Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, December 16, 2017

Signs of the End of the Age
Daily Readings

Haggai 2:1-19
In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the LORD; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts. On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests for a ruling: If one carries consecrated meat in the fold of one's garment, and with the fold touches bread, or stew, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does it become holy? The priests answered, "No." Then Haggai said, "If one who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?" The priests answered, "Yes, it becomes unclean." Haggai then said, So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, says the LORD; and so with every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. But now, consider what will come to pass from this day on. Before a stone was placed upon a stone in the LORD's temple, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and mildew and hail; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. Consider from this day on, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid, consider: Is there any seed left in the barn? Do the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still yield nothing? From this day on I will bless you.

Revelation 3:1-6
"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Matthew 24:1-14
As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down." When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered them, "Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah!' and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs. "Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.

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 16, 2017

Lord God, thank You for the Holy Spirit who fills our heart with Your everlasting gift of love. In Your merciful kindness, help us to always share Your gift of love to others in hopes to bring about peace on earth.

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, December 16, 2017

Romans 5:5 (NIV) And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Read all of Romans 5

Listen to Romans 5

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 - God's Love - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

God's Love - The Gift
That Keeps on Giving

“Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
~ Romans 5:5 (NIV)

Christmas is the time of year that we express our love to family and friends by the giving of gifts. So people will not get overwhelmed by a great deal of shopping for just the right gift, a lot of advertising money goes into suggesting gift cards.

One Christmas gift that is not a gift card, or a gift that has to be returned, but it keeps on giving from year to year, is the singing of familiar Christmas songs. For example, one song that expresses the hope of peace on earth, and God's eternal love reunited with us was written by Charles Wesley in 1739 titled, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The first few lines are: “Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King! Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.

What does God's love and Christmas mean to you?

Helen Steiner Rice wrote a poem titled, “What Is Christmas?” A few lines from the poem are: “Is it just a day at the end of the year?...A season for presents-both taking and giving? A time to indulge in the pleasures of living?...Have we closed our eyes to God and His love?”

We do not have difficulty in understanding the love a person has for their husband or wife. We can also understand love for our family and friends. However, it is very difficult for many to understand the depth of God's love. In Ephesians Paul prayed that all followers might “be given the spiritual power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is.” He wanted everyone to “experience the love of Christ, though it is so great..., (we will) never fully understand it”. That type of love is our gift from God. It is a totally forgiving love, from our eternal God, and He keeps on giving it to us.

Do you have a Christmas gift list? Have you checked it twice? Let me ask you, is the name God first on the list? Have you given any thought to what you might give as a gift to God this Christmas? May I make a gift suggestion to give to Him?

My gift suggestion is: “Love is enough. . . . When there's nothing left to give the Lord, then you have to look at what you have. Your soul. Yourself. And that is the only gift He wants from His children.” (~ Brodie Thoene)

This Christmas season try to make an earnest effort to experience the true meaning of Christmas. Your heart will once again be reconciled with God, and in His mercy, you will feel His peace and endless love.
Lord God, thank You for the Holy Spirit who fills our heart with Your everlasting gift of love. In Your merciful kindness, help us to always share Your gift of love to others in hopes to bring about peace on earth. 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.
What does God's love and Christmas mean to you?

Un Dia a la Vez - Ética profesional

Ética profesional

Mantengan entre los incrédulos una conducta tan ejemplar que, aunque los acusen de hacer el mal, ellos observen las buenas obras de ustedes.
~ 1 Pedro 2:12 (NVI)

Desde la creación, el Señor nos dio el trabajo. Sin embargo, las cosas cambiaron después de la caída de Adán y Eva en el jardín del Edén. También cambiaron los planes que tenía Dios para nosotros y vinieron las consecuencias.

Desde entonces, Dios le ordenó a Adán que se ganaría el pan con el sudor de su frente. Y por eso el trabajo es tan importante para el hombre. Es como el ADN que Dios estableció en el hombre. De ahí que cada vez que un hombre tenga problemas económicos e inestabilidad financiera, se sienta morir, le afecte en su hombría y hasta caiga en depresión.

No obstante, si Dios estableció el trabajo, es para que fuera de bendición para ti y tu familia. Así que lo menos que podemos hacer es trabajar con excelencia y ética profesional.

No me refiero solo a ser honestos en la empresa, el taller, la fábrica, la escuela, el canal de televisión, la emisora o la revista donde se trabaje, también me refiero a tu trabajo dentro de la iglesia.

Hay personas dentro de las iglesias y ministerios que no trabajan con ética. Toman el servicio a Dios como algo que no merece la integridad y el profesionalismo, como si Él no los estuviera observando y algún día no les fuera a pedir cuentas.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - TURNING FEAR INTO FAITH


Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home.

The five functions of the church (evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship and worship), as they were practiced in the New Testament, were frequently carried out in private homes. But the early church was not limited just to homes. They also used the temple, synagogues, lecture halls, open forums, riverbanks, ships and other places.

However, it is encouraging to realize that all the functions can be performed in a small house. In many restricted countries, this is the only available place. The New Testament specifically refers to five “house churches,” and there were probably many more (Romans 16:3-5, 23; 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).

Believers from Muslim Background (MBB’s) take great risks when attempting to meet together. They do so secretly in small groups of no more than ten or fifteen to avoid suspicion from locals. They change their meeting place each time they gather in order to cover their tracks. While some are fortunate to participate with their families, many come with fear because their Muslim relatives do not even know about their new faith.

Such was the situation of the twelve MBB’s who quietly came one morning into a mountainside property in Central Java for a believers’ gathering. It was special, because a baptism ceremony would take place the next day. The MBB’s were excited and scared at the same time, more so for the four MBB’s who came to be baptized. They are nervous as their families and neighbours still think of them as Muslims.

The gathering started at night. Beginning with worship songs, the room fills with warmth, slowly stripping away fear in the hearts and minds of the believers. After the singing, the MBB’s and their children, sit on the carpeted floor. In their hands they hold the Injil and prepare for teaching. It may be a long while before they hear God’s Word again—that is, if they get the chance to. If their faith in Christ is ever discovered, the prospect of attending the next gathering grows dim.

One MBB shares that since his conversion he experienced peace, especially when sleeping at night. No longer did he wake up the next morning with much anxiety in his heart. Fights at home ceased, and his wife noted a change in him. “My husband never shouts at me anymore. Our house is full of love now. I cannot stop thanking Jesus for changing my family. He is Almighty; He is good!” she said as she broke into tears of joy.

On the second day of the gathering, the MBB’s stand at the side of a laundry pool as they witness the baptism of four more MBB’s. They see tension vanishing from their faces as each comes out of water. The church can function in many forms and still be the church.

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful for the many ways I can gather with Christians to be the church!

PRAYER: Pray for believers—especially MBB’s—living in fear that can limit expression of faith.

NIV Devotions for Couples - Building Our Relationship

Building Our Relationship

1 Chronicles 22:2–19

Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

“Marriage is a most remarkable and courageous human act,” says Ernest Boyer in A Way in the World (HarperSanFrancisco, 1984). “It’s the promise of two human beings to share life together on all levels, physical, economic, and spiritual. It’s a promise made despite the certainty of death, the certainty of change, and the uncertainty of everything else. There is nothing else we might choose to do that is quite like this act, nothing so foolish or so profound.”

Why do so many of us enter into this “foolish and profound” commitment when we realize that it is such a difficult thing to unify two separate individuals? Why do we assume we will have success when we know that others fail?

Before his death, David shared his vision for building a temple for the Lord with his son Solomon, to whom God had entrusted this sacred task. David had spent countless hours collecting and preparing all of the materials his son would need to build a house worthy of the Lord. Then David told Solomon that if he was careful to observe the laws of the Lord, he would have success.

Likewise we, too, need to take great care in preparing for the construction of a marriage. Marriage is like a temple—a magnificent living, breathing house for the Lord. When we stand at the altar exchanging wedding vows, we’re essentially agreeing to erect a temple in which to honor God. By following God’s plan for marriage—loving, honoring, and remaining faithful to each other—we will have success in honoring him. When we’re strong and courageous, we’ll be able to overcome obstacles and persevere.

Sounds easy. But it’s not.

When Dan and I were preparing to get married, we spent an entire year budgeting, envisioning, and getting quotes on bands, caterers, cakes and invitations—planning all of the elements that go into making a wedding day a success. Soon after we walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs., we realized we would need to apply that same kind of care to building our relationship for a lifetime, not just planning for a day.

Marriages often include struggles. Changes in career aspirations, guilty feelings over past mistakes, conflicts in other relationships—these and a myriad of other situations present many opportunities to be either the afflicted or the comforter within marriage. In these periods the one doing the supporting may begin to think, “I am not being helped by this person, only held back.” But because of that foolish, extraordinary vow of marriage, he or she keeps going.

Through the ordinary pains and sharing of day-to-day life, marital love matures into a love that models God’s own love for us. It is in this temple we call marriage that God profoundly manifests himself, giving us the tools we need to be successful as husband and wife.

Marian V. Liautaud

Let’s Talk
  • How has our love for each other and for God deepened as a result of persevering through struggles in our marriage?
  • Which one of us needs the most help now, and how can the other provide that help?
  • What can we do today to build a strong marriage relationship?

LHM Advent Devotion - December 16, 2017 "JUSTICE AND MERCY"

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries


December 16, 2017

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
~ Matthew 1:19 (ESV)

When I was taking college Greek, my professor pointed out something I did not realize. We usually read this verse to mean that because Joseph was a just man, therefore he was unwilling to put Mary to shame. However, the Greek grammar leaves the relationship of the phrases in question. It could just as easily be translated, "although he was a just man ..."

If we read the text this way, it suggests that Joseph was a man who followed the law of Moses-a just man, a law-abiding man. But in this situation, the law was uncompromising-a betrothed woman who had sex with another man would be treated as an adulterous wife and stoned. Joseph was tenderhearted; he could not face doing that to Mary, or even making her shame public. And so he settled on a quiet divorce. It was the best compromise he could think of between justice and mercy.

This kind of conflict happens so often in our world. Justice pulls us one way, but mercy urges us to go the other. God, too, faced a conflict between justice and mercy when He was dealing with us. Long ago humanity rebelled against God. We chose to go our own way instead of listening to Him. As a result we brought down trouble, grief, hatred, sickness, evil, and death upon our whole human race.

It would be simple justice if God decided to leave us in that mess-hurting, ruined, spiritually dead. But God still loves us, and He had compassion on us. He didn't want to see us destroyed.

So God found a way to satisfy both justice and mercy. He came into the world to be one of us, the man Christ Jesus. He took the penalty for our rebellion upon Himself, all the way to death on a cross-so we wouldn't have to pay that price. He broke the power of sin and evil on that day. And when He rose from the dead three days later, He broke the power of death over everyone who is willing to trust in Him.

THE PRAYER: Father, thank You for having mercy on us, and help me to show Your mercy to others. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
When I was taking college Greek, my professor pointed out something I did not realize...

Devociones de Adviento de 16 de Diciembre de 2017 "Justicia y misericordia"


"Justicia y misericordia"

16 de Diciembre de 2017

José, su marido, era un hombre justo y quiso dejarla secretamente, pues no quería denigrarla.
~ Mateo 1:19 (RVC)

Cuando estudiaba griego en la universidad, mi profesor me hizo ver algo de lo que no me había dado cuenta antes. Por lo general, este versículo lo leemos como si dijera que, porque José era un hombre justo, no quería denigrar a María. Sin embargo, la gramática griega no es tan clara. Bien podría ser traducido como: "a pesar de que era un hombre justo..."

Si lo leemos de esta forma, el texto nos sugiere que José era un hombre que cumplía la ley de Moisés--un hombre justo. Pero ante la situación en que se encontraba María, la ley era inflexible: una mujer comprometida que había tenido relaciones íntimas con otro hombre debía ser tratada como una esposa adúltera y apedreada. Pero José no podía hacerle eso a María, o siquiera avergonzarla en público. Por lo tanto, decidió divorciarla en secreto. Era lo mejor que creyó poder hacer cumpliendo con la justicia en misericordia.

Muy a menudo nos encontramos en situaciones de este tipo. La justicia nos empuja hacia un lado, mientras que la misericordia nos urge a ir hacia otro. Cuando la humanidad se rebeló contra Dios, él también tuvo que enfrentar un conflicto entre la justicia y la misericordia. Al elegir ir por nuestro propio camino y no obedecerle, hicimos que el pecado entrara en el mundo trayendo problemas, dolor, odio, enfermedad, mal y muerte para toda la raza humana.

Habría sido justo si Dios hubiera decidido dejarnos en nuestro propio desastre sufriendo, arruinados y espiritualmente muertos. Pero su amor y compasión no le permitieron vernos destruidos, por lo que creó la forma de satisfacer tanto su justicia como su misericordia, viniendo al mundo en Jesucristo. Él cargó a la cruz el castigo por nuestra rebelión y, al levantarse de la tumba, le quitó el poder a la muerte y nos abrió la puerta a la vida eterna.

ORACIÓN: Padre, gracias por tenernos misericordia y por enseñarnos a compartirla con quienes nos rodean. Amén.

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