Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, November 18, 2017



Daily Readings

1 Maccabees 2:1-28
In those days Mattathias son of John son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem and settled in Modein. He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, Simon called Thassi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus. He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem, and said, "Alas! Why was I born to see this, the ruin of my people, the ruin of the holy city, and to live there when it was given over to the enemy, the sanctuary given over to aliens? Her temple has become like a person without honor; her glorious vessels have been carried into exile. Her infants have been killed in her streets, her youths by the sword of the foe. What nation has not inherited her palaces and has not seized her spoils? All her adornment has been taken away; no longer free, she has become a slave. And see, our holy place, our beauty, and our glory have been laid waste; the Gentiles have profaned them. Why should we live any longer?" Then Mattathias and his sons tore their clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned greatly. The king's officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled. Then the king's officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: "You are a leader, honored and great in this town, and supported by sons and brothers. Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the people of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the Friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts." But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: "Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king's words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left." When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein, according to the king's command. When Mattathias saw it, he burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him on the altar. At the same time he killed the king's officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. Thus he burned with zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu. Then Mattathias cried out in the town with a loud voice, saying: "Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!" Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the town.

Revelation 20:1-6
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years.

Matthew 16:21-28
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things." Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

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 SATURDAY, November 18, 2017


Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great. Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that He suffered at the hands of the state was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for His promise to all people, that he will intercede for them at their death, and bring them to eternal life. Today we remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, November 18, 2017


Malachi 3:1 (NIV) “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

Read all of Malachi 3

Listen to Malachi 3

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 - The Messenger


The Messenger

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.
~ Malachi 3:1 (NIV)

The last section of the historical narrative of the Old Testament tells the story of the exiled Jews and the Jews who were restored to the Promised Land. Among the exiles, we hear of Esther who married the king and saved her people from genocide. Among those restored to the Promised Land, we read of Nehemiah and Ezra who returned to rebuild the wall and the temple and restore temple worship.

The Old Testament concludes with a note of expectancy: “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)

Following the last writings of the Old Testament, there was an inter-testamental lag of about 400 years where there were no Biblical writings. During that time the world experienced the classical Greek period of Athens, Sparta and the philosophers; the Persians of Daniel’s day conquered much of the world before diminishing and being replaced by the empire of Alexander the Great. The influence of Greece gave way to the rise of Rome and a new empire of iron ruled the known world. It was into this period of relative political stability that Jesus was born.

When he came, there were shouts of praise in the heavenlies. The exuberance of the angels bespeaks a groaning of the entirety of creation for the Messiah. Yet he came in humility.

I can fail to appreciate the magnitude of his coming sometimes. Reading scripture in this way reminds me how blessed I am to have been born into an age after his coming.
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great. Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that He suffered at the hands of the state was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for His promise to all people, that he will intercede for them at their death, and bring them to eternal life. Today we remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray, 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.
The Old Testament concludes with a note of expectancy...

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por cambios en la vida


Oración por cambios en la vida

Me has dado a conocer la senda de la vida; me llenarás de alegría en tu presencia, y de dicha eterna a tu derecha.
~ Salmo 16:11 (NVI)

Padre santo, queremos agradecerte este nuevo día y decirte que eres lo más importante para nosotros. Cada día que pasa vemos tu amor incondicional y disfrutamos de tus bendiciones.

Dios mío, gracias porque permites cambios en mi vida y conoces mi necesidad. A veces, tomo decisiones equivocadas, pero tú me guías a toda verdad.

Aunque no entendamos todo lo que nos pasa, sabemos que con tu amor nos cuidarás y nos darás nuevas oportunidades.

Ayúdame a aprender de mis errores y dame la fortaleza para superar las cosas que debo dejar y cambiar.

Entrego el resto de este día en tus manos y descanso en tu Palabra.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - RELEASE FROM CHAINS


RELEASE FROM CHAINS

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
~ Acts 16:26 (NIV)

African Muslim, El Gasim, saw the sign of the cross one day while praying the usual five times a day in the prison where he was incarcerated. He changed positions but the cross wouldn’t go away. This went on for seven days. He had no explanation for it, except that Christ was calling him to give his life to Him. A Christian pastor, also in prison explained that living for Christ would not be without suffering. They prayed together.

Other Muslim inmates saw El Gasim praying one day with another Christian prisoner and reported them to the authorities. When summoned to the superintendent’s office, they openly declared their faith in Christ and received twenty-five lashes each, administered by a Christian warder. The other prisoner denied his new faith but El Gasim confessed Christ and said he would face the consequence, no matter what. This enraged the authorities. He was beaten, shackled in chains weighing over fifty pounds and put on death row to be hanged.

The imprisoned pastor had great compassion for El Gasim, knowing that if God did not intervene, he was surely staring death in the eye. He told him Paul and Silas’ story, reminding him that he wasn’t the first to be beaten and chained for the sake of Christ. The important thing to remember was that Paul and Silas prayed and praised God, when their chains fell off and the prison doors opened. The pastor confirmed that it could still happen today, because the power that worked then, was still at work today. They prayed together, earnestly seeking God’s will.

The pastor retired to his room and continued praying. In the meantime, El Gasim, who then felt encouraged by the sharing, took the first step and to his surprise, the unexpected happened—the chain broke loose and fell from one of his legs. Bystanders, whose attention were drawn by the sound of the falling chain, watched in amazement as he took the second step—the same thing happened. A miracle had happened right before him and his other inmates. El Gasim went to the warder and told him, “Your chains are in the chapel, go and collect them.”

Trembling and confused the warder informed his superiors of this strange occurrence. An emergency meeting was convened. The incident could not be ignored or laughed off as nonsense. There were too many witnesses. They decided that it would be best to let El Gasim go free, because if he stayed he would certainly convert others to Christianity. Sending him to another prison wouldn’t help either, because even there they couldn’t stop Christ from doing miracles.

RESPONSE: Today I affirm my faith in a miracle working God who can release me from my chains.

PRAYER: Pray for persecuted Christian prisoners who need to be released from chains today.

NIV Devotionals for Couples - What We See in Each Other


What We See in Each Other

1 Samuel 16:1–13

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
~ 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to find a new king. When he got there, Samuel saw Eliab, one of Jesse’s sons. “Surely, he is the one God has chosen to be the next king,” Samuel thought. Evidently, like the previous king, Saul, Eliab was tall and striking. But Eliab was not the one God had in mind.

God warned Samuel not to assess people by their physical appearance. God reminded the old prophet that he doesn’t look at the outside; he looks at the inside. So each of Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel, but God did not indicate that any of them was the man God had sent him to find. Finally, David, the youngest son, came in from the fields. Then the Lord spoke to Samuel, telling him this was the right one.

When we look at someone’s outward appearance, we often fail to see what God sees. This message was clearly illustrated to writer John Fisher when he was speaking at a seminar. “A couple came in late, and I could see that they were in love,” Fisher said. “I couldn’t help but notice the woman was very attractive, while the guy was a real nerd.

“What could she see in him?” Fisher wondered. From the outside, this couple didn’t look like a match. “Then I realized she was blind,” Fisher said.

“What did she see in him? She saw everything that was important in a person. She saw love. While another woman might not have gotten past this man’s unimpressive exterior, she was blind to that. She only saw his heart. Blessed are the blind, for they can see people as they really are.”

Like Samuel, we often make judgments based on what people look like. But God doesn’t use looks as his criteria. He evaluates people by what’s in their hearts. He sees their character, their faithfulness and their commitment to him.

During courtship, we can be charmed by someone’s good looks, attentiveness or flattery. All of that can be fleeting. Over the course of a marriage, the real person breaks through. Perhaps as your marriage ages, your spouse’s outward appearance starts to change. Your spouse grays, loses hair or gains a little weight. Perhaps the two of you fall into a rut, and the special treatment that marked your dating period begins to wane. That’s when we need to remember what the Lord said to Samuel about focusing on what’s in the heart rather than what’s physically noticeable.

The success of a marriage comes, not in finding who we think initially is the “perfect” person for us, but in our willingness to adjust to the real person we married.

Jennifer Schuchmann

Let’s Talk
  • What characteristics initially attracted us to each other? What qualities do we treasure most today?
  • The blind woman never saw her partner’s appearance. Like God, she only saw his heart. Would we rather have people look at our appearance or at our heart? Why?
  • What steps are we taking to improve our faith, our character and our commitment to God?

LHM Daily Devotion - November 18, 2017 "Both Refuge and Strength"

The last line of T.S. Eliot's poem 'The Hollow Men' says, "This is the...
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour



"Both Refuge and Strength"

November 18, 2017

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
~ Psalm 46:1-2 (ESV)

The last line of T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men says, "This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper."

Eliot may be a pretty good wordsmith, but he probably wasn't much of a prophet -- at least according to the researchers from Arizona State University who have been keeping track of the supervolcano which exists under Yellowstone National Park.

Various recent findings have surprised them. Amongst the new, shocking bits of information are


  1. they thought the changes in temperature necessary before a Yellowstone explosion might take centuries; they have seen these changes take place in decades; 
  2. the earth sitting above this supervolcano has begun to bulge; in fact, it has gone up ten inches in seven years; 
  3. they thought it would take a long time to fill the reservoir which fuels Yellowstone's eruption. Now they believe that reservoir can fill quickly, and that reservoir is two and a half times larger than they had thought.

So, what does this all mean to an average Joe or Jane?

If their mathematics are correct, the Yellowstone volcano could launch 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash into the atmosphere. (Think 2,500 Mount St. Helen's volcanoes going off together.) They believe all this ash would cover the United States and issue in a volcanic winter which would endanger life.

How's that for depressing?

Well, my friends, the truth is, the Bible does talk a lot about earthquakes and such.

When Jesus was speaking about things to come He said, "There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven" (Luke 21:11). By the Lord's inspiration, Isaiah prophesied: "Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of His fierce anger" (Isaiah 13:13).

Now the important thing to remember when you read about volcanoes and earthquakes in the paper or in the Bible is this: God is in control. He is always in control. How did the Psalmist say it: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea."

Truly, the Lord who has sent His Son to save us is not going to leave us or forsake us. We are His children and He will always -- because of the Savior's sacrifice -- do what is right and best for us.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we praise Your Name for being an ever-present help in troublesome times. May others learn the joy of knowing You and what it means to have such a God. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.

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