Monday, December 18, 2017

The Daily Readings for MONDAY, December 18, 2017

Matthew 24:29-31
Daily Readings

Zechariah 1:7-17
On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo; and Zechariah said, In the night I saw a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen; and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. Then I said, "What are these, my lord?" The angel who talked with me said to me, "I will show you what they are." So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, "They are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth." Then they spoke to the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees, "We have patrolled the earth, and lo, the whole earth remains at peace." Then the angel of the LORD said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which you have been angry these seventy years?" Then the LORD replied with gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. So the angel who talked with me said to me, Proclaim this message: Thus says the LORD of hosts; I am very jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am extremely angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they made the disaster worse. Therefore, thus says the LORD, I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion; my house shall be built in it, says the LORD of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. Proclaim further: Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.

Revelation 3:7-13
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens: "I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying-- I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Matthew 24:15-31
"So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look! Here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!'-- do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look! He is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look! He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. "Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see 'the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven' with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

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 18, 2017

Oh Lord Jesus, I come to you this morning, in this season of waiting for the feast of your birth, to ask your blessing on myself and all those in the world who wait for you. We wait now for your return, as the Jews of old waited for their Messiah; yet now we have the Holy Spirit to comfort us. But we know that Christmas will come, just as the prophets knew that you would come in the flesh; and we know that you will come, in clouds of glory to judge the living and the dead, and to take your faithful with you to a place where no tear will be shed.

We are like children waiting for their presents, sometimes. Help us not to be impatient, Lord Christ, but to wait as you have told us, showing the fruits of the spirit in every thought and work: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. And let us always have complete confidence in your return. Come Lord Jesus.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, December 18, 2017

Luke 1:68-70 (NIV) “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),

Read all of Luke 1

Listen to Luke 1

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 Man Who Tried to Stop Christmas

The Man Who Tried to Stop Christmas

"Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared."
~ Matthew 2:7 (NIV)

King Herod was the man who tried to stop Christmas. With all his wealth and power, he came to complete ruin. Historical writings tell us that in the final year of his life, his body was infected with disease.

Ironically, Herod pretended to be a worshiper. He said to the wise men, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” (Matthew 2:8). Yet Herod was a false worshiper. There are people like him today. They say they believe in God, but they live a life that contradicts what the Scriptures teach.

Herod wanted to be the king of his own life, but he really was a slave. He ended up being not the King of the Jews but the king of fools. Herod ended up on the ash heap of history like dictators before and after him, reminding us that those who live wicked lives eventually will reap what they sow. Adolf Hitler went into his bunker and shot himself as his nation crumbled around him. Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a hole and was eventually executed by his own people. Muammar Gaddafi was hunted down by his own people, beaten, and shot to death.

All those who blaspheme God, fight with God, or try to stop the work of God eventually will fail. Yet God’s Word ultimately will prevail. Philippians 2:9–10 says, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

One day, everyone—every man, every woman, every believer, and every nonbeliever—will bow before Jesus Christ.
Oh Lord Jesus, I come to you this morning, in this season of waiting for the feast of your birth, to ask your blessing on myself and all those in the world who wait for you. We wait now for your return, as the Jews of old waited for their Messiah; yet now we have the Holy Spirit to comfort us. But we know that Christmas will come, just as the prophets knew that you would come in the flesh; and we know that you will come, in clouds of glory to judge the living and the dead, and to take your faithful with you to a place where no tear will be shed.

We are like children waiting for their presents, sometimes. Help us not to be impatient, Lord Christ, but to wait as you have told us, showing the fruits of the spirit in every thought and work: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. And let us always have complete confidence in your return. Come Lord Jesus. 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.
There are true worshipers and there are false worshipers.

Un Dia a la Vez - Respuestas tardías

Respuestas tardías

El Señor tu Dios es el Dios verdadero, el Dios fiel, que cumple su pacto [...] y muestra su fiel amor a quienes lo aman y obedecen sus mandamientos.

Ya hemos hablado en este libro devocional que los tiempos de Dios no son nuestros tiempos y esto afecta en gran medida a ciertas personas.

Hay muchos de ustedes que no tienen mayor problema con sentarse a esperar que Papá Dios conteste a una pregunta u oración. Otros, por el contrario, son tan desesperados que necesitan las respuestas de inmediato y en cuanto las solicitan.

Cuando vamos a la Biblia, encontramos ejemplos que nos muestran que en algunos casos Dios tardaba mucho tiempo en contestar. Uno de estos lo tenemos en Job. Su tiempo de prueba fue tan difícil que se le murieron todos sus hijos, perdió todos sus bienes y terminó con sarna y rascándose con una teja. A pesar de eso, y en medio de su frustración, confiaba en que Dios no lo abandonaría. Aunque, claro, hubo ocasiones en que se quejó por la indeferencia ante la maldad y hasta le reprochó al Señor lo que consideraba su descuido cuando le dijo: «Recuerda, oh Dios, que mi vida es un suspiro; que ya no verán mis ojos la felicidad» (Job 7:7).

Luego, Dios cambió las cosas a su tiempo y le aumentó al doble la prosperidad anterior a Job.

Le extendió la vida a ciento cuarenta años y pudo ver a sus hijos, y a los hijos de sus hijos, hasta la cuarta generación.

El Señor no permite que suframos sin motivo, y aunque ese motivo esté oculto en los propósitos divinos y nunca sepamos el porqué, debemos confiar que Él siempre hace lo bueno.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - GOD IS AT WORK IN HIS CHURCH


And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Daniel, a young “underground” house church believer from Muslim background (MBB) would not attend the open church in his Middle Eastern city because he felt its leaders were cooperating with the government. Everything had to be secretive in the house church meetings with no loud singing. It was risky meeting like this. Daniel shares his story of discovery and what he learned from the experience:

“A few months ago, I was at the church leader’s house. They were old family friends and I was helping their kids to repair their computer. The mother answered the door and men came into the house. They were plainclothes police with papers that showed they were from security and had authority to arrest. They took everyone’s phones, disconnected the internet, and gathered all of the computers while they searched the house for Bibles. They found 300. They didn’t want to touch the Bibles, like they were dirty. They took the husband and wife away in handcuffs.

“The leaders were still imprisoned when the police came to my house about a month and a half later pretending to be postmen. In my whole life, that was the first time I saw my father cry. They searched through my room and took my computer, my books, my prayer notebook, my written plans for our youth group, and my personal Bible. They also took my sister’s laptop and all of our cell phones. At the end of their search, they told my parents that they were going to take me with them. My mother was distressed, but I hugged her and told her I would be back.

“They took me to the central prison. I was there for two weeks. They only beat me the first day, but they still threatened me. For the first week I didn’t answer their questions, but the second week was difficult. I was imagining my mom and dad—I had talked to my dad and knew it was a more difficult time for them than for me. I still wondered what I had done wrong and why I didn’t have the right to praise my Lord.

“After two weeks they let me go after guaranteeing I wouldn’t flee. About a month later they also released our leaders on bail. After that, they told me my case was still open and they could call me in at any time. We were uncertain of our sentence because they wouldn’t hold a trial for around six months. Constant pressure. It was a pleasure to be persecuted for my Lord.”

Asked what he learned from the experience, Daniel replied, “First, God taught me patience. Eventually, even though I was worried about my family, God gave me a chance to witness to my persecutors. I really don’t hate them. I love them because they don’t know what they’re doing. They’ve been taught bad things, they’re not bad themselves. I felt a responsibility to tell them about the light of Jesus that can break through their spiritual darkness…I want western people to know that God is working in the Middle East, through persecution, deception, and difficulties.”

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful that God can work through my fellowship of believers regardless of the level of freedom we enjoy.

PRAYER: Pray for those in underground house churches who risk everything to meet and fulfill the five functions of the church.

Women of the Bible - Priscilla


Her name means: "Worthy" or "Venerable"

Her character: One of the first missionaries and a leader of the early church, along with her husband, Aquila, she risked her life for the apostle Paul. Priscilla was a woman whose spiritual maturity and understanding of the faith helped build up the early church.
Her sorrow: To experience opposition to the gospel from both Jews and Gentiles.
Her joy: To spread the gospel and nurture the church.
Key Scriptures: Acts 18-19; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19

Her Story

How good it is to have Paul back again, she thought. Ephesus was on fire with the gospel, their young church growing stronger each day. Paul's preaching and miracles had brought many to faith. Even the touch of his handkerchief had healed illnesses and delivered people from evil spirits.

Priscilla couldn't help laughing when she heard the story of Sceva's seven sons, Jewish exorcists who had tried to duplicate such wonders by driving out an evil spirit with a magic invocation: "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out."

But the spirit had merely mocked them, saying: "Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man they were trying to deliver beat them so soundly they ran bleeding and naked from the house.

The Ephesians were so impressed by what had happened that a number of sorcerers held a public bonfire to destroy their scrolls. Their magical formulations and incantations seemed like useless trinkets in light of the greater power of Jesus.

But despite the progress of the gospel, Priscilla was aware of growing opposition. One day, she heard the sounds of a crowd forming in the streets. A silversmith was shouting to other craftsmen, all of whom made their living selling miniature images of the many-breasted goddess Artemis: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."

The crowd erupted into a riot, seizing two of Paul's companions. Priscilla was distressed when Paul insisted on addressing the mob. She was certain such boldness could only end in worse violence. With her husband's help, she was able to restrain Paul until a city official calmed the crowd and it dispersed. Soon after, Paul set out to spread the gospel in Macedonia.

Though the book of Acts describes the riot in Ephesus, it does not tell us that either Priscilla or Aquila were actually present, only that some disciples prevented Paul from entering the fray, possibly saving his life in the process. Since Priscilla and her husband were leaders of the church in Ephesus, it is quite possible they were among those who intervened on Paul's behalf.

Priscilla's faith had been planted years earlier in an atmosphere of strife and controversy, first in Rome and later in Corinth. The latter was a commercial center famous for its appetite for vice, hardly a place to nurture the faith of a new believer. Yet that was where God transplanted her, along with her husband, Aquila, after Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome in ad 49, tired of their constant fighting about Chrestus (a probable reference to Christ).

Though various gods were worshiped in Corinth, none was more popular than Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, whose temple at one time boasted more than a thousand sacred prostitutes. Throughout the empire, the phrase "Corinthian girl" was just another name for "prostitute."

After the couple had been in Corinth for about a year, they met up with a man who would involve them in yet more controversy. Paul of Tarsus was a Jew who had ruthlessly persecuted Jesus' followers until his own dramatic conversion. Lately, he had been traveling in Asia Minor and Macedonia, preaching the gospel wherever he went. When he arrived in Corinth, he probably met the couple through their common trade as tentmakers. Priscilla and Aquila invited Paul to stay in their home and work with them.

As always, Paul preached the gospel first in the local synagogue and then to the Gentiles. And, as always, his preaching generated both faith and opposition. After eighteen months, leading Jews of Corinth hauled him before the proconsul to accuse him of spreading an illicit religion. After the charge was dismissed, Paul set sail for Ephesus, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.

The three missionaries must have been eager to see a city that ranked in importance with Rome, Corinth, Antioch, and Alexandria. The capital of provincial Asia, Ephesus boasted a temple to Artemis (also known as Diana) so enormous that it was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. After only a short while, Paul left for other ports, leaving the couple behind to lead the church that met in their home.

Before long another Jew arrived, preaching eloquently about Jesus to the Jews at Ephesus. But Apollos, a native of Alexandria, had grasped only a shadow of the gospel, one more in keeping with the message of John the Baptist than of Jesus. Rather than denouncing him for his inadequate presentation, Priscilla and Aquila merely took him aside and instructed him in the faith. They did their job so well, in fact, that believers in Ephesus eventually sent the gifted preacher to Corinth, where he advanced the work Paul had begun.

Priscilla must have been a spiritually mature woman, whose gifts equipped her for leadership. Her name actually precedes Aquila's four out of the six times they are mentioned in the New Testament, probably signifying her greater abilities as a leader or the fact that her family may have hailed from a higher social strata than his. Whatever the case, Priscilla's role in instructing Apollos and leading the early church is remarkable.

Along with Aquila, she was the best friend Paul could have had, helping him establish the church and risking her life for his sake. Paul mentions the couple's courage in one of his letters but doesn't elaborate on the circumstances.

Rather than withering in the soil of controversy, Priscilla's faith seemed to flourish. She helped establish the early church in an atmosphere of great hostility, risking her own life for the sake of the gospel she loved.

Her Promise

Scripture doesn't tell us exactly what role Priscilla played in the circumstances described in the New Testament. Was she active as a teacher? Or did she work in the background? But the very fact that her name appears along with her husband's every time does tell us something: She was a valued disciple, one who made a difference in Paul's life and in her world.

Whatever your role as a woman in your church, whether in the background or in a leadership position, you can be sure that what you are doing matters. Each task—no matter how small or large—is important to the spread of the gospel. You are an integral part of your church community, and God promises to use you.

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 - God With Us

God With Us

Today’s Truth

All right then, the Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
~ Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

Friend to Friend

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I love the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. I love the chance to give gifts to those I love and to some I may never meet this side of heaven. I love moments by the tree to count my blessings, to remember God’s faithfulness throughout the past year.

For me, this holiday—celebrating Christ’s birth—represents God’s infinite potential to save our souls, to fill us up, to connect us with loved ones, and to restore what’s been lost or stolen.

I must confess, though, for many years, I perpetually dealt with Christmas-envy, which surfaced while walking through one “not-yet” season after another.  I noticed others’ blessings in light of what I seemed to lack. I longed for a breakthrough, for life not to feel so hard, and for God’s provision to match our need. But during that time, those things were hard to find. Bed rest, sickness, disease, and more medical debt than we could pay, left me feeling like a have-not; like the girl who pressed her nose up against the window and longingly watched others celebrate this happy time of year.

Many years ago when the holidays were upon us, I remember specifically thinking, “This will be the year. The winds of adversity have shifted and a new season is in our midst. This will be my Merry Christmas year.”

My husband sat on the living room floor and untangled Christmas lights. Our three little boys sang Christmas songs and excitedly pulled ornaments from the box. Our in-laws had given us their big, beautiful Christmas tree to replace our puny, Charlie Brown one. Music filled the air. Cookies baked in the oven. The children celebrated with glee.

I peeked into the living room when I noticed a funny look on my husband’s face. “Is everything all right?” I asked. He rubbed his nose, looked this way then that, and faintly said, “Um, yes.

Everything’s fine. Everything is going to be fine.” I startled and said, “Oh no! What’s wrong?”

Well, it seems, that last spring, while doing a little spring cleaning, my dear husband threw away half of our large, beautiful Christmas tree. And a portion of our Charlie Brown tree. Leaving us with exactly two halves of two trees that didn’t belong together.

In a moment’s time, the cookies overcooked and burned, the cassette tape (dating me, I know) got swallowed up in the recorder, and my husband’s tree building endeavor came to a screeching halt. My heart sank and I wondered why—for the life of us—we couldn’t pull off the kind of Christmas scene you see on the holiday commercials. Or why that impossible dream mattered so to me.

My sweet husband was determined to make this right. He said, “Not to worry, honey. I just need a few of my tools.” Bless his heart.

With my hands in the sudsy water, I scraped the burnt cookie remnants from our only cookie sheet. I listened to the sounds of an electric drill in the living room. I heard the skill saw fire up a time or two. And I wondered, does anybody else’s living room resemble a construction site during this holiday season?

Nighttime came and I put the kids to bed. My hubby still hard at work, I kissed the top of his head and said, “It’s okay, honey. We don’t need a tree this year. Thanks for a valiant effort.”

I crawled in bed and fell fast asleep only to wake in the middle of the night to find Kev’s side of the bed still untouched.

I crawled out of bed, wrapped myself up in my robe, and walked in to the living room. I stopped quickly, gasped, and put my hands over my mouth. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here in the middle of the night my husband sat on our living room floor in front of the most perfect, beautiful, medium-sized Christmas tree I had ever seen. He held the control to the lights like they were the control to a racecar. I put my hands on his shoulders and kissed the top of his head. Without turning around he whispered, “I was going to make it a rotating tree but figured I should stop while I’m ahead.”

I chuckled and crawled in his lap. Together we stared at our very own Christmas blessing. Suddenly overcome with emotion, I realized how much my life, our life together, resembled this tree. Kev sat in the mess of our living room and envisioned the finished product. He knew what he was after and was committed to seeing it through to the very end.

Our lives were a mess in so many ways. We were still buried in medical debt. I still battled sickness. Our house was still falling apart. But we had Emmanuel—God—With—Us. He was with us in the mess, committed to our story, and would see it through to its beautiful conclusion.

Jesus came to earth wrapped in human skin, was born into poverty, and walked the earth for us. He came to us, to our mess, and to our need. Though we love a good Christmas holiday celebration, what we need is salvation. Jesus came to save us. And He’s redeeming our story one step a time.

No matter what life season you’re in this Christmas, may your capacity to know Jesus, trust His love, and embrace His nearness grow by leaps and bounds. God is with you. And it’s impossible for Him to fail you.


Jesus, You are the King of Kings and the Perfect Shepherd. You’re my Savior and my Friend. You will see my story to its beautiful end. Thank you for coming to earth, for living a sinless life, for always obeying the Father, and for dying my death on the Cross. I am forever grateful and profoundly changed because of who You are and because of what You’ve done. Forgive me for allowing myself to stress about the non-essentials this season. You are God-Most-High and You are with us. I have more than I could ever need because I have You. I’m deeply loved and profoundly blessed. Thank You, Lord. I love You back.
In Jesus’ Name, I pray,

Now It’s Your Turn

When was the last time you most sensed Emmanuel – God With You? What about that moment was so sacred to you? In what ways are you tempted to allow the stress of the season to steal your joy? Here’s a challenge for you: Sit quietly by the tree for an evening and ask God what He most wants for you this season, and then adjust your schedule and expectations accordingly. A most blessed Christmas to you!

More from the Girlfriends

Be sure to check out Susie’s book, Your Powerful Prayers: Reaching the Heart of God With a Bold and Humble Faith and visit her website at

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

LHM Advent Devotion - December 18, 2017 "SAVIOR"

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries


December 18, 2017

(An angel said) "She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
~ Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

Choosing a name for a baby can be hard. There are so many things to consider! Should we honor someone by choosing their name? Does it sound well with the family name? Will there be five other kids in kindergarten with the same name? Will it be too difficult to say or spell?

Joseph and Mary got to avoid all of this. The angel said simply, "Call his name Jesus," which means "The Lord is salvation." Then he gave the reason as well: "He will save His people from their sins."

Sin is one of those words that has been used so often and in so many wrong ways that it's almost useless now. At bottom it refers to something that is wrong, bad, evil, messed up, twisted, or corrupted-something that just shouldn't be that way, but it is, nonetheless. What's more, sin is something that didn't just happen by itself-somebody, somewhere, deserves the blame.

There is no culture, no country, no city, no family where sin isn't doing its destructive work. We live neck-deep in the results: broken relationships, hatred and resentment, sadness, trouble, loss and grief. But no matter how we try, we can't get free of them.

This is why God came into our world-to be born among us, to become our Savior. He is the only one who can free us from the trap of sin. Sin has no power over Him-He is the only human being who has never fallen into that trap. Instead, He reaches in and sets us free as well.

He did this when He lay down His life for us on the cross, paying our debt, letting all of us captives of sin go free. He took our sin with Him into death and left it there where it can never harm us again. And now that He has risen from the dead, He calls us to trust in Him and enjoy real freedom. More than that, He gives us everlasting life.

THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for saving me from sin. Strengthen me in the freedom that You give, so I can serve You and my neighbors joyfully. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Choosing a name for a baby can be hard.

Devociones de Adviento de 18 de Diciembre de 2017 "Salvador"



18 de Diciembre de 2017

María tendrá un hijo, a quien pondrás por nombre JESÚS, porque él salvará a su pueblo de sus pecados.
~ Mateo 1:21 (RVC)

A veces nos resulta difícil elegir el nombre para un bebé. ¡Son tantas las cosas a tener en cuenta! ¿Deberíamos honrar a alguien con su nombre? ¿Suena bien con el apellido? ¿Es un nombre demasiado común? ¿Va a ser muy difícil de decir o de deletrear?

José y María no tuvieron ese problema, pues el ángel les dijo: "... a quien pondrás por nombre Jesús" (que significa 'el Señor es salvación'), y luego dio la razón: "... porque él salvará a su pueblo de sus pecados".

La palabra pecado ha sido usada tan a menudo y de tantas maneras erróneas, que hoy en día casi no tiene sentido. Se refiere a algo equivocado, malo, perverso, corrupto-algo que no debería ser como es, pero igual lo es. Más aún, el pecado es algo que no sucede por sí mismo, sino que alguien, en algún lugar, es culpable de él.

No existe cultura, país, ciudad o familia, en donde el pecado no haga su obra destructiva. Vivimos metidos hasta el cuello en sus consecuencias: relaciones quebrantadas, odios y resentimientos, tristeza, problemas, pérdidas, dolor y muerte. Pero, por más que tratemos, no podemos deshacernos de ellas.

Es por todo eso que Dios vino al mundo en Jesucristo: para ser nuestro Salvador. Él es el único ser humano que nunca cayó en la trampa del pecado y el único que puede liberarnos de esa trampa, pues el pecado no tiene poder sobre él.

Al dar su vida por nosotros en la cruz, pagando así la deuda por nuestras culpas, Jesucristo nos liberó del castigo del pecado. Él llevó consigo a su muerte nuestro pecado, y lo dejó allí donde ya no podrá lastimarnos más. Resucitado de entre los muertos, nuestro Salvador nos llama a confiar en él y disfrutar de la verdadera libertad hasta la vida eterna.

ORACIÓN: Querido Jesús, gracias por salvarme del pecado. Fortaléceme en la libertad que tú me das, para que con alegría pueda servirte a ti y a quienes me rodean. Amén.

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