Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, November 25, 2017

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant - Matthew 18:21-35
Daily Readings

Isaiah 65:17-25
For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-- and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-- its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

Revelation 22:14-21
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. "It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let everyone who hears say, "Come." And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay what you owe.' Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

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 25, 2017

Almighty God, our hope and strength, without you we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to your will. 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.

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, November 25, 2017

John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Read all of John 10

Listen to John 10

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 - Don't Underestimate the Enemy

Don't Underestimate the Enemy

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
~ John 10:10 (NIV)

A story is told of a boxer who was being badly beaten in a match. He leaned over to his trainer and yelled, “Throw in the towel! This guy is killing me!”

His trainer yelled back, “He is not! He’s not even hitting you! He hasn’t even laid a glove on you!”

The dazed boxer said, “Then I wish you would watch that referee, because someone sure is hitting me!”

In the same way, our culture is getting hit. Our kids are being hit. And they don’t even know who is hitting them.

One of the most brilliant strategies Satan has managed to pull off is convincing people he doesn’t exist while he manipulates their lives. He is active. And really, this is the only plausible explanation for the horrible, depraved wickedness that mankind is capable of.

If you believe the premise that people are basically good, then you have more faith than I do—or maybe you’re a bigger fool. People are basically bad. And the devil works through the fallen nature of people, getting them to do evil.

God gives everyone a choice in life called free will, the ability to say yes or no. Romans 6:16 says, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Jesus summed it up succinctly when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). There is your choice in life: God or the devil.

Don’t underestimate the devil. He’s a sly and skillful foe. And he has had many years of experience in honing his craft.
Almighty God, our hope and strength, without you we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to your will. 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

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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.
Don't underestimate the devil - he is cunning and skillful!

Un Dia a la Vez - Espera tu momento

Espera tu momento

Por tanto, digo: «El Señor es todo lo que tengo. ¡En él esperaré!».

¡Qué difícil nos resulta esperar por cualquier cosa que deseamos que suceda!

La espera significa rendir nuestras fuerzas, nuestro tiempo y desarrollar la paciencia.

Dicen por ahí que «el que espera desespera», pero no se trata de eso. Se trata de ser sabios y saber que aunque ahora nos desesperamos, llegará ese momento tan anhelado.

Hoy mi motivación va mas allá de que logremos todo lo que esperamos. Sé que a veces resulta frustrante haber esperado tanto tiempo por algo para que se deshaga al final. Incluso, nos sucede con la persona que creíamos que sería nuestro cónyuge para toda la vida. Entonces pasa algo de repente y todo se acaba al instante.

Quizá nos parezca que tenemos un trabajo en el que estaremos por mucho tiempo y pensamos que somos los ideales para ciertas posiciones. Sin embargo, con el paso del tiempo los cambios nos llevan a salir de la compañía y los ideales pueden estar en peligro una vez más.

Recuerda, además, que nuestras malas decisiones alteran la estabilidad y pueden alejar lo que ya estaba cerca de parte de Dios. Por eso vale la pena esperar, pues Dios nos dará lo mejor de lo mejor.

Espera tu momento, que cuando llegue, Dios te sorprenderá.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - ASHAMED OF JESUS


Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
~ Luke 9:26 (NIV)

Young believers in the Lord in Muslim cultures often struggle with the issue of publicly declaring their new faith in Jesus. Shadiya is the youngest of five children in a Muslim family. At the age of eighteen she came in contact with a group of young people in the church of Pastor Jamil. During the summer of 2011, the church was visited by a group of other young Christians. During that time Shadiya decided to follow Jesus.

One day she forgot to hide her Bible and her younger brother found it. He asked his father about this striking book with a large cross prominent on the cover. Father was shocked. He soon found out that Shadiya brought the book into their house.

Initially dumbfounded by the hostile attitude of her father, Shadiya stood firm for what she believed. She admitted that she had become a Christian, that she received the Bible from some friends and that she no longer is a Muslim. Her father interpreted this as denying her identity. This, in his opinion, was a betrayal of the entire family and the Muslim community. In other words, the shame for the family was unbearable. So in her father’s eyes there was only one option; force Shadiya to deny her faith in Christ. “If you refuse to deny your new faith, you are no longer welcome in our home!” he yelled at her. Shadiya still held on to faith in Jesus.

The situation deteriorated even more after her father went to the mosque and shared the “apostasy” of his daughter with the local imam. They decided she had to deny her Christian faith openly and confess the Islamic faith in public. If she refused to do so, she would have to pay with her life. She would be stoned by the Muslim community.

She asked her apostate brother-in-law, Amir, for advice. He suggested that she do what they asked of her and remain a secret follower of Jesus. In her heart she could remain a believer in Christ, although she would openly deny her faith to save her life. Shadiya was not really convinced that this was the right thing to do and was full of doubt. In the end she followed the advice of Amir.

The prospect of becoming a martyr at the age of eighteen was now over but Shadiya remained doubtful about her decision. She and Amir asked Pastor Jamil what he thought about it.

“This could have been an opportunity for the whole family or the entire village to see God working in the life of an eighteen-year-old girl,” he replied. “It is a great challenge to deal with our fear; still we should rely on Jesus, rather than basing our choices on fear.”

The situation for Shadiya now seems less tense but the risk of escalation remains.

RESPONSE: Today I will not allow fear to control me…especially regarding the public declaration of my faith.

PRAYER: Pray for Shadiya and the people surrounding her. Ask our Father to further His kingdom through her and fellow-believers who are cautiously trying to help her to grow in faith.

NIV Devotions for Couples - Loving Those You Love

Loving Those You Love

2 Samuel 9:1–13

“I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.”
~ 2 Samuel 9:7 (NIV)

Many years after his friend Jonathan died, King David reached out to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. David restored to Mephibosheth the land that had belonged to his grandfather, King Saul, and David welcomed Mephibosheth to his royal table. Why? Because David loved Jonathan and wanted to do something kind to a member of Saul’s household “for Jonathan’s sake” (2 Samuel 9:1).

Sometimes, I don’t want to extend myself on behalf of anyone else, even my husband. But when we entered into marriage, we committed not just to love each other but also to behave lovingly toward the people we each love. This doesn’t mean we necessarily have to like everyone our spouse likes. The Bible, after all, doesn’t say whether or not David liked Mephibosheth. What it says is that David and Jonathan had a special love for each other (see 1 Samuel 18:1–4; 20:17; 2 Samuel 1:26); and because David loved Jonathan, he extended kindness to Mephibosheth.

One of the most powerful ways my husband loves me is by loving my sister. To be completely honest, my sister and I don’t get along that well. We don’t have much in common (except our faces, which are almost identical). When we’re together, we seem to regress to childhood, circa 1985, when I was nine and she was sixteen. She tells me what to do, and I bristle. We get tetchy. We pick at each other like hens.

I think Griff and Leanne like each other well enough, though I doubt they would have sought each other out and become friends had not marriage made them siblings-in-law. And it doesn’t really matter how much they like each other. What matters is that they extend themselves to one another.

On Wednesday nights, when I have church commitments, Griff eats dinner with Leanne and her family. Griff also volunteers to babysit for my nephew. When I am out of town on business, Leanne calls Griff and checks on him. And though Griff and Leanne do have affection for one another, they make these gestures, I think, less out of affection for one another and more out of love for me. Griff understands that eating dinner with Leanne and her family knits Leanne and me together, even though I am not at the dinner table.

When two people marry, they don’t become involved with just one other person. Spouses come with a constellation of families and friends. We can ignore those relationships. We can view them as a threat to our relationship with our spouse and fight them. Or we can lovingly insert ourselves into those relationships and help grow them.

We don’t have to develop intimate friendships with all of our spouse’s relatives and close friends. But, as David understood, we can best honor, love and serve our spouse by making loving overtures to the people they love.

Lauren Winner

Let’s Talk
  • Who are the people (besides each other and our children) we love best in the world? How have we extended ourselves in love to people in each other’s world?
  • Why is it sometimes difficult to love the other people who came with this marriage? Is there someone one of us finds difficult to love? What would happen if we imagined God showing up in our relationships with difficult people?
  • Is there a cherished friend or relative whom we wished had a better relationship with one of us?

LHM Daily Devotion - November 25, 2017 "Running Interference"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Running Interference"

November 25, 2017

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

I suppose there are many things more competitive than high school football. I just can't think of any.

That being said, I was impressed by a story which concerned a recent game between the teams from Atlee and Varina, in Virginia. It seems Atlee has a player; his name is Sepp Shirey, who was born with cerebral palsy, an illness which makes it difficult for him to walk without crutches.

That's difficult, but not impossible.

Because Shirey can get around a bit, his coach, Matt Gray put him into a game. As he did so, he let Stu Brown, the coach of the Varina team, know what was happening. Initially, Coach Gray asked that the Varina team only "tag" Shirey, and not tackle him. That request was changed when Shirey's father said something like, "No, let my son get tackled. He should have the full football experience."

The Varina team lined up with full permission to sack Shirey. The ball was snapped and handed off to Shirey who, without his crutches moved toward the scrimmage line and the waiting Varina players.

Well, I have seen the tape of the game and I can tell you, as his father had hoped, Shirey got the "full football experience." Only it was not the experience his father -- or either of the coaches -- had expected.

You see, when Shirey got to the line, it opened as cleanly as the sea opened up before Moses.

The Varina players and the Atlee players joined together encouraging Shirey to keep going. Holding on to that football instead of his crutches, Shirey slowly, painfully, courageously made his way downfield: 10 yards, 20, 40, 60, 70, 80 yards. Shirey crossed over the goal line and collapsed into the arms of his encouraging teammates.

Now I don't know if those coaches and those players are Christian. I do know that every one of them seems to have a grasp of the Bible verse that appears at the top of this devotion. All of them, every one of them, was encouraging, helpful, and patient. All of them, every one of them, tried to do good to an individual who needed that kind of support.

It is a lesson every church -- every Christian -- needs to remember.

We have been given a Savior whose life was sacrificed to win our forgiveness and salvation. Because of Jesus blood-bought offering, and the faith which is placed within us by the Holy Spirit, we shall, someday, cross the goal line and get into heaven. But the run toward the goal is not an easy one.

There are many on the opposition team who would be glad to tackle us, and not all of them are as kind as were the players from Varina, Virginia. This is why we need to run interference for the Savior's followers so they can, like Shirey, someday cross the goal.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are all kinds of forces that do their very best to stop believers from ever crossing the goal line into heaven. Grant that we who are part of the church may do our best to be of assistance to those who are having difficulties and struggles. This we ask in the Name of our risen Redeemer. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
I suppose there are many things more competitive than high school...