Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, September 28, 2017

Opening Sentence
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.
~ Habakkuk 2:20

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
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.

Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me. Amen.

The Lessons

A reading from 2 Kings 9:1-16
Then the prophet Elisha called a member of the company of prophets and said to him, "Gird up your loins; take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you arrive, look there for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi; go in and get him to leave his companions, and take him into an inner chamber. Then take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, 'Thus says the LORD: I anoint you king over Israel.' Then open the door and flee; do not linger." So the young man, the young prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. He arrived while the commanders of the army were in council, and he announced, "I have a message for you, commander." "For which one of us?" asked Jehu. "For you, commander." So Jehu got up and went inside; the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, "Thus says the LORD the God of Israel: I anoint you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel. You shall strike down the house of your master Ahab, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and no one shall bury her." Then he opened the door and fled. When Jehu came back to his master's officers, they said to him, "Is everything all right? Why did that madman come to you?" He answered them, "You know the sort and how they babble." They said, "Liar! Come on, tell us!" So he said, "This is just what he said to me: 'Thus says the LORD, I anoint you king over Israel.'" Then hurriedly they all took their cloaks and spread them for him on the bare steps; and they blew the trumpet, and proclaimed, "Jehu is king." Thus Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against King Hazael of Aram; but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him, when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. So Jehu said, "If this is your wish, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel." Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, where Joram was lying ill. King Ahaziah of Judah had come down to visit Joram.

A reading from 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

A reading from Matthew 6:1-6, 6:16-18
"Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. "So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 146 Lauda, anima mea
1   Hallelujah! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
2   Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, for there is no help in them.
3   When they breathe their last, they return to earth, and in that day their thoughts perish.
4   Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! whose hope is in the LORD their God;
5   Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever;
6   Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger.
7   The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
8   The LORD loves the righteous; the LORD cares for the stranger; he sustains the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked.
9   The LORD shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Hallelujah!

Psalm 147 Laudate Dominum
1   Hallelujah! How good it is to sing praises to our God! how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!
2   The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
4   He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names.
5   Great is our LORD and mighty in power; there is no limit to his wisdom.
6   The LORD lifts up the lowly, but casts the wicked to the ground.
7   Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the harp.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth;
9   He makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve mankind.
10   He provides food for flocks and herds and for the young ravens when they cry.
11   He is not impressed by the might of a horse; he has no pleasure in the strength of a man;
12   But the LORD has pleasure in those who fear him, in those who await his gracious favor.
13   Worship the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion;
14   For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.
15   He has established peace on your borders; he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
16   He sends out his command to the earth, and his word runs very swiftly.
17   He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
18   He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; who can stand against his cold?
19   He sends forth his word and melts them; he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.
20   He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and his judgments to Israel.
21   He has not done so to any other nation; to them he has not revealed his judgments. Hallelujah!

Evening Psalms

Psalm 85 Benedixisti, Domine
1   You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
2   You have forgiven the iniquity of your people and blotted out all their sins.
3   You have withdrawn all your fury and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
4   Restore us then, O God our Savior; let your anger depart from us.
5   Will you be displeased with us for ever? will you prolong your anger from age to age?
6   Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7   Show us your mercy, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
8   I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
9   Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10   Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11   Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12   The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, and our land will yield its increase.
13   Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

Psalm 86 Inclina, Domine
1   Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery.
2   Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant who puts his trust in you.
3   Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long.
4   Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
5   For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, and great is your love toward all who call upon you.
6   Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7   In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me.
8   Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD, nor anything like your works.
9   All the nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD, and glorify your Name.
10   For you are great; you do wondrous things; and you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.
12   I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name for evermore.
13   For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.
14   The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent men seeks my life; they have not set you before their eyes.
15   But you, O LORD, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.
16   Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid.
17   Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

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
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.

Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me.

This I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Prayer for Bearing Troubles
O God, our help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the prayers of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner; have mercy upon me, and deliver me from the troubles that torment me, even though I might deserve them. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that you give us the trials of this life for our chastisement, when we drift away from you, and disobey your will; deal not with me according to my sins, but according to your endless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. In the name of 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.

Alas! and Did My Saviour Bleed?
Sharon Singers of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute

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

Closing Prayer
May the word I have read, Lord, be planted deeply in my mind and heart. Help me not to walk away and forget it, but to meditate on it and obey it and so built my life on the rock of your truth. 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 THURSDAY, September 28, 2017

Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.

Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me.

This I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, September 28, 2017

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV) The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Read all of 1 Corinthians 2

Listen to 1 Corinthians 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 - Gaining Control of Our Rebel Souls

"For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."
~ James 1:3 (NLT)

Our basic objective in life is to avoid pain at all costs. We want to be comfortable. We want to get in better shape, but we don’t want to sweat. We don’t want to feel any breakdown of the muscle or go through any kind of exertion. But no pain, no gain, as the expression goes. And what is true of the gym or the health club is also true of life. Pain reminds us of a deeper need.

For instance, we have the pangs of hunger, which reminds us of a deeper need: the need to eat. In the same way, when we go through pain it reminds us of a deeper need: the need for God in our lives. And God will teach us lessons in those valleys that we never would have learned on the mountaintops. He will teach us things we need to know and things we need to share with others, reminders that we are all passing through this life rather rapidly and that another life is coming.

C.S. Lewis wrote that pain “removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.” God wants to plant His flag in our rebel souls. He wants to get control of our lives.

Now don’t get me wrong. As I’ve said before, the Christian life is the greatest life. You will have many moments and times of joy and happiness. But just know that hard times eventually will come. And adversity teaches us eternal truths we would not learn otherwise.

Jesus loves us, and He wants to be glorified through our lives. But He will not always remove suffering because it can make us stronger and give us a platform where we can glorify God and point others to Him.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, NLT® copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Devotion by Greg Laurie © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.
Why suffering can be productive in our lives.

Un Dia a la Vez - Estancamiento general

Ensancha el sitio de tu tienda, y las cortinas de tus habitaciones sean extendidas; no seas escasa; alarga tus cuerdas, y refuerza tus estacas.

¿Estás viviendo una etapa en la cual te hayas estancado? ¿Te parece que no te encuentras en ninguna parte y a veces sientes que se te une el cielo con la tierra? ¿Que te agobian los problemas familiares o la falta de trabajo? ¿Que tratas de servir en la iglesia pero como que tampoco te llena?

Quiero decirte que es válido sentirte de esa manera. Lo que no es válido es quedarse en esa condición.

Siempre he visto que nuestra vida está llena de ciclos que deben cerrarse. Así que le debemos dar oportunidad a Dios para tener nuevos comienzos cuando no cerramos esos círculos de relaciones inconclusas o proyectos que empezaron, pero que nunca terminaron. Hasta en el servicio a Dios tenemos ciclos y eso nos lleva a nuevas etapas.

Dios muchas veces permite que nos sintamos así, porque quiere sacarnos de nuestra zona de comodidad y llevarnos a otras experiencias. La pregunta que cabe es la siguiente: ¿Qué pasa si nos provoca estas molestias? Lo más probable es que nos quedemos quietos y no tomemos ninguna decisión de crecer.

Por lo tanto, realiza cambios radicales que vayan de la mano de nuestro Dios y verás que tendrás la garantía de una vida llena de éxito.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - NORTH KOREA TESTIMONY

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
~ Acts 20:22-24 (NIV)

After Gyeong Ju Son, a young woman from North Korea, gave her moving testimony at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town in October 2010, the 4200 participants from over 190 countries, came away stunned—many moved to tears.

Born in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, this petite 18-year-old is the daughter of a former high-ranking government leader—an assistant of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il.

In 1998, when Gyeong Ju was at the tender age of six, her father suffered severe political persecution and the family was forced to flee to China. It was there that her parents came to know the amazing grace and love of God. After only a few months, her mother, pregnant with their second child, died of leukemia.

“It was in the midst of this family tragedy that my father joined a Bible study led by missionaries from South Korea and America, and after a time his strong desire was to become a missionary to North Korea,” she says.

In 2001 her father was reported and arrested by the Chinese police, to be sent back to North Korea, where he was sentenced to prison. Desperately crying out to God during this time, his three-year incarceration only served to strengthen his faith. After his release he returned to China and Gyeong Ju Son was reunited briefly with her father.

“Not long after he chose to return to North Korea—instead of enjoying a life of religious freedom in South Korea—to share Christ’s message of life and hope among the hopeless people of his homeland.”

In 2006 her father’s work was discovered by the North Korean government and once again he was imprisoned. Not having heard from her father again, she assumes he has been publicly executed on charges of treason and espionage. This is often the fate of confessing Christians in North Korea.

Left in China, Gyeong Ju Son was adopted for a while by the family of a young pastor, and it was their love, care, compassion and protection that made a deep impression on her. When they left for America she was given the opportunity to go to South Korea.

RESPONSE: Today I give thanks for brothers and sisters who serve Jesus at the cost of their own lives.

PRAYER: Pray today for those believers still living in North Korea and committed to evangelism.

NIV Devotions for Men - Fear Not

Nehemiah 6:1–19
Recommended Reading: Joshua 1:1–9; Psalm 59:1–17; Philippians 4:4–13

Has someone deliberately tried to discredit you? Gone out of his way to tear you down? Persuaded others to believe something untrue about you?

Then you can relate to Nehemiah. He must have scratched his head when his enemies tried five times to lure him outside the city, where certain death awaited. They tried rumors, coercion and bald-faced threats, but Nehemiah wasn’t fooled. He trusted God and knew that Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem’s claims weren’t true. These enemies were spreading rumors, trying to frighten Nehemiah and his men into stopping their work on Jerusalem’s walls. Instinctively, Nehemiah turned to prayer and asked God to provide strength for finishing the task.

Next, Nehemiah had to be wary when his enemies sent a wolf in sheep’s clothing, inviting him to hide out in the temple for his own safety—an act that would have gone against God’s laws. Yet even when threatened with death, Nehemiah didn’t allow himself to fall into that trap. He had insight into the situation that reinforced his trust in God, rather than believing the bad reports of other men.

Thankfully, you’ll probably never experience an assassination attempt. But you might face an enemy who wants to assassinate your character. Like Nehemiah’s enemies, people who are bent on opposing you can be very resourceful, even downright nefarious, in getting their way. Should you fight back? Or run away and hide?

Remember that, like Nehemiah, you have a heavenly Father to whom you can always turn. As hard as Nehemiah’s enemies tried to attack him, through prayer he found the power to continue his work without fear. You can too. When you trust God for protection, he will fill you with strength to complete the unique tasks he gives you and the courage you need to withstand character assassination attempts.

To Take Away
  • Think about a really tough task, project or relationship that God has given you to deal with. How does Nehemiah’s example encourage you?
  • Is there someone in your circle of friends who brings you down or makes you feel afraid? How can you respond to him in a way that honors God?
  • In what areas do you need to trust God to protect and strengthen you?

Girlfriends in God - September 28, 2017

The Stone Unthrown

Today’s Truth

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,”.
~ John 8:7 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

“What are we going to do with this Jesus,” the chief priest asked the group. “He is going about healing people left and right. Everywhere I go the buzz is about Jesus. It’s Jesus this, and Jesus that. And the crowds are calling Him the Messiah! Everyone knows that the Messiah will not come from Galilee. If we don’t get rid of Him, we are going to have an insurrection on our hands.”

“And ever since the buzz about Him multiplying a few loaves and fish to feed more than 5,000 people has circulated, His followers have multiplied as well. He must be stopped.”

“I have an idea,” Lucius responded with a gleam in his eye. “I happen to know a certain married man who is sleeping with his mistress at this very moment. I happened to see him slink into her house last night.”

And as the hard-hearted Pharisees gathered round, a spiteful plan to trick Jesus began to unfold.

The sun was just peeking through the securely locked shutters of Morah’s bedroom window. The predawn stillness was broken only by the songs of early rising birds floating on the breeze. Morah was a tangle of sheets, arms and legs as the man she loved lay sleeping beside her.

“Oh, Zachariah,” she whispered as her fingertips brushed a stray lock of hair from his closed eyes. “If only you weren’t married. I know this is wrong, but I love you so. And I have to believe you when you say you love me as well. We are risking our very lives with these frequent trysts.”

Morah’s musings were suddenly interrupted by a banging on the door.

“Open up!” the gruff voice demanded.

“Who is there?” Morah cried as she scrambled to find her robe.

“Open up or we’ll break the door down.”

“What’s all the commotion,” Zachariah mumbled as he groggily sat up in bed. “What’s going on?”

Before Morah could even think to answer, the angry mob of religious men broke through the simple lock and into the lovers’ hideaway.

“What is the meaning of this?” Zachariah barked. “What do you think you are doing?”

“What do you think you are doing, my friend,” the Pharisee countered. “That is the real question here.”

“Morah, daughter of Omar, you are under arrest for adultery under the Law of Moses!” the moral police spat. “Get dressed and come with me.”

The Pharisee tossed Morah her night robe, but failed to turn his head as she slipped her trembling frame from the cover of the sheets and into the thin cloak. He grabbed her by the arm and began dragging her to the door.

“Where are you taking me?” she cried.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” the Pharisee growled.

“What about Zachariah?” the youngest man of the group inquired.

“Just leave him,” the Pharisee replied. “We don’t need him.”

“Why don’t you go back to your wife where you belong,” the Pharisee called over his shoulder as the group left the room. And with that, the conspiring mob continued their trek to the temple with the half-clad trembling woman in tow. Two men flanked the weeping woman on either side, dragging her through the early morning hustle and bustle of the city. The bait was hooked, and now it was time to reel in the catch.

Like mice following the Pied Piper, a curious stream of townsfolk joined the parade. Jesus was already teaching in the courtyard with a group gathered at his feet. As always, Jesus’ message and miracles drew large crowds. A distant rumble interrupted his gentle teaching as the angry mob and curious crowd approached. They marched right into the inner circle of the classroom and thrust the woman at the Master’s feet.

Morah’s unbound hair fell around her bare shoulders and fluttered in the early morning breeze. Her shame-filled eyes stayed riveted on the earthen floor, refusing to meet Jesus’ gaze. Then one of the men pulled her to her feet and displayed her for all to see.

She didn’t need to look at the man before her. She recognized his voice. It was Jesus.

“Teacher,” the pious Pharisee began, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses commands us to stone such a woman. Now what do You say?”

Jesus didn’t look at the woman’s half-clad body as the others openly gawked. He looked into her soul.

Morah lifted her eyes and looked into the face of love. What do I detect in His gaze? She thought to herself. It wasn’t contempt, disgust, or condemnation, but rather compassion, concern, and pure, unadulterated love. Somehow she knew that this was the look she had been searching for her entire life.

As Morah listened to the Pharisee’s question, she understood Jesus’ dilemma. If He set her free, the Pharisees would accuse him of ignoring the Law of Moses and deem him a heretic. If he sentenced her to death by stoning, then His teachings of grace and forgiveness would be negated.

The religious leaders already held the stones in their clenched fists, anticipating His reply. Their hearts were as hard as the rocks they held in their hands. But rather than give a quick answer, Jesus moved his gaze from the trembling woman and stooped to the ground. With His finger, the very hand of God-made-man, he began writing in the dirt. A frigid chill swept through the Pharisees pious robes. Suddenly they felt the rawness of naked exposure as Jesus’ eyes looked up at each of them and without a word, uncloaked their sinful thoughts and desires. With one look from Jesus, they stood soul bare and more exposed than the half-dressed woman before them.

Everyone held their breath. The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable. Finally, Jesus rose and delivered the verdict.

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then Jesus squatted once again and continued to write.

One by one the Pharisees unclenched their fists, dropped the stones, and filtered through the crowd. The older men who had accumulated a longer list of sins turned to leave first, with the younger ones not far behind.

The remaining crowd listened closely as the drama continued to unfold. After the last of the Pharisees cleared the scene, Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she replied.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The woman turned to leave, but not before picking up a discarded stone to take with her.

“To remember,” she whispered.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, this story of Your great mercy and grace takes my breath away. Just to think that the only person qualified to throw the stone was the very One who set her free. Help me to always remember that You have forgiven me of my sins. Help me to drop the stones I so quickly pick up to cast at others and extend to them the same grace You have extended to me.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope your heart was stirred with the re-telling of this amazing story. We don’t know the woman’s name. I have simply called her Morah so we can paint a picture of a real woman with a real problem in our minds. Now let me ask a few questions…

When is the last time you held a rock of condemnation in your hand? Not a real rock, but a judgmental attitude?

When is the last time you acted like the Pharisees who were so quick to condemn?

Who do you want to be like, Jesus who showed grace and forgiveness, or the Pharisees who wanted to give her what she deserved?

When was a time when you felt grace and mercy from someone in your life?

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!

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Girlfriends in God

LHM Daily Devotion - September 28, 2017 "His Cross, Our Glory"

On May 12, 1993, at a Paris auction house, two slivers of olive wood...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"His Cross, Our Glory"

September 28, 2017

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

On May 12, 1993, at a Paris auction house, two slivers of olive wood were put up for sale.

A certificate of authenticity, which had been signed way back in 1855, verified those two slivers of wood had come from the true cross of Christ. That's right; the certificate promised that the wood had been taken from the very cross on which Jesus had died.

Would you like to know what happened? I'll tell you.

People bid. It was a feeding frenzy of bids. The first offer was $1,800. In the next minute and a half -- the time before the gavel struck and the auctioneer said "sold!" -- the offering price skyrocketed to over $18,000 dollars ($18,587).

Two-thousand years ago, the apostle John, an eyewitness of the Savior's crucifixion, talked about what he had seen. In the 19th chapter of his narrative of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, John wrote, "they crucified Him."

Three sad, sorrowful words: "they crucified Him." With those words John tells how, on a small, skull-shaped hill found outside the city walls of Jerusalem, a Roman death squad nailed the world's Redeemer to a cross. "They crucified Him." Those are God's words which tell of our Savior's undeserved sacrifice, which speak of our one-and-only hope for forgiveness and eternal life.

"They crucified Him."

Have you ever given any thought about how you would like to die?

I can almost hear the Daily Devotioners saying, "Klaus, if you're going to keep talking about that, I'm going to stop reading now. I don't want to talk about dying. I don't want to talk about it when it comes to other people, and I certainly don't want to talk about my own demise. I don't want to talk about it today or tomorrow or ever. When death comes, it comes. But until it comes, I'm just going to keep on living the best way I can."

Now if that's the way you feel, I understand. Death isn't a topic that most of us want to think about or dwell upon. Death, when it comes by crucifixion, is even worse.

You can relax. This devotion isn't talking about your demise; it is centered on the crucifixion death of your Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Roman statesman Cicero called crucifixion a "most cruel and disgusting penalty" (Verrem 2:5.165). The Roman judge, Julius Paulus, listed many ways a criminal might be put to death: there was death by burning; death by beheading; death by being thrown to wild beasts. But at the top of Paulus' list of terrible ways to die was crucifixion.

Over the centuries, inventive humankind may have developed more painful ways to die, but none more demoralizing to body, mind, and soul than crucifixion. In agreement, the Bible says: "Cursed is every man who hangs upon the tree" (Galatians 3:13b).

Still, crucifixion is the death Jesus embraced, so all who believe in Him might be forgiven and saved.

THE HYMN: "On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, The emblem of suff'ring and shame; And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best, For a world of lost sinners was slain."

"Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, Has a wondrous attraction for me; For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above, To bear it to dark Calvary."

"In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, A wondrous beauty I see, For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, To pardon and sanctify me."
~ "The Old Rugged Cross," George Bennard, 1913

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

CPTLN Devocional de 28 de Setiembre de 2017

Alimento Diario


28 de Setiembre 2017

Sean prudentes y manténganse atentos, porque su enemigo es el diablo, y él anda como un león rugiente, buscando a quien devorar. Pero ustedes, manténganse firmes ...

Hace algun tiempo, todos los animales de un parque privado en Ohio fueron puestos en libertad.

Desde entonces, ha habido toda clase de discusiones acerca del derecho de tener animales salvajes, de si la policía tenía derecho a matarlos... de lo que habría pasado por la mente del dueño para hacer algo así.

A mí lo que más me interesaba era escuchar lo que pensaban los vecinos. Y, por lo que recuerdo, estaban aterrorizados, y tenían derecho a estarlo.
  • Las autoridades cancelaron las clases en las escuelas cercanas.
  • Se le pidió a la población que se mantuviera dentro de sus casas.
  • El lugar se plagó de periodistas de todas partes, como si fueran langostas.
Con esto no quiero decir que hayan exagerado, porque la mayoría de ellos no lo hicieron. La idea de que un niño fuera devorado por un oso en su camino a la escuela da terror.

No, tenían toda razón para tener miedo de esos animales... así como Pedro sugiere que debemos ser prudentes y mantenernos alertas con respecto a nuestro adversario el diablo.

Pedro sabía lo que demasiadas personas han olvidado: que el diablo es real y que está buscando a quien devorar.

Gracias a Dios, quienes viajamos en la compañía del Salvador no necesitamos estar completamente aterrorizados. En el monte de la tentación, en la cruz del Calvario, y sobre todas las cosas en la tumba vacía del domingo de resurrección, Jesús demostró que él puede vencer cualquier cosa que el diablo trate de hacerle.

En otras palabras, cuando el diablo aparezca (y seguro va a aparecer) no se preocupe, sino aférrese a Jesús.

Él es su Redentor, su amigo y protector.

ORACIÓN: Señor Jesús, te doy gracias porque te has puesto entre mí y mis enemigos: el pecado, la muerte y el diablo. Ayúdame a aprender a confiar en ti y en lo que tú puedes hacer. En tu nombre. Amén.

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