Monday, March 23, 2020

The Daily Lectionary for MONDAY, March 23, 2020
Psalm 146; Isaiah 59:9-19; Acts 9:1-20

The Daily Lectionary
MONDAY, March 23, 2020
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

God opens the eyes of the blind
1  Praise the Lord.

   Praise the Lord, my soul.

2  I will praise the Lord all my life;
     I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3  Do not put your trust in princes,
     in human beings, who cannot save.
4  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
     on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5  Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
     whose hope is in the Lord their God.

6  He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
     the sea, and everything in them—
     he remains faithful forever.
7  He upholds the cause of the oppressed
     and gives food to the hungry.
   The Lord sets prisoners free,
8    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
   the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
     the Lord loves the righteous.
9  The Lord watches over the foreigner
     and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
     but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
     your God, O Zion, for all generations.

   Praise the Lord.

The blindness of injustice
9  So justice is far from us,
     and righteousness does not reach us.
   We look for light, but all is darkness;
     for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
     feeling our way like people without eyes.
   At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
     among the strong, we are like the dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
     we moan mournfully like doves.
   We look for justice, but find none;
     for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
     and our sins testify against us.
   Our offenses are ever with us,
     and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
     turning our backs on our God,
   inciting revolt and oppression,
     uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
     and righteousness stands at a distance;
   truth has stumbled in the streets,
     honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
     and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

   The Lord looked and was displeased
     that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
     he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
   so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
     and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
     and the helmet of salvation on his head;
   he put on the garments of vengeance
     and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
     so will he repay
   wrath to his enemies
     and retribution to his foes;
     he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
     and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
   For he will come like a pent-up flood
     that the breath of the Lord drives along.

Saul is baptized his sight restored
9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

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

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Daily Lectionary is a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.
The Daily Lectionary for MONDAY, March 23, 2020
Psalm 146; Isaiah 59:9-19; Acts 9:1-20

The Daily Prayer for MONDAY, March 23, 2020
The Daily Prayer
MONDAY, March 23, 2020

John Chrysostom, a great fourth-century preacher in Constantinople, said, “When we suffer anything for Christ’s sake, we should do so not only with courage but even with joy. If we have to go hungry, let us be glad as if we were at a banquet. If we are insulted, let us be elated as though we had been showered with praises. If we lose all we possess, let us consider ourselves the gainers. If we provide for the poor, let us regard ourselves as the recipients. Do not think of the painful effort involved, but of the sweetness of the reward; and above all, remember that your struggles are for the sake of our Lord Jesus.”

Transform our memory, Lord, so that whenever we encounter suffering for your sake, we will recall all the saints who have gone before us whose courage and faith brought us this far. Amen.

Verse of the Day for MONDAY, March 23, 2020

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Read all of James 1

Listen to James 1

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

The Lenten Prayer for MONDAY, March 23, 2020 - Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

40 Days of Lenten Prayers
Day 23 - Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

God who created me,
You offer me new life through your Son
and through the gift of your sacraments.
While I see new life all around me,
I don't always recognize the new life you offer me.

Help me to grow this Lent in an awareness
of the gifts you place in my life
and in a greater appreciation for your care.
Give me the courage to ask for help.

Un dia a la Vez - Lunes 23 de marzo de 2020

Dile «no» a la crítica

No juzguen, y no se les juzgará. No condenen, y no se les condenará. Perdonen, y se les perdonará [...] Porque con la medida que midan a otros, se les medirá a ustedes.

Como humanos, somos muy dados a la murmuración y la crítica. Es triste, pero entre nosotros mismos somos más fuertes en nuestras apreciaciones y comentarios.

Muchas veces he escuchado cómo critican a quienes hacen una labor de tanto valor como ciertas personas que mencioné en el devocional de ayer.

Creemos que porque se desenvuelven en un mundo secular, merecen estas críticas, muchas veces injustas, sin saber que a lo mejor estén haciendo más obra que tú y que yo.

Me vienen a la mente otros dos grandes seres humanos:

Ricardo Montaner, quien no solo a donde va proclama quién es Jesucristo en su vida, sino que ha grabado temas cristianos. En la actualidad, tiene ministerios en los que ayuda a los niños con condiciones especiales.

¿Y qué me dices de Juan Luis Guerra? Aunque está constantemente en sus presentaciones, siempre le da el reconocimiento a Dios en su vida. Además, se encuentra en una de las mayores iglesias de República Dominicana.

Si esto no es cumplir la misión, ¿qué esperamos de la vida?

Paremos la crítica y más bien preocupémonos por lo que tú y yo estamos haciendo por el conocimiento de la Palabra. Es más, reflexiona en esto hoy: ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que le hablaste a alguien de Jesús?

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Como humanos, somos muy dados a la murmuración y la crítica.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Monday, March 23, 2020

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
John 18:1 (NIV)

Today’s devotional comes from a Chinese house church pastor who was arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says:

When we suffer for Christ, what actually happens? I mean, what really goes on spiritually within us when we are going through suffering?

I ask the question because a young sister was listening to me recently recount my experience of being in jail for three weeks last year. She said, “You talked of having constant diarrhea, of being kicked and punched painfully, and you even feared that God was punishing you…yet you talked also of feeling joy and experiencing peace.” She said to me, “I don’t understand how these things go together.”

My reply to her, and I give it also as an instruction to you all (for you will all suffer at some point for His Name), is that when we suffer, three spiritual experiences happen to us all at once: angelic strengthening, superhuman forgiveness, and human incomprehension. These three things appear contradictory, but if you suffer, you will find they come together as they did in the life of Christ.

An old Christian used to say to me, “When they lead you away to jail, tell yourself you are merely going with Christ to the Garden of Gethsemane, and to the Cross.” To the Garden, and to the Cross. I liked that. I tested it. It’s true…

So that is why suffering Christians appear to speak out of “both sides of their mouth.” On the one hand, we talk of joy and endurance. On the other hand, there is anger at God, pain and a feeling of spiritual desertion. They sit together, because there is always a war of different feelings and emotions.

Although we are angelically strengthened and the recipients of superhuman forgiveness, we also experience a sense of spiritual abandonment as a result of our human incomprehension.

But the greatest thing of all is to walk the way of Christ. That is the privilege of suffering: to suffer a little as our Lord Jesus suffered. As He identified with us by suffering pain, so some are called to identify even more closely with Him by going into the Garden, and onto the Cross.

Never fear, my friends, when you are arrested. You will receive strength. You will also be bewildered. Think of Christ, and follow him into the Garden, and onto the Cross.

For the next three days we will listen to his contrasting explanation of the Garden and the Cross: angelic strengthening; superhuman forgiveness; and human incomprehension.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk with Jesus whether into the Garden or onto the Cross.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord that You strengthen Your people in preparation for suffering and even during it.

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

Women of the Bible - Monday, March 23, 2020


Her name means: "Honey Bee"

Her character: Her vision of the world was shaped not by the political situation of her day but by her relationship with God. Though women in the ancient world did not usually become political leaders, Deborah was just the leader Israel needed—a prophetess who heard God and believed him and whose courage aroused the people, enabling them to throw off foreign oppression.
Her sorrow: That her people had sunk into despair because of their idolatry, forgetting God's promises and the faith of their ancestors.
Her joy: That God turned the enemy's strength on its head, bestowing power to the weak and blessing the land with peace for forty years.
Key Scriptures: Judges 4-5

Her Story

Jericho, gateway to Canaan, had lain in ruins for two hundred years. From there, the Israelites had swept across the country like a storm of locusts, devouring everything in their path. But the native peoples had somehow managed to survive, and like well-rooted weeds, their idolatry spread until it began to strangle Israel's faith.

Rahab and Joshua were the palest of memories now, and the slaves-turned-warriors were once again underdogs, oppressed for twenty years by a coalition of Canaanite rulers, whose chief warrior was Sisera. His nine hundred iron-plated chariots terrified the ill-armed Israelite people, threatening to sweep over them with invincible force. Small wonder no one challenged him.

Sisera must have felt smugly secure, especially since Israel was now led by a woman. But his military calculations failed to account for one key variable: the strategic power of that woman's faith. Deborah was a prophetess who held court under a palm tree several miles northwest of Jericho. Though much of Israel was divided and dispirited, she refused to lose heart. How could she forget God's faithfulness, living so close to ruined Jericho?

She summoned Barak, a Hebrew from the north, and told him plainly: "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.' "

But, like every other man of Israel, Barak was terrified of Sisera, and he refused to comply unless one condition was met: Deborah must accompany him in battle. She would be his talisman in the fight. "Very well," she replied, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman."

Hearing of the plot, Sisera led his troops and chariots to the Kishon Wadi, a dry riverbed, determined to crush the uprising. But his very strength turned against him as rain swelled the valley to floodtide. Suddenly, nine hundred iron chariots became a huge liability. No matter how furiously the soldiers flogged their horses, urging them onward, oozing mud held them. They became easy targets for Barak's troops sweeping down from Mount Tabor, putting every man but Sisera to the sword.

Once again, God had heard his people's cries and had sent a deliverer—this time a woman whose faith stilled the nattering voices of doubt and timidity so that the people could hear the one Voice that mattered. On their day of victory, Deborah and Barak sang this song:
When the princes in Israel take the lead,
  when the people willingly offer themselves—
  praise the Lord!

Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers!
  I, even I, will sing to the Lord;
  I will praise the Lord, the God of Israel, in song.

Villagers in Israel would not fight;
  they held back until I, Deborah, arose,
  until I arose, a mother in Israel. — Judges 5:2-3, 7
Indeed, a mother in Israel had arisen, a woman whose strong faith gave birth to hope and freedom and a peace that lasted forty years. Never again would the Canaanites join forces against Israel. Like an ancient Joan of Arc, Deborah arose and called the people to battle, leading them out of idolatry and restoring their dignity as God's chosen ones.

Her Promise

Godly Deborah has been an encouragement to women throughout the centuries. When women feel confined or mistreated, when they are unsure of what is right or which way to proceed, when they are entering unknown territory, when they feel overlooked or ignored—they gain stability and help from remembering Deborah. Whatever Deborah had is available to you today. Her wisdom is discovered in the Scriptures. Her confidence in God is found in a relationship with him. Her bravery is achievable when you put your trust in God and his promises. Her inner strength and calm leadership are characteristic of confidence not in herself but in her God. All Deborah offered to Israel she offers to you as an example of a woman willing to be used by God.

This devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Used with permission.
Her vision of the world was shaped not by the political situation of her day but by her relationship with God.

LHM Daily Devotions - March 23, 2020 - YOU WERE NOT WILLING


March 23, 2020

(Jesus said) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.'"

What happens if you try to set people free—but they are not willing? It sounds like an odd problem, but it's one that Moses faced with the people of Israel, again and again, on their journey out of slavery to the Promised Land. God led the people in the pillar of cloud and fire; He provided food and water for them by miracle; He protected them from danger—but again and again, the people changed their minds. They wanted to go back to slavery—where, they thought, things were easier.

In our reading today, Jesus is grieving over the same behavior in the people of Jerusalem. He came to save them from the power of evil—but already the leaders of the city were plotting against Him, and the common people would follow their lead. In just a few days, they would be shouting "Crucify!" Jesus wanted to set them free—but some of them didn't want to be free.

Many people ask, "Why doesn't God just overrule people? If they are rejecting Him and insisting on a path that leads to hell, why doesn't God just magically change their minds?" But God doesn't do that sort of thing. He respects our free will—even when we are fool enough to refuse Him. If we insist on staying in slavery, He does not set us free. He will do any number of miracles, but this He will not do: overrule our freedom to reject Him.

This is still true today. Jesus calls, He argues, He draws—but He does not force. He laid down His life for us on the cross—He rose from the dead, to share His victory over death with us—but He does not force anyone to take the gift. How He loves us! And so He waits, patiently, calling us to Him in faith, waiting for us to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit and say, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord."

THE PRAYER: Lord, let Your Holy Spirit strengthen my faith in You, and turn my heart to follow You. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What is there about us that resists that which deep down inside we know is good for us?
  2. What do you do when someone you love refuses something that is good and necessary for them?
  3. Is there something you are saying "No" to God about, even though you know it's for your own good?

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).
What is there about us that resists that which deep down inside we know is good for us?

Devocional CPTLN del 23 de marzo de 2020 - No quisiste


No quisiste

23 de Marzo de 2020

¡Jerusalén, Jerusalén, que matas a los profetas y apedreas a los que son enviados a ti! ¡Cuántas veces quise juntar a tus hijos, como junta la gallina a sus polluelos debajo de sus alas, y no quisiste! ¡Miren cuán desolada se queda la casa de ustedes! Porque yo les digo que no volverán a verme, hasta que digan: 'Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor.'

¿Qué sucede cuando intentas liberar a personas que no están dispuestas? Eso es lo que enfrentó Moisés con el pueblo de Israel, una y otra vez, en su viaje a la Tierra Prometida. Dios guio al pueblo con la columna de nube y fuego, les proporcionó milagrosamente comida y agua y los protegió del peligro, pero una y otra vez el pueblo cambió de opinión: querían volver a la esclavitud donde, pensaban, las cosas eran "más fáciles".

En nuestra lectura de hoy, Jesús está afligido por el mismo comportamiento del pueblo en Jerusalén. Él había venido a salvarlos del poder del mal, pero los líderes de la ciudad ya estaban conspirando contra él y el pueblo los seguiría. En solo unos días estarían gritando "¡Crucifíquenlo!" Jesús quería liberarlos, pero algunos de ellos no querían ser libres.

Mucha gente se pregunta: "¿Por qué Dios no anula a las personas que lo rechazan e insisten en el camino que conduce al infierno?" Pero Dios no obra así. Él respeta nuestro libre albedrío, incluso cuando somos lo suficientemente tontos como para rechazarlo. Si insistimos en permanecer en la esclavitud, él no puede liberarnos. Hará cualquier cantidad de milagros, pero no anulará nuestra libertad de rechazarlo. No nos hará robots.

Esto sigue siendo cierto hoy. Jesús llama, nos atrae a sí mismo, pero nunca nos obliga. Él dio su vida por nosotros en la cruz -resucitó de los muertos para compartir su victoria sobre la muerte con nosotros- pero no obligará a nadie a recibir el regalo. ¡Cómo nos ama! Y entonces espera pacientemente, llamándonos a la fe, esperando que respondamos a la obra del Espíritu Santo.

ORACIÓN: Señor, permite que tu Espíritu Santo fortalezca mi fe en ti, y cambia mi corazón para seguirte. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  1. ¿Qué haces cuando alguien que amas rechaza algo bueno y necesario?
  2. ¿Le dices "no" a Dios por alguna cosa aunque sabes que es para tu bien?

© Copyright 2020 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
¿Qué haces cuando alguien que amas rechaza algo bueno y necesario?

Notre Pain Quotidien - Des retrouvailles

Des retrouvailles

Lisez : Apocalypse 21.1-7
La Bible en un an : Josué 16 – 18 ; Luc 2.1-24

Voici le tabernacle de Dieu avec les hommes !

Dans une joie exubérante, le petit garçon a ouvert en hâte une grosse boîte lui venant de son père militaire, qu’il croyait ne pas être rentré à temps pour célébrer son anniversaire. Dedans se trouvait une autre boîte emballée qui renfermait aussi une boîte contenant simplement une feuille sur laquelle on pouvait lire : « Surprise ! » Dérouté, le garçon a levé les yeux, tout juste comme son père entrait dans la pièce. Les yeux larmoyants, le fils a alors sauté dans les bras de son père en s’exclamant : « Papa, tu m’as manqué », puis « Je t’aime. »

Ces retrouvailles dans les larmes et la joie illustrent à mes yeux le cœur de la description qu’Apocalypse 21 fait du moment glorieux où les enfants de Dieu verront leur Père bienveillant face à face – dans la création renouvelée et restaurée. Là, Dieu « essuiera toute larme de [nos] yeux ». Nous ne connaîtrons plus de souffrances ni de chagrin, car nous serons avec notre Père céleste. Comme le déclare la « forte voix » d’Apocalypse 21 : « Voici le tabernacle de Dieu avec les hommes ! Il habitera avec eux » (V. 3).

Il existe une joie et un amour empreints de tendresse dont les disciples de Jésus jouissent déjà avec Dieu, comme Pierre le décrit : « Vous l’aimez sans l’avoir vu, vous croyez en lui sans le voir encore, vous réjouissant d’une joie merveilleuse et glorieuse » (1 PI 1.8). Imaginez la joie inexprimable et débordante que nous éprouverons lorsque celui que nous aimons et attendons nous accueillera à bras grand ouverts !
Dieu d’amour, nous anticipons avec joie le jour où nous serons avec toi.
Nous avons quelque chose de merveilleux à anticiper : le jour où nous verrons Dieu face à face au ciel.

© 2020 Ministères NPQ
Dans une joie exubérante, le petit garçon a ouvert en hâte une grosse boîte lui venant de son père militaire, qu’il croyait ne pas être rentré à temps pour célébrer son anniversaire.