Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, January 26, 2017

The Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 49:13-23
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones. But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me." Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Your builders outdo your destroyers, and those who laid you waste go away from you. Lift up your eyes all around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, says the LORD, you shall put all of them on like an ornament, and like a bride you shall bind them on. Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land-- surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. The children born in the time of your bereavement will yet say in your hearing: "The place is too crowded for me; make room for me to settle." Then you will say in your heart, "Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away-- so who has reared these? I was left all alone-- where then have these come from?" Thus says the Lord GOD: I will soon lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.

This is the Word of the Lord

The Epistle Reading
Galatians 3:1-14
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?-- if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? Just as Abraham "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you." For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for "The one who is righteous will live by faith." But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, "Whoever does the works of the law will live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"-- in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

This is the Word of the Lord

The Holy Gospel Reading
Mark 6:30-46
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat." But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?" And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." When they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

Here ends the Gospel reading for today.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 50 Deus deorum
1   The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2   Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory.
3   Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm.
4   He calls the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.
5   Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice.
6   Let the heavens declare the rightness of his cause; for God himself is judge.
7   Hear, O my people, and I will speak: "O Israel, I will bear witness against you; for I am God, your God.
8   I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; your offerings are always before me.
9   I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, nor he-goats out of your pens;
10   For all the beasts of the forest are mine, the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11   I know every bird in the sky, and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
12   If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that is in it.
13   Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and make good your vows to the Most High.
15   Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor me."
16   But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my statutes, and take my covenant upon your lips;
17   Since you refuse discipline, and toss my words behind your back?
18   When you see a thief, you make him your friend, and you cast in your lot with adulterers.
19   You have loosed your lips for evil, and harnessed your tongue to a lie.
20   You are always speaking evil of your brother and slandering your own mother's son.
21   These things you have done, and I kept still, and you thought that I am like you."
22   I have made my accusation; I have put my case in order before your eyes.
23   Consider this well, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
24   Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God."

Evening Psalms
Psalm 118 Confitemini Domino
1   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever.
2   Let Israel now proclaim, "His mercy endures for ever."
3   Let the house of Aaron now proclaim, "His mercy endures for ever."
4   Let those who fear the LORD now proclaim, "His mercy endures for ever."
5   I called to the LORD in my distress; the LORD answered by setting me free.
6   The LORD is at my side, therefore I will not fear; what can anyone do to me?
7   The LORD is at my side to help me; I will triumph over those who hate me.
8   It is better to rely on the LORD than to put any trust in flesh.
9   It is better to rely on the LORD than to put any trust in rulers.
10   All the ungodly encompass me; in the Name of the LORD I will repel them.
11   They hem me in, they hem me in on every side; in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
12   They swarm about me like bees; they blaze like a fire of thorns; in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
13   I was pressed so hard that I almost fell, but the LORD came to my help.
14   The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.
15   There is a sound of exultation and victory in the tents of the righteous:
16   The right hand of the LORD has triumphed! the right hand of the LORD is exalted! the right hand of the LORD has triumphed!
17   I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
18   The LORD has punished me sorely, but he did not hand me over to death.
19   Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the LORD.
20   This is the gate of the LORD; he who is righteous may enter.
21   I will give thanks to you, for you answered me and have become my salvation.
22   The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23   This is the LORD'S doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24   On this day the LORD has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25   Hosanna, LORD, hosanna! LORD, send us now success.
26   Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the LORD.
27   God is the LORD; he has shined upon us; form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.
28   You are my God, and I will thank you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his mercy endures 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.

Timothy and Titus, Companions of Saint Paul

Saint Timothy
Saint Titus

Today the church remembers Timothy and Titus, Companions of Saint Paul.

Both Timothy and Titus were Gentiles, i.e., non-Jews, converted by Paul. Each seems to have accepted the Christian faith at the end of a long and deep personal struggle. It was not an easy step to take. Nor did the early church find it easy to accept a Gentile into the "Household of the faithful" (see February 4).

These men became close friends of Paul, and they accompanied him on several of his missionary journeys where they proved to be invaluable assistants, especially in the Greek cities of Corinth and Thessalonica.

From Paul's letter to Titus, which is contained in the New Testament, we assume that the apostle left Titus on the island of Crete. Titus is believed to have been the chief organizer of the church on that island. Paul frequently used Timothy as a trouble-shooter and follow-up man in his ministry. Timothy followed Paul to Rome and visited him in prison there, but escaped the Neronian persecution. Timothy spent his last days witnessing to Christ in Ephesus where, according to Eusebius, he was beaten to death by a mob of pagans among whom he had opposed the licentious festivities of the goddess Diana.

Almighty and merciful God, who called your servants Timothy and Titus to endure hardship for the sake of your dear Son: Strengthen us in like manner to stand firm in adversity. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article about St. Timothy here.

Read the Wikipedia article about St. Titus here.

Almighty God, you called Timothy and Titus to be evangelists and teachers, and made them strong to endure hardship: Strengthen us to stand fast in adversity, and to live godly and righteous lives in this present time, that with sure confidence we may look for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Verse of the Day - January 26, 2017

James 4:10 (NIV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Read all of James 4

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "The Danger of the Gospel"

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him? (Hebrews 2:3, NKJV)

We may think the best thing for unbelievers is to be in church week after week, hearing the gospel again and again.

For committed believers, I think that is absolutely the best place to be. But I don't think the same is necessarily true for unbelievers. If they are choosing to live in sin and have no intention of responding to the gospel, then their hearts are becoming more hardened as they listen to it yet again.

That is the danger of the gospel. It is actually dangerous to be exposed to the gospel and not respond to it. The first time we hear the gospel, we enter into what could be called a spiritual danger zone because we are, from that point on, held accountable for what we know.

A similar thing happened to Pharaoh in the Old Testament. He saw miracle after miracle. But remember the Bible says that Pharaoh's heart grew harder (see Exodus 8:15, 19). And then we also read that "the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh" (see Exodus 9:12). Some people have a hard time with that, but a better translation of that phrase would be "the LORD strengthened the heart of Pharaoh." Pharaoh made his choice, and God strengthened him in it. It's frightening that someone can be exposed to so much truth, yet remain in, and even be strengthened in, unbelief.

If a person chooses to believe, then God will strengthen him or her in that commitment. If someone chooses to harden his or her heart, then, in a sense, God will strengthen him or her in that as well. We make our choice, and then we reap the results of it. That is what happened with Pharaoh, that is what happened with Judas, and that is what can happen with us.

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 - Dios siempre tiene la razón

Anímense unos a otros con salmos, himnos y canciones espirituales. Canten y alaben al Señor con el corazón, dando siempre gracias a Dios el Padre por todo. (Efesios 5:19-20, nvi)

Creo que sufrí por amor el noventa por ciento de mi vida. Siempre me equivocaba cuando buscaba pareja y nunca tenía a Dios como consejero. Por eso, el noventa por ciento de mi vida lo viví en desamor.

Hoy en día, supe esperar en Dios y Él fue el que trajo a mi vida a mi esposo, Edgar. Así que pude ver la diferencia: Cuando las cosas son de Dios, permanecen. De modo que pueden pasar tormentas y dificultades, pero ese amor lucha y enfrenta cada crisis en la ROCA que es Cristo.

Cuando queremos hacer nuestra voluntad y actuar como decía una antigua canción «Hagamos lo que diga el corazón», viviremos aventuras y romances que terminan en grandes tragedias, desilusiones y hasta traumas que arrastraremos por años en nuestra vida. El Manual de Instrucciones nos deja ver bien claro que «engañoso es el corazón» (Jeremías 17:8, rv-60).

Con tantas experiencias dolorosas que tuve a lo largo de mi vida y cansada de sufrir, un día por fin decidí hacer un ALTO en mi vida emocional e hice un pacto con mi Dios al decirle las siguientes palabras: «Quiero desintoxicarme de los hombres y deseo guardarme para ti y para mis princesas». Y Dios, que es amor, me tomó en sus brazos. Entonces, a partir de ese momento, pude experimentar lo que es estar quieta y esperar en Él.

Si estás cansado de una vida amorosa tormentosa, es tiempo de hacer un ALTO y pedirle a tu Padre que te dé la fuerza para dejar esa relación que está destruyendo tu vida. Así, serás capaz de decir, como yo lo hice un día: «Dios quiere lo mejor para sus hijos y siempre tiene la razón».

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón. La Santa Biblia, Nueva Versión Internacional® NVI® Copyright © 1986, 1999, 2015 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Versión Reina-Valera 1960 © Sociedades Bíblicas en América Latina, 1960. Renovado © Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas, 1988.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison… Hebrews 13:3a

As we see in Hebrews chapter twelve, once we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,” we will be aware of how we should then live. The writer now turns to the issue of remembering those in prison.

Matta Boush, an outspoken evangelist in South Sudan was arrested on political charges under questionable circumstances. He was given a sentence of thirty years at a local military prison. Many people around the world prayed for him, and for his family at home.

He asked prison authorities for permission to hold prayer meetings. At first they declined, saying, “We already have a mosque; you should go there.” But Boush persisted and eventually the authorities relented. For the first prayer meeting, only six people showed up. In a few weeks, more people were going to the prayer meeting than the mosque.

A few years later, he was transferred to another city prison. As he had in the first prison, he asked for, and received permission to conduct prayer meetings. Again he was told to limit his work to non-Muslims, yet as he continued to minister to non-Muslims, they, in turn would talk to Muslims. The result was that during his five years of ministry in that prison, he helped lead between 150 and 200 people to Christ.

Transferred again to another prison, he was able to help build a prison chapel there. After several months, prison officials told him that he did not really belong in prison, so he was given the freedom to leave the prison by day and return by night. Boush was glad to get out and meet with friends he had in Khartoum, but soon he realized that he could not effectively witness to his fellow prisoners if he had freedoms they were denied. He told the prison officials he would no longer go out. He knew it was not God’s time.

Later, he was offered private air-cooled sleeping quarters (summer temperatures exceed 100º F). But Bousch’s most productive time for witnessing was at night, so he declined the offer. He saw fruit for denying his own comfort to do what he felt God was calling him to do. In ten months, 200 more people came to the Lord in the prison.

Without warning, he was one day released early and returned to his family. Matta Boush’s enemies had hoped to steal his life from him by throwing him into prison, but God had given him a true “life” sentence: to share the hope of eternal life that comes through Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus remembering to identify with my brothers and sisters in prison for their faith.

PRAYER: Lord, meet the needs today of Christians around the world in prison for their faith in You. Help them to glorify You in their situation. Bless their family members waiting patiently at home.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

NIV Devotions for Men - Storms of Life

Matthew 8:23–27

Recommended Reading: Psalm 27:1–14; Isaiah 41:10–11; Matthew 6:31–34; 14:30–31

Billy Tyne, a down-on-his-luck captain of a sword-fishing boat, set out with his crew in October, 1991, for one last try at a big catch. However, when a unique confluence of weather conditions combined in the North Atlantic to form what meteorologists later called “The Perfect Storm,” Tyne and the rest of the crew of the Andrea Gail perished.

According to locals, weather over the Sea of Galilee in Israel can be equally unpredictable. A squall can rise up at a moment’s notice, hitting with such a fury that fishermen in the area must be quick on their feet and ready for anything. At least four of Jesus’ disciples—Peter, Andrew, James and John—made their living as fishermen. Certainly they knew of Galilee’s infamous storms. Yet as Jesus slept in the ship’s bow, even these seasoned sailors panicked when the storm rose. After waking Jesus from his slumber, they pleaded, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:25). Imagine a storm so intense that even hardened fishermen cowered in fear.

Jesus responded with a rebuke: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26). As the disciples faced the greatest storm Galilee had ever thrown at them, Jesus expected them to trust him first. And then he calmed the storm.

Life often seems to rise up against us when we least expect it. A dark spot shows up on an X-ray. A pink slip lands on our desk at work. A quarterly report reveals a serious downturn in revenues. Suddenly our deepest fears rise to the surface. So we look to the sky and plead, “Lord, save us!”

And Jesus responds, “Don’t be afraid. Trust me first.”

The next time the turbulence of life’s trials blows into your life, remember what Jesus asks. Trust him first, no matter how overwhelming the storm appears.

To Take Away
  • What storms in life do you find most difficult to face?
  • Why do most of us struggle with trusting God first?
  • When you’ve trusted God during difficult times, what has resulted? How can those experiences help you place your trust in him during the next trial you face?

Girlfriends in God - A Childlike Heart

Today’s Truth

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it (Mark 10:15, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I recently read the story of a young family who went out to eat at a local restaurant. They were the only family with children eating. The mom sat their little boy, Erik, in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi!" He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin as he wriggled and giggled with joy.

The mother looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man wearing baggy pants and shoes so worn that his toes poked out. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard, and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. The man sat far away, but the mother was sure he smelled bad. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists in an effort to make Erik laugh.

“Hi there, baby. Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik. Erik’s mom and dad exchanged looks and asked, "What do we do?" Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi." Everyone in the restaurant noticed the man who was creating a nuisance with the beautiful baby. Their meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo." Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

Erik’s parents were embarrassed and ate in silence. Not Erik. He was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. The parents finally got through the meal and headed for the door. The husband went to pay the check and told his wife to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between the mother and the door. "Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," she prayed. As she drew closer to the man, she turned her back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As she did, Erik leaned over her arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position. Before the mom could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from her arms to the man's.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head on the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and tears hovered beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled the baby and gently stroked his back.

No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. The mother and every other person in the restaurant were awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and in a firm and even commanding voice said, "You take care of this baby." Somehow the mother managed, "I will" from a throat choked with emotion.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. The mom took her baby and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am. You've given me my Christmas gift."

With Erik in her arms, the mom ran for the car. Her husband was wondering why his wife was crying and holding Erik so tightly saying, "My God, my God, forgive me." Everyone had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. The mother was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. A ragged old man had unwittingly preached the message found in Scripture, "To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children."

Let’s Pray

Father, please forgive me for the times I have judged others and failed to love them like You wanted me to love them. Help me see others through Your eyes of unconditional love. Give me a heart of love and mercy toward others in need.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Put yourself in the place of the wounded man. How would you have responded to the actions of the Samaritan? Put yourself in the place of the Samaritan. What was he thinking when he saw the wounded Jewish man lying on the road? Put yourself in the place of the inn keeper. What do you imagine he thought when the Samaritan brought the wounded Jewish man in? How does this story apply to your life?

More from the Girlfriends

It is so easy to live each day with tunnel vision. To dismiss people because they don’t look like we do or act like we do. Jesus never did that. He always made time for the lonely man, woman and child in need. I want to be more like Him. I want to have His eyes and His heart when it comes to meeting the needs of people He brings into my life. How about you? Need help? Check out Mary’s book, Sandpaper People.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

LHM Daily Devotion - "More than Conquerors"

January 26, 2017

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  - Romans 8:37-39

It was the 1930s and a group of friends was sitting at a restaurant sharing sad stories.

One told of the suicide of a once-rich man who could not face financial ruin. Another spoke of recent cuts at the local factory. Still another told of meeting an entire family, which was sleeping, homeless, in the city park. With the telling of each story, the mood of the group darkened.

One of the men, a minister by the name of William Stidger, thought he heard God whisper in his ear: "Why not give thanks for the people who have been a blessing in your life? Why not encourage them in a time which is terrible?"

As Stidger gave the idea some thought, his mind recalled an old school teacher, a lady who had gone out of her way to help him. Stidger sat down and wrote a letter to the elderly lady.

He was surprised at how soon a reply came back. Written with a wobbly hand, the letter began, "My dear Willy."

"Willy"? the man thought to himself. "I'm almost 50 and have lost most of my hair. How long has it been since someone called me 'Willy'?" Willy smiled and kept reading.

This is what the teacher wrote: "My Dear Willy: I can't tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, and like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You might want to know that I taught in school for more than fifty years, and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue, cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has done in many years."

Stidger cried.

And he wrote another letter: this one to a kindly pastor -- a pastor who had just said an earthly goodbye to his wife.

In two days a letter came back: "My Dear Will: Your letter was so beautiful, so real, that as I sat reading it in my study, tears fell from my eyes, tears of gratitude. Before I realized what I was doing, I rose from my chair and I called my wife's name to share it with her, forgetting she was gone. You'll never know how much your letter has warmed my spirit. I have been walking around in the glow of your letter all day long."

Having told that story, I have to confess this devotion could go a number of different ways. I could talk to you about how it is sad when we forget those who have helped us. I could even talk about how, if we look hard enough, we can find a silver lining in the darkest of clouds.

But this devotion wishes to say that we Christians have been given "Good News of great joy which is for all people" (see Luke 2:10). In the salvation won by the Savior, we have been given forgiveness, hope and the knowledge that, ultimately, we will emerge victorious.

The world may be filled with darkness -- our lives overflowing with difficulties, but in everything we will ultimately enjoy Jesus' great and final victory. That is our good news, and it's worth sharing with others who need to hear "Jesus loves you!"

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are the Good News which has changed my world. Help me help others to realize nothing in this world can overshadow the joy You bring us in having our sins forgiven and our eternity assured. In Jesus' Name I ask it. 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 - Bueno para comer

26 de Enero 2017

La mujer vio que el árbol era bueno para comer, apetecible a los ojos, y codiciable para alcanzar la sabiduría. Tomó entonces uno de sus frutos, y lo comió; y le dio a su marido, que estaba con ella, y él también comió. Génesis 3:6, RVC

En el año 2009, más de 425 personas en 43 estados se enfermaron por haber consumido productos conteniendo manteca de maní contaminada con salmonella de cierta marca.

El Centro de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades dijo en ese momento que, toda persona que tuviera en su hogar manteca de maní de esa marca, debía tirarla.

La manteca de maní es una de las cosas más tradicionales y confiables de este país. No es sólo que a todo el mundo le gusta, sino que además es muy buen alimento. Pero, si no podemos confiar ni siquiera en ella, ¿en qué podemos confiar?

Después de haber escuchado a Satanás y comido de la fruta tan tentadora que colgaba del árbol prohibido, es probable que Eva se haya hecho la misma pregunta.

¿En quién podemos confiar? La respuesta es fácil: podemos confiar en Dios. Podemos confiar en él absoluta, completa y totalmente. Miles de años de historia lo muestran como aquél que nunca decepciona a su pueblo. Cuando hace una promesa, la mantiene. Cuando da una profecía, la cumple.

Si él dice que quienes creen en su Hijo como Salvador de sus vidas son perdonados y salvos, así es, y podemos estar seguros que es cierto.

En un mundo en que nada es absolutamente seguro o confiable, es bueno conocer al Dios en quien se puede confiar.

ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, oramos por quienes están enfermos no sólo física, sino también espiritualmente, para que les abras los ojos y sus almas sean llevadas a la fe. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

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

Our Daily Bread - All Too Human

Read: Romans 7:14–25 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 14–15; Matthew 17

The trouble is with me, for I am all too human. Romans 7:14 NLT

British writer Evelyn Waugh wielded his words in a way that accentuated his character flaws. Eventually the novelist converted to Christianity, yet he still struggled. One day a woman asked him, “Mr. Waugh, how can you behave as you do and still call yourself a Christian?” He replied, “Madam, I may be as bad as you say. But believe me, were it not for my religion, I would scarcely be a human being.”

Waugh was waging the internal battle the apostle Paul describes: “I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Rom. 7:18 nlt). He also says, “The trouble is not with the law . . . [It] is with me, for I am all too human” (v. 14 nlt). He further explains, “In my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me . . . . Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (vv. 22–24). And then the exultant answer: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25).

When we come in faith to Christ, admitting our wrongdoing and need of a Savior, we immediately become a new creation. But our spiritual formation remains a lifelong journey. As John the disciple observed: “Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But . . . when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Father, we bring our struggles to You because You know all about them, yet You love us anyway. Teach us to rely on Your Holy Spirit. Make us more like Your Son each day.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. C. S. Lewis 

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Muy humano

Leer: Romanos 7:14-25 | La Biblia en un año: Mateo 17 

… Pero yo soy meramente humano, y estoy vendido como esclavo al pecado (Romanos 7:14 NVI).

El escritor británico Evelyn Waugh manejaba sus palabras de un modo que acentuaba sus debilidades. Finalmente, se convirtió al cristianismo, pero la lucha seguía. Un día, una mujer le preguntó: «Sr. Waugh, ¿cómo puede comportarse así y seguir llamándose cristiano?». Él respondió: «Señora, créame, si no fuera por mi religión, difícilmente parecería un ser humano».

Waugh experimentaba la lucha interna que describió el apóstol Pablo: «el querer el bien está en mí, pero no el hacerlo» (Romanos 7:18). También dice: «Sabemos que la ley es espiritual. Pero yo soy un simple ser carnal» (v. 14 RVC). Luego, explica: «Porque según el hombre interior, me deleito en la ley de Dios; pero veo otra ley en mis miembros, […] ¿quién me librará de este cuerpo de muerte?» (vv. 22-24). Finalmente, responde exultante: «¡Gracias a Dios! La respuesta está en Jesucristo nuestro Señor» (v. 25 NTV).

Cuando ponemos nuestra fe en Cristo, reconociendo nuestro pecado y la necesidad de un Salvador, nos convertimos de inmediato en una nueva creación, aunque el crecimiento espiritual dura toda la vida. Como señala el apóstol Juan: «ahora somos hijos de Dios, y aún no se ha manifestado lo que hemos de ser; pero […] cuando él se manifieste, seremos semejantes a él» (1 Juan 3:2).

Señor, hazme cada día más semejante a ti.

«Ser cristiano significa perdonar lo inexcusable en otro, porque Dios ha perdonado lo inexcusable en ti». C. S. Lewis 

Unser Täglich Brot - Allzu menschlich

Lesen: Römer 7,14-25 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 2.Mose 14–15; Matthäus 17

Ich aber bin nur ein Mensch und der Herrschaft der Sünde ausgeliefert. Römer 7,14 HFA

In den Texten des englischen Schriftstellers Evelyn Waugh kam viel von seinen Schwächen zum Ausdruck. Auch als er Christ geworden war, hörten seine Probleme nicht auf. Eine Frau fragte ihn einmal: „Mr. Waugh, wie können Sie sich so verhalten und immer noch Christ nennen?“ „Madam“, erwiderte er, „vielleicht bin ich so schlecht, wie Sie sagen. Aber glauben Sie mir, wäre ich nicht fromm, wäre ich kaum ein Mensch zu nennen.“

Waugh kannte die Kämpfe, von denen Paulus schrieb: „Ich will immer wieder Gutes tun und tue doch das Schlechte“ (Röm. 7,19 HFA). Und auch: „Das Gesetz ist von Gottes Geist bestimmt. . . . Ich aber bin nur ein Mensch“ (V.14 HFA). Oder: „Ich habe Lust an Gottes Gesetz nach dem inwendigen Menschen. Ich sehe aber ein anderes Gesetz in meinen Gliedern . . . Wer wird mich erlösen von diesem todverfallenen Leib?“ (V.22-24). Dann aber die jubelnde Antwort: „Dank sei Gott durch Jesus Christus, unsern Herrn!“ (V.25).

Wenn wir im Glauben zu Jesus kommen, macht er uns neu. Aber unser geistliches Wachstum dauert ein Leben lang. Das wusste auch der Jünger Johannes: „Wir sind schon Gottes Kinder; es ist aber noch nicht offenbar geworden, was wir sein werden. Wir wissen aber: wenn es offenbar wird, werden wir [Christus] gleich sein; denn wir werden ihn sehen, wie er ist“ (1.Joh. 3,2).

Vater, wir bringen dir unsere Kämpfe, denn du kennst sie schon und hast uns trotzdem lieb. Lehre uns, deinem Heiligen Geist zu vertrauen. Mach uns jeden Tag deinem Sohn etwas ähnlicher.

Christ sein heißt, das Unentschuldbare verzeihen, weil Gott das Unentschuldbare in dir bereits vergeben hat. C. S. Lewis 

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Человеческая природа

Читать сейчас: Римлянам 7:14-25 | Библия за год: Исход 14-15; Матфея 17

Ибо мы знаем, что закон духовен, а я плотян. — Римлянам 7:14

Английский писатель Ивлин Во писал так, что в его текстах отражались все изъяны его характера. В дальнейшем он стал христианином, но с языком все еще имел проблемы. Однажды какая-то женщина спросила его: «Мистер Во, как вы можете вести себя таким образом и называться христианином?» Он ответил: «Мадам, я, наверное, действительно так плох, как вы говорите. Но поверьте, если б не моя вера, я бы вообще не был похож на человека».

Во испытывал ту внутреннюю борьбу, о которой писал апостол Павел: «Желание добра есть во мне, но чтобы сделать оное, того не нахожу» (Рим. 7:18). Дальше он объясняет: «По внутреннему человеку нахожу удовольствие в законе Божьем; но в членах моих вижу иной закон... Бедный я человек! Кто избавит меня от этого тела смерти?» (Рим. 7:22-24). А затем победный ответ: «Благодарю Бога моего через Иисуса Христа, Господа нашего» (Рим. 7:25).

Когда мы приходим к вере во Христа, признавая свои согрешения и нужду в Спасителе, Он тут же делает нас новым творением. Но наше духовное преображение – дело всей оставшейся жизни. Как пишет Иоанн: «Мы теперь дети Божии, но еще не открылось, что будем. Знаем только, что, когда откроется, будем подобны Ему, потому что увидим Его, как Он есть» (1 Ин. 3:2).

Отче, мы приносим к Тебе свою внутреннюю борьбу, потому что Ты все о ней знаешь, но все равно нас любишь. Научи нас полагаться на Духа Святого. Преображай нас в образ Твоего Сына.

«Быть христианином – значит прощать непрощаемое, потому что Бог простил вам еще больше». — Клайв Льюис

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Vendu au péché

Lisez : Romains 7.14‑25 | La Bible en un an : Exode 14 – 15 et Matthieu 17

[Mais] moi, je suis charnel, vendu au péché. (Romains 7.14)

Le romancier britannique Evelyn Waugh s’exprimait d’une manière qui accentuait ses défauts. Or, quand il a fini par se convertir, ses combats intérieurs n’ont pas cessé pour autant. Un jour, une femme lui a demandé : « Monsieur Waugh, comment pouvez‑vous vous comporter de la sorte et continuer de vous dire chrétien ? » À cela, il a répondu : « Madame, il se pourrait que je sois aussi mauvais que vous le dites, mais croyez‑moi quand je vous dis que, sans ma religion, je serais à peine humain. »

Waugh livrait en lui‑même le combat que l’apôtre Paul a décrit ainsi : « [J’ai] la volonté, mais non le pouvoir de faire le bien » (RO 7.18), après avoir dit : « Nous savons, en effet, que la loi est spirituelle ; mais moi, je suis charnel, vendu au péché » (V. 14) et avant d’ajouter à son explication : « Car je prends plaisir à la loi de Dieu, selon l’homme intérieur ; mais je vois dans mes membres une autre loi […] Qui me délivrera du corps de cette mort ? » (V. 22‑24), pour ensuite s’exalter : « Grâces soient rendues à Dieu par Jésus Christ notre Seigneur ! » (V. 25.)

Mettons notre foi en Christ, confessant nos péchés et notre besoin du Sauveur, et nous deviendrons dès lors une nouvelle création, mais notre formation spirituelle restera le parcours de toute une vie. « [Nous] sommes maintenant enfants de Dieu, et ce que nous serons n’a pas encore été manifesté ; mais […] lorsque cela sera manifesté, nous serons semblables à lui, parce que nous le verrons tel qu’il est » (1 JN 3.2).

À l’instar de Dieu, nous devons pardonner l’impardonnable. C. S. LEWIS