Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, January 6, 2018 - The Feast of the Epiphany

The Visit of the Wise Men
Matthew 2:1-12
Daily Readings

Isaiah 60:1-6
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Deus, judicium
1   Give the King your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the King's son;
2   That he may rule your people righteously
and the poor with justice.
3   That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,
and the little hills bring righteousness.
4   He shall defend the needy among the people;
he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
5   He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure,
from one generation to another.
6   He shall come down like rain upon the mown field,
like showers that water the earth.
7   In his time shall the righteous flourish;
there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
10   The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute,
and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
11   All kings shall bow down before him,
and all the nations do him service.
12   For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress,
and the oppressed who has no helper.
13   He shall have pity on the lowly and poor;
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
14   He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence,
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.

Ephesians 3:1-12
This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- for surely you have already heard of the commission of God's grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God's grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'" Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

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.

The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Adoration of the Magi
by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 17th century
The Feast of the Epiphany

Today the church remembers The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the course of time the Lordship of Christ was revealed to various people. The "Wise Men from the East" observed his star and were guided to his cradle where they worshiped him as a newborn king. When John baptized him in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended "as a dove" and a voice from heaven proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." At a wedding feast at Cana his embarrassed host was amazed when Jesus turned water into wine. He revealed himself to his disciples, and through their witness the knowledge of him spread. As the church grew, its witness to him was formalized in the sacraments and the canonical scriptures. In the Epiphany season we remember these events and the expanding revelation and manifestation of Christ to the world. We pray for the continuing growth of his kingdom until "the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea."

In the ancient Eastern Church, January 6 was observed as the feast of the Nativity, Christmas. The Eve of Epiphany is still observed in some places as the "Twelfth Night" of Christmas and the conclusion of the nativity season.

O God, lead all peoples of the earth to know your only Son now by faith, and in the world to come to see him in the splendor of his glory. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Day for SATURDAY, January 6, 2018 - The Feast of the Epiphany

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, January 6, 2018

1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)[Be Holy] Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

Read all of 1 Peter 1

Listen to 1 Peter 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 - God on Earth

God on Earth

Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
~ John 7:43 (NIV)

“There are two kinds of people,” begins a standard quip, “Those who _____ and those who ______ .” I remember my first philosophy lecture in college, when the professor stood up in front of the class and said — he was something of a joker — “There are two kinds of people.” We looked to him with full attention, pencils poised to write down our first note on philosophy. He waited four full seconds. “Crumplers, and folders.”

He successfully broke the anxiety of a room full of freshmen; he was a terrific professor. But as we know, there really is one and only one important division among human beings: Those who believe that God made Himself manifest on earth as a human being, 2000 years ago, and those who do not. This is a division for all eternity, for those who realize the truth of the Bible will live with God for all eternity, and those who do not, will not.

Here is the five-dollar word for today: theophany. “Theophany” is a generic term that means the appearance of God, or a god, to humanity. There are many recounted in the Bible: The three men who visit Abraham; the burning bush speaking to Moses; the flash of light and voice that converted Paul on the road to Damascus. But there is one so important that all others dim in comparison, which we celebrate today: the coming of God to walk among us a human being, emptied of much of His divine power so that He might live and suffer, and ultimately die, just like one of us.

Let us take a minute just to think about how extraordinary the theophany of God as Christ was. We tend to take the event for granted, as a starting point — something that we grow towards and struggle with, but something that is a “given” in our lives. Our attitude towards Christ is like a child to his or her parents, taking their existence for granted. It is not until we mature that we consider how wonderful it was, that they existed and loved us so much; we are not mature until we understand that they did not have to exist, that they did not have to give us all the attention and effort and time they spent on us.

So let us remember, today, that Christ came to us to suffer as a volunteer, out of love. Let us not take Him for granted. He was the greatest gift of all time; a gift without parallel. And no greater love can any person or being have than this: to give His life for those He loves. (John 15:13)
Lord Christ, let me never take your life and sacrifice for grants, but always appreciate fully your love in coming to us. Amen.
In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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

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 two kinds of people,” begins a standard quip, “Those who...

Un Dia a la Vez - Tus pensamientos se volverán hechos

Tus pensamientos se volverán hechos

La mentalidad pecaminosa es muerte, mientras que la mentalidad que proviene del Espíritu es vida y paz.
~ Romanos 8:6 (NVI)

Muchas veces pensé y confesé cosas que se hicieron realidad en mi vida. Cosas buenas y cosas no tan buenas. Y esto lo podemos aplicar de dos maneras: pensamientos que agradan a Dios y que nos recuerdan sus promesas, o pensamientos que por lo contrario nos alejan de Él.

No todos los pensamientos vienen de Dios y no todas las cosas malas vienen del enemigo. No obstante, nosotros decidimos qué clase de pensamientos permitimos que vengan a nuestra mente.

A la mente la he comparado con una pista de un aeropuerto. Todo el día llegan pensamientos positivos y negativos. Entonces, ¿qué pensamientos dejamos que aterricen? ¡La decisión es nuestra!

Hacer el ejercicio de sustituir un pensamiento negativo por uno positivo te va a llevar a descartar con facilidad las cosas que te preocupan y que te roban la paz con mucha naturalidad.

Por eso dice el Manual de Instrucciones que debemos llevar cautivos todos nuestros pensamientos a la obediencia de Cristo.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THREE FOLD PREPARATION


Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

In the 1980’s, an Open Doors co-worker visited Pastor Tu in Vietnam—leader of the fastest growing house church network at that time. It was reported to the pastor by a member of his house church that the authorities were threatening to imprison him. Pastor Tu told our colleague, “I know it is coming. I have prepared my people for my imprisonment. I am ready for prison.”

Shortly after that, Pastor Tu did spend three years in prison. When he was released, he found his house church network had grown three hundred per cent in his absence.

I received a Christmas card from him the following year that read: “…God greatly gives our church 20,203 more new believers this year. Hallelujah!”

The pastor’s comment to our colleague reveals three areas of preparation for coming storms:

· Intellectually – “I know it is coming.”

· Practically – “I have prepared my people for my imprisonment.”

· Spiritually – “I am ready for prison.”

1. Preparation intellectually involves:

- understanding what the Bible teaches about persecution

- understanding what is God’s purpose in persecution

2. Preparation practically involves:

- practicing the do’s and dont’s so not to invite persecution unnecessarily

- knowing what programs and forms to undertake so the church can continue to function under pressure and persecution

- knowing your rights as a citizen (Acts 22 & 25)

3. Preparation spiritually involves:

- engaging in activities that stress the importance of fighting the spiritual battle

RESPONSE: Today I will prepare intellectually, practically and spiritually for any coming storms.

PRAYER: Pray that Christians in all restricted countries will understand these three aspects of the spiritual battle and preparation.

NIV Devotionals 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 - January 6, 2018 "LOOK! LOOK!"

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries


January 6, 2018

(The Lord said) "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? ..."
~ Isaiah 43:19a (ESV)

Have you ever been to the beach or a public swimming pool? Children are everywhere, jumping into the water, diving, doing somersaults. And constantly you hear, "Look at me, Mommy, Daddy! I'm doing something new! Watch me do it!"

We may smile at their urgency, but God, too, says the same thing to us: "Look, listen! I am doing a new thing! Pay attention, it's important!" Because the new thing here is what He is doing for us in Jesus Christ our Savior, and He is doing it in front of all nations.

If you have studied other religions or mythology, think back on what you learned. There are plenty of stories of wandering gods who come to earth for a while and bless or punish before they leave again. But the true God does not come in disguise, for a short time-He comes as a real human being, a baby born to a young mother. He does not stay only for a short while; He spends His life with us. And He does not leave us-He promises to remain with us forever, God-with-us.

Think again. Plenty of worshippers have died for their gods, even as human sacrifices. But where was there ever a god like ours, the God who laid down His own life for those who love Him? More than that, He died even for His enemies! What god does that sort of thing-to make Himself a sacrifice? Only the true God. Only Jesus.

Think once more. Death is the enemy of the human race-an enemy no one can fight or avoid forever. But God has done a new thing-He has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, never to die again. What other god has done anything like that in all the stories and fables? But wait, there's more. What god has ever promised to share everlasting life with everyone who trusts in Him? Only the true God. Only Jesus.

Look, look indeed! God is doing a new thing. God is working our salvation in Jesus in the sight of all nations.

THE PRAYER: Father, thank You for the wonders You have done to save us in Your Son Jesus! Please let people around the world know Him and trust in Him. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Have you ever been to the beach or a public swimming pool?

Devociones de Adviento del 06 de enero de 2018 "¡Mira, mira!"


"¡Mira, mira!"

6 de Enero de 2018

Fíjense en que yo hago algo nuevo, que pronto saldrá a la luz. ¿Acaso no lo saben?

Si alguna vez has estado en una playa o alberca o piscina pública, habrás notado que los niños andan corriendo por todas partes, saltando al agua, tirándose de cabeza, haciendo todo tipo de piruetas, y una y otra vez diciendo: "Mira, mami", o "mira, papi", "aprendí a hacer algo nuevo".

En el versículo para hoy, Dios nos dice lo mismo: "¡Mira, escucha! ¡Estoy haciendo algo nuevo! ¡Presta atención, es importante!", refiriéndose a lo que está haciendo por cada uno de nosotros en Jesucristo, nuestro salvador. Y lo está haciendo a la vista de todas las naciones.

De la mitología y otras religiones hemos aprendido historias de dioses deambulantes que vinieron a la tierra por un tiempo y bendijeron o castigaron, antes de irse nuevamente. Pero el verdadero Dios no viene de incógnito por un breve tiempo, sino que viene como un ser humano real, un niño nacido de una joven. El verdadero Dios no se queda aquí por un tiempo breve, sino que pasa su vida con nosotros y no nos abandona, sino que promete acompañarnos siempre: Dios con nosotros.

Muchos seguidores han muerto por sus dioses, incluso como sacrificios humanos. Pero, ¿cuándo hubo un dios como el nuestro, el Dios que dio su vida por quienes le amamos y aun por sus enemigos? ¿Qué dios se sacrifica a sí mismo? Sólo Jesucristo, el verdadero Dios.

La muerte es el enemigo número uno de la raza humana, un enemigo que nadie puede vencer o evitar. Pero Dios ha hecho algo nuevo: ha resucitado a Jesucristo de los muertos para siempre. ¿Conoces algún otro dios que haya hecho algo así? Más aún. ¿Conoces algún dios que haya prometido compartir la vida eterna con todas las personas que confíen en él? Sólo Jesucristo, el verdadero Dios.

¡Mira, no te lo pierdas! Dios está haciendo algo nuevo: está obrando nuestra salvación en Jesús a la vista de todas las naciones.

ORACIÓN: Padre, gracias por las maravillas que has hecho al salvarnos a través de tu hijo Jesús. Ayúdame a compartir esta noticia con quienes me rodean, para que más personas puedan conocerte y confiar en ti hasta la eternidad. Amén.

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

Хлеб наш насущный - Дары волхвов

Дары волхвов

Читать сейчас: Матфея 2:1-12
Библия за год: Бытие 16-17; Матфея 5:27-48

Мы видели звезду Его на востоке и пришли поклониться Ему.

У Джима и Деллы, молодой супружеской пары, было больше любви, чем денег. Приближалось Рождество, и обоим хотелось подарить друг другу что-то особенное. В сочельник Делла продала свои роскошные, до колен, волосы. Она решила купить Джиму платиновую цепочку для часов, которые достались ему по наследству от отца и деда. А Джим продал эти самые часы, чтобы купить набор черепаховых гребней для Деллы.

О. Генри, автор этого рассказа, назвал свое произведение «Дары волхвов». Подарки молодых супругов оказались в результате бесполезными, а поступки, может быть, выглядели неразумными. Но любовь причислила их к самым мудрым из дарителей.

Волхвы из рождественской истории тоже могли показаться не вполне разумными, когда пришли в Вифлеем с золотом, ладаном и смирной (Мф. 2:11). Пришельцы из далекой страны, они, вероятно, и не подозревали, какое смятение произведут в Иерусалиме своими расспросами о новорожденном иудейском Царе (Мф. 2:2).

Как и в случае с Джимом и Деллой, дела у волхвов пошли не так, как они ожидали. Но они принесли в дар то, что нельзя купить за деньги. Они поклонились Спасителю мира, Который впоследствии принес наибольшую жертву ради них и ради нас.
Небесный Отец, помоги нам различать, что является по-настоящему ценным, и искать того, что нельзя купить за деньги.
Божья благодать бесценна.

автор: Мартин де Гаан

© 2018 Хлеб Наш Насущный
У Джима и Деллы, молодой супружеской пары, было больше любви, чем денег. Приближалось Рождество, и обоим хотелось подарить друг другу что-то особенное.