Monday, May 22, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, May 22, 2017 - 37th Day of Easter

Opening Sentence

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

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 Deuteronomy 8:1-10

This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase, and go in and occupy the land that the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines a child so the LORD your God disciplines you. Therefore keep the commandments of the LORD your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from James 1:1-15

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away. Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. No one, when tempted, should say, "I am being tempted by God" for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 9:18-27

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They answered, "John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "The Messiah of God." He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, "The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Then he said to them all, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 80 Qui regis Israel
1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2   In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up your strength and come to help us.
3   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4   O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6   You have made us the derision of our neighbors, and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8   You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you cast out the nations and planted it.
9   You prepared the ground for it; it took root and filled the land.
10   The mountains were covered by its shadow and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11   You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea and its branches to the River.
12   Why have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13   The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14   Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted.
15   They burn it with fire like rubbish; at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
16   Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
17   And so will we never turn away from you; give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18   Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 77 Voce mea ad Dominum
1   I will cry aloud to God; I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.
2   In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire; I refused to be comforted.
3   I think of God, I am restless, I ponder, and my spirit faints.
4   You will not let my eyelids close; I am troubled and I cannot speak.
5   I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past;
6   I commune with my heart in the night; I ponder and search my mind.
7   Will the Lord cast me off for ever? will he no more show his favor?
8   Has his loving-kindness come to an end for ever? has his promise failed for evermore?
9   Has God forgotten to be gracious? has he, in his anger, withheld his compassion?
10   And I said, "My grief is this: the right hand of the Most High has lost its power."
11   I will remember the works of the LORD, and call to mind your wonders of old time.
12   I will meditate on all your acts and ponder your mighty deeds.
13   Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
14   You are the God who works wonders and have declared your power among the peoples.
15   By your strength you have redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16   The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and trembled; the very depths were shaken.
17   The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed to and fro;
18   The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
19   Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, yet your footsteps were not seen.
20   You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 79 Deus, venerunt
1   O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance; they have profaned your holy temple; they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.
2   They have given the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the field.
3   They have shed their blood like water on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.
4   We have become a reproach to our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5   How long will you be angry, O LORD? will your fury blaze like fire for ever?
6   Pour out your wrath upon the heathen who have not known you and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your Name.
7   For they have devoured Jacob and made his dwelling a ruin.
8   Remember not our past sins; let your compassion be swift to meet us; for we have been brought very low.
9   Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name; deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name's sake.
10   Why should the heathen say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the heathen and in our sight that you avenge the shedding of your servants' blood.
11   Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you, and by your great might spare those who are condemned to die.
12   May the revilings with which they reviled you, O Lord, return seven-fold into their bosoms.
13   For we are your people and the sheep of your pasture; we will give you thanks for ever and show forth your praise from age to age.

The Nicene Creed
  • We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. 
  • We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. 
  • We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen
Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; 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

Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Prayer of the Day for MONDAY, May 22, 2017 -37th Day of Easter

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; 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 22, 2017 - 37th Day of Easter

Galatians 5:13 (NIV) [Life by the Spirit] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Read all of Galatians 5

Listen to Galatians 5

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "I Have Some Good News and Some Bad News . . ."

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

We have all heard good news/bad news jokes. Before we can fully appreciate the good news, we have to know the bad news.

The literal definition of gospel is good news. But part of telling people the good news of the gospel is making them aware of the bad news. That means telling people they are sinners. Of course, people don’t like to hear that. I’m a what? I’m not a sinner! I’m a good person!

We have to define what it means to be a sinner, because the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV). Yet there are preachers today who don’t want to tell people they’re sinners. They claim that most people know they’re doing wrong. But do they? I think a lot of people believe everything is fine as long as they try to live a good life.

We have to break the bad news: “I’m sorry to tell you this, friend, but you’re a sinner. You’ve broken God’s commands. You’ve fallen short of His standards, and there is nothing you can do to make this right. But God loved you so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for you, and if you will turn from that sin and put your faith in Christ, you can be forgiven.”

The bad news helps us fully appreciate the good news. Anything less than this is a false gospel that will give false assurance. That is why Paul wrote, “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God. . . . You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all” (Galatians 1:6–7).

We must be careful to preach the real gospel.

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. 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 - Oportunidad contra beneficios

Sean bondadosos y compasivos unos con otros, y perdónense mutuamente, así como Dios los perdonó a ustedes en Cristo.
Efesios 4:32 (NVI)

Cuando perdonas de corazón, vives un principio muy grande para tu vida. Sin duda, leíste bien el versículo de ayer. Por eso te invito a que pasemos la hoja y lo leamos juntos con detenimiento. Ese pasaje nos dice que si tenemos algo contra alguien lo perdonemos, para que Dios nos perdone también. O sea, para ponerlo bien claro: Si no perdonamos a los que nos ofenden, Dios tampoco nos perdonará nuestras ofensas.

Es muy fácil de comprender cuando lo leemos, pero muy duro muchas veces llevarlo a la práctica. En realidad, eso es vivir la Palabra de Dios. No se trata solo de leerla y comentar: «Ah, está bien», sino de aceptarla y decir: «Lo entiendo y lo voy a hacer».

La oportunidad tiene muchos beneficios. Entre otros, nos hace humildes. Es posible que estés pensando: «¡Se ve bien que no sabes lo que me hizo! ¿Cómo le voy a dar otro chance?». Pues ahí es justamente donde está la diferencia. Debes ser humilde, dejar el rencor y olvidar, pero de corazón, no de dientes para fuera de modo que cada vez que tengas otra situación vuelvas a traer a colación lo que pasó. ¡Y ojo, eso es muy dado en nosotras las mujeres!

Por lo tanto, siempre que intentas perdonar recibes bendición, pues al ser humilde y perdonar como Dios te perdona, das frutos de madurez y siembras en tu vida para bien. Entonces, cuando el día de mañana falles, seguro que te gustaría que te dieran otra oportunidad.

Recuerda: Todos los días cometemos errores, pero no todos los errores significan que no tienen remedio. Además, ten presente todo el tiempo que Dios es un Dios de oportunidades.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - PERSECUTION CAN HAPPEN HERE!

I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Colleague Ron Boyd-MacMillan recounts an interesting experience in China:

There’s a house church in Beijing I like to take my friends to visit. The members are all young professionals, about twenty of them, and they meet in a huge, darkened, open-plan office at midnight once a week. It’s totally illegal. Some of them are quite high ranking members of the communist party. If their faith is discovered, it would end their careers…or worse.

At the beginning of each meeting, the leader goes round and asks each member this question – the most challenging question I’ve ever heard in church: What are your wounds for Christ this week?

On one occasion I had brought two pastor friends, and the same question—through translation—was put to each of them. They replied, “Oh, we are not wounded or persecuted, you see, we live in Britain, where we have religious freedom, and we are so grateful for that!”

This reply was greeted with uncomprehending silence by the Chinese house church. Then a young woman spoke up, and without a trace of irony asked, “You mean they don’t let the devil into Britain?”

The house church leader patiently explained to the visitors the biblical understanding of persecution. “In the Bible, to be persecuted means to be pursued by the enemies of Christ. When we become a Christian, his enemies become our enemies, and we are pitched into a battle with the world and the devil, and this fight will draw wounds. So it doesn’t matter whether you are in Beijing or Birmingham, the fight is the same, only the degree and type of suffering may differ. You’re going to get pursued…that’s persecution.”

“But we thought persecution was legal discrimination, or being put into jail for one’s faith” replied the pastors. The house church leader answered, “That’s the extreme tip of it. Look, we may not sit on the same thorn, but we all sit on the same branch.”

Still the pastors did not look convinced. Another Chinese member said, “If you don’t have wounds for Christ, how do you know you are alive in Christ? Wounds bring joy, because then you know you are making a difference.”

This struck a chord with the visitors. As preachers, they knew that nothing communicates like joy. That’s why persecuted churches are growing churches—they are alive in Christ, and they know it because they have wounds! So find the source of resistance to the gospel in your local area, and when you apply the gospel, watch the fight begin.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept negative reactions as a sign that I am making a difference in my community.

PRAYER: Lord, may I also experience the joy resulting from doing right and opposing evil in my sphere of influence.

Women of the Bible - Bathsheba

Her name means: "The Seventh Daughter" or "The Daughter of an Oath"

Her character: Her beauty made her victim to a king's desire. Though it is difficult to discern her true character, she seems to have found the courage to endure tragedy, winning the king's confidence and eventually securing the kingdom for her son Solomon.
Her sorrow: To have been molested by a supposedly godly man, who then murdered her husband. To have suffered the loss of one of her sons.
Her joy: To have given birth to five sons, one of whom became king of Israel after David's death.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25

Her Story

Bathsheba squeezed the sponge, moving it rhythmically across her body as though to calm the restless cadence of her thoughts. Normally, she looked forward to the ritual bath marking the end of her monthly period, but tonight the water soothed her skin without refreshing her spirit.

She should be glad for the cool breeze. For flowers. For a lush harvest. But spring could also yield its crop of sorrows, as she well knew. Spring was the season for armies and battles. Once the rains had ceased and the harvest had been gathered, men marched off to war, leaving their women behind.

Bathsheba shivered as she stood up. Though her husband, Uriah, was a seasoned soldier, she still worried about him, wishing she could fall asleep in his arms. But he was camped with the rest of the king's army beneath the open skies of Rabbah, an Ammonite fortress some forty miles northeast of Jerusalem.

The king rose from his bed, unable to sleep. Pacing across the palace roof, he gazed at the city below. Jerusalem seemed calm, a city at peace with itself though at war with its neighbors. Soon his soldiers would gather a great harvest of Ammonite captives, laborers for his expanding kingdom. The casual observer might have thought David a man at peace with his growing power. Instead, the king could not quiet an increasing sense of discontent.

Then, in the half-light, David noticed the figure of a young woman bathing in the walled garden of a house below him. He leaned against the outer edge of the roof for a closer view. Wet hair curling languidly against skin soft as lamb's wool. Breasts like rounded apples. He reached as though to steal a touch. Unaware of watching eyes, the woman toweled herself dry and stepped into the house. He waited and watched, but even the king could not see through walls.

Over the next few days, David made inquiries and discovered that the vision had a name: She was Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers, Uriah the Hittite. He sent for her. She came to him and became pregnant with his child.

Fearing discovery, the king ordered Uriah home from battle. But the soldier surprised him by refusing to spend the night with his wife: "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"

So David convinced Uriah to spend another day in Jerusalem, managing to get him drunk. Surely the wine would overcome his scruples. But it didn't. So David played his last card, entrusting Bathsheba's husband with a letter to Joab, commander of the army. It read: "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."

So Uriah died by treachery, and David claimed Bathsheba as his wife, her child as his own.

One day, the prophet Nathan approached David, saying: "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup, and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."

David was incensed: "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."

Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house.' "

David's lust for Bathsheba marked the beginning of his long decline. Though God forgave him, he still suffered the consequences of his wrongdoing. His sin was a whirlpool that dragged others into its swirling path. And despite David's prayer and pleading, God allowed the son David had conceived with Bathsheba to die from an illness.

But why did Bathsheba have to suffer along with the man who molested her and murdered her husband? Though the story gives us little insight into her true character, it is hardly likely that Bathsheba was in a position to refuse the king. In Nathan's parable, in fact, she is depicted as an innocent lamb. Why, then, have so many people painted her as a seductress? Perhaps Bathsheba's innocence is too painful to face. That a good person can suffer such tragedies, especially at the hands of a godly person, appalls us. Worse yet, God punishes both David and Bathsheba by taking their son. If we can believe that Bathsheba had an affair with David, we could accept her suffering more easily; her guilt would make David's sin seem less grave and God's punishment less cruel.

Though Bathsheba may not have understood the reasons for her suffering, God gave her favor with King David, making her both a powerful queen and the mother of David's successor, Solomon, who became famous for his great wisdom.

Her Promise

The story of David and Bathsheba outlines in graphic detail the horror of sin and where it leads. David's first step toward sin leads to adultery, lying, deceit, murder, and, finally, the death of a son. The link between sin and restoration comes when David admits his sin and Nathan says the Lord has taken it away (2 Samuel 12:13). How much guilt is Bathsheba's isn't clear; however, when God tells them through the prophet Nathan that he loves their son Solomon and wants him to be called Jedidiah, the restoration is Bathsheba's as well as David's. If God could forgive this terrible sin of David, don't you think he could forgive your sin, whatever it may be?

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

Girlfriends in God - Breakthrough: I am Unworthy

by Kelly Balarie

Today’s Truth

…Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

Friend to Friend

The girl looked in the mirror. She noticed her slumped shoulders, her lack of motivation and her tired eyes. Life was always letting her down. People were too.

Still, she got up and went to her closet. Before her, stood the garbs of gold, laced with jewels and vibrant colors, but as always, she was drawn to the clothes of old. She knew them well. They were comfortable. 

I can never be more. I can never do more. For I see my past. I remember what I did, how I lived, and how I so horribly failed.

The girl was trapped in a way, but in another way she was free. The door was open to her, she could go wherever she pleased, and she could step into purpose, if only she’d choose. In fact, the King had invited her to the fullness of his kingdom. He wanted that for her.

Most days, she remembered her old home - the little hut, far off. She focused on the mean people there and her retaliatory behavior on those bad days. She usually lived there.

With this, she knew, she didn’t deserve to be adopted - nonetheless by someone so amazing, so powerful and so loving as him.

Could he really be that way, loving? Not mad at me?

Could I really be princess, not pauper?

…Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

What are you wearing? The robes of old mistakes, problems and relational issues or Christ’s robes that wrap you in holiness, purity and purpose?

Perhaps, today is the day, you let go of the clothes of old – the anger, the bitterness and the hurt - to grab hold of the attitude of bold. Perhaps, today is the day you receive and believe in God’s fullness. Perhaps, today is the day, you look in the mirror, confident and sure, with the knowledge you are: accepted, valued, rejoiced over, covered, equipped, protected, instructed, called, empowered with the mind of Christ, counseled, known, loved, seen, established, anointed, sealed, blessed, holy, seated with Christ, victorious, set free, safe and redeemed.

Perhaps, today is the day you say, “I am walking out of my torture chamber, for I am His and He is mine. I am His daughter.”

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, you see me as your daughter. Help me to see myself the way You see me. May I know Your love, a love that would go to any lengths to save me. In fact, Your love already did that, with Christ. May I accept the fullness of all He did for me when He died on the cross. May I welcome You, and all that You are into my life, without fear. Teach me to have joy in who You declare me to be.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

You are: accepted, valued, rejoiced over, covered, equipped, protected, instructed, called, empowered with the mind of Christ, counseled, known, loved, seen, established, anointed, sealed, blessed, holy, seated with Christ, victorious, set free, safe and redeemed.

What word above most encourages you? How do you think you have been holding God back? How might you apply this truth to your life?

More from the Girlfriends

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Daily Devotion May 22, 2017 "Help Is on the Way!"

To all those who put their faith in Jesus, help is always on the way.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Help Is on the Way!"

May 22, 2017

John 14:15-17 - Jesus said to him, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."

To all those who put their faith in Jesus, help is always on the way. In fact, help is always with you: the very Holy Spirit of God, Jesus' Gift to you for your comfort, for your encouragement, for you strength and fortitude in times of trouble. The Holy Spirit's job is to bring the things of Christ to you, to make them yours, to be the Giver of His life in your life. In fact, if you trust in Jesus today, if you believe in Him, that too is the power of the Spirit in your life.

And another thing, the Holy Spirit doesn't want you to make a fuss about Him. If you want to make a fuss about something, make a fuss about Jesus. If you want to know more about the Spirit's comfort and power, get to know Jesus by the power of His Spirit through God's Word and Sacraments. The Spirit's job is to take the things of Jesus and make them known to you.

It kind of reminds me of the attitude of Tenzing Norgay. Do you know who that was? He was one of the first two men to reach the summit of Mount Everest. You might know the name of Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who made the climb, too. But Norgay not only made the climb, he saved Hillary's life on that climb as well.

It was 1953, Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand beekeeper/explorer, and his Sherpa guide from Nepal, Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit together, attaining instant international fame.

On the way down from the 29,000-foot peak, Hillary slipped and started to fall. As he was cascading to certain death, I'm sure he hoped that help would be on the way. But help was already there! Tenzing Norgay immediately dug in his ice axe and braced the rope linking them together, saving Hillary's life.

At the bottom the international press made a huge fuss over the Sherpa guide's heroic action. Through it all Tenzing Norgay remained calm, very professional, very uncarried away by it all. To all the shouted questions he had one answer: "Mountain climbers always help each other."

No fuss, but here's an even bolder truth today -- greater than a sidekick like Tenzing Norgay -- is the Holy Spirit for those who trust in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is not just help on the way; He is help for all who trust in the Way, the Truth, and the Life: Jesus Christ. He comforts, helps, empowers, and strengthens Christ's people in faith towards God, and fervent love towards neighbor. Come Holy Spirit, bring me that confidence in Jesus!

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending me the comfort that comes by the power of the Holy Spirit through the blessing of Your Word. Amen

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

CPTLN Devocional de 22 de Mayo de 2017

Alimento Diario

Un buen fundamento

22 de Mayo 2017

Si lo que alguno sobreedificó permanece, ése recibirá su recompensa. Si lo que alguno sobreedificó se quema, ése sufrirá una pérdida, si bien él mismo se salvará, aunque como quien escapa del fuego. 1 Corintios 3:14-15

Ya han pasado varios años desde que estuve en Yankton, Dakota del Sur, pero aún me siento orgulloso de las 500 familias que forman la Iglesia St. John y doy gracias por sus pastores. Si se están preguntando por qué, aquí está la razón: un años, justo antes de Semana Santa, en las instalaciones de St. John hubo un incendio que causó daños de más de dos millones de dólares.

Una vez terminadas las correspondientes investigaciones, se llegó a la conclusión que el incendio había sido intencional. ¡Qué tragedia!

Pero no es la tragedia lo que me motiva a escribir. La razón por la cual doy gracias por toda esa gente es porque su fe está edificada sobre Jesucristo, el salvador.

Inmediatamente después del fuego, los líderes de la iglesia comenzaron a rescatar lo rescatable y a quitar los escombros. El preescolar fue trasladado a otro lugar y también se encontró otro sitio donde celebrar los servicios de adoración.

Pero lo que más me gustó fue lo que dijo el Pastor Gunderson: "Juntos vamos a superar todo esto". Y tiene razón. Conociendo el poder del Espíritu Santo, el pastor pudo decir en su mensaje que la gracia de Dios va a hacer que la congregación supere esa prueba de su fe". Y luego agregó: "Nuestro objetivo es seguir levantando en alto la cruz".

¿Recuerdan que dije que ese incendio había sido una tragedia? En realidad, ese incendio se ha convertido en una oportunidad para dar testimonio de que el Señor es invencible.

Ese es el mismo testimonio que los mártires han dado a través de los siglos; es el mismo mensaje que los cristianos continúan proclamando cada vez que confían su futuro en las manos del Salvador crucificado y resucitado. Es el testimonio que permite que los cristianos digan: "El Señor es quien me ayuda; no temeré lo que pueda hacerme el hombre" (Hebreos 13:6b).

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, da fuerza a quienes son perseguidos por causa de tu nombre. Enseña a cada cristiano a construir su vida y su fe sobre la cruz de Cristo y su tumba vacía. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén

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

Our Daily Bread - Blink and Think of God

He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye. Deuteronomy 32:10

“God is like an eyelid,” my friend Ryley said, and I blinked in surprise. What could she mean by that?

“Tell me more,” I replied. Together, we had been studying surprising pictures of God in the Bible, things like God as a laboring mother (Isa. 42:14) or as a beekeeper (7:18), but this one was new to me. Ryley pointed me to Deuteronomy 32, where Moses praises the way God takes care of His people. Verse 10 says that God shields and protects His people, guarding them “as the apple of his eye.”

But the word we translate apple, Ryley told me, literally means pupil. And what encircles and guards the pupil? The eyelid, of course! God is like the eyelid, which instinctively protects the tender eye. The eyelid guards the eye from danger, and by blinking helps remove dirt or dust. It keeps sweat out of the eye. It lubricates the eyeball, keeping it healthy. It closes, allowing rest.

As I considered the picture of God as an eyelid, I couldn’t help but thank God for the many metaphors He’s given us to help us understand His love for us. When we close our eyes at night and open them in the morning, we can think of God, and praise Him for His tender protection and care for us.

Thank You, God, for using surprising metaphors to help us understand You better. Thanks for guarding us just as the eyelid guards the eye.

When you blink, remember to thank God for His protection.

Ministérios Pão Diário - Urso medroso
A Bíblia em um ano: 1 Crônicas 16–18, João 7:28-53

…não andeis ansiosos… v.25

Um gato marrom e branco, de uns seis quilos, levou a sério sua tarefa de cuidar do quintal de seus donos. Muitas vezes ele assustava pequenos animais intrusos, mas os donos ficaram surpresos quando certo dia o encontraram sentado debaixo de uma árvore grande, olhando para cima, para um enorme urso preto.

O gato ronronou para o urso quando este entrou no quintal, vindo de uma floresta vizinha. O urso assustado subiu rapidamente na árvore. Como pode um urso preto enorme ter medo de um gatinho? Que absurdo!

Mais absurdos ainda são os nossos pensamentos de preocupação e medo, se considerarmos que temos um Deus poderoso e bom que cuida de nós. Jesus disse aos Seus discípulos: “…não andeis ansiosos…” (Mateus 6:25,31,34). Ele disse que não precisamos ter medo ou nos preocuparmos, porque o nosso Pai celestial conhece as nossas necessidades e temos grande valor para Ele (vv.26,32). O Senhor está totalmente pronto e é capaz de suprir as nossas necessidades.

Quando algo nos preocupa, qual é a nossa perspectiva? Não é o que vemos, mas como o vemos, que revela a nossa atitude. Se olharmos para a vida pelas lentes de nosso Deus, poderoso e bom, confiaremos nele em vez de nos preocuparmos e termos medo. Quando nossa perspectiva está correta, podemos enxergar Deus e Sua fiel provisão.

A preocupação é um fardo que Deus não quer que carreguemos.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Chớp Mắt Và Nghĩ Về Chúa
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 1 Sử ký 16–18; Giăng 7:28–53

Ngài bao phủ họ, chăm sóc họ; gìn giữ họ như con ngươi của mắt Ngài. Phục truyền luật lệ ký 32:10

Người bạn tên Ryley của tôi từng nói rằng: “Đức Chúa Trời giống như cái mí mắt vậy,” và tôi rất ngạc nhiên về điều đó. Cô ấy có ý gì khi nói như vậy?

Tôi nói: “Bạn có thể nói rõ hơn được không.” Thế là chúng tôi cùng nhau khám phá những hình ảnh đáng kinh ngạc về Đức Chúa Trời trong Kinh Thánh, những hình ảnh mô tả Đức Chúa Trời như người mẹ đang sanh con (Ês. 42:14), như người nuôi ong (7:18), nhưng hình ảnh “mí mắt” thì hoàn toàn mới mẻ đối với tôi. Ryley chỉ cho tôi phần Kinh Thánh trong Phục truyền luật lệ ký chương 32, nơi Môi-se ca ngợi cách Đức Chúa Trời gìn giữ dân sự của Ngài. Trong câu 10 chép rằng Ngài bao phủ họ, chăm sóc họ, gìn giữ họ “như con ngươi của mắt Ngài.”

Tuy nhiên, từ được dịch là con ngươi ở đây, theo Ryley cho tôi biết thì có nghĩa là tròng đen của mắt. Thế thì con mắt của chúng ta được bảo vệ bởi gì? Tất nhiên, đó là mí mắt! Đức Chúa Trời cũng giống như mí mắt là lá chắn tự nhiên bảo vệ cho đôi mắt của chúng ta. Mí mắt giữ cho mắt tránh khỏi những nguy hiểm, và qua việc chớp mắt, nó còn giúp loại bỏ bụi bẩn. Nó cũng giúp cho mắt luôn được giữ ẩm. Nó bôi trơn và giúp cho mắt khỏe mạnh. Khi đóng lại, nó giúp cho mắt được nghỉ ngơi.

Khi tôi suy nghĩ về hình ảnh Đức Chúa Trời giống như mí mắt, tôi không thể làm gì khác hơn là cảm tạ Chúa về nhiều hình ảnh ẩn dụ mà Ngài dùng để giúp chúng ta hiểu được tình yêu của Ngài dành cho chúng ta. Khi nhắm mắt lại vào ban đêm và mở mắt ra khi trời sáng, chúng ta có thể nhớ đến Chúa và tạ ơn Ngài vì sự chăm sóc và gìn giữ tuyệt vời của Ngài đối với chúng ta.

Lạy Chúa, cảm ơn Ngài đã dùng những ẩn dụ tuyệt vời để giúp chúng con hiểu về Ngài hơn. Cảm ơn Ngài đã gìn giữ chúng con giống như mí mắt bảo vệ mắt của chúng con.

Khi bạn chớp mắt, hãy nhớ cảm tạ Chúa vì sự bảo vệ của Ngài.

Nuestro Pan Diario - Pestañea y piensa en Dios
La Biblia en un año: 1 Crónicas 16–18; Juan 7:28-53

… Lo guardó como a la niña de su ojo (v. 10).

«Dios es como un párpado», dijo mi amiga Ryley, y yo pestañeé sorprendida. ¿Qué querría decir?

«Cuéntame más», respondí. Juntas, habíamos estado estudiando imágenes sorprendentes de Dios en la Biblia; cosas como Dios como una madre en trabajo de parto (Isaías 42:14) o un apicultor (7:18), pero esta metáfora era nueva para mí. Ryley me señaló Deuteronomio 32, donde Moisés alaba cómo Dios cuida a su pueblo. El versículo 10 dice que el Señor protege a su pueblo y lo guarda «como a la niña de su ojo».

Según Ryley, la palabra traducida niña significa literalmente «pupila». ¿Y qué rodea y protege la pupila? ¡El párpado, por supuesto! Dios es como el párpado, que, instintivamente, protege el ojo frágil. El párpado guarda el ojo del peligro y, al pestañear, ayuda a quitar el polvo, además de evitar que se meta sudor. También lubrica el globo ocular y lo mantiene saludable; y se cierra para permitir el descanso.

Al considerar la imagen de Dios como párpado, no pude evitar darle gracias por las muchas metáforas que nos ha dado para ayudarnos a entender su amor por nosotros. Cuando cerramos los ojos por la noche y los abrimos a la mañana, podemos pensar en Dios y alabarlo por su tierna protección y cuidado.

Señor, gracias por protegernos tal como el párpado guarda el ojo.

Cuando pestañees, recuerda dar gracias a Dios por su protección.

Por ap

Unser Täglich Brot - Der blinzelnde Gott
Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Chronik 16–18; Johannes 7,28-53

Er umfing ihn und hatte Acht auf ihn. Er behütete ihn wie seinen Augapfel. 5.Mose 32,10

„Gott ist wie ein Augenlid“, sagte meine Bekannte und ich zwinkerte überrascht. Wie meinte sie das?

„Das musst du mir erklären“, erwiderte ich. Zusammen hatten wir uns ein paar überraschende Bilder von Gott in der Bibel angeschaut, etwa Gott als Gebärende (Jes. 42,14) oder als Fliegenfänger (7,18). Aber dieses war neu für mich. Sie ließ mich 5.Mose 32 aufschlagen, wo Mose Gott dafür preist, wie er sein Volk umsorgt. In Vers 10 heißt es, dass Gott seine Kinder behütet und schützt „wie seinen Augapfel“.

Aber das Wort, das wir mit Augapfel wiedergeben, so erklärte sie mir, bedeutet wörtlich Pupille. Und was umgibt und schützt die Pupille? Genau, das Augenlid! Gott ist wie ein Augenlid, das den empfindlichen Augapfel instinktiv schützt. Das Lid schützt das Auge vor Gefahr, und durch sein Blinzeln entfernt es Staub und Schmutz. Es hält den Schweiß vom Auge fern. Es befeuchtet den Augapfel und hält ihn damit gesund. Es schließt sich und schenkt Ruhe.

Als ich mir das Bild von Gott als Augenlid vor Augen malte, konnte ich nicht anders, als ihm danken für die vielen Bilder, mit denen er uns hilft, seine Liebe zu begreifen. Wenn wir am Abend unsere Augen schließen und am Morgen wieder aufmachen, können wir an ihn denken und ihn loben für seinen Schutz und seine Fürsorge.

Danke, Herr, für die interessanten Bilder, die uns helfen, dich besser zu begreifen. Danke, dass du uns behütest wie ein Augenlid das Auge.

Wenn du blinzelst, vergiss nicht, Gott für seine Bewahrung zu danken.

Von Amy

Notre Pain Quotidien - D’un clignement de yeux
Lisez : Deutéronome 32.1‑12
La Bible en un an : 1 CHRONIQUES 16 – 18 et JEAN 7.28‑53

[Il] l’a entouré, il en a pris soin, il l’a gardé comme la prunelle de son œil. V. 10

Dieu est comme une paupière », m’a lancé mon ami Ryley, me faisant cligner des yeux de surprise. Que pouvait‑il bien vouloir dire par là ?

« Dis‑m’en plus », lui ai‑je répliqué. Ensemble, nous avions étudié d’étonnantes images de Dieu dans la Bible, le présentant comme une femme en train d’accoucher (ÉS 42.14) ou un apiculteur (7.18), mais celle‑là m’était nouvelle. Ryley m’a alors conduite dans Deutéronome 32, où Moïse loue Dieu pour sa façon de prendre soin de son peuple. Le verset 10 dit que Dieu entoure les siens et en prend soin, les gardant « comme la prunelle de son oeil ».

Or, qu’est‑ce qui entoure et protège la prunelle de l’oeil ? La paupière, bien entendu ! Dieu est donc comme la paupière, qui protège instinctivement l’oeil fragile. La paupière garde l’oeil du danger, et le clignement contribue à en éliminer les poussières. La paupière empêche la transpiration de couler dans l’oeil. Elle lubrifie le globe oculaire et le garde en bon état. Elle se referme, permettant ainsi le sommeil.

En comparant Dieu à une paupière, je n’ai pu m’empêcher de remercier Dieu pour les nombreuses métaphores qu’il nous donne afin de nous aider à comprendre l’amour qu’il nous porte. En fermant les yeux le soir et en les ouvrant le matin, nous pouvons penser à Dieu et le louer pour la protection et les soins qu’il nous procure avec tendresse.

En clignant des yeux, remerciez Dieu de sa protection.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Віко
Його оточив, уважав Він за ним, зберігав Він його, як зіницю оту свого ока. — Повторення Закону 32:10
“Бог схожий на віко”, − сказала моя подруга Райлі, а я лише заблимала очима. Що вона має на увазі?

“Розкажи про це докладніше”, – попросила я. Ми вивчали разом цікаві біблійні метафори. Наприклад, Бог порівнює Себе з породіллею (Іс. 42:14) або пасічником (Іс. 7:18). Але те, що сказала Райлі – що Бог схожий на віко – було для мене чимось новим і незрозумілим. Вона, однак, вказала мені на Книгу Повторення Закону 32:10, де Мойсей славить Бога за те, що Господь вів Свій народ і захищав його “як зіницю оту свого ока”.

“Що оточує і зберігає наші зіниці? – запитала мене Райлі. – Звісно, віка!” Тому Бога можна порівняти з віками, що автоматично захищають наші ніжні очні яблука. Віка постійно пильнують наші очі. Бережуть їх від різних небезпек. Коли ми моргаємо, це очищає їх від бруду і пилу. А ще віка зволожують очні яблука, зберігають їх здоровими. Нарешті, коли вони закриваються, це дозволяє нам спати, відпочивати.

Коли я розважала над цією метафорою, то не змогла втриматись від слів подяки Господу за велику кількість тих порівнянь, що допомагають нам розуміти Його любов до нас. Отже, закриваючи очі вночі або відкриваючи їх вранці, давайте згадувати Бога та хвалити Його за щиру турботу й ніжне піклування.

Дякуємо Тобі, Боже, за ті дивовижні метафори, через які Ти допомагаєш нам краще розуміти Тебе. Дякуємо за те, що оберігаєш нас немов ту зіницю ока.

Закриваючи очі, не забувайте дякувати Богу за Його захист.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Веко
Читать сейчас: Второзаконие 32:1-12

Он... ограждал его, смотрел за ним, хранил его как зеницу ока Своего. — Второзаконие 32:10

«Бог похож на веко», – сказала моя подруга Райли. Я удивленно заморгала: «Что она имеет в виду?»

«Пожалуйста, поподробнее», – попросила я. Вместе мы изучали неожиданные сравнения, которые употребляются в Библии в отношении Бога. Например, Бог сравнивает Себя с рождающей матерью (Ис. 42:14) или пчеловодом (Ис. 7:18). Но это сравнение было совсем неожиданным. Райли показала мне главу 32 книги Второзаконие, где Моисей славит Бога за Его заботу об израильском народе. В стихе 10 говорится, что Бог хранил Израиль «как зеницу ока Своего».

«Зеница ока» – это зрачок. А чем защищается зрачок от агрессивного воздействия окружающего мира? Веком, разумеется! Мы моргаем им, не задумываясь, инстинктивно, если что-то угрожает глазу. Кроме того, веко удаляет с роговицы попавшие на нее пыль и соринки. Наконец, оно увлажняет глаз и закрывается на время сна, чтобы нам было спокойнее.

Размышляя об этом сравнении, мне захотелось поблагодарить Бога за многие образы, которые Он дал в Библии, чтобы мы поняли, как Он нас любит. Закрывая глаза вечером и открывая утром, мы можем думать о Боге и славить Его за заботу и защиту.

Благодарим Тебя, Боже, за удивительные сравнения, благодаря которым мы можем лучше понять Тебя. Благодарим за то, что бережешь нас, словно зеницу ока.

Закрывая глаза, не забудьте поблагодарить Бога за Его заботу.