Monday, December 23, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for MONDAY, December 23, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/revised-common-lectionary-semicontinuous/2019/12/23?version=NRSV

The Daily Lectionary
MONDAY, December 23, 2019
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

(My soul gives glory to God)
Mary’s Song of Praise
46 “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his
         servant.
     Surely, from now on all generations will call me
         blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
     and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
     from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
     he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their
         hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
     and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
     and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
     in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
     to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


(Your servant will be blessed)
David’s Prayer
7:18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?

23 Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people, and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things for them, by driving out before his people nations and their gods? 24 And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever; and you, O Lord, became their God. 25 And now, O Lord God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever; do as you have promised. 26 Thus your name will be magnified forever in the saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’; and the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27 For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; 29 now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”


(The promise of the Spirit)
3:6 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” 7 so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” 9 For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” 12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

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 23, 2019
Luke 1:46b-55; 2 Samuel 7:18, 23-29; Galatians 3:6-14

The Daily Prayer for MONDAY, December 23, 2019


The Daily Prayer
MONDAY, December 23, 2019

Church father Augustine of Hippo wrote, “No man has a right to lead such a life of contemplation as to forget in his own ease the service due his neighbor; nor has any man a right to be so immersed in active life as to neglect the contemplation of God.”

O Lord whose patience is beyond comprehension, we pray that you may never tire of helping us grow in faithfulness. Though we fail more than we succeed, raise us up each morning to follow after you again. Guide us today for your glory’s sake. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, December 23, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/verse-of-the-day/2019/12/23?version=NIV

Luke 2:11-14 (NIV)
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Read all of Luke 2

Listen to Luke 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 - Lunes 23 de Diciembre de 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/12/23

Reciclamiento

No se contenten solo con escuchar la palabra, pues así se engañan ustedes mismos. Llévenla a la práctica.
Santiago 1:22 (NVI)

Así como el reciclamiento es importante para tener un planeta más saludable y una vida más sana, también lo es para nuestra vida diaria. Esto lo vemos cuando en verdad tenemos ese anhelo de cambiar, de desechar lo que no sirve, separar lo que puede ser tóxico y utilizar, como es debido, los talentos y dones que hemos desaprovechado.

¡Qué bueno sería que en las proyecciones que ya estamos haciendo para el nuevo año pongamos el deseo ferviente de reciclar siempre en nuestra vida!

Es decir, separarnos de las cosas y personas que nos contaminan y entregar en manos de Dios las partes más nocivas de cada uno para que las purifique con su amor. De esa manera lograremos comenzar de verdad un año nuevo y una vida nueva.

No sigamos utilizando los mismos recipientes. Pidámosle al Señor que nos dé nuevas vestiduras y que esos cambios se puedan ver en nosotros. Entonces, de seguro, muchos se interesarán por nuestro cambio y desearán imitarnos.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Así como el reciclamiento es importante para tener un planeta más saludable y una vida más sana, también lo es para nuestra vida diaria.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Monday, December 23, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/12/23
THE BEAUTIFUL BRIDE OF CHRIST

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Iraq is probably the last place in the world you’d expect to find an illustration of the beautiful bride of Christ. Yet on top of a beautiful plateau in the mountains of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) a group of Arab Christians organized a prayer conference. More than five hundred Christians from all over Iraq, from all kind of churches including twenty local church leaders, came to pray for unity and peace in the country. “Oh God, unite our country again, bring peace to the Christians and strengthen your people,” was the common prayer on everybody’s lips. “This was a unique and wonderful experience for the Iraqi church,” shares Joyce who was one of the participants.

Teachers and pastors gave lectures on humility and engaged the group in seeking the Lord Jesus Christ at first. “There was prayer for the country and prayer for the different pastors. And one of the highlights was the fact that local Iraqi pastors washed each other feet and that is a miracle in a country where there is so much division,” Joyce adds. And she continues, “We prayed for God to give hope and life for individual Christians again; we prayed for individual prayer requests which were written down on paper.”

Another pastor taught the group to love their country and to have a passion for the country. Joyce says, “Two young leaders from Baghdad were very much touched by this, since both of them had been victims of violence and kidnapping in Baghdad, because of their faith. They had problems in loving their country and the people in it.”

One pastor shared, “Every six months we lose twenty per cent of our believers to the free world, and our main problem is also that so many Christian leaders are leaving. You just finish training young leaders and they leave. It is a pity and we are losing so many potential leaders.”

Another Iraqi Christian shared with tears the experience of his kidnapping in Kirkuk. “God was with me and I felt that people around the world were praying for me, although I was amazed about that. God was with me and he brought me out.”

In conclusion a pastor said, “Like Christ, the church in Iraq feels afflicted, not comforted and lashed by stones. And yet does the son of the king ever feel powerless? I do not think so; the presence of the comforter is in our midst in Iraq, so be brave and continue. The Holy Spirit in us is not just a power; He is God himself, who is with us. To God the church in Iraq is beautiful also; so let us love her and work alongside her to make her more so.”

RESPONSE: I will never lose faith that Jesus is developing His beautiful bride around the entire world.

PRAYER: Pray that Iraqi Christians will continue to perceive themselves as Jesus’ beautiful bride.

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 23, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/women-of-the-bible/2019/12/23

Priscilla

Her name means: "Worthy" or "Venerable"

Her character: One of the first missionaries and a leader of the early church, along with her husband, Aquila, she risked her life for the apostle Paul. Priscilla was a woman whose spiritual maturity and understanding of the faith helped build up the early church.
Her sorrow: To experience opposition to the gospel from both Jews and Gentiles.
Her joy: To spread the gospel and nurture the church.
Key Scriptures: Acts 18-19; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19

Her Story

How good it is to have Paul back again, she thought. Ephesus was on fire with the gospel, their young church growing stronger each day. Paul's preaching and miracles had brought many to faith. Even the touch of his handkerchief had healed illnesses and delivered people from evil spirits.

Priscilla couldn't help laughing when she heard the story of Sceva's seven sons, Jewish exorcists who had tried to duplicate such wonders by driving out an evil spirit with a magic invocation: "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out."

But the spirit had merely mocked them, saying: "Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man they were trying to deliver beat them so soundly they ran bleeding and naked from the house.

The Ephesians were so impressed by what had happened that a number of sorcerers held a public bonfire to destroy their scrolls. Their magical formulations and incantations seemed like useless trinkets in light of the greater power of Jesus.

But despite the progress of the gospel, Priscilla was aware of growing opposition. One day, she heard the sounds of a crowd forming in the streets. A silversmith was shouting to other craftsmen, all of whom made their living selling miniature images of the many-breasted goddess Artemis: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."

The crowd erupted into a riot, seizing two of Paul's companions. Priscilla was distressed when Paul insisted on addressing the mob. She was certain such boldness could only end in worse violence. With her husband's help, she was able to restrain Paul until a city official calmed the crowd and it dispersed. Soon after, Paul set out to spread the gospel in Macedonia.

Though the book of Acts describes the riot in Ephesus, it does not tell us that either Priscilla or Aquila were actually present, only that some disciples prevented Paul from entering the fray, possibly saving his life in the process. Since Priscilla and her husband were leaders of the church in Ephesus, it is quite possible they were among those who intervened on Paul's behalf.

Priscilla's faith had been planted years earlier in an atmosphere of strife and controversy, first in Rome and later in Corinth. The latter was a commercial center famous for its appetite for vice, hardly a place to nurture the faith of a new believer. Yet that was where God transplanted her, along with her husband, Aquila, after Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome in ad 49, tired of their constant fighting about Chrestus (a probable reference to Christ).

Though various gods were worshiped in Corinth, none was more popular than Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, whose temple at one time boasted more than a thousand sacred prostitutes. Throughout the empire, the phrase "Corinthian girl" was just another name for "prostitute."

After the couple had been in Corinth for about a year, they met up with a man who would involve them in yet more controversy. Paul of Tarsus was a Jew who had ruthlessly persecuted Jesus' followers until his own dramatic conversion. Lately, he had been traveling in Asia Minor and Macedonia, preaching the gospel wherever he went. When he arrived in Corinth, he probably met the couple through their common trade as tentmakers. Priscilla and Aquila invited Paul to stay in their home and work with them.

As always, Paul preached the gospel first in the local synagogue and then to the Gentiles. And, as always, his preaching generated both faith and opposition. After eighteen months, leading Jews of Corinth hauled him before the proconsul to accuse him of spreading an illicit religion. After the charge was dismissed, Paul set sail for Ephesus, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.

The three missionaries must have been eager to see a city that ranked in importance with Rome, Corinth, Antioch, and Alexandria. The capital of provincial Asia, Ephesus boasted a temple to Artemis (also known as Diana) so enormous that it was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. After only a short while, Paul left for other ports, leaving the couple behind to lead the church that met in their home.

Before long another Jew arrived, preaching eloquently about Jesus to the Jews at Ephesus. But Apollos, a native of Alexandria, had grasped only a shadow of the gospel, one more in keeping with the message of John the Baptist than of Jesus. Rather than denouncing him for his inadequate presentation, Priscilla and Aquila merely took him aside and instructed him in the faith. They did their job so well, in fact, that believers in Ephesus eventually sent the gifted preacher to Corinth, where he advanced the work Paul had begun.

Priscilla must have been a spiritually mature woman, whose gifts equipped her for leadership. Her name actually precedes Aquila's four out of the six times they are mentioned in the New Testament, probably signifying her greater abilities as a leader or the fact that her family may have hailed from a higher social strata than his. Whatever the case, Priscilla's role in instructing Apollos and leading the early church is remarkable.

Along with Aquila, she was the best friend Paul could have had, helping him establish the church and risking her life for his sake. Paul mentions the couple's courage in one of his letters but doesn't elaborate on the circumstances.

Rather than withering in the soil of controversy, Priscilla's faith seemed to flourish. She helped establish the early church in an atmosphere of great hostility, risking her own life for the sake of the gospel she loved.

Her Promise

Scripture doesn't tell us exactly what role Priscilla played in the circumstances described in the New Testament. Was she active as a teacher? Or did she work in the background? But the very fact that her name appears along with her husband's every time does tell us something: She was a valued disciple, one who made a difference in Paul's life and in her world.

Whatever your role as a woman in your church, whether in the background or in a leadership position, you can be sure that what you are doing matters. Each task—no matter how small or large—is important to the spread of the gospel. You are an integral part of your church community, and God promises to use you.

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.
Priscilla couldn't help laughing when she heard the story of Sceva's seven sons …

LHM Daily Devotions - December 23, 2019 - COURAGE

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20191223

"COURAGE"

Dec. 23, 2019

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a Son. And he called His Name Jesus.
Matthew 1:24-25 (ESV)

I really admire Joseph. What courage he had, to simply wake up and go finalize the marriage, bringing his wife home—all on the basis of a dream. Mary and Zechariah both had the benefit of a face-to-face meeting with a real live angel. Joseph? Well, like his Old Testament namesake, he got his instructions in dreams.

I think that most of us are a lot more like Joseph than like Mary in this. God speaks to us in less flamboyant ways—through the Bible, through prayer, through consultation with wise Christian friends. God makes Himself known, but He does it in ways that are easier to mistake.

And we worry about that, don't we? What if I get it wrong? What if I think God wants me to do something, and later on it turns into a disaster? We fret and worry, as if knowing God's will were some sort of test we could score an F on—as if we could fail, and disappoint God. Sometimes that worries us more than the actual outcome of the decision!

But that is not the case. Because of our Savior Jesus, we are now God's beloved children. We are very dear to Him-so dear that He lay down His own life for us!—and He is certainly not looking to set traps for us. As King David wrote, "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:13-14).

There is no chance that the same God who became a human baby out of love for us would be looking for things to blame us for. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will make the best decisions we can; and if things go badly (and face it, don't they often?), we will know that God is still with us, and we are still His children. After all, He is Immanuel; He is "God with us."

THE PRAYER: Lord, You know that I get confused easily. Guide me, and help me to trust in You when I am nervous and afraid. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • Are you afraid to make mistakes? Why or why not?
  • Can something "go wrong" from a human point of view and still be used in God's plans?
  • If you are willing, tell about a time when you got something wrong (or thought you had) and still found love and acceptance from another person.

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 afraid to make mistakes? Why or why not?

CPTLN devocional del 23 de Diciembre de 2019 - Valor


ADVIENTO—NAVIDAD 2019

Valor

23 de Diciembre de 2019

Cuando José despertó del sueño, hizo lo que el ángel del Señor le había mandado y recibió a su mujer, pero no la conoció hasta que dio a luz a su hijo primogénito. Y le puso por nombre JESÚS.
Mateo 1:24-25 (RVC)

Realmente admiro el coraje de José: se despertó y se llevó a su esposa a casa, todo sobre la base de un sueño. María y Zacarías tuvieron el beneficio de una reunión cara a cara con un verdadero ángel. ¿José? Al igual que el José del Antiguo Testamento, recibió las instrucciones en sueños. La mayoría de nosotros nos parecemos más a José que a María en esto.

Dios nos habla de maneras menos extravagantes: a través de la Biblia, a través de la oración, a través de consultas con amigos cristianos maduros. Dios se da a conocer, pero lo hace de maneras más fáciles de confundir. Y eso nos preocupa. ¿Qué pasa si me equivoco? ¿Qué pasa si creo que Dios quiere que haga algo y luego no funciona? Nos inquietamos y preocupamos, como si conocer la voluntad de Dios fuera algún tipo de prueba en la que podríamos obtener una mala nota, como si pudiéramos fallar y decepcionar a Dios.

El rey David escribió: "El Señor se compadece de los que le honran con la misma compasión del padre por sus hijos, pues él sabe de qué estamos hechos; ¡él bien sabe que estamos hechos de polvo!" (Salmo 103:13-14).

No es posible que el mismo Dios, que se convirtió en bebé por amor a nosotros, busque cosas por las cuales culparnos. Con la ayuda del Espíritu Santo tomaremos las mejores decisiones; y si las cosas salen mal (y sabemos que con frecuencia lo hacen), no dudaremos que Dios todavía está con nosotros y que seguimos siendo sus hijos. Después de todo, él es Emanuel; él es "Dios con nosotros".

ORACIÓN: Señor, sabes que me confundo fácilmente. Guíame y ayúdame a confiar en ti cuando estoy nervioso y asustado. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Puede algo "ir mal" desde un punto de vista humano y aún ser usado en los planes de Dios?
  • ¿Recuerdas alguna ocasión en que te equivocaste y aún así encontraste el amor y la aceptación de otra persona?

© 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.
¿Puede algo "ir mal" desde un punto de vista humano y aún ser usado en los planes de Dios?

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un rang de oui

https://notrepainquotidien.org/2019/12/23/un-rang-de-oui/

Un rang de oui

Lisez : Luc 2.15-19
La Bible en un an : Nahum 1 – 3 ; Apocalypse 14

Marie gardait toutes ces choses, et les repassait dans son cœur.

Un certain Noël, ma grand-mère m’a offert un superbe rang de perles luisantes. Puis un jour, il s’est cassé. Les perles se sont éparpillées dans tous les sens en bondissant sur notre plancher de bois. À quatre pattes, je suis parvenue à en récupérer chacune. Prises séparément, ces perles n’avaient l’air de rien, mais reliées entre elles, elles faisaient toute une impression !

Il arrive parfois que mes oui à Dieu me semblent des plus insignifiants, comme ces perles individuelles. Je me compare à Marie, la mère de Jésus, qui a fait preuve d’une obéissance exceptionnelle. Elle a dit oui à Dieu lorsqu’il l’a appelée à porter le Messie : « Marie dit : Je suis la servante du Seigneur ; qu’il me soit fait selon ta parole ! » (LU 1.38.) Comprenait-elle tout ce que cela exigerait d’elle ? Qu’elle aurait un oui encore plus important auquel consentir en laissant son Fils mourir sur la croix ?

Luc 2.19 précise qu’après les visites des anges et des bergers, Marie « gardait toutes ces choses, et les repassait dans son cœur ». L’expression « gardait […] et […] repassait », qui signifie « chérir et relier » revient au sujet de Marie (V. 51). Au cours de sa vie, elle allait servir à Dieu de nombreux oui.

Comme pour Marie, il se peut que le secret de nos oui réside dans le fait de relier entre eux divers oui aux invitations de notre Père, un à la fois, jusqu’à ce qu’ils en viennent à former une vie précieuse d’obéissance.

En disant « oui » à Dieu, nous l’invitons à oeuvrer sans cesse dans notre vie.


© 2019 Ministères NPQ
Un certain Noël, ma grand-mère m’a offert un superbe rang de perles luisantes. Puis un jour, il s’est cassé. Les perles se sont éparpillées dans tous les sens en bondissant sur notre plancher de bois.