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      Los Devocionales diarios le brindan mensajes diarios breves, potentes y edificantes, extraídos de una variedad de obras escritas por los adventistas.

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      The Sky is Not the Limit

      When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to camp out under the stars with my cousins. I didn?t want to sleep in a tent because I loved looking at the stars, and I still love looking at them today.

      When I look up at the twinkling stars in the night sky, I can?t help but be amazed at the expansive universe that stretches out far beyond the ability of the human eye to see. I know that I am not alone in wonder and awe, for I?m sure that countless generations throughout history have also looked up seeking to understand the vastness of the starry cosmos. Our solar system is just a pinpoint in the Milky Way Galaxy, which is a cosmic ocean dotted with an estimated four hundred billion stars. And the universe beyond sparkles with billions more galaxies!1

      Truly the heavens do declare the glory of God and the firmament does show His handiwork! To show the majesty of God, the prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of who God is in comparison with who we are: ? ?For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts? ? (Isaiah 55:9, NKJV).


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      If You Have Something Nice to Say, Then Say It!

      It has been years since I graduated from high school, but I can still remember some of the nice things my classmates wrote in my yearbook my senior year. I?ve lived in seven states since high school, and I haven?t seen that yearbook in the past five or six states. While it may not have survived all of those moves, the kind words people wrote in it are still with me.

      I also remember a few insults spoken to me during those years. I carried the sting of those cruel words long afterward.

      You rarely know the impact your words will have on someone. The words you say-whether cruel or kind ? will often remain with people for years. Something you blurt out without thinking can become lodged in their heart. That?s why it is important to speak words that will build them up instead of tearing them down. Even people who don?t seem to require affirmation (or who don?t seem bothered by insults) need to hear kind words.

      Scripture tells us not to miss an opportunity to say nice things. If you have anything nice to say, go ahead and speak it now: ?But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ?Today?? (Hebrews 3:13)

      Compliment someone?s work, affirm their talent, tell them they were funny or smart. It won?t hurt a thing, and it can only do good. First Thessalonians 5:11 urges, ?Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.?


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      The Dream is Fulfilled

      At the very moment the king was praising his supposed accomplishments, God?s judgment fell upon him. He was removed from the throne and forced to spend seven years among the beasts, eating grass exactly as Daniel had predicted. When the allotted time of his judgment was completed, the king was restored to his former honor, but this time he finally recognized that ?those who walk in pride He [God] is able to put down? (v. 37). Hence, the purpose of the judgment as stated in each major section of the biblical narrative is accomplished. Finally, Nebuchadnezzar came to acknowledge that ?the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and Gives it to whomever He will? (v. 17; cf. vv. 34, 35).

      Note that in Daniel 1?4 Nebuchadnezzar stands at ?center stage in the drama that unfolds in his court. In chapter 2 his dream about the statue took down his incompetent wise men; in chapter 3 his garish image nearly took down Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; in chapter 4 his dream about the tree took him down.?10 Thus, with the fulfillment of the dream, the greatest ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire leaves the narrative of Daniel (as a protagonist) as he left history, when gold gave way to silver. He accomplished great military victories, ruled over many nations, built a world empire, but was helpless before the God of His captives. This reminds us that the Most High was, is, and will always be the supreme ruler over any human power.

      While Nebuchadnezzar had to eat grass with the beasts to learn humility, we are called to learn humility from the One who ?humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross? (Philippians 2:8). Maybe it is time to stop focusing on ourselves, our accomplishments, and our failures. Even better, why not stop comparing ourselves to others, their accomplishments, and their failures? Let us lift our eyes and look to Jesus who ?has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen? (Revelation 1:6).


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      Weighed and Found Wanting

      The great day of the Lord is near at hand. When Christ appears in the clouds of heaven, those who have not sought Him with all the heart, those who have allowed themselves to be deceived, will surely perish. Our only safety is to be found through repentance and conversion, and the blotting out of sins. Those who will now seek the Lord earnestly, humbling their hearts before Him, and forsaking their sins, will, through the sanctification of the truth, be fitted to unite with the members of the royal family, and will see the King in His beauty. . . .

      We are called to be the Lord?s special people in a much higher sense than many have realized. The world lies in wickedness, and God?s people are to come out of the world, and be separate. They are to be free from worldly customs and worldly habits. They are not to accord with worldly sentiments, but are to stand out distinct, as the Lord?s peculiar people, earnest in all their service. They are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness.?This Day With God, p. 248


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      Justification

      Certain aspects of our human existence are universal. They?re true of every person who ever has lived or ever will live. All of us must eat and breathe in order to survive. All of us think and have emotions. Every one of us has a spiritual nature and a moral consciousness. And all of us violate our moral consciousness from time to time. Paul made this clear in Romans 3:23 when he said, ?All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.? You and I don?t have to wonder whether we?re sinners. We know it. Fortunately, Paul didn?t leave us there. He went on to say that we are ?justified freely by his [God?s] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus? (verse 24).

      The tenses of the verbs in the verse I just shared with you are significant. The verb in the line ?all have sinned? is past tense, while the verb in the line ?and fall short of the glory of God? is present tense. Actually, in the Greek, ?fall short? is an ongoing present tense?continuous action. We can translate the verse like this: ?All have sinned [in the past] and continue falling short [in the present].? In verse 24 Paul said that we ?are justified [present tense] freely by [God?s] grace.? This justification applies to both our sins of the past and those we continue doing in the present.

      Some people believe that every time sinners yield to temptation, they break their relationship with Jesus; they fall out of grace and out of salvation. This simply isn?t true. Parents who adopt children don?t disown the children when they disobey them. You and I have been adopted into the family of God; we?re His sons and daughters (Romans 8:15-17). And He doesn?t disown us just because we fall into sin. My proof that this is true is found in the Greek grammar I just mentioned: ?All continue falling short . . . and are justified.? Justification applies as much to our sins in the ongoing present as it does to those of the past.


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      Adam and Eve

      Covenants? What?s the deal with covenants? Covenant-keeping is complicated. In our world today, people don?t always keep their covenants, or promises. Loans go into default, marriages end in divorce, contracts get broken. Yet every day, people honor contracts, keep promises, and safeguard marriages. Covenants are supposed to make life better in our confusing world, but it can be hard to know who and what to believe in.

      Given all the complexities and uncertainties, it can help to understand why and how covenants came about. Our imperfect world does not represent God?s perfect ideal, so covenants are necessary strategies for helping us deal with an imperfect world. The covenants God makes with us shape our lives for the better?now and for eternity. As we understand the history of covenants in Scripture and the need for them, we will see how God?s covenants with us give us hope. Let?s look at Genesis to see why and how covenants started.

      At first, God?s creation was perfect; there was no need for covenants as strategies for dealing with imperfection. In His perfect world, God and humans lived the relationship of the everlasting covenant. The Andrews Study Bible describes creation as something like a potter forming vessels from clay.1 Coming close to earth, God created a people with whom He could have a loving relationship. ?This people have I formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise? (Isaiah 43:21). These people would bond with Him and be a people with whom He would live out the perfection of the everlasting covenant.


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      Dust Storms of Doubt

      Have you ever been in a dust storm, with the wind blowing fiercely across the prairies? Dust storms obscure vision. They make staying on the right road nearly impossible. They create confusion and make decision-making difficult. If the devil can persuade us to doubt God?s Word or question His revealed will, he knows we are on the pathway to apostasy. Satan?s first attack in Eden was to insinuate doubt in God. He approached Eve with the words, ?Has God indeed said . . . ?? (Genesis 3:1). Satan deceived Eve by insinuating doubt regarding the Word and will of God.

      The evil one attempted to use the same strategy on Jesus in the wilderness. He tempted Jesus with these words, ?If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread? (Matthew 4:3). At His baptism, His Father had already declared that Jesus was the Son of God. If He had listened to the insinuations of Satan, Jesus would have doubted His Father?s clear declaration that He was the Son of God. Christ?s temptation in the wilderness was to doubt what God said.

      The difference between Adam and Eve?s fall in Eden and Jesus? triumph in the wilderness is precisely on this point. They doubted God and questioned His authority. Jesus trusted God?s Word and accepted His absolute authority. The devil will attempt to get God?s people to doubt today. When we begin to doubt the truthfulness of God?s Word on any point?the authority of Scripture, Creation, the divinity of Christ, prophetic interpretation, the sanctuary message, the concept of the remnant, or any of the other distinctive teachings of Scripture?we will likely become confused in a dust storm of doubt.


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      Special Creation of Humans

      Humans have a special place in both the Creation narrative and the Bible as a whole. Humans were uniquely created in God?s image (Genesis 1:26, 27). No other creatures are described as having been created in God?s likeness. As if to emphasize the uniqueness of humans, Genesis 2 describes how God created Adam?from the dust?and how Adam received life?from God?s ?breath.? Another unique feature is that Adam and Eve were created individually, then joined in marriage; this reminds one of the individuality and union of the Trinity. The uniqueness of humans is noted in other passages (e.g., Genesis 9:6; Psalm 8; James 3:9). The special creation of humans is perhaps the clearest single point that distinguishes creation theories from evolutionary theories.


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      To the Extreme

      Don?t be confused. God the Father wasn?t taking the easy road while Jesus suffered alone. Ask any parents if they would rather have their child suffer or take the suffering themselves. God the Father experienced anguish just as God the Son did.

      God?s love for us led both the Father and the Son to provide the best opportunity anyone could ever offer us. God the Son faced eternal separation from God the Father so that we don?t have to. They actually continued in tandem to draw us back to Them. ?For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people?s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.?

      People hurt when their family breaks apart or even just fights continually. Pointing out whose fault it is?blaming?won?t heal the pain. Ignoring the situation pushes away the family members rather than the problem. A standoff under the guise of ?standing for what is right? cements positions. If that family is ever healed, it usually comes because of love?and with a price. But healing overcomes the hurt and brings celebration.

      Neither you nor your parents, your children nor a boss, a religion nor a government, a hero nor a lucky break can do what God did. Only God can heal people. Only He can save every person who accepts His offer. And only Jesus could show us what God is really like.


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      Conclusion

      From the reign of the Roman emperor Licinius I (a.d. 308?324) comes the story of forty Christian soldiers who gave a powerful testimony of unwavering allegiance to Christ. They were members of the Roman Twelfth Legion, which was stationed at Sebaste in Armenia. One day their captain told them the emperor had sent out an edict that all soldiers were to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. These Christians replied, ?You can have our armor and even our bodies, but our hearts? allegiance belongs to Jesus Christ.? It was midwinter of a.d. 320, and the captain had them marched onto a nearby frozen lake. He stripped them of their clothes and decreed they would either die or renounce Christ. A warm bath was prepared at the edge of the lake, tempting them to warm themselves and apostatize.

      But throughout the night, these men huddled together, singing their song, ?Forty Martyrs for Christ.? One by one they succumbed to the cold and fell to the ice. At last, only one soldier was left. He lost courage and stumbled to the shore, where he renounced Christ. But the officer of the guards had been watching all this and, unknown to the others, he had secretly come to believe in Christ. When he saw this last man break rank, he walked out onto the ice, threw off his clothes, and confessed that he also was a Christian. When the sun rose the next morning, there were forty bodies of soldiers who had fought to the death for Christ.11


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      Lifting Eyes Toward Heaven

      For seven years Nebuchadnezzar was an astonishment to all his subjects; for seven years he was humbled before all the world. Then his reason was restored and, looking up in humility to the God of heaven, he recognized the divine hand in his chastisement. In a public proclamation he acknowledged his guilt and the great mercy of God in his restoration. ?At the end of the days,? he said, ?I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as noth�ing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?

      ?At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.??Prophets and Kings, pp. 520, 521.


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      The Leader as Servant

      We often encounter the three most fundamental questions of life: Who am I? Where did I come from? What is my destiny?

                  Which question is most important? The key question is the second one: Where did I come from? Depending on your answer, your destiny will be changed.

                  God says that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God (1 Peter 2:9). Therefore, the most essential question is not who we are in this life, but to whom we belong and whose we are. This, in fact, will determine who we are.

                  We witness the life of Christ at the cross of Calvary ? the grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption ? when the Son of God was uplifted on the cross. Ellen G White says, ?The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth about which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary.? The cross of Calvary is crucial to Christians not only for His death and resurrection, which are the core values of the plan of salvation, but more so for how He lived his life ? not just how He died, but how He lived. As his children and the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is the life we must follow.


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      Devoted

      Daily Devotionals provide you with short, powerful, and uplifting daily messages, drawn from a variety of Adventist written works.

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