Monday, May 8, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, May 8, 2017 - 23rd Day of Easter

Julian of Norwich
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 Wisdom 1:16-2:24

But the ungodly by their words and deeds summoned death; considering him a friend, they pined away and made a covenant with him, because they are fit to belong to his company. For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, "Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end, and no one has been known to return from Hades. For we were born by mere chance, and hereafter we shall be as though we had never been, for the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our hearts; when it is extinguished, the body will turn to ashes, and the spirit will dissolve like empty air. Our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will remember our works; our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and be scattered like mist that is chased by the rays of the sun and overcome by its heat. For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and there is no return from our death, because it is sealed up and no one turns back. "Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth. Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass us by. Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither. Let none of us fail to share in our revelry; everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment, because this is our portion, and this our lot. Let us oppress the righteous poor man; let us not spare the widow or regard the gray hairs of the aged. But let our might be our law of right, for what is weak proves itself to be useless. "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God's child, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. Let us test him with insult and torture, so that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected." Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls; for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Colossians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 6:1-11

One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" Jesus answered, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?" Then he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath." On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come and stand here." He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?" After looking around at all of them, he said to him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 41 Beatus qui intelligit
1   Happy are they who consider the poor and needy! the LORD will deliver them in the time of trouble.
2   The LORD preserves them and keeps them alive, so that they may be happy in the land; he does not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
3   The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and ministers to them in their illness.
4   I said, "LORD, be merciful to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you."
5   My enemies are saying wicked things about me: "When will he die, and his name perish?"
6   Even if they come to see me, they speak empty words; their heart collects false rumors; they go outside and spread them.
7   All my enemies whisper together about me and devise evil against me.
8   A deadly thing, they say, has fastened on him; he has taken to his bed and will never get up again.
9   Even my best friend, whom I trusted, who broke bread with me, has lifted up his heel and turned against me.
10   But you, O LORD, be merciful to me and raise me up, and I shall repay them.
11   By this I know you are pleased with me, that my enemy does not triumph over me.
12   In my integrity you hold me fast, and shall set me before your face for ever.
13   Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, from age to age. Amen. Amen.

Psalm 52 Quid gloriaris?
1   You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness against the godly all day long?
2   You plot ruin; your tongue is like a sharpened razor, O worker of deception.
3   You love evil more than good and lying more than speaking the truth.
4   You love all words that hurt, O you deceitful tongue.
5   Oh, that God would demolish you utterly, topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling, and root you out of the land of the living!
6   The righteous shall see and tremble, and they shall laugh at him, saying,
7   This is the one who did not take God for a refuge, but trusted in great wealth and relied upon wickedness.
8   But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9   I will give you thanks for what you have done and declare the goodness of your Name in the presence of the godly.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 44 Deus, auribus
1   We have heard with our ears, O God, our forefathers have told us, the deeds you did in their days, in the days of old.
2   How with your hand you drove the peoples out and planted our forefathers in the land; how you destroyed nations and made your people flourish.
3   For they did not take the land by their sword, nor did their arm win the victory for them; but your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you favored them.
4   You are my King and my God; you command victories for Jacob.
5   Through you we pushed back our adversaries; through your Name we trampled on those who rose up against us.
6   For I do not rely on my bow, and my sword does not give me the victory.
7   Surely, you gave us victory over our adversaries and put those who hate us to shame.
8   Every day we gloried in God, and we will praise your Name for ever.
9   Nevertheless, you have rejected and humbled us and do not go forth with our armies.
10   You have made us fall back before our adversary, and our enemies have plundered us.
11   You have made us like sheep to be eaten and have scattered us among the nations.
12   You are selling your people for a trifle and are making no profit on the sale of them.
13   You have made us the scorn of our neighbors, a mockery and derision to those around us.
14   You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughing-stock among the peoples.
15   My humiliation is daily before me, and shame has covered my face;
16   Because of the taunts of the mockers and blasphemers, because of the enemy and avenger.
17   All this has come upon us; yet we have not forgotten you, nor have we betrayed your covenant.
18   Our heart never turned back, nor did our footsteps stray from your path;
19   Though you thrust us down into a place of misery, and covered us over with deep darkness.
20   If we have forgotten the Name of our God, or stretched out our hands to some strange god,
21   Will not God find it out? for he knows the secrets of the heart.
22   Indeed, for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
23   Awake, O Lord! why are you sleeping? Arise! do not reject us for ever.
24   Why have you hidden your face and forgotten our affliction and oppression?
25   We sink down into the dust; our body cleaves to the ground.
26   Rise up, and help us, and save us, for the sake of your steadfast love.

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

Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; 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!
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.

Dame Julian of Norwich

Dame Julian of Norwich

Today the church remembers Dame Julian of Norwich, c. 1417.

Dame Julian, or Lady Julian, so named from her gentle birth, was born in 1342. She claimed to be a simple, unlettered person; but though she was not learned, she was by no means uneducated. She knew her Bible and the teaching of the church, and she could express herself in vigorous English. It is possible, though there is no proof, that she became a Benedictine nun. On May 8, 1373, at the age of thirty, she received a series of "Sixteen Shewings" that are recorded in the first version of her Revelations of Divine Love. These visions came in response to prayers for "three gifts from God": to have the mind of Christ's Passion, a bodily sickness, and the gift of three wounds" of contrition, compassion, and a "willful longing toward God." Some twenty years later her Revelations were expanded as a result of "inward teaching."

After the experience of 1373 she retired, with a personal servant, to a hermitage in the churchyard of St. Julian, Conisford, Norwich, so situated that she could witness the celebration of Mass in the church and receive visitors. The date of her death is unknown. The latest document that mentions her is dated 1416. Her book reveals tender meditations on the Passion of Christ and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, combined with a keen intellect and shrewd common sense, and a concern for the salvation of Jews and pagans. Her remarkable sense of balance and proportion is exhibited in her Revelations.

Reveal to us your Passion, Lord Christ, that we might celebrate with joy the mystery of our salvation. Amen

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Prayer of the Day for MONDAY, May 8, 2017 - 23rd Day of Easter

Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; 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, May 8, 2017 - 23rd Day of Easter

Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV) Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Read all of Colossians 4

Listen to Colossians 4

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 - "A Power to Change the World"

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

I am always interested in last words, in knowing the last thing that someone said.

Jesus was leaving. Prior to His ascension, He took the apostles to a mountain in Galilee, where He gave them marching orders for the church:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
How would they pull this off from a human standpoint? They were in no way ready for such a task. There were still things they didn’t understand. Their faith was weak. They had failed in their public witness and also in their private faith.

After all, Simon Peter, their acknowledged leader, had openly denied the Lord. If Peter could be demoralized by the words of one woman, then how could he (and they) be expected to go into all the world and preach the gospel?

How? They would do it with a power they had never known before, a power to change the world: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). It’s power to be a witness . . . power to share your faith . . . power to turn your world upside down . . . power to do what God has called you to do.

The same power that was poured out at Pentecost is available to us today. The Bible has promised a dimension of power for every believer who would ask for it from the Lord, to be a witness for Him.

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 - El favor de Dios es un regalo

En verdad, quien me encuentra, halla la vida y recibe el favor del Señor.
Proverbios 8:35 (NVI)

Dios quiere que te vaya bien. Estos días estamos hablando acerca de los regalos que vienen incluidos cuando tenemos a Jesús.

El favor de Dios es uno de ellos. Dios nos ayuda, nos prospera y nos da lo que tú y yo necesitamos. Muchas personas piensan que contar con el favor de Dios es tener dinero, pero sabemos de otras tantas personas que conociendo a Jesús aman el dinero y hacen lo que tengan que hacer con tal de depender del dinero. Lo que es más triste, otros incluso son ricos, pero viven en una absoluta pobreza emocional. Están solos, o se sienten solos, aunque tengan muchas personas a su alrededor. Perciben que nadie ni nada los llena.

Dios solo quiere que tú y yo establezcamos un equilibrio perfecto a fin de poder disfrutar de sus bendiciones y de su favor.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

Make every effort to live in peace with all men…

Other religious groups are one of the most threatening tactics Satan uses against the church of Jesus Christ. In the book of Acts we see over and over that the primary opposition to the spread of the gospel in the early church was from religious groups. Again we must never view these groups as the enemy. We know who our real enemy is. In some parts of the world, the small percentage of extremists among Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims have encouraged mob violence and other forms of persecution against Christians. Our attitude toward them should be as Brother Andrew’s acronym for ISLAM suggests: I Sincerely Love All Muslims.

The tactic that our enemy uses in these major religions of the world is the same. It comes from his character of deceiving and lying. Some people are able to perceive elements of truth within the major religions of the world, but their essential teachings are deceivingly false.

Wherever possible, missionaries of cults and other religions do whatever possible to encourage Christians—usually those who are Christian in name only—to convert to their religion. Unfortunately, in countries such as Egypt, a significant number do convert to a cult or to some other religion. The lure to convert can be marriage, money, employment, social acceptance, and any other similar attraction.

Hardini was born to a devout Muslim family in Indonesia where everyone must go to the mosque every day to pray. Her father had strict rules for everyone in the family. One rule was that Hardini should never associate with Christians. Despite Hardini’s devotion to Islam, her heart was heavy and she longed for inner peace. A Christian with a great sense of joy and peace befriended Hardini.

Hardini had the courage to tell her new friend about her spiritual hunger, and the friend offered to pray for her in the name of Jesus. After the Christian girl prayed, peace filled Hardini’s heart and her life radically changed.

When Hardini’s family discovered she had become a Christian, they spent hours and hours trying to entice her with force to recant her new faith. Hardini remained steadfast. Finally her parents made a painful decision—they totally disowned their daughter. That left Hardini with the choices of either recanting her faith or fleeing from her home and family. She chose to flee.

RESPONSE: Today I will pray for believers like Hardini who experience religious intolerance.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to sincerely love all Muslims and people of other faith systems.

Women of the Bible - "Abigail"

Her name means: "My Father Is Joy"

Her character: Generous, quick-witted, and wise, she is one of the Bible's great peacemakers.
Her sorrow: To have been mismatched in marriage to her first husband.
Her joy: That God used her to save lives, eventually making her the wife of David.
Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 25:2-42

Her Story

Blockhead, numskull, nincompoop—the words strike us as both harsh and humorous. But any woman married to a man worthy of such labels would have little to laugh about.

Abigail must have felt suffocated, having been paired with just such a husband. Her father may have thought the wealthy Nabal was a catch, little realizing the man's domineering attitude might one day endanger his daughter's future. But fools and ruin often keep close company, as Abigail discovered.

For some time Abigail had been hearing of David: his encounter with Goliath, his ruddy good looks, his prowess in battle, his rift with King Saul. Recently, he had become her near neighbor in the Desert of Maon, west of the Dead Sea, where he had taken refuge from Saul. Since David had arrived with his six hundred men, marauders kept clear of her husband's livestock, and Nabal's flocks prospered as a result.

But when David sent ten of his men to ask Nabal for provisions, Nabal, who had grown richer by the day thanks to David, nearly spit in their faces. "Who is this David? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?" Rich though he was, Nabal had just foolishly insulted the region's most powerful man.

Aware of their danger, one of the servants ran quickly to Abigail, begging her to intervene. As Nabal's wife, she must have suffered his arrogance every day of her life. But this time his folly jeopardized the entire household. Wasting no time, and without a word to her husband, she loaded a caravan of donkeys with gifts for David and his men—freshly baked bread, skins of wine, red meat, and various delicacies—and took them to David's camp. As soon as she saw him, she fell to the ground at his feet, making one of the longest speeches by a woman recorded in the Bible:
"My lord," she pleaded, "let the blame be on me alone. May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent. Please forgive your servant's offense, for the Lord will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the Lord's battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone pursues you, your life will be held securely by the Lord your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling."
Her well-chosen words, of course, reminded David of his success against Goliath, erasing his anger and enabling his gracious reply: "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. If you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak." In addition to saving lives, Abigail's wisdom had spared David from sinning, reminding him that vengeance belongs only to God.

After her encounter with David, Abigail went to Carmel, where Nabal had been shearing his sheep and celebrating his good fortune. Once again, she found him playing the fool. Oblivious to danger, he was drunkenly presiding over a festival banquet, like a great king. She waited until morning, when he was sober, to tell him what had happened. As soon as Nabal heard the news, his heart failed. Ten days later he was dead.

Arrogance, greed, and selfishness had conspired to rob Nabal of any good sense he might once have possessed. Thinking himself a great man when he was only a small one, he lost everything. Abigail was Nabal's opposite, a woman whose humility, faith, generosity, intelligence, and honesty made her wise. Rather than putting others at risk by an ungoverned tongue, her gracious words saved lives.

When David heard the news of Nabal's death, he sent word to Abigail, asking her to be his wife. This time it was Abigail's choice whether or not to marry. She accepted, becoming David's third wife and eventually mother to his second son, Kileab.

Unlike Michal, who had been a mere pawn on a chessboard, Abigail was a woman who rose above her circumstances to change the course of events. Though Scripture doesn't offer details regarding her daily life, it is logical to suppose she was a good wife to Nabal. Even her entreaty to David was the act of a good wife. Perhaps her marriage was the catalyst for her character, helping her to cultivate contrasting virtues to Nabal's vices. Regardless, through her quick-witted action, she spared her husband's life and goods. It was God, not Abigail or David, who paid Nabal back for his arrogance and greed.

Her Promise

Abigail was a courageous woman, who made the best out of a difficult situation. She knew the cultural principles at work here: Nabal—out of just plain good hospitality and out of gratitude for the protection David's men had provided—should have given David's men what they asked for. Yet when David sought vengeance, Abigail interceded, realizing that vengeance wasn't something that was up to David—or her—to give.

Years of living with Nabal did not seem to have made Abigail bitter, nor had the years caused her to look for ways to get back at him and seek revenge. The Lord honored Abigail for her consistency, her generosity, and her willingness to continue on the right path, no matter how difficult. In the same way, God continues to honor those who are faithful even when faithfulness brings difficulty and hardship and pain. He doesn't promise to always deliver, as he delivered Abigail, but he does promise to go with 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 - "Time to Get Healthy!"

by Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I have struggled with weight issues since I was a little girl. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I hate exercise, take medications that cause weight gain, enjoy eating, and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet and reward.

I was a young adult and living on my own before I realized that part of the creation process included green things called vegetables. The motto in our family was, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t right.” Gravy was a condiment and potatoes a staple at every meal. No bread? How can you have a meal without bread? And dessert was a necessity. Get the picture?

Over the years, I have tried just about every diet I could find. I could always lose weight. I just could not keep it off. The day came when I threw in the towel.

My name is Mary, and I am a Carboholic.

I was done. I was burned out on diets and quick fixes. I didn’t want to be a certain size. I just wanted to feel good and to be as healthy as I could possibly be at this point in my life.

I went to a highly-recommended Christian nutritionist who asked me to complete a packet of 500 questions (not kidding), did an EKG, ran more blood tests than I have ever had run in my life, and introduced me to the coolest machine that measures fat and muscle in the body. After all the tests were in, Dr. Tague smiled at me and calmly said, “Mary, you are a malnourished woman.”

My mouth literally fell open in shock. At the time, I was at least 50 pounds overweight and ate pretty much everything in sight whenever I felt the slightest twinge of hunger. How could I possibly be malnourished?

The doctor went on to explain that I was indeed eating … but I was eating all the wrong things … at all the wrong times. In fact, I was dangerously low in several key vitamins and minerals. He handed me a small paper cup filled with a mixture of those vitamins and minerals to take before leaving his office and said, “If you were my patient in the hospital, I would not release you until some of these levels came up.” Now he had my undivided attention.

God often works the same way.

I spend more time working on ministry checklists than I spend in God’s Word.

Prayer is more often a drive-through event than the sit-down-at-His-feet experience it should be.

I give God the leftovers of my day when I should purposefully plan my time with Him.

Rather than investing time in relationships, I follow friends on Facebook or text them to ease my guilt.

I choose what is easiest and more convenient in ministry instead of choosing the best part of ministry, which is often messy and inconvenient.

I often allow the hedges of protection to go untended, resulting in a lack of boundaries and margins in my life.

I allow myself to become a malnourished Christian.

God then lovingly but unquestionably gets my attention in several ways - a crisis that knocks every prop but Him out from under me, or an illness that rips every choice out of my hands and really makes me stop. I can then get the spiritual nourishment that really feeds my soul. Nourishment like sustaining time in the Word of God … significant, life-giving time in prayer … nurturing time with encouraging friends … opportunities to give myself away in service.

After following the carefully laid out plan of my nutritionist for two years, I have lost 65 pounds, but that is not the best or most important news. I feel better than I have felt in many years! My blood work, EKGs, and BMI (body mass index) are all perfect. And the doctor has now pronounced me a well-nourished woman.

I want to be a well-nourished Christian. I want to get my spiritual ducks in a row. I am seeking God on what I should and should not do. I am setting boundaries and asking my husband and accountability group to hold my feet to the fire in keeping those boundaries firmly in place. I am practicing saying “no.” I am bringing order to any areas of chaos. I am resting beside the still waters. And I know He will restore my soul just as He has restored my body in so many ways.

How about you? Are you a malnourished Christian? Today is the day to take a step toward spiritual health!

Let’s Pray

Father, I celebrate the amazing truth that You chose to live in me and that my body is Your temple. Please forgive me when I abuse that temple. And I am so sorry for the many times that I neglect You, Lord. Forgive me when I fail to spend time in Your Word and at Your feet in prayer. I need Your strength and power to practice Godly discipline. I want to become healthy in every area of my life – for my good and for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Evaluate your physical and spiritual health. Use the lists below to help you get started. What steps do you need to take to be healthier? Make a plan to get started today.


___Time in the Word

More from the Girlfriends

Need help knowing how to become a healthy Christian? Check out Mary’s new E-Book, Fit for Life. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. 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

Daily Devotion May 8, 2017 "Don't Let Anyone or Anything Steal Christ's Life from YOU!"

I'm listening to a commercial today about a new alarm system.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Don't Let Anyone or Anything Steal Christ's Life from YOU!"

May 8, 2017

John 10:10 - (Jesus said) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

I'm listening to a commercial today about a new alarm system. They say it works better than any other. They say it is easy to install, easy to use, easy to have monitored, so that your home can be safe when you are gone, safe when you are asleep -- safe all the way around. If that could only be true. It seems that thieves are always one step ahead of our best inventions and our best intentions.

That's what Jesus is getting at today. There are more ominous thieves than those who can break in and steal things that are precious to you. There are thieves that can steal what is more precious than gold, more precious than silver; they are the thieves that steal your heart and your soul away from the living God.

Jesus actually talks about that when he says, "Don't fear the ones who can kill the body but not the soul, fear the one who can destroy both your body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

Wow! I wonder if anyone thinks about that at all today. I wonder if anyone takes that Word of Jesus to heart today.

Said another way, don't let anyone steal the abundant life that Jesus wants you to have in Him.

So many are hell-bent on protecting their treasures of material wealth, but we are leaving the doors of our souls unlocked or, worse, wide open.

When you seek to live life merely for personal pleasures, personal gains, your soul is wide open to the tempter. And by the time you realize that, it may be too late to reclaim anything of value. When you work yourselves to death as if you can build a treasure trove of security for retirement, that soul is often wide open to neglecting your spirit life all along. The tragedy of that is that you don't have control today or in retirement. Life has too many ups and downs beyond our control. But even if you have control today -- at least in your mind -- that's merely a sedative that dulls you to the end of all human sinful life: death. Death is this sinful world's constant; it's the last enemy; it's the final bargain we all lose when it comes to living life on our own, the greatest temptation of all.

Jesus talks straight today. He says that in the face of death, there is a way, there is the truth, there is the life waiting for all who come to Him in repentance and faith. It's not a bargain; it's not sleight of hand. Jesus earned the right to say this to you and me when He died our death to give us His life. Don't let anyone tell you that there is anything in heaven and earth greater than this offer of life and salvation in Him. Thieves ... robbers ... or Jesus Christ? When it comes to your soul, He alone is not only abundant protection, He's abundant blessing.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me the eyes of faith to see the difference of the life that You have for me by faith so that I might never be tempted to relinquish it to the false promises of another. Amen

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

CPTLN Devocional de 08 de Mayo de 2017

Alimento Diario

Poder y amor

08 de Mayo 2017

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna. Porque Dios no envió a su Hijo al mundo para condenar al mundo, sino para que el mundo sea salvo por él. Juan 3:16-17

Dolly Madison es más que el nombre de la compañía que hace los Zingers y los donuts cubiertos con azúcar. Dolly Madison fue la esposa del cuarto presidente de los Estados Unidos y hasta el día de hoy sigue siendo una de las mujeres más populares de la historia de este país.

Dondequiera que fuera, Dolly cautivaba a todas las personas con su manera de ser. No importaba si era alguien famoso o no, rico o pobre, hombre o mujer, todos los que la conocían se quedaban encantados con ella.

Una vez alguien le preguntó cómo hacía para ejercer esa atracción sobre los demás, a lo que muy sorprendida contestó: "¿Qué yo atraigo a las personas? Yo no tengo ningún poder especial, ni tampoco deseo tenerlo. Lo único que hago es amarlas a todas por igual."

No somos muchos los que podemos decir lo mismo sin que los demás se nos rían en la cara.

Los cristianos conocemos a otra persona que amó a todos por igual: el Señor Jesucristo.

Lamentablemente, no todos le respondieron con el mismo amor, e incluso fue odiado por los líderes de la iglesia, del gobierno y por otros que estaban celosos de él.

¿Cuál fue la razón por la cual Jesús amó con tanta intensidad y se sacrificó completamente? No lo hizo para tener poder ni para ser famoso, sino porque amó tanto al mundo que dio se dio a sí mismo para que el mundo pudiera ser salvo. Le invito a que juntos lo amemos a él, nuestro Salvador.

ORACIÓN: Querido Salvador, tu amor hizo que dieras tu vida como sacrificio para mi salvación. Por tu gloriosa resurrección puedo creer que todos los que te confiesan como su Salvador no morirán, sino que tendrán vida eterna junto a ti. En tu nombre. 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 - The Burden of Waiting
Read: Psalm 90

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Over the last few years, two members of my family have faced life-threatening diagnoses. For me, the hardest part of supporting them through their treatments has been the constant uncertainty. I am always desperate for a definitive word from a doctor, but things are rarely that straightforward. Instead of being given clarity, we are often asked to wait.

It’s hard to bear the burden of uncertainty, always wondering what the next test will reveal. Will we have weeks, months, years, or decades before death separates us? But regardless of disease and diagnosis, each of us will die one day—things like cancer just bring our mortality to the forefront instead of letting it hide in the recesses of our minds.

Faced with sobering reminders of our mortality, I find myself praying words that Moses once prayed. Psalm 90 tells us that though our lives are like grass that withers and fades (vv. 5–6), we have an eternal home with God (v. 1). Like Moses, we can ask God to teach us to number our days so we can make wise decisions (v. 12), and to make our brief lives fruitful by making what we do for Him count (v. 17). Ultimately, the psalm reminds us that our hope is not in a doctor’s diagnosis, but in a God who is “from everlasting to everlasting.”

How can we best spend the time we’ve been given?

Share your thoughts with us at

We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Gánh Nặng Chờ Đợi
Đọc: Thi thiên 90
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 2 Các vua 4–6; Lu-ca 24:36–53

Cầu xin Chúa dạy chúng con biết đếm các ngày chúng con hầu cho chúng con được lòng khôn ngoan. Thi thiên 90:12

Cách đây vài năm, hai người thân của tôi được chuẩn đoán mắc bệnh nguy hiểm tới tính mạng. Với tôi, điều khó khăn nhất khi khích lệ họ trải qua những đợt điều trị đó là sự mơ hồ, không chắc chắn. Nhiều lúc tôi mệt mỏi mong chờ được nghe một kết luận dứt khoát từ bác sĩ điều trị, thế nhưng việc đó thật hiếm hoi. Thay vì giải thích rõ ràng, các bác sĩ luôn bảo chúng tôi kiên nhẫn chờ đợi.

Thật khó để chịu đựng tình trạng mơ hồ như vậy, tôi luôn tự hỏi lần xét nghiệm tiếp theo sẽ có kết quả thế nào. Sẽ còn bao lâu, vài tuần, vài tháng, vài năm hay vài chục năm trước khi cái chết chia lìa chúng tôi? Tuy vậy, dầu đang khoẻ mạnh, không bệnh tật gì, thì một ngày nào đó mỗi người chúng ta cũng sẽ qua đời—bệnh ung thư chỉ làm cho cái chết xuất hiện rõ ràng trước mắt thay vì kín giấu.

Khi đối diện với lời nhắc nhở về sự hữu hạn của cuộc đời, tôi đã thốt lên những lời cầu nguyện như chính Môi-se đã từng cầu nguyện. Thi Thiên 90 cho chúng ta biết rằng dầu cuộc sống của mình giống như cây cỏ vốn sẽ tàn tạ và khô héo đi (c.5–6), nhưng chúng ta vẫn còn có nơi ở đời đời với Chúa (c.1). Giống như Môi-se, chúng ta có thể cầu xin Chúa dạy mình biết đếm từng ngày mình có để có thể đưa ra những quyết định khôn ngoan (c.12) và làm cho đời sống ngắn ngủi của mình trở nên kết quả bởi những việc làm đẹp lòng Chúa (c.17). Sau hết, bài Thi Thiên này nhắc nhở chúng ta rằng niềm hy vọng của chúng ta không đặt nơi những chẩn đoán của bác sĩ, nhưng ở nơi Chúa là Đấng hiện diện “từ đời nầy qua đời kia.”

Làm thế nào chúng ta có thể sử dụng tốt nhất thời gian mình có?

Chúng ta có thể đối diện với thực tế hữu hạn của đời người vì chúng ta tin cậy Chúa.

Nuestro Pan Diario - La angustia de la espera
Leer: Salmo 90
La Biblia en un año: 2 Reyes 4–6; Lucas 24:36-53

Enséñanos de tal modo a contar nuestros días, que traigamos al corazón sabiduría (v. 12).

En los últimos años, dos miembros de mi familia recibieron diagnósticos graves. Para mí, la parte más difícil fue la incertidumbre constante. Siempre espero con desesperación una palabra decisiva del doctor, pero, en vez de darnos claridad, a menudo se nos pide que esperemos.

Es difícil soportar la angustia de la incertidumbre, y siempre nos preguntamos qué revelará la próxima prueba. ¿Tendremos semanas, meses, años o décadas antes de que la muerte nos separe? Pero, más allá de la enfermedad, todos moriremos algún día; cuestiones como el cáncer simplemente ponen en primer plano nuestra mortalidad.

Al enfrentarme a los recordatorios aleccionadores de nuestra mortalidad, me encuentro orando las palabras de Moisés. El Salmo 90 dice que, aunque nuestra vida es como la hierba que se marchita y se seca (vv. 5-6), tenemos un hogar eterno con Dios (v. 1). Al igual que Moisés, podemos pedirle a Dios que nos enseñe a contar nuestros días para que podamos tomar decisiones sabias (v. 12) y a hacer que nuestra vida breve lleve fruto, pidiendo que Dios confirme lo que hacemos (v. 17). El salmo nos recuerda que nuestra esperanza no está en ningún diagnóstico médico, sino en un Dios que es «desde la eternidad y hasta la eternidad» (LBLA).

¿Cómo podemos usar mejor el tiempo que nos ha sido dado?

Podemos enfrentar la realidad de nuestra mortalidad porque confiamos en Dios.

Por ap

Unser Täglich Brot - Die Last des Wartens
Lesen: Psalm 90
Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 2.Könige 4–6; Lukas 24,36-53

Lehre uns bedenken, dass wir sterben müssen, auf dass wir klug werden. Psalm 90,12

In den letzten Jahren wurde bei zwei meiner Familienangehörigen eine lebensbedrohliche Krankheit festgestellt. Das Schwierigste in der Zeit der Behandlung war für mich die ständige Ungewissheit. Ich will vom Arzt immer klare Worte hören. Aber so einfach ist es meist nicht. Anstatt uns Klarheit zu verschaffen, werden wir oft aufgefordert zu warten.

Die Ungewissheit ist oft schwer zu ertragen, das ständige Bangen, was die nächste Untersuchung wohl zutage bringen wird. Sind es noch Wochen, Monate, Jahre oder Jahrzehnte, bis der Tod uns scheidet? Doch egal, wie die Diagnose lautet, wir alle müssen eines Tages sterben—Krankheiten wie Krebs bewirken lediglich, dass unsere Sterblichkeit auf einmal ein Thema ist, das wir nicht mehr verdrängen können.

Beim ernüchternden Gedanken an unsere Sterblichkeit bete ich gern die Worte, die Mose gebetet hat. Psalm 90 sagt uns, dass unser Leben zwar ist wie Gras, das welkt und verdorrt (V.5-6), dass wir aber bei Gott eine Zuflucht haben (V.1). Wie Mose können wir Gott bitten, uns zu helfen, damit wir den Gedanken an den Tod nicht verdrängen, sondern kluge Entscheidungen treffen (V.12) und so leben, dass das, was wir tun, bleibenden Wert hat (V.17). Letztlich erinnert uns der Psalm daran, dass unsere Hoffnung nicht auf der ärztlichen Diagnose gründet, sondern auf dem Gott, der „von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit“ ist.

Wie können wir die Zeit, die uns geschenkt ist, am besten zubringen?

Teile deine Gedanken mit uns auf:

Wir können der Tatsache, dass wir sterben müssen, ins Auge sehen, weil wir Gott vertrauen.

Von Amy

Notre Pain Quotidien - Le fardeau de l’attente
Lisez : Psaume 90
La Bible en un an : 2 ROIS 4 – 6 et LUC 24.36‑53

Enseigne nous à bien compter nos jours, afin que nous appliquions notre cœur à la sagesse. V. 12

Au cours des dernières années, deux de mes proches ont reçu un diagnostic pouvant être fatal. Ce que je trouve personnellement le plus difficile dans le fait de les soutenir durant leurs traitements a été l’incertitude constante. Je suis toujours dans l’attente désespérée d’un mot définitif de la part d’un médecin, mais les choses sont rarement aussi simples. Au lieu de nous apporter des éclaircissements, on nous demande souvent de patienter.

Le fardeau de l’incertitude est lourd à porter, car on se demande constamment ce que révélera l’examen suivant. Des semaines, des mois, des années ou des décennies s’écouleront‑ils avant que la mort nous sépare ? En dépit des maladies et des diagnostics, chacun de nous mourra un jour – des choses comme le cancer ne font que ramener notre mortalité à l’avant-scène au lieu de la laisser se cacher dans les coulisses de notre esprit.

Face aux rappels de notre mortalité qui prêtent à réflexion, je prie selon des paroles que Moïse a lui‑même mises en prière un jour. Le Psaume 90 nous dit que, même si notre vie est comme l’herbe qui sèche (V. 5,6), nous avons un refuge auprès de Dieu (V. 1). À l’instar de Moïse, nous pouvons demander à Dieu de nous enseigner à compter nos jours afin de prendre de sages décisions (V. 12) et de faire fructifier notre courte vie par les oeuvres que nous accomplissons à son service (V. 17). En définitive, ce psaume nous rappelle que notre espoir ne repose pas sur le diagnostic d’un médecin, mais en un Dieu dont la bonté dure à jamais (PS 103.17).

Notre foi nous permet d’affronter la réalité de notre mortalité.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Тягар чекання
Читати: Псалом 89
Біблія за рік: 2 Царів 4–6 ; Луки 24:36-53

Навчи нас лічити отак наші дні, щоб ми набули серце мудре! — Псалом 89:12

Протягом кількох останніх років у двох членів нашої сім’ї виявили захворювання, що загрожували їхньому життю. В цей період, коли вони лікувались, я відчайдушно чекала від лікаря якихось конкретних результатів. Але в житті рідко буває, коли все ясно і зрозуміло. Нас частіше просять просто чекати, замість того щоб дати чітку інформацію.

Дуже важко нести тягар невизначеності. Завжди непокоїть питання: Яке нове випробування готує нам життя? Скільки нам залишилось днів, місяців чи років бути з дорогими нам людьми? Втім, всі ми одного дня помремо – справа навіть не в хворобах чи діагнозах. Такі речі як рак лише змушують нас гостріше сприймати реальність смерті.

Знаходячись в таких обставинах, що нагадують про неминучість смерті, я почала молитись словами, що ними колись молився Мойсей. Псалом 89 говорить нам, що хоча наше життя немов трава, що в’яне та сохне (Пс. 89:5-6), ми маємо вічну домівку з Богом (Пс. 89:1).

Як і Мойсей, можемо просити Бога вчити нас “лічити дні”, щоб приймати мудрі рішення (Пс. 89:12) і щоб наше коротке життя було плодовитим. Для цього потрібно догоджати Богу в усьому, що робимо (Пс. 89:17). Псалом нагадує нам, що треба надіятись не на лікарів, а на Бога, Хто “від віку й до віку”.

Як найкраще використати даний нам час?

Можемо сміливо дивитись смерті в обличчя, якщо довіряємо Богу.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Бремя ожидания
Читать сейчас: Псалом 89
Библия за год: 4 Царств 4-6; Луки 24:36-53

Научи нас так счислять дни наши, чтобы нам приобрести сердце мудрое. — Псалом 89:12

За последние несколько лет два члена моей семьи услышали от врачей тревожный диагноз. Для меня самым сложным в общении с ними во время лечения было чувство неизвестности. Я всегда хочу быть уверенной и знать точно, но в медицине так бывает редко. Вместо того чтобы внести ясность, нас часто просили подождать и потерпеть.

Нести бремя неизвестности тяжело. Постоянно тревожат мысли о том, какими будут следующие анализы. Сколько времени осталось до того момента, как смерть разлучит нас: недели, месяцы, годы или десятилетия? Однако независимо от болезней или диагнозов все мы когда-то умрем. Явления вроде рака лишь выводят на передний план непререкаемую истину, которую мы предпочитаем забывать: мы смертны.

Сталкиваясь с такими напоминаниями, я молюсь словами Божьего человека Моисея. В Псалме 89 говорится, что, хотя наша жизнь подобна траве, которая в один день цветет и засыхает (Пс. 89:5-6), для нас готов вечный дом у Бога (Пс. 89:2). Подобно Моисею, мы можем просить Бога научить нас так исчислять наши дни, чтобы стать мудрыми сердцем (Пс. 89:12), и сделать нашу короткую жизнь плодоносной, споспешествуя в добрых делах (Пс. 89:17). Этот Псалом напоминает, что нам следует надеяться не на врачей, а на Бога, Который «нам прибежище из рода в род».

Как нам лучше использовать отведенное на земле время?

Мы можем смотреть в лицо смерти, потому что надеемся на Бога.