Friday, August 11, 2017

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, August 11, 2017

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
Opening Sentence
The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. John 4:23

Morning Prayer
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
God, be merciful to me;
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
In Thy vast, abounding grace,
My transgressions all erase.
Wash me wholly from my sin;
Cleanse from every ill within.

For my sins before me rise,
Ever present to my eyes.
I have sinned ‘gainst Thee alone.
In Thy sight this evil done;
That Thy judgment may be clear,
And Thy sentence just appear.

Lo, brought forth was I in sin;
When conceived I was unclean.
Lo, Thou dost desire to find
Truth sincere within the mind:
And Thou wilt within my heart
Wisdom unto me impart.

Then with hyssop sprinkle me,
And form sin I clean shall be.
Wash me from its stain, and lo,
I shall whiter be than snow.
Make me hear joy’s cheering voice;
Make my broken bones rejoice.

From my sins hide Thou Thy face;
My iniquities erase.
O my God, renew my heart,
And a spirit right impart.
Cast me not away from Thee,
Nor Thy Spirit take form me.

Give salvation’s’ joy again,
And a willing mind sustain.
Then thy perfect ways I’ll show
That transgressors may them know;
They converted then shall be
Sinners shall be turned to Thee. Amen.
(Psalm 51)

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 12:1-14
But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD, and the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him." Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the LORD: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun." David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan said to David, "Now the LORD has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die."

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 19:21-41
[The Riot in Ephesus] Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, "After I have gone there, I must also see Rome." So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia. About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, "Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her." When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's travel companions. Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theater. Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" But when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, "Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven? Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. You have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. If there is anything further you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion." When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 9:14-29
[The Healing of a Boy with a Spirit] When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so." He answered them, "You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me." And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us." Jesus said to him, "If you are able!-- All things can be done for the one who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief!" When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!" After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "This kind can come out only through prayer."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 88 Domine, Deus
1   O LORD, my God, my Savior, by day and night I cry to you.
2   Let my prayer enter into your presence; incline your ear to my lamentation.
3   For I am full of trouble; my life is at the brink of the grave.
4   I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I have become like one who has no strength;
5   Lost among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave,
6   Whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
7   You have laid me in the depths of the Pit, in dark places, and in the abyss.
8   Your anger weighs upon me heavily, and all your great waves overwhelm me.
9   You have put my friends far from me; you have made me to be abhorred by them; I am in prison and cannot get free.
10   My sight has failed me because of trouble; LORD, I have called upon you daily; I have stretched out my hands to you.
11   Do you work wonders for the dead? will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?
12   Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave? your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
13   Will your wonders be known in the dark? or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?
14   But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
15   LORD, why have you rejected me? why have you hidden your face from me?
16   Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the point of death; I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.
17   Your blazing anger has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me;
18   They surround me all day long like a flood; they encompass me on every side.
19   My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, and darkness is my only companion.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 91 Qui habitat
1   He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
2   He shall say to the LORD, "You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I put my trust."
3   He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter and from the deadly pestilence.
4   He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings; his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
5   You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day;
6   Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
7   A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.
8   Your eyes have only to behold to see the reward of the wicked.
9   Because you have made the LORD your refuge, and the Most High your habitation,
10   There shall no evil happen to you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11   For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
12   They shall bear you in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13   You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
14   Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
15   He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
16   With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

Psalm 92 Bonum est confiteri
1   It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High;
2   To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning and of your faithfulness in the night season;
3   On the psaltery, and on the lyre, and to the melody of the harp.
4   For you have made me glad by your acts, O LORD; and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.
5   LORD, how great are your works! your thoughts are very deep.
6   The dullard does not know, nor does the fool understand, that though the wicked grow like weeds, and all the workers of iniquity flourish,
7   They flourish only to be destroyed for ever; but you, O LORD, are exalted for evermore.
8   For lo, your enemies, O LORD, lo, your enemies shall perish, and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
9   But my horn you have exalted like the horns of wild bulls; I am anointed with fresh oil.
10   My eyes also gloat over my enemies, and my ears rejoice to hear the doom of the wicked who rise up against me.
11   The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
12   Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God;
13   They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be green and succulent;
14   That they may show how upright the LORD is, my Rock, in whom there is no fault.

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
Holy God, who has filled me with the joy of your grace and salvation, assist me this day that I may do all things I am called to do without grumbling or disputing. I call on your Spirit to assist me, that I may be blameless and innocent, a child of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.

Let me follow holy Christ and all his saints: Let me shine as a light, a beacon in a world where darkness seeks to overcome us in every thing and at every moment. And help me to hold fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ's return I may be proud that I did not strive in vain.

I pray this not for my own glory, but in all humility before you, to whom be all glory and honor, Amen.

A Prayer for Fridays
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

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

Closing Prayer
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity. 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 FRIDAY, August 11, 2017

Holy God, who has filled me with the joy of your grace and salvation, assist me this day that I may do all things I am called to do without grumbling or disputing. I call on your Spirit to assist me, that I may be blameless and innocent, a child of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.

Let me follow holy Christ and all his saints: Let me shine as a light, a beacon in a world where darkness seeks to overcome us in every thing and at every moment. And help me to hold fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ's return I may be proud that I did not strive in vain.

I pray this not for my own glory, but in all humility before you, to whom be all glory and honor, Amen.

Verse of the Day for FRIDAY, August 11, 2017

Psalm 119:14 (NIV) I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

Read all of Psalm 119

Listen to Psalm 119

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - Caught Up

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

In Acts 8, we read that after Philip led the Ethiopian man to Christ, “the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away” (verse 39). Philip wasn’t caught up to Heaven; he was removed to another place. With all the freeways in California, I wish God would repeat that miracle.

One day believers will be caught up to be with the Lord in the air. Then, when He comes back to the earth, we will return with Him. There is a difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. The Rapture introduces the Tribulation. The Tribulation period follows the rapture of the church and concludes with the Second Coming. At the Rapture, Jesus comes for His church. At the Second Coming, He comes with His church. Colossians 3 says, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (verse 4).

Probably the most definitive verse on the Rapture, and the text from which we get the actual term rapture, is 1 Thessalonians 4, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (verses 16–17).

The Rapture will take place very quickly. In fact, the Bible says it will be “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). The twinkling of an eye is said to last about one thousandth of a second. That means we should live each moment of our lives in expectation of the Lord’s return.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved. 
There's a difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming. Do you know what it is?

Un Dia a la Vez - La limpieza del templo de Dios

¿Quién puede subir al monte del Señor? ¿Quién puede estar en su lugar santo? Solo el de manos limpias y corazón puro.
~ Salmo 24:3-4 (NVI)

El concepto de la limpieza no es necesariamente verte con una escoba, una mopa o cualquier otro utensilio de aseo. La limpieza también tiene que ver con nuestro cuerpo cuando Jesús viene a nuestro corazón al aceptarlo como el Salvador de nuestras vidas.

El Manual de Instrucciones nos enseña que nosotros somos el templo del Espíritu Santo. La pregunta es la siguiente: ¿Cómo está ese templo? ¿Está lleno de corrupción, de pecado, de mentira, de hábitos que desagradan a Dios?

La limpieza de la casa de Dios, o el templo del Espíritu, a veces no es cosa de un día. Quizá tengamos cosas tan arraigadas que nos resulten difíciles de sacar. Sin embargo, con la ayuda de Dios, claro que es posible.

Cuando estamos agradecidos por lo que Él nos ha dado, como la salvación y la vida eterna, tenemos que poner de nuestra parte.

Hoy examinemos y saquemos lo que de seguro oscurece el templo del Espíritu y la posterior llegada de Dios a nuestra casa.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE SOURCE OF PERSECUTION

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.
~ Esther 3:8 (NIV)

Today we feature the first in a series from a house church pastor’s sermon in China:

The Bible is written to persecuted communities, and we must learn from each community the peculiar blessings and dangers of persecution. I would like to draw your attention to some lessons from the persecuted community in the time of Esther.

Esther was Queen of Persia sometime after 483 BC. She was a beautiful woman with a secret—no one except her adopted father knew it. It was her racial origin. She was a Jew.

There came a great persecution. In Esther 3:8, we read that the king of Persia’s advisor says he should not tolerate a certain group of people. The king agrees, and issues a decree calling for the extermination of all Jews.

The Jews are devastated, including Esther. How they got into this situation, how they get out of it, and what happened afterwards all reveal great truths about suffering churches—of which we are one.
Where does persecution come from? What is its source? The text shows us clearly. Persecution is the result of pride. Pride on the part of the persecutor.

Haman is the culprit. He is humiliated because a Jew called Mordecai refuses to bow low enough to him. We are not given the reason why Mordecai would deliver such a calculated snub, but it makes Haman see red. Instead of just trying to get rid of Mordecai, though, he has to project his personal humiliation into something grand. He won’t admit it’s all just a personal grudge, but concocts an elaborate plan to get rid of all Jews because they are in breach of the king’s laws.

His plan is a good one. The Jews are different, he says. True. They are so different, they are not good citizens, he adds. False, but the king is right to be suspicious of any group that seems to have other loyalties than just to him. It’s the same in China. Our government persecutes us because we are different. We are honest, separate, and we have greater loyalties than just to the state. That makes us an object of suspicion.

But the root of it all is pride. The cause of the persecution was simply that Haman was angry. I have read that in Russia, the terrible persecutions that were visited upon the churches there came from the fact that Lenin’s brother was shot by the Tsar’s forces, and what galled him in particular was that a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the proceedings. He carried his personal hatred with him…It’s a pride matter. It always is. The source of suffering is always found in human pride.

RESPONSE: Today I will check my pride at the door and realize that God is still in control!

PRAYER: Pray that prideful leaders will humble themselves to acknowledge the God of the universe.

Men of the Bible - Isaiah

His name means: "The Lord Has Saved"

His work: An eighth-century BC prophet, Isaiah's message was primarily directed toward Judah and Jerusalem, warning God's people of coming judgment on their sins.
His character: He was a learned man of principle and integrity and of deep humility.
His sorrow: Isaiah was grieved that God's people were unwilling to repent.
His triumph: Isaiah had a vision of God that profoundly shaped his long prophetic ministry.
Key Scriptures: Isaiah 6

A Look at the Man

The people noticed the difference in Isaiah. Rumor had spread that he had seen a vision in the temple that day. No one knew exactly what—or whom—he had seen, but whatever had happened, Isaiah was a changed man.

What Isaiah had experienced in the temple was one of history's most profound commissioning ceremonies, and because of its power, Isaiah's course was changed like a flood tearing down a riverbank.

Isaiah had grown up on the right side of the tracks. His family was from the royal tribe of Judah. His pedigree and command of the language marked his stature and his message. After the vision in the temple, for almost sixty years his assignment included ministry in the courts of the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. So naturally Isaiah might have been tempted to place himself above the people to whom he preached. But because of the temple visitation, the preacher never forgot that he too was counted among the sinners. Just because he had been gifted and called to deliver God's message didn't excuse him from the need for repentance.

Isaiah had witnessed something very few mortals have seen before his time or since. He was allowed the privilege of seeing a glimpse of God's glory. The experience tore away any shroud of pride that may have covered him, replacing it with a sense of wonder and humility. It was as though the living God was saying to the prophet, "Don't forget who you're talking about, Isaiah. Never forget whom you serve."

And there was the searing heat of the burning ember. Why couldn't God have just told me of my forgiveness? Why the coal? Why this pain? Isaiah must have wondered over the succeeding weeks as the scabs on his lips slowly healed. But God had a purpose in this, too. He wanted Isaiah to remember the pain of repentance, the agony of confession. And he touched the part of Isaiah's body that he was using to represent the Holy One of Israel: his mouth. No doubt it was several weeks, perhaps months, before Isaiah could speak without physical pain. God's mission had been perfectly accomplished.

And now Isaiah's message of the people's sinfulness included the promise of redemption in the coming of the Savior: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

The sparkle in Isaiah's eyes didn't come from a strident preacher who delighted in shouting condemnation, but in the words of deliverance through the Son of God who would come to save the people from their sins—including the sins of the woeful prophet.

Reflect On: Isaiah 25:1–5
Praise God: For his sovereignty and power, for his mercy and his grace.
Offer Thanks: For calling us to repentance and for providing a Savior.
Confess: Our casual attitude about being in his holy presence in worship and our cavalier attitude about our own sin.
Ask God: To give you a glimpse of his glory—an understanding of what Isaiah must have experienced that day in the temple. Tell him that you’re willing to be sent, to be his ambassador, his mouthpiece.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (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. Coming this fall: watch for Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler.

Girlfriends in God - August 11, 2017

How’s Your Faith?
Part 2

Today’s Truth

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
~ Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

Valleys are lined with disappointment and discouragement. Some people seem to thrive on adversity, emerging from their valley with greater strength and deeper faith. Others stumble and fall, giving in to discouragement and dropping out of the race. The difference in outcome is determined by the way we choose to handle discouragement.

We must respond to each valley with trust and faith. The word “trust” means, “to lie helpless, face down” and is the picture of a servant waiting for his master’s command or a soldier yielding himself to a conquering general. “Heart” refers to “the center of one’s being.” In other words, to trust God completely means that from the very center of our being, from the very core of our existence, we trust Him, totally abandoning ourselves in childlike faith to Him and His plan. We come, holding nothing in our hands, pushing no agenda, with one word in our heart—“whatever!” “Whatever You want me to do, Lord, I will do. Whatever You want me to say, Lord, I will say. Whatever You want me to think, Lord, I will think. Whatever path You have for me, Lord, I will walk.”

If you are like me, you sometimes think you don’t have enough faith. The amount of faith is not nearly as important as the right kind of faith—faith in God alone.

A mustard seed is small but can still take root and grow—just like faith. Faith is also like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes.

We must remember that faith doesn’t rest on what we have done. Faith rests on what Christ has done. As Paul says, times of stress accentuate the presence and power of God.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT).

When the valleys come, we are tempted to abandon our faith and strike out in our own strength. What we should do is embrace our faith in God, look for our Shepherd, and follow Him.

The story is told of a shepherd who tried to persuade his sheep to cross a swiftly flowing stream. Since sheep are naturally afraid of rapidly running water, the shepherd couldn’t get them to cross. Then he had an idea.

Picking up a lamb, the shepherd stepped into the river and carried it to the opposite shore. When the mother saw that the shepherd had safely led her lamb across the stream, she forgot her fear - and stepped out in faith and into the rushing current. Soon, she was safely on the other side. The rest of the flock followed.

Faith rests in what Christ has already done on the cross and in our lives.

Faith hopes for what God will do for us in the future.

Faith builds on the victories of yesterday to help us face the valleys of today and the questions about tomorrow.

Faith in God is sure and certain, believing that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. When we believe God will fulfill His promises, even though we can’t see a single promise materializing, we are exercising faith.

Faith does not bypass pain, but it does empower us to deal with pain. Faith steps up to the bat and invites the opponent to throw his best pitch. Sometimes faith strengthens us, and other times faith surprises us. Great faith is forged in the deepest valleys, beginning where our strength and power end and God’s begins. How’s your faith?

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to be a woman of faith, but I am so weak and so often afraid. Today, I choose against fear. Instead, I choose to believe You and Your Word. Please help me learn how to reject the lies of the enemy and celebrate the absolute truth of Your Word.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now it’s Your Turn

One of my favorite descriptions of faith is:

F: forsaking
A: all
I: I
T: trust
H: Him

How would you define faith?

Read Hebrews 11:6 and record it in your journal. Then write the verse in your own words.

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

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.

Need help learning how to study the Bible? Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey. The current topic is How to Tame Your Tongue. And be sure to connect with Mary on Face book or through email.

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 11, 2017 "A Successful Life"

How can a person have a successful life? It's a good question...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"A Successful Life"

August 11, 2017

We love because He first loved us.
~ 1 John 4:19 (ESV)

How can a person have a successful life? It's a good question, don't you think?

I found the answer to that question when I did my own wash for the first time. I filled some pillow cases with all my dirty laundry and headed to the local laundromat. There I filled up the machines, spent a bunch of quarters, and poured in some soap. Within the hour my clothes had been transformed. Yes, they were clean, but cleanliness is not the transformation to which I refer. My underwear was now pink; my white shirts were pink, and my sweatshirts were smaller, much smaller.

When I called mom for advice, she asked, "Honey, did you wash everything together? Did you dry all your clothes on a high temperature setting?" The answer was yes to both questions. The maroon sweatshirt and the white underwear had gone into the same machine. The sweatshirts had all been dried on high. It was faster and cheaper to do it that way.

That's when mom told me the answer to a successful life. She said, "Honey, you've got to read the manufacturer's instructions."

When it came to doing laundry, consulting the manufacturer's instructions was something that had never occurred to me. When it comes to life, most people can say the same thing: it never occurred to them they might want to do the same.

Now I have to tell you, if you do consult the Lord, things are going to get interesting. That's because the Lord will, in four words, tell you how to have good relationships, how to get along, how to be given peace, hope, happiness, and joy. Those four words ... easy:


And just how did Jesus love? Well, I can tell you this: Jesus loved us not because of us, but in spite of us. When God set humanity up in the perfect Garden, humanity rejected His love. Our first parents said, "We think we can do better." And they tried. It was a disaster. Still, even though we rejected God, God didn't reject us. God continued to love us, and He showed that love by sending His Son to save us. Read through the first four books in the New Testament, and you will see how Jesus loved.

You will see how Jesus kept loving when He was rejected. Society's elite tried to bring Him down; the religious leaders tried to sully His reputation, but Jesus kept loving them. When they called Him names, Jesus didn't retaliate; no, He just kept loving them. When they didn't understand or deliberately misunderstood His mission of salvation, Jesus didn't get all huffy and label them as "stupid." When they walked away from Him, He didn't say "good riddance to bad rubbish." No, Jesus kept on loving.

He loved us with a love that was powerful and practical and profound. His self-sacrificing love was what stopped Him from retaliating when they beat Him and told lies about Him, and spit on Him, and whipped Him, and crowned Him with thorns. Look at Him as He hung on the cross. What do you think kept Him there, dying for you? Do you think it was the Roman nails or the guards at His feet? Don't be silly. It was His love for you which kept Him there. It was His love which said, "I will die so you might live." That's what it means to love as Jesus loved.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus. You have set a standard of love we can never duplicate or attain. Still, help us do what we can so we, and those around us, might see Your reflection in the way we live. In Your Name we 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 11 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento Diario

El día del Señor

11 de Agosto 2017

¡Cuán bueno es alabarte, Señor! Bueno es, Altísimo, cantar salmos a tu nombre, anunciar tu misericordia por la mañana, y tu fidelidad todas las noches.
~ Salmo 92:1-2 (RVC)

Me pregunto: ¿va usted a adorar al Señor en su día, sea mañana o el domingo, o va a encontrar una excusa para hacer algo diferente?

Una vez escuché la historia de un hombre que llegó 20 minutos más tarde de lo que había prometido a jugar al fútbol. Los amigos ya habían empezado a jugar sin esperarlo, pero aún así quisieron saber qué le había pasado. Esta fue su explicación: "Habíamos quedado con mi esposa en que este domingo iba a tirar una moneda para ver si podía venir a jugar al fútbol o si iba a la iglesia. Si sacaba cara, venía a jugar. Si sacaba cruz, iba a la iglesia".

Y luego agregó: "No me van a creer, pero ¡tuve que tirar la moneda 43 veces hasta que saqué cara!"

Indudablemente, hay razones legítimas que nos impiden ir a adorar a Dios con la comunidad de creyentes. Pero ese no es el tema de esta devoción.

El tema de esta devoción es que, demasiado a menudo, las personas buscan -y encuentran- excusas para evitar alabar y adorar a Dios por las muchas bendiciones y la salvación que nos ha dado a través del sacrificio en la cruz de su hijo Jesucristo.

Pero lo cierto es que, el lugar donde está su cuerpo el domingo a la mañana, muestra con mucha claridad dónde está su corazón.

Piense en esto por un momento. ¿Dónde va a estar su cuerpo el próximo día del Señor? ¿En la cama? ¿En la cancha de fútbol? ¿Trabajando en el jardín? ¿O alabando y adorando al Dios que nos da descanso y todos los placeres de la vida?

Es mi oración que usted también diga lo que dijo el salmista: "¡Cuán bueno es alabarte, Señor! Bueno es, Altísimo, cantar salmos a tu nombre, anunciar tu misericordia por la mañana, y tu fidelidad todas las noches..."

... y también los domingos.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, te doy gracias por las bendiciones y la salvación que me has dado a través del sacrificio de tu hijo Jesucristo. Te pido que me ayudes para que nunca lo olvide, sino que te alabe con entusiasmo y alegría. En su nombre. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

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