Monday, December 4, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, December 4, 2017


Daily Readings

Amos 2:6-16
Thus says the LORD: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals-- they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed. Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of cedars, and who was as strong as oaks; I destroyed his fruit above, and his roots beneath. Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? says the LORD. But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, "You shall not prophesy." So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves. Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives; those who handle the bow shall not stand, and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives; and those who are stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, says the LORD.

2 Peter 1:1-11
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Matthew 21:1-11
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately. " This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey." The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

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 MONDAY, December 4, 2017


O God, who, fulfilling the promise made to our Fathers, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to become the Mother of the Savior, grant that we may follow her example, for her humility was pleasing to you and her obedience profitable to us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God, forever and ever.
Amen

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, December 4, 2017


Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)[Mary’s Song] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Read all of Luke 1

Listen to Luke 1

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - Surprised to Be Chosen


Surprised to Be Chosen

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
~ Luke 1:29 (NIV)

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she was honestly surprised that God would select someone like her.

Though Mary was a virtuous woman, she was not a sinless woman. Mary was a sinner just like us. Privileged? Yes. Called by God? Yes. Sinful? Again, yes. Later, in what has been called the Magnificat, or Mary’s Song, she said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). Even Mary needed a Savior.

When people are truly godly, they never boast of their devotion. They will not speak of what they have done for God. Rather, they will always speak of what God has done for them. That is why John described himself in his Gospel as the disciple whom Jesus loved. John boasted of God’s love for him rather than his love for God.

Had Mary been like many other young women of her time, she would have married a poor man, given birth to numerous children, and wouldn’t have traveled more than a few miles from her home. Then she would have died like thousands of others before her, another person who entered and left the human stage. But God chose her, despite the fact that Mary was a nobody living in a nothing town in the middle of nowhere.

Mary was handpicked to fulfill prophecy: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). I seriously doubt that Mary, in her wildest dreams, ever read that verse and thought, That is me. I’m going to be the virgin Isaiah spoke of. I’m going to be the mother of the Messiah.

God can use you where you are.
O God, who, fulfilling the promise made to our Fathers, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to become the Mother of the Savior, grant that we may follow her example, for her humility was pleasing to you and her obedience profitable to us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God, forever 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.
God can use you right where you are!

Un Dia a la Vez - Nueva criatura


Nueva criatura

Como hijos obedientes, no se amolden a los malos deseos que tenían antes, cuando vivían en la ignorancia. Más bien, sean ustedes santos en todo.

Para vivir hay que morir. Si la semilla no muere, no hay fruto. Así que vale la pena morir a la vieja naturaleza pecadora y enderezar nuestra vida por el buen camino.

En nuestro andar con Cristo, hemos aprendido que, aunque fallemos, Dios nos levanta y nos hace nuevas criaturas. Por lo tanto, dejemos atrás las personas que no son una buena influencia y los amigos que lo único que quieren es que vivamos las cosas del mundo. Entonces se burlan porque eres hombre de una sola mujer, o porque eres una mujer sujeta a su esposo, o porque no estás en fiestas y vicios. Quizá hasta debas dejar trabajos donde tu vida está expuesta a malas influencias.

No temas hacer estos cambios, porque si lo haces bajo el pacto con Dios, Él te respaldará en tus decisiones y abrirá nuevas oportunidades para ti. No olvidemos que la obediencia es igual a bendición.

Los cambios requieren sacrificios, dominio propio y mucha oración. En realidad, necesitamos mucha oración porque siempre estarán rondando las tentaciones.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - WORSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


WORSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

“…Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
~ John 4:23-24 (NIV)

All true believers recognize the privilege and responsibility to worship God. This worship begins when the Holy Spirit enters our being and grows and continues throughout our lifetime. Every believer should worship the Lord privately as well as gather together with other believers to worship whenever possible. We can worship the Lord because of who He is, because of what He has done in creation and redemption, and because of all that He has done for us individually.

Worship in Scripture seems to revolve around praising God. This is an act of the will not necessarily related to how a person "feels" or the immediate circumstances of life. In other words, we should praise the Lord even when things seem to be going wrong. This is an act of submission to His divine will and pleases the Lord (Psalm 67:3; Hebrews 13:15; Isaiah 12:1).

Worship is evidently a matter of attitude that may be expressed outwardly in prayer, various bodily positions (such as kneeling), singing, dancing, clapping etc. Music plays a very important part in the heartfelt worship of most believers. The form of worship should reflect the believer’s cultural methods of showing adoration as long as it does not conflict with biblical guidelines.

Worship in the early church was simply an outpouring of thanksgiving from a heart that rejoiced in the Lord in complete disregard of circumstances. This type of worship cannot be stopped by anyone. A group of Christians in hostile surroundings can worship in this simple way without being limited to a certain building, a special time, or a prescribed program.

Worship is basically recognizing and declaring God's glory, holiness and worth. An act of worship is an expression of this recognition. The New Testament writers seemed to assume that all people knew how to worship. They give us few examples of how the early Christians worshipped. Participation in the Lord's Supper appears to have been their highest expression of worship. As they prayerfully remembered Jesus and His sacrificial death upon the cross for their sins, they were worshipping.

There are scriptural references to other times of worship such as Peter's prayer (Acts 4:23-28), and Paul and Silas’ experience in prison (Acts 16:23-25). Pastor Jack Hayford enjoys sharing the story about this as told by his favourite African-American preacher. Paul and Silas’ prison cell singing was heard all the way to the heavenly throne room of God. He began to tap his toe to the music. And since heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool, that toe tapping created an earthquake!!!

RESPONSE: Today I desire every aspect of my life to declare God’s glory, holiness and worth.

PRAYER: Pray today for Christians in countries like North Korea who rarely have opportunity to express openly and publically their worship of Almighty God.

Women of the Bible - Dorcas


Dorcas

Her name means: "Gazelle"; "Tabitha" Is Its Hebrew Equivalent

Her character: An inhabitant of Joppa, a town on the Mediterranean coast, thirty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem, she belonged to one of the earliest Christian congregations. She was a disciple known for her practical works of mercy.
Her sorrow: To have suffered a grave illness.
Her joy: To serve Jesus by serving the poor.
Key Scriptures: Acts 9:36-43

Her Story

The winds roared over the coast, piling water in noisy heaps along the rocky shoreline. But though she lay quietly in the upper room of her house near the sea, Dorcas did not hear them. Nor did she notice the waves of grief that spilled into the room from the heart of every woman present. For once she had nothing to offer, no word of comfort, no act of kindness to soften their suffering. Instead, she lay still as other women ministered to her, tenderly sponging her body clean to prepare it for burial.

As Peter approached the house, he could hear the noise of mourning, a sound more desolate than the tearing wind. Two men had summoned him from Lydda, where he had just healed a paralytic. They urged him to come quickly because one of the Lord's disciples in Joppa had died. He had come in haste, hoping to reach Dorcas before she had to be buried.

As soon as he entered the room where her body lay, the widows surrounded him with tangible evidence of the woman they had loved, weeping as they held up robes and other items Dorcas had sewn to clothe the poor. Quickly, Peter shooed them from the room, as though to clear the atmosphere of despair. Then he knelt beside her body.

As Peter prayed, he remembered a promise Jesus had made: "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." His faith rising like the wind outside, Peter addressed the dead woman, saying, "Tabitha, get up." Taking her by the hand, he actually helped her to her feet.

The next day, Dorcas stood alone on the roof of her house. The shore was littered with driftwood, trinkets from yesterday's storm. She breathed deeply, inhaling the sea's salty tang, soothed by the sound of waves lapping the rocks below. Strangely, the view looked somehow transparent, as though another world waited just behind the curtain of this one. Dorcas shaded her eyes with her hand, peering out at the sea. But she saw nothing other than the usual collection of fishing boats bobbing in the waves.

Sighing, she turned and went inside. She had things to do—clothes to sew, bread to bake, the poor to feed and clothe. But even in the midst of her busy preparations, her longing for that other world increased, like hunger pangs before a feast. She fed that longing with her many practical acts of love.

...

Though we don't know what went through Peter's mind as he knelt and prayed at Dorcas's bedside, we do know that God worked through him in an extraordinary way. And though Scripture doesn't tell us how Dorcas responded to her incredible experience, it doesn't take much to imagine her joy. The story of her miracle spread throughout Joppa, leading many to believe.

Her Promise

God is glorified in the story of Dorcas, not only in her being raised from the dead, but through her acts of kindness, her generosity, and her willingness to go out of her way to offer help to others. Don't think you must do great and noble and noticeable acts for your life to glorify God. He will be glorified through your simple acts of love and obedience, whatever they are, wherever you are.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda (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 - Remember the Wonders


Remember the Wonders

Today’s Truth

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced...”.

Friend to Friend

As I walked through the airport, I was surprised to see my gate decorated with several flags.  There were glass cases along the walls filled with all sorts of medals and pins.  A wall lined with photographs of World War II heroes honored the family members of the airline’s employees.  My eyes watered as I stood before these images from the 1940s of young men who had given their lives for the cause of freedom.

Standing in wonder, I glanced around at a few employees.  I got the feeling they were very accustomed to their surroundings.  I doubt they got choked up with emotion when they walked past the black and white photographs on the wall.  They didn’t even seem to notice the flags and medals around them.

I really can’t blame them.  I was seeing everything for the first time with eyes of appreciation and wonder.  If I had seen that gate hundreds of times, I probably would pass by without a second thought.

It reminded me of Christmas.  We have heard the story of the baby born in a manger, and the angels singing to shepherds.  We have seen Christmas plays and heard Christmas songs.  It’s very easy to let these familiar things pass by.  Yet how much we can miss if we don’t stop to wonder.

The Bible tells us to “Remember the wonders he has done…” This cycle of remembering gives us hope and perspective.  You might imagine you are hearing the Christmas story for the first time as you listen to a sermon from Luke’s gospel.  You may picture what it was like the day Jesus was born or what it would be like to have an angel appear to you with a heavenly announcement.

Don’t lose your sense of wonder just because the Christmas story is familiar.

When my daughter Lucy was two, she had a favorite purple stuffed animal dog named Violet. She was crazy about Violet!  I thought it would be funny to rewrap Violet as a Christmas present.  After Lucy went to bed, I took Violet and dressed her in one of Lucy’s sweatshirts and her bike helmet.  I placed “Biker Violet” in a box and wrapped it in paper.

On Christmas morning, Lucy tore open the box to reveal her beloved Violet in a new outfit.  She squealed “Violet!” in delight, hugging her stuffed dog tightly as if she had never seen anything so wonderful.

Violet was an old friend presented in a new way, and it evoked wonder in little Lucy.  In the same way, we can take the story of Christmas and rewrap it to see this marvelous gift of God’s love with new eyes.

As we remember God’s wonders this season, may it stop us in our tracks.  Let us salute the God who loved us so well that He sent His Son down to earth to save us.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for coming as a baby to save my life.  I am in awe of Your love for me.  Today I remember the many wonders You have already performed in my life.  You are worthy of praise.  May I see You with new eyes of wonder and appreciation this Christmas season.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What is the next Christmas event you will attend?  It may be a church service, school play, concert, work party, or celebration at a friend’s house.  Take a moment before the event to pause and thank God for the meaning of Christmas.  Give yourself a minute to remember God’s wonders.  Let this set the tone for the event.

More from the Girlfriends

Would you like to text less and wonder more?  Learn how to tone down your tech and experience more peace and joy in Arlene’s book Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life.

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

Girlfriends in God


LHM Daily Devotion - December 4, 2017 "A FAMILY MESS"


Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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

"A FAMILY MESS"

December 4, 2017

TEXT: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar ... (Matthew 1:2-3a)

Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah and Tamar. It is a sordid story-the kind of thing you'd expect to find on a soap opera, not in the family of Christ. Judah's oldest son got married to a girl named Tamar, but this didn't last long. "Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death" (Genesis 38:7).

Someone had to provide for the widow and give her children to carry on her dead husband's name. So Judah married off Tamar to his second son according to the local custom. But that went wrong too. Her new husband treated her shamefully and broke faith with her-and the Lord killed him also.

Now what? There was one son left. But Judah was terrified he would die, too. So Judah made excuses to keep Tamar waiting-widowed, childless, and alone, with no future to look forward to.

Tamar was no fool. When she realized that Judah was happy to forget her, she tricked Judah himself into fathering twin boys on her. One of these, Perez, became the ancestor of Jesus.

What a mess! And yet you probably know a family as dysfunctional as this one. You may even live in a family that carries this much pain-a family where fear and betrayal and shame and secrets are always in the background, reaching out into the future and creating even more grief.

But Jesus has come to us in the guilt, in the shame, in the messiness of our lives and relationships. He knows them well, because they are the world He was born into. When God became man, He made our world His world, our families His family. And through His birth, suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus reaches out to make us-everyone who believes in Him-His own forever.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for loving me and making me a part of Your own family. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Someone had to provide for the widow and give her children to carry on her dead husband's name.