Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for TUESDAY, December 31, 2019 — 7th Day of Christmas

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/revised-common-lectionary-semicontinuous/2019/12/31?version=NRSV

The Daily Lectionary
TUESDAY, December 31, 2019 — 7th Day of Christmas
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

(Answer us when we call)
Prayer for Victory
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1  The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
     The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2  May he send you help from the sanctuary,
     and give you support from Zion.
3  May he remember all your offerings,
     and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.   Selah

4  May he grant you your heart’s desire,
     and fulfill all your plans.
5  May we shout for joy over your victory,
     and in the name of our God set up our banners.
   May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

6  Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
     he will answer him from his holy heaven
     with mighty victories by his right hand.
7  Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
     but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8  They will collapse and fall,
     but we shall rise and stand upright.

9  Give victory to the king, O Lord;
     answer us when we call.


(God grants a discerning mind)
3:5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”


(I am the light)
Jesus the Light of the World
8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 13 Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18 I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” 19 Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.

The Daily Lectionary is a three year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest on what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
The Daily Lectionary for TUESDAY, December 31, 2019 — 7th Day of Christmas
Psalm 20; 1 Kings 3:5-14; John 8:12-19

The Daily Prayer for TUESDAY, December 31, 2019


The Daily Prayer
TUESDAY, December 31, 2019

Freedom’s Eve

Established in African-American communities on December 31, 1862, Freedom’s Eve is a gathering to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation becoming law. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederate States were proclaimed free. Since that date 157 years ago, African-Americans have celebrated the good news of freedom in local churches on New Year’s Eve. Like the slaves who first gathered while the Civil War raged on, we proclaim freedom for all captives in Jesus’ name, knowing that for millions, freedom is not a reality. Our celebration is a commitment to join modern-day slaves and undocumented workers in their struggle for justice.

Writing about the first Freedom’s Eve, Booker T. Washington said, “As the great day grew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. True, they had sung those same verses before, but they had been careful to explain that the ‘freedom’ in these songs referred to the next world, and had no connection with life in this world. Now they gradually threw off the mask; and were not afraid to let it be known that the ‘freedom’ in their songs meant freedom of the body in this world.”

Lord, we know that freedom will prevail because you are already victorious. Help us never lose hope, never stop celebrating your victory, and never stop walking alongside those who struggle to see this freedom come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Verse of the Day for TUESDAY, December 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/verse-of-the-day/2019/12/31?version=NIV

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19
This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, […] “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Read all of Isaiah 43

Listen to Isaiah 43

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Martes 31 de Diciembre de 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/12/31

Oración por un nuevo comienzo

Nuestra boca se llenó de risas; nuestra lengua, de canciones jubilosas [...] Sí, el Señor ha hecho grandes cosas por nosotros, y eso nos llena de alegría.
Salmo 126:2-3 (NVI)

Señor Jesús, solo pueden salir de mis labios palabras de agradecimiento por todo lo poderoso que has sido con nosotros en este año. En cada momento de mi vida estuviste a mi lado escuchando mi necesidad. Fuiste mi socorro en tiempos de angustia.

Gracias porque me ayudaste a que muchas de mis peticiones se hicieran realidad. Te agradezco también que me llenaras de valentía cuando pensaba que no sería capaz de salir adelante.

Te amo con todo con mi corazón y, a partir de hoy, entrego en tus manos mi vida, mi salud, mi economía, mi familia, mi trabajo y todos los anhelos profundos de mi corazón que ya tú conoces.

Guárdame, mi Dios, y acompáñame en mi entrar y en mi salir.

En el nombre de Jesús te lo pido, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Gracias porque me ayudaste a que muchas de mis peticiones se hicieran realidad.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/12/31
STAND STRONG THROUGH ALL STORMS

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither…
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

Concluding Thoughts:

1. Ours is the Kingdom. No matter what setbacks we see or experience, in the end the Kingdom will revert to our Lord and we will reign with Him.

2. Ours is the victory through dying and living again – victory through being able to drink the cup of evil and injustice poured out and not being consumed by it.

3. Ours is the responsibility of caring for our suffering brethren, especially converts and those in countries more restrictive and repressive than ours.

4. Ours is the responsibility of reaching those who still sit in darkness.

5. Ours are the lives that should manifest purity and Christlikeness.

6. Ours are the hearts that should be willing to pay the price to bring peace and understanding among men and between men and God. Hearts willing to be proactive. Hearts willing to stand at the end of the day and having done all; stand.

7. Ours is the challenge to stand strong through all the storms we face and come through the fire refined and purified to walk the way of the cross before a dying world.

RESPONSE: Today I will accept the challenge to stand strong through all the storms I may face!

PRAYER: Pray for Christians living in severe persecution areas that refined and purified, they may experience all of the victory which is available through Christ.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions - December 31, 2019 - TREASURED

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20191231

"TREASURED"

Dec. 31, 2019

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this Child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Luke 2:17-19 (ESV)

A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning out the top drawer of my dresser, looking for my son's Social Security card. It was amazing what we found: report cards from first grade; baby teeth, carefully kept; a birthday candle (age 3); a silver teething ring. And of course, there were any number of "Do you remember?" conversations that night.

Parents treasure things related to their children, and Mary was no exception. In her case, she treasured less tangible things—what Gabriel said when he told her she would bear a Son; the shepherds' story and the angels' song; the sights and sounds of Jesus' birthplace. Many years later, she would share these stories with other Christian believers, and they found their way into the Gospels.

Why do we treasure these things—these objects, these stories? Probably because they are the only way we can hold on to the people we love. Children grow up and go out into the world; friends and relatives grow old and die. We suffer loss. And so we treasure the links we still have to those we love. It is the best we can do.

But God can do better than that—and He does. There was a time when God faced losing us, the people He created and loved. And it wasn't just to the ordinary process of growing up, but to something worse, to death and hell. Faced with that, God took action. He came into the world as our Savior Jesus. He fought the powers of death and the devil for our sake. And He rose victorious from death three days later, with the prize He wanted firmly grasped in His hands. We are that treasure.

Because of Jesus, God doesn't have to treasure objects or stories related to us. He treasures us directly and forever, as His own children.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for treasuring us and making us Your own forever. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • What is one object or story you treasure about someone you love?
  • Why is it so valuable to you?
  • What does it mean to you, that God treasures you?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
What is one object or story you treasure about someone you love?

CPTLN devocional del 31 de Diciembre de 2019 - Atesorados


ADVIENTO—NAVIDAD 2019

Atesorados

31 de Diciembre de 2019

Al ver al niño, contaron lo que se les había dicho acerca de él. Todos los que estaban escuchando quedaron asombrados de lo que decían los pastores, pero María guardaba todo esto en su corazón, y meditaba acerca de ello.
Lucas 2:17-19 (RVC)

Los padres atesoramos las cosas relacionadas con nuestros hijos. María no fue la excepción. Ella atesoró lo que Gabriel le dijo cuando le explicó que iba a tener un Hijo; la historia de los pastores y la canción de los ángeles; las escenas y los sonidos del lugar de nacimiento de Jesús. Muchos años después, ella compartiría estas historias con otros creyentes cristianos, y serían incorporadas en los Evangelios.

¿Por qué atesoramos estas cosas? Probablemente porque son la única forma en que podemos aferrarnos a las personas que amamos. Los niños crecen y salen al mundo; nuestros amigos y parientes envejecen y mueren. Sufrimos pérdidas. Y así atesoramos los vínculos que aún tenemos con aquellos a quienes amamos. Es lo mejor que podemos hacer.

Pero Dios puede hacer mejor que eso, y lo hace. Hubo un momento en que Dios se enfrentó con la realidad de poder perdernos, a nosotros, a quienes creó y amó. Y no fue solo por el proceso normal de crecer, sino por algo peor: la muerte y el infierno. Ante eso, Dios tomó medidas. Él vino al mundo como nuestro Salvador Jesús. Luchó contra los poderes de la muerte y el diablo para nuestro bien, y resucitó victorioso de la muerte tres días después con el premio firmemente aferrado en sus manos. Nosotros somos ese tesoro.

Gracias a Jesús, Dios no tiene que atesorar objetos o historias relacionadas con nosotros. Nos atesora directamente y para siempre como sus propios hijos.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, gracias por atesorarnos y hacernos tuyos para siempre. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Qué objeto o historia atesoras de alguien que amas?
  • ¿Qué significa para ti que Dios te atesore?

© Copyright 2019 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. ¡Utilice estas devociones en sus boletines! Usado con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados por la Int'l LLL.
¿Qué objeto o historia atesoras de alguien que amas?

Nuestro Pan Diario - Fruto hermoso

https://nuestropandiario.org/2019/12/31/fruto-hermoso

Fruto hermoso

La escritura de hoy: Lucas 8:4-8, 11-15
La Biblia en un año: Malaquías 1–4; Apocalipsis 22

… La semilla es la palabra de Dios. —Lucas 8:11

«Los niños deberían poder arrojar una semilla donde quieran [en el jardín] y ver qué sale», sugiere Rebecca Lemos-Otero, fundadora de City Blossoms. Aunque no es una pauta sobre jardinería, refleja la realidad de que cada semilla tiene potencial de producir vida. Desde 2004, esta organización ha hecho jardines en escuelas y zonas de bajos recursos. Mediante la jardinería, los niños aprenden sobre nutrición y desarrollan habilidades para trabajar. Rebecca dice: «Tener un espacio verde lleno de vida en una zona urbana […] permite que los niños estén afuera haciendo algo productivo y hermoso».

Jesús relató una historia sobre esparcir una semilla que tenía el potencial de producir «a ciento por uno» (Lucas 8:8). Esa semilla era la buena noticia de Dios plantada en «buena tierra»; es decir, en «los que con corazón bueno y recto retienen la palabra oída, y dan fruto con perseverancia» (v. 15).

Jesús señaló que la única forma de ser fructíferos es manteniéndonos conectados a Él (Juan 15:4). Al aprender de Cristo y aferrarnos a Él, el Espíritu produce en nosotros el fruto de «amor, gozo, paz, paciencia, benignidad, bondad, fe, mansedumbre [y] templanza» (Gálatas 5:22-23). Mediante este fruto en nosotros, puede transformar a otros y volverlos fructíferos también.

De:  Anne Cetas

Reflexiona y ora
Padre, quiero dar fruto para guiar a otros a ti.
¿Cómo te mantienes conectado a Cristo? ¿Qué fruto quieres que Él produzca en ti?

© 2019 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario
«Los niños deberían poder arrojar una semilla donde quieran [en el jardín] y ver qué sale», sugiere Rebecca Lemos-Otero, fundadora de City Blossoms.

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for MONDAY, December 30, 2019 — 6th Day of Christmas

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/revised-common-lectionary-semicontinuous/2019/12/30?version=NRSV

The Daily Lectionary
MONDAY, December 30, 2019 — 6th Day of Christmas
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

(Answer us when we call)
Prayer for Victory
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1  The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
     The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2  May he send you help from the sanctuary,
     and give you support from Zion.
3  May he remember all your offerings,
     and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.   Selah

4  May he grant you your heart’s desire,
     and fulfill all your plans.
5  May we shout for joy over your victory,
     and in the name of our God set up our banners.
   May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

6  Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
     he will answer him from his holy heaven
     with mighty victories by his right hand.
7  Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
     but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8  They will collapse and fall,
     but we shall rise and stand upright.

9  Give victory to the king, O Lord;
     answer us when we call.

(Trust in God forever)
Judah’s Song of Victory
1  On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
   We have a strong city;
     he sets up victory
     like walls and bulwarks.
2  Open the gates,
     so that the righteous nation that keeps faith
     may enter in.
3  Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
     in peace because they trust in you.
4  Trust in the Lord forever,
     for in the Lord God
     you have an everlasting rock.
5  For he has brought low
     the inhabitants of the height;
     the lofty city he lays low.
   He lays it low to the ground,
     casts it to the dust.
6  The foot tramples it,
     the feet of the poor,
     the steps of the needy.

7  The way of the righteous is level;
     O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous.
8  In the path of your judgments,
     O Lord, we wait for you;
   your name and your renown
     are the soul’s desire.
9  My soul yearns for you in the night,
     my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
   For when your judgments are in the earth,
     the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

(The temporary and the eternal)
Living by Faith
4:16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.

The Daily Lectionary is a three year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest on what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
The Daily Lectionary for MONDAY, December 30, 2019 — 6th Day of Christmas
Psalm 20; Isaiah 26:1-9; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The Daily Prayer for MONDAY, December 30, 2019


The Daily Prayer
MONDAY, December 30, 2019

Fourth-century preacher John Chrysostom said, “This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good. For nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors.”

Lord, make us a refuge to the poor. Help us prepare a feast for the hungry. Teach us to wipe away the tears of those who mourn, even as you shelter us, feed us, and wipe away our tears. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, December 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/verse-of-the-day/2019/12/30?version=NIV

John 16:33
(Jesus said,) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Read all of John 16

Listen to John 16

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Lunes 30 de Diciembre de 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/12/30

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 (RVR1960)

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
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.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Monday, December 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/today
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.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions - December 30, 2019 - DRAGGING FEET?

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20191230

"DRAGGING FEET?"

Dec. 30, 2019

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Luke 2:15-16 (ESV)

When I was a child, almost every day I would hear these words: "Hurry up! You're going to be late! Are you a turtle? Get down here right now!"

Those words did not inspire me with joy, to say the least. They meant I was about to get in trouble. They meant the speaker was mad at me. And so I was even less willing to hurry up, because doing that would only mean I got to be around an angry adult that much faster.

But nobody had to hurry up the shepherds in this story. "They went with haste" to Bethlehem, the story says. They hurried themselves up. They were looking forward to getting to their goal—finding the baby Jesus that God had told them about. And when they saw Him, they were happy.

It's still like that for us now, isn't it? Tell us to "hurry up" to something unpleasant and it's just not happening. Our feet may move quickly, but our hearts stay behind. But give us a reason to move—a party, a new movie, an all-you-can-eat buffet—and it's amazing how quickly everyone takes off. The house is empty in seconds.

God knows this about us. And so He calls us to Him with love and mercy, not with anger and threats. Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

In another place He says, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'" (John 7:37-38).

You are wanted by God—deeply, truly wanted. He calls you to Him. He is not planning to scold or punish you when you get there. Instead, He is giving you a Gift—the best gift of all—our Savior Jesus, to be your own.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, bring me to You with trust and joy, to receive Your blessings. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • Are you the kind of person who is always late or always early?
  • What motivates you to get somewhere as quickly as possible?
  • If Jesus appeared to you visibly today, would you run to Him, walk, or stand still? Why?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Are you the kind of person who is always late or always early?

CPTLN devocional del 30 de Diciembre de 2019 - ¿Arrastrando los pies?


ADVIENTO—NAVIDAD 2019

¿Arrastrando los pies?

30 de Diciembre de 2019

Cuando los ángeles volvieron al cielo, los pastores se dijeron unos a otros: "Vayamos a Belén, y veamos esto que ha sucedido, y que el Señor nos ha dado a conocer." Así que fueron de prisa, y hallaron a María y a José, y el niño estaba acostado en el pesebre.
Lucas 2:15-16 (RVC)

Cuando era niña, casi todos los días escuchaba estas palabras: "¡Date prisa! ¡Vas a llegar tarde! ¡Eres más lenta que una tortuga! ¡Ven aquí ahora mismo!"

Pero en esta historia nadie tuvo que apurar a los pastores. "Fueron de prisa" a Belén, dice la historia. Se apresuraron a ir. Esperaban llegar a su meta: encontrar al niño Jesús, de quien Dios les había hablado. Y cuando lo vieron, se llenaron de felicidad.

Todavía es así para nosotros ahora, ¿verdad? Si nos dicen que vayamos "de prisa" hacia algo desagradable, no queremos movernos. Nuestros pies pueden moverse rápidamente, pero nuestros corazones se quedan atrás. Pero si nos dan una razón para movernos, como una fiesta, una nueva película, un buffet con todo lo que uno pueda comer, es sorprendente lo rápido que vamos. La casa queda vacía en segundos.

Dios sabe esto de nosotros. Por eso es que nos llama con amor y misericordia, no con ira y amenazas. Jesús dice: "Vengan a mí todos ustedes, los agotados de tanto trabajar, que yo los haré descansar" (Mateo 11:28).

Y en otro lugar dice: "Si alguno tiene sed, venga a mí y beba. Del interior del que cree en mí, correrán ríos de agua viva, como dice la Escritura" (Juan 7:37-38).

Dios te ama profunda y verdaderamente. Él te llama, pero no para regañarte o castigarte, sino para darte un regalo, el mejor regalo de todos: nuestro Salvador Jesús, para que sea tuyo.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, acércame a ti con confianza y alegría para recibir tus bendiciones. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Qué te motiva a llegar lo más rápido posible a algún lugar?
  • Si Jesús se te apareciera hoy, ¿correrías hacia él, caminarías o te quedarías quieto? ¿Por qué?

© Copyright 2019 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. ¡Utilice estas devociones en sus boletines! Usado con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados por la Int'l LLL.
¿Qué te motiva a llegar lo más rápido posible a algún lugar?

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une lacune intentionnelle

https://notrepainquotidien.org/2019/12/30/une-lacune-intentionnelle/

Une lacune intentionnelle


Mais vous ne regardez pas vers celui qui a voulu ces choses.

Une source naturelle jaillit à l’est de Jérusalem. Dans l’Antiquité, c’était la seule source d’approvisionnement en eau de la ville et elle était située à l’extérieur des remparts. C’était donc le point le plus vulnérable de Jérusalem. En effet, en détournant ou en endiguant cette source, un ennemi pouvait forcer la ville, autrement imprenable, à se rendre.

Inquiet de cette faiblesse, le roi Ézéchias a fait bâtir un aqueduc dans 535 mètres de roc pour relier le ruisseau à la ville, où il se déverserait dans « l’étang » (voir 2 R 20.20 ; 2 CH 32.2-4). Reste qu’il est écrit ceci au sujet d’Ézéchias et des habitants de Jérusalem : « Mais vous ne regardez pas vers celui qui a voulu ces choses » (ÉS 22.11). Voulu quoi ?

Dieu a lui-même « voulu » que la source d’eau de Jérusalem soit sans protection. Cette source hors des murailles constituait un rappel constant du fait que les habitants de la ville ne devaient compter que sur elle pour leur salut.

Se peut-il que nos faiblesses existent pour notre bien ? En effet, l’apôtre Paul a dit qu’il se glorifiait dans ses limites, car c’était dans sa faiblesse que Jésus manifestait sa beauté et sa puissance en lui (2 CO 12.9,10). Pouvons-nous donc considérer chacune de nos limites comme un don qui révèle Dieu comme étant notre force ?

Nos faiblesses existent pour que se révèle en nous la puissance de Dieu.


© 2019 Ministères NPQ
Cette source hors des murailles constituait un rappel constant du fait que les habitants de la ville ne devaient compter que sur elle pour leur salut.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, December 29, 2019 — 1st Sunday after Christmas—5th Day of Christmas

The Escape to Egypt

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, January 5, 2020 — 1st Sunday after Christmas
5th Day of Christmas
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23



Opening Statement
The psalmist puts it well: "Hallelujah! Praise God from the heavens, praise God in the heights! Praise God, all you angels; praise God, all you multitudes in heaven! ... Young men and women alike, old and young together! Let them praise the name of God, for God's name alone is exalted" (Psalm 148:1-2, 12-13a, The New Testament and Psalms, an Inclusive Version). What better words to welcome the Prince of Peace, the Holy One of God? Praise for all creation! Praise for God come among us! Praise in the carols we sing throughout this Christmas season!

Opening Prayer (Psalm 148)
Holy Creator, loving God, we thank you for the special gift of your child Jesus. Generous Creator, giving God, with the moon and stars, and all that lives, we join in praise and thanks! Amen.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Matthew 2)
Like King Herod before us, we hunt down that which threatens our way of life, and we want to kill. When we feel tricked by those who outsmart us, we fly into a rage and want to destroy that which threatens us. Forgive us, O God. Give us sight and insight to set aside our fragile egos, and to flee into your loving and protective arms, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Words of Assurance
Release the burdens of the past. Relinquish control from that which is only in God’s hands. Allow the peace of God to dwell in you. You are forgiven. Accept the gift. Relax in the warmth of God’s embrace.

Prayer of the Day
O Lord God, you know that we cannot place our trust in our own powers. As you protected the infant Jesus, so defend us and all the needy from harm and adversity, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


First Reading
(Israel saved by God’s own presence)
God’s Mercy Remembered
7  I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
     the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
   because of all that the Lord has done for us,
     and the great favor to the house of Israel
   that he has shown them according to his mercy,
     according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
8  For he said, “Surely they are my people,
     children who will not deal falsely”;
   and he became their savior
9    in all their distress.
   It was no messenger or angel
     but his presence that saved them;
   in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
     he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.


(God’s splendor is over earth and heaven)
Praise for God’s Universal Glory
1  Praise the Lord!
   Praise the Lord from the heavens;
     praise him in the heights!
2  Praise him, all his angels;
     praise him, all his host!

3  Praise him, sun and moon;
     praise him, all you shining stars!
4  Praise him, you highest heavens,
     and you waters above the heavens!

5  Let them praise the name of the Lord,
     for he commanded and they were created.
6  He established them forever and ever;
     he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

7  Praise the Lord from the earth,
     you sea monsters and all deeps,
8  fire and hail, snow and frost,
     stormy wind fulfilling his command!

9  Mountains and all hills,
     fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
     creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
     princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
     old and young together!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
     for his name alone is exalted;
     his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
     praise for all his faithful,
     for the people of Israel who are close to him.
   Praise the Lord!


Second Reading
(Christ frees humankind)
2:10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12 saying,

   “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
     in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

13 And again,

   “I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

   “Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.


Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Alleluia. (Col. 3:15, 16)


The Gospel
(The slaughter of innocent children)
The Escape to Egypt
2:13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

The Massacre of the Infants
16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
     wailing and loud lamentation,
   Rachel weeping for her children;
     she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

The Return from Egypt
19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”


Here end the Lessons

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Benediction
May the birth of Jesus be renewed in our lives.
May the Spirit of Jesus guide our words and thoughts.
May the life of Jesus inspire us to follow in the way of hope. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, January 5, 2020 — 1st Sunday after Christmas—5th Day of Christmas
Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23

“NOW WHAT?” The Sermon for SUNDAY, December 29, 2019 — 1st Sunday after Christmas


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 1st chapter of John, beginning with the 1st verse.

Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.

All mighty God, we thank you for your word and the way that you in it revealed to us who you are and what you've done for us in Christ. Now as we open that word we pray that your spirit may be present, that all thoughts of worry or distraction may be removed and that the Spirit will allow us to hear your voice. And so, oh God, fill us with your spirit through the reading and proclamation of your word this day. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

“NOW WHAT?”

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Another year is quickly drawing to a close. The holiday season is just about over. The rush of preparation has culminated in a few hours of quality time spent with friends and family, but now that’s done. The gifts have been opened, the food has been devoured. Now what?

The hectic pace of the holiday season can leave us longing for a break. It can also leave us with a sense of melancholy, a sense of sadness. The tinsel and the glitter, the lights and the decorations, the smells and the sounds of Christmas—everything is replaced now, with the mundane sameness of life. Many people struggle with the post-holiday-blahs. Now what?

I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt some of those same things. The excitement of the Son of God being born that night, the visit of the shepherds, some time after that—the visit of the Magi from the east, bringing gifts. But now what? Those things are done—in the past, distant memories for Mary and Joseph. Now they set about the task of raising a family, making a living—the excitement of the moment is gone. Did they struggle with the post-holiday blahs?

God didn’t let them, did he? He didn’t allow the holy family to live a peaceful and quiet life in Bethlehem for very long. Things couldn’t be peaceful and quiet, because the baby they were raising was the very Son of God, the Savior of the world. Satan would try to assassinate the Savior. Mary and Joseph would have to be placed into God’s witness protection program for a little while. Eventually, they would move back to their small hometown up north after things settled down. There was no time for Mary and Joseph to get comfortable in Bethlehem.

For you and I as Christians living in the 21st century, the events we are looking at today have a great deal of significance. As we sit here, at the end of the year, as all the holiday-type things come to a close, and we ask ourselves, now what? God answers that question this morning, through his Word. There is much ahead, much to think about, much to look forward to, and he shows us what those things are today as we focus on these early days in the life of our Savior.

It was the middle of the night, and Joseph was sleeping, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” The wise men from the east had just visited Jesus. They had told King Herod that they were on their way to visit the one who was born King of the Jews, and this bothered Herod. He was the King of the Jews, or so he thought. He wondered if this newborn child would be a threat to his throne. The wise men didn’t return like he thought they would, and this upset him. Any threat to his position of power must be eliminated. And so very soon, maybe even the next day, Herod would send his soldiers into Bethlehem to massacre all boys under the age of two. “Get up, Joseph,” the angel said. “Get out of here as fast as you possibly can.” Satan was behind this whole thing—this was his first attempt to assassinate the Messiah. And so Joseph got up in the middle of the night, and he and Jesus and Mary made their way to Egypt, where they stayed until the death of Herod.

Do you see the two things that happen here? Satan loses, and a prophecy is fulfilled. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When the prophet Hosea wrote that, he was referring to the nation of Israel, God’s Son, being called out of the slavery of Egypt into the promise land. But here, the Holy Spirit teaches us in Matthew that this also applies to Jesus—just as God called the nation of Israel out of Egypt, so also God called his son Jesus out of Egypt.

Now what? Joseph, Jesus, and Mary are living with a group of Jews in Egypt, but not for very long. Herod dies, and an angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph again, and tells him that it’s safe for him to go back to the land of Israel. So Joseph and Jesus and Mary return to Israel, but something is wrong—Herod’s son, Archelaus, was in charge now, and he was just as bad as his father. Now what? Once again, Joseph was warned in a dream to leave the area. He moves north, to the town of Nazareth in Galilee, and that’s where he stayed.

Do you see the two things that happen here? Once again, Satan loses—the Messiah is safe, and a prophecy is fulfilled. And so was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.” The prophets of the Old Testament never wrote this prophecy down, but it was understood that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene, a despised person from a small town in the middle of nowhere.

The Devil went to work right after Jesus was born. But his plans didn’t work. Instead, he loses, and prophecies are fulfilled. The Devil is still at work today, and right after Christmas, it seems that he works extra hard, especially on Christians. He wants you to not only put your decorations away, but to put your joy away, and your faith away. “You can stop being religious now,” the Devil says. “You can stop being joyful now. Christmas is over.” It’s time to get back to the regular things of life.” The Devil attacks us with these thoughts, and unfortunately, we sometimes listen. We become melancholy—the birth of Jesus Christ fades into the past. Our desire to worship goes down with the lights. Our joy disappears with the wrapping paper.

Maybe our joy and desire disappear because we have bought into the world’s thinking more than we realize. Perhaps we believe the equation: happiness = material things, more than we think. If lasting happiness could be found in having material things, and in being able to indulge ourselves in whatever we wanted, then most of us in America should be delirious with joy, and happy beyond description, all the time. We should be producing books and poems that describe our state of unparalleled bliss. Our literature and art should rival that of the ancient Greeks and Romans and Renaissance craftsmen.

Instead, we find high rates of suicide, depression, child abuse, and other personal and social problems beyond description, especially during the holidays. We find people, and sometimes ourselves, struggling to stay joyful, because deep down inside we have been let down by the lies of the world—that happiness is found having all we want and being able to get more.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Word of God for today teaches us two things—Satan loses, and prophecies are fulfilled—and this goes on even after Christmas is over. Throughout Jesus’ life, Satan lost, and prophecies were fulfilled. Think about what happened about 30 years after these events—really, the opposite of our story for today. Instead of Jesus fleeing from harm, Jesus would walk right into harm’s way. Instead of fleeing from Herod and the Roman government, Jesus would allow himself to be executed by the Roman government. Instead of God the Father protecting Jesus, God the Father would punish Jesus—the opposite of our story for today. But even there, Satan loses, and prophecies are fulfilled. The prophecies that foretold that the Messiah would someday suffer and die to take away the sins of the world. All of our sins—even those moments when we buy into the lies of the Devil—all of our sins have been washed away by Jesus on the cross. Satan loses, and prophecies are fulfilled. That’s why Jesus was born. And that’s what brings us joy, and keeps our joy alive, even after Christmas is over. These two small victories of Jesus, recorded in our verses for today, are just a taste of the big victory that Jesus would someday win for us at the cross, and at the empty tomb.

And so now what? How do I respond to the grace of God? How do I say thank you? How do I glorify the God who has done all this for me? I can live my life like Joseph lived. What was the pattern of Joseph’s life? He listened, and he obeyed. The angel told him to go to Egypt, so he went to Egypt. Go to Israel, so he went to Israel. Watch out for Herod number two, so he moved to Nazareth. Joseph listened, and obeyed. He wasn’t a self-made man, Mr. Independence, I’ll-do-my-own-thing-kind-of-guy. He listened, and he obeyed. That’s how he responded to the grace of God. That’s how he glorified the God who had sent the Savior into his very own family.

You and I can do the same thing. Today, God reveals himself to us not in dreams, but through his written Word. We can listen, and obey. We can be modern-day Joseph’s—people who do not rely on themselves, but listen closely to the Word of God, and obey. Throughout our lives, Satan will continue to lose, and God will continue to keep all the promises he has made to us—that pattern will never change. May God bless you with a joy and love for him that lasts long after the Christmas season is over.

Let us pray: Father I thank You that You desire to speak to me every day—guiding me in spirit and in truth to obey Your Word and enjoy an abundant life. I thank You that You have called me Your friend and that I may come boldly to the throne of grace to find help whenever I have a need in my life.

Lord, Your Word says that when we draw near to You, You will draw near to us. So, I draw near to You today. I seek Your face, Your truth and Your word for my life. I want to know You more, hear You more and obey You more. 

Your Word says Your sheep know Your voice and we will not follow the voice of a stranger. Help me to know Your voice and not be deceived by any other voice. Help me to guard my heart from the influences of this world and the people around me. Help me not to be deceived by the devil and his lies, but to view all thoughts and decisions through the lens of righteousness.

As I seek to hear You today for instruction, correction and guidance, help me to confirm Your voice through Your Word. You said if I ask for wisdom, You will give it to me liberally, so I am asking for wisdom to hear You clearly and consistently today and every day.

Help me to feel confident in knowing that I hear Your voice.

I praise You and thank You for it, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Scripture taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)® Bible, copyright © 1989 the 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. Sermon contributed by Rev. Don Schultz.
Early in Jesus’ life, Satan loses, and prophecies are fulfilled.  So it goes throughout Jesus’ life, and in our lives today.