Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Daily Readings for TUESDAY, September 19, 2017 - Fall Ember Tuesday

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord”
Opening Sentence
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

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
Blessed are you, Lord God: Blessed are you for ever. Holy is your name: Blessed are you for ever. Great is your mercy for your people. In the morning I cry out to you: Blessed are you for ever.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I praise you and give you glory: I bless you for calling me to be one of your holy people. Remain in my heart, and guide me in my love and service all of this day. Help me to shine your light before others and lead them to the way of faith. Holy Trinity of love, I praise you now and for ever. Amen.

The Lessons

A reading from 1 Kings 21:17-29
17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’”

20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’

24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

A reading from 1 Corinthians 1:20-31
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

A reading from Matthew 4:12-17
[Jesus Begins to Preach]
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Morning Psalms
Psalm 61 Exaudi, Deus
[For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.]
1  Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
2  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
4  I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
5  For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6  Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations.
7  May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
8  Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.

Psalm 62 Nonne Deo?
[For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.]
1  Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
2  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3  How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4  Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.
5  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
6  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8  Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
9  Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.
10  Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
11  One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God,
12  and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”

Evening Psalms
Psalm 68 Exsurgat Deus
[For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.]
1  May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
2  May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.
3  But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
4  Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
5  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
6  God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
7  When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness,
8  the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.
9  You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10  Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.
11  The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
12  “Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder.
13  Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.”
14  When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.
15  Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain,
16  why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever?
17  The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.
18  When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious— that you, Lord God, might dwell there.
19  Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
20  Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
21  Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22  The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23  that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”
24  Your procession, God, has come into view, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
25  In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
26  Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.
27  There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah’s princes, and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.
28  Summon your power, God; show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
29  Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts.
30  Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31  Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God.
32  Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord,
33  to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice.
34  Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens.
35  You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

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 dispose my deeds so that they will serve in glorifying Your holy name. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to You, and deliver them from evil. Save Your servants; send them comfort, consolation in their sorrows, and Your holy mercy.

O Lord, I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused and grieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour Your mercy upon them. O Lord; I pray to You especially for all those whom I, a sinner, insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, knowingly or unknowingly. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and mutual offenses. Dispel from every Christian heart all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. In Christ’s holy name, I ask this, 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.

Born Again
Third Day

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

Closing Prayer

And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. (NRSV) Scripture taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the 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.

Prayer of the Day for TUESDAY, September 19, 2017

Teach me, O Lord, to dispose my deeds so that they will serve in glorifying Your holy name. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to You, and deliver them from evil. Save Your servants; send them comfort, consolation in their sorrows, and Your holy mercy.

O Lord, I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused and grieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour Your mercy upon them. O Lord; I pray to You especially for all those whom I, a sinner, insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, knowingly or unknowingly. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and mutual offenses. Dispel from every Christian heart all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. In Christ’s holy name, I ask this, Amen.

Verse of the Day for TUESDAY, September 19, 2017

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Read all of Ephesians 4

Listen to Ephesians 4

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 - A Walk of Faith

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

The Bible tells the story of a man who had everything this world says one should have to feel happy and fulfilled: power, wealth, influence, and fame. But along with that came an emptiness that sent him on a search for God. As secretary of the treasury for a powerful nation, he was second only to the queen. But there was a hole in his heart, so it led him on a search to the spiritual capital of the world, Jerusalem. He did not find what he was looking for, but as he was returning home, he unexpectedly found the answer to his questions. He had an appointment with God that resulted in his conversion and complete transformation.

His story shows what happens when a person becomes a Christian. When someone truly believes in Jesus Christ, his or her life changes dramatically. This man went from emptiness and misery to overflowing joy. His story ends with the statement, “He went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). It is no exaggeration when the Bible says that we pass from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to the power of God, when we believe in Jesus Christ. It is describing what takes place in our lives.

But we also need to recognize that not every case is identical. There are different types of people who come to faith in different ways. Some have a tremendous emotional response, while others have no emotional experience at all.

An emotional experience has little to do with the reality of a person’s conversion. When I prayed and asked Christ to come into my life, I felt nothing. And because of this, I falsely concluded that God had rejected me. Thankfully, I discovered later that Christianity is a walk of faith and not of feeling.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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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.
True conversion is about faith and not feelings.

Un Dia a la Vez - Dios es nuestro mayor defensor

El que habita al abrigo del Altísimo morará bajo la sombra del Omnipotente.

En el Manual de Instrucciones, Dios nos dice que «abogado tenemos para con el Padre, a Jesucristo el justo» (1 Juan 2:1).

Sin embargo, para que esto sea así, debes creerle a Dios y tener tu fe puesta en Él, a fin de que veas este versículo hecho realidad en tu vida.

A cada momento vivimos situaciones donde decimos: «¿Quién podrá defenderme ahora?». Entonces comprobamos que solo Dios puede ayudarnos porque Él es omnipotente y omnipresente.

Creerle a Dios es un gran beneficio, pues aunque tal parece que esa situación que hoy vives es un callejón sin salida, Dios tiene la salida para todo problema. Él tiene la última palabra y es el que cambia los decretos de muerte a vida, de enfermedad a sanidad, de prisión a libertad, de culpable a inocente.

A Dios le interesa que nos vaya bien.

De modo que si quieres activar esa defensa a tu favor, debes dejar de luchar con tus propias fuerzas, debes dejar de pensar que te las sabes todas y rendirte por completo a Jesús.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK

If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
~ Luke 6:29 (NIV)

An Open Doors colleague shares the following incident from an SSTS seminar in Indonesia:

I remember standing in front of nearly 800 pastors on the island of Timor facing a serious dilemma. Most of the pastors were victims of attacks by Muslims on the island of Ambon. They had lost homes, churches and even family members during these attacks. They were hurt, devastated and needed answers to the challenges they faced.

As soon as I started preaching, one pastor stood up and interrupted me: “Must we accept the persecution from the Muslims or must we retaliate? We are tired of forgiving just to be attacked again. We believe it is time to defend the honor of God and retaliate. What must we do?”

I understood perfectly the challenges. I had met those who were attacked and I have seen the scars on the bodies of those who simply accepted it. I understood there was no easy answer. Then another pastor interrupted: “No, pastor, tell this brother he is wrong. The Bible tells us to accept our suffering. We will dishonor God if we retaliate. Seventy times seven we need to forgive. Isn’t this true?”

I looked at the pastors and replied, “The Bible is clear. You MUST retaliate!”

There was silence. I sensed the division. I could see the smiles on the faces of those who agreed and saw those who disagreed getting ready to leave the hall.

“Wait, brothers!” I intervened. “Before you leave, let me finish my sentence. Luke 6 teaches us clearly to retaliate, but in doing so, we need to choose our weapons. When someone curses you, you don’t just accept it. You retaliate by blessing him. When someone mistreats you and persecute you, you don’t just accept it. You retaliate by praying for him. When someone takes your cloak you retaliate by giving your undercoat. When someone slaps you in the face, don’t stand for it. Retaliate! Turn your other cheek.”

The burden of just accepting suffering was broken. They were satisfied.

RESPONSE: Today I will retaliate against attacks upon me using the spiritual weapons of Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord, may I always remember how You want me to respond when others treat me badly.

Girlfriends in God - September 19, 2017

Extravagant Worship

Today’s Truth

“I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart”.
~ Psalm 138:1 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

Mary of Bethany shares three scenes in the Bible with her sister Martha. In her final appearance, we find her once again at a dinner party for Jesus. As usual, the men are gathered around the table and the women are absent from the scene…that is until Mary enters the room…again. Only this time she is not there to learn. She is there to teach.

“Mary, don’t forget to stir the lamb stew,” Martha called from across the room. “Our guests will be here any minute.”

Once again, Martha and Mary were hosting a dinner party for Jesus and his closest friends. The party was not at their home, but Simon had convinced Martha to be in charge of all the fixings. After all, there was no one better at hosting a party than Martha.

But this was a special celebration—no ordinary dinner party. Only months before, Martha and Mary had been mourning their brother Lazarus’ death. And now? And now, because of Jesus, Lazarus sat alive and well amongst his friends. He was laughing and telling jokes like he’d never seen the inside of a darkened tomb for four days. What a celebration!

How kind of Simon the leper to open his home to us, Mary mused. Oh, we must do something about his name. After all, he doesn’t have leprosy any longer. Jesus healed him months ago. Just look at his skin—as smooth as a newborn babe’s. After all, if he was still Simon the leper, none of us would be here.

As Mary continued to stir the stew, her mind began to stir with memories of Jesus’ past three years: the helpless healed, the demon-possessed delivered, the rotting raised, the rejected restored, and the sinner saved. But Mary’s soaring soul began a gradual descent as she remembered Jesus’ words about his eminent death:

“The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

I know our time with Him is short, she thought. I can’t bear the thought of losing Him, and yet, I know that is why He came. That is what He has taught us all along. My heart is so heavy. What can I do to honor Him?

Mary’s mind traveled to another incident in Jesus’ life. She had not witnessed it personally, but savored it as one of her most favorite moments in the recounting of Jesus’ adventures: the day a sinful woman interrupted another dinner party Jesus attended. She walked right into the home of a Pharisee, brushed past all the men, knelt at Jesus’ side, washed his feet with her tears and anointed them with costly nard.

Suddenly, she knew what she had to do.

“Martha, I’ll be right back,” Mary called.

Mary ran home and went to the secret place where her most valuable treasure was stored. She reached on the top shelf and lifted the priceless jar of pure nard–a costly perfume. Mary had been saving it for her own wedding, but now she wanted to use it for her one true love. I want to honor Jesus. He has welcomed me as a disciple, loved me like a sister, taught me as a student, and given my brother back to me from the grave. It is the least I can do. I know His time is short. I want to honor him now.

Beaming with anticipation, Mary ran back to Simon’s home with passion and purpose. This time, the disciples were not shocked at a woman’s entrance into the room of men. After three years, they had grown accustomed to Jesus’ welcoming ways.

Mary carefully moved through the room and hit her mark. She stopped where Jesus reclined at the table and knelt at his feet. With a snap, she broke the neck of the alabaster jar and poured its contents on Jesus’ head and feet. Something stirred inside Mary as she anointed Jesus’ body. A knowing.

Then Mary unbound her hair and wiped the excess from Jesus’ calloused feet. The sweet fragrance filled the room and clung to those nearby. Once they realized where the scent was coming from, a buzz of comments swarmed like the hum of bees. Some looked on with understanding approval. Some turned up their noses in pious protest.

“What a waste,” one of the disciples complained. “That perfumed could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Mary’s heart sank at the unwelcome comment, but Jesus quickly buoyed her spirit with encouraging words. “Why are you bothering this woman?” He asked while placing His hand on her head. “She has done a beautiful thing to me. You’ll always have the poor to take care of, but you will not always have Me here with you. Don’t you get it? When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. I tell you the truth,” Jesus announced loud enough for all to hear, “wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what Mary has done will also be told.”

Mary lifted her eyes to meet his and her heart spilled over with love.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I want to be like Mary. I want to worship You no matter what anyone thinks. I want to praise You with all I’ve got and not be concerned if anyone thinks I am being extravagant or over-the-top.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

When Mary anointed Jesus with perfume, some of the on-lookers didn’t approve. Some thought she was being extravagant and over-the-top. Has anyone ever ridiculed you because your worship was too demonstrative?

Have you ever looked down on someone else because you felt his or her worship was too demonstrative or emotional?

When it comes to worship, are you more concerned with what others think, or what God thinks? (I know I’m getting in your business now!)

What do you think God would say about a woman who praises Him with everything she has no matter what anyone else in the room thinks? We don’t have to go any further than this story to get an idea.

More from the Girlfriends

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

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

Seeking God?
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Girlfriends in God

LHM Daily Devotion - September 19, 2017 "God Uses Sinners"

You may have noticed it's a bad time to be a statue.

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"God Uses Sinners"

September 19, 2017

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.

You may have noticed it's a bad time to be a statue.

In the U.S. of A., schools are covering them; municipalities are thinking about moving them. But the statue situation is not confined to our country. In England they are debating about what to do with the likeness of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the brilliant naval hero who came out a winner when he went head-to-head against Napoleon. In Australia, some have called for a removal of any likeness to Captain James Cook: the British sailor-fellow who was the first European to bump into Australia.

In all the statue stories I've read, I've noticed two statues which seem to be forgotten. The first is Michelangelo's likeness of young David: the marble statue, which is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia of Florence, Italy. It stands 17 feet tall and is a must see if you are ever there.

The second statue is the bronze likeness of St. Peter. It is hundreds of years old and is located in the Vatican.

Now the reason I call these to your attention is that they are an artist's rendition of two fairly important sinners.

You recall how David had multiple wives, was guilty of adultery and murder, and did a pretty poor job of keeping his children disciplined and in line.

Then there is Peter. Peter walked on water and then he sank; he promised to remain loyal and then fell asleep when Jesus asked him to pray. Peter fought with his sword in the Garden, and then he ran away. He was bold enough to follow Jesus to the high priest's house, but then he denied ever having known his Savior.

What reason would any artist have for memorializing these fellows in marble or bronze? Now that I think about it, most of the Bible's heroes of faith have a few flaws. Noah was known to enjoy his wine a bit too much; Abraham was willing to give away his wife to save his hide. Moses disobeyed God's command to speak to a rock to provide water, and Jonah ignored God's direction and went his own way.

Now, please understand, we're just skipping the stone across the surface of Scripture's pages here. If we had time to look deeper, we would find every person has flaws and failings, sins and shortcomings. In short, they all had feet of clay.

So, why does the Bible tell their stories?

Simple. They are there because the Lord wants us to see that He loves sinners, that He saves sinners, and He can use forgiven sinners to accomplish His purposes. These folks were all sinners, but they were transformed sinners who were used by God, and He can use us the same way.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for my sins I offer my confession -- for Your forgiveness, my thanks, and a request that the Holy Spirit use me to accomplish Your wishes. In Jesus' 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 19 de Setiembre de 2017

Alimento Diario

Luz de esperanza

19 de Setiembre 2017

En ella estaba la vida, y la vida era la luz de la humanidad. La luz resplandece en las tinieblas, y las tinieblas no prevalecieron contra ella.

Era un sábado de verano a comienzos del siglo pasado. Un hombre y su familia viajaban en auto por una región de minas, cuando les llamó la atención ver, en medio del campo, una gran cantidad de mulas.

Movidos por la curiosidad, decidieron parar y preguntar qué hacían allí esas mulas, a lo que les respondieron que habían sido sacadas del interior de las minas para preservar su vista ya que, si no eran expuestas a la luz del sol regularmente, terminarían ciegas.

Lo mismo podemos decir de las personas... nosotros también necesitamos exponernos regularmente a la luz y el amor de Dios.

Es fácil acostumbrarse a la oscuridad de este mundo cuando no vemos la esperanza que Dios puede darnos. Nuestras mentes comienzan a creer que la esperanza, el amor, la alegría y la bondad no existen, y nuestras almas son atrapadas en las sombras de la oscuridad del mundo. Es por ello que necesitamos a Jesús, la luz de Dios.

Necesitamos ver la luz de su amor, su sacrificio y el júbilo de su salvación, y necesitamos verlo regularmente. Si usted no ha estado expuesto a esa Luz últimamente, es tiempo de que lo haga. Dios no quiere que se vuelva ciego.

Es por eso que espera verlo en la iglesia cada fin de semana.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, la oscuridad de este mundo me envuelve y trata de convencerme de que no hay nada más. Ayúdame a buscar siempre tu amor, así como lo demostró Jesús en la cruz y en la tumba vacía, para que pueda ser reflejo de su luz a quienes aún permanecen en la oscuridad. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

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