Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Daily Readings for WEDNESDAY, August 16, 2017

Jesus and the Rich Young Man
Opening Sentence
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3

Morning Prayer
I thank God for most this amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.
~ From the PCUSA Book of Common Worship

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 14:21-33
Then the king said to Joab, "Very well, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom." Joab prostrated himself with his face to the ground and did obeisance, and blessed the king; and Joab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant." So Joab set off, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. The king said, "Let him go to his own house; he is not to come into my presence." So Absalom went to his own house, and did not come into the king's presence.
[David Forgives Absalom] Now in all Israel there was no one to be praised so much for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. When he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king's weight. There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman. So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence. Then Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king; but Joab would not come to him. He sent a second time, but Joab would not come. Then he said to his servants, "Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire. Then Joab rose and went to Absalom at his house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" Absalom answered Joab, "Look, I sent word to you: Come here, that I may send you to the king with the question, 'Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.' Now let me go into the king's presence; if there is guilt in me, let him kill me!" Then Joab went to the king and told him; and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and prostrated himself with his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 21:15-26
After these days we got ready and started to go up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came along and brought us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.
[Paul Visits James at Jerusalem] When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us warmly. The next day Paul went with us to visit James; and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. When they heard it, they praised God. Then they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the law. They have been told about you that you teach all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. So do what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow. Join these men, go through the rite of purification with them, and pay for the shaving of their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself observe and guard the law. But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication." Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having purified himself, he entered the temple with them, making public the completion of the days of purification when the sacrifice would be made for each of them.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 10:17-31
[The Rich Man] As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'" He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible." Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age-- houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions-- and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 101 Misericordiam et judicium
1   I will sing of mercy and justice; to you, O LORD, will I sing praises.
2   I will strive to follow a blameless course; oh, when will you come to me? I will walk with sincerity of heart within my house.
3   I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the doers of evil deeds; they shall not remain with me.
4   A crooked heart shall be far from me; I will not know evil.
5   Those who in secret slander their neighbors I will destroy; those who have a haughty look and a proud heart I cannot abide.
6   My eyes are upon the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me, and only those who lead a blameless life shall be my servants.
7   Those who act deceitfully shall not dwell in my house, and those who tell lies shall not continue in my sight.
8   I will soon destroy all the wicked in the land, that I may root out all evildoers from the city of the LORD.

Psalm 109 Deus, laudem
1   Hold not your tongue, O God of my praise; for the mouth of the wicked, the mouth of the deceitful, is opened against me.
2   They speak to me with a lying tongue; they encompass me with hateful words and fight against me without a cause.
3   Despite my love, they accuse me; but as for me, I pray for them.
4   They repay evil for good, and hatred for my love.
5   Set a wicked man against him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand.
6   When he is judged, let him be found guilty, and let his appeal be in vain.
7   Let his days be few, and let another take his office.
8   Let his children be fatherless, and his wife become a widow.
9   Let his children be waifs and beggars; let them be driven from the ruins of their homes.
10   Let the creditor seize everything he has; let strangers plunder his gains.
11   Let there be no one to show him kindness, and none to pity his fatherless children.
12   Let his descendants be destroyed, and his name be blotted out in the next generation.
13   Let the wickedness of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and his mother's sin not be blotted out;
14   Let their sin be always before the LORD; but let him root out their names from the earth;
15   Because he did not remember to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy and sought to kill the brokenhearted.
16   He loved cursing, let it come upon him; he took no delight in blessing, let it depart from him.
17   He put on cursing like a garment, let it soak into his body like water and into his bones like oil;
18   Let it be to him like the cloak which he wraps around himself, and like the belt that he wears continually.
19   Let this be the recompense from the LORD to my accusers, and to those who speak evil against me.
20   But you, O Lord my God, oh, deal with me according to your Name; for your tender mercy's sake, deliver me.
21   For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
22   I have faded away like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like a locust.
23   My knees are weak through fasting, and my flesh is wasted and gaunt.
24   I have become a reproach to them; they see and shake their heads.
25   Help me, O LORD my God; save me for your mercy's sake.
26   Let them know that this is your hand, that you, O LORD, have done it.
27   They may curse, but you will bless; let those who rise up against me be put to shame, and your servant will rejoice.
28   Let my accusers be clothed with disgrace and wrap themselves in their shame as in a cloak.
29   I will give great thanks to the LORD with my mouth; in the midst of the multitude will I praise him;
30   Because he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save his life from those who would condemn him.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 119:121-128 Ayin Feci judicium
121   I have done what is just and right; do not deliver me to my oppressors.
122   Be surety for your servant's good; let not the proud oppress me.
123   My eyes have failed from watching for your salvation and for your righteous promise.
124   Deal with your servant according to your loving-kindness and teach me your statutes.
125   I am your servant; grant me understanding, that I may know your decrees.
126   It is time for you to act, O LORD, for they have broken your law.
127   Truly, I love your commandments more than gold and precious stones.
128   I hold all your commandments to be right for me; all paths of falsehood I abhor.

Psalm 119:129-136 Pe Mirabilia
129   Your decrees are wonderful; therefore I obey them with all my heart.
130   When your word goes forth it gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
131   I open my mouth and pant; I long for your commandments.
132   Turn to me in mercy, as you always do to those who love your Name.
133   Steady my footsteps in your word; let no iniquity have dominion over me.
134   Rescue me from those who oppress me, and I will keep your commandments.
135   Let your countenance shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes.
136   My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

Psalm 119:137-144 Sadhe Justus es, Domine
137   You are righteous, O LORD, and upright are your judgments.
138   You have issued your decrees with justice and in perfect faithfulness.
139   My indignation has consumed me, because my enemies forget your words.
140   Your word has been tested to the uttermost, and your servant holds it dear.
141   I am small and of little account, yet I do not forget your commandments.
142   Your justice is an everlasting justice and your law is the truth.
143   Trouble and distress have come upon me, yet your commandments are my delight.
144   The righteousness of your decrees is everlasting; grant me understanding, that I may live.

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

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

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

Prayer of the Day
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.

I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above. Amen.

In Times of Conflict
O God you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Mission
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

JJ Heller

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

Closing Prayer
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.
~ Job 1:21

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 WEDNESDAY, August 16, 2017

Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.

I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above. Amen.

Verse of the Day for WEDNESDAY, August 16, 2017

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Read all 2 Corinthians 7

Listen to 2 Corinthians 7

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 - Higher Standards

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
~ 2 John 1:6 (NIV)

As Christians, we are held to a whole new set of standards, on our daily walk of life. I do not say this to scare off any who are considering the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. It would behoove people to walk that path of Christ, as His benefits far outweigh anything else.

The first and foremost thing that Jesus wants, is our true love and devotion. He wants our trust, our hopes, our dreams, our fears and pain, and our consultation on all matters. He wants us! It’s just that simple, however, simple can sometimes be problematic. In this age of selfishness and “our” rights, it is a difficult thing to say, “Okay, I give up all that I am, all that I hope to be, and all my dreams and aspirations to you, Lord. I relinquish all my rights to you. I choose to trust you as my Lord and Master.”

If we make that decision, we become new. He cleanses us from all our sins, and makes us worthy to approach God’s throne. Now we are a representation of Him in this world. As a result, we should now have higher standards than we had before we came to know Christ.

So what exactly are God’s standards? God’s standard is love: true, unobstructed, unbiased, limitless love! If we could just love Him back with a small degree of that love, we would automatically strive to live in His will. When we love someone, we want to spend time with them. Reading the Bible, attending church, going to a Bible study, praying, and meditating are ways to get to know Him better. Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit will help us to know God better.

Spending time with God will motivate us to set our standards on a higher plane. When we hear His gentle whispers, we will begin to aim for obedience. We will be more aware of things, such as: our language, our attitudes, the pride we hold in our heart, intolerance we have for others, our stinginess, our lack of faith, our anger, our impatience, our addictions, and many other things.

This process of setting new standards, is built on love. That is the foundation of our faith. Without love, striving for higher standards is a moot point. We can work tirelessly for the Lord, but if love is absent, we gain no value. God does not want our service, He wants our love. The Bible clearly says of these three: faith, hope, and love; the most important is love. Love trumps all! Our standards will automatically rise out of our increasing love for Christ and others.
Lord Jesus, Help me to love you more each day. Lift me up to a higher plane of standards so that others can see Christ in me. Amen

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Devotion shared by Jenny Calvert.
As Christians, we are held to a whole new set of standards, on our daily walk of life.

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración de gratitud

Entren por sus puertas con acción de gracias [...] denle gracias, alaben su nombre. Porque el Señor es bueno y su gran amor es eterno.
~ Salmo 100:4-5 (NVI)

Dios mío, aquí estoy delante de ti con un corazón agradecido por todo lo que has hecho por mí.

Sé que he cometido gravísimos errores y mi vida está destruida y desbastada, pero gracias a tu gran amor y bondad me recibes una vez más con los brazos abiertos dispuesto a perdonarme y darme una nueva oportunidad.

¡Gracias, Señor! Mi anhelo es permanecer viviendo una vida recta y agradable a tus ojos. Dame la fuerza para no volver atrás y la sabiduría para buscarte de noche y de día.

Me comprometo a ser cada vez mejor hijo tuyo, siendo más sensible a tu Palabra. Y a huir ante las tentaciones que no van a faltar.

Dios mío, ¡qué lindo eres tú! Te amo con todo el corazón y oramos en el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
~ Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

Perhaps the most difficult of Jesus’ commands is to love even our enemies. A true Christian always seeks another person’s highest good—even when mistreated. Brother Andrew says “The Christian’s only method of destroying his enemies is to ‘love’ them into being his friends.”

Romanian pastor, Dr. Paul Negrut, was visiting an old friend in Romania named Trian Dors in his humble home. As Paul entered, he realized that Trian was bleeding from open wounds. He asked, “What happened?”

Trian replied, “The secret police just left my home. They came and confiscated my manuscripts. Then they beat me.”

Pastor Paul says, “I began to complain about the heavy tactics of the secret police. But Trian stopped me saying, ‘Brother Paul, it is so sweet to suffer for Jesus. God didn’t bring us together tonight to complain but to praise him. Let’s kneel down and pray.”

“He knelt and began praying for the secret police. He asked God to bless them and save them. He told God how much he loved them. He said, ‘God, if they will come back in the next few days, I pray that you will prepare me to minister to them.’” Paul continued, “By this time I was ashamed. I thought I had been living the most difficult life in Romania for the Lord. And I was bitter about that.”

Trian Dors then shared with Paul how the secret police had been coming to his home regularly for several years. They beat him twice every week. They confiscated all his papers. After the beating he would talk to the officer in charge. Trian would look into his eyes and say, “Mister, I love you. And I want you to know that if our next meeting is before the judgement throne of God, you will not go to hell because I hate you but because you rejected love.” Trian would repeat these words after every beating.

Years later that officer came alone to his home one night. Trian prepared himself for another beating. But the officer spoke kindly and said, “Mr. Dors, the next time we meet will be before the judgement throne of God. I came tonight to apologize for what I did to you and to tell you that your love moved my heart. I have asked Christ to save me. But two days ago the doctor discovered that I have a very severe case of cancer and I have only a few weeks to live before I go to be with God. I came tonight to tell you that we will be together on the other side.”

RESPONSE: Today I will destroy my enemies only with love.

PRAYER: God give me Your kind of love for my enemies—so they too will love You.

Girlfriends in God - August 16, 2017

A Tower Garden of Faith

Today’s Truth

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
~ John 15:4-5 (NASB)

Friend to Friend

Anyone who knows me well also knows that I can kill any plant. If you are thinking you have some foolproof gardening tips that can help me, think again. Trust me when I say that I have already heard and tried whatever tip or technique you believe will transform me into a master gardener. It won’t.

But I am not a quitter! What some might call stubbornness, I prefer to call perseverance. And that perseverance has finally paid off! I am now the proud owner of a tower garden.

A tower garden is a vertical aeroponic growing system that allows me to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than three square feet—indoors or out. So it’s the perfect solution for people like me who do not have a green thumb. You simply fill the basin with water, add the liquid nutrients that come with the garden, and pop in seedlings that sprout and grow within a matter of weeks. No dirt. No digging. No green thumb required!

When my tower garden arrived, I quickly put it together and placed it on our deck. As Dan inspected my new adventure, he smiled and said, “Well, good luck, honey.” I could hear the doubt in his voice, but refused to let it deter me from my goal to become a real live gardener.

I was so excited that I even took pictures and sent them to our children. Our son texted back, “Seriously, Mom?” Our daughter at least tried to be a little more encouraging with, “Interesting! Good luck, Mom.”

I read and carefully followed the step-by-step directions as I planted my first set of seedlings, giving each one a loving little pat while praying they would flourish. The thought that I could actually provide food for my family was mind-boggling! Every time I walked by the tower garden, I prayed that the seedlings would grow.

After one week, the seedlings doubled in size! What? And then they took off, growing and producing tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuce, and various herbs. The cherry tomatoes confiscated an entire corner of the deck. We couldn’t eat them fast enough, so I used them to make salsa and marinara sauce! Me! I did that! At long last, my dream had come true! I was a gardener!

I sat on the deck one evening, listening to the water flow through the tower, bringing nourishment to the roots of each plant. It occurred to me that I am much like that tower garden … or I can be.

When I plant the seeds of God’s Word in my heart and mind, He promises to make them take root and grow. My job is to pray, while lovingly and faithfully tending those seeds of truth with prayer and service to Him. And one day, they will produce fruit that will not only feed my heart, mind and soul, but the heart and mind of those God chooses to place in my life as well.

Kansas summers can be brutal. During a particularly hot stretch of days with temperatures soaring into the upper nineties every single day, a summer storm rolled through our neighborhood. We lost power for several hours. It did not occur to me that a loss of electricity would turn the water pump off - until I saw the wilted leaves hanging from the tower. I scrambled to get the water pump going again and managed to save most of the plants. But I lost some. The same principle applies to my life.

When I fail to nourish my life with God’s Word or time spent in prayer, my spiritual roots will begin to whither and my life will bear little fruit.

Scripture tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. When we hear those words, we assume the Bible is describing the kind of faith we read about in the lives of the disciples as they healed the sick, made the blind to see, and performed miracles in the name of Jesus. It is! But that faith began with a tiny seed.

Jesus tells us that we don't need a lot of faith to produce great results. We just need to be sure where that faith is planted. And once planted, it will grow if we faithfully feed and water it.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to learn how to plant Your truth in my heart so that the roots grow deep and strong. Teach me how to nourish that truth through time spent in prayer and in service to those around me. Let them hear You when I speak. Let them see Jesus in me as I yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

What circumstance in your life needs a seed of faith, the living water of God’s truth or the nourishment of time spent at His feet and in service to others?

What one step do you need to take today so you can experience new growth in that circumstance? Seek God. Seek His plan. He will transform your life with one tiny seed of faith.

More from the Girlfriends

If you need help learning how to trust God, get Mary’s new book,
10-Day Trust Adventure, now available in hard copy. Perfect for personal or small group study, this book addresses the decisions you have to make in every area of life and teaches you how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and trust God. 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 16, 2017 "Wealth"

Jesus once said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a..."

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour


August 16, 2017

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Jesus once said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mark 10:25). With those words He painted an indelible, unforgettable mental picture: a humorous snapshot of a needle and a camel trying to squeeze through that impossibly miniscule opening.

The Bible shares the disciples' reaction.

It says, "They were exceedingly astonished, and said to Him, 'Then who can be saved?'" (Mark 10:26). For a moment, just for a moment, the disciples panicked at the idea they might not make it into heaven. Then, Peter came to the rescue and reassured his fellow followers by saying something like, "Hey, fellows not to worry. We're not rich. We've left everything we had to follow Jesus. That has to count for something!" If you had been there that day you might have heard an audible sigh of relief, as the others agreed: "Hey, yeah, that's right. We're not rich. We'll make the cut into Christ's kingdom." (See Mark 10:28-30).

It's quite possible you have a similar thought.

Right now, you may be saying to yourself, "I'm not rich. I'm no multi-multi-millionaire." On one level that is true. You may not have all the stuff that the super-rich have. Still, without much fear of contradiction, I can say most of us are rich. Let's think about your situation for a moment.

Do you have air-conditioning in your home? The richest person of Jesus' day sweltered and sweat. Do you have electric lights? No Caesar who ever ruled the vast Roman Empire ever had electricity or penicillin or anesthetic before surgery. The richest of the rich couldn't boast corrective eyeglasses or a telephone or a ballpoint pen. The most affluent never tasted corn on the cob or turkey or cranberries or tomatoes or peanut butter or pineapple or, and this is the big one: chocolate.

According to Jesus, our wealth and our mixed-up priorities mean we have more stuff to struggle for, to strive for, more stuff to divert our attention away from God and His will. Our different priorities, different goals, different wants, different desires make our getting into heaven as likely as a camel going through the eye of a very small needle.

Which is why we need a Savior. Twenty centuries ago, the Lord sent His Son into this world to seek and save lost sinners.

It was a gracious, godly act. From the moment Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He dedicated Himself to redeeming us from Satan, our sin, and ourselves. Selflessly, unstintingly, Jesus did all that was necessary to do His Father's will. When people lied about Him, He continued to love them and speak the truth. When they rejected Him, He didn't quit. On the contrary, He kept going. Yet, even as He hung dying on Calvary's cross, He still managed to show His concern for His mother, for a thief, for the people whose hatred had put Him there, for the ones who had swung hammer on nail.

To have such a Savior makes everything else seem unimportant. To believe in such a Savior is to be wealthy, indeed.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for earthly blessings we give thanks. For our Savior, we rejoice and are filled with the joy of having spiritual riches which cannot be bought with money. Keep us always in that joy. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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CPTLN Devocional de 16 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento Diario

En autoridad

16 de Agosto 2017

Ante todo, exhorto a que se hagan rogativas, oraciones, peticiones y acciones de gracias por todos los hombres; por los reyes y por todos los que ocupan altos puestos, para que vivamos con tranquilidad y reposo, y en toda piedad y honestidad. Porque esto es bueno y agradable delante de Dios nuestro Salvador, el cual quiere que todos los hombres sean salvos y lleguen a conocer la verdad.

Esta devoción la escribi hace ya bastante tiempo, cuando el entonces gobernador de Texas hizo ciertos comentarios públicos.

¿Qué clase de comentarios? Por ejemplo...

    ... que se está librando una batalla espiritual por el futuro de Texas y los Estados Unidos.

    ... que la libertad de religión no es lo mismo que la libertad de la religión.

    ... ¿qué moralidad va a inspirar las leyes que dejan una marca permanente en nuestra sociedad?

Si bien es cierto que no conozco a este Gobernador, me gusta la mayor parte de lo que ha dicho. Especialmente aprecio cuando un republicano dice que ora diariamente por el Presidente, que es demócrata.

Espero que cada uno de nuestros lectores de las Devociones Diarias mantenga en sus oraciones a las autoridades. Y con ello me refiero a TODAS las autoridades.

Si alguien está en desacuerdo con usted, o está dirigiendo el país en forma diferente de lo que usted esperaba, esa persona necesita de sus oraciones.

Y si se pregunta: ¿para qué molestarse?, San Pablo nos da la respuesta cuando dice que oremos por todas las autoridades porque Dios lo ha pedido, para que así podamos llevar una vida pacífica y podamos compartir la historia del Salvador con todos aquéllos que están perdidos.

¿Por qué? Porque Dios quiere que todos sean salvos y lleguen a conocer a Jesús, quien es la verdad.

ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, pareciera que el mundo está atrapado en una caída interminable. Doy gracias a Jesús porque con sus manos desgarradas por los clavos me ha alcanzado y salvado. Pido que tu Espíritu Santo sea dado a quienes están en autoridad. También te pido que pongas en puestos de autoridad a quienes confían en ti para que, junto con quienes están bajo su mando, reconozcan al Cordero de Dios que quita el pecado del mundo. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

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