Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Sunday Readings for January 29, 2017 - 4th Sunday After Epiphany

There is a growing interest in returning to what is called the Historic Lectionary or the One Year Lectionary. The Historic Lectionary has been in use for over 400 years and has withstood the test of time. Article XXIV [the Mass] of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession states: "We also keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of readings, prayers, vestments, and other similar things."

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Isaiah 43:1-3

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

The Gradual

Psalm 102:1, 16; 97:1
SO the heathen shall fear the Name of the LORD: and all the kings of the earth Thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion: He shall appear in His glory. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice: let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Hallelujah.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Hallelujah! Oh praise the Lord, all ye nations, and laud Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Hallelujah!

The Holy Gospel Lesson

The Holy Gospel is written in Matthew 8:23-27
Glory be to Thee, O Lord

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Here ends the Gospel lesson for today.
Glory be to Thee ,O Christ!

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Christian Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

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.

Overcoming Fear - The Sermon for SUNDAY, January 29, 2017 - 4th Sunday After Epiphany

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee - Backhuysen, Ludolf - 1695


Now may the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Overcoming Fear
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945)

The Bible, the gospel, Christ, the church, the faith—all are one great battle cry against fear in the lives of human beings. Fear is, somehow or other, the archenemy itself. It crouches in people’s hearts. It hollows out their insides, until their resistance and strength are spent and they suddenly break down. Fear secretly gnaws and eats away at all the ties that bind a person to God and to others, and when in a time of need that person reaches for those ties and clings to them, they break and the individual sinks back into himself or herself, helpless and despairing, while hell rejoices.

Now fear leers that person in the face, saying: Here we are all by ourselves, you and I, now I’m showing you my true face. And anyone who has seen naked fear revealed, who has been its victim in terrifying loneliness— fear of an important decision; fear of a heavy stroke of fate, losing one’s job, an illness; fear of a vice that one can no longer resist, to which one is enslaved; fear of disgrace; fear of another person; fear of dying—that person knows that fear is only one of the faces of evil itself, one form by which the world, at enmity with God, grasps for someone. Nothing can make a human being so conscious of the reality of powers opposed to God in our lives as this loneliness, this helplessness, this fog spreading over everything, this sense that there is no way out, and this raving impulse to get oneself out of this hell of hopelessness.

Have you ever seen someone in the grip of fear? It’s dreadful in a child, but even more dreadful in an adult: the staring eyes, the shivering like an animal, the pleading attempt to defend oneself. Fear takes away a person’s humanity. This is not what the creature made by God looks like—this person belongs to the devil, this enslaved, broken-down, sick creature.

But the human being doesn’t have to be afraid; we should not be afraid! That is what makes humans different from all other creatures. In the midst of every situation where there is no way out, where nothing is clear, where it is our fault, we know that there is hope, and this hope is called: Thy will be done, yes, thy will is being done. “This world must fall, God stands above all, his thoughts unswayed, his Word unstayed, his will forever our ground and hope.” Do you ask: How do you know? Then we name the name of the One who makes the evil inside us recoil, who makes fear and anxiety themselves tremble with fear and puts them to flight. We name the One who overcame fear and led it captive in the victory procession, who nailed it to the cross and committed it to oblivion; we name the One who is the shout of victory of humankind redeemed from the fear of death—Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Living One. He alone is Lord over fear; it knows him as its master; it gives way to him alone. So look to Christ when you are afraid, think of Christ, keep him before your eyes, call upon Christ and pray to him, believe that he is with you now, helping you . . .

Then fear will grow pale and fade away, and you will be free, through your faith in our strong and living Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let’s say there is a ship on the high sea, having a fierce struggle with the waves. The storm wind is blowing harder by the minute. The boat is small, tossed about like a toy; the sky is dark; the sailors’ strength is failing. Then one of them is gripped by . . . whom? what? . . . he cannot tell himself.

But someone is there in the boat who wasn’t there before. Someone comes close to him and lays cold hands on his arms as he pulls wildly on his oar. He feels his muscles freeze, feels the strength go out of them. Then the unknown one reaches into his heart and mind and magically brings forth the strangest pictures. He sees his family, his children crying. What will become of them if he is no more? Then he seems to be back where he once was when he followed evil ways, in long years of bondage to evil, and he sees the faces of his companions in that bondage. He sees a neighbor whom he wounded, only yesterday, with an angry word. Suddenly he can no longer see or hear anything, can no longer row, a wave overwhelms him, and in final desperation he shrieks: Stranger in this boat, who are you? And the other answers, I am Fear. Now the cry goes up from the whole crew; Fear is in the boat; all arms are frozen and drop their oars; all hope is lost, Fear is in the boat.

Then it is as if the heavens opened, as if the heavenly hosts themselves raised a shout of victory in the midst of hopelessness: Christ is in the boat. Christ is in the boat, and no sooner has the call gone out and been heard than Fear shrinks back, and the waves subside. The sea becomes calm and the boat rests on its quiet surface. Christ was in the boat!

We were along on that voyage, weren’t we? and the call, Christ is in the boat, was once our salvation too. And now, strangely enough, all of us are at sea again, on that voyage without faith, without hope, overwhelmed, in chains, in bondage, paralyzed by fear; we have lost heart, lost the joy of living, our limbs heavy as lead; each of us knows what it’s like. Perhaps, or most likely, we don’t even quite realize what has happened to us; we are already so used to this state of affairs that it seems natural to us, and we almost like it that way, all this misery around us and in our own lives.

What would we do if we couldn’t even complain anymore?

And that’s the worst of it: we don’t even want to find a way out. That is the final triumph of Fear over us, that we are afraid to run away from it, and just let it enslave us. Fear has conquered us; it can be found among us in various forms. Some persons have become dull and insensitive and just live from one day to the next, brooding gloomily and doggedly along, but too apathetic to take their own lives. Others are noisy about their fear, pouring it out to everyone else in the form of crying and complaining. Still others, on the other hand, think they can drive out their fear with fine words and bold fantasies, and if they shout these words loudly enough it may seem to take care of things for awhile. But those who know can recognize in such empty words the horrifying power of fear all over again. Fear is in the boat, in Germany, in our own lives and in the nave of this church—naked fear of an hour from now, of tomorrow and the day after. That is why we become apathetic, why we complain, why we intoxicate ourselves with this and that. What else is all the razzle-dazzle and drunkenness of New Year’s Eve, other than our great fear of a new era, of the future? Fear is breathing down our necks. Those who would try to keep up their pride, as if all this had nothing to do with them, as if they didn’t understand what it’s all about, would hardly be human. No one human could fail to understand what the people of the world have to be afraid of today.

But look here, right in the middle of this fearful world is a place that is meant for all time, which has a peculiar task that the world doesn’t understand.

It keeps calling over and over but always anew, in the same tone, the same thing: Fear is overcome; don’t be afraid [John 16:33]. In the world you are frightened. But be comforted; I have conquered the world! Christ is in the boat! And this place, where this kind of talk is heard and should be heard, is the pulpit of the church. From this pulpit the living Christ himself wants to speak, so that wherever he reaches somebody, that person will feel the fear sinking away, will feel Christ overcoming his or her fear.

You of little faith, why are you so fearful? In these words we must hear all the disappointment of Jesus Christ in his disciples and all his love for them. Do you still not know that you are in God’s hands, that where I am, God is? Why are you so fearful? Be of good courage, strong, firm, adult, sure, confident, not shaking with fear. Don’t hang your heads; don’t complain about what bad times these are . . . I am in the boat. And Christ is here, too, in the nave of this church. So why not hear him and believe him?

We have come here, very probably, because somehow or other we know that something in our lives needs to change, and because we think perhaps the church can somehow help us with this. We are aware of how meager, how poor, how petty and short-sighted our lives have become.

All of us see only our own worries and difficulties and no longer those of others that may be a thousand times worse. Our affairs seem so enormous and infinitely important to us that we have become dulled toward anything else. This is the work of fear in us. And now we sense that we can’t bear to be hemmed in like this anymore; it’s suffocating. The call of the church cuts through this questioning and foreboding. There is one thing we are lacking: to believe that the Almighty God is our father and our Lord. To believe that for God, our greatest cares are like the worries of small children in their parents’ eyes; that God can turn things around and dispose of them in no time at all; for God it’s easy, not hard at all. We must believe that a thousand years in God’s sight are like a day [Ps. 90:4], that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts [Isa. 55:8–9], that God is with us in spite of everything. Let us receive the call of the church once again: You of little faith, why are you so fearful? In the midst of the storm, Christ is in the ship. Away with you, Fear! Let us see you, Lord Jesus, strong helper, Savior!

But now comes a host of objections and excuses. We say we would like to believe, but we simply can’t anymore. The suffering is too great. Oh, but let’s not take this kind of talk too seriously. You cannot believe?

Well, neither can we. Do you want to believe?—in that case you already do, in a way, perhaps not very strongly, only a beginning, but perhaps a thousand times stronger than many others who think they are able to believe. Don’t worry about your faith, whether it is weak or strong. Just look to him in whom you believe, and speak to him: Lord, increase our faith! [See Luke 17:5].

We say that it is not life’s misery that frightens us, but rather our own sin that we fear; and that we need to fear it, so we won’t be overcome by it! Again, that sounds so right, but it is really only a trick of fear itself. No, it is not true that we must be afraid of sin. Those who are afraid of it are already up to their necks in it. Fear is evil’s net, spread to catch us. Once evil has made us afraid, confused us, we are in its clutches. Don’t be afraid, be of good courage . . . How can you meet the enemy with fear in your heart? You of little faith, why are you so fearful? Isn’t God greater than your sin?

Let God grow strong in you; then sin is knocked down. Believe in God . . . Lord, strengthen our faith!

Now, finally, let the most depressed and despairing people speak, those who ask: Isn’t our time up? Aren’t the years of catastrophe, of utter decline and breakdown, the chaos of our lives in both great and small things, which no one can ignore, the sign that God has let us go? God doesn’t want us anymore. There’s no more mercy coming our way from God. God is against us, and we have to accept it. It won’t do to keep clinging if we aren’t wanted. This is the cry out of the very depths of despair. There is only one thing that helps, and it is what the church does with any of us who thinks and feels this way. It takes the cross and places it before our eyes and asks: Did God abandon him? And since God did not abandon Jesus, we will not be abandoned by God, either.

Learn to recognize this sign in your own life. Learn to recognize and understand the hour of the storm, when you were perishing. This is the time when God is incredibly close to you, not far away. Right there, when everything else that keeps us safe is breaking and falling down, when one after another all the things our lives depend on are being taken away or destroyed, where we have to learn to give them up, all this is happening because God is coming near to us, because God wants to be our only support and certainty. God lets our lives be broken and fail in every direction, through fate and guilt, and through this very failure God brings us back; we are thrown back upon God alone. God wants to show us that when you let everything go, when you lose all your own security and have to give it up, that is when you are totally free to receive God and be kept totally safe in God. So may we understand rightly the hours of affliction and temptation, the hours in our lives when we are on the high seas! God is close to us then, not far away. Our God is on the cross.

The cross is the sign that stands in judgment on all the false security in our lives and restores faith in God alone. Be of good courage, be valiant, be confident, be certain—that is what it says. Yes, but everything depends here on making sure that one last, terrible misunderstanding does not arise. There is such a thing as false courage, false confidence . . . and this false confidence is itself only the most subtle form in which fear disguises itself. Let us return to our story.

When the disciples were climbing aboard the boat, they seemed quite confident; they seemed not at all afraid. Why were they confident? They looked at the lovely calm sea and saw no reason to worry. But as the wind and waves increased in force, the disciples lost their calm and fear grew in them. They gazed apprehensively at the wild sea. Its appearance had made them feel safe, but now fear was gaining the upper hand. The story says that Jesus was asleep. Only faith can sleep without a care—that is why sleep is a reminder of paradise—faith finds its safety in God alone. The disciples couldn’t sleep; their security was gone; their confidence had been misplaced and now was lost. It was a false sense of security—it was only fear in disguise. This sense of security does not overcome fear and soon breaks down. Only the faith that leaves behind all false confidence, letting it fall and break down, can overcome fear. This is faith: it does not rely on itself or on favorable seas, favorable conditions; it does not rely on its own strength or on other people’s strength, but believes only and alone in God, whether or not there is a storm. It is the only faith that is not superstition and does not let us slip back into fear, but makes us free of fear. Lord, make this faith strong in us who have little faith!

But the other side of the coin is also true. When Christ is in the boat, a storm always comes up. The world tries with all its evil powers to get hold of him, to destroy him along with his disciples; it hates him and rises up against him. Christians surely know this. No one has to go through so much anxiety and fear as do Christians. But this does not surprise us, since Christ is the Crucified One, and there is no way to life for a Christian without being crucified. So we will suffer and make our way through together with Christ, looking always to him who is with us in the boat and can soon stand up and rebuke the sea, so that it becomes calm.

However, it does seem to be true, what you have surely all been quietly wanting to say for some time, that today Christ is no longer doing such amazing things. He is so strangely hidden away that we often think he is no longer there at all! Dear brothers and sisters, what do we know about what Christ can do and wants to do for us, this very evening, if we will only call upon him as we should, if we call out, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” That was fear all right, but it was faith in the midst of fear, because it knew where help comes from, the only place. We say there are no miracles anymore . . . but what do we know really, you and I? We will certainly be ashamed of ourselves if one day we are allowed to see what God can do.

They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” We can well understand their amazement. What sort of person is this on whom fear has no effect, who overcomes the fear in human life and takes away its power? By asking this question, we are already on our knees before him, praying to him, pointing to him, the wonder worker, and saying, This is God! Amen.

***Sermon from The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer edited by Isabel Best copyright © 2012 Fortress Press admin. Augsburg Fortress. No further reproduction allowed without the written permission of Augsburg Fortress.***

Verse of the Day - January 29, 2017

Mark 9:35 (NIV) Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Read all of Mark 9

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un Dia a la Vez - Dios alivia mi dolor

Responde a mi clamor, Dios mío y defensor mío. Dame alivio cuando esté angustiado, apiádate de mí y escucha mi oración. (Salmo 4:1, NVI)

Oh, Dios mío, en ti confío. Sé que eres mi consuelo y que en medio de esta prueba tú estás conmigo.

Quiero decirte, mi Dios, que aunque no entiendo el porqué estoy viviendo esta situación y estoy sufriendo, te ofrezco a ti cada lágrima, cada noche sin dormir, cada pensamiento negativo que ha llegado a mi mente de que mejor sería no existir y deposito mi corazón en ti para que lo llenes de tu amor.

Señor, renuévame y restaura mi alma. Permite que muy pronto pueda encontrar alivio a esta situación y logre ver la salida en medio de esta tribulación.

Señor, tú eres mi refugio y mi esperanza.

Señor, que se haga tu voluntad y no la mía.

Y ayúdame a aprender de esto que hoy me permites vivir.

Que pueda crecer después de esta prueba y sea capaz de ayudar a otras personas que sufren.

Gracias, mi Dios, por formar en mí el carácter de tu Hijo Jesucristo.

Amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón. La Santa Biblia, Nueva Versión Internacional® NVI® Copyright © 1986, 1999, 2015 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SATAN’S ATTACK ON THE BIBLE

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:23-25a, NIV)

Brother Andrew continues his teaching on Satan’s strategic attacks:
The second prong of Satan’s attack is on the written word of God. He has historically tried to prevent Christians from having access to the Bible.

Satan understands the power of the Word of God. At the temptation of Jesus, he even made a sly attempt to use Scripture (actually misapplying it) to deflect Jesus from His true mission (Luke 4:1-3). Twisting Scripture is still a favorite tactic of Satan, and we believers need to know the Word so we can respond, just as Jesus did, with a well-applied “It is written…”

Peter recognized the significant role the Word has in our salvation. In his epistle to Christians passing through “fiery trials” he gives the words of encouragement in today’s scripture above.

Now you can understand my life’s passion to distribute the Bible, even in places where its importation or distribution is prohibited. Because I’ve gone around the world preaching that message, many people assume that I must have been the first “God’s smuggler.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

I personally believe that the first Bible smuggler probably was Timothy, the man Paul looked upon as his son in the gospel. This young man of delicate health, but of great spirituality and loyalty, was converted in Paul’s first campaign at Lystra. At the end of his life, when Paul was in prison in Rome, he looked to Timothy for comfort. In a letter to him, Paul asked his friend to bring his books to the prison the next time he visited.

In 2 Timothy 4:13 it becomes clear Paul was requesting that scrolls of Old Testament Scriptures be brought to him for further study. But how could Timothy get them into Rome and into the jail when, by that time, Christians has already become an outlawed sect? The only possible way would have been to smuggle them in with other items.

Billy Graham, in his book Hoofbeats, suggests that John the apostle had to write his Revelation secretly, while closely guarded by the Romans. The parchment manuscript pages would have been smuggled off the island of Patmos and Christian volunteers copy them for the churches…

This world is an enemy-occupied territory filled with souls to whom Christ holds rightful claim. Under Christ’s command, we invade countries by any means that will help us to get in with the Word of God…

Today I want others to have what makes me grow spiritually—the Bible.

RESPONSE: Today I will make every effort to ensure that the Bible is available to everyone to read and practice.

PRAYER: Pray for many believers around the world still waiting for their first personal Bible.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

LHM Daily Devotion - "Rejoicing in Hope"

January 29, 2017

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

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

Every Saturday afternoon Mrs. Sumalee faithfully listens to the "Home for Love" live radio program produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand.

And, every Saturday afternoon during the radio program Mrs. Sumalee faithfully calls in to talk with the staff. She always says that she wants to learn more about this message of hope she hears during the program.

Mrs. Sumalee works at a medical clinic in Bangkok.

Lately, she finds herself becoming depressed because of her constant interactions with people who are suffering. Mrs. Sumalee tries to help her patients by giving them medicines, but she doesn't know what to say to give them encouragement. Mrs. Sumalee is a Buddhist, as are more than 92 percent of Thai people. Buddhism teaches that all suffering is deserved; it's the result of a person's wrong actions, words, thoughts, attitudes or desires.

According to Buddhist beliefs, suffering must be endured patiently to earn good karma.

When Mrs. Sumalee first heard this message of hope, she wondered -- is there really a God who forgives sins? Could it be possible that such a God is here in Bangkok, but I never saw Him or heard of Him before?

Thai people typically don't share their problems with others, especially with people they don't know. However, Mrs. Sumalee called the LHM-Thailand staff and began pouring out her heart. She talked about her struggle trying to encourage her patients. She told the staff about her own lack of joy in the midst of the suffering she encountered each day.

As Mrs. Sumalee learned about God's grace through faith in Jesus and the forgiveness that He gives as a free gift to sinners, she began to have hope.

She started telling her patients what she heard on the radio program and from the LHM-Thailand staff. As she continues to listen to the LHM-Thailand radio program and talks with the staff each Saturday, she has more to share with her patients. Mrs. Sumalee is eager to keep learning about God, so she looks forward to listening to the radio every Saturday afternoon.

The LHM-Thailand staff has connected Mrs. Sumalee with a local church and encourages her to attend often. They continue to pray that soon she will come to faith in Jesus.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for drawing Mrs. Sumalee to Yourself, through the live Saturday afternoon radio program, and for creating that spark of hope in her heart. Give her the gift of faith and continue to use her to share the story of hope through Jesus with her patients. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Dennis Denow, a missionary in Thailand with the LCMS Office of International Missions. Pastor Denow is the husband of LHM-Thailand Director, Monta Ekwanit Denow. He volunteers to teach English classes for the LHM-Thailand staff and to assist with their school outreach program.

Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand focuses on sharing the Gospel and making contacts with local people through various community radio programs, Equipping the Saints ( ETS ) evangelism training, Bible Correspondence Courses ( BCC ), print, Internet, and Gospel text-messaging. The staff also conducts special children's activities and does presentations in many government schools.

In this country of 67 million people, LHM-Thailand is known in-country as Journey into Light. It was established in 1991 in Bangkok, where it has its ministry center today. It broadcasts three different 25-minute radio programs and follows up with listeners who respond for assistance or more information. Through "listener gatherings" it brings people together and helps build a sense of community. Relationships with school children and educators are established through presentations delivered at public schools. Staff members and volunteers also connect with people through music, camp-style activities, sidewalk events held outside the ministry center for neighbors and passersby, and by teaching about Christianity and culture.

You can read about LHM-Thailand's contribution to Children's Day when you visit its blog by clicking here.

To learn more about our International Ministries, visit

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Our Daily Bread - Timeless Savior

Read: John 8:48–59 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 21–22; Matthew 19

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:58

Jeralean Talley died in June 2015 as the world’s oldest living person—116 years of age. In 1995, the city of Jerusalem celebrated its 3,000th birthday. One hundred sixteen is old for a person, and 3,000 is old for a city, but there are trees that grow even older. A bristlecone pine in California’s White Mountains has been determined to be older than 4,800 years. That precedes the patriarch Abraham by 800 years!

Jesus, when challenged by the Jewish religious leaders about His identity, also claimed to pre-date Abraham. “Very truly I tell you,” He said, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). His bold assertion shocked those who were confronting Him, and they sought to stone Him. They knew He wasn’t referring to a chronological age but was actually claiming to be eternal by taking the ancient name of God, “I am” (see Ex. 3:14). But as a member of the Trinity, He could make that claim legitimately.

In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” The timeless One entered into time so we could live forever. He accomplished that mission by dying in our place and rising again. Because of His sacrifice, we anticipate a future not bound by time, where we will spend eternity with Him. He is the timeless one.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; but God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.  John Newton

Learn more about the life to come at

Christ holds all things together. Colossians 1:17

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Salvador eterno

Leer: Juan 8:48-59 | La Biblia en un año: Mateo 19

Jesús les dijo: De cierto, de cierto os digo: Antes que Abraham fuese, yo soy (Juan 8:58).

Jeralean Talley murió en junio de 2015; era la persona más vieja del mundo: 116 años. En 1995, la ciudad de Jerusalén celebró su cumpleaños número 3.000. Para una persona, 116 años es ser viejo; y para una ciudad, 3.000 lo es; pero hay árboles que viven más. Se ha determinado que un pino de las Montañas Blancas de California tiene más de 4.800 años. ¡Esto lo ubica 800 años antes del patriarca Abraham!

Cuando los líderes religiosos judíos cuestionaron la identidad de Jesús, Él también declaró ser anterior a Abraham: «Antes que Abraham fuese, yo soy» (Juan 8:58). Esta valiente afirmación consternó a sus adversarios; entonces, procuraron apedrearlo. Sabían que no se refería a su edad cronológica, sino que proclamaba ser eterno, ya que utilizaba el antiguo nombre de Dios: «Yo soy» (ver Éxodo 3:14). Como miembro de la Trinidad, su declaración era legítima.

En Juan 17:3, Jesús oró: «Y esta es la vida eterna: que te conozcan a ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien has enviado». Jesús, el Eterno, entró en el tiempo para que nosotros pudiéramos vivir para siempre. Y concretó esta misión al morir en nuestro lugar y resucitar. Al recibirlo como Salvador, pasaremos la eternidad con Él.

Señor Jesús, te recibo como Salvador para tener vida eterna y estar contigo para siempre.

[Cristo] es antes de todas las cosas, y todas las cosas en él subsisten. Colosenses 1:17

Unser Täglich Brot - Zeitlos

Lesen: Johannes 8,48-59 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 2.Mose 21–22; Matthäus 19

Jesus sprach zu ihnen: Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch: Ehe Abraham wurde, bin ich. Johannes 8,58

Im Juni 2015 starb Jeralean Talley, der damals älteste Mensch der Welt, mit 116 Jahren. 1995 feierte Jerusalem den 3000. Geburtstag. Einhundertsechszehn ist alt für einen Menschen und 3000 ist alt für eine Stadt, aber es gibt Bäume, die noch älter werden. Eine Kiefer in den Weißen Bergen Kaliforniens ist angeblich über 4800 Jahre alt. Sie wuchs also noch 800 Jahre vor Abraham!

Auch Jesus behauptete, es habe ihn schon vor Abraham gegeben, als die jüdischen Führer seine Identität in Frage stellen wollten. „Wahrlich, ich sage euch“, erwiderte er ihnen. „Ehe Abraham wurde, bin ich“ (Joh. 8,58). Die kühne Aussage schockierte die Fragenden und sie wollten ihn steinigen. Sie wussten, dass er nicht von einem chronologischen Alter sprach, sondern behauptete, er sei ewig, indem er den alten Gottesnamen „Ich bin“ (s. 2.Mose 3,14) gebrauchte. Als Teil der Dreieinigkeit hatte er dazu allerdings jedes Recht.

In Johannes 17,3 betete Jesus: „Dies ist aber das ewige Leben, dass sie dich, der allein wahrer Gott ist, und den du gesandt hast, Jesus Christus, erkennen.“ Der Zeitlose kam in die Zeit, damit wir ewig leben können. Er erfüllte seinen Auftrag, indem er an unserer Stelle starb und wieder auferstand. Deshalb können wir uns auf eine Zukunft freuen, die an keine Zeit gebunden ist und wo wir ewig mit ihm, dem Zeitlosen, leben dürfen.

Viele Augen warten heute auf das Kommen unsres Herrn. Wir sind fröhlich, denn wir wissen, seine Ankunft ist nicht fern. Julia Howe

[Christus] ist vor allem, und es besteht alles in ihm. Kolosser 1,17

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un Sauveur atemporel

Lisez : Jean 8.48‑59 | La Bible en un an : Exode 21 – 22 et Matthieu 19

Jésus leur dit : En vérité, en vérité, je vous le dis, avant qu’Abraham fût, je suis. (Jean 8.58)

Jeralean Talley est morte en juin 2015 à titre de personne ayant vécu le plus longtemps au monde : 116 ans. En 1995, la ville de Jérusalem a célébré son 3000e anniversaire de naissance. Cent seize ans, c’est vieux pour un être humain, et 3000 ans, c’est vieux pour une ville, mais sachez qu’il existe des arbres qui vivent encore plus vieux. On sait que les pins aristés des Montagnes blanches de la Californie vivent plus de 4800 ans, ce qui les fait donc remonter à 800 ans avant l’époque d’Abraham !

Or, lorsque les chefs religieux l’ont questionné au sujet de son identité, Jésus a déclaré qu’il datait également d’avant Abraham : « En vérité, en vérité, je vous le dis, avant qu’Abraham fût, je suis » (JN 8.58). Cette affirmation audacieuse a choqué ses détracteurs, qui ont alors cherché à le lapider. Ils savaient qu’en prenant l’ancien nom de Dieu : « Je suis » (Voir EX 3.14), Jésus ne faisait pas allusion à son âge chronologique, mais déclarait plutôt être éternel. Reste qu’en tant que membre de la Trinité, il pouvait l’affirmer en toute légitimité.

Jésus a prié ainsi : « Or, la vie éternelle, c’est qu’ils te connaissent, toi, le seul vrai Dieu, et celui que tu as envoyé, Jésus‑Christ » (JN 17.3). L’Éternel est entré dans la sphère temporelle afin de nous permettre de vivre pour toujours. Il a accompli cette mission par sa mort substitutive et sa résurrection. Grâce à son sacrifice, nous envisageons un avenir hors du temps où nous passerons l’éternité avec lui, l’Éternel même !

[Christ] est avant toutes choses, et toutes choses subsistent en lui. COLOSSIENS 1.17

© 2017 Ministères NPQ

Хліб Наш Насущній - Передвічний Спаситель

Читати: Івана 8:48-59 | Біблія за рік: Вихід 21–22 ; Матвія 19

Ісус їм відказав: Поправді, поправді кажу вам: Перш, ніж був Авраам, Я є. — Івана 8:58

Джералін Теллі вважається найстарішою довгожителькою. Кола вона померла у червні 2015 року, їй було аж 116 років. У тому ж 2015 році місто Єрусалим святкувало 3 000-річний ювілей. 116 років – то великий вік для людини; і 3 000 років – для міста. Але існують дерева, що навіть ще старіші. У Білих Горах Каліфорнії росте сосна, вік якої налічує понад 4 800 років – тобто вона була ще до часів Авраама.

Коли юдейські релігійні лідери допитувались у Христа про Його ідентичність, Він стверджував, що існував ще до Авраама. “Поправді, поправді кажу вам: Перш, ніж був Авраам, Я є”, – сказав Він. Це сміливе ствердження Ісуса настільки шокувало супротивників, що вони ладні були побити Його камінням, бо чудово розуміли, що Ісус вказує на Своє вічне існування, присвоюючи стародавнє Ім’я Бога – “Я Той, що є” (Вих. 3:14). Як одна із Осіб Трійці, Ісус мав цілковите право на це Ім’я.

В Івана 17:3 записана молитва Ісуса Христа: “Життя ж вічне це те, щоб пізнали Тебе, єдиного Бога правдивого, та Ісуса Христа, що послав Ти Його”. Передвічний Спаситель прийшов у цей світ, щоб ми могли жити вічно. Він виконав цю місію, коли помер за нас і воскрес. Завдяки Його жертві, ми очікуємо майбуття, де будемо проводити з Ісусом цілу вічність – з Тим, Хто Сам є вічність.

Земля розтане наче сніг, I сонце сяйво позабуде – Той, Хто спасіння дав мені, Mоїм завжди, навіки буде. — Джон Ньютон

“А Він є перший від усього, і все Ним стоїть”. — Колосян 1:17

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Вечный Спаситель

Читать сейчас: Иоанна 8:48-22 | Библия за год: Исход 21-22; Матфея 19

Иисус сказал им: «Истинно, истинно говорю вам: прежде нежели был Авраам, Я есмь». — Иоанна 8:58

Самая большая из задокументированных продолжительность жизни – 116 лет. Столько было Джералин Тэлли, когда она умерла в июне 2015 г. В 1995 г. городу Иерусалиму исполнилось 3 000 лет. Сто шестнадцать – это много для человека, а три тысячи – много для города. Но есть деревья, которым еще больше. Сосне Бристлекон в Белых горах Калифорнии, как считается, больше 4 800 лет. То есть она росла еще до Авраама!

Когда иудейские религиозные вожди расспрашивали Иисуса Христа о Его сущности, Он заявил, что тоже старше Авраама. «Истинно, истинно говорю вам: прежде нежели был Авраам, Я есмь», – сказал Он (Ин. 8:58). Его дерзновенное заявление шокировало противников, и они решили побить Его камнями. Они поняли, что Он говорил не просто о возрасте, а объявил Себя вечным, приняв древнее имя Бога: «Я есмь» (Исх. 3:14). Однако, как одно из лиц Троицы, Он имел полное право на такое заявление.

В Своей первосвященнической молитве Спаситель говорил: «Сия же есть жизнь вечная, да знают Тебя, единого истинного Бога, и посланного Тобой Иисуса Христа» (Ин. 17:3). Вечный Бог вошел в течение времени, чтобы мы обрели вечную жизнь. Он исполнил Свое служение, приняв смерть за нас и воскреснув из мертвых. Благодаря Его жертве, мы ожидаем будущего, не скованного рамками времени, где мы вечно пребудем с Ним. Он вне времени.

Земля растает, словно снег; погаснет солнца свет. Но не отменится вовек спасения завет. —Джон Ньютон

«[Христос] есть прежде всего, и все Им стоит». — Колоссянам 1:17

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный