Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Daily Readings for TUESDAY, September 12, 2017

Philippians 1:12-30
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 of Sin

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Morning Prayer
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.

I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Today's Readings

The First Reading is taken from 1 Kings 16:23-34
In the thirty-first year of King Asa of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel; he reigned for twelve years, six of them in Tirzah.
[Samaria the New Capital] He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; he fortified the hill, and called the city that he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill. Omri did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; he did more evil than all who were before him. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and in the sins that he caused Israel to commit, provoking the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the power that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? Omri slept with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria; his son Ahab succeeded him.
[Ahab Reigns over Israel] In the thirty-eighth year of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel; Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him.
[Ahab Marries Jezebel and Worships Baal] And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, he took as his wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. Ahab also made a sacred pole. Ahab did more to provoke the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than had all the kings of Israel who were before him. In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua son of Nun.

The Second Reading is taken from Philippians 1:12-30
[Paul’s Present Circumstances] I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well-- since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 16:1-20
[The Resurrection of Jesus] When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
[Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene] Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
[Jesus Appears to Two Disciples] After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
[Jesus Commissions the Disciples] Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

[The Ascension of Jesus] So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 45 Eructavit cor meum
1   My heart is stirring with a noble song; let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
2   You are the fairest of men; grace flows from your lips, because God has blessed you for ever.
3   Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, in your pride and in your majesty.
4   Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth and for the sake of justice.
5   Your right hand will show you marvelous things; your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
6   The peoples are falling at your feet, and the king's enemies are losing heart.
7   Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom; you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
8   Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
9   All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
10   Kings' daughters stand among the ladies of the court; on your right hand is the queen, adorned with the gold of Ophir.
11   Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; forget your people and your father's house.
12   The king will have pleasure in your beauty; he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13   The people of Tyre are here with a gift; the rich among the people seek your favor."
14   All glorious is the princess as she enters; her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15   In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16   With joy and gladness they are brought, and enter into the palace of the king.
17   In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18   I will make your name to be remembered from one generation to another; therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever."

Evening Psalms
Psalm 47 Omnes gentes, plaudite
1   Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a cry of joy.
2   For the LORD Most High is to be feared; he is the great King over all the earth.
3   He subdues the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.
4   He chooses our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
5   God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of the ram's-horn.
6   Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7   For God is King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill.
8   God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne.
9   The nobles of the peoples have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham.
10   The rulers of the earth belong to God, and he is highly exalted.

Psalm 48 Magnus Dominus
1   Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised; in the city of our God is his holy hill.
2   Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion, the very center of the world and the city of the great King.
3   God is in her citadels; he is known to be her sure refuge.
4   Behold, the kings of the earth assembled and marched forward together.
5   They looked and were astounded; they retreated and fled in terror.
6   Trembling seized them there; they writhed like a woman in childbirth, like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
7   As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God; God has established her for ever.
8   We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of your temple.
9   Your praise, like your Name, O God, reaches to the world's end; your right hand is full of justice.
10   Let Mount Zion be glad and the cities of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments.
11   Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her; count the number of her towers.
12   Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds; that you may tell those who come after.
13   This God is our God for ever and ever; he shall be our guide for evermore.

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
Teach me, O Lord, to act so that all my deeds will glorify your holy name and your wonderful creation. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to you, and deliver them from evil. Send them comfort in distress, consolation in sorrows, and your holy mercy to forgive their misdeeds.

I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused or aggrieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour your mercy upon them. I also pray to you for all those whom I, a sinner, have insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, whether knowingly or without intending or realizing I had done so. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and offenses and insults against each other. Dispel from our hearts all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. Replace resentment with forgiveness, I pray, in the name of Christ. 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.

I Told Jesus
Roberta Flack

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

Closing Prayer
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. 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 12, 2017

Teach me, O Lord, to act so that all my deeds will glorify your holy name and your wonderful creation. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to you, and deliver them from evil. Send them comfort in distress, consolation in sorrows, and your holy mercy to forgive their misdeeds.

I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused or aggrieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour your mercy upon them. I also pray to you for all those whom I, a sinner, have insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, whether knowingly or without intending or realizing I had done so. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and offenses and insults against each other. Dispel from our hearts all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. Replace resentment with forgiveness, I pray, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Verse of the Day for TUESDAY, September 12, 2017

Philippians 4:4 (NIV) [Final Exhortations] Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Read all of Philippians 4

Listen to Philippians 4

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - Not Far from the Kingdom

"As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison."
~ Acts 8:3 (NKJV)

Does it ever seem as though God couldn’t save certain people—people whom you can’t imagine being followers of Jesus? You can’t, in your mind’s eye, envision them carrying a Bible or saying something like, “Praise the Lord!” You think that would never, ever happen.

Maybe they’re always hassling you. Every time they see you, they seem to have ten new questions to fire at you. They get a little angry about it. They get a little hostile. And sometimes they even make fun of you in front of other people because of your belief in Jesus Christ. You think, “That person is so far from the kingdom of God.”

But it may be the very opposite. The person who is giving you the hardest time might be very close to coming to the Lord. No one is beyond the reach of God. And sometimes the people we think are far away are closer than we realize.

There is no clearer illustration of this than Saul of Tarsus, who later became the great apostle Paul. He wasn’t satisfied with just mocking and criticizing Christians; he went out of his way to hunt them down like wild animals and imprison them. He presided over the death of the first martyr of the Christian church, Stephen.

When Saul came to faith, it was so unexpected that many greeted it with skepticism and suspicion. So significant was his conversion that it is recorded three times in the New Testament. Paul changed his world. He blazed a trail, leaving behind many churches and converts.

The day I became a Christian, the last thing I ever planned on doing was believing in Jesus. No person made that happen. Only God could. So keep praying for unbelievers in your life—and watch what God will do.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Seeking God?
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.
No one is beyond God's reach. And sometimes they're closer than we realize.

Un Dia a la Vez - Promesas cumplidas: Testimonio de sanidad (sexta parte)

Envió su palabra para sanarlos, y así los rescató del sepulcro.

La manera más hermosa en la que puedo cerrar estos devocionales de mi testimonio es con un corazón agradecido. La mano de mi Creador estuvo sobre mí porque aprendí a conocer otras de sus facetas como las de Padre, Médico, Sanador, Dador, Amigo… Aunque por momentos no entendía lo que vivía, también llegaron a mis oídos promesas suyas, como por ejemplo:
  • «Escribe en un libro todas las palabras que te he dicho»: Cuatro años más tarde lo tenemos en nuestras manos, así que eres testigo de esa promesa cumplida (Jeremías 30:2).
  • «Yo estoy contigo para salvarte» (Jeremías 30:11).
  • «Yo te restauraré y sanaré tus heridas» (Jeremías 30:17).
  • «De entre ellos surgirá su líder […] Lo acercaré hacia mí, y él estará a mi lado»: La promesa de mi esposo se cumplió siete meses más tarde (Jeremías 30:21).
Conocí a mi esposo casi ocho años atrás en Las Vegas y Dios lo puso de nuevo en mi camino y lo acercó a mí. Después de un noviazgo de un año y medio, decidimos casarnos. Así que pidió mi mano y se vino a vivir a Miami. Ahora tenemos un matrimonio lleno de felicidad porque cuenta con el sello de nuestro Dios.

Hoy puedo testificar que Dios cumple «todo» lo que promete. Lo que es más importante, lo hace en el tiempo perfecto para que las cosas sucedan como Él manda.

Si puedes leer de la Biblia la promesa que Dios me dio el 13 de septiembre de 2005, entenderás mejor este milagro de vida que soy yo. Analiza esa promesa, ¡está en Jeremías 30!

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón


They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down.
~ Psalm 64:6-7 (NIV)

During the recent tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, many of the people who survived that fateful day were interviewed by the press. One was a man who lost his father to a heart attack as a young boy and outlived an IRA bomb blast in Britain as well as survived violent San Francisco earthquakes. Steve Gill was executive vice-president at Standard Chartered Bank and had just left his office in the World Trade Center for a breakfast meeting when he had to dodge the glass shards raining down from the North Tower after the plane had hit it. He successfully fled the scene on a ferry bound for Staten Island.

As a Christian, he has been repeatedly asked why God spared him but not thousands of innocent mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters. He has no definitive answer. But when reflecting on lessons learned he says, “I saw that God is often most visible when things are most awful, whether it’s Christ on the Cross or the World Trade Center attack killing three thousand people…I don’t know why bad things happen. But I see that God is most present when things are at their worst.”

There are a number of biblical examples. Perhaps Joseph’s situation stands out most. Languishing in a jail on unjust charges, he is even forgotten by those he befriends and helps. At his lowest point, he is brought to Pharaoh to interpret a dream and becomes the second in command of the nation and saves his people and the Egyptian nation from starvation.

The persecuted church also testifies that God is most present in the worst of times. Pastor Wang Ming Dao spent over twenty-three years in prison in China for his faith. On his release at eighty years of age he said of his imprisonment, “That was my honeymoon with Jesus!”

Muslim background pastor Medhi Dibaj in Iran spent seven years in prison with the last few years isolated in a small cramped cell. On his release he said, “The past few years have been the sweetest years I’ve ever spent with Jesus.”

Liviu Georgescu was a teenager when his father, Costel, was distributing Bibles in Romania during the communist regime. Open Doors asked him what he thought of the time when his father was in prison for his faith. Liviu said, “It was a very good time, because then we had more time and opportunities to give Bibles to people and to talk about the faith. Now there is more freedom, but we have to work harder and put in longer hours in order to get by. This means that we have little time or energy for the faith. There is less interest as well.”

God seems to be most visible when things are at their worst.

RESPONSE: Today I will thank God for the difficult times and ask for help to see Him as visible in the good times.

PRAYER: Thank You God for obviously being there in the darkest hours before the dawn of a new day or era.

Girlfriends in God - September 12, 2017

Embracing Silence

Today’s Truth

My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him.
~ Psalm 62:5 (ASV)

Friend to Friend

Elijah is a great example of a man in need of rest. One day he was the conquering hero, the next time we see him, he is sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity – and begging God to let him die. The poor man was simply exhausted. True, it was an exhaustion produced by victory, but it was still exhaustion.

Elijah called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying idols and idol worshippers. Elijah should have been celebrating. So why was he so discouraged? It was a woman, Jezebel, who was largely responsible for his discouragement.

Jezebel was the evil and influential wife of Ahab, King of Israel, and was widely known as the real power behind her husband’s throne. Jezebel did not worship the one true God of Israel. Instead, she was fanatical in her worship of the pagan god, Baal, and tried to impose her beliefs on the people of Israel. One man stood in her way – Elijah. When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel, God answered Elijah's prayer with a stream of fire from heaven. You would think that a miracle like that would have convinced Ahab and Jezebel to believe in God. It didn’t. In fact, Jezebel was furious. When she learned what had happened on Mt. Carmel with the fire and idols, she put a contract out on Elijah.

Now stop and think about that for a moment.

Elijah had been in the presence of God. God answered Elijah's prayer in a powerful way. Idols had fallen. The prophets of Baal had either fled or been destroyed. And Elijah is worried about one angry woman? Elijah was tired and needed to rest – big time. He found that rest while sitting under a Juniper tree, waiting in silence for God to show up.

I’m not very good at waiting. I don’t like to wait on anyone or anything. I often view the waiting rooms of life as missed opportunities and unproductive circumstances to be avoided whenever possible. And as far as silence goes, if there is a word to be spoken, I will gladly speak it. For much of my life, I have tried my best to avoid silence and solitude. I am learning that while the seasons of silence and the waiting rooms of life are different in nature and purpose, they are always for my ultimate good.

Silence sometimes falls like a sweet, gentle and refreshing rain. I don't have to do anything, be anything, or seek anything. The Father gently reassures my frightened heart that He is not going anywhere.

But there are also times when waiting in silence feels more like a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. The darkness is filled with fear. Unanswered questions threaten my peace. I am lonely. I don’t understand what God is doing. I am tired. Quitting seems like the easiest way out.

It doesn’t really matter what compels us to crave time under the Juniper tree. It only matters that we come.

Clinical depression brought me to my knees and drove me to seek God as never before. It was there that His truth pierced my heart and changed the course of my life with the promise found in Psalm 40:1-3:
I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).
I had read the book of Psalms many times, but in the silence under my personal Juniper tree, it settled into my soul and really took root. I began to learn how to wait on God. I came to the precious place of desperation and cried out to Him. I made the deliberate choice to trust Him like the helpless child that I am. I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to God could be counted as a blessing.

I am learning to embrace the silent times of waiting as gifts from His hand to my life. So time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. How about you?

Let’s Pray

Thank You, Lord, for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I must stop and sit at Your feet in quiet solitude. Thank You for the healing I find there. Thank You for the new truths You give me. Help me apply those truths and then give me the strength and determination to share Your plan of deliverance with those who need your restoration.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you long for times of silence or avoid them whenever possible? Why? I encourage you to find a few minutes each day this week to spend in silence before God. Establish the habit of a silent retreat when possible. Read the Psalms daily and keep your gaze on God.

More from the Girlfriends

We will never be free from stress this side of heaven – so we need to figure out how to deal with it. That’s why I wrote the book, Escaping the Stress Trap, which is a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23. If you read Psalm 23 every day for a month, I promise you will see a difference in your stress level.

Check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. And be sure to connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

LHM Daily Devotion - September 12, 2017 "The Bell"

I suppose there is a tourist who has gone to London, England who has not...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"The Bell"

September 12, 2017

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip.
~ Psalm 66:8-9 (ESV)

I suppose there is a tourist who has gone to London, England who has not come back with a picture of the famous clock tower which is part of Westminster Abbey. Yes, I suppose there is such a person, but I have never met him.

Everybody I know has a picture of the Tower, the clock face, and a recording of the bells. You do remember that often copied set of chimes, don't you? They sound like this:

That last part, that big bong... that comes from Big Ben, the giant 13 ½ ton bell in the Tower.

Now I call your attention to all this because Big Ben has gone silent. Repairs and readjustments are being made on the Tower, the Clock and its mechanism. That is why, except for rare situations, Big Ben is going to be silenced until 2021. As you might expect, there was a lot of discussion on the matter; but the final choice was simple ...:

...experts were of the opinion that the 118 decibels of the Bell would be damaging to the hearing of the workers. Others suggested that the Tower's ringing, coming out of nowhere, could surprise and shock the workers and cause them to have an accident.

Now it should be noted that even though that iconic bell has stopped ringing, the Tower's clock continues to count down the minutes and hours of our lives. Even though there is no audible warning coming from the Tower, that doesn't mean people can assume they have been given a bonus on their days of living.

The clock is ticking and their time is running out.

They need to be prepared for the day when the last grain of sand runs through their hourglass; be ready for the arrival of that unknown hour which will make the Tower's clock irrelevant and the Big Ben bell unnecessary.

And how can we be prepared?

If we have not done so already, we need to hear the Holy Spirit's call to faith in Jesus Christ, God's perfect Son, and the sinner's risen Savior. God-given faith in the Redeemer will bring about a right relationship with our gracious God.

How can we be prepared? That new heart the Lord puts within us will show itself in a myriad of ways. It will show itself in charity toward those who have nothing; it will show itself in a commitment to share the salvation story with the lost and it will show itself as we humbly confess our sins and rejoice, that in Jesus, those sins are forgiven.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the clock is ticking and time is running out. Grant that I may be ready for that day when the Judge appears. Help me make a witness which invites others to look to Jesus for forgiveness, salvation, and power to live each day in readiness. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.

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CPTLN Devocional de 12 de Setiembre de 2017

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12 de Setiembre 2017

Por tanto, como el pecado entró en el mundo por un solo hombre, y por medio del pecado entró la muerte, así la muerte pasó a todos los hombres, por cuanto todos pecaron.

Durante un partido de béisbol de una escuela secundaria, el árbitro, Don Briggs, cumplió el sueño de todo árbitro. Aun cuando no tenía problemas con los jugadores, no era lo mismo con el público, que no dejaba de gritar y discutir, por lo que el árbitro decidió expulsar a todos los espectadores de las tribunas.

El Director de una de las escuelas dijo que no había visto nada irregular en las tribunas. Un policía que presenciaba el partido sólo por precaución, tampoco dijo haber visto nada inusual. Pero más allá de lo que la gente diga acerca de la decisión tomada por Don Briggs, el reglamento establece que la misma es final.

Me pregunto qué habrá pensado Dios al ver ese partido de béisbol y el comportamiento de las tribunas. Seguramente habrá comprendido bien el dilema ante el cual el árbitro se vio obligado a tomar esa decisión.

Como Creador y Preservador del Universo, las reglas de Dios son finales, al igual que sus decisiones. No existe corte superior a la de Él. Aún así, desde que el hombre desobedeció y fue expulsado del Jardín del Edén, Dios es criticado por "dejarse llevar" y "exagerar en sus reacciones".

Si el Señor dice: "el alma que peca muere", la gente objeta. Si decreta: "sólo por fe en Jesús se es salvo", sus críticos lo catalogan de intolerante. Efectivamente, el Señor comprende muy bien lo que es ser criticado por las masas como lo fue el árbitro Briggs.

Por supuesto que existen diferencias entre las decisiones de Dios y las de Briggs. La más obvia es que, mientras que la decisión de Briggs pudo estar equivocada, las decisiones del Señor siempre son correctas.

Pero aún hay más, cuando Briggs hizo desocupar las tribunas, no los dejó regresar. En cambio el Señor nos da la oportunidad de ser perdonados y regresar. El Señor castigó a su Hijo inocente en nuestro lugar. Gracias a Jesús, quien vivió, sufrió, murió y resucitó, podemos entrar al cielo.

Semejante regalo no puede ser igualado por nadie. Eso sólo puede venir del único Dios misericordioso y amoroso.

ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, te doy gracias porque por el sacrificio de Jesús puedo recibir el cielo. Ayúdame para que mi vida sea un ejemplo de gratitud y alabanza a ti. En su nombre. Amén.

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