Friday, December 4, 2020

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, December 4, 2020


The Daily Readings
Friday, December 4, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Acts 11:19-26
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
When you accept the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior, you cannot hide that you know Him. Rather, you must allow His light to shine through you so that others can also have His light—so they also can accept the salvation He offers.

Today’s Readings:
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Righteousness and peace
1 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God's salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following him.

Jeremiah 1:4-10
God appoints a prophet
1:4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.

9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Jeremiah's early call to the work and office of a prophet is stated. He was to be a prophet, not to the Jews only, but to the neighbouring nations. He is still a prophet to the whole world, and it would be well if they would attend to these warnings. The Lord who formed us, knows for what particular services and purposes he intended us. But unless he sanctify us by his new-creating Spirit, we shall neither be fit for his holy service on earth, nor his holy happiness in heaven. It becomes us to have low thoughts of ourselves. Those who are young, should consider that they are so, and not venture beyond their powers. But though a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency should make us go humbly about our work, it should not make us draw back when God calls us. Those who have messages to deliver from God, must not fear the face of man. The Lord, by a sign, gave Jeremiah such a gift as was necessary. God's message should be delivered in his own words. Whatever wordly wise men or politicians may think, the safety of kingdoms is decided according to the purpose and word of God.

Acts 11:19-26
The new community called “Christian”
11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.

Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. 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 Friday, December 4, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Acts 11:19-26 (KJV)

Prayer of the Day for Friday, December 4, 2020


Prayer of the Day
Friday, December 4, 2020

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

Lord our God, strengthen our hearts today through your Word. You are our Father and we are your children, and we want to trust you in every aspect of our lives. Protect us on all our ways, and grant that we may always watch and wait for the coming of your kingdom, for the future of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep us from becoming confused by present-day events. Help us to remain free, that we may serve you and not be led astray, no matter what happens in the world. Grant us your Holy Spirit in everything, for without your Spirit we can do nothing. Help us, and accept our praise for the many ways you have given us help. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Friday, December 4, 2020


Verse of the Day
Friday, December 4, 2020

John 8:12
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
When you accept the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior, you cannot hide that you know Him. Rather, you must allow His light to shine through you so that others can also have His light—so they also can accept the salvation He offers.

Read all of John 8

Listen to John 8

The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Standing Strong Through the Storm — FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.

As Christians, we are called to belong—not just believe. We are not meant to be loners but true members of his body—part of Jesus’ family. It is thus important for Christians to spend time together to share their spiritual lives, encourage each other, and have fellowship.

Satan brings all his efforts to bear upon Christians to prevent this fellowship. He realizes that believers need to help and strengthen each other, so he will try to prevent it by promoting indifference or by using the force of circumstances (Hebrews 10:24,25). Even informal or casual meetings can be used of the Lord for strengthening Christians, especially when formal meetings and large group fellowships are forbidden. Of course, large meetings can be useful, too. But normally, more help is given one-to-one in small “cell” groups where specific needs can be shared, discussed, and ministered to in-depth.

Mona’s story is a good illustration. It wasn’t only that she was raped when she sneaked across the border into Malaysia. It wasn’t simply because she sent her daughter back to Burma and had never seen her since she was a baby. It wasn’t just the violence of those terrifying days in the ’80s in Rangoon when students and soldiers clashed in the streets, forcing her husband (then a student) and her to flee the country.

It was the thousand nights of loneliness. The trauma of the past haunted her. The papers she needed to stay in Malaysia legally. Papers that she could not acquire. The possibility of arrest and punishment by police.

The nightmares came on leathery wings of fear, dug their claws deeply, and took up residence in her psyche. Her mind, once sound and clear, clouded with doubts and delusions: the sound of voices she did not know and horrifying images that would not go away.

But hers was not a life destined for darkness. The clouds were pulled away slowly, partly by the psychiatrist at the General Hospital, secured for her by the volunteers at the free medical clinic. Also, by the kindness of strangers who reached out their hands in generosity.

It was the moment Mona was able to tell another woman in her own language of her troubles; this was when the first ray of light cut through the cloud and shone the possibility of hope into her circumstance.

Later, it was the time she spent with other women from Burma at the church. It was the songs they sang, the shared experience and language, the friendship, the food, the games.

Fellowship is life-giving to those who have been deprived of it.

RESPONSE: Today, I will seek to experience true fellowship in Christ.

PRAYER: Pray for opportunities to support others who need a listening ear or a word of encouragement.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
As Christians, we are called to belong—not just believe.

Men of the Bible — Judas


His name means: "Praised"

His work: As one of the twelve disciples, Judas's responsibility was to act as the group's treasurer.
His character: John's gospel indicates that Judas, though chosen by Jesus, was a thief, a man who regularly helped himself to the community purse. Though he would have been on intimate terms with the Lord, he betrayed Jesus by handing him over to the religious authorities, who then had him condemned to death. The motives for his act of treachery have never been clear. His name always appears last in the list of Jesus' disciples.
His sorrow: Regretting his decision to hand Jesus over to the religious authorities, Judas hanged himself.
His triumph: He was a member of Jesus' inner circle.
Key Scriptures: Matthew 26:6-16; John 12:1-8; 13:1-30; 18:1-11

A Look at the Man

Under cover of darkness, Judas led a detachment of soldiers and Jewish officials to an olive grove on the other side of the Kidron Valley. In this place, Jesus and his disciples had retired after the Passover meal. There he betrayed the Lord with a kiss, saying, "Greetings, Rabbi!" Then he watched as the soldiers bound Jesus and led him away.

If Judas intended his act of betrayal to be the spark that ignited the revolution, he must have been disappointed. There was no great uprising, no crowds clamoring for Jesus' release, no miracles from heaven to establish the Messiah on his throne. The next morning brought with it only the grim news that Jesus had been beaten, handed over to Pontius Pilate, and condemned to death. Suddenly Judas felt overwhelmed by a tide of grief so great it swept away his previous certainty. Flinging the thirty pieces of silver—blood money now—into the temple, he went out and hanged himself.

The story of Judas is one of the saddest and best known in Scripture. A man chosen by Jesus to become part of his inner circle, he was privy to God's wisdom, power, and love to an unprecedented degree. But Judas valued the privilege so little that he handed Jesus over to his enemies for the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Jesus himself commented on Judas's situation with a warning Judas failed to heed: "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

Two thousand years later, Judas's name is still a synonym for betrayal. As one of the Twelve, Judas had been offered a place of honor in the kingdom Jesus promised to establish. But by serving his own vision rather than the Lord's vision, he became not an instrument of good but an instrument of evil in the story of salvation.

Reflect On: Romans 5:6–11
Praise God: For redemption and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Offer Thanks: For personal salvation and a community of believers to love and from whom to receive love.
Confess: Any tendency toward self-pity rather than true repentance.
Ask God: For a renewed love for his people and commitment to fellowship, transparency, and accountability. Ask him for the courage to speak the truth in love and the grace to receive the same.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.
The story of Judas is one of the saddest and best known in Scripture.

John Piper Devotional — For God’s Little People

For God’s Little People

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige?

If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people—the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.

Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem?

Un dia a la Vez — Nueva criatura

Nueva criatura

Como hijos obedientes, no se amolden a los malos deseos que tenían antes, cuando vivían en la ignorancia. Más bien, sean ustedes santos en todo.

Para vivir hay que morir. Si la semilla no muere, no hay fruto. Así que vale la pena morir a la vieja naturaleza pecadora y enderezar nuestra vida por el buen camino.

En nuestro andar con Cristo, hemos aprendido que, aunque fallemos, Dios nos levanta y nos hace nuevas criaturas. Por lo tanto, dejemos atrás las personas que no son una buena influencia y los amigos que lo único que quieren es que vivamos las cosas del mundo. Entonces se burlan porque eres hombre de una sola mujer, o porque eres una mujer sujeta a su esposo, o porque no estás en fiestas y vicios. Quizá hasta debas dejar trabajos donde tu vida está expuesta a malas influencias.

No temas hacer estos cambios, porque si lo haces bajo el pacto con Dios, Él te respaldará en tus decisiones y abrirá nuevas oportunidades para ti. No olvidemos que la obediencia es igual a bendición.

Los cambios requieren sacrificios, dominio propio y mucha oración. En realidad, necesitamos mucha oración porque siempre estarán rondando las tentaciones.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
En nuestro andar con Cristo, hemos aprendido que, aunque fallemos, Dios nos levanta y nos hace nuevas criaturas.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày — Tình Yêu Không Ngừng


Tình Yêu Không Ngừng

Đọc: I Giăng 3:16–18 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Ê-xê-chi-ên 47–48; I Giăng 3

Chớ yêu thương bằng lời nói và miệng lưỡi, mà phải yêu bằng việc làm và sự chân thật.

Heidi và Jeff về đến nhà sau chuyến công tác nước ngoài trong điều kiện khí hậu nóng bức rồi định cư gần gia đình trong vài tháng ở bang Michigan, đúng lúc mùa đông đến. Đây là lần đầu tiên mà nhiều trong số mười đứa con của họ nhìn thấy vẻ đẹp tự nhiên của tuyết.

Nhưng thời tiết mùa đông ở Michigan đòi hỏi phải mặc nhiều quần áo ấm, bao gồm áo khoác, găng tay và ủng. Với một gia đình đông người, sẽ khá tốn kém nếu mua sắm trang phục ấm mà chỉ dùng cho mấy tháng lạnh lẽo sắp tới. Nhưng Chúa đã chu cấp cho họ. Đầu tiên, một người hàng xóm gửi tặng giày, sau đó là quần tuyết, rồi mũ và găng tay. Sau đó, một người bạn kêu gọi những người khác trong hội thánh gom nhiều loại quần áo ấm với đủ mười hai kích cỡ cho mỗi thành viên trong gia đình. Vào thời điểm tuyết rơi, gia đình này đã có đúng những thứ họ cần.

Một trong những cách chúng ta phục vụ Chúa là phục vụ những người khó khăn. I Giăng 3:16-18 khích lệ chúng ta giúp đỡ người khác bằng của cải dư dật của mình. Việc phục vụ giúp chúng ta trở nên giống Chúa Jêsus hơn khi chúng ta bắt đầu yêu thương và nhìn mọi người như cách Ngài nhìn.

Chúa thường dùng các con cái của Ngài để đáp ứng nhu cầu và nhậm lời cầu nguyện. Và khi phục vụ người khác, chính lòng chúng ta cũng được khích lệ khi chúng ta khích lệ những người mà mình phục vụ. Kết quả là, đức tin của chúng ta sẽ tăng trưởng khi Chúa trang bị cho chúng ta phục vụ theo cách mới (c. 18).
Khi bạn thấy nhiều người khó khăn ở xung quanh, bạn sẽ thể hiện tình yêu của Chúa cách thiết thực như thế nào? Việc phục vụ Chúa giúp đức tin của bạn tăng trưởng ra sao?
Cha ơi, xin lấp đầy tấm lòng con bằng sự sẵn lòng giúp đỡ khi con nhìn thấy những hoàn cảnh khó khăn. Xin giúp con cho đi cách vui vẻ và phục vụ Ngài với lòng biết ơn.

bởi Cindy Hess Kaspe

Chú Giải

Ở bức thư đầu tiên trong số ba bức thư, Giăng đã đưa ra ba đặc điểm khác biệt của Cơ Đốc giáo. Một là sự thật mang tính lịch sử về cuộc đời Chúa Jêsus (I Giăng 1:1-3). Giăng đề cập nhiều đến việc ông (và những người khác) đã tận mắt chứng kiến cuộc sống trên đất và các phép lạ của Chúa Jêsus. Thứ hai là sự kêu gọi (và động lực) để sống trong sự công chính mà Chúa Jêsus ban cho (1:6-2:2). Đặc điểm thứ ba, tình yêu thương, là điều Giăng bắt đầu khai triển từ I Giăng 2:3 và tiếp tục cho đến phân đoạn Kinh Thánh hôm nay. Tình yêu thương này là “tình yêu của Đức Chúa Cha” (c. 15) và không dành cho thế gian hay những điều thuộc về thế gian. Khi tình yêu này thôi thúc, chúng ta không thể không yêu thương người khác theo cách được đề cập trong I Giăng 3:16-18. Tình yêu thương như thế sẽ là nhân chứng soi rọi cho thế giới chưa biết đến tình yêu của Ngài.

Tim Gustafson

© 2020 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày
Một trong những cách chúng ta phục vụ Chúa là phục vụ những người khó khăn.