Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, November 30, 2017 - Saint Andrew's Day

As [Jesus] walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon,
who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea.
Daily Readings

Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?" Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?" No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.

Psalm 19 Caeli enarrant
1   The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament shows his handiwork.
2   One day tells its tale to another,
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
3   Although they have no words or language,
and their voices are not heard,
4   Their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their message to the ends of the world.
5   In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber; it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
6   It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens and runs about to the end of it again;
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
7   The law of the LORD is perfect and revives the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.
8   The statutes of the LORD are just and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is clear and gives light to the eyes.
9   The fear of the LORD is clean and endures for ever;
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10   More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold,
sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb.
11   By them also is your servant enlightened,
and in keeping them there is great reward.
12   Who can tell how often he offends?
cleanse me from my secret faults.
13   Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not get dominion over me;
then shall I be whole and sound, and innocent of a great offense.
14   Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.

Romans 10:8-18
But what does it say? "The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."

Matthew 4:18-22
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea-- for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

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.

Saint Andrew the Apostle

Saint Andrew the Apostle

Today the church remembers Saint Andrew the Apostle.

Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter. In fact, he was in part responsible for Peter's call, for he went and "found his brother Simon" and brought him to Jesus" (John 1:41-42). Andrew was a fisherman by trade. He was a follower of John the Baptist before being called by Jesus as a disciple. It was Andrew who told Jesus about the boy with loaves and fishes at the feeding of the five thousand. Andrew also assisted in the distribution of the food on that occasion.

Tradition tells us that Andrew worked among the Scythians, ancient inhabitants of a part of modern Russia. He has long been the patron saint of Russia. Andrew is also the patron saint of Scotland, and the Scottish flag bears the X shaped cross usually associated with him. It is believed that he was bound to such a cross and thus met his death at the hands of angry pagans. Today members of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew emulate his action of finding his brother and taking him to Christ. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew is an informal association of men and boys in The Episcopal Church.

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of your son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay: Grant, we pray, that we, who are called by your holy Word, may offer ourselves in glad obedience to your service. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Day for THURSDAY, November 30, 2017 - Saint Andrew's Day

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 THURSDAY, November 30, 2017

Ephesians 6:17 (NIV) Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Read all of Ephesians 6

Listen to Ephesians 6

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 - Swordsmanship


"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
~ Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)

I heard a story about a man who went to see a doctor because both of his ears were severely burned. The doctor said, “Oh my! I have never seen anything like this. Please tell me what happened.”

The man said, “Doc, I was ironing and had my phone next to the iron. Someone called, and I answered the iron instead of the phone.”

“That is horrible!” the doctor said. “How did you burn your other ear?”

“Well, they called back.”

There are natural reflexes and conditioned reflexes. For instance, if you touch a hot iron and pull away, that’s a natural reflex. A conditioned reflex, however, is something you’ve taught yourself to do, like drive a car. When you’re first learning to drive, there are a lot of things to remember: put the car in gear, look over your shoulder, and use the turn signal. But after you’ve been driving for a while, you don’t have to think about those things anymore. You’ve learned to do them automatically.

We want to develop a conditioned reflex when it comes to our spiritual lives. In Ephesians 6, the last weapon Paul lists in the Christian’s spiritual arsenal is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. You can have all the greatest armor, but if you don’t have the sword, the enemy will take you out. We need to learn how to use the sword of the Spirit.

What shape is your sword in? Is it polished from daily use as you study the Scriptures on a regular basis and sharpen it on the anvil of experience as you obey what it says? Or, is it rusty and dull from disobedience?

If you neglect the Scriptures, your spiritual life will unravel. You need God’s Word in your life.
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

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.

We need to learn how to use the sword of the Spirit!

Un Dia a la Vez - ¿Qué hacemos por Dios?

¿Qué hacemos por Dios?

Por lo tanto, si alguno está en Cristo, es una nueva creación. ¡Lo viejo ha pasado, ha llegado ya lo nuevo!

Nuestra oración de ayer fue pidiendo cambios importantes debido a que debemos distinguirnos con principios estable-cidos, pues somos hijos de Dios.

En lo personal, creo que todos los días debemos dar lo mejor a quien nos da todo lo que queremos, al que cuida de nosotros de manera incondicional.

Hoy mi llamado es a que nos examinemos y descubramos lo que hacemos por Dios. No se trata de que Él nos necesite, sino de que espera muchas cosas de nosotros. Por ejemplo, obediencia, entrega y que le busquemos con todo nuestro ser.

Así que antes tenemos que dejar dos cosas que de seguro no son del agrado de nuestro Padre: Ser quejicosos y pedigüeños.

¿Por qué no empezamos por dejar esa mala costumbre de abrir los ojos y quejarnos por algo o por todo? ¿Dejar de quejarnos por la noche que tuvimos, por el día, por el trabajo, por el cónyuge o por la situación del país? Seguido a eso, si es que se tiene un momento de oración, nos portamos como insistentes «pedigüeños». No, mis amigos, eso no es lo único que espera Dios de nosotros.

Empecemos a distinguirnos. Si buscamos más de su presencia, lo conoceremos mejor. Y conoceremos más de su amor.

Haz el gran sacrificio, si ese es tu caso, y no pidas nada hoy ni te quejes por nada. Así comprobarás la diferencia de vivir en paz y con el gozo del Señor.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - EVANGELISM FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
~ Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

Johan Companjen, President Emeritus of Open Doors International, was travelling in the Philippines. Finding it extremely hot in his hotel room, he called for a staff person. “Is the air-conditioning not working?” he asked. “Oh yes sir,” the man replied, “It’s working. It’s just not functioning!”

Jesus Christ ordained five functions for His church to be involved in for Him. We are to evangelize (Matthew 28:19); to disciple or train those who are evangelized (Matthew 28:20); to minister or serve people demonstrating God’s love (Matthew 22:39; Ephesians 4:12); to fellowship together (Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 6:10); and to worship together (Matthew 4:10; John 4:23). In the Bible, there is not necessarily a priority order for these five purposes. They are all equally important.

Evangelism is one primary function. If we really have come to know Christ as Lord and Savior, we will want to share this wonderful experience with those we love. It sometimes seems hard or embarrassing to share the Gospel with our friends and relatives. But if we really love them, and if we really believe that without Christ they will suffer for eternity separated from God, we will tell them no matter how oppressive the culture or the political situation may be.

Restrictions on the church cause new creative means of evangelism to arise. In a restricted country of Asia, one such creative method is to hire a bus and invite relatives and friends to a free outing to the beach. Once in the bus, the pastor with a hand-held loudspeaker starts preaching to his “captive audience” about the love of Christ. At the beach the sharing and fellowship continues…as well as a water baptism for new believers.

In Soviet Russia, a group of Christians took advantage of the funeral of a small daughter of one of the members to present a public evangelistic witness. On the way to the cemetery, they stopped every few hundred meters to sing triumphant songs of praise. The father of the dead child also gave a clear message of salvation in Christ. Many listeners along the way were deeply touched.

In Vietnam, Pastor Ho Hieu Ha spent over six years in prison for pastoring a growing church right under the noses of the unhappy authorities. But he felt that his imprisonment was not a waste because he used the time to witness to others who were also in prison. When he was released, he had led ninety-six people to Jesus and discipled them.

RESPONSE: I am committed to sharing Christ’s love with others. It is a primary function of the church.

PRAYER: Pray for those in restricted environments as they creatively find ways to witness about their faith.

NIV Devotions for Men - A Scar Shaped Like Your Picture

A Scar Shaped Like Your Picture

Isaiah 49:8–18
Recommended Reading: Psalm 13:1–6; John 20:24–28; Romans 8:35–39

For whatever reason, from the time they’re little boys guys like to show off their scars. A polite conversation with any average group of guys can suddenly turn into some bizarre, male-bonding ritual. First someone tells a story about crashing his mountain bike and the resulting scar on his knee. Then another guy regales the group about the scar left from his shoulder surgery. Another points out the scar on his hand and tells about his hunting-knife accident. Before you know it, the whole group is showing off their scars and relating the incidents behind the wounds.

Today’s passage tells us that God likes to do this as well—not to one-up anyone else with another great story but to reassure us of his devotion to his people.

In truth, there is something interesting about scars: They follow us wherever we go, and the stories behind them remind us of significant people and events in our lives.

The people of Israel had certainly wandered all over the place—both physically and spiritually. After the nation had faced devastation, occupation and deportation by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies, the people of Israel wondered, “God, have you forgotten us?” God answered through the prophet Isaiah: “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15–16).

Did you know that God bears a scar on his hand in the shape of your picture? Of course, because God is a spirit, he doesn’t have a literal hand. But you’re so present on God’s mind that it’s as though he has engraved your image on the palms of his hands.

Perhaps the fury of whatever storm you’re facing dims God’s voice and blurs his presence. You might ask, “God, have you forgotten me?” How can he be present in the midst of your turmoil? But regardless of the storm’s intensity, you remain in the forefront of God’s thoughts. He’s thinking of you, sustaining you, comforting you, giving you strength. He doesn’t mentally check out. Whatever challenge you’re facing isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst that could happen would be for God to forget about you.

But he hasn’t yet, and he never will.

To Take Away
  • Do you find it hard to accept that God knows your needs and cares for you to the extent that you’re always on his mind? Why?
  • What events in your life have caused you to ask, “God, have you forgotten me?”
  • How can you foster a deeper and more constant trust in the reality that God is always present with you?

Girlfriends in God - Trusting God on the Job

Trusting God on the Job

Today’s Truth

Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.
~ Acts 20:24 (TLB)

Friend to Friend

God uses our work as one of His tools to mold us into who He wants us to be. When we learn to trust God with our work, we can then view our job as an opportunity to provide the tools we need to accomplish our life mission.

Paul worked as a tentmaker, a church planter, and an author. His purpose and mission never changed, but his work certainly did.

Many of us do not need a different job. We simply need a different attitude and a new point of view about the job we have. Begin by envisioning Jesus standing in the midst of your work place as your real boss. Then look for the life lessons God provides through your work.

God uses my work to teach me responsibility. Meeting deadlines, completing assigned tasks with excellence, showing respect for co-workers (even the abrasive ones) and working without supervision are all valuable life lessons learned on the job.

God uses my work to teach me about relationships. Cooperation, fairness, flexibility, humility and patience are relationship skills of a successful worker. Our workplace is not only one of our God-ordained mission fields; it is a classroom for learning to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable and, in short, be “God with skin on.” You may very well be the only sermon your co-workers ever hear.

God uses my work to teach me how to serve. The way we serve God is by serving others. God wants us to grow spiritually at work by becoming a servant to those with whom we work. It is easy to serve those who sit beside us on a pew each Sunday, but a real servant serves on the job.

Attitudes never sit still. They constantly move and change. An attitude is a pattern of thinking, a filter through which we view life. We can choose to be honest about our attitude at work and we can choose to change our attitude about work, but most importantly, we can choose to pray for God’s attitude about work.

Many people never experience success in their work because they are in the wrong work to begin with. Not me. As a high school student, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. My mother was a nurse and I wanted to be just like her, so I became a student volunteer at the hospital where my mother worked. When I told her the good news, she thought for a moment and then simply said, "That's great, honey. You'll make a wonderful nurse."

On my first day, I eagerly donned the required red and white striped uniform and reported for duty. The head nurse welcomed me and explained that I would be checking each patient to make sure they had water to drink, magazines to read, and a listening ear. That sounded simple enough. "Oh, and one more thing," she continued. In retrospect, I should have instantly recognized the danger in those words and run for the nearest exit. In my ignorance, I stayed. "Since we are short-handed, I may ask you to do just a few things to help the other nurses on duty," she said. "No problem" I assured her.

At that precise moment, a scream pierced the air! The head nurse calmly looked at me, smiled and said, "Could you check on that, please?" Surely, I had misunderstood her. "Now!" she continued. Taking a deep breath, I headed in the direction of the scream, praying that that it was nothing more than the celebratory cry of someone who had just won a million dollars.

As I neared the room in question, a bedpan flew through the doorway in front of me, landing at my feet. Furthermore, the bedpan was not empty. I decided right then and there that nursing was not for me, turned in my candy cane apron, and raced for the nearest exit. Mama was waiting for me as I stepped off the elevator. She smiled, handed me the cars keys, and simply said "See you at home." Fortunately, I had a wise and wonderful mother who knew me well. From that day on she encouraged me to be the teacher God created me to be.

God has a unique plan for each one of us. Our greatest opportunity for success is to live that plan. I believe God tucks into our very soul a holy discontentment with anything but His life "recipe.” We must learn to trust Him for that plan and settle for nothing less than the work He has for us to do.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to follow Your plan for my life. Help me walk in daily obedience so that Your unique and perfect plan for my life will naturally unfold before me. When I am discouraged because of the work I am doing, give me Your peace and the assurance that I am in the right spot doing the right things You created me to do.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

God always reveals His plan to a seeking heart. Are you willing to do whatever God asks you to do?

Read Jeremiah 29:11 and record it in your journal. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (NIV).

Ask God for His direction.

Pay attention to the passion of your heart.

Realistically evaluate your abilities and talents.

Consider the advice of those who know you best.

Then step out in faith, trusting God to help you make the right choice about your work.

More from the Girlfriends

Trust can be a scary proposition … unless you are sure of the person you are trusting. Mary’s book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, will help you take that step of faith.

And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

LHM Daily Devotion - November 23, 2017 "Fulfilling Your Purpose"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

"Fulfilling Your Purpose"

November 30, 2017

As He (Jesus) passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."
~ John 9:1-3 (ESV)

Sixty-six-year-old contractor, Oon Seen, was driving home from work in Baling, Malaysia, when he came across a head-on collision.

His first thought was to free the victims using a hand axe to break the windows. A locked door forced him to use the axe to break the lock and force the door open with his legs. He was able to pull 37-year-old Sri Nursuzawilati from her car before it was engulfed in flames.

Seen believes he just happened to be at the right place and time. "I was just helping someone in need, and we must help whenever we can," he said humbly. He gets it. He understands we are here to help others. Of course, we may not know the time or event or needed action until we are there.

Have you ever thought of some of the people in the Bible who were in the right place at the right time? Have you ever wondered at their patience as they waited for that time to come or their courage to face what had to be done?

Think upon Moses. He thought he knew God's purpose for his life and how he was to help his people, the Israelites. When Moses was 40 years old, he saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite. Moses killed the Egyptian (see Exodus 2, Acts 7). Acts 7 tells us that Moses supposed his brothers would understand that God was using him to save them. He supposed wrongly. Moses had to flee and live 40 years as an exiled shepherd before God called him back to help His people.

Think upon the work done by Esther. Esther was a humble orphan girl, but God made her wife of the world's most powerful man. When an enemy plotted to destroy her people, she was afraid to intercede for them. Eventually, her uncle Mordecai reminded Esther she may have been placed in her position "for such a time as this."

Yet another person from the Bible who had both patience and courage was the man who was born blind (see John 9:1-12). Imagine, he had spent his entire childhood unable to see mother or father, unable to go places without assistance, being forced to beg for a living outside of the temple. In the text above, Jesus says the man had been born blind "so that the work of God might be displayed in him."

Was it worth it? I hear no complaint from him about the past. What he did do was rejoice.

The ex-blind man rejoiced that his earthly vision had been restored and, at the same time, he was given the faith and insight to see the Savior. He could worship Jesus who had come to offer His life to lead people out of sin's darkness, into the God-given light of faith in the Redeemer.

But our miracle man's faith was not confined to gazing at the Redeemer. No, he confessed that faith in a powerful witness that shut down the judgmental Pharisees. He said, "If this man were not from God, He could do nothing" (John 9:33).

The man became just one more biblical person who helps us understand that while our situations and circumstances might be isolating, painful, or frightening, they may also be a springboard the Lord can use to display His power in our lives.

THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have created us for a purpose. Please grant us the vision to see Your will in our lives and the wisdom to trust You when we cannot. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Sixty-six-year-old contractor, Oon Seen, was driving home from work in Baling, Malaysia, when...

CPTLN Devocional de 30 de Noviembre de 2017 - "Ser yo mismo"


"Ser yo mismo"

30 de Noviembre de 2017

Pero Dios muestra su amor por nosotros en que, cuando aún éramos pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros.
~ Romanos 5:8 (RVC)

¿Ha pensado alguna vez que su vida sería más fácil si usted fuera otra persona? Si es así, quizás aprenda algo de un experimento realizado por un estudiante de 19 años de edad.

Este joven trató de averiguar cómo reaccionaría la gente si él viviera y actuara como el más notable de los santos católicos: San Francisco de Asís. Imitando a San Francisco, este joven se dedicó a mendigar, se bañó con nieve derretida, se vistió con una túnica muy sencilla, habló con los animales, etc.

¿Qué sucedió? Las personas susurraban a sus espaldas, algunos llamaron a la policía y otros lo miraron como si estuviera loco. Las reacciones fueron prácticamente las mismas que las que tuvieron los contemporáneos de San Francisco de Asís.

Con los animales tampoco tuvo suerte. "Traté de hablar con algunos pájaros," dijo el estudiante, "pero todos salieron volando".

Por ventajoso que pensemos que sería ser como alguien más, lo cierto es que no tenemos la capacidad de convertirnos en alguien diferente. Sólo podemos ser nosotros mismos, con todos nuestros pecados y defectos.

Esto no es ninguna sorpresa, ¿no es cierto? Lo qué quizás si pueda ser sorpresa para algunos es que, a pesar de nuestros pecados y defectos, el Señor aún nos ama y quiere salvarnos. Para eso Jesús vino al mundo. Esa es la razón por la que Jesús vivió por nosotros; la razón por la que resistió las tentaciones a pecar; la razón por la que se sacrificó en la cruz y también es la razón por la qué resucitó al tercer día.

Gracias a Jesús, todos los que creen en él descubren que se han convertido en alguien diferente, pues en Jesús somos perdonados, regenerados, y salvos.

ORACIÓN: Querido Salvador, te doy gracias por amarme a pesar de ser pecador, y por haberte dado a ti mismo para que yo pudiese ser cambiado y salvo. Ayúdame a reflejar tu gracia a quienes aún no saben que tú los puedes transformar. En tu nombre. Amén.

De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.