Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, May 4, 2017 - 19th Day of Easter - Saint Monica Day

St. Augustine and his mother St. Monica by Ary Scheffer (1846)
Opening Sentence

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

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 5:13-30

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, "So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to give the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom." Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him. He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will. And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored. "So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from 1 John 5:13-21

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one-- to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we are God's children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 5:1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 37:1-18 Noli aemulari
1   Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
2   For they shall soon wither like the grass, and like the green grass fade away.
3   Put your trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
4   Take delight in the LORD, and he shall give you your heart's desire.
5   Commit your way to the LORD and put your trust in him, and he will bring it to pass.
6   He will make your righteousness as clear as the light and your just dealing as the noonday.
7   Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.
8   Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
9   Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.
10   For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the LORD shall possess the land.
11   In a little while the wicked shall be no more; you shall search out their place, but they will not be there.
12   But the lowly shall possess the land; they will delight in abundance of peace.
13   The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash at them with their teeth.
14   The Lord laughs at the wicked, because he sees that their day will come.
15   The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow to strike down the poor and needy, to slaughter those who are upright in their ways.
16   Their sword shall go through their own heart, and their bow shall be broken.
17   The little that the righteous has is better than great riches of the wicked.
18   For the power of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 37:19-42 Novit Dominus
19   The LORD cares for the lives of the godly, and their inheritance shall last for ever.
20   They shall not be ashamed in bad times, and in days of famine they shall have enough.
21   As for the wicked, they shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD, like the glory of the meadows, shall vanish; they shall vanish like smoke.
22   The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous are generous in giving.
23   Those who are blessed by God shall possess the land, but those who are cursed by him shall be destroyed.
24   Our steps are directed by the LORD; he strengthens those in whose way he delights.
25   If they stumble, they shall not fall headlong, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
26   I have been young and now I am old, but never have I seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread.
27   The righteous are always generous in their lending, and their children shall be a blessing.
28   Turn from evil, and do good, and dwell in the land for ever.
29   For the LORD loves justice; he does not forsake his faithful ones.
30   They shall be kept safe for ever, but the offspring of the wicked shall be destroyed.
31   The righteous shall possess the land and dwell in it for ever.
32   The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and their tongue speaks what is right.
33   The law of their God is in their heart, and their footsteps shall not falter.
34   The wicked spy on the righteous and seek occasion to kill them.
35   The LORD will not abandon them to their hand, nor let them be found guilty when brought to trial.
36   Wait upon the LORD and keep his way; he will raise you up to possess the land, and when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
37   I have seen the wicked in their arrogance, flourishing like a tree in full leaf.
38   I went by, and behold, they were not there; I searched for them, but they could not be found.
39   Mark those who are honest; observe the upright; for there is a future for the peaceable.
40   Transgressors shall be destroyed, one and all; the future of the wicked is cut off.
41   But the deliverance of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
42   The LORD will help them and rescue them; he will rescue them from the wicked and deliver them, because they seek refuge in him.

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

O Lord, through spiritual discipline you strengthened your servant Monica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we pray, and use us in accordance with your will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

A Prayer for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; 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!
Thanks be to God! 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 THURSDAY, May 4, 2017 - Saint Monica Day

O Lord, through spiritual discipline you strengthened your servant Monica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we pray, and use us in accordance with your will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Monnica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo

Monica of Hippo by Gozzoli

Today the church remembers Monnica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387.

Monnica, the mother of Augustine (see August 28) has long been regarded as a paragon of Christian motherhood. She was certainly a very loving and loyal wife, and the portrait Augustine presents of her in his writing is of an extraordinary, faith-filled mother.

As a young woman Monnica overcame a drinking problem. Baptized soon afterward, she led a life of virtue from that time on. She was gentle and patient with her pagan husband's infidelity and violent temper, and her prayers and example led him to Christianity a year before his death. Monnica was devoted to her three children, but Augustine, the eldest, was as dissolute as he was brilliant. She prayed and fasted relentlessly on his behalf, following him to Rome and beyond until, after seventeen years of resistance, Augustine was baptized in Milan.

Monnica was an active participant in the revolutionary Christian movement. Though dedicated to her role as wife and mother, she could hardly be called a passive domestic. She was a positive influence in her son's life, perhaps because she led a life of her own. Monnica modeled constancy, affection, unselfishness, patience, wisdom, and integrity.

Almighty and everlasting God, who did enkindle the flame of your love in the heart of your servant Monnica: Grant to us, your humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in her triumph, we may profit by her example; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O Lord, through spiritual discipline you strengthened your servant Monica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we pray, and use us in accordance with your will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, May 4, 2017 - 19th Day of Easter

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Read all of 2 Chronicles 7

Listen to 2 Chronicles 7

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 Original 120"

They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.
Acts 1:14 (NLT)

The book of Acts is the story of a handful of men and women who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, did not leave their world the same way they found it. They were ordinary people who, empowered by the Spirit, were able to do extraordinary things.

This was the beginning of a movement that continues to this day, because the book of Acts is the story of the life-transforming move of the Spirit of God changing the lives of those who encounter Him. Thus, it is an unfinished book.

I am not suggesting, of course, that we add new chapters to the book of Acts. But we should not put a period where God has put a comma. God is still working, and in a sense, these acts of the Holy Spirit are still being recorded in our day.

The book of Acts was written to cover a period of church history spanning about thirty years. As we read it, we basically see nonstop action. One chapter ends with a miracle, and another begins with something supernatural taking place. Thus, we might falsely conclude these first-century believers had miracles at every moment.

I don’t think that was necessarily the case. I think they, like us, had many days of simply walking by faith and applying biblical principles as they sought to obey God. Yet the book of Acts is the record of the intervention of the Holy Spirit, where He did amazing things here and there as He chose to do them. It is the record of the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts and lives of the people of God.

And within thirty years, this original group of 120 Christians and their converts were able to change the world.

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 - Aprendamos de nuestros hijos

Como flechas en las manos del guerrero son los hijos de la juventud. Dichosos los que llenan su aljaba con esta clase de flechas.
Salmo 127:4-5 (NVI)

El aprendizaje de nuestros hijos es una disciplina y un ejercicio que de seguro será un gran recurso para ustedes, padres y madres de familia. A lo mejor tú y yo no recibimos en nuestra niñez todo el amor que anhelábamos o nuestros padres se separaron y hubo mucha soledad y confusión. Lo que es peor, tal vez te maltrataran tus propios padres. Sin embargo, hoy en día eres padre y no debes repetir el patrón en el que te formaron, pues eso sería vengarte con tus hijos de algo que no tienen culpa.

Por eso, te presento a otra de mis princesas, Nichole, a quien le decimos «Niki». Desde pequeñita, le ha fascinado la música y siempre nos deleita con su hermosa voz. Sueña con ser una famosa cantante cristiana. En la actualidad, juega al fútbol y usa el número «10» en su camiseta.

De ella he aprendido algo que no se ve en todas las personas. A pesar de los problemas que le ha tocado vivir a mi lado, hay dos cosas que la distinguen: Nunca pierde la calma ni tampoco el buen humor. Además, Niki me contagia con su alegría y es una niña buena que busca de Dios. A sus dieciséis años, tiene claro varios conceptos como el de llegar virgen al matrimonio y servir al Señor con sus dones y talentos. ¡Cuánto me hubiera gustado conocer a Dios en esa edad! ¡De cuántas cosas me hubiera librado!

Gracias, Niki, por tu apoyo incondicional, por ayudarme a sacar adelante a Anne, tu hermana. Sobre todo, gracias por seguir firme en los caminos de Dios. ¡Te amo también!

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FIVE EXTERNAL TACTICS

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him.

In the New Testament we see Satan using five external tactics against the church: rulers, priests, merchants, mobs and families—and of course, these often occurred in combinations. The followers of Jesus tend to unite the enemies of Jesus, so that quite unlikely alliances can be created. Jesus himself saw this when the Pharisees and the Herodians—two groups that never spoke to each other—got together to plot his assassination after he healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath (Mark 3:6).

It is surprising to some that the rulers are not the biggest persecutors of Christians in the New Testament. That dubious honor falls to the Jewish priestly caste. But there is no doubt that strong opposition came from the rulers. Pontius Pilate was complicit in the death of Jesus; Herod Agrippa killed the apostle James in Jerusalem (Acts 12:2); and of course Nero initiated a terrible persecution against the Christians of Rome in AD 64—the community most think Mark’s gospel was written to encourage.

Though it was Pilate’s order, it was really the Jewish high priest who pushed Pilate into giving the order for the crucifixion when he was inclined to let Jesus go (see John 18:31), and tried to accomplish this by arranging a crowd clemency scene. All throughout his ministry, Jesus’ bitterest enemies were the priests. And so it proved for the early church. The first flogging of Christians was administered under the auspices of the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:40), and the first martyrdom of a Christian (Stephen) was carried out by enraged clerics (Acts 7:54-59). And so it continued also for Paul, the main character of the early church, ironically a former Pharisee and a witness to the stoning of Stephen.

But it is a sad fact that the class threatened most by radical Christian faith is the clerical class, whether of one’s own religious persuasion or of a rival one. This is not to say all clerics are persecutors. Many Pharisees became followers of Jesus, and some, like Nicodemus and Simon, were the very model of courtesy and open-mindedness. Nevertheless, in the history of the church, other “believers” have perpetrated most violence on Christians.

RESPONSE: Satan uses external as well as internal tactics to attack the advance of the Kingdom of God.

PRAYER: Lord, help me show love to other “believers” who do not hear Your voice but are used as tools of the enemy.

NIV Devotions for Men - Righteous by Belief

Genesis 14:11–16; 15:1–6

Recommended Reading: Romans 4:9–25; Ephesians 2:8–10; Hebrews 11:1–40

“Force of 318 Men Defeats Armies of Four Nations!”

What a headline! Imagine how the 24-hour cable news channels would cover such an event. Imbedded reporters, live video and dazzling graphics—not to mention all kinds of experts analyzing how such a small group of soldiers could defeat forces numbering in the thousands. A year or so later, this story would find its way to the silver screen in the form of an epic film with Hollywood’s brightest stars and biggest directors.

As unbelievable as it sounds, this is just what Abram (Abraham) accomplished. He and his men defeated four kings and their armies and rescued his nephew, Lot. With this unbelievable victory as a backdrop, it seems odd that the Lord would urge Abram not to be afraid (see Genesis 15:1). Why would Abram, a great and successful warrior, not to mention a wealthy and wise man, experience fear?

Simple. He was worried about his legacy. Although God had promised Abram that his offspring would be as numerous as the dust, this aging man was still without an heir. Now, having just endured a life-and-death struggle, the fact of his childlessness weighed more heavily than ever on his mind.

Of course, God knew Abram’s heart and thoughts. He addressed Abram’s concerns by showing him the vast expanse of a clear desert sky studded with stars in every direction. “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 5:5), God promised Abram.

In that moment, when Abram simply believed God’s promise, his belief was translated into righteousness in God’s eyes. And simple belief is what God was really after. Abram’s wealth, wisdom and might didn’t mean much in the context of God’s grander plan for humanity. But in simply believing, Abram opened his life to God’s control, which God perceived as a righteous act.

Abram was a great man, but he was only a man. He had flaws just as we all do. Scripture records his great deeds. But it doesn’t gloss over his great mistakes. Yet his simple act of childlike faith—taking God at his word—gave Abram the greatest reward any man could desire: a legacy of faith that has inspired billions of people throughout human history.

To Take Away
  • What does it mean to “believe” in God?
  • What impact might your belief have on the way you live?
  • Pray for the kind of faith that takes God at his word, despite seemingly impossible obstacles.

Girlfriends in God - Can You Be Both Humble and Great?

by Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar (Psalm 138:6)

Friend to Friend

John the Baptist stood out like a sore thumb. Created and set apart by God for a specific task. A great task. The greatest. To prepare the way of the Lord. A human megaphone for Jesus, John the Baptist spoke words of maximum volume as he pointed others to the One and Only and prophetically authenticated the divinity and eternal nature of Christ.

John knew who he was and he knew who Jesus was. He was all about Jesus. Unashamedly unique, John didn’t cave to comfort, popularity, expectations of others, or tradition. Instead, he walked in obedience to God and sought to make much of the Messiah.

He was an odd bird who ate some seriously unconventional food. I’m down with the honey that he was fond of, but I stop way short of snacking on locusts.


It just wouldn’t even cross my mind to put a big bug in my mouth for nutrition.

Just saying.

And then there was his crazy fashion sense. Pretty sure his clothes caused more than a few eyebrows to rise. Camel’s hair was not necessarily the fabric of choice for the average Hebrew man in his day. But that’s what John wore.

Clearly, impressing others with his coolness was not John’s forte, nor his priority. He was different. Probably not the first one picked for the dodge ball games at Hebrew school and he might’ve even got teased: “Your breath smells like stinky bugs!” Who knows? What we do know about John the Baptist is that he was born for greatness, not for average. But he didn’t go about his days trying to be great. John was focused on pointing people to Jesus—not himself. He was on a sacred mission, which left others wondering about him.

The crowds wondered who he was.

They wanted to know why he did the things he did. The Israelites hadn’t seen a prophet in four hundred years. Something was surely up with this guy. One day John was baptizing people in the Jordan River. The priests and Levites hounded him with questions.

Finally they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Make straight the way for the Lord.”’

 Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?’

 ‘I baptize with water,’ John replied, ‘but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’” (John 1:22-27)

Commissioned by God to be famous for Jesus, John had a humble heart and perspective. “I’m not even worthy to untie this guy’s sandals...

I love what Pastor and Author Dr. Tony Evans has to say about this topic. “God is not opposed to greatness. God is opposed to pride. Big difference. Unfortunately, it is a difference not widely understood or embraced.”

Peter reminds us of this in his letter to the believers in the early church. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5b-6, NIV).

Our job: be humble before God and to others.

God’s job: to lift us up as He sees fit, when He sees fit... all to elevate Himself.

“He (God) mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34).

One way I position myself to live out this step is to welcome accountability. My closest girlfriends and I have a deal. If they see anything in my life that shortchanges God’s glory, they have permission to tell me about it.

Even if it hurts my pride.

Even if it hurts my feelings.

My besties have permission to challenge me toward holiness, toward excellence in Christ. And I have permission to speak honestly to them too. It helps to keep us humble. Cause let’s be real here. The tiny particles of sin-dust that get into our eyes can multiply into hardened scales of blindness quicker than you can fry an egg on an Arizona sidewalk midday in August.

Ultimately, to be great in God’s eyes, we have to get over ourselves and become the least.

Let’s Pray

Lord, Please refine me to think, respond, and live humbly. Let my life be an arrow that points to Your greatness.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read John 3:30, then answer this question. What is one thing you could do today that would point to the greatness of Jesus?

Visit my blog or Facebook page to share your answer. {And by the way, I can’t wait to read your answers! I’m curious like that.}

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’s latest book, I Want It ALL.

Are you struggling to see your potential for greatness? Gwen’s book, I Want It All, will help you to dust off a few heart dreams, think bigger thoughts of God, laugh and smile a lot, search your soul, and even cry a little ... because each page lovingly directs you to the personal grace and truth of JESUS. (CLICK HERE to get a FREE Downloadable “7 Day I WANT IT ALL” Devotional Ebook.)

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 - May 4, 2017 "Alligators"

Bucktown in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, had been having some rain.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour


May 4, 2017

1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Bucktown in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, had been having some rain.

Actually, they had been having a lot of rain.

It was the amount of the rain which had everybody worried, and it was fear of flooding that urged them to keep their eyes trained on the storm drains. That explains why they were watching when something did come out of the drain behind the Marie Riviere Elementary School.

Yes, something came out and it wasn't water.

What came out of the school's drain was a seven-foot alligator. Steven Nicholson, a resident of the Parrish commented: "First his head emerged out of the drain and then his whole body."

Now I am not an educator but I don't think most teachers and superintendents want to have an alligator stalking their playground.

Now I can tell you, with a high degree of certainty, that day there was never a time when the little ones at Marie Riviere were in any kind of danger. The students weren't in danger because the students weren't there. It was spring break and everyone had wandered off to the four directions of the compass.

Even so, nobody thought it was a good plan to allow the alligator to settle down in a nice, unobtrusive place and wait until the kids returned. Instead, they decided the men would keep the gator distracted and entertained, while another volunteer called for some assistance: that is, an alligator-wrestling, pest-control officer.

By the time the pest control people arrived the men had managed to work up quite a sweat keeping that alligator entertained -- keeping everybody around, both safe and sound. Those men had done a fine job and nobody had to nag them to get going.

No, those men saw the job which needed to be done and they did it.

I wish the same enthusiasm and commitment would be there when it comes to protecting our little children from the spiritual alligators who are waiting for them. They -- like Peter's lion spoken of in our text -- are eager to devour these young souls. The pornographer, the drug dealer, the representatives from crazy cults and religions are ready to do their worst.

This is why we have to do our best.

We need to be consistent and faithful in pointing children to the Christ. We need, in word and example, to share the blood-bought story of salvation, which brings us to faith and makes us members of the household of the Lord.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, dangerous animals like lions and alligators are easy to identify. That is not always true when it comes to spiritual threats to our little ones. Grant to all adults in authority a sense of discernment that they may do all that is necessary to keep their children in Jesus. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen

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

CPTLN Devocional de 04 de Mayo de 2017

Alimento Diario

Evitando caídas

04 de Mayo 2017

Pórtense como hijos obedientes, y no sigan los dictados de sus anteriores malos deseos, de cuando vivían en la ignorancia. 1 Pedro 1:14

Haga una encuesta entre un grupo de hombres, y la mayoría le dirá que hay muy pocas experiencias en la vida que les gusten menos que ir de compras a un centro comercial.

Yo no soy distinto. Sin embargo, el paseo de ayer fue un poco diferente. Casi podría decir que hasta lo disfruté.

Resulta que un niño, que no tendría más de dos años, salía de una casa de música en compañía de sus padres que estaban conversando tan animosamente, que no se percataron del cd que el pequeño sostenía en sus manos. Estoy convencido que el niño no sabía que lo estaba robando... para él no era más que un juguete nuevo.

De cualquier forma, al salir de la tienda, el sensor magnético pegado al cd hizo sonar una bulliciosa alarma que inmediatamente paralizó todo. La emoción terminó con la devolución del disco "robado" por dos padres avergonzados y un niño llorando a voz en cuello.

Es una lástima que nuestras vidas no tengan alarmas que se enciendan cuando estamos a punto de cometer un error, o de hacer algo tonto. ¡Se imaginan cuántos dolores de cabeza nos evitarían!

Por lo tanto, hasta que tal invento sea creado, vamos a tener que confiar en la sabiduría del Señor para darnos los avisos de alerta. En sus Diez Mandamientos, el Señor nos dice cómo podemos evitar los riesgos que son comunes a todo hombre y mujer. Cuando hacemos caso de las advertencias que Dios nos da en su Ley, los errores son cada vez menos, y la felicidad es cada vez mayor.

Y para cuando no escuchamos, para cuando tambaleamos y pecamos, tenemos un Salvador que dio su vida para perdonar nuestros errores y permitirnos comenzar de nuevo.

Después de todo, en realidad no necesitamos ninguna alarma. Nada puede ser mejor que lo que Dios ya ha diseñado para nuestras vidas.

ORACIÓN: Señor Dios, te doy gracias porque tus mandamientos me advierten del pecado, y el sacrificio de tu Hijo me da perdón cuando tambaleo y caigo. Gracias por salvar mi alma y por cuidar de mí en una forma que no merezco. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

© 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 - Five-Minute Rule

He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Psalm 102:17

I read about a five-minute rule that a mother had for her children. They had to be ready for school and gather together five minutes before it was time to leave each day.

They would gather around Mom, and she would pray for each one by name, asking for the Lord’s blessing on their day. Then she’d give them a kiss and off they’d run. Even neighborhood kids would be included in the prayer circle if they happened to stop by. One of the children said many years later that she learned from this experience how crucial prayer is to her day.

The writer of Psalm 102 knew the importance of prayer. This psalm is labeled, “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.” He cried out, “Hear my prayer, Lord; . . .  when I call, answer me quickly” (vv. 1–2). God looks down “from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he [views] the earth” (v. 19).

God cares for you and wants to hear from you. Whether you follow the five-minute rule asking for blessings on the day, or need to spend more time crying out to Him in deep distress, talk to the Lord each day. Your example may have a big impact on your family or someone close to you.

Teach me to be aware of Your presence, Lord, and to talk to You freely and often.

Read Jesus' Blueprint for Prayer at

Prayer is an acknowledgment of our need for God.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Nguyên Tắc Năm Phút
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 1 Các vua 16–18; Lu-ca 22:47–71

Ngài sẽ nghe lời cầu nguyện của kẻ khốn cùng; không khinh dể lời nài xin của họ. Thi thiên 102:17

Tôi có dịp đọc về nguyên tắc năm phút mà một người mẹ đã đặt ra cho các con của mình. Mỗi ngày, sau khi sửa soạn đồ đạc đến trường, bà tập trung các con lại trước giờ khởi hành khoảng năm phút.

Các con nhóm nhau lại xung quanh mẹ để được mẹ nêu tên rồi cầu nguyện cho từng đứa một, cầu xin Chúa ban phước trên ngày mới của chúng. Sau đó, cô hôn từng đứa một rồi chúng mới bắt đầu đến trường. Nhiều lúc, những đứa trẻ hàng xóm tình cờ đi ngang qua cũng tham gia vào giờ cầu nguyện này. Nhiều năm sau, một trong số những đứa trẻ đó kể rằng qua trải nghiệm đó, cô bé học biết được tầm quan trọng của việc cầu nguyện mỗi ngày.

Trước giả Thi Thiên 102 biết rõ tầm quan trọng của sự cầu nguyện. Phần Thi Thiên này được gọi là: “Lời cầu nguyện của người bị hoạn nạn, dốc đổ nỗi buồn thảm của mình trước ĐỨC GIÊ-HÔ-VA.” Ông kêu lên rằng: “Lạy ĐỨC GIÊ-HÔ-VA, xin nghe lời cầu nguyện con… Trong ngày con kêu cầu, xin mau mau đáp lời con” (c.1–2). Chúa nhìn xuống “từ nơi thánh trên cao… từ trên trời, Ngài xem xét thế gian” (c.19).

Chúa quan tâm đến bạn và Ngài muốn lắng nghe bạn. Mỗi ngày, hãy trò chuyện với Chúa, dù bạn áp dụng nguyên tắc năm phút để cầu xin Chúa ban phước cho ngày mới, hoặc cần dành nhiều thì giờ hơn để kêu cầu với Ngài trong lúc đau buồn. Gương mẫu cầu nguyện của bạn có thể mang đến ảnh hưởng lớn lao trên gia đình và những người thân thiết với bạn.

Lạy Chúa, xin dạy con nhận biết sự hiện diện của Ngài, để con tương giao với Ngài cách tự do và thường xuyên.

Cầu nguyện là thừa nhận chúng ta cần Chúa.

bởi Anne Cetas

Nuestro Pan Diario - La regla de los cinco minutos
La Biblia en un año: 1 Reyes 16–18; Lucas 22:47-71

Ha considerado la oración de los menesterosos, y no ha despreciado su plegaria… (v. 17 LBLA).

Hace tiempo, leí sobre una regla de cinco minutos que tenía una madre para sus hijos. Ellos tenían que estar listos para la escuela cinco minutos antes de que fuera hora de salir.

Se reunían alrededor de su mamá, y ella oraba por cada uno por su nombre, pidiendo la bendición del Señor sobre su día. Después, les daba un beso y ellos partían. Los niños del vecindario participaban del círculo de oración si justo pasaban por allí. Muchos años después, una de las niñas dijo que esta experiencia le enseñó la importancia de la oración para su día.

El escritor del Salmo 102 conocía la importancia de la oración. A este salmo, se lo titula: «Plegaria de uno que sufre, cuando desmaya y expone su queja ante el Señor» (LBLA). El salmista clamó: «Señor, escucha mi oración […]. Apresúrate a responderme el día que te invocare» (vv. 1-2). Dios mira «desde lo alto de su santuario; […] desde los cielos a la tierra» (v. 19).

Se interesa por ti y quiere escucharte. Ya sea que sigas la regla de los cinco minutos y pidas una bendición para el día o necesites pasar más tiempo clamando a Él con profunda angustia, habla con el Señor cada día. Tu ejemplo puede dejar una huella profunda en tu familia o en alguien cercano.

Enséñame a ser consciente de tu presencia, Señor, y a hablar contigo con libertad y a menudo.

Orar es reconocer que necesitamos a Dios.

Unser Täglich Brot - Die Fünf-Minuten-Regel
Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Könige 16–18; Lukas 22,47-71

Er wendet sich zum Gebet der Verlassenen und verschmäht ihr Gebet nicht. Psalm 102,18

Ich habe einmal von einer Mutter gelesen, die für ihre Kinder die Fünf-Minuten-Regel eingeführt hatte. Jeden Morgen vor der Schule hatten sie fünf Minuten früher fertig zu sein.

Die Mutter versammelte sie um sich und betete für jedes Kind mit Namen und bat Gott um seinen Segen für den Tag. Dann gab sie ihnen einen Abschiedskuss und ließ sie loslaufen. Selbst Kinder aus der Nachbarschaft wurden in den Gebetskreis aufgenommen, wenn sie gerade vorbeikamen. Eine der Töchter sagte viele Jahre später, sie habe daraus gelernt, wie wichtig es ist, täglich zu beten.

Der Schreiber von Psalm 102 wusste das auch. Sein Psalm ist überschrieben mit den Worten: „Ein Gebet für den Elenden, wenn er verzagt ist und seine Klage vor dem Herrn ausschüttet.“ Er rief: „Herr, höre mein Gebet . . . wenn ich dich anrufe, so erhöre mich bald!“ (V.2-3). Gott schaut „von seiner heiligen Höhe, der Herr sieht vom Himmel auf die Erde“ (V.20).

Du bist Gott wichtig und er möchte von dir hören. Ob du die Fünf-Minuten-Regel befolgst und um seinen Segen für den Tag bittest oder dir mehr Zeit nehmen solltest, um zu ihm zu rufen und dein Herz vor ihm auszuschütten—rede mit ihm, täglich. Dein Beispiel kann große Auswirkungen haben auf deine Familie oder andere Menschen, die dir nahestehen.

Herr, lehre mich, deine Nähe zu spüren und gern und oft mit dir zu reden.

Beten heißt, sich eingestehen, dass wir Gott brauchen.

Notre Pain Quotidien - La règle des cinq minutes
Lisez : Psaume 102.1‑18
La Bible en un an : 1 ROIS 16 – 18 et LUC 22.47‑71

Il est attentif à la prière du misérable. Il ne dédaigne pas sa prière. V.18

J’ai lu quelque chose au sujet de la règle de cinq minutes qu’une mère imposait à ses enfants. Chaque jour, ils devaient être prêts à partir pour l’école et se réunir cinq minutes avant de quitter la maison.

Ils se rassemblaient autour de leur mère, et elle priait pour chacun d’eux individuellement en demandant au Seigneur de bénir leur journée. Puis elle les embrassait et les envoyait à l’école. Elle incluait même dans son cercle de prière les enfants du quartier qui s’arrêtaient chez elle. De nombreuses années plus tard, une de ces enfants a dit en être venue ainsi à comprendre toute l’influence qu’exerce la prière sur sa journée.

L’auteur du Psaume 102 connaissait l’importance de la prière. Ce psaume est désigné comme ceci : « Prière d’un malheureux, lorsqu’il est abattu et qu’il répand sa plainte devant l’Éternel. » Puis l’auteur s’écrie : « Éternel, écoute ma prière, et que mon cri parvienne jusqu’à toi ! » (V. 1,2), avant d’ajouter plus loin : « Car il regarde du lieu élevé de sa sainteté ; du haut des cieux l’Éternel regarde sur la terre » (V. 20).

Dieu se soucie de vous et désire que vous communiquiez avec lui. Que vous observiez la règle des cinq minutes en lui demandant de bénir votre journée ou que vous ressentiez le besoin de passer plus de temps à lui rappeler votre grande détresse, parlez à Dieu chaque jour. Il se pourrait que votre exemple influence énormément votre famille ou un intime.

La prière est la reconnaissance de notre besoin de Dieu.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Правило п’яти хвилин
Читати: Псалом 101:1-18
Біблія за рік: 1 Царів 16–18 ; Луки 22:47-71

До молитви забутих звернеться Він, і молитви їхньої не осоромить. — Псалом 101:18

Якось я прочитала про правило п’яти хвилин, що одна мати встановила для своїх дітей.

Щоранку діти мали за п’ять хвилин до виходу з дому вже бути готовими до школи і бути разом. Вони збирались навколо мами, і вона молилась за кожного з них по імені – просила, щоб Господь благословляв їх протягом дня. Потім вона цілувала дітей, і вони бігли до школи. Ця жінка молилась навіть за сусідських дітей, коли вони інколи заходили до них перед школою. Одна з її дочок через багато років свідчила, що це правило навчило її вважати ранкову молитву дуже важливою для нового дня.

Автор Псалма 101 розумів важливість молитви. Цей псалом навіть називається “Молитва вбогого, коли він слабне та перед Господнім лицем виливає мову свою”. Автор починає молитву з крику душі: “Господи, вислухай молитву мою… в день благання озвися небавом до мене!” (Пс. 101:1-3). І далі читаємо: “Споглянув Він із високости святої Своєї, Господь зорив на землю з небес” (Пс. 101:20).

Бог піклується про тебе. Він бажає чути твої молитви. Незалежно від того, п’ятихвилинна твоя молитва чи більш тривала (коли ти гукаєш до Бога серед глибокого смутку), звертайся до Господа щодня. Твій приклад може мати великий вплив на членів твоєї сім’ї та близьких тобі людей.

Господи, навчай мене пам’ятати про Твою присутність і звертатись до Тебе часто й просто.

Молитва – то визнання, що нам потрібен Бог.

Автор Енн Сітас

Хлеб наш насущный - Правило пяти минут
Читать сейчас: Псалом 101:1-18
Библия за год: 3 Царств 16-18; Луки 22:47-71

Призрит на молитву беспомощных и не презрит моления их. — Псалом 101:18

Я читала о «Правиле пяти минут», которое одна мама привила своим детям. Каждое утро они должны были подготовиться к школе на пять минут раньше, чем подъезжал школьный автобус.

После чего все собирались вокруг мамы, а она молилась за них, называя каждого по имени и прося Господнего благословения. Потом целовала ребят, и они отправлялись. Даже соседские дети, заходя за друзьями, включались в общую молитву. Одна из девочек много лет спустя говорила, что благодаря этим пятиминуткам поняла, как важна молитва.

Автор Псалма 101 также понимал важность молитвы. Надписание гласит: «Молитва страждущего, когда он унывает и изливает пред Господом печаль свою». Он взывает: «Господи! Услышь молитву мою... в день, когда воззову к Тебе, скоро услышь меня» (Пс. 101:2, 3). Бог смотрит «со святой высоты Своей, с небес... на землю» (Пс. 101:20).

Господь заботится о вас и желает слушать. Хватает вам пяти минут, чтобы испросить благословения на новый день или сердцу нужны часы, чтобы излить перед Ним все накопившееся, обращайтесь к Нему каждый день. Такой пример может оказать огромное влияние на вашу семью или тех, кто близок к вам.

Научи меня помнить о Твоем присутствии, Господь, и обращаться к Тебе часто и свободно.

Молитва – признание нужды в Боге.

автор: Анн Ситас

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