Monday, June 19, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, June 19, 2017

Opening Sentence

I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1

Morning Prayer
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live, Amen

Confession of Sin
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from 1 Samuel 1:1-20
There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the LORD. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: "O LORD of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head." As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, "How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine." But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time." Then Eli answered, "Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him." And she said, "Let your servant find favor in your sight." Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer. They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, "I have asked him of the LORD."

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Acts 1:1-14
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 20:9-19
He began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, 'This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.' So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Heaven forbid!" But he looked at them and said, "What then does this text mean: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls." When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.

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
Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, in limbs and eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all. 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!

May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in His sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory 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, June 19, 2017

Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, in limbs and eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all. Amen

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, June 19, 2017

Ephesians 5:25-26 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Read all of Ephesians 5

Listen to Ephesians 5

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - Care before You Share

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
~ Acts 8:5 (NKJV)

I was listening to a Christian radio broadcast the other day, and someone said he had come up with a lot of new conversation starters to turn a dialogue toward evangelism—clever little things we can say to get a person interested in hearing the gospel.

That is all good, but none of it matters if we don’t care about people. People can tell whether we care about them. (Even a dog can tell.) And people know whether we’re sharing with them out of sincerity or doing it out of a mere sense of duty.

Philip had a heart for nonbelievers. We read in the book of Acts that Philip, along with Stephen and others, were called to be deacons in the church. Stephen was martyred, and Saul of Tarsus began to attack Christians, so they spread out. And where did Philip go? He went to Samaria.

That is significant because Philip was a Jew. Jews hated Samaritans, and Samaritans hated Jews. They had a conflict that never ended, which was passed on from generation to generation. Yet Philip went to Samaria. He went to these people, the untouchables, that a Jew normally would not even have a conversation with, much less want to reach.

If we want to be effective communicators of the gospel, we need to be willing to go to people who are different from us. We tend to want to hang around people who are just like us, people who look like us, talk like us, and have the same interests as us.

Are you willing to leave your comfort zone and go to a person completely different from you with the message of the gospel? Everyone needs Jesus. May God give us a sense of compassion for people who do not yet know the Lord.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.

Un Dia a la Vez - Sencillez de la vida (cuarta parte)

Dios se opone a los orgullosos, pero da gracia a los humildes.
~ Santiago 4:6 (NVI)

En esta semana estamos aprendiendo lo importante que es ser humildes y sencillos. En otras palabras, que nos deseen y admiren. Hemos sostenido estas enseñanzas con apartes del Manual de Instrucciones para llevar todo bajo lo que Dios quiere que seamos tú y yo.

De modo que no podría cerrar esta semana sin dejar de recordar algo que muchos conocemos y que para otros quizá hoy sea la primera vez que lo lean: «Todo el que a sí mismo se enaltece será humillado, y el que se humilla será enaltecido» (Lucas 14:11).

Si Dios lo dice, lo creo. Además, si alguien te puede decir cómo a base de golpes he madurado desde el punto de vista espiritual, esa soy yo.

Dios lo dice con claridad. Si eres humilde, Él te levantará y te pondrá en grandes posiciones, pero si te exaltas mucho (eres creído o engreído), te humillarán y avergonzarán. Así que este principio de vida es mejor tomarlo como una fuerte sugerencia de nuestro Dios.

Si queremos lograr muchas cosas, triunfar y salir adelante, de seguro que debemos pedirle a Dios que no ayude a ser humildes de corazón. Conocemos en el camino muchos que suben como palmas, pero bajan como cocos. Y esos golpes son muy duros. A veces, a las personas humilladas les resulta muy difícil sobreponerse. Por eso no hay nada mejor que vivir una vida bendecida con la sencillez.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - PROJECT PEARL

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

One hundred-foot-long tugboat Michael lumbered along at the sleepy speed of three knots. It towed the semi-submersible barge, Gabriella, loaded with the million Chinese Bibles in 232 waterproof wrapped one-ton packages. By 9 p.m. on that historic night of June 18, 1981, Michael and its crew of twenty men weaved through a maze of anchored Chinese navy ships in the darkness near the port city of Shantou, southern China. Thousands of local Christians waited patiently in the darkness on the appointed beach.

The off-loaded floating packages were towed to shore by small rubber boats. Chinese believers came out in the water—some up to their neck. They pulled the blocks up onto the beach and cut them open with shears, handing the 45-pound cardboard boxes of Bibles to one another up the sand to the tree-line.

Two hours later, Michael and Gabriella and the crew left the scene with one million Bibles in the care of Chinese believers. They promised to circulate them across the entire country. In some cases, that process took as much as five years and many Chinese Christians paid dearly for it.

Over the past 30 years, Open Doors has received documented story after story—often from unusual places and situations—of the impact of those Bibles on the fast growing church in China. Project Pearl Bibles have been seen in virtually every province of the country.

A former colleague of mine from Singapore continues to minister in China. In the late 1990s, he met a large house church network of Christians in central China who still had no contact at all with foreigners from outside the country. They testified that it was the receiving of many Project Pearl Bibles that encouraged them and motivated them to share the gospel widely and thus grow to their current significant numbers.

One of those pocket-sized Bibles was received by a young Christian who had been praying for a Bible of his own for three years. After reading it through three times in three weeks, he felt God calling him to become one of the many itinerant evangelists preaching in China’s countryside. After fifteen years of ministry, he pastored a network of house churches that grew to over 400,000 members. His network of churches continues to need more than 20,000 Bibles a month just for new believers.

RESPONSE: I will appreciate the several Bibles I have and commit myself to learning and living from it.

PRAYER: Pray for Christians today in a variety of situations who are still waiting for their first copy of God’s Word.

Women of the Bible - The Queen of Sheba

Her character: Though a pagan queen like Jezebel, she prized wisdom above power. She appears to have been intellectually gifted, with a good head for business and diplomacy.
Her joy: That her quest for wisdom was rewarded beyond her expectations.
Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 10:1-13; Matthew 12:42

Her Story

Sheba was a fragrant land, famous for its perfumes and spices. Located on the southwestern tip of Arabia, bordering the Red Sea, it traded precious commodities like gold, frankincense, and myrrh to kingdoms in Africa, India, and the Mediterranean. Little wonder that passing caravans brought news of the wide world to Sheba's queen.

Lately, the queen had heard marvelous stories of Solomon, the son of Bathsheba and David, now Israel's third king. At his birth, a prophet had named him "Beloved of the Lord." Some said he was the wisest man alive.

The queen smiled as she recalled the tale of the two prostitutes. Both had claimed to be mother to the same infant. How could the king possibly know who was telling the truth and who a lie? But Solomon merely ordered the baby cut in half, to be divided equally between the two women. He knew the real mother would relinquish her rights rather than let her child perish. Indeed, the king's cleverness had quickly revealed the truth, reuniting the heartbroken mother and her child.

The queen had also heard of the fabulous temple and palace Solomon had built in Jerusalem. Such a ruler, she realized, would have little trouble controlling the international trade routes crisscrossing his kingdom.

Though Jerusalem lay fifteen hundred miles to the north, the queen was determined to see for herself whether Solomon measured up to even half the tales told of him. Hoping to establish a trade agreement with Israel, she assembled a caravan of camels and loaded them with precious spices, gems, and four and a half tons of gold. Her entrance into Jerusalem would have created an unforgettable spectacle, adding to Solomon's growing fame.

Day after day, the queen pounded Solomon with hard questions. But nothing was too difficult for the king to explain. Overawed, the queen exclaimed: "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness."

Then the queen gave Solomon all the gold and spices she had brought with her, perhaps foreshadowing the Magi's gift of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child nearly a thousand years later. In fact, Jesus himself referred to the Queen of Sheba when he replied to the Pharisees who had demanded from him a miraculous sign: "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here" (Matthew 12:42).

Though ruler of a pagan nation, the Queen of Sheba was so drawn to the wisdom of God that she made an arduous and dangerous journey, traveling three thousand miles round-trip in order to meet the world's wisest man.

Her Promise

The Queen of Sheba was a wealthy and influential ruler whose nation dominated commercial trading in the Middle East at that time. She must have had a certain measure of wisdom, or at least intelligence, to rule such a country. Still, she had questions, many of them, and she sought out the region's famed King Solomon, depending on his wisdom for answers. Solomon didn't disappoint her; she went away satisfied.

Do you have any questions that need answers? Questions about yourself? About things that have happened in your life? About the will of God? About God's love for you? If you do, go to the source of all wisdom, God himself, for answers. When you diligently seek him, he doesn't always give clear answers, but he will give peace. And you will go away satisfied. He promises.

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 - June 19, 2017

The Power of the Tongue

Today’s Truth

LORD, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say.
~ Psalm 141:3 (NCV)

Friend to Friend

Our son and daughter-in-law and their four children recently moved to Kansas City and are living with us until they find a house. The conversation around the dinner table each night is always quite animated as Lelia and Jaydan, the nine-year-old twins, give a play-by-play account of their day at school.

During the middle of dinner last night, a rare moment of silence occurred. It did not last long. Lelia looked at me and said, “Mimi, do you know what the strongest muscle in the human body is?” I stopped to think about the question before offering several answers that Lelia quickly dismissed as wrong. “I give up!” I said. With her blue eyes twinkling and a big grin on her face, Lelia said, “It’s the tongue!”

Okay. I had to do a little research. The correct answer to Lelia’s question all depends on how you define strength. And the tongue is not really one muscle, but a conglomeration of eight different muscles.

When it comes to versatility, the tongue is indeed powerful. Its combination of elasticity and forcefulness gives us the ability to speak, eat, sip, swallow … the list is quite impressive.

According to Scripture, the tongue may very well be the strongest muscle in the body. In fact, God has a lot to say about the power of the tongue and the words we speak. Words are power tools that, in the right hands and used correctly, can build and encourage. In the wrong hands and used incorrectly, words can destroy and defeat.

  1. Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can impart false perspectives and untruths. But the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion, light on a very dark path, and wisdom for questions that seem to have no answers.
  2. I believe God gives us spiritual radar so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. In fact, Paul writes, “Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone” (Colossians 4:6). We just need to check the radar screen before we speak.
Solomon also offers great wisdom concerning the use of words, “Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3, GWT). In other words, if we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us.

Proverbs 34:13 offers a very clear directive to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” The word “keep” indicates an action on our part. We decide. We choose the words we speak. That means we must guard our hearts and our minds.

We choose what is allowed to take up room in our mind. It is literally the idea of a guard standing at the gate of the city, stationed there to keep watch. He is there by invitation only. If we want to live right and speak right – we must think right.

Godly responses come from the heart. If there is something wrong with our words, then there is something wrong with our heart. The truth of Proverbs 16:23 is profound in its simplicity, “A wise man's heart guides his mouth.”

A judge utters a few words and a guilty man is taken to death row.

A friend speaks a word of encouragement and a desperate heart finds hope.

A mother lashes out with angry words and the light in her child’s eyes is gone.

A wife offers a word of forgiveness and a marriage is restored.

A gossip makes a phone call and a reputation is destroyed.

A teenager says “no” and changes the course of her life.

Yes, the tongue is strong and powerful as are the words we speak. Let’s choose today to speak words of life.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to please You and encourage others with the words I speak. Clean my heart, God. Transform my mind, and fill my mouth with words that honor and please You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Examine the words you have spoken today in light of the following verse:

Psalm 20:14 ”May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

How did you do? I encourage you to memorize this verse and ask God to let it take root in your heart and work its way out in the words you speak.

More from the Girlfriends

Learning to control our tongue and carefully choose the words we speak is a powerful spiritual discipline. Explore more steps you can take to become a powerful woman of God in Mary’s message, Divine Surprises: 7 Habits of a Successful Woman.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. Connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725, Matthews, NC 28106

Daily Devotion June 19, 2017 "Look Back So You Can Move Ahead with Confidence!"

I just finished watching this documentary about a star football player...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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


"Look Back So You Can Move Ahead with Confidence"

June 19, 2017

Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'"
~ Exodus 19:3-6 (ESV)

I just finished watching this documentary about a star football player who came from a very tough community in America, who kept saying the key to being able to deal with success and failure is "Don't ever forget where you come from." He meant in spite of all the circumstances, troubles, and fleeting glories of life, don't ever forget the love of family, the realness of community, and the truth that when all is said and done how you treat one another is the indicator of what kind of person you are. There's much truth in that.

Don't ever forget where you come from. His words got me thinking. In fact, it reminded me of the joy I used to have when I went to my grandparents' house and starting looking through the photo albums, or the joy of Friday nights at their place looking at slides of relatives and events that were precious to us all. Those pictures, those memories, brought back to me the reality of the faith my family had in Jesus Christ, the love my family showed to one another, and the real challenges my family had in life like everybody else. Of course, there were the joyful times of victory we all shared, too. The point: don't ever forget where you come from, especially when you are remembering what matters: the love, the sacrifice, the honor, and the perseverance that so many did so that you could be the person you are today.

That's a glimpse of what Moses is trying to not only say to the people of Israel in our text, but to all of us who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the One who sent His son Jesus to be our Messiah, our Savior. Moses is telling the people of God to look back, and to not just see the love of their family, or the joy of their culture, or the persevering spirit of their leaders. As wonderful as that might be, it's nothing compared to looking back on the loving actions of God who redeemed, restored, and still resources His believers with eternal life and salvation, joy and peace.

When you look back to God's actions for you, it actually empowers you to live hopefully today and tomorrow -- no matter what any future circumstances might bring. So the next time you get a smile looking back at the picture that brings back a wonderful memory of love, or sacrifice -- things that blessed your life then and today -- look deeper. Look to the Bible where the picture is painted for you of God who rescues His people from bondage, who leads them into freedom, and who promises to bring them life and salvation in His Name. You can see that most clearly in the event of the cross and resurrection of Jesus -- a picture Moses never got to see but must have known was coming, for sure. Why? Because He never forgot where he came from. He was a believer in the God who always keeps His promises, and that good news made all the difference in how one can live, now and forever. Look back, so you can boldly move forward because you have a Savior who has already secured the future for you by His grace.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, there are times when the future seems so daunting. Give me the faith to look back and see what You have done so that I can move forward in that gracious love to face whatever comes before me, because You are trustworthy in all things. In Your holy Name we pray. Amen

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

CPTLN Devocional de 19 de Junio de 2017

Alimento Diario


19 de Junio 2017

El Señor observa desde los cielos; desde allí vigila a toda la humanidad. Desde el lugar de su residencia contempla a todos los habitantes de la tierra.

¡Qué mejor que una historia acerca de padres por el día del Padre que celebramos ayer!

Un bombero de la ciudad de Saint Louis me contó una historia. Ya la había oído antes, pero eso no quiere decir que el bombero no me dijera la verdad. Me contó que en una ocasión había ido a asistir en un incendio que estaba destruyendo una casa que tenia dos pisos.

Todo el mundo había salido de la casa, cuando el niño menor recordó que había olvidado algo. Sin que nadie le viera, logró regresar a su dormitorio en el segundo piso. Pero cuando quiso salir nuevamente, ya no pudo.

Cuando el padre vio a su hijo en la ventana del dormitorio, gritó: "¡Salta, hijo! Yo te atraparé". El niño llorando gritó: "Papito, no te puedo ver". "Lo sé", respondió el papá "pero yo sí puedo verte".

¿Recuerda lo importante que era tener cerca a nuestros padres cuando éramos pequeños? A veces una sonrisa o un abrazo era todo lo que necesitábamos para estar bien.

Aun cuando ya soy mayor, para mí todavía sigue siendo así. Es cierto que mi padre terrenal ha terminado su carrera y ya no está conmigo, pero sé que mi Padre celestial aún vela por mí.

Aunque ya no soy un niño, hay ocasiones en las que me siento muy pequeño e indefenso. Allí es cuando su sonrisa y su mano divina en mi hombro me ayudan a estar bien. ¡Por fe en el Salvador crucificado y resucitado, sé que no estoy solo!

A pesar de que no puedo ver a mi Padre celestial, me basta con saber que Él me ve a mí y está pronto para atraparme.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, te agradezco y te alabo porque nunca estoy solo. Aun en los tiempos más oscuros sé que Tú estás a mi lado. Gracias por verme a través de tus ojos de amor. Haz que pueda vivir una vida de gratitud hacia ti. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

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

Our Daily Bread - Driven by God

May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him. 1 Kings 8:58

A few months ago I received an email inviting me to join a community of “driven people.” I decided to look up the word driven, and I learned that a driven person is someone highly motivated to succeed and who will work hard to achieve his goals.

Is it good to be a driven person? There is a test that never fails: “Do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Many times we do things for self-glory. After the flood in Noah’s day, a group of people decided to build a tower in order to “make a name” for themselves (Gen. 11:4). They wanted to be famous and avoid being scattered all over the world. Because they were not doing it for God's glory, though, they were erroneously driven.

In contrast, when King Solomon dedicated the ark of the covenant and the newly constructed temple, he said, “I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:20). Then he prayed, “May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands” (v. 58).

When our greatest desire is to bring glory to God and walk in obedience, we become driven people who seek to love and serve Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Let our prayer echo Solomon’s. May our “hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands” (v. 61).

Father, give me the desire to obey You and do everything for Your glory.

For help in your spiritual growth, read God at the Center at

Do everything for the glory of God.

Ministérios Pão Diário - Tédio Não — Liberdade
A Bíblia em um ano: Neemias 12–13, Atos 4:23-37

Tomai sobre vós o meu jugo e aprendei de mim… Mateus 11:29

Durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, um companheiro meu me disse: “Você parece estar contente, mas se eu tivesse que viver como você vive, em breve morreria.” Ele estava querendo dizer que minha vida tinha tanta moralidade que devia ser um tédio. Mas eu jamais havia pensado dessa maneira. Na verdade, muitas vezes me sentira culpado por causa de tantas falhas.

Cresci num lar cristão onde me ensinaram que eu era um pecador e tinha necessidade da salvação. Mas também aprendi que Deus — na pessoa de Jesus Cristo — pagou o preço pelos meus pecados.

Então, por meio do ministério do Espírito Santo, reconheci a verdade desse ensinamento. E quando ainda era criança, confiei em Jesus e entreguei-lhe a minha vida. Desde aquele dia, procurei viver e obedecer ao mandamento de amar a Deus e ao meu próximo (Mateus 22:37-40). Minha obediência a Deus foi uma resposta natural de alguém que realmente creu em Seu Filho.

Na carta de 2 João, a palavra mandamento é usada quatro vezes para lembrar-nos de que devemos andar no caminho da verdade e amar uns aos outros (vv.4-6). Os cristãos que o fazem encontrarão alegria e liberdade, e não tédio e escravidão, como pensam erroneamente algumas pessoas.

Gosto muito das palavras de Jesus no evangelho de Mateus 11:30: “Porque o meu jugo é suave, e o meu fardo é leve.”

A alegria é o resultado de caminhar com Deus.

© 2017 Ministérios Pão Diário

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Được Chúa Thúc Giục
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Nê-hê-mi 12-13; Công vụ 4:23-37

Cầu xin Ngài giục lòng chúng ta hướng về Ngài, để chúng ta đi trong tất cả đường lối Ngài. I Các vua 8:58

Vài tháng trước, tôi nhận được một email mời tham gia một cộng đồng “những người được thúc đẩy”. Tôi quyết định tra từ được thúc đẩy và biết một người được thúc đẩy là người có động cơ rõ rệt để thành công và sẽ làm việc chăm chỉ để đạt các mục tiêu của mình.

Là người được thúc đẩy có tốt không? Một cách thử nghiệm luôn đúng là: “Hãy làm tất cả vì vinh quang của Đức Chúa Trời” (I Cô. 10:31). Nhiều lần chúng ta làm vì vinh hiển của bản thân. Sau cơn nước lụt thời Nô-ê, một nhóm người quyết định xây một cái tháp để “được nổi danh” (Sáng. 11:4). Họ muốn nổi tiếng và tránh bị tản lạc khắp thế giới. Họ đã không làm điều đó vì vinh quang của Chúa, nên họ đã bị thúc đẩy sai.

Ngược lại, khi vua Sa-lô-môn dâng hòm giao ước và đền thờ mới xây, ông nói: “Trẫm đã xây cất đền thờ nầy cho danh Giê-hô-va” (I Vua. 8:20). Sau đó ông cầu nguyện: “Cầu xin Ngài giục lòng chúng chúng ta hướng về Ngài, để chúng chúng ta đi trong tất cả đường lối Ngài, tuân giữ những điều răn” (c. 58).

Khi ao ước lớn nhất của chúng ta là đem lại vinh hiển cho Chúa và bước đi trong sự vâng phục Ngài thì chúng ta trở thành người được thúc đẩy để yêu mến và hầu việc Chúa Jêsus trong quyền năng của Thánh Linh. Hãy đồng thanh với lời cầu nguyện của Sa-lô-môn. Nguyện chúng ta “hết lòng trung thành với Giê-hô-va là Đức Chúa Trời chúng ta, bước đi trong luật pháp, và tuân giữ điều răn của Ngài” (c. 61).

Lạy Cha, xin giúp con khao khát vâng lời Ngài và làm mọi điều vì vinh quang của Ngài.

Hãy làm tất cả vì vinh quang của Đức Chúa Trời.

Nuestro Pan Diario - Motivados por Dios
La Biblia en un año: Nehemías 12–13; Hechos 4:23-37

Incline nuestro corazón hacia él, para que andemos en todos sus caminos… (v. 58).

Hace unos meses, recibí un email donde me invitaban a unirme a una comunidad de «personas motivadas». Busqué la palabra «motivado», y descubrí que se refiere a alguien determinado a triunfar.

¿Es bueno ser una persona motivada? Hay una prueba que nunca falla: «hacedlo todo para la gloria de Dios» (1 Corintios 10:31). Muchas veces, obramos para alcanzar gloria personal. Después del diluvio de la época de Noé, unas personas decidieron construir una torre para hacerse famosas y evitar ser esparcidas por el mundo (Génesis 11:4). Su motivación era incorrecta, porque no estaban obrando para glorificar a Dios.

En cambio, cuando el rey Salomón dedicó el arca del pacto y el templo recién edificado, declaró: «he edificado la casa al nombre del Señor» (1 Reyes 8:20). Después, oró: «Incline nuestro corazón hacia él, para que andemos en todos sus caminos, y guardemos sus mandamientos» (v. 58).

Cuando nuestro mayor deseo es glorificar a Dios y caminar en obediencia, nos transformamos en personas motivadas que buscan amar y servir a Jesús en el poder del Espíritu. Que nuestra oración haga eco de la de Salomón. Que sea «perfecto [nuestro] corazón para con el Señor nuestro Dios, andando en sus estatutos y guardando sus mandamientos» (v. 61).

Padre, dame el deseo de obedecerte y de hacer todo para tu gloria.

Que todo lo que hagas sea para glorificar a Dios.

Unser Täglich Brot - Von Gott getrieben

Er neige unser Herz zu ihm, dass wir wandeln in allen seinen Wegen. 1.Könige 8,58

Vor ein paar Monaten erhielt ich eine E-Mail, die mich einlud, einem Netzwerk für „getriebene Menschen“ beizutreten. Ich wollte wissen, was mit „getrieben“ genau gemeint war, und erfuhr, dass ein getriebener ein hoch motivierter Mensch ist, der nach Erfolg strebt und hart arbeitet, um seine Ziele zu erreichen.

Ist es gut, ein Getriebener zu sein? Das lässt sich leicht testen, wenn man sich fragt: „Tue ich das zur Ehre Gottes?“ (1.Kor. 10,31). Vieles tun wir zu unserer eigenen Ehre. Nach der Sintflut beschloss eine Gruppe von Menschen, einen Turm zu bauen, „damit wir uns einen Namen machen“ (1.Mose 11,4). Sie wollten berühmt und nicht in alle Länder zerstreut werden. Aber sie bauten nicht zur Ehre Gottes, sondern wurden von falschen Motiven getrieben.

Das war bei König Salomo anders. Als er den neu gebauten Tempel einweihte, sagte er: „Ich . . . habe gebaut ein Haus dem Namen des Herrn“ (1.Kön. 8,20). Dann betete er: „Er neige unser Herz zu ihm, dass wir wandeln in allen seinen Wegen und halten seine Gebote“ (V.58).

Wenn es unser größter Wunsch ist, Gott Ehre zu machen und ihm zu gehorchen, dann werden wir getriebene Menschen, die Jesus in der Kraft des Geistes lieben und dienen wollen. Mit Salomo wollen wir beten, dass unser „Herz sei ungeteilt bei dem Herrn, unserm Gott, dass [wir wandeln] in seinen Satzungen und [halten] seine Gebote“ (V.61).

Vater, schenk mir den Wunsch, dir zu gehorchen und alles zu deiner Ehre zu tun.

Tu alles zu Gottes Ehre.

Notre Pain Quotidien - Sous la direction de Dieu
Lisez : 1 Rois 8.54‑63
La Bible en un an : NÉHÉMIE 12 – 13 et ACTES 4.23‑37

[Mais] qu'il incline nos coeurs vers lui, afin que nous marchions dans toutes ses voies. V.58

Il y a quelques mois, j’ai reçu un courriel m’invitant à me joindre à une communauté de « gens déterminés ». J’ai alors décidé de vérifier la signification du mot « déterminé ». J’ai ainsi appris que la personne déterminée est très motivée à réussir et résolue à travailler dur pour atteindre ses objectifs.

Est‑ce bien d’être déterminé ? Voici un test infaillible pour le découvrir : « [Faites] tout pour la gloire de Dieu » (1 CO 10.31). Nous faisons souvent les choses dans le but de nous glorifier nous‑mêmes. Après le déluge, à l’époque de Noé, un groupe de personnes a décidé de bâtir une tour pour se faire un nom (GE 11.4). Ces gens aspiraient à la célébrité et désiraient éviter d’être dispersés dans le monde entier. Comme ils n’agissaient pas pour la gloire de Dieu, leur détermination les a induits en erreur.

Par contraste, quand Salomon a dédié l’arche de l’alliance et le Temple, il a dit : « [J’ai] bâti la maison au nom de l’Éternel » (1 R 8.20). Puis il a prié ainsi : « [Qu’il] incline nos coeurs vers lui, afin que nous marchions dans toutes ses voies, et que nous observions ses commandements » (V. 58).

Si notre plus grand désir consiste à glorifier Dieu et à marcher dans l’obéissance, nous en venons à chercher à aimer et à servir Jésus selon la puissance de l’Esprit. Puisse notre prière faire écho à celle de Salomon. « Que [notre] coeur soit tout à l’Éternel […] pour suivre ses lois et pour observer ses commandements » (V. 61).

Faites tout pour la gloire de Dieu.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Цілеспрямованість
Читати: 1 Царів 8:54-63
Біблія за рік: Неемії 12–13 ; Дії 4:23-37

Щоб прихиляти наше серце до Себе, щоб ми ходили всіма Його дорогами. — 1 Царів 8:58

Кілька місяців тому я отримав листа з запрошенням приєднатися до товариства “цілеспрямованих людей”. Я подивився у довідниках значення слова “цілеспрямований” і з’ясував, що це ті, хто максимально мотивовані і готові важко працювати для досягнення своїх цілей. Чи це добре бути такою мотивованою людиною? Є просте тестове питання: “Чи робиться це все для Божої слави?” (1 Кор. 10:31). Занадто часто ми робимо різні речі для власної слави. Після потопу в дні Ноя велика кількість людей вирішила побудувати башту, щоб “вчинити для себе ймення” (Бут. 11:4). Вони бажали досягти слави для себе й не бажали розпорошуватись по всій землі. Їхнє цілеспрямування було грішним.

На відміну від них, цар Соломон, коли звершував посвячення збудованого храму, сказав: “Я збудував оцей храм для Ймення Господа” (1 Цар. 8:20). А потім у молитві просив, щоб Бог “прихилив наше серце до Себе, щоб ми ходили всіма Його дорогами” (1 Цар. 8:58).

Прагнучи приносити славу Богу і ходити в послусі перед Ним, ми стаємо людьми, що максимально мотивовані любити Ісуса і служити Йому в силі Святого Духа. Подібно Соломону, давайте будемо молитись, щоб серце наше було “з Господом, Богом нашим, щоб ходити постановами його та щоб перестерігати заповіді Його” (1 Цар. 8:61).

Отче, дай мені бажання виявляти Тобі послух і все робити для Твоєї слави.

Які звички корисні для духовного зростання? Читайте брошуру Луїса Палау “В центрі Бог”.

Усе на Божу славу робіть!

Хлеб наш насущный - Целеустремленность
Читать сейчас: 3 Царств 8:54-63
Библия за год: Неемия 12-13; Деяния 4:23-37

Да будет с нами Господь... склоняя к Себе сердце наше, чтобы мы ходили по всем путям Его... — 3 Царств 8:57-58

Несколько месяцев назад я получила письмо, в котором меня приглашали присоединиться к обществу «целеустремленных людей». Я поинтересовалась, что значит слово «целеустремленный». Оно описывает человека, глубоко заинтересованного в достижении цели и ради этого готового на тяжелый труд и решительные действия.

Хорошо ли быть целеустремленным человеком? Да, если цель соответствует главному мотиву: «Все делайте во славу Божию» (1 Кор. 10:31). К сожалению, мы многое делаем для своей славы. После всемирного потопа люди решили построить башню, чтобы «сделать себе имя» (Быт. 11:4). Они хотели прославиться в грядущих веках и создать единый центр человечества. Но закончили плохо, потому что делали это не для Божьей славы, хотя и были очень целеустремленными.

В противоположность этому царь Соломон, освящая построенный храм, сказал: «Я… построил храм имени Господа, Бога Израилева» (3 Цар. 8:20). А затем помолился: «Да будет с нами Господь… склоняя к Себе сердце наше, чтобы мы ходили по всем путям Его и соблюдали заповеди Его и уставы Его» (3 Цар. 8:57-58).

Если наше главное желание – умножить Божью славу и жить в послушании Ему, то мы станем целеустремленными людьми, любящими Иисуса Христа и служащими Ему в силе Святого Духа. Пусть наша молитва повторит вознесенную Соломоном. И пусть наше сердце будет «вполне предано Господу, Богу нашему, чтобы ходить по уставам Его и соблюдать заповеди Его» (3 Цар. 8:61).

Отче, дай мне желание повиноваться Тебе и все делать для Твоей славы.

Какие привычки полезны для духовного роста? Читайте брошюру Луиса Палау «Бог в центре».

Все делайте для славы Божьей.

автор: Кейла Очоа