Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, November 16, 2017

Daily Readings

1 Maccabees 1:1-28
After Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated King Darius of the Persians and the Medes, he succeeded him as king. (He had previously become king of Greece.) He fought many battles, conquered strongholds, and put to death the kings of the earth. He advanced to the ends of the earth, and plundered many nations. When the earth became quiet before him, he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. He gathered a very strong army and ruled over countries, nations, and princes, and they became tributary to him. After this he fell sick and perceived that he was dying. So he summoned his most honored officers, who had been brought up with him from youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still alive. And after Alexander had reigned twelve years, he died. Then his officers began to rule, each in his own place. They all put on crowns after his death, and so did their descendants after them for many years; and they caused many evils on the earth. From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus; he had been a hostage in Rome. He began to reign in the one hundred thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, "Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us." This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil. When Antiochus saw that his kingdom was established, he determined to become king of the land of Egypt, in order that he might reign over both kingdoms. So he invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots and elephants and cavalry and with a large fleet. He engaged King Ptolemy of Egypt in battle, and Ptolemy turned and fled before him, and many were wounded and fell. They captured the fortified cities in the land of Egypt, and he plundered the land of Egypt. After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred forty-third year. He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures that he found. Taking them all, he went into his own land. He shed much blood, and spoke with great arrogance. Israel mourned deeply in every community, rulers and elders groaned, young women and young men became faint, the beauty of the women faded. Every bridegroom took up the lament; she who sat in the bridal chamber was mourning. Even the land trembled for its inhabitants, and all the house of Jacob was clothed with shame.

Revelation 19:1-10
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the great whore who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants." Once more they said, "Hallelujah! The smoke goes up from her forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" And from the throne came a voice saying, "Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great." Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure"-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God." Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Matthew 16:1-12
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." Then he left them and went away. When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, "Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." They said to one another, "It is because we have brought no bread." And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, "You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!" Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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 16, 2017

O merciful Father, you have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of your servants for whom our prayers are offered. Remember us, O Lord, in mercy, nourish our souls with patience, comfort us with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon us, and give us peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, November 16, 2017

Matthew 18:19 (NIV) “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Read all of Matthew 18

Listen to Matthew 18

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 - Power in Unity

Power in Unity

"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven."
~ Matthew 18:19 (NIV)

During World War II, a group of American pilots known as the Flying Tigers downed nearly 300 enemy aircraft between December 1941, and July 1942. Their commander, Claire Lee Chennault, said the secret of their success was cooperation. They always attacked two at a time.

Roman soldiers also knew there was power in unity. When a barrage of flaming arrows came their way, they would hunker down and link their shields overhead and on all sides, effectively forming a box. After the arrows hit, they would stand up and resume marching.

Christians who go through temptation, hardship, despair, or doubt sometimes will isolate themselves. They think, “I don’t want to share this with anyone. They would think I’m not a strong Christian. I don’t want to tell anyone I’m being tempted by this.”

Instead, they should go to their Christian friends and say, “Will you pray for me? I’m under attack right now.”

As believers, we should be working together and praying together. Jesus said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). There is power in united prayer.

When James was put to death and Peter was arrested, what did the early church do? We read that “but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5). They prayed constantly. They prayed together. We need to do the same. That is putting our shields together.

You are not alone in this spiritual battle. You have Christian brothers and sisters who are marching with you. We are all in this battle together. Pull together with your fellow soldiers and lock shields as you march forward in the spiritual battle to which God has called us.
O merciful Father, you have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of your servants for whom our prayers are offered. Remember us, O Lord, in mercy, nourish our souls with patience, comfort us with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon us, and give us peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen..

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

When we pray together, we lock shields together in our spiritual battles.

Un Dia a la Vez - Cambios adecuados

Cambios adecuados

En su angustia clamaron al Señor, y él los sacó de su aflicción. Cambió la tempestad en suave brisa: se sosegaron las olas del mar.

¡Hay cambios de cambios! Unos los buscamos nosotros, otros se producen por circunstancias de la vida y los demás vienen de Dios con un propósito.

Cuando hacemos cambios sin pedir la dirección de Dios, es perjudicial porque nos apartamos de los planes que Él tiene para nosotros.

Muchas personas son muy inestables en toda la extensión de la palabra. Cambian de trabajo porque se molestaron con su jefe o porque se cansaron. Otros cambian de pareja como cambiar de zapatos, sin medir las consecuencias de cada una de estas decisiones. En realidad, no piensan que cada cambio que hacemos afecta a nuestros seres más queridos.

Ten presente que los cambios constantes en una persona muestran falta de estabilidad.

No están conformes ni felices con «nada».

Hay otro tipo de cambios debido a que nos obliga la vida: La muerte inesperada del cónyuge, una crisis financiera que provoca cambios radicales de vivienda y estilo de vida, un abandono repentino por tus padres, etc. Estos cambios son traumáticos en la vida de cualquier persona, y si a esto le sumas que no tienes una vida espiritual fortalecida, créeme que va a ser mucho más difícil.

Por eso, mis amigos, aprendamos de los errores y consultemos a papito Dios todos los cambios que consideremos. Entonces, cuando se presenten esas otras crisis con las que no contábamos, debemos tener presente que Dios cuida de sus hijos.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - PAYING THE PRICE


Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Martha was a young Chinese Christian engaged to be married but decided to postpone her marriage for two years to answer the call of God to deliver Bibles where they were urgently needed in her country. David Wang shares her story:

I recall meeting her once in the city of Xian. We had arranged to meet at 9 p.m., but she did not turn up until about 1 a.m. She was delayed because she had been delivering Bibles in a nearby village. But the local commune leaders discovered what she was doing. They beat her up, robbed her, and threw her on a deserted road. It was a miracle that she was able to make it to our appointment.

I noticed something was wrong with Martha. She was thin as a wire and her face was bloated. I asked, “What is the matter with you? Did they beat you up?”

“Oh, no,” she said, “I've had this problem for some time now.” Then she rolled up her pants to show me legs covered with stings and mosquito bites. As she traveled in the remote countryside of China, often she had to sleep in deserted huts or even out in the fields. She was literally eaten up by bugs and mosquitoes.

“Tomorrow we must go to a doctor,” I urged her.

“No, no,” she said, “I have to catch an early train tomorrow to go to Inner Mongolia. Where are the Bibles?” Her only concern was to get Bibles delivered!

In August 1983, Martha disappeared - as though she had just vanished into thin air. That was during China’s ‘Anti-Crime Campaign’ when many people were arrested and executed throughout China. We became concerned for Martha.

Later we got a letter from her through her friends. It was not really a letter - just a little piece of paper. She had been arrested and charged for distributing “superstitious materials” in the People’s Republic of China.

The little note read: “I don’t know what the penalty will be, but please pray for me.” She quoted Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:19-20. A few weeks later, we received word that twenty-four-year-old Martha had been executed. She paid the price.

RESPONSE: Today I will pay the price in serving Jesus in my area regardless of the risks.

PRAYER: Lord, Martha’s story humbles me. Help me love and serve You as much as she did.

NIV Devotions for Men - The Way God Intended

The Way God Intended

Song of Songs 8:6–7
Recommended Reading: Genesis 2:18–25; Matthew 19:1–9; Hebrews 13:4

This passage, perhaps as powerfully as any other in the entire Bible, defines and describes for modern readers God’s intentions when he invented and defined the institution of marriage.

Marriage as a concept lies deep within our collective psyche. Preschoolers role-play the family unit as part of their playground fun. Preteen girls dream of the day when they’ll walk down the aisle in a flowing white gown. Matchmaking businesses and Web sites thrive as people look for that elusive one perfect person to know and love for the rest of their lives. The vast majority of adults who live in Western cultures either are, have been or someday intend to be married. Such hopefulness in the face of a consistent 50 percent divorce rate! And yet, despite the well-publicized antics of the Hollywood set, marriage remains one of the key building blocks of family life and society as a whole.

And that’s just what God intended. The language in this passage is powerful as it speaks to the implications of marriage. One scholar has said that this passage “characterizes marital love as the strongest, most unyielding and invincible force in human experience.” Now that’s saying something! Despite the failure of individuals, the bar of God’s expectations for marriage is set sky-high. And note the implications of the last part of verse 7: True, lasting marital love involves deep integrity on the part of both parties. To paraphrase: “Money can’t buy me love.”

The power of marriage lies in the power of a promise, sealed with God’s stamp of approval, that one man makes to one woman. The promise to love another person “until death do you part” is as deep a commitment as one can make in this life. As one pastor put it, “The power to make and keep a promise is one of the strongest in the world, for it brings the promise maker within a millimeter of what it means to be like God, who makes and keeps his promises to his people.”

True, enduring, lifelong commitment is God’s expectation for marriage, and it has been since the Garden of Eden. That’s not to say that God expects us to be perfect as we relate to one another; we are, after all, still living under the effects of sin. But despite our failures, the goal for the respect we are to show toward the institution remains the same, “for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave” (Song of Songs 8:6).

To Take Away
  • Are you married? If you answered yes, how does your marriage stack up to God’s expectations for the institution?
  • If you’ve never been married, what is your perspective on what this passage could mean for your future?
  • If you’re not married now but have been in the past, how can this passage influence your opinions and actions?

Girlfriends in God - Raising Your Expectations

Raising Your Expectations

Today’s Truth

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,”.
~ John 10:10 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t have great expectations for what my marriage would be like, if I ever walked the aisle at all. My parents had a horrible marriage. Cycles of heated arguments and physical violence followed by silence and passive aggression were as predictable as the seasons.

I became a Christian when I was fourteen and resolved that if I ever got married, it would be to a man who loved Jesus with all his heart. Through the years, I dated many young Christian men, but in my young mind, they seemed boring.

So I had a conversation with God that went something like this:

“OK God, if I ever get married, it will be to a Christian man. I’m committed to that. I won’t give a guy a second glance unless he is a man who loves You with all his heart. It’s not enough for him to say that he is a Christian. I want to see it in the way he lives his life, the way he uses his words, and the way he relates to other people. I’m going to pay attention to what he laughs at, what he watches on television, and how he handles anger. I know what I’m asking here. I realize that I most likely won’t feel very passionate about this guy. I know that my life will probably be rather dull and boring. But that’s OK. I’m holding out for a Christian man, no matter how humdrum and ho-hum he may be. If I like him pretty well, that’s enough for me.”

Oh my goodness! Talk about low expectations! I’m sure God got a big kick out of my request.

Several years after my prayer for a mediocre life, I met a guy at a Bible study. He looked over at me, and I melted in a puddle.

After a few weeks, Steve Jaynes finally asked me out on a date.

“There is a missionary from Jackson, Mississippi, speaking over at Murphy Hall,” he explained. “I’d like to go hear him. Would you like to go with me?”

Well that certainly lined up with my expectations! Steve was handsome; no doubt about that. He was a Christian; that was for sure. But going to hear a missionary on our first date? He was going to be boring after all. But hey, what did I expect? (Now remember, I was young. I love missionaries! I am one! Just keeping it real.)

When he came to pick me up for our date, I had some of my favorite music playing—beach music. It’s a type of 60s R&B Motown type music.

“Do you like that kind of music?” he asked.

“Sure do,” I replied. (I must say I said it with an attitude of “and you gotta problem with that?”)

“I do too,” Steve said. “I have an entire collection. Do you know how to Shag (a traditional Southern dance similar to a slow version of the Swing)?

I think I heard God laugh.

“I’ve been dancing the Shag since I was in the fifth grade,” I said.

“Let’s see if we do it the same way,” he said as he grabbed my hand.

For twenty minutes, we separated and came together as if we had been dancing together all our lives. He held my hand up and I spun under. He pulled me in and then rolled me out like a scroll. His shuffle kick mirrored my own.

You know what? We did go and hear the missionary that night. And afterwards, we went to a favorite college hangout and danced until the doors closed. We had fun, and we haven’t stopped having fun yet.

We have grown in God’s grace, and we’ve graced the dance floor. Steve is the most funnest guy I have ever known, and he loves the Lord with all his heart.

And to think I actually was ready to settle for just a nice Christian guy. God exceeded my expectations beyond all I ever could have asked or imagined.

But this isn’t just about my love story with Steve. It is about my love story with Jesus. And it’s about yours too. Like my prayer for a mediocre-but-nice husband, I fear we have lowered our expectations in our relationship with God.

He longs for an intimacy with us that ushers in a deep abiding joy, but I’m afraid we’ve settled for simply nice.

Are you ready to raise your expectations in your relationship with Jesus? Oh sister, He’s got so much to show you, to tell you, to share with you. Don’t settle for “just nice.” Jesus is much more exciting than that!

Let’s Pray

Dear Jesus, forgive me for having such low expectations in our relationship. I know that You came to give me abundant life, not a so-so life. Today, I’m raising my expectations of life to line up with Your word. I’m expecting the abundant life that You came to give!
In Your Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Look up Zephaniah 3:17 and enjoy!

What is one time that you were surprised by God?

God wants you to enjoy Him today! Look for moments of sudden glory where He makes His presence known.

More from the Girlfriends

Do you long to feel close to God but sense there’s something missing? That you’ve missed that mysterious formula to make it happen? Do you have a glory ache–a persistent longing to experience God’s presence and working in your life, but not quite sure how to make it happen? If so, my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is just for you. Join me and discover how to erase the lines between the secular and the sacred to experience a deeper, more intimate relationship with God than ever before. While you’re there, you can download a free chapter or watch a video book trailer.

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 16, 2017 "Not Logical"

It was always my custom to stand at the front door of the church and...
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Not Logical"

November 16, 2017

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

It was always my custom to stand at the front door of the church and welcome folks to worship.

As you can imagine, such a vantage point allowed me to see many strange and interesting things. For me, none was more interesting than watching women cleaning up their children, especially their boys who have the ability to make the cleanest of outfits instantaneously dirty.

That's why moms who knew their children were spic-and-span at the beginning of the trip to church still went through the checklist one last time. One last time they wanted to make sure their little ones were presentable.

I can still see those mothers going through their mental checklist:
  • Hands clean and devoid of all blotches and smears? Check!

  • Hair in place, no bubble-gum or peanut butter? Check!

  • No lint or loose hairs on shoulders or shirt? Check!

  • Is the tuck-in Sunday shirt still tucked in? Check!

  • Any major stains? None. Check!

Now if there was some dirt or a heretofore unnoticed stain, mom took care of such horrors right there and then. This she did by fishing a handkerchief out of her purse and spitting into it. A big stain called for a lot of spittle. To the best of my knowledge, no stain can withstand this method of cleaning. Oh, there's one other thing you should know about mom's cleaning their men.

The thing you should know is this: there is no age cutoff. I have seen 76-year-old great-grandmothers clean up their 78-year-old husbands as well as their 45-year-old sons. This they do because there are special occasions when the ladies like their guys to look good.

And no occasion is more special than a wedding: your wedding.

A few weeks ago, Brittany Ross Cook of Ontario, Canada, married Clayton Cook. Everything went great at the wedding, but afterwards, as they were taking pictures in Victoria Park, they ran into problems. In the midst of the formal pictures, the groom excused himself, walked over to the river, watched for a few seconds and, still attired in his formal clothes, jumped in.

It could have been the end of a beautiful relationship. But it wasn't. Brittany forgave Clay after he explained. You see, Clay had seen one child push another into that river. When he walked to the riverbank he was told the lad couldn't swim. A quick glance at the boys struggles showed, without help, the boy wasn't going to make it.

Jumping in to save that child may not have been the logical thing to do. It may not have been the logical thing to do, but it was the right thing to do.

Two-thousand years ago, your Savior took a look at sinful humanity. He could plainly see we couldn't save ourselves. Indeed, if anybody was going to be rescued in this world it would be because He got involved, which is why Jesus began His earthly ministry. He put His own life, His own place in heaven to the side, to save us. To save us, He became obedient unto death, even death on the cross.

Understand, it was not the logical thing to do. How could the innocent dying for the guilty be logical? How could trading the life of God's Son to rescue a rebellious world be logical? No, it wasn't logical, but it was -- from the Lord's perspective -- the right thing, the godly thing to do.

As Paul wrote, "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today we rejoice that You didn't do the logical thing in saving us. May we do our best to live worthy of the Name Christian. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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

CPTLN Devocional de 16 de Noviembre de 2017 - Un mundo diferente

Alimento Diario

Un mundo diferente

16 de Noviembre 2017

Ante todo, exhorto a que se hagan rogativas, oraciones, peticiones y acciones de gracias por todos los hombres; por los reyes y por todos los que ocupan altos puestos, para que vivamos con tranquilidad y reposo, y en toda piedad y honestidad.

Una joven en Somalia está muerta. Fue apedreada hasta que murió.

Según sus acusadores, esa joven de 23 años había confesado haber cometido adulterio, había querido ser juzgada por su delito y había pedido recibir el castigo que merecía.

De acuerdo a su padre, ella tenía 13 años y había sido violada por tres hombres. Cuando se quejó, fue detenida y condenada.

Lo que nosotros sabemos por cierto es que esa joven fue muerta a pedradas. Ella había suplicado por su vida, pero sus súplicas fueron ignoradas. Así es que la enterraron hasta el cuello, y 50 hombres se encargaron de apedrearla. Después de un tiempo, unas enfermeras la sacaron del pozo para ver si todavía estaba viva. Como todavía vivía, la volvieron a poner allí, y continuaron tirándole piedras.

Más de 1.000 personas se habían juntado para mirar.

A quienes la violaron, o cometieron adulterio con ella, no se les castigó de ninguna forma.

Lo que me lleva al tema de esta devoción.

Yo, al igual que muchos de ustedes, no siempre estoy contento con cómo van las cosas en el país. Muchos de ustedes, al igual que yo, no siempre estarán contentos con la forma de pensar de nuestros gobernantes.

Pero aún así, es necesario que cada uno de nosotros demos gracias al Señor por vivir en un país libre y que juntos oremos por las autoridades que el Señor nos ha dado.

Debemos estar agradecidos porque tenemos un país en el que la religión puede ser practicada libremente y en el que la mayoría de los jueces tratan de ser justos y equitativos.

Nuestro país es un regalo precioso de Dios que debe ser protegido y preservado no sólo con acciones, sino también con oración.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, te doy gracias por haberme regalado libertad. Ayúdame a usar esa libertad para orar por los líderes, gobernantes y jueces de mi país. Bendícelos con tu gracia para que sigan tus caminos. En el nombre del Salvador que me liberó del pecado, la muerte, y el diablo. 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.