Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, December 30, 2017

Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
John 4:46-54
Daily Readings

1 Kings 17:17-24
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. She then said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!" But he said to her, "Give me your son." He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. He cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again." The LORD listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, "See, your son is alive." So the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth."

3 John 1:1-15
The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; for they began their journey for the sake of Christ, accepting no support from non-believers. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth. I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and expels them from the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Everyone has testified favorably about Demetrius, and so has the truth itself. We also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true. I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face. Peace to you. The friends send you their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name.

John 4:46-54
Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." The official said to him, "Sir, come down before my little boy dies." Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, "Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him." The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to 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 SATURDAY, December 30, 2017

O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, December 30, 2017

Psalm 61:2 (NIV) From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Read all of  Psalm 61

Listen to Psalm 61

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 -

When You're Overwhelmed

"From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
~ Psalm 61:2 (NIV)

Are you facing a personal crisis right now? Maybe it’s a lack of employment. Maybe it’s a foreclosure on your home or a loss in your investments. Maybe your marriage is falling apart or you have a son or daughter who is away from the Lord. Maybe you have a life-threatening illness. Or maybe you’re paralyzed by fear as you think about an uncertain future.

When we’re facing a crisis, we like to have a backup plan. Then we like to have a backup plan for the backup plan. Then we have a backup plan for the backup plan for the backup plan. But sometimes the Lord will allow us to be in a set of circumstances where there are no backup plans. There is no safety net. There is no way out but Him.

In Acts, chapter 12, that is what we see the early church facing. Things were looking very bleak. Herod had put James to death, and then he arrested Peter. If God did not come through for him, it would be a complete disaster. So what did the believers do? They prayed.

Philippians 4:6–7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And David wrote, “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1–2).

God promises that He will give us a peace that passes understanding, but not necessarily a peace that always will give understanding. When you are overwhelmed, pray.
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. 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. Devotion © 2017 Harvest Christian Fellowship; all rights reserved.
The first thing you should do when you face crisis . . .

Un Dia a la Vez - Hagamos todo lo bueno

Hagamos todo lo bueno

Dios es el que me ciñe de fuerza, y quien despeja mi camino; Quien hace mis pies como de ciervas, y me hace estar firme sobre mis alturas.
~ 2 Samuel 22:33 (RV-60)

Todo lo negativo que pudo ocurrir este año no debe marcar tu nuevo año.

Hace algún tiempo, como lo dije al comienzo de este devocional, hacía por estos días una agenda de peticiones y se las presentaba a Dios con una oración el 31 de diciembre a la medianoche. Era como colocar un montón de sueños y anhelos en la presencia de Dios y confiar que Él me los cumpliría uno a uno.

Sin embargo, hay cosas que ya Dios tiene programadas para cada uno de nosotros y, tarde o temprano, se cumplirán. Así que no te encierres solo en tus deseos, sino deja varios puntos en blanco para que Él mismo sea el que los llene. Déjate sorprender por Dios. ¡No te vas a arrepentir!

Entra a un nuevo año con tu mente y corazón en sintonía con el Señor. Ah, y otra cosa, recuerda que Él siempre desea lo mejor para ti.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - GIVEN WHAT TO SAY


But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

It was early in the morning the day after Christmas. It was cold. Mehdi Forootan sat in the back seat of an undercover police car in front of his house in Tehran, Iran. An officer pointed a camcorder at him. “Do you know why you were arrested?” the officer asked him. “No,” Forootan replied.

The officer turned off the camera and looked Forootan in the eyes. “I can beat you until blood is coming out of your mouth and every part of you. The next time I turn on the camera, you tell me why we are taking you,” the officer said and turned the camera back on.

Forootan spoke of his faith in Christ, and he spent the next 105 days in Iran’s harshest prison. On Dec. 26, 2010, authorities had arrested Forootan in a wave of persecution against Iran’s underground church. More than three months later, he was one of a few who had not been released.

During one interrogation, an officer turned on a camcorder and pointed it toward him, demanding that Forootan tell him about his “crime.” Forootan began to tell him how he had struggled with substance abuse as a teenager, “and how when I was in university I found Jesus and He saved me, and I have been free ever since. But he became angry and turned off the camera. He said, ‘I asked you to tell about your crime, not evangelize us.’”

After months of trying to get him to write statements confessing a crime, authorities inexplicably released him. Forootan said his first month out of prison was one of the worst of his life. He couldn’t speak to anyone of his prison experience for fear that authorities were watching and would re-arrest him. His parents had given the deed of their house to authorities as bail.

He and his fiancée decided it was best for him to leave Iran and go to Turkey as a refugee. For Forootan, this meant an illegal escape through the mountains, because authorities had confiscated his passport.

“I came out of Iran with 70 Afghanis,” Forootan said. “I went to the mountains and walked in the mountains for eight hours, and after eight hours I came to Turkey…That was really hard, because I really love Iran, and I’m really sad about this land. Maybe I can’t see my country again.”

Many who follow Jesus in other lands make great sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. Despite harsh treatment—even prison with interrogations—they still love their home country. But during those interrogations, the Holy Spirit gives the right words to be spoken.

RESPONSE: Today I will rest in the Lord realizing that when pressures come, He is with me and His Spirit will give me the right words to speak.

PRAYER: Pray for those who like Forootan above are forced to leave the home land they love because of their witness to the gospel of Christ.

NIV Devotions for Couples - When You Have to Say No

When You Have to Say No

Esther 1:1–22

“This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.”
~ Esther 1:18 (NIV)

King Xerxes, the military leader of the Medes and Persians, tried to fulfill his father’s failed plan to conquer Greece. Darius had been defeated at Marathon in 490 B.C. and had died soon after. Xerxes amassed one of the largest armies ever and marched back toward Greece. His army managed to get around the Spartan forces at Thermopylae but went down outside Athens when the Persian fleet was sunk in the bay of Salamis.

Esther 1 records what may have been Xerxes’ planning meeting for the military campaigns of 482–479 B.C. During this lengthy meeting (lasting 180 days), the men feasted and drank extensively. At one point, Xerxes commanded his wife, Vashti, to appear before the assembled men. We are not told why Vashti refused, but given the circumstances and the rate at which we can assume the men were consuming alcohol, perhaps Vashti was afraid they would ask her to act immodestly—or worse.

Xerxes reacted like a spoiled child. He was furious that his order had not been obeyed. His advisers encouraged the king’s stupidity. They proposed deposing Vashti as queen and banishing her from the presence of the king. Then they planned the first Miss Universe pageant to replace Vashti with someone more beautiful and (hopefully) more compliant.

Enter Mordecai and Esther, two Jews who were still living in Persia. Although Mordecai may have also had a Hebrew name, his Babylonian name may betray the comfort his family had with Babylonian life; it is derived from Marduk, the god Nebuchadnezzar followed and to whom he dedicated Babylon, his capital.

Ultimately, Esther was chosen to be the new queen, placing her in a position to intervene at a time when her people were threatened. Esther and Mordecai were able to save the Jews, but the dire threat made to exterminate them as a people during that time made its mark. Perhaps it was an impetus for Ezra and Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem to help the Jews there rebuild the city’s walls and reclaim their spiritual foundations.

Within this story, Vashti often goes unrecognized as a heroine. Yet perhaps that should be acknowledged, particularly within the context of marriage. For while Vashti had been obedient to her husband in all things, there came a point when her moral fiber pulled taut and would not allow her to cross a line that required her to do something she knew was wrong.

In our marriages we need mutual submission and respect, as the apostle Paul wrote (see Ephesians 5:21–33). But we also need personal courage to say no to one another when decency is twisted or when obedience to little things would deny obedience to God’s greater ways.

Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk
  • What iffy spots of moral behavior have caused disagreement in our marriage?
  • Has one of us ever asked the other to do something morally questionable? How do we balance mutual submission to each other with saying no to behavior that compromises our integrity?
  • How can we keep our relationship unified so that we avoid situations that cause conflict when our morals differ?

LHM Advent Devotion - December 30, 2017 "GUIDANCE"

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries


December 30, 2017

But when he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.
~ Matthew 2:22 (ESV)

This is the time of year when we think about change-changes we want to make in our lives and changes that may come to our lives in the new year, whether we like it or not. And we may have decisions to make-choices about work or school, choices that affect our finances or our health. As we struggle to make plans, we often wonder: Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? What does God want for me and my family?

We can see Joseph dealing with these questions too. First, he had to decide what to do about a fiancée who was carrying a child not his own. God cleared that question up by sending him an angel in a dream.

Then census time came, and Joseph and Mary had to decide whether she should travel during her last month of pregnancy. That must have been a tough one! And yet God seems to have left them to decide based on nothing more than their own reasoning and the guidance of the Bible (that passage in Micah 5 about the Messiah being born in Bethlehem may have come to mind).

God sent an angel again to guide Joseph when Jesus' life was in danger from an evil king. But when it came time to return home from Egypt, Joseph had to figure out where to take his young family. Was it back to Bethlehem or somewhere else? Here again, Joseph relied on human wisdom which God later confirmed in a dream.

It would be nice if God sent us all an angel when we faced difficult decisions. However, most of the time He leaves us to make choices based on careful thought and prayer, under the guidance of the Bible. If you are facing a major decision right now, don't be afraid! Ask the Lord to guide you, and put your trust in Him. If God the Father was willing to guide His own Son's caregivers this way, He will also guide you when you ask.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me wisdom and guide me to the choices You want me to make. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
This is the time of year when we think about change...

Devociones de Adviento de 30 de Diciembre de 2017 "Guía"



30 de Diciembre de 2017

Cuando [José] supo que Arquelao reinaba en Judea en lugar de su padre Herodes, tuvo temor de ir allá, pero en sueños fue advertido y se dirigió a la región de Galilea.
~ Mateo 2:22 (RVC)

En esta época del año solemos pensar en cambios, ya sea lo que queremos cambiar en nuestra vida, o los cambios que puedan sobrevenirnos en el nuevo año, queramos o no. También pensamos en las decisiones que tendremos que tomar, sean sobre trabajo, estudios, finanzas o salud. Y a menudo nos preguntamos: ¿es esto lo que debo hacer? ¿Qué quiere Dios para mí y mi familia?

José también se hizo esas preguntas. Primero tuvo que decidir qué hacer con su prometida, quien estaba embarazada pero no de él. Dios aclaró su pregunta enviándole un ángel en un sueño.

Luego vino el censo, y José y María tuvieron que decidir si debían viajar en el último mes del embarazo. ¡No debe haber sido nada fácil! Sin embargo, pareciera que Dios los dejó decidir guiados sólo por la razón y su Palabra (el pasaje de Miqueas 5, donde dice que el Mesías habría de nacer en Belén, pudo haber estado en sus mentes).

Otra vez Dios envió un ángel para que guiara a José, cuando la vida de Jesús estaba en peligro por causa de un rey malvado; pero cuando llegó el tiempo de regresar de Egipto, José tuvo que decidir a dónde volver. ¿A Belén, o a otro lugar? Una vez más, José confió en la sabiduría humana, que más tarde Dios confirmó en un sueño.

Sería lindo si Dios nos enviara un ángel cuando enfrentamos una decisión difícil. Sin embargo, la mayoría de las veces deja que elijamos luego de pensar bien, orar y seguir la guía de la Biblia. Si tienes que tomar una decisión importante, ¡no tengas miedo! Pídele al Señor que te guíe y confía en él. Si Dios el Padre estuvo dispuesto a guiar a quienes cuidaban a su propio Hijo, también te guiará a ti si se lo pides.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, dame sabiduría y guíame hacia las decisiones que tú quieres que tome. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
En esta época del año solemos pensar en cambios...

Notre Pain Quotidien - Des temps de contemplation

Des temps de contemplation

Lisez : Actes 14.21-28
La Bible en un an : Zacharie 13 – 14 ; Apocalypse 21

De là ils s’embarquèrent pour Antioche, d’où ils avaient été recommandés à la grâce de Dieu pour l’œuvre qu’ils venaient d’accomplir. (V. 26)

En fin d’année, le fardeau des tâches non terminées peut nous peser. Les responsabilités familiales et professionnelles peuvent nous sembler sans fin, et certaines débordent sur le lendemain. Il y a néanmoins des périodes dans notre marche de foi où nous devrions nous arrêter pour célébrer la fidélité de Dieu et les tâches accomplies.

Après leur premier voyage missionnaire, Paul et Barnabas « s’embarquèrent pour Antioche, d’où ils avaient été recommandés à la grâce de Dieu pour l’œuvre qu’ils venaient d’accomplir » (AC 14.26). Alors qu’ils avaient encore beaucoup à faire pour répandre le message de Jésus, ils ont pris le temps de remercier Dieu de tout ce qui était déjà accompli : « Après leur arrivée, ils convoquèrent l’Église, et ils racontèrent tout ce que Dieu avait fait avec eux, et comment il avait ouvert aux nations la porte de la foi » (V. 27).

Qu’est‑ce que Dieu a accompli par votre intermédiaire au cours de la dernière année ? Comment a‑t‑il ouvert la porte de la foi à quelqu’un que vous connaissez ou aimez ? De façon inimaginable, il œuvre par nous à des tâches qui peuvent sembler sans importance ou incomplètes.

Si nous sommes péniblement conscients des tâches laissées en suspens dans notre service à Dieu, n’oublions pas de le remercier pour les œuvres qu’il a accomplies par nous. Nous réjouir ainsi de ce que Dieu a accompli selon sa grâce préparera la voie à ce qui reste à venir.

Dieu est toujours à l’œuvre en nous et par nous.

par David C. McCasland

© 2017 Ministères NPQ
En fin d’année, le fardeau des tâches non terminées peut nous peser.