Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, July 27, 2017

The Council at Jerusalem – Acts 15:22-33
Opening Sentence
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. Habakkuk 2:20

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 and Forgiveness
Almighty God, since thou delayst with so much forbearance the punishments which we have deserved and daily draw on ourselves, grant that we may not indulge ourselves but carefully consider how often and in how many different ways we have provoked thy wrath against us. May we learn humbly to present ourselves to thee for pardon, and with true repentance implore thy mercy. With all our heart we desire to submit ourselves to thee, whether thou chastisest us, or according to thine infinite goodness, forgivest us. Let our condition be ever blessed, not by flattering ourselves in our apathy, but by finding thee to be our kind and bountiful Father, reconciled to us in thine only-begotten Son. Amen.
~ By Calvin, taken from Prayers of the Reformers

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 1 Samuel 28:3-20
Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. Saul had expelled the mediums and the wizards from the land. The Philistines assembled, and came and encamped at Shunem. Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, not by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her." His servants said to him, "There is a medium at Endor." So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes and went there, he and two men with him. They came to the woman by night. And he said, "Consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one whom I name to you." The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?" But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He answered, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!" The king said to her, "Have no fear; what do you see?" The woman said to Saul, "I see a divine being coming up out of the ground." He said to her, "What is his appearance?" She said, "An old man is coming up; he is wrapped in a robe." So Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams; so I have summoned you to tell me what I should do." Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done to you just as he spoke by me; for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand, and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD, and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you today. Moreover the LORD will give Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines; and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me; the LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines." Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 15:1-11
Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, "It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses." The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 5:1-20
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many." He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, "Send us into the swine; let us enter them." So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 50 Deus deorum
1   The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2   Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory.
3   Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm.
4   He calls the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.
5   Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice.
6   Let the heavens declare the rightness of his cause; for God himself is judge.
7   Hear, O my people, and I will speak: "O Israel, I will bear witness against you; for I am God, your God.
8   I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; your offerings are always before me.
9   I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, nor he-goats out of your pens;
10   For all the beasts of the forest are mine, the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11   I know every bird in the sky, and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
12   If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that is in it.
13   Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and make good your vows to the Most High.
15   Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor me."
16   But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my statutes, and take my covenant upon your lips;
17   Since you refuse discipline, and toss my words behind your back?
18   When you see a thief, you make him your friend, and you cast in your lot with adulterers.
19   You have loosed your lips for evil, and harnessed your tongue to a lie.
20   You are always speaking evil of your brother and slandering your own mother's son.
21   These things you have done, and I kept still, and you thought that I am like you."
22   I have made my accusation; I have put my case in order before your eyes.
23   Consider this well, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
24   Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God."

Evening Psalms
Psalm 59 Eripe me de inimicis
1   Rescue me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.
2   Rescue me from evildoers and save me from those who thirst for my blood.
3   See how they lie in wait for my life, how the mighty gather together against me; not for any offense or fault of mine, O LORD.
4   Not because of any guilt of mine they run and prepare themselves for battle.
5   Rouse yourself, come to my side, and see; for you, LORD God of hosts, are Israel's God.
6   Awake, and punish all the ungodly; show no mercy to those who are faithless and evil.
7   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
8   Behold, they boast with their mouths, and taunts are on their lips; "For who, they say, will hear us?"
9   But you, O LORD, you laugh at them; you laugh all the ungodly to scorn.
10   My eyes are fixed on you, O my Strength; for you, O God, are my stronghold.
11   My merciful God comes to meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
12   Slay them, O God, lest my people forget; send them reeling by your might and put them down, O Lord our shield.
13   For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, for the cursing and lies that they utter, let them be caught in their pride.
14   Make an end of them in your wrath; make an end of them, and they shall be no more.
15   Let everyone know that God rules in Jacob, and to the ends of the earth.
16   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
17   They forage for food, and if they are not filled, they howl.
18   For my part, I will sing of your strength; I will celebrate your love in the morning;
19   For you have become my stronghold, a refuge in the day of my trouble.
20   To you, O my Strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God.

Psalm 60 Deus, repulisti nos
1   O God, you have cast us off and broken us; you have been angry; oh, take us back to you again.
2   You have shaken the earth and split it open; repair the cracks in it, for it totters.
3   You have made your people know hardship; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
4   You have set up a banner for those who fear you, to be a refuge from the power of the bow.
5   Save us by your right hand and answer us, that those who are dear to you may be delivered.
6   God spoke from his holy place and said: "I will exult and parcel out Shechem; I will divide the valley of Succoth.
7   Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet and Judah my scepter.
8   Moab is my wash-basin, on Edom I throw down my sandal to claim it, and over Philistia will I shout in triumph."
9   Who will lead me into the strong city? who will bring me to Edom?
10   Have you not cast us off, O God? you no longer go out, O God, with our armies.
11   Grant us your help against the enemy, for vain is the help of man.
12   With God we will do valiant deeds, and he shall tread our enemies under foot.

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
Lord, sometimes I feel myself growing weary with my faith, with you, with prayer, with everything good and Godly in life. I feel a pain where before they was joy and hope. I know you do not want us to feel guilty, but how can I not feel guilty, when I admit to myself that my love for you felt stronger yesterday or last week or last year, than it does now.

Come to me, Holy Spirit, and drive away my apathy. Forgive me for the smallness and selfishness of my mind. Take away this sense of tedium with your Word, your love, the wondrous gift of eternal life; fill me with zeal and hope, knowing that your plans for me are glorious, and all that I have or will ever has comes from you. Amen.

A Prayer for Guidance
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; 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.
Jim Hill - What a Day That Will Be
There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There'll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

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

Closing Prayer
I  bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day. 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 THURSDAY, July 27, 2017

Lord, sometimes I feel myself growing weary with my faith, with you, with prayer, with everything good and Godly in life. I feel a pain where before they was joy and hope. I know you do not want us to feel guilty, but how can I not feel guilty, when I admit to myself that my love for you felt stronger yesterday or last week or last year, than it does now.

Come to me, Holy Spirit, and drive away my apathy. Forgive me for the smallness and selfishness of my mind. Take away this sense of tedium with your Word, your love, the wondrous gift of eternal life; fill me with zeal and hope, knowing that your plans for me are glorious, and all that I have or will ever has comes from you.


Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, July 27, 2017

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Read all of Hebrews 12

Listen to Hebrews 12

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 - What Story Is Your Life Telling?

No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave.
~ Psalm 89:48 (NLT)

The October 1992 cover of LIFE magazine posed this question: “Can We Stop Aging?” According to the article inside, scientists suggest that we can and will. But the article raised another question: Would we really want to stop aging? In other words, do we really want to live forever?

Our answer depends on what kind of lives we are living. What story is your life telling? My story is a simple one: God can take a mess of a life with the deck stacked against it and redeem it. That is my story. We all have one to tell. And we all need to take stock of our lives and ask ourselves, “What is my life all about? What is the legacy I will leave? How will I be remembered?”

This is important to think about as we’re getting older. But it’s also important to think about when we’re young. In our youth, we chart the course that our lives will take. We develop habits, develop direction, and make decisions like the career path we will follow and the person we will marry. It’s a critical time to make the right decisions, because when we get older, we become set in our ways. That is not a bad thing, necessarily. If we establish good habits like regular Bible study, prayer, and being a disciplined part of the church, we will follow those as well.

It comes down to this: We will decide the evening of our life by the morning of it. We will decide the end by the beginning. The stand we make today will determine what stand we make tomorrow.

Medical science can seek to add years to your life, but only God can add life to your years and give you a life that is worth living.

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.
Only God can you give you a life worth living . . . and a story worth telling.

Un Dia a la Vez - El rencor

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

El rencor es ese resentimiento que echa raíces en nuestro ser y que se manifiesta de manera tenaz contra alguien por alguna razón.

No pretendo decirte que no sea normal que sientas rencor cuando te han herido, te han maltratado y te han rechazado. En estos casos, es muy común que se despierte este sentimiento hacia la vida y hacia los demás.

Mi llamado es a que salgas de allí. Es decirte que ser una persona rencorosa no te lleva a ninguna parte porque nunca te vas a sentir libre para ser feliz.

Además, el rencor no te permite crecer como persona, pues siempre vas a sentir que algo no te deja avanzar.

Piensa que no hay nadie perfecto y que tú también podrías fallar en algún momento. Entonces, ¿cómo te sentirías si esa persona no te perdonara y te las cobrara por el resto de la vida?

Ah, y si vas a olvidar, es olvidar. Nada de decir «perdono, pero no olvido».

Vivamos el mejor ejemplo de todos, el de Jesús, quien perdona nuestras faltas y nunca más vuelve acordarse de ellas.

¡Anímate! Hazlo por tu bienestar espiritual.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS

… “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

A Spanish father and son were estranged. The father later went to search for his son. When he could not find him, the father put this ad in the Madrid newspaper:

“Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.”

Saturday noon, 800 Pacos showed up at the office looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful actions that Christians can perform. The world does not understand the ability or reasons to do this because it is most unnatural in a dog-eat-dog world. There is also pain to be overcome because behind every act of forgiveness lies the wound of betrayal; but there is far more pain and emotional, social, physical damage done when we do not forgive.

An Asian Christian apologist says, “If I am asked what separates Christianity from other religions, or what’s different about Christianity, aren’t all religions the same when you get down to it?’ one of the first things that I would say is bound up in this one beautiful word: forgiveness.”

Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother who sins against him. He thinks he is magnanimous and suggests seven times! Jesus makes his famous reply, “…not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:22).

Jesus then shares a parable about a man who, after much pleading for mercy, was forgiven for much and yet would not forgive another person who owed him little. In the parable, the master throws the man into jail to be tortured until he pays back his large debt. Then comes the conclusion: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

RESPONSE: Today I will forgive others who hurt me because God has commanded it and because my own forgiveness depends on it.

PRAYER: Lord, give me a spirit of forgiveness toward others who hurt me, just as You have forgiven me.

NIV Devotions for Men - What God Has Joined Together

Deuteronomy 24:1–5
Recommended Reading: Ephesians 5:22–33; Hebrews 13:4

Most of us would agree that divorce is not a laughing matter. But that doesn’t stop people from joking about it, like one comedian who said, “My ex-wife is a great housekeeper—when we got divorced, she kept the house.” Legal terms like “no fault” and “uncontested” fuel the idea that divorce is an easy, acceptable alternative to marriage. Instead of treating divorce seriously, people begin to view it as just another option to be considered in the context of modern relationships.

Some people even look to the Bible to justify divorce. They search Scripture to find “loopholes” in God’s rules for marriage. But we’re missing the point when we hunt for God’s permission to divorce.

For a deeper understanding of God’s true perspective on marriage, we need to look at the provisions he extends to newlyweds in Deuteronomy 24:5. God excuses the recently married man from many responsibilities—including military service—for a full year so that he can give his full attention to his wife.

Think about that. God’s gift to newlyweds was a whole year to work on building a solid foundation in their marriage. One year for the husband to learn to meet his wife’s needs. One year to hone their communication skills. One year to prepare for life’s journey together.

God clearly supports the institution of marriage. Throughout Scripture he offers invaluable help to husbands and wives who commit themselves to each other for life.

If you’re married, think about this: What if you’d been given a year after your wedding to focus only on your wife? How would your relationship be different today? It’s not too late to find out. Maybe you don’t have an entire year, but you can start with a day at a time. Clear your schedule so that you can give your wife your undivided attention. If you have commitments that take you away from home on the evenings and weekends, consider dropping one or two of them to focus on your relationship. Listen to her concerns. Commit yourself to meeting her needs. Look for ways to bring her happiness. With God’s help, you can turn your marriage into a love story for the ages.

To Take Away
  • What would you say to a friend who is contemplating divorce?
  • What’s the biggest challenge in your marriage right now?
  • What specific steps can you take this week in order to deepen your relationship with your wife?

Girlfriends in God - July 27, 2017

I Am Definitely a Sheep!

Today’s Truth

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.
~ Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

As a little girl, I really did have a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow. I can remember the day my mother showed me the lamb and explained that she did not have a bottle with which to feed the stray lamb. I agreed to let the lamb have my bottle if I could have the lamb. I have been fascinated by the unique relationship between sheep and their shepherd ever since.

The type of shepherding referred to in the Bible is not the farming of fenced pasturelands, but a type of nomadic grazing. The shepherd must carefully plan the path and lead the way so that the sheep have neither too little nor too much grazing, and are able to get to the water hole on time. Pastures are often lost to extreme heat, which means the shepherd has to scour the countryside in search of green grass. Several flocks of sheep are gathered together at night in a sheltered place so that shepherds can share the watches of the night, protecting the sheep from wild animals and thieves. Good shepherds are always willing to risk their lives to save their flocks from any harm, any enemy, and even from themselves.

Sheep are dumb, can never be left alone, and often stray, requiring the shepherd to find and rescue them. A shepherd never pushes his sheep but rather leads his sheep, going before them, making sure they are not walking into danger. The natural instinct of sheep is to be afraid. When faced with a dangerous situation, sheep panic and run – often into dangerous places. Without a shepherd to care for the sheep, they will not last long.

Personally, I definitely fit the profile of a sheep. I can’t count the number of times I have stubbornly stuck to my plan, foolishly thinking it was better than God’s plan, only to end up in some pit somewhere, calling for help. Psalm 40:1-3 has become my life maxim – with one exception. I rarely wait patiently! Remember, I am a sheep!

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).

I sometimes allow fear to drive me to a place where I am trapped by doubts and darkness…until He rescues me. I try to satisfy my hunger by eating the wrong things found in the wrong places at the wrong times. The result is always the same; my soul remains ravenous for what is good while stuffing my heart and mind with what is bad.

Like every sheep, I don’t like to be pushed. Good shepherds do not push, no matter how great the temptation. A good shepherd stands in front of his sheep, gently calling their names, leading them to a place where he has already been, positioning himself between danger and his sheep.

When I am tired and ready to give up, I tend to withdraw from the other sheep and even from my Shepherd. Many of us have somehow bought into the lie that we can make it on our own or that the rules, the commandments of God, do not necessarily apply to us…just those other sheep. The longer I serve God, the more I realize just how much we need each other and how much we need Him. When will I learn that I cannot do life on my own – as a sheep or as a shepherd?

I am so glad Jesus was willing to lay down His life for every single sheep – the cute, fluffy ones as well as the dirty, broken lambs like me. Maybe it is time for us all to stop, listen for His voice, seek His plan, and remember that we are indeed needy sheep, called to love and lead other needy sheep to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Let’s Pray

Lord, I am so thankful that You are my Shepherd, and that no matter how deep the valley or dark the pit, You have gone before me and made a way. Help me to understand that Your ways are higher than mine. Forgive me when I complain that the way You have made for me is harder than I want it to be. I surrender my life to you, Lord, my God and my Shepherd.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now it’s Your Turn

Here is a challenge for every Girlfriend in God. Read Psalm 23 once a day for one month. Record it in your journal. Let every word soak into your heart, mind and soul. When fear comes, turn to God. When you are in need, trust the Shepherd. When confusion surrounds you, trust God to make the crooked paths straight. Rejoice daily in the fact that you are His lamb and He is your Shepherd.

More from the Girlfriends

I truly believe that most of our stress in life is rooted in our refusal to trust God as our Shepherd. Escaping the Stress Trap is a book and Bible study based on Psalm 23, and is my story of learning to understand that I am His sheep and He is my Shepherd. Check it out!

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and 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

LHM Daily Devotion - July 27, 2017 "Not So Sour"

Years ago, or so I've been told, a farmer encouraged his neighbor...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Not So Sour"

July 27, 2017

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received Him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
~ Luke 19:5-10 (ESV)

Years ago, or so I've been told, a farmer encouraged his neighbor to try his apples.

Without even giving the invitation a second thought, the friend, always quickly, and most definitely, declined. Eventually, the farmer, who by now had a bruised ego, asked, "Look, what's the problem? I keep inviting and you keep turning me down. Man, you could at least try a taste, couldn't you?

His friend countered with a small confession. He said, "I don't want to taste your apples, because the truth is I have already done so. On more than one occasion, I have picked one of your apples which looked especially tasty. Without exception, the tartness puckered my mouth."

"And just where in my orchard did you get those apples?" the farmer inquired.

"Always from the trees which grow along the road. Yes, sir, those apples are just about the most sour thing I have ever tried."

Now it was time for the farmer to make a confession of his own. "Well, that explains it," he said. "Those trees were planted to keep thieves away. But, I tell you this: if you come to the middle of my orchard, you will find things taste differently there."

And that story, my friends, is my gift to you.

Remember it, practice telling it, because the day is going to come when you will be given the opportunity to share it. That day will be when the Lord places into your charge the soul of a person who has had a brief taste of the church and found it wasn't to his taste.

The reality is this: if a person has only seen what Christianity offers from the other side of the fence, or from the road, its offerings may indeed seem bitter. To the sampler the music might seem ponderous, the great wooden doors foreboding, and the liturgy a thing of intense mystery. He may interpret people's shyness as being cold and judgmental and their failure to say hello as being downright, well, downright sour.

That is the way it can be when you stand on the outside and just do a bit of sampling.

But if an individual comes into the orchard and tries again he will find things to be quite different.

In short, the nearer a sinful soul is brought to the Savior, the sweeter will be the joy He is given. That's the truth Zacchaeus was given the day the Savior came for dinner. From a distance Jesus may have been an interesting curiosity, but up close the Christ became the one Person who could bring salvation to that publican's home.

And, my friends, it's no different today for the person who is brought close to his Savior.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are many people out there who have been put off by what they feel is the Christian church. Bring them close to Jesus so they may appreciate the salvation Jesus has won for them at the cost of His own life. In the Redeemer's Name I ask it. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 27 de Julio de 2017

Alimento Diario

Pescadores de...

27 de Julio 2017

Jesús les dijo: 'Síganme, y yo haré de ustedes pescadores de hombres.' Ellos entonces, dejando al instante las redes, lo siguieron.
~ Mateo 4:19-20 (RVC)

Lo bueno, lo malo y lo feo. Al igual que en las películas de Clint Eastwood, estas palabras también describen el arte de la pesca. Así lo comprobó el Capitán Solomon, quien tiene su negocio de pesca en las costas de Florida, en el Golfo de Méjico.

En su experiencia como pescador, el Capitán sabe que hay días que, en sólo cuestión de minutos, llena su bote de pesca. Eso es lo bueno.

También sabe que hay otros días en los que, como los discípulos, pasan horas sin lograr pescar nada. Eso es lo malo.

¿Y lo feo? El Capitán Solomon pescó un misil teledirigido de la Fuerza Aérea. Como vio un hueco en el misil, asumió que ya había explotado, por lo que decidió conservarlo en la cubierta del barco.

Pero su presunción estaba equivocada, casi mortalmente equivocada.

La Fuerza Aérea confirmó que se trataba de un misil en perfectas condiciones de funcionamiento. Antes de desactivarlo, la Fuerza Aérea le dijo al Capitán que ese misil podría haber explotado, desparramando sus restos y los de su barco por el Golfo de Méjico.

¡Uno nunca sabe lo que va a pescar!

Ese debe haber sido el sentimiento de los discípulos cuando salieron a la pesca de hombres. El Espíritu Santo les llevó pecadores de todo calibre: grandes, pequeños, experimentados y novatos. Hubo momentos en los que la pesca fue buena, otros en los que fue mala... y otros en los que fue fea.

Pero los discípulos tenían en claro dos cosas: primero, que el Salvador quería que pescaran; y segundo, que si no salían a pescar, no iban a pescar nada.

Por más obvio que parezca, esa es la verdad. La persona, la iglesia, o los discípulos de Cristo que quieren pescar, tienen que ir de pesca. Si se quedan en casa, las redes de Dios permanecerán vacías.

Por lo que hoy oramos para que el Señor nos envíe a pescar y haga que la pesca sea abundante.

ORACIÓN: Amado Señor, le has dicho a tus discípulos que sean pescadores de almas. Danos el deseo de seguir tus instrucciones y envíanos el Espíritu Santo para que nuestra pesca sea bendecida. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

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

Our Daily Bread - Sweet Company

The Spirit of truth . . . lives with you and will be in you. John 14:17

The elderly woman in the nursing home didn’t speak to anyone or request anything. It seemed she merely existed, rocking in her creaky old chair. She didn’t have many visitors, so one young nurse would often go into her room on her breaks. Without asking the woman questions to try to get her to talk, she simply pulled up another chair and rocked with her. After several months, the elderly woman said to her, “Thank you for rocking with me.” She was grateful for the companionship.

Before He went back to heaven, Jesus promised to send a constant companion to His disciples. He told them He would not leave them alone but would send the Holy Spirit to be in them (John 14:17). That promise is still true for believers in Jesus today. Jesus said that the triune God makes His “home” in us (v. 23).

The Lord is our close and faithful companion throughout our entire life. He will guide us in our deepest struggles, forgive our sin, hear each silent prayer, and shoulder the burdens we cannot bear. We can enjoy His sweet company today.

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us Your Spirit as our constant companion.

The Christian’s heart is the Holy Spirit’s home.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Ministérios Pão Diário - Pedicuros
A Bíblia em um ano: Salmos 43–45, Atos 27:27-44

Os pedicuros de paquidermes não são um luxo, são uma necessidade. Um artigo de jornal, mencionou que se os elefantes em cativeiro não receberem tratamento regular nas patas, eles contraem infecções que podem ser fatais. Mas cortar as unhas de um animal que pode pesar seis toneladas é algo arriscado. Porém alguém teve uma ideia. Desenvolveu um “virador de elefante” que permite prender e virá-los de lado. O aparelho tem quase quatro metros de altura, pesa umas 15 toneladas e custa aproximadamente trezentos mil reais. Diversos zoológicos já adquiriram esse aparelho útil.

Cuidar das pessoas também pode incluir riscos. Paulo descreveu o que é necessário para ajudar aqueles que, em tempos perigosos, se desviaram do caminho da verdade. Ele não oferece um aparelho engenhoso para ajudar aqueles que são um perigo tanto para si mesmos como para os outros (2 Timóteo 2:23,25). Mas nos relembra que, quando se trata de cuidar da mente e coração de outras pessoas, não podemos confiar na ingenuidade e nos músculos humanos. O que realmente precisamos é da sabedoria de Deus. Sem brigar ou ser arrogante, o servo do Senhor deve ser amável e ter paciência (v.24).

A verdade e a graça de Cristo são maiores do que a autoproteção, pois demonstram aos outros quem é a Pessoa que os estamos incentivando a aceitar.

Ao aconselhar alguém que se desviou, aja sempre com cautela e graça.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Tình Bạn Tuyệt Vời
Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Thi thiên 43-45; Công vụ 27:27-44

Thần Chân Lý... đang ở với các con, và sẽ ở trong các con. Giăng 14:17

Bà cụ trong viện dưỡng lão không nói chuyện với bất cứ ai, cũng không đòi hỏi bất cứ điều gì. Dường như bà chỉ tồn tại, lắc lư trong chiếc ghế cũ cọt kẹt của mình. Bà không có nhiều khách đến thăm nên một nữ điều dưỡng trẻ thường đến phòng của bà vào giờ nghỉ. Không đặt câu hỏi để cố khiến bà nói chuyện, cô chỉ đơn giản kéo thêm một chiếc ghế khác lại rồi lắc lư cùng với bà. Sau nhiều tháng, bà cụ nói với cô: “Cảm ơn cháu đã lắc lư cùng bà.” Bà rất biết ơn cháu đã làm bạn với bà.

Trước khi về trời, Chúa Jêsus đã hứa sẽ sai một Đấng đến ở với các môn đồ đời đời. Ngài nói rằng Ngài sẽ không bỏ họ một mình mà sẽ sai Đức Thánh Linh đến ở trong họ (Giăng 14:17). Lời hứa đó vẫn dành cho các tín hữu ngày nay. Chúa Jêsus nói rằng Đức Chúa Trời Ba Ngôi “ngự” trong chúng ta (c.23).

Chúa là người bạn thân thiết và trung thành của chúng ta suốt cuộc đời. Ngài sẽ hướng dẫn chúng ta trong những tranh chiến sâu thẳm nhất, tha thứ tội lỗi chúng ta, nghe từng lời cầu nguyện thầm lặng và mang lấy những gánh nặng mà chúng ta không thể gánh.

Hôm nay, chúng ta có thể vui mừng vì có Ngài là người bạn tuyệt vời.

Lạy Chúa, cảm ơn Ngài đã ban cho chúng con có Thánh Linh Ngài là người bạn luôn ở bên.

Tấm lòng của Cơ Đốc nhân là nơi ngự của Thánh Linh.

bởi Anne Cetas

Nuestro Pan Diario - Dulce compañía
La Biblia en un año: Salmos 43–45; Hechos 27:27-44

… el Espíritu de verdad […] mora con vosotros, y estará en vosotros (v. 17).

La abuela no hablaba con nadie ni pedía nada en la residencia de ancianos. Parecía que apenas si existía, mientras se mecía en su vieja silla chirriante. Como no tenía muchos visitantes, una joven enfermera solía ir hasta su habitación cuando tenía un momento libre. No le hacía preguntas para intentar que hablara; simplemente, acercaba otra silla y se mecía con ella. Después de varios meses, la anciana le dijo: «Gracias por mecerte conmigo». Estaba agradecida por la compañía.

Antes de regresar al cielo, Jesús prometió enviarles un compañero constante a sus discípulos. Les dijo que no los dejaría solos, sino que les enviaría al Espíritu Santo para que estuviera en ellos (Juan 14:17). Esa promesa sigue teniendo vigencia para los que creen en Jesús hoy. Él dijo que el Dios trino hará su «morada» en nosotros (v. 23).

El Señor es nuestro compañero íntimo y fiel durante toda la vida. Nos guiará en nuestras peores luchas, perdonará nuestro pecado, escuchará cada oración silenciosa y cargará con lo que nosotros no podemos llevar.

Podemos disfrutar de su dulce compañía hoy.

Querido Señor, gracias por darnos tu Espíritu como nuestro compañero constante.

El corazón del creyente es el hogar del Espíritu Santo.

Unser Täglich Brot - Nette Gesellschaft

[Der] Geist der Wahrheit . . . er bleibt bei euch und wird in euch sein. Johannes 14,17

Die ältere Frau im Pflegeheim sprach mit niemand und stellte auch keine Ansprüche. Zufrieden saß sie in ihrem Schaukelstuhl und es schien, als würde sie einfach vor sich hin existieren. Sie bekam auch nur selten Besuch. Deshalb ging eine der jüngeren Pflegenden in ihrer Pause oft zu ihr ins Zimmer. Sie fragte nichts und versuchte auch nicht, die Frau zum Reden zu bringen, sondern zog sich einfach einen Stuhl herbei und setze sich neben sie. Nach ein paar Monaten sagte die Ältere zu ihr: „Danke, dass Sie bei mir sitzen.“ Sie war dankbar für die Gesellschaft.

Bevor er in den Himmel zurückging, versprach Jesus, den Jüngern einen ständigen Begleiter zu schicken. Er würde sie nicht verlassen, sagte er, sondern ihnen den Heiligen Geist schicken. Der würde immer bei ihnen sein (Joh. 14,17). Das Versprechen gilt auch heute noch für jeden, der Jesus nachfolgt. Jesus hat gesagt, der dreieinige Gott würde „Wohnung“ bei uns nehmen (V.23).

Der Herr ist unser ganzes Leben hindurch unser enger und treuer Begleiter. Er wird uns selbst in den größten Nöten begleiten, uns unsere Schuld vergeben, jedes stille Gebet hören und die Lasten tragen, die uns zu schwer sind.

Wir dürfen uns heute an seiner Gesellschaft erfreuen.

Lieber Herr, hab Dank, dass du uns deinen Geist gibst als ständigen Begleiter.

Das Herz des Christen ist das Heim des Heiligen Geistes.

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une douce compagnie
Lisez : Jean 14.15‑26
La Bible en un an : PSAUMES 43 – 45 et ACTES 27.27‑44

[L’Esprit] de vérité […] demeure avec vous, et il sera en vous. V. 17

La dame âgée de la maison de retraite ne parlait à personne et ne demandait rien. On aurait dit qu’elle ne faisait qu’exister, se berçant dans sa vieille chaise grinçante. Comme elle avait rarement des visiteurs, une jeune infirmière profitait souvent de ses pauses pour aller la voir dans sa chambre. Sans lui poser de questions pour l’amener à parler, l’infirmière se contentait de tirer une autre chaise à côté de la dame en question et de se bercer avec celle‑ci. Au bout de plusieurs mois, la dame âgée lui a dit : « Merci de vous bercer avec moi. » L’aînée lui était reconnaissante de sa compagnie.

Avant de retourner au ciel, Jésus a promis à ses disciples de leur envoyer un compagnon de tous les instants. Il leur a dit qu’il ne les abandonnerait pas à eux‑mêmes, mais qu’il enverrait plutôt le Saint‑Esprit habiter en eux (JN 14.17). Or, cette promesse tient toujours pour ceux qui croient en Jésus à notre époque. Jésus a dit que le Dieu trinitaire fait sa « demeure » en nous (V. 23).

Le Seigneur est notre compagnon intime et fidèle tout au long de notre vie. Il nous guidera durant nos pires épreuves, il nous pardonnera nos péchés, il écoutera chacune de nos prières silencieuses et prendra sur lui les fardeaux trop lourds pour que nous les portions.

Nous pouvons jouir dès aujourd’hui de sa douce compagnie.

Le coeur du chrétien est la demeure du Saint‑Esprit.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Приємна компанія
Читати: Івана 14:15-26
Біблія за рік: Псалми 43−45 ; Дії 27:27-44

Духа правди, що… при вас перебуває, і в вас буде Він. — Івана 14:17

Одна старенька жінка, що мешкала в будинку для людей похилого віку, ні з ким не розмовляла й нічого ні у кого не просила. Здавалося, вона просто існує, сидячи і розгойдуючись у своєму кріслі. Її мало хто відвідував, тому одна молоденька нянечка частенько заходила до неї під час обідньої перерви. Замість того, щоб щось запитувати в неї, намагаючись залучити її до розмови, нянечка просто сідала на інше крісло-гойдалку і гойдалась разом із нею. А через декілька місяців ця старенька жінка сказала нянечці: “Дякую за те, що гойдаєтесь разом зі мною”. Вона була вдячна їй за компанію.

Перед тим, як повернутись на небо до Свого Отця, Ісус пообіцяв учням послати їм Утішителя. Він сказав, що не полишить їх самотніх, але пришле до них Святого Духа – щоб в них перебував (Ів. 14:17). Ця обітниця і сьогодні діє для віруючих в Ісуса. Христос обіцяв, що Сам Триєдиний Бог створить у наших серцях “оселю” для Себе (Ів. 14:23).

Господь – наш вірний і близький Супутник протягом усього життя. Він веде нас в часи найзапекліших борінь, прощає наші гріхи, чує кожну нашу молитву і підставляє Своє плече під кожний тягар, що ми неспроможні його нести.

Ми можемо радіти солодкій присутності Ісуса в любий час.

Дорогий Господи, дякуємо за Святого Духа, нашого вірного й постійного Супутника.

Серце християнина – то домівка Святого Духа.

Автор Енн Сітас

Хлеб наш насущный - Добрый спутник
Читать сейчас: Иоанна 14:15-26

[Дух истины] с вами пребывает и в вас будет. — Иоанна 14:17

Старушка в доме престарелых ни с кем не разговаривала и не отвечала на вопросы. Казалось, она даже не шевелилась в своем скрипучем старом кресле. К ней никто не приходил, поэтому одна молодая сиделка во время перерывов часто заходила в ее комнату. Не задавая вопросов и не пытаясь разговорить старушку, она просто придвигала другое кресло и садилась рядом. Однажды, после нескольких месяцев взаимного молчания, старушка произнесла: «Спасибо, что молчали со мной». Она была благодарна за общество.

Перед тем как вернуться на небо, Иисус обещал Своим ученикам прислать постоянного спутника. Он заверил, что не оставит их одних, но пошлет Святого Духа, который будет жить в них (Ин. 14:17). Это обетование остается в силе и для верующих наших дней. Иисус обещал, что триединый Бог создаст в нас Свою обитель (Ин. 14:23).

Господь – наш близкий и верный спутник в течение всей жизни. Певец Скотт Крипэйн выразил эту истину в своей песне:

В моей ночи глубочайшей Он сияет мне звездой;
В моей скорби величайшей Он – Утешитель благой. Он – внимательное ухо, чтоб молитве тихой внять; Он – плечо родного друга, чтоб опорой твердой стать.

Мы можем наслаждаться Его обществом в любое время.

Дорогой Господь, благодарим Тебя за Святого Духа, нашего верного спутника.

Сердце христианина – жилище Святого Духа.

автор: Анн Ситас