Sunday, November 20, 2016

Un Dia a la Vez - Matrimonios con compromiso

Tengan todos en alta estima el matrimonio y la fidelidad conyugal, porque Dios juzgará a los adúlteros y a todos los que cometen inmoralidades sexuales. Hebreos 13:4

En estos últimos meses, Dios ha puesto en mi corazón un deseo muy grande de orar e interceder por los matrimonios. Tanto es así, que un día en la oración que hago al aire y en vivo por la radio, de repente sentí que debía interceder en ese momento por las parejas. Las palabras que salían de mi boca no eran mías, venían de parte de Dios.

En mi oración, les decía a todos que el corazón de Jesús estaba triste por los muchos divorcios y el dolor que se les causaba a los hijos. También instaba a los oyentes a no ser egoístas y a dejar de solucionar los problemas matrimoniales solo con el divorcio. Que fuéramos más conscientes de nuestros errores y defectos que los de nuestros cónyuges. Que empezáramos el cambio en nosotros en lugar de exigirlo en nuestras parejas. Por último, Dios puso en mí el clamor por ser firmes a la hora del matrimonio. Que había que dejar el interés de casarse sin motivos y haciendo pactos que se rompen al poco tiempo.

El matrimonio es una institución creada por Dios. Por lo tanto, es una decisión seria. Los que hemos tomado malas decisiones en cuanto a esto, pero que nos hemos arrepentido, no podemos cometer nunca más los mismos errores.

Si tú estás solo y en esa búsqueda de casarte, mi consejo es que esperes en Dios. Deja que Él te muestre con quién debes casarte y que sea en su tiempo perfecto.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - LOVE IS THE ANSWER

He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:14

When a bomb ripped through a church in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year’s Day, 2011, Christians across the western world reeled with shock. Twenty-one believers were killed in the attack and many others were wounded. While Christians in the west watched the news reports with disbelief, local believers say the attack came as no surprise.

Responses to the vicious attack were varied. While some cried for revenge, others have responded differently trusting God to redeem these lives.

One explanatory story from Egypt is this:

Devil: “I just killed 21 of your family.”

Jesus: “You didn’t kill 21 of my family. You just sent them on ahead to me, and you mobilized the church to pray.”

Brother Andrew writes: What is your first thought when someone offends you? Anger? Indignation? Perhaps, if we’re honest, our hearts even want to see some kind of retaliation or revenge. But you know, Jesus is clear: revenge is not the answer. Love is. Especially when it comes to the Muslim world. That’s why, instead of retaliating when we read of a bomb attack against our fellow believers, I suggest our response should be repentance! Repentance that we have not prayed, have not cared, have not gone to the Muslim world to proclaim the true life and freedom we have in Jesus! Let’s keep asking God to truly change our hearts—that we might love, serve and pray more fervently…for the advancement of His kingdom and the glory of His name in the Muslim world and beyond!

RESPONSE: Today I will seek to keep my eyes on Jesus and try to understand things from His perspective.

PRAYER: Lord, change my heart so I am filled with Your compassion and thus love, serve and pray more fervently.

Verse of the Day - November 20, 2016

Psalm 95:1-2 (NIV) [ Psalm 95 ] Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

Read all of Psalm 95

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, November 20, 2016 - Christ the King Sunday

First Reading
from the Old Testament

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:1-6, NRSV)

This is the Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 46
1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5  God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6  The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8  Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10  “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
11  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Second Reading
from the Epistles

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:11-20, NRSV)

This is the Word of the Lord

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

What Kind of King - Sunday Sermon for November 20, 2016 - Christ the King Sunday

The Holy Gospel
according to St Luke, the 23rd Chapter

Glory to You, O Lord

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:33-43, NRSV)

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the King. Amen

"What Kind of King"

Our gospel lesson seems out of place as it describes the crucifixion of Jesus. It is more of a Good Friday text, not the kind of text one would see on Christ the Kind Sunday. But is it?

Jesus came as a different kind of King. Not the kind that most people thought of.

A poem says it well:

Title: They Missed Him

They were looking for a lion,
He came as a Lamb, and they missed Him.

They were looking for a warrior,
He came as a Peacemaker, and they missed Him.

They were looking for a king,
He came as a Servant, and they missed Him.

They were looking for liberation from Rome,
He submitted to the Roman stake, and they missed Him.

They were looking for a fit to their mold,
He was the mold maker, and they missed Him.

What are you looking for? Lion? Warrior? King? Liberator?
What are you looking for?

They were looking for their temporal needs to be met,
He came to meet their eternal need, and they missed Him.

He came as a Lamb to be sacrificed for your sin.
Will you miss Him?

He came to make peace between God and man.
Will you miss Him?

He came to model servant hood for all mankind.
Will you miss Him?

He came that we might have true liberty.
Will you miss Him?

He came to give you eternal life.
Will you miss Him?

When we submit to the Lamb, we will meet the Lion.
Join with the Peacemaker, and we will meet the Warrior.
Work with the Servant, and we will meet the King.
Walk with the Submitted, and we will meet the Liberator.
Concern ourselves with the eternal, and we will have the temporal.

If Jesus is not fitting into the mold you have, then come to the mold
maker and get a new one. Submit to His plan for your life and you will see the eternal need met first; then all the other things you have need of will be taken care of as well.

--Author unknown--

They missed him. People saw the Christ through their own eyes and missed him. They wanted a warrior and he came as the king of peace. They wanted a lion, he came as a lamb. Jesus was not the kind of king that most people thought. He came as a suffering king and many missed him.

So I do think our text is appropriate for today, because Jesus came as the suffering Messiah and they missed him.

All of our lessons this morning speak of this king who many missed.

In our lesson from Jeremiah, the kingdom of God is described in terms of justice and righteousness. This kingdom is described as something different than usual something different than the world is used to. In Isaiah 61:1-4 the kingdom of God is described in this manner: "He has chosen me and sent me to bring good news to the poor, To heal the brokenhearted, To announce release to captives, And freedom to those in prison; He has sent me to proclaim, That the time has come, When the Lord will save his people..." or as Jesus says In Mark 1:15 "The right time has come, and the Kingdom Of God is near; Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!"

The kingdom of God which broke into this world through Christ brought a different order to life. The broken, the hungry, the poor, were released from their guilt and the burden rested on those who were blessed to be fair, to live with justice and righteousness all their days.

This radical kingdom of God was brought to earth by Christ and is now carried on through His body, the church, you and I. Paul reminds the Colossians of that in our second lesson. He says: "He is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." Through Christ, the visible part of the body of Christ is manifested through the church. Luke 17:20 says, "Do not say "Look here it is or There it is because the Kingdom of God is within you, among you.

The kingdom of God, the rule of Christ as the King of Kings comes to bring justice and righteousness into the world. We are to bring justice and righteousness in to this world because we are the body of Christ. We are to bring righteous and justice into this world because Christ lives within us as we are the body of Christ, the church.

What does it mean to bring justice and righteous in to this world? I think it means that we are to feed the hungry, visit the lonely, visit those in prison, in a way bring the peace of Christ in to the brokenness of this world.

Not only are we to bring justice and righteous into this world, but we are to worship and praise Christ as we are the body of Christ, the church.

As the body of Christ, you and I have the responsibility to worship, to praise, to bow, to bend our knees in honor and respect to this King of kings. Worship is a duty, a right and a privilege for each of us.

However, many see this time as useless or unneeded. Why worship? Why sing praises? Why follow the custom of the early church? Because we are commanded, we are duty bound to worship this King. Worship is a form of love and Jesus says we are to love the Lord our God with all of your heart, soul and mind.

A sheep rancher in the remote mountains of Idaho found that his violin was out of tune, and, try as he would, he was unable to make the instrument sound the way it should. A frequent listener to a radio station in California, he wrote the station concerning his problem, asking these good people at a certain hour and minute on a certain day to strike the right note for him.

This they did: stopping everything else, silencing all other sounds for a moment, they struck that note. In his shepherd’s hut in the distant mountains, the shepherd heard that sound, and from that single note he put his instrument into tune again.

Thus is the hour of worship, a special time of being in touch with God. Here we listen for the signal-tone He strikes for our lives, for the pitch He gives by which our hearts may be put in tune.

Worship is the time for us to get in tune with Christ and then to go and serve others, as he would have us do.

And that brings us to our gospel lesson the story of Jesus death. Now you might be thinking this text is out of place as we celebrate the kingship of Christ, but not so. What better way to see the truly radical nature of his kingship than the cross? What better way to see the suffering nature of our King? What better way to see the truly radical nature of this gospel message than through the cross? Yes, the cross is the sign and the symbol of the kingship of Christ.

Here on the cross in his conversation with the convicted criminal we see the kingdom in action. We see the suffering servant Jesus Christ bringing the good news, the gospel to this man in all of its splendor and wonder.

I have three ideas that I think describe this action of the gospel in this man’s life. To him, Jesus was declaring him not guilty as he repented of his sin, Jesus was with him in suffering so Jesus was also a victim and through Christ they both received victory. Let us look closely at these actions of Christ.

When the man said, "And we indeed justly for or we are receiving the due reward of our deeds:" that was his act of repentance. He knew he had done wrong. He was sorry. Then because of his repentance, he saw Christ for who he was and asked, "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom." He wanted to be part of that kingdom. And Jesus answered saying, "Truly, I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise."

In answering the man, Jesus was relieving him of his guilt as it says in Romans 4: 5 " and who believes in God who declares the guilty to be innocent, it is his faith that God takes into account in order to put him right with himself." This kingdom of God causes one to examine himself/herself and then repentance comes. Jesus is there to declare the person not guilty because He paid the penalty for our wrongs through the body broken and blood shed on the cross. Notice that Jesus does and will continue to do the work of forgiving, not us. He declares us so by His work of salvation, not ours.

The act of mercy on the cross that Jesus did for us is sometimes difficult to understand. The following my help:

Pastor Page says in his sermon on this text in a religious journal: "A copy of Sigidmundis Goetze’s art work, "Despised and Rejected of Men", has helped me understand the crucifixion in a more relevant light.

The painting centers around the thorn-covered and spear-riven Son of Man. The setting, however, not normal. The crucifixion takes place in one of the busy highways of this world. Like Times Square in New York. The people are of this world working putting up new buildings, business people rushing here and there, window shoppers walking slowly by store fronts, a football player in uniform, a scientist in his lab, a mother and child and a news boy selling papers on the corner. Even a church and its pastor are found in the picture. But out of all of these people, only one is looking at the Christ on the cross. It is a nurse looking at him not out of concern, but alarm.

Page says this painting serves as a reminder to me that I often thumb through the Christian faith and never spend the time to look at THE event. Perhaps each of us are in that picture passing by never seeing, never looking, never accepting the centrality of our faith, a crucified, and broken Christ."

Don’t we want to glorify Him so that we too can feel glorious? Don’t we want a Christ who can perform miracles at our whims, instead of a Christ who allowed the will of His Father to be performed through Him by dying on a cross? Aren’t we today more interested in glory than service, more interest in feeling good, than worshiping a God who reminds us of our brokenness as He died on a cross? Aren’t we more interested in a bed of roses than wearing a crown of thrones?

Jesus is the different kind of King who died on a cross and then rose so that we might have life eternal. So we see not only the the suffering on the cross but the victory of new life as well.

We do see the victory of Christ as he says to the criminal, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Yes there is a victory for us in Christ, but at His choosing, at His time, in His kingdom.

On Christ the King Sunday we do celebrate this different kind of King.


New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted. Sermon by Pastor Tim Zingale November 19, 2007.

The Daily Meditation for SUNDAY, November 20, 2016 - Christ the King Sunday

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Richelle Thompson

Luke 23:38 (NRSV) There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Many Christians celebrate today as the feast of Christ the King—though for us, this celebration is in theme and not an official holy day. Nevertheless, our readings and collect draw us to the kingship of Christ.

In our own day, the dominion of a king is an unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable concept. We are much more inclined to self-rule and an independent spirit. But as the church year draws to a close, it is fitting to consider a final celebration of Christ the King. We have witnessed the topsy-turvy world of a savior baby, the conquering of death, the speaking of tongues, the unstoppable spread of Christianity to the far reaches. These amazing truths must surely lead us to a place of surrender, of a desire and pleading for Christ’s dominion over our wills, our hearts, our minds, and our lives.

Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study.

Our Daily Bread - Sacrificial Faith

Read: Acts 6:8–15; 7:59–60 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 14–15; James 2

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting in the garden of our home, which is near the church where my husband is the minister. I hear wafts of praise and worship music floating through the air in the Farsi language. Our church in London hosts a vibrant Iranian congregation, and we feel humbled by their passion for Christ as they share some of their stories of persecution and tell of those, such as the senior pastor’s brother, who have been martyred for their faith. These faithful believers are following in the footsteps of the first Christian martyr, Stephen.

Stephen, one of the first appointed leaders in the early church, garnered attention in Jerusalem when he performed “great wonders and signs” (Acts 6:8) and was brought before the Jewish authorities to defend his actions. He gave an impassioned defense of the faith before describing the hard-heartedness of his accusers. But instead of repenting, they were “furious and gnashed their teeth at him” (7:54). They dragged him from the city and stoned him to death—even as he prayed for their forgiveness.

The stories of Stephen and modern martyrs remind us that the message of Christ can be met with brutality. If we have never faced persecution for our faith, let’s pray for the persecuted church around the world. And may we, if and when tested, find grace to be found faithful to the One who suffered so much more for us.

Lord God, we believe You weep at the pain and anguish some of Your children experience because they love You. We pray that You will strengthen them in the midst of their suffering and send them Your grace.

May we find grace to walk in the Master’s steps.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Fe sacrificial

Leer: Hch. 6:8-15; 7:59-60 | La Biblia en un año: Santiago 2

Bienaventurados los que padecen persecución por causa de la justicia… (Mateo 5:10).

Es domingo por la tarde y estoy sentada en el jardín de nuestra casa, cerca de la iglesia donde mi esposo es pastor. En el aire, flotan melodías de alabanza y adoración en idioma farsi, ya que una vibrante congregación de creyentes iraníes se reúne en nuestra iglesia londinense. Su pasión por Cristo nos conmueve cuando comparten cómo fueron algunos perseguidos y otros, como el hermano del pastor, martirizados por su fe. Siguen los pasos de Esteban, el primer mártir cristiano.

Esteban, uno de los primeros líderes de la iglesia primitiva, atraía la atención en Jerusalén al hacer «grandes prodigios y señales» (Hechos 6:8), y fue llevado ante las autoridades judías. Antes de describir la dureza del corazón de sus acusadores, presentó una apasionada defensa de su fe. Pero, en vez de arrepentirse, ellos «se enfurecían en sus corazones, y crujían los dientes contra él» (7:54). Entonces, lo sacaron de la ciudad y lo apedrearon mientras él oraba para que fueran perdonados.

Las historias de Esteban y de los mártires actuales nos recuerdan que el mensaje de Cristo puede ser brutalmente resistido. Si nunca nos persiguieron por nuestra fe, oremos por la iglesia perseguida en el mundo y sirvamos fielmente a Aquel que sufrió tanto más por nosotros.

Señor, fortalece y consuela a los creyentes perseguidos.

Que hallemos gracia para caminar en los pasos del Maestro.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Opferbereiter Glaube

Lesen: Apostelgeschichte 6,8-15; 7,59-60 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hesekiel 14–15; Jakobus 2

Selig sind, die um der Gerechtigkeit willen verfolgt werden; denn ihrer ist das Himmelreich. Matthäus 5,10

Es ist Sonntagnachmittag und ich sitze im Garten neben der Kirche, in der mein Mann Pastor ist. Musik und Lobpreislieder auf Farsi dringen an mein Ohr. Unsere Kirche in London ist auch Heimat einer lebendigen iranischen Gemeinde. Wir sind oft beschämt angesichts ihrer Liebe zu Jesus und der Geschichten ihrer Verfolgung. Da ist zum Beispiel der Bruder des Pastors, der für seinen Glauben gefoltert wurde. Diese treuen Gläubigen folgen den Fußstapfen des ersten christlichen Märtyrers Stephanus.

Stephanus, einer der ersten Leiter der Urgemeinde, zog die Aufmerksamkeit Jerusalems auf sich, weil er „Wunder und große Zeichen“ tat (Apg. 6,8). Er wurde deshalb vor Gericht gestellt. In einer beeindruckenden Rede verteidigte er seinen Glauben, bevor er die Hartherzigkeit seiner Ankläger zur Sprache brachte. Doch statt zu bereuen, „knirschten [sie] mit den Zähnen über ihn“ (7,54), zerrten ihn vor die Stadt und steinigten ihn zu Tode—während er für sie um Vergebung bat.

Die Geschichten von Stephanus und den modernen Märtyrern erinnern uns daran, dass die Botschaft von Jesus nicht überall willkommen ist. Wir selbst haben vielleicht noch keine Verfolgung erlebt. Aber wir wollen für die verfolgte Kirche auf der ganzen Welt beten und um Gnade bitten, damit wir, falls die Reihe an uns kommt, dem Einen treu bleiben können, der so viel für uns erlitten hat.

Lieber Vater, auch du bist traurig über die Not und Schmerzen, die einige deiner Kinder erleiden, weil sie dich lieben. Bitte stärke sie mitten in ihrem Leid und umhülle sie mit deiner Gnade.

Möge Gott uns Gnade schenken, damit wir in seine Spuren wandeln können.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Жертвенная вера

Читать сейчас: Деяния 6:8-15; 7:59-60 | Библия за год: Иезекииль 14-15; 2 Тимофею 4

Блаженны изгнанные за правду, ибо их есть Царство Небесное. — Матфея 5:10

В воскресенье после обеда я сижу в саду возле церкви, в которой совершает служение мой муж. До меня доносятся хвалебные песнопения на языке фарси. Наша церковь в Лондоне предоставляет помещение общине иммигрантов из Ирана. Мы находимся под глубоким впечатлением от их любви к Христу, когда они рассказывают о преследованиях, происходящих на родине. Например, брат их старшего пастора был казнен за веру во Христа. Эти посвященные верующие идут по следам христианского первомученика Стефана.

Стефан, один из первых служителей Иерусалимской церкви, привлек к себе внимание тем, что «совершал великие чудеса и знамения в народе» (Деян. 6:8). Его схватили и привели в синедрион, где Стефан дал дерзновенный ответ о своем уповании, а затем обличил своих обвинителей в жестокосердии. «Слушая сие, они рвались сердцами своими и скрежетали на него зубами» (Деян. 7:54), а потом выволокли из города и побили камнями, в то время как он молился об их прощении.

Рассказы о мучениках прежних времен и наших дней напоминают нам, что весть о Христе может вызвать ожесточение среди неверующих людей. Если мы сами не терпели преследований, то давайте молиться за гонимых братьев и сестер. А если придет наш черед, пусть Тот, Кто пострадал намного больше, дарует нам Свою благодать.

Господи Боже, мы верим, что Ты скорбишь о Своих детях, терпящих гонения во имя Твое. Мы молимся, чтобы Ты укрепил их в пучине страданий и ниспослал Свою благодать.

Пойдем по следам Господа.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une foi sacrificielle

Lisez : Actes 6.8‑15 ; 7.59,60 | La Bible en un an : Ézéchiel 14 – 15 et Jacques 2

Heureux ceux qui sont persécutés pour la justice, car le royaume des cieux est à eux ! Matthieu 5.10

Assise dans notre jardin, près de l’église dont mon mari est le pasteur, par un dimanche après‑midi, j’entends une musique accompagnée de chants de louanges en farsi. Notre Église de Londres comporte une assemblée d’Iraniens à la foi enflammée et dont la passion pour Christ nous rend plus humbles par le récit des persécutions qu’ils ont vécues et l’histoire de ceux qui, comme le frère du pasteur principal, sont morts en martyrs pour leur foi à l’exemple du tout premier martyr chrétien : Étienne.

À titre de l’un des premiers leaders que l’Église primitive s’est nommés, Étienne a attiré l’attention de Jérusalem en accomplissant « des prodiges et de grands miracles » (AC 6.8), si bien que les autorités juives l’ont fait comparaître devant elles pour lui faire justifier ses actions. Il a alors fait un vibrant plaidoyer en faveur de sa foi avant de se lancer dans la description de la dureté de coeur de ses accusateurs. Au lieu de se repentir, ceux‑ci étaient « furieux dans leur coeur, et ils grinçaient des dents contre lui » (7.54), si bien qu’ils l’ont entraîné hors de la ville, où ils l’ont lapidé à mort – alors même qu’il priait Dieu de leur accorder son pardon.

Les histoires d’Étienne et des martyrs des temps modernes nous rappellent que le message de Christ peut nous attirer des brutalités. Si cela n’a jamais été notre cas, prions pour l’Église persécutée dans le monde entier. Et puissionsnous, dans l’épreuve, trouver la grâce de rester fidèles à celui qui a souffert tellement plus pour nous.

Puissions‑nous trouver la grâce de marcher sur les traces du Maître.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ