Friday, August 25, 2017

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, August 25, 2017

Saint Paul in Prison, Rembrandt c. 1627
Opening Sentence
The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.
~ John 4:23

Morning Prayer
As I start this day, oh Lord, I wonder: How will this day be different from any other day? Has my faith in you grown into a stale routine, or will I grow this day, closer to you than I have ever been?

Shake me up, Holy God! Rattle the door of my cage, set off my smoke detector, ring my doorbell until I answer the door! Let me read your Word until something new sinks in; let me pray until I hear your voice, until all smugness has given way to gratitude. By the power of your Holy Spirit, renew me afresh in your Word and power, today and every day, energizing me in your great commission. In Christ's name, I pray. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
O Holy One, we call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, and boundless in love. Yet there are times, O God, when we fail to recognize you in the dailyness of our lives. Sometimes shame clenches tightly around our hearts, and we hide our true feelings. Sometimes fear makes us small, and we miss the chance to speak from our strength. Sometimes doubt invades our hopefulness, and we degrade our own wisdom.

Holy God, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset, remind us again of your holy presence hovering near us and in us. Free us from shame and self-doubt. Help us to see you in the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, to act courageously, and to speak from our wisdom.

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 19:24-43
[David and Mephibosheth Meet]
Mephibosheth grandson of Saul came down to meet the king; he had not taken care of his feet, or trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes, from the day the king left until the day he came back in safety. When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?" He answered, "My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, 'Saddle a donkey for me, so that I may ride on it and go with the king.' For your servant is lame. He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. For all my father's house were doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to appeal to the king?" The king said to him, "Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land." Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him take it all, since my lord the king has arrived home safely."

[David’s Kindness to Barzillai]
Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. The king said to Barzillai, "Come over with me, and I will provide for you in Jerusalem at my side." But Barzillai said to the king, "How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? Today I am eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward? Please let your servant return, so that I may die in my own town, near the graves of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you." The king answered, "Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you." Then all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king crossed over; the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way. Then all the people of Israel came to the king, and said to him, "Why have our kindred the people of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?" All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, "Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?" But the people of Israel answered the people of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the words of the people of Judah were fiercer than the words of the people of Israel.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 24:24-25:12
[Paul Held in Custody]
Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you." At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him. After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

[Paul Appeals to the Emperor]
Three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem where the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews gave him a report against Paul. They appealed to him and requested, as a favor to them against Paul, to have him transferred to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, planning an ambush to kill him along the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. "So," he said, "let those of you who have the authority come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him." After he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he arrived, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem surrounded him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. Paul said in his defense, "I have in no way committed an offense against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against the emperor." But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?" Paul said, "I am appealing to the emperor's tribunal; this is where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor." Then Festus, after he had conferred with his council, replied, "You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go."

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 12:35-44
[The Question about David’s Son]
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet."' David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?" And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

[Jesus Denounces the Scribes]
As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

[The Widow’s Offering]
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

Morning Psalms
Psalm 140 Eripe me, Domine
1   Deliver me, O LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent,
2   Who devise evil in their hearts and stir up strife all day long.
3   They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adder's poison is under their lips.
4   Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who are determined to trip me up.
5   The proud have hidden a snare for me and stretched out a net of cords; they have set traps for me along the path.
6   I have said to the LORD, "You are my God; listen, O LORD, to my supplication.
7   O Lord GOD, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8   Do not grant the desires of the wicked, O LORD, nor let their evil plans prosper.
9   Let not those who surround me lift up their heads; let the evil of their lips overwhelm them.
10   Let hot burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the mire, never to rise up again."
11   A slanderer shall not be established on the earth, and evil shall hunt down the lawless.
12   I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the poor and render justice to the needy.
13   Surely, the righteous will give thanks to your Name, and the upright shall continue in your sight.

Psalm 142 Voce mea ad Dominum
1   I cry to the LORD with my voice; to the LORD I make loud supplication.
2   I pour out my complaint before him and tell him all my trouble.
3   When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
4   I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me; I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for me.
5   I cry out to you, O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."
6   Listen to my cry for help, for I have been brought very low; save me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
7   Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your Name; when you have dealt bountifully with me, the righteous will gather around me.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 141 Domine, clamavi
1   O LORD, I call to you; come to me quickly; hear my voice when I cry to you.
2   Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
3   Set a watch before my mouth, O LORD, and guard the door of my lips; let not my heart incline to any evil thing.
4   Let me not be occupied in wickedness with evildoers, nor eat of their choice foods.
5   Let the righteous smite me in friendly rebuke; let not the oil of the unrighteous anoint my head; for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
6   Let their rulers be overthrown in stony places, that they may know my words are true.
7   As when a plowman turns over the earth in furrows, let their bones be scattered at the mouth of the grave.
8   But my eyes are turned to you, Lord GOD; in you I take refuge; do not strip me of my life.
9   Protect me from the snare which they have laid for me and from the traps of the evildoers.
10   Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I myself escape.

Psalm 143 Domine, exaudi
1   LORD, hear my prayer, and in your faithfulness heed my supplications; answer me in your righteousness.
2   Enter not into judgment with your servant, for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
3   For my enemy has sought my life; he has crushed me to the ground; he has made me live in dark places like those who are long dead.
4   My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate.
5   I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds; I consider the works of your hands.
6   I spread out my hands to you; my soul gasps to you like a thirsty land.
7   O LORD, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; do not hide your face from me or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8   Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for I put my trust in you; show me the road that I must walk, for I lift up my soul to you.
9   Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD, for I flee to you for refuge.
10   Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God; let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11   Revive me, O LORD, for your Name's sake; for your righteousness' sake, bring me out of trouble.
12   Of your goodness, destroy my enemies and bring all my foes to naught, for truly I am your servant.

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. Amen.
~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Prayer for Mercy
Heavenly Father, true God, who sent Your beloved Son to seek the wandering sheep, I have sinned against heaven and before You; receive me like the Prodigal Son, and clothe me with the garment of innocence, of which I was deprived by sin. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner, in the name of Christ. 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.

Palermo, Festa dell' Immacolata

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

Closing Prayer
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 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 25, 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. Amen.
~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Verse of the Day for FRIDAY, August 25, 2017

Psalm 119:165 (NIV) Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Read all of Psalm 119

Listen to Psalm 119

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 - Takes Your Breath Away

“For we are God's masterpiece...”
~ Ephesians 2:10a (ESV)

Webster's Dictionary defines masterpiece as: “a person's most excellent production...”. According to Roger's Desk Thesaurus, a few synonyms listed for masterpiece are: “great work of art; prize; jewel; treasure; prizewinner...”.

Jenny Lind (1820-1887), was a Swedish-born operatic singer. She began to sing onstage when she was ten. She made her debut at the Royal Swedish Opera in 1838. She was often known as the “Swedish Nightingale”, and was one of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century.

Because of her sincere reverence for God she became determined to leave the stage for a year at the height of her career. The following year she toured the United States under P. T. Barnum's auspices.

Millie Stamm wrote a story about Jenny Lind in “Meditation Moments”. The story went like this: “One day a friend found her (Lind) sitting on the seashore, her Bible on her knee. She was looking at the glory of a sunset. The friend asked how she could abandon her career. She replied: When it made me think less of the Bible, and nothing of God's glory about me, what else could I do?”.

How many times are you aware of God's glory about you? Do you marvel at the wonders of God's masterpieces? Do you notice one or more every day, or just once in a while, or hardly ever? For me, it was at the close of the day. As I reached up to close the window treatments, I noticed the huge moon against the dark sky. It was shining very brightly, and it was lighting up our total backyard. It was spectacular! For me it was truly one of those special times I witnessed one of God's masterpieces.

Ephesians 2:10a states: “...we are God's masterpiece”! We are God's most excellent production; a great work of art; a prize; a jewel; a treasure; and a prizewinner! We were molded and patterned in His image, by the Creator Himself, therefore we should not consider ourselves inferior work.

Why not become more and more alert to God's glory surrounding you? Notice the glory of God's marvelous craftsmanship displayed through a sunrise/sunset, the moon shining brightly, or the stars in the sky. His workmanship takes your breath away.

Next time you look in the mirror see what God sees, a great masterpiece, a work of art! A. W. Tozer stated: “One soul made in the image of God is more precious to Him than all the starry universe.”
Lord, thank You that long ago, even before You made the earth, You loved us and chose us in Jesus Christ to be holy, without fault, and in Your eyes a masterpiece. Amen.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, NLT® copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Devotion shared by Ann Brock.
Webster's Dictionary defines masterpiece as: “a person's most excellent production...”.

Un Dia a la Vez - El desorden y la suciedad (primera parte)

Vístanse de amor, que es el vínculo perfecto. Todos los caminos del hombre son limpios en su propia opinión; pero Jehová pesa los espíritus.

El desorden y la suciedad son dos enemigos nuestros. ¡Qué importante es saber que el desorden y la suciedad son desagradables a la vista y a la vida y que también nos afecta en el campo espiritual! Nosotros podemos ser pobres o humildes, pero nada nos da derecho a ser desordenados y sucios.

El abandono personal y del hogar solo reflejan tu desinterés en la vida. En las Escrituras aprendemos que son los demonios los que viven en el desorden y la suciedad. Ese abandono te llevan a la depresión y te atan, de tal manera, que no puedes ver las bendiciones y las promesas que Dios tiene para ti.

Son muchas las promesas que tenemos, pero solo son para los valientes, para los que preparan su casa, ya sea que se trate de tu cuerpo o del techo bajo el que vives.

Dios es un Dios de orden y no puedes pedirle que reine de otra manera.

Limpia y ordena tu casa y tu vida, y verás la mano de Dios sobre ti.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - BE A GOOD STEWARD OF YOUR TRIALS

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

The Apostle Paul praises the church in Thessalonica for their faith and love in the face of persecutions and trials. In essence he is telling them that they are good stewards of their trials, not letting them impact their faith negatively.

I recently heard gospel singer Lynda Randall express this same thought of “being a good steward of the trials I face,” as she introduced her next solo “It is Well With My Soul.”

The lyrics of this hymn were written by Horatio Spafford, a lawyer of some prominence in Chicago. He and his wife Anna had one son and four daughters, and were good friends of D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey for many years. Mr. Spafford’s children had come to Christ through the influence of Ira Sankey’s music. When the Spafford’s son died, the family went into deep mourning.

After two years of ministering to the homeless and needy people of Chicago, Mr. Spafford thought his family needed a vacation. D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey were in England holding evangelistic so Mr. Spafford decided to take his family to England, where they could vacation and also be a help to his friends Moody and Sankey.

He booked passage for his family on the ship SS Ville de Havre, but at the last minute was unable to go with his family due to business. He promised to follow them within a few weeks and they would all be reunited in England.

As the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, it collided with the English ship Lochearn, and sank within 12 minutes. 226 lives were lost, including the four Spafford daughters. Mrs. Spafford was rescued from a floating piece of debris. When she arrived in Wales 10 days later she cabled a message to her husband, “Saved Alone...”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next ship heading to England. As the ship crossed the area where the SS Ville de Havre sank, taking his daughters to the ocean’s depths, Mr. Spafford felt the Holy Spirit fill him with a comforting peace. Leaving the ship’s railing he went into his cabin where he penned the hymn that has soothed so many souls who have been broken-hearted...and one which I often hear sung in the meetings of the persecuted church:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

RESPONSE: Today I will be a good steward of the trials I face…with faith, love and perseverance.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness in all the trials I face. Help me not waste them.

Men of the Bible - Daniel

His name means: "God Is My Judge"

His work: He was a Jew who became a governor in Babylon.
His character: Daniel was an exile who exhibited great discipline and faithfulness to his God in adverse circumstances.
His sorrow: Daniel experienced the tearing of his people from their homeland to be exiled in Babylon. He was never able to return to the land he loved.
His triumph: God used his faith and his godly diligence to win the loyalty of kings and kingdoms.
Key Scriptures: Daniel 1-6

A Look at the Man

Daniel's life was filled with unpleasant—and sometimes tragic—surprises.

When he was a young man, the Babylonians laid siege to his homeland, tearing down the walls and buildings of Jerusalem. Even the sacred temple was ransacked and destroyed. Along with the other Israelites who had survived the carnage, Daniel was taken as a prisoner of war back to Babylon.

Knowing that the future of his nation rested on the shoulders of the brightest young men in the land—including Hebrew men—Nebuchadnezzar the king called for the finest in the land: "young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace." Among these carefully chosen Jews was a young man named Daniel, along with three of his friends.

The young men lived in the palace. It was Daniel's first experience of sleeping with the enemy, but it would not be his last.

To more fully indoctrinate the men, Nebuchadnezzar gave them Babylonian names. Then Daniel and his friends were placed under the instruction of the teachers of Babylon, and the four young men gained "knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning." So remarkable were these men that when they were presented to King Nebuchadnezzar for his review, he found them "ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom."

But it was to Daniel alone that God gave the special gift of interpreting visions and dreams of all kinds. And it was this ability that granted Daniel a place of honor in the kingdom. After a while, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that haunted him. He sought an interpretation from all the wise men in the land—magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers. Infuriated by their inability to help him, Nebuchadnezzar ordered the execution of all the wise men in Babylon.

Upon hearing of this decree, Daniel begged for an audience with the king, pleading for his life and the lives of the wise men. Then Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's troubling dream. In thanks the king promoted Daniel as the ruler of an entire Babylonian province and "lavished many gifts on him."

But in spite of the power and wealth bestowed on Daniel, his love and loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were unaltered. His daily regimen included three visits to an upstairs window facing his precious homeland, where he knelt and prayed. Daniel's faithfulness to God—and his divine gift of interpreting dreams—placed him in great prominence in the kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar his son, and Darius.

Under Darius, Daniel rose to power over one-third of the kingdom. It was, in fact, in the king's plan to place Daniel over all of Babylon. But the other rulers seethed with envy over the king's favor of this Hebrew. And so they plotted to destroy him under the sanction of the kingdom.

These men went to the king with a flattering plan. "Issue an edict and enforce a decree," they proposed to Darius. "Anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except the king, shall be thrown into the lions' den." Seeing an opportunity for glory and believing that there would be no harm in such a plan, the king put the decree in writing and secured it with his seal. Unfortunately for Daniel, the king himself could not reverse his decision.

Without regard to the consequences, Daniel prayed at his window. Facing prosperity or the threat of execution, he would not let his heart be drawn away from the God whom he loved and served. And his reward for this act of obedience was yet another restful night—in a cave of death for anyone but a man of God.

Reflect On: Daniel 6:19–28
Praise God: For his power and ability to change hearts.
Offer Thanks: For the faithful prayers of “the great cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us.
Confess: Our lack of spiritual discipline—our pretense of spiritual devotion rather than our daily practice of it.
Ask God: To fill you with a burning desire to know 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 25, 2017

When You Forget Who You Are

Today’s Truth

It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak …

Friend to Friend

Ever had one of those weeks when everything that could go wrong does go wrong? You can’t find your groove to save your life and your circumstances repeatedly trip you up and stress you out?

I remember one such week for me. I battled insomnia in the worst way, which made me feel prickly all over. My children were out of sorts too. They were under the weather and crabby and seemed to cry over the littlest things. I felt irritable and easily frustrated. And so tired that my skin hurt.

At one point I passed by a mirror and winced. I didn’t at all like the reflection staring back at me. I saw only the worst version of myself. Tired. Crabby. Exhausted. Brain-fogged. Which was especially uncomfortable since I had a speaking event coming up that weekend.

How could I possibly prepare my heart when I couldn’t even find my footing? But then, deep within my soul, I sensed God’s invitation to trust Him with the surface parts of me, things that I could barely stand to acknowledge, as well as to trust Him with the deepest parts of me that still needed healing and wholeness.

Amidst the temptation to loath myself and cringe at my weakness—I put my foot down and prayed: Lord, even here, even now, I belong to You. And despite my bleary eyes and messy hair, I’m still Your treasure—a spoken-for heir of God. This is true because You say it’s true. So I speak it out loud for my own ears to hear and I choose to believe it until my heart fully knows it. Thank you, thank you for seeing past my frazzled exterior and for valuing the treasure of my soul. I wrap my arms around Your grace. I seek Your face in this place And I will finish this race because You promised to get me safely home. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Something stirred in my heart after that prayer. I knew God’s words were true regardless of how I felt about myself.

First we dare to believe. We grab God’s truth as our very own. Then, amidst our choice to believe, we walk and talk like it’s true.

When faith makes its way into our ears, it also finds its way into our hearts. In my experience, when my ears hear my mouth say truths that God has reflected in His Word, I’m changed. I’m strengthened. And I remember once again that I’m not who I was. I’m not what I do. I’m someone God loves and enjoys.

As we go through life, we’ll walk through storms that smash against us. We’ll try to find our footing amidst the pelting rain and the whipping winds. Sometimes those storms are of our own making. Sometimes they’re the natural elements of a fallen world. And sometimes we’re turned upside down in a storm that had nothing to do with us, and everything to do with someone else’s rotten choices.

No matter the reason for the storm, at times we’ll find ourselves responding in ways that are beneath us. We’ll say things we wish we hadn’t. We’ll be forced to reckon with our humanity and with our very real need for a Savior.

Praise God we have one!

During such times it helps if we remind our souls that we love because He loved us first. We can walk in His promises, not because we’re perfect, but because He is. We can enjoy His presence because He’s the One who invited us there in the first place. We can and will be used greatly by Him because He knew all about our frailties long before we were ever aware of them, and He planned ahead of time to redeem us from them. Amazing grace!

Let’s Pray

Thank you, Lord, that even when I trip up, You’re there to catch me. You don’t disgustingly look the other way. You’re grace is enough for me! There is no one like You! I will believe. I do believe. I will, therefore, speak with boldness and great power.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Are you kind to your soul? Do you see yourself as an heir?

Dare to believe (and speak) what’s true about you because of Jesus.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion was taken from Susie’s book, Your Powerful Prayers: Reaching the Heart of God With Bold, Humble Faith. Learn more about Susie by visiting her website at Be sure to connect with Susie on Facebook at or on Twitter at @SusieLarson.

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LHM Daily Devotion - August 25, 2017 "Both Mercy and Grace"

Mercy and grace appear together in most pastors' sermons...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Both Mercy and Grace"

August 25, 2017

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.
~ 2 John 1:3 (ESV)

Mercy and grace appear together in most pastors' sermons; it's easy to think they are one and the same.

They're not.

I hope you won't mind if I try to explain the difference between the words "mercy" and "grace." Just for a moment, imagine that you've fallen six months behind in your car payments, in your house payments, in your credit card bills. You know what's going to happen. Those to whom you owe money are going to expect to be paid. That's understandable. At first they ask nicely for their money, then they get a little more forceful, and eventually they take you to court.

There's no question that you owe them. You have an unpaid debt.

Now here's where mercy and grace come in. Mercy is when you -- guilty beyond any shadow of a doubt -- turn to the judge and ask him not to pronounce the punishment your sin deserves. You ask the judge to set aside the law and forget about justice. That's not something a good judge should do. Still that is what happens if you ask for mercy.

Grace, as I said, is different.

In the same scenario, grace would be given if the judge said, "You don't deserve it, but I'm going to have somebody else make all of your payments." Grace is when the judge says, "I'm going to have somebody else pay the price for what you have done."

Do you see the difference?

Let me make it simple: mercy is not getting what you deserve, and grace is getting what you don't deserve.

On occasion you may see a judge who has seen some kind of extenuating circumstance offer mercy to someone who is guilty, but seldom will you see a judge give grace. You will never see a judge sentence his son for the sin of someone else. It would be unthinkable. It wouldn't make sense. It wouldn't be fair. But that is what must happen if grace is to be given.

Grace and mercy are God's gifts to us.

We have sinned; we have committed crimes against our Lord, which we can never make right. There is no question of our guilt or that we deserve to be punished. In spite of what we have done, God, our divine Judge, decides to extend His mercy and His grace. He doesn't give us the punishment we deserve, and He extends forgiveness which we haven't earned: mercy and grace.

Of course, the Lord couldn't set aside His laws. He couldn't do that.

The price for our sin had to be paid. And it was. So that we might have His mercy and grace, God sent His sinless Son to take our place. God sent His Son to live the perfect life we could not; He sent His Son to fulfill the laws that we have not; He sent His Son to die the death that we deserved. My friend, your sins may be great, but God has shown that He is greater.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I give thanks for Your many gifts, which are undeserved. Through Jesus' sacrifice I have been given forgiveness, a home in heaven, and the promise of being with my Redeemer forever. May I share my joy with others who still do not know of Your grace and still are unacquainted with Your mercy. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

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CPTLN Devocional de 25 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento Diario

Revestidos de Cristo

25 de Agosto 2017

Andemos decentemente, como de día, no en orgías y borracheras, no en promiscuidad sexual y lujurias, no en pleitos y envidias; antes bien, vestíos del Señor Jesucristo, y no penséis en proveer para las lujurias de la carne.

Los cristianos, no obstante están perdonados por la misericordia de Dios, están expuestos al pecado. El apóstol Pablo sabía esto cuando escribió a los cristianos en Roma que necesitaban vestirse "con el Señor Jesucristo," y no tomar parte en libertinajes siguiendo los malos deseos de la carne y cometiendo inmoralidades sexuales.

Comportarnos como cristianos significa mostrar amor hacia los hermanos en la fe, y compasión por aquellos que aún no conocen al Salvador. También significa reflejar ese amor y compasión en lo que hacemos y en la forma en que actuamos en cada momento. Para los cristianos, el abstenerse de participar en orgías, borracheras e inmoralidad sexual, debería ser una decisión fácil. Sin embargo, Pablo recuerda a sus lectores que las primeras batallas comienzan en la mente: "no penséis en proveer para las lujurias de la carne."

Lamentablemente, no siempre seguimos su consejo. No sólo pensamos en los deseos de nuestra vieja naturaleza, sino que los acogemos, nos acostumbramos a ellos, los excusamos, y dejamos que tomen lo mejor de nosotros, pecando contra nuestro Dios.

Pero demos gracias a Dios por su hijo Jesús, en quien encontramos perdón y una vida nueva que nos transforma en verdaderos testigos de Él. En Él --sólo en Él-- encontramos la completa victoria sobre "las lujurias de la carne."

ORACIÓN: Jesús, ayúdanos a confiar en el perdón que has ganado para nosotros en la cruz del Calvario, para que podamos ser libres para vivir una vida dedicada a ti. Vístenos con tu Espíritu Santo y enséñanos a ser fieles testigos tuyos. En tu nombre oramos. Amén.

Biografía del autor: Christel Scharlach es Directora de la oficina de Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones en Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica.

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