Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, August 31, 2017

The Shipwreck - Acts 27:37-44
Opening Sentence
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.
~ Habakkuk 2:20

Morning Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 1 Kings 3:16-28
[Solomon’s Wisdom in Judgment] Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, "Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. Then this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne." But the other woman said, "No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours." The first said, "No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine." So they argued before the king. Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead' while the other says, 'Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'" So the king said, "Bring me a sword," and they brought a sword before the king. The king said, "Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other." But the woman whose son was alive said to the king-- because compassion for her son burned within her-- "Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!" The other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it." Then the king responded: "Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother." All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute justice.

The Second Reading is taken from Acts 27:27-44
When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift. Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads." After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.) After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.

[The Shipwreck] In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 14:12-26
[The Passover with the Disciples] On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?" So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, "Surely, not I?" He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born."

[The Institution of the Lord’s Supper] While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

[Peter’s Denial Foretold] When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 18:1-20 Diligam te, Domine.
1   I love you, O LORD my strength, O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.
2   My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge; you are worthy of praise.
3   I will call upon the LORD, and so shall I be saved from my enemies.
4   The breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.
5   The cords of hell entangled me, and the snares of death were set for me.
6   I called upon the LORD in my distress and cried out to my God for help.
7   He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling; my cry of anguish came to his ears.
8   The earth reeled and rocked; the roots of the mountains shook; they reeled because of his anger.
9   Smoke rose from his nostrils and a consuming fire out of his mouth; hot burning coals blazed forth from him.
10   He parted the heavens and came down with a storm cloud under his feet.
11   He mounted on cherubim and flew; he swooped on the wings of the wind.
12   He wrapped darkness about him; he made dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.
13   From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds, burst hailstones and coals of fire.
14   The LORD thundered out of heaven; the Most High uttered his voice.
15   He loosed his arrows and scattered them; he hurled thunderbolts and routed them.
16   The beds of the seas were uncovered, and the foundations of the world laid bare, at your battle cry, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
17   He reached down from on high and grasped me; he drew me out of great waters.
18   He delivered me from my strong enemies and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
19   They confronted me in the day of my disaster; but the LORD was my support.
20   He brought me out into an open place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 18:21-50 Et retribuet mihi
21   The LORD rewarded me because of my righteous dealing; because my hands were clean he rewarded me;
22   For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not offended against my God;
23   For all his judgments are before my eyes, and his decrees I have not put away from me;
24   For I have been blameless with him and have kept myself from iniquity;
25   Therefore the LORD rewarded me according to my righteous dealing, because of the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
26   With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God; with the forthright you show yourself forthright.
27   With the pure you show yourself pure, but with the crooked you are wily.
28   You will save a lowly people, but you will humble the haughty eyes.
29   You, O LORD, are my lamp; my God, you make my darkness bright.
30   With you I will break down an enclosure; with the help of my God I will scale any wall.
31   As for God, his ways are perfect; the words of the LORD are tried in the fire; he is a shield to all who trust in him.
32   For who is God, but the LORD? who is the Rock, except our God?
33   It is God who girds me about with strength and makes my way secure.
34   He makes me sure-footed like a deer and lets me stand firm on the heights.
35   He trains my hands for battle and my arms for bending even a bow of bronze.
36   You have given me your shield of victory; your right hand also sustains me; your loving care makes me great.
37   You lengthen my stride beneath me, and my ankles do not give way.
38   I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I will not turn back till I have destroyed them.
39   I strike them down, and they cannot rise; they fall defeated at my feet.
40   You have girded me with strength for the battle; you have cast down my adversaries beneath me; you have put my enemies to flight.
41   I destroy those who hate me; they cry out, but there is none to help them; they cry to the LORD, but he does not answer.
42   I beat them small like dust before the wind; I trample them like mud in the streets.
43   You deliver me from the strife of the peoples; you put me at the head of the nations.
44   A people I have not known shall serve me; no sooner shall they hear than they shall obey me; strangers will cringe before me.
45   The foreign peoples will lose heart; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds.
46   The LORD lives! Blessed is my Rock! Exalted is the God of my salvation!
47   He is the God who gave me victory and cast down the peoples beneath me.
48   You rescued me from the fury of my enemies; you exalted me above those who rose against me; you saved me from my deadly foe.
49   Therefore will I extol you among the nations, O LORD, and sing praises to your Name.
50   He multiplies the victories of his king; he shows loving-kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants for ever.

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
Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.

Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.

You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.

May I do thy will this day, in the name of Christ I pray. Amen.

Prayer of Supplication
Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me, for I am poor and needy. Without you, I have nothing. I pray that this day I will have food, and shelter, and be free of pain and fear. If it is not your will for me to suffer, Lord, I pray that I will not. And above all, cleanse my soul of sin, that I might someday be free of all pain and evil; for, whatever I may bear in this life, I have faith and hope in the life to come, through your goodness and mercy. In Christ's name, I pray, Amen.

A Prayer for Mission
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be still, my soul (Finlandia)

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

Closing Prayer
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray, 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 THURSDAY, August 31, 2017

Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.

Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.

You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.

May I do thy will this day, in the name of Christ I pray. Amen.

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, August 31, 2017

Psalm 95:6-7 (NIV) Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,

Read all of Psalm 95

Listen to Psalm 95

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 - Let us Love in Deed and Truth

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
~ 1 John 3:18 (ESV)

There is nothing wrong with kind words. Telling somebody you love them, or giving someone an honest compliment, can be a wonderful thing. Cheer and warmth are contagious, and most people can use a little reassurance.

But the best love comes not from words but from action, and it is almost always something of a burden, in human terms. The love of a mother for her child is possibly the most extreme form of natural love, and it doesn't have much to do with talking. It is changing diapers and wiping off throw-up, getting up exhausted at 3 a.m., feeding, bathing, and going to the doctor.

Christian love, though, is not natural; Jesus told us to love our enemies, to love those who do us ill, which is about the most unnatural thing we could ever do. Because the world does not reward us for doing it; we are not fulfilling a natural instinct, but obeying the will of God, when we love other people towards whom we do not feel natural affection.

Our reward, though, is even greater. For it is part of our cross that we pick up when we follow Jesus. God smiles on us when we help other people, and if we talk to Him in our prayers, and listen carefully, He will reward us even while we are still on earth.
Lord God, please move me to love others as Christ loved us, despite our imperfection and sin.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Devotion shared by Mason Barge, Editor, Daily Prayer.
The best love comes not from words but from action.

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por liberación

Si el Hijo los libera, serán ustedes verdaderamente libres.
~ Juan 8:36 (NVI)

Dios mío, sé que tú quieres liberarme de la pobreza y el desorden. Por eso, hoy me presento delante de ti entendiendo y reconociendo que soy tu hijo. También comprendo que, como hijo, tengo los derechos y los privilegios de ti, que eres mi Padre.

En este día cancelo con autoridad todas las enseñanzas negativas que me han hecho creer que, por ser cristiano, debo ser pobre.

Así que hoy entiendo que tú tienes bendiciones en abundancia para mi familia y para mí.

Gracias, Señor, porque he aprendido que tú eres un Dios de orden.

Mi Jesús, hoy te pido, por favor, que me libres de toda atadura y pongas en mi corazón el deseo de salir adelante y de luchar por alcanzar mis sueños.

Renuncio este día a la pobreza, al desorden, al abandono, a la suciedad, a la depresión y me declaro libre. Recibo tu bendición ahora.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE WITNESSING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”
~ Acts 1:8a (NIV)

Prior to her Christian husband being released from prison in Iran, Maheen, feared that she might be arrested too. So she seriously prayed, “Dear Lord, I am not ready to go to a solitary confinement because of my Christian faith. It is such a closed and dirty environment. As you know I was born and brought up in a wealthy family and had a comfortable life. Please don’t test me beyond my ability.” She told God she would not be able to handle being arrested and mentioned her fear that she might give the names of all believers in the house churches to the police or even deny Jesus.

Three days later, the secret police knocked at her door. She said to God, “I have already asked you not to put me in this temptation. So whatever happens, it is not my fault. Because I had already told you that I am not a strong person and can’t stand against these security people and can’t tolerate persecution.”

She said, “The police blindfolded me and took me to the solitary confinement. I was scared to death and felt sick as the place was very smelly.” They put her in a cell and a few hours later brought her in for interrogation. She added, “I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit very strongly. And I felt that God’s peace came down on me and my fear went away.”

When Maheen stood before the high official, she courageously testified of her Christian faith. “It is an honour for me to talk to people about Jesus. I will be very happy to talk to you about Jesus and salvation too. Like all other people and Muslims, you also need Jesus in your life. Without Jesus a person does not have any peace and life is hopeless and without any purpose. Jesus laid his life down for you too so that you can have salvation and will not perish.”

The official responded in anger, “Do you know what the consequence of all this will be for you? You can’t evangelize me. It will cost you a heavy price.”

On the third night the official came to her cell. Maheen was frightened fearing that he came to abuse her sexually or to beat her up. But the official told her, “Don’t be afraid of me. I need your prayers. When you shared about Jesus with me, it had such a powerful impact on my life. I need to be saved. I need Jesus in my life. I believe God has sent you to come to this prison so that you can share about salvation with me. I am now completely aware of the fact that without Jesus I will be a miserable and hopeless person and I will perish. Please pray for me that I can be set free from this hell I live in.”

Maheen had the chance to share about Jesus for three hours with him and at the end he repented of his sins and committed his life to Jesus. The official testified that for the first time he experienced the real peace and love of God in his life.

Maheen and her husband were both released from prison and are in touch with this official and his wife secretly. The wife of the official has committed her life to the Lord too.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk and talk in the power of the Holy Spirit and trust God to use me as a witness wherever He places me.

PRAYER: Thank God for the power of His Holy Spirit among committed brothers and sisters in Iran.

Girlfriends in God - August 31, 2017

Time to Soldier Up!

Today’s Truth

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
~ Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

You know how kids are. Older children tend to think it’s their job to educate younger children about the facts of life – and I do mean the facts of life.

Two of our grandsons, Justus who is seven and Hudson who is five, often play with several boys in the neighborhood. Up until now, the older boys have protected Justus and Hudson and have always been kind enough to include them in whatever game they were playing. One of the 10-year-old boys told Danna that Justus and Hudson are the coolest little kids he has ever met. He attends our church and is such a sweet kid. He truly loves our grandsons and thinks of them as his little brothers.

Last week, Justus and Hudson came in after playing with this boy. Our daughter immediately knew something was bothering them – especially Justus. Since he gave his heart to Jesus two years ago, Justus has had such a tender heart for God and desperately wants to please Him.

Danna wisely waited for one of the boys to speak up. After only a few minutes, Justus said, “Mom, I need to tell you something.” Hudson solemnly nodded in agreement.

Danna stopped her dinner preparation and came to sit by the boys. “What’s wrong, honey?” she gently asked. Tears filled his eyes as he explained that one of the boys had explained in vivid detail how men and women make babies. Hudson said, “Mom, I didn’t understand it all, but I didn’t like it.” Justus said, “I knew the way they were talking about it was wrong. They made it sound dirty, but I know it isn’t. My heart hurts, Mom.” Danna gathered both weeping boys in her arms and said, “Come with me, guys.”

Danna took the boys upstairs to the bedroom they share and pulled out their Bibles. She had them turn to Proverbs 4. Danna read the whole chapter, stopping along the way to answer a question or explain a verse. But when she got to verse 23, Danna said, “Guys, this is the verse I wanted you to hear.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

“You are going to hear and see things that you know are wrong. Jesus tells us that we have to constantly guard our hearts to keep the bad things out. We need to fill our hearts with good things. Can you tell me what some of those good things are?”

Hudson said, “Like when we read the Bible at night before bed. That’s a good thing, right?”

“It sure is, Hud!” Danna said.

“Talking to God about everything and trying to make Him smile are good things,” Justus offered.

“Absolutely!” Danna responded. “Jesus loves it when we fill our hearts with good things, but He also wants us to guard our hearts to keep bad things out – like what happened today. Justus, you were right when you said it is not a dirty thing when a man and woman who are married want to have a baby. It is a beautiful thing! But those boys made it seem dirty. You have to guard your heart and not let that kind of thing in.”

“Mom, I didn’t know what to do,” Justus exclaimed. “Those guys are our friends, and they take care of Hud and me … and they even go to our church!”

Danna said, “Well, you could have done a couple of things. You could have put your hand up and told them to stop, or you could have gotten up and walked away. They would have gotten the message.”

Then our daughter painted a beautiful picture we all need to see. We are in a war – the war between good and evil – and we always have to be ready to fight. We never know when the evil will come or where it will come from. It could come from a television show, a movie, a conversation over the back fence with a neighbor or over the phone with a friend or family member, in an email … and yes, even from someone who goes to our church.

Danna picked up one of the Lego army figures that Hudson and Justus play with every day and said, “Picture soldiers stationed around your heart by God. They are standing shoulder to shoulder and when something bad tries to come in, Jesus yells ‘Incoming’ and those soldiers hit it full blast!” Justus and Hudson laughed … and then Justus quietly said, “You are so cool, Mom. Thanks.”

We need to do what Danna encouraged Justus and Hudson to do. We must fill our hearts with God’s Word and prayer. And then we must station God’s soldiers of truth and light around our hearts to keep the junk of this world out. How’s your heart?

Let’s Pray

Lord, today I come to You with a new commitment in my heart – to pray continually and to read and study the Bible. Strengthen me through Your truth and empower me to stand against temptation and sin. Lord, I want to be a godly woman, a woman of discipline, and a woman whose life honors you and draws other to You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” Can you identify the attacks of the Devil in your life?

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.

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Girlfriends in God

NIV Devotions for Men - Samuel: The King-Maker

1 Samuel 1:1—28:25

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
~ 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Samuel glanced at the seven men standing in the shade. They were impressive specimens. Any of Jesse’s sons could have been God’s choice. He was suddenly glad he didn’t have to choose. God had just warned him about the danger of judging from appearance. He smiled sadly, remembering how impressed he had been at first by Saul’s good looks.

Samuel looked around, puzzled. He’d run out of sons, and God hadn’t chosen any of them. What was God’s plan in this situation? Turning to Jesse, he inquired, “Are these it? No more sons?”

The old man slowly counted his sons, one by one. He appeared confused for a moment, then said, “Oh, there is one other. Didn’t even think of him. My youngest, David, is out in the fields with the sheep.” The rest of the sons didn’t understand why they had been summoned, but they grumbled over having to wait for the runt to show up. His place was at the bottom of the pecking order. Shepherding was a smelly, outdoors-in-all-weather, protecting-stupid-sheep chore. Each of them had done it only until the next brother was old enough. As the youngest, it was David’s permanent role. It didn’t bother them to assign him the task; it did bother them that he enjoyed it so much.

Soon David came running in, exuding the pungent scents of field and flock. The brothers looked on with shock as Samuel removed an oil horn from his robe and poured the contents on their little brother’s head. They couldn’t imagine a higher honor—or a more obvious waste. But even they had to admit that as the oil dripped from David’s hair and chin, a certain wild delight and spirit seemed to fill him. Samuel smiled, David laughed, and a chill went up his siblings’ spines.

As Samuel walked to Ramah, he remembered another little boy, left in the charge of a priest named Eli. He considered how upbringing shapes a man and how God uses even hardships and pain to prepare his servants. He wondered about David’s future. He remembered God’s unusual call in his own life, the unexpected voice in the night that Eli had identified for him as the Lord’s. The old priest had told him to answer, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Samuel chuckled softly and began to pray, “Lord, I’m still trying to listen. I never thought back then that you would make me a king-maker. So what’s next?”

Back to the Future
  • In what ways do you think God speaks to you?
  • What have you learned about the dangers of judging people by outward appearances?
  • How would you describe your attitude about God giving you directions?
The Story Continues …

To learn about Samuel’s background and see how God continued to work through him, read 1 Samuel 1:1-28:25.

LHM Daily Devotion - August 31, 2017 "The Truth"

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour


"The Truth"

August 31, 2017

But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I don't know about you, but most of us have a hard time answering that question with a simple yes. Now we might be willing to tell the whole truth in a great many matters, but there are questions that we simply wouldn't, or couldn't, answer completely truthfully (examples: private confessions and confidences entrusted to us).

But there is more. The truth is all of us are liars. While some folks do their absolute best to tell the truth, there are others who choose to lie when there's no logical reason to do so. I guess we inherit our propensity for lying from our first ancestors. After Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, the Lord questioned both of them about what had happened.

Neither of them could tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We can't either.

Maybe that's why the Associated Press has begun a weekly fact check in which it investigates stories that everybody is telling and everyone knows to be true. The problem is this: the AP is finding there are a lot of lies posing as the truth. Need an example? Fine. In the week before this devo was written the AP exposed some internet stories, you know, stories like

1. President Trump had shut down jihad training camps in Islamberg, New York;
2. U.S. companies that sell olive oil are diluting their product with sunflower or canola oil;
3. Wisconsin is building a wall to keep out Illinois residents.

The AP found that those totally false internet stories had been repeatedly shared by well-intentioned folks who thought the tall tales were true. You see, it's difficult for us to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, you know, the truth.

The one Individual who is the exception to that rule is our Lord and Savior. Look at Jesus in His trials. False witnesses were brought in to accuse Him, but He offered no explanation or excuse. Instead of making a defense, He chose to make no defense, and the Savior kept His mouth shut.

Until ... until the high priest stumbled upon the one question Jesus couldn't ignore. You can find it in Matthew 26:63b where it says, "And the high priest said to him, 'I adjure You by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"

There are some critics of Christianity who say that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah and the Savior. Those critics are wrong. Matthew says it plainly: Jesus always told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: He is the Christ, the Son of God.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive my lies and grant me a boldness to confront and confess my transgressions. Then, having been forgiven, may I move forward and share the true Savior with all those around me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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CPTLN Devocional de 31 de Agosto de 2017

Alimento Diario

¿Mirar o ver?

31 de Agosto 2017

Miro a un lado y me doy cuenta de que a nadie le intereso; refugio no tengo, y a nadie le importo. Señor, yo clamo a ti, porque tú eres mi única esperanza; ¡eres todo lo que tengo en esta vida!
~ Salmo 142:4-5 (RVC)

Vivimos como si estuviéramos en exposición. De veras, cada día decenas (y en algunos casos centenas) de personas nos miran pero, lamentablemente, la mayoría de quienes nos miran en realidad no nos ven.

Esa realidad la podemos ver muy claramente en lo que le sucedió a Jean Louviot, un estudiante francés. Jean logró viajar a través de Europa con una fotografía falsa en su pasaporte. Cuando le dijo al guardia de la frontera que la fotografía no era de él, el guardia se excusó diciendo: "Es que los jóvenes de hoy usan el cabello de formas tan raras...".

Lo que hace más interesante a la historia, y razón por la cual el guardia debería haber admitido su omisión, es que la foto que Jean tenía en su pasaporte era de su perro.

Los cristianos nos alegramos porque tenemos un Dios que nos ve como personas individuales y conoce lo que cada uno de nosotros queremos y necesitamos. Dios nunca pasa a nuestro lado sin vernos, sino que trata a cada uno de sus hijos en forma especial.

Pídale al Señor que le aclare la visión, para que pueda realmente ver y hacer sentir especial a las personas con quienes se encuentre en este día. Hágales saber que son apreciadas y que pueden contar con usted en todo momento.

ORACIÓN: Querido Dios, te doy gracias porque sé que me ves y me amas así como soy, y que sabes lo que quiero y necesito. Aumenta mi sensibilidad para que pueda ver a los demás. Te lo pido en el nombre de Jesús quien, aun habiéndome visto, me amó tanto que murió en la cruz para salvarme. En su nombre. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

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