Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, January 20, 2018

“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?”
John 4:29

Daily Readings

Genesis 12:9-13:1
And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb. Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know well that you are a woman beautiful in appearance; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife' then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account." When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone." And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had. So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.

Hebrews 7:18-28
There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God. This was confirmed with an oath; for others who became priests took their office without an oath, but this one became a priest with an oath, because of the one who said to him, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever'"-- accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant. Furthermore, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

John 4:27-42
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or, "Why are you speaking with her?" Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor." Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world."

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.

Fabian, Bishop and Martyr of Rome

Today the church remembers Fabian, Bishop and Martyr of Rome, 250.

In 236, a virtually unknown Christian layman was elected Bishop of Rome. Countless legends have arisen to explain his surprising election. Besides being simply a layman and not a native of Rome, he seems to have carried no outstanding distinction as a scholar or leader. He turned out to be a first-rate bishop in this important diocese. He is reported to have been an efficient organizer and administrator. Not being particularly well-trained himself, he corresponded with Origen, Cyprian, and other knowledgeable Christians of Eastern Europe.

For fourteen years he faithfully and effectively guided the church in Rome. He dispatched some of the first missionaries to Gaul. Things seemed to be progressing remarkably for the Roman Church. Then, without warning, a severe persecution of Christians was initiated by a new emperor, Decius. Bishop Fabian was one of the first to die.

Fabian"s life is a bold reminder of how the calls of God and man come upon us unexpectedly, “like a thief in the night.” Fabian recognized his call and responded faithfully in his living and in his dying.

O Almighty God, who has called us to faith in you, and has surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Fabian, may persevere in running the race that is set before us. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, you called Fabian to be a faithful pastor and servant of your people, and to lay down his life in witness to your Son: Grant that we, strengthened by his example and aided by his prayers, may in times of trial and persecution remain steadfast in faith and endurance, for the sake of him who laid down his life for us all, Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Day for SATURDAY, January 20, 2018

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips praise you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and if there be any, return me to your path, and lead me in the way everlasting. All glory and praise be your now, and forever, Amen.
From Psalms 63 and 139

Verse of the Day for SATURDAY, January 20, 2018

James 1:2-3 (NIV) [Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Read all of James 1

Listen to James 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 Chaplain Kenny - Someone of Value

Someone of Value

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

When we think of the apostles, we think of holy men of God. And though they were gifted and dedicated, they also were ordinary. Jesus did not call these men because they were great; their greatness was the result of the call of Jesus.

A great writer can take an ordinary piece of paper, and with the addition of his or her words, it suddenly becomes extremely valuable. It wasn’t the paper that was valuable; it was what the writer put down on that paper. A great artist can take a canvas and paint, and suddenly it becomes a costly work of art because of what the artist did. It wasn’t the canvas that was valuable; it is what the artist painted on the canvas.

As believers, we recognize in ourselves that we are sinners separated from God. But let’s also recognize that when Christ came into our lives, He gave us value. He put His treasure in earthen vessels, or in jars of clay, which are our lives. As 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

With a new confidence and boldness, we have something to offer. It is not self-confidence; it is God-confidence. It is not self-esteem; it’s God-esteem. God graciously forgave us and took us into His kingdom, and now He has made us someone of value. In the same way, the apostles were valuable because of what Jesus did in their lives.

God wrote His name on you when you gave your life to Jesus Christ. He has given you gifts and abilities. He has invested Himself in you. That is where your value comes from. And that’s why you can make a difference.
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips praise you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and if there be any, return me to your path, and lead me in the way everlasting. All glory and praise be your now, and forever, Amen.
From Psalms 63 and 139
In Jesus,
Chaplain 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.
God has made you someone of value.

Un Dia a la Vez - Honra a tus padres

Honra a tus padres

Honra a tu padre y a tu madre [...] para que te vaya bien y disfrutes de una larga vida en la tierra.
~ Efesios 6:2-3 (NIV)

Si quieres alargar tu vida, debes honrar a tus padres. Honrar es respetar. Es fascinante saber que es un mandamiento establecido por Dios y es el primero que tiene una promesa a su lado. En nuestras palabras es bien sencillo: Si respetamos, o sea, honramos a papá y mamá, Dios nos garantiza que tendremos una larga vida. Y es tan profunda esta enseñanza que, desde que la conocí, hago lo mejor de mi parte para darles a mis padres todo mi respeto, amor y atención, aunque no viven conmigo en Estados Unidos.

¿Cuándo fue la última vez que atendiste a tu padre? ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que tuviste un detalle con tu madre? Sé que a menudo el rencor y el resentimiento acompañan el corazón de los hijos, pues en muchos casos esos padres fueron abusadores y fuertes con ellos. Nunca les dieron amor. Es más, nunca les dijeron que los amaban y, en la actualidad, esos corazones están endurecidos por la falta de perdón.

Hoy es el día de honrar a papá y mamá, sin importar lo que sucediera en el pasado. Tu obligación es vivir un principio, y si necesitas perdonarlos hoy, hazlo. Llámalos, escríbeles una carta para decirles lo importante que son para ti, y esto tendrá un hermoso fruto. Te sentirás libre y entonces podrás ser obediente al mandato de Dios. Y si alguno partió con el Señor, exprésalo mediante una oración.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS


…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The letter to the Hebrews was written to first century Jewish background believers who were being severely persecuted. Some were even considering giving up their faith in Jesus. The unknown author pens what many Bible scholars feel was originally a sermon about the superiority of Jesus over anyone else and everything else.

He slowly builds his case to culminate in the great faith chapter. In this chapter, he also points out that some great men and women of faith lived to see the fruit of their faith while many others—also men and women of faith—died prematurely because of persecution. Now in chapter twelve, the author makes what I think is his critical statement or main point of the letter.

How do we walk by faith? We walk by faith by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus! Not fixed on our problems or difficult environment of opposition. Jesus was the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He endured opposition to the point of crucifixion. So we follow His example and we will also patiently endure because of the joy we know that is yet to come.

In a communist country, a Christian girl named Viorica was beaten harshly in school because she had invited her schoolmates to church. She fainted during the beating, and an ambulance had to take her to hospital. Two days passed before she regained consciousness. When she did, the doctor at her bedside said, “You poor girl, at last you’ve opened your eyes. All this time I’ve been thinking of the cruelty of the director who beat you like this. My heart has been bitter with hatred. I wish I could take revenge on him.”

Viorica smiled. “There is no need to hate him,” she replied. Jesus taught us to love everyone. Just before I opened my eyes, I saw Him and talked to Him. He asked me whether it still hurts. And He told me that in heaven I will receive a very beautiful crown, which is reserved only for those who have suffered for Him. He told me to pray for those who mistreated me, and to love them, because our influence will help them to give their lives to God and so become His children.”

From the mouths of children! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!

RESPONSE: Today I will take my eyes off my surroundings, my problems, my fears and my suffering. I will keep them fixed on Jesus my Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You and in so doing bring glory and honor to You.

NIV Devotionals for Couples - When God Hides

When God Hides

Psalm 13:1–6

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
~ Psalm 13:1 (NIV)

There are benefits to pastoral ministry. Recently a woman wrote about how thrilled her family was to receive their green cards for permanent residency in this country. We had prayed consistently for this family and supported them through their many struggles and setbacks. Now she shared her joy with her church family.

Of course, pastoral ministry also has tough times. Once I stood with a newly married wife as her husband yelled at her, calling her every name possible. He ripped her house keys out of her hands. Later, he replaced the locks on their house and boarded up the windows to prevent her from getting back in.

The ups and downs of pastoral ministry are echoed in Psalm 13. Among the delights of praise, we hear a litany of despair. Where is God when one of us gets a bad report from the doctor? Where is God when a marriage breaks under the stress of unemployment? Where is God when a spouse dies?

One of the hardest challenges I’ve faced is finding God in loss. I remember sitting with a mother in a hospital, praying for the recovery of her daughter. The daughter had been married only a year. While delivering the woman’s baby, the doctor nicked something with his knife. Now the young woman was fighting for her life.

Her mother was inconsolable. When we prayed, she felt no peace. Within hours, her daughter was gone. After that, the mother stopped going to church. The young husband was angry and didn’t know how to care for his baby alone. Where was God?

That question is often asked in suffering or loss. And often the only answer appears to be silence. The promises of Scripture fade in the agony of sorrow. The Holy Spirit seems to withdraw from hearts that grow chilly. Where is God when airplanes crash? Where is God when a spouse is unfaithful? Where is God when a baby dies? Where is God?

Psalm 13 echoes those concerns. In verse 1, the psalmist David asks God, “How long will you hide your face from me?” But this isn’t the end of the psalm. Rather, the psalmist goes on to assure us that our God, who is enthroned on high, stoops low to see and hear and know us—even when we can’t see his face and his words are like a foreign language to us.

“I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation,” said David (Psalm 13:5). Likewise we continue to love and trust God, not for what we get out of it right now, but because it is the only way to make sense of this life. We trust in God, not because we always feel the wonder of his divine presence, but because there is truly no one else to turn to but God. And in time we will live to say, “He has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6).

Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk
  • What suffering have we known? How did it affect us? What was our relationship with God like at the time?
  • How do we know that God cares for us today? What would we say as a testimony if asked to share our stories?
  • What do we need from each other during stressful times? How can we best echo back to one another the confident testimonies of Psalm 13?

LHM Devotion - January 20, 2018 "Christmas Preparations"

Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Christmas Preparations"

Jan. 20, 2018

(Jesus said) "If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
~ John 15:18-19 (ESV)

This is the last of our Christmas devotions until next year. I promise.

Indeed, I thought I was done until I came across an article about Christmas in Egypt, which was celebrated on January 7th. Now you and I both know that when our churches remember the Savior's birth, it takes a lot of preparation. There's the Advent wreath and special sermons and services; the church decorations and parament changes; the children's Christmas worship service presentations. The list goes on.

Still, as extensive as our preparations were this year, they pale in comparison to those which were undertaken by our brothers and sisters in the land of the pharaohs. Amazingly, those plans were made by the government as well as the congregations.

Yes, I said the government was involved.

The official announcement said, "Holidays and vacations are canceled for security personnel and officers at all security directorates across the country." In effect, that statement meant that 230,000 security personnel had been called up to protect that country's 2,626 churches.

That's 230,000 security people.

Their most obvious job was to protect the congregations, but security also increased their proactive round up of terrorists. They tightened security measures at the borders and showed a more obvious presence at tourism sites.

And the churches? They also made their Christmas preparations.

Unlike most of our congregations, Christmas preparations for an Egyptian congregation included adding more closed-circuit television cameras and installing metal detector systems to screen everyone who was coming to worship.

It is an amazing thing that so many people in every generation feel it their duty to violently persecute the followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. When the Savior was born, His ruler tried to have Him murdered; His hometown friends tried to kill Him, and His own church orchestrated His murder.

In the centuries since the Savior's death and resurrection, things have not improved. The Romans did their bit, as did the great, ancient nations of Asia. And today? This past November, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Christianity is "the most persecuted religion in the world." In the Middle East, one-half to two-thirds of Christians have been murdered or fled their countries.

Those are the facts. This is why I would suggest that each of us, when we begin our Christmas preparations next year, spend a bit of time remembering those whose festival is not tinsel and toys, presents and packages. Let us ask the Lord to preserve the Savior's followers who are hated and persecuted because our Lord of life is hated.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world still hates the Savior and those who follow Him. Grant that the Holy Spirit may preserve all those who have been called to faith in the Prince of Peace. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
This is the last of our Christmas devotions until next year. I promise.

Хлеб наш насущный - Помощь моя

Помощь моя

Читать сейчас: Псалом 120
Библия за год: Бытие 49-50; Матфея 13:31-58
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Помощь моя от Господа, сотворившего небо и землю.

Всемирно известный хор Бруклинской скинии многие годы служил благословением для христиан. Пение хористов освежает душу и касается сердца. Одна песня из их репертуара написана на основании Псалма 120 и называется «Помощь моя».

Этот Псалом начинается с исповедания веры в Господа, Который сотворил мир и является источником помощи для псалмопевца (Пс. 120:1-2). В чем заключается эта помощь? В поддержке (Пс. 120:3), повседневной заботе (Пс. 120:3-4), постоянном присутствии и защите (Пс. 120:5-6), а также в охране от всякого зла (Пс. 120:7-8).

Божий народ многие века на основании Библии воспевал Господа как источник помощи. Среди многих песен мне особенно нравится петь вместе с церковью трогательные слова гимна Чарльза Уэсли:

Отец, к Тебе протягиваю руки,
Других помощников не знаю на земле.
С Тобой одним не ведаю разлуки;
С Тобой иду уверенно во мгле.

Вы чувствуете себя одиноким, оставленным, забытым? Перечитайте Псалом 120. Пусть эти слова наполнят ваше сердце верой и мужеством. Вы не одиноки. Не пытайтесь справиться с жизнью своими силами. Лучше радуйтесь вечной заботе Бога, которая так ярко проявилась в жизни, смерти, воскресении и вознесении Господа Иисуса Христа. И каким бы ни был следующий шаг, делайте его с Божьей помощью.
Небесный Отец, мы благодарны, что Библия и многие духовные песни напоминают нам о Твоей помощи. Помоги никогда об этом не забывать.
Создатель вселенной – помощник Божьего народа!

автор: Артур Джексон

© 2018 Хлеб Наш Насущный
Всемирно известный хор Бруклинской скинии многие годы служил благословением для христиан.