Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Readings for SUNDAY, March 26, 2017 - 4th Sunday in Lent (Laetare)

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from 1 Samuel 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me." And the LORD said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you." Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?" He said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed is now before the LORD." But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any of these." Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; for this is the one." Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!


Psalm 23 Dominus regit me
1   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2   He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3   He revives my soul and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
4   Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5   You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6   Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Ephesians 5:8-14

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light-- for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!

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

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson and sermon.

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, March 26, 2017 - 4th Sunday in Lent (Laetare)

The Holy Gospel Lesson

Today's Holy Gospel lesson is written in John 9:1-41

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know." They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened." He said, "He is a prophet." The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him." So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?" Then they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." The man answered, "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." They answered him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?" And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him." Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he." He said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped him. Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains. (ESV)

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

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, in our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus, your beloved Son, you have redeemed us from sin and death, and claimed us as your own. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, help us to realize that our new birth in baptism continues to unfold throughout our lives, and that you will never abandon us. This we ask, in Christ’s holy name. Amen

Words, words, words! There is a long-standing university class exercise where you are to take a long piece of work and capture the meaning in a sentence or two. These 41 verses might be summed up as, “A man is healed, people found it hard to believe it but he is still healed” Why all the words?

Jesus saw a man who was blind and did what was needed -- he healed the man. That is where the problem begins. He did it on the wrong day, to the wrong person, without proper witnesses, all wrong! The religious authorities are only so willing to tell him so and Jesus is only too willing to play word games with these masters of words. The healed man, on the other hand, is just happy to be healed.

Someone once said that every age has, from time to time, the need to refresh its theology. What is theology? Theology is simply words that we use to speak of God. We need words to make sense, in our little world and little minds, of a God who transcends all we can possibly understand. So we create theology. Theology is more than words because the words we use reveal how we think of God and how we relate to God. Good theology keeps our relationship with God and one another in proper perspective. Bad theology places God subject to our thinking, makes God act according to our bidding, or make God into something that God is not.

In today’s Gospel we see Jesus poking holes in the bad theology of his day, and we see the theologians fighting to defend their carefully built theology. Jesus came to heal the sick and the blind, and the religious leaders want to protect the rules.

Jesus’ attack on bad theology is also a time for us to reflect on the bad theology which has crept into our worship of God, twisting God to fit into our image of what we think God should look like and how God should act. There is an old saying, “Remember to keep the main thing, the main thing.” This is what good theology is all about. God is to be given glory and praise.

“Who sinned, this man or his parents?”

In bad theology, sickness, tragedy and misfortune are often seen as results of not living right. We are told that AIDS is God’s judgment on immoral nations. Some have suggested that the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 was God’s judgment on the US for its stand on abortion, the lax laws on morality and any number of things these people are against. This theology takes shape in the less dramatic statement of wondering, “Why him and not me?” when good fortune strikes. The standard funeral eulogy these days seem to suggest that if you paint the life of the deceased in glowing enough terms, God will have to let them into heaven. Recently, Canada Lutheran had an article about funerals and the author recounts several incidents of bad theology that he has heard. He writes in one account, “I recently attended a funeral for someone who had died in a skiing accident. The homily questioned why such a tragedy should befall someone so good and loving. ‘This shouldn’t have happened to someone as good as Edward.’”

The other side of this bad theology would suggest that wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. God’s “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” is wealth of the true believers. You can find “proof” in any Christian bookstore. Then there are the books that if you recite an obscure Old Testament prayer, you are guaranteed of blessing.

His blindness has nothing to do with sin -- he is blind. Rain falls on the just and the unjust. Good things happen to bad people, Bad things happen to good people. Read the book of Job. This blindness presents the opportunity for God’s work to be revealed. God loves you simply because God created you and continues to love you no matter what.

“This man is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.”

Yes, we need to take time to worship God, to take time to prove to ourselves that the world will continue without our 24/7 attention. It is wonderful to gather with other Christians in worship but to demand rigid adherence to a time or a place is to make the day more important than the worship. We can get to the point that by rigidly observing the day we think we have fulfilled some duty, all that is required of us. We can look down on those who do not. We can be lead to believe that we live our faith one hour a week and leave our care and concern for others inside the church as we walk out. We gather to give glory to God, the more the merrier.

The Pharisees had it figured out how many steps you could take, how much of a meal you could prepare before you broke the Sabbath.

Nurses and doctors, pastors and others need to be about their callings on all days of the week. Good theology leads us to give glory to God at all times and places, together with others and alone, to be open to caring for people when and where we find them.

“How can a man who is a sinner, perform such signs.”

We can get caught up behavior. Elections are won and loss over the slightest indiscretion of the candidate. Media go to great length to prove that a person is unfit to govern because he or she committed some questionable act. There is nothing like a sexual indiscretion to dry up the support of a tele-evangelist. We hear comments such as “Who does he think he is?”, “I am not worthy to assist at worship.” All with the implication that somehow we earn the right to be about the work that God sets before us.

We are all sinners, people whom God desires to forgive. At the same time saint and sinner. All people gifted by God to be about the work of the body of Christ. Our history, our failings do nothing to change that fact that Jesus died for each one of us. The magnitude of our service says nothing about our worthiness.

“Ask him, he is of age.”

The parents of the man who was healed did not want to be pulled into this argument, and who could blame them. The religious authorities had immense power over their lives. It was they who could throw them out of the synagogue. Bad theology gives religious leaders more power than God. Bad theology leads us to fear those in power and do as they say rather than what God requires of us. God does not follow our rules, so God will have to go!

We know about this one. I just have to remember the “Hymn book wars” of the past and I am reluctant to tell you that there is a new hymn-book being explored. The church can be a place of turf protection for those who have power rather than a place of welcome where people see, without any confusion, the love of God being lived out by all those present.

“Do you want to become his disciples?”

A tongue-in-cheek poke at the Pharisees. They knew God so well, they knew better than God what God expected. Bad theology makes God a buddy who is always there when we need a hand. Someone we are comfortable with and need no formality. No, God is beyond our comprehension, all powerful and yet at the same time so loving that God came to live among us so that we might not fear death or anything else that life may throw at us.

Jesus Christ is not to be our buddy but our Savior. One who died that we might not die. Our place is to fall to our knees and give God the glory. It is our privilege to give glory to God and to seek to live as disciples, lives transformed through faithful obedience to all that Jesus commands.

“You were born entirely in sins, and you are trying to teach us?”

When all else fails, check credentials. Grace is not earned but a free gift. This blind man is healed, he knows the grace of God first hand, his sin has nothing to do with it. Bad theology would suggest that there are good people and there are bad people. The good people have credibility and the bad do not. Oh, yes, and the ones using this criteria are always the good. Good theology focuses on sin and grace. We all sin, we all are showered by grace. There is no distinction between us, and certainly not based upon sin.

Enough of bad theology! The ‘bottom line’ of this story – the “Main thing” – is that one who was blind can now see. Give glory to God. God has blessed us with life and salvation – why would we not give glory to God? In response we are to be about transforming lives, to be a part of the ministry that Jesus was about. Healing because healing is needed. Lifting up those who are bowed down because people need to be lifted up. Sight returned to the blind, because people are not able to see God clearly.

Theology is of use only to the degree it helps us to see God for who God is, to help us give God the glory due. This is why our mission statement is so important. “As members of the body of Christ and because of God’s unconditional love, Ichthus Fellowship seeks to nurture all peoples through worship and community, and to walk with others in the journey through the realities of life.” God has transformed our lives through love and acceptance – can we do any less for those around us?

Thanks be to God!

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

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  Roger Haugen on Mar 7, 2002.

Verse of the Day - March 26, 2017

Philippians 1:29 (NIV) For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

Read all of Philippians 1

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 - Tiempo de dar gracias

El Señor te guiará siempre; te saciará en tierras resecas, y fortalecerá tus huesos. Serás como jardín bien regado, como manantial cuyas aguas no se agotan.
Isaías 58:11

Este mes de marzo es muy significativo para mí, pues fue cuando comencé varias de las cosas que hoy celebro con este devocional.

Por mencionar algunas de las tantas cosas que le agradezco a Dios: Hace veintitrés años que llegué a vivir en este país y hace veinte años que inicié mi carrera en la radio.

Quiero motivarte a que traigas a tu memoria todo lo que te ha dado Dios.

Que puedas hoy, al comenzar tu día, dar gracias por tu vida, por tus hijos, trabajo, salud, por todo.

Sé que la vida no ha sido fácil para ninguno de los que hoy leemos este libro. Tuvimos que salir de nuestros países y pasar por muchas necesidades. No obstante, cuando miramos y analizamos nuestra vida, de seguro que Dios nos ha guardado, nos ha bendecido, nos ha dado más de lo que esperábamos.

Y si tú dices: «Bueno, será para ella que le ha ido bien, pues yo aún no he logrado lo que quiero. Mi situación en este país ha ido de mal en peor. Aquí terminó mi matrimonio. En este lugar perdí a un hijo». Cualquiera que sea tu situación, no quiero que te desanimes, por favor.

En mi caso, valoro mucho más las cosas cuando se logran de manera difícil. No se trata de que sea masoquista, sino porque cuando las cosas mejoran, podemos ver la mano de Dios en cada una de ellas. Por eso, es tiempo de dar gracias y creerle a nuestro Padre celestial.

Cuando le entregamos nuestras preocupaciones por completo, nuestro panorama cambia porque Él es fiel.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SUPERHUMAN FORGIVENESS: THE CROSS

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Today’s devotional again comes from a Chinese house church pastor who was arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says his experience was going with Christ to the Garden and to the Cross. Today he explains The Cross:

This is what amazed me the most. Whenever I was beaten up (and that was quite often during those three weeks), I would first feel searing pain, and then another feeling would flood in, almost wiping the pain away. Do you know what that feeling was? Pity. Pity for the man who was beating me.

I kept seeing my interrogator as a man gone wrong. I felt sorry for his mother, who would be so ashamed of him. I wondered what kind of father he must have had, to turn him into such a monster. I felt sad to be in the presence of one of God’s creatures that could treat another human so badly with so little concern.

Then I would get amazed at myself. Through the pain I would think, “I should be angry, but I’m not, all I want is for this man to be saved.” I had three ribs and a wrist broken, two teeth knocked out, my kidneys were malfunctioning, and yet all I could wish for was for the man beating me to find Christ and forgiveness.

Now I agree with that young sister. It sounds very strange. It doesn’t even ring true. It’s more human to be angry, or to be afraid. But I can only say this was not myself making me feel that way, but Christ within me. It was superhuman. It was Divine. And to this day, it serves as the greatest assurance I have that I am saved.

Again, this is also the way of Christ. In Luke 23:34, He says from the Cross itself, in the midst of excruciating pain, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I tell you, it gives you such a thrill to know that you feel as Christ felt. That’s why suffering is counted such a joy, such a privilege. It confirms to the sufferers that they are Christ’s, and He lives in them. We don’t have to trust a word that this is so. We feel it in our very breastbones.

RESPONSE: Today I will forgive those who are causing me grief as Jesus would and did on the cross.

PRAYER: God, fill me with Your superhuman forgiveness so that I may walk today as Jesus did in forgiving those harming Him. Help me also feel pity and compassion for those who so easily treat others badly.

LHM Daily Devotion - "Another Trap"

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Another Trap"

March 26, 2017

The scribes and the chief priests ... sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch Him in something He said, so as to deliver Him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor (Luke 20:19a, 20b).

Read Luke 20:20-26

The leaders of the Jewish high court are furious at Jesus, especially for the parable He just spoke against them. But since the crowds are hanging on Jesus' every word, the leaders cannot directly attack Him. They know they will only be able to destroy Him if they can turn the people against Him.

They decide to attack Him indirectly. So they send spies posing as genuine believers to trick Jesus into saying something that will get Him into trouble with the Roman governor. First, they flatter Jesus to try to throw Him off; then they slyly ask, "Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar or not?"

It's a devilishly brilliant trap. If Jesus answers, "Yes, you should pay taxes," He'll risk losing His popularity with the pilgrim crowds. But if He says, "No," Pilate will be forced to move in and quickly silence this troublemaker, especially with the dangerous crowds gathered for the Feast.

But Jesus perceives their craftiness and recognizes their trap. So He asks them to show Him the coin used to pay the tax. When they produce the denarius He asks whose image and inscription it bears. They answer "Caesar's." Jesus then answers, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."

Unable to catch Jesus in His words before the multitudes, they marvel and grow silent.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Satan sent so many enemies to lay traps for You, yet none were able to trip You up. Forgive my pride and failings and guide my steps that I may honor You in my words and actions. Amen.

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

The leaders of the Jewish high court are furious at Jesus, especially...

Devociones de Cuaresma - Un Dios levantado

Devociones de Cuaresma  2017

Un Dios levantado

26 de Marzo de 2017

Cuando ustedes hayan levantado al Hijo del Hombre, sabrán entonces que yo soy. Juan 8:28 (21-30)

Lutero enseñaba que a Dios sólo es posible conocerlo en la cruz. Aunque San Pablo afirma en su carta a los Romanos que Dios no se dejó a sí mismo sin testimonio, sino que toda la creación habla de él, de su poder, y de su sabiduría, es sólo en la cruz donde podemos conocer el amor que Dios nos tiene. Lo interesante de estas palabras de Jesús en Juan 8, es que él nos muestra que no se puso él mismo en la cruz, sino que fueron los líderes religiosos judíos, que lo odiaban y le temían al mismo tiempo, los que lo crucificaron. En un sentido más amplio y más profundo, todos nosotros clavamos a Jesús a la cruz, y lo levantamos para que muera asfixiado, dolorido, y angustiado.

El Padre obró a los tres días, levantado a Jesús de la tumba y resucitándolo victorioso sobre el más cruel de nuestros enemigos: la muerte. Luego, el libro de los Hechos dice que Jesús fue levantado al cielo, para que desde su trono glorioso gobierne a su iglesia y someta y sujete bajo su poder a todas las fuerzas de este mundo.

Jesús fue levantado en la cruz, fue levantado de la muerte a la vida, y fue levantado de la tierra al cielo. En el Jesús levantado en la cruz reconocemos nuestro pecado y el profundo amor de Dios por nosotros, porque somos nosotros quienes debíamos haber sido crucificados. En el Jesús levantado de los muertos reconocemos el poder restaurador del Padre, y en el Jesús levantado a los cielos reconocemos su autoridad y dominio sobre todas las cosas. El Dios levantado es un Dios de arriba que nos ve, nos protege, y nos guía.

Gracias, Padre, porque levantaste a Jesús de la tumba para que también nosotros podamos ser levantados de la muerte y llevados al cielo para vivir con él. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones.

Our Daily Bread® - East Meets West

Read: Romans 14:1–12 | Bible in a Year: Joshua 22–24; Luke 3

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  Romans 14:4

When students from Southeast Asia met a teacher from North America, the visiting instructor learned a lesson. After giving his class their first multiple-choice test, he was surprised to find many questions left unanswered. While handing back the corrected papers, he suggested that, next time, instead of leaving answers blank they should take a guess. Surprised, one of the students raised their hand and asked, “What if I accidentally get the answer right? I would be implying that I knew the answer when I didn’t.” The student and teacher had a different perspective and practice.

In the days of the New Testament, Jewish and Gentile converts were coming to Christ with perspectives as different as East and West. Before long they were disagreeing over matters as diverse as worship days and what a Christ-follower is free to eat or drink. The apostle Paul urged them to remember an important fact: None of us is in a position to know or judge the heart of another.

For the sake of harmony with fellow believers, God urges us to realize that we are all accountable to our Lord, to act according to His Word and our conscience. However, He alone is in a position to judge the attitudes of our heart (Rom. 14:4–7).

Father in heaven, please have mercy on us for presuming to judge the heart of those who see so many things differently than we do.

Be slow to judge others but quick to judge yourself.

© 2017 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Đông Gặp Tây

Đọc: Rô-ma 14:1-12 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Giô-suê 22-24; Lu-ca 3

Bạn là ai mà xét đoán đầy tớ của người khác? (Rô-ma 14:4)

Khi các sinh viên từ Đông Nam Á gặp giáo viên đến từ Bắc Mỹ, thầy giáo khách mời này đã học được một bài học. Sau khi cho lớp làm bài kiểm tra trắc nghiệm đầu tiên, ông ngạc nhiên khi thấy nhiều câu hỏi bị bỏ trống. Trong lúc trả lại những bài kiểm tra đã được sửa, ông đề nghị rằng, lần tới, thay vì để trống câu trả lời, họ nên đoán. Thật ngạc nhiên, một trong những sinh viên giơ tay lên và hỏi: “Điều gì sẽ xảy ra nếu em ngẫu nhiên chọn đáp án đúng? Em có thể sẽ tưởng mình biết câu trả lời mà em thực sự không biết”. Sinh viên và giáo viên có cách nhìn và thói quen khác nhau.

Trong thời Tân Ước, những người Do Thái và dân ngoại quy đạo đến với Chúa với những quan điểm khác nhau như Đông với Tây. Trước đó, họ bất đồng với nhau về những vấn đề khác biệt như ngày thờ phượng và sự tự do của người theo Chúa trong vấn đề ăn uống. Sứ đồ Phao-lô khích lệ họ nhớ một điều quan trọng: Không ai trong chúng ta có thể biết hay có quyền xét đoán tấm lòng người khác.

Vì sự hòa thuận giữa các tín hữu, Chúa khích lệ chúng ta nhận ra rằng chúng ta thảy đều sẽ chịu trách nhiệm trước Chúa, vì vậy hãy hành động theo Lời Ngài và theo lương tâm. Tuy nhiên, chỉ mình Ngài mới có quyền xét đoán thái độ của tấm lòng (Rô. 14:4-7).

Lạy Cha trên trời, xin thương xót chúng con vì đã xét đoán tấm lòng của những người nhìn nhận sự việc khác với chúng con.

Hãy chậm xét đoán người khác, nhưng hãy nhanh xét đoán chính mình.

© 2017 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày

Nuestro Pan Diario - Oriente y Occidente se encuentran

Leer: Romanos 14:1-12 | La Biblia en un año: Lucas 3

¿Tú quién eres, que juzgas al criado ajeno?… (Romanos 14:4).

Cuando unos alumnos del sudeste de Asia conocieron a un maestro norteamericano, este aprendió una lección. Después de tomarle a la clase un examen de elección múltiple, se sorprendió al ver que no habían contestado muchas preguntas. Mientras les devolvía las hojas corregidas, sugirió que, la próxima vez, en lugar de dejar el espacio en blanco, eligieran una respuesta al azar. Sorprendido, uno de los alumnos levantó la mano y preguntó: «¿Y si, por casualidad, elijo la respuesta correcta? Implicaría que la sé, pero no es cierto». El alumno y el maestro tenían perspectivas y prácticas diferentes.

En la época del Nuevo Testamento, los judíos y los gentiles convertidos a Cristo llegaban con perspectivas tan diferentes como las de Oriente y Occidente. Poco después, no coincidían en temas como qué días adorar y qué podía comer o beber un seguidor de Cristo. El apóstol Pablo los instó a recordar algo importante: nadie está en condiciones de conocer ni juzgar el corazón de otra persona.
Para mantener la armonía entre los creyentes, Dios nos exhorta a entender que somos responsables ante Él, y a actuar conforme a su Palabra y nuestra conciencia. Solo Él está en condiciones de juzgar las actitudes de nuestro corazón (Romanos 14:4-7).

Señor, que no juzguemos a quienes ven las cosas de manera diferente.

Sé lento para juzgar a los demás, pero rápido para juzgarte a ti mismo.

© 2017 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Ost trifft West

Lesen: Römer 14,1-12 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Josua 22–24; Lukas 3

Wer bist du, dass du einen fremden Knecht richtest? Römer 14,4

Der Gastlehrer aus Nordamerika, der vor die Studenten in Südostasien trat, hatte selbst noch zu lernen. So war er völlig überrascht, als bei der ersten Multiple-Choice-Prüfung in einer Klasse viele Blätter halb leer zurückkamen. Beim Verteilen der korrigierten Arbeiten schlug er den Studenten vor, beim nächsten Mal lieber zu raten, welche Antwort die richtige sein könnte, als die Felder leer zu lassen. Erstaunt hob eine Studentin die Hand und fragte: „Und wenn ich per Zufall das Richtige ankreuze? Dann würde es doch so aussehen, als hätte ich die Antwort gewusst, obwohl ich sie gar nicht wusste.“ Studentin und Lehrer hatten verschiedene Arbeitsweisen und Blickwinkel.

In den Tagen des Neuen Testaments lagen die Blickwinkel von Juden und Heiden, die zu Jesus kamen, soweit auseinander wie Ost und West. Schon bald stritten sie über so unterschiedliche Fragen wie Feiertage und was Nachfolger Jesu essen oder trinken dürften. Der Apostel Paulus mahnte sie, etwas ganz Wichtiges nicht zu vergessen: Keiner kennt das Herz des anderen und kann darüber urteilen, was in ihm vorgeht.

Um der Eintracht willen mahnt Gott uns, zu erkennen, dass wir alle dem Herrn gegenüber rechenschaftspflichtig sind und seinem Wort und unserem Gewissen gemäß handeln sollen. Doch er allein ist in der Lage, über unsere innere Einstellung zu richten (Röm. 14,4-7).

Lieber Vater im Himmel, bitte verzeih uns, wo wir meinen, wir könnten über andere richten, weil sie Dinge anders sehen als wir.

Statt andere zu verurteilen, beurteile dein eigenes Verhalten.

© 2017 Unser Täglich Brot

Notre Pain Quotidien - Là où l’Est rencontre l’Ouest

Lisez : Romains 14.1‑12 | La Bible en un an : Josué 22 – 24 et Luc 3

Qui es‑tu, toi qui juges un serviteur d’autrui ? (Romains 14.4)

Lors de sa rencontre avec des étudiants originaires de l’Asie du Sud‑Est, un enseignant d’Amérique du Nord a appris une leçon. Après avoir soumis sa classe à un test à choix multiples, il a découvert à sa grande surprise que ses élèves avaient laissés de nombreuses questions sans réponse. En leur rendant leurs examens corrigés, il leur a suggéré de tenter de répondre à toutes les questions la prochaine fois plutôt que de laisser des questions sans réponse. Étonné, l’un de ses élèves a levé la main et lui a demandé : « Et si je tombais par hasard sur la bonne réponse ? Cela laisserait croire que je la connaissais, alors que ce n’était pas le cas. » L’élève et le professeur nourrissaient une perspective et une façon de faire différentes.

À l’époque néotestamentaire, Juifs et non‑Juifs venaient à Christ avec des perspectives aussi différentes que celles de l’Orient le sont de celles de l’Occident. Ils n’ont pas tardé à tomber en désaccord sur des questions aussi diversifiées que le jour où il convenait d’adorer Dieu et ce que le disciple de Christ était libre de manger et de boire. L’apôtre Paul les a donc exhortés à se remémorer un fait important : aucun de nous n’est apte à connaître ou à juger le coeur d’autrui.

Pour favoriser une bonne entente avec les autres croyants, Dieu nous incite à comprendre que nous devons tous rendre des comptes à notre Seigneur, agissant en conformité avec sa Parole et notre conscience, mais qu’il est le seul à pouvoir juger de nos attitudes (RO 14.4‑7).

Soyez lent à juger les autres, mais fin prêt à vous juger vous‑même.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Східне та західне мислення

Читати: Римлян 14:1-12 | Біблія за рік: Ісуса Навина 22–24 ; Луки 3

Ти хто такий, що судиш чужого раба? — Римлян 14:4

Один вчитель із Північної Америки приїхав викласти свій курс учням у Південно-Східній Азії. Сталося, що після першого тесту, в якому потрібно було вибрати правильну відповідь, багато хто з учнів залишили деякі питання без відповідей взагалі. І це дуже здивувало вчителя. Роздавши студентам виправлені роботи, він запропонував їм наступного разу поставити відповідь навмання, замість того щоб нічого не писати. Тоді один з учнів підняв руку і здивовано спитав: “Але якщо я цілком випадково вгадаю відповідь? Це означатиме, що я знаю правильну відповідь, хоча це не так”. Учні та вчитель мали різне мислення й різний досвід.

За днів Нового Заповіту євреї та погани навертались до Христа, маючи різні погляди. Тому дуже швидко серед них виникли розбіжності відносно “святих днів” та того, що можна і чого не можна їсти й пити послідовникам Ісуса Христа. Апостол Павло намагався донести їм важливу істину: ніхто з нас не може знати серця іншої людини і бути їй суддею.

Скеровуючи нас до єдності й гармонічних стосунків, Бог нагадує нам, що всі ми будемо звітувати перед Ним відповідно до Його Слова й свого сумління. Лише Він має право і можливість знати й судити мотиви наших сердець (Рим. 14:4-7).

Отче Небесний, будь милостивий і пробач нам, що інколи самовпевнено наважуємося судити серця тих, чиї погляди багато в чому відрізняються від наших.

Не спішіть судити інших, а краще почніть із себе.

© 2017 Хліб Наш Насущній

Хлеб наш насущный - Восток и Запад

Читать сейчас: Римлянам 14:1-12 | Библия за год: Иисуса Навина 22-24; Луки 3

Кто ты, осуждающий чужого раба? — Римлянам 14:4

Учитель из Северной Америки преподавал урок школьникам из Юго-Восточной Азии. После урока они впервые сдавали тест, в котором, отвечая на вопрос, нужно было выбирать один из нескольких предложенных ответов. К удивлению учителя, многие вопросы остались вовсе без ответа. Выставляя оценки, он предложил ребятам в следующий раз, если они не будут знать ответ, попробовать поставить галочку наугад. Один из школьников поднял руку и с удивлением спросил: «А что, если я случайно выберу правильный ответ? Будет казаться, что я его знал, хотя это не так». Очевидно, у школьников и учителя были разные подходы к учебе и взгляды на оценки.

Во времена Нового Завета иудеи и язычники, обращавшиеся ко Христу, также имели разные взгляды. Прошло немного времени, и между ними возникли разногласия по вопросам праздничных дней, пищи и питья. Апостол Павел напомнил им важный факт: никто из нас не может знать и судить сердце другого.

Мы должны осознать, что все христиане подотчетны Богу и должны поступать в соответствии с Его Словом и собственной совестью. Он один видит состояние нашего сердца, а нам следует искать того, что служит к миру и взаимному назиданию (Рим. 14:4-7, 19).

Отче Небесный, будь милостив к нам и удержи от осуждения тех, кто думает и видит иначе, чем мы.

Будьте медленны на осуждение других и скоры на осуждение себя.

© 2017 Хлеб Наш Насущный