Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Daily Readings for WEDNESDAY, April 5, 2017

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Jeremiah 25:30-38

You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the guilty he will put to the sword, says the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts: See, disaster is spreading from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth! Those slain by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become dung on the surface of the ground. Wail, you shepherds, and cry out; roll in ashes, you lords of the flock, for the days of your slaughter have come-- and your dispersions, and you shall fall like a choice vessel. Flight shall fail the shepherds, and there shall be no escape for the lords of the flock. Hark! the cry of the shepherds, and the wail of the lords of the flock! For the LORD is despoiling their pasture, and the peaceful folds are devastated, because of the fierce anger of the LORD. Like a lion he has left his covert; for their land has become a waste because of the cruel sword, and because of his fierce anger.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Romans 10:14-21

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, "I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry." Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me." But of Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in John 10:1-18

"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away-- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 119: Qoph Clamavi in toto corde meo
145   I call with my whole heart; answer me, O LORD, that I may keep your statutes.
146   I call to you; oh, that you would save me! I will keep your decrees.
147   Early in the morning I cry out to you, for in your word is my trust.
148   My eyes are open in the night watches, that I may meditate upon your promise.
149   Hear my voice, O LORD, according to your loving-kindness; according to your judgments, give me life.
150   They draw near who in malice persecute me; they are very far from your law.
151   You, O LORD, are near at hand, and all your commandments are true.
152   Long have I known from your decrees that you have established them for ever.

Psalm 119: Resh Vide humilitatem
153   Behold my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law.
154   Plead my cause and redeem me; according to your promise, give me life.
155   Deliverance is far from the wicked, for they do not study your statutes.
156   Great is your compassion, O LORD; preserve my life, according to your judgments.
157   There are many who persecute and oppress me, yet I have not swerved from your decrees.
158   I look with loathing at the faithless, for they have not kept your word.
159   See how I love your commandments! O LORD, in your mercy, preserve me.
160   The heart of your word is truth; all your righteous judgments endure for evermore.

Psalm 119: Shin Principes persecuti sunt
161   Rulers have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of your word.
162   I am as glad because of your promise as one who finds great spoils.
163   As for lies, I hate and abhor them, but your law is my love.
164   Seven times a day do I praise you, because of your righteous judgments.
165   Great peace have they who love your law; for them there is no stumbling block.
166   I have hoped for your salvation, O LORD, and have fulfilled your commandments.
167   I have kept your decrees and I have loved them deeply.
168   I have kept your commandments and decrees, for all my ways are before you.

Psalm 119: Taw Appropinquet deprecatio
169   Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding, according to your word.
170   Let my supplication come before you; deliver me, according to your promise.
171   My lips shall pour forth your praise, when you teach me your statutes.
172   My tongue shall sing of your promise, for all your commandments are righteous.
173   Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your commandments.
174   I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
175   Let me live, and I will praise you, and let your judgments help me.
176   I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost; search for your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 128 Beati omnes
1   Happy are they all who fear the LORD, and who follow in his ways!
2   You shall eat the fruit of your labor; happiness and prosperity shall be yours.
3   Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive shoots round about your table.
4   The man who fears the LORD shall thus indeed be blessed.
5   The LORD bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6   May you live to see your children's children; may peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 129 Sæpe expugnaverunt
1   Greatly have they oppressed me since my youth, let Israel now say;
2   Greatly have they oppressed me since my youth", but they have not prevailed against me."
3   The plowmen plowed upon my back and made their furrows long.
4   The LORD, the Righteous One, has cut the cords of the wicked.
5   Let them be put to shame and thrown back, all those who are enemies of Zion.
6   Let them be like grass upon the housetops, which withers before it can be plucked;
7   Which does not fill the hand of the reaper, nor the bosom of him who binds the sheaves;
8   So that those who go by say not so much as, "The LORD prosper you. We wish you well in the Name of the LORD."

Psalm 130 De profundis
1   Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
2   If you, LORD, were to note what is done amiss, O LORD, who could stand?
3   For there is forgiveness with you; therefore you shall be feared.
4   I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope.
5   My soul waits for the LORD, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
6   O Israel, wait for the LORD, for with the LORD there is mercy;
7   With him there is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

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 - April 5, 2017

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV) For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Read all of 2 Corinthians 5

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 God Who Suffers"

He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows.
Isaiah 53:3–4 (NKJV)

When we think of God, we usually consider the fact that He is righteous, holy, loving, and good. But here is something else to consider about God: He is the God who has suffered. We don’t tend to think that a perfect Creator would experience such a human trait as human pain and suffering. After all, why would you suffer if you did not have to?

But God has suffered, and more deeply than any of us could ever imagine. In his book The Cross of Christ, John Stott said, “Our God is a suffering God.” And I think he is right.

Listen to Isaiah’s description of what Jesus (who was God) went through at Calvary:
“He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs . . . Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3–5)
“A man of suffering.” That was Jesus. But why did God suffer? Because He loved and loves. That means He also enters into our suffering as well.

Hebrews 2:17–18 tells us:
“Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted” (NLT).
You are not alone in your suffering today. Jesus has been there and walked in your shoes and He is here for you right now. Call out to Him.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Seeking God?
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 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 - Tiempos difíciles y de oportunidades

A las montañas levanto mis ojos; ¿de dónde ha de venir mi ayuda? Mi ayuda proviene del Señor, creador del cielo y de la tierra.
Salmo 121:1-2, NVI

Hace unos meses nuestro jefe P. Mauricio Quintana, inspirado en una enseñanza de su pastor, nos hacía reflexionar en que atravesábamos un tiempo muy difícil, desde el punto vista económico. A decir verdad, muchas personas perdieron sus casas y muchos medios de comunicación hablaban de la crisis. Entonces nos enseñaba que hay dos maneras de ver el problema.

La primera es cuando te montas en la crisis y declaras que son tiempos muy difíciles, que tu vida va de mal en peor y que vas rumbo al abismo.

La segunda es cuando te paras en medio de la misma situación con otra mentalidad. En esta, sabes y aplicas lo que Dios dice en su Palabra cuando promete estar con nosotros y poner a prueba nuestra fe, si es cierto que todo lo que hablamos y decimos a otros lo aplicamos a nuestra propia vida, ahora que las cosas no están tan bien.

El año pasado, mientras algunos hablaban de perder sus casas, otros hablaban de su gran oportunidad para hacer los negocios que soñaron. Esto lo aplicamos para cualquier situación y de allí deberíamos aprender varias cosas: En tiempos difíciles podemos apreciar la misericordia de Dios, crecemos en lo espiritual y aprendemos a depender únicamente de Él.

Recuerda que Dios no da más carga de la que no podamos soportar.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FOLLOW ME

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

I’ll never forget my first visit to the house church of Pastor Samuel Lamb in Quangzhou, China with my wife Dianne. That night we were introduced to his twenty-four-year-old assistant pastor. We soon learned that she had no danwei or work-unit. This was how all people in China were identified and registered. Even some shopping required a danwei.

When asked, “Isn’t it risky for you to work full-time in a house church and not have a danwei?” she simply replied, “It’s the way of the cross!”

One of our Canadian couriers to Cuba asked a leading pastor who received many needed Spanish Bibles from us, “We’re placing you at risk, aren’t we?” He answered with his hand on his heart, “Risk? What risk? I took a risk when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and became a minister. And if they want to shoot me, so much the better. I’ll go into glory sooner.”

Rinaldo Hernandez is a Methodist pastor in Cuba. His father spent five years in prison for political subversion and wanted the family to escape to Miami. But Rinaldo decided that staying in Cuba was a cross he must bear:

“I remember my father told me that I would pay a high price for that decision,” he says. His price was to come later when his seminary education was disrupted by assignment to compulsive military service in a work camp. There conditions were primitive and most of the men were hardened criminals.

He and seven other Christians met secretly at night in the sugar cane fields to pray, read the Bible and encourage one another. “I became a pastor in that work camp, not in seminary,” he concludes.

A Chinese Christian brother from the north-west province of Xinjiang was released after serving twenty years in prison. He shared this poem written by his wife just before her death in prison:
As a real disciple I have dedicated my life hoeing the fields energetically,
Begging for food shamelessly,
Wearing worn-out clothes as if they were formal dresses
Freezing to death at the windy station yet uttering not a word of complaint.
Only if the Gospel would be widely spread
Am I willing to be hung upside down on the cross…with no regret.
The late Jamie Buckingham made this memorable statement: “The risk-free life is a victory-free life. It means life-long surrender to the mediocre and that is the worst of all possible defeats.”[1]

RESPONSE: I will not surrender to the defeat of mediocrity but follow Jesus whatever the risk.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to truly follow You – even to the cross!

1. Jamie Buckingham, “Best Quotes,” Charisma (August, 1995), p. 51.

Girlfriends in God - Celebrate the Broken

by Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (Psalm 51:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend

He was a friend … a pastor visiting my husband and me for a few days. He had come for help and advice because his wife was broken – a statement that made me just a tad bit angry for some reason. I didn’t really know why it made me angry, but it did.

“John, what did you mean when you said your wife is broken?” I asked. His eyes filled with tears as he explained, “She has been diagnosed with clinical depression. Mary, you have never met her, but she is the strongest woman I have ever known. She is talented, godly, and beautiful. But six months ago, she broke. It’s like she shattered into a million pieces … and we don’t know how to put them back together. I can’t help her. And it is killing me!” With that, he began to weep.

Dan and I tried our best to encourage him.

We prayed with him.

We shared Scripture with him.

We promised to continue to pray for him and his wife.

But it didn’t seem like enough.

You see I am a fixer. If something is broken, I fix it. How hard is that? I had lived my life on the premise that if I was in some kind of pit, I built a bridge and got over it. Simple. It had been working fairly well … so far.

I don’t like broken things. Broken is frustrating. Fixed is good. Right? That is the way the human mind works – which is so often polar opposite to the way God’s mind works.

God’s ways really are so much higher than ours, and His thoughts are absolutely so much higher than ours. And I am so glad! I really do not want a God I can explain or fully understand. I desperately need a God who is supernatural … and my God is!

It was only a matter of months until I found myself at the bottom of that same dark pit of clinical depression. I, too, was broken. And for the first time in my life, I could not fix it. Not alone. It took an army of family, friends, and doctors … all used by God to bring His healing in His time.

And that is when I discovered an amazing truth that has changed the way I do everything – life, ministry – absolutely everything!

God loves broken.

Boom! There it is!

I know! It sounds backwards doesn’t it? But the fact is that His light shines best through the broken places in our lives. While we frantically try to fill those broken places with something … anything … He asks us to stop, be still, rest in Him, and let Him fill each wounded, broken place in our lives with His healing grace and love and forgiveness. When we do, He makes us stronger than we ever thought we could be.

And where is our greatest source of strength? Yep! You got it – in those broken places. And that is not all. It is from those broken places that He allows us to impact the lives of others who are broken.

M.R. DeHann says it beautifully:
"God used two broken stones tablets to cause the Israelites to repent of their disobedience.

God used broken earthen vessels to give the impression of an enormous army accompanying Gideon.

God used a broken heart to return King David to Himself.

God used a broken roof to provide access for a cripple to be lowered by four faithful friends into the healing presence of Jesus.

God used broken loaves to feed five thousand and then some.

God used broken fishing nest to challenge the disciple to depend on him rather than their own efforts for their needs.

God used a broken ship to steer Paul to the island of Malta to reveal the gospel to the natives there.

God used a broken body, pierced for our sins, to provide salvation for all humankind."
Today, embrace the pain in your life. Celebrate the broken places. Surrender them to your God and let Him heal them for your good and His glory.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You – broken, shattered and desperate for You. I come to You in complete surrender. Please lift me out of this pit and show me the way, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 40:1-3. “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

Circle all of the “action” words in these verses. What does God ask you to do? What does God say He will do? Do you believe Him? Are you willing to let Him be God in your life?

More from the Girlfriends

How can we trust God when our life seems to be falling apart? Mary’s book, The 10-Day Trust Adventure will help you learn to trust God in every area of your life.

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 - "A Blow for Liberty"

While still in the upper room, Jesus had told His disciples, "Let the...

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Blow for Liberty"

April 5, 2017

... "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"
(Luke 22:49b, ESV)

Read Luke 22:35-38, 47-53

While still in the upper room, Jesus had told His disciples, "Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one." The disciples had answered, "Look, Lord, here are two swords." When Jesus said, "It is enough," Peter took one of those swords along to the Mount of Olives.

Now as they see Jesus surrounded by the temple guards, the disciples ask if He wants them to attack with the sword. But before Jesus can answer, Peter draws out his sword and strikes it against a guard standing nearby. Apparently, he was trying to split the man's skull and missed, cutting off his right ear instead. It may seem strange for one lone man to attack a whole company of armed men, but Peter was going to do his part to set Jesus free.

Knowing Peter's attack could lead the guards to draw their swords and attack the disciples, Jesus steps forward and takes charge of the situation. He miraculously heals the servant's ear and brings peace and order back to the garden. This will be Jesus' last miracle before His death and resurrection. It is important to note He does it for one of the enemies who has come to arrest Him and lead Him to His death.

Does Judas see this miracle? It is proof that Jesus is still concerned for His enemies. He is willing to forgive Judas and restore him-if only he will believe it in his hour of guilt and regret.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You put Peter's sword back into its sheath and showed kindness to a stricken enemy, as You went forward to save us by Your suffering and death. In all times, and especially in danger, help me entrust myself into Your mighty hands. In Jesus' Name. Amen

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

Devociones de Cuaresma - Conciencia tranquila

Devociones de Cuaresma  2017

Conciencia tranquila

05 de Abril de 2017

Si la sangre de los toros y de los machos cabríos, y las cenizas de la becerra rociadas sobre los impuros, santifican para la purificación de la carne, ¡cuánto más la sangre de Cristo, que por medio del Espíritu eterno se ofreció a sí mismo sin mancha a Dios, limpiará de obras muertas nuestra conciencia, para que sirvamos al Dios vivo! Hebreos 9:13-14, RVC (9:11-15)

Durante el verano pasado mi esposa y yo visitamos un viejo amigo, ya ahora entrado en años. Nos quedamos a dormir una noche en su casa. A la mañana siguiente le pregunté: '¿Qué tal dormiste?' 'Muy bien', me contestó. 'Tengo la conciencia limpia, ¿cómo no habría de dormir bien?' Me gustó su respuesta, muy arraigada en la obra de Cristo y en la fe cristiana. Es sólo la gracia de Dios la que, mediante el perdón de los pecados, nos puede hacer dormir tranquilos. O, como dice Pablo, nos permite vivir con una conciencia purificada de obras muertas.

No oigo hablar mucho de conciencia limpia últimamente, ni en la iglesia ni en ningún otro lado. Pareciera como que tuviéramos la conciencia cauterizada, insensibilizada por el bombardeo que sufrimos a diario de parte de Satanás de corrupción, libertinaje, infidelidades, y deshonestidad. Y entonces, nos limpiamos por afuera, o "purificamos la carne" para citar a Pablo.

Necesitamos escuchar una y otra vez la ley intransigente de Dios que nos acusa por nuestras obras muertas y que sabemos (somos conscientes) que nos condenan. Ningún sacrificio nos puede librar de las acusaciones de nuestra conciencia. Sólo el Señor Jesús, que derramó sangre inocente y santa, purifica nuestra conciencia para liberarnos de las obras que conducen a la muerte, a fin de que sirvamos al Dios viviente. ¡Qué privilegio dormir tranquilo! ¡Qué privilegio servir con la conciencia tranquila! ¡Gracias Jesús!

Gracias, Padre, porque en Jesús nos libraste de las obras que conducen a la muerte. 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 - Kossi’s Courage

You shall have no other gods before me. . . . You shall not bow down to them or worship them. Exodus 20:3, 5

As he awaited his baptism in Togo’s Mono River, Kossi stooped to pick up a worn wooden carving. His family had worshiped the object for generations. Now they watched as he tossed the grotesque figure into a fire prepared for the occasion. No longer would their choicest chickens be sacrificed to this god.

In the West, most Christians think of idols as metaphors for what they put in place of God. In Togo, West Africa, idols represent literal gods that must be appeased with sacrifice. Idol burning and baptism make a courageous statement about a new believer’s allegiance to the one true God.

As an eight-year-old, King Josiah came to power in an idol-worshiping, sex-obsessed culture. His father and grandfather had been two of the worst kings in all of Judah’s sordid history. Then the high priest discovered the book of the law. When the young king heard its words, he took them to heart (2 Kings 22:8–13). Josiah destroyed the pagan altars, burned the vile items dedicated to the goddess Asherah, and stopped the ritual prostitution (ch. 23). In place of these practices, he celebrated the Passover (23:21–23).

Whenever we look for answers apart from God—consciously or subconsciously—we pursue a false god. It would be wise to ask ourselves: What idols, literal or figurative, do we need to throw on the fire?

Lord, forgive us for those things we turn to that show our hearts are not focused on You. Show us what we need to give up, and replace it with the presence of Your Holy Spirit.

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
1 John 5:21

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Can Đảm Đốt Bỏ Thần Tượng
Đọc: 2 Các Vua 23:12-14, 21-25 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 1 Sa-mu-ên 1-3; Lu-ca 8:26-56

Trước mặt Ta con không được có các thần nào khác... Con không được cúi lạy trước các hình tượng đó hay phụng thờ chúng. Xuất Ê-díp-tô 20:3, 5

Khi đợi đến lượt làm báp-têm ở sông Mono của Togo, Kossi cúi xuống nhặt một bức tượng bằng gỗ đã cũ mòn. Gia đình anh đã thờ vật đó suốt nhiều đời. Giờ đây, họ nhìn theo khi anh quăng cái tượng kỳ quặc ấy vào đám lửa đã được chuẩn bị sẵn. Không còn chuyện chọn những con gà ngon nhất để dâng lên cho vị thần này.

Ở phương Tây, hầu hết các Cơ Đốc nhân xem thần tượng chỉ về những thứ chiếm vị trí của Đức Chúa Trời. Ở Togo, Tây Phi, thần tượng đại diện cho những vị thần theo nghĩa đen mà họ phải làm hài lòng bằng sinh tế. Việc đốt thần tượng và nhận lễ báp-têm là lời công bố can đảm về lòng trung thành của tân tín hữu với Đức Chúa Trời chân thật duy nhất.

Khi được tám tuổi, Vua Giô-si-a lên ngôi tại một nền văn hóa thờ thần tượng và mại dâm. Cha và ông nội của vua Giô-si-a là hai vị vua tệ nhất suốt lịch sử nhơ nhuốc của Giu-đa. Sau đó, thầy tế lễ thượng phẩm đã tìm ra quyển sách luật pháp. Khi vị vua trẻ tuổi nghe những lời trong quyển sách ấy, ông ghi lời ấy vào lòng (2 Các Vua 22:8-13). Giô-si-a phá hủy các bàn thờ ngoại bang, đốt những vật dụng ghê tởm dâng cho nữ thần A-sê-ra và chấm dứt nghi lễ mại dâm (chương 23). Thay vào đó, ông tổ chức lễ Vượt Qua (23:21-23).

Hễ khi nào chúng ta tìm kiếm câu trả lời ngoài Chúa—dù là cố ý hay vô ý—thì chúng ta đang chạy theo thần giả dối. Sẽ khôn ngoan khi chúng ta tự hỏi: Đâu là những thần tượng chúng ta cần quăng vào lửa, theo nghĩa đen hoặc nghĩa bóng?

Lạy Chúa, xin tha tội cho chúng con vì đã hướng đến những điều khác cho thấy lòng chúng con không tập chú về Ngài. Xin chỉ cho chúng con thấy những điều chúng con cần từ bỏ, và thay bằng sự hiện diện của Thánh Linh Ngài.

Các con bé nhỏ ơi, hãy giữ mình khỏi hình tượng! 1 Giăng 5:21

Nuestro Pan Diario - La valentía de Kossi

… No te harás imagen […]. No te inclinarás a ellas, ni las honrarás… (Éxodo 20:3, 5).

Mientras esperaba bautizarse en Togo, Kossi se inclinó a levantar una figura de madera. Su familia había adorado el objeto por generaciones. Ahora, observaron cómo él lo arrojaba a una pira preparada para la ocasión. Ya no sacrificarían sus mejores pollos a ese dios.

Para la mayoría de los cristianos occidentales, los ídolos son metáforas de lo que colocan en lugar de Dios. En Togo, África, los ídolos representan dioses literales a los que hay que apaciguar con un sacrificio. La quema de ídolos y el bautismo son una declaración valiente de lealtad al único Dios verdadero.

Con solo ocho años de edad, Josías subió al trono en una cultura idólatra e inmoral. Su padre y su abuelo habían sido dos de los peores reyes de Judá. Entonces, el sumo sacerdote descubrió el libro de la ley. Cuando el rey escuchó sus palabras, las tomó muy en serio (2 Reyes 22:8-13). Destruyó los altares paganos, quemó los utensilios dedicados a la diosa Asera y puso fin a la prostitución ritual (cap. 23). En lugar de estas prácticas, celebró la Pascua (23:21-23).

Cuando buscamos respuestas fuera de Dios, vamos en pos de un dios falso. Sería sabio preguntarnos: ¿Qué ídolos, literales o figurados, necesitamos arrojar al fuego?

Señor, revélanos qué tenemos que dejar de lado, y reemplázalo con la presencia de tu Espíritu.

Hijitos, guardaos de los ídolos.
1 Juan 5:21

Unser Täglich Brot - Kossi zeigt Mut
Lesen: 2.Könige 23,12-14.21-25 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Samuel 1–3; Lukas 8,26-56

Du sollst keine anderen Götter haben neben mir. . . . Bete sie nicht an und diene ihnen nicht! 2.Mose 20,3.5

Während Kossi darauf wartete, im Mono-Fluss in Togo getauft zu werden, hob er eine holzgeschnitzte Figur auf, die seine Familie seit Generationen angebetet hatte, und warf sie ins Feuer. Die besten Hühner sollten ab jetzt nicht mehr diesem Götzen geopfert werden.

Für die Christen im Westen sind Götzen oft nur ein Bild für Dinge, die sie an Gottes Stelle setzen. Im westafrikanischen Togo hingegen sind sie tatsächlich Götter, die mit Opfern besänftigt werden müssen. Götzenverbrennung und Taufe sind ein mutiges Bekenntnis des Neubekehrten zu dem einen, wahren Gott.

Josia war acht Jahre alt, als er in einer von Götzendienst und Sexbesessenheit geprägten Kultur an die Macht kam. Sein Vater und sein Großvater gehörten zu den schlimmsten Königen in Judas wechselhafter Geschichte. Dann fand der Hohepriester das Gesetzbuch. Als der junge König die Worte daraus hörte, nahm er sie zu Herzen (2.Kön. 22,8-13). Er zerstörte die heidnischen Altäre, verbrannte die Geräte, die dem Dienst der Göttin Aschera geweiht waren, und stoppte die Tempelprostitution (Kap. 23). Stattdessen ließ er das Passafest feiern (23,21-23).

Immer, wenn wir ohne Gott nach Antworten suchen—ob bewusst oder unbewusst—begehen wir Götzendienst. Vielleicht sollten wir uns einmal fragen, welche Götzen wir im buchstäblichen oder übertragenen Sinn ins Feuer werfen sollten.

Herr, vergib uns, wo wir uns Dingen zuwenden, die zeigen, dass unser Herz nicht auf dich gerichtet ist. Zeig uns, was wir aufgeben sollen, und erfülle uns mit der Gegenwart deines Geistes.

Kinder, hütet euch vor den Abgöttern! 1.Johannes 5,21

Notre Pain Quotidien - Le courage de Kossi
Lisez : 2 Rois 23.12‑14,21‑25 | La Bible en un an : 1 SAMUEL 1 – 3 et LUC 8.26‑56

Tu n'auras pas d'autres dieux devant ma face. [...] Tu ne te prosterneras point devant [eux]. Exode 20.3-5

En attendant de se faire baptiser dans le fleuve Mono, au Togo, Kossi s’est penché pour ramasser une sculpture de bois usée. Il y avait des générations que sa famille adorait cette figurine grotesque, que ses proches le regardaient maintenant jeter dans un feu que l’on avait préparé à cette intention. Aucun autre de leurs poulets de choix ne serait sacrifié à ce dieu.

En Occident, la plupart des chrétiens considèrent les idoles comme des métaphores illustrant ce que l’on substitue à Dieu. Au Togo, cependant, les idoles sont littéralement des dieux qu’il faut apaiser par des sacrifices. Brûler une idole et se faire baptiser constituent donc une déclaration d’allégeance courageuse du nouveau croyant au seul vrai Dieu.

À l’âge de huit ans, Josias est monté sur le trône d’un royaume marqué par l’idolâtrie et la débauche. Son père et son grand‑père avaient compté parmi les pires rois de toute l’histoire sordide de Juda. Puis le souverain sacrificateur a découvert le livre de la loi. En entendant les paroles qu’il renfermait, le jeune roi les a immédiatement adoptées (2 R 22.8‑13). Josias a alors détruit les autels païens, brûlé les idoles consacrées à la déesse Astarté et mis fin à la prostitution rituelle (CH 23) pour remplacer tout cela par la célébration de la Pâque (23.21‑23).

Chaque fois que nous cherchons des réponses ailleurs qu’en Dieu — consciemment ou non —, nous adorons un faux dieu. Quelles idoles, au propre ou au figuré, devons-nous donc jeter au feu ?

Petits enfants, gardez-vous des idoles.
1 JEAN 5.21

Хліб Наш Насущній - Мужність Коссі

Хай не буде тобі інших богів передо Мною!.. Не вклоняйся їм і не служи їм. — Вихід 20:3, 5

Коссі, чекаючи на хрещення в річці Моно, що в країні Того, нахилився і підняв із землі вирізьбленого з дерева ідола. Потім кинув його у багаття. Протягом багатьох поколінь його рід вклонявся цьому шматку дерева. Але тепер він та його сім’я вже ніколи не будуть приносити найкращих курчат в жертву цьому божку.

На Заході багато християн використовують поняття “ідол” як метафору для всього того, що займає в житті місце Бога. Проте в західноафриканській країні Того люди вклоняються ідолам у прямому сенсі – задобрюють їх жертвами. Тому спалення ідола і прийняття хрещення – доволі сміливий вчинок для новонаверненого.

Коли восьмирічний Йосія зайняв престол, в його країні панувало ідолопоклонство. Його батько й дід були найгіршими царями в усій історії Юдейського царства, сповненій гріха й аморальності. Але потім первосвященик випадково знайшов Книгу Закону. Маленький цар, почувши прочитане, прийняв це до серця (2 Цар. 22:8-13). Йосія зруйнував поганські олтарі, спалив речі, що були присвячені богині Астарті, і порозбивав доми культу блудодійників (2 Цар. 23). Потім він відсвяткував Пасху (2 Цар. 23:21-23).

Сьогодні мудро буде спитати себе: “Якого ідола – у буквальному чи переносному сенсі – настав час кинути у вогонь?

Господи, пробач нас за ті речі, що дуже приваблюють нас і відволікають від Тебе. Вкажи, від чого потрібно відмовитись, щоб Дух Святий займав те місце, де колись панував ідол.

“Дітоньки, бережіться від ідолів!”

Хлеб наш насущный - Храбрость Косси
Читать сейчас: 4 Царств 23:12-14, 21-25 | Библия за год: 1 Царств 1-3; Луки 8:26-56

Да не будет у тебя других богов пред лицом Моим... Не поклоняйся им и не служи им. — Исход 20:3, 5

Перед тем как пойти на собственное крещение в реке Моно, Косси взвалил на плечи старого деревянного идола. Несколько поколений его семьи поклонялись этому истукану. Теперь родственники смотрели, как он тащит уродливую фигуру к специально разведенному костру. Их лучшие куры больше не будут приноситься в жертву ложному богу.

На Западе большинство христиан воспринимают понятие «идол» как метафору того, что занимает место Бога. В стране Того на западе Африки идолы – это настоящие изваяния, которым молятся и приносят жертвы. Сожжение истукана и последовавшее крещение стали дерзновенным заявлением о принадлежности нового верующего единому истинному Богу.

Восьмилетний Иосия воцарился над идолопоклонническим, распущенным народом. Его отец и дед были худшими царями за всю историю Израиля. Но вскоре после восхождения Иосии на престол священник нашел в храме книгу закона. Услышав слова книги, царь принял их к сердцу (4 Цар. 22:8-13). Он уничтожил языческие жертвенники, сжег истукан Астарты и прекратил обрядовый блуд при капищах (4 Цар. 23). Затем он устроил грандиозный праздник Пасхи.

Ища ответы на свои вопросы вне Бога (сознательно или бессознательно), мы следуем за ложными богами. Спросите себя: каких идолов, буквальных или образных, нужно бросить в огонь?

Господи, прости, что мы порой обращаемся к тому, что уводит от Тебя. Покажи нам, где нужно исправиться и дать место Твоему Святому Духу.

«Дети, храните себя от идолов».