Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for WEDNESDAY, December 18, 2019

The Daily Lectionary
WEDNESDAY, December 18, 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.

(God’s promise to Zion)
God’s Promises to Zion
8:1 The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3 Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. 6 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; 8 and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.

9 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Let your hands be strong—you that have recently been hearing these words from the mouths of the prophets who were present when the foundation was laid for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of the Lord of hosts. 10 For before those days there were no wages for people or for animals, nor was there any safety from the foe for those who went out or came in, and I set them all against one another. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the Lord of hosts. 12 For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, the ground shall give its produce, and the skies shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 Just as you have been a cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you and you shall be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.

14 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Just as I purposed to bring disaster upon you, when your ancestors provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, 15 so again I have purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; do not be afraid. 16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord.

(Jesus heals)
Jesus Heals Many at Peter’s House
8:14 When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; 15 he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

Jesus Heals the Gadarene Demoniacs
28 When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. 33 The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

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 WEDNESDAY, December 18, 2019
Psalm 42; Zechariah 8:1-17; Matthew 8:14-17, 28-34

The Daily Prayer for WEDNESDAY, December 18, 2019

The Daily Prayer
WEDNESDAY, December 18, 2019

With the passing of the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, slavery was abolished in the United States on December 18, 1865.

Speaking as a former slave, Austin Steward said, “The more we knew of freedom, the more we desired it.”

Thank you, Lord, for the signs that confirm you are indeed sovereign and your kingdom will always prevail. May these signs encourage us to persevere in working toward justice for all who have reason to question its possibility in this world. Amen.

Verse of the Day for WEDNESDAY, December 18, 2019

Luke 1:68-70 (NIV)
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago).
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 - Miércoles 18 de Diciembre de 2019

Respuestas tardías

El Señor tu Dios es el Dios verdadero, el Dios fiel, que cumple su pacto [...] y muestra su fiel amor a quienes lo aman y obedecen sus mandamientos.

Ya hemos hablado en este libro devocional que los tiempos de Dios no son nuestros tiempos y esto afecta en gran medida a ciertas personas.

Hay muchos de ustedes que no tienen mayor problema con sentarse a esperar que Papá Dios conteste a una pregunta u oración. Otros, por el contrario, son tan desesperados que necesitan las respuestas de inmediato y en cuanto las solicitan.

Cuando vamos a la Biblia, encontramos ejemplos que nos muestran que en algunos casos Dios tardaba mucho tiempo en contestar. Uno de estos lo tenemos en Job. Su tiempo de prueba fue tan difícil que se le murieron todos sus hijos, perdió todos sus bienes y terminó con sarna y rascándose con una teja. A pesar de eso, y en medio de su frustración, confiaba en que Dios no lo abandonaría. Aunque, claro, hubo ocasiones en que se quejó por la indeferencia ante la maldad y hasta le reprochó al Señor lo que consideraba su descuido cuando le dijo: «Recuerda, oh Dios, que mi vida es un suspiro; que ya no verán mis ojos la felicidad» (Job 7:7).

Luego, Dios cambió las cosas a su tiempo y le aumentó al doble la prosperidad anterior a Job.

Le extendió la vida a ciento cuarenta años y pudo ver a sus hijos, y a los hijos de sus hijos, hasta la cuarta generación.

El Señor no permite que suframos sin motivo, y aunque ese motivo esté oculto en los propósitos divinos y nunca sepamos el porqué, debemos confiar que Él siempre hace lo bueno.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Hay muchos de ustedes que no tienen mayor problema con sentarse a esperar que Papá Dios conteste a una pregunta u oración. Otros, por el contrario, son tan desesperados que necesitan las respuestas de inmediato y en cuanto las solicitan.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Wednesday, December 18, 2019

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:22 (NIV)

Daniel, a young “underground” house church believer from Muslim background (MBB) would not attend the open church in his Middle Eastern city because he felt its leaders were cooperating with the government. Everything had to be secretive in the house church meetings with no loud singing. It was risky meeting like this. Daniel shares his story of discovery and what he learned from the experience:

“A few months ago, I was at the church leader’s house. They were old family friends and I was helping their kids to repair their computer. The mother answered the door and men came into the house. They were plainclothes police with papers that showed they were from security and had authority to arrest. They took everyone’s phones, disconnected the internet, and gathered all of the computers while they searched the house for Bibles. They found 300. They didn’t want to touch the Bibles, like they were dirty. They took the husband and wife away in handcuffs.

“The leaders were still imprisoned when the police came to my house about a month and a half later pretending to be postmen. In my whole life, that was the first time I saw my father cry. They searched through my room and took my computer, my books, my prayer notebook, my written plans for our youth group, and my personal Bible. They also took my sister’s laptop and all of our cell phones. At the end of their search, they told my parents that they were going to take me with them. My mother was distressed, but I hugged her and told her I would be back.

“They took me to the central prison. I was there for two weeks. They only beat me the first day, but they still threatened me. For the first week I didn’t answer their questions, but the second week was difficult. I was imagining my mom and dad—I had talked to my dad and knew it was a more difficult time for them than for me. I still wondered what I had done wrong and why I didn’t have the right to praise my Lord.

“After two weeks they let me go after guaranteeing I wouldn’t flee. About a month later they also released our leaders on bail. After that, they told me my case was still open and they could call me in at any time. We were uncertain of our sentence because they wouldn’t hold a trial for around six months. Constant pressure. It was a pleasure to be persecuted for my Lord.”

Asked what he learned from the experience, Daniel replied, “First, God taught me patience. Eventually, even though I was worried about my family, God gave me a chance to witness to my persecutors. I really don’t hate them. I love them because they don’t know what they’re doing. They’ve been taught bad things, they’re not bad themselves. I felt a responsibility to tell them about the light of Jesus that can break through their spiritual darkness…I want western people to know that God is working in the Middle East, through persecution, deception, and difficulties.”

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful that God can work through my fellowship of believers regardless of the level of freedom we enjoy.

PRAYER: Pray for those in underground house churches who risk everything to meet and fulfill the five functions of the church.

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 18, 2019 - FACE THE MUSIC


Dec. 18, 2019

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
Luke 1:56 (ESV)

God was so kind to Mary. He gave her three months of rest and peace staying with a family who would understand her pregnancy and believe her explanation. Mary had time to think and pray, time to adjust to how God has turned her life upside down. (She also had time to get through the worst of the morning sickness!)

And yet the day came when she had to return home. I wonder how difficult that was for her. She would have to tell her parents—would they believe her? She would have to talk to Joseph—would he divorce her?

She didn't know. All she knew was that God had His hand on her life, and that He was in control, whatever happened. And that was enough.

We too have scary times when we have to "face the music." And sometimes the hardest bit is the fact that we don't know what comes next. We are moving into the unknown.

But there is one thing we do know: God is already there, preparing our way, caring for us with the same love He showed when He came into our world as our Savior Jesus. The same Lord who lay down His life for us on the cross will also be with us as we face a frightening future. We will not walk alone. The One who rose from the dead will be there walking with us, our hand in His.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to trust You when I am afraid. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • What things frighten you the most?
  • When you are afraid, what do you do to feel better?
  • Does it help you to realize that God holds your future just as securely as He holds your present? Why or why not?

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 things frighten you the most?

CPTLN devocional del 18 de Diciembre de 2019 - Enfrentando situaciones


Enfrentando situaciones

18 de Diciembre de 2019

María se quedó con Elisabet como tres meses, y después volvió a su casa.Lucas 1:56 (RVC)

Dios fue compasivo con María. Le dio tres meses de descanso y paz para quedarse con una familia que entendería su embarazo y creería su explicación. Allí María tuvo tiempo para pensar y orar, tiempo para adaptarse a cómo Dios había cambiado su vida. (¡También tuvo tiempo de superar las náuseas!)

Sin embargo, llegó el día en que tuvo que regresar a su casa. Imagino lo difícil que habrá sido para ella. Tendría que decirles a sus padres; ¿le creerían? Tendría que hablar con José; ¿se divorciaría de ella?

María no lo sabía. Todo lo que sabía era que Dios tenía su mano sobre su vida, y también el control, pasara lo que pasara. Y eso era suficiente.

Nosotros también pasamos por momentos así, cuando temenos que enfrentar situaciones difíciles. Y a veces lo más difícil es que no sabemos lo que viene después. Estamos yendo hacia lo desconocido.

Pero hay una cosa que sí sabemos: Dios ya está allí preparando nuestro camino, cuidándonos con el mismo amor que mostró cuando vino al mundo como nuestro Salvador Jesús. El mismo Señor que dio su vida por nosotros en la cruz también estará con nosotros cuando enfrentemos un futuro aterrador. No caminaremos solos. El que resucitó de entre los muertos estará allí caminando con nosotros, llevándonos de la mano.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor Jesús, ayúdame a confiar en ti cuando tengo miedo. En tu nombre. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Qué haces para sentirte mejor cuando tienes miedo?
  • ¿Te ayuda eso a darte cuenta de que Dios tiene tu futuro seguro? ¿Por qué sí o por qué no?

© 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 haces para sentirte mejor cuando tienes miedo?

Ministérios Pão Diário - Esperança eterna

Esperança eterna

Leia: Salmo 146
 | A Bíblia em um ano: Obadias; Apocalipse 9

Bem-aventurado aquele que tem o Deus de Jacó por seu auxílio, cuja esperança está no Senhor, seu Deus.
—Salmo 146:5

Pouco antes do Natal, dois meses após minha mãe morrer, as compras e decorações ficaram no fundo da minha lista de prioridades. Eu resistia às tentativas do meu marido em me confortar, pois sofria a perda dessa matriarca cheia de fé. Zanguei-me quando nosso filho colocou as luzes do Natal em nossa casa. Sem dizer uma palavra, ele as ligou antes de ele e seu pai irem trabalhar.

Enquanto as lâmpadas coloridas piscavam, Deus, gentilmente, me tirou da escuridão. Por mais dolorosas que fossem as circunstâncias, minha esperança permaneceu segura à luz da verdade de Deus, que sempre revela o Seu caráter imutável.

O Salmo 146 afirma o que Deus me lembrou naquela manhã difícil: minha infinita esperança “está no Senhor”, meu ajudador, meu Deus poderoso e misericordioso (v.5). Como Criador de tudo, Ele “mantém para sempre a sua fidelidade” (v.6). Ele “faz justiça aos oprimidos”, protegendo-nos e provendo-nos (v.7). “O Senhor levanta os abatidos” (v.8). Ele “nos guarda”, “nos ampara” e sempre será Rei (vv.9,10).

Às vezes, quando o Natal se aproxima, nossos dias transbordam de alegria. Às vezes, enfrentaremos perdas, mágoas ou solidão. Mas em todos os momentos, Deus promete ser a nossa luz na escuridão, oferecendo-nos ajuda real e esperança eterna.

Deus firma a nossa esperança 
em Seu caráter imutável.

© 2019 Ministérios Pão Diário
Enquanto as lâmpadas coloridas piscavam, Deus, gentilmente, me tirou da escuridão.