Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Daily Readings for TUESDAY, February 28, 2017 - Mardi Gras


 The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Deuteronomy 6:16-25

Do not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. You must diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his decrees, and his statutes that he has commanded you. Do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may go in and occupy the good land that the LORD swore to your ancestors to give you, thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised. When your children ask you in time to come, "What is the meaning of the decrees and the statutes and the ordinances that the LORD our God has commanded you?" then you shall say to your children, "We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. The LORD displayed before our eyes great and awesome signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his household. He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land that he promised on oath to our ancestors. Then the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our lasting good, so as to keep us alive, as is now the case. If we diligently observe this entire commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, we will be in the right."

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Hebrews 2:1-10

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will. Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere, "What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet." Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in John 1:19-28
Glory be to Thee, O Lord


This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,'" as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, "Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal." This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

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


Morning Psalms

Psalm 26 Judica me, Domine
1   Give judgment for me, O LORD, for I have lived with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
2   Test me, O LORD, and try me; examine my heart and my mind.
3   For your love is before my eyes; I have walked faithfully with you.
4   I have not sat with the worthless, nor do I consort with the deceitful.
5   I have hated the company of evildoers; I will not sit down with the wicked.
6   I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD, that I may go in procession round your altar,
7   Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
8   LORD, I love the house in which you dwell and the place where your glory abides.
9   Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with those who thirst for blood,
10   Whose hands are full of evil plots, and their right hand full of bribes.
11   As for me, I will live with integrity; redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
12   My foot stands on level ground; in the full assembly I will bless the LORD.


Psalm 28 Ad te, Domine
1   O LORD, I call to you; my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; lest, if you do not hear me, I become like those who go down to the Pit.
2   Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.
3   Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, who speak peaceably with their neighbors, while strife is in their hearts.
4   Repay them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their actions.
5   According to the work of their hands repay them, and give them their just deserts.
6   They have no understanding of the LORD'S doings, nor of the works of his hands; therefore he will break them down and not build them up.
7   Blessed is the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
8   The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;
9   Therefore my heart dances for joy, and in my song will I praise him.
10   The LORD is the strength of his people, a safe refuge for his anointed.
11   Save your people and bless your inheritance; shepherd them and carry them for ever.


Evening Psalms

Psalm 36 Dixit injustus
1   There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2   He flatters himself in his own eyes that his hateful sin will not be found out.
3   The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has left off acting wisely and doing good.
4   He thinks up wickedness upon his bed and has set himself in no good way; he does not abhor that which is evil.
5   Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.
6   Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; you save both man and beast, O LORD.
7   How priceless is your love, O God! your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8   They feast upon the abundance of your house; you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9   For with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light.
10   Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, and your favor to those who are true of heart.
11   Let not the foot of the proud come near me, nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
12   See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness! they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.


Psalm 39 Dixi, Custodiam
1   I said, "I will keep watch upon my ways, so that I do not offend with my tongue.
2   I will put a muzzle on my mouth while the wicked are in my presence."
3   So I held my tongue and said nothing; I refrained from rash words; but my pain became unbearable.
4   My heart was hot within me; while I pondered, the fire burst into flame; I spoke out with my tongue:
5   LORD, let me know my end and the number of my days, so that I may know how short my life is.
6   You have given me a mere handful of days, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight; truly, even those who stand erect are but a puff of wind.
7   We walk about like a shadow, and in vain we are in turmoil; we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
8   And now, what is my hope? O Lord, my hope is in you.
9   Deliver me from all my transgressions and do not make me the taunt of the fool.
10   I fell silent and did not open my mouth, for surely it was you that did it.
11   Take your affliction from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand.
12   With rebukes for sin you punish us; like a moth you eat away all that is dear to us; truly, everyone is but a puff of wind.
13   Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears.
14   For I am but a sojourner with you, a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
15   Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again, before I go my way and am no more.


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.

Mardi Gras


Today the church celebrates Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras, also called Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, in English, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

Related popular practices are associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as England, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which is derived from the word shrive, meaning "confess".

In many areas, the term "Mardi Gras" has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. In some American cities, it is now called "Mardi Gras Day".

The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions, such as the one in New Orleans, Louisiana, consider Mardi Gras to stretch the entire period from Twelfth Night (the last night of Christmas which begins Epiphany) to Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year's Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times, parades were held on New Year's Day. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro; Barranquilla, Colombia; George Town, Cayman Islands; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; and Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called "Shrovetide", ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects, as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat, and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France's claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and part of eastern Texas.

The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699 (new style), Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the east bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honour of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: "Mardi Gras Point") and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1703 French settlers in Mobile established the first organised Mardi Gras celebration tradition in what was to become the United States. The first informal mystic society, or krewe, was formed in Mobile in 1711, the Boeuf Gras Society. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French Mardi Gras customs had accompanied the colonists who settled there.

In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718. The first Mardi Gras parade held in New Orleans is recorded to have taken place in 1837. The tradition in New Orleans expanded to the point that it became synonymous with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll). On Mardi Gras Day, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the last parades of the season wrap up and the celebrations come to a close with the Meeting of the Courts (a.k.a. locally as the Rex Ball). Other cities along the Gulf Coast with early French colonial heritage, from Pensacola, Florida; Galveston, Texas; to Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana; and north to Natchez, Mississippi, have active Mardi Gras celebrations. In the rural Acadiana area, many Cajuns celebrate with the Courir de Mardi Gras, a tradition that dates to medieval celebrations in France.

Verse of the Day - February 28, 2017


2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Read all of 2 Timothy 1

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 Hindrance to Prayer"

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. —Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

The promise of answered prayer isn’t given to every human being. Rather, it is a unique promise for those who have a relationship with God.

In fact, the very reason that Jesus Christ came to this earth and died on the cross is so that we might come into a relationship and a friendship with our Creator. But we all have a disease called sin that we can’t get rid of. Thus, when Christ died on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself.

Until you come into a relationship with God, you cannot really see your prayers answered. As Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

We have often heard it said that we are all the children of God, that we are all brothers and sisters. In reality, we aren’t all God’s children. The Bible says that we are God’s offspring, meaning that we are humans who were created in His image. (That isn’t true, of course, of the animal kingdom.) We were made in God’s image, but we are not automatically the children of God. That only takes place when we come to Him, turn from our sin, and ask Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord.

The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). God must adopt you. You cannot automatically be His child. There has to come a moment in your life when you ask Him for His forgiveness, and He will adopt you as His son or daughter. And because of what Jesus did, you can have access to the throne of God.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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

Un Dia a la Vez - Dios me hizo libre


Y conocerán la verdad, y la verdad los hará libres. Juan 8:32 (NVI)

Necesitamos conocer los pensamientos de Dios, así aprendemos muchas cosas.

Hace unos cuantos años, antes de entregar mi vida por completo a Jesús, sentía muchos vacíos y necesitaba la libertad de Dios. Cuando te hablo de libertad, me refiero a que mi mente estuvo cautiva por varios años con pensamientos tristes o con desánimos en algunas ocasiones.

Debido a que fui madre soltera casi toda mi vida, aprendí a ser independiente. Tanto fue así, que no contaba siquiera con Dios. De modo que tuve que experimentar muchas situaciones que me hicieron madurar, sobre todo en Cristo.

Durante mucho tiempo viví atada a mi pasado y a mis fracasos, y no le daba la oportunidad a Dios. Entonces, al fin comprendí un día que Él es el único que da la paz que nadie es capaz de dar desde el punto de vista humano. Empecé a experimentar que Él era el que me suplía para todas mis necesidades y, además, veía su fidelidad de una manera sorprendente. Así que decidí creerle. Decidí empezar a ver las promesas que hay en la Biblia para mi vida y fue cuando en verdad Dios me hizo libre.

Quedé libre de culpas, libre de soledad, libre de envidias, libre de celos y pude declarar que vivía absolutamente feliz sola con mis hijas.

Experiméntalo tú también y te sentirás libre hoy de toda amargura del pasado. Si estás solo con tus hijos o solo en este país, piensa que Dios está contigo en todo momento. Vive feliz con lo que tienes, con los que hasta ahora te ha tocado vivir. Deja de renegar y empieza a ser agradecido.

¡Se libre!

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 BRINGS A GREATER HARVEST OF SOULS

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria…Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 

Again and again we see that in many countries, right before persecution comes, the church grows rapidly. This happened in northern Korea one hundred years ago just before the Japanese occupation and persecution.

It is helpful to remember this theme from the book of Acts: persecution does not necessarily cause church growth but church growth appears to cause persecution!

Church leaders among the many house church networks in China (the fastest growing church in the world) repeatedly share that suffering for Jesus often brings about a greater harvest of souls.

Sariman was a young student preparing himself to serve the Lord among the thirty million Sundanese of Indonesia, the largest unreached people group in the world. During a violent attack on the Bible school, Sariman was killed and many other students were wounded. Sariman bravely assisted his friends although he could have saved himself. Before his death he was tortured and other students testified how Sariman was slaughtered. He was hit with a bar of wood and iron, then hacked, stabbed and his mouth was cut from the left cheek to the right cheek.

Upon hearing yet another testimony of martyrdom, many questions arise. “Why this tragedy, Lord? How long will you allow this to continue? This is such a terrible loss for this wonderful ministry. What is the sense in all of this?”

Then the dean of the Bible school completes the testimony and indirectly answers our questions: “The victory in this tragedy is that only ten days after the murder of Sariman we had ten new applicants to study at the Bible school. Today, six months after the incident, we have ninety-eight new students who are willing to go where Sariman would have gone. The blood of the martyrs is indeed seed.”

Paul clearly warns the Church in Galatia (Galatians 5:1) to stand firm in the midst of freedom. Freedom is not a time to relax. Freedom often creates a new kind of slavery. There is a price tag attached to freedom and we need to count the cost. It is time to open our hearts to the valuable lessons that we can learn from those that follow Christ in restricted countries—even to their death.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept the biblical teaching and the many church growth examples that suffering often brings about a greater harvest of souls.

PRAYER: Lord, we pray today for Your fast-growing suffering churches around the world. May they be encouraged as they see many more souls added to Your kingdom.

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

Girlfriends in God - You’re More Than a Cleaned-Up Version of Your Old Self


Today’s Truth

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17, niv).

Friend to Friend

Most Christians see their conversion as a cleaned-up version of their old self, rather than as a brand new creation who did not exist before. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old is gone, not just spiffied up.

After high school I went to college where I met and married an awesome Christian man whom I met at a friend’s Bible study. I saw him sitting on the floor with his back against the wall and his red flannel shirt rolled up his masculine arms. He had a worn Bible in his lap and an easy smile on his face. Before the year was up, I became his wife. About four years later, I became a mom.

Life was good, except for this termite-like gnawing in my gut that I just didn’t quite measure up to all the other church moms with their smiling faces. I went to Bible studies and even taught a few. However, I walked around with the fear that one day I would be found out—that one day folks would figure out that I wasn’t all that I was cracked up to be. I lived under an undefined self-imposed standard of approval.

Childhood echoes of “you’re so ugly” and “what’s wrong with you?” and “you did a terrible job” left me feeling congenitally flawed. I sat in Bible study groups like someone in a hospital waiting room: hoping for the best but expecting the worst. My greatest fear was that I’d be no closer to being free of the insecurity than I was before the study began.

When I was in my mid-thirties, I sat under the teaching of an older woman in my church, Mary Marshal Young. She opened my eyes to the truths in Scripture about who I was, what I had, and where I was (my position) as a child of God. I had read those verses scattered throughout Scripture before, but when she encouraged me to cluster them altogether into one list, God began a new work in my heart.

You are a saint.

You are chosen and dearly loved.

You are holy.

These truths were right there on the pages of my Bible in black and white and a few in red. I knew it was the infallible Word of God, but I felt rather squeamish hearing them, reading them, believing them.

They didn’t feel right.

They didn’t sound right.

They made me downright uncomfortable.

At the same time I was studying about my true identity, the devil taunted me with lies. Who do you think you are? A saint? Are you kidding? This stuff might be true for some people, but it certainly is not true about you.

One day God asked me an important question—one that He is asking you right now. Who are you going to believe?

That’s what I’m asking you today. Who are you going to believe?

When I decided to believe God…that changed everything. I believe it will do the same for you.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing me! Help me to believe that I am who You say I am, even when I don’t feel like it. I am standing on the truth of Your Word with shaky legs, but I’m standing all the same.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

Do you have echoes of the past that taunt you? Lies from the enemy that tease you?

Here’s the plan for changing the way you think:
  1. Recognize the lie.
  2. Reject the lie.
  3. Replace the lie with truth.
Think of one lie that you believe about yourself, and then write down the verse about how God sees you to replace that lie.

More From the Girlfriends

To learn more about how to recognize the lies, reject the lies, and replace the lies with truth, check out my book, I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. It will transform your stinkin thinkin into confident joy! It also includes a Bible Study guide, which is perfect for group studies. And for a quick reference guide of Your True Identity in Christ, see my laminated card that fits snuggly in your Bible.


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


LHM Daily Devotion - "Showing Respect"

February 28, 2017

And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."  - Revelation 7:11-12 (ESV)

Respect, that's a word and a concept, which has fallen out of favor.

Respect. Watch the evening news and keep tabs on what you see. Almost always the reports will begin with a lack of respect. There's the video footage of a mangled car where someone decided to disrespect the railroad crossing's flashing lights, ringing bells, and descending crossbuck barriers. There is also the story of the latest terrorist bombing where some religious fanatic has decided that his point of view is so important that he has a mandate to disrespect and destroy the lives of innocent men, women and children.

Those tragedies have one thing in common. They are all accounts that show no respect.

Most of our Daily Devotions folk will not argue when I suggest that today respect is in serious and short supply. Most of us remember President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was crippled by polio. No matter what you think of him as a leader, it must be conceded that he waged a heroic fight against that disease.

The media of his day respected that battle.

Although Roosevelt served as president longer than any other man, and was unable to walk, unaided during that entire time, there are only two known pictures of him in a wheelchair. Today, let a leader fall, become sick, or stumble in a speech, and a disrespectful press will gleefully gloat and splash the story across its front pages. It will suggest we judge that entire individual on the basis of that slip or stumble.

I imagine it's not the first time in history that respect hasn't, well, been respected. Here's what an observer of society once said: "... our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority -- they show disrespect for their elders and love to chatter in places of exercise .... Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households."

Do you agree? Well, that was said by Socrates, the Athenian philosopher. He said those words almost 2,500 years ago. You see, lack of respect is nothing new. In fact, if you think about it, when Adam and Eve decided they knew better than God and ate the forbidden fruit, that choice was motivated by a lack of respect.

In contrast to those who elevate themselves, Christians should be different.

Because of the Savior's sacrifice, because we have been moved from darkness to light, because we have been forgiven, restored and redeemed, we should always show respect to the Lord. We ought to join our voices with those who stand before the heavenly throne and say, "Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord when I speak Your Name, may it be done with honor and respect. May all around me know the gratitude I have for all You have done for me. This I ask in my Redeemer's Name. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional - Comprendo

28 de Febrero 2017

¡Alabado sea Dios en su templo! ¡Alabado sea en la majestad del firmamento!... ¡Alabado sea el Señor al son de trompetas! ¡Alabado sea el Señor con salterio y arpa! ¡Alabado sea al ritmo del pandero! ¡Alabado sea con flautas e instrumentos de cuerda! ¡Alabado sea con campanillas sonoras! ¡Alabado sea con campanillas jubilosas! ¡Que todo lo que respira alabe al Señor! ¡Aleluya! Salmo 150:1,3-6 (RVC)

He asistido a muchas recepciones de bodas y he escuchado toda clase de bandas. Desde las más populares hasta las más sofisticadas; bandas de rock, bandas de polca, grandes bandas como en los viejos tiempos, mini-orquestas, e incluso una banda escocesa con gaitas.

Algunas fueron realmente buenas; otras, casi una tortura. Sin embargo, por más malas que fueran, no las trataría como recientemente fue tratada una en una boda en Afganistán.

Con el transcurrir de los años, el Talibán ha demostrado no sentirse cómodo con los oficiales del gobierno, la policía, las tropas extranjeras y las escuelas para niñas. Y luego también agregaron a su lista a las bandas que tocan en las bodas.

Esta vez no mataron a los miembros de la banda, pero sí destruyeron sus instrumentos musicales, golpearon a cinco músicos, los ataron a árboles, les afeitaron la cabeza y les hicieron prometer públicamente nunca más cantar o tocar música en ninguna boda.

Esto no se debió a la mala aptitud de los músicos, sino que el Talibán cree que la música no es islámica.

Qué contraste con las palabras de ánimo del Salmista. En lugar de censurar la música, el Dios Trino la recibe alegremente.

¡Alabado sea el Señor con trompetas! ¡Alabado sea el Señor con arpa, pandero, flautas, con campanillas sonoras y jubilosas!

Y para dejar por seguro que todos están incluidos, el Salmo como que dice: 'Si puedes respirar, más te vale alabar al Señor'.

Lo que diferencia a los cristianos de los seguidores de otras religiones, es la convicción de que no hay necesidad de hacer buenas obras para ser salvos. Nosotros, que hemos sido redimidos gracias a la obra del Salvador; que hemos sido aceptados en la familia de fe; que hemos sido salvados del infierno y llevados al cielo, tenemos una muy buena razón para alabar al Señor.

ORACIÓN: Amado Padre celestial, gracias por enviar a tu Hijo en mi lugar para salvarme, y gracias también por la obra del Espíritu Santo, quien me ha dado la fe y me mantiene firme en ella. Ayúdame a que siempre te esté agradecido por tu continua misericordia. En 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 - A Chuckle in the Darkness

Read: John 11:17–27 | Bible in a Year: Numbers 20–22; Mark 7:1–13

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

In a Washington Post article titled “Tech Titans’ Latest Project: Defy Death,” Ariana Cha wrote about the efforts of Peter Thiele and other tech moguls to extend human life indefinitely. They’re prepared to spend billions on the project.

They are a little late. Death has already been defeated! Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25–26). Jesus assures us that those who put their trust in Him will never, ever, under any circumstances whatever, die.

To be clear, our bodies will die—and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. But the thinking, reasoning, remembering, loving, adventuring part of us that we call “me, myself, and I” will never, ever die.

And here’s the best part: It’s a gift! All you have to do is receive the salvation Jesus offers. C. S. Lewis, musing on this notion, describes it as something like “a chuckle in the darkness”—the sense that something that simple is the answer.

Some say, “It’s too simple.” Well, I say, if God loved you even before you were born and wants you to live with Him forever, why would He make it hard?

Dear Jesus, I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I want to accept You as my Lord and Savior and follow You. Please forgive my sins and help me, from this moment on, to live a life that is pleasing to You.

Christ has replaced the dark door of death with the shining gate of life.


© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Tiếng Cười Thầm Trong Bóng Đêm

Đọc: Giăng 11:17-27 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Dân số ký 20-22; Mác 7:1-13

Vì Đức Chúa Trời yêu thương thế gian đến nỗi đã ban Con Một của Ngài, hầu cho hễ ai tin Con ấy không bị hư mất mà được sự sống đời đời. (Giăng 3:16)

Trong bài báo “Dự án Mới nhất của Những Gã Khổng Lồ Công Nghệ: Thách Thức Cái Chết” của tờ Washington Post, Ariana Cha viết về những nỗ lực giúp con người trường thọ của Peter Thiele và những gã khổng lồ công nghệ khác. Họ chuẩn bị bỏ hàng tỉ đô-la vào dự án này.

Nhưng họ làm hơi trễ một chút vì sự chết đã bị đánh bại rồi! Chúa Jêsus nói: “Ta là sự sống lại và sự sống. Người nào tin Ta thì sẽ sống, mặc dù đã chết rồi. Còn ai sống mà tin Ta thì sẽ không bao giờ chết” (Giăng 11:25-26). Chúa Jêsus đảm bảo với chúng ta rằng những ai đặt lòng tin nơi Ngài sẽ không bao giờ và không hề chết dưới bất cứ hoàn cảnh nào.

Nói rõ hơn là, thân thể của chúng ta rồi sẽ chết đi – và không ai có thể thay đổi sự thật này. Nhưng phần suy nghĩ, lập luận, nhớ thương và phiêu lưu mà chúng ta gọi là “tôi, chính tôi” thì sẽ không bao giờ và không hề chết đi.

Và đây là tin tốt lành nhất: Đó là một tặng phẩm! Tất cả những gì chúng ta cần làm là tiếp nhận ơn cứu chuộc Chúa Jêsus ban cho. Suy ngẫm về ý niệm này, C. S. Lewis đã mô tả nó như thể một “tiếng cười thầm trong đêm” – ý muốn nói một điều gì đó hết sức giản đơn nhưng lại chính là lời giải đáp.

Một số người nói rằng: “Sao đơn giản thế!” Tôi nói, nếu Đức Chúa Trời yêu bạn ngay từ trước khi bạn sinh ra và muốn bạn sống với Ngài mãi mãi, thì tại sao Chúa lại phải làm cho nó trở nên khó khăn và phức tạp?

Lạy Chúa Jêsus yêu quý, con tin Ngài đã chết vì tội lỗi của con và đã sống lại từ kẻ chết. Con muốn tiếp nhận Ngài làm chủ và làm Đấng Cứu Chuộc con và con xin đi theo Ngài. Xin tha tội cho con và giúp con, từ giờ phút này trở đi, sống cuộc đời làm vui lòng Ngài.

Đấng Christ đã thay cánh cửa tối tăm của sự chết bằng cổng sự sống ngập tràn ánh sáng.


© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Una risita en la oscuridad

Leer: Juan 11:17-27 | La Biblia en un año: Mr 7:1-13

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree […] tenga vida eterna (Juan 3:16).

Un artículo del Washington Post, titulado «Último proyecto de los titanes de la tecnología: Desafío a la muerte», hablaba de los esfuerzos de Peter Thiele y otros magnates tecnológicos por extender la vida indefinidamente. Están dispuestos a gastar millones en ese proyecto.

Llegaron un poco tarde. ¡La muerte ya fue vencida! Jesús declaró: «Yo soy la resurrección y la vida; el que cree en mí, aunque esté muerto, vivirá. Y todo aquel que vive y cree en mí, no morirá eternamente» (Juan 11:25-26). Todos los que ponen su fe en Él nunca jamás morirán.

Para ser claros, nuestros cuerpos morirán; y no hay nada que se pueda hacer para cambiar esta realidad. Pero el pensamiento, el razonamiento, el sentimiento y toda la parte inmaterial de nuestro ser —lo que llamamos el «yo»— nunca morirá.

Y esto es lo mejor de todo: ¡es un regalo! Lo único que tienes que hacer es recibir la salvación que ofrece Jesús. C. S. Lewis, reflexionando en esto, lo describe como una especie de «risita en la oscuridad»: una sensación de que la respuesta es algo sumamente sencillo.

Algunos dicen: «Es demasiado sencillo». A lo que yo respondo: «Está bien. Pero si Dios te amaba antes de que nacieras y quiere que vivas con Él para siempre, ¿por qué iba a hacerlo difícil?».

Señor Jesús, perdona mis pecados. Te acepto como mi Salvador.

Cristo reemplazó la puerta oscura de la muerte con el portal radiante de la vida.


Unser Täglich Brot - Geschenkt!

Lesen: Johannes 11,17-27 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 4.Mose 20–22; Markus 7,1-13

Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, dass er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab, damit alle, die an ihn glauben, nicht verloren werden, sondern das ewige Leben haben. Johannes 3,16

„Das neueste Projekt der Techniktitanen: Den Tod besiegen“, so lautete vor einiger Zeit die Überschrift über einem Zeitungsartikel, in dem es um die Bestrebungen von Peter Thiel und anderen Größen aus dem Silicon Valley ging, das Leben ins Unendliche zu verlängern. Für ihre Projekte sind sie bereit, Milliarden zu investieren.

Aber sie kommen etwas spät. Der Tod ist schon besiegt! Jesus hat gesagt: „Ich bin die Auferstehung und das Leben. Wer an mich glaubt, der wird leben, auch wenn er stirbt; und wer da lebt und glaubt an mich, der wird nimmermehr sterben“ (Joh. 11,25-26). Jesus versichert uns, dass jeder, der auf ihn vertraut, niemals und unter keinen Umständen sterben wird.

Sicher, unser Körper wird sterben, und daran kann niemand etwas ändern. Aber der Teil von uns, der denkt, überlegt, erinnert, liebt, das Abenteuer sucht—der Teil, den wir „ich, meiner, mir, mich“ nennen—der stirbt nie.

Und was das Beste ist: Das ist ein Geschenk! Wir müssen nur die Erlösung annehmen, die Jesus uns anbietet—so einfach ist das!

Manche sagen: „Zu einfach.“ Darauf erwidere ich: Wenn Gott dich schon geliebt hat, ehe du geboren wurdest, und möchte, dass du ewig mit ihm zusammenlebst, wieso sollte er es dann schwieriger machen?

Lieber Herr Jesus, ich glaube, dass du für meine Sünden gestorben und von den Toten auferstanden bist. Ich möchte dich als meinen Herrn und Erlöser annehmen und dir folgen. Bitte vergib meine Sünde und hilf mir, von jetzt an so zu leben, wie es dir gefällt.

Jesus hat die dunkle Tür des Todes weggenommen und durch das leuchtende Tor des Lebens ersetzt.


© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un rire dans l’obscurité

Lisez : Jean 11.17‑27 | La Bible en un an : Nombres 20 – 22 et Marc 7.1-13

Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu’il a donné son Fils unique, afin que quiconque croit en lui ne périsse point, mais qu’il ait la vie éternelle. (Jean 3.16)

Dans un article du Washington Post intitulé « Tech Titans’ Latest Project : Defy Death » (Le tout récent projet de géants de la technologie : défier la mort), Ariana Cha a décrit les efforts que fournissent Peter Thiele et d’autres manitous de la technologie dans le but de prolonger indéfiniment la vie. Or, ils sont prêts à y investir des milliards de dollars.

Ils arrivent toutefois un peu en retard. La mort a déjà été vaincue ! Ce fait, Jésus l’affirme ainsi : « Je suis la résurrection et la vie. Celui qui croit en moi vivra, quand même il serait mort ; et quiconque vit et croit en moi ne mourra jamais » (JN 11.25,26). Jésus nous assure que ceux qui mettent leur foi en lui ne mourront jamais, au grand jamais, et sous aucun prétexte.

Pour dire les choses clairement, sachez que notre corps mourra – et il n’y a rien que nous puissions y changer –, mais la pensée, la raison, le souvenir, l’amour et le sens de l’aventure qui nous animent et que nous appelons « le je, le moi et le moi‑même » ne mourront jamais.

Et voici le meilleur de tout : il s’agit d’un cadeau ! Tout ce que vous avez à faire, c’est de recevoir le salut que Jésus vous offre. En méditant cette notion, C. S. Lewis l’a comparée à « un rire dans l’obscurité », à la découverte qu’une chose aussi simple en est la réponse.

À ceux qui prétendent que « c’est trop simple », je dis ceci : Si Dieu nous a aimés avant même notre naissance et qu’il désire que nous vivions avec lui pour toujours, pourquoi nous rendrait‑il la chose difficile ?

Christ a troqué l’ombre de la mort contre l’éclat de la vie.


Хліб Наш Насущній - Сміх у темряві

Читати: Івана 11:17-27 | Біблія за рік: Числа 20–22 ; Марка 7:1-13

Так бо Бог полюбив світ, що дав Сина Свого Однородженого, щоб кожен, хто вірує в Нього, не згинув, але мав життя вічне. — Івана 3:16

У газеті “Вашингтон Пост” з’явилась стаття під заголовком “Виклик смерті: новітній проект технологічних титанів”. В ній журналістка Аріана Ча розповідає про великі спроби Пітера Тля та інших магнатів збільшити тривалість людського життя до нескінченності. Вони готові були витратити на цей проект мільярди доларів.

Але вони трішки спізнились. Смерть вже давно переможена! Ісус сказав: “Я воскресення й життя. Хто вірує в Мене, хоч і вмре, буде жити. І кожен, хто живе та хто вірує в Мене, повіки не вмре” (Ів. 11:25-26).

Треба, однак, дещо прояснити: наші тіла помруть – і ніщо цього не змінить. Але ніколи не помре та частка нашого єства, що мислить, міркує, пам’ятає, любить. Йдеться про найбільш важливу складову нашої природи – про те, що ми називаємо “я”.

А тепер найголовніше: таке життя – Божий дар! Все, що потрібно для отримання цього дарунка, – просто прийняти спасіння, що його пропонує Ісус. Клайв Льюїс, розважаючи про цю духовну істину, порівнює дар спасіння зі “сміхом у темряві”, тобто з чимось таким, на що дуже легко відреагувати, відповісти. “Це занадто просто”, – скаже хто-небудь. Саме так. Бог дуже сильно полюбив нас ще до нашого народження і бажає, щоб ми перебували з Ним вічно.

Дорогий Ісусе, я вірю, що Ти вмер за мої гріхи і повстав із мертвих. Я хочу прийняти Тебе як свого Господа і Спасителя – і слідувати за Тобою. Прости, будь ласка, мої гріхи і допоможи мені, починаючи з цього моменту, жити життям угодним Тобі.

Христос замінив чорні двері смерті на сяючу браму життя.


© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Смех во тьме

Читать сейчас: Иоанна 11:17-27 | Библия за год: Числа 20-22; Марка 7:1-13

Ибо так возлюбил Бог мир, что отдал Сына Своего Единородного, чтобы всякий, верующий в Него, не погиб, но имел жизнь вечную. — Иоанна 3:16

В газете «Вашингтон пост» появилась статья под названием «Брось вызов смерти: последний проект Технических Титанов». Журналистка Ариана Ча пишет об усилиях, предпринимаемых Питером Тьелем и другими научными гениями, по продлению человеческой жизни на неопределенный срок. В свой проект они готовы вложить миллиарды.

Впрочем, эти ученые немного опоздали. Смерть уже побеждена! Иисус Христос сказал: «Я есмь воскресение и жизнь; верующий в Меня, если и умрет, оживет. И всякий, живущий и верующий в Меня, не умрет вовек» (Ин. 11:25-26). Господь заверяет нас, что верующие в Него никогда и ни при каких обстоятельствах не умрут.

Говоря точнее, наши тела прекратят существование, и никто ничего с этим не поделает. Но способность мыслить, рассуждать, помнить и любить, та часть, которую мы называем «я», никогда не умрет. А вот самое главное: все это дается даром! Все, что нужно, – это принять спасение в Иисусе Христе. Клайв Льюис, размышляя об этом, употребляет интересное выражение: «смех во тьме». Это значит, что выход из отчаянного положения оказался на удивление простым.

Кто-нибудь может сказать: «Это чересчур просто». Что ж, на это я могу сказать: если Бог возлюбил вас еще прежде вашего рождения и захотел, чтобы вы жили с Ним вечно, то зачем Ему было делать это сложным?

Иисус Христос, я верю, что Ты умер за мои грехи и воскрес из мертвых. Я хочу принять Тебя своим Господом и Спасителем и следовать за Тобой. Прости меня и помоги жить так, как хочешь Ты.

Христос сменил мрачную дверь смерти на сияющие врата жизни.


© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный