Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, August 10, 2017

The Coming of Elijah
Opening Sentence
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. Habakkuk 2:20

Morning Prayer
Dear Jesus, look down on me this morning with sympathy, for I feel much afflicted. I have a headache and my back hurts. I did not sleep well and I did not sleep long enough. I am worried about my health, I am worried about my money, I am worried about my family. My home needs repairs. People do not give me the respect I deserve. Nobody listens to me.

There is a certain person who is driving me crazy! I don't have as much energy as I used to and I'm not sure I have enough to get everything done today that I want to do, or even, that I need to do.

The crazy and even destructive things people say in the media and the political mess in my locality and my nation make me despair. How can people be so stupid? They just seem to get worse and worse. The country is run by morons; how can people fail to elect people with some minimum of competence and honesty? Even in the churches, people cannot see or understand the most basic things about you, and the hypocrisy of so many Christians makes me half-ashamed to call myself one sometimes.

And then, Lord Christ, I realize. The world is not perfectible. There is only one place free from pain, worry, frustration, and all of the nonsense and damage that the human mind can create, and that is in your bosom. Hold me tight, Lord Jesus; give me the strength to endure the pain, give me the certainty of hope to avoid the anxiety, give me the blessed knowledge of Your coming again that I might not be stressed out about the things of this world; for they shall pass away soon enough.

And in the meantime, let me grow in you, that I might see my own wrongdoing and with the help of your Spirit, simply dissolve it away. It is in this world that Satan can find his prey, the fertile soil for evil. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, great Lord. Help me to prepare myself, I pray, in the name of Your love, Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness

Almighty Father; we enter your presence confessing the things we try to conceal from you and the things we try to conceal from others. We confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow we have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive us, the times we have made it easy for others to do wrong, the harm we have done that makes it hard for us to forgive ourselves. Lord have mercy and forgive us through Christ. Amen.
~ Paul E. Engle, Baker’s Worship Handbook

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 11:1-27
[David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba] In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite." So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant." So David sent word to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?" Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing." Then David said to Uriah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
[David Has Uriah Killed] In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die." As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors. The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was killed as well. Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting; and he instructed the messenger, "When you have finished telling the king all the news about the fighting, then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, 'Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?' then you shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead too.'" So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. The messenger said to David, "The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king's servants are dead; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also." David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab, 'Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; press your attack on the city, and overthrow it.' And encourage him." When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 19:11-20
[The Sons of Sceva] God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit said to them in reply, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 9:2-13
[The Transfiguration] Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
[The Coming of Elijah] As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. Then they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He said to them, "Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 83 Deus, quis similis?
1   O God, do not be silent; do not keep still nor hold your peace, O God;
2   For your enemies are in tumult, and those who hate you have lifted up their heads.
3   They take secret counsel against your people and plot against those whom you protect.
4   They have said, "Come, let us wipe them out from among the nations; let the name of Israel be remembered no more."
5   They have conspired together; they have made an alliance against you:
6   The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; the Moabites and the Hagarenes;
7   Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines and those who dwell in Tyre.
8   The Assyrians also have joined them, and have come to help the people of Lot.
9   Do to them as you did to Midian, to Sisera, and to Jabin at the river of Kishon:
10   They were destroyed at Endor; they became like dung upon the ground.
11   Make their leaders like Oreb and Zeëb, and all their commanders like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12   Who said, "Let us take for ourselves the fields of God as our possession."
13   O my God, make them like whirling dust and like chaff before the wind;
14   Like fire that burns down a forest, like the flame that sets mountains ablaze.
15   Drive them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm;
16   Cover their faces with shame, O LORD, that they may seek your Name.
17   Let them be disgraced and terrified for ever; let them be put to confusion and perish.
18   Let them know that you, whose Name is YAHWEH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 85 Benedixisti, Domine
1   You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
2   You have forgiven the iniquity of your people and blotted out all their sins.
3   You have withdrawn all your fury and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
4   Restore us then, O God our Savior; let your anger depart from us.
5   Will you be displeased with us for ever? will you prolong your anger from age to age?
6   Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7   Show us your mercy, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
8   I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
9   Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10   Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11   Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12   The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, and our land will yield its increase.
13   Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

Psalm 86 Inclina, Domine
1   Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery.
2   Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant who puts his trust in you.
3   Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long.
4   Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
5   For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, and great is your love toward all who call upon you.
6   Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7   In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me.
8   Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD, nor anything like your works.
9   All the nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD, and glorify your Name.
10   For you are great; you do wondrous things; and you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.
12   I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name for evermore.
13   For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.
14   The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent men seeks my life; they have not set you before their eyes.
15   But you, O LORD, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.
16   Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid.
17   Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

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

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

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

Prayer of the Day
O Lord Jesus Christ, give me a measure of your spirit, that I may be able to obey your teachings, to pacify anger, to pity the sinful, to moderate desire, to increase love, to put away sorrow, to cast aside pride in my accomplishments, not to be vindictive, not to fear death, always entrusting my spirit to Almighty God the Father, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, with no end. 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.

Farther On
performed by Alaska String Band

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

Closing Prayer
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time, 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, August 10, 2017

O Lord Jesus Christ, give me a measure of your spirit, that I may be able to obey your teachings, to pacify anger, to pity the sinful, to moderate desire, to increase love, to put away sorrow, to cast aside pride in my accomplishments, not to be vindictive, not to fear death, always entrusting my spirit to Almighty God the Father, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, with no end. Amen.

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, August 10, 2017

Psalm 46:1 (NIV) [For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.] God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Read all of Psalm 46

Listen to Psalm 46

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 Holds Us Together

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Most of us marvel, from time to time, at the miracle of the universe or some part of it. We hear something mind-boggling about the human body or we think about how a human grows from a single fertilized cell. Or we hear that there are 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars. But, if you can sit still to hear one statistic about physics, you might be even more amazed.

Even when we are wondering at the universe, we simply take for granted the most remarkable thing of all: things keep their shape. Electrons exist precisely the correct distance from atomic nuclei so that they neither go flying off nor fall into the center of the atom; the chance of atoms existing, just in respect to the speed and distance of electrons being precisely what is needed for matter to exist, has been estimated at 1 in — excuse me, this number is so long it needs its own line

How any scientist does not believe in God is a mystery to me. The chances of reality occurring by some random bit of luck are, basically, zero. By its nature, the world is “without form and void”; what gives it form is God, just like it says in the Bible. God is what holds things together, in every sense of the word.

The Bible also tells us that God loves us; He knows who we are. We are important to Him. And one of the things He will hold together, if we put our faith in Him, is us!

So why undo His hard work and tear yourself apart? Everyone has problems; not everyone is smart enough to turn to God with them. There is enough God to go around.
Lord God, let me always turn to you when I am tearing myself apart; for I know that you and you alone have the power to make me whole. Amen
In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Most of us marvel, from time to time, at the miracle of the universe or some part of it.

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por la pérdida de un hijo

El Señor está cerca de los quebrantados de corazón, y salva a los de espíritu abatido.
~ Salmo 34:18 (NVI)

Señor Jesús, hoy vengo ante ti intercediendo por todas las madres que han perdido un hijo, ya sea durante el embarazo o en alguna otra circunstancia.

Sé que tú, como Padre, puedes comprender la inmensidad del dolor porque también entregaste a tu Hijo Jesucristo a una muerte terrible en la cruz.

Señor, consuela, fortalece y levanta a cada hija tuya que esté atravesando este dolor.

Sabemos que eres perfecto, y aunque no entendamos por qué permites estas pruebas en nuestras vidas, descansamos en ti.

Ayúdalas, mi Dios, y permite que los padres que sufren también puedan recibir consolación. Levanta y sana estos matrimonios y permite que tú seas su esperanza.

Gracias, Señor, por las pruebas. A pesar de que no las entendemos, sabemos que tienen propósitos eternos en ti.

Te amo, Señor, y te entregamos nuestras vidas.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE PROCESS OF PERSECUTION-4: MISTREATMENT

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him…

When the process gets to persecution (mistreatment following disinformation and discrimination), no one will do anything because, ‘You know they are bad people anyway,’” says Rev. Dr. Johan Candelin referring to his three-step process of persecution model.

Once the first steps in the process occur, mistreatment can be practiced without normal protective measures taking place. Persecution can arise from the state, the police or military, extremist organizations, paramilitary groups, anti-Christian sub-cultures and even representatives of other religious groups. The irony is that in many parts of the world, the accusations of the attackers turn the victims into the villains.

This stage is the end result and includes the “big three”: torture, imprisonment and martyrdom which are most often the examples used for persecution. A specific example would be the imprisonment of hundreds of evangelical Christians in Eritrea without formal charges—many kept in metal shipping containers.

In Iran, a Christian couple were detained and physically and psychologically tortured for four days. The authorities even threatened to lock up their four-year-old daughter in an “institution.” Twenty-eight-year-old Tina Rad from Teheran was accused of “activities against the holy religion of Islam,” because she was reading the Bible with Muslims. Her thirty-one-year-old husband, Makan Arya, was accused of having endangered national security. Both of them had only been Christians for three months. Muslim converts meet together in small groups to talk about the gospel, to grow in the Christian faith and to encourage one another. They have made a vast transition from Islam to Christianity and they have a great need of training, security and a sense of belonging. The Church tries to provide for this need and becomes the new “family.”

When they were released, the threats started. “If you don’t stop with your Jesus, next time we will charge you with apostasy,” Tina was told. In Iran, this can mean the death penalty.

Jamaa Ait Bakrim in Morocco is also serving time for his faith. Moroccan Christians and advocates question the harsh measures of the Muslim state toward a man who dared speak openly about Jesus. An outspoken Christian convert, Bakrim was sentenced to fifteen years prison for “proselytizing” and destroying “the goods of others” in 2005 after burning two defunct utility poles located in front of his private business in a small town in south Morocco.

Advocates and Moroccan Christians said, however, that the severity of his sentence in relation to his misdemeanor shows that authorities were determined to put him behind bars because he persistently spoke about his faith. “He became a Christian and didn’t keep it to himself,” said a Moroccan Christian and host for Al Hayat Television who goes only by his first name, Rachid, for security reasons. “He shared it with people around him. They will just leave him in the prison so he dies spiritually and psychologically,” said Rachid.

RESPONSE: Today I will do everything possible to represent my persecuted brothers and sisters.

PRAYER: Pray for Christians experiencing mistreatment and persecution around the world today.

NIV Devotions for Men - Trashed Potential

You knew that guy in high school—the guy with all the money, the looks, the clothes and the fastest car. He was the popular one, the guy everyone liked to hang out with, the one who was a lock for being voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” But instead of taking advantage of all these advantages, he decided to spend his time chasing girls and partying, to the dismay of his parents and the ruin of his GPA.

Trust Fund Babies. College playboys. Frat-house social committee chairmen. To direct these terms at other guys is to accuse them of riding Daddy’s coattails and to call into question their work ethic and the seriousness with which they take life. Those who have less in the world can only scratch their heads and wonder what they could do with the same perks.

Now, this is a stereotype, to be sure. A few bad apples don’t spoil the whole barrel in this case. But as we can’t think back on that one guy and not wonder what happened, so also we can’t read the story of Samson and not wonder what went haywire.

Mighty Samson, who has never lost a battle, is captured by a woman, tortured by his enemies and enslaved until his death. The mighty warrior who has killed scores of his enemies with rudimentary tools and with his bare hands trips up on the most obvious of ploys. The one who was to be dedicated to God’s service for the purpose of saving his people ends up in bondage to the very people he was intended to conquer.

What was he thinking? How could he have subjected himself to this kind of trickery? Didn’t Delilah ask him repeatedly about the secret of his strength, and couldn’t he see where this was leading? Did he forget that the Philistines had come into her house and tried to capture him on a number of occasions? Or did he just enjoy playing this game, knowing he couldn’t lose?

The sad fact is that Samson was just as human as you and I. He allowed his eyes to lead him astray, and he allowed his pride to strategize for him. In some sense he was a victim of his own success—and he learned the hard way that even a slugger with a perfect batting average can strike out when it matters most.

So what can we learn from Samson’s story today? Were you the one in high school who squandered your advantages and made foolish choices? Can you think back on times when you deliberately disobeyed what you knew to be God’s will for your life—and paid the price? If so, gain encouragement from the end of Samson’s story. God gave him a second chance to show that he was God’s man, and Samson struck a crippling blow to his enemies. God also gives us more chances than we can count to return to him and rededicate ourselves to his mission in the world.

To Take Away
  • Why was it so easy for Samson to ignore his greatest weaknesses?
  • How would you describe your greatest weakness?
  • How could God help you turn your weakness into a quality he can use in his great strength?

Girlfriends in God - August 10, 2017

How’s Your Faith?
Part 1

Today’s Truth

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
~ Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)

Friend to Friend

The greenest grass is always found in the valley. Shepherds and sheep are well acquainted with the fact that both mountains and valleys are an inevitable part of life.

Remember – the shepherd has to figure out a way over the mountain and through the valley. If a sheep is injured, the shepherd must carry his sheep and tend to its wounds until they are healed and the sheep is ready to return to the fold. The shepherd’s whole world revolves around the safety and comfort of his sheep, even in the deepest valley.

Valleys are a certainty of life. Your job is eliminated. Your husband is having an affair, or your teenage daughter is pregnant. Financial pressure suffocates dreams, or the betrayal of a trusted friend inflicts a wound so deep and painful that you long for that valley of death. Each day is thick with fear, and your heart is filled with disbelief. The valley may suddenly stretch before you in a time of loneliness or in the shock of a dire medical diagnosis.

The death of a loved one can derail a life. The death of a long-held hope can plunge us into a slimy pit of despair and darkness. Dreams that have slowly died or relationships that have abruptly ended can leave us stranded and alone in our own personal valley of death.

While valleys may come in all shapes and sizes, one thing is certain—valleys will come. That being said, we must ask and answer the question, “How can we deal with the valleys in life?” We must respond with faith.

Don’t let that word – faith – frighten you. You have faith. You walk into a dark room and flip a switch, knowing that the light will come on. You sit in a chair, knowing it will support your weight. You buy a ticket and board a plane, trusting that aircraft to get you to your desired destination. Yes, you have faith. It is just a matter of where you place that faith that makes all the difference in the world. When you place your faith in God, a world of possibilities and impossibilities opens up.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

It was advertised that the devil was putting his tools up for sale. When the day of the sale came, each tool was priced and laid out for public inspection. And what a collection it was. Hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit or pride…the inventory was treacherous.

Off to one side was a harmless-looking tool priced higher than all the rest, even though it was obviously more worn than any other tool the devil owned. “What’s the name of this tool?” asked one of the customers. “That,” the devil replied, “is discouragement.” The customer asked, “But why have you priced it so high?” The devil smiled and explained, “Because discouragement is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that tool when I can’t get near him with any other. It’s badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since so few people know it belongs to me.”

Are you discouraged…afraid…desperately trying to find enough energy to simply breathe? God knows. And He really is your shepherd. He understands that you may only be able to take one tiny, almost imperceptible step of faith. But He sees you, and just like a parent applauding their child’s first stumbling step, God will honor your choice to take it.

(Be sure to join me on Thursday for the rest of the story on faith!)

Let’s Pray

Father, I thank You for being my Shepherd. Please teach me how to rest in Your care and trust You no matter how high the mountains or how deep the valleys in my life may be. Today, I choose to rest in You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

By faith, accept the truth that God is always at work in your life and thank Him for His steadfast provision. Look back over the past few days, weeks and months of your life. Now praise Him for the things He has done.

Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What are the steps listed in this passage that – when taken – will help you walk by faith?

More from the Girlfriends

Our faith is tested when the storms of life hit. Are you sitting in a rocking boat that you fear is about to capsize? Mary has a message of hope for you! Check out her CD, Strength for the Storm, and discover how to find strength and the courage to face the trials in your life.

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 - August 10, 2017 "Something Special"

There are times when I meet, or hear of, special Christians.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour


"Something Special"

August 10, 2017

(Jesus said) "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

There are times when I meet, or hear of, special Christians. By that I mean believers whose commitment to the Savior is something special. Here is an example:

On April 25, 1958, a Korean exchange student, a young Christian leader at the University of Pennsylvania, left his room and went to the mailbox to send a letter to his parents in Pusan. Turning from the mailbox he stepped into the path of 11 leather-jacketed gang members. Without a word they attacked him, beat him with a blackjack, with a lead pipe, with their fists.

By the time the police found him in a gutter, the young man was dead.

All of Philadelphia cried for vengeance; the district attorney was granted the authority to try the gang members as adults. It was his intent, if they were found guilty, to ask for the death penalty.

That's the way it was until a letter arrived from Korea, a letter signed by the parents and 20 other relatives of the murdered boy. In part the letter said, "Our family has met ... (and we are asking) the most generous treatment possible within the laws of your government be given to those who have committed this criminal action ... we have decided to ... start a fund to be used for the religious, educational, vocational, and social guidance of the boys when they are released. We have dared to express our hope with a spirit received from the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ who died for our sins."

When I first heard that story, I thought, I don't know if I could have written that letter. I wonder where the family got the idea of trying to turn their son's death into something good.

Then I remembered.

Two-thousand years ago, God's Son, our Savior, was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem. His hours on the cross came only after He had been betrayed by one of His closest friends and unfairly tried in front of a stacked courtroom. The verdict in those trials had already been decided, and false witnesses were employed to assure Jesus of Nazareth would die. When those witnesses proved to be insufficient, the leader of the court twisted Jesus' words to produce the desired outcome.

In order to receive Rome's blessing on the legalized murder, Jesus was brought before the procurator. Although convinced of the Redeemer's innocence, Pontus Pilate had Jesus whipped. That pain was underscored by the soldiers who crowned the Christ with thorns, spit on Him, beat Him, and mocked Him as a pretend king.

By mid-morning, Jesus, carrying humanity's sins, had been crucified. He would die six hours later.

And why did this happen? It happened so that you and I, along with all the world's sinners, might be forgiven and saved. Jesus' third-day resurrection from the dead is living, breathing proof that His sacrifice has been completed and is accepted. It was God's plan to turn His Son's death into something good: salvation and forgiveness for all who are brought to faith.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I stand in awe of Your love, which saves lost souls. May I do all I can to share with others this precious story of salvation. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

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CPTLN Devocional de 10 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento Diario

No los maten a todos

10 de Agosto 2017

Pero cuando se cumplió el tiempo señalado, Dios envió a su Hijo, que nació de una mujer y sujeto a la ley, para que redimiera a los que estaban sujetos a la ley, a fin de que recibiéramos la adopción de hijos.

A la entrada del edificio de la oficina principal de Lutheran Hour Ministries (Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones) hay un cartel que dice que está prohibido entrar al edificio portando armas. Hasta donde yo sé, quienes trabajan allí cumplen con esa regla y espero que los visitantes también lo hagan.

Para Abdul-Rahman Al Marwani, el jeque de Yemen, el tratar de mantener bajo control las armas y la violencia es una labor constante. Yemen es un país en el que hay tres armas por habitante, y 1,200 asesinatos por año. Un artículo publicado por Time cita las siguientes palabras de Marwani: "Un hombre pobre es capaz de no comprar comida, para poder comprar un arma. Porque en Yemen un hombre sin armas no vale nada".

En las últimas decadas, la venganza y los conflictos tribales han costado la vida a un gran número de empleados del Jeque. De más está decir que los cristianos no están exentos de estos ataques.

Cuando el Jeque escuchó que un predicador islámico alentaba a sus oyentes a matar cristianos, le preguntó: "¿Crees que Alá es sabio, y que todas las cosas vienen de Alá?" El predicador le dijo que sí. "¿Incluyendo el Mercedes Benz que manejas?" El predicador estuvo de acuerdo en que su Mercedes también era un regalo de Alá. Entonces el Jeque le dijo: no mates a todos los cristianos, "porque si matas a todos los cristianos, no quedará ninguno para construir más Mercedes".

Por más que aprecio los esfuerzos del Jeque a favor de los seguidores de Jesús, preferiría que mi valor no estuviera directamente relacionado con la manufactura de vehículos Mercedes.

Por eso es que doy gracias por las palabras que Pablo escribió en su carta a la iglesia en Galacia, donde dice que tanto usted como yo, valemos mucho.

¿Cuánto? Lo suficiente como para que el Señor prometiera enviar a su Hijo a nuestro mundo para salvarnos. Lo suficiente como para que Dios cumpliera esa promesa. Lo suficiente como para que Jesús viviera, sufriera, muriera y resucitara, para que pudiéramos ser adoptados como hijos de Dios.

Piense en esto por un momento. Quizás el mundo, o un vecino, o algún compañero de trabajo o escuela, no lo valore mucho.

Pero el Creador del universo sí lo valora. Y esto es lo único que cuenta.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, mientras algunas personas pueden pensar que mi mayor mérito es ser blanco de sus balas literales y figurativas, puedo dar gracias que tu decidiste perdonarme y salvarme. Doy gracias en nombre de Jesús. Amén.

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