis continentes a través de 34 Centros Ministeriales. Si desea más información sobre los Centros Ministeriales, diríjase a Por el mundo en el menú, y seleccione el país que le interesa.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones.Reina Valera Contemporánea (RVC) Copyright © 2009, 2011 by Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas

Our Daily Bread - Breath of Life

Read: Genesis 2:4–8 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 49–50; Matthew 13:31–58

Then the Lord God . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Genesis 2:7

On a cold and frosty morning, as my daughter and I walked to school, we enjoyed seeing our breath turn to vapor. We giggled at the various steamy clouds we could each produce. I received the moment as a gift, reveling in being with her and being alive.

Our breath, which is usually invisible, was seen in the cold air, and it made me think about the Source of our breath and life—the Lord our Creator. For He who formed Adam out of the dust of the ground, giving him the breath of life, also gives life to us and to every living creature (Genesis 2:7). All things come from Him—even our very breath, which we inhale without even thinking about.

We may be tempted, living with today’s conveniences and technology, to forget our beginnings and that God is the one who gives us life. But when we pause to remember that God is our Creator, we can build an attitude of thankfulness into our daily routines. We can ask Him for help and acknowledge the gift of life with humble, thankful hearts. May our gratitude spill out and touch others, so that they also may give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness.

Dear heavenly Father, what an awesome and powerful God You are! You created life by Your very breath. We praise You and stand in awe of You. Thank You for Your creation.

Give thanks to God, our Creator, who gives us the breath of life.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Aliento de vida

Leer: Génesis 2:4-8 | La Biblia en un año: Mateo 13:31-58

Entonces el Señor Dios […] sopló en su nariz aliento de vida… (Génesis 2:7).

Una mañana fría y escarchada, mientras caminábamos con mi hija a la escuela, nos encantó ver cómo nuestro aliento se convertía en vapor, y nos reíamos ante las diferentes figuras que podíamos hacer. Ese momento me pareció un regalo, tanto por el deleite de estar con ella como por estar viva.

Nuestro aliento, que suele ser invisible, se percibía en el aire frío, y eso me hizo pensar en la Fuente de nuestro aliento y vida: Dios, nuestro Creador. Aquel que formó a Adán del polvo de la tierra y sopló en él aliento de vida, también nos da vida a nosotros y a todo ser viviente (Génesis 2:7). Todas las cosas proceden de Él; incluso nuestra propia respiración… inhalamos y exhalamos sin siquiera pensarlo.

Con todas las comodidades y las tecnologías de que disponemos, tal vez tendamos a olvidarnos de nuestros comienzos y que Dios es quien no da la vida. Sin embargo, cuando hacemos una pausa para pensar que Él es nuestro Creador, podemos agregar a nuestras rutinas diarias una actitud de gratitud, pedirle al Señor que nos ayude y reconocer con un corazón humilde y agradecido el regalo de la vida. Que esta gratitud impacte e incentive a otros, para que ellos también den gracias al Señor por su bondad y fidelidad.

¡Querido Dios, gracias por tu poder y tu creación! Te alabo por haberme dado la vida.

Demos gracias a Dios, nuestro Creador, quien nos da el aliento de vida.

© 2017 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Odem des Lebens

Lesen: 1.Mose 2,4-8 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Mose 49–50; Matthäus 13,31-58

Da . . . blies [Gott] ihm den Odem des Lebens in seine Nase. (1.Mose 2,7)

An einem frostig-kalten Morgen ging ich mit meiner Tochter zur Schule. Fasziniert beobachteten wir, wie unser Atem in der Luft zu sehen war. Wir kicherten über die kleinen Dampfwölkchen, die wir produzierten. Für mich war der Augenblick wie ein Geschenk. Ich freute mich an meiner Tochter und am Leben.

Unser Atem, der normalerweise unsichtbar ist, war in der kalten Luft sichtbar, und ich musste an die Quelle unseres Atems und des Lebens denken—an Gott, unseren Schöpfer. Er, der Adam aus Staub von der Erde formte und ihm den Lebensodem einblies, gibt auch uns und allen anderen Geschöpfen unser Leben (1.Mose 2,7). Alle Dinge kommen von ihm—sogar die Luft, die wir einatmen, ohne darüber nachzudenken.

Bei den Annehmlichkeiten und technischen Möglichkeiten, die wir heute haben, sind wir vielleicht in Gefahr, zu vergessen, wo wir herkommen und dass Gott es ist, der uns Leben gibt. Aber wenn wir einmal innehalten und uns daran erinnern, dass Gott unser Schöpfer ist, kann das in unsere Alltagsroutine eine Haltung der Dankbarkeit bringen. Wir können ihn um Hilfe bitten und mit demütigem und dankbarem Herzen das Geschenk des Lebens annehmen. Und diese Dankbarkeit kann sich an andere mitteilen, so dass auch sie beginnen, dem Herrn für seine Güte und Treue zu danken.

Lieber himmlischer Vater, was für ein großer, mächtiger Gott bist du! Du hast mit deinem Atem das Leben geschaffen. Wir loben dich und beten dich an. Danke für deine Schöpfung.

Danke Gott, dem Schöpfer, der uns den Odem des Lebens schenkt.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Дыхание жизни

Читать сейчас: Бытие 2:4-8 | Библия за год: Бытие 49-50; Матфея 13:31-58

...Господь Бог... вдунул в лицо его дыхание жизни. — Бытие 2:7

Морозным утром, идя с дочерью в школу, мы играли с паром от дыхания: выдували облака разных форм и размеров и показывали друг другу. Я как-то по- особенному наслаждалась этими минутами, принимая как дар то, что я могу проводить время с дочерью и что мы живы.

Наше дыхание, обычно невидимое, в морозном воздухе принимало светлые очертания, и я задумалась об источнике нашего дыхания и жизни вообще – Господе и Создателе. Это Он, сотворивший Адама из земного праха и давший ему дыхание жизни, дает жизнь и нам, а также любому живому существу (Быт. 2:7) Все приходит от Него, даже дыхание, о котором мы редко задумываемся.

В наше время, перенасыщенное суетой и технологиями, мы можем легко забыть свое происхождение и тот факт, что Бог дает жизнь. Зато, останавливаясь и вспоминая, что Бог – наш Создатель, мы можем выработать в себе благодарное отношение среди всех дел и забот. Мы можем просить у Него помощи и принимать дар жизни со смиренными, благодарными сердцами. Пусть наша благодарность разливается вокруг и касается других, чтобы они тоже могли воздать славу Господу за Его благость и верность.

Дорогой Небесный Отец, как ты дивен и велик! Ты создал жизнь Своим дыханием. Мы славим Тебя и стоим в благоговении перед Тобой. Благодарим Тебя за Твое творение.

Воздайте славу Богу, нашему Создателю, давшему нам дыхание жизни.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un souffle de vie

L’Éternel Dieu […] souffla dans ses narines un souffle de vie et l’homme devint un être vivant. (Genèse 2.7)

Par une matinée froide et givrée, tandis que ma fille et moi marchions jusqu’à l’école, nous nous sommes amusées à regarder notre souffle se changer en vapeur. Nous trouvions comique de voir les divers nuages vaporeux que nous parvenions à créer. Or, j’ai accueilli ces instants comme un cadeau, celui d’être en compagnie de ma fille et en vie.

Notre souffle, qui est généralement invisible, se voyait dans l’air froid, ce qui m’a amenée à réfléchir à la Source de notre souffle et de notre vie : le Seigneur, notre Créateur. En effet, celui qui a formé Adam de la poussière, lui insufflant la vie, insuffle aussi la vie à chacun de nous et à toute créature vivante (GE 2.7). Toutes choses proviennent de lui, même notre souffle, que nous inspirons et expirons sans même y prêter attention.

Il se pourrait que nous soyons tentés, nous qui vivons dans un monde de confort et de technologie, d’oublier nos débuts et le fait que nous tenons notre vie de Dieu. Par contre, si nous nous arrêtons pour nous rappeler que Dieu est notre Créateur, nous serons en mesure d’adopter et d’intégrer une attitude de reconnaissance dans notre routine quotidienne. Nous pourrons donc lui demander de nous aider à reconnaître le don qu’est la vie d’un coeur humble et reconnaissant. Puisse notre gratitude se répandre autour de nous et toucher les gens de notre entourage, afin qu’ils en viennent à leur tour à remercier le Seigneur de sa bonté et de sa fidélité.

Remercions Dieu, notre Créateur, de nous avoir insufflé la vie.

© 2017 Ministères NPQ