Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, May 6, 2018 - Sixth Sunday of Easter


Daily Readings
SUNDAY, May 6, 2018 - Sixth Sunday of Easter
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Opening Sentence
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Prayer of the Day (Collect)
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; 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.

Dear Heavenly Father, we lower our heads before you and we confess that we have too often forgotten that we are yours. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if there was no God and we fall short of being a credible witness to You. For these things we ask your forgiveness and we also ask for your strength. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may witness to You in our world. Remind us to be who You would have us to be regardless of what we are doing or who we are with. Hold us to You and build our relationship with You and with those You have given us on earth. Amen.


The Lessons

The First Lesson
Acts 10:44-48
Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit
10:44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

The Response
Psalm 98 Cantate Domino
1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
2 With his right hand and his holy arm
has he won for himself the victory.
3 The Lord has made known his victory;
his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
4 He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel,
and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
5 Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands;
lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.
6 Sing to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the voice of song.
7 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
shout with joy before the King, the Lord.
8 Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,
the lands and those who dwell therein.
9 Let the rivers clap their hands,
and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord,
when he comes to judge the earth.
10 In righteousness shall he judge the world
and the peoples with equity.

The Epistle
1 John 5:1-6
Faith Conquers the World
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Testimony concerning the Son of God
6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

The Gospel
John 15:9-17
15:9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.


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 catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Benediction
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 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.
Jesus said, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love."

"The Language Makes The Message" - Sermon for SUNDAY, May 6, 2018 - Sixth Sunday of Easter


"The Language Makes The Message"
by Rev. Ronald Harbaugh
St. John's Lutheran Church (ELCA)
Greenville, Pennsylvania

15:9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

I remember reading a commentary that transported me back in time to when I was just beginning my high school education. Of course, I, like many of the students in my class, found entering the “Big School” as we called it, a little anxiety producing. And there was little to ease that anxiety for those of us who encountered Ms. Blouse for English class. She had to be ten years past retirement age, carried a long pointing stick that she would slap on your desk with a bang when she wanted you to answer her question. My classmates and I determined that she had to have graduated from Satan University.

I will also admit that I considered a high school course in English to be a waist of time, since we all spoke the language, and understood each other perfectly. But being able to speak and communicate with each other was not enough for this lady. She taught the class as if we were studying biology. She had us dissecting sentences as if they were a frog on the table in the science lab. It wasn’t enough for her to have us realize that you need a noun and a verb to make a complete sentence. It wasn’t enough for her to have us know the difference between an adverb and an adjective. No, we had to learn the difference between the indicative and the imperative, and understand syntax.

Well, after struggling through that course from Hades High School with a passing grade I wasn’t proud of, I hoped that I would never have to deal with that nonsense again. And my hope almost came true. I didn’t have to think about that grammar stuff throughout the rest of my high school classes, or in college. And by that time, I had forgotten about all about that class, and everything Ms. Blouse tried to teach us.

And then came seminary, and with it, courses that made me wish that I had paid more attention in that course in English I had to take in my freshman year of high school. In particular, were two courses with a title that I didn’t even know what it meant – Hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is a fancy word that means, quite simply, the art of interpreting Scripture. And for this course, syntax, and the ability to understand the difference between the imperative and the indicative of sentence structure was a must.

Well, from my courses in hermeneutics, I learned that in Scripture and theology, the imperative to action grows out of the indicative. Now, for those of you who have enjoyed those courses in grammar as much as I have, let me put it this way, by repeating another illustration. Before almost every first in my life, like getting the car for the first time, or going on my first date, my father would say to me “Ron, remember who you are. You are a Harbaugh, and what you do reflects upon all of us in this family that bears that name. Behave yourself.”

At the time, all I remember hearing from my Dad was Ron, behave yourself. Like most teens, what I heard from my Dad was just another commandment to infringe on my freedom and fun. I had to be on my best behavior, or he wouldn’t be happy with me. But the way that I had interpreted what my Dad said to me, was to ignore the indicative.

The truth is, I only heard half of my Dad’s statement. My Dad began his comment with the indicative, to remember who I was. He was asking me to remember that I was loved and a member of a family that loved me, and cared about me. And yes, as a member of this family, he was asking me to remember that there are certain values, certain principles around which we are united and bound to each other. That was what my Dad was first asking me to do, to remember that I was a part of a family that loved me.

Out of this knowledge, comes the imperative. By remembering that I am loved and cared about as a member of the family, I am to reflect this fact in the way I live my life. My father’s plea that I behave myself when out on my own, was really a call to reflect the love and values by which I have been embraced by our family. The imperative, the call to action that my Dad was giving me was to live my life as a person who knows the love and nurture of the family, whose name I bear.

Dad was not saying to me, “Behave yourself, or I won’t love you, and you can’t be a Harbaugh any more.” He was saying to me, Ron, you are a Harbaugh, and we love you, reflect that fact as you go out from this home on your own, by your actions to those around you.

This dynamic of the imperative to action growing out of the indicative is the kind of language that we find in our Gospel lesson for this morning. Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

In this statement, the indicative, the statement of fact from which our call to action originates, is quite clear. Jesus tells us, his disciples, those whom he has embraced in baptism to be a member of his heavenly family, “that as God the Father has loved him, so does he love us.” That is the given! That is what is beyond our ability to control! Of this we are assured. Jesus loves us, just as the Father loved him. Just as I was assured of being loved by my family by my Dad, so are we assured of being loved by our crucified and risen Lord.

The imperative, the call to action, grows out of the knowledge that we are loved by God, and embraced by God as a cherished member of his family, forgiven by his grace and loved beyond all expectations. To know this, to remember this, is what give rise to Jesus’ request that we live our lives reflecting to those around us that we are a member of God’s family by keeping his commandment to love one another, as he has loved us.

I think it is important that we grasp the significance of this text clearly. It would be easy for us to turn this text upside down, just as I did as a teen, and interpret the message to read backwards, as if Jesus said, “If you keep my commandment, you will abide in my love. Or even worse, would be to read these words of Jesus as if they said, “God will love us, if we keep God’s commandments. But that is not what Jesus is saying. He is telling us that we are loved by God, so live your life reflecting that fact. In this way, we will continue to reflect that we know that we are a member of God’s family, and through our love, invite others to embrace the redeeming love of God.

To me, understanding these verses in their proper syntax makes all the difference to knowing the unmerited grace of God. It tells me that I am first loved by God, even before I am called upon to reflect his love to others. It tells me that God’s love for me is not conditioned upon my actions, as if I must somehow merit his love for me, through earning his love, by my loving others. It tells me that God already loves me, just as my Dad tried to tell me he loved me, so many years ago. And even though I knew that to be a fact, as time went on, I came to hear his true message, and, like a good parent, repeat it to my own children, much to the same closed ears that I once had.

But as the years progressed, I must admit that my children came to hear the imperative flowing out of the indicative. They came to understand, through the love of their own children, what it meant to issue a command stemming from love.

May God’s Spirit so grant us the wisdom to see this text this morning as our risen Lord truly meant it. We are first of all, members of his family. We are redeemed, forgiven and loved by God. We are, through our faith and baptism, members of his family. That is the indicative. That is who we are. Through the power of God’s Spirit, may we be reminded of this fact, each moment of our life, and strive to reflect the love and ethics of the family to which we belong.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, through your gift of grace, revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus the Christ, you have redeemed us from sin and death, and have made us children of your eternal kingdom. Through our baptism, you have promised to love us and accept us as your own, without condition. Still, we are confronted with you commandments, your will for our lives. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, help us to be obedient disciples of our crucified and risen Lord, and live our lives according to command to love one another. This we ask in his holy name. 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. Ronald Harbaugh on May 15, 2009.
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, May 6, 2018 - Sixth Sunday of Easter


O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, May 6, 2018 - Sixth Sunday of Easter


John 15:9 (NIV) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

Read all of John 15

Listen to John 15

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 mis hijos


Oración por mis hijos

Ustedes, padres, no hagan enojar a sus hijos, sino críenlos según la disciplina e instrucción del Señor.
~ Efesios 6:4 (NVI)

Mi Dios, gracias porque puedo colocar el nombre de mis hijos en esta oración.

Gracias porque he comprendido que los hijos son más que una extensión de mi vida, que son una herencia tuya y que tengo mucho que aprender de ellos.

Te agradezco porque a partir de hoy, y con tu ayuda, sacaré adelante a mis hijos. Tendré más en cuenta sus talentos y sus sueños para instruirles y no para ser un obstáculo en sus vidas.

Como padres, te pedimos perdón por las veces que los humillamos con malas palabras.

Te pedimos perdón por las veces que los maltratamos de manera física para disciplinarlo.

Perdóname también por las veces que los reprendimos injustamente.

Ahora, te suplico que me ayudes a ganar el tiempo perdido y me des las palabras oportunas para pedirles perdón.

Sana sus corazones y danos la oportunidad de ser una nueva familia en Cristo Jesús.

Amén y amén.

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

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FAMILY PERSECUTION


FAMILY PERSECUTION

“…I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.”

Anyone who has become a Christian in a family of unbelievers can testify to the hundreds of ways persecution can be experienced. Jesus warned us up front about this in chilling language. It was Jesus who experienced this from his own family, being chided and misunderstood (Luke 2:48), and his “own people did not accept him” (John 1:11).

Most families in the world are not nuclear in nature, but extended, so an entire web of kinship relations are fouled up by the action of becoming a Christian. It can be very difficult to make one’s way in the world accordingly. We could even say it is one’s family culture that rejects the Christian witness. One reason for this is over-familiarity. Jesus generalizes from his experience of rejection in Nazareth saying, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown” (Matthew 13:57).

This goes right back to the dawn of human history. The first recorded act of violence was due to family persecution—Cain murdering his brother Abel out of religious jealousy. King David bemoans the betrayal of a close friend in Psalm 41:9, “Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” Jeremiah is dismayed to find members of his own family involved in an assassination plot against him; “…even your kinsfolk and your own family, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you” (Jeremiah 12:6).

In China today, if a student converts to Christianity it is the parents that insist he or she give up her faith, for fear of an inferior work placement bringing dishonor to the family. In many Buddhist societies, like Burma, to become a Christian is tantamount to saying “I am no longer Burmese.”

It is family misunderstanding that is often hardest to bear. After all, we long for the love of those who have nurtured us. To have that love relationship ruptured ranks as one of the greatest traumas a human being can face.

In Pakistan, a father was asked why he murdered his daughter. He answered simply, “I didn’t murder my daughter. When she became a Christian, she was no longer my daughter.” He will never be charged for his crime.

RESPONSE: Today I will treasure my family and watch for Satan’s subtle attacks against it.

PRAYER: Pray for those experiencing Satan’s deadly tactic of persecution from family members.

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

LHM Devotion - May 6, 2018 - Let Them Know

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180506

Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Let Them Know"

May 6, 2018

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As far as I can tell, there are all kinds of ways to say thank you to someone.

For example, you can express your appreciation through a formal card, or you can shoot someone an email. You might send them flowers or some other token which show your gratitude. You might even visit with your benefactor face to face.

Of course, you could always play a baseball game in their backyard.

What, you've never heard of showing gratitude through a baseball game? I guess I hadn't either until I heard the story of 19-year-old Zach Seavers. He plays college ball for Lewis and Clark College. What follows is his story.

For years Zach had been close to his grandmother, Marilyn.

You see, Marilyn had been more than a grandmother to Zach and his sister. She had been a friend. She was a friend who took them shopping and to the movies. Goodness, they even played practical jokes on each other. Oh, one other thing Marilyn did ... she attended all of Zach's baseball games.

Hardly ever missed a game until she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.

Knowing that grandma was no longer able to come to his games, Zach asked his teammates if they would be willing to help him take the game to grandma. To their credit, they agreed. The next day he had his aunt place grandma in her wheelchair and bring her to the window overlooking the backyard.

When the drapes were open, grandma saw Zach and almost a dozen of his fellow players had laid out a baseball diamond in her backyard. Zach's sister who plays a pretty mean game of softball was also on the field.

Zach's aunt reports that grandma, who has since gone to her Lord, sported a big grin and shed a few very happy tears.

Now it occurs to me that all of us probably have someone or maybe a number of someones who are very special to us. Sadly, we don't often get around to thanking them until the doctor pronounces some terrible diagnosis. Now I don't know who is on your list. Maybe there is a lifelong friend, possibly a teacher, maybe even a spouse or parent to whom you owe a debt of gratitude.

If that is the case, I encourage you, don't let this week slip away without letting them know of your appreciation. Remember, there are a lot of ways to give thanks.

And as long as you are doing that, why not begin each day with a very special prayer of appreciation to the Lord. It is He who has redeemed you from certain death and damnation; it is He who has been with you every moment of your life, and it is He who is responsible for every good and perfect gift you enjoy.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for all You have done, I give thanks. For salvation and things important, I give thanks. For small things, even things I never knew about, I give thanks. Most of all, for my Savior, I am in Your debt. In Jesus' Name I give thanks. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by McKinley Corbley on April 16, 2018 for the GoodNewsNetwork. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/dying-grandma-was-too-sick-to-attend-so-college-baseball-team-took-the-game-to-her/#.Wtws9WiL2CU.email

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
As far as I can tell, there are all kinds of ways to say thank you to someone.

Notre Pain Quotidien - S’appuyer sur les promesses

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/05/06/sappuyer-sur-les-promesses/

S’appuyer sur les promesses

Lisez : Jean 15.5-8
La Bible en un an : 1 Rois 21 – 22 ; Luc 23.26-56

[Demandez] ce que vous voudrez, et cela vous sera accordé. (V. 7)

L’ami de mon frère (lorsqu’ils étaient tous les deux enfants) a assuré à sa sœur qu’un parapluie suffirait à la garder dans les airs si seulement elle « y croyait ». C’est ainsi que, « par la foi », elle s’est jetée du toit de la grange et s’est assommée au sol, souffrant d’une commotion mineure.

Ce que Dieu promet de faire, il le fait. Reste que nous devons veiller à nous appuyer sur ses véritables paroles lorsque nous lui demandons de tenir promesse, car ce n’est qu’alors que nous aurons l’assurance qu’il fera ou nous donnera ce qu’il a promis de faire ou de nous donner. La foi ne détient aucun pouvoir en soi. Elle ne compte que lorsqu’elle repose sur une promesse limpide de Dieu. Toute autre chose n’est que vœux pieux.

Voici un cas d’espèce : Dieu nous a fait la promesse suivante. « [Demandez] ce que vous voudrez, et cela vous sera accordé. Si vous portez beaucoup de fruit, c’est ainsi que mon Père sera glorifié » (JN 15.7,8). Par ces versets, Dieu ne promet pas d’exaucer toutes les prières que nous lui adressons, mais plutôt de répondre chaque fois à notre désir de droiture, ce que Paul appelle « le fruit de l’Esprit » (GA 5.22,23). Si nous avons faim et soif de sainteté et que nous la sollicitons auprès de Dieu, il se mettra à nous accorder satisfaction. Il faudra du temps, car la croissance spirituelle, comme la croissance physique, est progressive. Ne baissez pas les bras. Continuez de demander à Dieu de vous rendre saint. En son temps et à son rythme, « il le fera pour vous ». Dieu ne fait pas de promesses en l’air.

Nous avons un Dieu qui tient ses promesses.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ
L’ami de mon frère (lorsqu’ils étaient tous les deux enfants) a assuré à sa sœur qu’un parapluie suffirait à la garder dans les airs si seulement elle « y croyait ».