Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Daily Readings for TUESDAY, September 5, 2017

Opening Sentence
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
~ Psalm 19:14

Confession and Forgiveness

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
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.

Morning Prayer of George Washington
Almighty God, and most merciful father, who commanded the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day; receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee. I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of the day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor.

Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do my own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou require of me.

And since thou art a God of pure eyes, and will be sanctified in all who draw near to thee, who does not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts: Pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense.

And as thou would hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou have sent it.

Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
~ from the Journal of George Washington

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 1 Kings 8:65-9:9
So Solomon held the festival at that time, and all Israel with him-- a great assembly, people from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt-- before the LORD our God, seven days. On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents, joyful and in good spirits because of all the goodness that the LORD had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel.

[God Appears Again to Solomon] When Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD and the king's house and all that Solomon desired to build, the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The LORD said to him, "I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you made before me; I have consecrated this house that you have built, and put my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David, saying, 'There shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.' "If you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut Israel off from the land that I have given them; and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight; and Israel will become a proverb and a taunt among all peoples. This house will become a heap of ruins; everyone passing by it will be astonished, and will hiss; and they will say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this house?' Then they will say, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, worshiping them and serving them; therefore the LORD has brought this disaster upon them.'"

The Second Reading is taken from James 2:14-26
[Faith without Works Is Dead] What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-- and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 14:66-72
[Peter Denies Jesus] While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, "You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth." But he denied it, saying, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them." But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, "Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean." But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about." At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 26 Judica me, Domine
1   Give judgment for me, O LORD, for I have lived with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
2   Test me, O LORD, and try me; examine my heart and my mind.
3   For your love is before my eyes; I have walked faithfully with you.
4   I have not sat with the worthless, nor do I consort with the deceitful.
5   I have hated the company of evildoers; I will not sit down with the wicked.
6   I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD, that I may go in procession round your altar,
7   Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
8   LORD, I love the house in which you dwell and the place where your glory abides.
9   Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with those who thirst for blood,
10   Whose hands are full of evil plots, and their right hand full of bribes.
11   As for me, I will live with integrity; redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
12   My foot stands on level ground; in the full assembly I will bless the LORD.

Psalm 28 Ad te, Domine
1   O LORD, I call to you; my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; lest, if you do not hear me, I become like those who go down to the Pit.
2   Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.
3   Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, who speak peaceably with their neighbors, while strife is in their hearts.
4   Repay them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their actions.
5   According to the work of their hands repay them, and give them their just deserts.
6   They have no understanding of the LORD'S doings, nor of the works of his hands; therefore he will break them down and not build them up.
7   Blessed is the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
8   The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;
9   Therefore my heart dances for joy, and in my song will I praise him.
10   The LORD is the strength of his people, a safe refuge for his anointed.
11   Save your people and bless your inheritance; shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 36 Dixit injustus
1   There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2   He flatters himself in his own eyes that his hateful sin will not be found out.
3   The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has left off acting wisely and doing good.
4   He thinks up wickedness upon his bed and has set himself in no good way; he does not abhor that which is evil.
5   Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.
6   Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; you save both man and beast, O LORD.
7   How priceless is your love, O God! your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8   They feast upon the abundance of your house; you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9   For with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light.
10   Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, and your favor to those who are true of heart.
11   Let not the foot of the proud come near me, nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
12   See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness! they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.

Psalm 39 Dixi, Custodiam
1   I said, "I will keep watch upon my ways, so that I do not offend with my tongue.
2   I will put a muzzle on my mouth while the wicked are in my presence."
3   So I held my tongue and said nothing; I refrained from rash words; but my pain became unbearable.
4   My heart was hot within me; while I pondered, the fire burst into flame; I spoke out with my tongue:
5   LORD, let me know my end and the number of my days, so that I may know how short my life is.
6   You have given me a mere handful of days, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight; truly, even those who stand erect are but a puff of wind.
7   We walk about like a shadow, and in vain we are in turmoil; we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
8   And now, what is my hope? O Lord, my hope is in you.
9   Deliver me from all my transgressions and do not make me the taunt of the fool.
10   I fell silent and did not open my mouth, for surely it was you that did it.
11   Take your affliction from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand.
12   With rebukes for sin you punish us; like a moth you eat away all that is dear to us; truly, everyone is but a puff of wind.
13   Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears.
14   For I am but a sojourner with you, a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
15   Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again, before I go my way and am no more.

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 of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Peace
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of 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.

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

Closing Prayer
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 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 TUESDAY, September 5, 2017

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Verse of the Day for TUESDAY, September 5, 2017

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Read all of Matthew 28

Listen to Matthew 28

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - The Extraordinary Potential of Ordinary People

"The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."

Throughout the Scriptures and throughout the history of the Christian church, we find that God has done unexpected things with unexpected people. He has done extraordinary things through ordinary people. The Bible tells us, “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). This verse doesn’t say God is looking for strong men and women; it says God is looking for people whom He can be strong on behalf of. As I have often said, God is not looking for ability as much as He is looking for availability.

When God was looking for a man to lead the nation Israel, whom did He select? He chose a boy named David who was watching over a flock of sheep. When God wanted someone to lead an army to defeat the Midianites, the enemies of Israel, whom did God choose? He chose a cowardly man named Gideon who couldn’t even muster up the courage to show himself publicly.

It’s almost as though the Lord goes out of His way to choose someone and then raise up him or her. Then people will have to stand back and say, “This is the work of the Lord.”

One thing is clear in the Scriptures: The individuals God found to carry out His work didn’t necessarily look like they would amount to much. He chose people who, at first glance, didn’t even to appear to have what it took for the task at hand.

Would you be a person who would say, “Lord, I don’t have much to offer. I’m not a towering intellect. I’m not a great orator. I’m not very talented. But what I have, Lord, I offer to You”? Then you watch what God will do.

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 by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.
God is not looking for ability; He is looking for availability.

Un Dia a la Vez - Sabiduría contra necedad (segunda parte)

La sabiduría del prudente es discernir sus caminos, pero al necio lo engaña su propia necedad.

La sabiduría es una virtud, pero la necedad es un defecto y se puede convertir en un pecado. En la vida se presentarán momentos en los que nos pondrán a prueba y donde tendremos la opción de tomar decisiones sabias o necias. Así que cualquiera de las dos determinará las consecuencias de nuestros actos.

Del mismo modo que muchas personas crecen en sabiduría y aprenden de sus errores, otras tantas volverán a su necedad y no aprenderán la lección ni darán frutos, aunque hayan tocado fondo y Dios les haya dado otra oportunidad.

Las personas que son así, las vemos abrumadas sin cesar y siempre enredadas en problemas. No tienen paz en sus corazones porque no tienen a Dios en cuenta en sus vidas. Se creen autosuficientes, pero sus vidas no modelan a Cristo.

La comparación que hace Dios en la Biblia sobre la necedad del hombre es que el necio es como el perro que vuelve a su vómito. ¿Visualizas esa imagen? ¡Puf! Entonces, si hemos sufrido por los errores cometidos, ¿por qué los repetimos? Porque se nos olvida el dolor y el daño causado.

Por lo tanto, pidámosle hoy a Dios que nos fortalezca y nos dé sabiduría que viene de lo alto.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - GLAMORIZING PERSECUTION

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Reg Reimer, a veteran missionary in Vietnam and with the World Evangelical Alliance counters the idea that some people express which glamorizes persecution and conclude it is therefore good. He says that deprivation, cruelty and dehumanization suffered by victims of persecution are NOT good but from the enemy! He writes in the book Suffering, Persecution and Martyrdom: Theological Reflections:

In Vietnam, for example, it is well documented that in the past 30 years Christians have been harassed, discriminated against, arrested without cause, starved, beaten, imprisoned, raped, dispossessed and chased from home and fields, and even killed for Christ’s sake. Only the Evil One takes pleasure in inflicting these injustices on those made in the image of God!

In September 2005, a Vietnamese pastor was released from a terrifying 15-month imprisonment. He had been rotated to five different prisons, was sometimes in rooms with 100 criminals and other times in a solitary cell. He had been attacked by prisoners with HIV/AIDS. He confessed to feeling alienated from his family and his church after his release. The feeling worsened. Six months after release he uttered the words, “I only discovered real loneliness when I got out of prison. My colleagues, my own brother and even my wife don’t understand and won’t believe what I tell them.” Persecution is not good!

People much prefer the more positive reports of those who seem to flourish in persecution. It is truly amazing that for many, the persecution they suffer becomes a means of receiving grace! They testify of God’s strengthening presence in the harshest conditions. They report on God’s miraculous provisions in times of extreme need. And so persecution and suffering become an occasion for God’s comfort, often through others.[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will resist the temptation to glamorize persecution and the persecuted. Instead I will pray unceasingly for those being traumatized.

PRAYER: Lord please bring Your comfort to our brothers and sisters who are hurting from persecution today. And bless those who provide much needed trauma counselling for the persecuted church.

1. Christof Sauer and Richard Howell (ed), Suffering, Persecution and Martyrdom: Theological Reflections (Johannesburg, SA: AcadSA Publishing, 2010), pp.331-332.

Girlfriends in God - September 05, 2017

You Go Girl!

Today’s Truth

“Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
~ John 20:17 (NIV, emphasis added)

Friend to Friend

Jesus knew it was coming. He tried to warn the disciples. Death loomed in the air with swirls of bloodthirsty hatred circling the Son of God. But somehow the disciples didn’t understand the eminence of Jesus’ crucifixion, and they certainly didn’t comprehend the promise of His resurrection. Mary Magdalene didn’t understand it either. However, she was there until the end…and at the new beginning for us all.

After Jesus’ arrest, His 11 surprised disciples scattered like church mice when the lights come on. But not Mary Magdalene. She watched in horror as His beaten body was stripped, nailed to the cruel Roman cross, and displayed before the gawking crowd. She saw His precious blood drip from His thorn-pierced brow and onto the cursed ground. Mary watched closely when His lifeless body was lowered from the cross, and she followed quietly when they laid Him in the borrowed tomb. We get no stories of Mary Magdalene running away from the authorities, hiding behind locked doors, or denying her association with Jesus from curious bystanders.

When it was time to make His big reveal, Jesus had something, or rather someone, very special in mind. Let’s join her crying at the empty tomb.

“Woman,” He said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” (John 20:15-16a)

My heart just skips a beat every time I read these words. I see myself weeping with Mary as she is down on her knees with gut-wrenching sorrow pouring from her soul. All her dreams—shattered. They died with Jesus on the cross and were sealed away in the cold stone tomb. And now? Like a sweeping tidal wave, the empty tomb erased the most important three years of her life…and then…all that changed with one word: “Mary.”

As soon as He said her name, Mary knew it was Jesus.

Earlier Jesus taught, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:14, 27). When the shepherd spoke her name, this precious lamb recognized him right away.

And what was the first word the risen Savior spoke? “Woman.” Don’t you love it! Jesus came to set women free from societal and religious oppression of His day. Jesus, the God-made-man, broke the man-made-rules to set women free. He honored women. He respected women. He appointed women. His first spoken words after His resurrection were directed to one of us–and in a sense, it was meant for all of us.

She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).

What did Mary do when she realized that Jesus was alive? The same thing I would do if I realized that someone I loved who was presumed dead suddenly appeared. I’d grab him or her and hang on for dear life! But Mary needed to let go of Jesus because He was sending her on special assignment. She had places to go and people to see! Liz Curtis Higgs wrote, “Just as God chose Mary of Bethlehem to bring the baby Jesus into the world, so God chose Mary of Magdala to bring news of the risen Christ to the world.”

During a time in history when women were not allowed to testify in court, when they were considered unreliable witnesses, God appointed Mary Magdalene the primary eye-witness of the most significant event in all of history.

Jesus’ resurrection was the most pivotal point of all time. And yet, he waited until Peter and John had left the empty tomb before he made his presence known to one lone woman: Mary Magdalene. Jesus was standing center stage and he extended his hand for Mary Magdalene to join him front and center. Mary is often referred to as the “disciple to the disciples” or as Augustine described her, the “apostle of the apostles.” Not only was she the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection, she was also the first to proclaim it. You go girl!

Let’s Pray

Dear God, I don’t know why You waited to reveal Jesus’ resurrection to Mary Magdalene rather than Peter and John, but I am glad You did. Thank You for including women in Your redemptive story. Thank You for giving them leading roles. Lord, help us all to step forward when called. Help us to walk with the same courage as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the many other women who stood by Jesus until the end and beyond.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Notice the two words I highlighted in today’s truth. What are they? What does that mean to you?

Considering that women were not considered reliable or credible witnesses in a court of law during the days of Jesus, what does it mean to you that God chose Mary Magdalene to be the key witness in the most important event in all of history?

Considering the way women were perceived during those days, if the writer of the resurrection story were making up this tale, would he have made Jesus appear to a woman or a man? Which would have been more logical to those hearing the story?

Don’t you just love it when God defies logic!

How does understanding how women were treated in those days shed light on just how important God’s female image-bearers were to Jesus and how He went out of His way to honor them?

More from the Girlfriends

HowJesusBrokeTheRules-150x232Today’s devotion was taken from my book, How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free: A Woman’s Walk in Power and Purpose. In this book we study each woman Jesus encountered in the New Testament and see how her story is your story. Jesus came to set women free! In a day when they moved about as shadows in the culture, rarely seen and seldom heard, Jesus broke the cultural rules to heal them, save them, and then send them. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours. The book comes with a study guide and is perfect for women’s Bible study groups. But be prepared, you’ll fall in love with Jesus all over again. Click on the book to watch the book trailer. That is a blessing in itself! Right now, this book is on sale for 33% off.

Visit my website and sign up for my blog, and I’ll email you a link to download my new beautiful adult coloring book journal for free!

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Girlfriends in God

LHM Daily Devotion - September 5, 2017 "Just A Little Sin"

Ecclesiastes tells us, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Just A Little Sin"

September 5, 2017

Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."

Ecclesiastes tells us, "There is nothing new under the sun." Well, you'd better believe it.

How do I know? Well, immediately after last month's eclipse one of the most common searches made on Google dealt with blindness which comes from looking at an eclipse. In spite of all the warnings; in spite of all the preaching, it seems that there were a great many folks who simply had to steal a look. Only afterwards did they wonder: "Have I caused permanent damage to my sight?"

Lot's wife, from the Old Testament, would have understood.

You remember how, when the Lord warned Lot and his crew to get out of Sodom and Gomorrah, there was only one thing He asked them to do. God told the refugees, "Don't look back. I want you looking toward the future which I am going to give you."

It was good advice. Unfortunately, Lot's wife disregarded God's instructions. She turned to take a look at the fire and brimstone raining down on her old home. She got a glimpse and she paid for that look with her life.

As near as I can tell, when it comes to following the Lord's orders, humanity has two problems:

1. We believe, "a little bit won't hurt us." Watch someone taste a spicy food dish. Note how they take the smallest of drops and taste it. They believe they can survive anything if the amount is small enough. Now that may be true when it comes to hot sauces; but it is most definitely NOT the case when it comes to disobeying God. In other words, "a little sin will damn you as fast as a big one."

2. We also believe God may be serious about His rules, but He's not going to get all kinds of upset with us if we just make a small mistake. After all, we're pretty good folks and the bit of disobedience we're talking about is inconsequential.

Well, my friends, I hope you all know the Lord's perfection considers every kind of sin to be loathsome and unacceptable and therefore He promises eternal punishment upon anyone who breaks any of those commandments. Now that's the way things should have been. On our own we would have remained spiritually blind and been destined to wander in sin's darkness.

But we are not alone, are we?

To save us from such a fate, the Lord sent His Son into this world to reclaim us, restore us and bring us back into the family of faith. Because of Holy Spirit-given faith, our spiritual vision is restored and we can see that we have been saved by grace, through faith in the Christ Whose resurrection conquers all of our eternal enemies.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive our proud and haughty spirit which thinks we have the power to change Your laws, and, if it pleases us, set them aside for rules of our own manufacture. Instead, let us be given peace and hope which comes from the Savior Who has set us free from the clutches of our mortal enemies: sin, Satan and death. This I ask in the Savior's 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 05 de Setiembre de 2017

Alimento Diario

El perdón

05 de Setiembre 2017

En vez de eso, sean bondadosos y misericordiosos, y perdónense unos a otros, así como también Dios los perdonó a ustedes en Cristo.

Cuando una pareja celebra sus bodas de oro, se supone que todo debe brillar como oro. Por lo que, aun cuando entre ellos no se lleven muy bien, tratan de poner buena cara.

Es por eso que me sorprendió saber de una pareja en la cual, luego de haber celebrado su cincuenta aniversario, la esposa le dijo al marido: "Durante cincuenta años hemos sido miserables. Hemos discutido por todo, y estoy convencida que no podemos seguir así. Me he comprometido a orar para que Dios me ayude a resolver este problema. Mi oración es que el Señor se lleve a uno de los dos pronto. Y cuando Él responda mi oración, me iré a vivir a la casa de mi hermana."

Quizás usted también quiera que el Señor se lleve a alguien que le molesta. La mayoría de nosotros tenemos a alguien que nos hace la vida miserable. Quizás sea nuestro jefe que demanda cada vez más, o un compañero de trabajo que molesta todo el tiempo, o un bebé que llora día y noche.

Es difícil tratar con compasión cristiana a tales personas. Sin embargo, Dios nos dice que, gracias al sufrimiento, muerte y resurrección de Jesús, Él perdona nuestras flaquezas, por lo que nosotros debemos hacer lo mismo por otros.

Es difícil, pero posible con la ayuda de Dios. No permita que los malos hábitos de otras personas le impidan reflejar el amor que usted ha recibido del Salvador.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, a veces es difícil ser cristiano en este mundo pecador. Ayúdame a no fijarme en las cualidades negativas de quienes me rodean, sino a enmendar las mías propias y a que pueda ver a otros como tú los ves. En tu nombre. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

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