Monday, April 24, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, April 24, 2017 - 9th Day of Easter

Opening Sentence

On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Morning Prayer

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Daniel 1:1-21

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods. Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king's palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king's court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. The palace master said to Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king." Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: "Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe." So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams. At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king's court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus.

The Epistle Lesson

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

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us-- we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in John 17:1-11

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. "I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 1 Beatus vir qui non abiit
1   Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2   Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and they meditate on his law day and night.
3   They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.
4   It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5   Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6   For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Psalm 2 Quare fremuerunt gentes?
1   Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2   Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3   Let us break their yoke, they say; let us cast off their bonds from us.
4   He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; the Lord has them in derision.
5   Then he speaks to them in his wrath, and his rage fills them with terror.
6   I myself have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion
7   Let me announce the decree of the LORD: he said to me, "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
8   Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9   You shall crush them with an iron rod and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10   And now, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11   Submit to the LORD with fear, and with trembling bow before him;
12   Lest he be angry and you perish; for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13   Happy are they all who take refuge in him!

Psalm 3 Domine, quid multiplicati
1   LORD, how many adversaries I have! how many there are who rise up against me!
2   How many there are who say of me, "There is no help for him in his God."
3   But you, O LORD, are a shield about me; you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
4   I call aloud upon the LORD, and he answers me from his holy hill;
5   I lie down and go to sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6   I do not fear the multitudes of people who set themselves against me all around.
7   Rise up, O LORD; set me free, O my God; surely, you will strike all my enemies across the face, you will break the teeth of the wicked.
8   Deliverance belongs to the LORD. Your blessing be upon your people!

Evening Psalms

Psalm 4 Cum invocarem
1   Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; you set me free when I am hard-pressed; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2   You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?
3   Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful; when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me.
4   Tremble, then, and do not sin; speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.
5   Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the LORD.
6   Many are saying, "Oh, that we might see better times!" Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O LORD.
7   You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
8   I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 7 Domine, Deus meus
1   O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me;
2   Lest like a lion they tear me in pieces and snatch me away with none to deliver me.
3   O LORD my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands,
4   If I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered him who without cause is my enemy;
5   Then let my enemy pursue and overtake me, trample my life into the ground, and lay my honor in the dust.
6   Stand up, O LORD, in your wrath; rise up against the fury of my enemies.
7   Awake, O my God, decree justice; let the assembly of the peoples gather round you.
8   Be seated on your lofty throne, O Most High; O LORD, judge the nations.
9   Give judgment for me according to my righteousness, O LORD, and according to my innocence, O Most High.
10   Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.
11   God is my shield and defense; he is the savior of the true in heart.
12   God is a righteous judge; God sits in judgment every day.
13   If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he will bend his bow and make it ready.
14   He has prepared his weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire.
15   Look at those who are in labor with wickedness, who conceive evil, and give birth to a lie.
16   They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made.
17   Their malice turns back upon their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp.
18   I will bear witness that the LORD is righteous; I will praise the Name of the LORD Most High.

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

A Prayer for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Prayer for Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia!
Thanks be to God! Alleluia, alleluia!

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen

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.

Prayer of the Day for MONDAY, April 24, 2017 - 9th Day of Easter

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, April 24, 2017 - 9th Day of Easter

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Read all of 1 Peter 1

Listen to 1 Peter 1

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The Fringe Benefit of Holiness

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 
Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

Have a nice day. We throw that expression around a lot in our culture. When you make a purchase, the cashier might say, "Thank you. Have a nice day." Or, maybe you want to return something, and you're told, "No, we cannot take that back again. Have a nice day." It's really their way of saying, "You can go now."

But what does it really mean to have a nice day? I suppose it would be a day free of sickness, conflict, and hardship—a day that is, well, nice.

That is how God is sometimes perceived. We might imagine Him thundering from Mount Sinai, "Have a nice day!" We like to think of Him as perpetually smiling, wanting us all to be happy, healthy, and wealthy.

I'm not suggesting that God cannot or will not bless us with health or even wealth. Nor am I suggesting that God doesn't want us to be happy. But that is not God's primary objective for us. God doesn't sit around in Heaven and wonder how He can make us happier. What God is really interested in is how He can make us more holy. He wants us to be holy more than He wants us to be happy.

The remarkable thing is that if you really are a holy person, then you will, in turn, be a happy person. Happiness is the fringe benefit of holiness. What does it mean to be holy? Maybe if we respelled holy as wholly, as in wholly committed, we would get a better understanding of the word. You can be wholly committed to surfing or wholly committed to golfing or wholly committed to money. That is a commitment.

If you want to be holy, be wholly committed to God. You will be happy as a result.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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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 - Oración por protección

Responde a mi clamor, Dios mío y defensor mío. Dame alivio cuando esté angustiado, apiádate de mí y escucha mi oración.
Salmo 4:1, NVI

Señor Jesús, hoy quiero pedirte perdón porque reconozco que he estado enviciado con mi trabajo. También he sido negligente porque me he concentrado en servirte y he descuidado lo más preciado para ti, mi familia.

Reconozco que mi vida puede estar llena de conflictos porque me equivoqué al cambiar el orden que estableciste y en el que me encargas que atienda a mi familia en primer lugar.

Sé que me he encerrado mucho en mis necesidades financieras y que he luchado en mis fuerzas por alcanzar lo que necesito. Así que te pido perdón por haber descuidado a mis hijos y mi cónyuge al disfrazarlo con mi trabajo.

Te necesito y necesito de tu sabiduría para vivir de acuerdo con tu voluntad.

Amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Scripture is God’s Word to us. Get to know it. It is the source of truth, assurance and comfort. Learn its lessons. Let God use it to speak to your heart. Look to it to cut through the enemy’s lies and spiritual deception, and to reveal the truth. Use it to persuade others about God’s love and forgiveness.

When God’s Spirit impresses us with a verse or a passage of Scripture to use in our battle against the enemy in a particular conflict, we are able to defeat our enemy. The Bible calls this taking the sword of the Spirit.

Jesus defeated Satan the three times he was tempted in the wilderness by using the sword of the Spirit. (see Matthew 4).

Ruth’s world changed when she chanced to find a Bible. She was fifteen when she was rummaging through her Muslim family’s library. She found it hidden behind the other books. She says, “I quickly read a few pages and the message immediately touched my heart, even though I understood practically nothing of it. Secretly I began to read the Bible regularly in my room. I knew that I had to do more with this. I wanted to get to know Jesus better.”

She adds, “I don’t remember how it happened, but my family realized that I was showing too much interest in Christianity. My whole family was against me, especially my mother.”

“You’re a Muslim,” she said. “Why are you throwing your life away? Why aren’t you like other girls? You’ll soon be going to university and then you’re going to marry a respected Muslim!”

Ruth’s voice falters and for a moment, she doesn’t say anything. “I suffered a lot,” she continues. “But still I kept reading the Bible in secret. The Lord Jesus keeps drawing me closer to Him.”

RESPONSE: Today I take the sword of the Spirit so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.

PRAYER: Lord may the two-edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands today and in the hands of those reading it for the first time.

Women of the Bible - Hannah

Her name means: "Graciousness" or "Favor"

Her character: Provoked by another woman's malice, she refused to respond in kind. Instead, she poured out her hurt and sorrow to God, allowing him to vindicate her.
Her sorrow: To be taunted and misunderstood.
Her joy: To proclaim God's power and goodness, his habit of raising the lowly and humbling the proud.
Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11; 2:19-21

Her Story

It was only fifteen miles, but every year the journey from Ramah, to worship at the tabernacle in Shiloh, seemed longer. At home, Hannah found ways to avoid her husband's second wife, but once in Shiloh there was no escaping her taunts. Hannah felt like a leaky tent in a driving rain, unable to defend herself against the harsh weather of the other woman's heart.

Even Elkanah's arm around her provided no shelter. "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons? Yes, she has given me children, but it's you I love. Ignore her taunts."

How could Hannah make him understand that even the best of men could not erase a woman's longing for children? His attempt to comfort her only sharpened the pain, heightening her sense of isolation.

Once inside the tabernacle Hannah stood for a long time, weeping and praying. Her lips moved without making a sound as her heart poured out its grief to God: "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."

The priest Eli was used to people coming to Shiloh to celebrate the feasts, eating and drinking more than they should. Watching Hannah from his chair by the doorpost of the temple, he wondered why her shoulders were shaking, her lips moving without making a sound. She must be drunk, he concluded. So he interrupted her silent prayer with a rebuke: "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."

"Not so, my lord," Hannah defended herself. "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."

Satisfied by her explanation, Eli blessed her, saying, "May the God of Israel grant your request."

Early the next morning, Hannah and Elkanah returned to their home in Ramah, where Hannah at last conceived. Soon she held against her shoulder the tiny child she had yearned for, the son she had dedicated to God. After Samuel was weaned, she took him to Eli at Shiloh. Like Jochebed placing the child Moses into the waters of the Nile as though into God's own hands, she surrendered her child to the priest's care. Eventually Hannah's boy became a prophet and Israel's last judge. His hands anointed both Saul and David as Israel's first kings.

Like Sarah and Rachel, Hannah grieved over the children she couldn't have. But unlike them, she took her anguish directly to God. Misunderstood by both her husband and her priest, she could easily have turned her sorrow on herself or others, becoming bitter, hopeless, or vindictive. But instead of merely pitying herself or responding in kind, she poured out her soul to God. And God graciously answered her prayer.

Each year Hannah went up to Shiloh and presented Samuel with a little robe she had sewn. And each year, the priest Eli blessed her husband, Elkanah, saying, "May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord." And so Hannah became the mother of three more sons and two daughters. Hannah's great prayer, echoed more than a thousand years later by Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46-55), expresses her praise: "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance…. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap" (1 Samuel 2:1, 7-8).

Her Promise

When God met Hannah at the temple in Shiloh, he not only answered her prayer for a child, he answered her prayer for comfort in her misery. He gave her consolation in her disappointment and strength to face her situation. Scripture does not say that she went away sure she would bear a child, but it does make it clear that she went away comforted: "Her face was no longer downcast" (1 Samuel 1:18). What even the love and care of her husband Elkanah could not provide, God could provide.

God is willing to meet us just as he met Hannah. Whatever our distress, whatever hard situations we face, he is willing—more than that, he is eager—to meet our needs and give us his grace and comfort. No other person—not our husband, not our closest friends, not our parents, not our children—can render the relief, support, and encouragement that our God has waiting for 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 - It’s Time To Make Up Your Mind!

by Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

You, LORD, give true peace to those who depend on You, because they trust You (Isaiah 26:3, NCV).

Friend to Friend

As I stood on the sideline of the football field where my then eighteen-year-old son was practicing for the South Florida All Star Football Game, I was not prepared for the hideous sounds and horrific sights that assaulted every protective sense I have as a mother. My baby - my six-foot, two hundred and thirty pound baby - was knocking padded giants left and right as he bulldozed his way toward the goal line.

Mixed emotions and foreign thoughts flooded my heart and mind. On one hand, I was so proud of Jered that I felt like shouting to the college scouts standing beside me, “That’s my boy!” On the other hand, I wanted to drag him off the field, lock him in his nice, safe room and never let him play the barbaric game of football again.

The curious thing is that Jered was and is a gentle young man that loves every animal he sees. Jered will do anything to help anyone in need and rarely gets angry. So what happened when he stepped on that football field? I’ll tell you what happened; he turned into a growling, intimidating predator, who would bash heads and bruise any bodies that got in his way.

On the ride home that night, I shared my thoughts with Jered, describing my astonishment at his metamorphosis from the teddy bear I knew to the bulldozing bear opponents feared. He laughed and said, “Mom, ninety per cent of football is mental. If you think tough you will be tough.” I could buy that theory, in part, but looking at Jered’s size, considerable bulk and bulging muscles, I had to believe that his physical attributes had something to do with his intimidating bruiser mentality on the football field. “Son, you are a hulk. Any player would be afraid of you!” He grinned, loving the compliment and then reminded me of a friend who had graduated two years before.

Chris was a short and lean but deadly running back known for intimidating players twice his size. I did remember Jered coming home from several practices complaining, “I’d rather get hit by anyone but Chris. He is brutal!” Jered then said something I will never forget. “Mom, Chris was a great football player because he thought he was a great football player. I have seen so many guys who are bigger, stronger and better who could not begin to play as well as Chris played. In football, success is not only in the body but also in the mind.”

What a powerful truth – on the football field – and in the game of life.

The thought processes of a child are very different from those of a mature person. A child thinks only of himself and his desires. For the sake of survival, every baby comes into this world as a narcissist, thinking only of its own needs. But with healthy growth of the mind comes a natural change in focus from inward to outward.

The thought life of a mature believer must be well trained because the greatest battlefield for the Christian is the mind. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB). In other words, what we think about powerfully influences who and what we will become. Our actions, our attitudes and habits are born in the mind, an offspring of the thought life we entertain.

We can literally change our life by changing how we think – but we cannot do it alone. God’s standard and guideline for the thought life is very clear and brutally demanding. In fact, it’s downright impossible without God’s power at work in us.

Philippians 4:8 (NCV) “Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”

We choose what we watch and read, the conversations we have, and the time we spend in the Word. If the mind is not filled with good, trust me, the enemy will fill it with bad. The human mind will always set itself on something.

In this passage, Paul is challenging us to wisely choose that setting, taking charge of our thoughts by inviting the Holy Spirit to empower God’s standard for the mind.

It is time for us to allow the Holy Spirit free reign in training our mind, harnessing our thoughts and measuring them by God’s standard. If we don’t make up our mind, our unmade mind will unmake us. In order to live right we must think right. How about you? Have you made up your mind?

Let’s Pray

Lord, I confess to You that my thoughts are not pure. I have allowed the world and outside influences to pollute the mind that should be set on You. Right now, I choose against my old ways of thinking and invite the Holy Spirit to stand guard over my mind. I commit to fill my heart and mind with Your truth.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Recognize the power of your thought life.

Read Colossians 3:2.

Choose God’s worthy standard for your thought life from this day on.

Read Romans 8:6.

More from the Girlfriends

We have to make time to read and study God’s Word. If we don’t, we are left to our own wisdom and understanding. Join me in a new commitment to make reading, studying and memorizing the Bible. Need help? Enroll in my Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey and learn how to study and apply God’s Word.

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Daily Devotion April 24, 2017 "Overwhelming Love Breeds a Living Hope for Life"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour

" Overwhelming Love Breeds a Living Hope for Life"

April 24, 2017

1 John 3:16 - This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

In yesterday's sermon we talked about a living hope that comes from knowing the Savior who died and rose again for you. I don't think you can fully appreciate how that knowledge changes your life, until you realize just how loved you are in Jesus.

I got a glimpse of that when I read about the aftermath of a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park. The rangers made their way up the side of a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick.

When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze arrived and the heat scorched her small body. Through this, the mother remained steadfast; she had been willing to die so those under the cover of her wings would live.

All I could think about when I read about this little bird and her saved babies was Psalm 91:4, where the Bible reminds us: "God will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge." The wings of God were the gift of His Son, the power of His cross, and the glory of His resurrection.

All of us are caught up in the conflagration of sin, death, and the power of the devil. Our death is imminent if we are left to our own power to try to escape these destructive powers. It is for this reason that God so loved each of us that He sent His own Son to gather us under His protective wings. On Calvary that conflagration of all evil and all our sins struck our Savior. He died with us gathered under His wings so that we might live. The apostle Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

The dead body of Christ was not a pillar of ash that was knocked aside and forgotten -- as it was with the mother bird's body, leaving no hope for the future. Rather, on the third day, He arose from the dead giving us the living hope and assurance that He will live with us, and we will live with Him now and into eternity.

The apostle John is reminding us that there is no greater definition of love than one who is willing to lay down his or her life for someone else. How grateful we are for soldiers on the battlefield who have given their lives so we might live in freedom. How thankful we can be for those who have sacrificed their lives -- in any way -- that someone else might live. These acts of love continue to remind us that the greatest act of love is found in Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God who gives us victory in our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, overwhelm us with Your love so that we can love others the way You love us. Amen

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

CPTLN Devocional de 24 de Abril de 2017

Alimento Diario

Conocido pero desconocido

24 de Abril 2017

Señor, tú me has examinado y me conoces. Salmo 139:1

Quienes vivimos en una zona urbana, a diario nos cruzamos con decenas de personas.

La mayoría de las veces no conocemos a quienes se cruzan en nuestro camino, por lo que nos sentimos anónimos. Lo que en otras palabras es decir que, aunque estemos rodeados de gente, estamos solos.

El mejor ejemplo que se me ocurre de lo que significa estar solo, es el de una joven que fue asesinada en un camino cerca de Kansas City en el año 1934. Era pelirroja, tenía pecas en la cara, ojos azules, y una cicatriz en un tobillo. Ciento cincuenta personas la reconocieron e identificaron.

Lo interesante del caso es que esas 150 personas la identificaron como 26 mujeres diferentes: como esposa, como hermana, como hija, como una amiga. Increíblemente, todas esas 26 mujeres fueron encontradas con vida. Después de siete meses de investigaciones, la joven pelirroja fue sepultada y nunca se supo quién era.

Lo que me lleva a preguntarle: "¿Hay alguien que le conoce a usted de verdad?"

Seguramente hay algunas personas que piensan que le conocen, pero ¿es cierto? Quizás conozcan UNA parte de su vida, pero no CADA parte, incluyendo cada estado de ánimo y cada pensamiento.

La próxima pregunta es: "¿quisiera que lo supieran?" La mayoría tenemos cosas de las cuales no nos enorgullecemos.

Si a usted le pasa lo mismo que a mí, no se desespere ni se ponga nervioso porque con mucha alegría le quiero decir que el Dios Trino, que le conoce totalmente, le ama. Le ama total y completamente. Le ama tanto como para enviar a su único Hijo al mundo a vivir, morir y resucitar por usted.

Si me pregunta: "¿Por qué? ¿Por qué haría Dios algo así?", la única respuesta que le puedo dar es: por su gran amor.

Increíble, ¿no es cierto?

ORACIÓN: Querido Dios, gracias por amarme total y completamente a pesar de conocer cada parte de mi ser. Gracias por enviar a tu Hijo al mundo a sacrificarse por mí para que pueda tener vida eterna junto a ti. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

© 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

Our Daily Bread - The Small Things

Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

My friend Gloria called with excitement in her voice. She had not been able to leave her home except for doctors’ appointments. So I understood why she was so happy to tell me, “My son just attached new speakers to my computer, so now I can go to my church!” Now she could hear the live broadcast of her church’s worship service. She raved about God’s goodness and the “best gift my son could have given me!”

Gloria teaches me about having a thankful heart. Despite her many limitations, she’s thankful for the smallest of things—sunsets, helpful family and neighbors, quiet moments with God, the ability to remain in her own apartment. She’s had a lifetime of seeing God provide for her, and she talks about Him to anyone who visits or calls.

We don’t know what difficulties the author of Psalm 116 was encountering. Some Bible commentaries say it was probably sickness because he said, “the cords of death entangled me” (v. 3). But he gave thanks to the Lord for being gracious and full of compassion when he was “brought low” (vv. 5–6).

When we’re low, it can be hard to look up. Yet if we do, we see that God is the giver of all good gifts in our life—great and small—and we learn to give Him thanks.

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? . . . I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 116:12, 17 esv).

Praise to God comes naturally when you count your blessings.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Những Điều Nhỏ Nhặt
Đọc: Thi Thiên 116:1-9 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 2 Sa-mu-ên 19-20; Lu-ca 18:1-23

Mọi ơn lành tốt đẹp và tặng phẩm toàn hảo đều đến từ thiên thượng. Gia-cơ 1:17

Chị Gloria bạn tôi gọi cho tôi với giọng vô cùng hào hứng. Đã lâu chị không thể ra khỏi nhà trừ khi có hẹn với bác sĩ. Nên tôi hiểu tại sao chị vui như thế khi nói với tôi: “Con trai mình vừa mới gắn cái loa vào máy vi tính cho mình, vì thế giờ mình có thể đi nhà thờ được rồi!” Giờ chị có thể nghe phát trực tiếp buổi thờ phượng của Hội thánh chị. Chị say sưa nói về sự tốt lành của Chúa và “món quà tuyệt nhất mà con trai đã tặng.”

Chị Gloria dạy cho tôi bài học về lòng biết ơn. Dù gặp nhiều hạn chế, chị vẫn biết ơn Chúa về những điều nhỏ nhất—ánh hoàng hôn, được gia đình và hàng xóm giúp đỡ, những giờ phút yên lặng với Chúa, được ở trong căn hộ của mình. Chị nhìn biết sự chu cấp của Chúa trên cả cuộc đời mình và chị nói về Ngài với bất cứ ai đến thăm hay gọi điện.

Chúng ta không biết tác giả Thi Thiên 116 đang đối diện với những khó khăn nào. Một số sách giải kinh nói rằng có lẽ ông đang bị bệnh vì ông nói: “Dây sự chết vương vấn tôi” (c.3). Nhưng ông tạ ơn Chúa vì Ngài đã làm ơn và đầy lòng thương xót khi ông “bị khốn khổ” (c.5-6).

Khi chúng ta khốn khổ, thật khó để nhìn lên Chúa. Nhưng nếu nhìn lên Ngài, chúng ta sẽ thấy rằng Chúa là Đấng ban mọi tặng phẩm tốt lành trong đời sống chúng ta—dù lớn hay nhỏ—và chúng ta sẽ học cách tạ ơn Ngài.

Tôi sẽ lấy gì báo đáp Đức Giê-hô-va về các ơn lành mà Ngài đã làm cho tôi?... Con sẽ dâng lên Chúa tế lễ tạ ơn (Thi Thiên 116 :12, 17).

Bạn sẽ tuôn tràn lời ca ngợi Chúa khi đếm các ơn phước Ngài ban.

bởi Anne Cetas

Nuestro Pan Diario - Las pequeñas cosas
Leer: Salmo 116:1-9 | La Biblia en un año: 2 Samuel 19–20; Lucas 18:1-23

Toda buena dádiva y todo don perfecto desciende de lo alto… (Santiago 1:17).

Mi amiga Gloria nos llamó entusiasmada. No podía salir de su casa, excepto para ir al médico. Así que entendí su alegría cuando me dijo: «Mi hijo acaba de conectar parlantes a mi computadora. ¡Ya puedo ir a la iglesia!». Ahora, podía escuchar la transmisión en vivo de la reunión. No paraba de hablar de la bondad de Dios y del «mejor regalo que mi hijo podría haberme dado».

Gloria me enseña a tener un corazón agradecido. A pesar de sus limitaciones, da gracias por las pequeñas cosas: los atardeceres, los familiares y vecinos serviciales, los momentos a solas con Dios, la posibilidad de vivir en su casa. Dios siempre le proveyó lo que necesitaba, y ella les habla del Señor a todos los que la visitan o la llaman.

No sabemos qué dificultades tenía el autor del Salmo 116. Algunos dicen que probablemente fuera una enfermedad, ya que afirma: «Me rodearon ligaduras de muerte» (v. 3). Sin embargo, el salmista dio gracias al Señor por ser misericordioso y compasivo cuando estaba «postrado» (vv. 5-6).

Cuando estamos postrados, puede ser difícil levantar la mirada. Sin embargo, si lo hacemos, vemos que Dios es el que nos da todo lo bueno que tenemos, y aprendemos a darle gracias.

¿Qué pagaré al Señor por todos sus beneficios para conmigo? […] Te ofreceré sacrificio de alabanza… Salmo 116:12, 17

La alabanza a Dios surge naturalmente cuando miras todo lo que tienes.