Friday, November 3, 2017

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, November 3, 2017

Parable of the Tares - Matthew 13:24-30
Daily Readings

Nehemiah 2:1-20
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was served him, I carried the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence before. So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This can only be sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my ancestors' graves, lies waste, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors' graves, so that I may rebuild it." The king said to me (the queen also was sitting beside him), "How long will you be gone, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a date. Then I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may grant me passage until I arrive in Judah; and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, directing him to give me timber to make beams for the gates of the temple fortress, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy." And the king granted me what I asked, for the gracious hand of my God was upon me. Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent officers of the army and cavalry with me. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel. So I came to Jerusalem and was there for three days. Then I got up during the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took was the animal I rode. I went out by night by the Valley Gate past the Dragon's Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool; but there was no place for the animal I was riding to continue. So I went up by way of the valley by night and inspected the wall. Then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest that were to do the work. Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace." I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us start building!" So they committed themselves to the common good. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they mocked and ridiculed us, saying, "What is this that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?" Then I replied to them, "The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we his servants are going to start building; but you have no share or claim or historic right in Jerusalem."

Revelation 6:12-7:4
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and there came a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, saying, "Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads." And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the people of Israel:

Matthew 13:24-30
He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

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 FRIDAY, November 3, 2017

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Verse of the Day for FRIDAY, November 3, 2017

Romans 13:1 (NIV)[Submission to Governing Authorities] Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Read all of Romans 13

Listen to Romans 13

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 - Praying to God

Praying to God

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
~ Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

The voice of God indeed daily calls to us; calls to the world to abandon sins and seek the Kingdom of God wholeheartedly. O that we may all hear the call of the Father and, sometime, at last be converted to the Lord. . . . In silence and in meditation on the eternal truths, I hear the voice of God which excites our hearts to greater love.

An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him.

You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal.

So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I called Zoe or spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.
Oh Holy Spirit, be with me when I pray, and pray in me. Amen.

~ from “Collected Letters (Vol. II)” and “Mere Christianity”, by C. S. Lewis

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The voice of God indeed daily calls to us.

Un Dia a la Vez - La lámpara del cuerpo

La lámpara del cuerpo

El ojo es la lámpara del cuerpo. Por tanto, si tu visión es clara, todo tu ser disfrutará de la luz.
~ Mateo 6:22 (NVI)

En un devocional anterior pudimos aprender que los ojos son la lámpara del cuerpo. Que debemos guardarlos no solo por la salud física, sino también por la salud espiritual debido a lo que vemos.

Si lo que vemos nos corrompe, nuestro cuerpo se dañará de igual manera. Claro, esto tiene toda la lógica del mundo: Una persona que solo ve pornografía, esa es la información diaria que le da a su mente y a su cuerpo.

Y si tu ojo es bueno, tu cuerpo será bueno del mismo modo.

Dios desea que tú seas libre y bueno.

Y lo puedes ser entregándole esa esfera o cualquier otra.

Él nos cambia y nos transforma… solo si se lo permitimos.

Te recuerdo que la luz y las tinieblas se rechazan entre sí.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - STEADFAST TO THE END


And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
~ 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

Christians in northern Nigeria have suffered severely from physical attacks resulting in destruction of Christian churches, houses and shops. Hundreds of believers have been badly injured, many macheted to death, some burnt alive and even more shot dead.

Despite all that has happened in northern Nigeria, the Body of Christ is not discouraged, declaring instead they are willing to continue carrying the cross. One Christian articulated their commitment: “We will be steadfast to the end.”

Another leader declared, “They destroyed our church buildings, houses and business centers, but the good Lord is comforting us. The Christians are growing in strength and total submission to God. Our challenge now is how to rebuild our churches and continue with the fellowship to encourage each other.”

The affected families of pastors and church members have gone through unimaginable hardship after all they laboured for, all their lives, was destroyed within minutes. Many families were left unattended while some were able to move to refugee camps. Others are living under trees with their children, gazing at their destroyed houses and life belongings, shedding tears and calling for help in this desperate situation.

A lady who was crying inconsolably told Open Doors, “I have nowhere to go. All I have laboured for is gone, I cannot afford to feed my children, and life is difficult. I almost gave up, but I will continue to wait on God to come to my rescue.”

“It is difficult to fathom the scale of destruction, but we have accepted it in good faith,” said one pastor’s wife who had lost her home. “It is nothing short of the fulfilment of the Gospel. We love these Muslims even though they hate us. They are not our enemies. We are only against the person behind their actions. We so much pray that they change their ways and accept Christ, so that we will rejoice together when we get to heaven.”

The believers in the affected areas are now confronted with the challenge of how to rebuild their churches and lives, while facing the call of sharing love and total forgiveness.

A pastor who lost his church building commented, “We are always ready to pay the price for our faith. This added strength to our faith, no going back. We are going to encourage our people to see this from God’s perspective. We want the world to know that what has happened in northern Nigeria…is even beyond politics. It is purely religious, and we need your prayers.

“Christ was rejected here on earth to the point that they crucified him on the cross for our sins; therefore, no amount of sacrifice for Christ would be too much. All we can do now is pray for the aggressors, because they do not know what they are doing. We will be steadfast to the end.”

RESPONSE: Today I will receive God’s restorative help in being strong, firm and steadfast.

PRAYER: Pray for brothers and sisters in northern Nigeria facing constant challenges to their faith.

Men of the Bible - Luke


His name means: "Light-Giving"

His work: He was a Gentile by birth, a physician by trade, and a journalist by calling.
His character: A humble man willing to be used rather than lauded.
His sorrow: An eyewitness to the sinfulness and jealousy of the religious elite in their support of the torture and execution of many faithful believers.
His triumph: The opportunity to chronicle the story of Jesus and the account of the founding of the church.
Key Scriptures: Luke 1-2; Acts 27

A Look at the Man

Luke may have been born in Antioch, just across the northeast corner of the Mediterranean from Paul's birthplace in Tarsus. There is no record of how Luke was converted to Christianity, but it may have been through the witness of Nicolas, who, along with Stephen, was one of the seven deacons selected by the apostles to care for the Greek-speaking believers.

Luke accompanied Paul to the city of Troas during Paul's second missionary journey. They were compatible traveling companions, so Luke joined Paul as often as he could, eventually becoming his fulltime associate.

As a professional accustomed to disciplined study, Luke decided to undertake a massive assignment—writing an account of Jesus' life and chronicling the founding and early development of the church. Two years of waiting for Paul's trial in Rome gave him ample solitude to organize the documents and memories from his experiences and travels—then to document them in writing.

Before their voyage to Rome, Luke had also accompanied Paul during his two-year imprisonment under the custody of the Roman governor in Caesarea. During that time he had begun to organize his notes for his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He probably traveled throughout the region during those years to collect the material he would need to pen the gospel account. An accomplished historian, Luke knew the value of personally interviewing eyewitnesses. He carefully organized his work to insure accuracy.

Once Paul had been ordered to travel to Rome, Luke joined him on the harrowing voyage across the Great Sea. On their way, their ship was destroyed near the island of Malta. Everyone aboard narrowly escaped with their lives. So it was with a great deal of emotion, once they arrived in Rome, that Luke began writing.

Because Luke had personally visited many of the cities Paul had visited, he could collect detailed accounts of what happened as the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost and the message of Jesus spread throughout the known world. Visits with apostles and witnesses along the way gave Luke not only the information but also the inspiration to finish his task.

Luke soberly accepted his God-given assignment. He was fully aware that his account would be the only one penned by a non-Jew. Luke's greatest desire was that the truth of the message would go beyond its provincial beginnings to touch the souls of those who had never seen or heard for themselves. He probably hoped to reach hundreds, maybe thousands. What he couldn't have known was that these two documents—the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles—would be read and studied by millions for generations to come.

Reflect On: Psalm 95:1–7
Praise God: For his majesty.
Offer Thanks: For calling you to obedience and service.
Confess: Your eagerness for significance rather than your passion for submission.
Ask God: To give you a servant’s heart, to serve him with gratitude.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (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 - Are You Ready for the Sandpaper People?

Are You Ready for the Sandpaper People?

Today’s Truth

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”.
~ Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

I sometimes think the holiday season should come with a warning label that reads, “The Sandpaper People are coming!” Holidays usher in many things – one of which is the opportunity to deal with the difficult people in our lives. The relative that irritated you last Thanksgiving may very well do the same exasperating things this year. The people waiting in line with you will most likely be impatient and grumpy, and the person checking you out will probably be exhausted and running on fumes. Now is the time to get ready to deal with your sandpaper people – the people who rub you the wrong way.

God created us with the capacity for strong emotions. Sandpaper people not only have an uncanny knack for knowing where emotional buttons are located, they honestly think it is their purpose in life to push every single one of them. Our first reaction to the incessant and calculated button pushing of a sandpaper person is usually angry retaliation, a response that neither honors nor pleases God.

God calls us to peaceful resolutions. When it comes to difficult relationships, God does not want or expect us to declare war. We are to control our emotions instead of allowing our emotions to control us. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:18, “As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men.” In other words, we need to set our mind on peace – not winning.

God’s wants us to wage peace in every relationship – including the roughest, most abrasive, anger producing sandpaper people who come our way. A formidable task, since every sandpaper person I have ever known comes complete with a set agenda that targets emotional eruptions and creates constant relationships upheavals.

Have you noticed how sandpaper people seem to love drama and create it everywhere they go? They also love a good fight, live to evoke angry reactions, and are fierce warriors who are determined to win every battle initiated by their downright irritating personalities.

I have learned an important maneuver for dealing with difficult people. Combat is impossible when one of the parties involved has laid down his or her weapons and chosen peace.

As I headed to the grocery store for my dreaded weekly shopping trip, I wrestled with my attitude. You have to understand that I absolutely hate grocery shopping. But on this particular morning, I vowed to choose joy, and turned my focus to the balmy Florida day before me. I had it all under control – until I pulled into the grocery store parking lot.

It seemed like every South Florida resident was in that parking lot frantically searching for a parking space – and they were not happy. After circling several times, I spotted an empty spot right by the entrance. God does answer prayer.

I made a beeline for “my” parking space. Just as I turned to pull in, an older lady boldly stepped into that prized space and, with great ceremony, held up her left hand, signaling me to stop right where I was. With her right hand, this self-imposed traffic director began motioning to a man I assumed was her husband as he circled the parking lot in his very large car.

I suddenly realized that she was saving “my” spot for him. Of all the nerve! What incredible gall!

Parking spaces are a serious matter to me. Evidently, I was not the only one who felt that way. In the midst of my simmering, soon-to-explode anger, this still small voice reminded me that I had a choice to make. I really hated surrendering my anger to God, but the thought of apologizing to that woman for running over her with my car was more than my mind could conceive or my stomach could handle. I quickly decided that if she was willing to risk her life for a grocery store parking space, she deserved to have it.

Unfortunately, the driver behind me did not agree, and whipped her car into the prized space just in front of the man in his large car, barely missing the woman who was saving the space. I watched the scene unfold – or explode. Crude gestures and loud, repulsive words filled the air. Some I understood. Some I had never heard and did not care to define. Threats were exchanged along with promises of retribution.

The whole experience was an ugly reminder that we live in a world filled with angry people who are constantly rubbing each other the wrong way. Sandpaper people. And while it is true that everyone gets angry from time to time, it is just as true that everyone can learn to effectively control and manage his or her anger.

When dealing with a sandpaper person, we must not allow ourselves to become the enemy. As you get ready for Thanksgiving Day, remember to prepare your heart to love the hard-to-love people that come your way.

Let’s Pray

Father, I am so thankful that You love me – rough edges and all. Please help me to love others in the same way.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now it’s Your Turn

Who are the difficult people in your life?

In what way(s) do they irritate you?

What can you do to avoid a difficult situation with your sandpaper people?

Ask God to let you see those difficult people as He sees them – through eyes of love.

More from the Girlfriends

If you are like me, you need a lot of help loving the sandpaper people in your life. That is why I wrote the book, Sandpaper People. It is filled with practical ways to love those difficult people and will help you develop healthier relationships. Check it out in my online store. It is also available on CD and as MP3 download.

And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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

Girlfriends in God

LHM Daily Devotion - November 3, 2017 "Care or Control"

They say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Care or Control"

November 3, 2017

For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

They say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

I suppose the same thing could be said about controlling and caring. For example, the wife of 62-year-old Malcolm Applegate probably thought she was being caring when she expressed concern for the number of hours he was working. No doubt she believed she was being considerate and compassionate when she suggested he might want to cut back on his outside commitments. Yes, I'm sure that is the way she saw it.

In contrast, Applegate was convinced his wife was controlling, and he didn't like it.

Now there probably were a number of ways Applegate could have handled that problem. Most folks would have gone to a counselor for assistance and direction; some would have gone to the divorce court and put the marriage out of its misery. But Applegate went a different route; he disappeared.

That's right. One day, without telling anyone of his plans, Applegate walked into the woods ... and he stayed there for five years. As he told reporters, "I camped in the thick woods near Kingston, and made some money taking care of the garden at a senior citizen's center. After some time, Applegate moved to London's Emmaus Greenwich Center, a shelter for those who are homeless. To earn his keep, he did odd jobs and drove a bus for the elderly.

And his family? After ten years, Applegate wrote to his sister and reunited with her and all who had missed him and thought him dead.

Reading through Applegate's story, I wonder how many folks have done the same thing to the Lord.

They have come to the conclusion that the Lord, with all His laws which say, "Thou shalt do this" and "Thou shalt not do that" is simply too controlling. They think that when their Heavenly Father says that forgiveness and salvation come only through Holy Spirit-given faith in His Son, our Savior, well, that is simply too narrow minded.

And then these folks walk away. They never understand that what they think is God being controlling is merely His care and concern. They never realize that even as care and love motivates them to give their children laws ("Don't play in the street" or "Don't talk to strangers") to protect them, God's laws serve the same purpose.

They never figure out a man who is drowning doesn't need a flotilla of life-preservers; he just needs one he can cling to.

Similarly, we who are drowning in sin don't need a gaggle of redeemers. We only need one who has done all that was necessary to rescue us from our transgressions, the devil, and death. Yes, we need only one life-preserver, and we need to cling to Him most tightly.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today we pray for those who have misconstrued and misinterpreted Your actions of love for humankind. Grant that they may, in Your Son's life, suffering, death, and resurrection, see just how much You care and love them. This we ask in the Name of our crucified and risen Redeemer. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 03 de Noviembre de 2017 - Brillen delante de todos

Alimento Diario

Brillen delante de todos

03 de Noviembre 2017

De la misma manera, que la luz de ustedes alumbre delante de todos, para que todos vean sus buenas obras y glorifiquen a su Padre, que está en los cielos.
~ Mateo 5:16 (RVC)

Un grupo de una iglesia de Líbano decidió ir al centro de la ciudad a evangelizar. El área elegida era muy concurrida por la tarde, por lo que podrían hablarles a muchas personas.

Cuando arribaron, encontraron a una señora muy pobre y de avanzada edad sentada en el suelo. Era difícil verle la cara debido a lo arqueado de su espalda. Pensaron que tendría hambre, así que le compraron un sándwich y luego le hablaron de Jesús, aunque no supieron si les entendió algo. A la mujer le llevó mucho tiempo terminar el sándwich. El grupo se alejó, dudando si sus esfuerzos habrían tenido algún resultado.

Poco después, se encontraron con un joven que estaba fumando apoyado en una verja. Luego de presentarse, una pareja del grupo entabló conversación con él. Finalmente, él les preguntó qué hacían y por qué se habían tomado tanta molestia con la anciana. En respuesta, ellos le hablaron de Jesús y de su amor por él.

Cuando terminaron de hablar, el joven dijo: "Yo los estaba observando y vi cómo ayudaron a la pobre anciana, así que pensé: 'si estas personas se me acercan, escucharé lo que me digan'."

¡Cuán cierto es que muchas veces nuestros actos hablan más fuerte que nuestras palabras! De no haber sido por la compasión demostrada por ese grupo a la anciana, ese joven no hubiera escuchado el mensaje que ellos tenían para darle. Sus acciones construyeron un puente que ni sabían que se podría construir. Gracias a eso, pudieron compartir con él el Evangelio de Jesucristo.

Pero el Espíritu Santo aún no había terminado con ese joven... todavía no.

La pareja escuchó unas semanas después que el joven había hecho confesión de su fe y reconocido a Jesucristo como su Señor y Salvador. Cuando en la iglesia escucharon esto, agradecieron a su Padre celestial por usar sus humildes esfuerzos: primero para ayudar a una anciana, y luego para dar testimonio del Evangelio a aquel joven.

ORACIÓN: Señor Dios, permite que nuestra luz brille ante los demás. Permite que nuestras acciones te glorifiquen, para que otros lleguen a conocer tu gracia salvadora. Sea que estemos en el mercado o en una calle cualquiera, indúcenos a hablar y actuar en amor. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Biografía del autor: Esta devoción fue escrita por un voluntario de Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones en Beirut, Líbano.

© 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.