Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, March 15, 2020 — Third Sunday in Lent
Third Sunday in Lent
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, March 15, 2020 — Third Sunday in Lent
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Thirsting for Grace
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

Opening Statement
Hope can be in short supply when you are wandering in the desert not knowing if or when you will arrive at your destination; when you are a woman shunned by your community; when your community is not listening to God’s voice. But hope takes many forms—water in the desert, living water at a well, encountering a person who changes your life, knowing a God who has created everything and loves all that has been created.

Opening Prayer
(based on Exodus 17, Romans 5, John 4)
Wellspring of eternal life, we come to you this day having drunk deeply the waters of anxiety and despair. Bring to us your living water. Quench our thirsting souls, for we offer this prayer in Your Name. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; 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
(based on Exodus 17)
Patient and ever-faithful God, we come to you confessing that we can be a grumpy and unsatisfied people. When things are not perfect in our eyes, we murmur and complain, and grumble and doubt. We lose hope in the people around us and, even worse, we lose hope in you. We challenge instead of accept. We put you to the test rather than trust your caring love. Forgive our doubts and complaining. Forgive our loss of hope. Let your healing, life-giving waters pour over us. Restore our souls. Amen.

Words of Assurance
(based on Exodus 17, Romans 5, John 4)
Our hope and assurance rest in God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. Open your hearts and minds and souls that the healing waters of God’s never-ending love and forgiveness may flow into and over you. Know that in this love and forgiveness you have encountered the living God.

Prayer of the Day
Merciful God, the fountain of living water, you quench our thirst and wash away our sin. Give us this water always. Bring us to drink from the well that flows with the beauty of your truth through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading
Water from the rock
17:1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

5 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

The rock of our salvation
1  Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
     let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2  Let us come before him with thanksgiving
     and extol him with music and song.

3  For the Lord is the great God,
     the great King above all gods.
4  In his hand are the depths of the earth,
     and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5  The sea is his, for he made it,
     and his hands formed the dry land.

6  Come, let us bow down in worship,
     let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7  for he is our God
     and we are the people of his pasture,
     the flock under his care.

   Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8  “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
     as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9  where your ancestors tested me;
     they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
     I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
     and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
     ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Second Reading
Reconciled to God by Christ’s death
5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Gospel Acclamation
(based on John 4:42, 15)
Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me this living water that I may never thirst again.

The Gospel
The woman at the well
4:5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s 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.

Closing Prayer

Lord, thank you that we are a family in Christ. Help us to share his love and legacy with everyone that we encounter this week. May we lavish Christ’s abounding goodness upon our families, friends and colleagues. Holy Spirit, come and equip us in our workplace, guide us in our school life, and inspire us in our neighborhood. May we be your hands and feet to the needy, your words of affirmation to the oppressed and your arms of comfort to the lonely.

Thank you for choosing to use us to bring your kingdom here on earth. 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 15, 2020 — Third Sunday in Lent
Thirsting for Grace
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

“The Lord Is My Shepherd And The Coronavirus”

Our message comes to us today from Psalms 23 and James 4:13-15.

Psalms 23The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

James 4:13-15Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

“The Lord Is My Shepherd And The Coronavirus”
By Rick Gillespie-Mobley
New Life At Calvary Presbyterian Church
Cleveland, Ohio

As we look at the closings of schools, cancellations of sporting events, celebrations being rescheduled, and even churches closing, we have to look at “what is at the heart of these unprecedented drastic measures that have been taken?” What is it that we are trying to stop?

What is it that we are afraid might happen? What is it that has so many people worrying? Is there really an unseen enemy out there that we can’t control that is out to get us? Are the leaders of this world humbled by the reality that no army in the world can stop it, and that stockpiles of nuclear weapons cannot deter it?

Are we ourselves humbled by the reality that we are nowhere near as independent and confident of the control we have over our lives than we did just two weeks ago. Things that we thought were going to be our greatest moments in championship basketball games, state tournaments, and even March Madness basketball tournaments have gone in an instant like a puff of smoke.

Our vacation plans to Disney World, Disneyland, and the theaters have all changed with no input from us. For all the boasting of what we were going to do and how we were going to do it, has now been changed.

One of the things I remember growing up as a kid was how often the old folks would end their conversation with the words, “Lord willing” or “if the Lord wills.” It was only later that I understood they were quoting a well-known writer by the name of the Apostle James.

James wrote a section of the Bible, and he recorded in James 4:13-15, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”

There are things we thought last week that nothing was going to stop us from doing, that all of a sudden we won’t be doing because of an announcement by some government official. Those old folks knew what they were saying when they said, “If it be the Lord’s will.”

As we are faced with a situation that has bloomed into a crisis, every one of us is confronted with the issue of “who is our leader at this time?” What do we want our leaders to protect us from? What will happen if they fail? What are we willing to do or become if this thing continues? What freedoms will we give up?

One thing for sure, we must appear to God like sheep scattered on a hill trying to figure out which direction to run. Thanks to the spread of information and disinformation on social media, some sheep are terrified, and their own fear will kill them.

When you peel back the layers of our anxiety, what is at the heart of it all? What are we really worrying about? We are worried about the possibility of dying. Fear of our own death or fear of the death of those that we love is a genuine concern. Yet as believers, we have the antidote to the fear of death. His name is Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.

Can we really trust what Jesus tells us about death? I think we ought to consider his opinion at least in that we know he died, and we know he rose again from the dead because over 500 eyewitnesses saw him at one time.

Jesus died on a cross, and he rose from the dead because he knew each one of us was going to die because of our wrongdoing and the evil in our hearts. He knew that we would be afraid of death because inside we know that we have done wrong and that somehow we are going to give an account for what we have done.

It was out of his love for us that he gave us the words to remove the fear of death from us. Jesus said in John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Today, more and more people are being troubled because they are forced to face with, “I could get this coronavirus and not even know it.” They convince themselves they will be among the small percentage of people that die. They can take all kinds of precautions, but they still little control over what happens.

How should believers respond to any crisis in which the fear of death is out there? It begins with knowing, our hope is always to be rooted in God. Our most well-known verse in the Bible is where we begin. Psalm 23 tells us. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

I want you to know that God says we are his sheep and the sheep of his pasture. God knew about the coronavirus ten years ago and even a 1000 years ago. God knew about our days before a single one of them came into being. Nothing has ever caught God by surprise.

God did not wake up and say, “I’ve got to change my plans for the church and for the world because I forgot to take into account the coronavirus spreading in the world in the year 2020.”

This is not the first virus or plague to enter the world. Have you ever considered the possibility that God wants to use the church, to show the world who He is by how we react to the coronavirus? Are we willing to talk with others about what the fear is with the virus? Are we ready to bring up the topic of death, and what’s there afterward?

When our friends and co-workers mention how worried they are about what’s going to happen next, do we join in with how worried we are too? Or we will remember the words of Jesus in which he said in Matthew 6:25-27, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

If the Lord is truly our shepherd, then is not the Lord free to do with His sheep what God thinks is best. As believers, are we to be afraid or to worry about what the coronavirus might do to us? Do we believe that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purposes? We never know where our faith is rooted until we run into a crisis.

Past rampant plagues and diseases have been opportunities for Christians to shine in society. Between the years 250 AD and 270 AD, a terrible plague devastated the Roman Empire, which stretched across Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa.

We are not sure if it was the measles or smallpox. They didn’t have the hospitals and medicine we have today. At the height of the plague, known as the Plague of Cyprian, St. Cyprian chronicled that 5000 people died every day just in the city of Rome itself. That’s not including the rest of the empire.

This occurred at the same time there was empire-wide persecution of Christians under the emperor Decius. The enemies of the Christians blamed the Christians for the plague. There were two problems with the theory of the Christians being responsible.

The first is that many Christians died from the plague. Why would Christians start something to kill Christians? But the second problem with the theory was the witness of the Christians of the love of Jesus Christ to their pagan neighbors. Whereas many people abandoned those who got sick, the Christians risked their lives to take care of those who had been abandoned by their families.

A century earlier, the Antonine Plague had symptoms like smallpox. 10% of the population of Rome died. The leaders and people, including the doctors, began to abandon the city, leaving the sick behind to die. The Christians stayed in the city to take care of those who were ill.

Candida Moss, a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Notre Dame, notes, “an epidemic that seemed like the end of the world actually promoted the spread of Christianity. “By their action in the face of death, Christians showed their pagan neighbors that Christianity is worth dying for.

Do we believe Jesus when Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd? We like to believe that means that Jesus is always going to surround us with good things that will make us comfortable in life. He’s going to lead us to lie down in green pastures where there is plenty of food for us to eat and be happy.

He will take us to where the water is calm and peaceful so that we can drink, and it’s not splashing back in our faces. Yes, we enjoy the still and quiet waters. Oh, we just have joy from Jesus in our souls as we feel refreshed coming out of our devotions, especially with some good praise music on.

But then we choose to forget, that’s not the only place Jesus leads us, and that’s not the only role Jesus has for us. What is this talk about walking through the valley of the shadow of death or walking through the darkest valley?

Do we still look to Jesus then, or is there something else we want to grab on to? This valley does not catch Jesus by surprise because the verses before it said that he was leading along the right path when I arrived at this valley.

There are all kinds of valleys the shepherd leads us down. The valley of sickness, the valley of loneliness, the valley of pain and suffering, the valley of broken dreams or unfulfilled promises, the valley of unemployment and homelessness, the valley of the loss of a skill or talent, and the valley of the death of someone we love. Those are valleys we have no control over, and yet the events of life seem to slide us into them whether we are willing to go or not.

But then there are those valleys that are created for us specifically for us to do the will of God. Jesus, who knows the role of the good shepherd, seems to switch hats on us at times. Jesus says in Luke 10:2-3, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers in the field. Go! I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.”

Let’s just suppose for a moment that this coronavirus is being used by God to create a harvest of hearts that are open because of fear, anxiety, and worry. Beyond the virus itself, people are going to worry about how they are going to pay their bills with their jobs being shut down, and who will watch over their kids while they work.

How many of us are willing to be a lamb sent out among wolves for Jesus in this crisis? I do know that Jesus knew, if he sent out lambs among the wolves, some of those lambs are not going to make it back. Then there are other words of Jesus that sort of putting us on the spot when we are all tempted to quarantine and isolate ourselves. What did he actually mean when he said, “Greater love has no one than this, than that he should lay down his life for a friend” (John 15:13). Should we only serve Jesus when it is safe to do so?

What was it the Christians had during the plagues in Europe that caused them to head toward the sick and dying to help them when everyone else was running away from them trying to save their own lives? Could it be they loved Jesus more than they loved their own lives? Could it be they believed the promises of Jesus even in the face of death itself? Were they trying to love their neighbor as themselves?

Did they understand, their witness might be the final thing separating this person who was ill from entering eternity hopelessly lost, dying in their sins with no chance of a Savior to stand beside them at the great judgment?

Whatever it was, I want it for my own life. I want it for today’s body of Christ. We have a hope promised to us that goes beyond the concerns of this world.

The psalmist did not stay in the valley of the shadow of death. He went on to write, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” It’s good to use all the hand sanitizer you can, but that’s not where your deliverance is. Your deliverance is in the fact that God is with you.

But because God is sovereign, and we have voluntarily given our lives to Him through Christ, if God desires to use us through receiving the coronavirus, then we say, “your will be done.” The psalmist says God’s rod and staff they comfort him. God’s rod and staff come in many different forms.

Listen to the many forms we find in Hebrews 11:35-38, “…others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.”

How many of you would choose the coronavirus over being flogged, sawed in two, or put to death by the sword for the cause of Christ? Is God still in control or not? Does God choose in his mercy who will live and who will die? Is God free to decide how our lives would best glorify him?

The Apostle Paul once wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Is that where we are in our hearts today? Do we really believe that Jesus is going to be there for us? I know some of us to say, but I’ve got others depending on me, so I can’t just die. It is an illusion to think we can determine how long or short on earth our time is going to be.

If we quarantined every person in the world that has the virus, we still are no more in control of our lives than we were two weeks ago, for we are still going to ultimately die and still will have to give an account of our lives to God. We just won’t have the news media and social media constantly reminding us that we should be worried because we could be next.

How does God expect to use us in response to the worry and fear that has spread through our nation and the world? Will we see this as an opportunity to reach out and serve those who are affected by this situation directly or indirectly? Will we show confidence in Christ for our future that the world has not known by not joining in the panic?

Will we become bolder in our witness of God actually being in charge of our lives? Will we be willing to continue embrace those who are being cast aside? It won’t be long before we start to look at people a certain way and decide that person probably has it and so I’m going to keep a little bit more distance. Inside we actually think that person is less in the image of God than I am.

When Lepers had to be isolated by going through the streets yelling unclean, Jesus voided the isolation ban and went to touch them. When sinners were declared to be religiously unclean, Jesus went, and he touched them so that they could be healed. The woman who had a disease for 12 years, said, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” We lose something in the body of Christ when we can no longer reach out and touch each other.

Even if we think the coronavirus is a great enemy, the psalmist concludes in Psalm 23:5-6, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” We should be able to celebrate what God has done for us, even with the coronavirus around us.

There’s a line in a hymn that reads, “Whose report will you believe, we shall believe the report of the Lord.” They can say what they want to say about the coronavirus, I still believe God is sitting on the throne of heaven, and God’s plans and purposes will still be accomplished.

Let us pray: God of Mercy, be with the tens of thousands of people who have contracted the coronavirus around the world. Comfort those whose loved ones have died. Bring peace to those living with uncertainty after perhaps being exposed to the virus. Give patience to those who are quarantined and unable to move freely in their communities.

Wise and Faithful Guide, watch over and protect other people from catching this deadly virus. Strengthen those who are risking their own lives to care for sick patients.

Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, in aid to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of those affected, even after the crisis is over. May we all be filled with compassion for those who are suffering. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

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. Rick Gillespie-Mobley.
This sermon deals with what should be a believer’s response to the crisis of the coronavirus. Our hope is to be in the Lord, who is our Shepherd.

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, March 15, 2020
The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, March 15, 2020

Katherine Drexel, the patron saint of racial justice, said, “You have no time to occupy your thoughts with that complacency or consideration of what others will think. Your business is simply, ‘What will my Father in heaven think?’”

Lord, make it second nature for us to do what is right in your sight. Make us more concerned with abiding by the tenets of your kingdom than by human law. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, March 15, 2020

Acts 4:10
(T)hen know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
Read all of Acts 4

Listen to Acts 4

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

Un dia a la Vez - Domingo 15 de marzo de 2020

Oración para que Dios sea mi «Todo»

Pon tu esperanza en el Señor; ten valor, cobra ánimo; ¡pon tu esperanza en el Señor!

Padre nuestro que estás en el cielo, hoy busco tu presencia porque he entendido que mi vida sin ti no tiene sentido.

Necesito tu ayuda a fin de poder rendirlo todo a ti. Entiendo que al entregarte mi vida estoy ganando y que al morir a mi propio yo, tú podrás empezar a hacer cambios en mi vida y en mi manera de actuar. De ese modo, Padre, me preparas para tener el carácter de tu Hijo Jesucristo y me fortaleces en ti.

Si veo las noticias o leo la Biblia, en verdad reconozco que la vida se torna cada vez más complicada y yo te necesito.

Quiero dejar de actuar en mis fuerzas y deseo entregarme por completo a ti.

Dios mío, reina en mi vida y en mi corazón. Permite que empiece pronto a dar frutos y a ser un ejemplo a seguir para mi familia, mis amigos, mis compañeros de trabajo y hasta para los que no me conocen.

Renuncio a mi manera antigua de pensar y me dispongo a conocerte cada día más y así poder hacer su voluntad.

Amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Oración para que Dios sea mi «Todo»

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, March 15, 2020

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.

Today we hear from co-worker Jan Vermeer:

The inspired writer of the book of Hebrews says that everything was put in subjection under Jesus Christ (2:8). Does His supremacy actually show in this country full of idols, hunger and death camps?

The North Korean Church consists of between 200,000 and 400,000 members. Fiercely persecuted, all of them hide their beliefs from the authorities. The church is truly an underground church, divided into thousands of small networks and cell groups. Most Christians hardly know other Christians outside their families. In case of an arrest, not many other Christians are in danger. The most visible proof of their faith is the possession of a Bible, which is illegal and punishable by death. Probably nowhere else in the world are so many copies of God’s Word literally hidden underground.

But the church is definitely growing. Many Christians keep their faith secret and are surviving. Open Doors is able to support almost 60,000 Christians with Bibles, books, training, food, clothes, and medicines. Yet it is the individual tragedies that make it difficult to see with spiritual eyes that Jesus Christ is supreme even in North Korea.

For example, a middle-aged man was arrested after the police found a Bible in his home. He is being terribly beaten in prison, as we learn from released prisoners who witnessed it. “His face is deformed. He told us he is certain he will die.”

How can Christ be supreme if one of his disciples is tortured so severely? I’ve known this man for a long time,” says a Christian friend of the prisoner. “When he came to faith, he made the decision that one day he would die for Christ. Every Christian in North Korea has made that choice. Every Christian in my country has the spirit of martyrdom in him. If you lose that spirit for one second, you cannot carry the burden of being a follower of Jesus. My friend knew that one day he could get caught and on that day he had to be steadfast in the faith and loyal to Jesus. I am convinced he can take the suffering because he constantly reminds himself of the joy that is set before him.”

The suffering North Korean Christians reveal Christ’s supremacy because they look at the reward: Jesus Christ Himself. He is our Treasure. He calls us to Himself, to suffer outside the gate and bear the reproach He endured (Hebrews 13:12-14). The kingdom of the Kim’s is limited in size and time. The Kingdom of our Lord is eternal and will come with power!

RESPONSE: I will rejoice in the supremacy of Jesus Christ, my Lord, over everything and everyone.

PRAYER: Lord, I too rejoice in the joy set before me with You. Keep me steadfast, faithful and loyal.

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 - March 15, 2020 - FREEDOM FROM SHAME


March 15, 2020

Early in the morning He (Jesus) came again to the temple. All the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery ...

Shame is a horrible thing. This woman had sinned greatly; yes, but who would not feel sorry for her, dragged out into the light of day to face public shame in front of the religious leaders at the holy temple—alone, possibly half-dressed, with no one to defend her, and even her lover missing from her side? And she would have known there was worse to come. Such women were stoned for their sin. She would lose her life, and if she had children, they would lose their mother. There was no hope for her.

But though she didn't realize it, there actually was hope. Jesus Himself was there, in the middle of her horrible situation. But what was He doing? Writing on the ground? She didn't understand, but she knew one thing—He was not joining the chorus of condemnation all around her. He was silent, busy writing. When they kept bugging Him, He finally stood up long enough to say just one thing: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7b). And then He stooped down and wrote again.

You know the rest of the story—how the leaders slunk away, one by one, till nobody was left but Jesus. The woman was safe—and free. And Jesus' final word to her was "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more" (John 8:11b).

Jesus shows an amazing gentleness to sinners caught in the deadly trap of shame. He does nothing to add to it; indeed, He gets rid of the audience that is gloating over her embarrassment. He reminds them of their own sin and shame, and they leave. And then, in private, He sets her free. The sinless Son of God refuses to condemn her. He will bear her shame and ours instead, on the cross.

This is good news! This is comfort for anyone who has memories that make them cringe in shame. Jesus calls us to Himself, not to condemn but to forgive, cleanse, and relieve. He takes our shame from us and puts it on His own back. He takes it away forever and nails it to His cross. He sets us free—free of sin, free of shame, free to live as God's forgiven people. Even you. Even me.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, dear Lord, for setting me free from sin and shame. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  1. If you are willing, tell about something that embarrassed you long ago.
  2. How do you deal with the pain of shame?
  3. Jesus covers all our shame and gives us His own honor and dignity. How does that make you feel?

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).
If you are willing, tell about something that embarrassed you long ago.

Devocional CPTLN del 15 de marzo de 2020 - Liberación de la vergüenza


Liberación de la vergüenza

15 de Marzo de 2020

Los escribas y los fariseos le llevaron a una mujer que había sido sorprendida cometiendo adulterio.
Juan 8:3 (RVC)

Es cierto que esta mujer había pecado mucho, pero ¿quién no iba a sentir lástima por ella, arrastrada a la luz del día para enfrentar la vergüenza pública frente a los líderes religiosos en el templo, sola, sin nadie que la defendiera? Y ella sabía que había algo peor por venir, pues tales mujeres eran apedreadas por su pecado. Perdería la vida y, si tenía hijos, ellos perderían a su madre. No tenía ninguna esperanza.

Sin embargo, Jesús estaba allí, en medio de su horrible situación. Pero... ¿qué estaba haciendo? ¿Escribiendo en el suelo? Ella no lo entendía, pero sabía una cosa: él no se uniría al coro de condena que la rodeaba. Estaba en silencio, ocupado escribiendo. Como lo seguían molestando, se puso de pie para decir una sola cosa: "Aquel de ustedes que esté sin pecado, que le arroje la primera piedra". Y luego se agachó y siguió escribiendo.

Ya sabemos el resto de la historia: los líderes se fueron uno a uno, hasta que no quedó nadie más que Jesús. La mujer estaba a salvo y libre. Y la última palabra de Jesús a ella fue: "Tampoco yo te condeno. Vete, y no peques más".

Jesús muestra un amor asombroso a los pecadores atrapados en la trampa mortal de la vergüenza. Primero se deshace de la audiencia a la que le encanta avergonzar, recordándoles su propio pecado y vergüenza. Y luego, en privado, libera a la mujer pecadora. El Hijo de Dios sin pecado se niega a condenarla. Él llevará su vergüenza, y la nuestra, a la cruz.

¡Estas son buenas noticias! Esto es un consuelo para cualquiera que tenga recuerdos que lo avergüenzan. Jesús nos llama no para condenarnos sino para perdonarnos, limpiarnos y aliviarnos. Él nos quita la vergüenza y la carga sobre su espalda; nos libera del pecado y de la vergüenza para que vivamos como personas perdonadas por Dios. Esto es para ti y para mí.

ORACIÓN: Gracias, querido Jesús, por liberarme del pecado y la vergüenza. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  1. ¿Cómo lidias con el dolor de la vergüenza?
  2. Jesús cubre toda nuestra vergüenza y nos da su honor y dignidad. ¿Cómo te hace sentir eso?

© Copyright 2020 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
¿Cómo lidias con el dolor de la vergüenza?

Unser Täglich Brot - Die Rechnung ist bezahlt

Die Rechnung ist bezahlt

Lesung: 5. Mose 26,12-15 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: 5. Mose 26-27; Markus 14,27-53

Ihr sollt den Leviten, Ausländern, Waisen und Witwen geben.

„Was ist dir zugestoßen?“, fragte Zeal, ein nigerianischer Geschäftsmann, als er sich über ein Krankenhausbett in Lagos beugte. „Jemand hat auf mich geschossen“, sagte der junge Mann, dessen Bein bandagiert war. Auch wenn es dem Verletzten gut genug ging, dass er nach Hause gehen konnte, durfte er das Krankenhaus nicht verlassen, bis die Rechnung beglichen worden war. Das ist die übliche Handlungsweise von Regierungskrankenhäusern in dieser Region. Nachdem er sich mit einem Sozialarbeiter beraten hatte, bezahlte Zeal anonym die Rechnung aus einem gemeinnützigen Fond, den er errichtet hatte, um seinen christlichen Glauben zu zeigen. Im Gegenzug hoffte er, dass diejenigen, die ein Geschenk von ihm erhielten, es eines Tages anderen zurückgeben.

Dieses Prinzip des Gebens von Gottes guten Segen finden wir in der gesamten Bibel. So auch, als Mose die Israeliten anwies, wie sie im verheißenen Land leben sollen, indem sie zuerst Gott zurückgeben (5. Mose 26,1-3) und dann denjenigen, die in Not waren—Fremde, Waisen und Witwen (V. 12). Weil sie in einem „Land lebten, in dem Milch und Honig fließen“ (V. 15), sollten sie Gottes Liebe den Bedürftigen zum Ausdruck bringen.

Auch wir können Gottes Liebe weitergeben, wenn wir unsere materiellen Güter teilen, ob groß oder klein. Wir haben vielleicht nicht die Möglichkeit persönlich so zu geben, wie es Zeal tat, aber wir können Gott bitten, dass er uns zeigt, wie wir geben können oder wer unsere Hilfe braucht.
Wie haben sich wohl die Patienten gefühlt, die wegen Zeal entlassen werden konnten? Hast du schon einmal ein unerwartetes Gnadengeschenk erhalten? Wie hast du reagiert?
Herr, danke, dass du für diejenigen sorgst, die Not leiden. Öffne meine Augen, damit ich die materiellen und geistlichen Bedürfnisse der Menschen erkenne und hilf mir zu erkennen, wie ich darauf reagieren soll.

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Auch wenn es dem Verletzten gut genug ging, dass er nach Hause gehen konnte, durfte er das Krankenhaus nicht verlassen, bis die Rechnung beglichen worden war.