Monday, December 16, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for MONDAY, December 16, 2019

The Daily Lectionary
MONDAY, December 16, 2019
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

(Hope in God)
Longing for God and His Help in Distress
To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.
1  As a deer longs for flowing streams,
     so my soul longs for you, O God.
2  My soul thirsts for God,
     for the living God.
   When shall I come and behold
     the face of God?
3  My tears have been my food
     day and night,
   while people say to me continually,
     “Where is your God?”

4  These things I remember,
     as I pour out my soul:
   how I went with the throng,
     and led them in procession to the house of God,
   with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
     a multitude keeping festival.
5  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
     and why are you disquieted within me?
   Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
     my help 6 and my God.

   My soul is cast down within me;
     therefore I remember you
   from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
     from Mount Mizar.
7  Deep calls to deep
     at the thunder of your cataracts;
   all your waves and your billows
     have gone over me.
8  By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
     and at night his song is with me,
     a prayer to the God of my life.

9  I say to God, my rock,
     “Why have you forgotten me?
   Why must I walk about mournfully
     because the enemy oppresses me?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
     my adversaries taunt me,
   while they say to me continually,
     “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
     and why are you disquieted within me?
   Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
     my help and my God.

(The infirm will be healed)
Hope for the Future
17 Shall not Lebanon in a very little while
     become a fruitful field,
     and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?
18 On that day the deaf shall hear
     the words of a scroll,
   and out of their gloom and darkness
     the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
     and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy
         One of Israel.
20 For the tyrant shall be no more,
     and the scoffer shall cease to be;
     all those alert to do evil shall be cut off—
21 those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,
     who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,
     and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

   No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
     no longer shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
     the work of my hands, in his midst,
     they will sanctify my name;
   they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
     and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
     and those who grumble will accept instruction.

(Many people healed by the apostles)
The Apostles Heal Many
5:12 Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. 16 A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

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 MONDAY, December 16, 2019
Psalm 42; Isaiah 29:17-24; Acts 5:12-16

The Daily Prayer for MONDAY, December 16, 2019

The Daily Prayer
MONDAY, December 16, 2019

Seattle, chief of the Suquamish, asked, “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. We are part of the earth and it is part of us.”

Lord, we forget that we do not create our world. Help us remember creation as a gift we are called to serve and watch over. Free us from habits that dishonor the land, and teach us to revel in its bounty with gratitude. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, December 16, 2019

Luke 1:46-47, 49 (NIV)
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, ... for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.
Read all of Luke 1

Listen to Luke 1

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 16 de Diciembre de 2019

Ética profesional

Mantengan entre los incrédulos una conducta tan ejemplar que, aunque los acusen de hacer el mal, ellos observen las buenas obras de ustedes.
1 Pedro 2:12 (NVI)

Desde la creación, el Señor nos dio el trabajo. Sin embargo, las cosas cambiaron después de la caída de Adán y Eva en el jardín del Edén. También cambiaron los planes que tenía Dios para nosotros y vinieron las consecuencias.

Desde entonces, Dios le ordenó a Adán que se ganaría el pan con el sudor de su frente. Y por eso el trabajo es tan importante para el hombre. Es como el ADN que Dios estableció en el hombre. De ahí que cada vez que un hombre tenga problemas económicos e inestabilidad financiera, se sienta morir, le afecte en su hombría y hasta caiga en depresión.

No obstante, si Dios estableció el trabajo, es para que fuera de bendición para ti y tu familia. Así que lo menos que podemos hacer es trabajar con excelencia y ética profesional.

No me refiero solo a ser honestos en la empresa, el taller, la fábrica, la escuela, el canal de televisión, la emisora o la revista donde se trabaje, también me refiero a tu trabajo dentro de la iglesia.

Hay personas dentro de las iglesias y ministerios que no trabajan con ética. Toman el servicio a Dios como algo que no merece la integridad y el profesionalismo, como si Él no los estuviera observando y algún día no les fuera a pedir cuentas.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Hay personas dentro de las iglesias y ministerios que no trabajan con ética.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Monday, December 16, 2019

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home.
Philemon 1:1-2 (NIV)

The five functions of the church (evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship and worship), as they were practiced in the New Testament, were frequently carried out in private homes. But the early church was not limited just to homes. They also used the temple, synagogues, lecture halls, open forums, riverbanks, ships and other places.

However, it is encouraging to realize that all the functions can be performed in a small house. In many restricted countries, this is the only available place. The New Testament specifically refers to five “house churches,” and there were probably many more (Romans 16:3-5, 23; 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).

Believers from Muslim Background (MBB’s) take great risks when attempting to meet together. They do so secretly in small groups of no more than ten or fifteen to avoid suspicion from locals. They change their meeting place each time they gather in order to cover their tracks. While some are fortunate to participate with their families, many come with fear because their Muslim relatives do not even know about their new faith.

Such was the situation of the twelve MBB’s who quietly came one morning into a mountainside property in Central Java for a believers’ gathering. It was special, because a baptism ceremony would take place the next day. The MBB’s were excited and scared at the same time, more so for the four MBB’s who came to be baptized. They are nervous as their families and neighbors still think of them as Muslims.

The gathering started at night. Beginning with worship songs, the room fills with warmth, slowly stripping away fear in the hearts and minds of the believers. After the singing, the MBB’s and their children, sit on the carpeted floor. In their hands they hold the Injil and prepare for teaching. It may be a long while before they hear God’s Word again—that is, if they get the chance to. If their faith in Christ is ever discovered, the prospect of attending the next gathering grows dim.

One MBB shares that since his conversion he experienced peace, especially when sleeping at night. No longer did he wake up the next morning with much anxiety in his heart. Fights at home ceased, and his wife noted a change in him. “My husband never shouts at me anymore. Our house is full of love now. I cannot stop thanking Jesus for changing my family. He is Almighty; He is good!” she said as she broke into tears of joy.

On the second day of the gathering, the MBB’s stand at the side of a laundry pool as they witness the baptism of four more MBB’s. They see tension vanishing from their faces as each comes out of water. The church can function in many forms and still be the church.

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful for the many ways I can gather with Christians to be the church!

PRAYER: Pray for believers—especially MBB’s—living in fear that can limit expression of faith.

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

Women of the Bible - Monday, December 16, 2019


Her name signifies that she was a woman of Lydia, a region in Asia Minor

Her character: A Gentile adherent of Judaism, she was a successful businesswoman who sold a type of cloth prized for its purple color. As head of her household, she may have been either widowed or single. So strong was her faith that her entire household followed her example and was baptized. She extended hospitality to Paul and his companions, even after their imprisonment.
Her sorrow: To see Paul and Silas beaten and thrown into prison for the sake of the gospel she had embraced.
Her joy: That God's Spirit directed Paul and his companions to Macedonia, enabling her and others at Philippi to hear the gospel for the first time.
Key Scriptures: Acts 16:6-40

Her Story

The wind rustled the branches overhead until they became a swaying canopy whose shadow danced across the circle of women bowed in prayer. It didn't matter that Philippi had too few Jews to support a synagogue; the river's edge had become their place of worship, a green sanctuary where they gathered each Sabbath to pray.

Lydia listened as a stranger from Tarsus invoked the familiar words of the Shema: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Such prayers were like a gust of wind, fanning her longing. A Gentile who had come to Philippi from Asia Minor, Lydia was a prominent businesswoman who sold fine cloth to those who could afford it. Though not a Jew, she wanted to know this God powerful enough to part the sea yet tender enough to yearn for the love of his people.

Paul did not stop with the traditional Shema; instead, he spoke of a God whose Son, Jesus, had been murdered for love. This Jesus had risen from the grave after suffering the most agonizing death imaginable. He was Messiah, the merciful and holy One who had come to save God's people.

The women sat quietly as Paul told the story. Even the branches overhead had stopped their noisy rustling. But in the stillness Lydia felt a strong wind rushing through her. Tears rolled down her cheeks even though she felt like singing. Afterward, she and her household were baptized in the Gangites River, near Philippi. Lydia insisted that Paul and Silas (and probably Timothy and Luke) accept her hospitality. Her home may have become the very center of the church in Philippi.

Philippi seemed an unlikely place to plant the gospel. It had been named for Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, who had been attracted to the region by gold-bearing mountains to the north of the city. Now a prosperous Roman colony located on the main highway linking the eastern provinces to Rome, its citizens included large numbers of retired Roman soldiers. Despite its size, however, Philippi hadn't even enough Jews to provide the requisite quorum of ten reliable males to form a synagogue—and it had always been Paul's habit to preach first in the synagogue. Even so, Philippi did have its group of praying Jewish and Gentile women.

Interestingly, Paul had not planned to visit Philippi but had been on his way to Asia when he felt constrained by the Holy Spirit to turn aside. Soon afterward, he had a vision in which a man of Macedonia begged him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Days later, he found himself on the riverbank, preaching to the women who had gathered there for prayer.

Shortly after Lydia's conversion, she heard news that her houseguests, Paul and Silas, had been whipped and thrown into prison. Paul's crime had been to drive an evil spirit from a slave girl who had been harassing them. Upset at the loss of profits from her fortune-telling, the girl's owners dragged Paul and Silas before the city magistrates, claiming, "These men are Jews and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."

That night, with their feet in stocks, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God while the other prisoners listened. About midnight an earthquake shook the foundations of the prison so violently that the doors flew open and the chains of the prisoners fell off. As a result, the jailer and his whole household were converted. After he was released, Paul returned to Lydia's home for a short while.

When Lydia said good-bye to the apostle and his companions as they continued on their missionary journey, she may have remembered the words of his accusers: "These men are throwing our city into an uproar." Indeed, God had thrown the entire region into an uproar from which it would never recover.

Lydia has the distinction of being Paul's first convert in Europe and the first member of the church at Philippi, a community that later became a source of great consolation to the apostle when he was imprisoned. Perhaps her prayers, joined with those of the other women gathered at the riverbank, helped prepare the way for the gospel to be planted in Europe.

Her Promise

Lydia's life reveals a God who longs for relationship with his people. Lydia's openness to the truths Paul preached was not her own doing; God saw her hunger for him, and he met her deepest need—her need for him. He is still touching hearts today. The longings you feel for intimacy with him, the emptiness you experience when you've tried everything else and still hunger, the burning need you have for wholeness—these can only be satisfied when you start with the Alpha and end with the Omega, Jesus Christ, your beginning and your end.

This devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Used with permission.
[S]he was a successful businesswoman who sold a type of cloth prized for its purple color.

LHM Daily Devotions - December 16, 2019 - THOSE WHO FEAR HIM


Dec. 16, 2019

And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
Luke 1:50-51 (ESV)

Have you ever noticed? As Mary continues her song, the Magnificat, the words become more and more revolutionary. This probably isn't what we expect from the young mother of our Christmas cards, the blue-robed virgin with a sweet face and downcast eyes. But Mary is right—for Jesus' coming is going to revolutionize the world.

She sings, "The Lord's mercy is for those who fear Him," but also "He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts." What group do we fall into? Are we those who fear and love God, knowing how much we need His mercy? Or do we have proud hearts that deny we need a Savior at all?

Only one group of people will kneel at the manger to see their newborn Savior Jesus. Those who are proud will never come inside to see Him at all—after all, they believe that their own plans and schemes will be enough to get them the life they want. They will stand outside—or go away completely, still looking for their own desires.

But the humble, the broken, the needy—these are the ones who fear the Lord. They know the truth about themselves, and so they know how much they need God's mercy. Jesus is that mercy.

Let us humble our hearts and bend down and enter the room where the baby Jesus is lying. Let us kneel in the dirt and the straw at the foot of His manger. Let us feast our eyes on the proof that God, the high King of everything, truly loves us and has sent His Son to make us into God's own children. This is our Savior—not our own plans and wisdom, but God's. This is Jesus, who will one day hang on a cross for us—and then rise from the dead to give us everlasting life.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, help us to fear and love You with our whole hearts, always glad that You have given us Jesus our Savior. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • Is there one area of life where you tend to get proud or conceited? Which one?
  • Based on what you know of human nature, who is closer to the truth—the person who is proud or the person who is humble?
  • Why do you think so?

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).
Is there one area of life where you tend to get proud or conceited? Which one?

CPTLN devocional del 16 de Diciembre de 2019 - Aquellos que le temen


Aquellos que le temen

16 de Diciembre de 2019

La misericordia de Dios es eterna para aquellos que le temen. Con su brazo hizo grandes proezas, y deshizo los planes de los soberbios.
Lucas 1:50-51 (RVC)

¿Alguna vez lo has notado? Cuando más avanza María en el Magnificat, su canto de alabanza, más revolucionarias se van volviendo sus palabras. Es que la venida de Jesús va a revolucionar al mundo.

Ella canta: "La misericordia de Dios es eterna para aquellos que le temen", pero también: "deshizo los planes de los soberbios." Y nosotros, ¿tememos y amamos a Dios porque sabemos cuánto necesitamos su misericordia, o en nuestro orgullo creemos que no necesitamos un Salvador?

Solo un grupo de personas se arrodillará ante el pesebre para ver al recién nacido Salvador Jesús. Los orgullosos nunca entrarán a verlo; después de todo, ellos creen que sus planes y conspiraciones serán suficientes para lograr lo que desean. Se quedarán afuera, o se irán en busca de sus propios deseos.

Pero los humildes, los quebrantados, los necesitados, estos son los que temen al Señor. Ellos saben la verdad sobre sí mismos, por lo que saben cuánto necesitan la misericordia de Dios. Jesús es esa misericordia.

Humillemos nuestros corazones, inclinémonos y entremos en la habitación donde está acostado el Niño Jesús. Caigamos de rodillas en la tierra y la paja al pie del pesebre. Deleitemos nuestros ojos con la prueba de que el gran Rey de todo realmente nos ama y ha enviado a su Hijo para convertirnos en hijos de Dios. Este es nuestro Salvador, no nuestros planes y sabiduría, sino los de Dios. Este es Jesús, que un día colgará en una cruz por nosotros y luego resucitará de los muertos para darnos la vida eterna.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, ayúdanos a temerte y amarte con todo nuestro corazón, agradecidos porque nos has dado a Jesús, nuestro Salvador. En su nombre. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Hay un área de la vida en la que tiendes a sentirte orgulloso o engreído? ¿Cuál?
  • Según lo que sabes de la naturaleza humana, ¿quién está más cerca de la verdad: la persona orgullosa o la humilde? ¿Por qué piensas así?

© 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.
¿Hay un área de la vida en la que tiendes a sentirte orgulloso o engreído? ¿Cuál?

Notre Pain Quotidien - Votre valeur

Votre valeur

La Bible en un an : Amos 4 – 6 ; Apocalypse 7

L’Éternel me dit : Jette-le au potier.Zacharie 11.13

Aujourd’hui écrivaine accomplie, Caitlin décrit ainsi la dépression qu’elle a combattue après avoir été victime d’une agression : « Cette violence prouvait à quel point j’étais indésirable. Je n’étais pas le genre de fille qu’on voulait apprendre à connaître. » Elle se sentait indigne d’être aimée, mais plutôt le genre de personne dont on profite et que l’on rejette par la suite.

Dieu nous comprend. Il a veillé sur les Israélites avec amour, mais après leur avoir demandé quelle valeur ils lui accordaient, « ils [lui] pesèrent pour [son] salaire trente sicles d’argent » (ZA 11.12). À savoir, le prix d’un esclave ; celui à verser au maître dont on avait accidentellement tué l’esclave (EX 21.32). Ils ont insulté Dieu en lui reconnaissant la moindre des valeurs, comme l’atteste son sarcasme : « [Ce] prix magnifique auquel ils m’ont estimé ! » (ZA 11.13), en amenant Zacharie à jeter cet argent.

Jésus nous comprend. Il a eu droit non seulement à la trahison, mais aussi au mépris de son ami. Pleins de mépris pour Christ, les chefs religieux ont offert à Judas trente sicles d’argent – soit le prix le plus bas que l’on pouvait payer pour une personne –, et il l’a accepté (MT 26.14,15 ; 27.9).

Or, si des gens ont sous-estimé Jésus, ne vous étonnez pas de ce qu’il en aille de même pour vous. Précisons toutefois que votre valeur ne tient pas à l’opinion des gens, ni même à la vôtre, mais uniquement à celle de Dieu. Et il vous a jugé digne de mourir pour vous.

Dieu a déterminé notre valeur, nous jugeant dignes de mourir pour nous.

© 2019 Ministères NPQ
Aujourd’hui écrivaine accomplie, Caitlin décrit ainsi la dépression qu’elle a combattue après avoir été victime d’une agression :