Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Eqypt

Explosions hit Coptic churches in Tanta, Alexandria

At least 21 people dead in blast inside Coptic Christian church in Tanta, as second church is struck in Alexandria.

At least 21 people have been killed in an explosion inside a church in the Egyptian Nile delta city of Tanta, local media reported, as state television said another explosion killed 11 in front of a church in Alexandria.

The first attack occurred in the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, also known as St George, which was packed with worshippers marking Palm Sunday, a Christian feast commemorating the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group claimed responsibility for both attacks, in a statement via its Amaq website.

Egypt's state television reported that at least 69 people were wounded.

Several hours after the bombing in Tanta, another explosion hit in front of Saint Mark's church in Alexandria, killing at least 11 people, the health ministry said.

Media reports said another 21 people were wounded in the attack, which state TV said was a suicide bombing.

Mahjoob Zweiri, associate professor at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that Tanta has seen several attacks in the past.

"The area and Christians both have witnessed such accidents before. There is a good percentage of Christians in this area and other non-Muslims too," Zweiri said.

"I believe when there are such religious events in the country, authorities should take security measures into consideration as there are always chances of attacks," he added.

Timothy Kaldas, non-resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, said the attacks were designed to create religious strife.

"It is alarming to see a specific religious group being targeted, which is going to rattle the Coptic community and many Egyptians in general," Kaldas added.

Copts repeatedly targeted

The bombings were the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt's Christian minority, who make up about 10 percent of the population and have been repeatedly targeted by armed groups.

They also come just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.

CBC TV showed footage from inside the church in Tanta, with a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.

A bombing at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49 in December, many of them women and children, in the deadliest attack on Egypt's Christian minority in years.

The Readings for SUNDAY, April 9, 2017 - Palm Sunday (Palarum): The Sunday of the Passion

Introit: Hosanna to the Son of David

Be not Thou far from me, О Lord: О my Strength, haste Thee to help me. Save me from the lion's mouth: and deliver me from the horns of the unicorns. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?: Why art Thou so far from helping me? Glory be to the Father, (Psalm 22:19, 21, 1)

The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Isaiah 50:4-9

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens-- wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.


Psalm 31:9-16
9   Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly.
10   For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.
11   I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbors, a dismay to those of my acquaintance; when they see me in the street they avoid me.
12   I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot.
13   For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around; they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.
14   But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD. I have said, "You are my God.
15   My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
16   Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me."

The Epistle Lesson

The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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 message.

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.

Palm Sunday - The Sermon for SUNDAY, April 2, 2017 - Palm Sunday (Palarum): The Sunday of the Passion

“Flevit super illam” (He wept over it); by Enrique Simonet, 1892.
The Holy Gospel Lesson

Today's Holy Gospel lesson is written in Matthew 27:11-54

Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You say so." But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?" But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?" For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him." Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." Pilate said to them, "Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" All of them said, "Let him be crucified!" Then he asked, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!" So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." Then the people as a whole answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!" So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews." Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, 'I am God's Son.'" The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "This man is calling for Elijah." At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him." Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, "Truly this man was God's Son!" (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

"The Sermon for Palm Sunday"
by David Trexler

When living in Jasper Indiana my family and I collected cats. That’s right cats. We lived on three acres surrounded by thousands of acres of farm land. Therefore we encountered quite a few varmints such as snakes and mice. Hence cats. At one time I believe we had eight of the furry creatures. All with names and costing me a fortune in vet bills.

One day a friendly stray showed up, we even name it—Garfield, but the family of eight wanted nothing to do with newly found freeloader, so they chased it up one the giant pecan trees in the back yard, and there believe or not that poor cat stayed for 5 days.

We would go to work and come home—there Garfield sat. We go to church come home—and there meowed our four legged friend. I wasn’t too worried. I figured someday it had to come down. After all have you ever in your life seen a cat skeleton up in a tree?

Well my wife didn’t see it that way. One Saturday morning right before Easter, four years ago, I see Sandy coming out the barn with our extension ladder to get this brain dead kitty out of its new home. I tried convincing my wife this was not a good idea, but you try swaying a cat lover with a mind made up. So I did the next best thing. I became that good husband. After all, I didn’t want her to get hurt.

So up I climbed, 28’ to be exact, and the little critter actually seemed happy to see me. I reach out and grabbed Garfield by the nap of the neck. But not realizing I was trying to save him or her, the now not so friendly stray took a swipe at my face.

I stepped back and suddenly realize there was nothing to step back on, but air, and quickly realized this was going to hurt. It did!

The sad part of the story, or funny part depending how you look at it, is that Lindsey saw me fall from the kitchen and came running. In the process she allowed Nebo our golden Retriever out, and Nebo proceeded to chase Garfield whom I brought down in the fall right back up the tree.

I lay on the ground for more than 45 minutes or so, telling Sandy to just go away, not in those words, because I knew it wasn’t good. Eventually she back up the van into the grass, loaded in me in the back and off to the hospital we headed.

Here’s another sad or funny part of the story, depending how you look at it. Once we got to the Emergency Room, the doctor actually started laughing. I’ve got a left ankle shattered in four places and a broken right leg and my doctor starts laughing—which doesn’t do a whole lot for your ego.

Then the kicker, and the one thing I remember ever so clearly was that he wanted to examine my head. I’ve got two broken legs and this doctor wants to examine my head. I’m not quite certain if he was worried about the distance I fell, or worried about why in the world I would do what I just did. Anyway, on that particular day four years ago I had to have my entire head examined.

Yes a long story about a silly event. But isn’t that the truth about all of us? Don’t we in the midst of our brokenness sometimes need to have our heads examined?

After all, think for a moment about today. We started this morning with a song singing “All glory, laud and honor to your redeemer king, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.”

Then we hear Scripture exclaiming “Hosanna, in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.”

Hosanna basically means “Save Us! Save Us! So basically, the crowds where throwing their garments on the road, waving their palm branches and screaming, “Save us! Save us!” Little did they know that is exactly what Jesus was doing.

Then, then if we step back and read what happens over the next few days we find betrayal, denial, abandonment, and crucifixion.

Yes, we come to church. Maybe even study the Bible a little. For the most part claim to believe that Jesus is the Savior. We shout over and over again “Save us, Save us,” And God does—through this holy of holiest weeks—we call it the Passion of Jesus Christ! God’s passionate love for me—for you!

If people only had the slightest idea what happened some two thousand years ago during this week the churches would be packed today, jammed to gills on Maundy Thursday, overflowing on Good Friday, and standing room only at the Easter Vigil. Next Sunday you would have to leave for service one hour early simply because of the traffic, and finding a place to park would be nightmare.

However, we all know good and well that will not be the case. Why? Is it because we just don’t know the story? Or is it simply because we need our heads examined?

Well I can’t do anything about your heads, but I can do something about the story part.

Jesus has just spent the better part of 3 years teaching through words and action what the Kingdom of God should look like—where the sick are healed, bones are mended, demons are driven out, hungry crowds are fed, forgiveness is offered to the unforgivable, love is shown to the unlovable and the dead are raised. And now today this king on a donkey rides into Jerusalem knowingly riding to his death.

This coming Thursday, we celebrate this Lamb of God giving us a new commandment—that's what Maundy means in Latin—a new command. To love God and love one another, sharing with us his body, his blood, washing his disciple’s feet, so you and I may be willing and able to continue the work of Jesus in the world, sharing what the Kingdom of God should look like, now through our words and action.

Yet on this very same night, Jesus is betrayed by his own disciple for 30 pieces of silver. Denied by his closest friend. Abandoned by every one of his followers. He is dragged away as a criminal for committing no crime. This silent innocent king stands in front of earthly powers where he is beaten, spat upon, and found guilty.

Then on Good Friday the Son of God will have a crown of thrones placed on his head, nails driven into his hands and feet and crucified—executed for me—for you!

You see, if we truly owned this passionate story in our hearts and minds it would not only have to make a huge difference in our lives, but in the world.

So one must conclude that either we don’t know, don’t believe the story, or by golly we simply need our heads examined.

A few years back in Jasper, I had a young woman come and see me out of blue. This poor person was having the life beat out of her. Both her and her husband worked at the same place and lost their jobs. They were fighting like crazy. The banks were threatening to take away the cars and home. Her son was in an automobile accident and in danger of losing a leg. The poor thing was at wits end.

We went into the sanctuary and prayed. I told her about the hope God gives in hopeless situations. I gave her some information about the church. I went and visited her son. Every Sunday she came faithfully to worship—for about a month. One particular day, I saw her in Walmart.

I had not seen her at church for a few weeks and so I asked her how things were going. She claimed everything was all better now. Both her and her husband were rehired at the company, her relationship with her husband had improved, and her son was doing just fine on his two legs.

Then she said something that no longer shocks me. She said, “You probably won’t be seeing me a church anymore. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was just worrying too much. After all things just have a way of working themselves out. Right pastor?”

We shout Save us, Save us and God does in this one Holy Week. What then do we do?

Do we continually betray Jesus like Judas for 30 pieces of silver—seeking things instead of peace and understanding?

Do we abandon him like the disciples, going about our daily lives as if Jesus never did ride into town?

Some of us like Peter deny even knowing Jesus. Some of us may spit on his name by our thoughts.

In effect even though Jesus is trying to save us, we yell, “Crucify him, Crucify him,” and over and over, week after week, we once again nail the Son of God to the cross with our daily lives, just like the crowds and the Romans. Ouch uh?

Yet, here’s the amazing part of the story. Even, even through our betrayal, fear, denial, abandonment. Even through the spitting on his name, nailing the one who saves us on a cross. This conquering Christ, Jesus riding on a donkey is still, let me repeat, is still willing to suffer and climb up that tree and die for you, so that you may experience the abundance of life here and now and eternal life in the world yet to come.

Now that’s what I call the Gospel—Good news that the world cannot offer in any shape or form. Not through our wealth, or career, not even through family or friends. It is only offered through the Passion of Jesus Christ.

This week not only make it a priority to attend all the Holy Week services—Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, think long and carefully how you respond to the only one who can heal our brokenness and save our sorry souls.

Think long and carefully how you have a God willing to overlook your tremendous shortcomings and give you life, through his death.

And folks if The Passion Story, does not change the way you think and live, if the Cross, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus does not make you realize the Love of God, then maybe, just maybe you really do need to have your head examined.

Hosanna! Save Us! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.


Seeking God?

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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 David Trexler on Apr 12, 2011.

Palm Sunday

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (1320) by Pietro Lorenzetti

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.

On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as "Passion Sunday," marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday in the Bible - The Triumphal Entry

Jesus traveled to Jerusalem knowing that this journey would end in his sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of all mankind.

Before he entered the city, he sent two disciples ahead to the village of Bethphage to look for an unbroken colt:
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' say, 'The Lord needs it. ' " (Luke 19:29-31, NIV)
The men brought the colt to Jesus and placed their cloaks on its back. As Jesus sat on the young donkey he slowly made his humble entrance into Jerusalem.

The people greeted Jesus enthusiastically, waving palm branches and covering his path with palm branches:
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!" (Matthew 21:9, NIV)
The shouts of "Hosanna" meant "save now," and the palm branches symbolized goodness and victory. Interestingly, at the end of the Bible, people will wave palm branches once again to praise and honor Jesus Christ:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9, NIV)
On Palm Sunday, the celebration quickly spread throughout the whole city. People even threw down their cloaks on the path where Jesus rode as an act of homage and submission. They recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah from Zechariah 9:9:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (NIV)
Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he began his journey to the cross.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theologian and Martyr

Today we remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the anniversary of his death in 1945.

This bright, young Lutheran pastor was only twenty-four when he participated in his first public protest against Nazism and the complicity of the Christian churches in that regime's rise to power. He was one of the leaders of the Confessing Church, a Protestant group that resisted Hitler and the Nazi party. In 1935 he was the founder and dean of a seminary at Finkenwald, Germany, which served that church body. It was there that he wrote his two most famous published works: Life Together and The Cost of Discipleship. 

As the Nazi ring closed in upon him and the Confessing Church, he had an opportunity for asylum in the United States, which he declined. He was arrested and jailed in 1943, and from his cell in Berlin he helped plan an assassination of Adolf Hitler. The assassination failed and Bonhoeffer's involvement was discovered, and he was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. But his life was spared, for reasons we do not know, and he was transferred to Schoenberg Prison. There he served as chaplain to fellow inmates until on a Sunday in 1945, immediately following divine services, he was summoned by the guards and taken by automobile to Flossenburg Prison, where he was summarily hanged. That was on April 9. Bonhoeffer was thirty-nine years old. The crumbling German Reich formally surrendered twenty-eight days later.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Verse of the Day - April 9, 2017

Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

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 - Oración por las etapas de la vida

Como palmeras florecen los justos [...] Aun en su vejez, darán fruto.
Salmo 92:12, 14 

Hoy quiero, mi Dios, presentar esta oración pidiendo que nos ayudes a aceptar cada una de las etapas que estamos viviendo en la vida.

Te pedimos que quites de nuestra mente pensamientos de frustración y que podamos gozar cada año que nos das. Ayúdanos a entender que todo tiene su tiempo y que no somos los únicos en sentirnos así.

Danos entendimiento y sabiduría en la manera de vestirnos y de comportarnos. Permite que podamos llegar a esta etapa de la edad madura con orgullo y que podamos disfrutar de esos cambios manteniendo un corazón alegre y apacible.

Dios mío, extiende también tu misericordia y danos mucha salud.

Ayúdanos a ser prudentes y cuidarnos, y a mantener por siempre nuestra mirada puesta en ti.

Gracias, mi Dios, por la vida y, sobre todo, gracias por la vida eterna.

 Amén y amén

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Brother Andrew shares today’s devotional:

At the time of the cruel persecution in the Soviet Union under Stalin, public meetings were regularly held in order to ridicule religion, the church and the priests. On one occasion the inhabitants of a town were summoned to the main square. From a platform on the square, a fluent 'scholarly’ atheist, who seemed to have many proofs against the Bible, God and the clergy addressed the public.

The crowd had listened silently. But when the local priest was called to the front to answer this brilliant oration, an uneasy muttering rippled through the crowd. The man went and stood close to the microphone and everyone held his breath. The tension could be cut with a knife, and you could hear a pin drop. What would his answer be?

We shall never know what went on in the heart of this man - his fear, his prayer - but at last his voice could be heard, resounding through the loudspeakers, not only to the crowd, but also to a large part of the city: “Khristos voskrese!” Christ is risen!

For one split second there was silence. A shudder went through the crowd and then, as a blazing testimony to the priest and to the atheist opponent, the cry broke out, unanimous and powerful: “Voistinu voskrese!” The Lord is risen indeed!

That was a bad day for atheistic propaganda in Russia. It was also a bad day for the religious leaders in Jerusalem, nearly 2,000 years ago, because they had to bribe the soldiers with much money to get them to tell lies (Matthew 28:12-13). It was also a bad day for the guards who “became like dead men” (Matthew 28:4).

But it was a bad day especially for the devil because if he had known this, he “would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8).

The one who believes in the Cross and the Resurrection takes the side of those who are persecuted. Or, to put it another way, whoever identifies with the persecuted church stands in the power of the Resurrection - a target of misguided and corrupt people, but nevertheless together with the mighty Conqueror. The Lamb conquers and we conquer Him. Hallelujah!

RESPONSE: Today I rejoice in the glorious truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, may the persecuted church around the world resound today with a vocal outburst of assurance that Jesus is alive.

LHM Daily Devotion - "Change of Venue"

Pilate has cleared Jesus of all charges. But the Jewish leaders aren't...

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Change of Venue"

April 9, 2017

And when he (Pilate) learned that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. (Luke 23:7, ESV)

Read Luke 9:7-9; 23:5-12

Pilate has cleared Jesus of all charges. But the Jewish leaders aren't letting up. Jesus is simply too dangerous. He has stirred up the whole nation, beginning in Herod's Galilee, all the way down here to Pilate's Judea. But their words give Pilate a brilliant idea. Since Jesus came from Herod's jurisdiction, he'll shift the responsibility for this case and let Herod deal with it.

Herod is Jesus' judge, but he doesn't ask a single judicial question, nor does he examine the charges against Jesus. Herod has long wanted to see Jesus. But he's not interested in God's truth; he wants to be entertained by a miracle, catch a good performance, perhaps. So Jesus remains silent.

The Jewish high court strenuously presses its charges, hoping to get a more favorable reaction from Herod. But Herod absolutely refuses to hold a trial. His subjects already hate him for executing John the Baptist, and he isn't about to touch this Jesus fellow.

Since Jesus answers Herod's questions and pleas with silence, Herod feels Jesus is treating him with contempt-so he returns the favor. Along with his soldiers Herod treats Jesus with scorn and disrespect, as if He was nothing. He dresses Jesus in splendid garments; then he sends him back to Pilate. The two governors agree: if Jesus is a king, He appears harmless.

But this day does see one reconciliation. Previously, Pilate and Herod had been bitter enemies; now they become friends. Herod is grateful that Pilate sent Jesus' case to him. Pilate is grateful that Herod recognized his authority and was courteous enough to return Jesus to Pilate's jurisdiction.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the Jews falsely accused You; Pilate judged You innocent but wouldn't free You, and Herod was looking to be entertained. Give me faith to worship You in truth and humility as my Savior, King and Lord. Amen

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

Devociones de Cuaresma - La gran entrada

Devociones de Cuaresma  2017

La gran entrada

09 de Abril de 2017

"Vayan a la aldea que tienen ante ustedes. Al entrar en ella van a encontrar atado un burrito sobre el cual nadie se ha montado. Desátenlo y tráiganlo acá." Marcos 11:2, RVC (1-11)

La multitud que acompañó a Jesús desde Jericó y desde Betania se encontró con otra multitud, que salió de Jerusalén a buscarlo. Ahora hay más personas en el gran desfile, hay alegría, hay amontonamiento, gritos de júbilo, alborozo. ¿Qué está pasando? La multitud recitaba y cantaba una porción del Salmo 118: "Señor, ¡te ruego que vengas a salvarnos! ¡Te ruego que nos concedas la victoria! ¡Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor! Desde el templo del Señor los bendecimos" (Salmo 118:25-26).

La palabra 'Hosanna', usada tan frecuentemente en la iglesia cristiana y vociferada incansablemente aquí por la multitud, quiere decir: "Salva ahora." Es interesante la observación de los evangelistas cuando describen que la multitud cantaba y gritaba: "Hosanna en las alturas." Cierto, la salvación viene desde las alturas.

Tú y yo somos personas con serios problemas de pecados, culpas, y desesperanzas. Al igual que el burro de esta historia, estamos atados. No servimos para nada, sólo producimos gastos porque ocupamos espacio y nos tienen que alimentar. Pero qué hermosa analogía vemos aquí: una vez desatados por orden de Jesús, una vez que recibimos la salvación que viene de las alturas, del trono mismo de Dios, servimos para algo, así como sirvió el burro para entrar a Jesús a Jerusalén.

¿Qué cosas te tienen atado? ¿Qué pecados te tienen inquieto y te impiden disfrutar la cabalgata junto a Jesús? Cualesquiera sean esas cosas, no hay nada que en este momento te impida gritar: "Salva Señor, ¡ahora!" Después de todo, para eso Jesús hizo esa gran entrada: para cambiar nuestra vida, para traernos paz, y para darnos la esperanza de la resurrección.

Gracias, Padre, porque enviaste a Jesús, desde las alturas, para traernos salvación y desatarnos del mal. Amén.

© Copyright 2017 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. ¡Utilice estas devociones en sus boletines! Usado con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados por la Int'l LLL.

Our Daily Bread - A Journey of Belief

These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31

Since its first publication in 1880, Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has never been out of print. It has been called the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century, and it continues to draw readers today as it weaves the true story of Jesus with that of a fictional young Jewish nobleman named Judah Ben-Hur.

Amy Lifson, writing in Humanities magazine, said that the writing of the book transformed the life of the author. “As Ben-Hur guided readers through the scenes of the Passion, so did he lead the way for Lew Wallace to believe in Jesus Christ.” Wallace said, “I have seen the Nazarene . . . . I saw him perform works which no mere man could perform.”

The Gospels’ record of the life of Jesus allows us to walk alongside Him, witness His miracles, hear His words, and see His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. At the conclusion of John’s gospel, he wrote, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30–31).

Just as Lew Wallace’s research, reading of the Bible, and writing led him to believe in Jesus, so God’s Word draws us to a transformation of mind and heart by which we have eternal life in and through Him.

Lord, may the record of Your life be written on our minds and hearts so that we may have ever-increasing faith in You.

Many books can inform, but only the Bible can transform.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Hành Trình Đức Tin
Đọc: Giăng 20:24-31 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: 1 Sa-mu-ên 13-14; Lu-ca 10:1-24

Nhưng các việc nầy được ghi chép để anh em tin rằng Đức Chúa Jêsus là Đấng Christ, Con Đức Chúa Trời, và để khi anh em tin thì nhờ danh Ngài mà được sự sống. Giăng 20:31

Kể từ ấn bản đầu tiên vào năm 1880, cuốn tiểu thuyết Ben-Hur: Chuyện về Đấng Christ của Lew Wallace chưa bao giờ ngừng xuất bản. Nó vẫn luôn được gọi là cuốn sách Cơ Đốc có ảnh hưởng nhất của thế kỷ 19, và vẫn còn tiếp tục thu hút độc giả ngày nay vì đan xen câu chuyện thật của Chúa Jêsus với câu chuyện về một nhân vật hư cấu là thanh niên quý tộc người Do Thái tên là Judah Ben-Hur.

Viết trong tạp chí Humanities, Amy Lifson nói rằng quá trình viết quyển sách này đã thay đổi cuộc đời của tác giả. “Khi Ben-Hur dẫn độc giả qua các phân cảnh của sự Thương Khó, thì anh ta cũng dẫn lối cho Lew Wallace đến chỗ tin nơi Chúa Jêsus Christ.” Wallace nói: “Tôi đã thấy người Na-xa-rét ấy… Tôi đã thấy Ngài thi hành những công việc mà không một con người bình thường nào có thể làm được.”

Những ký thuật về cuộc đời Chúa Jêsus trong các sách Phúc Âm cho phép chúng ta bước cùng Ngài, chứng kiến những phép lạ của Ngài, và nghe lời Ngài phán dạy. Kết thúc sách Phúc Âm của mình, sứ đồ Giăng đã viết: “Đức Chúa Jêsus còn làm nhiều dấu lạ khác trước mặt các môn đồ mà không ghi chép trong sách nầy. Nhưng các việc nầy được ghi chép để anh em tin rằng Đức Chúa Jêsus là Đấng Christ, Con Đức Chúa Trời, và để khi anh em tin thì nhờ danh Ngài mà được sự sống” (Giăng 20:30-31).

Cũng như việc nghiên cứu, đọc Kinh Thánh và viết truyện của Lew Wallace đã dẫn ông đến chỗ tin nhận Chúa Jêsus, thì cũng vậy, Lời Chúa mang đến sự biến đổi trong tâm trí và tấm lòng, nhờ đó chúng ta nhận được sự sống đời đời trong Ngài và qua Ngài.

Lạy Chúa, nguyện những câu chuyện về cuộc đời Ngài được ghi khắc trong lòng và trí chúng con để đức tin chúng con nơi Ngài mãi thêm lên.

Có nhiều quyển sách giúp chúng ta gia tăng tri thức, nhưng chỉ Kinh Thánh mới có thể thay đổi chúng ta.

Nuestro Pan Diario - Un periplo de fe
Leer: Juan 20:24-31 | La Biblia en un año: 1 Samuel 13–14; Lucas 10:1-24

Pero éstas se han escrito para que creáis que Jesús es el Cristo, el Hijo de Dios… (v. 31).

Desde su primera publicación en 1880, la novela de Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur, nunca se dejó de imprimir. Se lo ha llamado el libro cristiano más influyente del siglo xix, y hoy sigue atrayendo lectores, ya que entrelaza la historia verdadera de Jesús con la ficticia de un joven príncipe judío, Judah Ben-Hur.

Amy Lifson, escritora para la revista Humanities, afirmó: «Así como Ben-Hur guió a sus lectores por las escenas de la Pasión, también llevó a Lew Wallace a creer en Jesucristo». Wallace declaró: «He visto al nazareno […]. Lo vi hacer obras que ningún simple mortal podía hacer».

El registro de la vida de Jesús en los Evangelios nos permite caminar junto a Él, ver sus milagros y escuchar sus palabras. En la conclusión de su Evangelio, Juan escribió: «Hizo además Jesús muchas otras señales en presencia de sus discípulos, las cuales no están escritas en este libro. Pero éstas se han escrito para que creáis que Jesús es el Cristo, el Hijo de Dios, y para que creyendo, tengáis vida en su nombre» (Juan 20:30-31).

Tal como la investigación y la lectura de la Biblia llevaron a Wallace a creer en Jesús, la Palabra de Dios transforma nuestra mente y nuestro corazón, para que tengamos vida eterna en y por medio del Señor.

Señor, que el registro de tu vida quede grabado en nosotros; aumenta nuestra fe.

Muchos libros pueden informar, pero solo la Biblia puede transformar.

Unser Täglich Brot - Auf dem Weg des Glaubens
Lesen: Johannes 20,24-31 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: 1.Samuel 13–14; Lukas 10,1-24

Diese sind geschrieben, damit ihr glaubt, dass Jesus der Christus ist, der Sohn Gottes, und damit ihr durch den Glauben das Leben habt in seinem Namen. Johannes 20,31

Seit der ersten Veröffentlichung im Jahr 1880 war Ben Hur, der Roman von Lew Wallace, nie vergriffen. Man sagt, es sei im neunzehnten Jahrhundert das christliche Buch mit dem größten Einfluss gewesen. Auch heute noch zieht die Geschichte über den echten Jesus und den fiktiven jüdischen Fürsten namens Judah Ben-Hur die Leser in ihren Bann.

Es heißt, das Schreiben des Buches habe das Leben des Autors verändert. „So, wie Ben Hur die Leser durch die Szenen der Passion führt, so bahnte es für Lew Wallace den Weg zum Glauben an Jesus Christus“, schreibt Amy Lifson. Wallace selbst sagte: „Ich habe den Nazarener gesehen . . . Ich sah ihn Dinge tun, die kein bloßer Mensch tun kann.“

Die Berichte über das Leben Jesu in den Evangelien erlauben uns, an seiner Seite zu gehen, seine Wunder zu sehen und seine Worte zu hören. Johannes schreibt am Ende seines Berichts: „Noch viele andere Zeichen tat Jesus vor seinen Jüngern, die nicht geschrieben sind in diesem Buch. Diese aber sind geschrieben, damit ihr glaubt, dass Jesus der Christus ist, der Sohn Gottes, und damit ihr durch den Glauben das Leben habt in seinem Namen“ (Joh. 20,30-31).

So wie sein Forschen, Lesen in der Bibel und Schreiben Lew Wallace zum Glauben an Jesus führten, so will Gottes Wort in uns eine Veränderung von Herz und Sinn bewirken, die uns durch ihn und in ihm ewiges Leben schenkt.

Herr, schreibe du die Geschichte deines Lebens in unsere Herzen und Sinne, damit unser Glaube an dich immer mehr wachsen kann.

Viele Bücher informieren. Nur die Bibel kann transformieren.

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un parcours de foi
Lisez : Jean 20.24‑31 | La Bible en un an : 1 SAMUEL 13 – 14 et LUC 10.1‑24

Mais ces choses ont été écrites afin que vous croyiez que Jésus est le Christ, le Fils de Dieu, et qu'en croyant vous ayez la vie en son nom. V.31

Depuis sa première parution en 1880, le livre de Lew Wallace intitulé Ben‑Hur, une histoire sur le Christ n’a jamais été en rupture de stock. On dit de ce livre qu’il a été le plus influent du XIXe siècle et qu’il continue de captiver ses lecteurs de nos jours en tissant sous leurs yeux la véritable histoire de Jésus à même la vie fictive d’un jeune noble Juif nommé Juda Ben‑Hur.

Amy Lifson a rapporté dans la revue Humanities que l’écriture de ce livre a transformé la vie de son auteur : « Tout en guidant les lecteurs au fil des scènes de la Passion, Ben‑Hur a aussi amené Lew Wallace à croire en Jésus‑Christ. » Wallace a déclaré : « J’en suis venu à voir le Nazaréen. […] Je l’ai vu accomplir des oeuvres humainement impossibles. »

Le récit que font les Évangiles de la vie de Jésus nous permet de marcher avec lui, d’assister à ses miracles et d’entendre ses paroles. Il est écrit : « Jésus a fait encore, en présence de ses disciples, beaucoup d’autres miracles, qui ne sont pas écrits dans ce livre. Mais ces choses ont été écrites afin que vous croyiez que Jésus est le Christ, le Fils de Dieu, et qu’en croyant vous ayez la vie en son nom » (JN 20.30,31).

Comme la quête de Lew Wallace, sa lecture de la Bible et son écriture l’ont conduit à croire en Jésus, de même la Parole de Dieu nous amène à la laisser transformer notre esprit et notre coeur pour nous accorder la vie éternelle et la présence de Christ en nous.

De nombreux livres informent, mais seule la Bible transforme.

Хліб Наш Насущній - Подорож віри
Читати: Івана 20:24-31 | Біблія за рік: 1 Самуїлова 13−14 ; Луки 10:1-24

Це ж написано, щоб ви ввірували, що Ісус є Христос, Божий Син, і щоб, віруючи, життя мали в Ім’я Його! — Івана 20:31

Починаючи з першої публікації у 1880 році, роман Лью Уоллеса “Бен-Гур” ніколи не переставав друкуватись. Його називають найбільш впливовою християнською книгою 19 століття. Цей роман і тепер приваблює читачів, тому що вплітає історію про реального Ісуса в сюжет, в якому йдеться про видуманого героя – єврейського аристократа Юду Бен-Гура.

Емі Ліфсон у своїй статті в журналі “Гуманітарні Науки” писала, що написання цього роману змінило життя самого автора. “Як роман «Бен-Гур» веде читача до сцени розп’яття, так він привів ЛьюУоллеса до віри в Ісуса Христа”. Сам Уоллес сказав: “Я побачив Назарянина… Я побачив, що Він творив такі речі, які жодна звичайна людина не спроможна зробити”.

Євангелія, зображаючи життя Ісуса, дозволяють нам ходити разом з Ним, бачити Його чудеса, чути Його слова. Євангеліст Іван пише: “Багато ж і інших ознак учинив був Ісус у присутності учнів Своїх, що в книзі оцій не записані. Це ж написано, щоб ви ввірували, що Ісус є Христос, ожий Син, і щоб, віруючи, життя мали в Ім’я Його!” (Ів. 20:30-31).

Дослідження Уоллеса привели його до віри. Ми теж приходимо до віри в Ісуса, коли читаємо Біблію. Боже слово впливає на нас, змінює наш розум, наше серце – щоб мали через Ісуса вічне життя.

Господи, нехай євангельська розповідь про Твоє життя буде викарбувана в нашому розумі й серці, щоб мати всезростаючу віру в Тебе.

Багато книг інформують, але тільки Біблія трансформує.

Хлеб наш насущный - Путешествие веры
Читать сейчас: Иоанна 20:24-31 | Библия за год: 1 Царств 13-14; Луки 10:1-24

Это же написано, чтобы вы уверовали, что Иисус есть Христос, Сын Божий, и, веруя, имели жизнь во имя Его. — Иоанна 20:31

Со времени первого издания в 1880 г. роман Лью Уоллеса «Бен-Гур: история Христа» никогда не прекращал публиковаться. Его назвали самой известной христианской книгой XIX столетия. Сегодня она продолжает привлекать читателей, сочетая подлинное повествование о Христе с вымышленным рассказом о благородном еврейском юноше по имени Бен Гур.

Эми Лифсон рассказала в журнальной статье, что написание этой книги преобразило жизнь автора. «Как книга “Бен-Гур” ведет читателя по сценам жизни Христа, так же совершался и путь Лью Уоллеса к вере в Спасителя». Он писал: «Я увидел Назарянина... Я увидел дела, которые не мог совершить обычный человек».

Евангельское повествование о жизни Христа позволяет нам пройти рядом с Ним, увидеть Его чудеса и услышать Его слова. В конце Евангелия от Иоанна сказано: «Много сотворил Иисус пред учениками Своими и других чудес, о которых не написано в книге этой. Это же написано, чтобы вы уверовали, что Иисус есть Христос, Сын Божий, и, веруя, имели жизнь во имя Его» (Ин. 20:30-31).

Так же как исследования, чтение Библии и писательский труд привели Лью Уоллеса к вере в Иисуса Христа, Божье Слово может преобразить наш разум и сердце, направляя к вечной жизни в Нем и через Него.

Господи, пусть книга Твоей жизни будет написана в наших сердцах и умах, чтобы наша вера возрастала и укреплялась с каждым днем.

Многие книги учат, но только Библия преображает.