Friday, December 13, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for FRIDAY, December 13, 2019

The Daily Lectionary
FRIDAY, December 13, 2019
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

(God lifts up those bowed down)
5  Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
     whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6  who made heaven and earth,
     the sea, and all that is in them;
   who keeps faith forever;
7    who executes justice for the oppressed;
     who gives food to the hungry.

   The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
   The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
     the Lord loves the righteous.
9  The Lord watches over the strangers;
     he upholds the orphan and the widow,
     but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10  The Lord will reign forever,
     your God, O Zion, for all generations.
   Praise the Lord!

(God’s fidelity toward Ruth and her posterity)
The Genealogy of David
4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. 17 The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

(Prepare for the Lord’s coming)
3:11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Final Exhortation and Doxology
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. 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 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.
The Daily Lectionary for FRIDAY, December 13, 2019
Psalm 146:5-10; Ruth 4:13-17; 2 Peter 3:11-18

The Daily Prayer for FRIDAY, December 13, 2019

The Daily Prayer
FRIDAY, December 13, 2019

Fourth-century poet Ephrem the Syrian wrote, “The word of God is a tree of life that offers us blessed fruit from each of its branches. It is like that rock which was struck open in the wilderness, from which all were offered spiritual drink. Be glad then that you are overwhelmed, and do not be saddened because he has overcome you. A thirsty person is happy when drinking, and not depressed, because the spring is inexhaustible. You can satisfy your thirst without exhausting the spring; then when you thirst again, you can drink from it once more.”

God of abundance, help us live today trusting that there will be enough for tomorrow. Your sources have no end. Teach us to share our resources, believing that the more we give, the more you will provide for all. Amen.

Verse of the Day for FRIDAY, December 13, 2019

Matthew 2:4-6 (NIV)
When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Read all of Matthew 2

Listen to Matthew 2

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 - Viernes 13 de Diciembre de 2019

Oración por el lugar en Cristo

Dios puede hacer que toda gracia abunde para ustedes, de manera que [...] toda buena obra abunde en ustedes.
2 Corintios 9:8 (NVI)

Dios mío, gracias por este nuevo día que nos regalas. Hoy vengo delante de ti presentando a cada uno de tus hijos, a cada persona que hoy lee estas cortas líneas o que escuchan a través de la radio o la Internet esta pequeña, pero muy significativa oración.

Te pido, mi Dios, que estas palabras logren tener el efecto en las vidas de las personas que necesitan poner su vida por completo en tus manos.

Te ruego por cada uno de esas personas que no se aprecia, ni valora o que su autoestima está por los suelos, a fin de que pueda colocar su identidad en ti. Que con tu ayuda, salgan a conquistar el mundo, sientan el deseo de alcanzar metas y, lo más importante, sentir tu compañía.

Señor, rompe toda cadena de amargura y de depresión. Corta todos los lazos del pasado y en este momento infunde en sus corazones un nuevo soplo de vida cargado de deseos de vivir, de superarse, de olvidar y perdonar. Que de ahora en adelante, sin importar la situación que atraviesen, sepan que su lugar está en ti.

Acompáñanos, mi Dios, y ten misericordia de nosotros.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Hoy vengo delante de ti presentando a cada uno de tus hijos, a cada persona que hoy lee estas cortas líneas o que escuchan a través de la radio o la Internet esta pequeña, pero muy significativa oración.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Friday, December 13, 2019

The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Psalm 25:14 (NIV)

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

On his first visit to America, I took a Chinese Bible teacher to a Christian bookstore. I was not prepared for his reaction. I thought he would be overwhelmed by the variety of Bibles, reading aids, books and multi-media material on show. He was, but not in the way I expected. He stopped in the middle of the store, turned to me and said, “It must be very hard to be a Christian here.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“How are you going to keep your faith simple with all this available?” We walked around the store as he told me what he meant. He picked five books off the shelf. All had similar titles like The Christian’s secret of a happy life. He leafed through them and said, “Each book seems to say there’s a secret to living a happy life in Jesus. But their secrets are all different. They all say there is one secret, but each has a different secret? That’s confusing.”

“Well, that’s just marketing” I explained a little defensively. But he went on. “Does that mean I have to buy all five books to really know Christ? That makes me anxious. What other secrets might I not be aware of? I have to buy more books. And soon, I would have more books than I could read, and I would not be happy, but guilty that I had spent money on all these books that I had no time to read.”

He put the books down on the floor and said quietly, “In China, I prayed for God to bring me books. He did, but only at the rate of about four per year. So I read those books thoroughly. I copied out passages. I made summaries for teachers. I learned whole chunks by heart. These books really formed me. The point I’m trying to make is that if you have too many books, it’s difficult to read one properly. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just hard. And this variety actually makes faith more complicated than it really is.”

He taught me a daily habit he learned in prison. “Every morning when you wake up, don’t get up; just stay in bed and for ten minutes thank God for anything that comes into your mind. It might be the wallpaper, it might be for friends, it might just be for life. Anything. Once you get going you discover that the world is full of grace, God’s grace. With that attitude you are ready to live the day for God because you are overwhelmed at how generous God is to you.”

It’s so simple, and yet isn’t there something in us that finds the simplest activities so hard to keep up? Maybe that is why we pack our lives with an infinite variety of routines and habits. Anything but just continually doing what is simple.

A Vietnamese evangelist said, “We are to stay in the first grade, grateful to Jesus, repentant for our sins, expectant of his coming. Don’t graduate or you’ll leave the basics behind.”

RESPONSE: Today I will live my life simply–back to basics of praising, praying, witnessing, awaiting.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to stay in first grade so that I will never leave behind the basics.

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

Men of the Bible - Friday, December 13, 2019


His name means: "Crown" 

His work: After Pentecost, Stephen was one of seven leaders chosen to be the first "deacons" to serve the needy.
His character: He is a model of readiness and untold courage in the face of his adversaries.
His sorrow: In addition to the rocks that came hurling down on him, Stephen must have been struck by the utter lostness of those who should have known better—the religious leaders of his day.
His triumph: The privilege of representing, serving, and dying for his Master.
Key Scriptures: Acts 6-7

A Look at the Man

There are only a few men in Scripture of whom you might say to your son, "When you grow up, be exactly like him." Stephen is such a man, a tender and gracious leader with a brilliant mind, a crisp tongue, and a humble yet disarmingly confident air about him.

For the Jewish leaders of his day, Stephen was not a good man to have on the other side.

Because of Peter's triumphant Pentecost sermon and the spread of the gospel throughout the region, people were converted from many different cultures. Many converts in need came to other believers for food and daily provisions. Generosity prevailed. Primarily accustomed to native Israelites coming to Jesus, the disciples were challenged with the right way to handle Jews from other nations who embraced the faith. Some of the Greek-speaking believers were overlooked.

"What we need are committed men who can help these people," a group of believers said to one another one evening. "Is there anyone here who speaks Greek?"

Seven men stepped forward—Stephen and six others. The leaders were familiar with Stephen. A man known for his faith, his oratory skills, and his Spirit-filled power, Stephen's ministry was widespread. He had even performed miracles in Jesus' name. This was one very gifted man.

But there was no glamour in the assignment for which Stephen was volunteering. He would be responsible for distributing food and supplies to Greek-speaking widows and caring for the disabled. Here was a man who was well versed in history and the law and could command audiences with his words. Now he would quietly be taking care of the needs of people who were incapable of taking care of themselves.

To the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, Stephen was a monumental threat. He was winning the minds and hearts of the people, and many were being converted. So they collared a few men who were willing to take oaths and lie about Stephen.

"What do you have to say for yourself?" they demanded of him after the false charges had been presented before the Sanhedrin.

It would have been completely understandable if Stephen had taken the opportunity to defend himself. Point by point he could have summarily disassembled the charges against him and the reprobates who had perjured themselves. But he didn't.

Instead, Stephen took the whole council on a walk through history. He identified their heroes—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon. Stephen acknowledged how God's faithfulness had sustained and prospered these patriarchs. He reminded them of how each of these men had been obedient in spite of terrible odds. This was not the speech they expected, and they were drawn to Stephen's message.

The Sanhedrin leaned forward in their seats, waiting for Stephen to identify them as members of the grand sequence of great Jewish leaders. But it wasn't to be. Imagine their horror when Stephen announced that they, like others of God's adversaries, had deliberately tried to thwart his providence—that they were the enemy.

Stephen must have known that he had pronounced his own death sentence—that the cost of his courage, of telling the truth before this powerful assembly, would be the loss of his life. Still, Stephen willingly paid the price. He didn't know that his sacrifice would plant a seed in the heart of a man who heard his stirring address and stood there, watching and approving of his brutal assassination—Saul of Tarsus—who later became the transformed Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

As selflessly as he waited on the needy, Stephen gave everything he had in service to the risen Lord. As a result, God took his obedience, multiplied it, and eventually the church of all nations was born.

Reflect On: Luke 23:44–49
Praise God: For his grace.
Offer Thanks: For the words of Stephen as he died, innocent, at the hands of bloodthirsty men. Thank God for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and his unfailing love for us, the guilty ones whose sins sent him to the cross.
Confess: Any eagerness to receive applause for your obedience rather than to be completely satisfied with God’s approval for your service—public or private.
Ask God: To give you the discipline to be prepared for whatever special commission he has for you—to have your mind and your heart properly prepared.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.
There are only a few men in Scripture of whom you might say to your son, "When you grow up, be exactly like him."

LHM Daily Devotions December 13, 2019 - A COURTEOUS GOD, AND A WILLING RESPONSE


Dec. 13, 2019

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38 (ESV)

If you stop to think about it, God didn't have to tell Mary what He was going to do. He didn't have to explain anything at all. Oh, no doubt Mary would have been surprised and frightened to find herself pregnant with no explanation of how it happened—but after all, Mary is a human being, and she has to do what God wants. Right?

And yet—that is not the kind of God we have, One who runs roughshod over us, caring about nothing but His own power and glory. One of the old Greek gods would have behaved like that—if they were real. But not this God, not the true God. He asks first.

Why? Because this is God's nature—to be gentle, to show mercy, to treat even the least of His creatures as incredibly valuable. Mary has a high value in God's eyes. You have a high value in God's eyes. God will not treat you carelessly. He loves you. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to rescue you!

God has done everything. Jesus was born among us. He lived and served and taught and healed—and then He lay down His life for us on the cross, to make us God's own. He rose from the dead. And now He offers us eternal life, to everyone who will believe in Him.

But God will not force His hand. Instead, He offers Himself to us. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, we say willingly, "Yes, Lord. I am Yours."

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, give me Your Spirit's help to respond to You with joy and gladness. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • What rules of courtesy and good manners did your family teach you?
  • How do you think courtesy is related to love?
  • When has God treated you with loving courtesy in your life?

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 rules of courtesy and good manners did your family teach you?

CPTLN devocional del 13 de Diciembre de 2019 - Un Dios cortez y una respuesta dispuesta


Un Dios cortez y una respuesta dispuesta

13 de Diciembre de 2019

María dijo entonces: "Yo soy la sierva del Señor. ¡Cúmplase en mí lo que has dicho!" Y el ángel se fue de su presencia.
Lucas 1:38 (RVC)

Si nos detenemos a pensarlo, Dios no tuvo que decirle a María lo que él iba a hacer. No tuvo que explicarle nada en absoluto. Claro, sin duda María se habría sorprendido y asustado al saber que estaba embarazada sin una explicación de cómo sucedió. Pero, después de todo, María es un ser humano y tiene que hacer lo que Dios quiere. ¿Verdad?

Sin embargo, ese no es el tipo de Dios que tenemos, un Dios que nos desborda y que no se preocupa por nada más que por su propio poder y gloria. Uno de los antiguos dioses griegos se habría comportado así, si hubiera sido un Dios real. Pero no este Dios, no el Dios verdadero.

¿Por qué? Porque esa es la mismísima naturaleza de Dios: ser gentil, mostrar misericordia, tratar incluso a las criaturas más pequeñas como increíblemente valiosas. María tiene un valor muy alto a los ojos de Dios. Tú tienes un valor muy alto a los ojos de Dios. Dios no te tratará descuidadamente. Él te ama. ¡Por eso envió a su Hijo Jesús para rescatarte!

Dios lo ha hecho todo. Jesús nació entre nosotros, vivió, sirvió, enseñó y curó y dio su vida por nosotros en la cruz para hacernos suyos. Se levantó de entre los muertos y ahora ofrece la vida eterna a todos los que creen en él.

Pero Dios no forzará su mano. En cambio, se ofrece a nosotros. Y a través del poder del Espíritu Santo, decimos dispuestamente: "Sí, Señor. Soy todo tuyo."

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, dame la ayuda de tu Espíritu para responderte con Buena disposición y alegría. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Cómo crees que la cortesía está relacionada con el amor?
  • ¿Cuándo te ha tratado Dios con cortesía amorosa en tu vida?

© 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.
¿Cómo crees que la cortesía está relacionada con el amor?

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Cầu Xin Chúa

Cầu Xin Chúa

Đọc: Thi Thiên 6:4-9 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Ô-sê 12-14; Khải Huyền 4

Đức Giê-hô-va đã nghe lời ta khẩn nguyện, Ngài nhậm lời ta tha thiết kêu cầu.
—Thi Thiên 6:9

Khi anh Dan chồng tôi nhận chẩn đoán mắc bệnh ung thư, tôi không biết phải cầu xin Chúa chữa lành cho anh thế nào. Trong tầm nhìn hạn hẹp của tôi, những người khác trên thế giới gặp nhiều nan đề nghiêm trọng hơn – chiến tranh, nghèo khó, thiên tai. Rồi một ngày kia, trong giờ cầu nguyện buổi sáng, tôi nghe chồng hạ mình cầu nguyện: “Lạy Chúa, xin chữa lành bệnh tật của con”.

Lời cầu xin đơn giản nhưng chân thành này đã nhắc nhở tôi ngừng phức tạp hóa những lời cầu nguyện vì Chúa luôn lắng nghe tiếng kêu cầu giúp đỡ của người công chính. Như vua Đa-vít đã cầu nguyện: “Lạy Đức Giê-hô-va, xin Ngài đổi ý và giải cứu con, cho con khỏi chết; Xin cứu con vì lòng nhân từ của Ngài” (Thi. 6:4).

Đó là điều Đa-vít đã tuyên bố trong khoảng thời gian tâm linh ông bối rối và buồn bã. Hoàn cảnh cụ thể của ông không được giải thích trong thi thiên này. Tuy nhiên, những lời khẩn nguyện chân thành của ông bày tỏ nỗi khao khát sâu thẳm rằng ông cần sự giúp đỡ và phục hồi của Chúa. Ông viết: “Con kiệt sức vì than thở” (c.6).

Tuy vậy, Đa-vít không để những giới hạn, bao gồm cả tội lỗi ngăn trở ông trình dâng những nhu cầu cho Chúa. Nhờ vậy, ngay cả trước khi Chúa đáp lời, Đa-vít đã có thể vui mừng: “Vì Đức Giê-hô-va đã nghe tiếng khóc của ta. Đức Giê-hô-va đã nghe lời ta khẩn nguyện, Ngài nhậm lời ta tha thiết kêu cầu” (c.8-9).

Dù chúng ta đang đối diện với sự bối rối và bất an nào, Chúa lắng nghe và chấp nhận những lời cầu xin chân thành của con cái Ngài. Ngài luôn sẵn sàng lắng nghe, đặc biệt trong những lúc chúng ta cần Ngài nhất.
Điều gì ngăn trở bạn cầu xin sự giúp đỡ của Chúa? Bạn sẽ tìm kiếm sự giúp đỡ nào từ Chúa trong ngày hôm nay?
Lạy Chúa, Ngài đã thanh tẩy tấm lòng chúng con, xin ban cho chúng con sự dạn dĩ để cầu xin sự giúp đỡ của Ngài với lòng tin rằng Ngài sẽ lắng nghe và đáp lời chúng con.

© 2019 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày
Khi anh Dan chồng tôi nhận chẩn đoán mắc bệnh ung thư, tôi không biết phải cầu xin Chúa chữa lành cho anh thế nào. Trong tầm nhìn hạn hẹp của tôi, những người khác trên thế giới gặp nhiều nan đề nghiêm trọng hơn – chiến tranh, nghèo khó, thiên tai. Rồi một ngày kia, trong giờ cầu nguyện buổi sáng, tôi nghe chồng hạ mình cầu nguyện ...