Monday, January 30, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, January 30, 2017

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Isaiah 51:17-23

Rouse yourself, rouse yourself! Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl of staggering. There is no one to guide her among all the children she has borne; there is no one to take her by the hand among all the children she has brought up. These two things have befallen you-- who will grieve with you?-- devastation and destruction, famine and sword-- who will comfort you? Your children have fainted, they lie at the head of every street like an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of the LORD, the rebuke of your God. Therefore hear this, you who are wounded, who are drunk, but not with wine: Thus says your Sovereign, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people: See, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; you shall drink no more from the bowl of my wrath. And I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, "Bow down, that we may walk on you" and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to walk on.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Galatians 4:1-11

My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 7:24-37
Glory be to Thee, O Lord

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go-- the demon has left your daughter." So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

Here ends the Gospel lesson for today.
Glory be to Thee ,O Christ!

Morning Psalms

Psalm 56 Miserere mei, Deus
1   Have mercy on me, O God, for my enemies are hounding me; all day long they assault and oppress me.
2   They hound me all the day long; truly there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
3   Whenever I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.
4   In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and will not be afraid, for what can flesh do to me?
5   All day long they damage my cause; their only thought is to do me evil.
6   They band together; they lie in wait; they spy upon my footsteps; because they seek my life.
7   Shall they escape despite their wickedness? O God, in your anger, cast down the peoples.
8   You have noted my lamentation; put my tears into your bottle; are they not recorded in your book?
9   Whenever I call upon you, my enemies will be put to flight; this I know, for God is on my side.
10   In God the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust and will not be afraid, for what can mortals do to me?
11   I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God; I will present to you thank-offerings;
12   For you have rescued my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Psalm 57 Miserere mei, Deus
1   Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful, for I have taken refuge in you; in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until this time of trouble has gone by.
2   I will call upon the Most High God, the God who maintains my cause.
3   He will send from heaven and save me; he will confound those who trample upon me; God will send forth his love and his faithfulness.
4   I lie in the midst of lions that devour the people; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword.
5   They have laid a net for my feet, and I am bowed low; they have dug a pit before me, but have fallen into it themselves.
6   Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God, and your glory over all the earth.
7   My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody.
8   Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp; I myself will waken the dawn.
9   I will confess you among the peoples, O LORD; I will sing praise to you among the nations.
10   For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
11   Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God, and your glory over all the earth.

Psalm 58 Si vere utique
1   Do you indeed decree righteousness, you rulers? do you judge the peoples with equity?
2   No; you devise evil in your hearts, and your hands deal out violence in the land.
3   The wicked are perverse from the womb; liars go astray from their birth.
4   They are as venomous as a serpent, they are like the deaf adder which stops its ears,
5   Which does not heed the voice of the charmer, no matter how skillful his charming.
6   O God, break their teeth in their mouths; pull the fangs of the young lions, O LORD.
7   Let them vanish like water that runs off; let them wither like trodden grass.
8   Let them be like the snail that melts away, like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
9   Before they bear fruit, let them be cut down like a brier; like thorns and thistles let them be swept away.
10   The righteous will be glad when they see the vengeance; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11   And they will say, "Surely, there is a reward for the righteous; surely, there is a God who rules in the earth."

Evening Psalms

Psalm 64 Exaudi, Deus
1   Hear my voice, O God, when I complain; protect my life from fear of the enemy.
2   Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the mob of evildoers.
3   They sharpen their tongue like a sword, and aim their bitter words like arrows,
4   That they may shoot down the blameless from ambush; they shoot without warning and are not afraid.
5   They hold fast to their evil course; they plan how they may hide their snares.
6   They say, "Who will see us? who will find out our crimes? we have thought out a perfect plot."
7   The human mind and heart are a mystery; but God will loose an arrow at them, and suddenly they will be wounded.
8   He will make them trip over their tongues, and all who see them will shake their heads.
9   Everyone will stand in awe and declare God's deeds; they will recognize his works.
10   The righteous will rejoice in the LORD and put their trust in him, and all who are true of heart will glory.

Psalm 65 Te decet hymnus
1   You are to be praised, O God, in Zion; to you shall vows be performed in Jerusalem.
2   To you that hear prayer shall all flesh come, because of their transgressions.
3   Our sins are stronger than we are, but you will blot them out.
4   Happy are they whom you choose and draw to your courts to dwell there! they will be satisfied by the beauty of your house, by the holiness of your temple.
5   Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation, O Hope of all the ends of the earth and of the seas that are far away.
6   You make fast the mountains by your power; they are girded about with might.
7   You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the clamor of the peoples.
8   Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs; you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.
9   You visit the earth and water it abundantly; you make it very plenteous; the river of God is full of water.
10   You prepare the grain, for so you provide for the earth.
11   You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges; with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.
12   You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths overflow with plenty.
13   May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing, and the hills be clothed with joy.
14   May the meadows cover themselves with flocks, and the valleys cloak themselves with grain; let them shout for joy and sing.

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 30, 2017

Ephesians 4:2 (NIV) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Read all of Ephesians 4

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 - "A Mob Mentality"

Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. (Matthew 26:49)

Some people question why Jesus would choose Judas to be His disciple, knowing that Judas would do what he did. If someone had to condemn Jesus, if it was written in the Scriptures that Jesus would be condemned by a friend, then why condemn Judas? Wasn't he just a pawn?

Not at all. It's important to realize that the Lord's selection of Judas as one of the Twelve did not seal his fate. Rather, it gave him an opportunity to observe Jesus closely. As Judas properly concluded later, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood" (Matthew 27:4).

God, in His sovereignty, had determined that His Son would be betrayed by a friend. But divine foreknowledge does not destroy human responsibility or accountability. Judas made a decision freely and would be judged accordingly.

In that dramatic moment when Judas identified Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" (Matthew 26:50). Then we're told, "They came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him."

The Bible says a multitude came to arrest Jesus, and this would have included the officers of the temple, who were granted limited powers by the Romans in matters concerning Jewish religion and society. They were moving together as a mob. That is so typical of the mob mentality. Many of the people who joined in on this probably had no idea of what they were doing or why.

The same is true today. To a large degree, a vast majority of people do not reject Christ because they have looked into it or because they have some honest questions about the Bible or Christianity. They reject Christ because they let others do their thinking for them. They mock because others mock. And they become willing victims of someone else's prejudice.

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 - La oración tiene poder

Pidan, y se les dará; busquen, y encontrarán; llamen, y se les abrirá. (Mateo 7:7, NVI)

Quizá tú no seas quien más ora. No seas el que separa unos segundos o minutos del día para orar y levantar una comunicación directa con tu Dios. Aun así, quiero decirte que la oración tiene muchas bendiciones en nuestra vida.

A través de la oración te acercas más al Padre. Cuando nuestros hijos necesitan algo, o quieren que les compremos algo, se acercan de manera confiada a nosotros. Incluso cuando han hecho algo malo se acercan para decirnos que les perdonemos, pues cometieron una falta, y casi suplican por misericordia.

Lo mismo sucede con nuestro Dios que desea que tú y yo tengamos una relación personal con Él. Que desea que nos acerquemos de manera confiada a Él. No para repetir como loros lo que queremos cada día, sino también para conocerle con mayor profundidad. Como Padre, desea que tú y yo le busquemos y le pidamos «TODO» lo que necesitemos.

Comienza a desarrollar momentos íntimos con Dios. Sepárate y establece esa comunión con Él. Al principio, sentirás que no sabrás qué decirle ni cómo hablarle, pero al poco tiempo te darás cuentas que tus palabras fluirán y serás capaz de derramar tu corazón ante Papá (Dios).

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.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - COMMANDOS FOR JESUS

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8, NIV)

Brother Andrew continues his teaching on Satan’s strategic attacks:

Our methods of taking the Bible into places where it is not available nor permitted is actually very close to the New Testament concept of transmitting the Word of God. In our Western nations, we enjoy the rare privilege of seeing people come to us for the message. We even wait for them to come and we put up special buildings for them to come to. Then we open the doors and welcome them with a smile.

Such methods make me feel that we’ve responded very wrongly to Jesus’ announced intention to make us “fishers of men.” We have made a beautiful net of our church buildings and have set it up on the shore waiting for the fish to jump in of their own accord!

Our pattern of waiting for people to come to us is exactly the reverse of the Great Commission. Because we have done it this way for so long we have even begun to question the original way that God intended for it to be. What a topsy-turvy world we live in!

We must have the courage, the Holy Spirit boldness, to live a life that is more revolutionary than that of any non-Christian faith. The Lord will give us the courage to work like commandos if we want Him to, but we must go and carry out His commission.

The command has been given by the risen Lord and the call is clear: prepare for spiritual battle! Let’s go in Jesus’ name and do it! We can do it because ever since He first issued the orders, Jesus has given to every generation the ability, the strength, the manpower, and the opportunity to do it.

Although every generation has failed in some way, the first generation almost accomplished it. Almost! In our generation we don’t need to fail. We can fulfill the commission because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He who holds all authority in heaven and on earth has authorized us to advance on His enemy everywhere, including across every “closed” border. He still endues us with the power of the Holy Spirit that we might be witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Awake and strengthen what remains” (Revelation 3:2). That is the watchword of our ministry to fellow-believers in China, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. What constrains us is the love of Christ; for love, the Word of God tells us, is the fulfillment of all divine commands. I want others to have the one who makes me happy—Jesus. I want others to have what makes me grow spiritually—the Bible.

The God of miracles will bring it to pass!

RESPONSE: Today I commit to going—not waiting—to carry out Jesus’ commission and be a fisher of men in the power of His Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord, give me the boldness to advance against our enemy everywhere—even in so-called “closed” countries.

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

Women of the Bible - Rachel

Her name means: "Ewe"

Her character: Manipulated by her father, she had little say over her own life circumstances and relationships. But rather than dealing creatively with a difficult situation, Rachel behaved like a perpetual victim, responding to sin with yet more sin, making things worse by competing with her sister, and deceiving her father in return.
Her sorrow: That her longing for children ultimately led to her death in childbirth.
Her joy: That her husband cherished her and would do whatever was in his power to make her happy.
Key Scriptures: Genesis 29-35; Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18 

Her Story

Was it better to have love but no children or to be unloved and yet mother to a house full of sons? The question battered Rachel like a strong wind slamming the same door over and over.

Leah had just given birth to her fourth son, Judah. In her joy she had shouted, "I will praise the Lord!" Her firstborn, Reuben, meant "See, a Son"; Simeon, "One Who Hears"; and Levi, "Attached," as though Jacob could ever be attached to his plain wife! Rachel was sick to death of this habit her sister had of naming her sons in ways that emphasized Rachel's own barrenness.

Leah had become Jacob's wife through her father's treachery, but Rachel had captured his love from their first meeting at the well outside Haran. Every touch communicated his favor. Yet favor could not make children any more than wishing could make wealth. Rachel should have been his first, his only wife, just as Aunt Rebekah was Uncle Isaac's only wife.

Rachel's father, Laban, had promised her to his nephew, Jacob, provided he work for him for seven years. Seven years was a long time to wait for a wife, yet Jacob had thought it a good bargain. And that made Rachel love him all the more.

But as the wedding day approached, Laban hatched a scheme to trick seven more years of labor out of Jacob. Rachel's day of happiness dissolved the moment Laban instructed her older sister, Leah, to disguise herself in Rachel's wedding garments.

After dark he led Leah, veiled, to Jacob's tent, and the two slept together as man and wife. As the first light crept across the tent floor, Jacob reached again for Rachel only to find Leah at his side. Laban's treachery stung him. It was beyond belief. Even so, despite the recriminations and the tears, the marriage could not be undone.

But Rachel felt undone, her blessing seized by stealth. Laban's convoluted plan, however, was still unfolding. He struck another bargain, giving Rachel to Jacob the very next week in exchange for seven more years of labor. So now the two sisters lived uneasily together, Leah's sons a grating reminder that Rachel, the second wife, was cheated still.

"Give me children, or I'll die," Rachel screamed at Jacob one day—as though he could take the place of God and open her womb. So she gave him Bilhah, her maid, who conceived and bore her two sons. When Napthali, the second son, was born, Rachel proclaimed to anyone who would listen, "I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won." But the wrestling match between Rachel and Leah was far from over.

Rachel's bitterness again eased when she herself gave birth to a son, naming him Joseph, meaning "May He Add"—a prophetic prayer that God would add yet another child to her line.

Then one day God spoke to Jacob, telling him to return to the land of Isaac, his father. More than twenty years earlier, Jacob had wrestled the blessing from Esau and then had fled his murderous wrath. Had the long years paid him back twofold? Had Laban's treachery and the wrestling match between Rachel and Leah reminded him of his own struggles with his brother? Would God—and Esau—call it even? Only the Lord could protect him in this matter with his brother.

As Jacob gathered his flocks, his servants, and his children, preparing to leave, Rachel stole her father's household gods, small idols thought to ensure prosperity. After ten days on the road, Laban overtook them in the hill country of Gilead, accusing his son-in-law of theft. Unaware of Rachel's deceit, Jacob invited Laban to search the camp, promising to put to death anyone discovered with the idols.

Having learned a trick or two from her crafty father, Rachel tucked the idols into a saddle and then sat on it. When Laban entered her tent, she greeted him with a woman's ruse, saying, "Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I'm having my period." Her trick worked, much as Jacob's had when he deceived his own father, and Laban finally gave up the search. Later, Jacob made sure that all the old idols were purged from his household.

As they made their way across the desert, Jacob faced his brother Esau, and the two reconciled. But tragedy soon overtook them as Rachel struggled to give birth to a second son, the answer to her many prayers. Ironically, the woman who once said she would die unless she had children was now dying because of a child. Rachel's last words, "He is Ben-Oni, the son of my trouble," capture her anguish at the birth of this son.

But Jacob gathered the infant in his arms and with a father's tenderness renamed him Benjamin, "Son of My Right Hand."

Like her husband, the beautiful Rachel had been both a schemer and the victim of schemes. Tricked by her own father, she viewed her children as weapons in the struggle with her sister. As so often happens, the lessons of treachery and competition were passed from generation to generation. Rachel's own son, Joseph, would suffer grievously as a result, being sold into slavery by his half brothers, Leah's sons.

Yet God would remain faithful. Through a remarkable set of twists and turns, Rachel's Joseph would one day rule Egypt, providing a refuge for his father and brothers in the midst of famine. Step by step, in ways impossible to foresee, God's plan was unfolding—a plan to heal divisions, put an end to striving, and restore hope. Using people with mixed motives and confused desires (the only kind of people there are), he was revealing his grace and mercy, never once forsaking his promise.

Her Promise

Genesis 30:22 says, "God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb." God remembered Rachel, but he had never really forgotten her. When the Bible uses the word remember, it doesn't mean that God forgets and then suddenly recalls—as if the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe suddenly hits his forehead with the heel of his hand and says, "Oops! I forgot all about Rachel. I'd better do something quickly!"

No, when the Bible says God remembers something, it expresses God's love and compassion for his people. It reminds us of God's promise never to abandon us or leave us without support or relief. He will never forsake us. He will never forget us. He will always remember us.

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

Girlfriends in God - When You Don’t Want to Go Back to the Way You Were

Today’s Truth

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I just got my braces off…again.

I have had braces on my upper teeth three times. Count them. One. Two. Three.

As the orthodontist explained, “Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”

As soon as he said those words, I felt convicted. I have a tendency to go back to the way I was.

We all do.

Karen (not her real name) admitted to single handedly destroying her marriage with passive aggressive coldness, destructive words, and disrespect of the worst kind. After her husband walked away from the marriage, she had a Holy Spirit moment and completely changed her life. She felt conviction over what she had done, her heart softened, and she vowed never be that woman again. Karen had a beautiful holy glow of a woman who knew she was totally forgiven and completely loved by God. Miraculously, her ex-husband saw the change, and the marriage was restored!

However, after a few years, the destructive behavior began to creep back in.

A word here.

A cold shoulder there.

A retreating into self for weeks at a time.

Ten years after the miraculous restoration, the marriage crashed and burned.

“Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”

Jesus saw this tendency to fall into old ways when he cleaned out the temple. In the beginning of His ministry, after His first of miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding of Cana, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

“In the temple courts He found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle, He scattered the coins of the moneychangers and over turned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!’” (John 2:14-16, NIV)

Three years later, during His last week of life on earth, Jesus came upon the unholy mess again.

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:12-13, NIV).

How did the corruption happen the second time? I don’t think it happened all at once. After Jesus initially cleared out the temple, I suspect it stayed that way for a time. But one day, a moneychanger set up his table. Then another brought in a few birds, followed by a couple of sheep, and then here came a cow.

The next thing you know, the temple wasn’t any different than it was before Jesus cleared it out and cleaned it up three years earlier. In just three years it had reverted back to an unholy mess.

And God whispers in my ear: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV) Sometimes I am that messy temple.

Swept-clean sinful behavior, ungodly thoughts, and jump-off-the-cliff emotions are itching to creep back in at all times. It is up to me (and to you) to keep the temple clean.

Perhaps you’ve had a Holy Spirit moment as some point in your life—a moment that caused you to make a major lifestyle change.

But for the moment to maintain momentum, we need to be constantly aware of our tendency to revert…to go back to the way we were.

I am so thankful that Jesus went back to clean out the temple a second time. It lets me know that he will graciously return to my messy self again and again with broom in hand.

Today, think back to a time when you made a decision to change something in your life: a bad habit, an ungodly behavior, a destructive relationship, hurtful words, overeating, the abuse of alcohol, disrespect to your husband, yelling at your children, bitterness toward someone who hurt you, etc.

Have you allowed any old ways or attitudes to creep back in? If so, simply ask Jesus to come and clean out the temple…again. Then cooperate with Holy Spirit to keep your resolve.

I don’t know about you, but I never want to go back to the way I was. If you’re willing to take a few moments and ask God if there is something you’ve allowed to creep back in, join me in praying Psalm 51 in the prayer below. Then leave a comment and say, “I’m doing it today!”

(Did you know that your comments are like super big hugs? It lets us know that we’re in this together and someone’s reading!)

Let’s Pray

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, and only You, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and restore a steadfast spirit within me.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Can you think of any behaviors or habits that you have committed to change in the past, but have crept back into your life?

If so, today’s task is simple, but not easy. Renew your commitment to clean out the temple once again. Remember, God’s mercies are new every morning.

More From the Girlfriends

One of the ways I have to keep my temple cleaned up, is not allowing feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy creep back in. The words, “I’m not good enough” come knocking at my door like a relentless salesman. If that happens to be one of your struggles, I’d like to suggest starting the year off with a strategy to reject the devil’s lies that tell you not enough and replace them with God’s truth. Check out my book, I’m Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. It includes a Bible study guide that is perfect for a group or individual study. And…drumroll…the expanded print version of A 14-Day Romance Challenge with over 250 ways to romance your husband is now here!

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

LHM Daily Devotion - "Spread the Joy Around"

January 30, 2017

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV)

Let's get practical today, shall we? As believers in Jesus, we get to approach life differently than those who don't know the Lord as a loving, merciful, joy-giving Savior. We have a confidence to face the day that is stronger than our best efforts and more resourceful than our own ingenuity and wisdom.

So, here in Philippians, Paul gives us a guide for facing the challenges of the day. Ready? 1) Rejoice in the Lord in all things. 2) Don't be anxious in anything. 3) Commit all things to God in prayer. 4) Rest in the confidence that God is near. He hears and He cares for you! So, rejoice in the Lord. Face whatever you're dealing with in the knowledge that you get to deal with whatever it is, with the resources, the assurances, and the presence of God Himself -- in your life.

Wow! I think this can work, don't you? I mean, if Jesus Christ has done all things well for us so that we might have forgiveness, life and salvation in Him, don't you think He wants what's best for us here too? Don't you think He cares for the things you struggle with? Paul is saying that He absolutely does, so rejoice in Him!

But I want to add one more thing to that list of get-tos in Jesus. Ready? Here it comes! Put Christ's joy to work in your life by surrounding yourself with people who love to spread the joy of Christ around too. Make sure you have people in your life who also have learned the secret of facing the day with the rejoicing, the relinquishing of anxiety, and the rest that comes in the presence of God's care and concern.

One of the blessings of being The Lutheran Hour Speaker is that I get to meet so many of you who bring me joy because you've learned the secret of living a life of rejoicing in the things of Jesus each day. Sometimes a word of encouragement from a joy-giver hits me just when I need it.

That's what often happens when I open the e-mail of a good friend from Fort Wayne, Indiana, named Paul Doenges. Paul has organized my meetings with the fourth-year graduates of Fort Wayne Seminary for all the years that I've been speaking. He and his wife, Dorothy, are delightful people who made me feel right at home the very first time I visited. But Paul does something for me that I really appreciate all throughout the year. He's a man who loves to tell jokes. He has a real dry sense of humor and he makes me laugh just thinking about him not only telling the joke but also laughing and smiling right along with us. He starts off his weekly Bible study at church with a little humor to put people at ease. So I told him, don't just do that for your people, send me a copy of those jokes too so that I can rejoice along with you.

And do you know he's been sending me a copy of those funny stories and jokes every week, every month, every year. I can't tell you how many times I've been in the middle of something, been overwhelmed with thoughts of this or that and, suddenly, there it is: Paul's joy in an e-mail that changes my whole perspective on the day. Surround yourself then with people of rejoicing, people of laughter, people who know how to take themselves less seriously by rejoicing in the Lord in all things.

Oh, yes, you can be that person too. Think about it.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, let my rejoicing be rooted in the confidence that You really care for me, that You are near, and that all things are in Your hands. And give me strength to put that joy to work for others who need it too. Amen!

In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries

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 - Sin cesar

30 de Enero 2017

Oren sin cesar. Den gracias a Dios en todo, porque ésta es su voluntad para ustedes en Cristo Jesús. (1 Tesalonicenses 5:17-18, RVC)

Adam Wainwright es uno de los pítchers del equipo de béisbol Los Cardenales de St. Louis, y es muy bueno como tal.

Pero Adam tiene una costumbre bastante molesta: cada tanto, se cubre la cara con el guante. Hubo una época en que algunos pítchers hacían eso para poner algo en el guante, como vaselina, o saliva, que afectaba el comportamiento de la pelota que lanzaban.

Pero Adam dice que él no hace nada de eso sino que, cuando se cubre la cara con el guante, es para rezar. Él reza antes y durante los partidos. Antes del partido le pide al Señor que le dé fuerza, y que el otro equipo lo vea como un adversario digno de ser temido. Durante el partido, le pide al Señor que lo ayude a jugar bien.

Adam ha comprendido la idea de "orar sin cesar", y con su actitud está dando un buen ejemplo. No sólo demuestra que está agradecido por el perdón que Jesús ha ganado para él en la cruz, sino que también sabe que el Salvador resucitado está con nosotros, intercediendo delante del Padre por nosotros.

La próxima vez que esté mirando un partido de Los Cardenales y vea que Adam se tapa la cara con el guante, recuerde que está elevando una oración a nuestro Señor y, si puede, haga usted lo mismo.

ORACIÓN: Señor, la Biblia nos dice que estamos rodeados por una nube de testigos. Te damos gracias porque también hay muchas personas que con alegría dan testimonio de que tú eres la fuerza en sus vidas. Con la dirección del Espíritu Santo, haz que mi testimonio a los demás sea eficaz, para que todos puedan ver las maravillas de tu amor. 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 - Rebuilding

Read: Nehemiah 2:11–18 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 23–24; Matthew 20:1–16

Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. Nehemiah 2:17

When Edward Klee returned to Berlin after being away for many years, the city he remembered and loved was no longer there. It had changed dramatically, and so had he. Writing in Hemispheres magazine, Klee said, “Returning to a city you once loved tends to be a hit-or-miss proposition . . . . It can be a letdown.” Going back to the places of our past may produce a feeling of sorrow and loss. We are not the same person we were then, nor is the place that was so significant in our lives exactly as it was.

Nehemiah had been in exile from the land of Israel for many years when he learned of the desperate plight of his people and the devastation in the city of Jerusalem. He received permission from Artaxerxes, the Persian king, to return and rebuild the walls. After a night reconnaissance to examine the situation (Neh. 2:13–15), Nehemiah told the inhabitants of the city, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace” (v. 17).

Nehemiah did not return to reminisce but to rebuild. It’s a powerful lesson for us as we consider the damaged parts of our past that need repair. It is our faith in Christ and His power that enables us to look ahead, move forward, and rebuild.

Thank You, Lord, for the work You are doing in us and through us.

We cannot change the past, but God is changing us for the future.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Reconstrucción

Leer: Nehemías 2:11-18 | La Biblia en un año: Mateo 20:1-16

… venid, y edifiquemos el muro de Jerusalén, y no estemos más en oprobio (Nehemías 2:17).

Cuando Edward Klee volvió a Berlín después de muchos años, la ciudad que recordaba y amaba ya no estaba. Había cambiado drásticamente, y él también. En un artículo de la revista Hemispheres, escribió: «Volver a una ciudad que una vez amaste suele ser impredecible. […]. Puede ser decepcionante». Regresar a lugares del pasado podría generar sentimientos de tristeza y pérdida. Nosotros ya no somos iguales ni lo es el lugar que significaba tanto para nuestra vida.

Nehemías había estado exiliado de Israel durante muchos años, cuando se enteró del clamor desesperado de su pueblo y de la devastación de Jerusalén. Artajerjes, el rey persa, le dio permiso para que volviera y reconstruyera los muros. Tras una noche examinando la situación (Nehemías 2:13-15), Nehemías les dijo a los habitantes de la ciudad: «Vosotros veis el mal en que estamos, que Jerusalén está desierta, y sus puertas consumidas por el fuego; venid, y edifiquemos el muro de Jerusalén, y no estemos más en oprobio» (v. 17).

Nehemías no volvió para recordar, sino para reconstruir. Esta lección es de suma importancia al pensar en las partes dañadas de nuestro pasado que necesitan ser reparadas. Nuestra fe en Cristo y su poder nos permiten mirar hacia adelante, avanzar y reconstruir.

Señor, ayúdame a reconstruir mi vida.

No podemos cambiar el pasado, pero Dios nos está cambiando a nosotros para el futuro.

Unser Täglich Brot - Wiederaufbau

Lesen: Nehemia 2,11-18 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 2.Mose 23–24; Matthäus 20,1-16

Kommt, lasst uns die Mauern Jerusalems wieder aufbauen, damit wir nicht weiter ein Gespött seien! Nehemia 2,17

Als Edward Klee nach langer Zeit nach Berlin zurückkehrte, gab es die Stadt nicht mehr so, wie er sie in Erinnerunghatte. Sie hatte sich dramatisch verändert—und er auch. In einem Artikel schrieb er: „In eine Stadt zurückzukehren, die man einmal geliebt hat, ist wie beim Lotto . . . Es kann enttäuschend sein.“ Die Rückkehr an die Orte der Vergangenheit kann Trauer über das Verlorene hervorrufen. Wir selbst sind nicht mehr der, der wir damals waren, und auch der Ort, der in unserem Leben einmal so wichtig war, ist es nicht mehr.

Nehemia war schon lange Jahre im Exil, als er erfuhr, wie schlecht es den Menschen in seiner Heimat ging und dass die Stadt Jerusalem am Boden lag. Artasasta, der persische König, erlaubte ihm, zurückzugehen und die Mauern wieder aufzubauen. Nehemia sah sich die Sache eine ganze Nacht lang an (Neh. 2,13-15). Dann erklärte er den Bewohnern der Stadt: „Ihr seht das Unglück, in dem wir sind, dass Jerusalem wüst liegt und seine Tore mit Feuer verbrannt sind. Kommt, lasst uns die Mauern Jerusalems wieder aufbauen, damit wir nicht weiter ein Gespött seien!“ (V.17).

Nehemia wollte nicht in Erinnerungen schwelgen, sondern etwas tun. Wir können daraus lernen, wenn wir an Dinge in unserer Vergangenheit denken, die korrigiert werden müssen. Der Glaube an Jesus und seine Kraft macht uns fähig, nach vorn zu sehen, die Ärmel hochzukrempeln und wieder aufzubauen.

Wir können die Vergangenheit nicht ändern, aber Gott ändert uns für die Zukunft.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - Rebâtir

Venez, rebâtissons la muraille de Jérusalem, et nous ne serons plus dans l’opprobre. (Néhémie 2.17)

En rentrant d’un très long séjour à l’étranger, Edward Klee à découvert que la Berlin qu’il se rappelait et avait aimée n’était plus que l’ombre d’elle‑même, comme lui, d’ailleurs. Dans la revue Hemispherers, Klee écrit : « Retourner dans une ville que l’on a aimée tend à ressembler à un coup de dés. […] Ce retour risque de se solder par une déception. » Il se peut qu’un retour sur les lieux de notre passé nous inspire tristesse et deuil. Nous ne sommes plus la personne que nous étions alors, pas plus que l’endroit ayant eu une telle importance à nos yeux n’est resté le même.

Il y avait de nombreuses années que Néhémie vivait en exil lorsqu’il a entendu dire que son peuple se trouvait dans une impasse et que la ville de Jérusalem était en ruines. Il a alors reçu d’Artaxerxès, roi de Perse, la permission d’y retourner pour en rebâtir la muraille. Après avoir passé la nuit à examiner la situation (NÉ 2.13‑15), Néhémie a annoncé aux habitants de la ville : « Vous voyez le malheureux état où nous sommes ! Jérusalem est détruite, et ses portes sont consumées par le feu ! Venez, rebâtissons la muraille de Jérusalem, et nous ne serons plus dans l’opprobre » (V. 17).

Néhémie n’y est pas retourné pour ruminer ce qu’elle avait été jadis, mais pour la rebâtir. Il s’agit d’une grande leçon à retenir en envisageant les dommages causés à notre passé, qui nécessite d’être restauré. Ce sont notre foi en Christ et sa puissance qui nous permettent de regarder droit devant, d’aller de l’avant et de rebâtir.

Nul ne peut changer le passé, mais Dieu peutchanger l’avenir de tous.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Відбудова

Читати: Неемії 2:11-18 | Біблія за рік: Вихід 23–24 ; Матвія 20:1-16

Ідіть, і збудуйте мура Єрусалиму, і вже не будемо ми ганьбою! — Неем. 2:17

Коли Едвард Клі повернувся до Берліна – де він не був багато років, – то не побачив того, що він пам’ятав і любив. Місто дуже змінилося. І він теж. В журналі “Півкулі” Клі писав: “Повернення до міста, що колись дуже любив, – це в якійсь мірі ризик… Можна розчаруватися”. Коли ми опиняємося у місці нашого минулого, нас може сповняти відчуття смутку і втрати. Адже ми вже не ті, що були колись. І вже не те місце, що мало велике значення у нашому житті.

Неемія вже багато років жив як вигнанець, коли почув про жахливу скруту свого народу у спустошеному Єрусалимі. Тому він домігся від перського царя Артаксеркса дозволу повернутись на батьківщину й відбудувати мури міста. Після нічного обходу – з метою огледіти зруйновані мури (Неем. 2:13-15) – він сказав жителям міста: “Ви бачите біду, що ми в ній, що Єрусалим зруйнований, а брами його попалені огнем. Ідіть, і збудуйте мура Єрусалиму, і вже не будемо ми ганьбою! (Неем. 2:17).

Неемія повернувся не для того, щоб віддаватись спогадам, але щоб відбудувати місто. В цьому великий урок для нас, якщо згадуємо погані моменти нашого минулого – ті, що потребують виправлення. І саме віра в Христа та Його сила надихають нас сміливо дивитись вперед, рухатись вперед і відбудовувати зруйноване.

Ми не можемо змінити своє минуле, але Бог може змінити нас заради нашого майбутнього.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Восстановление

Читать сейчас: Неемия 2:11-18 | Библия за год: Исход 23-24; Матфея 20:1-16

Пойдем, построим стену Иерусалима и не будем впредь в таком уничижении. — Неемия 2:17

Когда Эдвард Кли вернулся в Берлин после многолетнего отсутствия, города, который он помнил и любил, уже не было. Он драматичным образом изменился, как, собственно, и сам Эдвард. В статье для журнала «Полушарие» он написал: «Возвращение в город, который ты когда-то любил, похоже на предложение из разряда “пан или пропал”»... Оно может получиться очень печальным». Приезд в давно покинутые места может навеять чувства скорби и утраты. Мы уже не те, кем были раньше, так же как и места, которые сыграли в нашей жизни такую важную роль.

Неемия, много лет находившийся в изгнании, узнал об отчаянном положении своих соотечественников и бедственном состоянии Иерусалима. Помолившись, он получил разрешение от персидского царя Артаксеркса вернуться и восстановить стены города. Обойдя ночью стену и выяснив положение дел (Неем. 2:13-15), Неемия сказал жителям: «Вы видите бедствие, в каком мы находимся; Иерусалим пуст, и ворота его сожжены огнем; пойдем, построим стену Иерусалима и не будем впредь в таком уничижении» (Неем. 2:17).

Неемия вернулся не для того, чтобы скорбеть и печалиться, а чтобы восстановить стену. Это важный урок: многим из нас нужно заняться восстановлением того, что было разрушено. Вера во Христа и Его сила помогут нам смотреть на Него, двигаться вперед и созидать новую жизнь.

Мы не можем изменить прошлое, но Бог меняет нас для будущего.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный