Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Daily Readings for THURSDAY, December 7, 2017

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants - How Will We Be Broken?
Daily Readings

Amos 4:6-13
I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. And I also withheld the rain from you when there were still three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would be rained upon, and the field on which it did not rain withered; so two or three towns wandered to one town to drink water, and were not satisfied; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. I struck you with blight and mildew; I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword; I carried away your horses; and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a brand snatched from the fire; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel! For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind, reveals his thoughts to mortals, makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth-- the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

2 Peter 3:11-18
Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Matthew 21:33-46
"Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.' So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

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 THURSDAY, December 7, 2017


Jesus, the Light of the World, as I celebrate your birth may I begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give me. As you chose the lowly, the outcast, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may I worship you in meekness of heart. May I always remember my brothers and sisters less fortunate than myself in this season of giving.
Amen

Verse of the Day for THURSDAY, December 7, 2017


John 11:25 (NIV) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

Read all of John 11

Listen to John 11

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 - The First to Hear


The First to Hear

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
~ Luke 2:8–9 (NIV)

When God’s Son was born in a manger in Bethlehem, an unlikely group was the first to hear the news. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen to dispatch an angel to the court of Caesar Augustus. “You call yourself the savior of the world, Caesar? Well, check this out. The real Savior of the world has been born!

Or, the angel could have appeared to the high priest, scribes, and scholars and announced the news that the Savior had been born.

Instead, God chose to deliver His message to shepherds who were “living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8). To be a shepherd in that culture was to be at the bottom of the social ladder. Shepherds were despised—so much so that the testimony of a shepherd wasn’t allowed in a court of law.

Shepherds basically did the work that no one else wanted to do. They had dirt under their fingernails. They were hardworking. And they probably felt right at home when they learned that this baby was born in lowly circumstances. They would have related to this. God was speaking their language.

This became the modus operandi of Christ throughout His ministry. He always went to the outcasts, to the hurting, to the ordinary people. He went to people like the woman at the well who had been ostracized because of her multiple marriages and divorces. He went to people like the tax collector Zacchaeus who was perceived by his fellow Jews as a traitor. Our Lord always had time for people like that. He was described as the friend of sinners.

In the same way, those lowly, despised shepherds who kept watch over their flocks, were visited by the Lord.
Jesus, the Light of the World, as I celebrate your birth may I begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give me. As you chose the lowly, the outcast, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may I worship you in meekness of heart. May I always remember my brothers and sisters less fortunate than myself in this season of giving. 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.
Jesus comes to the ordinary, the outcasts, and the hurting!

Un Dia a la Vez - Camina una milla extra


Camina una milla extra

Él nos da mayor ayuda con su gracia. Por eso dice la Escritura: «Dios se opone a los orgullosos, pero da gracia a los humildes».
~ Santiago 4:6 (NVI)

En la Biblia, el Señor Jesucristo nos enseña a que cuando nos ofendan, nos insulten o nos hieran en una mejilla, pongamos también la otra mejilla. La pregunta ahora es: ¿Qué haríamos nosotros en semejante situación? ¿Pondríamos la otra mejilla?

Llevémoslo a nuestro diario vivir: ¿Cómo nos comportaríamos ante las personas que nos humillan y nos ofenden? ¿Estaríamos dispuestos a caminar la milla extra o reaccionaríamos con la misma grosería y violencia? Lo más normal es desear vengarse y pagar, como dice la ley del talión: «Ojo por ojo y diente por diente».

Así que mi reflexión para hoy es que evitemos caer en altanería y en grosería. Debemos recordar que tú y yo representamos a Jesús en la tierra y que muchas de las miradas del mundo están sobre nosotros. A decir verdad, esperan nuestras respuestas y reacciones.

Con esto no quiero decir que permitamos el maltrato y el abuso, sino que caminemos la milla extra y oremos hasta por nuestros enemigos, como nos ordena la Palabra de Dios. Cuando estés en una situación así, lo mejor es callar y pensar: «¿Qué haría Jesús en mi lugar?».

No se trata de que te vean como un tonto sin carácter. Al contrario, debes sentirte feliz de ser diferente. Por eso no trates de defenderte y deja que sea el Señor el que te defienda y represente.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - LIFE SENTENCE


LIFE SENTENCE

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
~ Acts 20:24 (NIV)

In a Sudan prison, Pastor Matta Boush was depressed as he faced thirty years on false charges. A visit from an Irish Catholic sister helped change his outlook. There were others in prison, she said, whose cases were far worse than his. She told him never to ask himself why he was there, but instead to ask for what purpose he was there. From that point Matta Boush began to minister to his fellow prisoners.

He began prayer meetings for non-Muslims and numbers grew quickly. One event at the prison made an especially strong impact. A prisoner, just prior to his execution, rather than being fearful, was calm and gave his testimony. He said he was not afraid to die because he knew he would go to heaven. This made such an impression that some of the Muslim guards became Christians.

He was transferred to another prison in the city of El-Obeid. Some Muslims objected to his ministry and prayer meetings so he was placed in solitary confinement for several months. Away from his God-given work and with too much time to think, depression overtook him again. But the encouragement of friends helped him through the hard times. Returning to the general prison population, he helped lead between 150 and 200 people to Christ.

Later Matta Boush was transferred to El-Khobar prison in Khartoum. There he was able to help build a prison chapel as well as continuing his ministry. In the next ten months, 200 people came to the Lord.

His sudden release indicated that the person ordering it had great authority. As a free man, he contacted churches and visited Nuba refugee camps. He was reunited with his three daughters. His wife, however, had married a Muslim man.

He began providing pastoral care for nine regional churches. He was faithful in sharing the Lord both in and out of prison. No sacrifice was too great to accomplish the goal.

RESPONSE: Today I will sacrifice my comforts to accomplish the most important goal – sharing Jesus!

PRAYER: Pray for pastors like Matta Boush in prison today around the world. Pray they will lose their own desires and accomplish the Lord’s.

NIV Devotions for Men - Faithless vs. Unfaithful


Faithless vs. Unfaithful

Jeremiah 3:6–20
Recommended Reading: 2 Chronicles 26:16–21; Luke 18:9–14; John 9:41; Hebrews 10:26–31

Two words for wanderers: faithless and unfaithful.

The faithless people of Israel forgot their first love. They lost their passion for service. Though they had once enjoyed a close relationship with their Maker, they turned from him, rejecting truths they had once held dear. And so they struggled just beyond the safe harbor, battered by the seas of uncertainty.

Unfaithful Judah, by contrast, knew the truth but denied its footing in the nation’s heart. An unfaithful man may say that he’s on God’s side, but his actions, words and priorities prove otherwise. By God’s measure, an unfaithful person ranks with a traitor—wicked and treacherous. Why? Because he mocks the very relationship he pretends to honor. Simply put, he pretends to be a believer, while deep down he’s a phony.

For the unfaithful, faking love for God can become an addiction. We all know people who have all the right moves. At church they pray with impressive sincerity, but at home they shred their spouses with cruel comments. This inconsistency is like a ten-foot-long fingernail screeching across God’s chalkboard. It grates on the soul.

The unfaithful float through life, sinning without shame. They’re in the most dangerous place imaginable. They hang in the balance. Unless they reestablish their bond with God, replacing showiness with sincerity, they will be damned.

The faithless and the unfaithful—the Bible holds out hope for both. For the former, however, the journey to the Savior seems shorter, more direct. Sometimes faithless men can learn to trust more by admitting their doubt. Slipping away from the mark and sliding back from the goal are synonyms for faithless. The remedy is simple: Return to the Lord.

Contrast that with the unfaithful person. He pretends his life is sewn up tight while he’s busy yanking out the stitches with his own hands.

If you think either template fits your life, stop your wandering. Come back to your God and King.

To Take Away
  • Would you rather be the faithless man or the unfaithful man? Why?
  • Do you know any faithless or unfaithful men? How can you offer them encouragement?
  • What people or circumstances cause you to wander away from Jesus? What practical steps can you take to protect yourself from these stumbling blocks?

Girlfriends in God - Twice His


Twice His

Today’s Truth

Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
~ Psalm 136:2 (NIV)

Friend to Friend

The story is told of a young boy who carved a small sailboat from a block of wood. When the boat was finished, he couldn’t wait to try it out! Racing to a nearby stream, the boy gently slid the boat into the water and let it go. With a quiet reverence, the boy watched his precious boat as it floated away. He did not realize that there was an undercurrent in the stream until the boat was swept away beyond his reach. His precious boat was gone! The little boy frantically searched until there was no light but could not find his boat. With a heavy heart, the young boy headed home.

Several days later, the little boy was walking down the main street of his small town when he saw a wooden boat in the toy store window. He couldn’t believe his eyes! It was his boat! The boy raced inside and came face-to-face with the owner of the store. “Mister, that’s my boat!” he cried. The owner frowned in disbelief and said, “Young man, I just bought that boat. If you want it, you’ll have to buy it from me!” Near tears, the boy exclaimed, “Please, sir! I worked so hard on that boat, and then I lost it! It really is mine!” The owner shook his head and said, “Nevertheless, I paid good money for it and you will have to buy it back if you want it.”

The little boy raced home, emptied his piggy bank, and ran back to the store. He dumped all of his money on the counter and asked, “Is it enough?” The owner smiled and handed him the boat. The little boy cradled the precious boat in his arms and said, “Little boat, you are twice mine. Once because I made you and once because I bought you.”

God loves you. He created you. The words of Psalm 139 beautifully express the heart of God toward each one of us: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

God loves you. He paid for your sin. God defined His unconditional and relentless love for you and for me when He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth as a baby. And Jesus said, “Yes!” What an amazing gift! The love of God for us compelled Jesus Christ to willingly exchange a throne for a manger, divinity for humanity and Heaven for Earth.

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s love changes everything and everyone who receives it. God’s love protects and breathes life and purpose into every minute of every day. God’s love is a gift beyond measure that surrounds us and covers us when the fire of life rains down.

God is with you – Emmanuel. He endured the cross, completely and absolutely alone because He loves you.

Absolutely no one can take your place in the Father’s heart. God knows and understands your pain. God created you and paid for your sin for one reason alone – He loves you.

Yes, you are twice His - once because He created you and once because He bought you. Celebrate His love today.

Let’s Pray

God, I need Your love. My life is filled with scars and wounds that can be healed by Your love alone. I celebrate the love You so freely offer. I accept the gift of Your love and thank You for its transforming power in my life. I love You, Father.
In Jesus’s name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and memorize John 3:16. Record it in your journal.

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Write the verse in your own words.

Write the verse and make it personal by inserting your name. For example, “For God so loved _________, that He gave His one and only Son, that if ___________ believes in Him, ______________ will have eternal life.

More from the Girlfriends

God’s love does not collapse under the weight of our sin. It doesn’t fall apart when life does. How can we experience and practice that kind of love? Mary shares her story and explains how to define, discover, and experience unconditional love in this MP3 download, Love That Never Fails.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

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 7, 2017 "WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN "


Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN "

December 7, 2017

TEXT: And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child ...
~ Luke 1:6-7a (ESV)

The story of Jesus' birth opens with His mother's relatives, Zechariah the priest, and his wife, Elizabeth. Although both of them had lived exemplary lives, they had never been blessed with children, and this was a constant grief and pain for them. They prayed and prayed for years, but nothing happened. And now that they were both old, they saw no chance of a baby.

This kind of heartbreak is very common. Doctors tell us that at least one couple in ten will have trouble when they try to have children. Their sadness is made worse by the many, many people who wrongly assume that God is punishing them, and even ask them outright what they have done to deserve infertility. Elizabeth herself spoke of it as "my reproach among the people" (Luke 1:25b).

When bad things happen to us-infertility, job loss, the death of a loved one, whatever-we, too, may blame ourselves. We may wonder what we did wrong, or we may think that God has cursed us. But that's not right.

God sent Jesus, His own Son, to be our Savior. Through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus has taken away all guilt and all shame from us. We are not under God's curse. We are under His blessing. We belong to His family as God's own dear children, because Jesus, who loves us, has made it so.

We may still have many crosses to bear in this world, but none of them is because God hates us or is holding our sin against us. Christ has already borne the curse for us. Now He offers us His own love, joy, and eternal life.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, You know all our suffering. Have mercy on us and help us to keep trusting You, especially when it's hard. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
The story of Jesus' birth opens with His mother's relatives...

Devociones de Adviento de 07 de Diciembre de 2017 - Cuando suceden cosas malas


ALIMENTO DIARIO

"Cuando suceden cosas malas"

7 de Diciembre de 2017

Ambos eran íntegros delante de Dios y obedecían de manera irreprensible todos los mandamientos y ordenanzas del Señor. Pero no tenían hijos...
~ Lucas 1:6-7a (RVC)

El evangelista Lucas comienza su narración de la historia de Jesús hablando del sacerdote Zacarías y su esposa Elisabet, familiares de su madre María. Si bien ambos habían vivido en forma ejemplar nunca habían sido bendecidos con niños, lo cual les causaba una pena y dolor constantes. Durante años habían orado sin resultados. Y ahora que ambos eran ancianos, ya no creían posible concebir un niño.

Ese tipo de dolor es muy común. Los médicos dicen que al menos una de cada diez parejas tiene problemas para concebir. Y muchas veces ese dolor se agrava cuando las personas asumen, erróneamente, que es un castigo de Dios y se preguntan qué habrán hecho para merecerlo. La misma Elisabet dijo: "para que no tenga nada de qué avergonzarme ante nadie" (Lucas 1:25).

Cuando nos sucede algo malo--infertilidad, pérdida de un ser querido, etc.--tendemos a culparnos y a preguntarnos qué habremos hecho mal, o incluso a pensar que Dios nos está castigando. ¿Pero será que es así?

Dios envió a su hijo Jesús para que fuera nuestro Salvador. Con su muerte en la cruz y su resurrección de entre los muertos, Jesús nos ha quitado toda culpa y vergüenza. Dios ya no nos castiga, sino que nos bendice. Todo el castigo que merecíamos por nuestras culpas y pecados, fueron cargados por Jesús en su cruz y enterrados con él en su tumba.

Quizás todavía tengamos que cargar muchas cruces en este mundo, pero ninguna de ellas será un castigo de Dios. Al contrario, Dios nos ayudará a cargarlas, pues ahora somos sus hijos amados y pertenecemos a su familia.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, tú conoces nuestras penas y angustias. Ten misericordia de nosotros y ayúdanos a confiar siempre en ti, especialmente cuando más difícil se nos hace. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
Cuando nos sucede algo malo--infertilidad, pérdida de un ser querido, etc.--tendemos a culparnos y a preguntarnos qué habremos hecho mal, o incluso a pensar que Dios nos está castigando.