Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, November 5, 2017 - All Saints Sunday


Daily Readings

Opening Sentence

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
~ Phillipians 1:2

Confession and Forgiveness

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

God is light; in him there in no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and son not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
~ John 1:5b-8

Most holy and merciful Father, We confess to you and to one another, that we have sinned against you by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ. You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways. Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father; And free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen

Sunday Morning Prayer

God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.

Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always, Amen

The Lessons

Micah 3:5-12
Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry "Peace" when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without revelation. The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God. But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with wrong! Its rulers give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for a price, its prophets give oracles for money; yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Surely the LORD is with us! No harm shall come upon us." Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

Psalm 43 Judica me, Deus
1   Give judgment for me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; *
deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.
2   For you are the God of my strength; why have you put me from you? *
and why do I go so heavily while the enemy oppresses me?
3   Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, *
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling;
4   That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness; *
and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God.
5   Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?
6   Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers.

Matthew 23:1-12
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father-- the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Here ends the Readings.


Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again 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

Prayer of the Day

Loving God, we are just beginning to realize how much you love us. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. We ask you for the desire to become more humble so that our own lives might also bear witness to you. We want to use the small sufferings we have in this world to give you glory.

Please, Lord, guide our mind with your truth. Strengthen our lives by the example of Jesus. Help us to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for us. He died so that we would no longer be separated from you. Help us to feel how close you are and to live in union with you. Amen


Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia!
Thanks be to God! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer


May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to Himself;
May the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service;
May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls.
May the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Be among us and remain with us always.
Amen

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen
~ 2 Corinthians 13:14

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.

"Saints Past And Present" - Sermon of the Day for SUNDAY, November 5, 2017 - All Saints Sunday


"Saints Past And Present"
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today we celebrate the festival of “All Saints,” a time to remember all of God’s faithful servants of time past, who, through their lives of faith, have humbly served God and their fellow human beings. It is a day in which we give thanks to God, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, working in the lives of his saints, both great and small, the faith of the church has been passed down from generation to generation.

And, of course, it has been a time to remember and give thanks to God for those who have died in faith and have, over the past year, entered the Church Triumphant.

Thus, on this day, we remember our past, we remember those who have touched our lives in a way that has enabled us to grow as persons, and more importantly, as children of God. We remember and give thanks to God for the guidance of his Holy Spirit, who has enabled us to glean from our family and those close to us, what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

In his book, Whistling in the Dark, Frederick Buechner writes, “When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind, even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my words and speak to me in your heart.” End quote.

But since we are not remembering a recent loss, I have chosen to take a different approach to my sermon for today, and focus, not just on God’s saints from the past, but also on our role as God’s saints in the present, as we await God’s promise of our future, given to us through our baptism. Thus, I have chosen as my text for this morning recorded in the third chapter of First John.

Listen again to what John writes: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)

Do you notice that there is a very clear present and future tense to what John is proclaiming? To be sure, who we are, and the faith that we embody, is a result of those who have given of their lives to raise us, care for us and nurture us in the past. But as a result of our baptism, as a result of the witness of those in the past, and as a result of God’s Holy Spirit at work within us – we are, in the present, children of God.

And as a child of God, we are God’s saints, living in today’s world. We are the ones, who, like it or not, will influence the lives of our children, and a host of others with whom our lives come into contact. We are the ones, who, although our lives are not perfect, who are, as Martin Luther so aptly described, persons who are at the same time “sinners and saints,” we are the ones who are charged with the responsibility of passing on the faith of the Christian church to those who come after us.

Now, I doubt that any of us have ever considered ourselves to be a saint. I doubt that any of us ever decided, as a child, that what we wanted to be a saint when we grew up. I know that I certainly didn’t.

Even today, after many years as an adult, there are many ways that my life does not reflect that I am a saint. I am, and will always be a sinner, until the time of my death. And yet, at the same time, I must also realize that as a result of my baptism, I am a child of God, and through the power of God’s Spirit at work within me, I am called to witness to the grace of God in Jesus the Christ, and to conform my life to his.

Isn’t that the true mark of a saint? Of all the persons who have ever influenced me to grow in faith in the past, and continue to influence me to grow in faith in the present, there is not one of them whom I would deem to be perfect, without fault, or as pure in faith as our crucified and risen Lord. And yet, the lives of these less than perfect saints have, and continue, to touch my life.

On this day that we commemorate all of God’s saints, we can not neglect the fact that we are also numbered among them. We are now, as John proclaims, a child of God, and as such, a redeemed saint. And as a saint, we need to realize that what we say, and what we do, serves as a witness to others of our faith in God’s redeeming grace in Jesus the Christ.

No, we may not be perfect, or a saint, in our own understanding of that term, nevertheless, we are redeemed children of God, members of Christ’s church here on earth. And through the power of God’s Spirit, we have come to realize the promise of our baptism, which presses us on to witness to our faith. We have come to realize that we have a future that transcends our life here on earth, which will ultimately claim us as a saint, a future in which we will, as John declares, be like our crucified in risen Lord, as we see him face to face in God’s heavenly kingdom.

So, let us give thanks this day for the lives of all of God’s saints from years past, who have helped us grow in faith. Let us rejoice that they have reached the destination of their journey of faith, and now rejoice in the presence of our crucified and risen Lord. But let us also strive to continue in the faith of our baptism, to continue to witness to the faith that we ourselves have received, for we are now, the church’s future saints.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, for all the saints, redeemed by the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus the Christ, we give you thanks. For all those who have cared for us, nurtured us, shared their faith with us, and gave us an example of discipleship to follow, we give you thanks. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, inspire us to follow their example by passing the mantle of faith on to others, trusting in the timeless dimension of your redeeming grace and the hope of life eternal in your heavenly kingdom. This we ask, in Christ’s holy name. Amen.


Seeking God?
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relationship with Jesus Christ.

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

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, November 5, 2017- All Saint's Sunday


Dear Heavenly Father, for all the saints, redeemed by the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus the Christ, we give you thanks. For all those who have cared for us, nurtured us, shared their faith with us, and gave us an example of discipleship to follow, we give you thanks. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, inspire us to follow their example by passing the mantle of faith on to others, trusting in the timeless dimension of your redeeming grace and the hope of life eternal in your heavenly kingdom. This we ask, in Christ’s holy name.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, November 5, 2017


1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Read all of 1 John 3

Listen to 1 John 3

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

Exploring the Parables with Cap'n Kenny - The Parable of The Narrow Door


Luke 13:22-30
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

THINK ABOUT IT
Jesus’ kingdom is filled with all sorts of surprising people. The people who think they already belong will find themselves excluded. The Dead Sea Scrolls community was absolutely certain about those who were going to participate in the Messianic kingdom, but Jesus created uncertainty among his audience. It’s hard to know if Jesus was also hinting at a person’s eternal destiny or only at a person’s participation in the present reality of the kingdom. The idea of a relatively small number of “saved” was already part of Jewish literature. The Jewish apocalypse book of 4 Ezra (2 Esdras) says, “Many have been created, but only a few shall be saved” (verse 8:3).

TALK ABOUT IT
What did this parable teach you about God?

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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

New International Version (NIV) 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 - El afán y la ansiedad


El afán y la ansiedad

Busquen primeramente el reino de Dios y su justicia, y todas estas cosas les serán añadidas.
~ Mateo 6:33 (NVI)

El problema del afán y la ansiedad ha estado muy de moda en los últimos meses. Hace algún tiempo, Estados Unidos, país donde resido por más de veintidós años, tuvo una de las peores crisis financieras del país. Fueron días y meses en los que solo se escuchaba decir a la gente: «Estamos muy mal. La crisis es terrible. Las cosas empeoran cada vez más». Lo mismo se escuchaba en las noticias de la radio, la televisión y la prensa. Era, como digo yo, un bombardeo de cosas negativas que llegaban a diario a nuestra mente.

Sin embargo, recuerdo que nosotros en la radio y en la iglesia contrarrestábamos esto.

¿Por qué? Porque Dios en su Palabra es muy claro, pero actuamos como si no le creyéramos.

Por ejemplo, Él dijo: «En el mundo tendréis aflicción; pero confiad, yo he vencido al mundo» (Juan 16:33, rv-60).

Además, en el pasaje de Mateo 6:25-34 se nos aclara todo el tiempo su interés por nuestro bienestar. Desearía que hicieras la excepción y leyeras el capítulo completo, pues vale la pena. Al hacerlo, quizá logres entender cómo piensa y actúa Dios, no tengas ansiedad y aprendas a descansar en Él.

Dios nos ama, pero necesita que nuestra confianza esté puesta en Él. Nuestra labor como sus hijos es la de tomar cada una de sus promesas para nosotros. Entonces, cuando se presenten las tormentas de la vida, comprenderemos que no estamos solos. Y aunque no veamos la mano de Dios, nos percataremos que Él está ahí para ayudarnos.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - COMMUNITY EXPULSIONS


COMMUNITY EXPULSIONS

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

My wife and I live in Nova Scotia in the summer time. Not far from our cottage is the museum, church and statue of Evangeline in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia commemorating the Acadian expulsion of 1755—a black mark in Canadian history.

When the British conquered Port Royal in 1710 after being ceded Acadia (Nova Scotia) under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, they found themselves up against a French speaking people who had developed a strong sense of independence against British and French rule. The Acadians initially refused to recognize British rule, wanting to keep their religious freedom and not wanting to be obliged to bears arms in the event of war. These conditions were accepted only in 1730 and, at that point, the Acadians were recognized as neutral subjects within the colony.

But in September of 1755, Charles Lawrence, the appointed governor of Nova Scotia, gathered the Acadians in the St. Charles Church in Grand Pre in order to read the declaration that they must relinquish their possessions to the British Crown and that they would be deported for their unwillingness to swear allegiance to the King of England. Unaware of what awaited them in the church, many Acadians were taken prisoner and deported to American colonies, France, and England, and several thousand died from drowning, misery, illness and starvation during the long ocean voyages. Families were separated and shipped out in different directions. Their farms and homes were burned so they would have nothing to return to.

Longfellow immortalized the tragic story with his epic poem about a mythical young girl, Evangeline, cruelly separated from her fiancé, Gabriel. They were reunited at his death bed.

Many other countries and cultures have sad memories of expulsions. One is ongoing today in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. More than 35,000 indigenous evangelical Christians have been expelled from their communities just because they are evangelicals and no longer taking part in their community’s religious practices and rituals. They live in refugee-like camps.

One of those is Pascuala who was asleep when the community leaders came to burn her home. She woke up in time to warn her family. Fortunately one brother and sister were not there but the four children in the home were macheted, shot or burned to death as they tried to flee. Pascuala herself was shot and raped. She survived by feigning death. Weak and bleeding, she walked many hours to a hospital where her life was saved. But she says, “Since that time my desire is to help the people who are persecuted for Jesus because I feel their pain. I got in touch with Open Doors; they encouraged me to keep going with love. With their help I was able to get some supplies of embroidery thread for crafts to help other women…If God allowed me to live through my persecution, it is for one reason—to proclaim His name.”

RESPONSE: I will thank God for my challenges because they enable me to overcome and be strong.

PRAYER: Pray for those still dealing with pain, separation and loss from community expulsions.

LHM Daily Devotion - November 5, 2017 "Lucky Day"

It was early in the morning, and the radio was predicting the future...
Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour



"Lucky Day"

November 5, 2017

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
~ Romans 8:28 (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


It was early in the morning, and the radio was predicting the future, according to the horoscope.

The taxi driver who was taking me to school paid special attention when the radio host came to his sign. After hearing what was said, the driver seemed very much concerned about his fate. Still, according to the DJ, there was some hope. My driver could head off the bad stuff if he did certain good stuff.

While all this was going on, I was quietly reading my devotional.

At the end of my day, by the kind of coincidence only God can arrange, the same taxi driver showed up to take me home. Remembering the ride in and the radio warning, I thought I would do some exploring. As my day had been exceptional, I thought I'd run the risk and ask, "So, tell me, how was your day?"

He answered me that he was still somewhat concerned because of the morning's horoscope predictions. What a shame. Nothing bad had happened to him since I had seen him earlier. Even so, his entire day had been wasted worrying about all the disastrous events the stars might send his way.

That man is not alone.

Just like the taxi driver, many other people's lives are built on luck or chance or even what a total stranger might say to them. It seems a precarious way to live, especially when it is contrasted with what the Bible tells us. You remember -- all things work together for the good to them that love God.

That verse gives us a different perspective: God's perspective.

All the events and experiences which take place in our lives -- either good or bad -- depend not on luck, but on the relationship we have with God. From the beginning, God wants to establish a loving relationship with us and, according to His will, He will present to us what He knows is best for us.

Now that doesn't mean we will not encounter difficulties, problems, pains, and hurts. In a sinful world, those things come to everybody. But it does mean that with the loving Lord on our side, we will be taken care of.

And even the worst of things life offers can be redirected by our loving Lord. We know that the Lord who has given His Son to rescue us from hell is not going to turn His back on us now.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, be with those who have other gods beside or ahead of You. Let them learn to listen to You and trust in the grace which is ours through the sacrifice of the crucified and ever-living Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Porfirio Franco Cortés who is our Project JOEL coordinator at the Panama office of Lutheran Hour Ministries. He also coordinates the drug use and abuse program from a Christian perspective in Panama's public and private schools.

With its ministry center in Panama City since 1995, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama makes Gospel connections with others 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. Through Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops, laypeople are instructed in sharing 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 positive values. Ministry center volunteers play an important part in LHM-Panama's outreach efforts as well, supporting ministry staff and telling others about Jesus in this Central American country of nearly four million people.

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