4th Sunday of Easter: 25 Apr 2021 – John 10:11-16; Psalm 23; Acts 4:23-31 ~ Jesus is my Shepherd

4th Sunday of Easter: 25 Apr 2021

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

Opening:

Heavenly Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd of your people:
Grant that, when we hear his voice,
we may know him who calls us each by name,
and follow where he leads;
who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

(John 10:11)

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Jesus My Shepherd – Robin Mark

Jesus my shepherd, beloved most fair
Just the pleasure of knowing You
Fills all of my desires
Riches I’ll heed not, nor man’s empty praise
If You’ll be my inheritance always

Your angels attend me You shelter me round
Like the Cedars of Lebanon
When I lay me down
Like rivers of mercy, Your Spirit poured free
Is the oil of anointing on me.
These are the words I will sing to You
Beloved and most fair.

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Gospel Reading: John 10:11-16 (ESV)

10:11  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

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Psalm 23: The Lord’s my Shepherd – Ingrid DuMosch

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NT Reading: Acts 4:23-31 (ESV) 
The Believers Pray for Boldness

4:23  When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

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BOLD FAITH | Be Fearless & Courageous | ABOVE INSPIRATION

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Prayer

+ Almighty God our Savior, you have taught us through your Son that there is great joy in heaven over every sinner who repents: Grant that our hearts may ache for a lost and broken world. May your Holy Spirit work through our words, deeds, and prayers, that the lost may be found and the dead made alive, and that all your redeemed may rejoice around your throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the  welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us, wherever He may send us.
May He guide us through the wilderness, protect us through the storm.
May He bring us home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown us.
May He bring us 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.

Monday of The 4th Week of Easter, 04 May 2020 – John 10:11-18, Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 42 ~ “I sacrifice my life for the sheep.”

Monday of The 4th Week of Easter, 04 May 2020

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

Opening:

O God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd of your people:
Grant that, when we hear his voice, we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me”.

A Reading from the Gospels: John 10:11-18 (NLT)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

A Reading from the Book of Acts: Acts 11:1-18(NLT)

Peter Explains His Actions

Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers[a] in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. “You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said.

Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. “I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’

“‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’

“But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven.

“Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’

“As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?”

When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”
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Responsorial Psalm 42:2-3,3,4 -(NLT)

+ As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.

I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?

Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”

+ As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.

Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”

+ As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.

My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!

+ As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
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Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call (Psalm 42) – Keith & Kristyn Getty

Closing: John 10:14

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me”.

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

4th Sunday of Easter – 22 Apr – John 10:11-18 ~ The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

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

Opening Prayer

God of everlasting love, fulfill your plan of salvation to gather into one fold the peoples of the whole world. Let everyone on earth recognize your Son, Jesus Christ, as the Good Shepherd – who freely lays down his life for all to take it up again in power. Grant this through Christ our Savior, the resurrection and the life, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“Shepherd of Love” – George Beverly Shea


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Gospel Reading: John 10:11-18 (NLT)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
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Prayers of Intercession:

Gracious God: Your loving-kindness is endless. Hear our prayers for our needs and the needs of the whole world –

+ For all who serve your people, that they may follow the example of Christ, the good shepherd.…
+ For all your people, that we may love each other with tenderness and forgiveness.…
+ For all your young people around the world, that they may consider serving your people.…
+ For all your caring professionals, that the your compassion may be visible in them….
+ For all your people who work the land, that they may respect your creation….
+ For all who call your name in their sufferings, that they may experience your healing power….
+ For all who have gone before us in faith, that they may see you, face to face….

God of beauty and compassion: You love us as a shepherd loves all the flock: continue to support your people with your grace and mercy, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Good Shepherd (Lead On) – David Ruis


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Blessing – 1 John 2:1-2 (NLT)

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! …But he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Reading, Reflection & Prayer: Fri, 01 Sep – John 10-12 ~ divided opinion

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: John 10-12 (NLT) – click here

Reflection & Prayer

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

John 10:11, 14-19 (NLT)“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
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“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him.

One with the Father

John 10:24-30, 39-42 (NLT)The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
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Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” And many who were there believed in Jesus.

The Raising of Lazarus

John 11:1-7 (NLT)A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

John 11:17-27 (NLT)When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”

John 11:33-35 (NLT)When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them.

They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.

John 11:38-44 (NLT)Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

John 11:45-53 (NLT)Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”

Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.

So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

John 12:1-10 (NLT)Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.

Jesus’ Triumphant Entry

John 12:12-19 (NLT)The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,

“Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:

“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.”

His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.

Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”

Jesus Predicts His Death

John 12:23-33 (NLT)Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.

Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this to indicate how he was going to die.

The Unbelief of the People

John 12:37, 42-43 (NLT)But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.
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Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

Trust Me, Trust the Father

John 12:44-50 (NLT)Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
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“Build My Life” – Brittany Mondesir (Bethel Worship)


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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!

Daily Reading: 23 May – Psalms and Proverbs: The Lord Is My Shepherd – Psalm 23

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

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

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11 (NLT)

E100:9.a Psalms and Proverbs:

The Lord Is My Shepherd – Psalm 23 (NLT)

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

Good Shepherd icon

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

“Gentle Shepherd” – Heritage Singers

[Filmed August 3, 2009 inside St. Nicholas church during the middle of a brief Heritage Singers tour of a town called Znojmo, on our way back to Prauge, Czech Republic. This impromptu a cappella performance was witnessed by only a handful of people that were inside this beautiful church.]

Prayer (From Praying through Psalm 23)

Dear Lord Jesus, you are my shepherd, my Good Shepherd. You give me everything I need and more than I want. All I need in life is you, plus what you choose to give me.

Even the most difficult places in life are like green meadows as long as you are there; and in the desert seasons of my journey and the drought like conditions of my heart, you quench my thirst with living water and give me a peace that passes all understanding.

When I come to the end of my strength, you faithfully meet me there—granting me rest in my weariness and strength for my tired heart and body. I am so grateful that you have both marked the path for me, and that you yourself are my Way, Truth and Life.

Jesus, you never promised me that the journey towards the new heaven and new earth would be easy, quick, or without seasons and circumstances that are overwhelming; but you have promised never to leave or forsake me, even in the darkest valley. That’s all I really need to know—that you are close and that you love me, and that you won’t let anything happen to me outside of your perfect plan for my life.

Jesus, you are my portion, banquet and feast—Bread from Heaven, my nourishment and satisfaction. Though enemies threaten, you feed me, anoint my life with your grace and Spirit, and cause my cup to spill over with blessings, for the benefit of others.

Absolutely nothing will keep me out of the new heaven and new earth; and, just as certainly, nothing can possibly separate me from your goodness and unfailing love. Jesus, I rest in your love and trust in your grace. Amen.

Closing Sentence

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13 (NLT)

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