Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, April 28, 2019 - Second Sunday of Easter


The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, April 28, 2019 - Second Sunday of Easter
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Call to Worship
God’s strong and loving hands are outstretched to all Creation.
Let the world stretch forth and grasp God’s hands with joy.
God’s open hands are as the gate of righteousness.
Let us enter in to God’s abundant life and give thanks.
In God’s hands are new life, strength, and salvation.
Let us be thankful and sing unto our God with gladness.

Prayer of Invocation
O Risen Christ, be with us this day. We recognize your wounded hands; they tell us that you know what it is to struggle and suffer, and to prevail in the power of love. We grasp those hands, that they may lead us together into a deeper place of peace. Our week has left worries, answerless questions, blatant injustices, and unexpected disappointments. We are weary. Come, O Risen Christ and receive our burdens as we empty our cares into your loving hands. Extend to us your joy. Give us imagination enough to pursue your abundant life! Pour into us the freshness of your new life; for you are our strength and our might. How wonderful you are for your loving-kindness toward us.
Amen! Alleluia!

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
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.

Prayer of Confession
In the time that has passed since Easter Sunday, have we become a changed people? Have we lived with hope and promise, trusting in the Risen Christ? Or have we been more like the earliest disciples, still gathered behind locked doors out of fear? Trusting in a second-chance God who meets us as dedicated yet doubting followers, let us confess our sins in the presence of Christ and one another.

Most gracious God, the Earth is yours with all of its fullness.  Your Creation is beautiful and complex in ways beyond our imagination. If we follow its magnificent design, it leads us to You.

Yet we have been so distracted following wrong directions of the contaminated hands of the world—hands that have cut off, torn down, burned up, dug under, held back, built around, and moved out the gifts of the Earth, created for blessing.

We have lost our way and your Creation groans for us to turn back to You. We have been too complacent as we have witnessed the covetous few control too much at the expense of the desperate hungry multitudes.

Forgive us for not exercising the strength of our hands for the good of your Creation. Give pardon for allowing our hands—gifted by You—to rest idling by our sides. We seek the guidance of your hands to point us to your brightest light, salvation, and new life for your suffering Earth. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, the Way. Amen.

Words of Assurance
Risen Jesus, You are our salvation. Your forgiveness causes us to rejoice in your glory. Your nail-scarred touch has endowed within us fullness of grace. We lift our hands in thanksgiving, strong as the upraised branches of your majestic trees. Praise You for the power of your mighty hands upon us, for they reach into the depths of our hearts. You are marvelous!

The Lord's Prayer

"How We Worship" - New Hope Oahu Music
Featuring Jana Anguay Alcain & New Hope Halau

First Reading
Acts 5:27-32
5:27 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Psalm 118:14-29
14 The Lord is my strength and my might;
     he has become my salvation.

15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:

   “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16   the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
     the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
     and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely,
     but he did not give me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
     that I may enter through them
     and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
     the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
     and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
     has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
     it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
     let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
     O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
     We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
     and he has given us light.
   Bind the festal procession with branches,
     up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
     you are my God, I will extol you.

29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
     for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 150
Praise for God’s Surpassing Greatness
1  Praise the Lord!
   Praise God in his sanctuary;
     praise him in his mighty firmament!
2  Praise him for his mighty deeds;
     praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3  Praise him with trumpet sound;
     praise him with lute and harp!
4  Praise him with tambourine and dance;
     praise him with strings and pipe!
5  Praise him with clanging cymbals;
     praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6  Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
   Praise the Lord!

Improv on Psalm 150
Praise God on every platform!
Praise God with the teen’s newest app
and the grandmother’s desktop monitor!
Praise God in the Cloud!

Praise God whose search knows
anyone who is running away from life.
Praise God whose browser
retrieves every doubter’s prayer.

Praise God with the trumpet of social media!
Praise God with LinkedIn and Foursquare,
for we are connected and found.
Praise God with creativity on Tumblr
toddler pictures on Facebook,
selfies on Instagram,
with the playlist of Pandora,
tasty-Pinterest
and thought-posts of Wordpress.

Praise God with Twitter’s tambourines,
eastering it away from those
who use it to crucify.

Praise God with GroupMe that gathers,
with Gofundme, Kickstarter, Patreon
that shift power,
and with Freedom giving hope
to those who have become addicted.

Praise God with arts on YouTube
from garage band garage or concert hall,
from church camp and refugee camp!
Praise God with flash-mobbing Vimeo
and the little church’s prayer chain.

Let everything that has code – Praise God.

Praise God. Send.

Second Reading
Revelation 1:4-8

1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7  Look! He is coming with the clouds;
     every eye will see him,
   even those who pierced him;
     and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

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 Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer
By the power of your Spirit, O God, imbue us with the power of the Risen Christ’s wounded hands. May that power make us one in You. May that unity cause us to love as mightily as You. May your love move us to use our hands as You do--to do works of care and justice for your beloved Earth and all its people—works that heal, free, plant, hug, write, show, speak, and grow. Give us grace and strength for abundant life! For this is the day that God as made, let us go forth, rejoice, and be glad in it!
Amen! Alleluia!

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.
“... If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” ~ Jesus, John 20:23

“What Difference Does Easter Make?” The Sermon for SUNDAY, April 28, 2019 - Second Sunday of Easter


Our Gospel message comes to us today from John the 20th chapter, beginning at the 19th verse.

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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.” 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.” 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.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 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.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 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. (John 20:19-31, 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.


“What Difference Does Easter Make?”

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 and 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 any 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 today 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 adequately 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 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 places, 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.

Let us pray:
Father,  Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for the victory and power in your Name. Thank you that you hold the keys over death, that by your might, Jesus was raised from the grave, paving the way for us to have new life with you. Thank you that you had a plan, that you made a way.

We ask that you renew our hearts, minds, and lives, for the days ahead. We pray for your refreshing over us.

Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, reminding us we are safe with you and that your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.

Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set your way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.

Thanks be to you God, for your indescribable gift! To you be glory and honor.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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

The Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. Sermon contributed by Rev. Tim Zingale.
Will Easter make any difference or will life tomorrow be the same as it was yesterday?

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, April 28, 2019


Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Read all of Philippians 2

Listen to Philippians 2

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 - Sunday, April 28, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/04/28

La duda… enemiga de la fe

El Señor te guiará siempre; te saciará en tierras resecas, y fortalecerá tus huesos. Serás como jardín bien regado, como manantial cuyas aguas no se agotan.
~ Isaías 58:11 (NVI)

La duda paraliza tu fe. La duda es un sentimiento que todos tenemos, pero que se mantiene como ciertos virus dormida en nuestro ser. Y la activan varios sucesos de la vida.

Es posible que tú fueras una persona de mucha fe, pero un suceso marcó tu vida y es como si no pudieras volver a creer.

Situaciones como una infidelidad, la traición.

En el peor de los casos, una tragedia enlutó tu vida. Así que decides perder toda confianza en Dios y le das espacio a la duda.

Hoy es el día de restablecer lo dañado. Hoy es el día para decirle a Dios que te ayude a volver a confiar.

Recuerda que la duda no te permite ver la mano de Dios en tu vida y mucho menos vivir agradándole.

Además, «sin fe es imposible agradar a Dios» (Hebreos 11:6).

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
La duda paraliza tu fe. La duda es un sentimiento que todos tenemos, pero que se mantiene como ciertos virus dormida en nuestro ser. Y la activan varios sucesos de la vida.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, April 28, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/04/28

GOD USES PROBLEMS AND PERSECUTION TO INSPECT YOU

“When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.”
James 1:2-3 (NCV)

Here is another of five ways God uses problems and persecution in your life: God uses problems and persecution to INSPECT you. An African Christian businessman shares this testimony:

Born in a rich family I was living for earning big money. My businesses were very profitable. All over town people knew me. When God revealed to me the insignificance of money and richness, I accepted Christ after a long struggle. He changed my life. No longer was I running after money but I started sharing what God had done in my life.

After some time, suddenly the police came to our house. Officers carrying guns took me to their office to interrogate me, asking me all kinds of questions, treating me as if I was a criminal. The next day the same thing happened. A lot of soldiers entered my home and stood in every room making my children cry. For over a period of six months they threatened me. Day after day they asked me and threatened me to stop sharing the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every time I responded saying: “No, I am not going to stop sharing about the life I received through Jesus Christ.”

After six months they stopped. One man of the security forces told me, “The reason we could not do anything to you is because we couldn’t find any lie in your life.”

A year later, I saw on television the whole group of security men that had intimidated my family and me. They were shivering with fear in front of a judge. The government had changed and those people had to appear before the court because of things they had done. It was as if God told me, “This is what happens with those that oppose you, when you share My words.”

People are like tea bags...if you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God ever tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you?

RESPONSE: God is at work in my life—even when I do not recognize it or understand it. It is much easier and more profitable when I cooperate with Him. This is the way to victory!

PRAYER: God may I be found faithful to You through every test.

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

LHM Daily Devotions - Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190428

"Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain"

Apr. 28, 2019

"Come, you faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness! God has brought His Israel into joy from sadness, Loosed from Pharaoh's bitter yoke Jacob's sons and daughters, Led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.

"Alleluia! Now we cry to our King immortal, Who triumphant burst the bars of the tomb's dark portal. Come, you faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness! God has brought His Israel into joy from sadness."

Apparently, the astounding miracle of freedom faded a bit into the background. Struggling on their long journey through the desert to the promised land, the Israelites fell to grumbling and complaining. They questioned Moses' leadership and began to despise the heaven-sent manna that sustained them. Conveniently forgetting the burdens of slavery, they even wished they were back in Egypt where they enjoyed all sorts of good things to eat (see Numbers 11:5-6). They seem to have lost sight of the fact that God freed them from Pharaoh's bitter yoke. Shattering the chains of slavery through His mighty acts of power, God led His people with "unmoistened foot" through the Red Sea. Jacob's sons and daughters watched from safety as the waters fell back to destroy their enemies.

We may find it difficult, if not impossible, to understand Israel's forgetfulness. Yet at times the astounding miracle that is Jesus' resurrection may fade a bit from our memories. On Easter morning we sing with triumphant gladness, but in the days that follow, the cares and worries of life threaten to overshadow the joy, or perhaps merely push it aside.

Through God's mighty acts of power—hidden beneath the suffering and weakness of the cross—we were loosed from the bitter yoke of slavery to sin, death, and Satan. Now we are united by Baptism to our Savior, whose yoke is easy and burden light (see Matthew 11:30). As He once sustained Jacob's sons and daughters, our Lord sustains us, nourishing us for life's journey with His Holy Supper. Daily we feed on the life-giving manna of the Word that is near us, in our mouths and in our hearts (see Romans 10:8).

After years of wandering, the Israelites finally stood at the Jordan River, ready to cross into the promised land. The waters of the Jordan piled up and once again God led His people with unmoistened foot across the Jordan. When our journey through this life is done, we too will prepare to cross the Jordan. Yet we do not have to fear death's raging river, because our mighty Savior has burst the bars of His tomb, and following Him, we will cross with unmoistened foot into the promised land of life in His presence forever.

It may be that Easter joy will slip from our minds now and then, but the glad alleluias are not over. They never will be.

THE PRAYER: Mighty risen Lord, walk with us through life's journey. Nourish our faith with Your Word and Holy Supper until You bring us safely to the promised land. Amen.

This devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Apparently, the astounding miracle of freedom faded a bit into the background as the struggling Israelites on their long journey through the desert to the promised land,  fell to grumbling and complaining.

Unser Täglich Brot - Gottes Pensionsplan


Gottes Pensionsplan

Lesung: 2. Mose 3,1–10 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: 1. Könige 3–5; Lukas 20,1–26

Der Engel des HERRN erschien ihm in einer feurigen Flamme aus dem Dornbusch. 2. Mose 3,2

Der Archäologe Dr. Warwick Rodwell bereitete sich auf seine Pension vor, als er eine außergewöhnliche Entdeckung in der Lichfield Kathedrale in England machte. Als Bauarbeiter vorsichtig Teile des Bodens der Kirche aushoben, um Platz für einen versenkbaren Boden zu schaffen, entdeckten sie die Skulptur des Erzengels Gabriel, von der vermutet wird, dass sie 1.200 Jahre alt ist. Dr. Rodwells Pensionspläne mussten warten, als sein Fund ihn in eine aufregende und geschäftige neue Zeit führte.

Mose war achtzig Jahre alt, als er eine feurige Entdeckung machte, die sein Leben für immer verändern würde. Auch wenn er der Adoptivsohn einer ägyptischen Prinzessin war, so vergaß er doch nie seine hebräische Herkunft. Er wurde wütend über die Ungerechtigkeit, die seinen Landsleuten zuteilwurde (2. Mose 11–12). Als der Pharao erfuhr, dass Mose einen Ägypter getötet hatte, der einen Hebräer geschlagen hatte, wollte er ihn töten lassen und zwang Mose so, nach Midian zu fliehen, wo er sich niederließ (V. 13–15).

Vierzig Jahre später, als er achtzig Jahre alt war, weidete Mose die Herden seines Schwiegervaters, als „der Engel des Herrn ihm in einer feurigen Flamme aus dem Dornbusch erschien. Moses sah, dass der Busch brannte und doch nicht verzehrt wurde“ (3,2). In diesem Augenblick berief Gott den Mose, die Israeliten aus der ägyptischen Sklaverei zu führen (V. 3–25).

Wozu könnte Gott dich in diesem Augenblick deines Lebens berufen? Welche neuen Pläne hat er dir in den Weg gelegt?
Was lernst du von Mose und seiner Berufung durch Gott? Warum ist es lebensnotwendig, sich für etwas Neues zu öffnen, was er in deinem Leben tun will?
Heiliger Gott, sei du Herr all meiner Tage, während ich sie dir neu anbefehle.


© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Der Archäologe Dr. Warwick Rodwell bereitete sich auf seine Pension vor, als er eine außergewöhnliche Entdeckung in der Lichfield Kathedrale in England machte. Als Bauarbeiter vorsichtig Teile des Bodens der Kirche aushoben, um Platz für einen versenkbaren Boden zu schaffen, entdeckten sie die Skulptur des Erzengels Gabriel, von der vermutet wird, dass sie 1.200 Jahre alt ist.