Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, March 1, 2020 — First Sunday in Lent
The Temptation of Christ in the Desert

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, March 1, 2020 — First Sunday in Lent
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Opening Statement
The central ideas for this first Sunday in Lent are temptation, sin, right and wrong, and how we respond to each. The familiar story of the temptation and sin of Adam and Eve is no less relevant today than when it was first told, and Paul uses this story as a primary foundation for his doctrine of Christ’s atonement for the sins of humankind. The psalmist sings of the joy and relief of forgiveness, which comes from acknowledgment and confession. Finally, driven into the wilderness by the Spirit and armed with only God’s word, Jesus confronts temptation at the end of his forty days and nights of fasting without yielding to it.

Opening Prayer
(based on Genesis 2, 3; Psalm 32; Matthew 4)
Holy One, we are constantly bombarded with temptations and enticements. When we yield, when we fail, who will help us? You, Lord, have come to our aid. You teach us, counsel us, and guide us in the ways we should go. We rejoice in your unfailing love. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
(based on Psalm 32)
We keep silent before you, Lord—we are afraid to confront our transgressions; we are terrified to face the reality of our sin; we feel as if the weight of the world were upon our shoulders; we no longer recognize ourselves or what we have become as we keep our failings and fears inside. Help us admit our sins and accept our imperfections. Why is that simple act so difficult for us? Why do we hesitate, knowing that you stand ready to wash away our guilt? You are the sanctuary where distress cannot reach us. In your steadfast love, forgive us. In your healing caress, cleanse us. In your Holy Spirit, restore us. In the name of our Savior, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance
(based on Psalm 32)
When distress and anxiety surround us like an angry flood, our pleas are heard. The Lord hears the prayers of a faithful heart. God has become our hiding place, our refuge from trouble. No harm can touch us here. The Lord wraps us in the arms of salvation. Shouts of deliverance enfold us.

Prayer of the Day
Lord God, our strength, the struggle between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your word, and when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading
Eating of the tree of knowledge
2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Mercy embraces us
1  Blessed is the one
     whose transgressions are forgiven,
     whose sins are covered.
2  Blessed is the one
     whose sin the Lord does not count against them
     and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3  When I kept silent,
     my bones wasted away
     through my groaning all day long.
4  For day and night
     your hand was heavy on me;
   my strength was sapped
     as in the heat of summer.

5  Then I acknowledged my sin to you
     and did not cover up my iniquity.
   I said, “I will confess
     my transgressions to the Lord.”
   And you forgave
     the guilt of my sin.

6  Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
     while you may be found;
   surely the rising of the mighty waters
     will not reach them.
7  You are my hiding place;
     you will protect me from trouble
     and surround me with songs of deliverance.

8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
     I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9  Do not be like the horse or the mule,
     which have no understanding
   but must be controlled by bit and bridle
     or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
     but the Lord’s unfailing love
     surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
     sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Second Reading
Death came life comes
5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Gospel Acclamation
(based on Matt. 4:4)
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

The Gospel
The temptation of Jesus
4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
     and they will lift you up in their hands,
     so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

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.

(based on Romans 5)
The Tempter appears to us in many guises and always in the manner to which we are most vulnerable. We know right from wrong, yet we become complicit with the Tempter when we use the word of the Lord to justify our disobedience and transgressions. Yet in Christ, our sin is overcome with a single act of obedience to God: one just act has brought acquittal and life to all.

Though we were condemned, we have found pardon. Though death held dominion over our lives, God’s grace and gift of righteousness now lives and reigns within us. We are free. We are forgiven. We are alive in Christ! Amen!

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 Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, March 1, 2020 — First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 4th chapter of Matthew, beginning with the 1st verse.

4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the Devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
     and they will lift you up in their hands,
     so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the Devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the Devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11)


What is a sinner? Let me repeat that question, what is a sinner? Pascal says: “There are only two kinds of people, the righteous who believe themselves a sinner and the sinner who believes themselves righteous.” Mary Wilson Little put it this way, “People who make no pretensions of being good one day out of the week are known as sinners.” Or, as Oscar Wilde says, “Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.”

Or here is what another person says about a sinner as he looked at his own life. “I often find I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good things that I set out to do, and the evil things that I don’t want to do, I find I’m always doing. Yet, if I do the things that I don’t really want to do, then it is not I, repeat, it is not I that do them, but it is my own nature in which I am a slave to sin and death. It’s a distressing situation, a constant conflict, and who on earth can free me from the clutches of my own sinful nature?” That was St. Paul writing to the Romans about his own struggle with sin.

The first couple of people I quoted about sin made it seem like something one could easily brush off, like water dripping off of a duck’s back. Sin was not taken seriously in their lives. But I think Paul said it best. Sin is something that affects a person’s whole being. It is not something that can be brushed off very easily. It doesn’t work that way. You know it, and I know it. Every one of us labors under the terrible weight of guilt and sin. We feel guilty about the wrongs we have done, the hurts we have caused others, and at the same time, we feel guilty about those things we should have done but didn’t do. For example, maybe we needed to apologize to someone but were too proud. Or, perhaps, we couldn’t express forgiveness to another because of the hatred that filled our hearts. Or maybe, it was the hurt we said to a loved one, and after realizing what we had done, we couldn’t or wouldn’t say we were sorry. Or maybe we are guilty of not including the stranger, the new person to town in our circle of friends. Sin is more than what we have done wrong. It is also as our confessional service says: those things we have left undone.

In the scheme of life, we sin against not only people, or creation, when we are not good stewards, but finally, all sin is a sin against God Himself. In Rejoice and Realize, written by Richard Hoefler, he says: “When we sin we do not break a law; we break our Father’s heart. God grieves when we sin against him, but he does not disown us. The certainty of our status in the family of a loving Father is found all through the New Testament. It is Paul’s central message as seen, especially in Romans 8:31-39.”

Also, our gospel lesson this morning, The temptation of Jesus, is a clear example of the love God has for us as we face all the brownness of this world. For, I think, all the gospel writers included this story of the temptation of Jesus as a way of showing us, as clearly as possible, that God understands the human condition in which we live. We live in a fallen world. There are sin and brokenness all around. He even had His only Son tempted in the wilderness as a clear indication of His comprehension of the difficulties we face day in and day out.

Many times this temptation story of Jesus seems far removed from our world, our life. On the surface we have a difficult time relating to these temptations, turning stones into bread, or jumping off the highest part of the temple and having God’s angels catch you, or being placed on a very high mountain so that you could see the whole world, then having the Devil giving you a chance of owning it all. That is far removed from the sins we face day in and day out. However, I would like to suggest this morning as we look at just one of these temptations, it is in the subtlety of these temptations where we really find ourselves and see the real craftiness of the Devil and sin.

The first temptation speaks of turning stones into bread. As Jesus sits in the desert, his stomach is empty; he hasn’t eaten for 40 days, his throat is parched. The Devil approaches, and I don’t believe he was the red horned person with a pitchfork we dream of; he was more subtle, more inventive, he was in actuality, the voice of reason in Jesus’ mind and ear. Maybe he said, “Jesus, sir, you look like you are having a rough time. By the way, you are the Son of God, right? So, why don’t you turn all of these stones into bread? Not just for yourself, for I know you are a loving and compassionate person, but for all the starving people of the world. They need you. They need this food. They need the power you possess. Give them what they want, what they need, give them food. And then you would be their hero. They would follow you anywhere.”

Think about that for a moment. That doesn’t sound too diabolical, does it? Feed the world, take care of the hungry, that is a noble cause. The temptation wasn’t in the act so much as in the attitude, the motivation. Jesus was tempted to take the easy way, a short cut, if you will, to bypass God’s natural order of things. Instead of growing food, just change stones into bread. That is the essence of all of these temptations, to take the easy way, to bypass God’s plan, God’s order to life. Turn stone into bread, jump off the temple, show the people a great magic act, then they will follow. Be the ruler of the whole world, bring peace, bring justice, bring love, but in reality, it is the easy way, the way that leaves God out of the picture. Leaving God out of the picture is what sin is all about.

The temptations of Jesus are not so far removed from our lives if we think of them as leaving God out of the picture of life and you controlling your own life. Control, power, accountability, those are the sins of our lives. We like to pretend, to play games with each other and with God that we are not as bad, or as unrighteous, or as unholy as someone else we can point a finger at, as we sit in the smugness of our own sin and pride. Living life my way is the calling words for many people. One of the fast-food chains had a slogan a few years back, saying, “Have it your way!!” or maybe some will remember Frank Sinatra’s hit song, “I did it my way!!” Isn’t there a lot of theological truth in those two lines.?? You and I like to have things our own way. We want to take God out of the picture of our lives. We want to control and run our lives our way. But many times, no, all the time, we do not live up to our potential, our goals, our vision of what we want for ourselves, so then we become angry, we lash out, maybe at God, perhaps at a loved one, perhaps at ourselves. We want control, but when we think we have it, we are in all reality out of control, because we are like Paul as he says: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)

In the situation we find ourselves, two things can happen, we can become like the man in the following:

“A young man said this about his life. It seems like I was a man trying to climb out of a muddy, clinging swamp and every time I just about reached the solid bank, someone would come along, put his foot in my face and push me back into the mud. And so, finally, I decided to stay in the swamp. And what the heck, I have a lot of company.” We can live a broken and desperate life, never finding our true self, never being happy with who we are or what we are doing. Life can be one big swampy mud pit. We can constantly be moving, thrashing, climbing out of the mud pit.

Or we can surrender our lives over to God and allow Him to recreate us. We can put God back into the picture of our lives.

Our lesson from Genesis this morning is the story of creation, how God turned dust and mud into a human being. When God is in the picture, mud is changed. The difference between God and us is seen in the mud. God molded the mud, blew on it, and created life. We mold the mud, blow on it, and end up with—mud. We like to play God. We like to pretend that we are as wise and powerful as God. But we still end up with mud.

However, our mud pies, so to speak, our lives, get so complicated than even when we think we are allowing God to control our lives, He isn’t. The following poem was written in the poetry section of the New York Times: “I wish there was someone that would hear my confession. Not a pastor, I do not want to be told of my sin. Not a mother, I don’t want to bring sorrow. Not a friend, she would not know enough. Not a lover, he would be too partial. Not a God, He is too far away. But someone who would be a friend, mother, lover, pastor, and God all in one. A stranger besides, who would not interfere. Who, when everything is said, from beginning to end, would show the reason for it all. And then tell me to go ahead and work it out in my own way.” My friends that is the perfect picture of someone, or maybe, I am afraid of a lot of people, who think God is in control of their lives, but in reality, He isn’t.

Working it out in your own way is stupid nonsense because you will never be able to make anything with that mud, your life, but keep playing with it until it is worn out and dies. You will never be able to change it, to make something else out of the mud. But turn it over to God, allow the breath of God to enter life, allow God to fill life, allow God to pour Himself into your life, then change will happen. You will no longer be a mud turtle; you will be a child of God’s. And in that relationship, God will be in control, and life will change. Maybe not all at once, perhaps not the way you might have expected it. But when God pulls us out of the mud and then remolds that mud, reshapes it and breathes His breath, His Spirit, into that mud, into your life, amazing things can happen.

The first step is to acknowledge that my control of life is not getting me anywhere in terms of finding peace, self-worth, and a sense of contentment. I need to admit to myself and to God that I am a mud turtle caught in the swamp of life and no matter how much I try, or how much I struggle, or how busy I seem to be, or how far I bury in the closets of the deepest part of my soul those hurts, those pains, those emotions, those situations which remind me over and over again, I am broken, and I live in a broken world. I cannot escape from these until I am ready to surrender control of my life to Almighty God.

Martin Luther had a prayer he prayed each day in which he asked God to allow him to surrender these things and then fill him with God’s breath, God’s Spirit. “Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in faith; strengthen thou me. I am cold in love; warm and make me fervent that my love may go out to my neighbors. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust Thee altogether. O Lord, help me. In Thee I have sealed the treasure of all I have. I am poor, Thou art rich and didst come to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; Thou are upright. With me, there is an abundance of sin, in Thee is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore I will remain with Thee whom I can receive, but to Whom I may not give. Amen.”

The closing story, I think, sums up this surrendering our selves, our beings, our emotions, our pains, our hurts, our hidden closet items over to God who can handle it. He is God Almighty and can deal with our deepest emotions as He listened to His own son cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God can handle your life as it is with all of its brownness, with all of its sinfulness, with all of its self-pride. God can handle it, and He wants to be in the picture of your life.

The tragedy left the man homeless, widowed, and fatherless. A fire had swept through their trailer, and all was lost. It took some time for the full weight of the loss to descend, and when it did, he was nearly crushed. Like Job in the O.T., he would not be comforted. When the guilt of shock was lifted, anger, resentment filled every waking thought. God had not been fair to him—God had not protected his family. He had not come to him with a special visitation to explain the “why” and the “what next.” He was in a wilderness as rugged as the Sinai. The greatest temptation was to add to his losses by forfeiting his faith. He felt justified. No one would fault him. Some might even support him. He prayed angrily now, daring God to hurt him further, and challenging Him to give any reason to hold on to the thin thread of his faith that was left. He prayed angrily, but he prayed, and God could handle it. The anguish continued to mount until one afternoon he uttered a cry so forcefully, it could only be described as a scream. No word was spoken, just a loud, angry scream against the forces of heaven and hell, as if to say, “I’ve hurt all I can, and I’ve paid my dues for love... Help me!!!.”.......... The silence that followed was quieter than silence. Peace was evident for the first time in months.”

Scripture might have said, “angels came and attended him.” Satan had been overthrown, and health was coming back, for he believed, at last, that God was caring for those he lost. That God was caring for him. God could handle his honest anger and his honest emotions.

God can handle all our pent up emotions, feelings, denials, and running away from the hurts and pain of life. God can handle it. We must let Him, for when we do, then, we will come to know the great and powerful love and mercy He has for us. God can handle it, period. Let Him.

Let us pray: Lord, it seems as though Lent came too early this year. We wanted more time to recover from the activity and anxiety of Christmas, yet here we are: the first Sunday in Lent. Our hearts need cleansing, Lord. Our spirits need restoration and healing. During this season of Lent you send us on a journey to the cross with Jesus, and beyond the cross to the resurrection. We would just rather skip to the happiness of Easter and enjoy the flowers and all the trimmings, but you insist on the journey. We cannot truly understand the power of the resurrection until we have been to the cross. Today we travel to the cross where Jesus encounters Satan who flashes before him visions of power, wealth, and individual security. How shall we respond to those same temptations when they are presented so seductively to us? Help us, O Lord. Guide and restore us. Give us courage and strength as we journey to you. Amen.

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Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Sermon contributed by Rev. Tim Zingale.
There are only two kinds of people, the righteous who believe themselves a sinner and the sinner who believes themselves righteous.

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, March 1, 2020
The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, March 1, 2020

Julian of Norwich wrote in the fourteenth century, “The worst has already happened and been repaired.… All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Lord, we are grateful that you can use every experience to draw us closer to you. Our trials and triumphs alike can finally be sown in the garden of our faith. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, March 1, 2020

Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you?
  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but God is the strength of my heart
  and my portion forever.
Read all of Psalm 73

Listen to Psalm 73

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 - Domingo 01 de marzo de 2020

Dios no te ha abandonado

El Señor omnipotente enjugará las lágrimas de todo rostro, y quitará de toda la tierra el oprobio de su pueblo. El Señor mismo lo ha dicho.

A pesar de lo que hacemos en nuestra manera de vivir, vemos la mano de Dios.

Naigir, un hombre de bien y buena familia, es otro amigo que tuve la oportunidad de conocer. Un día, por ambición, acepta hacer uno de esos trabajitos por dinero. Sin pensarlo dos veces, se lanza y lo sorprenden. Lo que una vez le dijera un aparente amigo: «Tranquilo, todo está fríamente calculado», se convirtió en la pesadilla de su vida. Cae preso y sin ningún familiar en Estados Unidos. Lo que era una gran ambición quizá por ganarse unos cuantos verdes, se volvió en la más horrible de las tragedias.

Al igual que Víctor, conoce de Dios en ese lugar y empieza el cambio en su vida. Su testimonio llega a mis manos con una desgarradora carta, donde me pide que llame a su hijita por la radio el día del cumpleaños. Además, me pide que no le dijera a su hija dónde estaba.

Llegó el día e hicimos la llamada en mi programa radial «Buenos Días Familia». Cuando esa nena de solo ocho años de edad pasa al teléfono, escucha que es una sorpresa de su papá que dejó de ver de un día para otro hace cuatro años. Entonces se quebrantó y lloró de tal manera que todos en cabina quedamos en silencio.

¿Por qué llegar hasta el extremo de Naigir? Porque no nos conformamos con creerle a Dios. Dejemos que sea Dios el que nos provea todo lo que necesitamos. No vale la pena poner en riesgo nuestros hijos y nuestra felicidad. Recordemos que aunque Dios nos perdona, todo lo que hacemos mal tiene sus consecuencias.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
A pesar de lo que hacemos en nuestra manera de vivir, vemos la mano de Dios.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, March 1, 2020

“I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Persecution, pressure, and suffering also bring about a unity that honors God. Burma is the model to which I was first exposed. Missionaries were all expelled in 1966. My first visit was in the early 1970s. The church was a small minority in a dominant Buddhist society with a secular socialist government. On Sunday morning, I was asked to speak and break bread with the Brethren believers, in the afternoon share with the Baptists and in the evening speak at the Pentecostal church. No one asked me my denomination. I was simply a “Brother in Christ” and represented an evangelical radio organization, Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC).

I found this unity so refreshing. And praise the Lord I have discovered it in other parts of our world, most often outside of North America. The closest geographic location is on the island of Cuba. What a joy to be with Baptist and Pentecostal pastors together who regularly spend hours on their knees before God with one another. How refreshing to attend youth evangelism meetings with a variety of denominations represented in the audience and speakers. Is there any wonder why revival continues to sweep through the island to this day?

Ugandan pastor, Kefa Sempangi, shares that under the intense persecution of Idi Amin, the Holy Spirit united the hearts of Uganda’s church leaders. The emphasis became loving one another and rejecting the earlier focus on differences and mass evangelism. He writes:

Most of us had in various ways tried to be evangelists in our own rights. In the mission command we had heard as young converts, the emphasis had been on go, not love. It was the ministry, not the brethren, that was most important. As a result we had come to love our sermons more than the people to whom we preached. We had come to love the faceless converts of mass evangelism more than our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now as the Holy Spirit began to unite our hearts we saw that before the Great Commission, came the commandment: love one another. We were to confess and reject our disagreements. In the past we had majored on our differences—Anglicans did not say hello to Baptists and, when a Pentecostal met a Roman Catholic, he did not feel he was meeting a brother. But now we heard God’s call to live broken lives before one another. We were not to build our fellowship on the foundation of baptism, tongues or liturgy. We were to build on the reconciling blood of Jesus Christ.”[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will rejoice in God’s plan and God’s will: that His children walk together in unity.

PRAYER: Lord, may my love for brothers and sisters today, and the resulting unity, show the world that You sent Jesus.

1. F. Kefa Sempangi with Barbara R. Thompson. A Distant Grief (Glendale, CA: Regal Books, 1979), pp. 42-43.

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

LHM Daily DevotionsMarch 1, 2020 - PRIVILEGED TO SHARE THE WORK


Mar. 1, 2020

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He (Jesus) saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Have you ever stopped to think about how very odd Jesus' plan is?

He is perfect God and perfect Man. He has all power and could do any number of miracles. He definitely doesn't need human help to carry out His plans. And yet, when it comes to rescuing God's people from slavery to sin, death, and the devil, what does He do? He calls on ordinary people to help.

And boy, are they ordinary! Some fishermen. A tax collector. A revolutionary. Later on, a guy who waited on tables. A tentmaker. A young man from a mixed-race family. A woman who sold purple dye. A slave.

These are the people the Lord chose to help lead God's people out of the darkness into the light of His salvation. They are people like you and like me. As Paul says, "Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth" (1 Corinthians 1:26). Nevertheless, God chose you to become His son, His daughter. You believed in Jesus, His Son, who saved you, through His life, death, and resurrection from the dead. Now God would love to use you to tell that story of Jesus to others just as ordinary as you.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, please show me in baby steps how I can share Jesus with those around me. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Do you like to help people with their work? What kinds of work?
  2. Would you call yourself ordinary? Why or why not?
  3. What is difficult for you about sharing your faith? What is easier?

Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Do you like to help people with their work? What kinds of work?

CPTLN devocional del 01 de Marzo de 2020 - Privilegiados de compatir la tarea


Privilegiados de compatir la tarea

01 de Marzo de 2020

Mientras Jesús caminaba junto al lago de Galilea vio a dos hermanos, Simón, llamado Pedro, y Andrés, que estaban echando la red al agua, pues eran pescadores. Jesús les dijo: "Síganme, y yo haré de ustedes pescadores de hombres." Ellos entonces, dejando al instante las redes, lo siguieron.

¿Alguna vez te has detenido a pensar en lo extraño que es el plan de Jesús?

Él es Dios perfecto y hombre perfecto que tiene todo el poder, por lo que podría hacer cualquier cantidad de milagros. Definitivamente no necesita ninguna ayuda humana para llevar a cabo sus planes. Y, sin embargo, cuando se trata de rescatar al pueblo de Dios de la esclavitud del pecado, la muerte y el diablo, ¿qué hace? Llama a las personas a que lo ayuden.

¡Y eran personas comunes y corrientes! Unos eran pescadores, otro era un recaudador de impuestos y otro un revolucionario. Más tarde llamó a uno que servía las mesas, a otro que era carpintero, a uno que venía de una familia de raza mixta, a una mujer que vendía tinta color púrpura y hasta a un esclavo.

Esas son las personas que el Señor eligió para ayudar a sacar al pueblo de Dios de la oscuridad a la luz de su salvación. Son personas como tú y como yo. Como dice Pablo: "Consideren, hermanos, su llamamiento: No muchos de ustedes son sabios, según los criterios humanos, ni son muchos los poderosos, ni muchos los nobles" (1 Corintios 1:26). Sin embargo, Dios te eligió para hacerte su hijo o hija. Ahora que has creído en Jesús, su Hijo, quien a través de su vida, muerte y resurrección te salvó de la muerte, a Dios le encantaría usarte para contar esa historia de Jesús a otros tan comunes y corrientes como tú.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, muéstrame cómo puedo comenzar a compartir a Jesús con los que me rodean. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  1. ¿Te consideras una persona común y corriente? ¿Por qué sí o por qué no?
  2. ¿Qué es lo más difícil para ti cuando se trata de compartir tu fe? ¿Qué es lo más fácil?

© Copyright 2020 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
¿Te consideras una persona común y corriente? ¿Por qué sí o por qué no?

Unser Täglich Brot - Ein Ziel und eine Bestimmung

Ein Ziel und eine Bestimmung

Lesung: Apostelgeschichte 20,17-24 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: 4. Mose 23-25; Markus 7,14-37

Wenn ich nur meinen Lauf vollende und den Dienst erfülle, der mir von Jesus, dem Herrn, übertragen wurde.

Im Jahr 2018 unternahm der Ausdauersportler Colin O’Brady eine Wanderung, die noch nie zuvor unternommen wurde. Er durchquerte ganz alleine den antarktischen Kontinent und zog nur einen Schlitten mit seiner Ausrüstung hinter sich her. Insgesamt legte er in 54 Tagen 1.500 Kilometer zurück. Es war eine denkwürdige Reise, geprägt von Hingabe und Mut.

O’Brady sagte über seine einsame Zeit im Eis, der Kälte und der beängstigenden Entfernung: „Ich war die gesamte Zeit absolut in die Aktivität vertieft und ausschließlich auf das Endziel fokussiert, während mein Denken die tief greifenden Lektionen der Reise nacherzählte.“

Für diejenigen unter uns, die ihr Vertrauen auf Jesus setzen, hört sich diese Äußerung vielleicht vertraut an. Sie hört sich nach unserem Auftrag als Gläubige an: sich auf das Ziel zu konzentrieren, indem wir so leben, dass wir Gott verherrlichen (ehren) und er durch uns für andere sichtbar wird. In Apostelgeschichte 20,24 schreibt Paulus, der selbst mit gefährlichen Reisen vertraut war: „Doch mein Leben ist mir nicht der Rede wert, es sei denn, ich nutze es, um das zu tun, was der Herr Jesus mir aufgetragen hat – das Werk, anderen die Botschaft von Gottes Gnade zu bringen.“

Wenn wir in der Beziehung mit Jesus leben, so erkennen wir hoffentlich, was der Sinn unserer Reise ist und streben nach dem Tag, an dem wir unseren Retter von Angesicht zu Angesicht sehen.
Wie beeinflusst deine Beziehung zu Jesus deine Art zu leben? Wie kannst du heute anderen deine Liebe zu ihm zeigen?
Himmlischer Vater, hilf uns in unserem Leben, dass wir dich in allem ehren, was wir tun. Mögen wir andere dadurch ermutigen, mit dir ebenso durch das Leben zu gehen.

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Im Jahr 2018 unternahm der Ausdauersportler Colin O’Brady eine Wanderung, die noch nie zuvor unternommen wurde.