Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, March 11, 2018 - Forth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)

For God So Loved the World
John 3:14-21

Daily Readings
SUNDAY, March 11, 2018
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Opening Sentence
To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgivenesses, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by following his laws which he set before us.

Prayer of the Day (Collect)
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;  but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

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


The Lessons

Old Testament: Numbers 21:4-9
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6 Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

The Response: Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 Confitemini Domino
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, *
and his mercy endures for ever.
2 Let all those whom the Lord has redeemed proclaim *
that he redeemed them from the hand of the foe.
3 He gathered them out of the lands; *
from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
17 Some were fools and took to rebellious ways; *
they were afflicted because of their sins.
18 They abhorred all manner of food *
and drew near to death's door.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, *
and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent forth his word and healed them *
and saved them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy *
and the wonders he does for his children.
22 Let them offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and tell of his acts with shouts of joy.

The Epistle: Ephesians 2:1-10
From Death to Life
2 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

The Gospel: John 3:14-21
For God So Loved the World
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”


Here ends the Lessons

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

Closing Prayer
Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Amen.

Blessing
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

"Mercy In Judgement" The Sermon for SUNDAY, March 11, 2018 - Forth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)


"Mercy In Judgement"

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

John 3 verses 14 and 15 says "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

The people of Israel, the chosen ones became impatient with God during their wilderness experience and complained against God and Moses. They were impatient for better things, a better life, impatient for the promised-land. Their impatience produced grumbling, complaints and hostility towards God and Moses their leader.

In essence, impatience is the symptom of not trusting God to fulfill his promises to us. As a result, we try to make our own plans, go our own way, and forget about God and others on the way. Many times our own way leads us to devastation and suffering in our life and others about us. Perhaps the worst form of impatience is betraying another person, even causing them to loose their life so that we get our own way.

For the people of Israel going their own way without God meant that, at one time they came across an area full of poisonous snakes. Yes! God did send the snakes but nonetheless, they were a consequence of going their own way. The snakes bit them and many people died. It is interesting to note that God did not remove the snakes at any time. The people had to continue to endure the snakes about them as a consequence of their own sin. In a sense, they were living in judgement.

As Christians, we are like the people of Israel, the chosen ones, and we are like everyone else too. We too become impatient. We too forget God’s goodness and to rely on him to provide our daily needs. There are many examples of how we are living in judgement, living a life of impatience.

I want you to picture an airport scene, a scene that you may have seen at times on a movie or in the news. In this scene two people Bill and Ben are late in catching the same flight to a national flower show. Bill is driving well over the speed limit and sneaking across intersections with the red traffic lights facing him. He is risking his life and the lives of others about him because that is the only way he knows, his way. Meanwhile Ben stopped to help at a serious road accident and because of that he knows that he has little chance in catching that flight with Bill. Ben is more philosophical about it all and thinks that it was meant to be. Better to help at this road accident than to bypass it and go on. There will be another plane tomorrow. Bill did catch his plane, but it crashed soon after take-off because the pilot was too impatient to make all his preflight checks. Sometimes on the news we can hear the confession of a passenger who had missed a doomed flight say, “I was meant to be on that flight.” No doubt that person is thankful that they weren’t.”

In many ways we are a people living in judgement. Wherever we look there are the scars of our impatience, the consequences of wanting our own way and not trusting God to provide. Unwittingly we are encouraged to be impatient. We are bombarded daily with sermons by promoters on the radio, TV, the multi-media of how we can have a better life now. You can have a new car now, a new house now, a vacation now, and pay later. Their influence is corrupting us into believing that we can have everything now, and so we behave like that too. We desire instant service wherever we go. Even in church, we want growth now, success now, the power of the Holy Spirit now, and never mind the 25 year program. Their influence is providing a substitute way, another way instead of God and we are falling for it.

Even though God felt betrayed he continued to love Israel and desired them to be free from the bite and death that the snakes brought. Out of his love for them he sent Moses to raise a pole with a bronze serpent on it and whoever was bitten and looked upon the raised serpent would live. In the middle of judgement there is mercy.

The very thing that caused death to Israel in the wilderness was also to give them continued life. How odd to look upon the very thing for life that also gave death. As the people of Israel looked upon the raised servant on the pole, no, much more than that, gazed upon, focused, studied the bronze serpent it would change their life. The bronze serpent on the pole would remind the people of the scars of judgement, the scars of impatience, and the scars of not trusting God. As the people gazed upon the bronze serpent they were moved to repentance and renewed life. Renewed life does not come without repentance. God in his continued love for us was willing to exchange our scars of judgement, our guilt, our shame, and our pain for life. The bitten people of Israel were not only physically healed but also their whole spirit was renewed. They continued a joyful life with God. In the middle of judgement there is mercy.

St. John reminds us of this Old Testament text to relate it with the purpose of raising Jesus on the cross. God’s purpose is to give us life through the death of Jesus on the cross. He is doing this to show his continued love for us. God’s purpose is not just for Israel, but for the whole world, for everyone, for you and me.

Jesus, Son of man was betrayed, suffered, crucified, and put to death on the cross. Who did it? We did it. As we look upon the cross, no, much more than that, as we gaze upon it, focus, and study the crucified Jesus on the cross we are reminded of what we have done. Through our impatience we have betrayed God, and everyone else. We have not trusted God or anyone else. We have caused suffering to God and all humankind. On the cross is all our sin towards God and to all people. That is why the Son of man has been raised on a pole, to remind us of our sin, to draw us to repentance, and above all else to give us renewed life. Jesus has taken upon himself the sin of the world in exchange for life.

Do not be afraid to gaze upon it, to focus, to study the cross, the death of Jesus, because this is the way to a renewed life. As we do so, there we can also see the love that God has for us all. Behind it all is God’s love and his desire to bring us, you and me to renewed and eternal life, despite our past and our sin. With this renewed life we will be able to show greater patience and trust in God, and life would be better for everyone.

Let us pray: Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great. Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that He suffered at the hands of the state was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for His promise to all people, that he will intercede for them at their death, and bring them to eternal life. Today we remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

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The Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. Sermon contributed by Martin Ellgar on Dec 14, 2014.
In many ways we are a people living in judgement.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, March 11, 2018


Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great. Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that He suffered at the hands of the state was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for His promise to all people, that he will intercede for them at their death, and bring them to eternal life. Today we remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, March 11, 2018


John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Read all of John 3

Listen to John 3

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 entendimiento


Oración por entendimiento

Con tus manos me creaste, me diste forma. Dame entendimiento para aprender tus mandamientos.
~ Salmo 119:73 (NVI)

Gracias te doy, Dios mío, porque aunque sea un lector de tu Palabra y me beneficie de sus enseñanzas, hoy, Padre, quiero pedirte por las personas que no te conocen. Quiero pedirte por las personas que tal vez ahora han sentido un gran deseo de empezar a buscar de ti, de conocer más de tu Palabra.

Te pido, Señor, que les des la facilidad de buscar y encontrar una Biblia.

Y, Dios mío, que cuando la encuentren, hallen verdadera revelación y puedan convertirla en un manual de vida y de conocimiento.

Abre sus mentes y prepara sus corazones para recibir todo lo que ya les tienes preparado desde la eternidad.

Gracias, Dios mío, por haberte inspirado y haber dejado esa maravillosa escuela de vida.

También te agradezco que muchos conocerán la Palabra y la Palabra los hará libres.

Te amo con todo mi corazón.

Amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Oración por entendimiento

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE WAY OF THE CROSS


THE WAY OF THE CROSS

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…

Members of the persecuted church around the world have long understood the true significance of the cross of Christ. Pastor Allen Yuan in China, who spent almost twenty-two years in prison for his faith away from his large family, often talks about his sufferings over those years. But he invariably concludes with the statement, “They are nothing compared with the Cross!

The best known and loved pastor in China was Watchman Nee who was martyred in the early 1970’s. One of his elderly co-workers said recently, “If we call ourselves Christians—people following Christ—we should know what road we are taking. Christ went the way of the Cross. We should be prepared to do likewise.”

A Canadian Christian aid worker was overwhelmed at the enormous need among the believers of southern Sudan. He recalls some children in a village wearing nothing but hand carved bone crosses fashioned in necklaces around their necks. He pointed to the cross on one emaciated child and questioned her with hand motions. She smiled broadly, took off the necklace and handed it to him.

His thoughtful analysis is this: “That little act symbolizes the state of the suffering church in Sudan. With absolutely nothing in the way of material possessions, they still have the cross of Jesus Christ. They are prepared to share its hope - even though it means death.”

Indian missionary and martyr, Sadhu Sundar Singh, wrote in his diary, “It is easy to die for Christ. It is hard to live for him. Dying takes only an hour or two but to live for Christ means to die daily [to self].”

A thirty-two-year-old pastor works in upper Egypt, an area of intense persecution for Christians. He runs a day care center, a medical clinic, a literacy training program as well as caring for the families of those in prison. He has been beaten twice by Muslim extremists and threatened daily with death. He knows they are trying to kill him...but he continues to daily bear his cross.

A leading pastor in Egypt shared about a parishioner who tearfully came for counseling. Young people she had trained at her work were recently promoted to be her supervisors. She was passed over solely because she was a Christian. The pastor concluded, “That’s the cross we must bear here in Egypt!”

The essence of these examples is that instead of exercising and asserting my will, I learn to co-operate with God’s wishes and comply with His will.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk the way of the cross with Jesus and comply with His will.

PRAYER: Pray for believers under severe persecution who today will take up their cross to follow Jesus.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Devotion - March 11, 2018 - Unnecessary

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180311

Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Unnecessary"

Mar. 11, 2018

Read Mark 14:43-50

And Jesus said to them, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture Me?"
~ Mark 14:48 (ESV)

They must have been the most unnecessary objects in the garden that night -- all those swords and clubs the crowd brought with them to arrest Jesus. As if He were going to resist arrest. As if He were an earthly king, someone climbing to the top over the broken bodies of other people.

Even Judas seems to have known better. After all, he chose the sign so that the crowd would know the right man to arrest. And he chose -- a kiss, a peaceful greeting. It was something that put him well within arms' length of Jesus, in a most vulnerable position -- if Jesus had chosen to fight.

But Judas knew better. Jesus would not harm him -- not even His own betrayer. And Judas was proved right. Jesus took just a moment to heal the ear of the high priest's servant, who had ended up on the wrong side of Peter's sword -- and then He submitted to arrest. But not without an acid comment on the weapons!

He said, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture Me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled."

Jesus was no robber, using force to steal glory and power that belonged to someone else. He was and is the real thing -- the Messiah, the King of Israel, the Son of David. And He would climb to the top, yes -- that top position would be on a cross, and the broken body would be His own. No clubs or swords were necessary.

Jesus came to lay down His life of His own free choice. He freely submitted to arrest, to torture, and even to death for all of us. And three days later, He rose from the dead -- not for Himself only, but to share that victory and eternal life with us. Why? Because He loves us.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that You gave up Your life for me of Your own free will. Now I ask You willingly, take my life and live through me to the Father's glory. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
What is the most unnecessary thing you own?

Devocional del CPTLN de 11 de Marzo de 2018 - NO ERA NECESARIO


ALIMENTO DIARIO

"NO ERA NECESARIO"

11 de Marzo de 2018

Leer Marcos 14:43-50

Jesús les dijo: "¿Han venido a arrestarme con espadas y palos, como si fuera yo un ladrón?"
~ Marcos 14:48 (RVC)

Deben haber sido los objetos más innecesarios que hubo en el jardín esa noche: todas las espadas y palos que la gente había llevado para arrestar a Jesús. Como si Jesús fuera a resistirse. Como si fuera un rey terrenal tratando de ascender a costa del sacrificio de los demás.

Hasta Judas parece haberlo tenido en claro. Él fue quien eligió la señal por la cual la muchedumbre habría de saber a quién debían arrestar: y eligió hacerlo con un beso, un saludo pacífico que lo puso bien cerca de Jesús, en una posición muy vulnerable si Jesús hubiera elegido pelear.

Pero Judas tenía en claro que Jesús no lo iba a lastimar, por más traidor que fuera. Y estuvo en lo cierto. Jesús tomó un momento para sanar la oreja del sirviente del sumo sacerdote que había sido cortada por la espada de Pedro, y luego se sometió al arresto... ¡pero no sin hacer primero un comentario incisivo sobre las armas!

Dijo: "¿Han venido a arrestarme con espadas y palos, como si fuera yo un ladrón? Todos los días estuve con ustedes enseñando en el templo, y no me aprehendieron. Pero esto sucede para que se cumplan las Escrituras" (Marcos 14:48-49).

Jesús no era un ladrón que utilizaba su fuerza para robar la gloria y el poder que le pertenecían a otra persona. Él era, y es, el verdadero Rey de Israel, el Mesías, el Hijo de David. Y sí habría de ascender: ascendería a la cruz, donde su cuerpo sería quebrantado. Ni espadas ni palos eran necesarios.

Jesús vino a dar su vida por su propia voluntad. Por su propia voluntad se sometió al arresto, a la tortura y a la muerte en nuestro lugar. Y tres días más tarde resucitó de los muertos no sólo por él, sino para compartir la victoria y la vida eterna con nosotros. ¿Por qué? Porque nos ama.

ORACIÓN: Gracias, Señor, por dar tu vida por mí. Te pido que vivas en mí y a través de mí, para gloria del Padre. Amén.

© Copyright 2018 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
¿Cuál es la cosa más innecesaria que posee?

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une loyauté sans honte

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/03/11/une-loyaute-sans-honte/

Une loyauté sans honte

Lisez : Psaume 34.1-4

Exaltez avec moi l’Éternel ! Célébrons tous son nom ! (V. 4)


Les amateurs de sports se plaisent à louanger leurs équipes préférées. En portant leur logo, en faisant des commentaires élogieux à leur sujet sur Facebook ou en parlant d’elles à leurs amis, ces fans ne laissent aucune place au doute quant à leur allégeance. Mes casquettes, mes maillots et mes conversations honorant les Tigres de Detroit démontrent d’ailleurs que je suis de leur nombre.

Notre fidélité en matière sportive peut servir à nous rappeler que c’est au Seigneur que nous devons la plus grande fidélité. Je me remémore cette fidélité avouée en lisant le Psaume 34, où David attire notre attention sur une Personne qu’il importe immensément plus de suivre avec fidélité que quoi que ce soit d’autre ici‑bas.

David dit : « Je bénirai l’Éternel en tout temps » (V. 1), ce qui nous amène à nous demander pourquoi il nous arrive de vivre comme si Dieu n’était pas notre source de vérité, de lumière et de salut. Le psalmiste ajoute : « Que mon âme se glorifie en l’Éternel ! » (V. 2), ce qui nous révèle que nous nous glorifions plus de nos réussites que de ce que Jésus a accompli pour nous.

Il n’y a rien de répréhensible dans le fait d’aimer nos équipes sportives, nos sujets d’intérêt particulier et nos réalisations. Nous devrions cependant réserver nos plus grandes louanges à notre Seigneur. « Exaltez avec moi l’Éternel ! Célébrons tous son nom ! » (V. 4.)

La loyauté est le test permettant de reconnaître l’amour véritable.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ
La loyauté est le test permettant de reconnaître l’amour véritable.