Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, December 2, 2017

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
Daily Readings

Micah 7:11-20
A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended. In that day they will come to you from Assyria to Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their doings. Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, show us marvelous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf; they shall lick dust like a snake, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their fortresses; they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall stand in fear of you. Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency. He will again have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and unswerving loyalty to Abraham, as you have sworn to our ancestors from the days of old.

1 Peter 4:7-19
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker. Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?" Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God's will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.

Matthew 20:29-34
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, "Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!" Jesus stood still and called them, saying, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight 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.

Prayer of the Day for SATURDAY, December 2, 2017


Lord, I am so full of doubt and sin that I sometimes forget: There is always someone weaker in their faith than I am, some brother or sister whom I can help, someone I can support and lift up in their journey. I pray that I might be aware that my fellow saints may need encouragement and that I be qualified to give it. Let me not be critical or judgmental, but supportive and helpful to those struggling.

And I pray, let me always remember that someone might be hiding a struggle, a fear, a sorrow; let me offer words of encouragement and support freely. Let me remember that there are people who hide their insecurity behind a wall of serenity, or defensiveness, or even antagonism, to whom a word of support might make a world of difference.

In Christ's name, I pray, Amen.

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, December 2, 2017


Mark 6:34 (NIV) When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Read all of Mark 6

Listen to Mark 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 - Motivated by Compassion


Motivated by Compassion

" When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."
~ Mark 6:34 (NIV)

Sometimes I think Christians regard nonbelievers as the enemy. Preachers will rant and rave about certain sins people are committing. But let’s remember something: behind that sin is an empty, searching, lost person whom God loves.

We are not called to condemn. We are called to appeal to nonbelievers with the message of the gospel. We need compassion. Jesus had it overflowing from His life. He was moved by the needs of others.

When He saw Mary and Martha weeping over the death of their brother, Lazarus, He “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33). That phrase carries the idea of physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish. Jesus is the only one who can accurately say, “I feel your pain.” As He watched Mary and Martha weeping, His heart went out to them. He was in anguish, too. He hurt for them. He hurt with them. And He wept. That’s our Savior.

Jesus knew the same crowds in Jerusalem who cried out, “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9) would soon shout, “Crucify Him!”

Yet He felt compassion, saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37).

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). We should seek to imitate the Lord and have compassion.

If we want to be used by God in any capacity, this must be foremost in our minds and hearts—not obligation, not mere duty, not guilt, but a God-given burden for people.
Lord, I am so full of doubt and sin that I sometimes forget: There is always someone weaker in their faith than I am, some brother or sister whom I can help, someone I can support and lift up in their journey. I pray that I might be aware that my fellow saints may need encouragement and that I be qualified to give it. Let me not be critical or judgmental, but supportive and helpful to those struggling.

And I pray, let me always remember that someone might be hiding a struggle, a fear, a sorrow; let me offer words of encouragement and support freely. Let me remember that there are people who hide their insecurity behind a wall of serenity, or defensiveness, or even antagonism, to whom a word of support might make a world of difference.

In Christ's name, 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.
If we want to be used by God, we must have compassion.

Un Dia a la Vez - Cambios necesarios


Cambios necesarios

Guíame, pues eres mi roca y mi fortaleza, dirígeme por amor a tu nombre.
~ Salmo 31:3 (NVI)

En esta época de Navidad se presentan dos fenómenos muy comunes: La primera, una culpabilidad por no haber hecho lo que nos propusimos; y la segunda, se nos fue un año más y no logramos lo que prometimos. Ahora, deseamos que llegue otra vez el 31 de diciembre y hacer nuevas promesas de cambio.

Dios quiere que seamos firmes y que no lleguemos a exponernos. La Biblia dice que no «hay nada escondido que no esté destinado a descubrirse» (Marcos 4:22). Además, entre cielo y tierra no hay nada oculto, pues tarde o temprano Dios sacará a la luz cualquier actitud o cualquier falta que cometamos.

Esto lo viví en carne propia. A decir verdad, no quiero enumerar tus faltas ni mucho menos, pero sí te quiero decir cuáles fueron esas esferas que Dios tuvo que moldear o transformar en mí.

Mi anhelo es que no llegues a tocar fondo como yo, sino que reconozcas tus debilidades y puedas rendirlas a Cristo.

Por lo tanto, debes ser radical a fin de que, si ves tu vida reflejada en la mía, comprendas que Dios nos cambia y nos da nuevas oportunidades.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - DISCIPLESHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


DISCIPLESHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

“…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
~ Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

Another related function of the church is discipleship. Once we have seen a friend or loved-one come to Christ we have a responsibility to see that they grow in the Lord. In some cultures, if a person saves another’s life, that person becomes responsible for the one saved. This is a good concept for the Christian. If we lead someone else into new life in Christ, we are responsible to see that person learns what the Bible teaches about the Christian life.

The Bible is so important to Christian growth that many Christians want to immediately give a Bible to anyone they may lead to the Lord. In some countries, like China or North Korea, faithful Christians have carried on for years without Bibles, but it was very difficult. They had to depend on Scripture verses that one of their members memorized at some earlier time, or perhaps heard on a Christian radio broadcast. The almost desperate hunger for the Bible among Christians who have been cut off from it for an extended period, dramatically illustrates just how important the Bible is to the Christian life.

If formal training centers have been closed, it is especially imperative that local churches take very seriously their responsibilities to teach (2 Timothy 2:2). This teaching may have to be done on a one-to-one basis whenever a mature Christian and a young Christian can get together.

There are many examples in the Bible of leaders being trained in this way. Besides the clear example of Christ teaching His disciples, we see Barnabas teaching Mark (Acts 12:25; 15:39), Priscilla and Aquila helping Apollos (Acts 18:24-26), and Paul training Timothy (Acts 16:1-3). Paul gives us the most detailed approach to “disciple” a young believer. He taught first by example (I Corinthians 4:16), then he openly gave himself to his disciples, living with them and sharing all he had (Acts 20:34). His relationship with them was not just "student/ teacher." Rather, he became very personally involved with them (I Timothy 1:1-2). He gave them responsibilities while they were still in training, and kept in close touch with them even after they had become leaders themselves (I & II Timothy and Titus).

In a prison in Sudan, a pastor quietly discipled a young believer from Muslim background as they were forced to work together. After his release, the young Christian became a dynamic witness for Christ.

RESPONSE: Discipleship is another function of the church and is crucial in the life of a follower of Jesus.

PRAYER: Pray for those in difficult circumstances—such as prison—trying to disciple new believers.

NIV Devotionals for Couples - Cheating Together


Cheating Together

1 Kings 14:1–18

At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people.”

Jeroboam was in a predicament. He had served the great Israelite ruler Solomon as an official in the department of public works. Encouraged by the words of Ahijah the prophet that he would one day be king, Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, resulting in his exile to Egypt (see 1 Kings 11:26–40). When Solomon died and Rehoboam took over, Jeroboam returned from Egypt and seized the opportunity to lure away most of the kingdom.

Originally, Jeroboam’s main goal was to help the Israelites find a better government than the one offered by Solomon and his self-absorbed son. But, along the way, power corrupted Jeroboam; he did things to ensure his tenacious leadership while minimizing God’s influence.

Now Jeroboam’s son was sick. So the king began weaving a web of deception, enlisting his wife to dress like someone else and feign piety before Ahijah to manipulate him into giving a good report on their son. Rather than seeking God’s guidance, the couple tried to use the prophet like a good-luck charm. Things turned out very badly for them as a result.

Marriage binds husband and wife into a unity that changes both of them. While individual identities shouldn’t be crushed as “two become one,” it is also true that we cannot remain isolated or independent from one another. But in the fusing that takes place, both good and bad things can happen.

When we share our lives well, we can strengthen our mate’s resolve, nurture our spouse’s well-being and encourage each other’s gifts. Unfortunately, we can also have a negative impact on each other. We can entice our partner into supporting our mistakes and sins. We can ask our spouse to cover up for us when the phone rings and we don’t wish to be found. We can lie for our mate in public settings. We can manipulate our spouse into falsifying tax returns or hiding assets.

Marriage makes us complicit in the morality of our mate. That is an important reason to choose wisely before we wed and to build upon a strong moral center in our relationship after we are joined. Great businesses don’t collapse overnight through some minor accounting error; their foundations slowly erode as leaders make each other complicit in deceptive schemes. So it is in marriages. While we can win for a while as we help each other cheat on the truth, in the long run we build a kingdom of facades in which we can neither trust our partner’s face nor clearly see our own.

On the other hand, when we learn from mistakes like those of Jeroboam and his wife, we can build a complicity of goodness that our children and friends will admire someday when they help us celebrate our silver and golden wedding anniversaries.

Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk
  • Are we playing games of deception right now? What might we lose through them?
  • How can we keep one another morally committed to what is right? Should we schedule regular opportunities for accountability checks? What would we ask each other?
  • In what areas are we most vulnerable to temptation or sin? What do we need most from each other to strengthen these vulnerable places?

LHM Daily Devotion - December 2, 2017 "Confused"


Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/lhmdevotions/dailydevotions/devo_112917.mp3

"Confused"

December 2, 2017

(Jesus said) "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
~ Luke 19:10 (ESV)

Way back when, a newspaper once asked Daniel Boone if he had ever been lost. The old explorer answered, "I've never been lost, but I once was mighty confused for three days."

Using that logic, most of us could say, "We've never lost our glasses, our wallets, our purses, our tools, or anything else. We've just misplaced them for an unknown period of time." And then we optimistically have to add, "But we expect to have them back very soon."

I suppose that is also true for the man in Frankfurt, Germany, who had his car stolen in 1997. He reported the theft to the police and had every hope that the vehicle would be found and returned. Sadly, it was a false hope. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty years came and went without a hint. Then, when all seemed lost, the vehicle turned up.

It was found in a warehouse which was going to be destroyed. Those who were entrusted with the demolition told the police who traced the vehicle to its last owner: the man who had reported his vehicle as having been stolen. The truth was the vehicle had been in that warehouse for 20 years. It hadn't moved from the spot where the absentminded man had left it.

That report isn't much different from a German man who went to Oktoberfest in Munich. After a few beers, the man went to get his car, but it was not where he was sure he had left it. It took two years before the police found the vehicle two and a half miles from where he thought he had lost it. Oh, in the trunk of that vehicle, there was over $100,000 in cash and tools.

Now folks, it's one thing for a person to lose some belongings -- even a car -- but it's quite another thing for a person to lose his faith in his Lord.

Sadly, most of us know more than one person who has lost both.

Now the reason I bring it up is simple: we are entering the season of Advent and then Christmas. Both of these events on the church calendar are unique in their ability to touch lost souls and bring them back to the Lord and Savior whose life was offered to rescue us. The theme of God's Son coming to rescue all the world's lost is an emphasis which appeals to many.

So, why not invite such a soul to church with you this Advent? Wouldn't it be great to hear him or her say, "I once was confused and lost for a while, but now I'm saved and I know where I m going."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I pray for those who have forgotten their faith and the love which comes to them in the Savior whose birth we remember and whose second coming we prepare for. Keep us ready for that unknown hour and help us prepare others so they, too, may know where they are -- and where they're going. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Way back when, a newspaper once asked Daniel Boone if he had ever been...