Monday, September 11, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, September 11, 2017

Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord."
~ Psalm 122:1

Confession of Sin

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is nothing good in us. O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to Your promises declared unto men in Christ Jesus our Lord. Grant that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to the glory of His name. Amen

Morning Prayer
Blessed Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve — and will try this day with my full heart — to imitate Your example, to be like You: mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and kind. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with this day — not only people I like — and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever. Amen.

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 1 Kings 13:1-10
[A Man of God from Judah] While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer incense, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the LORD to Bethel and proclaimed against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar, thus says the LORD: 'A son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.'" He gave a sign the same day, saying, "This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: 'The altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.'" When the king heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Seize him!" But the hand that he stretched out against him withered so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. The king said to the man of God, "Entreat now the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, so that my hand may be restored to me." So the man of God entreated the LORD; and the king's hand was restored to him, and became as it was before. Then the king said to the man of God, "Come home with me and dine, and I will give you a gift." But the man of God said to the king, "If you give me half your kingdom, I will not go in with you; nor will I eat food or drink water in this place. For thus I was commanded by the word of the LORD: You shall not eat food, or drink water, or return by the way that you came." So he went another way, and did not return by the way that he had come to Bethel.

The Second Reading is taken from Philippians 1:1-11
[Salutation] Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians] I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 15:40-47
There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
[The Burial of Jesus] When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 41 Beatus qui intelligit
1   Happy are they who consider the poor and needy! the LORD will deliver them in the time of trouble.
2   The LORD preserves them and keeps them alive, so that they may be happy in the land; he does not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
3   The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and ministers to them in their illness.
4   I said, "LORD, be merciful to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you."
5   My enemies are saying wicked things about me: "When will he die, and his name perish?"
6   Even if they come to see me, they speak empty words; their heart collects false rumors; they go outside and spread them.
7   All my enemies whisper together about me and devise evil against me.
8   A deadly thing, they say, has fastened on him; he has taken to his bed and will never get up again.
9   Even my best friend, whom I trusted, who broke bread with me, has lifted up his heel and turned against me.
10   But you, O LORD, be merciful to me and raise me up, and I shall repay them.
11   By this I know you are pleased with me, that my enemy does not triumph over me.
12   In my integrity you hold me fast, and shall set me before your face for ever.
13   Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, from age to age. Amen. Amen.

Psalm 52 Quid gloriaris?
1   You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness against the godly all day long?
2   You plot ruin; your tongue is like a sharpened razor, O worker of deception.
3   You love evil more than good and lying more than speaking the truth.
4   You love all words that hurt, O you deceitful tongue.
5   Oh, that God would demolish you utterly, topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling, and root you out of the land of the living!
6   The righteous shall see and tremble, and they shall laugh at him, saying,
7   This is the one who did not take God for a refuge, but trusted in great wealth and relied upon wickedness.
8   But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9   I will give you thanks for what you have done and declare the goodness of your Name in the presence of the godly.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 44 Deus, auribus
1   We have heard with our ears, O God, our forefathers have told us, the deeds you did in their days, in the days of old.
2   How with your hand you drove the peoples out and planted our forefathers in the land; how you destroyed nations and made your people flourish.
3   For they did not take the land by their sword, nor did their arm win the victory for them; but your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you favored them.
4   You are my King and my God; you command victories for Jacob.
5   Through you we pushed back our adversaries; through your Name we trampled on those who rose up against us.
6   For I do not rely on my bow, and my sword does not give me the victory.
7   Surely, you gave us victory over our adversaries and put those who hate us to shame.
8   Every day we gloried in God, and we will praise your Name for ever.
9   Nevertheless, you have rejected and humbled us and do not go forth with our armies.
10   You have made us fall back before our adversary, and our enemies have plundered us.
11   You have made us like sheep to be eaten and have scattered us among the nations.
12   You are selling your people for a trifle and are making no profit on the sale of them.
13   You have made us the scorn of our neighbors, a mockery and derision to those around us.
14   You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughing-stock among the peoples.
15   My humiliation is daily before me, and shame has covered my face;
16   Because of the taunts of the mockers and blasphemers, because of the enemy and avenger.
17   All this has come upon us; yet we have not forgotten you, nor have we betrayed your covenant.
18   Our heart never turned back, nor did our footsteps stray from your path;
19   Though you thrust us down into a place of misery, and covered us over with deep darkness.
20   If we have forgotten the Name of our God, or stretched out our hands to some strange god,
21   Will not God find it out? for he knows the secrets of the heart.
22   Indeed, for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
23   Awake, O Lord! why are you sleeping? Arise! do not reject us for ever.
24   Why have you hidden your face and forgotten our affliction and oppression?
25   We sink down into the dust; our body cleaves to the ground.
26   Rise up, and help us, and save us, for the sake of your steadfast love.

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, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent,
At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!

~ From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope

A Collect for the Renewal of Life
O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.

Take my Life and Let it Be

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

Closing Prayer
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
~ from the Epistle of Jude

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 MONDAY, September 11, 2017

Lord, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent,
At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!

~ From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, September 11, 2017

Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV) [A song of ascents] I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Read all of Psalm 121

Listen to Psalm 121

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 - Power

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

This verse summarizes the startling message of 2 Corinthians 12. It encapsulates perhaps the hardest of Christ’s teachings: That we must abandon our love of the things of this world. Almost everything we learn to value in life, almost everything we seek outside of Christ, damages our relationship with Him to some degree; this verse is like a homing beacon, to bring us back to Him when the world has pulled us away.

We do not hear the idea of it emphasized for an ironic reason. The people we are most likely to hear speaking and writing are prominent; and few prominent people are assiduous in finding grace sufficient. People who are celebrated and followed are strong: strong in intellect, strong in self-promotion, strong in power, strong in their ability to speak and write convincingly, and generally either rich or having control over wealth. They generally take satisfaction in having many followers; and satisfaction with being heard is, at its heart, pride in one's own accomplishment.

Every lesson in life teaches us to seek strength. We fear death and loss of property, so we want to be able to take care of ourselves against attackers at every level: a home secure against intruders, good police who will come quickly, or military strength. We fear humiliation, so we teach ourselves rhetoric that we may argue convincingly. We guard our egos fiercely.

We spend our leisure time exercising to strengthen and beautify our bodies. We seek medical attention to extend our physical lives, avoid pain, and maximize our mobility. We seek strength of will, to avoid sin and to get done what we want to get done in this life.

The seeking of strength, in short, informs every thought and action of the human life. Even when we pray, it is often for strength! Heal me, Lord; help me get the job, make more money, have a good marriage.

Most of what we seek is not sinful, in and of itself. What drives us away from Christ is the attitude within ourselves that becomes an automatic response, that we must become stronger. For the stronger we are, the more difficult it is for us to understand and accept God's grace, granted to us by Christ.

But once we understand that grace is sufficient for us, we hold the key to innumerable problems. Is our first goal to solve our earthly problems, or is our first goal to accept God’s grace. We must always hold in mind these difficult truths: First, grace is sufficient for us. It is all we need. Second, our power is made perfect in weakness. It is our weakness, not our strength, that helps us or even allows us to find Christ.

Never forget, Christ’s triumph came through the ultimate earthly loss, the loss of His life; and His grace will become perfect in us by our own ultimate loss, death. Do we not see, then, that our suffering, our losses, our defeats in life increase Christ's grace in our live? Paul tells us repeatedly to rejoice in our suffering, and this is why. Christ's grace will not come to us in our earthly victories, but in our earthly defeats.
Lord, Your grace is sufficient for me. Amen.

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 by Mason Barge, Editor, Daily Prayer.
This verse summarizes the startling message of 2 Corinthians 12. It encapsulates perhaps the hardest of Christ’s teachings: That we must abandon our love of the things of this world.

Un Dia a la Vez - Solidaridad: Testimonio de sanidad (quinta parte)

¡Cuán bueno y cuán agradable es que los hermanos convivan en armonía! [...] Donde se da esta armonía, el Señor concede bendición y vida eterna.

Esta semana te he contado partes de mi testimonio y hemos podido ver juntos cómo Dios tuvo misericordia, ya que en medio de tanta gravedad, Él intervino de una manera sobrenatural. Así lo hará en tu vida sin importar cuál sea tu situación. ¡Dios tiene la última palabra!

Durante este tiempo fue hermosísimo ver cómo mis oyentes, mi familia y amigos se volcaron en solidaridad, cadenas de oración, ofrendas, flores, llamadas, visitas y correos electrónicos con palabras de ánimo.

Pude darme cuenta de la magnitud del cariño de las personas y me dije varias veces: «Ha valido la pena todas las madrugadas para ir a la radio. Ha valido la pena el servicio que he realizado por los demás», pues lo coseché en ese tiempo.

Sé que Dios fue el que movió el corazón de muchos de ustedes para hacer lo que hicieron por mí y mis princesas. Fue tanta la solidaridad que hasta el personal del hospital le preguntaba a mi familia si yo era una persona de la política, ya que el teléfono no paraba de sonar. Era tanta la gente que venía a orar por mí, que tuvieron que prohibir las visitas.

Mi enseñanza con esta experiencia es que recogemos todo lo que sembramos y que también se recogen el amor y el afecto.

Por lo tanto, no dejemos de ser misericordiosos, pues lo que podamos hacer por los demás es de bendición. Todas las personas que están en los hospitales, las cárceles y los hogares de ancianos necesitan de nuestras oraciones y compañía.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - DISPENSING GRACE

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

How can Christians dispense grace in a society that is or seems to be veering away from God? As we noted in earlier devotionals, Elijah hid out in caves. On the other hand, his contemporary Obadiah worked within the system running Ahab’s palace while sheltering God’s prophets on the side. Esther and Daniel were employed by heathen empires. Jesus submitted to the judgment of a Roman governor. Paul appealed his case all the way to Caesar. In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey shares:
  1. Dispensing God’s grace is the Christian’s main contribution

    The one big thing the church has over the world is showing grace. Jesus did not let any institution interfere with His love for individuals. Here is where the fruit of the Spirit are so important in our lives. Jesus said we are to have one distinguishing mark—neither political correctness nor moral superiority, but—love.

  2. Commitment to grace does not mean Christians will always live in perfect harmony with the government

    Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia has written, “…what a nation needs more than anything else is not a Christian ruler in the palace but a Christian prophet within earshot.” Jesus warned that the world who hated him would hate us also. As the early church spread throughout the Roman Empire, the slogan “Jesus is Lord” was a direct affront to the Romans. When conflict came, brave Christians stood up against the state, appealing to a higher authority. Through the years, this same energy continued. In all of this, we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. All our actions—and even counteractions—are to be seasoned with grace. When we show just the opposite, then we must consider the wisdom of our choices.

  3. Coziness between church and state is good for the state and bad for the church

    Herein lies the chief danger to grace. The state, which runs by rules of ungrace—the entire “world” does—gradually drowns out the church’s sublime message of grace.

    The church works best as a force of resistance, a counterbalance to the consuming power of the state. The cozier it gets with government, the more watered-down its message becomes. Can you imagine any government enacting a set of laws based on Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount?” A state government can shut down stores and theatres on Sunday, but it cannot compel worship. It can arrest and punish murderers, but cannot cure their hatred much less teach them love…It can give subsidies to the poor, but cannot force the rich to show them compassion and justice. It can ban adultery but not lust, theft but not covetousness, cheating but not pride. It can encourage virtue but not holiness.[1]
RESPONSE: Today I will operate in the world I encounter and in my church dispensing grace.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to be a person who is known for my ability to live like Jesus—with grace.

1. Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1997), pp. 219-227.

Women of the Bible - Anna

Her name means: "Favor" or "Grace"

Her character: Married for only seven years, she spent the long years of her widowhood fasting and praying in the temple, abandoning herself entirely to God. A prophetess, she was one of the first to bear witness to Jesus.
Her sorrow: As a widow, she would probably have been among the most vulnerable members of society, with no one to provide for her financially or to take care of her if her health failed.
Her joy: That her own eyes beheld the Messiah she had longed to see.
Key Scriptures: Luke 2:22-38

Her Story

A small bird darted past the Court of the Gentiles, flew up to the Women's Court, and then on to the Court of Israel (one of the inner courts of the temple, accessible only to Jewish men). Anna blinked as she watched the beating wings swerve into the sunlight and vanish. She wondered into which privileged corner of the temple the little bird had disappeared.

For most of her eighty-four years, she had been a widow who spent her days praying and fasting in the temple. Though Anna had walked past the outer court thousands of times, she never failed to notice the warning inscribed in its walls in both Greek and Latin: "No stranger is to enter within the balustrade round the temple and enclosure. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue." It was an awesome thing to come into the presence of the Holy One.

Though she could not echo the prayer of Jewish men, who praised God for creating them neither Gentiles nor women, she could at least be grateful for the privilege of ascending beyond the Court of the Gentiles to the Women's Court, where she would be that much closer to the Most Holy Place. Having done so, she bowed her head, rocking back and forth to the rhythm of her prayers (Psalm 84:1-3).

Suddenly a voice interrupted her recitation of the familiar psalm. Old Simeon, she saw, was holding a baby to his breast, pronouncing words that thrilled her soul: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

Like her, Simeon had lived for nothing but Israel's consolation. Though he had not seen, yet he had believed. Anna watched as the child's parents hung on the old man's words. Then he handed the infant back to his mother, this time speaking more softly: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

Anna placed her arms gently around the young mother's shoulders and gazed at the sleeping infant. Words of thanksgiving spilled from her lips. Her heart felt buoyant, her hope unsinkable. More vividly than Jacob, who had dreamed of a ladder full of angels, or Moses, who had beheld a bush burning in the desert, she, Anna, a widow and prophetess from the tribe of Asher, had experienced the very presence of God. Her eyes had seen the promised child, whose brilliance would scatter the darkness and bring deliverance for all God's people.

Now she too felt like a sparrow soaring freely in the house of God. It no longer mattered that she was forbidden entry into the innermost courts of the temple. God himself was breaking down the dividing walls between Jew and Gentile, male and female, revealing himself to all who hungered for his presence. That day a child had transformed the Women's Court into the holiest place of all.

Scripture doesn't tell us whether Anna ever actually wished she were allowed to enter the innermost courts of the temple in Jerusalem. But her longing for God is obvious. Clearly, she was a woman with a great spiritual appetite, who abandoned her life to God and was rewarded by meeting Jesus and his parents just forty days after his birth, during the presentation in the temple.

Her Promise

Anna's life revolved around prayer and fasting in the temple. She evidently had no family, no home, no job. Instead, God was her family, the temple her home, and prayer her occupation. Though you may not have the freedom to spend every moment in prayer, as she did, you can be sure the time you do spend is never wasted. If you long to see your Savior, to experience his presence in your life, let Anna's devotion encourage you.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda (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.

Girlfriends in God - September 11, 2017

God is With Us

Today’s Truth

The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? Evil people may try to destroy my body. My enemies and those who hate me attack me, but they are overwhelmed and defeated. If an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid. If war breaks out, I will trust the Lord.
~ Psalm 27:1-3 (NCV)

Friend to Friend

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the phone rang and my husband said, “Honey, you need to turn on the television - right now.” It was the middle of the day and I was busy cleaning house, doing laundry and trying to cram in an hour of study time, but the sadness and dread in my husband’s voice stopped me in my tracks. Something was very wrong.

I was still totally unprepared for the horrific scene that played out in vivid reality on the television screen before me. I stared in shock at the surreal images of two airplanes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both towers collapsed - killing thousands of innocent people – and forever changing life as we know it.

Why bad things happen to good people is a question we have been asking since time began. I have been a Christ follower for many years. I am a Christian author and speaker and the wife of a pastor. Over the years, God has brought me out of more pits than I can count, and I have literally attended church since the day I was born. My faith in God should be unwavering. I should never doubt or question Him or His plan. But sometimes I do.

You may be offended at my next statement, but if I am brutally honest, my faulty human mind and sin-tainted heart can almost - almost come to grips with such horrendous circumstances happening to someone who is evil and has turned their back on God. Bad things should happen to bad people and good things should happen to good people. Sounds logical and fair - right?

You and I both know that life is not fair and that our human logic is a shallow substitute for God's sovereignty. We are broken people living in a broken world. Bad things do happen to good people while those who mock God seem to prosper, and it's been that way for a long time. Take Job for example.

Job 1:8-12 "The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’”

Don’t miss the important fact that God not only allowed Satan to test Job, but dictated how Satan could test him. Job went from having vast wealth to great poverty, losing everything he and his wife had, including their ten children. Job's wife urged her husband to turn away from and curse God - but Job stood firm.

Job 1:20-21 "Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’"

Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain and despair was even more powerful.

Did Job doubt and question God? Absolutely!

Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain? Yes, but he remained faithful to God, even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering and pain. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.

Job 42:11 "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."

Storms come in all shapes and sizes. The lab report comes back malignant. The school calls, demanding that you pick up your child who has just been expelled. Your husband informs you that he no longer wants to be married to you. Your boss calls you into his office to let you know that you are being fired. Financial disaster seems certain while dependable friends seem to vanish. Yes, storms will come and bad things will happen – even to fully devoted followers of God.

Where is God when the winds pick up and the churning waters pummel your rocking boat? God is where He has always been and always will be - in the midst of every stormy circumstance. Run into His waiting arms when you are afraid. Trust Him – even though you may not understand what is happening in your life. He is with you.

Let’s Pray

Father, we come to You today, celebrating the freedom that so many have given their lives to protect. I pray that we would remember and cherish their sacrifice. Lord, I want to be a woman of faith who trusts You no matter what happens. Help me cultivate the kind of faith Job had and strengthen me for every trial ahead. Today, I choose faith over fear and trust over doubt.
In Jesus' Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Think back to a time when God allowed something to happen that you simply could not understand. His plan seemed illogical and undoable. You asked, "Why did this happen to me?"

Now look at where you are now. What good things have come out of that painful experience? What lessons did you learn from that difficult time? How have those lessons influenced your life today?

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Daily Devotion September 11, 2017 "Like a Child"

The greatest. Who's the greatest? That question always seems ...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour

"Like a Child"

September 11, 2017

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

The greatest. Who's the greatest? That question always seems to be around in this world. We want heroes, powerful men and women who can overcome the odds, do great and mighty things. So, what is it about such bravado that seems to attract us to our heroes? Why do we elevate their status to such heights when it always becomes apparent that even our heroes -- they have feet of clay? Why do we have scores of magazines whose only concern is "Who is the greatest? Who is the most powerful? Who makes the most money? Who are the most beautiful?" -- when all those things are temporal and fleeting? Why do we all want to know what Bill Gates thinks or hang on every word of Bono? Or why do we so eagerly desire all the information about our favorite box office movie star, or the boy or girl wonder of Wall Street?

Well, for many of us, that bravado attracts us because we hope that if we can glean a nugget of wisdom from folks like them, if we can mimic their successful actions, maybe, just maybe we can have some control over our lives just like them. With the honor of being the greatest in our society or even among our family and friends -- with that comes power, prestige, and status. With that honor comes control. And isn't that what life is all about?

That's what Jesus' disciples were looking from Him that day. I think they were sure they had attached themselves to the next big thing in their society. They had seen Jesus do miracles of healing and feeding. They had experienced the Mount of Transfiguration glow of His godliness. Peter, in front of the others, had even for a moment walked on water with Him. This Jesus was something special, and they had an inside track into His new kingdom, so they were the chosen ones, and now they want to know what that might mean for them.

So they asked Jesus a very modern question: "Who is the greatest?" But why? Did they really want to know if Jesus was proud of them? Did they really want to know if they have met His high standards for leadership and service? I don't think so. I don't think their concern is about excellence or holiness or faithfulness from God's point of view. No, they, like many of us, just want to know who's in charge!

The problem then is not excellence in leadership, no, it's bravado. To that Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

So who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? It's the one who is totally dependent on God for his source of life and strength -- like a little child. A child, for all their sins and selfishness, generally knows who to depend on. That's Jesus point. The child knows to look to mom and dad, to look to the one who loves and cares for them. That's why He calls a little child to Him in their presence. He's trying to show these disciples that their greatness and strength with God comes from knowing your dependency on Him and trusting for all things. Yes, like a child. If you want to see what greatness is in the kingdom of God, just look around. Be like this child!

That's one reason that Christians often call themselves "children of God." It's not because we are young and naïve. It's not because we are trying to avoid the tough questions and issues of adulthood. No, it's so that we never forget the ultimate source of our strength, our wisdom, our life, even our peace in this tense world. It comes from a simple trust in God who provides all things for us. So think about your spiritual life with God in Christ this week. That's the power to face the tough decisions in your job, your personal life, your family life. Be powerful like a child who trusts a Savior who really loves them!

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me the faith of a child to trust in You in all things! Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 11 de Setiembre de 2017

Alimento Diario

¿Todavía está aquí?

11 de Setiembre 2017

Estén atentos, porque ustedes no saben el día ni la hora en que el Hijo del Hombre vendrá.

De acuerdo a una noticia de ABC News, el profeta Yisrayl, también conocido como "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, predijo que en el 2006 comenzaría una guerra nuclear.

Por eso mi pregunta: ¿Todavía está aquí? Como ya dije, espero que así sea. En realidad Hawkins, quien vive en la ciudad de Abilene en el estado de Texas, es sólo uno más en la larga lista de profetas que en los últimos años han predicho fatalidades, desastres, y hasta el mismo fin del mundo.

A esta altura eso ya no nos sorprende, pero lo que sí sorprende es que haya personas que les crean. Hubo personas que le creyeron a "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins cuando profetizó que el principio del fin comenzaría el 12 de setiembre del 2006. Cientos de sus seguidores en Kenya se escondieron en refugios subterráneos y se dispusieron a esperar cubiertos con máscaras anti-gas. Cuando pasó la fecha señalada y nada sucedió, regresaron avergonzados a sus casas.

Esta vez, en preparación para la más reciente predicción, sus seguidores instalaron cientos de contenedores cargados con alimentos y agua en la propiedad de 44 acres que poseen en Texas.

Pero, si usted está leyendo hoy esta devoción, es porque el fin del mundo aún no ha llegado, y ellos estaban equivocados.

A pesar de que a través de la historia se han levantado muchos falsos profetas, la Biblia no deja lugar a dudas en cuanto a cuándo llegará el fin del mundo. El propio Jesús fue muy claro cuando dijo: "no saben ni el día ni la hora". Lo único que sabemos con seguridad es que Jesús va a volver.

Desde que Dios prometió un Salvador a nuestros primeros antepasados, hasta que esa promesa se cumplió en la persona de Jesucristo, pasaron miles de años. Y luego ese mismo Jesucristo dijo que va a volver, pero no dijo cuándo. Puede ser pronto, como puede ser dentro de miles de años más.

Esa es la razón por la cual quienes creemos en el Salvador que vivió, sufrió, murió y resucitó para rescatarnos del pecado y de la muerte eterna, también creemos que debemos estar preparados para esa "hora" que puede llegar en cualquier momento.

Una cosa que los seguidores de Hawkins hicieron bien fue que se prepararon. Nosotros también debemos prepararnos, pero no acumulando alimento para el cuerpo, sino viviendo una vida limpia delante de Dios y de quienes nos rodean, y confiando en su perdón y sus promesas.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, quizás muchos estén desilusionados porque el fin del mundo aún no ha llegado, pero nosotros te damos gracias porque todavía podemos compartirte con quienes aún no te conocen. Llénanos de tu Espíritu Santo para que seamos testigos fieles de tu gracia y de tu amor. En tu nombre. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. ¡Utilice estas devociones en sus boletines! Usado con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados por la Int'l LLL.