Reading, Reflection & Prayer: Tue, 25 July – 2 Kings16-20 ~ banished from God’s presence

Reading, Reflection & Prayer

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

Opening(Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Please Read: 2 Kings 16-20 (NLT) – click here

Reflection & Prayer

Living God, help us to find ourselves in this reading of your Word, that we may truly understand what is happening today in our world; that, understanding, we may believe, and, believing, we may follow in all faithfulness and obedience, seeking your honor and glory in all that we do; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Banishment

2 Kings 17:13-20 (NLT)Again and again the Lord had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: “Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and decrees—the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through my servants the prophets.”

But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.

They rejected all the commands of the Lord their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven. They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the Lord’s anger.

Because the Lord was very angry with Israel, he swept them away from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land. But even the people of Judah refused to obey the commands of the Lord their God, for they followed the evil practices that Israel had introduced. The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until he had banished Israel from his presence.

Syncretism

2 Kings 17:32-34 (NLT)These new residents worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests to offer sacrifices at their places of worship. And though they worshiped the Lord, they continued to follow their own gods according to the religious customs of the nations from which they came. And this is still going on today. They continue to follow their former practices instead of truly worshiping the Lord and obeying the decrees, regulations, instructions, and commands he gave the descendants of Jacob, whose name he changed to Israel.

Faithfulness

2 Kings 18:5-8 (NLT)Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. He also conquered the Philistines as far distant as Gaza and its territory, from their smallest outpost to their largest walled city.

Intercession

2 Kings 19:14-19 (NLT)After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.

“It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”

Deliverance

2 Kings 19:35-36 (NLT)That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.

Respite

2 Kings 20:16-20 (NLT)Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord: The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.”

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

The rest of the events in Hezekiah’s reign, including the extent of his power and how he built a pool and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
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“Manifesto” – The City Harmonic


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Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, 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.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Morning Prayer: 20 November – Isaiah 45:1, 22-25; Ephesians 4:29-32 ~ Let all the world look to me for salvation!

A Season of Thanksgiving

Morning Prayer

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

Opening sentence

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
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Morning Reading: Isaiah 45:1, 22-25 NLT

This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again.
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Twilight over Cathedral Notre Dame and River Seine, Paris France
Twilight over Cathedral Notre Dame and River Seine, Paris France

“Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.

I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me.”

The people will declare, “The Lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.” And all who were angry with him will come to him and be ashamed. In the Lord all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast.

Morning Reading: Ephesians 4:29-32 NLT

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
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Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You. Through Your cross and resurrection You offer freedom and hope to those ready to receive them. Lord, show us Your loving-kindness.

+ We are children of the day: help us to live in the light of Your presence.
+ Guide our thoughts, our words, our actions: so that what we do today may be pleasing to You.
+ Help us to avoid wrongdoing:show us Your mercy and love.
+ Through Your passion and death You have won life for us: give us the strength of Your Holy Spirit.
+ Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.

Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen our hearts through faith, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled within us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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” “Laudate Dominum”” – Barbara Bonney (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Praise the Lord, all nations; Praise Him, all people. For He has bestowed His mercy upon us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever, and for generations of generations. Amen.
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, 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

Morning Prayer: 18 November – Psalm 36 ~ pour out Your love and justice

A Season of Thanksgiving

Morning Prayer

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

Opening sentence

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
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Morning Reading: Psalm 36 NLT

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.

shadow of wings

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around.

Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.
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Prayer:

Give thanks and praise to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters.

Help us to live the new life of Easter, so that all may know through us the power of Your love. Every day is a proof of Your love: as You bring us to this new day, make us new in mind and in heart. Teach us to see You present in everyone; help us to recognize You most of all in those who suffer. May our lives today be filled with Your compassion; give us the spirit of forgiveness and a generous heart.

God our Savior, by grace through faith You have made us children of light. Hear our prayer that we may always walk in that light and work for the truth as Your faithful witnesses. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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“Your Love Oh Lord” – Third Day


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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, 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

Morning Prayer: 16 Oct – Revelation 13:5-10 ~ call for endurance and faith

Morning Prayer

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

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 13:1-10 (ESV) – to be read aloud

carte-syrie-irak_EN

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Reflection

THE SECOND VISION – THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2-14:20)

Interlude (12:1-14:20)

The beast from the sea (13:1-10)

Overview Although martyrdom is impending, the final triumph of the saints is assured, because Satan is already a defeated foe. Defeated though he is, he will be allowed at the end time to wage one final convulsive warfare against the saints through the agency of the beast. (Ladd, p.176)
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War on the saints (13:5-7)

Blasphemy here means to do or say anything that desecrates God’s name or violates his glory and deity…. It is the exaltation of a human claim over the claim of God upon man’s loyalty and worship. (Ladd, p.180)

Mosul: ISIS has been going door to door, marking houses occupied by Christians, and setting conditions: Either convert to Islam, leave the country, pay tax for being none-Muslim, or die. (July, 2014)
Mosul: ISIS has been going door to door, marking houses occupied by Christians, and setting conditions: Either convert to Islam, leave the country, pay tax for being non-Muslim, or die.
(July, 2014)

The primary purpose of the beast is to turn men away from Christ, which he attempts by fierce persecution. That he conquers them does not mean in this context that he succeeds in perverting their loyalty from Christ to the beast – i.e., in apostatizing them, but he does succeed in waging terrible persecution…. Their very martyrdom was their victory; they stood steadfast in their loyalty to Christ and refused to worship the beast or the dragon…. John looks far beyond his own horizon to a time when an anti-Christian ruler will be allowed to exercise a worldwide sovereignty. (Ladd, p.180-1)

The Lamb’s book of life (13:8)

In this last day no one will be exempt except Christians, who will pay for their loyalty to Christ with their lives…. The Lamb’s book of life (Rev 3:5)… is the register of those who have been saved by faith in the crucified Lamb of God. That their names were written before the foundation of the world carries the assurance that even though they seem to be powerless before the attacks of the beast, they are really in the keeping providence of God and have been since the foundation of the world. (Ladd, p.181)

Endurance and faith (13:9-10)

There is a certain grim reality that lies ahead for believers. They will be taken into captivity, and many will be put to death by the sword. As their Master met death at the hands of a hostile secular power, so also they will meet the same fate…. (Mounce, p.253)

When the impending persecution breaks upon the church, believers will need to meet it with steadfast endurance and an unwavering faith…. The view that God will remove his people from the suffering of those days creates a faulty expectation that will work against their need for patient endurance and faithfulness. (Mounce, p.254)
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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, 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
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Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.

21st Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 22:19-23; Psalm 138:1-2, 3, 6, 8; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20 ~ “Who do you say I am?”

21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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

Opening prayer:

Come into the presence of God – Father, Son and Spirit – whose mystery we can never comprehend. All we have comes from God; we can only bow down in awe, and bring forward the praise that is His due.

Living God, You sent Your Son among us to reveal Your wisdom and make known Your ways. Increase our faith, that we may confess Jesus as your Son, take up His work on earth, and trust His promise to sustain us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You.
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A Reading from the Old testament: Isaiah 22:19-23 (NLT)

“Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the Lord. “I will pull you down from your high position. And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall….”
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 138:1-2, 3, 6, 8 (NLT)

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.
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As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
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Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.
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The Lord will work out his plans for my life — for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.
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A Reading from the Letters: Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 15:21-28 (NLT)

jesus head  mosaic

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
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Intercessions:

Almighty and Faithful God: Your Love for us is eternal… hear our prayers –

+ For our Church leaders – that they may preach Your word with wisdom and faith, in season and out of season…
Lord, hear us.

+ For all in positions of authority, civil and ecclesiastical – that they may serve with humility, gentleness and sound judgement…
Lord, hear us.

+ For those who have suffered through the abuse of power, civil and ecclesiastical – that healing and new strength may be theirs…
Lord, hear us.

+ For those who have suffered and died because of their faith, especially in the Middle East and Africa – that they may join their saintly predecessors in the Father’s house…
Lord, hear us.

+ For those who are persecuted and dispossessed because of their faith – that protection and provision may be theirs…
Lord, hear us.

+ For Christians around the world – that they may profess their faith to their neighbors and be a source of hope and help…
Lord, hear us.

+ For people who are travelling at summer’s end – that they may travel safely and return home refreshed…
Lord, hear us.

+ For our own needs and for the needs of those we love…
Lord, hear us.

God of love, You never discard the work of Your hands: hear our prayers we offer, in trust, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen