Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, May 5, 2019 - Third Sunday of Easter


The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, May 5, 2019 - Third Sunday of Easter
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Call to Worship
Brothers and sisters. If you lift your net and it is empty, Come here!
We’ll cast it out again into Christ’s abundance.
If you open your eyes but do not recognize the Holy One, Come here!
We’ll find the Risen Christ in all Creation.
If your life is filled with mourning, Come here!
Christ is leading a dance of joy.
Come here, sisters and brothers!
To give blessing and honor and glory to God!
Opening Prayer




Prayer of Invocation
Generous God, Giver of all that is good, Creator of all that is beautiful, you have blessed us with abundance, more than enough for everyone to share. Out of this abundance you call us to care for each other: “Feed my lambs.”  “Tend my sheep.”  “Feed my sheep.”  Awaken us to the beauty and bounty of your Creation. Encourage us to share generously with all those you love. In these Great Fifty Days of Eastertide may we protect the beauty of all that is yours and nurture your bounty for our children and our children’s children. Amen.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, Saul did not recognize the presence of the Holy One in the followers of the Risen Christ until your Light struck him sightless, helpless, and at last able to hear your voice! In our day, too-narrow vision stops us from recognizing your presence in all of Creation. We fail to see that our lives are bound together with each other and with the earth.

The Disciples could not succeed in fishing until the Risen Christ showed them how to cast their nets into your abundance. In our day, we too-often treat this world with arrogant self-righteousness, as though it is our exclusive domain. We fail to remember that we are stewards, not owners of your Creation.

Forgive us. Teach us again that you have placed us in an eco-network of relationships. Lead us to tend the gift of your Creation that we may feed the whole world community today and our children tomorrow. Amen.

Words of Assurance
God’s love for us is ever sure given in mercy Gratefully, thanks be to God.

First Reading
Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]
The Conversion of Saul
9:1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

[ 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul Preaches in Damascus
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” ]

Psalm 30
Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness
A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.
1  I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
     and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2  O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
     and you have healed me.
3  O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
     restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4  Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
     and give thanks to his holy name.
5  For his anger is but for a moment;
     his favor is for a lifetime.
   Weeping may linger for the night,
     but joy comes with the morning.

6  As for me, I said in my prosperity,
     “I shall never be moved.”
7  By your favor, O Lord,
     you had established me as a strong mountain;
   you hid your face;
     I was dismayed.

8  To you, O Lord, I cried,
     and to the Lord I made supplication:
9  “What profit is there in my death,
     if I go down to the Pit?
   Will the dust praise you?
     Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
     O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
     you have taken off my sackcloth
     and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
     O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Second Reading
Revelation 5:11-14
5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 singing with full voice,

   “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
   and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

   “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
   be blessing and honor and glory and might
   forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

The Gospel
John 21:1-19
Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples
21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus and Peter
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”


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.

Benediction
As you go out into the world seek the presence of the Risen Christ in each other and in all of Creation. May God give you joyful courage to follow the command of Jesus:
“Feed my lambs.”  “Tend my sheep.”  “Feed my sheep.”

Closing Prayer



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.
Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but ... they caught nothing.

“One Hundred Fifty-Three Life-Changing Fish” The Sermon for SUNDAY, May 5, 2019 - Third Sunday of Easter


Our Gospel message comes to us today from John the 21st chapter, beginning at the 1st verse.

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14, 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.


“One Hundred Fifty-Three Life-Changing Fish”

What are the numbers that that are most important or most memorable in your life? I suppose many of us would answer that question practically — we’d think of our PIN or Social Security numbers. Others of us would answer sentimentally — maybe a girlfriend’s phone number, a wedding date, or a once-in-a lifetime bowling or golf score. There are, of course, negative numbers in our lives, too — debts to pay, losing scores, and unpleasant anniversaries like 9/11 — but those we usually would rather forget.

Now if I were to ask the average Christian to tell me the most important or memorable numbers from the Bible, I’d probably hear a lot of 12s and 40s and 3s — 12 Sons and Tribes of Israel, 12 Disciples; 40 Days of Rain in the flood, 40 years of wandering in the wilderness for the Israelites, Jesus being tested in the desert 40 days; and Jesus’ rising on the third day, Jonah in the belly of the fish for three days; and so on. And of course we have the 10 Commandments, and the feeding of the 5000 — and an entire book of the Bible called “Numbers.”

But I imagine that few Christians would readily remember a number that very obviously stuck in the Apostle John’s mind and that he felt was important enough to record in our Gospel today. John did not tell us that the net was just “full of fish,” or that they caught “many fish”, or “over 150” fish — no, he gave us the exact number, 153. People throughout the ages have tried to find some symbolic value in that number, but that’s missing the point. The number was very important and very memorable for John and the other disciples because those 153 large fish were the very real evidence of a miracle — a miracle that Jesus used to inspire and assure them as he sent them out, on their own, as his servants and apostles. Lying there in the net, they might not have seemed like anything but ordinary fish, but once you considered how and why they got there and filled that net, you would have realized: those were 153 life-changing fish.

Life-changing, in the first place, because of Who put them there. This was not dumb luck, and it wasn’t because Jesus just happened to know where the fish were that morning. This was a miracle from God, and it was Jesus Christ the living Son of the living God who had caused these 153 fish to fill the disciples’ net. But the first life-changing thing about this miracle was simply that Jesus was there.

Now, we tend to just kind of take that for granted as part of the story — it’s about Jesus, and so of course Jesus is at the center of it. But the only reason the Holy Spirit really has for telling us anything that happened after Christ’s resurrection and before his ascension is to show us what Jesus was doing for his disciples — for the people he was leaving in charge of his work and his mission. And so it’s significant that Jesus came to these seven disciples that very normal morning as they did something that was very normal for them — fishing. They were fishermen; they were fishing. He met them where they were, doing the ordinary things of their lives, and even gave them a rather ordinary breakfast of bread and fish. And the lesson of his presence there is especially important for Christ’s disciples, then and now.

You see, we have a tendency to forget — or at least we fail to fully appreciate — what Jesus really meant when he promised he would always be with us. We don’t look to him — or for him — in the ordinary and common events of our lives. Instead, we often only look for Jesus when we’re facing the storms of our lives or undertaking some new or big project, reserving him for when we “really need” him. But even though the crises of our lives might be the things we remember most, it’s in the common and ordinary that we most need to see Jesus. It’s where the rubber of Christian faith meets the road of daily life.

We can compare it, perhaps, to the relationship between a husband and wife. If you want to see evidence of a strong and healthy marriage, you don’t look so much at the ups and downs as at the in-betweens. Sure, how she treats him in a moment of crisis and the things he gives her on special occasions to show her his love are important, but is he “there” for her with his love as much in dealing with the everyday details of running a household as he’s “there” for her when grief or illness strikes? And does she respect him as much in the little decisions he makes as she does with the big family decisions she’s glad he takes responsibility for? The true test and proof of love and trust between husband and wife is in their day-to-day behavior and conversation.

In the same way, we have real proof of God’s love for us in Jesus’ everyday presence and involvement in our lives. Now, maybe he doesn’t come to all of us while we’re out fishing, but he’s there for us everyday when we go to class, sit down at our desks, or take our places behind a counter or assembly line. He is, and wants to be, involved in our lives — not just as a divine insurance policy or last resort, but as our constant companion and friend, as we sit down at meals, as we talk with our family and friends, as we do chores, and even as we brush our teeth.

Jesus’ disciples weren’t doing anything extraordinary that morning, but Jesus met them and blessed them where they were. Those 153 fish remind us that he wants to do the same for us — to bless us extraordinarily in ordinary times and places.

But we could also turn that idea around and say that those fish also lead us to ordinarily expect the extraordinary from our Lord. Because if this miracle made anything clear to the disciples, it was that their loving and faithful God had both the power and the intention to take care of their every need, no matter what.

We could call this appearance of Christ to his disciples “Part Two” of his equipping them for the ministry and mission he had called them to. We looked at “Part One” last week, where Jesus gave them what they needed spiritually — he gave them the Holy Spirit to strengthen their faith and guide them, and he gave them the forgiveness of sins — for their own comfort and as their message to proclaim wherever he sent them.

Now, as we read the gospel, did you notice the first two disciples mentioned here? Simon Peter — the denier — and Thomas — the doubter. Their presence reminds us of how much the disciples, just like us, truly needed the love and forgiveness that their risen Lord and Savior offered them. These were not perfect disciples with perfect faith whom Jesus was now rewarding with a perfect catch of fish; these, rather, were sinners like you and me and everybody on this planet, who had no way of saving themselves or making up for all the ways in which they had offended, denied, or doubted God.

Everything Jesus did for them and does for us flows entirely and purely from God’s grace — his undeserved love for undeserving sinners. He can come to them and bless them now because their sins have been taken away — the offense is gone — he washed them away with his blood on the cross. He took your sins away, too — every wrong thing you’ve done and every right thing you haven’t done. No guilt remains. He has given you everything you need for eternal life with God in heaven.

But he doesn’t stop his giving there. He also promises to give us everything we need for our lives — and service — here on earth.

That’s what this miracle assured the disciples of. Their Lord was not just going to be the guy who came through for them in an emergency — he was going to take care of their physical and material needs all the time. And if he could do it with the extraordinary — with miracles — then they could most certainly count on him to also take care of them through ordinary means.

Some Christians miss part of this lesson. They look only for miracles, and they end up lurching from one crisis to the next, asking for and expecting God’s blessings only when their needs begin to overwhelm them. They fail to understand that God will take care of all their needs all the time.

Those 153 fish can really change your life when you take hold of their lesson, because they mean that God has given us a blank check. Whatever you need, you’ve got — it’s yours. You can trust your Father in heaven to give you your daily bread — and fish. You can follow Jesus without fear or worry — not only are all your spiritual needs met perfectly in him, but your physical needs as well. So, you will still have food to eat if you give money to church. Your health won’t collapse if you get up an hour or two earlier on Sunday morning. You’ll survive the loss of your job if your employer looks wrong at your doing what is right.

This is the same confidence that empowers and enables Christians to still work and witness for Christ in countries that do not have true freedom of religion, even though these believers may lose not just their jobs, but their homes, their health, and maybe even their lives. And this same confidence in our Lord can inspire and lead us no matter what we are facing, no matter what happens. The Lord will take care of His church, and He will take care of those who give to it, of their time, their money, their everything. Why? Because it is His work we are doing, and we are His people.

There’s one more life-changing lesson worth learning from those 153 fish, and that’s that Christ repeats his miracles in our lives. One of the ways that the disciples were able to figure out that it was Jesus standing on the shore was that the way in which this miracle came about was almost identical to one Jesus performed at the beginning of his ministry — the one right before he called them to be “Fishers of Men.” The repetition of this miracle would have strengthened them, in both faith and determination, as they got closer to the time when they would indeed go out, on their own, into the world to catch men for Christ.

We should expect God to do similar things in our lives. He has not set any kind of “only one kind of miracle per person per lifetime” help limit. And so we don’t want to ever lower our expectations of him, as though he says, “Nope, sorry — I already helped you out of that jam once already decade. Don’t even bother asking — you’ll have to wait a long time before I do that for you again.” No. There are no limits.

No, if God has blessed you once — and he has, abundantly — he will bless you again. You can count on it. And if you ever find yourself forgetting or doubting it, just remember those 153 life-changing fish.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, you are fishing for humans to save. Make us your fishers and fill our nets with all whom you are bringing into your boat. We pray in your name. Amen.


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The Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. Sermon contributed by Rev. Jeff Samelson.
With his appearance and miracle by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus assures his disciples of everything they will need to keep on following him and be fishers of men.

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, May 5, 2019


Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Read all of Philippians 4

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Un dia a la Vez - Sunday, May 5, 2019

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

Aprendamos de nuestros hijos

Que nuestros hijos [...] crezcan como plantas frondosas; que sean nuestras hijas como columnas esculpidas para adornar un palacio.
~ Salmo 144:12 (NVI)

Este es el último devocional acerca de cómo nuestros hijos nos dan el ejemplo y la fuerza que necesitamos para salir adelante. En realidad, no solo nos debe llenar un cónyuge, pues los hijos nos los envió Dios a fin de que nos amen y nos acompañen.

Así que mi campaña está dirigida a decirte que no los maltrates y que comprendas todo lo que puedes crecer cuando aprendes de ellos. Apóyalos en sus talentos y pídele a Dios que te conviertas en la mejor madre o el mejor padre del mundo.

Bueno, por último, me queda Anacristina, a la que todos les decimos cariñosamente «Annie». Esta princesita, con tan solo cinco años, me ha cambiado la vida. Soy el antes y el después de Annie. Mi vida se transformó acto seguido de su nacimiento. Al final, me ubiqué en muchas esferas e hice pactos serios de cambio con Dios. Fueron los años de más estabilidad y orden que pude ofrecerles a todas.

Annie ha llenado nuestra casa de alegría. Es una nena talentosa, canta y baila. Sin embargo, lo más lindo es que tiene la gran constitución física para ser una gran deportista, pues nació con sus músculos muy flexibles. Annie, eres un amor para mí. Te amo con todo el corazón.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Este es el último devocional acerca de cómo nuestros hijos nos dan el ejemplo y la fuerza que necesitamos para salir adelante.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, May 5, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/05/05
MERCHANTS AND MOBS

But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.
~ Acts 17:5 (NIV)

The next two groups of external tactics Satan used in the New Testament are merchants and mobs. Merchants or businessmen represent the economic establishment and are often opposed to Christians purely because Christians are a threat to their business.

The two clearest examples of opposition from businessmen in scripture are when Paul visits Philippi and later Ephesus (Acts 16 and 19). In Philippi, Paul and Silas ended up in jail because of the actions of the owners of a demon possessed slave girl who was healed. Seeing their source of income disappearing because of her conversion, her owners pressed a false case against Paul, and had him jailed for “disturbing the peace.” But the Scripture makes clear their economic motive, “when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone…” (Acts 16:19).

Then when Paul gets to Ephesus the impact of his preaching is so great it causes the former members of the Artemis cult to hold a bonfire of their trinkets and shrines. A shop steward called Demetrius, on behalf of the silversmiths of the town, figures anything that reduces the appeal of the temple of Artemis is going to be bad for business. He stirs up a riot and Paul has to hurry out of the city.

Mobs play a major role in persecution, often when an elite group cannot induce the government to do their dirty work for them. Mobs are easily manipulated. They can be believers swayed by the heady rhetoric of clerics, or ruffians ready to commit grievous bodily harm for the sake of money and excitement.

Christians in Pakistan and Indonesia face the constant threat of annihilation of their property by mobs. A news agency journalist said, “I am amazed at how quickly a mob can get going in Pakistan. It just takes three phrases from a mullah at Friday prayers, and five minutes later thousands are streaming out into the streets bent on inflicting injury or even killing Christians.”

RESPONSE: Our enemy, Satan, uses every tactic possible to come against those in the kingdom of God.

PRAYER: Pray for Christians in areas noted above that they will be protected from Satan’s arrows.

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 - By All Your Saints in Warfare

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190505

"By All Your Saints in Warfare"

May 5, 2019

"By all Your saints in warfare, for all Your saints at rest, Your holy Name, O Jesus, forevermore be blest! For You have won the battle that they might wear the crown; And now they shine in glory reflected from Your throne.

"Praise for the light from heaven and for the voice of awe; Praise for the glorious vision the persecutor saw. O Lord, for Paul's conversion, we bless Your Name today; Come shine within our darkness, and guide us on our way."

Many members of the religious party of the Pharisees rejected Jesus as their Messiah and opposed Him at every turn. They challenged Him with questions, trying to "entangle Him in His words" (see Matthew 22:15), hoping that He would speak against the law of Moses. Along with the chief priests, they successfully plotted the Savior's arrest and death. So, in His wise and unexpected ways, the risen Lord chose an especially angry Pharisee named Saul as His ambassador.

After witnessing with approval the martyrdom of Stephen, Saul began to persecute the followers of Jesus. "Breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord," (Acts 9:1a), Saul received permission to go to Damascus and arrest believers there. On the way, the risen Lord confronted Saul. The Lord Jesus challenged the awestruck Pharisee, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4b) Blinded by the glorious vision, Saul, who would later be known as Paul, was baptized. Summoned by his Lord to suffering and service, Paul proclaimed the crucified and risen Savior throughout the Mediterranean world.

We were once headed in the wrong direction on our own various Damascus roads, just as surely as St. Paul was: "None is righteous, no, not one ... There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:10b, 18). Just as surely as Paul once did, we dealt in hatred and rebellion against God (see Titus 3:3). Then we were called by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and claimed as God's own possession in the water and Word of Baptism. United with the risen and reigning Lord, we were baptized into His death, buried with Him, and raised to newness of life. We are called to suffer and serve for the sake of Jesus.

Jesus told Paul what he would suffer in the cause of the Gospel (see Acts 9:16), and we are also warned, "You will be hated by all for My Name's sake" (Luke 21:17). Yet we too are ambassadors for our Lord. As we go about our daily work in life, we are always ready to testify to those who ask us about the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. We pray that they will, by the Spirit's power, come to faith and join us one day as we stand with all the saints—and with St. Paul—shining in glory before Christ's throne.

THE PRAYER: "O Lord, for Paul's conversion, we bless Your Name today; come shine within our darkness, and guide us on our way." Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "By All Your Saints in Warfare." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Many members of the religious party of the Pharisees rejected Jesus as their Messiah and opposed Him at every turn.

Unser Täglich Brot - Klein, aber oho!

https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/2019/05/05/klein-aber-oho/

Klein, aber oho!

Lesung: 2. Korinther 1,8-11 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: 1.Könige 19-20; Lukas 23,1-25

Auf ihn hoffen wir, er werde uns auch hinfort erretten. Dazu helft auch ihr durch eure Fürbitte für uns. 2. Korinther 1,10-11

Der Tag hatte begonnen wie jeder andere, aber er endete in einem Albtraum. Esther (Name geändert) und mehrere hundert weitere Frauen wurden von einer militanten religiösen Gruppe aus ihrem Internat gekidnappt. Einen Monat später wurden alle befreit — außer Esther, die sich weigerte, Jesus zu verleugnen. Ich war betroffen, als ich zusammen mit einer Bekannten von ihr und anderen las, die wegen ihres Glaubens verfolgt werden. Wir wollten etwas tun. Aber was?

Paulus berichtete in seinem Brief an die Gemeinde in Korinth von den Problemen, die er in Kleinasien erlebt hatte. Die Verfolgung war so heftig, dass er und seine Begleiter „am Leben verzagten“ (2. Korinther 1,8). Aber die Gebete der Gläubigen halfen ihm (V. 11). Obwohl die Gemeinde in Korinth viele Kilometer weit entfernt war, machte ihre Fürbitte etwas aus und Gott erhörte sie. Darin liegt ein erstaunliches Geheimnis: Der Allmächtige will mit unseren Gebeten seinen Plan erfüllen. Was für ein Vorrecht!

Auch wir heute können im Gebet an unsere Geschwister in Christus denken, die um ihres Glaubens willen leiden. Wir können etwas tun. Wir können beten für die, die ausgegrenzt, unterdrückt, geschlagen, gefoltert und manchmal auch um ihres Glaubens willen getötet werden. Wir wollen darum beten, dass Gott sie tröstet und stärkt und ihnen Hoffnung schenkt, damit sie an Jesus festhalten können.
Für wen könntest du in dieser Woche ganz bewusst mit Namen beten? Wo hast du Gottes Treue in Zeiten der Verfolgung konkret erfahren?
Beim Beten werfen wir uns der göttlichen Macht zu Füßen.


© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Der Tag hatte begonnen wie jeder andere, aber er endete in einem Albtraum.