Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Daily Bible Readings for WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020

The Daily Readings
WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020
Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18; Exodus 7:14-25; Matthew 12:22-32
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Today's Verse-of-the-Day: Psalm 119:64
The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

Today's Readings:
God’s power like blazing fire
1 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.

17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth.

First of ten plagues
7:14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.

16 And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.

17 Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.

18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.

19 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.

20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.

21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.

23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.

24 And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.

25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river.

Jesus comes to cast out Satan
12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

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 Readings for WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020
Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18; Exodus 7:14-25; Matthew 12:22-32 (KJV)

The Daily Prayer for WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020
The Daily Prayer
WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020

Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, said, “Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor, not to those who serve the poor! I think we can only truly experience the presence of God, meet Jesus, receive the good news, in and through our own poverty, because the kingdom of God belongs to the poor, the poor in spirit, the poor who are crying out for love.”

Lord, even the seraphim and cherubim hide their faces in your presence as they declare your praise. Help us mere mortals to humbly dethrone ourselves and bow before you, that in our weakness we might know your good news and forever sing your glory. Amen.

Verse of the Day for WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2020

Psalm 119:64
The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
Read all of Psalm 119

Listen to Psalm 119

The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — Love Makes Love Possible

Love Makes Love Possible

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the Law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." To be honest, I never much cared for this saying. It seems that to follow this principle means I'll be overlooking others' faults constantly. After all, that's what I do for myself (and that's a big enough job). If anyone gets the benefit of the doubt, it's me. If anyone is excused for an overreaction, yep, me again. Oh, I know I can be a pistol, sometimes—too blunt, lacking compassion, too critical, callous and self-serving—but hey, that's just me. I can deal with that.

But Paul is not saying just to overlook the faults of our neighbor, but to intentionally love and care for them—as we do for ourselves. Are they in need? What can we do to help? Are they struggling with personal problems? How can we support them and show we care? Doing these things, according to Paul, is really what the Law is all about. It's like a "fulfilling of the Law" in its original intended meaning.

Jesus, of course, is a Master at this. As He walked this earth, God in the flesh, He loved His neighbors, wherever He found him or her. Be they Jew or Gentile, Samaritan, Roman, Greek, or any other sinner, He showed them compassion; He loved them; He was there for them. In this, He set a supreme example for us to follow.

But even as much as we needed an example to follow, we needed more from Jesus. Because no matter how much we love others, our good actions toward our neighbors still fall short of the Law's righteous demand for us. The apostle Paul knew this all too well. He spent years trying to attain righteousness before God based on the Law. He discovered it was futile. The flesh is corrupt, and we can't uncorrupt. God had to step in, and in Jesus He did.

"For God has done what the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4).

You see, the Law is fulfilled in us who believe. We are complete because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Now, filled with God's Holy Spirit, may we love others as Jesus has loved us.

Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit's power in our lives, may we love others with a selfless love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Paul Schreiber

Reflection Questions:
1. How hard is it for you to love (or think kindly of) people, in general?

2. How are the rules of God's Law "fulfilled" by love?

3. How might your attitude and actions toward your neighbor change if you tried to love them as you love yourself?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
It seems that to follow this principle means I'll be overlooking others' faults constantly.

Standing Strong Through the Storm — THE PRIVILEGE OF CORPORATE WORSHIP

Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.

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

It’s so easy to get fed up with church. For years I got very little out of church. The sermons were boring. The music was embarrassing. The fellowship was non-existent. The whole experience of worshiping with other people felt stale and pointless…Going to church in my country was an endurance test. Until I visited a persecuted church!

There were fifty of us squeezed into an upstairs room. The singing was hushed. The neighbors were hostile to the fellowship. Then a preacher stood up. An old man, with a wiry frame and wisps of hair springing from a mole on his chin. No sooner had he spoken a sentence than he broke down in tears. He kept saying, “I never thought I would have the privilege of preaching again.” Then he would laugh, and then cry again, great wails and sobs. Soon everyone was weeping with him. Except me. This went on for about half an hour, and I began to get very fed up with it all. He kept speaking a line, and my translator kept saying, “It’s the same verse, it’s the same verse.” All this man did was repeat the same scripture phrase, burst into tears, laugh, and then speak the very same phrase again. I thought, “What kind of hopeless service is this.”

But afterward, I met the old man, and when I heard his story I repented of my attitude. He was a preacher, ordained in the late 1950s in China. He pastored a church for only six months before it was closed down. He was jailed, spending twenty years in prison. After he got out, he was very ill for a long time, but finally, at age 77, had the strength to speak again. I had witnessed his first sermon in 31 years! No wonder he broke down. I tried to imagine what it must have been like, holding the Word of God inside for 31 years, not knowing whether you would ever again preach. Then suddenly being allowed to do so. How do you preach a sermon after a silence of 31 years? No wonder he was overcome.

He said, “I never thought I would get the privilege of speaking the Word to a gathered group of Christians with their Bibles open ever again. Through the long years of prison, I thought that experience would never return. And when it came, as you saw, all I could do was choke out the verse that kept me going: Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful (Ps149:1b).

I returned home with a transformed attitude. I began to walk to church with my Bible, praising Him for the opportunity. I went to the church early, walking the aisles and praying, thanking God for the building and the freedom to hold our service. When the preacher spoke, I thanked God that he had no fear. When the Bible was read, I thanked God for the men who took grave risks in the past to print and distribute this word in my language. When we sang a hymn, I sang out loudly, thanking God that I did not have to whisper in hushed tones.

Truly, what a privilege is corporate worship. The persecuted church rescued me from bitterness and taught me to count my blessings I had taken for granted.

RESPONSE: Today I will thank God for the privilege and freedom of corporate worship in my church.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the freedom and blessing of praising You in my faith community.

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 — Devastated and Delighted
Devastated and Delighted

The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

What would the doctrines of grace sound like if every limb in that tree were coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight (that is, what I call “Christian Hedonism”)?
  • Total depravity is not just badness, but blindness to God’s beauty and deadness to the deepest joy.
  • Unconditional election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed as the overflow of God’s joy in the fellowship of the Trinity.
  • Limited atonement is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured for us by the blood of the new covenant.
  • Irresistible grace is the commitment and power of God’s love to make sure we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures, and to set us free by the sovereign power of superior delights.
  • Perseverance of the saints is the almighty work of God not to let us fall into the final bondage of inferior pleasures, but to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of fullness of joy in his presence and pleasures at his right hand forevermore.
Unconditional election delivers the harshest and the sweetest judgments to my soul. That it is unconditional destroys all self-exaltation; and that it is election makes me his treasured possession.

This is one of the beauties of the biblical doctrines of grace: their worst devastations prepare us for their greatest delights.

What prigs we would become at the words, “The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6), if this election were in any way dependent on our will. But to protect us from pride, the Lord teaches us that we are unconditionally chosen (7:7–9). “He made a wretch his treasure,” as we so gladly sing.

Only the devastating freeness and unconditionality of electing grace lets us take and taste such gifts for our very own without the exaltation of self.
What would the doctrines of grace sound like if every limb in that tree were coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight?

Un dia a la Vez — Disfruta la vida
Disfruta la vida

¡Despierten, arpa y lira! ¡Haré despertar al nuevo día! [...] No [...] pongan su esperanza en las riquezas [...] sino en Dios, que nos provee de todo en abundancia para que lo disfrutemos.

Creo que nunca sobrarán este tipo de libros llamados de inspiración o motivación, ya que necesitamos escuchar a cada momento cosas como estas. Todo se debe a que nada nos resulta suficiente para ser felices. Por cualquier asunto, por pequeño que sea, dejamos que se dañe nuestro día y nos preocupamos.

Dios hizo la vida para disfrutarla. La hizo para el deleite tuyo y mío. Los planes originales del Creador eran que viviéramos en el paraíso. Y no fue así por nuestra recordada Eva.

La mujer se dejó convencer por la serpiente y terminó haciendo lo que le prohibió Dios. Luego está Adán que, en vez de pararse firme y decir no, también cayó en la tentación y le falló a su Creador. A partir de allí comenzó el pecado.

Sin embargo, Dios en su amor nos ha permitido conocerle. Ha perdonado nuestros pecados y nos da el mejor regalo de todos: La vida eterna en su presencia.

Seamos conscientes de esto y no permitamos que las pequeñas cosas acaben con nuestra alegría.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Dios hizo la vida para disfrutarla.

Devocional CPTLN — El amor hace posible amar

El amor hace posible amar

No tengan deudas con nadie, aparte de la deuda de amarse unos a otros; porque el que ama al prójimo, ha cumplido la ley. Los mandamientos: «No adulterarás», «no matarás», «no hurtarás», «no dirás falso testimonio», «no codiciarás», y cualquier otro mandamiento, se resume en esta sentencia: «Amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo.» El amor no hace daño a nadie. De modo que el amor es el cumplimiento de la ley.

"Amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo." Para ser honesto, esto nunca me gustó mucho. Me da la impresión que, al seguirlo, estoy pasando por alto las fallas de los demás. Después de todo, eso es lo que hago conmigo (y ya es mucho trabajo). Si alguien se beneficia de la duda, soy yo. Si alguien es excusado por una reacción exagerada, sí, yo otra vez. Sé que a veces puedo ser demasiado directo, falto de compasión, demasiado crítico, insensible y egoísta, pero bueno, así soy yo.

Pero Pablo no solo está diciendo que debemos pasar por alto las faltas de nuestros prójimos, sino también amarlos y cuidarlos intencionalmente, como lo hacemos por nosotros mismos. ¿Están en necesidad? ¿Qué podemos hacer para ayudar? ¿Están luchando con problemas personales? ¿Cómo podemos apoyarlos y demostrarles que nos preocupamos? Según Pablo, de esto es de lo que realmente se trata la Ley.

Por supuesto que Jesús fue un maestro en esto. Mientras el Dios encarnado caminaba por este mundo, amaba a quienes encontrara, dondequiera que los encontrara. Fueran judíos o gentiles, samaritanos, romanos, griegos o de cualquier otro origen, Jesús siempre les mostró compasión. Él estaba ahí para ellos, dándonos así un ejemplo supremo a seguir.

Pero, si bien necesitamos un ejemplo a seguir, más necesitamos a Jesús mismo. Porque más allá de cuánto amemos a los demás, nuestras buenas acciones hacia nuestro prójimo no cumplen con la justa demanda de la Ley. El apóstol Pablo sabía esto muy bien. Pasó años tratando de alcanzar la justicia ante Dios a través de la Ley, pero descubrió que era inútil. Nuestra naturaleza corrompida no nos lo permite. Dios tenía que intervenir, y en Jesús lo hizo.

"Porque Dios ha hecho lo que para la ley era imposible hacer, debido a que era débil por su naturaleza pecaminosa: por causa del pecado envió a su Hijo en una condición semejante a la del hombre pecador, y de esa manera condenó al pecado en la carne, para que la justicia de la ley se cumpliera en nosotros, que no seguimos los pasos de nuestra carne, sino los del Espíritu" (Romanos 8:3-4).

Gracias a la vida, muerte y resurrección de Jesús, la ley está cumplida para nosotros. Ahora, llenos del Espíritu Santo de Dios, podemos amar a los demás como Jesús nos amó a nosotros.

ORACIÓN: Padre Celestial, por el poder de tu Santo Espíritu en nuestras vidas haz que amemos a los demás así como nos amamos a nosotros mismos. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Paul Schreiber

Para reflexionar:
* ¿Qué tan difícil es para ti amar, en general, a las personas?
* ¿En qué cambiaría tu actitud hacia tu prójimo si lo amaras tanto como te amas a ti mismo?
"Amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo." Para ser honesto, esto nunca me gustó mucho.

Ministérios Pão Diário — Força para a sua jornada

Força para a sua jornada

Escritura de hoje: Habacuque 3:16-19
Bíblia em um ano: Salmos 137–139; 1 Coríntios 13

O Senhor […] torna meus pés firmes como os da corça, para que eu possa andar em lugares altos.

Essa clássica alegoria da vida cristã Pés como os da Corça nos Lugares Altos (Ed. Vida, 2009), baseia-se em Habacuque 3:19. A história segue a jornada da personagem Grande-Medrosa com o Pastor.

Receosa, Grande-Medrosa pede que o Pastor a carregue. Porém, ele lhe diz que se a carregar aos Lugares Altos em vez de deixá-la escalar até lá, ela jamais desenvolveria os “pés de corça” tão necessários para acompanhá-lo, por onde quer que ele fosse.

Grande-Medrosa remete-nos às perguntas do profeta Habacuque no Antigo Testamento (e as minhas perguntas também!): “Por que eu devo sofrer?” “Por que a minha jornada é difícil?”.

Habacuque viveu em Judá no fim do século 17 a.C., antes que os israelitas fossem para o exílio. Nessa época, a sociedade negligenciava a injustiça social e era paralisada pelo medo do cerco babilônio (1:2-11). Ele pediu que o Senhor os libertasse do sofrimento (1:13), mas Deus respondeu que agiria em Seu tempo (2:3).

Habacuque confiou no Senhor. Mesmo que o sofrimento não terminasse, o profeta cria que Deus seria a sua força.

Podemos ter o consolo de que o Senhor é a força que nos ajudará a suportar o sofrimento e que usará as jornadas mais difíceis da vida para aprofundar a nossa comunhão com Cristo.

Por:  Lisa M. Samra

Refletir & Orar
Deus, às vezes, minha dor parece insuportável. Agradeço-te por me fortaleceres. Ajuda-me a confiar em ti e a prosseguir contigo nesta jornada.
Podemos confiar que o Senhor 
será a nossa força em tempos difíceis.

© 2020 Ministérios Pão Diário
“Por que eu devo sofrer?” “Por que a minha jornada é difícil?”