Sunday, January 15, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday

Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. A Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African-American civil rights movement, King died in 1968. In his famous letter from the Birmingham Jail, he wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Sunday Readings SUNDAY, January 15, 2017

First Reading
from the Old Testament

Isaiah 49:1-7
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The LORD called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb he named me. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the LORD, and my reward with my God." And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-- he says, "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, "Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

This is the Word of the Lord


Psalm 40:1-12
1   I waited patiently upon the LORD; he stooped to me and heard my cry.
2   He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
3   He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the LORD.
4   Happy are they who trust in the LORD! they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.
5   Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God! how great your wonders and your plans for us! there is none who can be compared with you.
6   Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! but they are more than I can count.
7   In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure (you have given me ears to hear you);
8   Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required, and so I said, "Behold, I come.
9   In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: 'I love to do your will, O my God; your law is deep in my heart.'"
10   I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips; and that, O LORD, you know.
11   Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.
12   You are the LORD; do not withhold your compassion from me; let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever,

Second Reading
from the Epistles

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind-- just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you-- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

We Need A Lamb! - The Sunday Sermon for SUNDAY, January 15, 2017

The Holy Gospel
according to St John, the 1st Chapter

Glory to You, O Lord

John 1:29-42
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God." The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

"We Need A Lamb!"

A tourist visited a church in Germany and was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower. He asked why it was there and was told that when the church was being built, a workman fell from a high scaffold. His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured.

How did he survive? A flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower scaffold at the time, and the worker landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved. To commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the workman fell.

The source of that story is unknown, and, whether it is simply legend or truth, it still bears out one fact: we need a lamb for our survival. WE NEED A LAMB! 1) who is named by God, 2) to snatch away our sins, and also 3) to redirect lives.

1) Named by God

John the Baptist was the first to call Jesus the “lamb of God.” That was a title. Titles are symbols of prestige. For example, not every one can bear the title “Doctor.” That’s a privilege. A title also describes an individual for good or bad.

There’s talk of the Charlotte Hornets coming to New Orleans. The whole deal is still up in the air, but people are talking about the prospect. They’re hopeful the team will come. One of the big topics of discussion is what the team will name itself if it comes. All sort of suggestions have been made from the New Orleans Shrimp to reclaiming the name Jazz. Now, imagine if the team came to our state and chose a lamb for its mascot -- just picture the New Orleans Lambs –why, they’d probably be the laughing stock of the entire NBA.

After all, lambs are helpless creatures. They’re born virtually defenseless. Lambs also tend to be awkward and clumsy. They seem to have a knack for getting into trouble. Why in the world would John refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God? Could it be that he was implying that Jesus was weak or unimpressive? No. The opposite is true. This was actually a prestigious title, which John the Baptist had given. To appreciate the significance means we must understand how the Jewish people perceived a lamb.

God had given the lamb a special place in the mind of all Israelites. For the Jews the lamb carried religious connotations. The lamb was one of the animals used to symbolize the forgiveness of sins; that God would make atonement with all people, setting the world “at-one” with him.

Already, in the Old Testament, the lamb carried this special meaning. Lambs played an important part in the Passover meal, commemorating how God delivered Israel from Egypt and from death. In fact, the word “lamb” became synonymous with the Savior. Isaiah uses the word in his prophecy concerning the Messiah: “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).

God promised he would send one who would come to be our Savior, to carry our sins for us. And one day while on the bank of the Jordan River, John saw that one who was revealed to him by God. He saw Jesus, and he gave him the title, “Lamb of God.” John knew that this was God’s Lamb; this was his sacrifice for us. That’s a prestigious title no one else could dare hold.

In a culture that sacrificed lambs twice a day in the temple, Johns’ words were a kiss of death. "Here is the Lamb of God" also means, "Look, everyone, here’s the one that is going to be sacrificed." Suddenly, the title might not seem all that prestigious. Yet, as we understand the work of the Lamb of God, we see that this name is prestigious it is honorable. John says that this lamb, Jesus, is the one who takes away the sins of the world. Do you understand the all-important work this Lamb accomplishes? He takes away the sins of the whole world! Literally, he rips us off. He actually steals away our collective and individual sins, prying them from us.

2) To Snatch Away Our Sins

I remember when my parent’s home was robbed. It was in broad daylight when no one was home. My parents were at work and I was away at college. Two punks broke a window in the back door unlocked the deadbolt, and helped themselves to the house; even making a sandwich and leaving the mess on the counter.

I also recall my initial feelings when I heard about the incident. I was angry. My whole family felt afraid and violated. Our privacy was invaded, and that eerie feeling loomed over us for some time.

We feel the same way about our sins. “This is my business”, we shout, as we hoard away our sins, locking them up in our hearts and minds. We hold all sorts of sin in our hearts and minds – greed, lust, hatred, jealousy, lack of self-control – the list goes on.

As it is, we are born into this world intent on keeping hold of our trespasses and sins. This sinful flesh wants nothing more than to hold on to its decrepit nature. Our hearts want nothing more than to wallow in lust, envy, and greed. Our minds desire nothing more than violence and hatred towards God and one another. We don’t want to let go of a single one. We treat our sins as if they’re our prized possessions. We’re not willing to hand them over to Jesus. After all, it’s a matter of privacy! How dare God violate us and take away the things we love! And so, Jesus, the Lamb of God – the perfect sacrifice – must come to us and snatch our sins away. He breaks into our hearts and minds and steals away all sin and unbelief.

This is how it must be! Christ Jesus must come and rip us off! He has to snatch our sins from us. Just think of how Jesus does this. He doesn’t crush or break us. He doesn’t smash his way into our lives. Jesus snatched our sins from us by sacrificing himself for us. He came into this world to suffer and die on the cross, so that we wouldn’t have to face punishment. Jesus bore the wrath of his heavenly Father in our place. And in doing so, he paid the price for every last one of our sins. He snatched them from us by labeling himself as “Sinner of sinners”, and allowing himself to be nailed to the cross with our all our transgressions. Then he rose from the dead proving that our sins are dead. They no longer count. The price has been paid.

3) To Redirect Our Lives

The wonderful thing is that we have God’s Word to remind us of this truth! John’s words – “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” – are a source of comfort and joy. They redirect us. Jesus’ work of redemption provided for the needs of the entire world. And you can say with all confidence that your sins are forgiven. Do you see how this redirects your life? God’s grace in Christ directs us away from despair. Whenever you find yourself directed to despair over your sins, don’t. If you find yourself asking, “How can I be forgiven?” direct yourself to the cross and see that Jesus has won salvation for you. He snatched your sins from you and directs you away from all despair and into the open arms of your Heavenly Father.

God has given us his Word on this matter so that we might believe and have hope. His Word is what leads us to faith to believe this blessed truth. And with faith in Christ our Savior, we can live confidently in forgiveness. Our lives are redirected.

The sad fact is that many people still haven't connected with God, they pray like mad, they study the Word, but still wonder why they aren’t closer to God. The reason is that they have not been redirected. Many people allow their sins to direct and guide them. We allow our sins to direct us away from faith in Christ. Our goals become misguided. Sin clouds us to look to ourselves.

What are some of our misguided goals? Where our culture says, “Seek your place in the world!” our God says, “Seek the kingdom of God.” Where our culture bids us to “find yourself!” God calls us to “lose ourselves, and then find life.” Where our culture calls us to “be a self-made person!” God calls us to become “members together of one body...”. Where our culture teaches us to “look to your own needs and interests!” God calls us to have “the attitude of Christ Jesus, who took on the nature of a servant.” Where our culture promises, “You can have it all!” God calls us to “consider it rubbish, that we might gain Christ.” Where our culture mandates, “Be at the top of your game!” God calls us to “be crucified with Christ.”

When we perceive our existence as God’s work--rather than our own work--we free ourselves from the barrage of self-centered ambition and find our ultimate purpose in life. We’re redirected. But how does this happen? It happens when the Holy Spirit leads us to trust in Christ and not in ourselves. It’s called faith. Realize you have a Savior who has freed you from God’s wrath. The Bible tells you so.

The Word of God is like a road map. It gives us the information we need in order to know we are on the right path. It directs and guides us. The Bible shows us that, without God, we are lost. God is serious about sin. Dishonesty, pride, and selfishness are offensive to God. So are, disrespect, sexual perversion, and everything else that God’s law condemns. Without God we are lost. But thanks to God! Jesus saved us! He took the punishment for our sins in our place. God redirects us by directing us to his Son. He shows us that we have a Savior from sin who directed us onto the path to heaven. Behold! It’s the Lamb of God who accomplishes this for us. Amen

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 shared by Edward Frey  Jan 18, 2002

Verse of the Day - January 15, 2017

John 8:31-32 (NIV) [ Dispute Over Whose Children Jesus’ Opponents Are ] To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Read all of John 8

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Standing Strong Through the Storm - NO WORRIES IN A YEAR OF DROUGHT

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream…It has no worries in a year of drought…” Jeremiah 17:7-8c

Trees were not plentiful in Israel and most grew by sources of water like an oasis or a stream. Jeremiah’s simile indicates a person with confidence in the Lord is like a deep-rooted tree by the stream which has nothing to worry about even when a whole year goes by with no rain.

A young Christian boy in Iraq shares this insight after the bombing of his church in late 2010:

I always imagine having a special cape, like superman wears, as I run in and out of my sister’s bedroom. The cape is gold with red print just like the curtains in our dining room. I think of myself as a protector of the royal realm and my sister as a princess to guard—well, ok, when she isn’t making me mad.

I used to play outside, but when the war started we had to play inside all the time. When we do go outside we take the car, but I help my dad check under the car first for bombs. We are always checking things around the house and everyone is very nervous when we travel even short trips around the city. We even have some suitcases stuffed with things in case we have to leave in the middle of the night. I wonder if any of my toys will fit in those bags.

A really, really bad thing happened at our church and I lost a lot of my friends. They were all killed. I didn’t see it, but I heard most of the stories. I think lots of things will never be the same and that I need to take the role of protector and guardian of the realm. If I have this special cape I can protect my family.

At night before my sister goes to bed my parents pray with her. I can hear my sister now. She is praying, “God help that they don’t bomb another church and that there are no car bombs, stop the blood.” She has been very scared since the bad thing happened in the church and my mom often comes to her at night to pray with her again after nightmares. She didn’t used to have these things.

Then my dad comes to pray for me. He tells me that Jesus will take care of us and I mustn’t worry. He tells me that God even loves the people who hurt us. He tells me that Jesus is love - and that it is something like my special cape.

With confidence in the Lord, we can have no worries even when the drought lasts a year or more.

RESPONSE: Today I will place my trust and confidence only in God asking Him to bear my worries.

PRAYER: Lord, give courage, peace and confidence to those of our family living in areas of violence.

Un Dia a la Vez - Él cambia nuestra tristeza

Sabemos que Dios dispone todas las cosas para el bien de quienes lo aman. Romanos 8:28

Parece irónico decir que de lo malo que nos pasa en la vida Dios, en algún momento, lo cambiará para bien. Creo que no hay algo que cause más dolor que los resbalones, las equivocaciones o, como decimos, «las metiditas de pata». Debemos entender que una mala decisión nos puede cambiar la vida. Sin embargo, Dios perdona un error y nos da una nueva oportunidad si nos arrepentimos de corazón, aunque no logremos escapar de las consecuencias de lo que hacemos en la vida, sea bueno o malo.

Algunos aprenden de los errores y cambian de manera radical. Ese no fue mi caso. Cometía un error tras otro y Dios me daba nuevas oportunidades, pero volvía a fallar. Hasta que un día, Él tuvo que cambiar mi camino para enderezar mi corazón. De una relación extramatrimonial quedé embarazada y pasé uno de los momentos más difíciles de mi vida. Tuve que enfrentarme a Dios, a mis princesas, a los pastores y reconocer mi error y vivir las consecuencias. Así que perdí mi trabajo, nos abandonó el padre de mi hija y se lastimó mi testimonio. Por eso, tuve que volver a empezar desde cero.

No obstante, en esta etapa aprendí a conocer a Dios de otra manera. En medio del dolor, no me abandonó y dejó en mis manos una hermosísima responsabilidad: Mi princesa Anacristina que llenó mi corazón de felicidad. Vi cómo de una mala situación pasé a ser la madre más feliz y orgullosa de sus hijas. De modo que al poco tiempo, Dios me devolvió absolutamente todo. Volví a la radio, pero convertida en una nueva mujer. Por favor, ¡aprendamos de los errores!

Jesus the Galilean - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Day 6

What does the Bible have to say about prejudice? What messages of love does God have for all the people and cultures He created? What opportunities does a diverse church of today have in a society still troubled by racism?

The two-week Fearfully and Wonderfully Made daily devotional—based on passages from the NKJV Modern Life Study Bible—will guide you through a series of Biblical excerpts focused on confronting ethnic prejudice. You'll walk through both the Old and New Testaments, discovering a tapestry of cultural connections throughout the historical richness of Scripture and learn about God's promises of love to those who face discrimination and prejudice. From the call of Abraham to the Samaritan woman at the well, find out how the God of Israel has shown himself to be the God of all tribes and nations.

Today’s reading is drawn from Mark 1:14, Luke 4:14-19, and John 7:52.

In New Testament times, there were two Galilees, upper and lower. Jesus grew up in the densely populated lower Galilee and carried out most of His ministry in its communities. As many as eleven of His twelve disciples also came from this region. (Judas Iscariot was the one obvious exception.)

Home to a culture that bridged the Hebraic and Graeco-Roman worlds, Galilee existed on the fringes of traditional Jewish life. As a result, Galileans were scorned by their Judean neighbors, who used the term Galilean as a synonym for fool, heathen, sinner, or worse.

Most significantly for Jesus, these neighbors were convinced that no prophet could come from Galilee (John 7:52). Yet from there a Prophet did arise. It was in Galilee that Jesus first outlined His message (Luke 4:14–19) and demonstrated its power. He performed at least thirty-three miracles in the region, and it was there that He told nineteen of His thirty-two recorded parables.

As Jesus traveled around the district, He demonstrated that His message was for everyone, including people excluded from acceptable society. His message did not start at the top and move down. It spread from the bottom up. However, there is little evidence that Jesus’ message took hold in Galilee after He left. The people largely rejected their Prophet and King, and His dire predictions about Capernaum, Chorazin, and other Galilean cities came true (Matt. 11:20–24).

LHM Daily Devotion - "We Need Help"

 January 15, 2017

God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble.  - Psalm 46:1

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.

In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

I had just entered one of the hospitals in the city where I work as a chaplain. I was visiting a lady who was a Sunday school teacher but who was also in constant need of health care because of severe kidney problems. As soon as we started the conversation, my cell phone rang. I did not recognize the phone number. It was not one of my contacts.

When I answered, I was troubled because I heard only crying and despair.

I asked the person who had called me to explain what was happening. It was a woman who spoke in a tone of voice that revealed deep anguish.

My office was near the address where the lady lived and I asked her to go there. I called the church secretary, explained the situation, and asked her to receive the lady in a cordial manner.

I quickly informed my patient I was visiting that I had to leave because of an emergency. I went to the car and left for the office. On the way, the phone caller's words played over and over again in my head.

She had said, "I need help! I need help! Otherwise, I'll do something stupid!"

In my office I found a person whose face was tormented as she sobbed in tears. When she calmed down, she told me about the many problems in her family. She spoke of the crisis in her job and how her life had been turned to a living hell in recent months. She was an employee of one of the hospitals in the city where I work as a hospital chaplain.

She looked into my eyes and said, "It feels like an earthquake has shaken my life in every area! I just want to die."

I listened to her life story, her problems, and her crises. Then, I read Psalm 46 to her and saw how the Word of God calmed her heart. I prayed with her and for her. We put before the Lord her anguish and needs. After that, her face and body visibly relaxed.

In subsequent conversations I asked her how she had first gotten my phone number.

She took the book  Five Minutes with Jesus  from her purse and said, "I work at the hospital. This book has helped me in many moments. When I was discouraged, I found a word of comfort and encouragement. When things became unbearable, I saw this phone number in the book and decided to call."

The Lutheran Hour Ministries' booklet  Five Minutes with Jesus  is one I distribute to the people I visit in the hospital. The Holy Spirit had placed that booklet into this lady's hands and given her a word of comfort, which has now blossomed into a world of faith in the Savior.

Once again God had proven the truth of His Words: "The Lord of hosts is with us" (Psalm 46:7a). By God's grace may other lost and troubled souls in this world come to know their Redeemer and learn that "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble."

THE PRAYER: Jesus, my Savior, in You we find refuge, even when we face death. Give me courage to share Your comfort-giving Word with the lost and troubled of this world. In Your Name I ask it. Amen

Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Pastor Adelar Munieweg. Pastor Munieweg is married to Miriam and they live in Pelotas, Brazil, with their son and daughter. For nine years, he has served as chaplain in eight hospitals in Pelotas. There he has often used Lutheran Hour Ministries' written materials to bring comfort to people in need.

In this large South American country of more than 200 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Brazil is known in-country as Hora Luterana and has its ministry center in São Paulo. It was first established in 1947. Today LHM-Brazil reaches out to Brazilians through social media and by a daily radio program,  Five Minutes with Jesus . A voice-mail service,  Messages of Hope , utilizes audio messages and is distributed via e-mail as well. Another resource for Brazilians is a weekly "live" online Bible study. This ministry center also utilizes  Equipping the Saints  ( ETS ) workshops to train volunteers in sharing the Gospel. Another resource is the "Chaplaincy with Jesus" project, which coordinates its work with various chaplaincy programs throughout Brazil, ministering to individuals in prisons and hospitals.

Read how the "Chaplaincy with Jesus" program is making a difference in the lives of patients and hospital employees. You can visit LHM-Brazil's blog by  clicking here.

To learn more about our International Ministries, click  here

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Our Daily Bread - Losing to Find

Read: Matthew 10:37–42 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 36–38; Matthew 10:21–42

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

When I married my English fiancé and moved to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be a five-year adventure in a foreign land. I never dreamed I’d still be living here nearly twenty years later, or that at times I’d feel like I was losing my life as I said goodbye to family and friends, work, and all that was familiar. But in losing my old way of life, I’ve found a better one.

The upside-down gift of finding life when we lose it is what Jesus promised to His apostles. When He sent out the twelve disciples to share His good news, He asked them to love Him more than their mothers or fathers, sons or daughters (Matt. 10:37). His words came in a culture where families were the cornerstone of the society and highly valued. But He promised that if they would lose their life for His sake, they would find it (v. 39).

We don’t have to move abroad to find ourselves in Christ. Through service and commitment—such as the disciples going out to share the good news of the kingdom of God—we find ourselves receiving more than we give through the lavish love the Lord showers on us. Of course He loves us no matter how much we serve, but we find contentment, meaning, and fulfillment when we pour ourselves out for the well-being of others.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Isaac Watts

Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Perder para encontrar

Leer: Mateo 10:37-42 | La Biblia en un año: Mateo 10:21-42

… el que pierde su vida por causa de mí, la hallará (Mateo 10:39).

Cuando me casé con mi novio inglés y me mudé a Gran Bretaña, pensé que sería una aventura de solo cinco años en una tierra extraña. Nunca soñé seguir viviendo aquí casi 20 años después ni que, a veces, sentiría que había perdido todo al despedirme de mi familia y amigos, de mi trabajo y de todo lo conocido. Pero, al perder mi vida anterior, encontré una mejor.

El regalo invertido de encontrar la vida cuando la perdemos es lo que Jesús les prometió a sus discípulos. Cuando envió a los doce a predicar el evangelio, les pidió que lo amaran más que a sus padres y a sus hijos (Mateo 10:37). El Señor pronunció esas palabras en una cultura donde las familias eran el fundamento de la sociedad y altamente valoradas. No obstante, prometió que si perdían su vida por Él, la encontrarían (v. 39).

No tenemos que mudarnos a otro país para hallarnos en Cristo. Mediante el servicio y la consagración —como sucedió con los discípulos al ir a compartir la buena noticia de la salvación en Cristo—, nos encontramos recibiendo más de lo que damos, ya que el Señor derrama su amor abundantemente sobre nosotros. Sin duda, Él nos ama sin importar cuánto lo sirvamos; pero, cuando nos entregamos por el bienestar de otros, encontramos satisfacción, propósito y plenitud.

Señor, te amo y te entrego mi vida para servir a los demás.

Toda pérdida deja un espacio que puede llenarse con la presencia de Dios.

© 2017 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Verloren und gefunden

Lesen: Matthäus 10,37-42 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Mose 36–38; Matthäus 10,21-42

Wer sein Leben verliert um meinetwillen, der wird’s finden. Matthäus 10,39

Als ich meinen englischen Verlobten heiratete und nach Großbritannien zog, freute ich mich auf fünf Jahre Abenteuer in einem fremden Land. Nie hätte ich gedacht, dass ich nach fast zwanzig Jahren immer noch hier sein oder es mir manchmal so vorkommen würde, als hätte ich mit dem Abschied von Familie und Freunden, Arbeit und allem, was mir vertraut war, mein ganzes Leben verloren. Doch mit dem Verlust des Alten habe ich etwas viel Besseres gefunden.

Dieses paradoxe Geschenk, dass wir das Leben finden, wenn wir es verlieren, hat Jesus seinen Jüngern verheißen. Als er die Zwölf aussandte, um die gute Nachricht zu predigen, forderte er sie auf, ihn mehr zu lieben als Vater oder Mutter, Söhne oder Töchter (Matth. 10,37). Und das in einer Kultur, in der die Familie als Grundpfeiler der Gesellschaft höchsten Wert besaß. Doch er versprach, dass sie das Leben finden würden, wenn sie es um seinetwillen verlieren (V.39).

Wir müssen nicht ins Ausland ziehen, um uns in Christus zu finden. Durch Dienst und Hingabe empfangen wir mehr, als wir geben, weil Gott uns mit seiner Liebe überschüttet—so wie damals die Jünger, als sie loszogen, um das Reich Gottes zu verkünden. Natürlich liebt er uns immer, egal wieviel wir tun. Aber wenn wir uns für das Wohlergehen anderer hingeben, finden wir Befriedigung, Sinn und Erfüllung.

Schau ich zu deinem Kreuze hin, wo du für mich gestorben bist, zu Schaden wird, was sonst Gewinn, was einst mein Stolz gewesen ist. Isaac Watts

Jeder Verlust hinterlässt eine Lücke, die Gott mit seiner Gegenwart füllen kann.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

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Читать сейчас: Матфея 10:37-42 | Библия за год: Бытие 36-38; Матфея 10:21-42

Сберегший душу свою потеряет ее, а потерявший душу свою ради Меня сбережет ее. — Матфея 10:39

Когда я вышла замуж и переехала в Англию, мне казалось, что это будет пятилетнее приключение за границей. Я и не думала, что проживу здесь двадцать лет и что навсегда прощаюсь с родным домом, друзьями, работой и всем, что было мне знакомо. Однако, оставив прежнюю жизнь, я обрела лучшую.

Нечто подобное обещал Христос Своим апостолам. Посылая двенадцать учеников распространять Благую весть, Он велел им возлюбить Его больше, чем отца, мать, сыновей и дочерей (Мф. 10:37). В то время семья была краеугольным камнем общества и высоко ценилась. Но Он пообещал, что если они потеряют свою жизнь ради Него, то обретут ее (Мф. 10:39).

Нам не нужно отправляться за границу, чтобы найти себя во Христе. Через служение и посвящение, как это сделали ученики, проповедуя весть о Божьем Царстве, мы получаем больше, чем отдаем, благодаря обильной любви, которую Господь изливает на нас. Конечно, Он любит нас не потому, что мы Ему служим. Однако мы обретаем удовлетворение, чувство нужности и полноты жизни, если жертвуем собой ради блага других.

Когда я поднимаю взор на крест, Где Божий Сын страдал, Я сознаю греха позор, Стыжусь того, что почитал. — Исаак Уоттс

Каждая потеря освобождает пространство, заполняемое Божьим присутствием.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный

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Celui […] qui perdra sa vie à cause de moi la retrouvera. (Matthieu 10.39)

Lorsque j’ai épousé mon fiancé anglais et j’ai ensuite émigré au Royaume‑Uni, je croyais que je vivrais une aventure quinquennale en sol étranger. Je ne m’étais jamais imaginé que je m’y trouverais encore près de vingt ans plus tard ni que j’aurais eu l’impression de perdre la raison en faisant mes au revoir à ma famille, à mes amis, à mon emploi et à tout ce que j’avais connu jusque là. Reste qu’en perdant mon ancien mode de vie, j’en ai trouvé un meilleur.

C’est précisément ce cadeau à l’envers, qui consiste à trouver la vie au moment de la perdre, que Jésus a promis à ses apôtres. En envoyant les douze disciples annoncer sa Bonne Nouvelle, il leur a demandé de l’aimer plus que leur mère et leur père, que leurs fils et leurs filles (MT 10.37). Il a prononcé ces paroles au sein d’une culture ayant fait de la famille le trésor‑pivot de la société. Il leur a toutefois promis que, s’ils perdaient leur vie pour lui, ils la retrouveraient (V. 39).

Or, nul besoin de nous expatrier pour nous retrouver en Christ. Par le service et le dévouement – comme les disciples qui partent annoncer la bonne nouvelle du royaume de Dieu –, nous recevrons plus que nous aurons donné par l’amour incommensurable que le Seigneur répand sur nous. Bien entendu, il nous aime quel que soit le service que nous lui rendions, mais nous ne trouvons le contentement, un sens à la vie et la réalisation de soi qu’en consacrant notre vie à veiller au bien des gens.

Tout deuil laisse un vide que la présence de Dieu peut combler.

© 2017 Ministères NPQ