Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, August 30, 2020 — 13th Sunday After Pentecost

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, August 30, 2020 — 13th Sunday After Pentecost

Standing on Holy Ground
Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b; Romans 12:9-21;
Matthew 16:21-28
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Opening Sentences
Just when we think we have God figured out, God overturns our expectations once again. God takes an inarticulate, excuse-riddled murderer and turns him into one of the greatest leaders of the Hebrew people. Writing in Romans, Paul (who has a life-changing story to rival that of Moses) gives us an upside-down recipe for living in Christ: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Meanwhile, Jesus reminds us of one of the greatest, and most difficult, paradoxes of Christianity: to save your life you must first lose it. So we find ourselves once again surprised by the limitless and inexplicable nature of God’s love, and we rejoice to stand together on holy ground.

Take Up Your Cross

Opening Prayer
Surprising God, you have an uncomfortable habit of showing up where we least expect you: in a burning bush, in the face of an enemy, in a livestock feed trough, on a rough wooden cross. Turn our lives upside down with your radical love. Help us fully embrace your surprises, even as we revel in the joy of being fully embraced by your all-encompassing grace and mercy. We pray in the name of your most amazing surprise of all: your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
God of Mystery, we are constantly amazed by the depth and breadth of your love. Over and over again, you turn our expectations inside out and upside down. And still we don’t understand the radical nature of your grace. We play by our own rules of justice, even when it means excluding those we are called to love and defend. In our darkest moments, we doubt if we are worthy of your trust. God, help us remember that you give us all the tools we need; that through the solid foundation of your love, we find the strength to follow your call as true disciples of Jesus Christ. Surprise us again, O God. Surprise us again.

Assurance of Pardon
The God who brought our ancestors out of slavery will not desert us. God has promised to be with us throughout all generations. Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice, for God is with us!

First Reading
God calls Moses
3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.

10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Remembering Moses
1 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

26 He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

45b Praise ye the Lord.

Second Reading
Live in harmony
12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Gospel
The rebuke to Peter
16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostles’ Creed

  • I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

  • I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us;. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion

A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.

God promised to be with Moses, and we are here to witness to the fulfillment of that promise. From generation to generation, the God of Israel is also the God of (your community’s name). The God of the burning bush is waiting even now to encounter you, call you, challenge you, and change you. Go out to be sustained and surprised by the love of God. 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 Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, 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 what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.
The Daily Bible Readings
SUNDAY, August 30, 2020 — 13th Sunday After Pentecost
Standing on Holy Ground
Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

“Costly Grace” (Matthew 16:21-28)

Today, our gospel message comes to us from Matthew 16:21-28, “The rebuke to Peter.”

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”.

Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to reveal your will for our lives and redeem us from sin and death. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, inspire us with confidence that you are with us in the midst of the storms of life, bring peace to our troubled souls, and lead your church throughout the ages. Enable us to live as your redeemed saints, that our lives may witness to our faith. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

“Costly Grace”

Today’s gospel lesson follows on the heels of last week’s reading were we saw Peter make his confession. Remember last week, Peter was the hero of our lesson because he confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus had asked the disciples, “who do men say that I am?” The disciples gave him many different answers, then he asked them, “but who do you say that I am?” Then we get Peter’s great confession of faith, “Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was a hero, he understood who Jesus really was, he understood that Jesus was no mere man, but a living part of the God of creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus was the Son of God who came to this earth to show and tell the people of God, the Israelites, about God in a very real and personal way. Peter had put it all together. For that moment, at least, he knew who Jesus was.

But in today’s lesson, Peter quickly changes from the hero to the goat, from one who is expounding some great truths, to one who is babbling and carrying on about things that he doesn’t understand, or even want to understand. Peter changes so quickly in fact that Jesus equates him with the devil when he says, “Get behind me Satan,” you are tempting me, you are hindering me you are trying to make me change my mind about the course that I am supposed to take. What did Peter do so wrong to change so quickly from the hero to a goat in just a few short minutes?

After Peter’s confession, Jesus began to tell the disciples about what lay ahead for him. Jesus told the disciples that he would suffer at the hands of the religious rulers, he would, in fact, be put to death by these rulers, but God would raise him on the third day. Jesus was explaining the concept of the suffering servant, the suffering Messiah to the disciples, and Peter out of love and respect, out of his own ideas about the Messiah, out of his own sense of glory and righteousness took Jesus in his large arms and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Peter could not let Jesus suffer because he loved him so much; he could not let Jesus suffer because he could not believe in a Messiah that was nothing less than a conquering Messiah. He could not let Jesus suffer because that was not the dreams and the expectations he had of Jesus, and the dreams and expectations he had of himself as a follower of Jesus. No, suffering was not apart of all of this, thought Peter.

But Peter was wrong. Suffering was apart of the plan that God had for Jesus. Jesus must suffer for the sins of this world to secure our salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells Peter it is God’s will for him to suffer, He says, “You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Men cannot understand the workings of God, men have their own thoughts about the plans of God, Jesus is saying, but God’s plans are that I must suffer so that you will not have to suffer. Jesus tells Peter in a sense that he must understand what the will of the Father for his son is. Peter must understand that suffering is part of this plan, not glory, not riches, not a grand army, but suffering, death, and the cross, then God will act to raise him on the 3rd day. God will bring life where there was death. God will bring glory where there was suffering. God will deliver Jesus from the hands of the devil and exalt him to the throne of glory at His right hand in the heavenly mansion in the sky. God will do all of this because he is a God of love.

Jesus then tells Peter, especially, but the disciples also, that everyone must take up his cross to follow him. Jesus is saying that being a follower of Jesus is no easy matter. There is sacrifice. There is giving up things. There is suffering. There is setting priorities in one’s life, so that those things that really do count, eternal life, have priority number one. Jesus is telling the disciples, and us this today, that whoever loses one’s life for him, will find it. Whoever forgets about the demands, the values, the standards of this world, whoever is willing to live totally for Jesus, that person will find life in Jesus, that person will know Jesus as the savior of life.

Jesus is saying that the Christian life is not easy, that it is the most difficult life to live because it is a life of sacrifice, that it is a life living for him instead of ourselves or the demands of this world. But in our day and age, we make the Christian life so easy. We continuously appeal to new members by stating how easy it is to join the church. The rigor and discipline of being a Christian have disappeared. We come to church when we feel like it or when we have nothing else to do. Our attendance usually depends on fair weather. Another person has described the Christian life in this age in a like manner. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a martyr during World War II in Germany, wrote in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, that Christians today are living by cheap grace. He says, “Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.… Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Bonhoeffer describes costly grace as “the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”

Bonhoeffer describes a life that is fulfilling the charge of Jesus when he says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Bonhoeffer says we have lost sight of the grace which is so costly. We have turned the grace of God into something so simple, so watered down, something without meaning, that we don’t comprehend or fathom what it means in this day and age to be a follower of Jesus. Bonhoeffer doesn’t want to turn God’s grace into a new legalism, but he wants his readers to understand that responsibility goes along with the grace that God has given to us. He is pointing out that we have taken that responsibility to easily. We have said that God is such a loving God that he would understand and forgive when we don’t follow through on our part of the covenant he has made with us. We have taken God’s love for us for granted. It doesn’t mean anything to us that God chose to have his son die for us so that we might have eternal life. It doesn’t mean anything to us that Jesus sacrificed himself for us and our sins. It doesn’t mean anything to us that we are called upon by God to live in that same kind of lifestyle, that we are to live a life that reflects the same kind of love, compassion, and concern that Jesus had for humankind.

What we are hearing from this text today is a challenge for us to live a life that is not centered on self, nor on the world, but a life that is given over to Jesus and his demands. A life that is willing to sacrifice something, some priorities, some worldly values, some creature comforts so that we might serve our Lord and others around us.

I want to conclude with a story told by Victor Meyer. He says, “The party was changed with excitement... to which had been added a pinch of mellowness. It was the last time the graduating seminarians would be together before moving to their new areas of ministry.

Among all the conversations that night, one was most memorable. You see, Ed was going deep into the heart of Appalachia; a poor mining town to be specific. This particular field of mission would provide Ed with very little monetary compensation. He would have to be on guard to maintain his nutritional health. There would be some risk involved, too. People there didn’t like “no strangers move’ in.” He’d have to earn their trust and respect. The nearest medical doctor or facility for that matter was two hours away. Disease and sickness were common.

Ed was a guy with a lot going for him. He was skilled and sensitive and could serve the church almost anywhere. He could easily have gone to a nice suburban area; he didn’t have to settle for living in poverty. He could have opted for a classy church and thus spared himself the grief and ridicule he was absorbing from his father.

Ed chose freely to give up many things when he graduated. Why?? ‘Because,’ he said, ‘I believe Jesus meant it when he said I’d find real life, I’ll lose many things I enjoy and take for granted, but I expect to gain a fuller, richer life anyhow when I consider what Christ gave up for me and the people in poverty... well.... do I have another choice?’”

Do we have another choice as we live life???

Lord, thank You for the gift of this day. Whatever happens to me today, help me to consider today a blessing, for the mere fact that You’ve given me another day of life. Help me to carry my cross with strength, with humility and with confidence. Help me to deny my own desires and to seek after Your commandments. Help me to be a good follower. Help me to do these things today, and then tomorrow, and then the next day, for as many days as You will give me in my life to carry my cross and follow. As Your cross lead you not only to crucifixion but to Resurrection, help me to carry my cross not only in this life, but into Eternal Life. Amen.

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Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Sermon contributed by Tim Zingale.
Jesus tells Peter to “Get behind me, Satan.”

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, August 30, 2020
The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, August 30, 2020

In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ruby D. Robinson led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in their campaign to be seated at the Democratic National Convention, saying that they and thousands of African-Americans like them were “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Listen to the words of Fannie Lou Hamer in the midst of the civil rights struggle: “We have to realize just how grave the problem is in the United States today, and I think the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the eleventh and twelfth verses help us to know what it is we are up against. It says, ‘Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ This is what I think about when I think of my own work in the fight for freedom.”

Sweet Lord, save us. Heal all that is broken in our lives, in our streets, and in our world. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, August 30, 2020

Ephesians 2:19
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…
Read all of Ephesians 2

Listen to Ephesians 2

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — Almighty Father, Bless the Word

Almighty Father, Bless the Word

♫ "Almighty Father, bless the Word, Which through Your grace we now have heard. Oh, may the precious seed take root, Spring up, and bear abundant fruit!

"We praise You for the means of grace, As homeward now our steps we trace. Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here, May all at last in heav'n appear." ♫

"We praise You for the means of grace." In our hymn, we give thanks and praise to God for the means of grace, that is, for the Word and the Sacraments. These gracious gifts of God are the means, or channels, through which His forgiveness comes to us. Water will flow from a greater source—perhaps a reservoir, lake, or river—through a canal, pipeline, or channel to irrigate thirsty crops in a field. By God's grace, the forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the cross flows into our lives through channels of the written and spoken Word and through God's created, earthly gifts of water, bread, and wine in Baptism and Holy Communion.

The water rushing through irrigation canals and pipelines brings life and growth to fields planted with crops and orchards full of fruit. Rushing through the channels of His grace, God's generous, restoring forgiveness fills our lives, creating and nourishing faith in Christ Jesus and giving growth to the "abundant fruit" that springs from faith. In the means of grace that is Baptism, by the work of the Holy Spirit in the water and the Word, faith was created in our hearts as the Gospel seed took root in our lives. Our faith is nourished through God's Word and through the forgiveness we receive as we partake of Jesus' body and blood in His Holy Supper. Faith grows and bears fruit, the rich fruit of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23a).

Our hymn is one that is often sung at the close of a worship service. We have gathered with brothers and sisters in Christ to hear the Word of God, to receive His forgiveness through the Word and through the gift of Jesus' body and blood. Having offered up to God our praise for His grace and His gifts, we leave worship as "homeward now our steps we trace." In our churches, in our homes, with our families, among our neighbors, in schools, and at our places of work—in every place where we carry out our daily callings—the abundant fruit of the Spirit is expressed through our words and actions. Through that fruit, Jesus' love is reflected in the love we show to others. The Holy Spirit is at work in our words of witness, as the seed of the Gospel is sown among them.

In our hymn we pray that we who have worshiped together on earth will one day meet again before God's throne. There we will enjoy different fruit, invited "to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7b). That blessed tree has its own irrigation source, "the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1b).

Almighty Father, we offer our thanks and praise for the means of grace. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to share with others abundant fruit of love and service, in Jesus' Name. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Almighty Father, Bless the Word."

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you take advantage of the means God gives us to grow in His Word?

2. Is going to Communion important for you? What benefit does it bring you?

3. Reading the Bible with others is a great way to grow in your faith? Do you do that with your family, a friend, or in a Bible study group?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
How do you take advantage of the means God gives us to grow in His Word?

Standing Strong Through the Storm — THE WITNESSING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”

Prior to her Christian husband being released from prison in Iran, Maheen feared that she might be arrested too. So she seriously prayed, “Dear Lord, I am not ready to go to solitary confinement because of my Christian faith. It is such a closed and dirty environment. As you know I was born and brought up in a wealthy family and had a comfortable life. Please don’t test me beyond my ability.” She told God she would not be able to handle being arrested and mentioned her fear that she might give the names of all believers in the house churches to the police or even deny Jesus.

Three days later, the secret police knocked at her door. She said to God, “I have already asked you not to put me in this temptation. So whatever happens, it is not my fault. Because I had already told you that I am not a strong person and can’t stand against these security people and can’t tolerate persecution.”

She said, “The police blindfolded me and took me to the solitary confinement. I was scared to death and felt sick as the place was very smelly.” They put her in a cell and a few hours later brought her in for interrogation. She added, “I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit very strongly. And I felt that God’s peace came down on me and my fear went away.”

When Maheen stood before the high official, she courageously testified of her Christian faith. “It is an honor for me to talk to people about Jesus. I will be very happy to talk to you about Jesus and salvation too. Like all other people and Muslims, you also need Jesus in your life. Without Jesus a person does not have any peace and life is hopeless and without any purpose. Jesus laid his life down for you too so that you can have salvation and will not perish.”

The official responded in anger, “Do you know what the consequence of all this will be for you? You can’t evangelize me. It will cost you a heavy price.”

On the third night, the official came to her cell. Maheen was frightened fearing that he came to abuse her sexually or to beat her up. But the official told her, “Don’t be afraid of me. I need your prayers. When you shared about Jesus with me, it had such a powerful impact on my life. I need to be saved. I need Jesus in my life. I believe God has sent you to come to this prison so that you can share about salvation with me. I am now completely aware of the fact that without Jesus I will be a miserable and hopeless person and I will perish. Please pray for me that I can be set free from this hell I live in.”

Maheen had the chance to share about Jesus for three hours with him and in the end, he repented of his sins and committed his life to Jesus. The official testified that for the first time he experienced the real peace and love of God in his life.

Maheen and her husband were both released from prison and are in touch with this official and his wife secretly. The wife of the official has committed her life to the Lord too.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk and talk in the power of the Holy Spirit and trust God to use me as a witness wherever He places me.

PRAYER: Thank God for the power of His Holy Spirit among committed brothers and sisters in Iran.

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

John Piper Devotional — Yes to All God’s Promises and More
Yes to All God’s Promises and More

All the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ.

If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

  1. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
  2. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.”
  3. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.”
  4. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
  5. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  6. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  7. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again!
Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality.

Un dia a la Vez — Beneficios de la sanidad
Beneficios de la sanidad

Amado, yo deseo que tú seas prosperado en todas las cosas, y que tengas salud, así como prospera tu alma.
3 Juan 2, RV-60

Estos días estamos aprendiendo lo importante y lo benéfico que es tener la sanidad del alma.

¿Sabías que muchas de las enfermedades son producto del rencor y la falta de perdón? Las heridas que han quedado abiertas nos mantienen frustrados y con raíces de amargura que con el paso del tiempo se manifiestan en enfermedades.

Tú deseas un hogar, unos hijos y una vida en paz y feliz. Por eso necesitas mirar hacia dentro y pedirle a Dios que te muestre esas partes de tu vida que necesitan sanidad y libertad. Te sentirás diferente cuando le permitas a que Dios obre en ti.

El Señor nos da promesas de libertad y de bendición. Lo que a veces sucede es que nosotros mismos detenemos esas promesas. Siéntete libre hoy y dile a Dios tu deseo de cambiar.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
¿Sabías que muchas de las enfermedades son producto del rencor y la falta de perdón?

Unser Täglich Brot — Selbstzensur


Lesung: Klagelieder 3,37-42 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Psalm 129-131; 1. Korinther 11,1-16

Lasst uns unser Verhalten überprüfen und wieder zum Herrn umkehren.

Vor Kurzem sah ich ein Bündel Briefe durch, die mein Vater meiner Mutter während des Zweiten Weltkriegs geschrieben hat. Er war in Nordafrika und sie in Amerika. Papa war Unterleutnant in der Armee und seine Aufgabe war es, die ausgehenden Briefe der Soldaten zu lesen und darauf zu achten, dass nichts darin stand, was den Feind interessieren konnte. Das Lustige war, dass auch auf den Briefen an seine Frau ein Stempel prangte, auf dem stand: „Geprüft von Unterleutnant John Branon.“ Er hatte sogar Zeilen aus seinen eigenen Briefen weggeschnitten!

Selbstzensur ist gut für uns alle. In der Bibel steht mehrmals, wie wichtig es ist, sich selbst zu prüfen und zu schauen, was nicht recht ist, was Gott nicht ehrt. So betete etwa der Psalmist: „Erforsche mich, Gott, und erkenne mein Herz . . . Zeige mir, wenn ich auf falschen Wegen gehe“ (Psalm 139,23-24). Jeremia sagt es so: „Lasst uns unser Verhalten überprüfen und wieder zum Herrn umkehren“ (Klagelieder 3,40). Und Paulus sagt im Blick auf die Vorbereitung zum Abendmahl: „Deshalb solltet ihr euch prüfen“ (1. Korinther 11,28).

Der Heilige Geist kann uns helfen, Dinge zu lassen, die Gott nicht gefallen. Bevor wir uns heute der Welt stellen, wollen wir uns Zeit nehmen und uns anhand der Bibel prüfen, damit wir „wieder zum Herrn umkehren“ und Gemeinschaft mit ihm haben können.
Wie sieht heute deine geistliche Selbstprüfung aus? Kommt dir etwas in den Sinn, was du lassen solltest, um die Gemeinschaft mit Gott zu fördern?
Erforsche mich, Herr, und erkenne mein Herz. Prüfe, ob und was ich ändern sollte, damit ich dir besser dienen kann.

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Vor Kurzem sah ich ein Bündel Briefe durch, die mein Vater meiner Mutter während des Zweiten Weltkriegs geschrieben hat. Er war in Nordafrika und sie in Amerika.