Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Readings for SUNDAY, February 19, 2017 - Sexagesima

 The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Leviticus 19:1-2, 19:9-18

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

The Gradual

Psalm 119:33-40 He Legem pone
33   Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.
34   Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; I shall keep it with all my heart.
35   Make me go in the path of your commandments, for that is my desire.
36   Incline my heart to your decrees and not to unjust gain.
37   Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways.
38   Fulfill your promise to your servant, which you make to those who fear you.
39   Turn away the reproach which I dread, because your judgments are good.
40   Behold, I long for your commandments; in your righteousness preserve my life.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 3:16-23

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future-- all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

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 5:38-48
Glory be to Thee, O Lord

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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 Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. 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.

The SERMON for SUNDAY, February 19, 2017 - An Unnatural Love

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:38-48, ESV)

"An Unnatural Love"
by Kevin Ruffcorn

Summary: God loves us with an unnatural love. Jesus calls his disciples to follow his example and to love others with the same unnatural love.


Times are changing. Two hundred and thirty years ago the American Revolution was announced by Paul Revere riding on horseback shouting, “The British are coming, the British are coming.” Now revolutions are choreographic using Facebook and Twitter.

Jesus’ words in our gospel text for today announce a new age, also. The status quo and the natural are not the standard operating procedures of his followers. Jesus invites his followers to live in his kingdom and to live graciously.


Our mission statement says that we intend to “Invite everyone to a new life in Christ.” In his words to his disciples, Jesus is telling them what this new life—a renewed relationship with God—looks like.

Loving unnaturally and living graciously is based on what God has already accomplished in our lives. God has loved us unnaturally and acted toward us in a gracious manner. Because God has acted this way toward us, the Lord invites us to act this way toward others.

I consider myself an excellent driver—what guy doesn’t. I’m far superior to 99% of the drivers that in the Valley of the Sun. Recently, however, I found myself guilty of what I call “golf cart driving.” I was stopped at a light and my mind wandered, and before I knew it, the light had turned green and I was still stopped. A little later, the street on which I needed to make a left hand turn came too quickly and I was in the right hand lane. Luckily traffic was light and I didn’t want to drive farther and turn around, so I swerved over three lanes and made my turn. It dawned on me later—when I was going to offer my opinion to drivers who did those exact same things that I needed to cut them a little slack and act graciously. We have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. We are ALL in need of forgiveness.

Because of the Cross of Christ—Jesus’ death and resurrection--God’s kingdom has come. We live in a world, now, where unnatural love has become natural, and where graciousness in the norm.

Jesus tells his followers to “be perfect.” Really, this is a poor translation of what Jesus was trying to convey. It is more accurate to say, “You are going to be perfect. When God’s kingdom comes in its fullness you will be molded completely into God’s image. So, live in the reality of what you will become.”

If we, the church—the body of Christ—are to prepare the world for Jesus’ return, then it is necessary for us to live as if heaven is already on earth.


At first glance, these words appear to require Jesus’ followers to become wimps and doormats. Nothing could be further from the truth. Loving unnaturally unleashes great power—life transforming power.

By law a Roman soldier could ask anyone to carry his equipment for one mile—but no farther. By offering to go a second mile threatened to get the soldier in trouble because he would be breaking the law.

By law a Roman soldier could hit anyone once. For a person to turn the other cheek and invite another blow, defied the power of the soldier and opened him up to the possibility of being reprimanded.

We know the power of the unnatural in our lives. When we were attacked on 9/11 there were two reactions. Some people reacted in fear and would not fly for weeks, months, or even years. Others lived definitely and refused to allow the terrorists to control their lives.

A mother lived in a gang and drug infested part of town. Other people in the neighborhood hid behind locked doors and allowed the gangs free reign. This young mother acted unnaturally. She baked cookies and went out and engaged the drug dealers in conversation. It’s impossible to do a drug deal while a mother is present and talking with you. The mother also organized people in her neighborhood to surround crack houses and gang hangouts. Their presence and attention eventually drove the gangs and drugs out of their neighborhood.


Jesus’ words can become a reality in our lives. Rather than carry grudges, we forgive. Forgiveness not only opens the possibility of healing of that relationship, it also relieves us of a heavy burden. Praying for our enemies can be life transforming—for us and for them. It does no good telling ourselves over and over again how much we hate certain people. It is much more positive to pray for them.

We live to serve others. The natural path is to live for ourselves and to put ourselves first. This path leads to a life of emptiness because it is limited in its relationships. Living and loving unnaturally allows us to experience a fullness of life—part of the abundant life that is ours because of the cross of Christ.

We give unnaturally. Yes it is important to balance our budget, to pay off our debts and to invest wisely. It is even more important for us to share the abundant blessings that God has poured into our lives—to give of our riches—so that visions can become a reality, and lives can be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.


God never calls us to the status quo, nor does he call us to follow the crowd. Jesus, rather, calls us to follow him, to be his family and to live and love as unnaturally as he does.


Verse of the Day - February 19, 2017

1 John 4:11-12 (NIV) Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Read all of 1 John 4

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 - ¿Quién soy yo?

Porque el Señor es bueno y su gran amor es eterno; su fidelidad permanece para siempre.

La gran ventaja de poder declarar que somos hijos de Dios es entender que nuestra identidad debe estar en Él.

Dios es el Rey, y si somos sus hijos, no solo somos hijos del Rey, sino que debemos aprender a vernos como tales. Muchos que hacen este cambio se acercan muchísimo a Dios, pero se sienten muy pobres. ¿Crees que por ser cristiano debas tener escasez y mendigar? De seguro olvidas que tienes privilegios.

No importa la idea que te vendieron en tu niñez. Si te maltrataron, o fuiste la oveja negra de la familia, o si vienes de una iglesia legalista, Dios te recibe en sus brazos de amor. La prueba de que Dios nos lleva de su mano es que sentirás su presencia. Experimentarás cómo te concede las peticiones más profundas de tu corazón de una manera única.

Así que mi recomendación es que consigas una Biblia y una iglesia. ¡Esto es clave para alimentarte bien! También busca las más de tres mil promesas que Dios nos ofrece en su Palabra a cada uno de nosotros.

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 - RELGIOUS LIBERTY

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36 (NIV)

Ron Boyd MacMillan is a perceptive communicator. He writes for the next two days:

As my plane touched down after a trip to the Middle East, I breathed a big sigh of relief. I was back where I did not have to watch my back, be careful what I said, or where I went. Whew. I was back in a country that had religious freedom. I prayed to God, “Thank you for the men and women who fought to bring me this freedom. Thank God they won.”

Then two incidents happened one after the other that made me think again.

I was at an art exhibition and looking at a painting entitled, Man startled on a horse. I sought out the artist and said, “Was that the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road you were depicting?” I thought he would be pleased I had figured it out.

But he looked horrified, and glancing around he hissed, “For goodness sake keep quiet. Do you want me to get labeled as a religious artist? I’d never sell another painting if that happened.”

Then I was talking to a priest in charge of a large church in my city. His church had just received a large sum of money from the state for the refurbishment of a church hall. Then he said, “Well, we had to sign an agreement that the church would be available for everyone of any religion, and that we would not try to convert anyone. But we were happy to do that. We just want to be a community resource.”

Suddenly I became aware that I had to fight for religious liberty in my own country. I had thought that because certain toleration laws were in place, I was safe.

But no, it was clear from the artist that to admit one’s Christian faith in a public context was professional suicide.

How did my society suddenly get so prejudiced?

And look at the priest blithely giving up his right to evangelize, without a thought to the long-term cost. Who was asking him to refrain from evangelizing? And how could he be so unaware of the freedom he just signed away?

RESPONSE: Today I will not assume that freedom is automatic. I will stand up for the truth of God’s Word and be truly free.

PRAYER: Lord, may I never take the free expression of my faith for granted. Help me to understand the challenges that representing Your truth will bring.

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

LHM Daily Devotion - "Beautiful Fruit of the Vine"

 February 19, 2017

 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. Isaiah 5:1-2 (ESV)

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

Readers of Scripture know there are many passages and parables which center on vineyards, farmers and fruits. One such familiar passage is the one above, the one taken from Isaiah.

I say it is familiar because our Lord Jesus Christ knew this passage from Isaiah and made reference to it in His teaching. Because of that, the passage from Isaiah 5:1-7 -- short, simple and easy to remember -- undoubtedly can hold deep meaning for our present and future life in the Savior.

When you read the verses, you can sense the frustration of the man who has done everything necessary. By any standard, everything necessary should have been enough to get the job done. In this case, the  job  would be a vineyard producing a bumper crop of sweet grapes.

How sad he must have been, in spite of all he had done, to receive a harvest of tart, wild fruit.

Beloved, if we can feel sadness for the poor results we see in our jobs, families and lives, how much more intense must be our Father's disappointment when He sees people refusing to produce fruits of thanksgiving to His Son and service to their fellow brothers and sisters.

In contrast, remember how much happiness and joy there ought to be when we see the results of the work of the Lord in the lives of those who had not known Him. Indeed, our attitude on earth ought to join with the joy in heaven. Remember what the Gospel of Luke says: (Jesus said) "Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10).

Brethren, the Lord has done everything we could ever have hoped for, and even more. He gave us a fertile hillside, fenced it, protected us, removed the stones, built, and He hopes that you and I will produce delicious grapes without any sour fruit. Truly, we are designed to be the Lord's plants, vines and delicious fruits.

We produce good fruit when, as people of faith, we do the Father's will. That's what Peter learned in John 21:15-19 when Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?"

To the Savior's question, Peter replied, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love You."

Having heard Peter's confession, the Lord directed, "Feed My lambs."

My friend, in that passage we can easily substitute our names for those of Peter. If we do, we will hear how the Lord speaks directly to us and asks us to do the same. This is why I encourage you to do it now.

THE PRAYER: May our Father God, His beloved Son, and His Holy Spirit continue to encourage us in the daily work of His mission of reaching out to the lost. In Jesus' blessed Name we all say Amen.

Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written Edilberto Méndez Mora. Beginning in 1992, he came to us as a contributor and volunteer at LHM's Christ for all Nations office. He became a member of our staff in 1997 and has served as director since 2004. Lutheran Hour Ministries has been working in Panama since 1985. In 1996 it was recognized by the Panamanian State as a religious entity, a nonprofit, as serving society, and as an organization whose primary purpose is the proclamation of the Word of God to unbelievers.

With its ministry center in Panama City, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama is known locally as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones ("Christ for All Nations," CPTLN). It makes Gospel connections through printed materials, "live" events, mass media and the Internet, holistic outreach, and other means. Using  Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), individuals are instructed in the basic tenets of the Christian faith and how to put them into operation in their lives. Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops train laypeople to share their faith with others in order to build bridges via the Gospel. Helping young people make healthy lifestyle choices is the role of Project JOEL, a program teaching faith-based values that has been successfully integrated into the curricula of public schools, giving teachers a valuable resource to help them foster and promote constructive values.

Loneliness is a problem many people face. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama is addressing this issue by making the Spanish booklet  Facing Loneliness  available for FREE. You can read about this helpful offer by clicking here and visiting its blog.

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 - Better Than a Piñata

Read: Ephesians 2:1–10 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23–45

By grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:5

There cannot be a Mexican party without a piñata—a carton or clay container filled with candies and treats. Children strike it with a stick and try to break it, hoping to enjoy its contents.

Monks used the piñatas in the sixteenth century to teach lessons to the indigenous people of Mexico. Piñatas were stars with seven points that represented the seven deadly sins. Beating the piñata showed the struggle against evil, and once the treats inside fell to the ground, people could take them home in remembrance of the rewards of keeping the faith.

But we cannot fight evil on our own. God is not waiting for our efforts so that He will show His mercy. Ephesians teaches that “by grace you have been saved through faith, . . . it is the gift of God” (2:8). We don’t beat sin; Christ has done that.

Children fight for the candies from the piñata, but God’s gifts come to all of us when we believe in Jesus. God “has blessed us . . . with every spiritual blessing” (1:3). We have forgiveness of sins, redemption, adoption, new life, joy, love, and much more. We don’t get these spiritual blessings because we have kept the faith and are strong; we get them because we believe in Jesus. Spiritual blessings come only through grace—undeserved grace!

Thank You for Your mercy, Lord, which is great and free!

We have been saved by grace. Now we enjoy the many blessings that come by grace.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Tốt Hơn Pinata

Đọc: Ê-phê-sô 2:1-10 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Lê-vi ký 25; Mác 1:23-45

Ấy là nhờ ân điển mà anh em được cứu. (Ê-phê-sô 2:5)

Không thể có một bữa tiệc theo kiểu Mê-hi-cô mà không có piñata – đó là một chiếc hộp làm bằng bìa cứng hoặc một cái bình bằng đất sét chứa đầy bánh kẹo. Trẻ con dùng gậy, cố gắng đập vỡ nó ra, với hy vọng sẽ được ăn bánh kẹo bên trong.

Vào thế kỷ 16, các tu sĩ hay sử dụng piñata để dạy người dân Mê-hi-cô bản địa. Piñata là những ngôi sao với bảy cánh tượng trưng cho bảy loại tội chết người. Đập vào các piñata tượng trưng cho tranh chiến với cái xấu, và khi bánh kẹo bên trong rớt xuống đất, mọi người có thể đem nó về để nhớ đến phần thưởng của người giữ vững đức tin.

Nhưng chúng ta không thể chiến đấu với cái xấu một mình. Chúa không đợi chúng ta nỗ lực rồi mới bày tỏ sự thương xót của Ngài. Sách Ê-phê-sô dạy rằng “Vì nhờ ân điển, bởi đức tin mà anh em được cứu… đó là tặng phẩm của Đức Chúa Trời” (Ê-phê-sô 2:8). Chúng ta không đánh bại tội lỗi, Đấng Christ đã làm điều đó.

Trẻ con phải đập thì mới lấy được bánh kẹo từ các piñata, nhưng tặng phẩm của Đức Chúa Trời đến với tất cả chúng ta khi chúng ta tin nơi Chúa Jêsus. Chúa “đã ban cho chúng ta trong Đấng Christ mọi phước hạnh thuộc linh ở các nơi trên trời” (1:3). Chúng ta được tha thứ tội lỗi, được cứu chuộc, được nhận làm con nuôi, được sự sống mới, vui mừng, yêu thương và nhiều hơn thế nữa. Chúng ta không nhận được những phước hạnh thuộc linh này bởi vì đã giữ vững đức tin hay vì chúng ta mạnh mẽ, nhưng là vì chúng ta tin nơi Chúa Jêsus. Phước hạnh thuộc linh chỉ đến bởi ân sủng – là ân huệ dành cho người không xứng đáng được nhận!

Lạy Chúa, cảm ơn Ngài về sự thương xót của Ngài, là sự thương xót bao la và miễn phí.

Chúng ta đã được cứu nhờ ân điển. Giờ đây chúng ta vui hưởng nhiều phước hạnh cũng nhờ ân điển.

© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Mejor que una piñata

Leer: Efesios 2:1-10 | La Biblia en un año: Marcos 1:23-45

… por gracia sois salvos… (Efesios 2:5).

En México, no puede haber una fiesta sin piñata: un recipiente de cartón o arcilla lleno de golosinas. Los niños la golpean con un palo y tratan de romperla, con la esperanza de disfrutar de su contenido.

En el siglo xvi, los monjes usaban las piñatas como herramientas de enseñanza para los aborígenes de México. Eran estrellas con siete puntas que representaban los siete pecados capitales. Golpear la piñata simbolizaba la lucha contra el mal; la gente podía llevar a su casa las golosinas que caían como un recordatorio de las recompensas por guardar la fe.

Pero nosotros no podemos luchar solos contra el mal. Dios no está esperando ver nuestros esfuerzos para mostrarnos su misericordia. Efesios enseña: «por gracia sois salvos por medio de la fe; y esto no de vosotros, pues es don de Dios» (2:8). Nosotros no derrotamos el pecado; Cristo ya lo hizo.

Los niños luchan para conseguir los dulces de la piñata, pero los regalos de Dios nos llegan a todos cuando creemos en Jesús. Él «nos bendijo con toda bendición espiritual» (1:3). Tenemos perdón de pecados, redención, adopción, vida nueva, gozo, amor y mucho más. Estas bendiciones espirituales no las conseguimos por guardar la fe o ser fuertes, sino por creer en Jesús. Todo viene por gracia… ¡gracia inmerecida!

Señor, gracias por la salvación en Cristo.

Fuimos salvos por gracia. Ahora, disfrutamos las bendiciones que esa gracia trae.

Unser Täglich Brot - Besser als eine Piñata

Lesen: Epheser 2,1-10 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 3.Mose 25; Markus 1,23-45

Aus Gnade seid ihr selig geworden. Epheser 2,5

Ein mexikanisches Fest ohne Piñata ist undenkbar—einem Karton oder Krug mit Süßigkeiten oder anderen Leckereien. Die Kinder schlagen mit einem Stock danach, um an den Inhalt zu gelangen.

Mönche gebrauchten die Piñatas im sechzehnten Jahrhundert, um die einheimische Bevölkerung zu unterrichten. Die Piñata war damals ein Stern mit sieben Spitzen, die für die sieben Todsünden standen. Das Schlagen nach der Piñata war Sinnbild für den Kampf gegen das Böse, und wenn der Inhalt herausfiel, durften die Menschen ihn mit nach Hause nehmen als Erinnerung an die Belohnung dafür, wenn man am Glauben festhält.

Aber wir können das Böse nicht aus eigener Kraft bekämpfen. Gott wartet nicht auf unser Bemühen, damit er uns seine Gnade erweisen kann. Im Epheserbrief heißt es: „Aus Gnade seid ihr selig geworden durch Glauben . . . Gottes Gabe ist es“ (2,8). Wir schlagen die Sünde nicht. Jesus hat das bereits getan.

Kinder kämpfen um die Süßigkeiten aus der Piñata. Aber Gottes Gabe bekommen wir, wenn wir an Jesus glauben. Gott hat uns „mit allem geistlichen Segen“ gesegnet (1,3). Wir sind Gottes Kinder, haben Vergebung der Sünden, Versöhnung, neues Leben, Freude, Liebe und vieles mehr. Und zwar nicht, weil wir am Glauben festhalten und stark sind, sondern weil wir an Jesus glauben. Geistlicher Segen kommt nur durch Gnade—unverdiente Gnade!

Danke für deine Gnade, Herr, die unendlich groß ist und umsonst!

Aus Gnade sind wir errettet worden. Nun freuen wir uns an dem Segen, der aus der Gnade fließt.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - Mieux qu’une Piñata

[C’est] par grâce que vous êtes sauvés. (Éphésiens 2.5)

Il ne saurait y avoir de fête mexicaine sans piñata – un contenant de carton ou d’argile renfermant des friandises. Les enfants le frappent d’un bâton dans l’espoir de le casser pour en savourer le contenu.

Les moines se servaient de la piñata au XVIe siècle pour enseigner des leçons aux autochtones du Mexique. Les piñatas étaient des étoiles à sept pointes qui représentaient les péchés capitaux. Le fait de battre la piñata illustrait le combat contre le péché, et une fois que les friandises se répandaient au sol, les gens pouvaient les rapporter à la maison en souvenir des récompenses réservées à ceux qui gardent la foi.

Il nous est toutefois impossible de combattre le mal par nous‑mêmes. Dieu n’attend pas après nos efforts pour manifester sa miséricorde. L’épître aux Éphésiens nous enseigne que, « c’est par la grâce que [nous sommes] sauvés, par le moyen de la foi » (2.8). Nous n’avons pas à triompher du péché ; Christ l’a déjà fait.

Les enfants doivent s’arracher les friandises de la piñata, mais les dons de Dieu s’offrent à tous ceux qui croient en Jésus. Dieu « nous a bénis de toutes sortes de bénédictions spirituelles » (1.3) : le pardon des péchés, la rédemption, l’adoption, une nouvelle vie, la joie, l’amour, et plus encore. Ils ne deviennent pas nôtres par notre persévérance dans la foi et la force, mais bien parce que nous croyons en Jésus. Les bénédictions spirituelles ne nous sont accordées que par une grâce imméritée !

Sauvés par grâce, nous en savourons les nombreuses bénédictions.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Краще за піньяту

Читати: Ефесян 2:1-10 | Біблія за рік: Левит 25 ; Марка 1:23-45

Спасені ви благодаттю. — Ефесян 2:5

Неможливо уявити мексиканське свято без піньяти – великої паперової іграшки з порожнечею всередині, що містить цукерки й різні солодощі. Діти протикають гострими паличками і намагаються розірвати її, щоб поласуватися вмістом.

Монахи використовували піньяту у 16 столітті в Мексиці, щоб дати туземцям деякі духовні уроки. Піньята в ті роки мала вигляд зірки, сім променів якої символізували сім смертних гріхів. Коли люди наносили удари по піньяті, це означало боротьбу зі злом. А гостинці, що зрештою падали на землю, вказували на нагороду за стійку віру.

Але ми неспроможні самотужки боротися зі злом. Бог чекає спочатку на наші зусилля, щоб потім явити Свою милість. Святе Письмо говорить: “Спасені ви благодаттю через віру” (Еф. 2:8). Нам непотрібно “лупити по піньяті гріха”. Христос уже переміг зло.

Діти змагаються за цукерки з піньяти, але Божий дар благодаті дається кожному з нас, коли ми вірою приймаємо Ісуса. Бог нас “поблагословив усяким благословенням духовним у небесах” (Еф. 1:3). Маємо прощення гріхів, викуплення, усиновлення, нове життя, радість, любов… Ми отримуємо ці духовні благословення не тому, що зберегли віру і виявили духовну силу, а через віру в Ісуса. Духовні благословення приходять лише через Божу ласку – незаслужену Божу ласку!

Дякуємо Тобі, Господи, за Твою милість, що велична й безкоштовна!

Божою ласкою ми отримали спасіння і тепер насолоджуємося благословеннями благодаті.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Лучше, чем пиньята

Читать сейчас: Ефесянам 2:1-10 | Библия за год: Левит 25; Марка 1:23-45

Благодатью вы спасены. — Ефесянам 2:5

Мексиканский праздник не обходится без пиньяты – картонного или глиняного сосуда, полного конфет и других сладостей. Детям завязывают глаза, и они стараются палкой разбить пиньяту, чтобы потом собрать угощение.

А появилась пиньята в XVI в. Монахи использовали ее, чтобы учить мексиканских индейцев. Тогда пиньята представляла собой семиконечную звезду, лучи которой символизировали семь смертных грехов. Пиньяту били палкой, что символизировало борьбу со злом. Когда же содержимое вываливалось на землю, участники разносили его по домам как награду за стойкость в вере.

Но своими силами зло не победить. Бог не ждет, что мы приложим все усилия, чтобы затем явить Свою милость. Павел пишет уверовавшим: «Благодатью вы спасены через веру, и это не от вас, Божий дар» (Еф. 2:8). Мы не сражаемся с грехом в одиночку. Христос сокрушил его власть для нас.

Дети соревнуются за конфеты из пиньяты, а Божий дар дается бесплатно всем, кто уверовал в Иисуса Христа. В Нем Бог благословил нас «всяким духовным благословением» (Еф. 1:3). Мы получили прощение грехов, искупление, усыновление, новую жизнь, радость, любовь и еще много всего. Эти духовные благословения мы получаем не за то, что сохранили чистоту и были сильными, а потому что верим в Иисуса Христа. Духовные благословения даются нам исключительно по благодати – незаслуженной милости.

Благодарим, Господь, за Твою милость, великую и безвозмездную!

Спасение и благословения – проявление Божьей благодати.

автор: Кейла Очоа

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный