Monday, August 14, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, August 14, 2017

Opening Sentence

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

Morning Prayer
I  give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me. Amen.

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

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 13:23-39
[Absalom Avenges the Violation of His Sister] After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. Absalom came to the king, and said, "Your servant has sheepshearers; will the king and his servants please go with your servant?" But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, let us not all go, or else we will be burdensome to you." He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us." The king said to him, "Why should he go with you?" But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. Absalom made a feast like a king's feast. Then Absalom commanded his servants, "Watch when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant." So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled. While they were on the way, the report came to David that Absalom had killed all the king's sons, and not one of them was left. The king rose, tore his garments, and lay on the ground; and all his servants who were standing by tore their garments. But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, said, "Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons; Amnon alone is dead. This has been determined by Absalom from the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take it to heart, as if all the king's sons were dead; for Amnon alone is dead." But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain. Jonadab said to the king, "See, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about." As soon as he had finished speaking, the king's sons arrived, and raised their voices and wept; and the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly. But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son day after day. Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years. And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 20:17-38
[Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders] From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. When they came to him, he said to them: "You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God's grace. "And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or clothing. You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 9:42-50
[Temptations to Sin] "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. "For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 89:1-18 Misericordias Domini
1   Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
2   For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
3   I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
4   'I will establish your line for ever, and preserve your throne for all generations.'"
5   The heavens bear witness to your wonders, O LORD, and to your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
6   For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? who is like the LORD among the gods?
7   God is much to be feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible to all those round about him.
8   Who is like you, LORD God of hosts? O mighty LORD, your faithfulness is all around you.
9   You rule the raging of the sea and still the surging of its waves.
10   You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound; you have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11   Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours; you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.
12   You have made the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your Name.
13   You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
14   Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; love and truth go before your face.
15   Happy are the people who know the festal shout! they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.
16   They rejoice daily in your Name; they are jubilant in your righteousness.
17   For you are the glory of their strength, and by your favor our might is exalted.
18   Truly, the LORD is our ruler; The Holy One of Israel is our King.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 89:19-52 Tunc locutus es
19   You spoke once in vision and said to your faithful people: "I have set the crown upon a warrior and have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20   I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.
21   My hand will hold him fast and my arm will make him strong.
22   No enemy shall deceive him, nor any wicked man bring him down.
23   I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
24   My faithfulness and love shall be with him, and he shall be victorious through my Name.
25   I shall make his dominion extend from the Great Sea to the River.
26   He will say to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.'
27   I will make him my firstborn and higher than the kings of the earth.
28   I will keep my love for him for ever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29   I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of heaven."
30   If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my judgments;
31   If they break my statutes and do not keep my commandments;
32   I will punish their transgressions with a rod and their iniquities with the lash;
33   But I will not take my love from him, nor let my faithfulness prove false.
34   I will not break my covenant, nor change what has gone out of my lips.
35   Once for all I have sworn by my holiness: 'I will not lie to David.
36   His line shall endure for ever and his throne as the sun before me;
37   It shall stand fast for evermore like the moon, the abiding witness in the sky.'"
38   But you have cast off and rejected your anointed; you have become enraged at him.
39   You have broken your covenant with your servant, defiled his crown, and hurled it to the ground.
40   You have breached all his walls and laid his strongholds in ruins.
41   All who pass by despoil him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42   You have exalted the right hand of his foes and made all his enemies rejoice.
43   You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not sustained him in battle.
44   You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground.
45   You have cut short the days of his youth and have covered him with shame.
46   How long will you hide yourself, O LORD? will you hide yourself for ever? how long will your anger burn like fire?
47   Remember, LORD, how short life is, how frail you have made all flesh.
48   Who can live and not see death? who can save himself from the power of the grave?
49   Where, Lord, are your loving-kindnesses of old, which you promised David in your faithfulness?
50   Remember, Lord, how your servant is mocked, how I carry in my bosom the taunts of many peoples,
51   The taunts your enemies have hurled, O LORD, which they hurled at the heels of your anointed.
52   Blessed be the LORD for evermore! Amen, I say, Amen.

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, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more cheer than gloom, spread more joy than despair. Let me remind those I meet that our final existence will be total joy, and that we may taste this joy through the Spirit even today. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and forget momentarily all the temporary unpleasantness in their lives. And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper, “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.” Amen.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving
O   God, who is near us always, I thank you for all the good gifts with which you have filled my life; for love that makes life beautiful, for all thoughts that uplift and gladden, for faith to believe and strength to attain, for every experience which humbles and teaches the need of you. Let me never doubt that, having led me thus far, you will lead me to the end. I wish to serve you; show me how I can do it best. Graciously look upon me and use me as you will. And grant that I may employ all of your gifts to the end of setting forth of your glory; 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.

The Voice
by Celtic Woman

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

Closing Prayer
Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always, Amen.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Prayer of the Day for MONDAY, August 14, 2017

Holy God, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more cheer than gloom, spread more joy than despair. Let me remind those I meet that our final existence will be total joy, and that we may taste this joy through the Spirit even today. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and forget momentarily all the temporary unpleasantness in their lives. And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper, “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.” Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, August 14, 2017

Revelation 3:14, 20 (NIV) [To the Church in Laodicea] “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Read all of Revelation 3

Listen to Revelation 3

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 - The Way

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”
~ John 14:6 (ESV)

This quote, as powerful and beautiful as it is, and as central to Christian belief as it is, would not seem to be controversial. But I am often surprised to find that people do not understand it. Some people actually find it shocking!

One of the most eye-opening (and disturbing) things I ever saw on television was a clip from the Oprah Winfrey show. At the time, she was the guru of a large segment of the U.S. population, mostly middle-aged women. If she put a book on her book club list, it was guaranteed to sell.

Furthermore, Oprah considers herself to be a Christian. She has publicly stated that “I am a Christian” on numerous occasions. Yet, she does not understand our Bible quote. She got into a major argument on one of her shows with a woman who stated that Jesus is the only path to salvation. Oprah disagreed, stating that there were billions of ways to find salvation, without having faith in Jesus (or even God, for that matter), but that people with good hearts would be saved. Oprah Winfrey repudiates John 14:6. In short, she stated a belief that nice people go to heaven, whether they have faith in Christ or not, and wicked people go to hell.

If Oprah — a person of good general intelligence, a professed Christian, and someone with a corps of researchers — misunderstands this, how many other professed Christians also do not understand it? They need to be corrected. People who do not know the basic teachings of the faith they profess, cannot help spread it. Moreover, they are apt to wander away from the truth in their own lives.

There is not very much we need to say about the meaning of the verse itself. Unlike much of the New Testament, the meaning is even clearer in Greek than in translation. “The” in Greek means “the only” more markedly than in English, and also, the Greek construction used to say “I am” is emphatic; it means “I am and nobody/nothing else is.”

Christ is the Word of God. (John 1) If one does not believe in Him, then, one does not accept the Word of God. Christ does not merely tell us the truth; He embodies the truth. He is the truth. One can only find God, then, through the truth; one cannot find God through ignorance or through lies, but only through the truth, and Christ is that truth.
Lord, I accept completely the truth that is your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Un Dia a la Vez - Recojamos los estragos (segunda parte)

En su angustia clamaron al Señor, y él los salvó de su aflicción. Los sacó de las sombras tenebrosas y rompió en pedazos sus cadenas.

En estos días estamos reflexionando acerca de las cosas negativas que les permitimos llegar a nuestra vida y a las que les llamo «vientos». Quizá esto se deba a que, por estar en temporada de huracanes, deseara establecer el paralelo con nuestra vida.

Muchos de esos impactos que vivimos los ocasionamos nosotros mismos. Tomamos malas decisiones, no escuchamos a tiempo los consejos y hacemos lo que bien nos parece. En algunos casos, esto nos lleva a quedar literalmente en «zona de desastre». Entonces, una vez más, el nombre de Dios viene a nuestros labios y pensamientos. Volvemos a orar con tanta intensidad como no lo hacíamos por mucho tiempo. Después nos arrepentimos y le pedimos a Dios una nueva oportunidad.

La buena noticia es que nuestro Padre siempre está dispuesto a recibirnos y a recogernos, así sea que estemos hecho pedazos o que seamos solo escombros. Con su infinita misericordia nos empieza a sanar y a reconstruir hasta dejarnos una vez más en pie.

Lo más importante de todo, mis queridos amigos, es que aunque Dios nos perdona y olvida nuestras faltas, siempre viviremos las consecuencias de nuestros actos.

Por favor, que no se nos olvide el dolor por el que pasamos y de dónde nos sacó Dios.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - ENCOURAGEMENT

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
~ Romans 15:4 (NIV)

In Eritrea, Helen Berhane, with more than twenty other young women, was imprisoned in a shipping container that held only eighteen people. In her book, Song of the Nightingale, she shares what happened:

When [the guard] had locked us in and left, many of the women were furious and upset, and began to complain and cry. I tried to find ways to encourage them, and to make our situation more bearable. I encouraged everyone to sit on the floor in a circle and I began to speak to them.

‘Remember that the walls of Jericho came down because of praises. If we keep complaining, we cannot win. Instead we must continue to pray, praise and sing. Satan wants to use discouraging words as a weapon against us, so we must continue to praise God in all circumstances.’

I could see some of the women nodding.

I continued, “When the Israelites were approaching the Promised Land they sent spies ahead. Many of them returned saying that the people were so huge the Israelites could not hope to beat them, and so they cried all night. But crying and complaining cannot solve our problems. Let us be like Caleb and Joshua. The larger our enemies are, the more of a feast they will make for us! Just think about the woman who suffered from bleeding and who believed that if she only touched the hem of Jesus’ robe she would be healed. In the crowd she was the one who had faith and it was rewarded. We should not be like these people endlessly fighting amongst themselves. We should just reach out to Jesus and have faith.

This helped us to feel more accepting of our situation, and so we got into the habit of talking about the Bible, praying and singing in the container every day.[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will pray, sing, and talk about the Bible rather than focus on my discouraging situations and relationships.

PRAYER: Lord, may I use Your Word as an encouragement to endure with hope in You.

1. Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale (Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), pp. 38-39.

Women of the Bible - The Shulammite Woman

Her character: Hers is the only female voice that speaks directly and extensively to us in Scripture. Ruth's, Esther's, Hannah's, and Mary's voices, for instance, are all mediated through narration. The Shulammite woman boldly declares her longing and desire to be united to her lover in marriage.
Her sorrow: To have been separated from her beloved at times.
Her joy: To enjoy so passionate a love.
Key Scriptures: Song of Songs 1-8

Her Story

She was young, beautiful, and desirable. He was handsome, strong, and agile, a shepherd or a king who lavished strange praise upon his beloved: He compared the Shulamite woman's hair to a flock of goats running down a mountain slope, her nose to the tower of Lebanon, and her teeth ("each with its twin"!) to sheep that have just bathed. We smile at such images. But we are fascinated by this beautifully written collection of love songs. And though we know it is not merely some ancient Valentine's Day card, we are not quite certain what to make of it.

Unlike any other book in the Bible, the Song of Songs is full of erotic imagery. The Shulammite woman was as passionate as her lover, initiating contact with him, openly declaring her feelings. She yearned for kisses from his mouth, so in love that even his name smelled sweet to her. She wandered the city at night (or dreamt of wandering it) searching for him. She wished she could pass him off as her brother so that she could kiss him publicly without creating a scandal. Each declaration from her elicited a passionate response from her lover, who sang of her,
Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, "I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit."
May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine.
Song of Songs 7:7-9

Despite the ancient imagery, we get the message. The story of the Shulammite woman and her lover isn't properly a story, one with a clear narrative line, but a poetic expression of love in all its emotional ups and downs. The songs capture the desire, the anguish, the tension, and the ecstasy of love. But speakers and scenes shift so quickly that it can be difficult to understand. No wonder there have been so many different interpretations of the Song of Songs, more than any other book of the Hebrew Scriptures.

What makes this portion of Scripture even more enigmatic is that it never once mentions God. But if God has nothing to do with these love songs, how did this material ever make it into the canon of Scripture in the first place?

The Jews believed the book was not primarily about individual lovers but about God's love for his people Israel. Christians initially read it as a parable of Christ's love for the church and later as a parable of his love for the individual soul. Modern commentators tend to view it more literally, as an expression of the sacredness of married life, the fullest expression of love between a man and a woman. They praise its inclusion in the Bible because it celebrates marital love and the sexual expression of that love. Anyone inclined to believe the Bible teaches a negative view of sex should read this book of Scripture before drawing such a conclusion.

But who wrote these eloquent love songs? Some say various poets, while others say they were written by Solomon in praise of one of his many wives. Yet others have suggested they were written by a woman. Whatever the case, most admit that the poetry of the Song of Songs can be understood in more than one way. The story of the Shulammite, mysterious as it is, touches our longing to love and be loved.

Her Promise

God doesn't promise the Song of Songs kind of erotic, intimate, earthly love to everyone. He blesses many marriages with it, but it is not something everyone enjoys. However, he does promise to love his people with the same depth of love described here. That includes you. You are his treasured one, his beloved, and he delights in you just as these lovers delight in each other.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

Girlfriends in God - August 14, 2017

You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Crown

Today’s Truth

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
~ Exodus 20:17 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

Have you ever been in a situation with other women when you felt inadequate?

I had that experience when I was a university student. Oddly enough, my school had a handful of beauty pageant winners and I seemed to sit near them in every class. I’d walk in a communication class and find myself next to Miss Pennsylvania. In another class, the beautiful young lady seated in the row in front of me ended up being Miss California. At graduation, I sat next to a different friend, Miss Virginia, who would literally become Miss America a few months later that year.

Surrounded by these lovely beauty queens, it was easy to think, “Oh no! How am I ever going to get married if I am not even Miss Neighborhood!”

We can compare ourselves unfavorably to others and covet a few crowns along the way. Whether it is someone’s high ranking title, happy marriage, dream job, or amazing wardrobe, it’s in our sin nature to want more than we have. To covet means “to wish for earnestly, to desire what belongs to another.” The Bible tells us in the Tenth Commandment not to covet our neighbor’s house, wife, servants, animals, or belongings.

In other words, don’t have an overwhelming desire to remodel your kitchen after you see your neighbor’s beautiful new cabinets. Don’t stew about your boring marriage as you think about your friend going on a cruise with her romantic dream boat of a husband. Don’t wish for a housekeeper like your friend has, or yearn for a designer purse like the one you saw at church last Sunday.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save money to remodel your kitchen, or plan an amazing vacation. You can certainly desire good things for yourself and pursue them. But there’s an important difference between wanting something, and wanting something that belongs to another person.

When you covet, want, desire what is someone else’s, you swing open the door for sin to enter. See how it is a heart of covetousness that lies at the root of other commandments? Adultery happens because someone wanted a person that did not belong to him or her. Stealing happens because someone wanted a possession that did not belong to him. Murder begins with a covetous thought and ends with the taking of a life.

Listen to the way you talk to yourself. Do you detect the language of discontent? I wish I had a house like that. Oh, if only I was married like her! I wish I had beautiful jewelry like my friend.

What can be done about our covetous ways? A heart of contentment is the cure. A heart that rejoices when others rejoice. A heart that says, “I have enough. I am satisfied.” Like the Apostle Paul, may we learn how to be in want and also how to abound. In every state we find ourselves in, may we cultivate contentment.

Even if we’re not Miss Florida, or Miss Hawaii, or Miss Anything.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, forgive me for wanting what other people have. I don’t want to act spoiled or ungrateful. I will count my many blessings today. Teach me to honor You with a heart of contentment.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Ask God to search your heart. Answer this question: Is there anything you are coveting right now?

More from the Girlfriends

Read more stories like Arlene’s Miss America tale in her book 31 Days to a Younger You. For more about Arlene’s other books, visit her website.

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

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

Daily Devotion August 14, 2017 "Faith Communication with the One Who Loves You!"

As believers in Jesus, we have a special privilege and power.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Faith Communication with the One Who Loves You!"

August 14, 2017

(Jesus said) "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.'"
~ Matthew 6:9 (ESV)

As believers in Jesus, we have a special privilege and power. What is it? It's the knowledge that prayer -- the awesome privilege of prayer -- prayer still changes things.

Our Gospel reading yesterday came from the lips of Jesus Himself who taught us to pray "Our Father." Why? Because the Father sent the Son by the power of the Spirit to redeem us, to save us. When God is that personal, that concerned, and that willing to sacrifice so that you and I might be saved, well, prayer to Him changes things, even as it changes you and me.

In Jesus, the Father is near to us, He hears us, and He desires our life and salvation. What an incredible truth for life. It means that no matter what the circumstance, you know and trust in the One who is greater than your circumstances, and you are confident that He has your best in mind, no matter what the moment looks or feels like as well.

That's the confidence to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what. In the midst of the wars and rumors of wars, the recessions, the ineptitude of political leaders, the immorality and injustices of our age, especially confident then, Jesus Himself -- no stranger to problems, pain, and suffering Himself -- invites us to offer our prayers and petitions to the God who loves us with an everlasting love.

Go ahead then: offer up your hopes and dreams about what is good in life and the life you are striving to lead, knowing that God has created and redeemed you for a purpose. Offer up your prayers for those you love, for the prayers of the righteous -- they do change things.

I thought about my grandparents this last week, with all the talk over the last 10 years or so of a "new Great Depression." Do you remember that talk? Well, if you had any experience with the real Great Depression, we wouldn't throw that word around so loosely today. No matter what was happening in their lives though, whether it was the struggles of the Great Depression, (and by the way, my grandmother, even as late as the 1960s still mixed powered milk with real milk to make it go further), or whether it was the successes of their later years and the joy of their family reunions and personal travels, they (my grandparents) were always in church worshiping the God who loved them enough to die for their sins on the cross. Nothing was more important to them than Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and His daily resource of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Nothing else! Nothing less than that would do.

That was the resource for their joy; that was the power for their prayers.

So with that mindset, with that confidence, put your faith to work this week in prayer. Whatever is weighing on your mind, pray, don't be anxious. Pray with thanksgiving whether you get a yes, a no, or a wait, God will answer! God will do what is best for you because He loves us like a father should, and pray for the care and concerns of others because they need prayer, too, and you've got that tool in your faith arsenal to serve.

As Christians, we get embarrassed sometimes. Many of us say rightly, when confronted by someone's struggles, or injustice, or tragedy, we say, "I'll pray for you." And the world says, "Oh yeah, that's it?" And we often get embarrassed as if something else is better. Now listen, I'm not saying you shouldn't help a neighbor, or feed someone in need, or give the very clothes off of your back for someone. But please don't make the mistake of thinking that those things are in place of prayer. Commit all these things to God first, and then work mightily to serve your neighbor as God serves you. Watch what that faith communication at work, watch what it will do.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me the faith to pray knowing that You are already answering my prayer with all that is best for my life with You, now and forever. Amen.

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CPTLN Devocional de 14 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento diario... un mensaje de esperanza

Alimento Diario

Tenemos una respuesta

14 de Agosto 2017

¿Quién de ustedes, si su hijo le pide pan, le da una piedra? ¿O si le pide un pescado, en lugar del pescado le da una serpiente? ¿O si le pide un huevo, le da un escorpión? Pues si ustedes, que son malos, saben dar cosas buenas a sus hijos, ¡cuánto más el Padre celestial dará el Espíritu Santo a quienes se lo pidan!

La pregunta del Salvador no debería necesitar respuesta: es obvio que ningún padre le daría a su hijo una serpiente en lugar de pescado, o que sustituiría un escorpión por un huevo duro. Pero, después de leer un artículo publicado por AP, no estoy tan seguro de que la respuesta a esa pregunta sea tan obvia.

El artículo menciona que, en la ciudad de Denver, empleados de una empresa receptora de donaciones fueron a un centro comercial a recoger los artículos donados, como siempre lo hacían. Pero esta vez se encontraron con una caja rectangular, de color verde, que decía: "EL FRENTE HACIA EL ENEMIGO".

La policía dijo que la caja era una mina explosiva que podía matar y mutilar a muchas personas. El centro comercial fue rápidamente evacuado, y la bomba desactivada.

Volviendo a la pregunta de Jesús. ¿Qué clase de hombre le daría a su hijo un escorpión? Probablemente la misma clase de hombre que dio una mina como donación.

No hay lugar a dudas que en el mundo hay mucha maldad. Es por ello que hace falta mucho amor y misericordia. Demos gracias a Dios porque nos ha dado ambos a través del sacrificio de su Hijo por nosotros.

Cuando miramos el pesebre, la cruz, y la tumba vacía, sabemos que el mal, sin importar las armas que tenga, nunca tendrá la victoria final.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, en un mundo donde abundan los actos terroristas te doy gracias por tu bondad y gracia. Te doy gracias porque me has dado la victoria final sobre el pecado, la muerte y Satanás. Permite que pueda reflejar ese amor en la oscuridad de este mundo. En tu nombre. Amén.

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