Friday, August 18, 2017

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, August 18, 2017

The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus
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.

Morning Prayer
I  arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun,
the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth
the firmness of rock.

I arise today through the power of God:
God’s might to comfort me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to lead me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s Heavenly Host to save me
from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin,
from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar,
alone and with others.

May Christ shield me today
against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

~ The Morning “Lorica” (Prayer) of Saint Patrick

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

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 15:19-37
Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why are you also coming with us? Go back, and stay with the king; for you are a foreigner, and also an exile from your home. You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, while I go wherever I can? Go back, and take your kinsfolk with you; and may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you." But Ittai answered the king, "As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be." David said to Ittai, "Go then, march on." So Ittai the Gittite marched on, with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. The whole country wept aloud as all the people passed by; the king crossed the Wadi Kidron, and all the people moved on toward the wilderness. Abiathar came up, and Zadok also, with all the Levites, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, until the people had all passed out of the city. Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and the place where it stays. But if he says, 'I take no pleasure in you,' here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him." The king also said to the priest Zadok, "Look, go back to the city in peace, you and Abiathar, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar. See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me." So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there. But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, with his head covered and walking barefoot; and all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went. David was told that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, "O LORD, I pray you, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."
[Hushai Becomes David’s Spy] When David came to the summit, where God was worshiped, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and earth on his head. David said to him, "If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,' then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you there. So whatever you hear from the king's house, tell it to the priests Zadok and Abiathar. Their two sons are with them there, Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan; and by them you shall report to me everything you hear." So Hushai, David's friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 21:37-22:16
[Paul Defends Himself] Just as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, "May I say something to you?" The tribune replied, "Do you know Greek? Then you are not the Egyptian who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?" Paul replied, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city; I beg you, let me speak to the people." When he had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people for silence; and when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: "Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make before you." When they heard him addressing them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet. Then he said: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
[Paul Tells of His Conversion] "While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' Then he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' The Lord said to me, 'Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.' Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus. "A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came to me; and standing beside me, he said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight!' In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.'

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 10:46-52
[The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus] They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 102 Domine, exaudi
1   LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2   Incline your ear to me; when I call, make haste to answer me,
3   For my days drift away like smoke, and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4   My heart is smitten like grass and withered, so that I forget to eat my bread.
5   Because of the voice of my groaning I am but skin and bones.
6   I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, like an owl among the ruins.
7   I lie awake and groan; I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8   My enemies revile me all day long, and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9   For I have eaten ashes for bread and mingled my drink with weeping.
10   Because of your indignation and wrath you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11   My days pass away like a shadow, and I wither like the grass.
12   But you, O LORD, endure for ever, and your Name from age to age.
13   You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to have mercy upon her; indeed, the appointed time has come.
14   For your servants love her very rubble, and are moved to pity even for her dust.
15   The nations shall fear your Name, O LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16   For the LORD will build up Zion, and his glory will appear.
17   He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; he will not despise their plea.
18   Let this be written for a future generation, so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD.
19   For the LORD looked down from his holy place on high; from the heavens he beheld the earth;
20   That he might hear the groan of the captive and set free those condemned to die;
21   That they may declare in Zion the Name of the LORD, and his praise in Jerusalem;
22   When the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms also, to serve the LORD.
23   He has brought down my strength before my time; he has shortened the number of my days;
24   And I said, "O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; your years endure throughout all generations.
25   In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
26   They shall perish, but you will endure; they all shall wear out like a garment; as clothing you will change them, and they shall be changed;
27   But you are always the same, and your years will never end.
28   The children of your servants shall continue, and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight."

Evening Psalms
Psalm 107:1-32 Confitemini Domino
1   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, and his mercy endures for ever.
2   Let all those whom the LORD has redeemed proclaim that he redeemed them from the hand of the foe.
3   He gathered them out of the lands; from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
4   Some wandered in desert wastes; they found no way to a city where they might dwell.
5   They were hungry and thirsty; their spirits languished within them.
6   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
7   He put their feet on a straight path to go to a city where they might dwell.
8   Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy and the wonders he does for his children.
9   For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
10   Some sat in darkness and deep gloom, bound fast in misery and iron;
11   Because they rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.
12   So he humbled their spirits with hard labor; they stumbled, and there was none to help.
13   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
14   He led them out of darkness and deep gloom and broke their bonds asunder.
15   Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy and the wonders he does for his children.
16   For he shatters the doors of bronze and breaks in two the iron bars.
17   Some were fools and took to rebellious ways; they were afflicted because of their sins.
18   They abhorred all manner of food and drew near to death's door.
19   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
20   He sent forth his word and healed them and saved them from the grave.
21   Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy and the wonders he does for his children.
22   Let them offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and tell of his acts with shouts of joy.
23   Some went down to the sea in ships and plied their trade in deep waters;
24   They beheld the works of the LORD and his wonders in the deep.
25   Then he spoke, and a stormy wind arose, which tossed high the waves of the sea.
26   They mounted up to the heavens and fell back to the depths; their hearts melted because of their peril.
27   They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits' end.
28   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
29   He stilled the storm to a whisper and quieted the waves of the sea.
30   Then were they glad because of the calm, and he brought them to the harbor they were bound for.
31   Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy and the wonders he does for his children.
32   Let them exalt him in the congregation of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.

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, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

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.

Brother James's Air
Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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

Closing Prayer
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all. 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 18, 2017

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Verse of the Day for FRIDAY, August 18, 2017

Philippians 1:21 (NIV) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Read all of Philippians 1

Listen to Philippians 1

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - Pray For Your Enemies

Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.

Praying for someone who has hurt us deeply is a difficult task, however we are commanded to do it, and to love as God loves. I was faced with a situation like this. Someone inflicted great pain to one of my family members, and had been doing it continuously for years. Not only did this person deal out the original hurt, but magnified it by spreading lies, accusations, and threats. This behavior even affected innocent children.

I must admit, I actually hoped this person would succumb to their own addiction to ease my loved one’s pain. It certainly would have made our lives easier, but instead I prayed. I knew what God wanted me to do. I also knew in a very selfish way that if Christ could come into this person’s life, they would change, making our lives easier.

Proverbs 24:17 says, “Don't rejoice when your enemies fall; don't be happy when they stumble.” I needed to shift my evil thoughts to reflect instead, on God’s healing grace. God’s desire is that all should come to repentance, through Jesus Christ. Hoping for this person’s failure only hurt the one who loves me the most; my Lord.

2 Chronicles 15:7 says, “Do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” So, I knew that even though it seemed hopeless to me, I should never give up. I should just keep praying. It’s been over six years, and there have been no changes, however I know I am doing the will of my Father.

In an abusive situation, we must stand back. We can learn to love from a distance. God never told us we had to trust another person, but, we can fully trust Him. We do not have to claim any warm, fuzzy feelings, only a desire to want a human being, to come to Jesus in repentance. God’s love is enough to overflow from us, to even our greatest enemies. We must rely on His love, not ours.

In my case, I will continue to be obedient, and pray. I will no longer hope for this person’s downfall. God gave His life for the lost. If I claim Him as mine, how can I want anything less?

It’s easy to love one that is kind, but if we want to show love to God, then we need to show love even to difficult people. We can’t do it on our own, but through Christ, we can do all things. We must place our yoke upon Him. He will give us His strength to forgive as He has forgiven us, and to love as He loves us.
Dear Father of Love, Thank you for loving us. Help us through your love to love others. Amen

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Devotion shared by Jenny Calvert.
Praying for someone who has hurt us deeply is a difficult task

Un Dia a la Vez - Demos testimonio en todo lugar

Dios haga resplandecer su rostro sobre nosotros, para que se conozcan en la tierra sus caminos, y entre todas las naciones su salvación.
~ Salmo 67:1-2 (NVI)

El testimonio muestra la clase de personas que somos. También nos permite dar fe de lo que nos ha dado Dios y de los cambios que nos ha permitido tener. Sobre todo, con el testimonio podemos influir en muchas personas a nuestro alrededor.

A veces nos pasa que quisiéramos que nadie nos conociera porque nos daría pena, ¿verdad? No desearíamos que se percibiera nuestro verdadero YO, en especial cuando somos personas públicas.

Cuando decidimos representar a nuestro Dios en la tierra, el testimonio cobra más importancia, por una sencilla razón: Son muchas las miradas puestas en ti y en mí. Tal parece que no podemos darnos el lujo de ser como somos quizá en la iglesia o en la casa porque alguien nos pudiera ver o escuchar. Sin duda, esto es muy bueno, pues nos obligamos a ser siempre hombres y mujeres comprometidos con la Palabra y con un deseo ferviente de mostrar lo que Dios ha hecho en nosotros.

En los lugares menos esperados, me he encontrado gente que conoce de mi trabajo en la radio y me han visto tal cual soy. Me ha sucedido muchas veces en supermercados, en la calle, en el hospital y, lo que menos me he imaginado, en un avión, donde el auxiliar de vuelo es oyente de la radio.

Mi enseñanza en este día es que tú y yo debemos guardar nuestro testimonio. En primer lugar, por agradar y obedecer a nuestro Dios. En segundo lugar, porque no sabemos quién nos mira y lo que mostremos puede ser determinante en la vida de otra persona.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SINGING TO THE LORD

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple…Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
~ Psalm 27:4, 6 (NIV)

Brother Zhang, a young medical doctor and preacher in Zhejiang, China, refused to join the government Three Self Patriotic Church. He was arrested and spent eighteen years in prison eating poor food, being beaten and drowning in the stench of cellmates. He shares this testimony:

“The eighteen years were a tremendous spiritual challenge, which brought great blessings I never before thought possible in my life. Prison officials ordered me to empty the camp night-soil pit, the prison’s cesspool. While I had little experience of physical labor, its hardship and suffering did not frighten me. Although most of the other prisoners dreaded night-soil pit duty as the most difficult task in prison, I accepted this assignment without complaint. The pit stored all the human excrement, both liquid and solid, from the entire camp. Once the pit was full, its human waste steeped until its foul contents were ripe enough to be used as fertilizer. Not only did I walk into this disease-ridden mess to remove it, but I had to breathe its stench as I scooped away each successive layer and dropped hundreds of shovel loads into collection buckets for others to carry to the fields.

“The night-soil pit’s pungent odors lingered with the digger at least three days, literally surrounding him with an almost maddening stench. All the guards and other prisoners avoided the night-soil pit digger to escape being overcome by the lingering odor. One reason I could enjoy working in the night-soil pit was the solitude. Surrounded only by foul air and human waste, I could sing music of praise to God as loudly as I wanted. And the guards were never close enough to protest this otherwise objectionable behavior!

“One of my favorite songs during those days was ‘In the Garden.’ My Chinese night-soil pit was hardly the garden that the composer of that hymn had in mind! But God delivered great happiness to me to be able to sing His praises in such earthly misery.”

RESPONSE: Today I will sing praises to God no matter how terrible my circumstances turn out to be.

PRAYER: Lord, may all Christian prisoners experience the joy of praising You in their trials this day.

Men of the Bible - Jeremiah

His name may mean: "Yahweh Has Exalted" or "Yahweh Has Established"

His work: Though Jeremiah's prophecies were primarily directed toward Judah, the Lord also gave him prophetic messages for other nations of the world. His ministry took place during the last forty years of Judah's existence, from 627-586 BC.
His character: Jeremiah has often been called "the weeping prophet." He struggled with feelings of insecurity, doubt, and alienation. Because of the constant opposition he faced, he became so depressed that he cursed the day of his birth. Despite the cost to himself, he spoke the word of the Lord with uncompromising honesty.
His sorrow: Though the date and place of Jeremiah's death are uncertain, Jewish tradition holds that he was stoned to death by fellow Jews while living in Egypt after the destruction of Jerusalem. Despite their misfortunes, those who had taken refuge in Egypt remained unrepentant, blaming their troubles not on their idolatry, but on their failure to worship Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven.
His triumph: It is hard to find evidence in the book of Jeremiah that the prophet enjoyed any sense of personal triumph throughout the course of his ministry. Though he may have felt vindicated when his prophecies about Jerusalem came true, such feelings would have been small comfort in light of the suffering that had befallen his people.
Key Scriptures: Jeremiah 1; 20; 36; 37:16-21; 39:1-14

A Look at the Man

Jeremiah is often considered a prophet of doom, a man who warned God's people of the grievous consequences of their sin. Yet it would not have been possible for him to thunder on about impending judgment if he had despaired of the possibility that Judah might actually repent and be saved. Surely it was hope that kept him going.

This hope was made tangible during Babylon's sustained siege of Jerusalem. One day Jeremiah heard the Lord telling him that one of his cousins would soon ask him to buy a field belonging to him. But why, he must have wondered, should he waste precious silver purchasing property that was about to be overrun by a foreign invader? Before he had time to puzzle out the answer, he saw his cousin approaching. Sure enough, the man was selling his field and wanted Jeremiah to buy it. So Jeremiah did.

As the prophet tried to make sense of this impractical business transaction, God spoke again, telling him, "I will surely gather [my people] from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them" (Jeremiah 32:37-40).

Jeremiah's hope was based on the knowledge that nothing is ever too hard for God, not even restoring the fortunes of a people whose future seemed utterly wrecked. So, like a good contrarian investor, he ignored the conventional wisdom and bought the field. His purchase proved valuable, for the Lord eventually brought many of his people back to Jerusalem, a people chastened, purified, and eager to live once again in the land of the promise.

Reflect On: Jeremiah 20:7–18
Praise God: For his relentless love.
Offer Thanks: That he will never fail or forsake us.
Confess: Any tendency to try to hide your thoughts or feelings from God.
Ask God: To help you develop a deep and honest relationship with him.

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 18, 2017

Heed Those Warnings

Today’s Truth

but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed
~ James 1:14 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

I love spinach. I love it in salads – especially with grilled salmon, goat cheese and pine nuts. I love it on a turkey sandwich with whole grain bread, a thick, juicy slice of a sun-ripened tomato and sharp cheddar cheese. I love spinach sautéed with EVOO, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Straight up, I guess I’m just a spinach-kind-of-girl. Anyone with me?

Now that we’re clear on my love for this wonderful, dark green leafy veggie, imagine my disappointment when I was told by the evening news that I had to throw out the two bags of fresh spinach in my refrigerator! A while back there had been an e-coli outbreak that was linked back to some manufacturing plants in California that process fresh-bagged spinach. Several states across America reported multiple cases of e-coli poisoning. Many hundreds became sick and one person even died. It was serious.

Initially, I stood in my kitchen for several minutes wanting to ignore the warnings. I was tempted to resist the news reports as being valid. I thought to myself, I’m sure MY bags of spinach are just fine… I hate to waste all of that money…Spinach is good for me…this is ridiculous!

But, alas…I threw out my spinach. I heeded the warning. The risks weren’t worth the rewards.

That spinach dilemma caused me to think about some spiritual issues. There have been many times in my life where I’ve sensed a warning in my soul that was prompted by the Holy Spirit. Each time I’m faced with such a warning, I’m also faced with an opportunity to choose my response to it. You are too.

God’s favor was upon Sampson from the time he was born. He was given exceptional physical strength that was purposed for God’s plan and glory. Over the years, Sampson grew somewhat feisty and complacent. Much to his detriment, he chose to go his own way and lean on his own strength by using his God-given gifts for his own selfish purposes and amusement.

The Bible shows that Sampson was warned several times about the deceitfulness of his betraying wife, yet he failed to heed the warnings. The deceptive ways of Delilah were just as toxic as the deadliest of e-coli strains… but time after time, Sampson ignored the warnings and chose his own way over God’s way. The results were painful, humiliating and, ultimately, fatal. Delilah’s betrayal caused Sampson to be taken prisoner and beaten. His strength, along with his dignity, was stripped away from him.

After some very nasty torture by the Philistines, Sampson, in his last moments prior to death, remembered his need for God. He cried out to the Lord and was instantly helped and redeemed. God heard Sampson’s repentant heart. He hears ours too.

Did you know that the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter 11, lists Sampson in the hall of faith? I was amazed and encouraged to see this. What a beautiful display of the truth that now matter what temptations we have given in to, no matter what warnings we have failed to heed and no matter what compromises we may have succumb too; it’s never too late to turn back to God.

During the e-coli spinach scare I had to wait a few weeks to have my next spinach salad. I heeded the warnings because the risks weren’t worth the gain. Is there any way you need to heed a warning or prompting of the Holy Spirit today?

Let’s Pray

Holy Lord, Not one of us is above temptation. Please help me to recognize and heed the warnings You whisper to my soul. Grant me the courage and strength to run from temptation and resist the enemy’s attempts of deception in my life. Thanks for Your Word that guides each of us when directions seem unclear.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Now It’s Your Turn

Is there something you are trying to hold on to that God has been nudging you to release? Obey Him today and trusting that HIS plan for you is even better than your plan for you.

Is there a temptation in your life that you are flirting with? If so, run the opposite direction – heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit in your heart – and pray that God would strengthen you in your areas of weakness.

Have you given in to temptation? Do you need to confess it right now? God is waiting with arms open wide.

More from the Girlfriends

C’MON OVER! I’VE GOT A GIFT FOR YOU! Since we are rebuilding our home after a house fire I figured I’d also rebuild my cyber home—my website. Why not? I’m already going a bit crazy. Might as well go all in! My home is still several months away from being livable, but my website is all ready to move in. I’d love for you to come by for a visit. I’ve got the welcome mat out just for you! I can’t serve you coffee and brownies, but I can offer you another goodie that’s even better…a 25% OFF coupon. And you don't even need to take your shoes off. Use the COUPON CODE NEW25 and enjoy 25% OFF any purchase of $20 or more from the new store!

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LHM Daily Devotion - August 18, 2017 "Last Requests"

Emily Pomeranz, a resident of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was dying.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Last Requests"

August 18, 2017

(Jesus said) "Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live."
~ John 14:19 (ESV)

Emily Pomeranz, a resident of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was dying.

This was her second go-round with pancreatic cancer, and there was no doubt she was losing the battle. Her friends, including one by the name of Sam Klein, would often stop by for a visit. More than once these friends asked, "Is there anything we can do? Anything we can get you?"

Well, Pomeranz put some thought into her friend's requests to provide assistance. She eventually came up with two items. So the next time Klein asked what she needed, she was able to say, "I'd like a Cleveland Indian's hat." Klein thought a hat would be no problem. The second thing on Pomeranz's list was harder. She said, "I want a Tommy's mocha milkshake."

I should tell you Tommy's Restaurant, the restaurant from which this milkshake was to come, was 400 miles away: a tough distance for any milkshake to travel.

Well, Tommy Fello, the owner of the restaurant was touched by, and started out to fulfill, Pomeranz's request. The mercy mission was assisted by a dry ice donation from an ice cream company in Cleveland. Fello made up his concoction, packed it, and paid $123 for overnight shipping to Pomeranz's room.

The mocha milkshake made it to the hospital. Pomeranz enjoyed it and talked about it for days.

Now, my question to you is this: if you were in Pomeranz's situation, and odds are that someday we will be, what will be your last request? It's quite possible the thought of a mocha milkshake might be high on your list -- nothing wrong with that. And maybe you would want a Chicago Bear's cap. That would be okay, too.

But would there be anything of a spiritual nature on your list of special requests?

Over the years, I have waited at the deathbeds of some powerful saints. These people were looking at life from a different perspective than most. No longer did they number their days in weeks and months. They were in a final countdown, and their Savior who had always been important had become more so.

These people knew that when their doctors were helpless Jesus was just beginning. And they were incredibly grateful to their Redeemer for the forgiveness He had won for them during His life, His suffering, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. Yes, they were thankful to Him and desired to share Him with those around them, which is why I've seen their last wishes include

1. talking to family members about their faith which had been neglected;

2. mending bridges with friendships that had been washed away;

3. planning a funeral service which would bear witness to the Savior who had blessed them.

Oh, there's one other thing I should share about these folks and their last requests. To a person, each of them knew that their "last request" was really not their last. They let everyone know that because Jesus lives, they would continue to live also.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there is a time when I must say my earthly farewells. Grant that I do so bearing witness to You who has done what was necessary so these won't be my final goodbyes. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 18 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento Diario

Perdón sin medida

18 de Agosto 2017

Yo no encuentro delito alguno en este hombre.
~ Lucas 23:4b (RVC)

¿Alguna vez lo pusieron en un grupo con personas no deseables a las que no consideraba como sus iguales? ¿Recuerda la injusticia de ese acto? Usted sabía que era malo, pero también sabía que no era tan malo como el resto del grupo.

Piense por un momento cómo se habrá sentido Jesús cuando, en su camino al lugar donde sería brutalmente crucificado, iba acompañado por dos malhechores comunes quienes, con justa razón, iban a ser crucificados. Jesús no merecía la muerte -ni la muerte en la cruz, ni ninguna otra.

Es difícil siquiera imaginar lo injusto que esta escena fue para Jesús. "Él es la imagen del Dios invisible, el primogénito de toda la creación" (Colosenses 1:15).

Por la gracia de Dios, uno de los criminales entendió; él comprendió qué era lo que estaba ocurriendo en ese preciso momento. El otro, en cambio, no entendió y trató de enervar amargura en Jesús. El malhechor lo amonestó diciendo: "Lo que nosotros ahora padecemos es justo, porque estamos recibiendo lo que merecían nuestros hechos, pero éste no cometió ningún crimen" (Lucas 23:41).

Él 'no ha hecho nada malo', dicen las Escrituras, pero aún así: "Pero él será herido por nuestros pecados; ¡molido por nuestras rebeliones! Sobre él vendrá el castigo de nuestra paz, y por su llaga seremos sanados." (Isaías 53:5)

¡Hemos sido sanados!

Nosotros somos como esos dos que merecen morir. Pero gracias a su sangre derramada, ¡hemos sido sanados!

ORACIÓN: Amado Padre, en la sangre de tu Hijo hay vida para todo aquel que cree. Tú puedes cambiar vidas a través de la fe y otorgar vida eterna. Nuestros pecados son grandes, pero tu gracia es aún mayor. Por tu Espíritu Santo mantennos cerca de ti. En el nombre de Cristo oramos. Amén.

Biografía del autor: Esta devoción esta basada en un texto proporcionado por Ilze Abrama, quien trabaja en las oficinas de Cristo Para Todas las Naciones en Letonia.

© 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.