Monday, September 18, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, September 18, 2017

Divisions in the Church - 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord."

Confession of Sin

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

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Morning Prayer
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray. Amen.

The Lessons

A reading from 1 Kings 21:1-16
[Naboth’s Vineyard]
1 Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2 And Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.” 4 Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, “I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.

5 His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?” 6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it’; but he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” 7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. 9 She wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; 10 seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him to death.” 11 The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12 they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. 13 The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”

15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

A reading from 1 Corinthians 1:1-19
[Salutation]
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6 just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

[Divisions in the Church]
10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

[Christ the Power and Wisdom of God]
18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

A reading from Matthew 4:1-11
[The Temptation of Jesus]
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 56 Miserere mei, Deus
[Trust in God under Persecution]
[To the leader: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. Of David. A Miktam, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.]


1  Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me; all day long foes oppress me;
2  my enemies trample on me all day long, for many fight against me. O Most High,
3  when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?
5  All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6  They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps. As they hoped to have my life,
7  so repay them for their crime; in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
8  You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?
9  Then my enemies will retreat in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
10  In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11  in God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me?
12  My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
13  For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life.


Psalm 57 Miserere mei, Deus
[Praise and Assurance under Persecution]
[To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.]


1  Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.
2  I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3  He will send from heaven and save me, he will put to shame those who trample on me. Selah God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.
4  I lie down among lions that greedily devour human prey; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords.
5  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth.
6  They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my path, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
7  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody.
8  Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn.
9  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10  For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the clouds.
11  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth.


Psalm 58 Si vere utique
[Prayer for Vengeance]
[To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam.]


1  Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge people fairly?
2  No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.
3  The wicked go astray from the womb; they err from their birth, speaking lies.
4  They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
5  so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter.
O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
7  Let them vanish like water that runs away; like grass let them be trodden down and wither.
8  Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime; like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.
9  Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!
10  The righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11  People will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.”

Evening Psalms
Psalm 64 Exaudi, Deus
[Prayer for Protection from Enemies]
[To the leader. A Psalm of David.]

1  Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from the dread enemy.
2  Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the scheming of evildoers,
3  who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows,
4  shooting from ambush at the blameless; they shoot suddenly and without fear.
5  They hold fast to their evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking, “Who can see us?
6  Who can search out our crimes? We have thought out a cunningly conceived plot.” For the human heart and mind are deep.
7  But God will shoot his arrow at them; they will be wounded suddenly.
8  Because of their tongue he will bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake with horror.
9  Then everyone will fear; they will tell what God has brought about, and ponder what he has done.
10  Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him. Let all the upright in heart glory.


Psalm 65 Te decet hymnus
[Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty]
[To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.]

1  Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed,
2  O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come.
3  When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions.
4  Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.
5  By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.
6  By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.
7  You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.
8  Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
9  You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.
10  You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
11  You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12  The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,
13  the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

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, I have planned my strategies and figured out how I will try to solve my problems, yet, I have not consulted you. I am a fool, Lord; forgive me. For I know that my problems are not simply problems that were given me to solve, but also burdens that you have allowed me to bear, and that the purpose of these burdens is to show me that you and only you can lift them from me.

I cannot do it myself, great God; only by my prayer to you, can my burdens ever be satisfied. And I pray to you now, take up my burdens while I am on earth, today, just as you will take them up when I am with you in heaven. By the grace you gave me through the sacrifice of your only Son, relieve me. May I do your will while I am alive, just as I will do your will when I am together with you again, in paradise. For there and noplace else lies my salvation, and all true happiness. Amen.

To Overcome a Persistent Sin
Lord God, it seems that I have a habit I just cannot break. It sneaks into my life, no matter what I do. I confess it and repent it, trying not to feel guilty , but it just keeps coming back. It pops into my head automatically and I give into it, time and time again, often not intending to do it but easing into it one small step at a time.

Dear God, you have promised that there is no temptation that we cannot overcome with your help, and that if we pray, you will send a Spirit more powerful than any sin to help us bear it. I am asking for just such a Spirit. Please God, I beg you, help me to overcome this persistent sin; for I am powerless over it. No matter how hard I try, I cannot shake it on my own. Show me the way, Lord, and if there are steps I must take, I will take them. For I am sick and tired of it and want to change. And I know — I know as a certainty — that your infinite power can overcome any human frailty.

In the name of the loving Christ, I pray, Amen.

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


Control
JJ Heller

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

Closing Prayer
I  pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. 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 MONDAY, September 18, 2017


Lord, I have planned my strategies and figured out how I will try to solve my problems, yet, I have not consulted you. I am a fool, Lord; forgive me. For I know that my problems are not simply problems that were given me to solve, but also burdens that you have allowed me to bear, and that the purpose of these burdens is to show me that you and only you can lift them from me.

I cannot do it myself, great God; only by my prayer to you, can my burdens ever be satisfied. And I pray to you now, take up my burdens while I am on earth, today, just as you will take them up when I am with you in heaven. By the grace you gave me through the sacrifice of your only Son, relieve me. May I do your will while I am alive, just as I will do your will when I am together with you again, in paradise. For there and noplace else lies my salvation, and all true happiness. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, September 18, 2017


Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Read all of Philippians 2

Listen to Philippians 2

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - Do Not Be Normal


Do not be conformed to this age [or world], but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
~ Romans 12:2 (ESV)

We must cling to God's Word as perfect, eternal, timeless, and transcendant; otherwise, what good is it? If we think the Bible is anything less, it becomes just another human work of philosophy and history. If we follow only those parts we agree with, we are not reading the Bible; we are writing it.

If we disagree or dislike something we read in the Bible, is God thereby wrong? Will He change to conform to our thoughts?

The famous writer and theologian G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult, and left untried.” We could say that the primary purpose of the Bible is to show where our thoughts are wrong, so that we might change our thoughts to conform to God. So if we revise, ignore, or misinterpret something in the Bible, we are getting it backwards. We are blinding ourselves to a truth God has given us, because we do not like it. We are conforming God’s Word to agree with our sinful minds, instead of conforming our sinful minds to accord with God’s perfect truth.

Such is precisely what Paul wants to get across to us, in Romans 12:2. By telling us not to be conformed to the current “age,” he actually identifies not one, but two sources of temptation we must avoid. The first one is eternal evil. Lust and greed are not confined to a specific time or place; they are endemic in our human makeup. But the term “this age” more specifically addresses the temptation to follow societal mores — the temptation to be “normal,” as defined by our current society.

For example, if we lived in Western Europe in 1900, the norm of our society would be that fornication was wrong. If we live in Western Europe in the 21st century, the norm of our society is that fornication is fine. In fact, fornication is today held as a mark of freedom, and those who oppose it are generally considered to be aberrant, “up tight,” enslaved by inhibition. But if we conform our thought to the Bible, rather than to the age, we see that fornication is sinful.

Have we fully conformed ourselves to the Bible? Probably not. Most church members and leaders will rail and preach against homosexual fornication, eager to tell us it is sinful, while failing to mention the more widespread issues of heterosexual fornication and lust. We are more likely to criticize homosexual promiscuity than currently-accepted heterosexual “dating,” with its overtone of non-marital sexual behavior. Even if we only criticize in our own mind, most of us will condemn gay sex faster than straight sex.

The degree to which Christians are swayed by societal norms, rather than the Bible, is pervasive and subtle. The banker who foreclosed on a widow’s house last week, the lawyer who encourages lawsuits, the shop owner who sells string bikinis — these will sit proudly in their church pews, filled with anger at the current push for acceptance of gay marriage. And yet, they all engaged in conduct specifically prohibited by the Bible. They hide their sin behind societal norms.

If we are to know what God says, we must set aside our preconceptions of right and wrong and cease to absorb the values of the world around us.
Lord, let me never be swayed from your truth by the changing values of the world. Amen.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny


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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, 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
If we disagree or dislike something we read in the Bible, is God thereby wrong?

Un Dia a la Vez - Personas que son como ángeles


Preocupémonos los unos por los otros, a fin de estimularnos al amor y a las buenas obras.

¿Has vivido la experiencia de conocer personas que parecen ángeles? ¿Personas que aparecen en momentos de nuestra vida que nos hacen decir que son como ángeles? Es decir, personas que nos ayudaron en una situación determinada. Es una gran experiencia encontrase en el camino con estos seres especiales con un corazón tan grande que nos conmueven. Por eso los llamo ángeles enviados por Dios a nuestra vida.

Trata de recordar a esa persona que en momentos de angustia y tribulación te ayudaron, te escucharon y te sacaron adelante. O quizá tú hayas sido ese ángel para otros y hoy Dios te honra.

Mi experiencia más cercana fue en una situación donde tenía pendiente una cuenta con mi abogada de inmigración y esa oficina decidió que no podían esperar más a que me pusiera al día y decidieron demandarme. Las cosas hubieran empeorado, pues una demanda podría afectarme mi salida y entrada a los Estados Unidos.

Como testimonio, te cuento que cuando los papeles llegaron al tribunal, allí había un angelito, una mujer que, cuando vio mi nombre, llamó a la emisora y pidió que no la identificaran. En su conversación con mi jefe, dijo: «Soy oyente de Claudia y necesito que le diga que sus papeles están aquí. Por eso, debe hablar con su abogada y pedirle que quite la demanda. Sé que le pueden dar una oportunidad». Para la gloria de Dios, eso fue lo que pasó. Me acerqué de nuevo a mi abogada, me dio la oportunidad y quitó la demanda.

¿Son ángeles o no estas personas? Dios permita que ella esté leyendo mi libro para decirle: «Dios te guarde y bendiga grandemente».

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT


“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Jesus assures his followers there is blessing in suffering for what is right. This blessing may take the form of inner peace and joy. This is the meaning of the word translated “blessed” or “happy” in Jesus’ teaching called the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).

The New Testament writer, James, indicates that pressures are blessings in disguise and should be responded to with joyfulness (James 1:2-3). The MESSAGE paraphrase translates the verses this way: Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.”

Helen Berhane was severely persecuted in Eritrea’s prison system because she would not deny her faith. No matter what they did, she refused to give in. She explains:

I told the chief, “I cannot abandon my faith. If you puncture a sack of grain, the only thing that pours out is the type of grain that was in the sack. It is the same with me. I can only say what is inside me; everything that is in my heart must come out of my mouth…The more you punish me, the stronger I will be. If you keep hammering on a nail’s head it just becomes harder to pull out of the wall…”

I could not understand how they expected me to stop believing; it was impossible for me. In fact, the guards were making their own situation worse, because people began to ask what was so special about this religion that Christians refused to give it up, and they also believed. Our suffering became a glory for our faith…I am convinced that the number of Christians has doubled or tripled since they closed the churches. So perhaps God is using this terrible situation for his glory.[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will stand for what is right because I know Jesus will be glorified and I will receive a blessing.

PRAYER: Ask God to give strength and courage to those around the world being pressured to deny their faith today.

1. Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale (Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), pp. 70-71.

Women of the Bible - The Woman of Samaria


Her character: Looked down upon by the Jews because she was a Samaritan and disdained because of her many romantic liaisons, she would not have been most people's first choice to advance the gospel in a region where it had not yet been heard.
Her sorrow: To have lived in a way that relegated her to the margins of her society.
Her joy: That Jesus broke through barriers of culture, race, and religion in order to reveal himself to her.
Key Scriptures: John 4:1-42

Her Story

Every day, the woman carried her water jug to Jacob's well just outside Sychar, a town midway between Jerusalem and Nazareth. Even though it was the hottest time of the day, she preferred it to the evening hours, when the other women gathered. How tired she was of their wagging tongues. Better the scorching heat than their sharp remarks.

She was surprised, however, to see that today someone had already arrived at the well—a Jew from Galilee by the looks of him. At least she had nothing to fear from his tongue, for Jews did their best to avoid Samaritans, despising them as half-breeds who worshiped not in the temple at Jerusalem but at their shrine on Mount Gerizim. For once she was glad to be ignored, grateful, too, that men did not address women in public.

But as she approached the well, the man startled her, breaking the rules she had counted on to protect her. "Will you give me a drink?" he asked.

What kind of a Jew was this? she wondered. Certainly not a Pharisee, or he would have taken the long way around Samaria to get to Galilee. With a toss of her head, she replied, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?"

But he wouldn't be put off. "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

"Sir," she replied, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" That should take him down a notch or two.

But the man kept pressing. "Go," he told her, "call your husband and come back."

This last request took the wind out of her. Her quick tongue was barely able to reply, "I have no husband."

"You are right when you say you have no husband," Jesus said. "The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

His words cut her. Shaking off the hurt, she tried changing the subject, diverting him by stirring up the old controversy between Jews and Samaritans. "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."

The woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

Meanwhile, his disciples, who had gone into the town to look for food, returned and urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."

But Jesus replied, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."

...

Dodge, counterdodge—nothing the woman said would keep Jesus at bay. He kept pressing beneath the surface, inviting her to a deeper understanding, hemming her in by revealing his knowledge of the most intimate details of her life. Overwhelmed, she finally admitted the truth. And when she did, Jesus startled her with a revelation about himself: He admitted, for the first time, that he was the Messiah. Though she hadn't known it, she had been conversing with her Savior.

Jesus had arrived at the well thirsty, hungry, and tired from the journey north to Galilee. But by the time his disciples returned from their shopping trip in Sychar, he seemed refreshed and restored by his encounter with the woman.

She, in turn, was so deeply affected by him that she exclaimed to whoever would listen: "He told me everything I ever did." At the Samaritans' urging, Jesus stayed on for two days and many came to believe, saying to the woman: "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

Her Promise

Are you thirsty? Is there a longing in you that you just can't seem to meet? Do you hunger for something to fill some void, some emptiness you can't even explain? Look everywhere, try everything—you'll find nothing in this world that will satisfy. Only Jesus can provide the living water that will fill you to overflowing, that will satisfy your longing, that will soothe your thirst so completely you'll never be thirsty again.

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 18, 2017


Resting on Our Laurels

Today’s Truth

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Friend to Friend

When I was in my thirties, I spent seven years serving my local church and the surrounding community as the Co-Director of Vacation Bible School (VBS). One of the tasks I was charged with was to fill the roughly 150 staff positions required to reach the 400+ children attending with the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

It was during this staffing pursuit that I witnessed a sharp contrast in the “heart-itude” (attitude of the heart) of some of the older parishioners who attended my church. On the one hand, there were two 90+ year-old ladies who I could count on year after year to serve on the kitchen staff—doling out snacks and washing dishes—whatever needed doing. But sadly, in comparison, there were a few mature women who, when I asked them to consider joining our VBS team, responded with, “Oh, honey, I served in VBS for many years when my kids were little. Now it’s time to let some of the younger people serve.”

Now, these women who were not interested in serving in VBS were not in their 90’s. In fact, they were both in their 60’s and retired from paid employment. Both had decades of vitality left to serve the church and the world, yet because they had already “done their duty,” they felt justified to “punch out,” move aside, and vacate their former roles so “that the younger ones could serve.” After all, they were retired.

My friend, as Christ-followers, we have no retirement date. While you and I may have filled many a role in our churches, on the mission field, or in our communities over the years, this does not mean that we can, at any time, “rest on our laurels.” There’s still work to be done!

I fully understand there are seasons in life when we have different capacities to serve. This is not the point I wish to discuss here today. I simply want to encourage those of you who have faithfully served in the past not to retire, but rather to keep up the good work! You don’t have to serve in the same capacity as you did previously, but you are still called to serve—straight on through your sunset years.

Certainly you may feel yourself slowing down some as you age, which makes it’s easy—and even tempting—to say, “Been there, done that,” to any request made of your time or talents (either by man or by the Holy Spirit). Not surprisingly, God knew you might be feeling that way, so in our passage today He reminds us that we are not to grow weary of going good. And as always, the Lord leads by example. In Isaiah 40:22 we are told that, “He does not grow tired or weary.” Moreover, in verse 29 it tells us, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

So let’s continue to serve…in His strength and power!

Let’s Pray

Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me to be your child and for equipping me to be “Jesus, with skin on” to those in this world. Let my ears be attentive, always, to where you call me to serve, and may you provide me with the strength and power I need to accomplish all that you’d have for me to do—for your Name and for your Glory!
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

What past Kingdom service / accomplishment have you been using as an earned right / excuse to bow out of something the Lord has been calling you to get involved in now? Remember, our “crowns” (laurel wreaths) of past Kingdom works were meant to be thrown at His feet, not worn on our heads. So, go on, toss that crown at His feet and ask Jesus, “What’s up next?”

More from the Girlfriends

Lisa Morrone, PT is a physical therapist, professor, author of six books, radio guest and event speaker who encourages people to “Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake.” Visit Lisa’s website for more information and to sign up to receive her informative “Monday Morning Health Tips”!

Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake(Harvest House Publishers) is one of Lisa’s six books in her Restoring Your Temple® health resource collection. Her books are available on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or wherever books are sold.

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Girlfriends in God

Daily Devotion September 18, 2017 "Put God's Forgiveness to Work in Your Life!"

When I was a pastor at Church for All Nations in New York City...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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



"Put God's Forgiveness to Work in Your Life!"

September 18, 2017

Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."

When I was a pastor at Church for All Nations in New York City, I led a Bible study on Wall Street. There gathered every Tuesday Morning were some of the best traders and investors in the world. They would share with me their secrets of investing, and I would share with them the powerful message of the Word of God in Jesus Christ. Let's just say we both learned a lot from each other. But the secrets were not that secret at all. Oftentimes in both areas, it was incredibly straightforward talking about what is true in life, what works in life: it was simple, yet powerful, truths that really made a difference in living life for all its worth.

Their investment secret, you ready? Here it is: start early and invest regularly, and look for gains in the long term. I remember when I was young I was told to "buy term insurance" (because it's cheaper) and "invest the difference" in the costs of the premiums, in mutual funds. Why? Forty years later, at 65, you wouldn't need the insurance because you would have the money in the bank. Put your money to work so that later you can reap its blessing, its temporal freedom. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why do so few do it. With the resources we have, so many of us could manage it better for an abundance later on. That message was at the heart of many, many successful investors and fund managers in their personal lives. Words to live by, honestly.

In the lesson for the sermon yesterday, Jesus is talking about an investment strategy that is even more important than that in our lives. It goes to the heart of our spiritual -- not just our temporal -- lives. It's one that has an eternal payoff, that has an eternal perspective and scope. He's talking about receiving and sharing the forgiveness of God in a regular fashion with those God brings into our lives. Living life with that focus means we are eager to make the deposit of forgiveness in the lives of those we love. We are looking to put His love and grace to work in our lives, in our relationships, in our families. What would life be like for you this week, this month, this year, if you focused on putting that to work: receiving and sharing God's gracious forgiveness in Christ, with others? What would happen if all of us focused on that rather than hold grudges, spread vicious rumors, or look out for ourselves alone?

If you've ever had any money to invest, you know the joy of what it feels like when it grows. Some of you, just because you put your money to work in your house, in a mutual fund, or in stocks and bonds, have learned that such disciplines can make a difference in having abundance to share when the time comes. Well, Jesus is telling you that you haven't seen anything yet when it comes to what really matters. If you enjoy temporal abundance and growth, get ready for the joy of watching His eternal forgiveness and mercy do its work in your life and in the lives of those you love. If you are stingy and foolish in either area -- that way of living is empty in the end -- but even if your temporal investment strategies don't yield the abundance you had hoped for, putting God's forgiveness to work always has abundance in store in the end. Get on board with Christ's spiritual investment strategy; I know that you will be blessed as you do.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Your forgiveness and grace is such an incredible blessing for our lives. Give us wisdom and courage to put that to work in our lives and through our lives for others in Your 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 18 de Setiembre de 2017


Alimento Diario

Valemos mucho

18 de Setiembre 2017

Pero tú, Señor, eres nuestro padre; nosotros somos el barro y tú eres quien nos da forma; todos nosotros somos obra de tus manos.

Son innumerables las veces que dejo pasar oportunidades increíbles sin aprovecharlas.

Es por eso que durante muchos años recordé la historia verídica de un bulto grande, supuestamente una piedra, que durante siglos estuvo en un riachuelo en Carolina del Norte.

Las pocas personas que vieron ese bulto al pasar, no le prestaron atención. Así fue hasta que un hombre pobre lo vio y pensó que serviría para mantener abierta la puerta de su casa, por lo que lo cargó y se lo llevó.

Las cosas cambiaron cuando un geólogo vio por casualidad ese bulto y descubrió que no era una simple piedra, sino que era oro, el trozo de oro más grande que jamás se haya encontrado al este de las montañas Rocosas. Más tarde fue avaluado en más de $100.000 dólares.

¿Alguna vez se ha sentido como un bulto que no sirve más que para sostener abierta una puerta?

Si su respuesta es afirmativa, quiero que sepa que Dios no piensa igual que usted. El Señor vio cuánto valía y por eso envió a su Hijo a este mundo para salvarlo. Usted vale tanto como para que Jesús invirtiera toda su vida en salvarlo.

Como dijo Isaías, puede que parezcamos ser nada más que un bulto, pero en las manos del experto alfarero somos transformados en algo de mucho valor.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, gracias por enviar a tu Hijo a salvarme. Me consuela saber que tú me valoras tanto. Te pido que me des poder para vivir mi vida en agradecimiento y alabanza a ti. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

© 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.