Monday, September 25, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, September 25, 2017

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

Confession of Sin

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
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
O God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and turns the shadow of death into the morning; Drive far off from me all wrong desires, incline my heart to keep your law, and guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may give you thanks with a joyful heart when the night comes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lessons

A reading from 2 Kings 5:1-19
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, "If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy." So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, "Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel." He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, "When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy." When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me." But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, "Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel." So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha's house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean." But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, "I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, "Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, 'Wash, and be clean'?" So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant." But he said, "As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!" He urged him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, "If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the LORD. But may the LORD pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the LORD pardon your servant on this one count." He said to him, "Go in peace." But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance,

A reading from 1 Corinthians 4:8-21
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day. I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me. For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church. But some of you, thinking that I am not coming to you, have become arrogant. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

A reading from Matthew 5:21-26
"You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder' and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 80 Qui regis Israel
1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2   In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up your strength and come to help us.
3   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4   O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6   You have made us the derision of our neighbors, and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8   You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you cast out the nations and planted it.
9   You prepared the ground for it; it took root and filled the land.
10   The mountains were covered by its shadow and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11   You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea and its branches to the River.
12   Why have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13   The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14   Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted.
15   They burn it with fire like rubbish; at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
16   Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
17   And so will we never turn away from you; give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18   Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 77 Voce mea ad Dominum
1   I will cry aloud to God; I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.
2   In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire; I refused to be comforted.
3   I think of God, I am restless, I ponder, and my spirit faints.
4   You will not let my eyelids close; I am troubled and I cannot speak.
5   I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past;
6   I commune with my heart in the night; I ponder and search my mind.
7   Will the Lord cast me off for ever? will he no more show his favor?
8   Has his loving-kindness come to an end for ever? has his promise failed for evermore?
9   Has God forgotten to be gracious? has he, in his anger, withheld his compassion?
10   And I said, "My grief is this: the right hand of the Most High has lost its power."
11   I will remember the works of the LORD, and call to mind your wonders of old time.
12   I will meditate on all your acts and ponder your mighty deeds.
13   Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
14   You are the God who works wonders and have declared your power among the peoples.
15   By your strength you have redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16   The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and trembled; the very depths were shaken.
17   The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed to and fro;
18   The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
19   Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, yet your footsteps were not seen.
20   You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 79 Deus, venerunt
1   O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance; they have profaned your holy temple; they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.
2   They have given the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the field.
3   They have shed their blood like water on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.
4   We have become a reproach to our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5   How long will you be angry, O LORD? will your fury blaze like fire for ever?
6   Pour out your wrath upon the heathen who have not known you and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your Name.
7   For they have devoured Jacob and made his dwelling a ruin.
8   Remember not our past sins; let your compassion be swift to meet us; for we have been brought very low.
9   Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name; deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name's sake.
10   Why should the heathen say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the heathen and in our sight that you avenge the shedding of your servants' blood.
11   Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you, and by your great might spare those who are condemned to die.
12   May the revilings with which they reviled you, O Lord, return seven-fold into their bosoms.
13   For we are your people and the sheep of your pasture; we will give you thanks for ever and show forth your praise from age to age.

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 God, I understand your holy Word well enough. I study your Word, but I do not follow it. Christ has told us that those who love Him follow His commandments; yet, who actually does this?

I read your commandments to care for the poor and to lead a life of service, but I live in luxury while others starve and look for others to serve me, instead. I seek my self-glorification at every turn; often my greatest concern in life is to vindicate myself in even the most petty matters. I long for money, power, comfort. I look to politics to save the world, when you have stated so clearly that the world will be destroyed and only those who look away from it, those who focus their eye on You, will be saved.

Help me to find you, Lord. Help me not to read your Word and then ignore it in my actions. I expect to be saved by my faith; and yet, You tell me bluntly that faith without works is dead. Help me Lord; I love you, I give myself to you. Affirm my sincerity and help me to see my vast hypocrisy and, by the power of your Almighty Spirit, overcome it. In Christ's name, I pray this. Amen.

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

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

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
Alison Krauss and The Cox Family

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

Closing Prayer
And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. 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.
~ 2 Corinthians 13:14

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 25, 2017

Lord God, I understand your holy Word well enough. I study your Word, but I do not follow it. Christ has told us that those who love Him follow His commandments; yet, who actually does this?

I read your commandments to care for the poor and to lead a life of service, but I live in luxury while others starve and look for others to serve me, instead. I seek my self-glorification at every turn; often my greatest concern in life is to vindicate myself in even the most petty matters. I long for money, power, comfort. I look to politics to save the world, when you have stated so clearly that the world will be destroyed and only those who look away from it, those who focus their eye on You, will be saved.

Help me to find you, Lord. Help me not to read your Word and then ignore it in my actions. I expect to be saved by my faith; and yet, You tell me bluntly that faith without works is dead. Help me Lord; I love you, I give myself to you. Affirm my sincerity and help me to see my vast hypocrisy and, by the power of your Almighty Spirit, overcome it. In Christ's name, I pray this. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, September 25, 2017

1 John 2:1 (NIV) My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Read all of 1 John 2

Listen to 1 John 2

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 - Jesus the Human Being

Although He existed in the form of God, Christ did not retain equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men.

Oddly, the meaning of this somewhat difficult verse was wonderfully (if somewhat irreverently) captured by a hit song in 1995, “What if God Was One of Us?” The Christian understands what the song is really getting at, because God was, in fact, one of us. The song is asking us to consider the humanity of Jesus. Jesus was a human being. He intentionally took on very real “non-God” weaknesses, temptations, needs, and emotions.

We can infer, from Paul’s comment (together with what little we know of Jesus’ infancy and childhood), that Jesus developed as a normal person. He needed diapers as a baby. He cried when He was hungry. He had to be taught to speak. He was in some ways more than human — He astonished His listeners on His ability to expound Scripture when He was 12 — but in some ways, He was no different from you or I.

The most important aspects of His humanity deal with His crucifixion. Jesus did not face His torture and death with a smug smile on his face, as God might do. He did not have universal knowledge; He did not have a special way of sensing that He would rise again. Rather, He went to the cross as a matter of faith; God the Father instructed Him to do it, and instructed Him concerning His divinity. In fact, Jesus sweated blood in the hours leading up to his arrest (Luke 22:44) and prayed to the Father that He might not have to do it. (Mark 14:36)

But why? Just consider the benefits. First, it made Jesus the model of faith. Facing torture and crucifixion means more to us when we consider that Jesus suffered it as a matter of faith in the Father, rather than in the absolute knowledge of His resurrection that would come from omniscience.

Second, it gave us, in our weakness, more confidence in His empathy for us. We know Christ suffered exactly the way we suffer. He suffered as a human being. He was afraid! Absence of fear is not courage. Courage is demonstrated by acting in spite of fear; and the greater the fear, the more profound the courage, and ultimately, the more profound the demonstration of faith.

Does God know what it is like to feel lust, to be so hungry one wants to steal, or to feel the fear of death? I mean, does He really know, sitting up there in Heaven, invulnerable? Why, yes he does, because he made Himself vulnerable and ignorant, intentionally, to prove it to us.

A third lesson we might take away from Jesus’ humanity is this: It is not a sin to be human. We know for a fact that Jesus slept, got hungry, ate, and wept. He had friends. In fact, no matter how strongly we might infer it, and no matter how unlikely it seems, the Bible never says that Jesus did not marry.

It is not a sin to feel grief when a loved one dies; it does not show a lack of faith. How can one say this with assurance? Because “Jesus wept” when His friend Lazarus died.

So we celebrate at Christmas, not only because our Savior has come at last. Just as much, we celebrate the humanity of Jesus. We are not forced to love only an abstract God. We can love a human being.
Lord Christ, thank you for becoming one of us. Amen.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Devotion by Mason Barge, Editor, Daily Prayer.
What if God Was One of Us?

Un Dia a la Vez - Hay que pagar un precio

Ustedes fueron comprados por un precio; no se vuelvan esclavos de nadie.

Para mí la llegada a este país hace veintidós años ha sido toda una experiencia. Lo he visto como la universidad de la vida donde me tocó aprender de todo un poco, desde ser mamá y ser esposa, hasta cocinar, trabajar y valerme por mi cuenta.

Podría decir que me tocó pagar un precio. Aunque fue muy duro y tuve que sacrificar muchas cosas que deseaba, no cambio por nada lo que he vivido. ¿Sabes por qué? Porque nunca debemos olvidar de dónde nos sacó Dios. Porque aprendemos a valorar lo que tenemos. Es una manera de mantenernos más enfocados y con los pies en la tierra. Lo que es más importante… ¡ser agradecidos!

Es mejor adquirir poco a poco las cosas, a que Dios nos lo dé todo de una vez, pues lo más seguro es que nos llenemos de orgullo y se nos olvide quién es el Rey de reyes.

No te quejes más de lo que estás viviendo en el lugar en que estás. Si te tocó regresar a tu tierra y esos no eran tus planes, da GRACIAS porque quizá te guardara de algo. Si estás en los Estados Unidos pero la situación no pinta bien para ti, piensa que Dios es el que te sostendrá siempre.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE BODY OF JESUS

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

In China, one small group of believers gathered weekly in the back room of a small store to worship together during the Cultural Revolution. Since they could easily be overheard by anyone entering the store, they “sang” hymns together without words or music. Someone whispered the name of the song and the group together silently moved their lips simply “thinking” the words and music.

In the Bible, the church is called “God's husbandry,” “the body of Christ,” and the “household of Christ” (I Corinthians 3:9; 12:13,27; Hebrews 3:6). It is also called His bride and a wife (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:2,9; Ephesians 5:22-33). These are all simple examples given to help us understand that the Church is a spiritual entity, neither a building nor a human organization. This is probably the most common error in belief found among Christians. It is important that we realize that the church of Jesus Christ is basically and When Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus responded by promising to build His church on the solid “rock” of this great truth and that the gates of hell would not withstand it. (Matthew 16:13-18). According to the New Testament, a person who has recognized, as Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ, and who trusts in Him by faith as Savior and Lord, is “born again” (John 3:1-17).

This new birth is a spiritual experience that opens the heart to the Spirit of God. He enters that heart and dwells there. This believer is then a “priest” of God and enjoys direct access into the holy presence of God (I Peter 2:5,9; Hebrews 4:16). This relationship of an individual with Christ is clearly a spiritual relationship, and Jesus joins together individuals who have this faith in Him into a spiritual body—His church.

RESPONSE: I will cherish my relationship with Christ and His body—the Church.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for Your household of faith. Help me to understand its functions and walk and serve in expressing them.

Women of the Bible - The Woman Who Lived a Sinful Life

Her character: She was a notorious sinner, possibly a prostitute or adulteress. Rather than trying to defend what was indefensible in her life, she admitted her sin and made a spectacle of herself in a passionate display of love and gratitude.
Her sorrow: That she had offended God so grievously.
Her joy: That Jesus forgave her sins and commended her for her great faith and love.
Key Scriptures: Luke 7:36-50

Her Story

The woman felt as though the world had unraveled in a moment's time. Doors had opened, walls had crumbled, thoughts of the future no longer frightened but thrilled her. She felt clean and whole, innocent as a girl still living in her father's house. Her heart was a wild confusion of sorrow and joy as she followed the rabbi through the doorway.

Ignoring the stares of the men, she walked over to the place where Jesus was reclining at a table. In her hands she held an alabaster jar of perfume. Her body trembled as she approached. She hardly knew what she was doing as she covered his feet with her kisses and then anointed them with the precious perfume, wiping his feet with her hair. How else could she express her heart to the man who had loved her so well?

Like any good Pharisee, Simon loved the law, measuring his days by the steady rhythm of the regulations by which he lived. They were a fence safeguarding his purity, protecting his sense of settled security. How good of the holy God to provide a map for the righteous, a way of life to set him apart from ordinary Jews—like the woman who had just walked through the door, hoping to glean a few scraps from his table.

Simon was surprised that a sinful woman, even a hungry one, would enter his house. But his surprise grew as he noticed she was not eating but weeping so profusely that her tears were spilling onto the feet of one of his guests. Everything about the scene repelled him, offending his sense of order—a notorious harlot kissing the man's feet, wiping them with her hair, and then pouring perfume over them. It was an astonishing performance.

Even more astonishing was the fact that his guest seemed to enjoy the attention. "If this man were a prophet," Simon thought, "he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner." All of his questions about Jesus were put to rest by the scene he had just witnessed. His ordered way of looking at the world was safe enough, bolstered by the judgment he had just made.

As though he had overheard Simon's secret thoughts, Jesus turned and spoke to him. "Simon, I have something to tell you.

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."

"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Though this woman was a notorious sinner, she recognized her great need for grace. Repentance turned her world on its head, opening up an entirely new view of things. Simon, by contrast, was a religious man who, no doubt, had done his best to live a respectable life. His sin was tucked away, hidden even from himself. His habit of judging others had formed a fence around his one-dimensional view of the universe, shielding his neat and orderly life from the unpredictable power of grace.

But Simon and the woman both owed a debt they could not possibly repay. Though Simon's sin was less obvious, it was the more dangerous. He was like a man who was following a map he was certain would lead to heaven—but when heaven came down and walked into his house, he didn't even know it. The woman, on the other hand, realized just how lost she had been. Forgiven much, she loved much. She found heaven at the feet of Jesus.

Her Promise

Let's be honest. Many of us would respond to this sinful woman just as the Pharisee did. It's so easy to look more with judgment than love at people whose lives have been devastated by sin. But Jesus looked at her and at Simon and saw the same thing: their need for forgiveness. And he gave it freely. We don't know what Simon's response to Jesus was, but the woman's response is evident in her tears and kisses.

This story isn't included in Scripture just so we can see the forgiveness given to one sinful woman; it's included so we can know that no matter how sinful, how broken, how entrenched in error we might be, forgiveness is available if only we seek it in faith—he's promised.

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 25, 2017

When Waiting Feels Excruciating

Today’s Truth

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
~ Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

Recently, I met with a friend. This friend’s been praying forever for things to change. To say she’s waiting is an understatement. She's been enduring and persevering for years. She's been gripping her dreams for what seems like forever. She's been fighting to act God-honoring, almost every day.

Her life feels like a hard-fought battle.

No doubt, she's wanted to give up, turn away from it all, lay in bed, dream a new dream, find an escape, indulge in chocolate and turn herself over to it. In many ways, I don't blame her; her situation is hard.

Yet, while she's lost days and emotions within the great abyss of frustration, I applaud her - she's pushed on.

So, with her wait on my mind, I can't help but ask God this question: God, why do you send us through waiting that feels - excruciating?

Three verses bring clarity:

1. "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV)

Our investment in waiting today, is deposited in heaven - for tomorrow. This eternal glory exceeds anything we could want in the here and now.

2. "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14, NIV)

We can choose to be strong, because, during times of wait, we have faith. Faith is activated when we remember: God is always at work (John 5:17, NIV), he won’t leave us and He loves us.

3. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2, NIV)

Just as a runner trains for a big race, so do trials train us for the most important race of our life. Trials give us the mindsets, the fortitude and the perseverance to tackle God’s greatest missions. They, although difficult in the moment, prepare us for wildly important kingdom work.

Wherever you stand – or sit around waiting - today, know this: Your good God has good plans for you. He has not disowned you. He has not turned his back from you. He loves you and is near. He is working behind the scenes. Take heart and wait for the Lord.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I don’t have the future figured out, nor do I have my days mapped out. But, you do. You know it all and see it all. Help me to persevere in this place of wait. Help me to fall back into your arms that will catch me when I feel weary. Help me to remember you are growing my faith and developing qualities that will last forever. Help me to remember eternity.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Eternity is real. Your faith-filled wait is producing real rewards in heaven. What might it look like for you to shift from an earthly view to an eternal view today?

More from the Girlfriends

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Girlfriends in God

Daily Devotion September 25, 2017 "Life on God's Terms"

It's my life and I can do with it as I wish. Well, in the verse...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Life on God's Terms"

September 25, 2017

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

It's my life and I can do with it as I wish. Well, in the verse here in Philippians and in the Gospel lesson for this Sunday in Matthew 20, God says no it's not. Life is His gift of life for you. It's given on His terms, and He desires that it be blessed on His terms alone as well.

To live, to die, in Christ is gain? What? In the Gospel, when Jesus says that heaven is a gift given and received by grace alone because of His generosity and not because of our works -- what? That doesn't sound fair; it doesn't sound right. Well, that's what most people say today. One of the great problems with Christianity for many people is that it treats all people exactly alike: all people are 100-percent sinners who receive God's love as 100-percent grace, or they can't receive it at all.

It seems so unfair until you realize how grave our predicament is -- not only in this world -- but in our lives. Before God, every one of us is in the same boat. As I get older, I realize how entrapping sin and temptations are. I realize how inept all of us are at doing the right thing at the right time for the people who need it when we don't get anything out of it but the joy of doing what's right alone. That doesn't mean we should stop trying. But it does mean that even when we actually do something right, for the right reason, for the right purpose, even that is a gift of God's grace at work through His love in our lives.

The problem today ... so much of the puritanical bravado, both on the left and the right, that I see going on in our world today is about setting up straw men and woman and then punishing them with vitriol, with shame, even with threats to their well-being. Why? Because they really aren't all that powerful, and they can't or won't fight back. Listen, I'm not saying we shouldn't stand up for what's right and fight for the truths of God in the public arena of life. The key to it all is "Why?"

Jesus wants us to be His people for others. He wants us to live life in Him for others. He wants us to speak His truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15), with gentleness and respect. Why? Because He ultimately wants all people to come to faith and trust in Him alone.

When the apostle Paul says that "to live is Christ, to die is gain," he was being clear. Life is about Jesus Christ being our Lord and Savior. We live now in Him and through Him for others. And even the greatest challenge to life -- physical death itself -- can't get in the way of Him blessing us with life and salvation, even then. Thank God it's not my life; it's not your life to be lived on our own, with our strength and wisdom alone. Look at human history, and you'll see how that story ends. Thank God there is another way to live. It's one that blesses now and forever. To that end, God bless you today and always.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me a clarity of heart, mind, body, and soul to see how all things relate to You as my Lord and Savior, and then give me courage to live that reality for all its worth. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 25 de Setiembre de 2017

Alimento Diario

¿Qué es la verdad?

25 de Setiembre 2017

Jesús le dijo: 'Yo soy el camino, y la verdad, y la vida; nadie viene al Padre, sino por mí.'

Poncio Pilatos preguntó: "¿Qué es la verdad?" Cuando Jesús compareció delante de Pilatos, este poderoso representante de Roma estaba totalmente seguro que su pregunta nunca sería respondida.

A veces me siento inclinado a estar de acuerdo con él. Déjenme decirles por qué.

Hace unas semanas, una camarera llamada Stacey creyó que estaba haciendo un acto de buena caridad cuando, por donar su cabello, juntó $2.700 dólares para un instituto de investigación del cáncer.

Sin lugar a dudas fue un acto de buena caridad, pero la historia no termina allí. Cuando regresó a su trabajo en el restaurante, el jefe le dijo que estaba despedida por haber trasgredido el código de vestimenta. Dado que su cabeza estaba prácticamente rapada, sólo podría regresar a su trabajo si se ponía una peluca, o después que el cabello le volviera a crecer.

Cuando los reporteros le pidieron que explicara por qué había hecho eso, dijo que no la había echado a Stacey, pero que tampoco quería que una mujer casi pelada atendiera a sus clientes.

La pregunta, entonces, es: ¿la echó, o simplemente le dijo que hiciera algo con su cabeza? Probablemente nunca sepamos la respuesta, así como probablemente nunca tengamos respuesta a muchas otras preguntas a lo largo de nuestras vidas. A veces es difícil decidir quién está diciendo la verdad, lo que nos lleva otra vez a la pregunta de Pilatos: "¿Qué es la verdad?"

La respuesta a la pregunta de Pilatos es simple: Jesús es la verdad.

Tanto con sus vidas como con sus muertes, los apóstoles demostraron que la historia de salvación de Jesús fue cierta. Al cumplir las profecías antiguas, Jesús nos demostró qué es la verdad, y hasta la voz del Padre celestial nos dice que Jesús es su Hijo, quien ha hecho todas las cosas necesarias para nuestra salvación. Por todo eso es que podemos creer, sin dudas ni reservas, que Jesucristo es la verdad.

¿Ha encontrado la verdad, o todavía la está buscando? ¿Y sus amigos y familiares?

Todos podemos encontrar la verdad en Jesús, porque él se dio en sacrificio por todos, sin excepción, para que podamos vivir una vida plena en este mundo y disfrutar de la eternidad junto a él.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, en este mundo confuso y conflictivo en que vivimos, tú sigues siendo la única verdad. Te pedimos que a través del Espíritu Santo podamos recordar en todo momento que solamente tú eres el camino, la verdad, y la vida. En tu nombre. Amén.

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