Monday, May 29, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, May 29, 2017 - 44th Day of Easter

The Shepherd, by Sieger Köder, ca. 1980.
Opening Sentence

Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24

Morning Prayer

Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Ezekiel 4:1-17

And you, O mortal, take a brick and set it before you. On it portray a city, Jerusalem; and put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a ramp against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. Then take an iron plate and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel. Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it; you shall bear their punishment for the number of the days that you lie there. For I assign to you a number of days, three hundred ninety days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, one day for each year. You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and with your arm bared you shall prophesy against it. See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege. And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred ninety days, you shall eat it. The food that you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; at fixed times you shall eat it. And you shall drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; at fixed times you shall drink. You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung. The LORD said, "Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread, unclean, among the nations to which I will drive them." Then I said, "Ah Lord GOD! I have never defiled myself; from my youth up until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by animals, nor has carrion flesh come into my mouth." Then he said to me, "See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread." Then he said to me, Mortal, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. Lacking bread and water, they will look at one another in dismay, and waste away under their punishment.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Hebrews 6:1-12

Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this, if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt. Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over. Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 9:51-62

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 89:1-18 Misericordias Domini
1   Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
2   For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
3   I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
4   'I will establish your line for ever, and preserve your throne for all generations.'"
5   The heavens bear witness to your wonders, O LORD, and to your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
6   For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? who is like the LORD among the gods?
7   God is much to be feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible to all those round about him.
8   Who is like you, LORD God of hosts? O mighty LORD, your faithfulness is all around you.
9   You rule the raging of the sea and still the surging of its waves.
10   You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound; you have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11   Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours; you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.
12   You have made the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your Name.
13   You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
14   Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; love and truth go before your face.
15   Happy are the people who know the festal shout! they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.
16   They rejoice daily in your Name; they are jubilant in your righteousness.
17   For you are the glory of their strength, and by your favor our might is exalted.
18   Truly, the LORD is our ruler; The Holy One of Israel is our King.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 89:19-52 Tunc locutus es
19   You spoke once in vision and said to your faithful people: "I have set the crown upon a warrior and have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20   I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.
21   My hand will hold him fast and my arm will make him strong.
22   No enemy shall deceive him, nor any wicked man bring him down.
23   I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
24   My faithfulness and love shall be with him, and he shall be victorious through my Name.
25   I shall make his dominion extend from the Great Sea to the River.
26   He will say to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.'
27   I will make him my firstborn and higher than the kings of the earth.
28   I will keep my love for him for ever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29   I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of heaven."
30   If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my judgments;
31   If they break my statutes and do not keep my commandments;
32   I will punish their transgressions with a rod and their iniquities with the lash;
33   But I will not take my love from him, nor let my faithfulness prove false.
34   I will not break my covenant, nor change what has gone out of my lips.
35   Once for all I have sworn by my holiness: 'I will not lie to David.
36   His line shall endure for ever and his throne as the sun before me;
37   It shall stand fast for evermore like the moon, the abiding witness in the sky.'"
38   But you have cast off and rejected your anointed; you have become enraged at him.
39   You have broken your covenant with your servant, defiled his crown, and hurled it to the ground.
40   You have breached all his walls and laid his strongholds in ruins.
41   All who pass by despoil him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42   You have exalted the right hand of his foes and made all his enemies rejoice.
43   You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not sustained him in battle.
44   You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground.
45   You have cut short the days of his youth and have covered him with shame.
46   How long will you hide yourself, O LORD? will you hide yourself for ever? how long will your anger burn like fire?
47   Remember, LORD, how short life is, how frail you have made all flesh.
48   Who can live and not see death? who can save himself from the power of the grave?
49   Where, Lord, are your loving-kindnesses of old, which you promised David in your faithfulness?
50   Remember, Lord, how your servant is mocked, how I carry in my bosom the taunts of many peoples,
51   The taunts your enemies have hurled, O LORD, which they hurled at the heels of your anointed.
52   Blessed be the LORD for evermore! Amen, I say, Amen.

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

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Prayer for Faith

Give us, Lord, a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, a love of you. Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, dullness in prayer. Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, your tender compassion towards me. The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Prayer for Mission

Heavenly Father, Christ left with us his instructions to spread the gospel into every nook and cranny of the world, to let others know about him and find him, to save their souls and bring them into true peace and your ultimate purpose for us. But I am so stupid and ignorant, I do not know what to say. I am so filled with a desire not to offend others that I am afraid to speak up. It is so much easier for me just to sit back and leave everything up to you, or up to professional preachers. I retreat into thinking that this is somebody else's job.

Help me dear Lord to do your work. I promise to try, but I cannot do this without your. Fill me with the fire of your Holy Spirit and give me the words and the strength, if only to witness how much you have meant to me in my own life. Give me strength to plunge straight through feelings of awkwardness or potential hostility, and to offer to you just the simplest witness before others. For I know that if I help only one person to find you, it is worth ten thousand rejections. Bless me to remember, that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

In Christ's name, I pray, Amen.

Have I Done Any Good?

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

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

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

Prayer of the Day for MONDAY, May 29, 2017 - 44th Day of Easter

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Memory Verse of the Day for MONDAY, May 29, 2017 - 44th Day of Easter

James 2:17 (ESV) So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Read all of James 2

Listen to James 2

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny -

Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
~ James 2:17 (ESV)

Our previous memory verse illustrated one of the foremost tenets of Christian faith: the knowledge that we cannot save ourselves by our works, our deeds, our actions. Salvation is a gift from God and can only be gained through His grace, if we have faith in Christ.

This does not mean, however, that we can do whatever we want and expect to be forgiven for it. There was, actually, an early sect of Christianity that taught not simply freedom from the Law, but the abolition of morality, reasoning that if Christ would forgive all sin, there was no purpose in stopping sinful behavior. There were even extremists who encouraged total hedonism, using the logic that the more one sinned, the more one showed himself to trust in Christ’s forgiveness. (People usually refer to this as antinomianism, although the more correct definition of antinomianism involves complex issues of theology.)

But the importance to the Christian of works does, ultimately, give rise to a contradiction that logic cannot reconcile. We are told a number of times that Christians will stop sinning, or that those who love Christ will follow His commandments. Yet, nobody has really managed it. Paul himself lamented, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15-20, NASB)

So, we will not try to make it all logical and tidy, but instead read and understand this passage: Faith without works is dead. Which is to say, if our deeds do not reflect our faith, our faith is worthless. It will not save us. If our faith is dead, we are dead, for it is a living faith that brings us the life of Christ's forgiveness.

Looking at the Greek gives another dimension to the passage; it can properly be translated, “faith without works is dead by its own standards.” The implication that true and saving faith includes a change of behavior is implied by the very definition of faith. If one does not change one's behavior, he does not have faith.

Does this mean we should anguish and feel guilty about our sins? Not necessarily. There is much to be said for feeling absolute certainty in our forgiveness. But it does mean that we must confess our sin and resolve to avoid it. And as we have learned, if we resolve to avoid a sin, God will send a Spirit to strengthen us in fighting temptation.

Lord, let me seek to avoid sin, out of my love for you. Amen

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Scripture taken from the The Holy Bible, New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Un Dia a la Vez - Semana de celebración: El amor

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, mas tenga vida eterna.
~ Juan 3:16 (RVR1960)

La muestra más hermosa y grande del amor de Dios la hizo hace más de dos mil años cuando Dios entregó a su único Hijo, Jesucristo, para que viniera a este mundo hecho hombre y muriera por el perdón de nuestros pecados.

En realidad, no fue una muerte sencilla, Todo lo contrario, fue la peor manera en que podía morir un ser humano. Fue una muerte de cruz. ¿Sabías que la muerte de cruz era la más humillante en esa época? Así morían los ladrones y los repudiados. Además, era una muerte cruel y lenta.

Recuerda hoy ese sacrificio que Dios hizo por amor a nosotros para darnos una vida eterna.

Cuando tenemos este episodio claro en nuestra mente, podemos comprender que la salvación es un regalo de Dios y que desde ese capítulo de la historia, Dios nunca ha dejado de amarnos. Así nos lo demuestra día a día con la vida, las bendiciones, la naturaleza hermosa que disfrutamos y con la esperanza que cuando nos toque partir de este mundo, estaremos en su presencia por toda una eternidad.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - STRATEGIC LEVEL SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Then he [angel] continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

There is considerable interest and teaching today about “territorial spirits,” that is, spiritual warfare waged against high-ranking principalities and powers assigned to a locale. The Scripture passage here indicates that a particular evil spirit was assigned to Daniel’s human government or territory. But what we lack biblically is any example of or injunction to engage these spirits directly or by name. Daniel only prayed to his God who sovereignly directs angels to war against the territorial rulers. The Apostle Paul taught that demonic emissaries who attack the church and hinder its mission can be overcome only through reliance on the power of God.

That same power of God is much needed in the world today. For example, witchcraft is being used as a strategic weapon by traditional Indian authorities in western Colombia in an attempt to weaken and even stamp out the faith of indigenous Christians. Sorcerers or witchdoctors, called te walas by the indigenous peoples, have started sending messengers to sit in the back during church services, rather than going directly themselves. When the pastors invite listeners to receive Christ, these messengers say, “No, we have just come to listen.” But while Christians are praying, the te walas sprinkle the cursed waters around the church.

If their incantations bring no results, the te walas themselves come to the church, surrounding it with occult rites to cause the believers to lose their desire to pray and read the Bible. In some recent night-time visits by these traditional “healers,” the witchdoctors made pacts with animal blood as well as sprinkled their cursed waters on the church.

A seventeen-year-old girl in one church was induced to participate in these practices, despite having Christian parents. She actually made a pact of witchcraft, her pastor said, to give over one of her relatives to Satan. Discouraged, her parents cannot understand how this could happen in their home, where she learned to know and love God. Church leaders and the pastor have united with this family to intercede for urgently for this young girl’s deliverance. The pastor admitted that he feared that more such cases are happening that have yet to be discovered. They need our prayers.

RESPONSE: Today I’ll not underestimate the power of God to defeat all that Satan throws against me.

PRAYER: Lord, may Your mighty power overcome the evil united against Your church in Colombia.

Women of the Bible - Tamar, Daughter of King David

Her name means: "Date Tree" or "Palm Tree"

Her character: Tamar shared her father's, David's, good looks. Young and innocent, she was naive to the danger that threatened from her own family.
Her sorrow: That her half brother saw her only as an object for his lust, destroying her future as a result, and that her father, the king, did nothing to protect her.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 13:1-22

Her Story

David's daughter Tamar was a knockout. No doubt she was destined for a marriage that would strengthen the king's political alliances. Though not under lock and key, she probably lived a rather protected life. But all the precautions in the world couldn't save her from the danger that threatened from David's inner circle.

Amnon was David's heir. As the king's eldest son, he was used to getting his way. But lately he'd grown despondent. Something was bothering him, chasing away his sleep, gnawing at his heart.
One day, Jonadab, Amnon's cousin, asked him: "Why do you, the king's son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won't you tell me?"

Amnon confided in his friend, saying, "I'm in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."

"Go to bed and pretend to be ill," Jonadab shrewdly advised. "When your father comes to see you, say to him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.' "

So David, concerned for his son, unwittingly sent his daughter into a trap that would ruin her life.

After Tamar had prepared a meal for Amnon, he asked her to enter his bedroom and feed him. But as soon as Tamar did, he grabbed her, begging, "Come to bed with me, my sister."

"Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you." But despite her pleas, Amnon forced himself on her.

As soon as the storm of his passion died down, Amnon's infatuation turned to hatred. He threw Tamar out of his house, bolting the door against her, as though she, not he, were the guilty one. Desolate, the young girl tore her robes, throwing ashes on her head and weeping loudly as she wandered the streets. When her brother Absalom found her, he hushed her, saying, "Be quiet now, my sister, he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart." But Absalom himself took it to heart, hating his half brother Amnon for what he had done.

Though David was furious when he heard the news, he did nothing to punish Amnon. Did he favor his son over his daughter, thinking her hurt a small matter? Or had his moral authority been so compromised by his lust for Bathsheba that he simply could not bring himself to confront his eldest son? Whatever the case, Absalom did not share his father's hesitation. Instead, he bided his time, waiting for an opportunity for vengeance. Two years later he murdered Amnon.

First rape, then murder. David's household was devastated not by barbarians outside the gate but by those inside his own family. After Amnon's death, David must have been haunted by Nathan's earlier prophecy after David's own adultery with Bathsheba: "Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house…. Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you" (2 Samuel 12:10-11). The father's lust was mirrored by the son's; the father's violence, by one son's murder of the other.

Tamar, unprotected by her father, betrayed by her own brother, lived in Absalom's house, a desolate woman, without the possibility of marriage or children because she was no longer a virgin. Thus a chain of sin wove its way through David's family, enslaving the innocent along with the guilty.

Her Promise

The horrifying facts of Tamar's experience—not only the rape itself but the effect it had on her future and her emotional well-being—are not too far from the experiences of many women today. Statistics reveal a staggering number of women who have been violated by family members when they were very young. The effects of those experiences can haunt a woman's existence, influencing her relationships with her husband, with male and female friends, and with her children. Help is available to those who seek it, but the ultimate hope and help can only be found in the love and acceptance God so willingly offers. His forgiving spirit can help recovery begin. His comforting spirit can bring a soothing balm to the hurt of the past. His constant presence can bring healing for the loneliness and detachment many feel.

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 - Rebuilding Takes A Village

by Logan Wolfram

Today’s Truth

What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are? Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, ‘The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall’” (Nehemiah 4:2,10). 

Friend to Friend

I saw her standing there, her image lit up the screen of my phone sometime around 3:30 in the morning. I couldn’t sleep and after praying, tossing and turning, playing solitaire, and praying some more only to still lie awake in my bed, I began scrolling through Facebook to occupy my mind. That’s when I saw my friend standing in the rain in front of a blazing fire and my heart cried out with new prayers in the dark of night.

It burned. Her whole house burned, and everything in it was ruined.

Thankfully they were home when the lightening struck and so they got out with their kids and dogs and cars. But still…everything else burned. It all has to be rebuilt. Brick by brick, and one item at a time, everything they had before the fire has now been lost.

And I can’t imagine what it feels like to wake up in your neighbor’s house and hold your cup of coffee at the front door while you look out across the street to see home…the place you find your rest, the place that holds the familiar memories that make up a lifetime, the place that makes daily function simpler, all turned to ash and rubble.

“She won’t even have a fresh pair of underwear for today” I thought to myself. And I, living in a different city, I couldn’t even bring a meal. I can’t be there to help sort through the remains. I wasn’t sure what to do, how to help, but I wanted to do something.

Because here’s the thing, the ones in the midst of the rebuild are so tired. Their strength gives out almost as soon as it comes and we all know that burned walls don’t get rebuilt in a day.

In Nehemiah we find a weary bunch of God’s people trying to rebuild a burned Jerusalem wall, and they are TIRED. To make matters worse, naysayers who never much help anything surround them, and the thing that needs to be rebuilt is so great it feels daunting. How and where to even begin, when the beginning is so much a sorting through the ending?

I love in Nehemiah 4:14-18 when it goes on to say,
After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.

When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.”
The Lord will fight for us and with us, but He still asks us to show up to do the work. And some of us do the labor and some of us stand in battle on behalf of those doing the work.

Last fall before I was speaking at a women’s conference, the team of organizers asked to pray for me before it all began. They circled around and asked me to stand in the center, and then they did something that I’d never experienced before, they all turned their backs to me, and faced outward.

“You can’t battle on behalf of someone if you’re not on the lookout for the enemy approaching,” one woman said to me. “So we turn our backs to you so that as we pray, we stand in battle on behalf of you. You don’t need to look out for what may be coming, because we will.”

And I wept there in the middle of that circle because my sisters were willing to battle for me so that I could stand and sound the trumpet as we oversaw what was being built that weekend.

So as I saw my friend lose everything in that fire, and realized that proximity isn’t a requirement for standing in the burden of loss with someone you love, I got on my knees and I did battle facing outward on behalf of her. And then I got online and I ordered her underwear and a couple pairs of jeans because anyone sorting through rubble needs at least some pants.

A couple of days later I saw a picture posted of a Steelers jersey that another friend had sent her to replace the one she had lost in the flames. And my heart smiled so big that my face followed suit, not because we need a football jersey to rebuild a life, but because replacing the little things, seeing the people we were (and still are) before we are impacted by tragedy, is what helps rebuild stronger walls. We all want to be seen and known, and bearing one another’s burdens is so much more meaningful when we don’t forget to see the person through the burden.

We inventory what was lost to replace and rebuild things stronger than they were before.

And while we can’t all take inventory, and we can’t all sort through rubble and rebuild walls, we can all come alongside as the body of Christ to take up a shovel or take up a sword, or sometimes even take up both to stand in the places where rebuilding happens. We encircle one another and we do battle in the Throne Room on our knees on behalf of those sorting through the rubble.

Galatians 6:2 reminds us that we fulfill the law of Christ when we bear one another’s burdens. By ourselves we can’t rebuild places of great loss, but shouldering the weight alongside our brothers and sisters, we can rebuild nations in the name of the Lord.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, you are the original Master Builder, and you are the author and perfector of our faith and our lives. We thank you that you are writing stories with each of us individually and as we come alongside to labor together. “ And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10

Thank you Jesus for loving us, for sacrificing for us, so that a new story can be written before our eyes when we are fixed on your goodness and stand alongside one another to rebuild the scorched places of our lives.

In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Today think about a time when someone else has borne a burden alongside of you. Consider also how you can enter in with someone else in a place of need and help them strengthen the broken places.

More from the Girlfriends

Logan Wolfram would give you full access to her pantry if you lived next door. She is a plate-juggling mom and interior decorator turned author, speaker, Bible teacher, and host of the Allume Conference. She is a passionate leader who desires to see women live fully in Christ. Her first book, Curious Faith; Rediscovering Hope in the God of Possibilitywith David C Cook publishing encourages women to rescue the now and uncover possibility in their lives. Logan and her husband, Jeremy, divide their time between wrangling two inquisitive boys and a 175-pound dog named Titan. They reside in Greenville, South Carolina.

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Daily Devotion May 29, 2017 "Forgive and Forget"

It was the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day in 1929.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Forgive and Forget"

May 29, 2017

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

It was the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day in 1929. Georgia Tech was playing the University of California at Berkeley. A California defender, named Roy Riegels, recovered a Georgia Tech fumble, and then he turned and ran for 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of Riegels' own teammates tackled him just before he reached the wrong goal line. On the next play, Georgia Tech scored and went on to win.

From that day on, Riegels was saddled with the nickname "Wrong-way Riegels." For years afterward, whenever he was introduced, people would exclaim, "I know who you are! You are the guy who ran the wrong way in the Rose Bowl!"

Our failures may not be as conspicuous, but we have all gone the wrong way, and we all have memories that haunt us. Recollections of our sins and failures have a way of rising up and taunting us in those quiet moments or when we can't sleep at three o'clock in the morning.

I am sure that Riegels thought many times, if only I had another chance. If only I could have that play to do over, I would do it entirely different. It was the excitement of the moment, the pressure to be noticed and to be the star, rather than keeping my head on the game and focusing on the right way to run. Sound familiar? How often aren't we tempted by the excitement of the moment or thinking only of our self rather than what is right. It is so easy to find ourselves running the wrong way. Then later we look back and say, "If I only had another chance, I would never do that again. If only I could forget."

The exciting message for us today is we can forget it! We can have another chance. John reminds us in our Scripture today, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

As Jesus was breathing His last breath on the cross, He spoke the words, "Father forgive them" (see Luke 23:34). He wasn't speaking only for those who were crucifying Him. He spoke those words for all sinners: for you and me. Every sin, every failure, every time we're running the wrong way, Jesus waits for us to confess our sins. He is there to forgive. The apostle Paul reminds us that "there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:22b-24).

Just as Riegels' teammates stopped him from going the wrong way, all the way, so Jesus stops us when we go the wrong way. He picks us up, turns us around, wipes us clean with His forgiveness, and puts us back in the game. Our mistakes and failures are gone and forgotten. Jesus has paid the price by His death on the cross. Each day we are given another chance. We can begin again free of past mistakes. The amazing thing is unlike Riegels' team we will win the game in Him. As we reach the final goal line, we can shout, "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, by faith, my life is in Your victorious hands. For that I give You thanks and praise today and forever. Amen

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

CPTLN Devocional de 29 de Mayo de 2017

Alimento Diario

La guerra para terminar todas las guerras

29 de Mayo 2017

Y ellos convertirán sus espadas en rejas de arado, y sus lanzas en hoces. Ninguna nación levantará la espada contra otra nación, ni se entrenarán más para hacer la guerra. Isaías 2:4b

Al morir Jack Ross a los 110 años de edad, murió no sólo la persona más anciana de Australia, sino también el último sobreviviente que había servido en la Primera Guerra Mundial.

Se dice que fueron 417,000 hombres y mujeres quienes sirvieron en la "Guerra para terminar todas las guerras". La mayoría de ellos eran hombres y mujeres jóvenes, pero ahora todos han fallecido.

Hay algunas cosas que no cambian. ¿Qué tipo de cosas? Por ejemplo...
  • "La guerra para terminar todas las guerras" no terminó los conflictos entre los países. A pesar de las mejores intenciones de la humanidad y de nuestras mejores resoluciones para cambiar, y a pesar de ser mejores y de crear un mundo más seguro, el pecado y Satanás se siguen asegurando que haya guerras y rumores de guerras. No todas las espadas han sido transformadas en arados. Todavía no.
  • La realidad de la muerte aún sigue siendo cierta para todos nosotros. Puede venir rápidamente en las trincheras o en los hospitales del campo de batalla de una Guerra Mundial, o puede venir calladamente, acechándonos lentamente. Viene en millones de diferentes maneras, pero viene.
Todo esto podría ser depresivo y desconcertante si no fuera por el Salvador, quien tampoco ha cambiado. A través de sus 33 años de vida, Jesús se dedicó a asegurar que el pecado y la muerte no tuvieran la última palabra. Y porque dio su vida en la cruz y se levantó de entre los muertos, podemos confiar en sus palabras: "porque yo vivo, ustedes también vivirán." (Juan 14:19b)

Gracias a que el Salvador ha ganado la batalla final por nosotros, podemos estar seguros que llegará el momento en que las espadas serán convertidas en arados y ninguna nación se levantará en armas contra otra nación.

Gracias a Jesús, llegará el momento en que los jóvenes no irán más a la guerra y quienes no regresaron de ella, finalmente regresarán.

ORACIÓN: Querido Salvador, porque tú vives también viviremos. Te damos gracias porque por tu sacrificio recibiremos la eternidad en el cielo. En tu nombre. 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 - Let Honor Meet Honor

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1

I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather.

In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane.

Underlying Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 6:1–6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (vv. 4–6), not orchestrated acts for self-glorification (v. 2). The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).

May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to You, Lord.

Grant me the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to Your name where I am serving. My desire is to give myself in selfless devotion because of Your love for me.

The more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self.

Ministérios Pão Diário - Joia rara
A Bíblia em um ano: 2 Crônicas 7–9, João 11:1-29

Feliz o homem que acha sabedoria […] e adquire conhecimento… Provérbios 3:13

Quando Betty Goldstein entrou no hospital, seu esposo Ronaldo guardou o anel de diamantes dela, de 3,5 quilates, num guardanapo. Mas num momento de descuido, o Sr. Goldstein jogou o guardanapo no lixo.

Quando ele percebeu seu erro, correu para fora, mas só conseguiu ver o caminhão do lixo se distanciando pela estrada. Telefonou rapi- damente para o departamento de coleta e obteve a permissão para acompanhar o caminhão até uma estação de reciclagem. Os trabalhadores começaram a separar o lixo, e em meio a centenas de pacote, recuperaram o anel uma hora mais tarde.

O escritor do livro de Provérbios nos incentiva a buscar com diligência por algo muito mais precioso — a sabedoria. No capítulo 2, um pai encoraja o filho a fazer o que for necessário para conseguir discernimento e sabedoria. Esta busca árdua por sabedoria é, na verdade, a busca pelo próprio Deus (2:3-5).

Na realidade, a felicidade interior surge quando o homem encontra essa sabedoria (3:13). Ele encoraja o seu filho a procurar diligentemente por esta joia preciosa, porque a sabedoria geralmente não é encontrada por um observador casual. A sabedoria é descoberta e desfrutada somente por aqueles que são diligentes, devotos e determinados a buscá-la.

Esforcemo-nos, totalmente, para buscar esta rara joia — sabedoria.

De tudo que você buscar, busque a sabedoria. —Salomão

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Hãy Dâng Vinh Hiển Cho Ngài
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 2 Sử ký 7–9; Giăng 11:1–29

Hãy thận trọng, khi làm việc từ thiện đừng nhằm phô trương trước mặt mọi người. Nếu không, các con chẳng được phần thưởng gì từ Cha các con ở trên trời. Ma-thi-ơ 6:1

Tôi luôn ấn tượng sự trang nghiêm và giản dị tuyệt vời của Nghi Lễ Đổi Ca Gác ở Nghĩa Trang Những Người Lính Vô Danh tại Nghĩa trang Quốc gia Arlington. Chương trình được chuẩn bị kỹ càng và phần xúc động nhất chính là lời tri ân gửi đến những người lính mà tên tuổi và công lao của họ “chỉ có Chúa biết”. Một khía cạnh không kém phần xúc động nữa chính là những giờ phút người lính canh ở riêng một mình cứ đều đặn bước đi khi mà đám đông đã giải tán: họ cứ bước tới bước lui, hết giờ này đến giờ khác, hết ngày này qua ngày nọ, ngay cả lúc thời tiết xấu nhất.

Vào tháng 9 năm 2003, cơn bão Isabel đã tràn vào thành phố Washington, DC và những lính canh được dặn rằng họ có thể tìm chỗ ẩn nấp trong lúc cơn bão đổ bộ vào. Thật đáng kinh ngạc là gần như không ai làm điều đó, những người lính canh đã từ chối không làm như vậy! Họ chấp nhận hy sinh đứng túc trực để vinh danh những chiến sĩ đã ngã xuống dù phải đối diện với cơn bão.

Tôi tin rằng đằng sau sự dạy dỗ của Chúa Jêsus trong Ma-thi-ơ 6:1–6 đó là Ngài mong muốn chúng ta sống một đời sống tận hiến tất cả cho Ngài. Kinh Thánh kêu gọi chúng ta làm những việc lành và sống thánh khiết, những việc làm đó là hành động thể hiện sự thờ phượng và vâng phục (c.4–6), chớ không phải để chúng ta được ca ngợi (c.2). Sứ đồ Phao-lô xác quyết về việc trung tín tận hiến cả cuộc đời này khi ông khuyên chúng ta hãy dâng thân thể mình “làm sinh tế sống” (Rô. 12:1).

Mong ước rằng những giờ phút ở chốn riêng tư hay nơi đông người, chúng ta đều nói lên lòng tận hiến và cam kết trọn vẹn với Chúa.

Lạy Chúa, xin ban cho con năng lực để cứ bền lòng và dâng vinh hiển cho danh Ngài ở mọi nơi con phục vụ. Con mong ước tận hiến cuộc đời mình cho Ngài vì tình yêu Ngài đã đối cùng con.

Càng phục vụ Đấng Christ, chúng ta sẽ càng ít phục vụ bản thân.

Nuestro Pan Diario - Honor en todo momento
La Biblia en un año: 2 Crónicas 7–9; Juan 11:1-29

Guardaos de hacer vuestra justicia delante de los hombres, para ser vistos de ellos… (v. 1).

Siempre me llamó la atención el cambio de la guardia en la Tumba al Soldado Desconocido en el Cementerio Nacional de Arlington. La ceremonia con una esmerada coreografía es un tributo a los soldados cuyos nombres y sacrificio «solo Dios conoce». Igualmente conmovedor es ver a los que caminan por allí cuando las multitudes ya no están: van y vienen, día tras día, incluso con mal clima.

En septiembre de 2003, el huracán Isabel avanzaba amenazante sobre Washington y se les dijo a los guardias que podían refugiarse durante la peor parte de la tormenta. Como era de esperar, ¡los guardias se negaron! Con nobleza y altruismo, permanecieron en sus puestos para honrar a sus camaradas caídos.

En la enseñanza de Jesús de Mateo 6:1-6, creo que hay un deseo subyacente de que vivamos con una devoción incesante y abnegada a Él. La Biblia nos llama a hacer buenas obras y a vivir en santidad, pero estos deben ser actos de adoración y obediencia (vv. 4-6), no momentos orquestados para enaltecerse a uno mismo (v. 2). El apóstol Pablo apoya esta fidelidad absoluta al instarnos a transformar nuestro cuerpo en un «sacrificio vivo» (Romanos 12:1).

Que nuestros momentos en privado y en público revelen nuestra devoción y compromiso sincero a ti, Señor.

Señor, quiero perseverar y honrarte donde me toque servir.

Cuanto más servimos a Cristo, menos buscamos nuestros propios intereses.

Unser Täglich Brot - Ehre, wem Ehre gebührt
Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 2.Chronik 7–9; Johannes 11,1-29

Habt Acht auf eure Frömmigkeit, dass ihr die nicht übt vor den Leuten, um von ihnen gesehen zu werden; ihr habt sonst keinen Lohn bei eurem Vater im Himmel. Matthäus 6,1

Die feierliche und doch sehr schlichte Wachablösung am Grab des Unbekannten Soldaten auf dem amerikanischen Nationalfriedhof von Arlington hat mich schon immer sehr beeindruckt. Der präzise Ablauf der Zeremonie zum Gedenken an die Soldaten, deren Namen—und Opfer—„nur Gott kennt“, ist bewegend. Genauso bewegend ist es, die Wachen zu beobachten, wenn die Zuschauermenge sich wieder aufgelöst hat: hin und zurück, Stunde für Stunde, Tag für Tag, auch im schlimmsten Wetter.

Im September 2003 zog Hurrikan Isabel über Washington und den Wachsoldaten wurde erlaubt, Schutz zu suchen. Doch kaum überraschend, nahm keiner das Angebot an! Selbstlos blieben sie auf ihren Posten, um ihren gefallenen Kameraden noch im Angesicht des Sturms Ehre zu erweisen.

Hinter Jesu Worten in Matthäus 6,1-6 verbirgt sich meiner Meinung nach sein Wunsch, dass wir in unablässiger, selbstloser Hingabe an ihn leben. Die Bibel ruft uns auf zu guten Werken und einem geheiligten Leben, aber beides soll aus Anbetung und Gehorsam geschehen (V.4-6) und nicht, um uns selbst herauszustellen (V.2). Der Apostel Paulus unterstreicht diese lebenslange Treue, wenn er uns mahnt, unseren Leib als ein „Opfer, das lebendig“ ist, hinzugeben (Röm. 12,1).

Möge alles, was wir tun, ob vor den Augen der Öffentlichkeit oder dann, wenn keiner zusieht, ein Zeugnis unserer Hingabe sein.

Schenk mir heute die Kraft, Herr, dranzubleiben, deinen Namen zu ehren, wo du mich hingestellt hast. Ich will mich dir ohne Vorbehalt hingeben, weil du mich liebst.

Je mehr wir Jesus dienen, desto weniger dienen wir uns selbst.

Notre Pain Quotidien - L’honneur rencontre l’honneur
Lisez : Matthieu 6.1‑6
La Bible en un an : 2 CHRONIQUES 7 – 9 et JEAN 11.1‑29

Gardez vous de pratiquer votre justice devant les hommes, pour en être vus ; autrement, vous n’aurez point de récompense auprès de votre Père qui est dans les cieux. V. 1

La simplicité empreinte de solennité et de magnificence avec laquelle la relève de la garde se déroule devant la tombe du soldat inconnu au cimentière national d’Arlington m’a toujours impressionné. L’événement soigneusement orchestré constitue un hommage émouvant aux soldats dont le nom – et le sacrifice – n’est « connu que de Dieu ». Tout aussi émouvants sont les instants de marche militaire en privé lorsque la foule est partie : le va-et-vient incessant, heure après heure, jour après jour, malgré les pires intempéries.

En septembre 2003, lorsque l’ouragan Isabel s’est abattu sur Washington, D.C., on a autorisé les gardiens à se mettre à l’abri durant le plus fort de la tempête. À la surprise de presque personne, ils s’y sont toutefois refusés ! Ils sont restés avec altruisme à leur porte afin d’honorer leurs défunts compagnons de combat en dépit de l’ouragan qui se déchaînait sur la capitale.

Selon moi, les enseignements de Jésus rapportés dans Matthieu 6.1‑6 nous révèlent son désir de nous voir lui consacrer notre vie de manière constante et sacrificielle. La Bible nous appelle aux bonnes oeuvres et à une vie de sainteté, mais toujours dans un esprit d’adoration et d’obéissance (V. 4,5), et non d’autoglorification (V. 2). L’apôtre Paul adopte cette fidélité de toute une vie en nous exhortant à faire de notre coeur « un sacrifice vivant » (RO 12.1).

Plus on sert Christ, moins on se servira soi‑même.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Пошана й самовідданість
Читати: Матвія 6:1-6

Стережіться виставляти свою милостиню перед людьми, щоб бачили вас; а як ні, то не матимете нагороди від Отця вашого, що на небі. — Матвія 6:1

Мене завжди вражає урочиста простота зміни варти біля монумента невідомим воїнам на Арлінгтонському цвинтарі. Це постановочне дійство призначене для вшанування всіх тих воїнів, імена яких відомі лише Богу. Варта синхронно рухається твердим розміреним кроком, навіть коли немає відвідувачів. Це дуже особливий момент. Він відбувається щогодини, щодня, навіть у найжахливішу погоду.

У вересні 2003 року, коли до Вашингтона наближався ураган “Ізабелла” , вартовим сказали, що в найнебезпечніший момент їм дозволено сховатись де-небудь. Але вартові відмовились ховатись, і це майже нікого не здивувало! Вони самовіддано стояли на посту, вшановуючи пам’ять своїх полеглих товаришів.

Я щиро вважаю, що в основі вчення Ісуса Христа, що записане в Євангелії від Матвія 6:1-6, лежить бажання Бога, щоб ми жили для Бога з самовідданим посвяченням. Біблія закликає робити добрі вчинки й жити свято, але це має бути акт поклоніння й послуху, а не акторська гра з метою самозвеличення (Мт. 6:2). Апостол Павло теж вказує на важливість такої цілковитої посвяти Богу, коли вмовляє нас віддавати наші тіла “на жертву живу” (Рим. 12:1).

Нехай же наше приватне й публічне життя відображає щире посвячення й непохитну відданість Тобі, Господи.

Господи, даруй сьогодні Твою силу, щоб міг встояти й прославити Твоє Ім’я в усьому, що роблю. Бажаю віддати себе цілком на служіння у відповідь на Твою любов до мене.

Чим більше служимо Христу, тим менше служимо самим собі.

Хлеб наш насущный - Честь и слава
Читать сейчас: Матфея 6:1-6

Смотрите, не творите милостыни вашей пред людьми с тем, чтобы они видели вас: иначе не будет вам награды от Отца вашего Небесного. — Матфея 6:1

Меня всегда впечатляет торжественная простота смены караула возле памятника неизвестным солдатам на Арлингтонском национальном кладбище. Тщательно отработанный церемониал – это дань чести тем, чьи имена и чья жертва «ведомы Богу». Синхронные движения исполняются с точностью до долей секунды, даже когда посетителей нет. Снова и снова, час за часом, день за днем, даже в самую плохую погоду.

В сентябре 2003 года к Вашингтону приблизился ураган «Изабелла». Караулу сообщили, что можно переждать бурю в укрытии, однако солдаты, к удивлению начальства, отказались. Они самоотверженно стояли на своем посту, отдавая честь павшим товарищам, несмотря на стихию.

Размышляя об учении Иисуса Христа в Нагорной проповеди, я вижу в его основе жертвенное и самоотверженное посвящение. Библия призывает нас к добрым делам и святой жизни, но все это должно быть следствием служения и послушания (Мф. 6:4-6), а не отрепетированным представлением во имя человеческой славы (Мф. 6:2). Апостол Павел подтверждает собственное посвящение Богу, призывая нас представить свои тела «в жертву живую» (Рим. 12:1).

Пусть наша личная и общественная жизнь говорит о полном посвящении Тебе, Господь.

Даруй мне сил, Господи, быть верным, воздавая честь имени Твоему. Мое желание – служить Тебе в самоотверженном посвящении, потому что Ты прежде возлюбил меня.

Чем больше мы служим Христу, тем меньше служим себе.