Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, November 19, 2017 - 24th Sunday after Pentecost


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

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is at hand; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests. At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, "The LORD will not do good, nor will he do harm." Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them. The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the LORD, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD's wrath; in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Psalm 90:1-12
1   Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.
2   Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God.
3   You turn us back to the dust and say, "Go back, O child of earth."
4   For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.
5   You sweep us away like a dream; we fade away suddenly like the grass.
6   In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.
  For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
8   Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9   When you are angry, all our days are gone; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10   The span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty; yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
11   Who regards the power of your wrath? who rightly fears your indignation?
12   So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Matthew 25:14-30
"For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master replied, 'You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'


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


Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor you with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


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

Closing Prayer
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 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.

"Well Done!" - The Sermon for SUNDAY, November 19, 2017 - 24th Sunday after Pentecost



14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
~ Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)


"Well Done!"
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen

What does God expect us to do with what Heaven has given us? Do we take risks using our gifts or hide them for safekeeping? Why hasn’t God given to us all equally?

Why does God not give to everyone equally? In Matthew 25:15 we read that a man gave to his employees unequal amounts, “to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one.” It may be helpful to understand that all human systems are capitalist. Even atheistic Communism is a form of capitalism, whereby party members make capital on the rest. In any system, greed and oppressing the poor are not righteous capitalism. The talents in the parable are spiritual capital. Kingdom capital should be used to show love. Those who are given the most are expected to produce the most spiritually in loving God and our neighbors.

What is a talent? In Matthew 25:15 we read of an employer about to leave on a long journey, who entrusted talents to different employees, “to each according to his own ability.” A talent was a weight of gold or silver. The Athenian or Attic talent was once about 26 kilogram (57 pounds) weight of silver. Today’s spot silver price is about $545 per kilogram, a little over $14,000 for a talent. Another way to measure a talent was about fifteen year’s wages. If this year’s average household income is $60,000 then a talent could be $900,000. Even the one talent guy was entrusted with great responsibility.

What does God require of those with the most? In Matthew 25:16 we read that, “he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.” Wealth is on loan to us from God. Those with the most also have the greatest capacity for doing good or evil. Material and spiritual wealth bring with them greater responsibility. Who among us has been given the greatest talents, wealth, abilities or spiritual gifts? How much more can such people show God’s love? To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:41-48). Whether they be spiritual or material talents, their purpose is to love others.

Is all gambling wrong? In Matthew 25:18 employees were given five, two and one talents to invest, “But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.” He didn’t want to take a gamble. Farmers, job-hunters and entrepreneurs all take calculated risks. There are stupid gambles where the odds are terrible, like state lotteries, most Casino games and jumping into business with inadequate preparation. There are also calculated gambles, like starting a business after thorough preparation, interest on savings or planting a crop. Jesus took a calculated gamble in us. One man took the safe route and buried the money entrusted to him.

What does God say about equality? Is equal pay for lazy and diligent workers fair? Is it right to base pay upon ability, diligence and results? In Matthew 25:20-23 we find that God invests in us differently. Yet those who do well are told the same words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Bible passages indicate a double share of inheritance for firstborns (Deuteronomy 21:17) and a double honorarium or pay for diligent preachers (1 Timothy 5:17). None of these indicate God’s support for gross excesses.

Here are questions for discussion: Is heaven a society of equals or different abilities and levels of responsibility? If the spiritually productive are good and faithful, are the spiritually unproductive lazy and evil? Is the safe route sometimes a road to failure? Does fear often produce failure? Does faithfulness in small things lead to greater things and does unfaithfulness bring failure? Should we waste time criticizing a boss as too hard, or just get on with the job? Do spiritually successful people just get down to work? Do those who produce more deserve more? Does the extra talent awarded to the most successful promote greed or their greater capacity to love?

Does God expect us to take risks? In Matthew 25:25 a man who was given money to invest, confessed, “I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.” A common practice in ancient times, before banking became common, was to bury money in the ground. It was a safer route. Jesus does not want us to take the safe route with His investment in us. It is a risk to share the Gospel with others. They may hate us, abandon us or believe and be saved. Jesus is not meant to be buried but shared. He wants us to take risks and grow Heaven’s investment in us.

Compare the Parable of the Talents to the words of Jesus to the 7 churches of Revelation 2-3. Overcomers in Ephesus have rights to the tree of life. In Smyrna they will not be hurt by the second death. In Pergamon they receive hidden manna and a special reward. In Thyatira they receive power over nations. In Sardis they are dressed in white and listed in the book of life. In Philadelphia they are pillars in God’s temple. In Laodicea they have positions at the throne with Christ. Some receive eternal life, others rule nations, serve in the temple or at the very throne of Christ based upon what they overcame.

It’s very appropriate that we call the gifts God has given you and me, our talents. Let’s not bury them. We are happiest when we are using our God-given talents to spread God’s love.
Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor you with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Seeking God?
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Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, November 19, 2017


Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor you with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, November 19, 2017


Matthew 25:29 (NIV) For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

Read all of Matthew 25

Listen to Matthew 25

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 Talents

Matthew 25:14-30
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

THINK ABOUT IT
The word for “servant”—doulos—can also mean “slave.” Paul called himself a doulos of Christ. The bags of gold are translated as “talents” in the Greek. They were not coins but units of monetary reckoning. The bags of gold represented very large sums of money, far more than the average person would ever see in a lifetime. The large sums of money may have brought the temple to mind for Jesus’ audience.

TALK ABOUT IT
What gifts has God given to you?

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

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


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Un Dia a la Vez - El gozo del Señor


El gozo del Señor

No estén tristes, pues el gozo del Señor es nuestra fortaleza.

Sin duda, recuerdas que hemos hablado que el gozo del Señor es nuestra fortaleza. Eso significa que si permanezco alegre, eso será lo que les transmitiré a los demás.

Sin embargo, quizá este no sea tu caso. Es posible que las deudas te estén ahogando, que tu hogar esté destruido o que tu hijo esté involucrado en las drogas. Entonces, quizá me digas: «Bueno, ¿cómo voy a tener gozo cuando tengo tantos problemas?».

La respuesta no la tengo yo, sino que la tiene el Dios de los imposibles. Aunque las cosas para ti no sean para nada fáciles, Él desea verte con gozo.

Si nos dejamos llevar por la tristeza o por el dolor, ¿cómo serían nuestros días y cómo testificaríamos de un Dios que nos ama? Es una bendición poder aprender y poner en práctica la vida con gozo a pesar de los pesares.

Si lo analizamos, podemos decir que el gozo es una decisión. Eso lo determiné hace ya varios años. Después de mi crisis de salud, aprendí a valorar más las cosas, a vivir feliz y a no dejar que me despojaran de las bendiciones de mi Padre. Por eso, mi oración diaria es por fortaleza para seguir mi vida con entusiasmo.

¿Y tú? No permitas que nada ni nadie te roben el gozo del Señor.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SOURCE OF PEACE


SOURCE OF PEACE

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
~ John 14:27 (NIV)

Five Christian students were walking home from an Open Doors seminar in east Africa and passed a young Muslim man walking into the bush with a rope in his hand. He tied the rope around a tree. The students asked, “What are you doing?”

“I want to kill myself,” he replied. “Why?”

“I say my prayers five times a day and I read the Qur’an. I have money, a wife and children, but I have no peace. I want peace. That is my one big wish.”

The students applied what they have learned and witnessed to this man named Keder. They told him that the Qur’an teaches that Jesus is a prophet but He is also the Saviour of everyone who accepts Him as Lord. He is the Prince of Peace. Keder left the rope in the tree and decided to give this Saviour a try. The students took him to church and after prayer Keder said, “I’ve found the peace I was seeking.”

The following day Keder showed up at the seminar. A stranger wearing a Muslim hat scared the teacher at first but he continued. In the afternoon, Keder asked to give his testimony. “Until now, Islam was the only genuine religion for me because it was straightforward. I studied the Qur'an for five years and I did my rituals daily but none of that gave me peace. That is why I decided to kill myself. Then I met five of you Christians yesterday. I used to hate Christians, but when you witnessed and prayed for me, everything changed. Muslims are hurting without the knowledge of the Scriptures, therefore pray for them.” Keder is now secretly studying the Bible and attending church. He is the first Muslim in his area to accept Christ. His Bible study leader says that he attends regularly and arrives early to talk about Jesus before the Bible study starts. Jesus’ peace makes him unafraid and he wants to witness. He is even prepared to die for Jesus.

RESPONSE: Today I will rest in the promises of the Prince of Peace and not be fearful.

PRAYER: Pray for Muslims who are hurting from the lack of knowledge of the scriptures and the source of true peace.