Monday, October 23, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, October 23, 2017 - Feast Day of James, brother of Jesus

The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
Daily Readings for
MONDAY, October 23, 2017
Feast Day of James, brother of Jesus

Acts 15:12-22
The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, "My brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first looked favorably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written, 'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; from its ruins I will rebuild it, and I will set it up, so that all other peoples may seek the Lord-- even all the Gentiles over whom my name has been called. Thus says the Lord, who has been making these things known from long ago.' Therefore I have reached the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God, but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood. For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every sabbath in the synagogues." Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers,

Psalm 1 Beatus vir qui non abiit
1   Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2   Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and they meditate on his law day and night.
3   They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.
4   It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5   Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6   For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you-- unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them-- though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

Matthew 13:54-58
He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house." And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.

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.

The Liturgical Calendar: Saint James of Jerusalem, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Today the church remembers Saint James of Jerusalem, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Martyr, C. 62.

James was, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark and the Epistles of Paul, a brother of Jesus. Yet he was not a believer during the Lord's earthly ministry. Jesus appeared to him after the resurrection and James was converted. He soon rose to prominence in the church and became the Bishop of Jerusalem. He presided over the important Council in Jerusalem that decided to permit Gentiles to join the church. As the church grew and prospered, James became less and less popular with the authorities. According to the historian, Josephus, he was eventually stoned and clubbed to death by a mob.

James of Jerusalem is usually considered to be the author of the Epistle of James. If this is the case, he certainly had a clear insight into the Lord's message and ministry and its relationship to the Old Covenant.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the feast day of Philip the Apostle, along with that of James the Lesser (Roman Catholic identify him with James the Just as the same person), was traditionally observed on 1 May, the anniversary of the church dedicated to them in Rome (now called the Church of the Twelve Apostles). Then this combined feast transferred to May 3 in the current ordinary calendar.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, James is commemorated as "Apostle James the Just, brother of Our Lord", and as such, multiple days are assigned to his feasts. His feast days are on October 23, December 26 and the next Sunday of the Nativity along with King David and Saint Joseph and January 4 among the Seventy Apostles.

In the Episcopal Church of the United States of America and Lutheran Church, James, brother of Jesus and martyr is commemorated on October 23.

Grant, we pray, O God, that following the example of your servant James, the brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer, and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Day for MONDAY, October 23, 2017 - Feast Day of James, brother of Jesus

Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, October 23, 2017

Galatians 6:2 (NIV) Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Read all of Galatians 6

Listen to Galatians 6

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 - If We Confess . . .

If We Confess . . .

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
~ 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

The promise of forgiveness made in 1 John is one of the most powerful and comforting verses in the Bible. We know we sin. Sometimes, we know exactly what we have done wrong; and, I suspect, often we do not even know exactly what we have done wrong, but when we read the life of Jesus, or one of the Epistles, we get the unmistakable impression that there is a lot we are not doing right. Sometimes we are eaten up by guilt and remorse; sometimes we rationalize our conduct; sometimes we simply ignore it.

But in every case, God knows what we have done and will forgive us, if we only ask! He does not expect us to be perfect, like Christ, for that is not possible. He does expect us to try, and our attempts to stay on the “straight and narrow” are important, for time after time after time, the Bible tells us to stop sinning. We show our love for God and our fellow humans by the attempt. Yet, again, we know that no matter how saintly we become, sin will be with us until we die.

There is an awfully big “if” involved here, however: “If we confess our sins . . . .” And do not think that this matter of confessing is a one-time deal. On this point, the Greek is much clearer than the English, because the tense used in Greek clearly and definitively describes a continual, ongoing process. There are no two ways to read John’s text, no ambiguity. We must confess repeatedly and continually.

The justification that brings us eternal life, and the constant regeneration in newness of life that confession and forgiveness brings, do not remove our need to work against the subjective reality of sin in our daily lives. If we do not confess continually, we face either destructive guilt, on the one hand, or denial of our wrongdoing, on the other. And either of these will drive us away from God.

The price of forgiveness has been paid in full; all we need to do is ask for it. It is one of the few places in Christian doctrine where we have to make an affirmative effort to secure our salvation, for to confess our sin, we must search it out.
Lord, lead me to know my sin, that I might confess it and enjoy the great blessing of forgiveness. Amen.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Devotion by Mason Barge, Editor, Daily Prayer.
We know we sin.

Un Dia a la Vez - La luz del mundo

La luz del mundo

Así alumbre vuestra luz delante de los hombres, para que vean vuestras buenas obras, y glorifiquen a vuestro Padre que está en los cielos.
~ Mateo 5:16 (RVR1960)

El deseo de Dios es que nosotros seamos luz del mundo. De ahí que nuestra vida se compare con una lámpara que alumbra a los demás. Sin embargo, para poder alumbrar debemos estar llenos y cargados de Dios y de su Palabra para servir de ejemplo a otras personas.

En la época de Cristo se utilizaban lámparas pequeñas de arcilla en las que se quemaba aceite de oliva. Sin aceite, no prendían. Y si nuestra lámpara no está llena de Dios, será muy difícil alumbrar a los demás. A veces tenemos una vida tan fría con Dios que lo más probable es que, a mitad del camino, nos quedemos nosotros también sin luz.

Pidámosle a Dios que nos llene hoy de su amor, que podamos tomar ese hábito de leer la Biblia y de ese modo ser la luz del mundo, tal y como lo dejó escrito en su Palabra.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - WALK IN VICTORY


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
~ Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Our trust is not in a God who uses his power without a plan or at His whim. Rather our trust is in a loving, purposeful God who promises that all thing work together for good for those who love Him.

No one believes this any more than Kim Phuc. She is known as the picture girl from the Vietnam war. The Pulitzer Prize winning photo seen around the world was snapped on June 8, 1972 following a South Vietnamese napalm attack on Trang Bang village. Nine-year-old Kim is seen running down the road toward the camera, naked and screaming in pain.

Living in constant pain as a result of the horrific injuries she suffered, Kim recalls she was bitter and filled with hatred asking the universal question, “Why me? Why do I have to suffer like this?”

As a teenager, she encountered a Vietnamese Bible in a library. Impressed with Jesus and His teaching, she became a believer in 1982. She comments that it took years, but “God freed me from hatred and enabled me to love and forgive my enemies, to trust Him and to obey.”

She still suffers daily from excruciating pain but she now finds purpose in that pain. “The pain reminds me daily to go back to the Lord in prayer,” she says. “Then he gives me peace, energy, strength and grace to face each day…The pain is for my spiritual protection and I thank God for it.”

Kim Phuc says she wants to change the way people see her; no longer the little girl crying out of pain, but now a young woman crying out for peace. She adds, “Now He uses my picture and my everyday life to glorify Him. Now I understand the purpose of why I’m still here and why I suffer. It’s to glorify the Lord. It’s not about me. It’s about Him!”

God has a plan and purpose for our life, and through our obedience to His teaching, He is going to work in us and through us that which will ultimately bring glory to God. With this kind of faith, we will see victory.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk in victory because I will give every part of my being to glorify God.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to experience the purpose and meaning You have ordained in my suffering for You.

Women of the Bible - The Syrophoenician Woman

The Syrophoenician Woman

Her character: Though a Gentile, she addressed Jesus as "Lord, Son of David." Her great faith resulted in her daughter's deliverance. 
Her sorrow: That her child was possessed by an evil spirit.
Her joy: That Jesus freed her daughter from spiritual bondage.
Key Scriptures: Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30

Her Story

Her body jerked and twisted, arms thrashing the air. Wide-eyed, the little girl spoke to ghosts her mother could not see, her face changing as rapidly as clouds in a sudden storm. Fear, surprise, and then a crazy kind of laughter, as though someone had stolen her soul. Dark hair stuck in gummy strands against her cheeks.

Her mother wondered what had become of the sweet child who had followed her like a puppy wherever she went. How she missed those soft kisses and the button nose that had nuzzled her cheek. She had hardly slept these last few nights for fear of what her daughter might do to herself. Neither of them, she thought, could stand much more.

Just that morning she had caught wind of a Jewish healer who, friends said, had come to Tyre hoping for relief from the crowds that mobbed him in Galilee. It didn't matter that Jews seldom mingled with Gentiles. She would go to him, beg his help, throw a fit herself if necessary. She would do whatever it took to get him to listen. It didn't take long to find him.

She approached Jesus, pleading, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

But Jesus ignored the woman, making no reply.

Finally, his disciples said to Jesus, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

But Jesus knew it would not be that easy to get rid of her. The only way, in fact, would be to answer her prayer. He told them, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

Hearing him, the woman fell at his feet again, imploring, "Lord, help me!"

Then Jesus turned and said, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

But the woman would not give up. "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

"Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted," Jesus said.

So the Syrophoenician woman returned to her daughter, who was delivered from the evil spirit the very same hour that Jesus had spoken.

Scripture doesn't describe the little girl of this story in any detail; it says only that she was possessed by a demon. But judging from similar incidents, such as that of the Gerasene demoniac, whose story is told in Luke 8, or the little boy in Matthew 17, who kept throwing himself in the fire, the signs of demonic possession were probably both obvious and frightening.

But why did Jesus seem so rude to the poor woman, ignoring her request and then referring to her and her child as dogs?

His response may sound a little less harsh when you realize that the word he used for "dogs" was not the derisive one Jews ordinarily reserved for Gentiles. Instead, it was the term used for little dogs kept as pets. Jesus was also making it clear that his primary mission was to the Israelites. Had Jesus performed many healings and miracles in Tyre and Sidon, he would have risked the same kind of mob scenes he had just left behind in Galilee, thus inaugurating a ministry to the Gentiles in advance of his Father's timing.

The woman couldn't have known the reason for his silence, however, and it must have tested her faith. But rather than give up or take offense, she exercised her quick wit, revealing both a deep humility and a tenacious faith. It was a combination Jesus seemed unable to resist—fertile soil in which to grow a miracle. The Syrophoenician woman must have rejoiced that day to see the daughter she loved safe and sane, grateful for the life-giving bread that had fallen from the Master's table.

Her Promise

What possible promise can be found in a pagan woman whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit? The Syrophoenician woman wouldn't have known what to do about her daughter had she not heard about Jesus. Somehow, she was given the faith to believe that he was capable of saving her child.

Evil spirits, unfortunately, are not creatures of a former age. We, too, must fight the evil powers in own lives. The difference now is that Jesus has won the ultimate victory on the cross. As believers, we share in his victory. He has given us authority over the evil forces that threaten us. We may still be fighting the battle, but, strange as it might sound, the victory is already won!

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 - When Your Whole Life Stinks

When Your Whole Life Stinks

Today’s Truth

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Friend to Friend

Do you ever have a hard time seeing the bright side of things?

I do. After pulling all of our luggage, pillows and boxes from the car, I plopped on the couch in my brand new home, in a brand new city.

It's not safe enough here, in this neighborhood. They are doing construction right next to us. There are no families around.

The anxious thoughts were eating my moment of joy.

The previous night didn't help. Our train ride to the new home was horrendous. We slept in the passenger car. My three-year old daughter pleaded in 30-minute increments for a tissue for her nose. The door rattled. The train leaned in, then out, as it went down the track. I slept for half an hour.

It's easy for me to see what's wrong instead of what's right. Things that stress me instead of what God has put there to bless me. Everything annoying, disturbing and wrong instead of the things that are right.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

What about you? What does your mind go to? What do you reflect on?

You know, that morning after our horrendous night on the train, I saw a woman I'd met earlier. After smiling, I asked her, "How was your night's sleep?"

Her answer? "Good, I got some naps in."

She chose to speak what was good rather than sinking into what was bad. She still smiled, her eyes looked happy and her face seemed ready for the day.

Later, I passed by my cabin neighbor. She recounted the night by saying, "Last night, I was awake. So all I did was stare at the beauty of the wide-open skies. You should have seen the stars. They were magnificent."

Again, this woman chose to find the find the good in the bad.

What is the good in your bad?

God has left it for us, if we choose to see it. We can see Provider God over our anxiety. We can see hope rise above uncertainty. We can see little lights shine out from our vast darkness. We can give thanks for spurts of goodness when everything else is blah.

We can always:

  1. Praise God's character.
  2. Give thanks for eternity.
  3. Remember the good times.
  4. Dwell on God's promise that He'll always be with us.
  5. Decide to truly believe God is our Provider.
When Jesus came into this dark world, He brought goodness. And even better, He left it. Our job is to search it out, to draw it near, and to return to thinking about it, even when we're prone to forget. This keeps our head up and our hope strong.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, things often go wrong in my life. They often don’t turn out the way I plan. Yet, one thing is true – You. Help me to rely on You, to trust You and to see You in all things. Help me to know my strength in Christ Jesus. Help me to lean on Your promises in my time of need. May I know the depths of Your love.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Think of your greatest annoyances and complaints. Rather than thinking of what you detest, count up what is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy and think about them. Make a list.

More from the Girlfriends

Get all of Kelly Balarie’s Purposeful Faith blog posts by email for a dose of inspiration and encouragement. Awaken courage to overcome your fears, gain faith in the place of doubt, and walk into your personal journey - knowing God is with you. Kelly Balarie, author of the book, “Fear Fighting” and blogger at Purposeful Faith can’t wait to do this journey with you.

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

Girlfriends in God

Daily Devotion October 23, 2017 "Committed to the Message of Grace"

These last three sermons were some of the most emotional in my life...
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"Committed to the Message of Grace"

October 23, 2017

It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence.

These last three sermons were some of the most emotional in my life. They were written and recorded in Wittenberg, Germany, in the 500th year celebration of Martin Luther and the Reformation. They are written to summarize the passion of The Lutheran Hour, and the passion not only of my work as the Speaker, but the passion of every person who has been privileged to be called the Speaker of The Lutheran Hour from Walter Maier to Oswald Hoffman to the present day. They were written in the 100th-year anniversary celebration of the Lutheran Layman's League, a group of servants in LCMS churches who have been committed, body and soul, prayerfully and financially, to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the radio to all who would listen. Why? Just so that they too might come to know the joy of being in a faith relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all. That's a lot to celebrate today, isn't it? But, the big thing about yesterday, today, next Sunday, and every day to come is the joy of being Christ's committed disciples, living in the joy of trusting in the grace of God in Jesus, and being up for the challenge of being committed to sharing the message of Jesus with anyone who will listen.

My joy of being behind this microphone was the joy of sharing God's love in Jesus with you these past several years. The honor was not the status, but the opportunity to hear the message myself, and share with you. There's nothing like being committed to sharing Christ's message of grace. It means that your sins won't overwhelm you. It means that guilt has been paid for. It means that whatever you are facing today, by faith in Jesus, you are not alone. The cross of Jesus Christ is unlike any other event in human history. Nations rise and fall. Leaders lead for a time, but that time always comes to an end. Human bravado may satisfy for a moment, but only a relationship to the God who created and redeemed you in Jesus, that abundant life, and that life alone, is the only thing that will last.

So please hear me one more time. This message endures. This offer is always present in the preaching of the Gospel. And this Gospel is something that Jesus Himself will keep proclaiming through His church, through His people, so that all might know and believe.

When St. Paul wrote this passage in 2 Corinthians, the church, the people that he wrote to, well, they weren't treating him very well. It was a rocky relationship that he had with these Corinthians. They thought they didn't need him; they didn't need anyone -- even Jesus Himself. Paul was willing to pay any price to proclaim the message of grace to them, to make sure that it got to their ears, and by God's grace, to their hearts. By the power of the Holy Spirit, that is my prayer for you this day. Let the message of Jesus which originated in His commitment to live, to die, and to rise again for you, let that message overwhelm with His grace, now and forever!

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may Your Gospel good news overwhelm us all with Your grace, empower in each of us a committed faith towards You, with a fervent love to others, and may the Gospel's joy empower each of us to live life boldly in Your Name forever. With heaven-bound joy we pray. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 23 de Octubre de 2017 - Jalando juntos

Alimento Diario

Jalando juntos

23 de Octubre 2017

¿No ves que la fe de Abrahán actuó juntamente con sus obras, y que su fe se perfeccionó por las obras?
~ Santiago 2:22 (RVC)

Hace un tiempo tuve la oportunidad de participar de la ceremonia en la cual se puso la primera piedra para la construcción de una iglesia.

Esa ceremonia fue única, ya que en lugar de usar las tradicionales palas pintadas de dorado para que algunas personalidades muevan la tierra, esa iglesia utilizó la ayuda de un antiguo arado.

Dos jóvenes miembros de la congregación empezaron a jalar, pero como la máquina no se movía, otros miembros se unieron. Viendo que todavía continuaba inmóvil, toda la congregación sujetó la cuerda.

Con todos jalando juntos en equipo el arado se movió, y finalmente se logró poner la primera piedra.

Más tarde me puse a pensar en lo maravilloso que sería si hiciéramos igual en nuestras iglesias, nuestras comunidades y nuestros hogares. Piense en las cosas que se podrían lograr si todos juntos jaláramos.

¿Qué nos detiene?

Algunos no quieren ensuciarse las manos con una cuerda vieja. Otros no logran ponerse de acuerdo en qué dirección jalar, y otros sencillamente no jalamos con todo lo que tenemos.

Por otro lado, nuestro Redentor no tuvo ningún reparo en ensuciarse las manos, ni en jalar junto con su Padre celestial, ni en entregar todo lo que tenía para la salvación de nuestras almas.

Entonces, ¿qué haremos? ¿Qué tal si usted no espera por mí, y yo no espero por usted? ¿Qué tal si, en lugar de ello, simplemente sujetamos la cuerda y jalamos con todo lo que tenemos, en la dirección que el Salvador nos ha señalado?

ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, ayúdanos para que nuestra fe y acciones obren juntas, de tal manera que el mundo pueda ver que tu amor y la fuerza que tú has dado a tu pueblo. No permitas que jalemos en diferentes direcciones. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

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