Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, April 8, 2018 - Second Sunday of Easter

Jesus and Thomas
John 20:24-29

Daily Readings
SUNDAY, April 8, 2018 - Second Sunday of Easter
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Opening Sentence
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Prayer of the Day (Collect)
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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.

We serve a risen Savior yet live as if in chains. Forgive us, Lord that we are so hesitant to live the resurrection life. Forgive us that we fail to show through word and action the truth that you loved us into your kingdom through the glorious mystery of the Cross. Forgive us that there is still fear in our lives that prevents us from achieving our full potential. Draw us close. Open our eyes to the glory of the risen Christ, our hearts to the wonder of the Cross and our hands to the service of your kingdom where you have placed us, that your name might be glorified through our lives. Amen.


The Lessons

The First Lesson
Acts 4:32-35
The Believers Share Their Possessions
4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

The Response
Psalm 133 Ecce, quam bonum!
1 Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *
when brethren live together in unity!
2 It is like fine oil upon the head *
that runs down upon the beard,
3 Upon the beard of Aaron, *
and runs down upon the collar of his robe.
4 It is like the dew of Hermon *
that falls upon the hills of Zion.
5 For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: *
life for evermore.

The Epistle
1 John 1:1-2:2
The Word of Life
1:1 We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
God Is Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 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. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Christ Our Advocate
2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

The Gospel
John 20:19-31
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Jesus and Thomas
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
The Purpose of This Book
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.


Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

We 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.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Benediction
May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. 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.
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

What Difference Does Easter Make?


"What Difference Does Easter Make?"

20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become; the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah!

A pastor tells the following in the Augsburg Sermon Book for the year 1985: "I’ve never seen such a crowd in church, the woman exclaimed’. I didn’t know her, but apparently she was impressed by the number of people here for Easter worship. Then, as she was shaking my hand an-’ moving toward the front door, she added, "Do you suppose it will make any difference?"

I held on to her hand so she couldn’t get away, "What do you mean?" I said "Will what make a difference?"

"Easter," she shot back. "Will Easter make any difference for all these people, or will life tomorrow be the same as it was yesterday?"

That lady’s question is truly a profound question. "Will Easter make any difference for all these people, or will life tomorrow be the same as it was yesterday. Will Easter make any difference in your life? Has this week been different for you because of the Easter event last Sunday?

Easter is truly a religious holiday. Oh, sure we have the Easter bunny and the tradition of buying new clothes, but in the final analysis Easter has not been commercialized, it is truly a religious event and has this religious event made any difference in your life?

I would like to suggest this morning that Easter does, can and will make a difference in our lives in at least 3 areas, one, we now live in the living presence of the living Lord, two, there is now a profound sense of peace in our living because of Easter, and three, life is marked with a purpose because of the Easter experience. I would like to look at these three areas this morning to see how Easter "does make a difference in our lives."

One: Living in the living presence of Jesus through the Easter event does make a difference in our lives.

Maybe the best way to explain what this means is to tell you a story about a clown which was found in the Emphasis magazine, as you listen, think how Jesus can be like that clown in your life.

"Once, a hospital children’s ward was the most depressing ward because the children had little hope. That little hope was reflected in the faces of the nurses...nurses who requested a change in station, another assignment. Even the parents and friends found it difficult to enter and stay with these failing lives.

One man changed that by dressing like a clown. The nurses were apprehensive, some of the parents were offended, but the children laughed. The children sensed the clown loved them from his heart and hoped for them. The clown hoped that today was not the end of the world. He had a powerful influence on the children because he gave them hope.

The nurses began to work with the clown, and they began to laugh and smile. The children began to love the nurses’ and parents, they in turn began to love the clown.

Then one day the clown didn’t come to the hospital. His life had failed. However, he lives on in that hospital ward, lives on in his smile which is still there because he gave those children hope. Someone else is wearing his silly costume and smile, but most important--someone else is bringing hope through through love."

Living in the living presence of the living Lord, living in the power of the resurrection, living in Christ means we are people who live in hope and victory. Hope that because He lives, we, too, will live. Live in a way which brings hope to the world of brokenness. Hope that lives, people, events, circumstances don’t have to be that way, we don’t have to live in the brokenness of this world, there is that possibility of change, of renewal, of a new life because Jesus Christ has risen. His living presence through the Holy Spirit in this world means we are not people who live in despair, but people who live in hope. Hope that through His presence, his power in our lives God can make winners out of us losers. Life doesn’t have to go on in the same way, Easter can make a difference.

If we open our eyes, we can see all around us living proof of this hope this renewal, this change in the lives of people. People have felt the forgiving power of Easter, the hope that they don’t have to live with guilt, so their lives are changed. People who have sorrow, who have experienced grief have the hope and the promise there is more to death than pain, these is the promise of the resurrection, the promise of new life for their loved one, and the promise that Jesus will heal the pain of death, the sting of death in their lives. People who live with illness have the hope that Christ’s presence will either heal them, or give them the courage to live their lives with this brokenness and that somehow in spite of their brokenness, God will use them to minister to the people around them. We could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Easter does make a difference, because the risen Lord is living with us and he does bring hope, change, renewal, courage and strength, into our lives.

Jesus' presence in our lives through the Easter resurrection is like the lamp lighter in this Robert Louis Stevenson story: "The boy from the country came to London to visit his grandparents. One night as it was getting dark, he sat on the front porch watching the sights of the city. As he watched, he saw a man coming down the street. The man would stop at each corner and pause beside the lamp post, and then a round globe of light would burst forth through the darkness. As the boy watched in wonderment, the street gradually changed from darkness to a place of light. He became so excited, that he ran into the house and called his grandmother, "There’s a man outside poking holes in the darkness".

Yes, the living presence of Christ through the resurrection does poke holes in the darkness of our world and because he does, I maintain that Easter can and does make a difference in our lives.

Secondly, Easter makes a difference because through that experience, we have a profound sense of peace in our lives. Peace that God through Christ and the Holy Spirit is in control of life. Peace that I can surrender life into his hands and he will more than adaquatly take are of me. It was a peace that Thomas was looking for which drove him away from the community of believers, a peace he thought he could find through his own conditions and his own demands, but he only found frustration, loneliness, despair and sorrow.

But, when he returned to the community of believers, when he returned, Christ appeared to him and in that appearance, he found peace as he cried, "My Lord and my God". Thomas gave up his own conditions, his own demands for life and began to live in and through Jesus and when he did, life had a sense of peace, a sense of confidence, a sense of strength, a sense of quiet strength that God through his son and the spirit was indeed in control. Easter makes a difference when we realize that we don’t have to control life, we don’t have to have our way, we don’t have to have our demands or conditions met, but God is the one who is in control in a way which brings peace into our lives. There is peace to the Easter message which says we belong to God regardless of the circumstances in life.

A story in the same Augsburg sermon book says this about peace, "A little boy had a terminal illness. He knew he was dying even though his parents hadn’t told him, so one day he asked his mother, "Mom what’s it like to die? Will it hurt?"

The mother thought for a moment as she searched for an answer to the question then said, "Charlie", do you remember when you used to play with your friends all day? You’d be so tired that when we’d sit around and watch TV afterwards, you’d fall asleep in the chair with your clothes on. Well, that wasn’t where you belonged, but in the morning, you always woke up where you did belong--in your own bed. Your Dad carried you up the stairs, into your room, and tucked you into your own bed where you belonged."

"Charlie," she continued, "I think that’s what death is like. It’s like waking up some morning and finding ourselves in another room, in the place where we belong, safe in the strong loving arms of Jesus."

That is the peace, which Christ gives to our lives, the knowledge, the conviction, the comfort, the confidence that we belong to him that no matter what happens in this life on this earth, we belong to God. It is a sense of well being in the middle of disease, brokenness and despair. It is the sense of confidence knowing, believing, and trusting that somehow God is in control. Even when we have a difficult time seeing his hand, even when we cannot understand all the chaos around us, God is still in control, that is peace~ that is shalom, a sense of blessing in our lives.

Easter makes a difference because of this sense of peace, this sense of well-being, this sense of shalom, the sense of God’s blessing in our lives. It is this peace, this well being which enables a widow to go on living, which enables a person racked with pain and illness to still see joy in life, a young person searching for meaning and purpose to finally find, his/her place in life. A peace which enables a mother and father, husband and wife, to overcome the difficulties of family and marriage in the peace, the forgiving power of Jesus Christ. Do you understand? The Easter experience, the Easter resurrection brings to life even in the worse circumstances, a sense that God is in control, that I, we, belong to him, that somehow life can and does go on in and through him. The Easter resurrection does make a difference in that it brings that marvelous peace which does pass all human understanding. It bring that shalom, that sense of God’s blessing and wholeness into life, that sense of well-being in spite of all the brokenness in our lives and those around us. Yes, I am convinced that Easter does make a difference in each of our lives because of this sense of peace.

And finally, we come to the third way Easter makes a difference in our lives in that it marks life with a purpose, with meaning, with a goal and direction.

A way for us to understand this is to share with you a very old legend.

"When birds were first created, they could not fly for they had no wings. They looked with longing at the clouds, the high branches and the best fruits at the tops of the trees. If only these could be theirs. God heard their desire. One night, while all the birds were sleeping, he attached wings to their backs. But when they awoke, the birds were furious that God had given them an unwanted burden which now they would have to carry about with them the rest of their lives. How could God lay upon them more than they already had to bear?

But when one bird began to move its new wings. It was lifted aloft and given a freedom it never knew existed. The birds discovered their burden was a gift. Their wings became a way to a more abundant life."

The message of the Easter Resurrection, the message of the gospel, the responsibility of living in the commandment of the Lord, the duty of being a holy temple, a living sacrifice to the Lord, is the burden placed on each of us as we became God’s children in baptism. But at the same time, I believe all those things are a gift from God to bring meaning and purpose into our lives. They are like the wings for the birds, a burden to carry, but a blessing at the same time for in and through them, life, your life and my life has a sense of direction, a sense of purpose, a sense of calling in and through the Easter resurrection, the power of the risen lord.

Men and woman have found meaning and purpose to life. Many of our great saints all found direction in their lives through the burden of the gospel, the weight of the Easter message. To name of few, Albert Schweitzewr, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Sister Treasa, Bishop Titu of South Africa, we could go on and on. When the gospel message becomes more than a weight, more than a burden, when it is viewed as a gift to enrich life, then life has such freedom, such power, such courage, such strength, there is no limit to what can be done. When life is seen through the power of Easter one can see for miles and miles and see all that needs doing, all the hurt, all the pain, all the suffering, all the hunger, all the inhuman conditions in which we find human beings, then we can help find solutions to these needs and through our lives.

Easter makes a difference if, and only if you and I are willing to carry our burden, carry this gift of the gospel with us in our walk down the road of life. But, I think, in this day, many people have absolutely no burdens to carry, no direction for life. They wander, they flow with the tide of life, never staying one place long enough to make their mark in the sands of time. I see this in our young people when I ask what do you want to do with your life? They don’t know. They go off to college and some come back because they don’t know what they want, no goal, no direction. Maybe, just maybe, if more of us were open to the gospel message, open to God’s spirit working with our spirit, maybe if we took this Easter message more seriously, maybe we could find some direction, some purpose, some meaning to life in and through God. Maybe if God’s hand were doing the guiding, we would not have so many people wandering aimless along the road of life. But with God’s hand, he would be leading them in a direction he wants for their life, and then life would have meaning and purpose.

Maybe, if we carried our burden of God’s grace in our lives in a way that it wasn’t seen as a burden, but as a gift which adds not subtracts from life, then, life would take on a meaning, a purpose, a sense of direction as God’s grace leads us to do his will.

I would like to close with an old, old story that has been quoted in many different place, in many different books, and because it has been passed around for so long, its origin has been lost, however its message is timeless:

"Someone once met a lad going to (school long before the days of buses and cars. The boy was carrying on his back a smaller boy who was clearly lame and unable to walk. The stranger said to the boy: "Do you carry him to school every day?"

"Yes," said the boy.

"That’s a heavy burden for you to carry," said the stranger.

"He’s no burden," said the boy, "He is my brother."

The burden of God’s grace is really no burden because it is carried out of love, our love for God and God’s love for us.
God our Father, you have promised to remain for ever with those who do what is just and right. Help us to live in your presence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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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. Sermon contributed by Rev Tim Zingale, St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge, Iowa on Apr 18, 2001.
If we carried our burden of God’s grace in our lives in a way that it wasn’t seen as a burden, but as a gift which adds not subtracts from life, then, life would take on a meaning, a purpose, a sense of direction as God’s grace leads us to do his will.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, April 8, 2018 - Second Sunday of Easter


God our Father, you have promised to remain for ever with those who do what is just and right. Help us to live in your presence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, April 8, 2018


John 20:29 (NIV) Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Read all of John 20

Listen to John 20

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 - La edad dorada


La edad dorada

Corona de honra es la vejez, que se halla en el camino de justicia.
~ Proverbios 16:31 (RV-60)

Me gusta mucho cuando se habla de la edad dorada, pues dan la idea de las experiencias maravillosas en la vida.

Hoy quizá seas tú esa persona de la tercera edad que se siente triste y solitaria. A lo mejor tu familia te dejó en un hogar para viejitos y de vez en cuando te visitan y a veces te llaman. La soledad en esta etapa de la vida es una de las razones que más lleva a la depresión.

En este día, Dios quiere decirte que no estás sola ni solo aunque pases días sin saber de tu familia. Tal vez te encuentres en tu casa viendo pasar los días y, en muchos casos, sin poder salir siquiera porque tu salud no lo permite o porque ya hasta conducir un auto es un problema para ti.

Hoy Dios te dice que Él está contigo, que eres más que una hermosa joya para Él y que es tu compañía. Refúgiate en Dios.

Ante esto, las preguntas que caben son las siguientes: ¿Qué estamos haciendo tú y yo por ellos? ¿Cómo estamos ayudando a nuestros viejitos, empezando por casa? ¿Cómo los tratamos? ¿Sabías que después del abuso infantil el abuso a las personas mayores está en segundo lugar? Lo más triste de todo es son víctimas de sus propios familiares.

La Palabra nos enseña que las canas son sabiduría y merecen todo el respeto.

Por lo tanto, honro hoy a las personas de la edad dorada.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Hoy quizá seas tú esa persona de la tercera edad que se siente triste y solitaria.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - WOUNDS FOR CHRIST


WOUNDS FOR CHRIST

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
~ Acts 5:41 (NIV)

Today’s devotional comes from Ron Boyd-MacMillan’s excellent volume Faith That Endures:

The Biblical scholar William Barclay famously described a New Testament Christian as having three remarkable characteristics: “One, they were absurdly happy; two, they were filled with an irrational love for everyone; and three, they were always in trouble!”

Persecuted Christians are constantly in trouble. As a Palestinian pastor put it, “If you speak truth to power, power always reacts.” An encounter with the persecuted reveals the incendiary nature of this gospel we follow, and if our witness does not provoke some sort of explosive reaction, we have to check whether our gospel powder is damp or dry. We should be in trouble for Jesus! If we aren’t, something is wrong…

Persecuted Christians are not tempted into the illusion that the world is actually a friendly place that does not mind our identifying with Christ. The world for them is unmasked in its hostility to Christ.

Once when visiting Czechoslovakia in the 1980’s, I delivered a Bible to an elderly pastor. He had not seen a Bible in years. He smelled it, kissed it with trembling lips, cradled it, and then with great reverence, opened it. Then he turned to me and said, “Let me tell you of my wounds.” And he poured out his trials for God, which included seven beatings by the secret police and the awful seduction of his daughter by a government agent who then fooled her into betraying him. Then he turned to me, his eyes boring into my soul, and asked, “What wounds have you for the Master?” I was embarrassed to have so few to share.

The questions of the persecuted church are simple: Are you in trouble for Jesus? Where are your wounds? If you don’t have any, maybe you’ve forgotten you’re in a fight at all. Whatever culture we are in, we are always being subtly coerced into spending our money, or time, on what is not of Christ. Persecution afflicts us all if we stand up for Christ. The world, the flesh, and the devil will never reach an accommodation with Christ. Like it or not, we are caught up in cosmic warfare. The gospel has landed us in it. We will all be scarred by the battle. We will all experience persecution. The difference is only one of degree and type.[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will evaluate my life and assess what are my wounds for Christ. I will then rejoice in suffering for Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord, I submit to Your Lordship over my life and accept whatever wounds You will enable me to bear for Your sake and the gospel’s.

1. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, Faith That Endures (Grand Rapids: Fleming Revell, 2006), pp. 322-323.

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

LHM Devotion - April 8, 2018 - Walking in His Ways

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180408

Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Walking in His Ways"

Apr. 8, 2018

"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it."

George Hooper and his family live in the quiet town of Arcadia, California.

With his neighbors being gone much of the time, the neighborhood is generally peaceful. Indeed, there's not much to do other than watch the baby bear who is living under their neighbor's house, in the crawl space.

Hooper and his crew were thankful to be able to watch this little bit of "wild kingdom" right from the comfort and safety of their own home. At least that's the way it was at the beginning. Then things changed.

Mr. Hooper describes things this way: "We were watching the little one, and then we came back inside and we saw the big one, the mama bear with the tag on the ear, and she came out to just keep an eye on things..."

Mr. Hooper concluded this way: "So now it's a whole new ball game, isn't it?"

Knowing the well-substantiated dangers connected with getting between a mother bear and her cub, Mr. Hooper called the folks at the Humane Society. In short order, those caring folk came out, investigated the situation, and came up with a verdict on what to do.

The Humane Society said, "The bears will be left alone for the moment, unless they become a danger to the public."

Now I've spent considerable time thinking about that verdict. There is only one question which keeps cropping up in my mind. That query is how will somebody be able to tell when those bears have become a danger to the public?

1. Do they have to eat someone's cat?

2. Do they have to follow little Johnny or Jane home from school?

3. Do they have to hold up the local bank?

It occurs to me that a wiser course of action would be to remove the bears to a location which would be safer for them and for the citizenry of Arcadia.

The same train of thought applies to sin. All too many people want to know how close they can get to an appealing sin before they cross over the line and really do something wrong. They want to know if they can live in the same neighborhood as sin without falling into any kind of danger.

From Adam until today, the answer to that question is the same.

We need to keep a safe distance from those tantalizing transgressions. If we don't, Satan will keep dangling them in front of our noses and we, in a moment of weakness may stumble and fall. When we're picking neighbors we do far better if we stay in Jesus' neighborhood. With Him, we can be sure that we will be safe, secure and saved.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the wisdom to see and understand that it is always best to give a wide berth to sin. Similarly, it is always best to remain in the presence of our loving Savior and Lord. It is in His Name we pray. Amen.

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George Hooper and his family live in the quiet town of Arcadia, California...

Notre Pain Quotidien - La force dans la souffrance

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/04/08/la-force-dans-la-souffrance/

La force dans la souffrance

Christ aussi a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un exemple, afin que vous suiviez ses traces. (V. 21)

Lorsque Sammy a reçu Jésus comme son Sauveur, à 18 ans, les membres de sa famille l’ont rejeté parce que leurs traditions religieuses étaient d’une autre foi. La communauté chrétienne l’a toutefois accueilli, encouragé et aidé financièrement afin qu’il s’instruise. Plus tard, lorsqu’une revue a publié son témoignage, la persécution qu’il subissait s’est intensifiée.

Sammy n’a cependant pas cessé de voir sa famille. Il lui rendait visite chaque fois que possible et s’entretenait avec son père, même si ses frères et sœurs l’empêchaient avec cruauté d’avoir part aux affaires familiales. Or, lorsque son père est tombé malade, Sammy a fait fi des railleries de sa famille pour s’occuper de lui, priant que son père guérisse. Quand Dieu lui a accordé la guérison, la famille a commencé à devenir plus chaleureuse envers Sammy. Au fil du temps, son témoignage empreint d’amour a adouci l’attitude de tout un chacun envers lui – et quelques membres de sa famille se sont montrés disposés à entendre parler de Jésus.

Décider de suivre Christ peut causer des ennuis, mais « c’est une grâce que de supporter des afflictions par motif de conscience envers Dieu, quand on souffre injustement » (1 PI 2.19). « Christ aussi a souffert pour [nous], [nous] laissant un exemple, afin que [nous suivions] ses traces » (V. 21).

Injurié, Jésus « ne rendait point d’injures, maltraité, ne faisait point de menaces, mais s’en remettait à celui qui juge justement » (V. 23). Allons donc à lui pour obtenir la force de continuer.

 Si nous souffrons pour Jésus, il vient nous aider à tout surmonter.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ 
Lorsque Sammy a reçu Jésus comme son Sauveur, à 18 ans, les membres de sa famille l’ont rejeté parce que leurs traditions religieuses étaient d’une autre foi.