“Surviving Slander”


1 Peter 3:13-17 – Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

Peter says something strange in this reading. He says, “When you are slandered …” Notice that little word, “when.” He doesn’t say, “if.” He says, “when.” It looks like Peter expects Christians to be slandered—pretty much every single one of us!

When I was younger, I didn’t give much thought to the Eighth Commandment. You know the one, “Don’t bear false witness against your neighbor”? I mean, I knew it was there, but I never expected it to have any really personal meaning for me. I tried to live an honest and open life, and I thought everybody would see that fact.

How wrong I was! A major storm blew up in our first parish, and my family was accused of all sorts of outrageous things. It was a nightmare. Still, we were fortunate. We were able to prove that the lies told about us were not true. There was an investigation, and we were found innocent. Nevertheless, the damage was done. We lost friends who believed the proverb, “Where there’s smoke, there must be fire.” We lost sleep, wondering how the lies would affect our future. And we lost our innocence, because the people who turned on us were trusted and close to us. Many years later, the scars are still there.

But Peter’s advice turned out to be exactly correct. If you are suffering from slander, Peter says not to be afraid of them. That’s a hard one. How can we do it? Peter says, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy.” If we keep our eyes on Jesus, it really helps with the fear. When we look at our holy, faithful, utterly trustworthy Lord, it helps us stay upright through the storms raging around us. Christ knows the truth, and He will not abandon us. In the end, He will bring us out the other side.

There is a saying, “Truth is great, and will prevail.” This is correct, though it may take many years before the truth is revealed, or it may not happen until Judgment Day. It is hard sometimes to wait for that relief. Nevertheless, we have everything we need to make it to that time. We have Jesus, who suffered from slander Himself, and who became our Savior. He knows what the way of the cross is like; He can help us walk it. He is God’s own truth, shining even through the clouds of lies. And He is our life-the One who holds us safely in His own hands, so that we will never perish. Whether we suffer from slander or from any other evil, let us keep our eyes on Jesus.

THE PRAYER: Lord, You know the troubles of my heart. Please help me. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.

Reflection Questions:

1. Has anyone ever lied about you? What effect did that have on your life?

2. Have you been tempted to lie or gossip about other people? How do you deal with the temptation?

3. When you are in deep trouble and want to cling to the Lord with all your strength, what kinds of things do you do?

Today’s Bible Readings: Psalms 32    Psalms 51    John 3:16-36


“Sobreviviendo las calumnias”

¿Quién podrá hacerles daño, si ustedes siguen el bien? ¡Dichosos ustedes, si sufren por causa de la justicia! Así que no les tengan miedo, ni se asusten. Al contrario, honren en su corazón a Cristo, como Señor, y manténganse siempre listos para defenderse, con mansedumbre y respeto, ante aquellos que les pidan explicarles la esperanza que hay en ustedes. Tengan una buena conciencia, para que sean avergonzados aquellos que murmuran y dicen que ustedes son malhechores, y los calumnian por su buena conducta en Cristo. Es mejor que ustedes sufran por hacer el bien, si Dios así lo quiere, que por hacer el mal. 1 Pedro 3:13-17

Pedro espera que los cristianos sean avergonzados y calumniados, ¡sin excepción!

Cuando era más joven, no pensaba mucho en el octavo mandamiento: “No darás falso testimonio contra tu prójimo”. Sabía que existía, pero nunca esperé que tuviera un significado realmente personal para mí. Trataba de vivir una vida honesta y abierta, y pensaba que con eso alcanzaría.

¡Qué equivocada estaba! Una gran tormenta estalló en nuestra primera parroquia, y mi familia fue acusada de todo tipo de cosas escandalosas. Fue una pesadilla. Aun así, pudimos demostrar que las cosas que habían dicho sobre nosotros no eran ciertas, y finalmente nos encontraron inocentes. Pero el daño ya estaba hecho. Perdimos amigos. Perdimos el sueño preguntándonos cómo esas calumnias afectarían nuestro futuro. Y perdimos nuestra inocencia, porque quienes se volvieron contra nosotros eran personas de confianza y cercanas a nosotros. Muchos años después, las cicatrices siguen estando.

Pero el consejo de Pedro resultó ser exactamente correcto. Si sufres calumnias, Pedro dice que no les tengas miedo. Pero no es fácil. ¿Como podemos lograrlo? Pedro dice: “honren en su corazón a Cristo como el Señor”. Si mantenemos nuestra mirada en Jesús, perderemos el miedo. Cuando miramos a nuestro Señor santo, fiel y totalmente confiable, seremos capaces de mantenernos erguidos durante las tormentas que nos acosan. Cristo sabe la verdad y no nos abandonará. Al final, nos hará salir triunfadores.

Aunque puedan pasar muchos años antes de que se revele, la verdad siempre sale a luz. A veces es difícil esperar ese alivio. Sin embargo, tenemos todo lo que necesitamos para llegar a ese momento. Tenemos a Jesús, quien sufrió la calumnia y se convirtió en nuestro Salvador. Él sabe cómo es el camino de la cruz; Él puede ayudarnos a caminarlo. Él es la verdad de Dios, brillando incluso a través de las nubes de mentiras. Y Él es nuestra vida, Aquél que nos tiene a salvo en sus propias manos para que nunca perezcamos. Ya sea que suframos calumnias o cualquier otro mal, mantengamos nuestros ojos en Jesús.

ORACIÓN: Señor, conoces los problemas de mi corazón. Por favor, ayúdame. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Has tenido la tentación de mentir o chismear sobre otras personas? ¿Cómo lidias con eso?
  2. ¿Qué cosas haces para aferrarte al Señor cuando estás en problemas?


“How Important Is It, Anyway?”


Acts 17:16-18 – Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

There’s a bit of humor tucked away in this story of Paul’s visit to Athens. Some of the locals were trying to figure out what he was up to. They finally concluded that he was preaching about foreign gods—not just one, but more than one. How did they get that idea? Well, Luke says it was because “he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.” It looks like Paul mentioned the resurrection so often that some people decided he was preaching two gods—one named Jesus, and one named “Resurrection”!

Of course, we know better. But this tells us that Paul spent a lot of time talking about the resurrection—probably more than we’re used to hearing, even in church. Of course, it’s important. But is it that important?

Yes—yes, it is! But why? There are so many reasons, and here are just a few. When God raised Jesus from the dead, it was the first real proof that our long nightmare of death and destruction was ending. Here, finally, was the first human being who had passed through death and come out the other side—never to die again. That’s good news!

But there’s more. By raising Jesus from the dead, God made it clear that everything Jesus said and did had God’s stamp of approval. God would never raise a liar from the dead! But He raised Jesus. And so God says to the whole world, “This is My dear Son. Listen to Him!” (See Luke 9:35.)

There’s even more. We know that Jesus died on the cross to take away the power of sin, guilt, and evil over our lives. His death set us free. But forgiveness is invisible. If Jesus had stayed dead, how could we be sure He had set us free from sin? We would always wonder, wouldn’t we? But not now—because He has risen from the dead, and many eyewitnesses have seen Him. And the very first thing He said to the disciples gathered together in that locked room was “Kairete!” which is usually translated as “Greetings!” But if we take it literally, it means “Rejoice!”

Now that Jesus has risen from the dead, we have every reason to rejoice. The One we love the most in the world is alive again, and we will never lose Him. And He has opened paradise to us and to everyone who belongs to Him. This is what the resurrection means.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for raising Your Son Jesus from the dead, and for letting us know and believe this wonderful news. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.

Reflection Questions:

1. Do you think most of the people you live and work with know about Jesus’ resurrection? Why or why not?

2. How often do you hear about the resurrection in your life?

3. Are there other reasons why the resurrection means so much to you?

Today’s Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 10-12    John 3:1-15


“¿Cuán importante es?”

Mientras Pablo los esperaba en Atenas, su espíritu se enardeció al ver que la ciudad estaba entregada a la idolatría. Por eso en la sinagoga discutía con los judíos y con hombres piadosos, y también con todos los que a diario acudían a la plaza. Algunos filósofos de los epicúreos y de los estoicos discutían con él. Unos preguntaban: «¿De qué habla este parlanchín?» Y otros decían: «Es alguien que habla de dioses extranjeros.» Y es que les hablaba del evangelio de Jesús, y de la resurrección. Hechos 17:16-18

En esta historia de la visita de Pablo a Atenas hay un poco de humor escondido. Algunos de los lugareños estaban tratando de averiguar qué estaba haciendo. Finalmente, llegaron a la conclusión de que estaba predicando sobre dioses extranjeros, y no solo uno, sino más de uno. ¿Cómo llegaron a esa idea? Bueno, Lucas dice que fue porque “él estaba predicando a Jesús y la resurrección”. ¡Parece que Pablo mencionó la resurrección tan a menudo, que algunas personas decidieron que estaba predicando dos dioses, uno llamado Jesús y otro llamado “Resurrección”!

Nosotros sabemos que no es así. Pero esto nos dice que Pablo pasó mucho tiempo hablando de la resurrección, probablemente más de lo que estamos acostumbrados a escuchar, incluso en la iglesia. Por supuesto que es importante. Pero, ¿será que es tan importante?

¡Sí, que lo es! ¿Por qué? Hay muchas razones, aquí van solo algunas. Cuando Dios levantó a Jesús de entre los muertos, fue la primera prueba real de que nuestra larga pesadilla de muerte y destrucción estaba terminando. Jesús había resucitado, venciendo a la muerte para no morir nunca más. ¡Esas son buenas noticias!

Pero hay más. Al resucitar a Jesús de entre los muertos, Dios dejó en claro que todo lo que Jesús dijo e hizo tuvo el sello de aprobación de Dios. ¡Dios nunca levantaría un mentiroso de entre los muertos! Pero resucitó a Jesús. Y entonces Él le dice a todo el mundo: “Este es mi hijo amado. ¡Escúchenlo!” (Lucas 9:35).

Aún hay más. Sabemos que Jesús murió en la cruz para quitar el poder del pecado, la culpa y el mal sobre nuestras vidas. Su muerte nos liberó. Pero el perdón es invisible. Si Jesús se hubiera quedado muerto, ¿cómo podríamos estar seguros de que nos había liberado del pecado? Siempre estaríamos dudando. Pero ya no más, porque ha resucitado de entre los muertos y muchos testigos oculares lo han visto. Y lo primero que dijo a los discípulos reunidos en esa habitación cerrada fue “¡Kairete!” que generalmente se traduce como “¡Saludos!” Pero si lo tomamos literalmente, significa “¡Alégrate!”

Ahora que Jesús ha resucitado de la muerte, tenemos toda razón para alegrarnos. Aquél a quien más amamos en el mundo está vivo para siempre, y ha abierto el paraíso para nosotros y para todos los que le pertenecen. Esto es lo que significa la resurrección.

ORACIÓN: Querido Padre, gracias por resucitar a tu Hijo Jesús de la muerte y por dejarnos saber y creer esta maravillosa noticia. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Con qué frecuencia escuchas hablar, o hablas tú, sobre la resurrección?
  2. ¿Hay más razones por las cuales la resurrección significa tanto para ti?




Psalm 66:10-12 – For You, O God, have tested us; You have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; You laid a crushing burden on our backs; You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet You have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Why does God permit suffering? The question is often a stumbling block for unbelievers and baffling to believers. Upon hearing of the murder of Galilean pilgrims and of eighteen people killed by a falling tower, Jesus did not answer the question that may have been on His listeners’ minds (and on our minds, too): “Why them?” The purpose for the deaths remained unknown. Jesus instead warned of a greater, eternal disaster. Those who had died were not worse sinners than others, He said, “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5b).

God’s purposes are often hidden and not for us to know. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us” (Deuteronomy 29:29a). Our psalm reveals to us a story of suffering as it describes the sorrow and pain endured by the people of Israel. They had endured the “crushing burden” of slavery and the oppressive might of conquering enemies who rode over them. But God did not abandon His suffering people. He freed them from slavery and led them through the wilderness for forty years to humble them and to test them to know what was in their hearts (Deuteronomy 8:2). The Israelites passed through water as God “turned the sea into dry land” (Psalm 66:6a). God brought them out of the wilderness into the land He had promised to them, “to a place of abundance.”

There is another instance of suffering in which the purpose has been revealed to us. God, for the sake of our salvation, gave His Son over to the suffering of the cross. Jesus was caught in a net of betrayal and lies. He bore the crushing burden of our sins. His enemies and “the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53b) for a time overcame Him. He endured the fiery pain of the cross, suffering on our behalf the penalty of death. Though Israel had often been unfaithful in times of testing, Jesus remained faithful and obedient to His Father in life and death. God raised His Son from death and exalted Him “to a place of abundance” at His right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus has revealed to us that trouble and trials will come our way: “In the world you will have tribulation.” The purpose of that tribulation, the reasons for our suffering, may not be made known to us. But we can trust the conquering power and promise of our crucified and risen Lord, who tells us, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). He endured all that the world threw at Him—rejection, hatred, betrayal, grief, loss, pain, and death itself—and by His resurrection overcame it all. He will walk with us through suffering and trial and, according to His will and perfect timing, bring us to a place of abundance in His presence forever.

THE PRAYER: Jesus, be our help and our hope in every trial. Strengthen us with the promises of Your Word. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.

Reflection Questions:

1. Have you been tested in your life? How so?

2. Can you name areas in your life where you feel tested or challenged on a regular basis?

3. When unexpected difficulties arise, what is your typical first reaction? Is this reaction helpful or constructive? Do you wish you would respond differently?

Today’s Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 8-9    Psalms 60    John 2


“Somos probados”

Tú, Dios nuestro, nos has puesto a prueba; nos has refinado como se refina la plata. Pero nos dejaste caer en la trampa; ¡impusiste sobre nosotros una pesada carga! Caballos y jinetes han pasado sobre nosotros; hemos pasado por el fuego y por el agua, pero al final nos has llevado a la abundancia. Salmo 66:10-12

¿Por qué permite Dios el sufrimiento? La pregunta es a menudo un obstáculo para los incrédulos y un desconcierto para los creyentes. Al enterarse del asesinato de peregrinos galileanos y de dieciocho personas muertas tras la caída de una torre, Jesús no respondió a la pregunta que pudo haber estado en la mente de sus oyentes (y también en la nuestra): “¿Por qué ellos?” El propósito de esas muertes seguía siendo desconocido. Sin embargo, Jesús advirtió sobre un desastre mayor y eterno. Quienes habían muerto no eran peores pecadores que otros, dijo, “Y si ustedes no se arrepienten, también morirán como ellos” (Lucas 13:5b).

Los propósitos de Dios a menudo están ocultos. “Las cosas secretas pertenecen al Señor nuestro Dios, pero las reveladas son para nosotros” (Deuteronomio 29:29a). Nuestro salmo nos revela una historia de sufrimiento, ya que describe la tristeza y el dolor soportados por el pueblo de Israel. Habían soportado la “carga aplastante” de la esclavitud y el poder implacable de los enemigos que los oprimían. Pero Dios no abandonó a su pueblo sufriente. Al contrario, los liberó de la esclavitud y los condujo por el desierto durante cuarenta años para probarlos y así saber qué había en sus corazones (Deuteronomio 8:2). Los israelitas pasaron por el agua cuando Dios “convirtió el mar en tierra seca” (Salmo 66:6a). Dios los sacó del desierto a la tierra que les había prometido, “a un lugar de abundancia”.

Hay otra instancia de sufrimiento en la cual el propósito nos ha sido revelado. Dios, por el bien de nuestra salvación, entregó a su Hijo al sufrimiento de la cruz. Jesús fue atrapado en una red de traición y mentiras. Él llevó la carga aplastante de nuestros pecados. Sus enemigos y “el poder de las tinieblas” (Lucas 22:53b) por un tiempo lo vencieron. Soportó el ardiente dolor de la cruz, sufriendo en lugar nuestro la pena de muerte. Aunque Israel a menudo había sido infiel en tiempos de prueba, Jesús permaneció fiel y obediente a su Padre en la vida y en la muerte. Dios levantó a su Hijo de la muerte y lo exaltó a un lugar de abundancia a su diestra como Rey de reyes y Señor de señores.

Jesús nos ha advertido que vamos a tener problemas y pruebas: “En el mundo tendrás aflicción”. El propósito de esa aflicción, las razones de nuestro sufrimiento, pueden no ser conocidas por nosotros. Pero podemos confiar en el poder de conquista y la promesa de nuestro Señor crucificado y resucitado, quien nos dice: “Pero confíen, yo he vencido al mundo” (Juan 16:33). Él soportó todo lo que el mundo le arrojó: rechazo, odio, traición, dolor, pérdida, dolor y la muerte misma, y con su resurrección lo superó todo. Él caminará con nosotros a través del sufrimiento y la prueba y, de acuerdo con su voluntad y tiempo perfecto, nos llevará a un lugar de abundancia en su presencia para siempre.

ORACIÓN: Jesús, sé nuestra ayuda y esperanza en cada prueba y fortalécenos con las promesas de tu Palabra. Amén.

Dra. Carol Geisler

Para reflexionar:

  1. ¿En qué áreas de tu vida te sientes probado o desafiado regularmente?
  2. Cuando surgen dificultades inesperadas, ¿cuál es tu primera reacción? ¿Es esa reacción útil o constructiva? ¿Quisieras reaccionar de manera diferente?


“That Great Multitude”


2 Corinthians 5:17-18 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

God wants to make you a new person—just like the apostle Paul wrote in our passage above. Being in Christ means to be part of that multitude right now, at this very moment, not in the future. It means to live a life focused on eternity and not on life’s material possessions that will not follow us beyond the tomb.

Salvation belongs to God. It’s a gift of His mercy and love. It’s not imposed, however; it’s given freely and therefore can be rejected. If you are not yet a member of God’s people through Jesus Christ, God wants you to be among that great multitude, too. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or how bad your past has been. God wants to clothe you with His mercy, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ.

Lutheran author and television media producer Rev. Dr. Herman Gockel tells a story about a painter in the 16th century who was looking for a model. He wanted to describe the worst of humanity using a human face. One evening, sitting in a tavern, there comes in a dirty, unshaven, stinking, miserable-looking man. He was exactly the model he was looking for.

The painter jumped up from his seat, approached the man, offered him some money, and invited him to his studio the next day to serve as his model. That strange, miserable-looking man accepted the painter’s offer. Next morning, the painter was waiting anxiously for his model. What a surprise, when a showered, shaved, and well-dressed man entered his studio. “Oh no!” shouted the painter, completely disappointed: “I wanted you exactly as I saw and met you at the tavern yesterday!”

So with God; He wants you as you are. He doesn’t want you as the best-dressed and most-qualified person you think you are. God wants you exactly as you are, with your sinful nature and all the negative consequences it has produced in your life. He wants to clothe you with His gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ. He wants you to be in that great multitude with Him in eternity, where you shall hunger no more, thirst no more, and where the sun shall not strike you, nor any scorching heat. For Jesus will be your Shepherd, and He will guide you to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from your eyes (see Revelation 21:4).

Through Jesus, God has made new life possible for each one of us. The Father invites you into this redeemed new life and by His Holy Spirit will keep and sustain you in faith unto life everlasting—when, one day, all believers will gather with Him forevermore.

It is our prayer that you are a part of that great multitude, too.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, lead me in the way everlasting, the way Jesus won for us on the cross and through His glorious resurrection. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Taken from “That Great Multitude,” a message excerpt by Rev. Dr. Nilo Figur

Reflection Questions:

1. Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like you were able to start over—completely?

2. What is it about the Person of Jesus that has allowed us to be reconciled to God the Father?

3. As a Christian how do you live as a new creation?

Today’s Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 1-2    Luke 24:36-53