Monday, March 13, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, March 13, 2017

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Jeremiah 1:11-19

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" And I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree." Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it." The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see a boiling pot, tilted away from the north." Then the LORD said to me: Out of the north disaster shall break out on all the inhabitants of the land. For now I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, says the LORD; and they shall come and all of them shall set their thrones at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its surrounding walls and against all the cities of Judah. And I will utter my judgments against them, for all their wickedness in forsaking me; they have made offerings to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. But you, gird up your loins; stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not break down before them, or I will break you before them. And I for my part have made you today a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall, against the whole land-- against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Romans 1:1-15

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God's will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-- or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish -- hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in John 4:27-42
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or, "Why are you speaking with her?" Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor." Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world."

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 - March 12, 2017

Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Read all of Romans 8

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

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "The Decision Everyone Must Make"

Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?"
Matthew 27:22 (NKJV)

Indecision is something we all experience. What should I wear? What should I do in this situation? Sometimes indecision has significant consequences, and sometimes it doesn’t.

When you’re indecisive, you try to live in two worlds. You try to appease everyone. That’s what Pontius Pilate tried to do. And in Matthew 27, we see how his indecision led to the most significant of consequences. He wanted other people to be pleased with his decision. He wanted everyone to get along. As a result, he was unwilling to decide what was really right.

Pilate didn’t realize what was actually happening. In reality, it was not Jesus standing before Pilate; it was Pilate standing before Jesus. Pilate was on trial, and he missed a golden opportunity to believe, a golden opportunity to trust in this One who had come to die for all humanity.

Pilate had to decide for himself and answer a question that everyone eventually must come to grips with: “What then shall I do with Jesus?”

He heard many voices that day. He heard the voice of the multitude saying, “Let Him be crucified!” He heard the voice of his wife saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man.” He surely must have heard the voice of his own conscience attesting to the innocence of Jesus. And he heard the voice of Jesus Himself. Sadly, Pilate listened to the wrong voice. It was a decision he no doubt regretted for the rest of his life.

Every one of us must come to grips with what we will do with Jesus. Yet, like Pilate, so many people let others do their thinking for them. They let others make their decision for them. And in the end, they pay with everything. I hope you won’t let that happen to you.

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 © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.

Un Dia a la Vez - ¿Por qué terminar en crisis?

Aunque un ejército acampe contra mí, no temerá mi corazón; aunque contra mí se levante guerra, yo estaré confiado.
Salmo 27:3 (RV-60)

Sé que es muy común escuchar que personas atormentadas por sus problemas, por situaciones desesperantes de economía, celos, por estar ilegal en este país, y muchas otras situaciones que tú y yo conocemos, llegan a un punto tal de crisis que hasta quieren dejar de existir. A menudo, prefieren huir de sus problemas desahogándose en el alcohol o las drogas y no afrontan una realidad dolorosa. Aun así, esta manera de escapar de la realidad es temporal, pues no podrás estar siempre drogado ni tomado. Vas a tener momentos de lucidez, donde estarán presentes de nuevo esas preocupaciones.

Es lamentable, pero muchos llegan a la decisión más cobarde, y valiente a la vez, de quitarse la vida. Entonces, ¿qué pasa cuando escuchamos que alguien con mucho dinero, propiedades, trabajo, fama y todo lo que al parecer llena a un ser humano también entró en crisis y siguiendo el mismo cuadro anterior también termina quitándose la vida?

La gran conclusión es que no importa el dinero que tengas, ni los títulos universitarios, ni las posiciones en un trabajo, ni la familia, ni la mucha fama. Si no tienes a Dios en tu corazón por medio de Jesucristo, siempre estarás buscando cómo llenar ese vacío.

No permitas que la crisis se plante en tu vida. Sin duda, llegarán tormentas y problemas.

Sentirás que no puedes más, pero cuando pones tu mirada en Dios y le entregas toda esa carga pesada, empezarás a sentir un alivio, un descanso, y verás que ya no estás solo.

Si has tenido este tipo de situaciones, pídele perdón a Dios y sigue adelante.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón. Versión Reina-Valera 1960 © Sociedades Bíblicas en América Latina, 1960. Renovado © Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas, 1988.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - CHOOSE TO FOLLOW JESUS

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Mark 8:34 (NIV)

They stood out like lighthouse beacons. We spotted them while walking through the tables of artisan wares in old Havana. Two oil painting portraits side-by-side propped in front of the table. Portraits of two famous revolutionaries: Che Guevarra and Jesus Christ.

The Cuban people are well acquainted with Che. The Argentina-born socialist revolutionary joined Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution of 1959. Fidel made him Minister of the Interior for the first five years. Then Che disappeared only to surface in Bolivia where he was captured and executed. Cuba has made him out to be a martyr for the revolution. His face and sayings are even more wide-spread in the country than Fidel’s.

Jesus is also becoming well-known in Cuba due to revival that has swept the island since the late 1980’s.

These two portraits depict the major choices for most people today. One revolutionary says, “Follow me and I will make you a liberator of men—teach them how to fight!” The other says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men—teach them how to really live!”

One revolutionary says, “Follow me and USE your life for the sake of the revolution!” The other says, “Follow me and LOSE your life for my sake and the gospel’s (and you will find it)!”

The one says “Follow me and we will build a utopia on earth!” Jesus says, “Follow me and we will build the kingdom of God on earth (and the world will be a better place)!”

Those who have chosen to follow Jesus in Cuba are making a significant impact for the Lord. I met a twenty-three-year-old Cuban young lady who is a committed follower of Jesus. She ministers to four churches in the mountains where no male graduate from the seminary is willing to serve. The one mountain-top church we visited with her required forty-seven crossings of the winding mountain river in climbing the eight kilometers distance. In rainy season the mud is up to her knees.

I asked her what the last message was she had shared with believers. She replied, “Take up your cross and follow me!”

We also saw a young male evangelist en route to a meeting point which would take him seven hours to walk. That’s commitment!

Today Jesus is also calling you and me to truly follow Him. It may mean leaving behind our favorite time-waster and our comfort zones. But Jesus promises his personal presence and his abundant blessing. It’s an adventure like no other. If you listen carefully, you can hear his voice right where you are this moment. He’s saying, “Follow me!”

RESPONSE: Today I choose to follow Jesus, regardless of the cost.

PRAYER: Lord, may Your call on my life ever draw me closer to You and Your kingdom.

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 - Rahab

Her name means: "Storm," "Arrogance," "Broad," or "Spacious"

Her character: Rahab was both clever and wise. She saw judgment coming and was able to devise an escape plan for herself and her family. As soon as she heard what God had done for the Israelites, she cast her lot with his people, risking her life in an act of faith.
Her sorrow: To see her own people destroyed and her city demolished.
Her joy: That God had given her, an idolater and prostitute, the opportunity to know him and belong to his people.
Key Scriptures: Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25 

Her Story

Jericho may be the world's oldest city. Established nearly six thousand years before Miriam and Moses completed their desert wanderings, its ancient ruins can be found just seventeen miles northeast of Jerusalem. Gateway to Canaan, it was also the home of a prostitute named Rahab, whose house nestled snugly into its thick surrounding walls.

As well as entertaining locals, Rahab welcomed guests from various caravans whose routes crisscrossed Jericho. Men from all over the East brought news of a swarm of people encamped east of the Jordan. Rahab heard marvelous stories about the exploits of the God of the Israelites—how he had dried up the Red Sea so they could escape their Egyptian slave masters, and how he had given them victory in battle against Sihon and Og, two kings of the Amorites. For forty years the God of the Israelites had trained and toughened them in the desert. Such rumors spread fear in Jericho.

While men talked, another man planned. Moses was dead, and Joshua, son of Nun, had been appointed leader of the Israelites. Nearly forty years earlier Joshua had spied out the land along with Caleb and a group of others, urging the Israelites to take hold of the land of promise. This time there would be no shrinking back. Once the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and destroyed Jericho, the land would open like a melon with the rind peeled back. He could taste the victory.

Joshua sent two spies to Jericho to probe its secrets. The spies soon made their way to Rahab's house, where she hid them beneath stalks of flax drying on the roof. Later that day, Rahab received a message from the king of Jericho, asking her about the spies who had taken refuge in her house.

"Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from," she lied to the king's messenger. "At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them."

As soon as the king's men left, she hurried to the roof, quickly warning her two guests: "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us…. The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death."

To this remarkable statement of faith, the men replied: "Our lives for your lives!" thus sealing the bargain.

Quickly, the two spies handed Rahab a scarlet cord, instructing her to tie it in the window on the side of the house built into the city wall. The invading Israelites would see it and spare everyone inside. Then Rahab instructed the men to hide themselves in the hills for three days until their pursuers abandoned the chase. With that, they slipped out the window and scrambled down the walls of Jericho.

Joshua was smiling long after the spies had left him with their good report. Now was the time to move. He marshaled the people and led them across the Jordan. Though the river was at flood stage, a massive army of Israelites crossed on dry ground. God was with them just as he had been when they left Egypt. Only this time, no one was chasing them—Israel had become the pursuing army, ready for battle!

The news that the waters of the River Jordan had parted for the Israelites terrified the inhabitants of Jericho. Rahab watched anxiously from her window in the wall as the Israelites gathered around the city like a growing storm. Would these fierce warriors with their powerful God remember the scarlet cord? For the thousandth time she reminded her family, especially the little ones, not to take even one step outside the house, lest they perish.

That first day Rahab watched as seven priests carrying an ark led thousands of men around the city. She braced herself, but nothing happened. The next day and the next, for five more days it continued. Then, as the sun was rising on the seventh day, the men of Israel marched again, encircling Jericho seven times. Suddenly, she heard the ram's horn sound and then a thunderous cry, loud enough to split a mountain. The city walls shattered and the Israelites rushed in. Rahab tried to plug her ears to the mayhem outside her home. When the battle of Jericho was over, Rahab and those she loved were spared. Her faith had saved not only herself but her entire household from the terrible judgment decreed for her city.

Jericho's end reminds us of Sodom's. In Sodom, Lot and his daughters were spared; in Jericho, it was Rahab and her family who were spared. But unlike Lot or his wife, Rahab never once hesitated. She is the only woman singled out by name and commended for her faith as part of the great "cloud of witnesses" mentioned in the book of Hebrews. A prostitute living in the midst of an idolatrous people, Rahab was like a brand plucked from the fire. Her own people destroyed, she left everything behind, becoming an ancestor of King David and, therefore, one of Jesus' ancestors as well.

Rahab's story is a dramatic one. It shows us that God's grace accepts no boundaries. The red cord that saved Rahab and her family reminds us of the red blood of Jesus, who still saves us today, and of Isaiah's words, that "though your sins may be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Rahab put her faith in the God of Israel and was not disappointed.

Her Promise

The story of Rahab reveals again God's willingness to use the less than perfect, the outcast, what we might see as the unsuitable to accomplish his holy purposes. Throughout Scripture, with what can almost be seen as divine humor, God chooses a stutterer to speak for him (Moses), an infertile woman to be the mother of a nation (Sarah), a weakling to defend him (Gideon), a forgettable youngest son to be the most unforgettable king of his people (David), an unknown youngster to be the mother of his son (Mary), and a persecutor to take the gospel to the nations (Paul).

God doesn't wait for us to become spotlessly clean or totally mature in our faith in order to use us. Instead, he takes ordinary, willing people and accomplishes the extraordinary, both in their lives and in the lives of those around them. As he did with Rahab, he promises to use us, and through that experience to perfect us.

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 - What Redemption Requires

Today’s Truth

For I know that my Redeemer lives. (Job 19:25a, NIV)

Friend to Friend

God’s grace can restore any life.

In the beginning, the moment that rebellion collided with perfection and invaded the hearts of humanity, God set in motion a plan of redemption. His plan was Jesus – the one who gives beauty for ashes, comfort for mourning, and freedom to the shackled.

Scripture introduces us to a guy who experienced God’s redemption in deep ways. His name was Job. Job was a good man. I mean a really good man. No joke – the Bible says so! This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1b) He lived life the right way. He honored God, loved his family and was both faithful and patient. Good man.

 You’d think that because Job was such a stand out guy that he’d pretty much have a cake life, right? SO not right. Let me just say this: good-guy-Job went through some stuff. We are talking major big-league stuff.

He had it all and then lost it all: his children, his wealth and his health. Gone. In a blink.

Don’t just skim over that last sentence. This man lost his children. They died.

All ten of them… at the same time.

I can’t even fathom the thought of losing one of my children, let alone all of my children.

Job knew broken on levels that most of us will never come close to knowing. He knew ashes. He knew mourning. He knew darkness. He knew weary.

On the front end of the pain He had faith. Big faith. He gave God the benefit of the doubt. He held on to his integrity, accepted his circumstances and blessed the name of the LORD in spite of the horror he endured. And he worshiped! Can you believe he worshiped?

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
(Job 1:20b-22)

Job went through loss after loss, test after test and friend-with-bad-advice after friend-with-bad-advice who spoke condemnation instead of comfort. All that and his wife wanted him to “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9b) Nice. Isn’t it amazing how some people can say careless things and completely misrepresent the heart of God in times of struggle? Oh, friend… let us be women who are quick to comfort and slow to speak advice.

Stepping down from my soap box…

Job was in anguish. (Job 6:2, 7:11) Understandable! He wanted to die because the pain was so unrelenting. (Job 6:9-10) He called out to God and asked Him to reveal where he had gone wrong. Then he repented of the sins that he knew he had committed.

He lamented. Stomped his feet a bit. Got a smidge sassy and frustrated with God. And he wondered if God even cared. Then God answered his complaints, corrected his heart, and set the wheels in motion for one of the most amazing shows of redemption the world has ever seen.

God shined light into his darkness – spoke gladness to his mourning – and brought beauty to his ashes. He redeemed Job’s life from the dark pit of broken. After which Job humbly and whole-heartedly worshiped the Lord. Following the healing, however, he worshiped God as his Redeemer. He was the first in Scripture to ever call God his Redeemer. For I know that my Redeemer lives. (Job 19:25)

God also names Himself our Redeemer in Scripture! Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Isaiah 60:16b)

God is all about redemption.

God’s love for humanity runs deeper than the deepest recesses of our depravity. His love runs farther than your past – higher than your disappointments – wider than your heart wounds and deeper than a cavernous pit of depression. God’s plan of redemption is for every person – no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve been through, no matter what you’ve done.

But, alas, there’s a catch. There’s always a catch, right? The catch is: it has to be personal.

His grace is for every one of us, but each of us must accept or reject God’s redemption plan by accepting or rejecting his Son, Jesus Christ. Redemption begins and ends with Jesus. For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NLT)

Have you made redemption personal with God?

Whether you’re at work, at home, at the hospital, or in a jail cell. He’s whispering, “Be still.” Whether you are struggling with life strains or are in a season of reprieve. “Be still.” Whether you have a house full of crazy-noise or an apartment filled with ordered-quiet. “Be still.” Whether the diagnosis is cancer or the sting of betrayal is fresh – whether the hope you cling to resounds or you are weary and unsettled: BE STILL.

Know that He is God.
Know that He is good.
Accept that He is able and willing to exchange beauty for your ashes.
Call out to Him as your Redeemer.
Confess your mess before Him.
Consider His love.

Then… in the stillness … respond from your heart.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, My Redeemer, I’m here. I’m still. Please reveal anything in my heart that needs restoring. (Pause to listen and reflect.) I confess these sins to You: ________________ and I ask that You remove them as far as the east is from the west. Thanks for restoring me with Your grace.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and pray through Psalm 25.

Be still before Him.

More From The Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is adapted from Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc.

TWO DAY GIVEAWAY: Get a FREE copy of Gwen’s Uncluttered CD when you purchase the Girlfriends in God book, Knowing God by Name today or tomorrow. ONLY from the store at

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relationship with Jesus Christ.

LHM Daily Devotion - "I'm Not Washing"

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"I'm Not Washing"

March 13, 2017

The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first wash before dinner (Luke 11:38, ESV).

Read Luke 11:37-54

Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. One Sabbath He stops to teach in a synagogue. After the service a Pharisee invites Him to share His morning meal. Before they eat, the Pharisee and his other guests carefully wash their hands, according to Jewish traditions. They believe eating with unwashed hands would contaminate the food which, in turn, made the body unclean in God's eyes.

It was time for Jesus to confront that error. Knowing all humans are contaminated by the sinful nature they receive from their parents and not from eating unclean food, Jesus refuses to wash His hands. His host is astonished, but Jesus refuses to back down.

He then starts blasting the traditions they trust to earn their way to heaven. It may seem unwise for Jesus to turn up the heat, but it is the greatest act of kindness anyone could do for them. If they keep straining to wash a little uncleanness from their hands, they will never let God remove the uncleanness and sin from their hearts, minds and souls.

This brings a complaint from the scribes. When He attacks the Pharisees, Jesus is really attacking the scribes, whose traditions the Pharisees are following. Jesus turns the heat up again. He accuses the scribes of burying God's gracious Old Testament promises beneath their traditions, which deceive people into relying on their own works rather than God's free forgiveness as given through His Son, the Messiah.

The Pharisees and scribes strenuously object. They pressure Him to speak on more things, lying in ambush, hoping He will blurt out something carelessly.

THE PRAYER:  Almighty God, Your Son Jesus made clear there is only one way into Your presence, through faith in Him. Drive from my heart and mind the lie that there are many ways. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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

Devociones de Cuaresma - Cuando Dios obra, las personas se confunden

Devociones de Cuaresma  2017

Cuando Dios obra, las personas se confunden

13 de Marzo de 2017

Jesús estaba expulsando un demonio que había dejado mudo a un hombre, y cuando el demonio salió, el mudo comenzó a hablar y la gente quedó asombrada... Otros... le pedían alguna señal del cielo. Lucas 11:14, 16, RVC (11:14-16)

Cuando estuvo en la tierra, Jesús hizo muchos milagros. Todos ellos fueron extraordinarios, porque corrigieron las distorsiones que el diablo produce en la vida de las personas. ¿Te imaginas escuchar hablar a alguien que nunca antes había hablado? Es como si un niño que sólo balbucea incoherencias, una mañana se levanta y sostiene una conversación con sus padres como si fuera un adulto. ¡Qué asombro para esos padres!

Dios todavía sigue haciendo milagros. Él sigue viendo nuestra mudez, nuestra sordera y ceguera, y nuestras deficiencias. Y, porque nos ama, obra en nosotros para modificar esas distorsiones: nos perdona para que nuestra vida pueda estar libre de culpas y temores, nos asiste con su Espíritu para despejar nuestras incertidumbres, y nos capacita para que podamos hablar libremente de su grandeza, y de lo que ha hecho por nosotros en Jesucristo. ¿No es esto asombroso?

Sí, para nosotros es asombroso, pero para otros, que no tienen el Espíritu de Dios, es desorientador. Después que Jesús expulsó al demonio e hizo hablar al mudo, algunos se asombraron y otros quedaron confundidos. ¿Por qué la confusión? ¿Por qué no celebrar la buena acción de Dios? Porque muchas personas no reconocen que Dios quiere hacerles bien porque sus expectativas respecto de Dios están torcidas. Algunas personas no quieren lo que Dios desea darles porque sus mentes y corazones apuntan a cosas superficiales y pasajeras.

¿Cómo ves los milagros de Dios en tu vida? ¿Qué esperas de Dios? Jesús nos muestra aquí que Dios está dispuesto a asombrarnos una y otra vez con su amor. Él viene a nosotros en su Palabra y en la Santa Cena para expulsar al maligno y hacernos hablar con alegría acerca del perdón, el cielo, y la vida eterna.

Gracias, Padre, porque sigues asombrándonos con tu amor. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones.  ¡U tilice estas devociones en sus boletines! Usado con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados por la Int'l LLL. Reina Valera Contemporánea (RVC) Copyright © 2009, 2011 by Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas

Our Daily Bread - Surprise Interview

Read: Acts 26:9–15 | Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 20–22; Mark 13:21–37

The King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40 nlt

On a crowded London commuter train, an early morning rider shoved and insulted a fellow passenger who got in his way. It was the kind of unfortunate and mindless moment that usually remains unresolved. But later that day, the unexpected happened. A business manager sent a quick message to his social media friends, “Guess who just showed up for a job interview.” When his explanation appeared on the Internet, people all over the world winced and smiled. Imagine walking into a job interview only to discover that the person who greets you is the one you had shoved and sworn at earlier that day.

Saul also ran into someone he never expected to see. While raging against a group called the Way (Acts 9:1–2), he was stopped in his tracks by a blinding light. Then a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (v. 4). Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The One speaking to him replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (26:15).

Years earlier Jesus had said that how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, and the prisoner reflects our relationship to Him (Matt. 25:35–36). Who would have dreamed that when someone insults us, or when we help or hurt another, the One who loves us takes it personally?

Father, forgive us for acting as if You were not present in our moments of need, hurt, anger, or compassion.

When we help or hurt one another, Jesus takes it personally.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Cuộc Phỏng Vấn Bất Ngờ

Đọc: Công vụ 26:9-15 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Phục truyền 20-22; Mác 13:21-37

Vua sẽ trả lời rằng: ‘Thật, Ta bảo các con, khi các con làm điều ấy cho một người thấp kém nhất trong những anh em nầy của Ta, tức là đã làm cho Ta.’ (Ma-thi-ơ 25:40)

Trên chiếc tàu lửa đông đúc ở Luân Đôn, một người đi xe buổi sáng sớm đã xô đẩy và sỉ nhục một hành khách khác khi bị cản đường. Hành động ngớ ngẩn và không may như thế này thường không được giải quyết. Nhưng sau đó, điều không mong đợi đã diễn ra. Một giám đốc kinh doanh gởi một tin nhắn đến những người bạn trên mạng xã hội của mình: “Hãy đoán thử ai vừa xuất hiện trong cuộc phỏng vấn xin việc”. Khi giải thích của ông xuất hiện trên internet, mọi người trên khắp thế giới giật mình mỉm cười. Hãy tưởng tượng bạn bước vào cuộc phỏng vấn xin việc và khám phá rằng người chào mừng bạn là người mà bạn đã xô đẩy và chửi rủa trước đó.

Sau-lơ cũng đã gặp một người mà ông không bao giờ mong đợi sẽ gặp. Trong lúc đang nổi giận với nhóm người gọi là người theo Đạo (Công 9:1-2), thình lình ông bị chặn lại bởi ánh sáng gây mù mắt. Rồi có tiếng phán rằng: “Hỡi Sau-lơ, Sau-lơ, sao ngươi bắt bớ Ta?” (c.4). Sau-lơ thưa: ‘Lạy Chúa, Chúa là ai?’ Chúa đáp: ‘Ta là Jêsus mà ngươi đang bắt bớ.” (26:15)

Nhiều năm trước, Chúa Jêsus đã nói rằng cách chúng ta đối xử với người đói khát, khách lạ và người bị tù sẽ phản ánh mối quan hệ của chúng ta với Ngài (Mat. 25:35-36). Ai nghĩ rằng khi ai đó làm tổn thương chúng ta, hay khi chúng ta giúp đỡ hay làm tổn thương ai, thì Chúa coi đó là làm cho Ngài?

Lạy Cha, xin tha thứ cho chúng con vì đã hành động như thể Ngài không hiện diện trong những giây phút con thiếu thốn, tổn thương, giận dữ hay bày tỏ lòng trắc ẩn.

Khi chúng ta giúp đỡ hoặc làm tổn thương nhau, Chúa Jêsus xem đó là việc chúng ta đang làm cho Ngài.

© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Entrevista sorpresiva

Leer: Hechos 26:9-15 | La Biblia en un año: Marcos 13:21-37

… De cierto os digo que en cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos más pequeños, a mí lo hicisteis (Mateo 25:40).

Una mañana, temprano, un pasajero empujó e insultó a otro que se le cruzó mientras viajaban en un tren repleto de gente en Londres. Fue esa clase de situaciones desafortunadas y sin sentido que no se resuelven. Pero, al rato, sucedió algo inesperado. El gerente de una empresa envió un breve mensaje a sus amigos en una red social: «¿Adivinen quién apareció para una entrevista de trabajo?». Su explicación hizo que gente en todo el mundo se sonriera. ¿Te imaginas ir a una entrevista de trabajo y descubrir que la persona que te recibe es la que poco antes habías insultado?

Saulo también se cruzó con alguien a quien jamás esperó ver. Mientras perseguía a un grupo llamado Camino (Hechos 9:1-2), lo hizo detener en su trayecto una luz que lo encegueció. Entonces, una voz dijo: «Saulo, Saulo, ¿por qué me persigues?» (v. 4). Saulo preguntó: «¿Quién eres, Señor? Y el Señor dijo: Yo soy Jesús, a quien tú persigues» (26:15).

Años antes, Jesús había dicho que nuestra manera de tratar a los hambrientos, los sedientos, los extranjeros y los presos refleja nuestra relación con Él (Mateo 25:35-36). ¿Quién hubiese imaginado que, cuando alguien nos insulta, o cuando nosotros ayudamos o lastimamos a otra persona, Aquel que nos ama lo toma personalmente?

Señor, perdónanos por olvidar que siempre estás presente.

Cuando ayudamos o lastimamos a alguien, Jesús lo toma personalmente.

Unser Täglich Brot - Böses Erwachen

Lesen: Apostelgeschichte 26,9-15 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 5.Mose 20–22; Markus 13,21-37

Und der König wird sagen: Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Was ihr getan habt einem von diesen meinen geringsten Brüdern, das habt ihr mir getan. Matthäus 25,40

Im überfüllten Morgenzug der Londoner U-Bahn rempelte ein Passagier einen anderen an und beschimpfte ihn. Es war ein unglücklicher, gedankenloser Moment, der meist keine weiteren Folgen nach sich zieht. Ein paar Stunden später jedoch schickte ein Geschäftsmann eine Kurznachricht an seine Freunde: „Stellt euch vor, wer gerade zum Bewerbungsgespräch hier war!“ Auf der ganzen Welt lachte man über die Geschichte und mancher war peinlich berührt. Stell dir vor, du kommst zum Bewerbungsgespräch und entdeckst, dass der Mensch, der dir gegenübersitzt, genau der ist, den du am Morgen geschubst und beschimpft hast!

Saulus begegnete auch jemandem, mit dem er nie gerechnet hätte. Während er noch gegen die Anhänger des „neuen Weges“ kämpfte und tobte (Apg. 9,1-2), wurde er vom einem blendend hellen Licht abrupt gestoppt. Dann sagte eine Stimme: „Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich?“ (V.4). „Herr, wer bist du?“, fragte Saul. Worauf die Antwort kam: „Ich bin Jesus, den du verfolgst“ (V.5).

Jahre vorher hatte Jesus gesagt, dass daran, wie wir Hungernde, Durstige, Fremde und Gefangene behandeln, deutlich wird, was für eine Beziehung wir zu ihm haben (Matth. 25,35-36). Wer hätte gedacht, dass der Eine, der uns liebt, es ganz persönlich nimmt, wenn uns jemand beleidigt oder wir einander helfen oder verletzen.

Vater, vergib uns, wo wir so tun, als wärst du nicht da in den Momenten unserer Not oder Angst, unserer Wut oder Anteilnahme nicht da.

Ob wir einander helfen oder verletzen—Jesus nimmt es ganz persönlich.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une entrevue surprise

Et le roi leur répondra : Je vous le dis en vérité, toutes les fois que vous avez fait ces choses à l’un de ces plus petits de mes frères, c’est à moi que vous les avez faites. (Matthieu 25.40)

À bord d’un métro londonien, un passager matinal a invectivé un autre passager qui lui a barré le chemin. C’était le genre d’incident malheureux et irréfléchi qui reste généralement irrésolu. Plus tard ce jour‑là, l’inattendu s’est toutefois produit. Un gestionnaire a envoyé un mot à ses amis des médias sociaux : « Devinez qui vient de se présenter à une entrevue d’emploi ! » Lorsque son explication a paru sur Internet, des gens du monde entier lui ont envoyé des clins d’oeil et des sourires. Imaginez un peu vous faire accueillir à une entrevue d’emploi par la personne même qui vous a invectivé quelques heures auparavant !

Saul a également croisé le chemin de quelqu’un qu’il ne se serait jamais attendu à voir. Lancé aux trousses d’un groupe de « la nouvelle doctrine » (AC 9.1,2), il s’est fait arrêter net par une lumière éclatante. Puis une voix lui a dit : « Saul, Saul, pourquoi me persécutes‑tu ? » (V. 4), ce à quoi Saul a rétorqué : « Qui es-tu, Seigneur ? » Son interlocuteur lui a répondu : « Je suis Jésus que tu persécutes » (26.15).

Des années auparavant, Jésus avait dit que notre façon de traiter les gens qui ont faim ou soif, les étrangers et les prisonniers reflète notre relation avec lui (MT 25.35,36). Qui aurait cru que celui qui nous aime prendrait la chose personnellement lorsqu’une personne nous insulte, ou encore lorsque nous aidons ou blessons quelqu’un ?

Que nous nous entraidions ou nous blessions, Jésus le prend à coeur.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Несподіване інтерв’ю

Читати: Дії 26:9-15 | Біблія за рік: Повторення Закону 20–22 ; Марка 13:21-37

Цар відповість і промовить до них: Поправді кажу вам: що тільки вчинили ви одному з найменших братів Моїх цих, те Мені ви вчинили. — Матвія 25:40

Якось вранці в переповненій приміській електричці один чоловік штовхнув і образив іншого пасажира. Це був звичний епізод про який можна лише забути. Але пізніше того дня сталась несподіванка. “Скривджений” виявився комерційним директором. І він написав своїм друзям у соцмережі: “Здогадайтесь, хто тільки-но з’явився до мене для співбесіди стосовно роботи?” Коли він додав пояснення ситуації, люди по всьому світі посміхались і водночас кривились. Уявіть лише, ви заходите до директора з надією отримати роботу і впізнаєте в ньому людину, яку ще сьогодні вранці штовхали й ображали.

Савл також стикнувся з Тим, з Ким ніяк не планував зустрічі. Лютуючи проти тих, хто слідував за Ісусом, він одного дня був зупинений на дорозі осліплюючим світлом (Дії 9:1-2). Пролунав голос: “Савле, Савле, чому ти Мене переслідуєш?” (Дії 9:4). Савл у свою чергу запитав: “Хто Ти, Господи?” І почув у відповідь: “Я Ісус, що Його переслідуєш ти” (Дії 26:15).

Ще раніше Ісус, навчаючи народ, пояснював, що наше ставлення до голодних, спраглих та чужинців відображає наше ставлення до Нього Самого (Мт. 25:35-36). Чи вам спадало коли-небудь на думку, що коли хто ображає іншого, шкодить йому або, навпаки, простягає руку допомоги, Ісус – Той, Хто так полюбив нас – сприймає це дуже особисто?

Отче Небесний, пробач, що в момент прояву добрих або негативних почуттів ми інколи поводимось так, наче Ти не присутній поруч.

Ісус дуже особисто приймає наше добре й погане ставлення до інших.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Неожиданное интервью

Читать сейчас: Деяния 26:9-15 | Библия за год: Второзаконие 20-22; Марка 13:21-37

И Царь скажет им в ответ: «Истинно говорю вам: так как вы сделали это одному из этих братьев Моих меньших, то сделали Мне». — Матфея 25:40

В переполненном Лондонском метро ранним утром какой-то человек в спешке оттолкнул и вдобавок обругал другого пассажира, оказавшегося на его пути. Обычно такие стычки возникают и забываются как некое неизбежное зло. Но не в этом случае. Тем же днем менеджер крупной компании разместил в социальной сети сообщение под заголовком: «Угадайте, кто пришел ко мне устраиваться на работу». Происшествие вызвало интерес по всему миру, и было отчего. Представьте, что вы пришли на собеседование по трудоустройству, а вас там встречает тот самый человек, которого вы сегодня утром оттолкнули и обругали в метро.

Савл также наткнулся на Того, Кого совершенно не ожидал увидеть. Дыша яростью против учеников Христа (Деян. 9:1-2), он был остановлен на дороге в Дамаск ослепительным светом с неба. Затем голос сказал: «Савл, Савл! Что ты гонишь Меня?» Он спросил: «Кто Ты, Господи?» Говоривший ответил: «Я Иисус, Которого ты гонишь» (Деян. 9:4-5).

Несколькими годами ранее Иисус учил, что наше отношение к голодным, жаждущим, странникам, больным и заключенным влияет на отношения с Ним (Мф. 25:35-36). Кто бы мог подумать, что, когда кто-то обижает нас или когда мы помогаем другим христианам, любящий нас Господь принимает это на Свой счет!

Отче, прости нас, что порой ведем себя так, словно Тебя нет рядом в часы нужды или скорби. Помоги проявлять заботу и внимание ко всем верующим в Тебя.

Поддерживая или обижая друг друга, мы делаем это Христу.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный