Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, November 9, 2017

Daily Readings

Ezra 7:1-26
After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of the chief priest Aaron-- this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the LORD the God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was upon him. Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel. This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to the priest Ezra, the scribe, a scholar of the text of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: "Artaxerxes, king of kings, to the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven: Peace. And now I decree that any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom who freely offers to go to Jerusalem may go with you. For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your hand, and also to convey the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, given willingly for the house of their God in Jerusalem. With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, and their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. Whatever seems good to you and your colleagues to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which you are responsible for providing, you may provide out of the king's treasury. "I, King Artaxerxes, decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred cors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and unlimited salt. Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, or wrath will come upon the realm of the king and his heirs. We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. "And you, Ezra, according to the God-given wisdom you possess, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River who know the laws of your God; and you shall teach those who do not know them. All who will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on them, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of their goods or for imprisonment."

Revelation 14:1-13
Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless. Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-- to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water." Then another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, "Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, they will also drink the wine of God's wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name." Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them."

Matthew 14:1-12
At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him." For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been telling him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.

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, November 9, 2017

Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray, Amen.

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, November 9, 2017

Isaiah 1:18 (NIV) “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Read all of Isaiah 1

Listen to Isaiah 1

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 - What Makes a Hero?

What Makes a Hero?

Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means "Christ"). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus.
~ John 1:41–42 (NLT)

We hear the word hero a lot in our culture, but do we really know what it means? We seem to have a lot of celebrities but very few heroes. Historian Daniel Boorstin compared the two this way: “Celebrities are people who make news, but heroes are people who make history. Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities.”

A hero is someone who does something selfless, something sacrificial. A hero is someone who puts the needs of another above his or her own. Sometimes heroes are known in their lifetime for their achievements, and sometimes we call them heroes after they’re gone. In that case, we sometimes call them unsung heroes because we didn’t realize how heroic they were until time had passed.

One unsung hero from the New Testament is Andrew, Peter’s brother. Andrew didn’t get a lot of ink in the New Testament, but what we do read about him is significant. Andrew is primarily known as the guy who brought others to Jesus. In fact, when he discovered that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, he went and found his brother and brought him to the Lord.

How easily Andrew could have kept this to himself and said, “I don’t want Peter to get in here. He probably would try to take over the whole operation.” Instead, Andrew brought him to Jesus. In fact, every time we read about Andrew, he is bringing someone to the Lord.

We might say that Andrew is the patron saint of unsung heroes, the kind of people who are willing to do what needs to be done and fly under the radar. They just want God to get the glory. And here is the thing we need to remember: If we had more Andrews, we probably would have more Simon Peters.

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 © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.
Why Andrew is one of the New Testament's unsung heroes.

Un Dia a la Vez - Por sus frutos los conocerán

Por sus frutos los conocerán

Todo árbol bueno da fruto bueno, pero el árbol malo da fruto malo.
~ Mateo 7:17 (NVI)

Cuando llegas a una iglesia cristiana en especial, comienzas a escuchar frases como estas: «Por sus frutos los conocerás». A menudo, las escuché sin comprenderlas en su totalidad hasta después de un tiempo. Sé que muchos de ustedes no van a ninguna iglesia o quizá nunca han escuchado este principio bíblico.

Cuando se habla de frutos, se refiere a los resultados. Si saboreamos una fruta deliciosa, nos permite darnos cuenta enseguida que viene de un buen árbol, de un árbol sano que da buenos frutos.

El Manuel de Instrucciones nos habla a nuestras vidas de la misma manera. Si una persona tiene una vida sana y eficiente en lo espiritual, dará buenos frutos a su tiempo. Aunque muchos llegamos a los caminos de Dios lastimados con vicios o con otras cosas terribles, cambiamos al andar con Jesús. Por eso, tal vez las personas nos digan después: «Ya no eres el mismo», y es porque damos frutos.

Esto no solo muestra lo que somos tú y yo, ya que la gente nos conoce también por lo que somos. Es decir, las personas nos conocerán por nuestros frutos y, al mismo tiempo, seremos capaces de saber cómo es alguien que quizá no nos termina de convencer, debido a que las conoceremos por sus frutos.

Hoy te invito a que examinemos nuestros frutos. Tal vez sean frutos buenos y sanos, o estén tan podridos que no valga la pena recogerlos.

¿Cómo está nuestra vida? ¿Has considerado lo que piensa Dios de nosotros?

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FREEDOM IN FAITH


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
~ John 8:36 (NIV)

During an SSTS seminar in Central Asia, we listened to testimonies of the participants who were mostly from Muslim background. We asked how long they had been followers of Jesus. The majority answered, “Nine years.”

When we asked how they had become believers, they shared that there was a vicious religious civil war in their country nine years earlier. It had shown them the true colors of Islam and they turned to follow Jesus for the reasons listed below:

1. LOVE - Jesus of the Bible teaches and exemplifies love and compassion.

2. WORSHIP - They were attracted to the Christian love of singing and worshipping God with praise and joy!

3. FORGIVENESS - Jesus shows how to forgive our enemies – feed them and give them water to drink.

4. JESUS’ LIFE - Jesus’ teachings and His example are very attractive.

5. WOMEN - Jesus holds women in high esteem.

6. FAITH - Jesus claims to be the way, truth and life. Salvation in Christ is by faith alone. No works or rituals or rules can save us.

7. TRUTH - The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “Good News” because He is the Truth. The Gospel is based on Truth.

8. LIBERTY - Christian expression is based on freedom and liberty in Christ. The Bible teaches the basis for such liberty.

These eight positive principles are a powerful affirmation of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will appreciate the uniqueness of the Gospel and Jesus my Savior.

PRAYER: Pray today that many more Muslims may come to faith in Jesus and follow Him fully.

NIV Devotions for Men - Word Choice

Word Choice

Proverbs 15:1–15
Recommended Reading: Psalm 34:13–14; James 3:1–12

The ability to master our mouths, watch our words and tame our tongues demonstrates a level of spiritual and emotional maturity. The opposite is true as well. An inability to control our speech shows immaturity, and it can inflict great harm on our relationships.

Solomon addresses the importance of controlling our words by contrasting positive and negative speech. In each case, the effects end up as opposites: peacefulness or wrath, knowledge or folly, healing or a crushed spirit. In other words, when we fail to control our tongue, we don’t just fail to give, or be, a blessing. We also cause a wound that can rupture a relationship.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Words That Hurt, Words That Heal, states that he asks audiences whether they can go 24 hours without saying any unkind words about or to anyone. Invariably, a few people answer “yes,” but most call out “no!” He responds, “Those who can’t answer ‘yes’ have a serious problem. If you can’t go 24 hours without drinking liquor, you’re addicted to alcohol. If you can’t last 24 hours without smoking, you’re addicted to nicotine. And if you can’t make it 24 hours without saying unkind words about others, you’ve lost control of your tongue.”

How can you tell whether your tongue is under control? You won’t say anything about an individual that you can’t say directly to that person. You resist the urge to exaggerate. You consciously examine your thoughts and remove gossip and rumors from your conversations. You keep in confidence a personal matter that someone else shares with you. Further, you learn to speak positive words. Appropriate words communicate affirmation, comfort and healing.

When was the last time you said something to another person that you instantly regretted? Maybe it was something intended as a joke that was instead taken as an offense, or perhaps it was a sharp word spoken in anger that you wish you could have taken back. Think of a specific situation, and then challenge yourself to rectify the hurt. While you may not be able to take back the words themselves, you can humbly submit yourself to that person and begin to rebuild the relationship.

To Take Away
  • Do you think most men struggle with controlling their words? Why or why not?
  • How would others evaluate your speech? Would they say that your words more frequently heal or wound?
  • What steps can you take to gain tighter control over your tongue?

Girlfriends in God - Trusting God With My Past

Trusting God With My Past

Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Friend to Friend

I am told that in the famous lace shops of Belgium there are certain rooms used for spinning the finest and most delicate designs of lace. Each room is completely dark – except for one small window. Through this tiny window, light shines directly on the work at hand. A solitary spinner works in the darkness, sitting where the narrow stream of light will fall on the delicate thread. The choicest pieces of lace, the most exquisite designs, are created when the worker is in the dark and only his work is in the light.

When it comes to dealing with our past, we often find ourselves sitting in the darkness of frustration and pain, wondering if anything good can possibly be salvaged from the broken pieces of our lives.

I will never forget the day I learned how God really can turn tragedy into triumph. I was sitting at my desk, working on an assignment from the counselor I had been seeing. For months, I had been wrestling with my past; slowly, methodically working through painful issues and buried memories that seemed to be feeding the clinical depression I was battling. As page after page filled with harsh realities, a memory slammed into my heart and mind.

The pain was overwhelming as a vile scene from my childhood slowly took shape. I could hardly breathe as I frantically tried to escape the certainty I had been molested. The perpetrator had been our family doctor and a trusted friend. He had even provided free medical treatment when we couldn’t pay for it. I trusted him, counted on him. As a nurse, my mother worked beside this man every day and often babysat his children to earn extra money.

Anger unlike any I had ever known fueled violent thoughts of revenge and retaliation. I was angry with this man – and angry with God. How could He have let this happen? Where was the light in this dark place?

For months, I worked through painful memories and raging emotions until I saw the first glimmer of light. It was wrapped in chosen forgiveness. I began to see that had I never been wounded so badly, I would never have been able to forgive so freely – and in doing so, discover a depth of healing and freedom only the greatest pain can produce. Today, I can honestly thank God for all He has accomplished in me through the sin of that man.

There are no accidents with God, nor is He surprised by anything or anyone in the life of His child. God uses even the most horrendous circumstances for our good. Every circumstance comes to us for a purpose, bound by God’s love and plan and faithfully delivered with His permission. While we cannot go back and change our past, we can change the way we respond to our past and determine how much power it has in our lives today.

Only God can take the broken pieces of your life and make something beautiful out of each one. He is waiting for you to let go of your pain and trust Him. And you really can. No one loves you like He does. You may not always understand or even like His process, but you can always trust His heart of love for you!

Let’s Pray

Father, I am so tired of the darkness that greets me every morning when I open my eyes and stares me down at night when I try to sleep. I am no longer willing to be a prisoner of my past. Show me the sins I need to confess and turn away from. Heal the wounds that have hurt for so long. I give you my past and ask You to make it a cornerstone for the new life I can have in You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Take a few minutes to think back over your life. Make a list of the “mire” that has settled in your heart and soul. Be specific. It may be a sin you need to confess or the pain of a broken relationship that needs to be healed. Ask God to show you the things in your past that have become footholds of darkness in your life today. Face each one. Deal with it and let it go.

Read Romans 8:28. What good things has God brought out of the pain in your past? Is your faith stronger? Have you been able to encourage others who have experienced that same pain?

More from the Girlfriends

Are you struggling with the pain of your past? Jesus is asking you to let it go. If you need help, get Mary’s CD set, Getting Past Your Past and The Power of Forgiveness.

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 9, 2017 "Involved"

Years ago, Jim Croce sang the song, "You Don't Mess Around with Jim."...
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour


November 9, 2017

(Jesus said) "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
~ Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

Years ago, Jim Croce sang the song, "You Don't Mess Around with Jim."

The chorus to that song includes a list of four things you shouldn't do. It reads: "And you don't tug on Superman's cape; You don't spit into the wind; You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger; and you don't mess around with Jim."

To that list we can add one more item: you don't vandalize Seattle's statue of Ken Griffey, Jr.

For those of you who don't follow baseball, Ken Griffey was a pretty good player. He hit tons of home runs; he was a great fielder, and he was respected and loved by many. When he became eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, the percentage of those who voted for him set a record.

Since the Mariner's team is incredibly proud of Ken Griffey, Jr., earlier this year, in front of Safeco Field, they put up a statue in his likeness. The bronze shows Griffey throwing down his bat after having clobbered a pitch out of the park.

It is a beautiful piece of art and was appreciated by many.

Of course, recently there was a fellow who either hated the statue -- or he loved it intensely. No matter how he felt inside, outward he started wiggling the statue's bat. When no one was noticing, he moved it this way, and then that way. Eventually, the bat broke off, and the fellow started to make his getaway -- would have made it, too, if it were not for two things.
  1. What he had been doing had been noticed by Kelsey Klevenberg who was working in an office building across the street. When security didn't show, Klevenberg got involved. He left his meeting, took the elevator downstairs, and began to pursue the man. And since the fellow was armed with a bronze baseball bat, as he ran, Klevenberg called the police. 
  2. And the second reason the man was caught? Apparently, he was drunk. When Klevenberg caught up to him, the fellow had fallen asleep on the sidewalk, and he had thrown the statue's bat into a garbage can. Klevenberg kept watch until the police arrived and arrested the man.
There you have it. The statue will be repaired, and it will all happen because Kelsey Klevenberg decided to get involved and do the right thing.

Now at this point I could say Jesus also got involved and did the right thing and because He did, our sinful selves have been repaired. Yes, I could say it, but it would be wrong. Jesus' life, suffering, death, and resurrection were not the right thing to do. The right thing to do would have been to let us die. What Jesus did was not the right thing; it was the gracious, undeserved thing. Without any merit or worthiness in us, He came and offered Himself as the sacrifice for our salvation.

Now, in thanks for all He has done, He encourages us to get involved and do that which is right. When God's people let their light shine, the world sees our good works and honors our Father who is in heaven. God is glorified.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it is an easy thing for people to sit back and remain unconcerned and uninvolved. We give thanks that Your grace had You get involved and accomplish that which saves. Grant that my involvement may glorify and point the lost to You. In Your Name I 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 09 de Noviembre de 2017 - ¿Usted lo haría?

Alimento Diari

¿Usted lo haría?

09 de Noviembre 2017

... siendo en forma de Dios, [Jesús] no estimó el ser igual a Dios como cosa a que aferrarse, sino que se despojó a sí mismo y tomó forma de siervo, y se hizo semejante a los hombres; y estando en la condición de hombre, se humilló a sí mismo y se hizo obediente hasta la muerte, y muerte de cruz. Por lo cual Dios también lo exaltó hasta lo sumo, y le dio un nombre que es sobre todo nombre, para que en el nombre de Jesús se doble toda rodilla de los que están en los cielos, y en la tierra, y debajo de la tierra; y toda lengua confiese que Jesucristo es el Señor, para gloria de Dios el Padre.

Toda la familia Carlson logró escapar a tiempo del incendió que estaba consumiendo su casa. El único que faltaba era Koda, el perro. Llevó bastante tiempo hasta que los bomberos lograron encontrarlo y sacarlo de la casa en llamas.

Al principio dio la impresión que lo habían encontrado demasiado tarde y que había muerto por la inhalación de tanto humo. Pero luego de un exhaustivo examen, se dieron cuenta que el perro todavía estaba tratando de respirar.

Aunque nunca había sido entrenado para hacer algo así, Jaime, uno de los bomberos, se agachó junto a Koda, y empezó a hacerle respiración boca a hocico.

Con la ayuda de Jaime, el perro comenzó a respirar, por lo que enseguida los otros bomberos le pusieron en el hocico una máscara de oxígeno y lo llevaron de apuro a un centro de emergencias para animales.

Gracias a tantos esfuerzos, Koda está otra vez con su familia.

Cuando leí esa historia, lo primero que se me ocurrió fue en qué estaba pensando Jaime cuando se puso a darle respiración en el hocico al perro. ¿Será que hubiera hecho lo mismo si hubiera sido un gato, un loro, un ratón, o un pescado? ¿Hasta dónde habría llegado su compasión? ¿En qué punto habría dicho: 'hasta aquí llegué, ya basta'?

Si bien la distancia que separa al Salvador de nosotros es muchísimo más grande que la que separa al bombero del perro, en ningún lugar de la Escritura encontramos a Jesús diciendo que el precios por nuestra salvación es demasiado, que ya basta.

Al contrario, Pablo nos dice que Jesús eligió despojarse de sí mismo... tomar forma de siervo... hacerse semejante a los hombres... humillarse y ser obediente hasta la muerte, y muerte de cruz.

Al hacer todo eso, Jesús nos demostró la inmensidad de su sacrificio... sacrificio que no merecemos, pero por el cual debemos dar gracias.

ORACIÓN: Señor, te doy gracias por todas las personas que están dispuestas a arriesgar sus vidas por mi bienestar. Pero, más aún, me alegro en el Salvador que hizo todo lo que era necesario para perdonar mis pecados y salvar mi alma. En Jesús. 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.