Friday, May 31, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for FRIDAY, May 31, 2019

Revelation 22:6

The Daily Lectionary
FRIDAY, May 31, 2019
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Psalm 97
The Glory of God’s Reign
1  The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
     let the many coastlands be glad!
2  Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
     righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3  Fire goes before him,
     and consumes his adversaries on every side.
4  His lightnings light up the world;
     the earth sees and trembles.
5  The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
     before the Lord of all the earth.

6  The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
     and all the peoples behold his glory.
7  All worshipers of images are put to shame,
     those who make their boast in worthless idols;
     all gods bow down before him.
8  Zion hears and is glad,
     and the towns of Judah rejoice,
     because of your judgments, O God.
9  For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
     you are exalted far above all gods.

10 The Lord loves those who hate evil;
     he guards the lives of his faithful;
     he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light dawns for the righteous,
     and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
     and give thanks to his holy name!

Exodus 33:12-17
Moses’ Intercession
33:12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

Revelation 22:6-9
22:6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

7 “See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Epilogue and Benediction
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

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 Daily Lectionary is a three year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2019, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2018 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest on what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
“These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

Verse of the Day FRIDAY, May 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NIV&search=1%20Thessalonians%204:16-17

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Read all of 1 Thessalonians 4

Listen to 1 Thessalonians 4

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 - Friday, May 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/05/31

Semana de celebración: La oración

Ustedes me invocarán, y vendrán a suplicarme, y yo los escucharé. Me buscarán y me encontrarán, cuando me busquen de todo corazón.

La oración no debe ser la repetición como loritos de las palabras que nos han enseñado. La oración va más allá, pues es un principio de vida. Es un recurso que nos dejó Dios a fin de interceder por los demás. Es una comunicación directa con Él.

En el momento de la oración debemos abrir nuestro corazón al Padre que está ahí pendiente de lo que estamos orando. Por eso, la oración no es una técnica, aunque debemos aprender a orar y ser precisos en la manera de orar. Es decir, debemos ser específicos cuando le estemos pidiendo algo a Dios.

La oración por las necesidades de los demás trae también tremendos beneficios. En el Manual de Instrucciones, Dios dice que cuando nos preocupamos por los problemas de los demás, Él se preocupa por los nuestros.

La oración es milagrosa. Además, la oración debe servir de protección. Por eso es tan importante cubrir con oración a nuestros hijos, cónyuges y hasta el trabajo y los compañeros. La oración es tan poderosa que Dios nos manda a orar hasta por nuestros enemigos.

La Palabra también nos dice que debemos orar sin cesar. Si no estás acostumbrado a hacerlo, no te preocupes. Empieza poco a poco cuando estés a solas con Dios. Habla con Él y hazlo todos los días hasta que llegue el momento en que, aun cuando estés es la calle, te encuentres en comunicación permanente con tu Padre.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
La oración no debe ser la repetición como loritos de las palabras que nos han enseñado. La oración va más allá, pues es un principio de vida. Es un recurso que nos dejó Dios a fin de interceder por los demás. Es una comunicación directa con Él.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Friday, May 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/05/31
WHICH ARE YOU?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

A young woman went to her mother and told her how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked. “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. After being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength? Or are you an egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after a loved-one’s death, a relationship breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside you are bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or are you like a coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If I am like the bean, when things are at their worst, I get better and change the situation around me through Christ-likeness.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?

RESPONSE: Christians are like carrots, eggs or coffee beans. They don’t know how strong their response is until they get into hot water. Which are you?

PRAYER: Lord, help me realize that every experience You gives me, every person You put in my path, is the perfect preparation only You can see.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?

Men of the Bible - Friday, May 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/men-of-the-bible/2019/05/31

Absalom

His name means: "Father Is Peace"

His work: David's third son, Absalom, was a brilliant military and political strategist.
His character: Absalom's remarkable assets of good looks and diplomacy became great liabilities, leading to his untimely death.
His sorrow: When Absalom's sister was raped by his oldest half brother, Absalom began a life of anger, rebellion, and revenge.
His triumph: For a time, Absalom was successful in gathering support against his father's reign.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 13-15

A Look at the Man

Absalom was a very special young man. Brimming with gifts and natural abilities, he was a natural-born leader. People were drawn toward him.

But Absalom was also a vicious conniver. Throughout his life, his bitter heart became a caldron of hatred and death.

Growing up in the palace of the king of Israel may not have been as delight as some in the kingdom may have envisioned. Absalom's father's sinfulness and the confusion of living in a home with David's multiple wives and a houseful of half siblings would likely have created untold chaos. Imagine this...

Absalom had a sister, Tamar, by his mother, Maacah. His half brother and David's oldest son, Amnon, was in love with her and tried to seduce her. Because she resisted, he set a trap for her. Pretending to be sick, Amnon asked David to order Tamar to tend to her half brother, which he did. But when Tamar brought food to Amnon, he pled with her to sleep with him. When she resisted, he raped her.

When word came to Absalom that his sister had been violated, he hated Amnon but said nothing to him. For two years Absalom seethed, plotting his revenge against his half brother. When the trap was set, Absalom had Amnon murdered.

Absalom did not see his father for three years. And instead of seeking out Absalom and confronting him with his treachery, David "longed to go to Absalom." What Absalom needed was a father who loved him enough to deal strictly with his violence. What Absalom got was a tentative father who was unwilling to jeopardize his son's affection. And what David got in exchange for his fear was a son who hated him for his powerlessness—a son who secretly resolved to overthrow him.

Suffering from the guilt of his own sinfulness, David was unwilling to hand Absalom any semblance of justice. For three years Absalom plotted his father's demise. And like an unsheltered man unwilling to acknowledge a gathering storm, David refused to see the dark clouds in his son's eyes.

Absalom was a man overflowing with potential. If only he had channeled those talents wisely! If only his father had helped him. But because he had neither the self-control nor the parental control to reign in his resentment and acrimony, Absalom died violently.

And David was forced to spend the rest of his life dealing with the agonizing "if onlys." If only I had not sinned with Bathsheba, bringing all of this treachery to my family. If only I had loved my children enough to discipline them.

When the Cushite reported to David that Absalom was dead, he was shaken. "O my son Absalom! My son Absalom!"

The tragic story of Absalom ends with one final "if only" from the king. "If only I had died instead of you," David wailed uncontrollably. "O Absalom, my son, my son!"

Reflect On: 2 Samuel 15:1–12
Praise God: For acting with both justice and mercy.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has disciplined you.
Confess: Any tendency to blame others for problems and difficulties you have brought on yourself.
Ask God: To treat you not as your sins deserve but according to his mercy.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.
David's third son, Absalom, was a brilliant military and political strategist.

Girlfriends in God - Friday, May 31, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/2019/05/31

Warrior Not Worrier

Today’s truth

Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying? If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest? Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith? Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.
~ Luke 12:25-31 (HCSB)

Friend to Friend

I saw the slogan “Warrior Not Worrier” on a T-Shirt recently and it hit me. It hit me so much so that I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I tend to be the worrier. Sometimes worry grabs hold of me and I don’t even know it. I worry about finances and relationships and my purpose and the future. It’s not intentional.

I happen to be a first born who grew up like an only child. So, I have tendencies of both. I am a planner. I am all about the details. I like to be in control. I like to know what is coming next. I like things done my way, in my timing.

It’s a lot, right? And for some reason God like things done His way, in His timing. Imagine that…the Creator of the Universe knows better than I do. But how often do I forget that? How often do you forget that?

In my anxiety and need to know all the outcomes, I am missing out on a sweet work that God wants to accomplish within me.

These verses in Luke blow me away every time I read them. I often forget that God is a good Father who has my best in mind. I am all too occupied with what situations look like in the natural rather than through His perspective. His heart for us is to remember His goodness and His love toward us. As we remember that, we lean into His presence and find rest there.

In that rest we, find peace and faith and trust. We step into our true identities as the beloved daughters of God. We step into the fullness of His power. We become warriors who fight the good fight and allow His past faithfulness to build our present faith.

It breaks His heart to watch us strive and worry and fear because He didn’t give us that spirit. He gave us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. We may not know all that the future holds, but we know who holds our future.

It’s that simple. It’s not always easy, but as we continue to seek the Lord and His Kingdom, He increases our faith. As we set our gaze on the giver of every perfect gift, He opens the floodgates of Heaven with every blessing and provision.

Then, we become living examples of God’s goodness, grace and love to a lost and hopeless world around us.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for being good and kind to us. You are loving and faithful beyond all reason. Thank You for the gift of faith. Thank You for reminding us that You are our provider and it is Your delight to do so. You call us beloved. You shower peace in our hearts and rest to our souls. May we seek You above all the cares of this world. May we tune every other voice out in order to hear Your whisper. We thank You for the work You’re doing even when we don’t understand or can’t see it. May our lives trust You at all times, in every way.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you tend to be more of a worrier or a warrior? In what ways is your faith built up? How has God reminded you of His promise to provide?

More from the Girlfriends

Karina Allen is devoted to helping women live out their unique calling and building authentic community through practical application of Scripture inn an approachable, winsome manner. You can connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and my blog.

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Girlfriends in God

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This hit me so much so that I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.

LHM Daily Devotions - Bearing Fruit and Full of Sap

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190531

"Bearing Fruit and Full of Sap"

May 31, 2019

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

The Word of God speaks much about palm trees. Psalm 92:12 says the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the children of Israel were to live in shelters made of palm branches.

Jericho was known as the "city of palm trees," according to Deuteronomy 34:3. In the New Testament, when Jesus was making His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the people took palm branches, went forth to meet Him and cried, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" (John 12:13b). Palm leaves are an emblem of victory.

Most other trees have a bark under which the sap flows, and they grow up by an increase just under the bark. This could typify "surface" Christians. Their lives are only bark deep, so they are deeply affected by outside circumstances, persecutions, and trials. However, the coconut palm has its life hidden in the center. God has created it to draw its life up through the center of its trunk. This is a beautiful picture of Christians who have Jesus at the center of their lives. Their lives are hidden in God, not dependent on outward circumstances.

The coconut palm is a constant fruit-bearer. It bears fruit every month, and always has at its top both fruit in every stage of development and fresh blossoms.

As Paul says, by God's presence the fruit of the Spirit is nurtured in our lives, too: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22b-23a).

The Lord also wants us to be fruitful spiritually, bringing the increase of God's Spirit by witnessing to others what Jesus has done in our lives and directing them to the saving knowledge of our Lord.

The coconut palm has attractive beauty. It has no limbs, but long, graceful leaves that stretch out from the top with beauty and grace unmatched by other trees. As we abide in Christ under God's holy guidance and spend time in His presence, something happens within us. We are being changed. People see in us more and more of the beauty and radiance of our Lord.

The coconut palm has long life. A palm tree that is 100 years old will still yield beautiful foliage and as fine a fruit as in its younger years. So also God wants His children to live full and satisfying lives for His glory.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, make us flourish like the palm tree, bearing spiritual fruit, reflecting the image of Christ, and living with purpose through all of our days. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

From The Lutheran Layman, June 1979 issue, "Living as 'Palm Tree' Christians," by Frances Hurst. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the children of Israel were to live in shelters made of palm branches.

Devocional de la CPTLN del 31 de Mayo de 2019 - Dando fruto


ALIMENTO DIARIO

Dando fruto

31 de Mayo de 2019

Los justos florecerán como las palmeras; crecerán como los cedros del Líbano. Serán plantados en la casa del Señor, y florecerán en los atrios de nuestro Dios. Aun en su vejez darán frutos y se mantendrán sanos y vigorosos para anunciar que el Señor es mi fortaleza, y que él es recto y en él no hay injusticia.

La Palabra de Dios habla mucho de las palmeras. El Salmo 92:12 dice que los justos florecerán como una palmera. Durante la Fiesta de los Tabernáculos, los hijos de Israel debían vivir en refugios hechos de ramas de palmeras.

Según Deuteronomio 34:3, Jericó era conocida como la "ciudad de las palmeras". En el Nuevo Testamento, cuando Jesús estaba haciendo su entrada triunfal en Jerusalén, la gente tomó ramas de palmas, salió a su encuentro y gritó: "¡Hosanna! ¡Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor, el Rey de Israel!" (Juan 12:13b). Las hojas de palmas son un emblema de la victoria.

La mayoría de los otros árboles tienen una corteza bajo la cual fluye la savia, y crecen por un aumento justo debajo de la corteza. Esto podría tipificar a los cristianos "superficiales". Sus vidas son solo profundas como la corteza, por lo que se ven vulnerables a las circunstancias externas, persecuciones y juicios. Sin embargo, la palma de coco tiene la vida escondida en el centro. Dios la ha creado para sacar la vida a través del centro de su tronco. Esta es una hermosa imagen de los cristianos que tienen a Jesús en el centro de sus vidas. Sus vidas están escondidas en Dios, no dependen de las circunstancias externas.

La palma de coco es una portadora constante de fruta. Produce frutos todos los meses y siempre tiene en su cima tanto frutos en cada etapa de desarrollo como flores frescas.

Por la presencia de Dios, el fruto del Espíritu también se nutre de nuestras vidas: "amor, gozo, paz, paciencia, amabilidad, bondad, fidelidad, gentileza, dominio propio" (Gálatas 5:22b-23a).

El Señor quiere que seamos fructíferos espiritualmente, trayendo el aumento del Espíritu de Dios al dar testimonio a otros de lo que Jesús ha hecho en nuestras vidas y dirigirlos al conocimiento salvador de nuestro Señor.

La palma de coco tiene una belleza atractiva. No tiene extremidades, sino hojas largas y gráciles que se extienden desde la parte superior con la belleza y la gracia que otros árboles no pueden igualar. Al permanecer en Cristo bajo la sagrada guía de Dios y pasar tiempo en su presencia, algo sucede dentro de nosotros. Estamos siendo cambiados y más de la belleza y el resplandor de nuestro Señor se verá en nosotros.

La palma de coco tiene larga vida. Una palmera que tiene 100 años todavía dará un hermoso follaje y una fruta tan fina como en sus años más jóvenes. Así como la palma de coco tiene una larga vida, Dios quiere que sus hijos vivan vidas plenas y satisfactorias para su gloria.

ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, enséñanos a ser como la maravillosa palma de coco: dando fruto espiritual, reflejando la imagen de Cristo y viviendo con propósito durante todos nuestros días. En el Nombre de Jesús. Amén.

De The Lutheran Layman, edición de junio de 1979, "Vivir como cristianos de la 'Palmera'", por Frances Hurst. © Copyright 2019 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
Durante la Fiesta de los Tabernáculos, los hijos de Israel debían vivir en refugios hechos de ramas de palmeras.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày - Ở Đây Vì Bạn

https://vietnamese-odb.org/2019/05/31/o-day-vi-ban/

Ở Đây Vì Bạn

Đọc: Phục Truyền 15:7-11 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: II Sử ký 13-14; Giăng 12:1-26

Tôi truyền dặn anh em rằng: “Hãy mở rộng bàn tay giúp đỡ người túng thiếu, nghèo khó trong xứ anh em.” Phục Truyền 15:11

Cũng như ở các thành phố khác trên thế giới, tại vùng ngoại ô Pa-ri, người ta đến trợ giúp những người vô gia cư trong cộng đồng. Quần áo được bọc trong những túi chống nước và treo trên hàng rào để người sống trên đường phố có thể đến lấy theo nhu cầu. Những chiếc túi được dán nhãn: “Đây không phải là đồ bị thất lạc; nhưng dành tặng bạn nếu bạn thấy lạnh.” Nỗ lực này không chỉ đem đến sự ấm áp cho những người vô gia cư mà còn dạy cộng đồng về tầm quan trọng của việc giúp đỡ những người thiếu thốn xung quanh họ.

Kinh Thánh nhấn mạnh đến tầm quan trọng của việc quan tâm đến người nghèo, dạy chúng ta “sè tay mình ra” với họ (Phục. 15:11). Chúng ta dễ bị cám dỗ ngoảnh mặt đi trước cảnh ngộ của người nghèo, giữ chặt những gì mình có thay vì chia sẻ. Nhưng Chúa khích lệ chúng ta nhận biết rằng luôn có những người nghèo xung quanh mình và do đó chúng ta phải chia sẻ rời rộng với họ, chứ không phải bằng “tấm lòng miễn cưỡng” (c.10). Chúa Jêsus nói rằng qua việc ban cho người nghèo, chúng ta nhận lãnh của báu lâu bền trên thiên đàng (Lu. 12:33).

Có lẽ không ai nhìn biết sự rời rộng của chúng ta, ngoài Chúa. Nhưng khi ban cho cách rời rộng, chúng ta không chỉ đáp ứng nhu cầu của người xung quanh mà còn kinh nghiệm sự vui mừng mà Chúa dành cho mình khi chu cấp cho người khác. Xin Chúa mở mắt chúng ta và ban cho chúng ta đôi tay rộng mở để đáp ứng nhu cầu của những người mà Ngài đặt để xung quanh mình.
Bạn có đang nắm chặt những gì mình có không? Nếu có, vì sao? Hôm nay bạn có thể đáp ứng nhu cầu nào?
Việc chia sẻ rời rộng bày tỏ lòng tin vào sự chu cấp đầy yêu thương và thành tín của Chúa.


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Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Daily Lectionary for THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 - Ascension of the Lord

The Ascension of Jesus

The Daily Lectionary
THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 - Ascension of the Lord
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Acts 1:1-11
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
1:1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension of Jesus
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Psalm 47
God’s Rule over the Nations
To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
1  Clap your hands, all you peoples;
     shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2  For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
     a great king over all the earth.
3  He subdued peoples under us,
     and nations under our feet.
4  He chose our heritage for us,
     the pride of Jacob whom he loves.   Selah

5  God has gone up with a shout,
     the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6  Sing praises to God, sing praises;
     sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7  For God is the king of all the earth;
     sing praises with a psalm.

8  God is king over the nations;
     God sits on his holy throne.
9  The princes of the peoples gather
     as the people of the God of Abraham.
   For the shields of the earth belong to God;
     he is highly exalted.

or

Psalm 93
The Majesty of God’s Rule
1  The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
     the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
   He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2    your throne is established from of old;
     you are from everlasting.

3  The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
     the floods have lifted up their voice;
     the floods lift up their roaring.
4  More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
     more majestic than the waves of the sea,
     majestic on high is the Lord!

5 Your decrees are very sure;
    holiness befits your house,
    O Lord, forevermore.

Ephesians 1:15-23
Paul’s Prayer
1:15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Luke 24:44-53
24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension of Jesus
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

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 Daily Lectionary is a three year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2019, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2018 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest on what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.

Verse of the Day THURSDAY, May 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NIV&search=Psalm%2056:4

Psalm 56:4 (NIV) In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Read all of Psalm 56

Listen to Psalm 56

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

“The Ascension of Jesus” The Sermon for THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 - Ascension Day


Our message comes to us today from the 1st chapter of Acts, beginning with the 1st verse.

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:1-11, NRSV)

All mighty God, we thank you for your word and the way that you in it revealed to us who you are and what you've done for us in Christ. Now as we open that word we pray that your spirit may be present, that all thoughts of worry or distraction may be removed and that the Spirit will allow us to hear your voice. And so, oh God, fill us with your spirit through the reading and proclamation of your word this day. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

“The Ascension of Jesus”

Before the days of modern navigational aids a traveler made the Atlantic crossing in a boat equipped with two compasses. One was fixed to the deck where the man at the wheel could see it. The other compass was fastened up on one of the masts, and often a sailor would be seen climbing up to inspect it.

The passenger asked the captain, “Why do you have two compasses?”

“This is an iron vessel,” replied the captain, “and the compass on the deck is often affected by its surroundings. Such is not the case with the compass at the masthead; that one is above the influence. We steer by the compass above.

As Christians, where is our compass? Is it on the earth, or is it in things above? Today, I’d like to look at the story of the ascension and examine both what it means in the ministry of Jesus, as well as how it affects us today. What was the ascension, and why should we spend time looking up?

In the Old Testament, Jesus was the messiah predicted from long ago. The prophecies of old talked about a coming messiah. Throughout the scriptures that our Jewish fathers followed, the words spoke of savior who would rescue men from sin and lead the world to redemption.

When Jesus finally came on the scene, it was with much fanfare: a star leading the way for wise men and angels rejoicing the birth of new king. We make a big deal out of Christmas with trees, colorful lights, beautiful displays in stores, concerts in our schools, Christmas markets and even carolers. We celebrate the gifts the wise men brought to the messiah when we exchange gifts with family and friends. We celebrate Christmas with a bang and it’s a very big deal. We remember the coming of our Lord into this world. We don’t forget that Jesus came into the world.

Similarly, leading up to Easter, we remember the week prior with mid-week services during the season of Lent. We get palm leaves to celebrate Palm Sunday and the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Some choose not to eat meat on Fridays during this remembrance period. During Holy Week, we remember the first communion that Jesus celebrated with his disciples and the events that eventually lead to the cross and His death. The celebration really begins with Easter as we celebrate His resurrection and the defeat of death! We throw special celebrations with sunrise services, often accompanied by pancake breakfasts or special Sunday brunches set-up especially for the day. We decorate crosses with flowers, put on our new, best clothes for the day and make a special day of the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. We don’t forget that Jesus died and rose again.

From the prophecies of a coming savior, to the birth of our Lord, to the death and resurrection, we celebrate these events as we should, but we don’t give the same attention to the ascension of our Lord. For 40 days, Jesus walked the earth after His resurrection. For 40 days, He continued to meet with and witness to many. When His final earthly message was delivered, He rose up into a cloud with a few disciples as witnesses. Today, I’d like to look at the significance of that event and see what it tells us of the things to come.

Think about the events that led up to this passage of Acts read a moment ago. Jesus has suffered so many pains and heart-aches that we can scarcely understand the physical and emotional suffering. He bore on His shoulders the punishment of sinners, even though He Himself was a spotless lamb. He willingly suffered on our behalf.

Three days later, He rose from the dead and walked among men. He appeared to His disciples and allowed Thomas to touch the wounds. He even ate with them to show that He had a physical body.

But, some have contended that Jesus’ raising from the dead was only in the imagination of a few delusional men and women. Others have gone on to say that even His death on the cross never happened. How much credence do these stories have? Is it possible that Jesus lived a different life as the book the DaVinci Code would have us believe? If so, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension would all be fiction. But, God’s plans are not so easily dismissed. Jesus did die. Jesus did rise from the dead and Jesus did ascend to Heaven.

God added credence to the truth that Jesus was truly raised by allowing 40 days on earth to walk, talk, and reach out. He did these things to show that it was not a dream. He did these things to give credit to the stories that would follow. He talked with his disciples during this period and gave them directions of what to do next. In Matthew 28, Jesus gave a direct command to His disciples. He said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

At this point, the disciples had seen numerous miracles. Jesus had healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, raised the dead and even risen from the dead! For 40 days he continued his ministry with the disciples preparing them for the things to come. He used this time to build them up and send them on their way.

But, Jesus had no intention on continuing this phase of his ministry forever. When the time was right, He chose to return to the Heavenly realm and allow the disciples to enter into their own ministry. The ascension ended Jesus ministry on earth and began the phase of the Apostles.

But, it was more than a dividing line. It also demonstrated God’s power. Jesus defeated death, then defeated gravity. Jesus showed that He was able to go beyond the normal rules that apply to men and showed the power of God. The ascension demonstrated that Jesus is still alive.

Before He took this journey, Jesus explained what He was going to do. In John 14, Jesus said “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Jesus is going to prepare a place for us and we are to join him.

He REALLY  is coming back.

Keep this text in mind as we continue, but, let’s go back to our message in Acts for a moment. The words “in the same way” show that Jesus will come again. Just like his first coming was a physical appearance and a visible body, so again the next coming will also be a physical appearance with a visible body. Jesus came back from the grave not just as a vision in the minds of believers, but in the physical appearances to over 500 people. Acts chapter 2 attests that there were many people who saw our Lord and not just the few wishful thinking. When Luke wrote of this appearance, there were still many walking around the earth who could attest to the fact that this took place. This was not the wild and lose imagination of a select few wishful thinkers. This was the unbelievable power of God shown in the resurrection of the messiah.

The ascension was another of these public displays. It was another way to confirm that this was not an ordinary man that suffered punishment of Roman rule. It was a message that God was there with this chosen one. It was a message that His ministry, His words, His message were all unique and different.

But, more than marking that Jesus ministry was other than ordinary, He had a word that we need to pay attention to today. Take a look again at Acts 1, verse 11. Two men robed in white, probably Angels sent to deliver this message, said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Jesus' resurrection was truly in body and not just in spirit. He ate with the disciples. He allowed Thomas to touch his wounds and his side. He walked, talked, breathed and interacted with those around Him. The disciples had no idea that He was going to leave them. They were enjoying the company, companionship and the leadership of their previously dead Rabbi. They wanted to continue to follow Him and gain the insight that only He could provide. They wanted to continue with what they had enjoyed in the past. But, this was not to be. Jesus left the world into a cloud and left in a miraculous way just as his resurrection was miraculous.

But, that’s not the end of the story The Angels who spoke gave us a promise that Jesus would again come. His coming would not be in a vision or a dream, but would be a physical appearance. He will come back in another unexpected way just as he left in an unexpected way. As he ascended to on high, He will one day return.

Just as the disciples didn’t know that Jesus was going to leave them, we don’t know when Jesus will return. We don’t know when Jesus will come again to take His followers to the place He has prepared. The disciples were prepared by Jesus Himself to begin their ministry as the Apostles. We don’t have the physical Jesus to prepare ourselves, but we continue to have His words of wisdom and the promise that He will always be there for us in the future. We must be ready when He chooses to come back.

I’d like to close with a story which I think best sums up our situation today.

A young lady busied herself getting ready for a blind date. He had promised dinner at an exclusive downtown restaurant with live music and dancing. Wanting to make a good first impression she had taken the day off work. She cleaned her apartment; she went out that afternoon to have her hair done and get a manicure. When she got home she put on her best dress and was ready for her date’s arrival. The time came and went, but he did not knock.

After waiting over an hour she realized that she had been stood up. She took off her dress, let down her hair, put on her pajamas, gathered all her favorite junk food and plopped down to watch TV with her dog. Sometime later there was a knock at the door; it was her date.

He looked at her surprised and said, “What! I gave you two extra hours and you’re still not ready to go?”

Jesus has given us a few hours more than we expected, but he is coming. Does your life reveal that you are ready for his return, or is your profession not matched by your practice?

The waiting began many years ago with the ascension of Jesus into the Heavenly Kingdom. He left because his earthly ministry was over. He had another phase of service to prepare a place for our arrival. As believers, that Heavenly home is waiting for us just as we wait for the coming of our savior.

Just as the woman in our story waited for her date, we too wait for the bride-groom of heaven. However, it’s up to us to be prepared for He will arrive when we least expect it.

Let us pray:
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, right before your Ascension into heaven you told your apostles to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth upon receiving the Holy Spirit. May I be similarly inspired to spread your Gospel message in word and deed, according to your will for me. And may I do so prudently and joyfully, with your help, your guidance, and your grace! And remembering this glorious event, help me to seek what is above, Heaven, where you are seated at the right hand of God the Father! We pray in Christ's name, Amen.


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Scripture taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)® Bible, copyright © 1989 the 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. Sermon contributed by Rev. Scott Jensen.
The Ascension is an important part of the ministry of Jesus. He came to save our sins and He will come again when we least expect it. Be ready!

Un dia a la Vez - Thursday, May 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/05/30

Semana de celebración: La búsqueda

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

Esta semana la hemos dedicado a celebrar todo lo que Dios ha hecho en nuestras vidas y lo que hará. Hemos realizado un recorrido por distintas situaciones en las que hemos visto su protección, sus nuevas oportunidades, su fidelidad y sus regalos de amor. La pregunta que cabe ahora es la siguiente: ¿Cómo es que después de todo lo que Él hace por ti no vas a la iglesia?

Dios quiere que vayas a la iglesia porque allí crecerás en lo espiritual y escucharás palabra que necesitas oír. Además, cuando vas a la iglesia, estás ayudando a guardar tu vida y la de tus hijos de modo que crezcan en sus caminos rodeados de personas que se preocuparán por sus vidas. También te podrás sentir útil. Muchas veces las personas me dicen: «¿En qué puedo ayudar si quiero servir a Dios y deseo hacer algo por los demás?».

Pues bien, las iglesias están llenas de necesidades, ya que son los hospitales de los enfermos del alma. De la misma forma en que tú saliste adelante y te ayudaron, otros necesitan hoy de ti.

Si ya estás en la iglesia, ámala, cuídala, apoya a tus pastores y sigue haciendo lo que Dios te manda. Si aún no vas a ninguna iglesia, es tiempo de buscar una que tenga una sana doctrina y donde tus hijos se puedan sentir felices. Deja el pretexto de que trabajas mucho y no tienes tiempo de ir a la iglesia. ¡Mucho cuidado! Dios podría pensar igual: «No tengo tiempo para tus problemas tampoco».

Hoy celebramos que la búsqueda de Dios y tener una iglesia es una bendición.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Esta semana la hemos dedicado a celebrar todo lo que Dios ha hecho en nuestras vidas y lo que hará. Hemos realizado un recorrido por distintas situaciones en las que hemos visto su protección, sus nuevas oportunidades, su fidelidad y sus regalos de amor. La pregunta que cabe ahora es la siguiente: ¿Cómo es que después de todo lo que Él hace por ti no vas a la iglesia?

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Thursday, May 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/05/30
COMPROMISED BY DECEIT

…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
~ James 1:14-15 (NIV)

One of the touristic highlights of visiting China is to walk on the Great Wall. Six thousand kilometers of wall with ten thousand strategically placed towers stretch across the north of China, reportedly the only man-made object observable from space. Construction of various sections began back in 770 B.C. when rival feudal kingdoms built walls around their territories to keep out invading nomadic tribes from the north. These were eventually joined into one wall. The wall averages eight to ten meters in height and five meters wide.

When you walk on the wall, two history lessons make the visit somewhat somber. First, the wall was built at great cost. Prisoners of war, convicts, soldiers, civilians and farmers provided the labor. Some estimates say “millions died for this cause”. Their bodies were buried in the very foundations of the wall or used to make up its thickness. You walk on top of a cemetery.

The second lesson is that the wall was reportedly breached by Mongol soldiers disguised as peasants pretending to be gathering firewood and leaving behind pieces of fruit when they left the area. The guards decided to go out and retrieve the tempting fruit. This was repeated over time. Eventually the guards were compromised and overpowered and the Mongol army streamed through that tower thereby breaching the Great Wall. So after all the effort to build such an amazing structure for protection, it was rendered useless through simple deceit.

One of Satan’s favorite tactics against believers is deceit. Here’s an example from China. Brother Chen arrived one spring day in 1996 at a small rural Chinese house church group. Some said he was “sent straight from God.” He said so too. He said he had known Wang Ming Dao and he spoke with a loud booming voice. His large eyes held their attention closely, and his whole body shook with vigor at the points he was making. The believers were just so impressed with the way he talked. He quoted lots of Scripture and wove it into a thrilling story.

After a few months, he began to talk about heaven being a city of gold, and that to enter that city they would have to demonstrate that they had given Jesus their gold in their lifetime. Brother Chen said, “Jesus needs your gold to build your mansion in heaven and the more gold you give him now, the bigger your mansion will be.”

Because they were poor, the idea of having a golden mansion in the afterlife was very tempting. They handed over all they owned: family heirlooms, money, some expensive textiles from a distant ancestor. One in the group even gave his motorcycle.

After all the “gold” had been collected, Brother Chen said he had to go and “open the gate of Heaven for them.” He left, on the donated motorcycle. He took most of their savings and he hasn’t been back.

RESPONSE: Be aware today of Satan’s subtle tactics of deceit and intimidation.

PRAYER: Pray for new house church believers in China who are easily deceived by false prophets.

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

Men's Devotional Bible - Thursday, May 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/mens-devotional-bible/2019/05/30
Taking Sin Seriously

Leviticus 16:1–34
Recommended Reading: Isaiah 53:1–12; Romans 3:21–31; Hebrews 8:1—10:39

Once a year one person—the high priest—entered the Most Holy Place. The chosen day, the Day of Atonement, occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month of Israel’s lunar calendar (September–October).

The ritual of this day was complex and somber. The high priest took off his ornate robes and put on simple linen garments. He sacrificed a bull for his own sins and the sins of the other priests. Then he presented two goats to the Lord—one to sacrifice for the sins of the people and the other, known as the “scapegoat,” to take the weight of Israel’s sins outside of the camp.

As he entered the tabernacle the high priest burned incense, obscuring his vision from the atonement cover on top of the ark of the covenant. This prevented him from looking directly at God’s presence. The high priest carried the blood of the bull and the sacrificed goat into the Most Holy Place, using his finger to sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover. Leaving the tabernacle, he took more blood and placed it on the horns of the sacrificial altar.

At the culmination of the ritual, the high priest laid hands on the scapegoat, ritually transferring the sin of Israel to the animal. An assistant then released the scapegoat into the desert. Other actions concluded the ceremony.

The rituals of the Day of Atonement purged the sanctuary of the pollution of a year’s worth of Israel’s sins. Through the year, as Israelites sought forgiveness for their sins, they placed their hands on animals representing themselves. The blood of the sacrificed animals, now symbolically polluted with sin, was splashed, smeared and sprinkled on the altar. The Day of Atonement cleansed the tabernacle itself, as well as the Israelites who worshiped there, of a year’s worth of impurity.

While foreign to us, the Day of Atonement still demonstrates that God takes sin seriously. He requires blood sacrifice to facilitate the removal of sin from his presence. Our sin matches the seriousness of the Israelites’ sin. But we no longer observe these sacrificial rituals, because Jesus Christ serves as our high priest. And that high priest, representing our sins, went alone into God’s presence and offered his own blood as the sacrifice for our sin. His blood was shed once for all time to cover the darkness in our lives. And he himself acted as the scapegoat for us.

So the Day of Atonement is an Old Testament picture of Jesus’ New Testament sacrifice for our sins. Through him God sees us as pure and sin-free when we place our trust in Jesus for eternal life.

To Take Away
  • Reflect on the complex, time-consuming and expensive nature of Old Testament sacrifices. What do you learn about God from this?
  • Do you believe most people think of their sin as a serious issue? Why or why not?
  • What’s your response to Christ’s sacrifice for your sin? Why not respond to God in prayer right now?
Do you believe most people think of their sin as a serious issue? Why or why not?