Friday, November 24, 2017

The Daily Readings for FRIDAY, November 24, 2017

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Daily Readings

1 Maccabees 4:36-59
Then Judas and his brothers said, "See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it." So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven. Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken. Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.

Revelation 22:6-13
And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place." "See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy." "See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Matthew 18:10-20
"Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost. "If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

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 24, 2017


God, our Father, hear our prayer and let the radiance of your love scatter the gloom of our hearts. The light of heaven's love has restored us to life - free us from the desires that belong to darkness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

Verse of the Day for FRIDAY, November 24, 2017


Romans 13:12 (NIV) The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

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 - It's Time to Suit Up


It's Time to Suit Up

“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
~ Romans 13:12 (NIV)

Like it or not, as a follower of Jesus you will have people who show hostility toward you. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18–19).

It’s true. If you dare to speak up about Jesus Christ, watch what will happen. It’s an entirely different paradigm. The world will treat you as Jesus was treated. This is the battle between God’s seed and Satan’s seed, which we can trace all the way back to the book of Genesis.

We have a choice as Christians. It isn’t a choice of fighting or not fighting in the spiritual battle; it’s a choice of victory or defeat, advancing or retreating. In the Christian life, either you are overcoming, or you will be overcome.

We’re living in a very critical time. The devil knows his days are numbered. He knows his judgment is sure. Thus, he’s doing everything he can to wreak as much havoc as possible until the day he faces his judgment. That is why we need to get busy. Every battle counts. Every day is important.

The Bible says, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).

It’s time to suit up. But first, cast off those works of darkness. Be done with the compromising life. Be done with trying to live in both worlds. Let’s suit up. Let’s get busy. Let’s engage. And let’s watch what the Lord will do.
God, our Father, hear our prayer and let the radiance of your love scatter the gloom of our hearts. The light of heaven's love has restored us to life - free us from the desires that belong to darkness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny


Seeking God?
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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.
In the Christian life, either you are overcoming, or you will be overcome!

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por cambios en el matrimonio


Oración por cambios en el matrimonio

Dios, nuestro Dios, nos bendecirá. Dios nos bendecirá, y le temerán todos los confines de la tierra.
~ Salmo 67:6-7 (NVI)

Amante Dios, me presento delante de ti porque solo tú puedes ayudarme.

Te pido perdón por mis faltas, mis pensamientos y mis actitudes que me han apartado de tu voluntad respecto al matrimonio.

Reconozco que te he fallado al romper ese pacto de amor incondicional en mi matrimonio y destruyendo mi familia.

Ahora solo puedo acudir a ti para pedirte una nueva oportunidad. Ayúdame, Señor, a recuperar el amor y a mi familia.

Te prometo, mi Dios, que pondré todo de mi parte y seré obediente a ti. Dejaré a un lado la crítica a mi cónyuge y empezaré por cambiar yo.

Muéstrame, Señor, mis errores y guíame para hacer tu voluntad.

Bendice a mi familia.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - PAUL OF AFGHANISTAN


PAUL OF AFGHANISTAN

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…

The Apostle Paul suffered severely in his ministry of sharing the gospel in the first century. But Paul was always quick to point out that what others thought so terrible—his imprisonment—God turned into good. Rather than hindering the spread of the gospel, it actually aided its advance (Philippians 1:12-14). Paul’s example was followed by many disciples down through the ages. You might be surprised to learn about one of these who lived in Afghanistan.

In Kabul, a brilliant young blind man who had memorized the whole Qur’an in Arabic listened to the gospel by radio and later publicly declared his faith in Jesus as his Lord. He became the first blind student to attend regular-sighted schools in Afghanistan. He graduated from University of Kabul with a law degree in order to defend Christians who might be persecuted for their faith. Some of his encouragement as a young believer came from a missionary from neighboring Iran, Mehdi Dibaj.

Under the communist regime, Paul was arrested on false charges and put in a notorious prison where tens of thousands were executed. There was no heat in the jail during the cold winters. He had to sleep on the freezing mud floor with only his overcoat. A prisoner next to him was trembling with cold since he did not even have a jacket. Paul remembered John the Baptist had said, “The man who has two coats should share with him who has none.” (Luke 3:11) He took off his only coat and gave it to the neighbor. From then on, the Lord miraculously kept him warm every night.

In prison, the communists gave Paul shock treatments to try to brainwash him. The electric burns left scars on his head. But he did not give in. God’s grace was sufficient. After release from prison he kept mastering foreign languages and continued translating the Bible, writing and preaching…as well as discipling new believers. In 1988, Paul was kidnapped by a fanatical Muslim group and charged with apostasy because he became a Christian. He was beaten for hours with rods and ultimately martyred. But Paul’s testimony lives on today as a trophy of God’s grace. He is affectionately remembered as “Afghanistan’s Apostle Paul”.

You can read more about Paul in Dr. Christy Wilson’s excellent book, More To Be Desired Than Gold, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1994.

RESPONSE: Today I will live biblically no matter what circumstances I may face knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for me.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the inspiring example of Afghanistan’s Apostle Paul and his faithfulness in serving You to the end.

Men of the Bible - The Prodigal Son and the Elder Brother


The Prodigal Son and the Elder Brother

Their work: These men worked for their father, a wealthy landowner.
Their character: Both of the brothers were sinners. One committed the sin of unrighteous living and the other the sin of self-righteousness.
Their sorrow: Both men were alienated from their father. Geography separated the prodigal from his father, while pride separated the elder brother.
Their triumph: The father's open arms and homecoming feast welcomed the prodigal. There was no happiness for the elder brother except the misplaced belief that he was better than his wayward sibling.
Key Scriptures: Luke 15

A Look at the Men

This biblical account is one of Jesus' parables, often called "The Story of the Prodigal Son." But it's really the story of not one but three men: the prodigal son, the elder brother, and the waiting father. Each plays a critical role in the narrative.

What the younger son asked of his father was unthinkable. Inheritance was paid to a man's sons upon his death, so in prematurely requesting the birthright from his father, the boy was saying that he wouldn't care if his father were dead. His rebellion was open and shameless, a public embarrassment for the entire family. And what he did broke his father's heart.

The older boy was every father's dream. As an employee, his efforts were productive, his work ethic was flawless. Even his conduct was exemplary—and he did not hesitate to review all of these qualities in his father's hearing. He had every confidence that his virtuous behavior earned not only his father's respect and riches but his love as well.

But the elder brother carried a deep grudge. The insolence of his younger brother's words and the slack in his life ground away at the elder brother's soul like a millstone. And the special attention the young son drew from the father turned the older son's grudge into hatred.

As far as the elder brother was concerned, the moment the inheritance payment was made to his sibling, the boy's days as a member of the family were finished. Now the older son was his father's only son, and the benefits of his father's wealth would be exclusively his.

Unfortunately for the elder brother, this was not his father's disposition. The younger son, even with his inheritance paid in full, was still a member of the family. Neither open defiance nor running away would have any effect on his father's love for him. This infuriated the elder brother, but his simmering anger was about to be turned into a bubbling cauldron.

The father threw a party. It was bad enough for his absent little brother to keep their father in distress while he was in a faraway land, but to have his father throw a celebration when he returned home was more than the elder brother could bear. In his attempt to punish the father for his grace, he refused to attend the merrymaking, preferring to sulk instead.

In this parable Jesus was declaring all of humankind "sinners," and he divided them into two groups: prodigals and elder brothers—the unrighteous and the self-righteous. And he underscored the fact that the heavenly Father—the living God—loved both and was willing to forgive both.

Contrition for his blatant sinfulness earned the younger brother full forgiveness and a party in his honor. But the older son's inability to see his self-righteousness as sin kept him from receiving the forgiveness his father would have freely extended. So he spent the night alone, overhearing the joyous celebration but experiencing none of it himself.

Reflect On: Luke 15:20–31 
Praise God: For his mercy.
Offer Thanks: For the picture of the waiting father and how it tells us of the loving heavenly Father who is eager to forgive our sins of unrighteousness and self-righteousness.
Confess: Any tendency to believe that good deeds earn us a place in the kingdom.
Ask God: To change your attitude, to give you a compassion for the lost and to make your obedience to him a response to his love rather than treating it as a way to earn his love.

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 - Unsearchable Greatness


Unsearchable Greatness

Today’s Truth

I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.
~ Psalm 145:1-3 (NASB)

Friend to Friend

I fell in love with my husband more than half-my-life ago, yet with twenty-four years of marriage under our belt, there are still moments that I shake my head and wonder, “who is that man?” And while I may not have every mystery about him solved, I DO know my husband. I know his voice, his touch, and his quirks. I can bear witness to his character, his personality, and his ways.

The same is true about my relationship with God. Over the years, I have gotten to know God intimately. I talk with Him regularly in prayer. I’ve learned to hear His voice, to recognize His touch, and to understand many basic truths of who He is.

There are countless revelations of God in His Word.

The Bible boasts of His greatness, glory, honor, and character.

We know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), that God’s grace is sufficient for every repentant heart, and that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  We know that His name is above all other names (Philippians 2:9), that there is no other like Him (Jeremiah 10:6), and that His wisdom holds secrets that are hidden from before time began (I Corinthians 2:7).

And for as much as we know and know about the LORD, our knowledge of Him is but a fraction of a grain of sand as held up to all the beaches on earth.

He is the mysterious master Creator who hung each star in the sky and calls them by name, yet He wants us to love Him, to trust Him, to know Him, and to worship Him. That thought alone blows my mind and sets it to wonder!

God invites us to a vibrant dance of abundant life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our amazing Heavenly Father bids each and every one of us to come to Him with questions, to be held by His love, to find peace, hope, and healing in His Son.

He wants us to seek Him through prayer and to experience new revelations of Him through His Word and through the Holy Spirit.

The voices of all of creation shout His praise. Take a moment to pause and consider Him… to respond to Him… to meditate on His glorious splendor.  Worship. Right now. Where you are.
As we worship God, He stirs a hunger in our hearts to know and love Him even more.

Let’s say with the psalmist today, “I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3, NASB)

Lose yourself in His unsearchable greatness as you celebrate the beauty of Christ today.

Let’s Pray

Holy Father, Your greatness truly is unsearchable! I pray that you will continue to stir up a hunger in my soul to know all the mystery of You that remains.  Please cause me to think bigger thoughts of You, and to acknowledge You in all my ways.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Jeremiah 33:3. "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Where does this invitation find you today?  What does this verse tell you about the rewards of calling on our Lord?  Thank God for hearing your prayers and for healing your pains. Get lost in the wonder of Him.

This devotion was inspired by a worship song that I co-wrote called, UNSEARCHABLE.  Take a moment to read through the lyric below – then CLICK here to listen to the song.

UNSEARCHABLE
By Sue Smith and Gwen Smith

Lord, I know that your grace is sufficient for me
I know I am held by your love
And You’re there when I call
You are strong when I’m weak
You delight over me from above

And You stir up a hunger that I can’t explain
To know all the mystery of You that remains

Unsearchable greatness
Unsearchable wisdom
Unsearchable mercy to me
I am lost in the wonder of all that I know
Knowing there’s much more to see
Cause you are unsearchable
You are unsearchable

Lord, I boast in Your glory that humbles the stars
Your name has such power and might
And Your goodness and kindness
Have captured my heart
Your Word keeps giving me life
And you stir up a hunger that I can’t explain
to know all the mystery of You that remains…
Hear the voice of all creation crying out

More From the Girlfriends

I have posted the song on both my blog and my Facebook page. Come by to hear “Unsearchable” and let me know how today’s devotion is resonating with your heart.

SPECIAL OFFER: If today’s message is where you are and you need practical help being led to God’s heart, check out Gwen’s latest book I Want It All. We’re offering a 20% OFF discount on the I Want It ALL book at our webstore when you use the coupon code: 20OFF. Click here to get yours now.

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 24, 2017 "More Than a Hero"


Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour



"More Than a Hero"

November 24, 2017

(Jesus said) "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
~ Matthew 20:28 (ESV)

One week ago, Afghan Police Lieutenant Sayed Basam Pacha was alive.

One week ago, Pacha was an athlete, a weightlifter, the son of another police officer and, according to all reports from his fellow officers, a well-educated, resourceful young man who was destined to make a difference.

That all was changed when Pacha came face-to-face with a man whom he suspected to be a suicide bomber. According to those who were there, Pacha was first to notice a suspicious man approach the single gate to the hall which he and his men were guarding. In the hall behind him were all types of import dignitaries; alongside him were his fellow officers.

Pacha called for the man to stop. Instead of halting, the man began to run toward the building and his friends. At that moment, Sayed Basam Pacha had a choice: he could have run for cover and tried to save his own life, or he could ... he could do what he did.

Pacha ran toward the man, and stopped him by wrapping his arms around him and smothering him in a great bear hug. That was when the suicide bomber set off his explosive vest, which had been hidden under his coat.

Pacha, the bomber, and 12 other people were killed by the explosion.

Experts in explosives have concluded that the death toll would have been far higher if Pacha had not used his body as a buffer and a shield to protect them from the blast. It is not surprising that the newspapers and the rest of the media have agreed that Pacha, who did not hesitate to act on behalf of others, is a hero.

In a few days, Advent is going to begin.

Advent is that season where Christians repent of their sins which brought about the Savior's entrance into this world. It is also the time when we rejoice that our Father in heaven loved us enough to send His Son into a world which needed Him, but did not want Him; which should have embraced Him, but chose to kill Him.

Today a question occurs to me: if Sayed Basam Pacha is a hero because he saved the lives of people whom he loved and who loved him, what shall we call Jesus who lived, suffered, died, and rose for those who had rejected and murdered Him.

Hero seems like such a small, inconsequential word to describe the Christ who always knew that His life would be sacrificed on a Roman cross. Maybe we will have to be content to echo the angels who first called humanity's attention to that great event which happened in Bethlehem so many years ago.

How did they say it? Yes, I remember. They said a "Savior" had been born in David's town.

And so it was. Jesus put Himself between us and those forces of darkness which would condemn us. And because He did, we have been rescued. We are saved.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus gave Himself as the Savior who alone can rescue us from the devil, the world, and our flesh. May I always be filled with gratitude for His selfless sacrifice. In His Name I pray. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
One week ago, Afghan Police Lieutenant Sayed Basam Pacha was alive...

CPTLN Devocional de 24 de Noviembre de 2017 - Fuego que hasta el agua consume


Alimento Diario

Fuego que hasta el agua consume

24 de Noviembre 2017

En ese momento cayó fuego de parte del Señor, y consumió el toro que allí se ofrecía, y la leña, las piedras, y hasta el polvo, ¡y aun secó el agua que inundaba la zanja!
~ 1 Reyes 18:38 (RVC)

En Etiopía hay un dicho que dice: "Hay tres cosas que no se pueden hacer: arar el cielo, freír agua, y acusar al Rey".

Es un buen dicho, aunque no totalmente cierto. El cielo es arado por los relámpagos. El agua puede ser frita en una sartén, y un rey puede ser acusado por sus errores.

Es claro que hay quienes preguntarán: '¿Acaso el fuego puede consumir el agua?' Es una pregunta práctica a la cual el sentido común contesta con un: 'Imposible, es al revés. El fuego es capaz de quemar casi cualquier cosa, excepto la piedra y el agua'. Es por ello que, cuando en algunos países sub desarrollados se produce un incendio en una zona donde no hay mucha agua disponible, el fuego puede arder durante meses causando tremendos daños.

En la historia de la humanidad, sólo una vez vemos que el fuego consumió el agua. Fue la vez en que el profeta Elías se batió en duelo con los profetas de Baal, diciéndoles: "El Dios que responda y envíe fuego sobre el altar, que sea reconocido como el verdadero Dios." La historia nos dice que 450 profetas de Baal oraron a su dios pidiéndole que les contestara, pero sin resultados.

Entonces Elías oró, diciendo: "Señor, Dios de Abrahán, de Isaac y de Israel, demuestra hoy que tú eres el Dios de Israel y que yo soy tu siervo, y que solamente hago lo que tú me has ordenado hacer. ¡Respóndeme, Señor, respóndeme! ¡Que tu pueblo reconozca que tú, Señor, eres Dios... En ese momento cayó fuego de parte del Señor, y consumió el toro que allí se ofrecía, y la leña, las piedras, y hasta el polvo, ¡y aun secó el agua que inundaba la zanja!" (1 Reyes 18:36-38).

Entonces, si Dios así lo quiere, el fuego puede consumir el agua... y si Dios así lo quiere, un pecador perdido puede ser salvo.

ORACIÓN: Señor Dios, Creador del cielo y de la tierra, ayúdanos a comprender tu providencia infinita y tu poder capaz de hacer milagros no sólo para Elías, sino también para nosotros. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Biografía del autor: Esta devoción ha sido escrita por Behanu Moges, Director de la Oficina de Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones en Etiopía.

© 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.
 En Etiopía hay un dicho que dice...