Monday, April 3, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, April 3, 2017

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Jeremiah 24:1-10

The LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the LORD. This was after King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the artisans, and the smiths, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the LORD said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I said, "Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten." Then the word of the LORD came to me: Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. But thus says the LORD: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth-- a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Romans 9:19-33

You will say to me then, "Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they shall be called children of the living God." And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively." And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah." What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in John 9:1-17

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know." They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened." He said, "He is a prophet."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 31 In te, Domine, speravi
1   In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2   Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.
3   Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
4   Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, for you are my tower of strength.
5   Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O LORD, O God of truth.
6   I hate those who cling to worthless idols, and I put my trust in the LORD.
7   I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy; for you have seen my affliction; you know my distress.
8   You have not shut me up in the power of the enemy; you have set my feet in an open place.
9   Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly.
10   For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.
11   I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbors, a dismay to those of my acquaintance; when they see me in the street they avoid me.
12   I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot.
13   For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around; they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.
14   But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD. I have said, "You are my God.
15   My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
16   Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me."
17   LORD, let me not be ashamed for having called upon you; rather, let the wicked be put to shame; let them be silent in the grave.
18   Let the lying lips be silenced which speak against the righteous, haughtily, disdainfully, and with contempt.
19   How great is your goodness, O LORD! which you have laid up for those who fear you; which you have done in the sight of all for those who put their trust in you.
20   You hide them in the covert of your presence from those who slander them; you keep them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21   Blessed be the LORD! for he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city.
22   Yet I said in my alarm, "I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes." Nevertheless, you heard the sound of my entreaty when I cried out to you.
23   Love the LORD, all you who worship him; the LORD protects the faithful, but repays to the full those who act haughtily.
24   Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 35 Judica, Domine
1   Fight those who fight me, O LORD; attack those who are attacking me.
2   Take up shield and armor and rise up to help me.
3   Draw the sword and bar the way against those who pursue me; say to my soul, "I am your salvation."
4   Let those who seek after my life be shamed and humbled; let those who plot my ruin fall back and be dismayed.
5   Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the LORD drive them away.
6   Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them.
7   For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause; without a cause they have dug a pit to take me alive.
8   Let ruin come upon them unawares; let them be caught in the net they hid; let them fall into the pit they dug.
9   Then I will be joyful in the LORD; I will glory in his victory.
10   My very bones will say, "LORD, who is like you? You deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them."
11   Malicious witnesses rise up against me; they charge me with matters I know nothing about.
12   They pay me evil in exchange for good; my soul is full of despair.
13   But when they were sick I dressed in sack-cloth and humbled myself by fasting.
14   I prayed with my whole heart, as one would for a friend or a brother; I behaved like one who mourns for his mother, bowed down and grieving.
15   But when I stumbled, they were glad and gathered together; they gathered against me; strangers whom I did not know tore me to pieces and would not stop.
16   They put me to the test and mocked me; they gnashed at me with their teeth.
17   O Lord, how long will you look on? rescue me from the roaring beasts, and my life from the young lions.
18   I will give you thanks in the great congregation; I will praise you in the mighty throng.
19   Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me, nor let those who hate me without a cause wink at each other.
20   For they do not plan for peace, but invent deceitful schemes against the quiet in the land.
21   They opened their mouths at me and said, "Aha! we saw it with our own eyes."
22   You saw it, O LORD; do not be silent; O Lord, be not far from me.
23   Awake, arise, to my cause! to my defense, my God and my Lord!
24   Give me justice, O LORD my God, according to your righteousness; do not let them triumph over me.
25   Do not let them say in their hearts, "Aha! just what we want!" Do not let them say, "We have swallowed him up."
26   Let all who rejoice at my ruin be ashamed and disgraced; let those who boast against me be clothed with dismay and shame.
27   Let those who favor my cause sing out with joy and be glad; let them say always, "Great is the LORD, who desires the prosperity of his servant."
28   And my tongue shall be talking of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.

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

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Read all of Hebrews 12

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 - "Bad Company"

Peter swore, "A curse on me if I'm lying—I don't know the man!" And immediately the rooster crowed.
Matthew 26:74 (NLT)

Peter’s denial of Jesus did not happen over a period of seconds or minutes, but over a period of hours. An hour had passed from the time the first person said, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean,” to the time Peter made his second denial. He had ample opportunity to hightail it out of there, but he remained in this situation. It just reminds us of the fact that no person is safe from temptation except the one who flees from it. Peter, having been warned by Jesus Himself, of all people, should have avoided any place where he could be weakened. He definitely should have steered clear of all roosters. I would have said, “Are there any roosters here? Because I’m leaving if there are. The Lord mentioned a rooster.”

Great men and women of God have been compromised by lowering their standards and allowing themselves to be drawn into sin. People like Solomon. Samson. David. They all found out the hard way. Are we better than they were? Are we more spiritual than they were? I don’t think so.

If someone like Simon Peter was capable of falling, then surely we are. First Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Peter was around people who were dragging him down spiritually. Are you in a similar situation today? Have you entered into relationships where people are dragging you down? Maybe it’s a romance. Maybe it’s a close friendship. Are you finding yourself compromising your principles to fit in and not offend anyone? Perhaps you need to reconsider who your friends are. Perhaps you need to make some immediate changes.

Is bad company corrupting you?

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, NLT® copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.

Un Dia a la Vez - Vive de día en día

Así que, no os afanéis por el día de mañana, porque el día de mañana traerá su afán. Basta a cada día su propio mal.
Mateo 6:34, RV-60

No sé cuál es el interés de muchas personas, unas más que otras, en conocer lo que les pasará en el futuro y cómo serán sus vidas en el mañana. Quieren saber de enfermedades, traiciones y cosas negativas que, más que hacerles un favor, llenan su vida de confusión y zozobra.

Debes entender que el único interesado en tu vida, en tu futuro, en bendecirte y conceder las peticiones del corazón es Dios.

Ninguna persona de estas que se encargan de adivinar el futuro les importa cómo termine tu vida, porque ni siquiera conocen lo que Dios ya tiene predestinado para nosotros.

Claro, los brujos, espiritistas y adivinos, entre otros, adquieren poder porque el enemigo se encarga de dárselo. Sin embargo, ese poder no es para bendecir tu vida, pues quieren acercarse a ti con horóscopos y demás cosas que solo causan confusión.

En su Palabra, Dios presenta al enemigo con tres funciones muy definidas. Así que, por favor, memorízalas bien: El enemigo viene para robar, matar y destruir.

Dios, tu Padre, si es que así lo reconoces, te ofrece todo lo contrario. Él quiere darle paz a tu vida en medio de tu preocupación. Promete no abandonarte jamás. Quiere hacerte feliz y quiere sanarte. Te da la oportunidad de que te arrepientas y, como si fuera poco, te ofrece una vida eterna en su presencia cuando lo reconoces por medio de su Hijo Jesucristo.

Vive de día en día porque cada día trae su propio afán.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - COME AND DIE

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

When our children were young, we would often sing before dinner the chorus, “Come and dine the master calleth, come and dine...” One day our youngest, Melinda, our adopted Filipina asked, “Daddy, why does Jesus say we have to come and die?” The family laughed at this question concluding that we really needed to work on our singing diction.

But as I study Jesus’ teaching, I’ve come to realize that Melinda was singing correctly all the time. Because Jesus also indicates that discipleship means there is a cross to bear. All too often the cross becomes for us just an historic symbol. One day a North American minister was showing a foreign visitor his newly built church building. Outside, a spotlight illuminated a huge cross on the steeple. The pastor boasted, “That cross alone cost us $10,000.”

The visitor looked at him quizzically and replied, “Where I come from, Christians can get them for free!”

A Canadian Christian aid worker was overwhelmed at the enormous need among the believers of southern Sudan. He recalls some children in a village wearing nothing but hand carved bone crosses fashioned in necklaces around their necks. He pointed to the cross on one emaciated child and questioned her with hand motions. She smiled broadly, took off the necklace and handed it to him.

His thoughtful analysis is this: “That little act symbolizes the state of the suffering church in Sudan. With absolutely nothing in the way of material possessions, they still have the cross of Jesus Christ. They are prepared to share its hope - even though it means death.”

To Jesus the cross meant the willing denial of self for the sake of others. Seeking to save your life, you’ll lose it while losing your life for Jesus will save it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who gave up his life taking a stand against Hitler wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” That’s what it means to lose our life in order to save it. Jesus himself was our example being willing to go to the cross on behalf of others—even a lost world. 

RESPONSE: Today I will deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord, I respond to Your call to “come and die to myself” in order to find real life in You.

Women of the Bible - Delilah

Her name means: "Dainty One"

Her character: A prostitute whose nationality is unknown, she used her beauty to betray her lover and enrich herself.
Her sorrow: That Samson lied to her, making her look foolish on three different occasions.
Her joy: That she overpowered one of history's most powerful men, handing him over to his enemy, the Philistines.
Key Scriptures: Judges 16:4-22

Her Story

Her teeth gleamed white in the dusky light as a smile parted lips soft and smooth as a scarlet ribbon. Earrings glinted gold as she threw back her head and laughed out loud. Fortune had come knocking on her door that day. No lover had ever paid Delilah as well as Samson would.

The Philistine kings hated the long-haired strongman who had set their fields afire and slain a thousand of their countrymen. Each had offered Delilah an incredible sum—eleven hundred shekels of silver! She had merely to deliver the secret of Samson's strength. His would be no match for hers, a strength born of beauty and schooled in the arts of love. Weakened by passion, he would tell her everything she needed to know.

"If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongs that have not been dried, I'll become as any other man," he replied to her persistent probing. Hiding a few Philistines in the room for good measure, Delilah waited until he slept and then carefully wrapped him with the thongs and exclaimed, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he had outsmarted her, snapping the cords as his enemies fled.

Like a man toying with a kitten, Samson repeated the ruse twice, tricking Delilah with crazy stories about new ropes and braided hair. Finally Delilah confronted him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength." Worn down by her nagging, Samson gave in.

"No razor has ever been used on my head," he confided, "because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength will leave me, and I will become as weak as any other man." Years earlier, before his birth, an angel had instructed his mother that he should drink no wine, touch nothing unclean, and never cut his hair. He was to be dedicated to God in a special way, destined to play a great role in God's plan to free his people from their Philistine overlords. A strong man unable to subdue his own tempestuous nature, Samson had already broken the first two stipulations of his vow. Now he was about to break the third, preferring the good graces of a woman to the favor of his God.

Sensing she had heard the truth at last, Delilah sent word to the Philistines. After cutting his hair while he slept, she once again called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" This time Samson awoke from his sleep unable to resist his enemies, who quickly seized him, gouging out his eyes. Then they imprisoned him in Gaza, where he spent his days in darkness, performing women's work grinding grain.

That's the last we hear of the lovely, treacherous, and now wealthy Delilah, but not the last we hear of her lover. Slowly Samson's hair began to grow back, first a short cap to warm his head and then a cover for his ears. What harm can a blind man do us? the Philistines must have reasoned.

One day they held a great celebration in honor of Dagon, god of the harvest, for delivering Samson into their hands. Oblivious to their danger, they brought him out of prison to make sport of their once-mighty enemy. But when Samson stood among the pillars of their temple, he prayed, "O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." Then he braced himself against the two central pillars of the temple and pushed. The roof buckled and collapsed, and Samson and his enemies were buried together under its rubble. By his death, Samson killed more Philistines than he had in life. Just as the angel had predicted, Samson had begun a work of deliverance that David would complete many years later.

The strange story of Samson and Delilah is hardly edifying. It's tempting to conclude that the selfish, ill-disciplined Samson had finally met his match in the greedy Delilah. A visitation by an angel, the gift of supernatural strength, a prophetic destiny—such obvious blessings could not assure Samson's devotion. Why would God use such a man, enabling him to become a judge in Israel? What a contrast to Deborah, who had ruled Israel a century earlier! Perhaps God had little promising material to choose from, given the state of his people during an era of Israel's history where "everyone did as he saw fit" (Judges 21:25).

If anything, Delilah's role in this sordid tale assures us that God will use anything and anyone to accomplish his purpose. Even our sin. Even our enemies. Our deliverance is purely a matter of grace. But how much better if we become people set apart for his service, whose inner strengths match our outer strengths, enabling us to live out our destiny assured of God's pleasure.

Her Promise

Even the sordid story of Delilah and her Hebrew lover, Samson, conveys an important truth: God loves us and will not abandon us even when we make mistakes, even when we sin. Over and over throughout the biblical narrative, we see God using people who are great sinners, people who are less than perfect, people who through their own folly fail and only then recognize their need of him. He didn't abandon people like Samson, foolish and sinful though he was, and he won't abandon us, foolish and sinful though we might be.

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

Girlfriends in God - When I Am Afraid

by Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4, NIV).

Friend to Friend

As I was putting our seven-year-old grandson Justus to bed one night, he started talking about fear. “I don’t like to be scared, Mimi. It makes my tummy feel funny and my heart gets kind of jumpy.” I thought that was an excellent description of fear. But knowing Justus and his pure heart that goes hard after God, I should have known he was not through. “But the most awful thing about fear is that I don’t think Jesus likes it, do you, Mimi? I mean, it doesn’t make Him smile, and I want to make Him smile. What do you do when you get scared, Mimi?” I soaked up the wisdom of his words and then whispered a desperate prayer for the insight to answer his question. Jesus came through.

After I shared God’s truth about dealing with fear, Justus smiled at me and said, “That’s really good, Mimi! You should tell the women you teach about it!” I promised him I would. My heart melted when Justus smiled and said, “I love you, Mimi.” And with a sigh of contentment, my precious teacher rolled over and went to sleep.

As I watched this beautiful boy sleep, I thought about his words and knew I would keep that promise – to tell women what God has to say about dealing with fear.

Admit I am afraid.

Psalm 56:3 (NRSV) “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”

We will never be completely free of fear this side of Heaven, so it is important for us to learn how to manage fear by positioning trust in its place. Notice this verse does not say “if” I am afraid, but “when” I am afraid. No fear will be conquered until it is faced, exposed and identified. Instead, we mask fear … hoping to camouflage the weakness fear so often tries to hide.

We can put fear in its place by placing our trust in God. Someone once told me, “Mary, no one thinks you are perfect. Give it a rest!" I did. Freedom is found when we embrace our imperfection along with God’s power.

Remit fear

1 Peter 5:7 (NRSV) “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

Instead of clinging to fear, we must remit fear to God, or as Peter says, we must cast all of our fear and anxiety on Him. “Cast” means “to throw on” while “anxious” means “to be pulled in different directions” and is based on the old English root from which we get our word “worry” meaning “to strangle.” And that little word “all” really does mean “all.” What a perfect description of faith at work in the face of fear.

History describes the way a group of Indians tortured and killed their enemies by staking them to the ground and wrapping a wet leather strip around their necks. As the leather strap dried, it gradually cut off the air supply, choking the victim to death.

Fear literally tries to strangle our faith, but trust breaks its grip, setting us free. We can walk in that freedom, claiming it as our own when we choose to submit to the power and authority of God, knowing that where we are and what we are facing is no surprise to Him. No matter what your circumstances may be, Heaven is not in a panic. Your Father is well aware of your situation and He has a way out. He is the Way Maker. We really can trust Him.

But what do we so often do? We yield to fear, authorizing it to hold us prisoner. We willingly position the fearful circumstance between God and us. When we choose to place God between our circumstances and our fear, we choose to unleash His power in our lives.

Commit my fear to God

Psalm 27:1 (NCV) “The LORD is my light and the one who saves me. I fear no one. The LORD protects my life; I am afraid of no one.”

Confidence in God’s presence is our basic weapon against fear. In other words, give your fears to someone who really can do something about them.

When our daughter Danna was a little girl, her two greatest fears were the darkness and thunderstorms. One night, as I was putting her to bed, I heard the distant rumblings of a storm approaching. With every clap of thunder, Danna’s eyes widened in fear. When lightening streaked across the menacing sky, Danna dove under the covers and began to pray, “God, if it’s a “wittle” storm, I can just stay in my bed. But if it’s a “biiiiiiigggg” storm, I just want You to know where I’m gonna be - in mama and daddy’s bed! Amen.” Committing our fears to God means crawling up into His lap until the storm passes.

We can learn to commit our fears to God. We can choose now to trust Him with the fears we will face tomorrow.

Let’s Pray

Father, there are so many times when I allow fear to overwhelm my faith in You. Please help me trust You and choose to walk through my fear.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of your top four fears. Beside each fear write one of the verses from today’s devotion and choose to trust God with that fear.

More from the Girlfriends

How can we trust God when our life seems to be falling apart and we are terrified? Mary’s book, The 10-Day Trust Adventure will help you learn to trust God and walk straight through your fear.

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

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

Girlfriends in God P.O. Box 725 Matthews, NC 28106

LHM Daily Devotion - "Facing the Cup"

After the Last Supper we read, "He came out and went, as was His custom...

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Facing the Cup"

April 3, 2017

And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly ... (Luke 22:44a, ESV).

Read Luke 22:39-46

After the Last Supper we read, "He came out and went, as was His custom, to the Mount of Olives." Judas knew that custom well. He knew where he could lead the temple police to arrest Jesus. By choosing this place and not a location unknown to Judas, Jesus is already surrendering Himself to His Father's plan.

Jesus instructs His disciples to pray. He then withdraws from them, kneels down and prays, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me." This cup is God's furious wrath at all our sins. Drinking down that punishment will be bitter and deadly. But Jesus submits Himself to His Father's grand design: "Not My will, but Yours, be done."

The Father sends an angel to strengthen Jesus' body. He did the same after Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan. This angel strengthens and renews Jesus' human mind and body to fully face the horror of the wrath of God coming upon Him.

But the struggle is not yet over. Jesus still dreads the cup the Father holds out for Him. We see the intensity of Jesus' struggle as Luke the physician writes, "His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Tiny blood vessels under the skin can rupture under extreme stress, permitting blood to mingle with the sweat. The struggle lasts for hours before Jesus is finally at peace. He rises to His feet, ready to drink the cup down to its dregs.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your bitter sufferings in the garden prepared You for the fiery trial to come. Give me grace and strength to pray to You in the darkest hours of my life, for my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Amen

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Devociones de Cuaresma - Vivir en libertad

Devociones de Cuaresma  2017

Vivir en libertad

03 de Abril de 2017

De modo, hermanos, que no somos hijos de la esclava, sino de la libre. Gálatas 4:31, RVC (4:21-31)

El antagonismo que experimentan hoy en día árabes e israelíes viene de los tiempos en que nacieron Ismael e Isaac, los hijos de Abrahán. Dios había advertido a Abrahán que habría enemistad entre los dos pueblos, porque Ismael nació de la esclava de Abrahán y no de su legítima esposa.

San Pablo usa ahora esta situación para explicarles a los miembros de la iglesia en Galacia que los que nacieron de nuevo por la gracia de Dios, y mediante el perdón de los pecados, son ahora declarados hijos de Dios. Los de Galacia, y los creyentes de hoy en día, vivimos en esa gracia. Somos hijos de la promesa, vivimos en la libertad que Cristo nos consiguió. Ser libres de la condenación eterna, y libres de tener que cumplir la ley para alcanzar la salvación, nos permite vivir en alegría, confiados en el poder y la gracia de Dios y prontos para servir a todos a quienes Dios pone en nuestro camino.

Sin embargo, sabemos que fácilmente nos esclavizamos a nuestras culpas, a nuestros temores, y a nuestras inseguridades. ¿Qué es lo que sucede? El hijo de la esclava, nuestro viejo hombre contaminado por el pecado, sigue vivo, desafiando constantemente la libertad que Jesús nos consiguió mediante su muerte y resurrección. San Pablo nos anima a "gritar de alegría" y a "gritar de júbilo", porque somos hijos de la promesa. Gritar aquí significa expresarse con toda la fuerza interior, la fuerza de las emociones y del espíritu. Y como somos hijos de libertad, podemos expresar el amor que Dios nos mostró en Jesús en forma espontánea y generosa dondequiera que estemos.

Gracias, Padre, por habernos adoptados como hijos libres. Ayúdanos a alegrarnos en esa libertad, y a compartir nuestra alegría con las personas que tú pones a nuestro lado. Amén

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. ¡Utilice estas devociones en sus boletines! Usado con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados por la Int'l LLL.

Our Daily Bread - A Heart of Compassion
Read: Colossians 3:12–17 | Bible in a Year: Judges 19–21; Luke 7:31–50

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Seven of us were attending a musical production at a crowded amusement park. Wanting to sit together, we tried to squeeze into one row. But as we did, a woman rushed between us. My wife mentioned to her that we wanted to stay together, but the woman quickly said, “Too bad,” as she and her two companions pushed on into the row.

As three of us sat one row behind the other four, my wife, Sue, noticed that the woman had an adult with her who appeared to have special needs. She had been trying to keep her little group together so she could take care of her friend. Suddenly, our irritation faded. Sue said, “Imagine how tough things are for her in a crowded place like this.” Yes, perhaps the woman did respond rudely. But we could respond with compassion rather than anger.

Wherever we go, we will encounter people who need compassion. Perhaps these words from the apostle Paul can help us view everyone around us in a different light—as people who need the gentle touch of grace. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12). He also suggests that we “bear with each other and forgive one another” (v. 13).

As we show compassion, we will be pointing others to the One who poured out His heart of grace and compassion on us.

Your compassions never fail, Father. May we mirror Your heart by showing compassion to others.

Compassion is understanding the troubles of others.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Lòng Thương Xót
Đọc: Cô-lô-se 3:12-17 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Các quan xét 19-21; Lu-ca 7:31-50

Hãy mặc lấy lòng thương xót, nhân từ, khiêm nhường, mềm mại, nhịn nhục. Cô-lô-se 3:12

Chúng tôi gồm bảy người đang tham dự một chương trình âm nhạc tại một công viên giải trí đông đúc. Vì muốn ngồi chung với nhau nên chúng tôi cố gắng ngồi sát vào cho đủ một hàng. Nhưng khi chúng tôi đã chật ních như vậy rồi, một phụ nữ vẫn chen vào giữa chúng tôi. Vợ tôi nói với cô ấy là chúng tôi muốn ngồi chung với nhau, nhưng người phụ nữ ấy nhanh nhảu đáp: “Gì kỳ vậy!” trong lúc cô và hai người cùng đi ráng chen vào ghế của chúng tôi.

Khi ba chúng tôi xuống ngồi hàng ghế phía sau bốn người còn lại, vợ tôi quan sát thấy người phụ nữ đó đi cùng với một người có vẻ như có nhu cầu đặc biệt. Cô ấy muốn cả ba người ngồi chung với nhau để cô dễ chăm sóc bạn mình. Đột nhiên, sự bực bội trong chúng tôi tan biến. Vợ tôi nói: “Chắc cô ấy sẽ rất khó khăn khi phải chen chúc trong đám đông như thế này.” Vâng, có lẽ người phụ nữ ấy trả lời cách cộc cằn. Nhưng chúng tôi vẫn có thể đáp lại bằng lòng thương xót thay vì tức giận.

Dù đi đâu, chúng ta cũng sẽ gặp những người cần đến lòng thương xót. Có lẽ những lời của sứ đồ Phao-lô có thể giúp chúng ta nhìn mọi người xung quanh bằng một cái nhìn khác—họ cần sự đụng chạm nhẹ nhàng của ân điển. “Anh em là những người được tuyển chọn của Đức Chúa Trời, là người thánh và rất yêu dấu. Vậy, hãy mặc lấy lòng thương xót, nhân từ, khiêm nhường, mềm mại, nhịn nhục” (Cô-lô-se 3:12). Ông cũng khuyên chúng ta “hãy nhường nhịn nhau và tha thứ nhau” (c.13).

Khi chúng ta bày tỏ lòng thương xót, chúng ta sẽ cho người khác thấy Đấng đã tuôn đổ lòng thương xót và ân sủng của Ngài trên chúng ta.

Cha ơi! Lòng thương xót của Ngài không hề dứt. Nguyện chúng con phản chiếu tấm lòng của Ngài qua việc bày tỏ lòng thương xót đối với người khác.

Thương xót là thấu hiểu những hoạn nạn của người khác.

© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Un corazón compasivo
Leer: Colosenses 3:12-17 | La Biblia en un año: Jueces 19–21; Lucas 7:31-50

Vestíos […] de entrañable misericordia, de benignidad, de humildad, de mansedumbre, de paciencia (v. 12).

Siete amigos asistimos a un espectáculo en un concurrido parque. Como queríamos sentarnos juntos, intentamos ubicarnos en una misma fila. Pero, mientras lo hacíamos, una mujer se apresuró a sentarse entre nosotros y masculló unas palabras descorteses mientras ella y sus dos acompañantes se metían en el medio.

Cuando tres nos sentamos más atrás, mi esposa, Sue, notó que la mujer estaba con un adulto con discapacidades. Había tratado de mantener su grupo unido para cuidar a su amigo. De repente, nuestra irritación desapareció. Sue dijo: «Imagina lo difícil que debe ser para ella estar en un lugar tan abarrotado». Sí, quizá la mujer respondió de forma descortés. Pero nosotros pudimos responder con compasión.

Dondequiera que vayamos, encontraremos personas que necesitan compasión. Tal vez estas palabras del apóstol Pablo nos ayuden a ver a los demás como personas que necesitan un toque de gracia. «Vestíos, pues, como escogidos de Dios, santos y amados, de entrañable misericordia, de benignidad, de humildad, de mansedumbre, de paciencia» (Colosenses 3:12). Además, nos insta a soportarnos y perdonarnos unos a otros (v. 13).

Cuando mostramos compasión, señalamos a Aquel que derramó su corazón de gracia y misericordia sobre nosotros.

Tu compasión nunca falla, Padre. Que podamos reflejar tu corazón.

Compasión es entender los problemas de los demás. 

Unser Täglich Brot - Ein Herz voll Erbarmen
Lesen: Kolosser 3,12-17 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Richter 19–21; Lukas 7,31-50

So zieht nun an . . . herzliches Erbarmen, Freundlichkeit, Demut, Sanftmut, Geduld. Kolosser 3,12

Zu siebt wollten wir uns ein Musical ansehen. Wir wollten gern in einer Reihe sitzen. Aber eine Frau drängte sich dazwischen. Meine Frau protestierte, aber die andere erwiderte nur kurz: „Pech gehabt“, und schob sich mit ihren beiden Begleitern in unsere Sitzreihe.

Uns blieb nichts anderes übrig, als zu dritt eine Reihe weiter hinten Platz zu nehmen. Dabei fiel uns auf, dass eine der beiden Personen offensichtlich ein Handicap hatte. Die Frau hatte versucht, ihre kleine Gruppe zusammenzuhalten, damit sie sich um sie kümmern konnte. Sofort verflog unser Ärger. „Stell dir vor, wie schwierig es sein muss, in einem solchen Gedränge zurechtzukommen“, meinte meine Frau. Gewiss, die andere war unhöflich gewesen. Aber wir hätten barmherzig statt verärgert reagieren können.

Egal, wo wir sind, überall werden uns Menschen begegnen, die unsere Anteilnahme brauchen. Vielleicht können uns die Worte von Paulus helfen, unsere Mitmenschen in einem anderen Licht zu sehen—als solche, die etwas Gnade brauchen: „So zieht nun an als die Auserwählten Gottes, als die Heiligen und Geliebten, herzliches Erbarmen, Freundlichkeit, Demut, Sanftmut, Geduld“ (Kol. 3,12). Außerdem meint er: „Ertrage einer den andern und vergebt euch untereinander“ (V.13).

Wenn wir Anteil nehmen, verweisen wir andere auf den Einen, der uns mit seinem Erbarmen beschenkt hat.

Dein Erbarmen, Vater, hört niemals auf. Lass uns etwas von deinem Wesen widerspiegeln und anderen gegenüber barmherzig sein.

Anteilnahme heißt, die Sorgen der anderen verstehen.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un coeur compatissant
Lisez : Colossiens 3.12‑17 | La Bible en un an : JUGES 19 – 21 et LUC 7.31‑50

Revêtez-vous d'entrailles de miséricorde, de bonté, d'humilité, de douceur, de patience. V.12

Nous étions sept à tenter de nous asseoir dans la même rangée pour assister à un concert donné dans un parc d’attractions bondé, mais une femme est venue vite s’interposer entre nous. Ma femme lui a alors indiqué que nous souhaitions rester ensemble, mais la nouvelle venue lui a répondu « Tant pis ! » en s’installant là malgré tout avec ses deux compagnons.

Tandis que trois d’entre nous nous installions dans la rangée derrière celle qu’occupaient les quatre autres, ma femme, Sue, a remarqué que l’intruse était accompagnée d’un adulte qui semblait être handicapé. Elle s’était efforcée de garder son petit groupe uni pour veiller sur son ami. Soudain, notre irritation s’est estompée, et Sue a alors déclaré : « Imaginez combien ce doit être difficile pour elle d’être dans un lieu aussi bondé. » Oui, peut‑être que cette femme s’était montrée impolie, reste que nous devrions agir envers elle avec compassion, plutôt qu’avec colère.

Où que nous allions, des gens auront besoin de compassion et de grâce. Or, peut‑être pourrions‑nous nous laisser inspirer en ce sens par les paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Ainsi donc, comme des élus de Dieu, saints et bien‑aimés, revêtez‑vous d’entrailles de miséricorde, de bonté, d’humilité, de douceur, de patience » (COL 3.12), en ajoutant : « Supportez‑vous les uns les autres, et […] pardonnez‑vous réciproquement » (V. 13).

En usant de compassion, nous attirerons l’attention des gens sur celui qui a répandu sa grâce et sa compassion sur nous.

Compatir revient à comprendre les difficultés d’autrui.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Співчуття
Читати: Колосян 3:12-17 | Біблія за рік: Суддів 19−21 ; Луки 7:31-50

Отож, зодягніться, як Божі вибранці, святі та улюблені, у щире милосердя, добротливість, покору, лагідність, довготерпіння. — Колосян 3:12

Нас було семеро. Ми прийшли подивитись музичне шоу в переповненому людьми парку і шукали вільну лавку. Але не встигли сісти, як між нами раптово опинилась одна жінка з двома хлопцями. Моя дружина зауважила їй, що наша сім’я хотіла б сидіти разом, але незнайомка лише буркнула у відповідь: “Дуже погано”. А потім сіла на нашу лавку разом з двома своїми супутниками.

Троє з нас змушені були сісти позаду. І тут моя дружина Сью помітила, що один із супутників нечемної незнайомки був людиною “з особливими потребами”. Ця жінка мала пильнувати його, тому й намагалась бути поруч з обома хлопцями. Наше роздратування відразу вляглося. “Уяви собі, як їй важко з ними тут, серед натовпу”, – сказала Сью. Так, ця жінка відповіла грубо, але ми мали відреагувати зі співчуттям.

Де б ми не були, завжди можна зустріти людей, що потребують співчуття. Можливо, наступні слова апостола Павла допоможуть нам подивитись іншими очима на людей, хто потребують ніжного дотику благодаті: “Отож, зодягніться, як Божі вибранці, святі та улюблені, у щире милосердя, добротливість, покору, лагідність, довготерпіння” (Кол. 3:12). Це також означає, що маємо “терпіти один одного” (Кол. 3:13).

Співчутливо ставлячись до інших, ми цим вказуємо на Того, Хто вилив зі Свого серця на нас потоки ласки й співчуття.

Отче, Твоє милосердя ніколи не вичерпується. Навчи нас співчувати іншим, щоб явити людям Твоє серце.

Співчуття – то ласкаве розуміння проблем інших.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Сочувствие
Читать сейчас: Колоссянам 3:12-17 | Библия за год: Судей 19-21; Луки 7:31-50

Облекитесь, как избранные Божии, святые и возлюбленные, в милосердие, благость, смиренномудрие, кротость, долготерпение. — Колоссянам 3:12

Всемером мы пришли в парк, где было музыкальное представление. Хотелось быть вместе, и мы решили занять целый ряд. Вдруг между нами вклинилась какая-то женщина. Моя жена сказала ей, что нам не хотелось бы разлучаться, на что был дан ответ: «Придется потерпеть». И она с двумя своими спутниками заняла намеченные нами места.

Троим пришлось сесть на другой ряд. И тут моя жена Сью увидела, что один из спутников грубой женщины – инвалид. Она хотела быть рядом с ним, чтобы в случае чего прийти на помощь. Тут же наше раздражение прошло. Сью сказала: «Представь, как ей трудно с ним в толпе». Да, она ответила нам не слишком вежливо. Но и мы могли отреагировать кротко и не злиться на нее.

Где бы мы ни оказались, везде есть люди, нуждающиеся в сочувствии. Благодаря словам апостола Павла, мы можем посмотреть на окружающих другими глазами. «Облекитесь как избранные Божии, святые и возлюбленные, в милосердие, благость, смиренномудрие, кротость, долготерпение» (Кол. 3:12). Он также призывает нас снисходить друг ко другу и взаимно прощать (Кол. 3:13).

Проявляя сочувствие, мы будем отражать перед людьми образ Того, Кто пожалел и простил нас.

Твое сострадание никогда не прекращается, Отче. Помоги нам иметь такое же отношение, проявляя сочувствие к людям.

Сострадание – это понимание чужих скорбей.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный