Friday Morning: 02 Aug 2019 – Ephesians 2:11-22 ~ You are a member of God’s family.

Friday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Ephesians 2:11-22 (NLT)

Oneness and Peace in Christ

Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

A Temple for the Lord

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
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Morning Reflection:

You are a member of God’s family.

You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.
And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
– Ephesians 2:19-20 –

Jesus Christ broke down the wall that separated Jew and Gentile. In Christ, Jew and Gentile are reconciled – we are joined together into God’s family with all believers throughout the ages. And together, we are being built into God’s holy dwelling place – a spiritual dwelling place – the church.

+ Christ the Cornerstone: Christ reconciled Jew and Gentile to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

+ Apostle and Prophets the Foundation: God revealed himself to them, and they faithfully preserved this revelation in the Bible – the sole authority of faith and practice, and the foundation on which the church s built.

God’s plan for believers included the uniting of both Jewish and Gentile believers into one family, one body – the church universal. In it Jewish and Gentile believers stand with equal rights and privileges before God. Membership in this new body is one of the great blessings of believers in this present age.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you know any Jewish believers in Jesus, the Messiah? Please explain.
  • Do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Is peace possible apart from Jesus Christ? Please explain.
  • God has united all believers into one family – the church universal. Nevertheless, we have many different cultural expressions of faith in Jesus Christ? Do you know any believers who are culturally different from you? Do you consider them part of your spiritual family? Please explain.
  • God has made us very different from one another, and yet – we are one in Christ Jesus. What can you learn from believers from a different culture? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For the Unity of all Believers –

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace to take to heart the grave dangers we are in through our many divisions. Deliver your Church from all enmity and prejudice, and everything that hinders us from godly union. As there is one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so make us all to be of one heart and of one mind, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and love, that with one voice we may give you praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God in everlasting glory. Amen.

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“Holy Name of Yeshua…” – Birgitta Veksler

Singer : Birgitta Veksler…Testimony

As part of the compulsory army service in Israel, Birgitta served in the IDF for two years as a lead singer in the army band. By the end of her service, she was bitten by a poisonous snake, in an accident that almost cost Birgitta her life and put her in a coma for two days. Birgitta’s brush with death brought her into a more intimate relationship with God, finding a deeper meaning to her life and her singing. She became a Messianic Jewish believer. Today Birgitta lives in Jerusalem with her husband , son and sings for Jesus the Lord & Savior.

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Saturday Morning, 27 Jul 2019 – 3 John ~ Practice hospitality.

Saturday Morning

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening:  (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading: 3 John (NLT)

Greetings

This letter is from John, the elder.

I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

Caring for the Lord’s Workers

Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.

Conclusion

I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.

Peace be with you.

Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.
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Morning Reflection:

Practice hospitality.

Dear friend, you are being faithful to God
when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through,
even though they are strangers to you.
– 3 John 1:5 –

hospitality – the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Early Christian preachers normally received material support from other believers, or they supported themselves. They did not solicit or accept funds from unbelievers. Giving financial and hospitable aid made the believing giver a partner with the receiver in his work.

And so it is today – Christian ministers and missionaries live in the faith that God will encourage his people to provide for their needs. Sometimes that provision is monetary, and sometimes it’s more personal – by extending hospitality (opening your home and heart) to those who are passing through.

Questions for consideration:

  • Some cultures have a tradition of extending hospitality to strangers? Do you live in such a culture? Please explain.
  • While traveling, have you ever been a recipient of hospitality from people you didn’t know? Please explain.
  • Have you ever extended hospitality to believers who were traveling through your community? Please explain.
  • How would you assess the costs and benefits of extending hospitality to strangers? Please explain.
  • Is there anyone who needs your care now, someone who is visiting your church on the way to somewhere else? Look around you on Sunday? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: A House Blessing (Brigid of Kildare, c. 450-523)

At the Doorway

+ May God give His blessing to the house that is here. God bless this house from roof to floor, from wall to wall, from end to end, from its foundation and its covering.
+ In the strong name of the Triune God all evil be banished, all disturbance cease, captive spirits freed, God’s Spirit alone dwell within these walls.
+ We call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this house, this home, this day, this night, and every night.

In the Living Room

+ There is a friend’s love in the gentle heart of the Savior. For love of Him we offer friendship and welcome every guest.
+ Lord, kindle in my heart a flame of love to my neighbor, to my enemies, my fiends, my kindred all, from the lowliest thing that lives to the name that is highest of all.
+ We call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this house, this home, this day, this night, and every night.

In the Kitchen

+ I would welcome the poor and honor them.
+ I would welcome the sick in the presence of angels and ask God to bless and embrace them.
+ Seeing a stranger approach, I would put food in the eating place, music in the listening place, and look for joy in the blessing of God, who often comes to my home in the blessing of a stranger.
+ We call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this house, this home, this day, this night, and every night.

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“Bless This House” – Tennessee Ernie Ford

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Friday Morning: 26 Jul 2019 – 2 John ~ Live in the Truth.

Friday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – 2 John (NLT)

Greetings

This letter is from John, the elder.

I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth— because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

Live in the Truth

How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.

I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

Conclusion

I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.

Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.
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Morning Reflection:

Live in the Truth.

How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth,
just as the Father commanded. I am writing to remind you, dear friends,
that we should love one another.
– 2 John –

John wrote this epistle to urge his readers to continue to be obedient to God by responding positively to the truth of His revelation. He also wanted them to resist the inroads of false teachers who sought to distort this truth. John’s message is straight forward –

+ Love one another – we love each other best when we obey God’s will that His Word reveals.
+ Defend the truth – resist false teachers who distort the truth and deceive believers.

Questions for consideration:

  • If John were to meet you and your family would he find you and your family living according to the truth? Please explain.
  • How often do you and your family read the Bible? What have you learned about faith and practice over the past year? Please explain.
  • How can you defend the truth and love those who disagree with you at the same time? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to grow closer God through his Son, Jesus Christ? How could God’s Word and Spirit help you? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For a Virtuous Heart (Thomas Aquinas) –

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought can drag down; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose can tempt aside. Bestow upon me understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and faithfulness that finally may embrace you. Amen.

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“Stand In Your Love “ – Bethel Music

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen