Monday, February 27, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, February 27, 2017


The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Deuteronomy 6:10-15

When the LORD your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you-- a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant-- and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. The LORD your God you shall fear; him you shall serve, and by his name alone you shall swear. Do not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who are all around you, because the LORD your God, who is present with you, is a jealous God. The anger of the LORD your God would be kindled against you and he would destroy you from the face of the earth.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Hebrews 1:1-14

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire." But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." And, "In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing; like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end." But to which of the angels has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in John 1:1-18
Glory be to Thee, O Lord


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

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


Morning Psalms

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


Evening Psalms

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


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


New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Verse of the Day - February 27, 2017


1 John 3:18 (NIV) Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Read all of 1 John 3

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 - "An Invisible World"

But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Daniel 10:13 (NLT)

Sometimes we don’t consider the fact that when we pray, spiritual warfare can be taking place. The prophet Daniel had been in the presence of God. And in Daniel 10, we read, “Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, ‘Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you’” (verses 10–11).

In the beginning of this chapter, and earlier in chapter 9, we see that Daniel was in prayer. This angel was saying, “When you offered your prayer, it was heard in Heaven.”

Sometimes our prayers may not be answered as quickly as we would like due to spiritual warfare behind the scenes in the supernatural world. Daniel was praying on earth, and God heard him in Heaven and dispatched an angel with the answer. Yet somewhere between Heaven and earth, between the visible and the invisible, this angel was accosted by an evil angel, and a battle took place. After twenty-one days, God dispatched a higher-ranking angel, Michael in this case, to help the other angel.

From this account, we see that supernatural activity can hinder our prayers from being answered. This is especially important to remember when we are praying for the salvation of those who don’t know the Lord. A battle is taking place, and the devil is at work, wanting to keep them from hearing the gospel and from coming to faith.

When you pray and don’t see your prayer answered, it simply means that you should keep praying. The answer might come twenty-one days later, thirty-one days later, or twenty-one years later. But we should not stop praying.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, NLT®, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2016 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.

Un Dia a la Vez - ¿Libertad o felicidad?


El Señor es mi roca, mi amparo, mi libertador.

La libertad no necesariamente te hace feliz. Muchos de ustedes no tienen una autoridad a la que le deban respeto. Quizá seas una mujer o un hombre que lleva muchos años de soledad y han aprendido a sentirse «libres».

Cuando llevamos mucho tiempo solos, tal vez viviendo con nuestros hijos pero ya con una vida resuelta, nos cuesta cambiar ese patrón: Llegar a la hora que quieras, hacer las cosas de tu casa cuando puedas, sin una presión encima, o estás cansado y decidiste comer fuera o no comer. Nos acostumbramos a ese tipo de rutina. No estoy diciendo que esto sea malo ni bueno. Solo quiero llegar al punto en que «ese estilo de vida» cambia de forma radical.

Te casas o decides vivir con unas amigas. Entonces, dejarás de ser el dueño de tu tiempo, tus gustos, tus caprichos y tu libertad. Ahora debes honrar, respetar, cuidar y pensar que ya no estás solo. No te preocupes, no eres un ser extraño. Estás atravesando un tiempo de ajuste. Todo cambio incomoda y a todos nos pasa lo mismo.

Quiero que sepan, en especial a los que están en esa oración perpetua de que Dios les envíe un cónyuge, que sus vidas nunca más volverán a ser iguales. El matrimonio, sobre todo para los que nos casamos después de cierta edad, es toda una aventura.

Te confieso que pasan por la mente muchas cosas cuando nos estamos acoplando y muchas veces, por no decir todas, nos toca morir a nosotros mismos y pensar en la felicidad de nuestra pareja. Sin embargo, te digo que no solo el matrimonio te hace feliz cuando aprendes a tener a Dios como base, también la oración te dará la sabiduría.

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 - SUFFERING ACCOMPLISHES UNKNOWN PURPOSES

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

The Bible makes it clear that Christians will suffer. Some pastors have the idea that teaching this fact will drive away new believers. Note that when Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor, he told the new believers; “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He was preparing them for the future as well as explaining their present situation. We should prepare for the same. Paul showed us an example of this when he prayed three times for the removal of his “thorn in the flesh.” Then he saw that it was God’s will for him, and he accepted it. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

When suffering Christians are not sure they are in the will of God they will be unsure if their suffering is really God’s will. However, our great God “works for the good of those who love him...” (Romans 8:28). If we consciously submit to His will, He will give His divine direction. Our suffering and persecution can be placed in His hands by an act of our will. No believer needs to suffer alone and in doubt. Commit it all to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3).

As a young Muslim boy, twelve years of age, Abdul, experienced a tragedy that would change his life forever. Abdul drowned and was dead for more than an hour.

During his death he had a vision of angels coming to fetch him and then bringing him to a closed door. A man met him at the door and asked him where he was going. Abdul answered that he was on his way to heaven. The man answered that he would not be allowed in because Abdul still had a lot of work to do on earth. He woke up on his bed to find a pastor praying for him.

This happened twenty years ago and ever since, Abdul’s life has been changed. Even though Abdul only completed fifth grade in school, he is currently the pastor of a small church in a very poor village on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands.

In his own words Abdul says, “I don’t understand God’s purposes in my suffering, but I now know the Lord.”

Abdul has a ministry in healing and is a source of great encouragement in his village.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept that suffering accomplishes purposes unknown to us now.

PRAYER: Pray for Christians who are suffering today and cannot accept this as God’s will. Praise God that someday we will understand all things fully.

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 - The Mothers of Moses


Jochabed

Her name means: "The Lord Is Glory"

Her character: Her fierce love for her son, coupled with her faith, enabled her to act heroically in the midst of great oppression.
Her sorrow: To live in bondage as a slave.
Her joy: That God not only preserved the son she surrendered to him but that he restored her child to her.
Key Scriptures: Exodus 2:1-10; Hebrews 11:23

Pharaoh's Daughter

Her character: The Jewish people honor men and women whom they designate as "righteous Gentiles." These are people who, though nonbelievers, have assisted God's people in some significant way. Surely, Pharaoh's daughter should top the list of righteous Gentiles, courageously and compassionately delivering a child from death, a child who would one day act as Israel's great deliverer.
Her sorrow: That her adopted son, whom she had taken care of for forty years, had to flee his home in Egypt in order to escape Pharaoh's wrath.
Key Scriptures: Exodus 2:1-10

Their Story

Three hundred years after the death of the patriarch Joseph, a baby boy was born in Egypt, his lusty cries muffled by a woman's sobs. Jochebed's heart was a tangle of joy and fear. This son, his fingers forming a tiny fist against her breast, was so striking a child she hardly believed he was hers. Tenderly she raised the small hand to her mouth, pressing its warmth to her lips. Her gesture calmed them both. She could feel the stiffness in her back dissolving, her muscles relaxing as she watched the night shadows evaporate in the morning's light.

Slave though she was, she was yet a Levite, a woman who belonged to the God of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebekah, of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. She knew the stories. She believed the promises. God was faithful. Hadn't her people already grown as numerous as the sand of the sea, just as he said they would?

In fact, the Israelites were so numerous that the pharaohs feared they might one day welcome an invading army and betray the nation from within. Over time, the Egyptians had tightened their grip, finally enslaving the Israelites, until Pharaoh's paranoia produced an even greater evil—a command to murder each Hebrew male child emerging from the womb. But the Hebrew midwives feared God more than the king and refused to follow his orders, excusing themselves by claiming that Hebrew women were stronger than Egyptian women, giving birth before the midwives even arrived.

So Pharaoh commanded his soldiers to search out and smother every newborn male in the waters of the Nile. Jochebed could hear the screams of the mothers echoing regularly across the Hebrew camp as their children were torn from them. Her arms tightened around her own child as he slept quietly against her breast. This one, she vowed, would never be fodder for the Egyptian river god. She and her husband, Amram, would pray. They would plan. And they would trust God to help them.

For three months, as long as she dared, she hid the infant, managing to keep Miriam and three-year-old Aaron quiet about their new baby brother. Finally, she acted on an idea that had been growing in her mind. Pharaoh had commanded her to consign her son to the Nile River. All right then. Her own hands would put him into the water.

Remembering how God had spared the child Isaac on the mountain of sacrifice, she bent down and laid her son in a basket of papyrus, waterproofed with tar and pitch. Then, with a whispered prayer and a last caress, she wiped her eyes, begging God to preserve her baby from the crocodiles that swarmed the river.

She could not bear to watch as the child drifted away from her. Instead, young Miriam kept vigil, following at a distance to see what would become of him.

Soon Pharaoh's daughter arrived at the riverbank with some of her attendants. Spotting the basket among the reeds, she sent her slave girl to fetch it. As soon as she beheld the brown-eyed baby, she loved him. The river had brought her a child whom she would cherish as her own. She could not save all the innocent children, but she could spare one mother's son.

Was she surprised when a young slave girl, Miriam, approached, asking whether she could go after a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her? Did she suspect the truth when Jochebed gathered the boy in her arms, this time as his nursemaid?

Whatever was in her mind, Pharaoh's daughter named the child Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water." For the next forty years, she educated him, a prince in the courts of Pharaoh himself.

God kept Moses safe in the midst of extraordinary evil and danger—first in crocodile-infested waters and then when he was growing up right under Pharaoh's nose. And he used the Egyptians to protect and educate him in ways that must have made Moses even more effective in his eventual role as his people's deliverer.

Year after year, Jochebed would surely have reflected on the marvelous faithfulness of God. Her ingenuity, courage, and faith should inspire even the most weak-kneed among us.

Two women—a slave and a princess—preserved the life of Israel's future deliverer and so preserved the entire Jewish race.

Their Promise

Moses' mother, Jochebed, had one thing in mind when hiding her son and leaving him in a basket in the river. Her goal was to preserve his life for one more day, one more hour, one more moment. She could not have known how God planned to work in her life or in the life of her son. Nor did she realize he was putting into place a divine plan to rescue his people from the very oppression she was resisting.

God's ways are beautiful in the extreme. He uses the devoted, intense love of a mother for her child to bring freedom to an entire race. Like Jochebed, our goal should be to hang on, trusting that God has his own purpose at work and that we and our children are part of it.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

Girlfriends in God - When The Hurt is Horrible


Today’s Truth

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

Friend to Friend

Danita is a friend who experienced a tragic loss. Her husband Dave was a military officer stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. An avid runner, he was the picture of good health. Over six feet tall, his tanned, athletic build never failed to take Danita’s breath away.

Like every other married couple, they had their issues, but they strived to live together as one. Early on they surrendered their household to the Lord. Faith, friendship, and fun were the foundations of their home and the cement that held them together during difficult times.

In October 2003, Dave had been wrestling with some issues of spiritual surrender about the possible relocation of their family. At their Wednesday night church service, God got ahold of Dave’s heart, and he couldn’t wait to tell Danita about it. When they sat down after putting the girls to bed, he told her he'd turned the details of his new orders over completely to God and was finally at peace.

The next morning, Dave woke before the sun and began his morning routine while Danita slept. Just before he left to go to work, Dave tenderly kissed Danita. As their lips met, he whispered, “Goodbye. I love you, babe,” then walked out the door.

If only Danita had known that would be their last kiss! She would have pulled him close, held him tight, and gazed into his amazing blue eyes. She would’ve taken a long, deep breath to fill her senses with the aroma of his cologne, taken in his presence, and savored his warmth. She would have told him she loved being his wife and was ready for their next great adventure together.

When the phone rang at 7:30 a.m., Danita was startled. It seemed a bit early for the phone to ring. A secretary from the naval base said, “Dave has collapsed! The military EMS have been called, and we need you to meet them at the hospital!” The words pierced Danita’s heart.

The drive to the hospital was quick. She ran inside the emergency room, only to find that the ambulance hadn't arrived yet. As she hurried back to the parking lot, a passage of Scripture flooded her mind. Danita began to speak Psalm 63 out loud.

As soon as she spoke the words, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you,” Danita knew in her heart Dave was gone. Her soul felt it.

Minutes later, a screaming siren announced the arrival of the ambulance. As the medics ushered Dave into the emergency room and worked feverishly to resuscitate him, Danita rushed to be by his side. An emergency room nurse pulled her away and insisted she sit in the waiting room.

Friends arrived, but Danita couldn’t speak. She sat silently, as every fiber of her being screamed, This can’t be happening! Dave is a rock. He’s a healthy man. He’s too young to die! Lord, please don’t let him die! 

Before long, Danita was called to the back where an emergency room doctor told her Dave had died. The weight of those words hit her with the impact of a bullet shot at pointblank range.

She asked her best friend to come back with her to the room where Dave had just been pronounced dead. Danita spoke to her husband through shaky sobs as his body lay lifeless. She touched his skin. The warmth was gone. She kissed him on the cheek and held his hand one last time. Dave was with the Lord now.

Danita needed fresh air. She needed to think, to pray, and to wail.

It all seemed so crazy. She'd arrived at the hospital a happily married woman and was leaving a heartbroken widow. She navigated through the foggy crowd of supportive friends, made her way to her car, and headed home.

The drive home was almost too much for Danita to bear. The sun shone brightly as she passed cars filled with people going on at the speed of life while her life stood still.

Once home, she headed straight to her bedroom. She cried out to God, “How will I tell Kelsey that she'll never see her daddy again?” And He answered her. A devotional she'd been reading the night before lay open on the bedside table. Highlighted on the page were the words of Psalm 16.

As devastating as Dave’s death was, there was something special about the security her soul felt as she sobbed. God’s Word attended to her desperate hunger. A strange peace embraced her. Despite the circumstances, her soul was oddly satisfied. She was not alone. She knew her Lord had not abandoned her.

He was with her on the bed as she cried.

He was with her on the wood floor when she fell to weep.

He was with her in this very broken time.

Danita’s appetite for God’s provision has skyrocketed. She’s never known a greater need for God’s strength to come alongside her weakness. For His hope to come alongside her despair. For His peace to replace her fears.

Through it all, Danita has felt the far-reaching, compassionate, and loving arms of God embrace her in every painful moment. He comforted her each time she cried out to Him in the numbness of despair.

Our loving Father is keenly aware of your circumstances and your needs too. The Scriptures show us time and time again that God hears the cries of His children. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

What are you hungry for today? God longs to be your portion, to meet your essential needs, to be strong in your weakness, and to satisfy your deepest hunger. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Please teach me to trust in you so that when the unexpected storms of life come, I will expect peace in the midst of those storms (Mark 4:37-40) knowing that you are near, you hear my cries, and you are with me and for me. Thank You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 16 and Psalm 63:1-8. Grab your journal and write out any verses that your heart needs to know and remember. Share them in a post on social media. Leave them as a comment on my blog.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen’s book Broken Into Beautiful. Every step of healing begins with the heart of God. If you’d like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God’s beauty, get your copy today. To order the book go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s web store.

Get 20% OFF Gwen’s BROKEN INTO BEAUTIFUL book today when you order from her website and use the code: 20OFF


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LHM Daily Devotion - "You Are the Best, Lord!"

 February 27, 2017

I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You."  - Psalm 16:2 (ESV)

"I'm sorry," I said.

"It's all good," came the response. But it really wasn't, was it? If it was all good, why apologize? If it was bad, surely more was needed than a casual "It's all good" response. Goodness, peace, harmony, love, joy -- today, many of us have kind of reduced these powerful words to generic statements that often times miss the point. And I think that's what our Psalm is speaking about today.

Say it with me, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good thing apart from You.'"

Do you believe that? Do you realize the Psalmist is saying that nothing is all good until it is connected or reconnected to God? I have no good apart from God. Do you believe that? Do you believe the only good in your life is God? Or do you consider that your life is filled with other good things, one of which may or may not be God? Perhaps you place Him as the highest good. Or perhaps you aren't totally convinced He is really that good at all.

The Psalmist is reminding us that when it comes to love, to life, to success, to perseverance, we were created and redeemed to be with God. He is our life; He is the Source of love. He is the One who is always with us, always seeking our best. We were not created or redeemed to go it alone.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of Christopher Langan, a genius with a staggering IQ of 195. (For some perspective, Einstein's IQ was 150.) During high school, Langan could ace any foreign language test by skimming the textbook two to three minutes before the exam. He got a perfect score on his SAT, even though at one point he fell asleep.

Even so, Langan never put his exceptional gifts to use and ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri. According to Gladwell, Langan never had a community to help him capitalize on his gifts. He never became anything near what he was gifted to be.

Gladwell summarizes the story of Langan in one sentence: "He had to make his way alone, and no one -- not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses -- ever makes it alone."

We weren't created and redeemed to go it alone! And because of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, you and I don't have to. Life is good because of Jesus' work. His life, His death and resurrection -- it connected us back to what makes things good: our relationship to God. In fact, Jesus is not just merely an example of how to live in light of the goodness of God. Jesus is God's goodness given to you. In place of your sin, God gives you His goodness in Christ. Faith delivers you to God's good gift of forgiveness in Christ. Faith in Christ grasps onto the promises of God's good grace in Jesus.

God's goodness is yours because of Christ. In fact, knowing Him isn't just good, it's the best. It's not generic; it's a personal, penetrating, persevering goodness that endures! Yes, indeed, it's all good.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to see that Your goodness is the key to my life, my joy, my strength to be useful in Your hands in service to others! 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 - Depende de ustedes

27 de Febrero 2017

"No paguemos a nadie mal por mal. Procuremos hacer lo bueno a los ojos de todo el mundo. Si es posible, y en cuanto dependa de nosotros, vivamos en paz con todos." Romanos 12:17-18 (RVC)

Hay una razón por la cual voy a hablar acerca de la convocatoria islámica que se realizó en el Capitolio en la ciudad de Washington, D.C. Si bien los promotores del evento esperaban reunir unas 50.000 personas, solamente se juntaron entre tres y cinco mil.

Estoy de acuerdo con esa convocatoria debido a que en los Estados Unidos toda religión tiene derecho a reunirse en forma pacífica cuándo y dónde desee. Y no es debido a que en esta convocatoria no haya terminado en violencia, o por lo que se haya dicho en la misma, porque en realidad no hubo violencia, y hubo muy buenos discursos.

Pero hubo algo que no fue dicho: nadie condenó la violencia que a nivel mundial está ejerciendo el islamismo radical. Es cierto que la mayoría de los seguidores del profeta son personas buenas y pacíficas. Pero también es cierto que, mientras que la mayoría de los islamitas se mantiene en silencio, los radicales siguen dictando y determinando el futuro, como lo han hecho hasta ahora.

Los cristianos tenemos la responsabilidad de decir lo que es correcto y lo que está bien. Esa es la sabiduría del Señor que San Pablo estaba pasándole a la iglesia en Roma, y también a nosotros.

En tanto dependa de nosotros, que hemos sido redimidos por el sufrimiento y sacrificio del Cordero, debemos hacer lo que es bueno a la vista de todos.

En tanto dependa de nosotros, los representantes del Salvador deben vivir en paz con todos.

Después de todo, la cruz y la tumba vacía ya son motivos suficientes para ofender al mundo. No es necesario que agreguemos nada más para que el mundo nos odie.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, te pido que si ofendo a alguien, mi ofensa sea un testimonio del sacrificio que el Salvador ha hecho por mí. Que los demás puedan ver en mí el maravilloso amor que tú has mostrado en la resurrección de tu Hijo Jesucristo. En su nombre. Amén.

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

Our Daily Bread - Ring of Invisibility

Read: John 3:16–21 | Bible in a Year: Numbers 17–19; Mark 6:30–56

Everyone who does evil hates the light. John 3:20

The Greek philosopher Plato (c. 427–c. 348 bc) found an imaginative way of shining light on the dark side of the human heart. He told the story of a shepherd who innocently discovered a golden ring that had been hidden deep in the earth. One day a great earthquake opened up an ancient mountainside tomb and revealed the ring to the shepherd. By accident he also discovered that the ring had the magical ability to enable the wearer to become invisible at will. Thinking about invisibility, Plato raised this question: If people didn’t have to worry about being caught and punished, would they resist doing wrong?

In John’s gospel we find Jesus taking this idea in a different direction. There, Jesus, known as the Good Shepherd, speaks of hearts that stay in the cover of darkness to hide what they are doing (John 3:19–20). He isn’t calling attention to our desire for cover-up to condemn us, but to offer us salvation through Him (v. 17). As the Shepherd of our hearts, He brings the worst of our human nature to light to show us how much God loves us (v. 16).

God in His mercy calls us out of our darkness and invites us to follow Him in the light.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the light of Your presence in my life. May I walk obediently in the light of Your truth in all that I do this day.

Sin’s darkness retreats when Christ’s light is revealed.


© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Chiếc Nhẫn Biến Vô Hình

Đọc: Giăng 3:16-21 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Dân số ký 17-19; Mác 6:30-56

Vì ai làm ác thì ghét ánh sáng. (Giăng 3:20)

Triết gia Hy Lạp Plato (khoảng 427-348 T.C) đã tìm ra một cách không thể tưởng tượng được để đưa mặt tối của lòng người ra ánh sáng. Ông kể câu chuyện một người chăn chiên tình cờ tìm thấy một chiếc nhẫn vàng bị vùi sâu trong đất. Một cơn động đất đã xới tung một cái mộ cổ bên núi lên và người chăn chiên thấy chiếc nhẫn lộ ra. Tình cờ, anh cũng khám phá ra rằng chiếc nhẫn có phép thần thông biến người đeo nó trở nên vô hình khi người đó muốn. Nghĩ về sự vô hình, Plato đã đặt ra câu hỏi: Nếu con người không lo bị bắt hay bị phạt, liệu họ có từ chối làm những việc sai trái không?

Trong Phúc Âm Giăng, chúng ta thấy Chúa Jêsus xem xét ý này theo hướng khác. Ở đó, Chúa Jêsus, được biết đến như là Người Chăn Hiền Lành, phán bảo những người đang dùng bóng tối để che giấu những điều họ làm (Giăng 3:19-20). Ngài không dồn sự chú ý vào mong muốn che đậy của chúng ta để kết tội, nhưng để mời gọi chúng ta đến với sự cứu rỗi thông qua chính Ngài (c.17). Là Đấng Chăn Giữ lòng chúng ta, Ngài đem ánh sáng vào những chỗ tồi tệ nhất trong bản chất con người để cho chúng ta thấy Đức Chúa Trời yêu chúng ta dường bao (c.16).

Bởi lòng thương xót, Đức Chúa Trời đã kêu gọi chúng ta ra khỏi bóng tối và mời gọi chúng ta bước đi theo Ngài trong ánh sáng.

Lạy Cha Thiên Thượng, cảm ơn Ngài về ánh sáng hiện diện của Ngài trong cuộc đời con. Nguyện ngày hôm nay con cứ thuận phục bước đi trong ánh sáng chân lý của Ngài trong tất cả những gì con làm.

Bóng tối của tội lỗi thối lui khi ánh sáng của Đấng Christ hiển lộ.


© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Anillo de invisibilidad

Leer: Juan 3:16-21 | La Biblia en un año: Marcos 6:30-56

Porque todo aquel que hace lo malo, aborrece la luz… (Juan 3:20).

El filósofo griego Platón (aprox. 427-348 a.C.) encontró una manera creativa de revelar el lado oscuro del corazón humano. Relató la historia de un pastor que, inocentemente, descubrió un anillo de oro que habían escondido en lo profundo de la tierra. Un día, un gran terremoto abrió una antigua tumba en la ladera de un monte y dejó el anillo a la vista del pastor. Accidentalmente, también descubrió que aquel anillo tenía la capacidad mágica de hacer que el portador se volviera invisible cuando quisiera. Pensando en la invisibilidad, Platón formuló esta pregunta: Si las personas no tuvieran que preocuparse de ser atrapadas y castigadas, ¿resistirían la tentación de hacer lo malo?

En el Evangelio de Juan, encontramos que Jesús lleva esta idea en el sentido contrario. Allí, como el buen Pastor, el Señor habla de corazones que permanecen escondidos en la oscuridad para ocultar lo que hacen (Juan 3:19-20). No está centrando la atención en nuestro deseo de escondernos a fin de condenarnos, sino para ofrecernos salvación por medio de Él (v. 17). Como el Pastor de nuestros corazones, saca a la luz lo peor de la naturaleza humana, para mostrarnos cuánto nos ama (v. 16).

Dios, en su misericordia, nos invita a salir de la oscuridad y seguir en la luz.

Señor, quiero andar obedientemente en la luz de tu verdad.

La oscuridad del pecado se desvanece cuando se revela la luz de Cristo.


Unser Täglich Brot - Der Ring des Gyges

Lesen: Johannes 3,16-21 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 4.Mose 17–19; Markus 6,30-56

Wer Böses tut, der hasst das Licht. Johannes 3,20

Der griechische Philosoph Platon (ca. 427–ca. 348 v.Chr.) hat in einem seiner Gleichnisse die dunkle Seite des menschlichen Herzens sehr anschaulich beschrieben. Er erzählt die Geschichte von einem Hirten mit Namen Gyges, der einen goldenen Ring findet. Ein Erdbeben hatte die Erde gespalten und im Berg ein Grab freigelegt. Darin entdeckte er diesen Ring. Eher zufällig stellte er auch fest, dass der Ring über magische Kräfte verfügte und seinen Träger unsichtbar machen konnte. Im Blick auf das Unsichtbar werden stellte Platon die Frage: Wenn die Menschen sich keine Sorgen darum machen müssten, ob sie ertappt oder bestraft werden, würden sie dann noch moralisch gut sein wollen?

Im Johannesevangelium lenkt Jesus diesen Gedanken in eine andere Richtung. Dort spricht er, der auch als der gute Hirte bekannt ist, von Herzen, die im Schutz der Finsternis bleiben, weil sie ihr Tun verbergen wollen (Joh. 3,19-20). Doch er betont diesen Aspekt nicht, um uns zu verdammen, sondern um uns die Erlösung anzubieten, die nur er schenken kann (V.17). Als der Hirte unserer Herzen bringt er die schlimmsten Seiten unserer Natur ans Licht, um uns zu zeigen, wie sehr Gott uns liebt (V.16).

In seiner Barmherzigkeit ruft Gott uns aus unserer Dunkelheit hinaus und lädt uns ein, ihm im Licht zu folgen.

Lieber himmlischer Vater, hab Dank für das Licht deiner Gegenwart in meinem Leben. Lass mich bei allem, was ich heute tue, gehorsam im Licht deiner Wahrheit wandeln.

Die Finsternis der Sünde weicht, wenn Jesu Licht aufleuchtet.


© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - L’anneau de l’invisibilité

Lisez : Jean 3.16‑21 | La Bible en un an : Nombres 17 – 19 et Marc 6.30-56

Car quiconque fait le mal hait la lumière. (Jean 3.20)

Le philosophe grec Platon (vers 427 à 348 av. J.‑C.) a découvert une façon imaginative d’éclairer le côté sombre du coeur humain. Il a raconté l’histoire d’un berger ayant découvert par hasard un anneau d’or que l’on avait profondément enfoui dans le sol. Un jour, un terrible tremblement de terre a ouvert un tombeau très ancien aménagé dans le flanc d’une montagne, révélant ainsi l’anneau à ce berger. Or, celui‑ci a aussi découvert accidentellement que l’anneau concerné détenait le pouvoir magique d’accorder à la personne qui le portait de devenir invisible chaque fois qu’elle le désirait. En réfléchissant à l’invisibilité, Platon s’est demandé : Si les gens n’avaient à se soucier ni de se faire prendre en flagrant délit ni de se faire punir, résisteraient‑ils à la tentation de mal agir ?

Dans l’Évangile selon Jean, Jésus amène cette idée dans une autre direction. Connu à ce stade‑ci comme le Bon Berger, Jésus parle du coeur qui reste sous le couvert des ténèbres afin de dissimuler ses agissements (JN 3.19,20). Le Seigneur n’attire pas l’attention sur notre désir de lui cacher des choses dans le but de nous condamner, mais plutôt dans l’intention de nous offrir le salut en lui (V. 17). Étant le Berger de notre coeur, il amène à la lumière le pire de la nature humaine afin de nous montrer à quel point Dieu nous aime (V. 16).

Dans sa miséricorde, Dieu nous appelle à sortir de nos ténèbres et nous invite à le suivre dans la lumière.

Les ténèbres du péché disparaissent quand paraît la lumière de Christ.


Хліб Наш Насущній - Кільце-невидимка

Читати: Івана 3:16-21 | Біблія за рік: Числа 17–19 ; Марка 6:30-56

Кожен, хто робить лихе, ненавидить світло. — Івана 3:20

Грецький філософ Платон (427–348 до Р.Х.) за допомогою алегорії висвітлював темну сторону людського серця. То була притча про пастуха, який випадково знайшов золоте кільце, що до того було сховане глибоко під землею. Сталося, що землетрус зруйнував стародавню гробницю в надрах гори, кільце вийшло на поверхню і зрештою стало знахідкою цього пастуха. Але головне, що пастух також відкрив магічну властивість цього кільця – можливість за бажанням ставати невидимим. Розмірковуючи про невидимість, Платон запитував: “Чи може людина встояти перед спокусою чинити зле, якщо точно знає, що його не спіймають і не покарають?”

В Євангелії від Івана ми бачимо цю ж саму ідею, але в іншому ракурсі. Ісус – Який, до речі, в цьому Євангелії називає Себе Добрим Пастирем – говорить про людські серця, що ховаються в темряві через те зло, яке чинять (Ів. 3:19-20). Він вказує на нашу схильність приховувати гріх не для того, щоб нас засудити, але щоб запропонувати спасіння через Нього (Ів. 3:17). Як Пастир наших сердець, Він виводить на світло найгірші аспекти нашої людської природи, щоб у цьому світлі нам явлена була безмірна Божа любов (Ів. 3:16).

Бог у Своїй милості покликав нас із темряви і запрошує слідувати за Ним у світлі.

Дорогий Небесний Отче, дякую Тобі за світло Твоєї присутності в моєму житті. Навчи мене слухняно ходити у світлі Твоєї істини сьогодні – якою б не займався справою.

Гріховна темрява відступає, коли приходить Христове світло.


© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Кольцо-невидимка

Читать сейчас: Иоанна 3:16-21 | Библия за год: Числа 17-19; Марка 6:30-56

Всякий, делающий злое, ненавидит свет. — Иоанна 3:20

Греческий философ Платон (ок. 427–348 гг. до Р.Х.) с помощью хитроумной аллегории пролил свет на темную сторону человеческой природы. Он сочинил притчу о пастухе, который нечаянно обнаружил золотое кольцо, спрятанное глубоко в земле. Однажды землетрясение открыло древнюю гробницу, устроенную в горном склоне. Войдя туда, пастух нашел кольцо. Благодаря случайности, он обнаружил, что находка обладает чудесной способностью делать невидимым своего обладателя. Рассуждая о невидимости, Платон поднимает вопрос: «Если бы люди могли оставаться безнаказанными, на какое зло они могли бы решиться?»

В Евангелии от Иоанна Иисус рассуждает о том же, но с несколько иной стороны. Спаситель, известный как Добрый Пастырь, говорит о сердцах, стремящихся во тьму, чтобы скрыть свои дела (Ин. 3:19-20). Он обращает внимание на наше желание скрыть свои дела не для того, чтобы осудить нас, а чтобы предложить спасение (Ин. 3:17). Как Пастырь наших сердец, Он выводит на свет худшее, что в нас есть, чтобы показать, как сильно любит нас Бог (Ин. 3:16).

По Своей милости Бог призывает нас выйти из тьмы и последовать за Ним к свету.

Небесный Отец, благодарю Тебя за свет Твоего присутствия в моей жизни. Помоги мне находиться во свете Твоей истины, что бы я ни делал.

Тьма греха отступает, когда светит свет Христа.


© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный