Monday, July 3, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, July 3, 2017

Acts 7:54-60 The Stoning of Stephen

Opening Sentence

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

Morning Prayer
Lord help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that You and I together can't handle. Amen

Confession and Forgiveness
Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is nothing good in us. O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to Your promises declared unto men in Christ Jesus our Lord. Grant that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to the glory of His name. Amen

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from 1 Samuel 10:17-27
Samuel summoned the people to the LORD at Mizpah and said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.' But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses; and you have said, 'No! but set a king over us.' Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans." Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of the Matrites was taken by lot. Finally he brought the family of the Matrites near man by man, and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. So they inquired again of the LORD, "Did the man come here?" and the LORD said, "See, he has hidden himself among the baggage." Then they ran and brought him from there. When he took his stand among the people, he was head and shoulders taller than any of them. Samuel said to all the people, "Do you see the one whom the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people." And all the people shouted, "Long live the king!" Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship; and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the LORD. Then Samuel sent all the people back to their homes. Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went warriors whose hearts God had touched. But some worthless fellows said, "How can this man save us?" They despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace. Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from in Acts 7:44-8:1
"Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. Our ancestors in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors. And it was there until the time of David, who found favor with God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says, 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?' "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it." When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died. And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 22:52-62
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!" Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, "This man also was with him." But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know him." A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, "You also are one of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, "Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean." But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about!" At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 106:1-18 Confitemini Domino
1   Hallelujah! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.
2   Who can declare the mighty acts of the LORD or show forth all his praise?
3   Happy are those who act with justice and always do what is right!
4   Remember me, O LORD, with the favor you have for your people, and visit me with your saving help;
5   That I may see the prosperity of your elect and be glad with the gladness of your people, that I may glory with your inheritance.
6   We have sinned as our forebears did; we have done wrong and dealt wickedly.
7   In Egypt they did not consider your marvelous works, nor remember the abundance of your love; they defied the Most High at the Red Sea.
8   But he saved them for his Name's sake, to make his power known.
9   He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up, and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
10   He saved them from the hand of those who hated them and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11   The waters covered their oppressors; not one of them was left.
12   Then they believed his words and sang him songs of praise.
13   But they soon forgot his deeds and did not wait for his counsel.
14   A craving seized them in the wilderness, and they put God to the test in the desert.
15   He gave them what they asked, but sent leanness into their soul.
16   They envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron, the holy one of the LORD.
17   The earth opened and swallowed Dathan and covered the company of Abiram.
18   Fire blazed up against their company, and flames devoured the wicked.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 106:19-48 Et fecerunt vitulum
19   Israel made a bull-calf at Horeb and worshiped a molten image;
20   And so they exchanged their Glory for the image of an ox that feeds on grass.
21   They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
22   Wonderful deeds in the land of Ham, and fearful things at the Red Sea.
23   So he would have destroyed them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath from consuming them.
24   They refused the pleasant land and would not believe his promise.
25   They grumbled in their tents and would not listen to the voice of the LORD.
26   So he lifted his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness,
27   To cast out their seed among the nations, and to scatter them throughout the lands.
28   They joined themselves to Baal-Peor and ate sacrifices offered to the dead.
29   They provoked him to anger with their actions, and a plague broke out among them.
30   Then Phinehas stood up and interceded, and the plague came to an end.
31   This was reckoned to him as righteousness throughout all generations for ever.
32   Again they provoked his anger at the waters of Meribah, so that he punished Moses because of them;
33   For they so embittered his spirit that he spoke rash words with his lips.
34   They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them.
35   They intermingled with the heathen and learned their pagan ways,
36   So that they worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.
37   They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to evil spirits.
38   They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, which they offered to the idols of Canaan, and the land was defiled with blood.
39   Thus they were polluted by their actions and went whoring in their evil deeds.
40   Therefore the wrath of the LORD was kindled against his people and he abhorred his inheritance.
41   He gave them over to the hand of the heathen, and those who hated them ruled over them.
42   Their enemies oppressed them, and they were humbled under their hand.
43   Many a time did he deliver them, but they rebelled through their own devices, and were brought down in their iniquity.
44   Nevertheless, he saw their distress, when he heard their lamentation.
45   He remembered his covenant with them and relented in accordance with his great mercy.
46   He caused them to be pitied by those who held them captive.
47   Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy Name and glory in your praise.
48   Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting; and let all the people say, "Amen!" Hallelujah!

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, I thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done. Amen
~ Bishop Charles Lewis Slattery, 1903

Thanks for God’s Word
I  thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things which were hidden from the wise and prudent, and which many prophets and kings desired to see and could not, are revealed unto us babes in your written Word. I thank you that I have the Scriptures to search, and that they testify of Christ, for in them I can find eternal life.

I thank you, Father, for the preservation of your teachings through time, and despite the constant efforts of men to destroy it or change it, that through them I might find patience, and hope, and truth, and life. And having learned so much, I thank you that I can hear with my ears your wonderful works, the testimony of the earth and the spirit, like a light shining in darkness. In Christ’s name, I pray and render you thanks. 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

Fireproof - You Belong To Me

You run, you hide,
As tears fall from your eyes.
They fall like snow
From a wounded soul.
You hold inside,
The hurt of great divide.
The hole is starting to get old.

So come back to the light,
To the love, you will find,
It’s been here all along.
So come back to the start
And you’ll find in your heart
That you always belonged
To me.

Just take the rope,
I won’t let it go.
Give in;
We can start again.
I’m life, I’m hope,
And I’m ready to explode.
With how bad I want you back home.

You’re my daughter, you’re my son,
You’re the one I long to love,
And you’ve heard I chose to die;
Do you know you’re the reason why?

Music and Lyrics by Jason Ingram and Matthew Minor.

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

If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. 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 SATURDAY, July 1, 2017

Almighty God, I thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done.
~ Bishop Charles Lewis Slattery, 1903

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, July 3, 2017

Proverbs 14:34 (NIV) Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

Read all of Proverbs 14

Listen to Proverbs 14

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

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - A False Message Gives False Hope

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth.
~ Ephesians 4:25 (NLT)

I have a friend who is a doctor. Sometimes he has to tell people they have cancer, and it’s very difficult news to deliver. But there are also times when my friend can give them hope for a course of treatment. He tells his patients the truth, and he also tells them the solution.

In the same way, we don’t like to talk to people about Hell. We tell them Jesus loves them and has a plan for their lives. We tell them He will forgive their sins and will give them joy and peace.

But if they say, “I don’t really want to believe in Jesus. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty happy with my life. What happens to me when I die?” we don’t want to say the H-word. We don’t want to tell them about Hell. In reality, that is failing to give them the gospel truth.

Jeremiah 6:14 says this of false prophets who wouldn’t tell the people the truth: “They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.”

It would be like going to the hospital with a severe injury, and they give you a couple of aspirin and say, “You can go home. You’re good!” That’s crazy. You need help.

To promise Heaven and not warn of Hell, to offer forgiveness without repentance, to preach the gospel without the cross is a false message giving false hope.

If you really love people, you will tell them the truth about eternity. You won’t hold back. You will lovingly engage them with the gospel but also warn them of the consequences of what can happen if they don’t believe.

May God give us a burden like we’ve never had before for people who need Christ.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, NLT® copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved. 
 To promise Heaven and not warn of Hell is a false message giving false hope.

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por servicio a los demás

Hagan lo que hagan, trabajen de buena gana, como para el Señor y no como para nadie en este mundo.

Amante Dios, hoy queremos comenzar este nuevo día entregando nuestra vida en tus manos con el único deseo de ser útiles para ti.

Si me falta amor por los demás, te pido, Dios mío, que me des esa porción para poder servir al necesitado y verlos con ojos de amor como lo ves tú.

Quiero ser obediente a tu Palabra y ser de bendición para otros.

Purifica mi corazón y úsame, Señor.

Ayúdame a no pensar solo en mis necesidades, sino en las de los demás.

Quita de mí todo pensamiento contrario a tu voluntad y hazme sensible a la necesidad de las personas que me rodean.

Amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - PRAYER CHANGES THINGS

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
~ Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Ages ago the prophet Jonah saw it happen. The population of the city of Nineveh (in the north of present day Iraq) repented from sin. A radical change came because he preached and God’s Spirit worked. Almost on the same spot in the city of Mosul (modern Nineveh), the climate has changed too.

After 2003, Mosul became a city with increasing violence. Car bombs, attacks and all kind of violence are normal in this old city. Civilians of whatever religion and police and soldiers have been targeted. In the beginning of 2010, there was a significant increase in violent attacks on Christians. In the month of February that year, eight were killed in just ten days. This all caused an exodus of Christians.

“Thousands of Christians have left our city…and that hurts,” shares twenty-one-year-old Dawud. “I saw a lot of my friends leaving too,” the young Iraqi adds. His family has been Christian for generations, as is the case with many Iraqi Christians.

Open Doors worker, Daniel, says that as far as he knows the number of Christians dramatically dropped in the second biggest city of the country. Before the fall of Saddam Hussein, the number in Mosul was estimated at two hundred thousand of the one and a half million inhabitants. “We believe the number is now far less than one hundred thousand, many of them not living in the city itself but in Christian villages around.”

“We started some years ago to pray for our city,” Dawud continues. “It started small with just our family, but soon there were more believers coming to the prayer meetings. Now we pray weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays from five till seven in the afternoon. Some fifty Christians in our city regularly participate,” he says. “Because of our prayer, the city started to change. The situation is different now. What I see now is that my generation doesn’t want to leave, we want to stay. This is God’s place for me. I’ll stay; I will never leave. And if I will be killed, I will be killed.”

“But,” he goes on, “the situation is much better now. We can go out as youth again, even in the evenings. We can go to our meetings without being afraid, we don’t feel insecure anymore.” His father, pastor of one of the churches in Mosul, confirms that the climate in the city improved after they started praying as a church. With a smile on his face he adds, “We even saw Muslims becoming followers of Jesus.”

RESPONSE: Today I will rejoice in the ability I have to take every issue I face to the Lord and trust Him for the answer.

PRAYER: Remember brothers and sisters who live in violent societies. Pray that fear will not drive them to leave.

Women of the Bible - The Widow of Zarephath

Her character: A Phoenician woman, she showed extraordinary hospitality to one of God's prophets, providing a safe harbor for him during a period of famine.
Her sorrow: To suffer extreme poverty, famine, and the loss of husband and son.
Her joy: To experience repeated miracles of God's provision.
Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 17:8-24; Luke 4:25-26

Her Story

Her arms were spindly and rough, like the dry twigs she had gathered for kindling. Her body shook as she stood over the fire, greedily sipping and sucking the steam from the pan, as though the smell of frying bread could fill her belly and soothe her fears. She had lived her life a stone's throw from the Mediterranean, at Zarephath, seven miles south of Sidon, in a territory ruled by Jezebel's father. She had always loved the sea, but now its watery abundance seemed only to mock her, reminding her of all she lacked.

Tears escaped her eyes, try as she might to blink them back. How hard it was to suffer her fears alone, to wake in the night with no one to warm her, no one to whisper sweet lies about tomorrow. If only her husband were alive to squeeze a harvest from the fields. But he had died before the drought, leaving her with a small son, a house, and little else. Every night she hoped for rain, but every morning she woke to a brilliant sky.

Though she starved herself to feed her child, his distended belly accused her. His need condemned her. She had failed in the most basic ways a mother could, unable to protect, nurture, and provide. These days she stood with shoulders hunched as though to hide her breasts. Today she had scraped the last bit of flour from the barrel and poured the last drop of oil from the jug. She began to prepare for a final supper for herself and her child.

But then a stranger had called to her: "Woman, would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"

Graciously, she had gone to fetch it, only to have him call after her, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."

Is the man mad? she wondered. He might as well ask me to snap my fingers and produce a cow to feast on.

She turned on her heel and replied, "As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die."

But the man had persisted. "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.' "

Instead of cursing the stranger for his callousness, as we might expect, the woman did exactly as he had requested, feeding him the food she had reserved for herself and her son.

The woman from Zarephath wasn't a Jew, but a Phoenician. She had no idea that the stranger was Elijah, a prophet who had the gall to inform King Ahab that God was withholding rain to punish Israel's idolatry. She would have been astonished to learn that this same God had instructed Elijah to "go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."

The widow of Zarephath had felt utterly alone, not knowing God had his eye on her. Yet for some reason she believed Elijah and acted accordingly, giving him everything she had.

After that, every time she dipped her hand into the flour, every time she poured oil from the jug, the widow saw another miracle unfold, another sign of favor, additional evidence of God's provision. Just as Elijah had promised, the supply of flour and oil lasted day after day, month after month, never failing until at last the rains came and revived the land.

How like God to construct a parable of grace during a time of judgment, to display his mercy and power in the midst of weakness and need. The widow's faith saved not only her son and herself but actually provided a refuge for Elijah, who may have wondered why God chose such flimsy protection—a destitute woman who lived in the territory of his worst enemy, Jezebel.

Later, the widow's faith would again be tested when her young son died. But she would also be the first woman to witness God's power to raise the dead, which he did in response to Elijah's repeated prayers on behalf of her child. As a woman who endured extreme difficulties, her story reveals God's power to provide what we need the most—a commodity of the heart called faith.

Her Promise

God doesn't ignore the needs of those who cannot help themselves. He doesn't urge them to pick themselves up and get going when they have no resources to do so. He doesn't pat them on the back and say he's sorry life is so tough. Instead, he sometimes intervenes by miraculous understatement, in this case by making sure that a little bit of oil and flour—just enough for a small loaf—didn't run out.

An unexpected check comes just when you need it. Another mother gives you her kids' outgrown clothing so you can clothe your own children. God uses something or someone to change your husband's heart just when you thought he didn't love you anymore. Our God is still a miraculous provider, granting what we need sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

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 - July 03, 2017

Tell Me Another Story

Today’s Truth

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
~ Psalm 119:16 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

When my son Ethan was in kindergarten, I remember how much he loved reading his Bible. He would come into my room in the morning asking, “Mommy, can you read me a story from the Bible?” His Bible was written like a children’s storybook with colorful illustrations and animated characters. Whether the story was “David and Goliath” or “Jesus Feeds Thousands,” his attention was fixed sharply on each page. After one story ended, he asked for another - then another.

I sometimes wish I had this same kind of hunger and enthusiasm when I approach my Bible. I’d like to read it with fresh eyes. Instead of knowing how things turn out, what if I read a story about Jesus and wondered, “What is going to happen? Is Jesus really going to walk on water? How did He do that?”

If we’re not careful, Bible study can become a chore, something to check off a “to-do” list and nothing more. Anyone can become numb to the miraculous stories and truths found in God’s Word. After sharing a parable, Jesus says to his closest followers, “Are you so dull?” (Mark 7:18). Even the disciples who walked with Jesus experienced times of spiritual dullness.

Reading the Bible is a fundamental component to living your best life, yet it’s easy to forget the joy – the life – that’s found in studying God’s Word. So how do put the fun back into the fundamentals of Bible study?

Pray First. Before you begin reading, take a moment to pray. Ask God to help you comprehend and apply what you read, that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).

Personalize It. When you read an Old Testament story, put yourself in the picture. What if you were thrown inside the lion’s den instead of Daniel? How would you feel when the morning came and you were still alive? You can also insert your name into a passage like, “[Sheila] be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Put it into practice. If you love to play basketball, it’s enjoyable to watch a game on television but not nearly as fun as suiting up and playing yourself. Likewise, you can sit on the sidelines, observing the truths found in the Bible. But until you put what you read into practice, you’re not fully realizing the positive power of God’s Word in your life. Take a passage of Scripture and ask God how to apply it to your life.

In the same way my kindergartener used to say, “Tell me another story,” you can approach the Bible with curiosity. We are to delight in God’s decrees, so put a smile on your face. Keep turning the pages. There are more wondrous stories, both old and new, waiting for you inside.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, how I love the Bible. May I always approach Your Word with joy and interest. Thank You for the promises, lessons, and truths found from Genesis to Revelation. Help me understand and apply Your Word to my life today.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

When you read a familiar Bible passage today, pause. Pretend like it’s the first time you’re reading it. What would you think about what was happening or what was being said?

More from the Girlfriends

If you or someone you know is bored in marriage and needs to see the relationship with fresh, wonder-filled eyes again, Arlene’s book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife offers practical help to get unstuck.

Seeking God?
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relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Daily Devotion July 3, 2017 "A Forever Love That Lasts"

In the sermon yesterday, I talked about God's gift of being part...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"A Forever Love That Lasts"

July 3, 2017

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
~ Romans 7:4 (ESV)

In the sermon yesterday, I talked about God's gift of being part of His family through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's an identity that the world can't take from you. It's a knowledge that gives you strength to face troubles, illness, and struggles. It's a forever thing that helps us through the ups and downs of life, now.

That was the strength that made all the difference in the life of a woman who had seen heartache and pain, but came to know joy that could only come by knowing that she belonged to Jesus. Author Keith Miller shares the story of an outgoing 40-year-old woman who was part of a sharing group he led. Here's her story in her words:

"When I was a tiny little girl, my parents died and I was put in an orphanage. I was not pretty at all and no one seemed to want me. But I longed to be adopted and loved by a family, as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night, but everything I did seemed to go wrong.

"But then one day the head of the orphanage told me that a family was coming to take me home with them. I was so excited that I jumped up and down and cried like a little baby. The matron reminded me that I was on trial and this might not be a permanent arrangement, but I just knew that somehow it would work out.

"So I went with this family and started to school. I was the happiest little girl you can imagine, and life began to open up for me just a little bit. But then one day a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran into the front door of the big old house we lived in. No one was at home, but in the middle of the front hall was my battered suitcase with my little coat thrown across it. As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant: I didn't belong there anymore."

Miller reports that when the woman stopped speaking there was hardly a dry eye in the group. But then she cleared her throat and said almost matter-of-factly, "This happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old. But wait, don't feel too badly. It was experiences like these that ultimately brought me to God, and there I found what I had always longed for: a place, a sense of belonging, a forever family."

A forever family, a forever love, a forever grace. People ask me all the time, "What makes Christianity so special?" All I can say is when God does all things to reconcile you to Himself, to forgive your sins, to cover your shame, to call you to be His own through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Jesus -- show me anything else that even comes close. That's what God has in store for you and me today, with a life that flows from belonging to Him. May that encourage you, today and always.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for doing all things well to make me a part of Your family. Give me strength to live in that joy now 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 03 de Julio de 2017

Alimento Diario

Cambios constantes

03 de Julio 2017

Hijos de Jacob, yo soy el Señor, y no cambio. Por eso ustedes no han sido consumidos. Desde los días de sus antepasados no se han sometido a mis leyes, sino que se han apartado de ellas. Pero si se vuelven a mí, yo me volveré a ustedes. Yo, el Señor de los ejércitos, lo he dicho. Pero ustedes dicen: '¿Cómo está eso de que debemos de volvernos a ti?'

Corea del Norte está enojada, pero eso no es nada nuevo.

Corea del Norte parece estar siempre enojada por una cosa o por otra. Pero sabiendo que tiene dispositivos nucleares y misiles que pueden transportar dichos dispositivos, su enojo debe ser tomado muy en serio.

¿Por qué está enojada Corea del Norte?

Porque piensan que el mundo, incluyendo (y en especial) los Estados Unidos, está metiéndose con ellos. Y probablemente estén en lo correcto, porque cuando alguien tiene un arma nuclear y un misil que puede estar apuntándote, tú quieres mantener el ojo puesto en ese alguien.

Lo interesante de todo esto es que ellos dicen que la tregua que terminó la Guerra de Corea en 1953 está caduca. Entonces... ¿quiere decir que la guerra continúa, o que siempre ha seguido? ¿Significa que las naciones que piensan que los misiles de Corea del Norte les están apuntando deberían mandar soldados?

Ante tanta incertidumbre es confortante leer las primeras palabras de nuestro texto en Malaquías. "Yo soy el Señor, y no cambio". Dios no cambia.

Hablando por inspiración del Espíritu Santo, Malaquías continúa: 'Las personas cambian y se olvidan de la bondad infinita de Dios; pero el amor, la misericordia, y la gracia que él tiene para con nosotros a causa de Jesús, se mantiene constante'.

¿No es maravilloso saber que en un mundo cambiante, tenemos un Señor que nunca cambia?

Pase lo que pase, el amor de Dios es constante.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre celestial, en medio de cambios y de tiempos confusos, ayúdanos para que podamos confiar en ti. Te damos gracias porque en Jesús tenemos perdón continuo, salvación eterna y esperanza siempre presente. En su 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 - Destroying the Divides

I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. Joshua 7:12

A writing deadline loomed over me, while the argument I had with my husband earlier that morning swirled through my mind. I stared at the blinking cursor, fingertips resting on the keyboard. He was wrong too, Lord.

When the computer screen went black, my reflection scowled. My unacknowledged wrongs were doing more than hindering the work before me. They were straining my relationship with my husband and my God.

I grabbed my cell phone, swallowed my pride, and asked for forgiveness. Savoring the peace of reconciliation when my spouse apologized as well, I thanked God and finished my article on time.

The Israelites experienced the pain of personal sin and joy of restoration. Joshua warned God’s people not to enrich themselves in the battle for Jericho (Josh. 6:18), but Achan stole captured items and hid them in his tent (7:1). Only after his sin was exposed and dealt with (vv. 4–12) did the nation enjoy reconciliation with their God.

Like Achan, we don’t always consider how “tucking sin into our tents” turns our hearts from God and impacts those around us. Acknowledging Jesus as Lord, admitting our sin, and seeking forgiveness provides the foundation for healthy and faithful relationships with God and others. By submitting to our loving Creator and Sustainer daily, we can serve Him and enjoy His presence—together.

Lord, please help us recognize, confess, and turn away from our sin, so that we can nurture loving relationships with You and others.

God can purge our hearts of the sin that destroys our intimacy with Him and others.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Ministérios Pão Diário - Irreverência
A Bíblia em um ano: Jó 25–27, Atos 12

O rei Herodes, vestindo seus trajes reais, fez um discurso para uma audiência que desejava obter seu favor. Ele deleitou-se com a resposta lisonjeira do povo. “…É voz de um deus, e não de homem…”, gritavam (Atos 12:22). Temor e respeito ao único Deus verdadeiro deveria tê-lo feito protestar, mas ele não o fez. Ao fracassar em não glorificar a Deus, foi imediatamente ferido por um anjo do Senhor e sofreu morte torturante.

Paulo e Barnabé, por sua vez, demonstraram tamanha reverência a Deus que quase entraram em pânico com o pensamento de serem adorados (Atos 14:14,15). Depois de verem como o apóstolo Paulo curou milagrosamente um homem que havia sido paralítico desde o nascimento, os espectadores gritaram: “…Os deuses, em forma de homens, baixaram até nós”. Então fizeram os devidos preparativos para oferecer sacrifícios a Paulo e Barnabé (vv.11-13). Quando os apóstolos ouviram isso, rasgaram “…as suas vestes, saltaram para o meio da multidão, clamando: Senhores, por que fazeis isto?” (vv.14,15).

Nesses relatos bíblicos tão contrastantes, vemos um chamado solene de venerar a Deus em nosso mundo tão irreverente. Deus é o único digno de glória, louvor e honra. Ele é o único que merece ser adorado.

Não a nós, Senhor, não a nós, mas ao teu nome dá glória. —Salmo 115:1

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Dẹp Mọi Ngăn Trở
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Gióp 25-27; Công vụ 12

Nếu các con không tiêu trừ các vật đáng diệt ấy, thì Ta không còn ở với các con nữa. Giô-suê 7:12

Hạn nộp bài viết sắp đến nơi trong lúc dư âm của trận cãi vã giữa tôi với chồng vào buổi sáng hôm đó vẫn còn quay cuồng trong đầu. Tôi nhìn chăm chăm vào con trỏ nhấp nháy, ngón tay đặt trên bàn phím. Anh ấy cũng đã sai, Chúa ơi.

Khi máy tính tắt, tôi thấy một khuôn mặt cau có xuất hiện trên màn hình. Những sai lầm mà tôi không chịu thừa nhận đang chi phối tôi nhiều hơn cả bài viết mà tôi phải nộp. Chúng khiến cho mối liên hệ giữa tôi với chồng và với Chúa càng căng thẳng.

Tôi vớ lấy điện thoại, kìm nén niềm kiêu hãnh và xin chồng tha thứ. Chồng tôi cũng xin lỗi tôi và tôi cảm nhận được sự bình an khi hòa giải. Tôi cảm tạ Chúa và hoàn thành bài viết của mình đúng hạn.
Dân Y-sơ-ra-ên đã kinh nghiệm cả sự đau đớn vì tội lỗi của mình lẫn niềm vui của sự phục hồi. Giô-suê đã cảnh báo dân sự Chúa không được tư lợi trong cuộc chiến chiếm Giê-ri-cô (Giôs. 6:18), nhưng A-can đã lấy trộm chiến lợi phẩm và giấu trong trại mình (7:1). Chỉ sau khi tội lỗi của ông bị phơi bày và bị xử lý (c.4-12) thì cả dân tộc mới được hưởng sự hòa giải với Đức Chúa Trời.

Giống như A-can, chúng ta thường không quan tâm việc “giấu tội lỗi trong trại mình” khiến tấm lòng chúng ta xa cách Chúa và tác động đến những người xung quanh ra sao. Công nhận Chúa Jêsus là Chúa, thừa nhận tội lỗi mình và cầu xin sự tha thứ là nền tảng để có được mối liên hệ lành mạnh và trung tín với Chúa và với người khác. Khi mỗi ngày chúng ta biết đầu phục Đấng Tạo Hóa yêu thương và là Đấng Vùa Giúp, chúng ta vừa có thể hầu việc Ngài, vừa tận hưởng sự hiện diện của Ngài.

Lạy Chúa, xin giúp chúng con nhận ra tội lỗi, xưng nhận và từ bỏ tội lỗi của mình để có thể nuôi dưỡng các mối liên hệ yêu thương với Ngài và với người khác. Trong danh Chúa Jêsus, A-men.

Chúa có thể tẩy sạch tấm lòng tội lỗi đang ngăn trở mối thông công của chúng ta với Ngài và với người khác.

© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Destruir lo que divide
La Biblia en un año: Job 25–27; Hechos 12

… No seguiré más con ustedes a menos que destruyan esas cosas […] destinadas para ser destruidas (v. 12 NTV).

Se aproximaba una fecha de entrega, y una discusión que había tenido con mi esposo me daba vueltas por la cabeza. Me quedé mirando el cursor parpadeante, mientras pensaba: Él también estuvo equivocado, Señor.

Cuando la pantalla de la computadora se apagó, vi mi reflejo enfadado. Mis errores sin reconocer entorpecían mi trabajo y dañaban mi relación con mi esposo y con Dios.

Tomé el teléfono, me tragué el orgullo y pedí perdón. Saboreando la paz de la reconciliación, le di gracias a Dios y terminé mi artículo a tiempo.

Los israelitas experimentaron el dolor del pecado personal y el gozo de la restauración. Josué les advirtió que no se enriquecieran en la batalla por Jericó (Josué 6:18), pero Acán robó y escondió en su tienda algunas cosas del botín (7:1). Solo después de que su pecado fue descubierto y juzgado (vv. 4-12), la nación pudo reconciliarse con Dios.

Como Acán, no siempre pensamos que «guardar pecado en nuestra tienda» aleja nuestro corazón de Dios y afecta a quienes nos rodean. Reconocer a Jesús como Señor, admitir nuestro pecado y pedir perdón proporcionan el cimiento para relaciones saludables con Dios y los demás. Al someternos a diario a nuestro amoroso Creador, podemos servirlo y disfrutar de su presencia… juntos.

Señor, ayúdanos a reconocer y confesar nuestro pecado y alejarnos de él.

El pecado en el corazón arruina nuestra intimidad con Dios y los demás.

Unser Täglich Brot - Zerstören, was trennt
Lesen: Josua 7,1-12
Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hiob 25–27; Apostelgeschichte 12

Ich werde hinfort nicht mit euch sein, wenn ihr nicht das Gebannte aus eurer Mitte tilgt. Josua 7,12

Der Termin rückte immer näher, aber meine Gedanken kreisten um den Streit, den ich am Morgen mit meinem Mann gehabt hatte. Ich starrte auf den blinkenden Cursor, die Finger ruhten auf der Tastatur. Er hatte auch Unrecht, Herr.

Als der Bildschirm schwarz wurde, wurde auch mein Blick finster. Mein uneingestandenes Fehlverhalten störte mich nicht nur bei der Arbeit. Es störte auch die Beziehung zu meinem Mann und zu Gott.

Ich griff nach dem Telefon, überwand den Stolz und bat um Vergebung. Als sich mein Mann ebenfalls entschuldigte, war ich versöhnt und voll Frieden. Ich dankte Gott und schrieb meinen Artikel fertig.

Auch die Israeliten erlebten Schmerz über die Sünde und die Freude der Versöhnung. Josua hatte sie ermahnt, sich im Kampf gegen Jericho nicht zu bereichern (Jos. 6,18). Aber Achan stahl von der Beute und versteckte sie in seinem Zelt (7,1). Erst als seine Sünde ans Licht gebracht und geregelt war (V.4-12), konnte das Volk sich wieder an der Beziehung zu Gott freuen.

Wie Achan ist auch uns oft nicht bewusst, wie es unser Verhältnis zu Gott und anderen beeinflusst, wenn wir „Sünde in unserem Zelt verstecken“. Doch wenn wir Jesus als Herrn anerkennen, unsere Sünde zugeben und Vergebung suchen, kann die Beziehung zu Gott und den Nächsten wieder gesunden. Und wir können unserem Schöpfer und Erhalter dienen—gemeinsam.

Herr, lass uns unsere Sünde erkennen, bekennen und ablegen, damit wir in ungestörter Beziehung mit dir und anderen leben können. In Jesu Namen. Amen.

Gott kann unser Herz von der Sünde reinigen, die unser Verhältnis zu ihm und anderen zerstört.

Notre Pain Quotidien - Abattre les murs
Lisez : Josué 7.1‑12
La Bible en un an : JOB 25 – 27 et ACTES 12

Je ne serai plus avec vous, si vous ne détruisez pas l'interdit du milieu de vous. V.12

Une échéance de rédaction me pressait d’agir, mais la dispute que j’avais eue avec mon mari le jour même m’occupait l’esprit au point d’immobiliser mes yeux sur le curseur clignotant et mes doigts sur le clavier. Il avait tort lui aussi, Seigneur.

Mon écran s’est assombri, et ma réflexion aussi. Le déni de mes torts, en plus de nuire à ma tâche, entravait ma relation avec mon mari et mon Dieu.

J’ai alors saisi mon téléphone cellulaire, j’ai ravalé ma fierté et j’ai demandé pardon. En savourant la paix que m’avait procurée ma réconciliation avec mon mari, qui s’était lui aussi excusé, j’ai remercié Dieu et j’ai terminé l’écriture de ma méditation dans les délais.

Les Israélites ont vécu la souffrance due à leurs péchés personnels et la joie de leur restauration. Josué a prévenu le peuple de Dieu ne de pas s’enrichir par le butin de la bataille de Jéricho (JOS 6.18), mais Acan a volé des choses dévouées et les a cachées dans sa tente (7.1). Or, ce n’est qu’après que son péché a été exposé et qu’il a été châtié pour sa faute (V. 4‑12) que la nation d’Israël a pu retrouver le bonheur d’être réconciliée avec son Dieu.

Comme Acan, on ne voit pas toujours qu’en « cachant ses péchés sous sa tente », on se détourne de Dieu et l’on affecte son entourage. Reconnaître Jésus comme son Seigneur, avouer ses péchés et solliciter le pardon sont gages de relations saines et fidèles avec Dieu et autrui. Se soumettre à son généreux Créateur revient à le servir et à jouir de sa présence.

Dieu peut vous purifier du péché qui détruit votre intimité avec tous.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Усунення перепон
Біблія за рік: Йова 25−27 ; Дії 12

Не буду більше з вами, якщо не вигубите заклятого з-поміж себе! — Ісуса Навина 7:12

Термін закінчення роботи тиснув на мене, але ранкова суперечка з чоловіком заполонила всі мої думки. Я мовчки дивилась на курсор, що блимав на моніторі. Пальці нерухомо лежали на клавіатурі. “Він теж був неправий, Господи!”

Коли екран комп’ютера погас, моє обличчя похмурнішало. Мої духовні проблеми, яких я не помічала, створили напруженість у моїх стосунках з Богом і чоловіком. Я взяла мобільний телефон і, перемігши свою гордість, попросила у чоловіка пробачення. Відчуваючи внутрішнє полегшення від примирення – і від того, що мій чоловік теж вибачився, – я подякувала Богу і завершила свою працю вчасно.

Ізраїльтяни теж пережили біль гріха і радість відновлення стосунків із Богом. Ісус Навин попередив Божий народ, щоб після захоплення Єрихону ніхто не займався грабежем (Єг. 6:18). Але Ахан взяв дещо з добичі й закопав це під своїм наметом (Єг. 7:1, 21). Лише після того, як гріх було викрито й покарано (Єг. 7:4-12), нація змогла примиритись з Богом (Єг. 7:4-12).

Подібно Ахану, ми не завжди цілком усвідомлюємо, як “закляте в нашому наметі” відвертає наші серця від Бога і руйнівним чином впливає на оточуючих людей. Визнання ж Ісуса Господом, сповідання свого гріха й жадання прощення дарують необхідний фундамент для здорових і глибоких стосунків як з Богом, так і з іншими людьми.

Господи, допоможи, будь ласка, усвідомлювати, сповідувати і залишати свій гріх, щоб могли будувати добрі стосунки з Тобою та іншими людьми. Молимось в Ім’я Ісуса, амінь.

Бог може очистити наші серця від будь-якого гріха.